When she opened her eyes, she attempted to call on her wolf in hopes that the animal would finally answer her, but just as with her previous attempts, her wolf ignored her, as if it was sleeping and refused to wake up. Her wolf was angry that they had not pursued their mate. It felt like Alina was giving up. But in reality, Alina was just at the place where she desperately wanted Vasile to come back to her. She wanted him to choose her without her having to beg it out of him. It was the first time she could ever remember her wolf denying her help. She started to let out an exasperated sigh but was cut off by the large hand that covered her mouth.
Sergehi felt the warmth of her breath on his hand as he covered her mouth. He pulled her away from the tree further into the forest. As he pulled her back against his chest holding her tightly to him, he took a deep breath and nearly lost himself in her familiar scent. She was beginning to struggle but stopped as soon as she heard his voice and, no doubt, caught his own scent.
“Alina,” he murmured into her neck as he continued to breathe her in. She mumbled something against his hand, and he smiled as he imagined her sharp tongue tearing into him because he had scared her.
“You cannot scream or run, alright?” he asked quietly. She nodded and he slowly uncovered her mouth and loosened his arms around her. She turned quickly and he saw the anger that danced like fire in her eyes as she glared at him. It lasted only a second and then it was gone.
“What are you doing out here?” she asked him, not even mentioning that he had just nearly accosted her.
“What do you mean?”
“My father said you were going with a group of the pack to accuse the dead of lying.” Her voice was cool, devoid of any of the warmth he was used to.
“That is why I came to talk to you,” he said as he tried to hold back the excitement. He knew that Alina could not be meant for Vasile; he knew that she was his and always had been. When Emilian had come asking for volunteers to help find some bodies, and then informed them that those bodies would give proof that Vasile was not fit to be the Alpha of the Eastern pack, Sergehi had barely been able to contain his shout of count me in. Gradually, over the days of searching the mountains, it became apparent which members of the pack truly wanted Vasile out. Only then did Emilian began to reveal more details of who they were looking for and why. Serghei could admit that he felt a little sick when the Beta told him they were going to be digging up his former Alphas’ bodies, but when he told him what they would find, any misgivings fled. When the pack found out their former Alphas were not true mates and had lied about it for centuries, there would be no way any would believe Alina and Vasile were mates, not without seeing the mating markings themselves. Since Serghei hadn’t heard any rumors about the markings changing on Vasile, then he knew the marks could not have appeared on Alina yet either.
“Could you not just knock on the door like a normal person?”
“I wanted to speak with you without your father breathing down my neck,” he explained. She seemed to take this explanation as satisfactory because she motioned for him to continue.
“Tonight Emilian is going to reveal the truth of our former Alphas. Then it will become clear for all to see that Vasile is not fit to lead our pack.” He bounced on the balls of his feet as his adrenaline rushed through his body. More than likely blood would flow tonight, and his wolf was itching for a fight after having Vasile humiliate him.
“And what truth is this Beta going to reveal?” she asked with a single brow raised.
“Stefan and Daciana were never true mates. They lied. For all those years, they lied to us.”
He could see her struggling with the news as they all did when they first heard. It was unfathomable that an Alpha pair would betray their pack in such a way.
“How can Emilian possibly prove that? They are dead; they cannot argue against his accusations,” she argued.
“They might not be able to argue with their mouths, but their bodies do not lie.” He might have said this a little too smugly, because as her eyes widened with shock, he instantly dreaded answering the question she was bound to ask next.
“What about their bodies, Serghei? How could he know anything about their bodies when they have been laid to rest?” she asked through narrowed eyes, the cool indifference slipping away just a little.
“We dug them up,” he answered, bristling at her sharp tone.
“You did what!” Her voice pierced the quiet evening, bouncing off the trees and through the air.
He slapped a hand over her mouth to keep her from yelling out again and turned her quickly so that her back was pressed to his chest again and she was sufficiently subdued. He was so close to having what he wanted; he could not let her ruin it. “We had to dig up their bodies to prove that they were not mates. It is true, Alina. Daciana had no mating marks, none, anywhere on her body. She did not belong to Stefan, just as you do not belong to Vasile.”
Serghei’s words were like a bucket of cold water being splashed on her too hot skin. It awakened something inside of her that had been slumbering for months now. The shock of what they had done, how far they were willing to go to see Vasile brought to heel, had awoken her sleeping wolf. She had to swallow back the bile that threatened to rush up her throat as she replayed his words over and over, We dug them up; no mating marks, none, anywhere on her body. You do not belong to Vasile. Had he lost his ever loving mind? What was wrong with these people that they would dig up and then defile the body of one who had done nothing but care for them, sacrifice for them, and lead them? Oh Great Luna, she thought, he had gazed upon the body of his female Alpha, as if he had the right to do such a thing, whether that body had life running through it or not.
His breath on her neck distracted her from the thoughts racing through her mind. His hand was stifling over her mouth, and though she knew she could breathe just fine through her nose, having her mouth covered so tightly made her feel as though she could not get enough air. What was he planning to do with her? How did she even fit into his and the other wolves’ twisted scheme?
“Do you promise not to scream?” he asked her deliberately as if speaking to a child. She fought the urge to bite into his hand and simply nodded instead.
He removed his hand slowly obviously worried that she would not keep her word, but when she kept quiet, he stepped back allowing her a little room. She turned to face him and tried to hide the panic from her face that was bubbling in her blood. She needed to stay calm. If she got upset it would only provoke his wolf, and that was the last thing she needed in that moment.