When I woke up the next day, I cringed at the sudden pain that surged through my body. Everything hurt, and I didn’t know how I was even able to sleep.
I attempted to sit up and tried to remember what had happened yesterday; the burning pain reminded me.
I had upset my father and Kai. So much so that after Kai left, my father had dealt his punishment ruthlessly.
When he was done, I was a bloodied mess, and Ethan had to fix me up to the best of his ability. I must have passed out in the process.
I looked down to see my torso completely covered in bandages. Was it really that bad? Sighing, I attempted to get out of bed. I gritted my teeth, trying to bear the pain.
I slowly made my way over to my dresser and looked at myself in the mirror.
I was sickening to look at. My long black hair was a tangled mess, and my eyes not only looked tired but shallow as well. A large bruise covered my right cheek.
I just hoped it would heal completely in a few hours. He hated me going out looking like I was hurt, even if he was the cause.
I just wanted to get out of this house and get some peace, but it seemed like I wouldn’t even be allowed that. Knowing my father, he would put me right to work.
I took a deep breath and stood tall, ignoring the pain the best I could. I brushed my hair until it was straight and not so messy. I then washed my face with cold water to freshen up.
I dressed myself in a sweater, jeans, and boots. With them on, my entire body was covered, so at least no one could see my injuries. Now I just needed to hide my pain. I looked at the clock.
It had taken me an hour and a half just to dress.
I moved past a few doors and looked into the kitchen to see Ethan completely distracted by his own thoughts with a look of despair on his face.
When he noticed me, he immediately stood from his chair and rushed over.
I flinched at his sudden approach, and he stopped in his tracks, looking guilty as if responsible for the PTSD I was having.
“I-I'm okay...” I whispered and avoided his gaze. I hated his look of pity.
“Well, Evony,” he sighed, “I have good news, and I have bad news.”
“Bad news first.”
“We have to get right to work.”
My heart sank, but I wasn’t surprised. This was not unusual behavior for my father, just the usual.
“And the good news?” I rolled my eyes, expecting the worst.
“I told your father that you would hate working a shift at the outpost house today.”
My eyes lit up.
I wouldn’t hate that at all, and Ethan knew that.
I hugged him tightly.
I used to live there. Before it became a patrol outpost, it was my family home. Before my father became alpha. Before my mother died…
Ethan and I would play in the garden all day as kids. I always pretended to be a fairy, frolicking around the garden. It was the only place that ever felt like home and I missed it every single day.
Ethan grabbed his coat and led me outside before we walked out into the woods on our way to my sanctuary.
We made our way away from the rest of the pack and toward the border. This heavily wooded area was mostly empty. No one wandered this far out unless they were ordered to.
We reached a small house surrounded by a garden. Because this place was rarely disturbed, the flora flourished and grew quite wildly.
There wasn’t much variety in the garden, but there were some wild white and blue flowers, some herbs, and red berry bushes. This place was calm and relaxing, and I really enjoyed it.
I stepped inside the small worn down cabin.
There was also a desk and bookshelves with jars and bottles filled with herbs and books of all kinds.
I made my way over to the desk and smiled slightly, but it was quickly replaced with an agonizing flinch as my injuries reminded me of their continuing existence.
How could I keep living like this? I closed my eyes and sighed. I had a feeling I wouldn’t have too much longer. This life of mine would end soon. One way or another.
Sitting in the gardens, I stared at my reflection in the pond. My black hair framed my face and hid the bruise, which was slowly healing. I toyed with the dress I now wore, my mother’s dress.
I didn’t feel comfortable wearing such a thing. I was nothing like her—not that I ever met her.
She had died in childbirth, which was rare among werewolves and often seen as a bad omen. Werewolves were resilient and strong; it took a lot to kill one.
We took pride in our strength and honor. The pack is one, the pack is all. The strong thrive, the weak die. We were at the top of the food chain. Or at least “they” were.
I was different. Weak. Worthless.
I was inferior to the others and treated like an outcast, a rogue. Even my own father barely acknowledged my existence in the pack.
I had been a disappointment to him, so how could I wear my mother’s dress?
A low but deep growl caught my attention, dragging me out of my dark thoughts. I could see eyes staring back at me from the bush.
Adrenaline rushed through my veins and my heart beat erratically in my chest. Goosebumps rose on my skin across my entire body as I was frozen in place.
Usually, I would assume that I was just terrified, but this felt different somehow. My brain could not think about anything else at the moment.
I stared into the eyes of the wolf, and they stared right back at me, if not into me.
My entire being felt exposed and on edge as if the slightest movement from the wolf would make me make a run for it. I could not outrun him, yet the thought was tempting.
What’s happening to me? I thought.
