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Death and war, two things that always chased Haley around. The last war tore up her family, forcing her to kill her sister to save the world. Knowing the rogues' plans too well, they won't stop until they find the imperial phoenix pack, a rare pack of shapeshifters who vanished long ago. Haley's sister was just like them, and she guessed her niece was the same. So, to avoid history from repeating itself, Haley gave away her niece to a human couple where she will have a normal life. Ten years went by, filled with peace, or that's what Haley thought. Behind her back, the rogues were plotting the upcoming war after they knew about the young shapeshifter. Haley watched the man who helped her during those ten years die because of her mistakes. The rogues killed him as they did with her parents. And when she needed help, only five alphas stood by her side. With an upcoming war and the destiny of the goddess pack in her hands, Haley had to wait for the alpha's son to take his title, not knowing he was her destined mate.
The scent of death filled the air, blood staining the green leaves and barks of the trees, and lifeless bodies scattered in the forest along with shredded parts of humans and wolves.
It was a nightmare.
I shifted back to my human form and hid behind a tree from the unleashed killer.
“Haley, I know you are here. Come out.” her voice came as whispers holding death threats.
I turned my head to see her looking through the dead bodies, my hands clutched on the dagger as my life depended on it.
“Hales, you know I won’t kill you if you give me what they want.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, stopping the tears that threatened to spill out. Killing my sister was my only option to save everyone else. I kept reminding myself.
My eyes flew open as a body flew across the trees. I stared at the deformed body with horror, afraid I was next.
“I remember when we were kids, we used to play hide and seek and you were great at hiding,” she spoke out.
I glanced at her and found her back facing me; I retreated behind the tree and inhaled sharply, letting my tears free.
I let out a scream before jumping on her, tackling her to the ground. I struck the dagger in her heart, and everything stopped around me. “Hales,” she whispered, placing her hands on mine.
“You left me no option, Lily.” I broke down, pushing the dagger further, the blood staining my hands.
I gazed at her through my tears. Dark blood trickled on the corner of her mouth, and her red eyes locked with mine.
“Why did you do this?” She asked as the tears welled up in her eyes.
My lips whimpered, and a cry escaped my lips as I let go of the dagger, grabbing Lily’s face. I brushed her hair away from her face, cupping her cheek with my stained hands. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“Take care of my baby, Haley, please, I beg you.” She winced from the pain as she grabbed my hands.
Her grip around my hands was becoming weaker. I kept whispering, sorry, as it was the only word I knew. She took in her last breath and let it out; I held her hands closer to my body and cried.
She was dead. I killed my sister to save everyone.
I looked at her, grazing her skin with my finger, the blood already stained her cheeks. “Forgive me, Lily,” I sobbed.
I couldn’t hold my emotions and screamed, hugging her body with tears in my eyes and begging her to come back.
How could I kill my only sister? I asked myself as I cried over her dead body.
Suddenly, her body was lifted from the dirt. I got on my knees and saw her red demonic eyes returned to her normal green ones and her black hair returned to blonde. The evil part that once controlled her body was leaving. Her body fell on the dirt with a little thud.
I closed her eyelids and kissed her forehead one last time before getting up from the ground.
“Alpha, are you alright?” My beta rushed and handed me an oversized shirt.
I wore the shirt, then turned to face him.
“Kevin, I want you to bury her in the mountains and tell no living creature about what happened. Am I clear?” I asked him. He nodded, with no further questions.
I headed back to the packhouse. There was only one thing left for me to do.
Getting rid of her baby.
I reached my room and brought out a big duffle bag, placed it on the bed, and filled it with clothes; I had to go alone.
I mind linked Kevin telling him I will leave for two days.
My heart was breaking over, giving up the last thing my sister left. But she will be safer with humans.
When she grows up, every supernatural creature will fight over her and use her as a weapon if she falls into their filthy hands.
I took the bag and threw it in my Jeep; I got in the driver’s seat and turned on the car, glancing at the rearview mirror. Kevin stood right behind the car. His gaze was on me as I pulled out of the driveway.
I drove off the pack’s territory, heading to the city.
My sister, Lily, was once a human, or that was what I thought. She was a creature who became extinct a long time ago after the first war. That was what the people said.
Guess they were wrong and there were a few people out there like her, hiding among the humans.
Lily was like those shapeshifters. She can take any form of human, animal, or supernatural creature, sometimes claiming supernatural powers. She was powerful.
I don’t know what went wrong with her. It seemed like she was brainwashed, hardly recognizing me, her mate, or any of us.
I searched around and asked some witches about her kind. All of them told me she was one of a kind. Her daughter must have gotten the same powers as her mother, and I couldn’t risk her being around werewolves or vampires.
But whoever was behind Lily’s state seemed to be with the rogues, using Lily as an advantage for themselves.
The people in the pack were mind linking each other, asking what happened. I tried to mind link Kevin, but he didn’t answer. I wanted to make sure Kevin was filling my place.
When a werewolf dies in a pack, the others feel their death, as all of us were sharing one bond. She was a member of the pack, and now everyone probably knew she died.
The night reached me as I continued thinking of what just happened. Those shapeshifters consumed my thoughts. Could I have saved Lily if I found the pack?
After a few hours, I reached the city, driving through the empty streets as it was midnight. I was a few blocks away from her apartment.
I parked the car and looked at the old decaying building where she used to live. I entered and guilt instantly filled me.
"We can keep the baby," my wolf, Maya, suggested after feeling the same guilt.
