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Chapter 3 - Meeting the Rossi

One good thing which had ensued during those troublesome days, when Regina threatened us, was the regular training. Lucian made me get up early every morning to train with him and his betas in the gym. That habit had remained. Compulsory training was part of the pack rule now, irrespective of gender. 

Whenever I trained with Lucian, I would usually limp out of the gym, sore from all the times that I got pinned down by him. Me being his mate did not prevent me from getting as rigorous training as the rest of the pack. 

Wolves, respect strength and are instinctively inclined to submit to someone stronger than themselves. Hence, Alphas need to maintain their strength. Lucian was such an exacting taskmaster, he sparred with me himself. And he never held his punches. 

I loved the challenge and enjoyed it. The sex between Lucian and me was hotter after our training sessions. We would shower together and squeeze in a wild and satisfying romp in the shower after each training session. We would then have breakfast together, either by ourselves at home or with the pack. He typically accompanied me to my workplace if his schedule allowed it.

There were hurdles, especially with the new members. Gregory's pack was pretty backwards in this regard, and despite all this time, we were having a hard time integrating them into the Crimson Shadow pack. Their youngsters had never gone to a regular school, as education was never a priority with Gregory. Moreover, some of his top betas and supporters had fled when Lucian took over his pack. We had no idea if they joined some other pack or turned rogue. As long as they were not a direct threat to us, Lucian wasn't bothered.

As the Luna, it was my duty to ensure that all the females above 14 joined the training, even if they were weak. 

"Is there a problem? Why aren't you training ?" I asked as I reached a group of girls huddled in the gym.

"Madam Luna, it's nothing. We were just......"

"Just?" I raised an eyebrow.

The girl fumbled.

"Madam Luna, our friend Lucy, she wasn't allowed to join the training. We were just talking about her." 

"Not allowed? Who didn't allow it?" I asked puzzled.

"Her parents, in our old pack, girls didn't train. It was considered disgraceful." The girls said.

I shook my head and folded my arms," what is your name?" 

"I am Betty," the girl replied, looking a bit scared.

"What do you think about it, Betty? Do you like training with the pack?"

"Yes, we love it. We feel strong, and our wolves love it. They feel thrilled when we exercise with the pack." Betty replied.

"Good to know that. I will talk to Lucy's parents. Now go back to your training."

A few hours later, I was standing in front of a modest-sized house near the western boundary of the pack land. This is where most of the previous Black Stone pack resided. 

"Alice, I still feel you shouldn't have come here. You could have just sent one of the betas. They have to follow the pack rules." Katherine said.

Katherine and Rain usually accompanied me, they were my unofficial Betas. I had yet to choose my Betas. After Savannah's betrayal, I needed someone trustworthy. No one talked about her. They skirted her topic completely, especially around Lucian. He seemed to get irritated whenever Savannah was mentioned.

"I know, but I want to listen to them and understand their reasons. Simply, giving commands and expecting the pack to obey it blindly, it's unfair." I replied.

Katherine stared at me puzzled. She had trouble understanding the human side of things. Wolves were used to obeying their Alphas no matter what.

I rang the doorbell. A middle-aged woman opened the door, and she looked baffled on beholding me.

"Madam Luna!" She exclaimed.

"May I come in?" I asked pleasantly.

"Of course," she replied and moved away from the doorway. 

The house smelled of cinnamon and sugar, she seemed to be baking something good in the oven. It also appeared to be teeming with juveniles, I could scent them and hear them whispering from the above floors, and behind the walls. A little girl's head popped out from behind her mother as she gestured me to have a seat.

"How many children do you have?" asked casually.

"I have 9 daughters, madam Luna." She replied.

"Wow! They must be quite a handful." I replied, still reeling by her answer. Nine daughters! She must be fond of kids! I thought.

"Hello madam Luna," a huge middle-aged man arrived, he was her mate, I assumed. 

