Gazing at the shadowy forest around me and the sun setting in the distance, I knew one thing for certain.
I was lost.
Utterly and hopelessly lost.
The rain, before a slight drizzle, was now hitting me with its bitter cold that not even my wolf's fur can provide me the warmth I needed anymore. My canines were chattering and eventually giving up, I changed back to my human self. There was no point in getting my wolf sick as well. After all, this was my fault.
I stood under a tree, while wrapping my hands around myself so I can warm up. The cold was biting into my skin and I felt tears fill my eyes, thinking of all the worst case scenarios.
What if Ayden never finds me?
What if I freeze to death?
What if everyone forgot that I exist?
What if Ayden thought that I was the seeker, and he was hiding in the forest as well? After all, he can be really dumb sometimes.
I shook my head at the last thought and sighed, wondering why I thought it was a good idea for Ayden and me to play Hide and Seek, when the sun was going to set. It was his idea and now because of it, I'm standing outside in the cold in the middle of the dark, gloomy forest.
I absolutely hated being in the dark.
I looked down at my shivering hands which was now turning a bit purple, and a sudden thought occurred to me. I know that I shouldn't and my dad will be really disappointed in me, but I was really curious and at that moment, desperate.
I took a deep breath and channeled the nature's energy to the palm of my right hand. Immediately, I started to feel heat building on the palm of my hand and I concentrated even more. I grinned, when I saw a flame emerge on the tip of my fingers and the heat filling my body.
Fire was the most dangerous element to master but little by little, I was getting better thanks to my dad’s help.
Just as I thought that I was getting the control of it, a clap of thunder was heard from above me and I lost all my concentration.
"Ow!" I cried when the fire went out of control, and burned my hand instead. Angry tears started to build in my eyes, as I saw that the color of my hand was now turning bright red.
"Ariel, is that you?" a voice from behind me said. Immediately forgetting the pain, I turned around to see Adrian look at me; eyes filled with anger and worry.
"Adrian it's you! What are you doing here?" I whispered, but I couldn't stop the smile forming on my lips. He found me. Thank the Moon Goddess. I wasn't alone anymore.
"What am I doing here?" he demanded, and my smile slowly slipped off my face realizing how angry he was. "What are you doing here?"
I stared at him, seeing that his eyes were turning black meaning his wolf was taking control.
"I-um," I stuttered, not knowing why he was losing control. Though I didn't need to say anything, because his rant just started.
"Do you know how worried I was? How worried everyone still is? You and Ayden just decide to play in the middle of the night without telling anyone. We were so worried that something happened to you," my brother was breathing heavily by now.
I was about to open my mouth to speak but he beat me to it.
"You didn't even keep the pack-link open, Ariel!" he shouted coming near me. His hands were clenched into fists as his towering form stood over me. "What were we supposed to think? Huh? Answer me!"
"No, don't answer me!" he yelled and immediately tears started forming in my eyes. Adrian never yelled at me before and right now, he was starting to scare me.
"What was I supposed to think when I saw Ayden unconscious on the ground and you were not even near him?!" he roared at me, grabbing my wrist in a tight grip.
"Is Ayden alright?" I whimpered, my voice trembling in fear. If anything happens to any of my brothers because of me, I will never forgive myself.
"That idiot is fine and now resting at home," he said before tightening his hold on my even more. "Unlike some people." His expression darkened, while he glared down at me.
I felt the bottom of my lip tremble, seeing the anger directed at me. He was never like this with me before.
"I'm sorry, Adrian" I cried out, my voice breaking in the middle. Loud sobs broke from my chest as my tears came rushing down my cheeks.
Suddenly, I was pulled in a tight hug by him. My head was resting on his shoulders while his arms were tightly around me. I did not care that his shirt was drenched or that he smelled of sweat.. I just wanted him to calm down.
"Shh," he whispered, sounding like his former self. I didn't realize I was crying until huge sobs left my trembling mouth. "Ariel, I didn't mean to make you cry."
"I'm sorry," I whined again, but it was muffled by the front of his shirt. "I didn't mean to make anyone worry."
Adrian was quiet for a while, before he released a huge breath. "Never again, Ariel. Please, sis. Do you pinky promise?" His voice was softer now, as he stuck out his pinky finger towards me.
