My chest burns as we rush through the woods, the toxins inhaled before putting on my mask scorching my lungs.
“Come on, Zane, we gotta move fast.The training grounds are just down there for us to resupply,” Tylen instructs, leading the way through the thick forest.
I follow him silently, my mind drifting off to Taryn. It was so close! So close.
I just needed to reach a little more and she would have been safe! We reach the training grounds, Tylen raiding the weaponry cabinets for supplies, not once mentioning what just happened and carrying on like his aunt didn’t just fall to her death.
How can he be so cold? He hands me a new rifle and its accompanying bullets, snapping his fingers at my face when I don’t immediately grab them.
“Hey, snap out of it,” he barks.
“I need you here. I don’t have time to babysit you or your feelings.”
I murmur, the image of her last soft smile flashing in my mind.
“D-doesn’t that bother y-you? “Of course it does,”
Tylen snaps with indignation.
“But we don’t have time to mourn right now.All we can do is honor her sacrifice and make it out of this war alive.That is what she would have wanted.That is what I plan to do,” he adds, loading up his rifle.
“This is war, Zane.It does not care about your feelings.It does not care if your heart or your body hurts.It does not care for your conscience, it wants blood.It brings death and destruction.There will come a time where you will have to make an ugly decision and you have to remember: there are no good and bad guys here, there’s just them and us and the sooner you make peace with that, the easier it will be to handle.”
He takes my rifle and inspects it to make sure I’ve loaded it right.
His stonecold face tells me he’s repeated these very words to himself over and over again throughout the years to get through each day and it worries me to think I might ever become like him.
Tylen takes me to the edge of the island and instructs me to lay flat on my stomach among the brush to camouflage.
Through binoculars, we scope out the Scarlett Haven boats as they enter the channel.
“The Eastern part of the main island is stable, but the west is f****d,” Tylen mutters to himself.
“Those Scarlett mutts have managed to take control of the harbor and it won’t be long before they make it into the inner circle of the islands and onto the bunker island.I’ve called for some of the reserved troops from the two northern islands to mobilize, but most will be going to the main island and the few that are coming here will take some time to get here, sol need you to focus.We need a plan to block off the mouth of the channel so that the Scarlett mutts don’t touch the bunker.Any more brilliant ideas?” He asks, turning to me.
I’m surprised he’s asking me, but I focus on my task at hand and scan the waters.With the fog clearing away, it is much easier to see the tactical movements of the Scarlett Haven wolves.They appear to be moving in groups of two, maneuvering at a snail’s pace in single file through the channel.
To my relief, they barely move a few feet at a time in the untouched waters where mines of gas canisters are still hidden.From the cliffs above, Scarlett Haven troops monitor for any attacks coming from our island.
“W-what exactly is y-your gift?” I ask, my brain trying to come up with a plan.
“Molecular combustion,” Tylen shrugs.
“I can turn any object into a bomb.”
Why is he only mentioning this now? Grayson mutters.
“The issue is I have a limit.Charging the bombs is energetically draining.The bigger the object, the more energy it takes for me to convert it,” he explains.
“The silver beads my father gave me were a solution to that problem.They are small enough to not require a lot of energy but still pack a punch when used,” Tylen adds.
“I still have some energy left but I’m all out of beads.” He turns back to the water.
“Your gift is…what exactly? I thought you were a telepath.”
“M-mind manipulation. Th-that’s my gift,” I reply.
“I-l.can see y-your thoughts and memories and show them to p-people and I-I can control minds-“
“So Professor X but on a smaller scale?” he asks, rolling his eyes when I stare blankly at him.
“Please tell me you know Professor X?”
He barely knows how to masturbate, Grayson laughs.He’s basically an oversized toddler.
Ignoring my wolf, I try to focus on the idea formulating in my head.
Scanning the cliff face and the wolves just above and below, I notice a weak spot on the cliff caused by erosion and my plan begins to materialize.
“Is it me or are they not moving?”
Tylen suddenly blurts out, nudging me to look through my scope.He’s right.They’re not moving…Grayson observes.
They must be waiting for something…
Knowing time is not on our side, I try to focus on my idea.
“H-how many b-big explosions do y-you think y-you can make?” I ask, Tylen calculating in his head.
“Maybe 6 or 7 but I would be completely drained afterwards,” Tylen explains.
“Q-okay…” I hum to myself, suddenly very nervous to present my idea.
“W-well what if we.. w-what if we..”
“Zane, now is not the time to be shy,” Tylen snaps.
“If you have an idea, spit it out.”
Hold my fanny pack, Graysonsnarls. I set this boy straight.
Let me think! I snap, trying to gather my thoughts.
Talia always tells me to breathe…
Just breathe I take a deep breath, my plan finally settling.
