tagNonHumanShadow of The Wolf Ch. 07

Shadow of The Wolf Ch. 07

byblackduchess©

A/N

I want to thank you readers for taking the time to read and vote and comment on my story. I appreciate and love hearing from my readers and answers all feedbacks. So keep it coming. Once more I'd like to thank my wonderful editor Lunarosa for all her help in this chapter.

Enjoy!

Chapter Seven

It had been more than two weeks since the revelation in Rance's office and Alex still hadn't fully wrapped her mind around the reality of it -- despite the fact that her body bore all the evidence she needed. Thinking about the past weeks made her head reel with all that had happened.

The first twenty minutes after the pack doctor arrived on the scene in Rance's office was still hazy to Alex. The pain that slashed through her lower abdomen was excruciating enough that she was completely oblivious to everything else. All she remembered was Rance carrying her to their suite and laying her down in the bed, leaving her side briefly to let Armand give her a thorough examination, but hovering nonetheless. After conferring and arguing (as their voices got louder) with the people who followed from the office, she later found out that Luc and the good doctor were having quite a difference of opinion.

Luc, after seeing her abdomen, immediately came to the conclusion that she was pregnant -- while everyone else in the room was highly doubtful of his claims. Armand insisted on a complete exam with blood work and scans to rule out anything else. What truly baffled -- and frankly, shocked -- the small group was the mark that had gradually appeared on her lower belly before their eyes right there in Rance's office. It looked as if it had been burned or tattooed to her skin. The mark was an intricately stylized tribal design of scrolls, loops, and spirals inside a circle the size of a man's fist that manifested just under her belly button.

Alex sat up after the pain had ebbed and fully disappeared. Rance sat next to her as Luc explained that she now bore the mark of the "Promised One", whoever that was. Luc believed that she now carry the one who would unite the shifter community.

Doubtful about the claim she was pregnant , but willing to get to the root of the matter, she let Armand draw blood for a test. Tense minutes ensued as everyone waited for the result. Much to her and everyone else's surprise (except Luc's, of course), the test came back positive. She was pregnant with Rance's baby! Dr. Armand theorized that her shifting must have caused her to ovulate earlier than expected, then add Rance's super-motivated sperm, and voila! Pregnancy's the result.

Confused and concerned about how everyone was acting, Alex insisted on an explanation from Luc and everyone in the room about the 'Promised One,' the mysterious mark, and the prophecy everyone kept talking about. Luc, being a history buff, started explaining.

"Every shifter has been taught of the legend of our creation. When our kind was first created, our Goddess Luna deemed us, shifters, a perfect blending of animal and human, having dual character but existing in harmony in one body and a single soul. Each breed was given an Alpha who would lead on behalf of Luna. Believing that we would be able to exist in peace together, she left the Alphas to rule as they saw fit. Soon enough, petty jealousy and power struggles ensued. Each shifter breed believed that it was, and wanted the others to concede, that they are better than the other breeds. Peace was finally shattered when we allowed our animal sides take charge and began raiding, pillaging, and warring amongst one another. Luna was greatly saddened at the state of her children, so for a while she turned her back on us."

"So what happened then? I knew for a fact that there's peace now in your community and the Alphas work together," Alex asked, curiosity piqued.

"Most of her children continued to pray to her for guidance. Most were just caught in the conflict because of their loyalty to their pack," Rance continued. "Also there were some Alphas who wisely kept their promise to Luna of ruling with wisdom and seeking peace. Not all shifters wanted to continually fight and kill. Add that to the dwindling numbers of shifters because of our warring, and some actively sought peace to prevent extinction of their breed."

"Okay, that answers the peace between breeds now. But what and who is the prophesied 'Promised One'?"

Damian, who was quietly listening, spoke up for the first time. "The 'Promised One' is a prophesied shifter who will come to rule over all the shifter community. He or she was foretold thousands of years ago by the prophet Simeon, an ancient wolf-shifter oracle, favored by the goddess. Other shifter oracles also claimed of a 'Promised One' coming who will become the Alpha of all alphas. The Promised One will be born bearing the goddess Luna's sign, possessing gifts of incomparable power and an unequaled magnitude of authority. The prophesied alpha would also be the catalyst to unite Weres of every species, and usher forth a time of peace, harmony and strength for the Were people."