He bowed low and looked as frightened as his mate. They were the Rossi family.

"Hello, I hope you are comfortable here?" I asked.

"Yes, Madam Luna, we have been very comfortable here. Alpha Blake has been very gracious." 

I chatted with them for some time, then broached the subject of their daughters not joining the training.

"Our daughters are all below 18, the oldest 4 girls are too scared to go out among other wolves. Our previous pack was not very safe." Mr Rossi said, looking a little perplexed.

"Crimson Shadow is pretty safe, I can assure you that. There is nothing to worry about, your daughters would become stronger and would be able to defend themselves better."

"Madam Luna, it's not that simple, my girls...they have seen things which were beyond cruel." Mr Rossi said.

"Can you please elaborate?" 

The Rossi couple looked at each other then he took a deep breath and said, "Madam Luna, please forgive me for this, but my daughters are my life. The bonds and commands I had with my previous Alpha have been broken, and this is encouraging me to speak about this for the first time. I know your pack is pretty liberal, concerning mating ruts and pack runs, it's common in most packs, but in our previous pack they went a step further."

He took another deep breath as he continued, "except for the alpha and other high-ranking females, all other unmated females were forced to service the unmated males from our Pack as soon as they turned 18 and this would continue until they were claimed by their mates. They couldn't refuse and would be raped anyway even if they were not interested."

I was shocked and spoke into my link with Lucian.

'Did you hear that ?'

'Yes,' he gave a curt reply. I could sense his anger.

"Why wasn't this ever brought up? The Alpha council could have intervened." I asked. 

"We were bound by the Alpha command and couldn't speak about it. With the death of Alpha Gregory, we are no more bound to him. So, we can speak up."

I exchanged glances with Katherine, and she was as upset as me.

"We do have pack runs as you are already aware, but NO ONE is forced to mate against their will in this Pack, and if any male forces a female he is brought to a trial and punished. Alpha Lucian is pretty strict with the laws. I am not sure if you were part of the last pack run and barbecues if you haven't done yet. I invite you to attend them. You can see for yourself that our pack is safe for all ranks." I said.

"It's hard to believe this has been going on, and the Council was unaware of this," I added.

"We were forbidden from talking about this through the Alpha Command. Moreover, no one attended Council meetings, except the Alpha, his brother, and the top Betas. All communication in and out of the pack was also monitored. Hardly any people were allowed to leave the Pack grounds, so it never came out."

"Gregory had a brother? Nobody told us!"

"I guess people are still scared and assumed this pack would be no different. My daughters would have suffered the same fate had Alpha Lucian not taken over. My daughters were never raped, but they had friends who suffered. They are traumatized and scared. They don't interact much, have never been to a proper school. They feel overwhelmed by other members, especially males." He said quietly.

" But this place is not like that. Your daughters need not worry. They can't live their whole lives hiding. Can they? Don't you want a good future for your daughters? To see them grow into confident women?" 

Rossi slowly nodded.

"So let them be part of the pack activities. I will make sure they are treated well. Enrol them in the pack's school. I will arrange extra tuition for them so that they can catch up with their peers. I understand your misgivings, I assure you I will do whatever I can to help your daughters lead a normal life."

"You will do that? Oh, thank you so much, Madam Luna." Mrs Rossi gushed.

But Mr Rossi still looked unconvinced.

"But you are the Luna!" 

"So?" I raised an eyebrow.

"In our previous pack, our Luna did not have any power! No women did. the Alpha took all decisions."

"Wait what? Gregory had a mate?" Yet, he wanted me? It didn't make sense.

"Not a true mate. He never found his mate, or maybe he did we are not certain. Our Luna was barren, so she was killed by the Alpha." Rossi said.

I was disgusted. I could sense Lucian's angry growl through our bond.

"This pack is different, all decisions concerning the internal running of the pack, especially those related to women and children are taken by me. Do not worry Alpha Lucian is aware of everything, he won't object." I assured them.

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