“Do you submit?” he asked him.
The man would have nodded had he been capable, but no matter, Vasile could see the defeat in his eyes. Vasile looked up and motioned for some of his wolves who had been watching to help the wounded man from the circle. He turned in a slow circle, taking in the crowd around him, waiting to see who would speak up next. He would only call out two men, but protocol demanded everyone must be challenged according to their rank. It would be a long while until he could call out Serghei and Emilian’s names.
Finally the next wolf stepped forward. Vasile knew this man and hated that he now had to fight him, all because his wolf was out of control. So be it, he thought as the man attacked.
One after the other Vasile took down his challengers. Each of them submitted to him once he had incapacitated them. He had not kept count of how many there had been, but it seemed they were now becoming less willing to challenge him. Night was beginning to fall and he was waiting on the next wolf to step forward.
“You are fighting well, Alpha mine.” His mate’s voice was like cleansing rain as her love poured into his thoughts. She did not say more and he knew it was because she did not want to distract him but just having that little connection renewed his strength. That was why having a mate made a male stronger. Her light, her love gave him something unmated males did not have―the ability to control the wolf and focus his deadly rage. Concentrated rage was much more powerful than out of control chaos.
The challenges continued. More wolves stepped forward and each one fell at his feet. Night enveloped them, rain poured over them, and still they fought. Vasile and his wolf were merged as one utilizing the other’s strengths, working in harmony in a way they never had. He was tired, but he was far from weak or impaired in any way. For the first time since his parents’ death, he truly felt like the Alpha he had been born to be.
It was well into the second day when he noticed only six wolves remained left to challenge him. These, of course, were the most dominant of the traitorous wolves, two of which were Serghi and Emilian. From here on out, the challenges would be either submission or death. Vasile fought in one circle while Serghei and his opponent occupied the next, and past them in the furthest circle, Emilian engaged his opponent.
Vasile could tell a marked difference in the wolf he faced now compared to the wolves he had fought earlier. This wolf’s skill was much more honed and he was faster. Regardless, he was still no match for the Alpha. In less than fifteen minutes, the wolf was on his back conceding.
Vasile’s muscles shook with exhaustion and sweat coated his skin. His breathing was faster than usual but he was not yet winded. He had only minor slashes on his skin, most of which were already healing. Other than being tired, he was more than ready to take on his next rival. Serghei’s voice ringing in his head had him smiling. The wait was over, and justice was about to be served.
Alina’s stomach twisted as she heard the voice that she truly never wanted to hear again.
“Vasile Lupei, I challenge you.”
She looked over from where she and her two guards stood. Ion had managed to secure her some crates to stand on so that she could see because they were not about to let her get any closer. Serghei stood at the edge of the circle that Vasile occupied. He looked tired, and blood ran down his arms and legs from the wounds others had managed to inflict. Her mate, on the other hand, looked as though he could fight another day and night without stopping for a rest. He truly amazed her.
She watched as Vasile held up his hand to stop Serghei from entering the circle, and then his voice rang out strong and powerful. “Serghei, son of Sain and Theris, brother of Sisily, I sentence you to death. You need to know that whether or not you enter this circle you will die by my hand. For the murder of my mate’s parents and for the violation that you inflicted on her body and mind, I will rip you limb from limb.” He lifted his hand and motioned for the wolf to step in, to accept his fate.
“And if I kill you?” Serghei asked, still on the outside of the circle.
“Then hell has frozen over.”
Alina’s lips turned up slightly at her mate’s reply, but the smile faded as soon as Serghei moved forward. Vasile struck hard and fast. He leapt across the circle closing the distance between them and raked his claws down Serghei’s face. Deep gashes immediately began to gush blood, and one split his left eye, rendering it useless. Serghei staggered but quickly recovered and darted towards Vasile attempting to run his own claws across the larger wolf’s abdomen. Alina was surprised at how quick Serghei was. Both men were utilizing their wolf’s assets without fully phasing; their punches and kicks much quicker and more powerful than that of a human. They circled one another and Serghei managed to land a couple of blows to Vasile’s face and one to his stomach, but neither seemed to slow Vasile down. The longer the fight went on the more focused he became. Meanwhile Serghei appeared to become sloppier with each blow exchanged. His movements were jerky and inaccurate. It was during one of those uncoordinated punches that Vasile made his move. He grabbed Serghei’s arm and turned quickly moving behind the wolf and bringing the arm with him. There was an audible pop and then a shout of pain from the man held in Vasile’s deadly hands. The rage in Vasile’s eyes would have any smart wolf backing down, and the power rolling off of him in waves was making it hard for everyone to breathe. With a loud snarl, he jerked Serghei’s arm and ripped it from the wolf’s body.
“You should not watch this, Luna,” Ion urged her.
She shook her head. “I have to. He is my mate and to look away when he has been victorious would show weakness on my part and could be interpreted that I did not approve of his actions. I will not give either impression to our pack.”
Both wolves looked down at her and she felt their admiration. She could not respond because her eyes were glued on her mate who was doing exactly what he promised. He had ripped Serghei’s other arm off and the wolf was no longer struggling, only screaming. Blood flowed from his body like a river and she knew he would be dead in a matter of moments. But her wolf was not done. He took Serghei’s head in his hands dragging his body up from the ground as if it weighed nothing. Then Vasile’s eyes met hers. His wolf stared back at her and she felt her wolf responding. She was in awe of their mate―in his ability, his power, and his confidence. He stood before them with his prey at his mercy and yet he was waiting for her approval. Alina looked at the man who had killed her parents, touched her in a way no man other than her mate had a right to, and even bitten her, stealing her blood and leaving her skin marred for life. She looked back up at Vasile and knew that whatever she chose he would concede. Even in his fury he kept control. She thought about the consequences of both―whether he tore Serghei’s head from his body or simply broke his neck. Some would find the latter as weak. The Canis lupis considered their females precious, and to touch the true mate of another was an action for which mercy was not given. Alina knew that in order to lead dominant males, in order to control their beasts, it was imperative that they have a healthy fear of their Alpha. That fear allowed them to keep their wolf in check, especially those without mates. It gave them security and peace, both of which were needed for a thriving pack. Decision made; she nodded.