“What in pork tit is going on?” I stared at all the luperci females standing around staring at their alpha. In total I counted seventeen of them, all female and all long-standing members of the pack. Sorra, Heza, Ikrity, Nel, Uma, the list just kept growing - I knew each and everyone of these females from the pack. These she-wolves must have lived among these wolves for years and not once had anyone suspected they were different. Then again was that any different than Zora?
“Did you know?” Alloy asked as he approached with Koda walking gingerly beside him.
Alpha shook his head, “No, but there is one who did.” His red eyes traveled across the clearing.
I followed his gaze to where Svara stood to talk to Naga, their conversation obviously intense by how tense they were. Was it safe to say that I shouldn’t trust what came out of anyone's mouth ever again after this? It was becoming more and more obvious that there wasn’t a single wolf that was capable of not lying. Well, that wasn’t true, maybe Naga was believable she was the only one that had told me from the beginning I was an ugly unwanted monster who needed to get the fuck out. Yay, I was lucky enough to only trust the most bitter vengeful bitch in the pack.
“She called for them during battle,” Koda added. “Why would they not shift?” Koda spoke up while leaning heavily on his mate's side, Alloys massive four form holding Koda’s body up easily.
I could understand why they would want to hide, but now it made their rejection so much harder to bare. They had known what I was from the beginning and they’d treated me no different than the rest of the pack. Ugh, that was a nasty bitter meal to swallow. I wanted to gag from nausea that climbed up my throat. It was easier taking my birth packs rejection just because it was out of fear. Had these females shunned me out of fear as well? Even knowing that I was alone and oblivious to what I was? What about Zora? Had they left him completely clueless? Had they known he was an alpha luperci the entire time? “Koda’s right Svara is the one that called them out, I remember—” Right before I was knocked over the back of the head.
Zora nodded, his eyes no longer a shade of red but the deep black I loved so much. I could see the pain etched on his face, the pain he tried to hide by straightening his body. I wanted this night to be over. Never in my entire life did I think I would have to endure something as bloody and terrifying as what I’d just experienced, but I had and I wanted to put it behind me. I wasn’t some blood-crazed beast, I just wanted to live a simple life having pups for my mate and digging dens and occasionally scaring a deer to death with my face. I wanted to go back to being a freak of nature, not part of a group of secretive backstabbing vindictive sociopaths. Being an anomaly had been fine. Svara must have felt us watching her because she stopped listening to Naga and looked in our direction with knowing yellow eyes. She had to know what this was about.
“I can explain,” Sorra spoke up quickly as many of the females came closer to their alpha, their eyes imploring and some openly ashamed.
“I have many questions.” Zora looked at her and then at the rest of the faces he was so familiar with but unfamiliar within their current form.
“Guess the shits up the creek,” Svara walked up to us, Naga on her heels. The female luperci was covered in blood, numerous lacerations bleed freely all over her body, but she seemed to ignore it. “I might have told a few white lies.”
White lies? White lies? Are you kidding me! “White lies imply that they are small not seventeen female luperci nobody knew about.” I hissed feeling agitated in my current state. I’d almost been killed multiple times in the past hour, my alpha had been fighting for his life, we all have and she wanted to say she’d only told a small lie.
“Pregnant bitch, I didn’t tell you because it wasn’t my right to reveal them. That female who left that night told me to not tell anyone about them, but that I could tell you she was a luperci. She said you’d understand.” Svara shrugged nonchalantly.
Dey had told this female all of this, but she hadn’t told me? “I don’t know what any of this means! I barely know what I fucking am! I would be so porking happy if someone could just tell the squirrel skinning truth for once!” I might have shouted a little louder than I intended to. Can you blame me? My alpha looked like he been chewed and spit out, pack members were dead, I had almost been taken as a plaything, and a third of the pack was apparently luperci and had still shunned me the entire fucking time! And to make it all worse, Lathos wasn’t done with us. He would return with more luperci and most likely Hexis and then where would we be? It was the panic and anxiety making me so irritable but I could help that I needed an outlet. “Y-you you all fucking suck pig shit! Every last one of you, you’re s-so secretive and blind to what an amazing life we have here and you’re all t-to - UGH - self-absorbed to see it! I would do anything for this fucking pack, for my alpha and you let me think I was alone this whole time! Even worse you rejected me just as much as the other wolves in this pack when I came here! F-Fuck! Fuck all of you!” Tears stung my eyes as I looked at the pack members staring back at me with wide eyes. The luperci females looked away, some wearing their guilt openly as they avoided my eyes. The wolves of the pack looked contrite as they also took in everything I’d said.
