Alpha ??? Me ???
“Shift!” Donald called out and shifted to his tiger form, his clothes shredding as his form expanded. All the shifters followed suit except Vash, he stayed near Casey and Jackson, unwilling to leave his mates.
With a roar Donald led the charge. Shifters flowed over the rise and down to clash with the pack waiting for them.
“We need to stop them,” Vash said. “They’ll kill each other. The pack are just following their alpha.” He hadn’t realized the pack was so large, it looked like the alpha had called out every pack member, male and female, young and old.
“But they hurt you,” Casey stated, his voice cold and furious.
“Not all of them. They may not have done anything to help me but not all of them participated.”
“The only one who can stop this is you!” Jackson stated.
Vash swung round and stared at him. “Me? How can I stop them?”
Jackson shrugged. “Just shift and roar as loud as you can.”
Vash looked skeptically at the vampire but Jackson just stared back at him.
“Try it, love,” Casey whispered, his voice sounded terrified. He was watching the battle and Vash turned back to see the witches and vampires had joined the fight. Then he gasped, Jamie had joined the fight with Andrew.
Throwing caution to the wind he stripped as fast as he could and shifted. As soon as his shape was fully formed he raised his head and let out the loudest roar he could.
Silence fell like a veil over the valley below.
Another roar and two animals moved forward. One a tiger and one a cougar. Casey watched as the tiger shifted and became Donald. The cougar shifted and became who Casey assumed must be alpha Peter Jeffersin. Even from a distance the alpha’s posture projected arrogance and a temper that was barely being constrained.
Beside him he felt Vash shift and he muttered a spell to make sure Vash was clothed. The last thing anyone needed was the alpha seeing Vash naked, Casey was sure Jackson would react badly and he wasn’t exactly sure how he himself would react.
Vash sent a thank you to Casey as he took in the scene below them. Even from a distance he could see the arrogance and annoyance on the face of his old alpha. He sent a quick thought to his mates and they moved as one to head down to the battlefield.
When they were near the two naked men Vash stopped just outside touching distance.
“What is the point of all this alpha Jeffersin?” Casey demanded, sounding furious.
“The point? The Point?” the alpha growled. “The point is my property was stolen.”
“I was not, nor am I, anyone’s property!” Vash stated. He was grateful for the mental support from his mates, it was the only thing stopping his knees from buckling. “I was an orphan and you were supposed to take care of me. Not beat me and train me to be your whore.”
With a furious roar Jeffersin shifted and lunged toward Vash. Vash’s instinct took over and his clothes shredded as he shifted and met the cougar’s attack.
Casey tried to grab Vash before Jeffersin reached him, but, Jackson used his vampire speed to grab him and pull him out the way just as the two shifters collided.
“NO,” Casey cried struggling against Jackson’s hold.
“Stop!” Jackson ordered with a hiss. “If you distract him, he could be killed.”
Casey froze. His heart was in his throat as he watched the fight taking place before him.
The two animals were a blur as they fought. Casey gripped Jackson’s arms until his fingers were numb.
The fight seemed to last a lifetime, but, in reality was over in mere minutes. Both shifters circled and used fierce strike and retreat attacks.
Casey winced when Jeffersin landed a clawed hit that left deep scratches down Vash’s side that bled freely.
With a roar Vash latched onto the cougar’s neck and pinned the other animal to the ground.
Donald strode forward. “Alpha Jeffersin, if you cede this match and your position as alpha then shift back. This is the only chance you will be given.”
Jeffersin let a low growl but his form shifted and he lay in human shape with his throat still held by Vash.
Vash let go and moved back cautiously, watching to make sure the guards surrounding Jeffersin could contain him if necessary. As his form shimmered Casey muttered the spell to make sure he was clothed when he finished shifting.
Vash stared down at the former alpha. The man was naked and bleeding, yet he still stared at Vash as though he was a piece of shit he’d trodden in.
It was over. It was finally over.
“You are nothing to me, or anyone else, now. No one will give you shelter. No one will give you food. No one will accept you anywhere. You’re finished here,” Vash said the words in a calm cool voice, feeling his inner beast settle as his mind smoothed out and he started to come to terms with his past becoming just that, his past. He had two mates now, he had everything he ever needed. He didn’t need to think about what had happened anymore.
A male shifter moved forward and Vash recognized him as one of the pack betas. The man bowed to Vash. “Alpha, what would you have us do with this man?”
Vash stared at the man as though he had grown two heads. “Alpha?” he questioned turning to Donald, who just looked on in apparent amusement. Vash scowled. “What is this about me being an alpha?” he demanded.
