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Chapter 6

Duncan POV:

Neo’s loudly muttered ‘cute’ caught my attention. I followed his line of sight and saw a small body quickly retreat. Neo chuckled and shook his head.

“So much for being a threatening presence. The little one surely is scared and embarrassed easily,” he said softly.

.

A grave expression crossed Neo’s face when he looked at me.

We had just left the cabin after Ruth and were distressed by what had just occurred. The whole situation irked me. Not only had Ruth aggressively floundered on my authority, but she had the audacity to look smug about it. The little widening of the half-breed’s eyes had given away exactly what Ruth had done when my back was turned.

“Have you thought about what to do with her?” he asked.

I shook my head. “So far, letting the doctor assess her for injuries and diseases is the first course of action. A lot will be revealed about her in that case. If we don’t know enough, we will question her.” I saw the hesitation on his face and glared. “No matter how harmless she looks, a she-wolf, a half-breed at that, roaming outside for so long without being spotted is a big deal. You saw how the animals steered clear off her, as well. She is not as simple as a broken wolf,” I admonished.

Neo nodded. “I know that. But we also know that she was trembling with fear. You could smell the fear on her, couldn’t you, Alpha?” he asked perceptively.

I instinctively scrunched my nose in dissatisfaction. “I did.” I paused when the door opened.

Ed peered out. “Alpha, I just sent the girl to take a shower. She ate a little, too. We need to get her a fresh pair of clothes,” he said gruffly.

I turned to Neo. “Get her a pair of female clothes,” I ordered. As he turned, I called him back. “No need to bother the young unmated females about this. Go to one of the mated females… preferably with children and ask them if they have new clothes they haven’t worn yet.”

Neo nodded in understanding.

Taking the clothes of an unmated female spelled trouble. Taking it from a male would sow discord amongst the pack, as well. It would put this little girl into great trouble and I didn’t want that. Getting fresh clothes without the scent of another wolf was the best option for her.

With Neo far away, Ed finally spoke up. “Alpha, I think you need to see this,” he said. I didn’t like the expression on his face.

I nodded and slid inside the cabin, making sure I didn’t make a sound. Knowing the little girl, she would jump at every noise.

I could hear the water running in the bathroom, but I also heard movement. I hid a small frown as I imagined her inspecting her environment, especially for an escape route.

I wondered if I had to station someone right outside the bathroom to make sure she didn’t run.

But I decided against it. I would allow the girl a little privacy. If she ran, I could chase and bring her back.

“What do the results show?” I asked. I looked at the x-ray in front of me and couldn’t understand the whites and shadows in the least. This, thankfully, was not my job.

Ed furrowed his brow as he pointed to the pictures. He had a small pen with which he did so.

“I see some common bruising. But this is common for wolves. What is concerning is that she is not a latent,” Ed spoke.

I turned to him in shock. “She clearly said that she couldn’t shift,” I informed him.

Ed nodded in understanding. “She has tried to morph before, but I am not sure if anyone taught her how to. It is more difficult for half-breeds to shift because their body needs to learn how to be a wolf. Therefore, the rearranging of bones when they shift is excruciating for them. She must have not had proper guidance and didn’t complete the shifts and remained human.” He pointed to some oddly shaped locations. “Here, you can see how some bones healed due to it. The formations are common in half-breeds.” But then he sighed.

“Is there something worse?”

He nodded. “Wherever she was… she wasn’t given access to a proper doctor or caregiver with knowledge of how to realign bones.” Again, he pointed. “Someone inexperienced realized that her bones were healing abnormally and broke them again in an attempt to heal them properly in her human form,” he finally said.

I felt anger rise in my chest. “Preposterous! Who would do something like that?” I demanded.

“Probably a concerned parent who didn’t know better,” Ed responded slowly, trying to calm the Alpha down. “A lot of packs despise half-breeds. You know this, Alpha. For someone to be concerned for a half-breed… even their parent is rare.”

“But not letting a doctor look at a female wolf? What kind of pack does that?” Only the scummiest of packs out in the world would do such a thing. I knew the answer myself, but it didn’t make it less infuriating.

