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Chapter 7

Lord Hale

Excited voices and laughter drew my attention as I made my way through the forest. I stopped, the host body jolting under my sudden command. Listening, the head I controlled cocked and turned in the direction of the sound. Its movement was more animal-like than I would have preferred. Luckily, no one was around to see it. More laughter barrelled through trees. Insufferable. It sang a song of predation, the potential of a hunt. I couldn’t leave now. The familiar greedy ache began to hum in my veins. There was no choice but to abide by the raw instinct inside me. I let it propel me forward, a predator closing in on unsuspecting prey.

As I advanced, the voices became clearer; distinctly male and female. For a moment, I contemplated whether I should risk exposing my host or not. Deciding against it, I drugged its body with a strong sedative. Lux root, dug from the Forest of Moore. Chewing on shavings of it caused temporary paralysis even in the strongest of men. The sour taste invaded my senses as I shoved a handful into my host’s mouth, forcing him to chew and swallow. Once he was sedated and would not come to his senses before I returned, I left the confines of his skin, floating off and stretching my darkness out. It had been months; months trapped in a single body.

I stared down at him in disgust. He was too big. Needed too much food and didn’t do well with endurance. I huffed. This body was wearisome. Not an ideal vessel for what I intended to do. Leaving him on the ground, covered in debris and branches, I made my way over to the chatter. Floating into a clearing with a small campfire in the middle, I saw a group of teenagers lost in a haze of unsuspecting joy, not a care in the world.

Not just any teens, I realised - wolves. I could distinguish them immediately, even in the obscurity of night. Their scents were unmistakable. High ranking wolves. Powerful. Deciding to linger a little longer, I hovered above a nearby bush. I studied them. How they spoke. How they moved and what they could possibly be doing out here. The wolves remained blissfully unaware of my presence.

A blond-haired girl, no doubt with Alpha blood, sat next to a dark-haired Alpha boy a few feet away. She leaned into his side and smiled while he had his arm wrapped around her shoulders. Next to them, on the same stump, sat a very large boy with short-cropped hair, his t-shirt ridiculously tight. He was one of the loud ones. Strong, but not Alpha.

The group continued to tease each other, their banter happy and carefree. It almost made me want to move off and leave them be. Almost. Glancing around the group again, I tried to scope out possible victims or maybe even a new host. I was growing sick of the current body I wore, slowing me down. My attention was snagged on the blond beauty. Maybe a new, more youthful body would be nice for a change.

The Alpha girl would surely be an easier target than the Alpha boy. Both of them had strong blood coursing through their veins, but a woman’s mind could easily be persuaded. No, not her mind. Her heart. Centuries of experience had taught me that. Taking in her appearance, I roamed my eyes over her body, scanning every inch of it from top to bottom. Yes. I would definitely be able to use her. Playing the damsel in distress would be an effortless and effective strategy with a face and body like that. My prey would be coming to me.

The surge of power surrounding both her and the male beside her called to me. It was strong, probably the Alpha blood pumping through their veins. I grinned. There was no doubt in my mind that she had the potential of becoming a mighty beast under the right guidance. My guidance.

My mind was made up. She would be my greatest host yet.

“It’s getting late, we should probably start heading back before anyone notices we’re gone,” the dark-haired girl said, standing up.

The rest of the wolves groaned in response, although, judging by the dying fire, they must have been here for quite some time. One by one, the group reluctantly stood up and began saying their goodbyes. It was only the Alpha couple who remained seated. One group started heading north as the other group headed south. Two different packs, apparently.

“Come on you guys, you can finish this up some other time,” the girl said, gesturing between the two still seated.

“You guys go on ahead; I’ll be right behind you,” the blonde Alpha-girl replied, pulling the Alpha-boys’ arms tighter around her and wriggling into his chest.

“Hell no, get up, you’re coming with us. Now,” a deep male voice growled, already standing by the edge of the forest, waiting for her to join. Interesting. Another Alpha male. This one had the same mouth as hers and the same fair skin. A relative.

“Oh, come on Cas, just give her a minute to say goodbye.” My gaze snapped around. Behind me, a boy came stomping out of the undergrowth with a giggling girl clinging to his back. His arms were hooked under her knees, and she held him tight around the shoulders.

“Axel, don’t start with me,” the serious one snapped.

“Oh my word, fine!” The Alpha-girl called, throwing her hands up in the air, “I’m coming, I’m coming!”

Behind her, the dark-haired Alpha boy stood, snaking his arms around her again and turning her to face him.

Everyone disappeared into the forest, except for the couple and the boy with the giggling girl on his back.

“You have five minutes,” he said with a wink, before he too, stepped into the darkness, following the others south.

The wolves’ footsteps faded into the forest, and I turned my attention back to the two in the clearing.

“I wish we could see each other more often,” the girl said, exhaling deeply.

“I know, Lily-flower, but we’ll get our chance. Just be patient.” He lifted her chin with a finger, “only two years and you’ll be mine forever.”

He bent down, kissing her. Disgust rumbled deep inside me.

“What if I’m not your true mate, Raiden?”

The boy stared back into her eyes as she spoke, his face serious. “You are. I’m sure of it.”

They kissed again, slowly. The boy was the first to pull away, albeit unwillingly. With his hand pressed gently into her lower back, he guided her towards the edge of the forest.

“Go, you shouldn’t get separated from the group.”

“I’ll text you tomorrow,” the girl said softly.

He gave her a nod and peck on the forehead before she turned, heading towards her pack. The Alpha-boy stood still for a few moments, watching her leave. When he couldn’t see her anymore, he lifted his fingers to his mouth, touching his lips while a smile formed on his face. Pathetic.

I couldn’t stand the sight anymore and left to begin a chase of my own.

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