Zora rumbled soothingly as he pressed his muzzle into the side of my head licking a firm path over my cheek. “Everything will be fine, Ira. Be calm little one.” He looked at the pack members around him taking longer to look at the luperci females he hadn’t known about. “Ira is right. There can be no more secrets among us. Not if we are going to survive. For now, we tend to our wounds,” Zora looked out towards the one lone body that lay in the clearing unmoving, “and mourn our dead. Then there will be answers.”
Everyone nodded mutely, even Svara kept her usually big mouth shut. Somehow I didn’t think it was possible to get all the answers we wanted, and after everything, I couldn’t help the bitter anger coil in my gut like a poisonous snake.
Bryin had been the only wolf killed during the battle. Not to say many wolves didn’t have serious injuries, but they would all survive. Bryin had been an older beta and loved among the pack members so his death had been a hard loss for everyone. Just like Comira, his body was put in a fire as the pack watched the blaze burn the last remains of the wolf away. I howled with the others letting out song fill the morning air as we said goodbye to another pack member. I poured my heart and soul into my howl, letting the sorrow, anger, confusion, anxiety and fear exit my body in the loud ugly noise. That was how we spent the remaining day, mourning and healing each other.
I lay curled up against my mate stroking his fur as he slept in his four form. After the mourning, everyone had settled around the dying fire to sleep till our bodies were pressed together in a massive huddle. My own sleep had been fit full and less rest and more racing thoughts and crazy dreams. The females had shifted back to their four forms soon after the battle. I was relieved when they shifted back. Seeing them like me and knowing how they’d treated me when I first came to this pack was a sharp stick digging into a healing wound. How could I forgive them for that?
“Everything will be alright little one.” Zora murmured from beside me, licking a soothing path across my belly.
A whine built up in my chest and escaped me unconsciously. “Why did you all lie to me? I’ve only ever wanted to be accepted and yet the wolves who would understand me the most treated me like I wasn’t welcome.” My voice was only a whisper, but with so many so close I could imagine they might hear me too. Good, I wanted them to know how much they’d hurt me.
“My reasons were my own, I cannot say what their reasons were for them.” He shifted towards my face so his muzzle was pressed against mine. “I did not wish to hurt you, but fear can make any creature do strange things. Looking back now I am certain I feared your reaction.” His black eyes shifted to look at the pack members laying around us and I looked at them too. Some were awake and watching us with tentative gazes, while others still lay curled up against others fast asleep. “Perhaps,” Zora continued, “fear made them do something strange as well.”
“Feared my reaction?” I focused on the first part of what he’d said because I really didn’t want to think about why the females had done what they’d done.
“Yes. I have spent my entire life believing what I am is something to be feared and even when I saw you I believed maybe you would fear that part of me too.” Zora stood quickly and shook his coat out before shifting in one fluid move into his luperci form. Now many of the wolves were awake watching us their ears perked forward as they waited for their alpha to speak. “Fear is illogical,” he brushed his hand over the side of my face and along my ears. “Forgiveness takes much more thought, and accepting that errors have been made.” I looked at the others around me as they woke. Koda, Sallo and Alloy who lay only a few feet away, and Svara, Naga, Vod, Geb, and everyone I knew likd family watched us with expecting eyes.
“Maybe now is a good time to explain alpha.” Sorra said softly from her spot among the other luperci females. They had banded together segregated from the other wolves.
“Yes, there are a lot of questions to be answered.” Zora looked at me and nodded.
These were my questions to ask. My mate was giving me the ability to ask the questions I needed to ask. Sitting up I gathered my thoughts as I looked at the group of luperci sitting together, all seventeen of them looking back at me as they waited. “Why? Why did you hide here? Why did you treat me like the others? Why didn’t you tell me I wasn’t alone? Why didn’t Dey?” Mother the questions just spewed out like a sick ducks ass. I might have been holding that in since yesterday.