“Parents almost never follow their children in such a situation. They are abandoned. This is why such few half-breeds survive until adulthood.” Ed shook his head. “At this point, it is not possible for me to help her realign her bones in the proper way unless someone teaches her how to shift properly. With the pain she has been through, she might never even try shifting again.” He looked thoughtful for a second. “But that is not what concerns me…” he trailed off.

“Then what is?” There was more? How much worse could it get?

“She has too many health issues. She is deficient in most nutritional elements. I don’t think she has enough protein or carbohydrates. She is severely malnourished and her vitals are abominable. She is not going to survive out in the wild for much longer. Her body is slowly giving up on her.”

I shuddered at the very thought.

“Did you get any information about her personal life?” I asked curiously. I couldn’t tell Ed about how the animals had reacted to her presence. That was information no one needed to know lest they became prejudiced against this girl.

“Only that she is nineteen. I don’t think her parents are alive or taking care of her any longer. And there are people hunting her down. I don’t know the reason.”

That was an issue. That didn’t give me much information. But if she was in the wild for a while…

“How long do you think she was out in the wild? According to the condition her body is in?” I asked.

Ed shrugged. “The lack of food and nutrition has been there for a very long time. But if I had to estimate… A year or a little more.”

“Eighteen,” I murmured under my breath.

“Yes, the age when she-wolves usually get their first heat,” Ed speculated.

“That was my guess as well,” I admitted. “Most packs, especially the aggressive and vile ones don’t allow their females to have an independent life.”

“Which means she will be hunted for all her life,” Ed finished for me. I nodded.

Taking in a she-wolf from another pack was not a simple issue. She-wolves had a harder time changing packs because they were seen as commodities. The loss of one meant a fewer wolf cub produced for them. It lowered the odds of the pack surviving in the long run. This girl would be hunted all her time. If I allowed her to stay, she would be a liability. Her previous pack to eventually find her and it would either be a negotiation in people or resources or full out war.

A part of me wished that she would decide not to stay, but another couldn’t help but want her protected as every wolf should. It was a crime against our species to treat another this way.

As I mulled over what to do when Neo came in. He was holding the clothes away from his body and his expression was blank as he handed the set over to Ed.

“I didn’t touch it too much. It shouldn’t have my scent for long.” He breathed in relief when Ed took them off him and moved away.

I could hear him speak to her before returning.

“What do you suggest I do?” I asked frankly. “Should we persuade her to stay if she is harmless or warn her and let her go?” I asked.

Ed shook his head. “As a doctor, I hope she will find a comfortable home where she can nurture her physical and mental health. But after talking to her, I am certain of one thing,” Ed said grimly. I raised my brow in question. “Will will not stay in this pack,” he said with finality.

“Did you try to give her the pros and cons?” Neo questioned, looking worried.

“I insinuated to it. But she was firm in her response. She was kind enough not to be impolite, but I am certain that you can’t do anything to keep her back. Forcing her will not be good, either,” Ed informed.

“What does she not like about this pack? We have not harmed her in any way.”

Ed looked stunned. “Alpha, she is an abused wolf. She doesn’t know what a good pack looks like. To her, she is in an environment where she is overpowered and she will not put herself in that situation,” he explained slowly. “Moreover, with so many unmated females in a pack… Ruth behaved abominably just now. There is no chance. It doesn’t reflect well on the consideration of our pack.”

I let out a loud breath. “It’s not an issue for me. I will be glad if she decides not to stay in the pack,” I said ungenerously.

Neo glanced towards me. “So much for her scent being sweet. Like lemon and honey,” Neo snorted.

I growled at him, promptly shutting him up. Ed didn’t look phased by this information. He simply looked towards the door of the bathroom. We almost saw it open in slow motion. Her dewed hand peeked out and quickly retrieved when she had grabbed the clothes.

We stopped speaking and waited for her to come out.

It was a few more minutes before she actually left the bathroom.

The clothes were enormous on her. She drowned in them. I could see her bony shoulders and thin arms. I feared the pants would slide down her hips at any moment. It was an oddly horrifying sight and I wanted nothing more than to fatten her up before sending her on her own way.

She looked up, startled, and then her eyes left me completely. I could see her taking her bottom lip in and biting on it. The strange thoughts returned.

“Look at me,” I demanded out loud this time. Her head jerked in my direction and her eyes widened in panic and something else. I cooled down with her eyes finally on me. “Take a seat,” I told her.

