"Destroy him for me."
"Destroy him for me."
Adrian's voice echoed in my ears as I left him in the dungeon cell. I felt sick to my stomach as I walked away from him and back towards Xander. He smiled almost sweetly as I returned to his side. I didn't dare say a word as he led me back towards the main levels of the packhouse. He looked down at me before speaking.
"The ceremony will be tomorrow so please keep this dress clean. I'd love to see it on you as you bear my mark," he said as he brushed my hair away from my shoulder. "You'll be the perfect Luna." I didn't dare show my disgust.
"Thank you, Xander," I said in reply instead. He led me up to the third floor to my bedroom. He said I could rest before the big showing tomorrow. But as he left, I heard the door lock. Now, this is quite familiar. I changed into a pair of black skinny jeans and a flannel shirt that I assumed to have been Adrian's when he was much smaller. I could still smell his cologne on the material. But then I heard the sounds of alarms as I rolled up the cuffs of the sleeves. I ran to the window to see hundreds, if not close to a thousand wolves descending on the pack grounds. I smiled. Now if only I could get out of here to get to the dungeon.
The sounds of clashing wolves could be heard where I stood. This fight was going to be b****y. How many lives will be lost on this day? I didn't dare think about it too deeply as I searched for a way out. I couldn't find a spare key, a hidden tunnel, or a fire escape ladder to throw out the window. But, on second thought, that might not be the greatest option. For me going down literally into the mouth of wolves.
I quickly tried thinking of another option before Xander decided to come back for me. I looked for anything I could use as a weapon. I slipped the silver knife I was given by Alice and remembered her words as she secretly slipped the knife into my hands before I ran off to her packhouse.
"Take this. Hide it anywhere you can. Head towards your land after getting the dress and do whatever the hell it takes to save your pack. Even if that means killing my son."
This was going to be so much harder than what she made it seem like. Killing someone, especially close-ranged. I mean, I was basically holding a dagger in my hands. But I unsheathed the blade and held it close to me. It gleamed in the light from the window. I took a deep breath and readied myself for Xander's approaching and inevitable return.
What I didn't expect when I heard the door unlock, as I tightened my hand around the blade, was the copper-haired head of Gwen. I didn't hide the knife, but I did drop my probably horrible fighting stance. I rushed over to her and wrapped my arms around her. She was so much smaller than I remember the 19-year-old being. I made sure to keep the silver as far away from her skin as possible as I hugged her.
"Gwen, is everyone alright?" I asked. She looked so scared and small. Normally she was just as fierce and bullheaded as her brothers. Now she looked like a scared little girl. Not that I blamed her. She had every right to be. This was her family too. She was the one who saw everything as it played out, not me.
"Mostly, the War Wolves are in the dungeons with Adrian and the others, but the women and pups are mostly okay. Some of the women tried to fight back but sustained only minor injuries. It seems like Xander doesn't want to kill our pack but absorb it into an ultimate, super-sized pack," she said as calmly as she could.
"Where is Xander now?" I dreaded hearing the answer to that question. But Gwen seemed to enjoy the distraction with this slight change in subject.
"He joined the fight. But he is definitely pissed. He sent me up here to guard you as he thinks I'm loyal. Probably because I'm his sister or something," she scoffed. I held back one of my own. We left the room to see that the hall was empty. Everyone must be either fighting or in the panic room. Or in the dungeon, like Gwen said they'd be. So that's where we headed. There were no guards around as we ran down three flights of stairs to the first floor, before making our way to the dungeon. Again, no one. The further we went down, the less and less we heard the fighting.
I grabbed the keyring and ran around unlocking cells. Wolves howled in delight as they were freed; Gwen helping the ones that were injured. It was a slow process of finding the right key for the cell, but I finally managed to free many of them as we went down the hall. But when I made it to the three in which Adrian, Lucien, and Jace were being held in, I found I didn't have the key for them.
"s**t, Gwen!" I called out. "I don't have the keys to their cells. Xander must have taken them." Gwen ran over as she helped the last wolf out of his cell. She went to reach for the cell before thinking better of it.
"I wouldn't doubt it. He would be an asshole like that. Let me see if I can pick the locks." I looked at the girl strangely. "This is the girl that stole her brother's car to get you out of here, you really think I don't know how to pick a lock? How do you think I got into the room the first time we met?" She said with a smirk. I kind of just assumed that she had a key or something. She laughed as she pulled out a paper clip that was already bent weird, clearly used previously for a similar task.
Gwen set to work with the locks, starting with Adrian's. It was so weird watching someone pick a lock. She tried several attempts before she even heard the first click of the mechanism inside beginning to be unlocked. More and more followed before finally the door made a really loud click and swung out towards us. I ran inside as Gwen set out to pick the rest. I helped Adrian to his feet. The tingles that I normally felt when we touched was faint, but there. He looked even worse than when I was down here earlier. For one, he was now unconscious.
I tapped his face with the flat of my palm to try and wake him. He groaned and leaned heavily into my side. I grunted under his weight.
"Adrian, you have to wake up, c'mon, we have to get out of here," I tried as I slowly dragged him out of the room. Gwen came back once all the locks were open. She looked pale.
"Xander used wolfbane on them. It's basically a mild poison to werewolves. It weakens their connection to their wolves. In severe cases, the wolf separates entirely from the human and they both die," she whispered. "How can Xander do that? He knows how painful it is to have wolfbane used on a wolf. That's how the rogues killed Alexia all those years ago. It was my turn to pale.
"Is there anything we can do to fix it?" I asked. Gwen's shoulder's dropped.
