“Something’s very, very wrong.” This thought wouldn’t leave me alone during Emily’s fight. She was getting utterly beaten by Rachel right in front of everyone that just yesterday witnessed their training session and Emily’s easy win. I could read complete confusion in her facial expressions as well, so I assume she ran in the forest to compose herself and find a way to win.
“Hahaha! Look at her, she’s running away!” said one of Rachel’s lackeys.
“Kill the Omega, Rachel!!”
“Run, mutt, that’s all you can do!” joined another. The other members from their inner group started laughing.
I’m confident that Emily hasn’t heard them, due to the distance and the distress she’s going through. However, it makes my blood boil to hear other pack members talking about my friend in such a way. I’ve been so focused on keeping Rain under control to refrain from starting a fight with them, that I didn’t realize I’ve been clenching my fist so hard that blood began dripping from my hand.
“Hey… leave them be. Emily will come back.” said Andy as he soothingly held my hand and tried to relax Rain with his touch. Unfortunately, with no success:
“They’re bad-mouthing her, those pups…” I spit through my teeth as I pull my hand from Andy’s grasp. Just as I start making my way towards their group to shut their mouths, the laughing stopped and complete silence took over the crowd. A tense and heavy aura befell on us, compelling our wolves to submission. Its source was easily backtraced to the Alpha King, since he would be the only one capable of such an authority. However, when I glanced at him, his arms were crossed and he was wearing a serious expression, looking directly into the forest, as if trying to see through the thickness of it.
This atmosphere lasted for about 30 minutes, after which another round of murmuring through the crowd started. The Alpha King’s gaze didn’t waver for a second from that spot. The sun was slowly setting and people began losing their patience. Usually, there would be an entertaining fight to watch in such a situation, so it was no wonder that their expectations have been disappointed.
The murmurs are interrupted by Elder Cole’s dry cough, followed by a question addressed to the Alpha King:
“Alpha Edward, should we perhaps send someone to look for them? They both might be-“‘
“No.” and the Alpha King gestures him to shut up and says in a low voice: “I hear something.”
And with that, everybody turned their heads towards the tree line. The sound of dry leaves being crushed and branches snapping made all of us hold our breath in suspense. Soon, a figure could be discerned through the foliage, and without noticing, tears rolled down on my face uncontrollably as my nose told me it was Emily before my eyes were able to. However, I quickly came to realize that my body was not crying because of happiness, but of Emily’s grim state. She was dragging Rachel behind her, using a cloth tied to Rachel’s waist so as to keep her head lifted, and she was also dragging one of her own legs. My feet gave up, as I fall down at the sight of my friend leaning on a tree, barely breathing, covered in deep, bleeding scratches and a red cloth protecting a wound on her leg. To top it off, she dragged Rachel’s seemingly unconscious body through the forest when she could have just left her be.
The crowd displayed various different emotions: some gasped, some started crying and others were overjoyed. Elder Cole was expected to call the winner but he seemed the most surprised of them all, holding his hand over his heart, seemingly unable to talk as his body was shaking. The Alpha King’s expression was blank, yet his fists were clenched. I assumed he felt frustrated of not being able to go to Emily until the fight was officially over. His mouth seemed to whisper something that nobody could hear.
This moment felt like an eternity, everything moving in slow motion, yet it was merely a second or two. Just enough for the Gamma, Rachel’s father, to swiftly dash to his daughter’s side. After he checked her vitals and made sure she was still alive, he began caressing her head and mumbling softly, almost sobbing:
“Oh my Goddess, my Rachel, what has she done to you… look at your face…”
and his sight immediately went to Emily, still leaning on the tree right near him:
“What have you done to her, mutt?!” he screamed and leaped at Emily’s neck with his claws extended.
I did not have enough time to scream, as in a blink, the next thing I saw was the Alpha King standing between Emily and the Gamma, holding his arm in a distorted position. Michael was also holding the Gamma’s other hand to his back. The sound of bones breaking reached my ears right after that, followed by a scream of pain.
“Cole. I. said. CALL IT.” roared the Alpha King, imposing silence and respect.
Elder Cole yelped for a moment, followed by his quavering announcement:
“Y-y-yes… D-d-due to R-Rachel Greyback’s inability to continue the fight, I d-declare Emily Winters the winner of this challenge. S-She is to be marked as Luna of the Midnight Pack and Queen over our counties.”
As soon as Cole’s lips finished saying the last word, Emily’s body relaxed and she lost consciousness. The Alpha King gently caught her body in the middle of the fall, resting her head softly on his hand. He took a long look at Emily’s wounds, under the frozen gaze of the crowd.
“I’m sorry it has to be like this.” The Alpha King said, just before he leaned down towards Emily’s neck. The moment his fangs pierced her skin to mark her, my body was overtaken by a warm, relaxed sensation, a feeling of completeness. At the same time, a spur of energy took over me. I could tell the others were also feeling something similar as Andy’s relaxation was flowing through our mate bond. The Alpha King’s mark had already started helping Emily, as her scratches stopped bleeding and were slowly healing, disappearing one by one. The wound on her leg still looked pretty deep, so the Alpha King picked up her body and carried her princess-style to the middle of the stumps semi-circle. The crowd split in half, making way for them, and everyone kneeled as the Alpha King and Luna went through, in a quite fast pace.
I got up to follow them, assuming they’d be going to the infirmary. With the corner of my eye, I noticed Amanda picking up Rachel’s body and taking off with it through the woods. Meanwhile, Michael was escorting the Gamma towards the dungeon.
Elder Cole was nowhere to be seen, so Elder Lance makes a step forward, visibly uncomfortable:
“We are all happy that we now have a Luna, but unfortunately we shall have to postpone the congratulatory hunt until she recovers. You may return to your homes.”
Despite losing track of the hurried Alpha, me and Andy went to the infirmary. As we arrived, the receptionist pointed us towards the right room, where I saw Emily already connected to a beeping machine and an IV. A nurse was bandaging her thigh while a doctor was talking to the Alpha King.
“Let’s wait here, shall we?” asked Andy, showing me to two chairs directly opposite Emily’s room. “I’m confident she’ll be up and about in no time.” he said, stroking my arm.
I nod in agreement. And so we wait, wondering what actually happened in the forest.