"Promise," I whispered back to him, entwining my smaller finger around his. His eyes were bright green again and his features were now calm as I stepped away from his hug.
Adrian sighed staring deep into my eyes making sure I'm serious, before looking up at the sky. I followed his gaze to see that though the rain was slowing down, the sky was getting very dark making me extremely nervous.
"I'm right here," Adrian said quietly from beside me.I smiled, his words giving me comfort.
He returned the smile before taking my hand in his as he led the way home. Unfortunately for me, Adrian wrapped his hand around my burned hand this time and I let out a shriek accidentally. The pain came rushing back to me.
His eyes widened at me as he quickly released my hand. "What? What happened, Ariel?" He was roaming his eyes all over my body, trying to find the source of my scream. When his eyes landed on my hand, I gulped.
I tried to quickly find an excuse knowing that if our dad finds out that I used my power without his permission, I'll be grounded...again.
“It’s nothing," I quickly stammered. I made sure that my hands were clenched, so he won't see my burnt hand.
Adrian narrowed his eyes at me, knowing full well that I was lying to his face. "Show me your hand, Ariel." His face seemed calm but I knew he was anything but, as I saw his wolf taking over again.
"There is nothing wrong with my-"
"Show me your hand," his voice came out in a clipped tone and I cringed inwardly. If this was Ayden right now, he would have believed me in an instant. Adrian was as sharp as an eagle. Just like our dad. Nothing ever gets past him.
"Adrian please. Can we just go hom-"
"Ariel," he growled loudly, and I knew that there was no way I could get out of this mess.
Slowly I lifted my injured hand towards him and as soon as I heard the growl, I knew that he had seen it.
"Dad made it clear to not use your powers alone," he growled out the words, while examining my hand with sadness in his eyes. "Especially fire. You barely know how to control that element."
"But I didn't get hurt," I defended immediately, trying to put on one of my brightest smile. Maybe if he sees that I'm fine, he won't tell dad...again.
"Your hand is bruised and for God's sake, is that blood?!" His voice got louder as he grabbed my hand to examine it. When he confirmed that it was indeed blood on my hand, he narrowed his eyes on me.
"We need to show this to the pack doctor immediately," Adrian ordered, leaving no room for excuses.
"Don't tell dad," I whispered to him immediately, my voice cracking. "Please Adrian. Don't tell daddy. He would be so disappointed in me for not listening to him."
Adrian glared at me before letting my hand go with a sigh. "Let's go home, Ari. You had a long day," He grabbed my hand for us to go, but I refused to move a muscle.
He turned around to look at me with one eyebrow raised.
"Please don't tell daddy," I whispered to him, tears again falling out of my eyes. "I promise I won't ever do it again."
He ignored me and started to walk home, with me being dragged behind him. His hold on my hand was loose making sure that he wasn't causing me any more pain, but he refused to let go of it.
Our walk back home was tense and every time I tried to start a conversation, he would cut me off with a growl. I sighed realizing that there was no point into talking to him. I just hope that my father won't be too mad.
"It sounds to me like your brother is a huge jerk," Scott said as he leaned against the basement wall.
"He's not a jerk," I immediately said, defending my brother without a second thought. "He can sometimes be a little-"
"Snitch? Tattle Tale? Benedict Arnold?" Cameron finished with a smirk, to which I scowled to.
"I was going to say protective," I grumbled, sticking my tongue at him. He chuckled before taking a seat beside me. It was cold in the basement, but I felt a little warmth when he wrapped his arms around me. I smiled at his gesture and he returned it immediately.
"I still can't believe that you're a triplet," Scott wondered out loud, making me smile.
“Jealous?” Trenton smirked, making me roll my eyes.
"You have such unique eyes though," Scott continued on, ignoring Trenton’s remark and gazing at me intensively.
I blushed under his gaze. "Do you mean about one of my eye being blue and the other being green?"
"Yea," he said in amazement. "It's really cool. Do your brothers have similar eyes too?"
"No," I said, feeling sadness fill my heart, with the thought of not knowing if I would ever see my brothers again. "It's weird though. Ayden, my oldest brother has blue eyes while Adrian has green ones."
"So your eyes are a mix of both of them,"Orion said, giving me a sad look. "Are you the youngest out of your siblings?"
