“There are dominants who have no control over their wolves. Four years under the leadership of a wolf who was not able to make them submit has allowed their wolves to run wild. They will try to bait you into a fight. Do not let them.” He pushed his power over them, commanding their wolves’ submission and obedience and every pack member present bared their neck to him.
“Vasile,” Sevren, one of the younger males, addressed him. “It is an honor to call you Alpha and an honor to support you as you fight. We thank you, because we know you are fighting for us.”
Alina’s heart swelled as all of the wolves nodded and spoke up their agreement. Whether they knew it or not, her mate had needed to hear that. She would have to remember to thank the young wolf for being brave enough to speak up. They started off again with Vasile and Alina at the front of the group. Nicu, Alin, and Ion followed closely behind and then the rest behind them.
She held tight to Vasile’s hand as they entered the castle grounds and took in the chaos that surrounded them. Alina had known that the dominants were out of control, but she had not realized that it had gotten this bad. There were wolves who could not even hold their human form completely. Their hands were paws, and their faces were partially phased. Some had tails; some had all their human form but were covered in their wolf fur. Testosterone was thick in the air along with the smell of rage, envy, and even fear. She looked up at Vasile to see his reaction and was not surprised to see anger, but beneath that there was sorrow. The majority of these males had been his pack mates. They had sworn fealty to him, trusting him to help them keep their beast in check.
“So many will have to die today, all because Emilian did not care that he could not make them submit. He left them to their own devices and abandoned them to the beast that, without their mate or an Alpha, will destroy them and all those around them.” Vasile’s voice had taken on the calm, collected tone that many had mistaken for passivity. Those who made that mistake had paid the price for their foolishness. Those who knew him as Alpha understood that when Vasile was calm, blood would spill, and no mercy would be given.
Romanian Proverb # 20
Ce ti-e scris în frunte ti-e pus!
He that is born to be hanged shall never be drowned.
Vasile motioned for Ion and Nicu to step forward and then looked down at his mate. “Do not leave their side for any reason. Promise me this. I will not be able to focus on my fight if I am worried for you.”
“I give you my word,” she answered. He could see in her eyes how desperately she wanted to stay with him, but he could not risk being distracted or giving Emilian and Serghei the opportunity to use her against him. He had no doubt in Ion and Nicu’s ability to protect her. They were both more dominant than any of the other males present besides himself. Vasile leaned down and pressed a firm kiss to her lips. He decided that if that was the last thing he tasted on this earth then he could die a happy man.
“I love you,” she whispered against his mouth.
“And I am so unworthy of that love, but I will take it and cherish it always.” With one last kiss he spoke through their bond. “I love you.”
Vasile walked away leaving Alin to take over. It was time to get his mind fully focused on the task at hand. His wolf was eager for the battles ahead of them and was in no way intimidated by any of the males present. He was not sure if his wolf was overconfident or if he truly was just that dominant. He headed towards the front of the castle where there was a large gathering of males. As he got closer he saw that Emilian was actually helping direct the contenders to where they should go. When the Alpha looked up and met Vasile’s eyes only to quickly shift his gaze away, he realized that Emilian was not helping for the sake of helping. He had simply been waiting around so that he could see Vasile the moment he arrived.
Serghei stepped up next to Emilian and raised his hands to draw the attention of the males. “The first three challenges are already decided. Those wanting to challenge the winners will need to go and stand next to the fighting circle of your choice. You lose a challenge either by submitting or death. Submissions will be allowed until the final three challenges. At that point, victory must come at the death of the defeated wolf.”
Vasile took one last look at the Emilian and then marched off to the grounds where the matches would be taking place. It was not difficult to locate. The cheering and snarls led him straight to the south side of the castle where three large areas roughly twenty feet apart from each other had been marked around into designated fighting areas. Two of the fights were already in progress and the third one was just beginning. He walked slowly around the three circles, watching each male battling to move onto the next round. They were in their human forms though they could phase at any time; it was up to them. He watched the way they moved and watched which way their eyes shifted just before they would strike. He took note of the tells that most warriors did not even know they had. Some would grit their teeth just before a lunge or punch while others would flex a muscle in his chest or neck. It was usually something they were totally oblivious to, and yet they did it every time they started their attack. This would be the only round where he would get to study his opponents because once he entered into a challenge he would stay there until he lost, which was an unacceptable outcome.
Each of the rounds finished quickly and all of them in submissions. That at least told Vasile that there were some who still had control. The defeated wolves each drug themselves from the circles while the victors called out their next opponent. That was when he heard his name.
“I call Vasile Lupei!”
Vasile turned in the direction of the shout and saw a large man standing in the furthest circle from him. He nodded to the wolf acknowledging his acceptance of the challenge and headed towards him. He stepped just outside the circle because he knew once he crossed over the line the battle would begin.
“I would like to know the name of the man who challenges me,” he told the wolf that he did not recognize.
“I am Ivan, Emilian’s Beta.”
Vasile was surprised that Emilian would allow his Beta to fight the one wolf he wanted dead so badly. He figured that Emilian would want to kill him by his own hand. Without another word Vasile stepped into the circle and towards the destiny of his life with Alina and their pack. The next hours or days would determine whether he was truly capable of being their Alpha. It would reveal whether he was worthy of such an honor. There were so many things that he was unsure of, but one thing that rang true was that he knew that his heart beat, his blood flowed, and his lungs breathed for two reasons―to love his mate and to lead his pack. He was destined to be Alpha and not just any Alpha, but one that would eventually see their entire race reunited. If he was asked how he knew such a thing he would not have an answer. As the first charge was made Vasile side stepped his opponent and turned with lightning fast speed bringing his elbow down on the wolf’s neck just as he passed him. Vasile heard the crunch of bone. He had broken the man’s neck, but it was not a killing blow. He looked down at Ivan who bared his neck to him.