I bit my lip and pushed Maya to the back of my head as she wanted to dominate me and stop whatever I was going to do.
I took the elevator to the fifth floor, standing outside her apartment with the keys covered in her blood; she gave them to me when she grabbed my hand. She wanted me to protect Payton.
And here I was, giving away her baby.
I took a breath in and let it out, then I inserted the key in the hole. My hands went to the knob and turned it, hearing a clicking sound. I pushed the door open with a loud creak.
I felt the sidewall with my hand and pressed the light switch. The light instantly filled the darkroom, and there sat Ashton, my younger brother. He had Payton in his embrace.
“Taylor is dead. They killed him,” his voice croaked out in a low whisper. He lifted his gaze to mine, and they were shot red from crying.
“Oh,” I muttered, and he looked away, tightening his grip around Payton’s blanket.
“Is she dead?” He mumbled as he was rocking Payton to sleep.
I whispered a ‘yes’. His hands Caressed Payton’s head, and he kissed her on the forehead. He needed someone to comfort him.
“Ashton, we need to give her away, she’s too dangerous to stay with us,” I said and he nodded, knowing this wasn’t discussable.
He got up and settled her in the baby carrier. He growled as he passed me. His wolf was furious.
My gaze fell on the frame placed on the table by the door. Lily, her mate Taylor, and Payton were in the photo. Taylor held Payton in his arms with a wide grin on his lips and Lily had her arm around his shoulder, grinning at the camera.
I walked to the table and grabbed the frame, taking the photo and stashing it in my pocket.
“They will be here any second to check for Lily,” Ashton called out, and I sighed, turning off the light.
I stepped out of the apartment and shut the door after me.
My last destination was next, and these events will be buried away behind me.
It was just a matter of time.
We got in the car, and I started driving to the south.
“If you can’t take care of her, then consider me. I can take care of her. She deserves to live with us.” Ashton burst after an hour of deep thinking.
I glanced over at him and focused on the road again. “I want her to stay with us, Ash. But if they found her, then both of us are doomed. The entire pack will be gone and the others will follow us,” I said, terror was written all over my face.
If Payton fell into the wrong hands, she would be exactly like Lily, out of control.
And I couldn’t let the same thing happen. This kid needed a happy life away from this world.
“Why does it have to be like that?” his voice came out broken.
“World isn’t a fair place, especially our world.” I glanced at him. He snickered at me and rested his head on the window, tears rolling down his cheeks.
I broke him too.
He just turned fifteen and didn’t understand how dangerous the supernatural world was. You either get killed or you kill.
A few hours later, we reached our last destination. Ashton was sleeping peacefully next to me, and I didn’t want to wake him up. I parked right outside the dark forest and my eyes wandered the darkness.
I chose not to drive in the town because maybe someone could see me leaving Payton and contact me to give her back.
I got out of the car and opened the backdoor, got the baby carrier out, and saw Payton’s eyes were wide open, staring at my empty soul. Tears fell from my eyes. What was I doing?
I locked the car and turned to face the scary forest. “I’m sorry, Payton, but there’s no other way.”
A breeze of cold air hit my face. I closed my eyes to feel the air hitting my face, drying my tears on my cheeks.
The air around me felt like whispers of guidance, telling me to hurry and throw that demon child away.
“Payton, I hope we meet in another life, a normal one,” I said as I settled down her carrier in front of the destined house.
Ten years later.
I watched as Ashton pushed young werewolves into training harder. His loud voice rang through the thick walls. He wasn’t a kid anymore, and not the person I knew before.
His eyes met mine, then focused back on the teenagers doing push-ups.
Kevin suddenly came from the forest, looking back at the forest with horror. He had dirt all over his chest and dry blood. I saw him as he ran towards the packhouse.
I knitted my eyebrows, having a bad feeling elevating in my chest, what’s wrong with him?
My eyes traveled back to Ashton and saw him, shocked. He ran towards the forest, disappearing from my view.
It was happening. What I feared the most was happening now.
Kevin busted the doors open. He tried to catch his breath from all the running he did earlier. I closed my eyes, trying not to believe my thoughts.
He tried to form words through his pants. “... They… know about her…”
My heart clutched at his words, falling into a hollow pit.
My time was up already. I muttered to myself as I opened my eyes, looking at the warriors standing on the training grounds.
“Inform the other packs and call them for an urgent meeting.” I gathered my hair in a ponytail and turned to face a terrorized Kevin.
I continued. “Mind link the pack and announce an emergency. We have to be ready.” He nodded and left the room.
I shifted into my wolf form and ran after Ashton. Some warriors saw me and followed me into the dark forest.
We didn’t know what was in there or what happened, but I was sure it was bad.
Dead bodies everywhere. It reminded me of what happened ten years ago, the same scene, the same scent of death.
A feeling was telling me the rogue king was behind this bloodbath.
I shifted back and someone handed me spare clothes. I wore them and walked to Ashton, who was staring at the horrific scene.
“Are those rogues?” Ashton asked as he tried to catch a scent over the heavy smell of blood.
“I don’t know,” I mumbled. I just hoped it wasn’t them. I still didn’t want to believe that my time was up.
A familiar scent passed through my nostrils. “Look for any survivors,” I shouted.
I pushed a few of the dead bodies, and my eyes landed on the owner of the scent. “He’s from Tyrone’s pack,” Ashton said, standing right behind me.
I got on my knees and moved my shaky hand to his neck, checking his pulse. I sighed when I felt the faint pulse. “He’s alive, but he needs medical attention,” I mumbled, glancing at the
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