"We have a similar prophesy," Annawon added, "and every bear shifter was taught from when they were cubs to anticipate with gladness the 'Promised One'." He calmly nodded his head.

"But everyone who knows of the prophecy looks for the sign not on a mother's belly but on the child himself." Dominic quickly added. "None of us expects the sign would appear in vivo."

Armand nodded his head, "The prophecy did not clearly express anything about the mother, but I too recognized the mark." They all stared at the darkening mark on Alex belly as she pulled up her shirt. Suddenly, the ink appeared incandescent as a prism of colors shot out and blinded them. In a blink of an eye, the blinding light disappeared. It left everyone puzzled and mystified but more convinced than ever that the fulfillment of the prophecy was at hand.

If Luc was right about her carrying the prophesied Promised One, then Alex's pregnancy would herald a time of true peace for the shifters. If it was true then they were in deep shit -- she felt certain that there were quite a few, particularly the non-wolf shifters, opposed to having one ruler over them. Alex had been a part of this world for a short time, but she had already witnessed the potential for savagery; the opposed might attempt to find a way to terminate the fragile life inside of her, and there was no way that she'd let that happen! That scary notion formed in her heart and her mind before she could even permit herself to think about the monstrous rogue creature, still uncaptured, that had torn through her home and murdered both Shifters and humans.

Rance must have felt the same way. Since the doctor had sufficiently recovered from his shock at seeing the Promised One's mark and confirm Alex's pregnancy, Rance made her get up early every morning to train with him and his Betas in the gym at the basement. Rance was such an exacting taskmaster, he sparred with her himself. And he never held his punches. She would usually limp out of the gym, sore from all the times that she got pinned down by Rance. Her 'delicate' condition did not preclude her from getting as rigorous training as the rest of them received from her mate. Alex's stubborn determination to take it all, without complaining, actually worked to her advantage. Unbeknownst to her, the Betas and young pups who watched from the sidelines were won over by her tenacity and grit. Being wolves, they admired strength and were instinctively inclined to submit to someone stronger than they.

She loved the challenge and thrived on it. The sex between her and Rance got hotter every time. He was proving to be an insatiable lover: besides making love endlessly at night, Rance would squeeze in a wild and satisfying fuck (while in the shower) after each training session. They would then have breakfast together either by themselves or with the pack. Rance usually accompanied her to the garage if his schedule allowed it. Most of the time he'd go with her, then leave to hunt for the rogues leaving Luc and Troy behind.

The first day that she came in to work with Rance and the twins in tow, everyone in the garage did a double-take and gaped at her, not only because she had an entourage of gorgeous men, but mostly because she walked in with Rance possessively holding her hand in his. She had introduced Rance as her boyfriend, while the twins were introduced simply as friends of Rance's. Although her employees' curiosity was evident on their faces, they did not dare ask her more. Between Rance looming protectively behind her and the twins constantly underfoot, they never got the chance to grill her for more juicy information.

Alex knew though that all would change once Pam got back from her business trip. Her reprieve would be over and she'd better be ready to spill everything to her BFF, so it was a good thing that her friend's business trip was extended. Every time she talked to Pam on the phone, she reminded Alex so much of a dog with a bone -- asking her questions that made her feel like she was being interrogated by a cop - almost. Knowing and understanding why her friend was extremely leery of her relationship with Rance did not in any way mitigate Pam's irritating tenacity. Since Pam knew her pretty much inside out, Alex wished sometimes that her friend would just take her at her word that she was happy, that Rance was right for her. Moving in and living with Rance in such a short time further hardened Pam's resolve to get to the bottom of the matter, even threatening to move in with her at the mansion, for crying out loud!