“We were afraid,” Ikrity spoke up. She was a dark grey wolf- no luperci- she was a dark grey luperci who I hadn’t spoken to much since I’d been here. Like the others, she had kept her distance from since the beginning. “It wasn’t just you, but everything we ran away from. Besides, Dey said you would not understand if we told you because you didn’t know anything about what you were. It was better to leave you in the dark.”
“Dey didn’t want me to know? You all listen to Dey?” Pain lanced through me as doubt clouded my head. The one wolf I had thought was willingly my friend was the one keeping everyone from telling me what I really was? “I don’t understand.”
Heza shook her head, “we listened to her as our elder. She had helped a lot of luperci escape and we—”
“Escape?” Zora cut her off with sharp black eyes. “She was part of the same effort Svara is involved in?”
“She was, that’s how we all ended up here. She never told us how she became involved in the escape from Hexis, but we knew it had to do with her brother Vey and her last pack. Dey never talked about what happened after Hexis took her and Vey to the kingdom.” Heza looked to the others for confirmation that what she said was unanimous.
My heart pounded in my chest painfully. Dey had said she’s watched them kill Vey, that she had run and never been caught by Lathos and Hexis. “She lied to me…” A whine built in my chest as the pain of her betrayal really settled in. My eyes burned as my throat constricted tight around my words. “I needed you to help me, all of you! I didn’t know what I was!” Choking on my angry words I took a deep painful breath.
Bezz, a brown luperci female spoke up a defensive set to her shoulders. “We thought they would come for you and we did not want to draw their attention to us. With Zora also being a foundling we did not want to risk him finding out what are kind was really like. You cannot imagine the haven this place is for us, to find an alpha luperci who is kind and fair. It terrified us to disturb the balance we had here. So many of us have fought and ran so far to find this peace. We gave up any right to our luperci form for the chance to live better lives.”
Wolves among the pack murmured loudly as they looked at the females with hurt glances and some distrusting. Those who have spent years with these females must feel an amount of betrayal I couldn’t even begin to understand. Their mates? Their friends? How do they feel faced with the knowledge that they probably would have never known. At least I had been like Zora, his secret had burned me and made me doubt him, but I could understand him in some ways because I was luperci too. The wolves among the pack wouldn’t have that, they would only feel hurt and lied to by family they thought loved and trusted them.
A derisive snort sounded from behind me hushing some of the pack members. I turned to see Svara standing in her luperci form unashamed as she stared down at the females in their four forms. “It wasn’t my right to reveal you, but I can say you haven’t given up shit.” Svara pointed at me with a taloned tipped finger her yellow eyes blazing. “There is more to escaping the kingdom than just finding a better life for your selfish asses. Luperci like him, like you, are the fucking future and unless we start to stand up against Hexis and his shit you will be nothing but cowards. Treating the omega like he was a freak of nature makes you no better than Hexis and the alphas that follow him.” She growled. “You want to sacrifice something, you don’t hide, you fucking help save our people.” Silence echoed around us.
Sheba a simple grey luperci broke away from the group her ears pinned to her head her eyes downcast as she spoke. “I know many of you are angry and confused. I cannot speak for the others but I am sorry for the pain I’ve caused.” She turned her imploring green eyes onto her mate Kuba. He was a strong pack member who often went on the hunt with alpha. He returned her gaze with a steady stare that had anger and pain mixed into it. Many of the female luperci had mates among the pack who were as oblivious as the rest to their secret. Sheba looked away from her mate and back at alpha. “I came to the pack when I was only sixteen winters and I was terrified that I would have to go back to the kingdom. I was nothing but a slave stuck in my second or four form, bending to the alphas and watching the cruelty my omega dama and siblings had to endure — that I had to endure. When I was given a chance to escape I took it and ran as fast as possible and never looked back, and when Dey brought me to this pack I didn’t think I would find a home much safer. She told me about Zora a young new alpha luperci who would be the future of our kind, and I believed her. Dey told me I was not the first females she’d brought to the pack and I wouldn’t be the last. She set rules that I wasn’t able to shift in the pack and that I had to live like a normal two form shifter like in the kingdom, only this time I was not a slave. She told me I was not allowed to speak to Zora about anything regarding the luperci that he did not know about them in many contexts. Dey did it to keep us from being segregated in our new pack, so they would accept us.” Sheba begged with her eyes for Zora to understand, then her gaze darted to me. “Ira, I didn’t want to ignore you, but I was terrified you would change everything, bring the kingdom down on us and turn our alpha into another bloodthirsty beast… if you left then we wouldn’t have to worry.”