She scurried from where she was to the seat she had been in earlier. Her palms lay flat on her knees and she sat ramrod straight as if she was being hazed at the army.

Neo took his place at the farthest corner of the room, leaning against the wall. He was nowhere near the door. He was oddly considerate about the feelings of others, which I appreciated immensely in situations such as this.

I, on the other hand, had to sit across from her.

“You should know by now that I am Alpha Duncan. I lead the Blue Moon Pack. We have over forty members and do not hold prejudice against wolves from minorities. The doctor will be present throughout this session and I will ensure your safety through it and afterward,” I said clearly.

She looked surprised and her eyes watered at the mention of safety. She clearly didn’t believe me. It scratched my heart.

She nodded despite the disbelief in her eyes.

“What’s your name?” I asked clearly.

“I… can’t say it,” she responded, her voice barely a whisper.

“Look, I can find out who you are without questioning you, but it would require asking around.

If you are running from your pack and alone, you are part of the handful of she-wolfs that would dare.” I paused. “I don’t want to ruin your escape by asking around about you and tipping off your previous pack about your whereabouts.” I was simply stating the facts and trying not to force her.

“I… understand,” she said finally. “Selena. My name is Selena.” She gulped.

“Thank you,” I initiated, trying to take a softer approach. “How long have you been on the run, now?”

“Over a year.”

“Can you tell me which pack you originally came from?” It was a sensitive question and she didn’t look like she would answer, so I continued. “Looking at your condition, I can tell that your pack was not kind. Such packs are abhorred. I ask for this information not to out you but to mark the misdemeanor of undeserving Alphas.”

She jerked at the knowledge. “White Claw Pack,” she said in a small voice. Clearly, she didn’t want to snitch. “They treat the women like broodmares. They… they forcefully induce heat for the she-wolves to increase pregnancies and births. It’s…” Horrifying, I finished for her.

“Did they try to do the same to you?” he asked.

A half-breed could go into heat the same way a full-blooded werewolf could.

She nodded.

I raised a brow. For a pack that didn’t want a half-breed to remain in their sight, why would they try to induce heat?

“They said something about a strong concoction that didn’t allow women to get pregnant.”

I sucked in a deep breath.

An archaic practice, but one still followed by a handful of packs. Using unfavored and widowed wolves to sate the animal lust of the unmated men. When an unmated wolf was in rut, they didn’t worry about mating the other and they could still use these bodies for their purpose. It was one of the worst crimes against female wolves.

Their heat and their pleasure were not of importance. They were looked at as tools… an outlet.

Selena… Selena didn’t finish and I didn’t ask her to. I understood completely.

“White Claw Pack,” I repeated. “Understood.”

I stood up from the chair. She shrank back, but I didn’t pay attention to it.

“You will be given the opportunity to stay in this pack if you so wish. Otherwise, you will be allowed to leave after the doctor clears you. No one outside this pack will know that you were here.” With that oath, I left her to her own thoughts.

“I… I won’t be staying here,” she said. She was oddly calm.

I turned back to look at her. There was determination in her eyes that unsettled me. “Then go into the human world and work your way up. Don’t linger out in the woods and starve yourself to death.”

“It’s better for that to happen than to expose myself and fall into the hands of those vile people,” she said adamantly.

I sighed. “As you wish. You’re not a member of my pack, so you are none of my concern.”

She nodded and stood up. Her hands were clasped in front of her and she gave me a deep bow. “Thank you for your hospitality. I will not forget your kindness in this lifetime.”

Though her words were polite, they lacked the respect given to Alphas throughout the world. She didn’t see me as her Alpha, which I was not, but she was intentionally doing so.

An odd but gutsy move from a wolf who trembled at every word.

As interesting as she was, I had the financial books to look over one more time and a plethora of work left to do.

“Neo, once the doctor clears her to go, pack her some food and escort her twenty kilometers away from our pack lands,” I ordered.

I shoved my hand in the pockets of my pants and then slowly walked out without a single glance back.

As much as I wanted to.

As much as I needed to.

Comments (2)
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Betty Willis
Great want to read more just do not. Want to pay over counter cost
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stephen gborbitey
Great pieces ... really love it ...
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