Her parents on the other hand, were cautiously happy for her. Alex had called and visited them several times after moving in the mansion. The first time they met Rance, they were accepting and amiable. They were unaware that she had moved in with Rance though. She thought it better to let them get used to him first. Rance had agreed, albeit reluctantly, to gradually make their mating known to her parents. They would announce their "engagement" at the end of the month and then have their "wedding" shortly after. They were due to visit her parents the upcoming weekend for a family dinner anyway since her brothers were coming home for a couple of days for her mom's birthday. That would be a fun visit -- NOT! She could just see the faces of her two hard-assed brothers when she told them of her 'engagement'. No doubt they'd grill and try to intimidate Rance. Well, good luck on that one. She smiled with relish at the thought of her brothers trying to gang up on Rance. The pregnancy she'd keep to herself for now, thank you very much.

One thing that she truly enjoyed about her new life as a shifter was when Rance would take her out to run in their wolf forms on the estate. Every care and stress of the day just sloughed off in the sheer joy of running on four legs. Everything around her seemed fresh and vivid. The smells, the noise, the exhilaration of becoming one with nature never failed to lift up her spirit. She loved the times she explored and frolicked with Rance in the woods surrounding the mansion, racing through the hills and valleys and mock-hunting (for she refused to kill helpless animals and eat them). She loved the feeling of gritty soil under her paws as she ran exuberantly with her mate. Most of the time they'd run with some of the pack Betas. They would always try to fall behind to give them some semblance of privacy. They seldom ran by themselves, since they had not apprehended the rogue shifters yet, although the privacy did allow them the wild joy of mating as wolves under the moon as well. She only wished they could do it every night...but no. Some nights Rance would be cloistered with his Betas and strategize on the best way for them to find the rogues' den.

Tonight, she would be formally presented to the Pack. They deliberately waited for Rance's two hundredth birthday to have the ceremony, figuring that it would at least give her some time to adjust to pack life. Shifters in attendance would include the Wolves' Council of Elders and also the Alpha Council. She'd met most of the Alphas informally, but she still had to meet the Council of Elders and the rest of the pack that did not reside currently in the Estate. Her pregnancy was still a closely guarded secret between those present in the study on the fateful morning the pregnancy was confirmed. And they had no intention of announcing her carrying the 'Promised One.' They did not want to borrow trouble if they could help it; the rogues were enough trouble as it was.

Maddy poked her head just outside her opened office door. "Hey Alex, Paul Timmons was asking if we're going to match prices being offered at another garage downtown for his oil change."

Looking up from the invoices and assorted paper works she was sorting through, Alex cast a harassed glace towards her receptionist. "He asks for price match every time he brings his truck for service. And never did he bring ads to substantiate any of his claims." Shrugging, she nodded her head albeit reluctantly at the waiting Maddy. "Go ahead and give him the discount, although we both know that we offer the lowest price in town. But please remind him again that he needs to bring the ad or coupon next time." Waving Maddy off, she tried to focus once again on the waiting paperwork.

As Maddy walked away, Troy walked in smiling and bearing heavenly-smelling paper bags of food in one hand and a cup holder with three tall covered tumblers in the other. He inclined his head at Luc who was seated on the other side of the room. "I brought food for everyone. Figured you're probably hungry by now. You need to eat more to keep your strength up, Alex." Just as he carefully laid his burden on the table, her stomach emitted an embarrassingly loud growl. "See, perfect timing every time," Troy's eyes twinkled with mirth even as Alex eyes promised retribution if he openly laugh at her.

Nudging the bag closer to her he continued, "Fried chicken wrapped in buttercream batter, green salad, baked potato with the works, and those small fancy cakes freshly baked by Andressio to tide you over until later, Alex." He walked over to Luc and dropped another brown bag in front of him.

Grabbing the bag, she nodded in thanks to Troy. She could not believe how much food she consumed in a day; wolf metabolism or growing Promised One, who knew? If not for the Luc and Troy keeping her well supplied, she would not be able to accomplish any work at all. It'd been alarming if the pack doctor had not reassured her that it was normal for someone in her condition. Watching absently as Troy dragged a chair to sit by her open office door, she started to eat. She motioned for him to close the door to her office for some privacy.

"How's the hunt going?" She lifted inquiring eyes at Troy while carefully biting on her chicken. "Were they able to find any trace of those rogues?"