Leaning into my mate I took in his earthy scent and warm body as I held onto him. Mother what I would give to forget about all of this and just ride him until we both passed out. That sounded so much better than being a luperci and dealing with all the problems that apparently were attached to it. I was almost to the point I’d rather push my pups out of my gopher hole then hear anything else they had to say.
“If your faith in me as your alpha was so brittle you never should have stayed,” Zora said lowly. “You believed I was not the same, but then assumed Ira would make me change. I can accept why you’ve hidden what you are from the pack, but shunning an omega because of your fear makes you no better than those you run from.” My alpha held a possessive hand over my heart, caging me to his chest. His words and his tight hold were better than all the dead squirrels in the world - Paws down.
“Your alpha here has a point. Besides they weren’t here for just Ira. Lathos has been hunting for missing luperci to bring them back to the kingdom. They might have started looking for the females and omegas I’ve hidden but looks like they found you sorry bastards instead.” Svara chuckled morbidly in the way that made the hair on the back of my neck raise.
“What about Dey?” Naga said standing up next to Svara with a good amount of distance between them. Svara shifted a little closer for Naga to shuffle away a few inches.
“What about her?” Heza looked confused, her blue eyes squinted.
Naga growled at Svara when she tried to get closer to her for the second time stopping the luperci in her tracks. I got the impression it wasn’t because Svara actually feared the she-wolf but that she was courting her. Good fucking luck trying to kiss that prickly poisonous cactus. “Dey spoke to the alpha mate more than any wolf. If she is a luperci and told you all to keep away then why didn’t she?” Naga finished, looking between the seventeen luperci. My ears perked forward. That’s right - damn I hate admitting Naga had a good point but - Dey had been the one to talk to me the most and she hadn’t shunned me and she’d even told me about Vey. Why would she do that when she had such strict rules to the lupercis brought into the pack?
The females looked at each other talking softly obviously not aware of the answer. Had Dey really been leaving the pack every so many years to help females escape from the so-called Kingdom of Hexis and his alphas? What had happened to her when she and Vey were taken to the Kingdom all those years ago? How hoofing old was Dey?
Sorra yipped breaking away from the huddle. “She had originally said the best thing would be to ignore Ira until he moved on, but after a few weeks passed she changed and begin to speak to him. I had approached her on it and asked her what had changed and she said that she couldn’t find it in herself to ignore an omega so much like Vey.”
She had said I was like him to me so many times. My kindness, which I wasn’t sure she had a good eye for kindness, and my innocence, which I was losing quickly thanks to my perverted alpha. Still, all that had to mean something, she couldn’t have just lied to me about everything for nothing. Easily she could have just continued ignoring me, but she hadn’t.
Zora ran his large muzzle over my head and ears, scent marking me in a comforting gesture. Mother, I was so lucky to have found him, more than lucky. “Regardless of what brought you here, your secrets have damaged the trust your pack members have for you, just like my own have. Rebuilding those bonds and becoming stronger is our only choice. Our enemy will come back and we will not be able to fight divided as we are now.” His words echoed around the clearing as he held me tight. In the face of all the danger, pain, and anxiety I’d faced in the last day I still couldn’t help the exciting thrill that raced down my spine and into my groin. I shifted back and forth on my feet as I tried to think of something other than my alphas hands on my belly, his hot breath on my ears— nope I was hard, absolutely. Pack members seriously inspired gazes dropped down low as they watched my— NO What the heck is wrong with me.
Zora rumbled amused as his hand reached down to cover my very enthusiastic— A swift kick to my made me moan in the not pleasurable way. Hot liquid slid down my legs in a rush puddling under my feet in a familiar play of events. “NO! I did not just pee myself again!” Growling in frustration I tried to waddle away from the mess, but my alpha held me still.
“Ira stop I do not think—”
“That is not piss,” Svara said with a bark of laughter.
Not pee? Another sharp kick to my gut made me groan loudly. It hurt a lot worse than what I was used to, when had my pups become so flipping violent?