“W-what if we make a slingshot?” I ask, Tylen raising an amused eyebrow at me.
Despite his condescending look, I press onwards.
“I-If y-you charge four or five rocks and w-we aim for that we-weak spot on that cliff, w-we can cause a collapse a-and-“
“Trigger the remaining gas canisters with the movement to wipe out both the boats and the soldiers on top entirely!” Tylen finishes my thought.
“s**t, that might actually work.”
“I saw resistance bands a-at the training grounds,” I offer
“Grab them and I’ll find the rocks,” Tylen instructs.
We gather our supplies and meet at the edge of the forest with the clearest view of the main island to assemble our makeshift slingshot.
Using two large trees as our base for the slingshot, I tie the end of a thick resistance band to each trunk.
Once secured, Tylen loads the first rock, placing both hands on the top and bottom of the stone and pulls back as far as he can, the stone in his hand glowing red.
“L-left,” I point, using the scope of my rifle to visualize the target.
Tylen repositions himself and releases the stone, my breath hitching as I watch it fly over the channel.
A huge cloud of smoke rises with the explosion, bullets flying in our direction in retaliation.
Tylen and I take cover behind the trees, counting to five before returning fire.
When the smoke cloud clears, Tylen and I load another rock, Tylen charging it up before releasing it.We do this once more, this time hearing a loud crack on the face of the cliff.
“Holy s**t, it’s working,” Tylen hisses as we take cover behind the trees.
“Backup is on the way.They’ve cleared the east and sent soldiers to the west.We just need to hold them off a little longer.”
We load the last stone onto the slingshot in hopes of finishing the job, when we suddenly hear the hum of an engine fly over us.
“The agricultural plane…” Tylen whispers under his breath, his face paling.
“Fuck.” I, however, manage not to panic, taking the charged stone from his hand and pulling it back as far as I can while crouching down on my knees.
“What are you doing?”
“T-taking down the plane,” I reply, my eyes searching the dark skies for the intruder.
Unable to find the plane, I listen for it and release the stone, counting the seconds and hoping I didn’t miss.
A loud bang echoes across the sky followed by flares of red and yellow flames.
Through the dark smoke, we see the plane fly out of control, crashing directly against the cliff’s face.
Sheets of rock, fire, and debris crumble into the ocean, several of the Scarlett Haven wolves falling with it.
We can’t even hear their screams as a number of canisters burst open and bullets from the remaining machine guns fire into the water.
“You f*g did it,” Tylen whispers in shock.
“You f*g did it!”There’s no time to celebrate our victory as Tylen receives a call from his father.
“We have to get to the main islands.A third fleet is coming in from the harbor and they need us,” He mutters, staggering slightly on his feet.
“Y-you okay?” I ask, getting up to keep him from falling over.
“I-l’m fine,” he pants, taking long deep breaths.
But as he takes a step forward, he nearly collapses onto his knees.
“I just need a second to catch my breath.”
“T-Tylen!” I snap, throwing his arm around my shoulder and wrapping my arm around his waist when he suddenly yelps in pain.
“f**k, f**k, f**k, f**k,” he winces as I walk him to a tree and prop him up against the trunk.
Upon a quick inspection, I find a bullet wound on his shoulder.
“Oh s**t, when did that happen?” Tylen chuckles.
“l-It’s a clean shot,” I reply, searching my utility belt for some gauze and tape.
“Then leave it,” Tylen groans, attempting to push himself off the tree trunk into a standing position.
“We gotta go.”
“It’s a silver b-bullet wound,” I mutter, pushing him back against the tree.
“l’ve had worse,” he replies, taking a few deep breaths to gather his bearings before forcing himself up.
“Now let’s go.”
“I-I thought I-I wasn’t supposed to reveal m-myself?” I retort as we sprint down the slope of the forest towards the hidden tunnels.
“Yeah, well your daddy wasn’t supposed to show up with an actual fleet of soldiers,” he mumbles, gesturing for me to help him remove the rock hiding the tunnels.
“So it looks like we’ll have to keep improvising.”
We race through the tunnel, the thought of coming face to face with my old pack terrifying me.I had spent years living in fear of the soldiers.
What if I freeze when I’m forced to fight one? Would I be proving my father right? I spent years silently watching what they did to you knowing you would one day prove them all wrong, — Grayson snarls angrily.
She time has come to show them all who the f**k Zane White truly is.
Prove them wrong, not only for yourself, but for your moms.
Sebastian beat and destroyed his mate every day to teach you a lesson and then when Agnes came into your life, he let those Scarlett mutts torture her for their own amusement.
Sebastian White is not an Alpha, but a monster.
Show him who the true Alpha is.I breathe in slowly as we approach the exit of the tunnel, focusing my energy on Grayson’s message.