I nodded to both those questions, realizing that Orion was looking at me with pity in his eyes. I felt guilty for that look though. At the moment, we were all in the same boat.
"So Adrian is the tattle-tale while Ayden is the trouble maker," Cameron said, immediately bringing me out of my thoughts. "So what are you then, Ariel?"
"What do you mean?" I questioned, furrowing my brow in confusion.
"Are you the goody-two shoes?" Arlo asked from the other side of the room, making his way towards me.
"Or the little devil?" Orion joined the conversation, while taking a seat in front of me.
I stared at them, feeling a bit relaxed now. They might be older and scarier-looking than me but they were actually very nice people. I didn't need my silver wolf to confirm this fact. I can trust them.
An icy voice interrupted me though before I can answer his question.
"She's just a silver wolf," a voice droned on from across the room. "Nothing more and nothing less." I turned my gaze towards Trenton, seeing him scowl at me. I flinched back, seeing the anger in his eyes.
Okay, maybe I can't trust them all.
"What is your problem man?" Cameron demanded, glaring in his direction. "What did she ever do to you?"
Trenton ignored him, still scowling in my direction. "I want to know why this little girl has so much power."
"I told you before," I glared at him not backing down. "I was born this way."
"What makes you so special?!" he suddenly shouted out, anger and jealousy spiralling in his eyes. I leaned against the wall in surprise, not expecting him to yell. "A little brat like you don't deserve shit."
"Watch your tone, Trenton!" Scott shouted out, immediately defending me. "She's just a child."
"Exactly... she's just a child," Trenton sneered. "A little princess does not deserve this much power."
"You should be grateful, Trenton," Orion calmly replied, easing the tension in the room. "She did help us get out of those silver chains."
"Who cares about those silver chains," Trenton immediately bit back. "We still can't change into our wolves."
"Did something happen?" I interrupted them in wonder, slowly starting to realize something. I don't think he's angry with me but instead...with someone else. I was almost sure of it.
He looked enraged at my comment and it looked like his vein on his forehead was going to burst. He took a few intimidating steps towards me before we all heard a strangled hiss.
All of our heads whipped to the source of the sound, only to be astounded at the sight before us. Leon.
He was leaning on the opposite wall like his life depended on it while clutching onto his neck in a tight grip. Sweat was beaded on his forehead and it looked like he was in pure agony as he let out another hiss.
"Leon," I hesitated, standing up. The motion of standing up caused immediate pain to my back, but I ignored it as I took a step forward.
"Don't," he whispered to which I ignored. The others behind me told me to be careful, but I barely paid attention to what they were saying. Something was wrong with Leon.
"Ariel, please stay away," Leon hissed, before his eyes started to turn red. "You need to stay away from me."
"What's wrong?" I whispered, taking another tentative steps toward him. "Does something hurt?"
"Hungry," he breathed out, before starting to cough violently.
"Leon," I shrieked before I ran to him in surprise. "I can't help you until you tell me what's wrong,"
He mumbled something at the end to which I could not make out.
"What did you say?" I questioned, taking another step forward before placing a hand on his cheek in a way to comfort him. He hissed from the contact and I immediately let it down in shock.
"Ariel," Arlo warned from behind me. I turned around slightly to look at Arlo's terrified expression. "Get back here, now."
I frowned at him in annoyance. Did he not see that Leon was suffering?
Before I could let out a word in anger, I heard a deep growl from behind me.
I felt a tremor run down my spine as I felt cold hands brush against my neck. The others were screaming at me, telling me to run. But I couldn't, as I felt his tongue lick the skin on my neck. I let out a gasp, knowing what was about to come.
I was so stupid. Why didn't I think of this before?
"No!" I heard one of the guys scream but it was too late. Razor teeth penetrated into my skin, piercing deep into the flesh of my neck. I felt the room spin around me as I started to grow faint.
"Leon," I whimpered out, slumping against his chest. His hands tightened around my neck as he drank deeply from me. My words did nothing, but encourage him more.
He said... blood.
He needs it badly and right now, I was his source.
I felt black dots cower my vision as I slowly closed my eyes in pain and agony. Not only was my back in pain but now, it felt that my throat was on fire as well.
"I'm so sorry," I heard someone whisper, before I fell into darkness once again.ns 126.96.36.199da2