After a quick lunch, Kota begs me for a game of hide and seek, arguing his case by giving me a pair of cute puppy eyes.
The little boy grins triumphantly when I give in, and he asks permission from Aurora for Rio to join us.We walk around the pack for a little while until we find a quiet little patch of trees for us to play in undisturbed.
Kota and Rio take off, leaving me in the middle of a clearing to count out loud.
I grow embarrassed as I stumble through the numbers and begin to count quietly to myself until I reach twenty.
“He-Here I c-come Kota!” I call out, my eyes scanning the trees for any signs of the boy.
I sniff the air, catching his scent lingering in the wind.
This is probably the worst game to play with a wolf, Grayson chuckles to himself.
lignore his comment, pretending to look among the bushes for the hiding pup.
An unfamiliar scent suddenly brushes against my nose, the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end.
Something’s wrong, Grayson observes, my ears picking up the sound of rustling in the distance accompanied by the low rumble of a snarl.
Grayson wastes no time taking control and shifting mid-sprint as we follow the sound of Rio’s barking and Kota’s cries.
Please be okay, please be okay, please be okay, I pray to my dear Moon Goddess, my heart racing at the thought of Kota being hurt.
We sprint through the trees until we see a small clearing up ahead, Kota’s scent guiding us to him.
Grayson breaks through the trees and into a clearing, a group of large unfamiliar wolves gathering in the middle as Rio barks up a storm at the intruders.
They don’t appear to be rogues, their fur shiny and well-groomed and their build strong and muscular.
Two of them appear to be Alphas, their fur black as night and both bearing a single white spot on their foreheads, the symbol of an Alpha lineage among normal alpha wolves.
One appears to be older than the other, an air of power surrounding the older one.
The younger of the Alpha’s has Kota in his jaws by the collar of his shirt, Kota’s cheeks stained with tears.
It’s enough to send Grayson into a blind fury, but before he can pounce, three River Moon guards come sprinting into the clearing in their wolf form to stand between the Alphas and I.
Grayson snarls and pushes past the guards, baring his teeth at the Alpha holding Kota hostage.
The Alpha scans me with judging eyes, an air of arrogance to him as he puffs out his chest to assert his is.
The bastard had our pup, and we were getting him back.
“Zane! Mommy!” Kota whimpers, large tears rolling down his cheeks.
Remembering my training with Aurora this morning, I lower down my walls and listen to the many rivers of thoughts flooding my mind until I figure out the Alpha’s voice.
I build my imaginary dams so that his voice is the only one I hear.
“Whe the f**k does this silver wolf think he is to challenge me? ” The Alpha thinks to himself, Grayson snarling in response.
“You would do well to put the pup down,” Grayson growls, his lips curling back while his fur bristles.
“Unless you want me to rearrange the little stain on your face!”
The Alpha stares at me for a moment, a bit shocked to hear my wolf’s voice inside his head.
“It said put my pup down!”
Grayson commands, the Alpha’s body suddenly tensing as if in a trance.
Asheer black film glazes over the Alpha’s eyes before he gently sets Kota down in front of him, his eyes returning back to normal when he looks up at me.
Rio rushes to comfort Kota, licking away his tears as he sobs.I step forward, placing my large paws on either side of Kota to protect him with my frame while I glare at the two Alphas and their friends.
The River Moon guards howl an alert and the once silent forest fills Tearing down the dams I built, I fill the intruders’ minds with my commands.
“Step back! ” I snap, a black film glazing over their eyes as they carry out my order.
Kota shivers beneath me as he clutches Rio by the neck, his little whimpers breaking my heart.
Never in my life do I ever want to see him so scared again.
Grayson looks down at the small pup between his legs and nuzzles his face, licking away the tears on his cheeks.
“It’s okay, Kota.I’m here _ “
I whisper, opening a connection between us.
His large eyes widen as he looks up at me, his fears melting away when he recognizes my eyes which have shifted back to their warm brown color.
“Zane?” he asks, timidly reaching out his small hand to pet my snout.
I learn into his hand, letting his fingers stroke my fur.A small smile curls on his lips, his heart which had been racing, finally calming down
“Hi, Kota,”I murmur, Kota burying his face in my furry neck. A portal opens beside me, Aurora stepping through it with Evan at her side.
He’s in his wolf form and he does not look happy to see the intruding Alphas and their wolves.
The wolves all bow before the on high alert as more guards arrive at the scene.
“Are you alright?” Aurora asks, a look of worry on her face when she sees Kota snuggling up against my chest.
I nod to reassure her the pup is fine, relief washing over her face before she turns to the intruders.
“Alpha Jacque,” Aurora acknowledges the older Alpha, her face calm and collected despite the coldness in her tone.
“To what do we owe your visit?” The elder Alpha shifts into an older, tall man with salt and pepper hair, a cruel scowl folded in the light wrinkles surrounding his eyes.
Aurora resists the urge to cower, holding her head high as she smiles politely to the Alpha.
“I do not speak with little girls,”
Alpha Jacque replies, his eyes filling with disgust when he glances at the wedding band on her finger.
“I’m here to speak with Oliver about my daughter.”
Evan and the guards snarl at his disrespect towards their Queen but her smile never falters.
“Then, I’m afraid you have wasted your time, Alpha,” Aurora replies, turning on her heel to face me.
“May you have a safe flight back to France,” she adds over her shoulder.
The younger Alpha snarls and lunges at her for turning her back on them, but Aurora doesn’t miss a beat, thorny vines sprouting from the earth to shield her from his attack.
The young Alpha whines in pain when the vines wrap around his limbs, Evan smirking at the i***t Kota begins to cry as the wolf writhes in pain beside us, digging his little fingers into my fur for protection and I turn my body to shield him from the sight.
“Take Dakota home, Zane,”
Aurora instructs as she simultaneously levitates Kota onto my back and creates a cocoon of vines around the young Alpha.I waste no time and take off back towards the guest house, maneuvering carefully through to trees.
“Just hang on Kota,” I said to him.
“We’re almost home.” He replies with a small whimper, his arms wrapped tightly around my neck.
When we arrive at the lawn in front of the guest house, I slowly lower myself until I lay flat on my stomach, attempting to coax Kota off my back.
At first, he refuses, trembling in fear, but after I begin to lie on my side, he finally climbs off.
Grayson licks him clean, inspecting him for any wounds and to my relief, we find that he is unharmed.
He sits on the patch of grass in front of me, Grayson laying his big head on Kota’s lap.
I can hear his little heart beating in his chest as he rests his chin on top of my head and holds me.I know Talia will be furious that I broke a rule in our contract, and it scares me, but I do not regret showing Kota my wolf.
He needed me …and I came.
Kota is our pup now, Grayson declares, nuzzling his head against I the little boy.He should know who I am.I just hope Talia feels the same way.