"Not much, but the hospital is so far away, and I don't know where the pack doctor is," she said. I cursed under my breath. Adrian groaned again. I turned my face to his and saw that his eyes were finally open, but extremely unfocused.
"Adrian?" His eyes flicked to mine, but it's like he couldn't see me. "It's me, Aurora." I held back tears.
His eyes lolled for a moment before he said anything. "Darling?" It was heavily mumbled and sounded a bit like dwawrling, but it brought me so much joy. A goofy smile played at his lips and his hazel eyes were starting to clear up by the second. Until they turned black for a moment. They flickered back and forth as I saw that Dominic was fighting the wolfbane.
"Yeah, it's me. Please stay awake a little longer. We are getting out of here. I looked behind me to see that Lucio and Jace were both fighting the influence of the wolfbane as well. They should be fine with Gwen.
"Gwen, stay here, I'm going to get help," I sat Adrian on the floor next to Gwen and the other's and ran up the stairs, blade in hand in case anyone decided to attack me. I took the steps two at a time to make it faster. The slapping of my bare feet on the hard concrete floors echoed in the stairwell and my pulse was pounding in my ears by the time I reach the top of the steps. The packhouse was eerily silent. I glanced around the room before running to one of the windows. I threw back the curtains to see that Xander and his men were surrounded by wolves of every size and color, behind them were infantry units with silver weapons. Before Xander was the King himself.
I went outside to hear what was going on. I looked to see that there was torn fur laying everywhere on the lawn and the wolves were covered in blood, but they didn't seem to care. I saw that there were also about half of the wolves as there was previously. I hoped that they weren't dead, but I needed to be realistic.
"Ah, Aurora! How nice of you to finally join us," Xander said with venom in his voice. "Tell me, that little stunt earlier was just to distract me and my men while they prepared for this huh?" He laughed harshly. "But it's no matter, I'll forgive you if you drop that weapon and come stand by my side."
"This little game of yours is over Xander. It's over. This doesn't have to continue. Think of Alexia. Is this really what she would have wanted for you?" I demanded. I stayed put, shaking like a leaf, but I didn't back down. My glasses were sliding down my nose. Xander laughed. He turned to face me fully.
"Oh Darling, this game has only just begun." He smirked before whistling loudly. The wolves that were clearly his rogues started to break away and scatter into the tree line before anyone realized what was happening. I was so damn confused about the situation myself. I turned a complete 360 before my gaze landed on Xander yet again. "Oh and sweet Aurora, don't think that you could pull this little trick on me again. I won't buy it next time. Ta ta for now. But the next time we meet, you better believe that I will make sure to make you mine," He growled before he turned into his own wolf form and hurried off with his retreating pack.
Once he and the other's were gone, my knees decided to buckle under me. I took a shaky breath, not even worrying about the white dress that I was still wearing. I didn't know how long I sat there as the wolves around me formed a plan to hurry after the retreating rogues before someone came to check on me. It was Alice. Her face was full of concern for me.
"Hello dear, are you alright?" I looked up at her with relief written all over my own face. I wasn't sure that my plan was going to work, but somehow it managed to at least a little. While we may not have won the war like we thought we would, we would be much more prepared for next time. And next time, I won't let anyone decide to send me away to Italy or any other faraway land. I needed to stand and fight with my pack if I wanted to survive this thing.
"Come on, let's check on Adrian. I bet he is worried sick right about now," Alice said as she pulled me to my feet.
"Actually, I don't know how well he is doing. When I checked up on him right before I confronted Xander, I was down in the dungeon and Gwen said that he had been injected or something with wolfbane." I remembered how delirious he was when I had got him out of that cell. He was in such bad shape. But then again, his words echoed in my ears.
"Destroy him for me."
I shivered as I recalled how serious his tone was. He wanted his own brother destroyed. It was somewhat understandable since he had caused so much pain and hurt so many people just to get to where he is now. But I don't think that I could do anything to destroy another person. Could I? If I really needed to?
We headed inside before making our way to the hospital wing of the Packhouse. There were so many wounded here with all sorts of b****y bandages, some looking more and more like mummies than others. Nurses rushed around the room helping patients with IVs, stitches, and bandage replacements. Despite how much blood was around me, I smelled nothing but the chemicals used to keep everything sterile. It reminded me of the army medical tents that I usually saw in movies and TV shows. But I guess, right now, it needed to be.
Alice and I were led into a side room that only had one bed, a nightstand, an IV, and a bedside chair that contained a very distraught Gwen. On the bed, Adrian was somewhat propped up, using the bed's natural capabilities to do so. He was all bandaged up like many of the other's out in the main hospital wing. Adrian turned to me and sagged with relief. I didn't even realize how tense he had been without me here next to him.
"Hey," I said, sounding rather silly when I had a whole spiel with his brother only moments prior.
"Hey," He mimicked back at me. I smiled and made my way over to him. His hazel eyes swam as I crawled into the hospital bed with him, careful of the wire and tubes still attached to him. He chuckled into my hair as he wrapped his not bandaged arm around me. I heard Alice from behind me.
"Gwen, why don't we give them some space, alright?"
"Yeah, okay." I expected more of a fight when it came to the girl that would steal her brother's car from him to make me feel better. But I supposed that after what had been going on the last few weeks, she was tired of all the fighting and needed some rest herself.
"It's alright darling. They're gone. Right?" He asked.
"Kind of. I confronted Xander, not really knowing what to do. But after my big heroic speech, he just... called off his dogs of war, most likely to fight another day." Adrian sighed heavily, causing my hair to flutter with his warm breath.
"Then we will just have to get him next time. And then, we will truly be ready."