“We should shift,” Tylen suggests.
“It’s hell up there.” We slow down, Tylen grimacing as he removes his shirt.
“I’m fine,” he sighs, unbuckling his pants.
“It’s already healing.” We finish undressing and I hand control over to Grayson as I shift.
it’s showtime, Grayson chuckles.
Please stop, I groan.
Together, Tylen’s wolf and I make our way to the mouth of the tunnel, Tylen taking the lead and peeking out to make sure the coast is clear.
Satisfied, Tylen nods his head forward, indicating it’s safe for us to exit.
Grayson stays close to him, our eyes and ears scanning the area for intruders.
“So, where to?” Grayson asks, establishing a telepathic connection with Stark, Tylen’s wolf.
“To the Harbor,” He replies, leading me towards the harbor.
Grayson seems almost too eager to join the fight and it brings me comfort knowing my wolf is ready to show Scarlett Haven who he is.
As we weave through the forest, a pain pulsates through my chest, my heart rate skyrocketing out of nowhere.
Our mate Is afraid, Grayson says, slowing down behind Tylen.
Something’s not right.
“Hey wolf! Keep up, will you?”
Stark calls out.
We don’t get much time to dwell on our mate before the sounds of war at the harbor draw us out of our thoughts.
The nagging feeling lingers in the pit of my stomach as we race into battle and I send a silent prayer to Moon Goddess to watch over my mate and our pup.
Please be okay, Talia, I tell myself as Grayson pounces on the first Scarlett soldier he sees.
Grayson tears through the soldier’s throat in an instant, blood showering from the wound and coating Grayson’s fur.
Stark barks, but it’s already too late.I hardly see the brown blur racing towards me before I find myself knocked over to the ground, my rib cage searing with pain from the impact.
Before I can reorient myself, the brown wolf pounces on me and we both roll down the slope and onto the docks of the harbor.
In our fight for control, we manage to plunge into the water, my lungs filling with water from the shock.
Grayson acts quickly and swims to the surface, attempting to use his paws to climb back onto the dock.
Just as we are about to pull ourselves up, my attacker clamps his jaws down on Grayson’s hind paw and attempts to drag us back into the water.
Grayson turns his head and we make eye contact with the wolf, and I recognize his blue eyes as those of Caine’s best friend and future beta, James.
James had a particular vendetta against Agnes and would always go out of his way to torment her.
“Let go, James ,”
Grayson commands, James releasing Grayson’s paw.
Finally free, Grayson climbs onto the dock and turns to James, a look of shock on his face.
“How did you…”
“Do you remember me, Jamesy boy? “
Grayson snarls, our eyes flickering between brown and gold.
“Do you remember my mom and the games you used to play with her? “The mute mutt…” he whispers, his body shivering in the water.
“Want to play a game, James?” Graysons snickers, the wolf trying to swim away.
“Come back here,” he demands, James struggling to stay above water.
“Hold your head below the water. Three minutes.”
Grayson, no! This is for Agnes, Grayson snarls, glaring at James.
“Make it four.”
James tries to fight but his wolf ducks his head under the water, Grayson turning and running back into the battle.
Grayson charges in, taking on several wolves, and after the four minutes are up, we look towards the harbor, James’ lifeless body floating in the water.
Turning our attention back to the fight, a wolf manages to pin us down but Grayson pushes his paws against the wolf as he snaps his jaws at us.
From the corner of my eye, I see Stark struggling against two wolves.His shoulder is badly injured.
Concentrating on our attacker, Grayson bites down on the wolf’s paw, the soldier howling in pain and giving Grayson the perfect opening to push him off and pin him down.
Grayson has his jaws on the wolf’s throat in an instant and I hear a loud crack as my wolf buries his teeth in our attacker’s neck, ending his life.
With a shake of his head, Grayson stumbles back on his feet, concentrating on the two wolves cornering Tylen and his wolf by a tree.
“Attack each other,” Grayson commands, the wolves freezing in place before turning to each other.
At first, they try to fight the command but quickly fall victim to the strength of my gift.
Stepping away from Stark, the two wolves circle each other before pouncing, attacking and clawing at one another until they rip each other apart.
Taking control, I rush in to aid Tylen, his wolf limping on his front paw.
“You need to get to safety,” I tell him, the wolf shaking his head.
“Just give me a minute to catch my breath…” he mutters, trying to shift his weight onto his other paw.
“You’re going to get yourself killed and Agnes does not deserve to have another mate die in battle,” I snap, hoping the thought of Agnes’ suffering will knock some sense into him.
“Come on, ll get you somewhere-“
Agonizing howls suddenly fill the air and drown out my thoughts, a green mist dispersing across the harbor.
“Looks like your daddy just showed up,” Tylen says through gritted teeth.