The creak of a wooden door made me snap my attention back toward the hut from where Ethan had just emerged.
I looked back at the bushes to find the wolf was gone. It felt like my heart was about to rip itself out of my chest, and I had a strange feeling in my stomach. I had to be afraid.
I scooted away from the pond, and Ethan must have noticed my distress because he quickly came over to me.
“Hey, what is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I couldn’t form words at first and just pointed at the bush where I had seen the eyes. He followed my finger and went over to inspect it, but he didn’t seem concerned, just confused.
“I—I thought I saw a wolf,” I whispered.
He looked through the bushes once more and scanned the area but found nothing.
“Damn! I wish I could smell,” he muttered under his breath before coming back to me. “There are no signs of any wolf tracks or anything. No one usually watches the area either. Are you sure you saw a wolf?”
I looked at the ground. Did I just imagine it? Am I just losing my mind now? “I thought I saw eyes…maybe. I’m not sure.”
He sighed and offered his hand to me. “It’s probably best if we get you inside. I got some pillows and blankets, so you can stay here tonight.”
My head jerked up, and I looked at him in surprise. “But my father—”
He cut me off with a smile, “Alpha had some business he had to go take care of, so he won’t be back for at least a day or two.”
I smiled slightly and took his hand as he helped me up, and we went inside the cabin. But, as I looked back at the forest one more time, I still felt like I was being watched.
We traveled through the territory as quietly as possible. Luckily for us, Kade’s pack lacked warriors—not enough wolves could fight. Their alpha was slowly letting them collapse.
But that wasn’t going to happen. Once I broke his neck, I would become their alpha and return the pack to its former glory. But I would have my revenge.
I had waited for years. I would be damned if I didn’t take back what was rightfully mine.
I looked back at my loyal followers. They had stayed with me this far. I had no doubt they would die for me as well. They wanted this just as badly as I did, and nothing was going to stop us.
We got word that Alpha Kade’s daughter would be stationed at the patrol outpost on the edge of their territory. It was the perfect time to strike.
My beta mind-linked me after having scouted ahead.
“Alpha, we found a cabin up ahead.”
I signaled for everyone to hold position as I went ahead to see what we were dealing with. This could very well be a trap, and I could be endangering everyone here.
I went to where my beta stood along the tree line. There was a lot of greenery in the area, especially the land around the cabin, which seemed to be a garden.
The cabin was dilapidated, and there was no sign of anyone else.
I could feel the hair on the back of my neck rise. Something was off about this place, and if I knew anything, it was to trust your instincts.
I looked at the cabin and approached it carefully. I caught the scent of something sweet as I got closer, and it made my mouth water.
I circled around the back of the cabin. I could hear the faintest sound of trickling water. I looked around and noticed the pond.
As I got closer, I stopped. I could see someone through the bushes. My mind became hazy, and the hair on my body stood up.
The scent was coming from them. I watched closely to see a female in a white dress sitting next to the pond with her feet in the water.
Her long black hair made her look almost like a fairy.
I was on edge. She was indeed neither human nor fairy. She was like us, but I couldn’t understand how she hadn’t smelled or heard me coming.
If I moved a muscle, I was sure she would notice, so I stood frozen in place.
Staring at her through the leaves as she gazed at the pond deep in thought, I felt an urge to reveal myself to her despite the dangers involved.
She seemed oblivious of my presence, and even that of my beta, who had crept closer to the house behind her.
“Shall we attack? It will be swift. She won’t even make a sound. If they haven’t noticed us by now, they’re better off dead. We can’t let her warn anyone else.”
I let a growl slip unintentionally, completely enraged by the threat to this woman.
Her head snapped up as she looked directly at my hiding spot. As our eyes met, I could feel the wolf part of me become much more anxious.
She stared right into my eyes. I knew she could see me, but she didn’t move a muscle, like a deer in headlights.
Then I heard the front door of the cabin open.
She tore her gaze away from mine to look back at the house, and I quickly retreated to a safe distance away, out of sight.
The wolf who came out of the cabin spoke to her. She looked at the spot I had been, but she seemed uncertain, not sure if she really saw me or was imagining things.
I watched from a distance and kept my eyes glued on her. What’s wrong with me? I thought. ~I nearly jeopardized the entire mission~.
My beta walked up beside me. “Should we kill her, Alpha?”
Watching the male wolf help the girl up and take her back into the cabin, I made my decision.
I gave my beta a small warning growl, “We do not kill innocents, especially women and children!”
His ears folded back, and he lowered his head slightly in submission, but I could see he was a bit annoyed.
Glancing once more at the small cabin behind us, I could feel a shiver of excitement run through my body.
“Tell the rest of the pack that we strike at midnight…”
He nodded sternly.
“Also…the girl is mine.”
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