Donald chuckled. “You defeated the current alpha. That automatically makes you the new one. So as your beta asked, what should they do with him?”
Vash sent out a plea to his mates, and after a quick discussion with them—including telling Casey he could stop laughing—Vash turned back to the beta. “Take him to the basement. Find a room and chain him up, when we have got everything sorted out here, he will be turned over to the High Council for punishment.”
The beta bowed and several other men came forward to help drag Jeffersin away.
Vash rounded on Donald. “We need to talk, in private, now!” he said, trying to make sure he didn’t end up snarling at the still smirking elder.
Donald nodded and turned to address the gathered crowd.
“All troops that accompanied me are to head out to the woods and make camp. I want a three watch rotation set up and this entire camp is to be surrounded, no one goes in or out without mine or the alpha’s express permission.”
Half the crowd separated and headed to obey the orders. The rest waited watching Vash.
“Why don’t you ask for the person who told the high council about you to step forward?” Casey asked. “I know you wanted to know who it was. And I have to admit to being very curious myself.”
Vash nodded slightly and addressed the crowd. “One of you called the High Council and told them I was being held. I would like that person to come forward. The rest of you can return to your homes. As you have heard, the camp is being surrounded and no one may leave.”
Noise erupted from the crowd and people started to move away. Vash could hear several conversations, varying from people being glad to see the back of Jeffersin, to mothers crying as they were reunited with their teenage children who had been forced to fight.
Vash waited and finally an elderly shifter moved forward. He was naked, showing that he had recently shifted to human form but a quick request to Casey had him clothed, and Vash enjoying the look of shock on the man’s face.
The shifter bowed. “Alpha, my name is Keith. I am your father’s brother.” Vash gasped.
Suddenly his mates were by his side. “I think we’d better take this to the alpha house,” Jackson said gently and Vash nodded.
Once the mates, Keith and Donald were sitting comfortably, Vash asked for Keith’s story.
Keith looked at his hands as he spoke. “Um, I was visiting when you were born, your parents were so happy to have you. When I went out the back getting some more wood for the fire I heard banging on the front door. I then heard shouting and sounds of a fighting, but when I tried to get back in the house the doors had been barred. I hid nearby and saw beta Lawrence leave with you, you were screaming. When it was clear I went back inside. Your father was dead with his throat torn out and your mother was barely alive. She told me to ensure you knew they had fought for you and that they loved you. She died in my arms before she could say anything else, I didn’t even have the chance to ask if anyone had said why you were being taken.” Tears were flowing down the old shifter’s face but still he continued.
“I tried to find out what was happening with you. The pack was told your parents had died in a rogue attack and that the alpha had adopted you. The fact your mother wasn’t a shifter didn’t matter, he claimed, you were to be taught the ways of shifters. Your nanny knew me and gave me regular updates on your progress and I was shocked when the alpha declared you had killed her in a fit of rage.” Casey wrapped his arms round Vash, but still Vash gestured for the man to continue.
“I tried to find out what was going on with you but everyone I spoke to either wouldn’t answer me or disappeared soon after our conversations. I don’t know why I wasn’t killed but I had to assume Jeffersin thought it would be too much of a coincident for people to swallow if a member of the same family suddenly disappeared. Years went by and when I heard you were being passed around as a reward I tried again to find out what was happening. I had heard the formal announcements made by the alpha of course. He said you were learning slowly and he was paying for ‘special’ tutors to give you lessons in shifter culture.
“Then, I happen to overhear the betas talking about the new high council rule regarding hybrids. They were also laughing about the fact that the alpha wasn’t going to give up his favorite toy. It was then that I finally accepted the rumors about you being passed around must be true, until then I think I had been living in denial.
“I shifted and ran to a friend I had in a neighboring pack. It took me nearly two days because I had to hide from the guard patrols. I used his phone to call the High Council and tell them were to find you.”
“Why can no one find any record of him in the council system?” Jackson asked. “He has told us he took exams and had lessons. You told us the alpha declared at least a few of his results. Yet I can find no mention of a hybrid named Vash anywhere.”
Keith smiled sadly and shook his head. “That’s because he’s registered as a pure blood shifter. He is therefore on a different register for his qualifications. I would assume Jeffersin registered him under different parents too.” He turned back to Vash. “You were taken before your parents could register you. Therefore, Jeffersin had free rein to register you under whatever name and parents he wanted.”
Vash grasped Keith’s hand and squeezed. “Thank you for calling the High Council. And for telling us all this. It means so much to me to know even a small bit about my parents.”
Jackson shook his head. “I should have thought to check other registers but everything happened so quickly.”
“So what happens now?” Casey asked and everyone turned to look at Donald.