"No. But they are working on a grid, and they believe that they'll get them soon. It won't be long now before they root them out, I'm sure. Oh, by the way, Ophelia said that everything is ready for the big birthday and formal presentation tonight."

"I can see that you're not looking forward to the affair," Luc commented from the other side of the room where he was studying more about the prophecy while on guard duty.

"How did you guess?" Alex asked in return.

"From the grimace you made when dickhead here mentioned it, I figured as much," Luc replied matter-of-factly.

"I'm just not good with crowds of people, you know. I'd rather meet individual people in small groups. And I hate dressing up." She stuck her tongue out at Troy when he wiggled his brows at her.

"Hey, that's the most fun part," said Troy. "That's when you women come up with sexy attire that entices us males to appreciate them in full. Don't get me wrong. I love women in all sizes and shapes. The way they look; so soft and yet so tough, the way they smell; sweet and spicy, and the way they move, like sex incarnate." He grinned at the incredulous look on both Alex's and Luc's faces. "I have some fond memories of such gatherings, I tell you." He had a far-away look on his face as he smiled inanely at the memory he'd conjured in his mind. "I remember the last encounter I had with one particular bitch at one of those formal shindigs that the pack throws now and again. Now she was one hot time," he whistled in obvious enjoyment. "One that I don't mind repeating. Maybe she'll attend tonight."

"Eeew, TMI. Don't you get bored with your lifestyle after a while? I mean, you can only have so many one-night stands before you become jaded," Alex said with a trace of amusement.

"Who said anything about only one night? If she's worth the effort to pursue, then she'd be worth two or three encounters at the least," Troy answered. Supressing his mirth, he could not help but bite down on his cheeks to keep from bursting into laughter at the expressions on Luc's and Alex's faces. It was fun to yank their chains.

"Seriously?" Alex asked, consternation written plainly in her face.

Not able to keep silent anymore, Troy busted out laughing. He was laughing so hard that he failed to see Alex stand up and approach him. Alex pushed Troy off the chair and stood tapping her foot as she waited for him to stop laughing.

"Troy!" Luc also stood over his twin's prone figure.

"What? I was just telling the truth."

"Not everyone in the pack is a horndog like you. Pardon us Alex, but Troy is not the best example for werewolf behavior."

Finally sitting up, Troy sprang up and smiled winningly at Alex. "Luc is right. But Luc, she needs to remember that we wolves are also very sexual. I only want our Regina to be ready and not taken unawares when the single wolves started hooking up at the party. It gets especially wild when we're celebrating something. Oftentimes they'll do it in the open." Looking at Luc for corroboration of Troy's account, Alex was a little surprised to see him nod.

"You guys have orgies at your celebrations?!" Alex's incredulity made her voice rise in volume.

"Ssshhh.... Tone down a little. We don't want your staff to think we're all perverts." Luc pointed out.

"Sorry. Not trying to be prudish or anything, but I don't think I'd ever get used to that scenario."

Sighing dramatically Troy put his hands on top of his heart, "You wound us, Alex. We don't have orgies. Our bitches won't stand for that either. We have sex in the open, yes. But we don't swap partners or indulge in a free for all. Sex between consenting partners is a beautiful thing. Sex between mates, according to them, is divine." Wiggling his brows at Alex, he asked, "Well? Do tell. Is it? Diviiiiiine?"

Luc shook his head helplessly as they all busted out laughing when Alex pushed Troy again.

******

Spread out. Rance commanded his wolves.

The Beta wolves spread out as they continued to track the scent trail that led them to the wooded area near the park. They'd been going out every day hunting for the rogues. Rance accompanied his wolves all the time now. It was imperative that they deal with the rogues, particularly now. Luc's interpretation of the writing on Alex's walls were a rambling of a lunatic, focused on making all shifters acknowledge him as the 'Promised One'. The threat underlying his message was not missed by all the alphas present at the last meeting. It was still baffling to them why they chose to go after Alex, and why they did what they did to her house. Although it was not widely known and those present had been sworn to secrecy, the 'coincidence' that the mark of the Promised One had appeared on Alex's pregnant belly made the entire situation more mysterious, and for Alex, potentially more dangerous. And Rance was not fond of coincidences.

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