Bound to My Mate Ch. 09byDoctorWolf©
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who are reading and commenting. I am addicted to what you all have to say, good or bad. Please enjoy this chapter – DW
Nate pulled me quickly down the stairs and through the den. Pack members cut us a wide berth. I struggled and screamed until Nate picked me up and carried me like a sack of potatoes into the basement of the den.
We moved at a rapid pace. Nate was in such a hurry the surroundings seemed to blur together. When he finally slowed down some I noticed we were surrounded by several large Betas.
By the time I got my bearings back we were down in the basement in a long dull corridor. In the middle of the corridor Nate stopped. One of the men we were with jerked opened a white metal door. Nate sat me inside and left in a flash. The door closed and I heard a metal lock slide into place.
I was desperate. I screamed at the door and tugged on it. The thing didn't budge. There was no lock mechanism visible on my side of the door, if there had been I would have picked it. The witch had won; she'd taken Joel from me and I hadn't been able to stop her.
I looked around the tiny room I had been put in. It had a small cot and a bare light up too high to reach. A metal toilet graced one wall. It was a prison cell.
I paced back and forth frantically. My arms ached where Joel's claws had just breached the flesh. The idea he would hurt me was inconceivable. The fact he'd done it was outrageous. I wondered if there was anything I could say that would prove to him who I was.
Time passed so slowly and I finally sat on the edge of the cot. I've never had a panic attack, but by the way I felt one was about to start. Putting my head between my legs I started to try to breath more normally.
When the door opened I sprung up so fast I made myself a little dizzy. Nate stepped in and closed the door behind him.
"Nate, the witch is upstairs with Joel. I swear I'm Elizabeth..." I blurted out, but he cut me off with a raised hand.
"Madam Alpha, he will be fine. Alpha Latro sent me to you. I apologize for leaving like I did before, but I wanted to get back to him quickly. I thought you knew he was just pretending. We thought you were just pretending. He already told you that spell doesn't work on us. You are making him insane. Please, try to relax," Nate pleaded.
I sat heavily on the cot and felt dizzy again. This time it was from relief.
"The Alpha asked me to heal the wounds he inflicted on your arms. He asked me to beg you for your forgiveness; he wanted it to look real," Nate said getting down on one knee.
"Forgiven, no harm done," I whispered still dazed.
"Harm was done, Madam, I smell the blood. Slide this off your shoulders," he said pointing to Joel's silk robe, "and let me heal them."
I let the robe pool at my waist. The fact I'd just bared both breasts to Nate didn't even bother me; I was still too stunned. Nate shifted his tongue into that of the wolf. He licked each little mark for an eternity. Soon they were nothing more than fresh pink skin.
"Everyone was knocked out, Nate," I said watching him. "Her spells work on you all. How come you know I'm me?"
"Hmmph," Nate snorted pulling the robe back around my shoulders, "it's one of the only spells I've ever seen work well on a werewolf. Lucky break for her. You can be sure Alpha Latro's beating himself up over that, too. We should have demanded a sample when she used it at the clinic."
"How did she get in?" I asked him.
"She must be using a spell that conceals her natural odor. Frankly, she smells like nothing. From what we can determine she slipped into the kitchen and left a jug of her poisoned punch. It's addictive it's so good or so I've heard. The kitchen help that found it passed it around. It knocked your guards out long enough for her to get in the Alpha suites."
Nate paused for a moment and grinned, "Did I tell you how angry he is about that? He's about ready to explode. That witch is not going to know what hit her."
Standing up Nate looked around the little room. "It's not a nice place to stay, but you are safe here. The guard outside won't let anyone in and we know what she used to put everyone to sleep. We recognize the smell now. None of us will ever drink it again. The Alpha wants you here and safe while he gets everything out of Ryana he needs."
I nodded dully and stared at Nate.
"We'll bring you a better bed, Madam," Nate said looking at the cot, "and something to do. The Alpha wants the door kept closed and locked, so you won't have much company. You'll be safe, that's really all he cares about."
"What about him with her?" I worried. "What's she doing to him?"
"She thinks she cast a spell over him that's controlling him. He understood most of her chanting, so he just went with it," Nate laughed again. He seemed to find the entire thing funny. I did not share that point of view.
"What if she really manages to control him?" I asked fidgeting on the cot. Much to my chagrin I was nervously clasping and unclasping my hands like my grandmother used to do.
Nate raised an eyebrow and looked at me with disbelief. "Aren't there things, medicines, that humans can use to calm down? Should we get you some?"
Looking concerned, he continued with a warning, "If you can't stop worrying you will drive Alpha Latro to distraction. He's trying to pump the witch for information, find out how deep this went. You have to believe me, witch's spells rarely are effective on us. She's made them work, that's quite a feat. Alpha Latro needs to know how she's doing it. He is smart, he won't let her hit him with something he doesn't know about."
I tried to breath deeply and relax. Taking drugs to calm down was probably going to be a bad idea right now. I wanted to be clear headed.
"Couldn't he just beat the information out of her?" I asked feeling violent toward Ryana. I'd feel much better if Joel wasn't at risk.
"Isn't there a human saying, you can get more flies with honey than with vinegar? I'm sure he'll switch to torture if it needs to be done. For now she thinks we are all big dumb animals. She's saying way too much. This way is turning out to be much quicker," Nate laughed again. He was really enjoying this.
A knock sounded at the door and Nate opened it cautiously. After his inspection a comfortable twin bed was set up in place of the cot. Battery operated lamps were also delivered and the harsh light in the ceiling was turned off. A small bucket of bottled waters was sat on the floor. A pile of books and a laptop were also delivered. Lastly a chair was settled into the remaining space in the room, which wasn't much.
"How long am I staying here?" I asked Nate. Staying in this little room was going to drive me insane if I stayed too long. I hated to feel trapped.
"Alpha Latro will keep her talking as long as he can," he said handing me a fresh set of clothes someone had brought down. "It probably won't be past tomorrow night. She's expecting him to change her on the full moon."
A man from outside called sharply to Nate. "I have to go now. You should rest or at least try to. Please remember when you worry that Alpha Latro feels it. He can't concentrate when he thinks you are in trouble," Nate said and then looked at me warily. "Can you relax?" he asked me.
I took a deep breath and sat on the bed while nodding to him. Sure, I could try, if it would help Joel.
After Nate left I sat on the bed and fiddled with the computer; it had internet access. I read everything I could find on witches. Some of it was probably real, but I couldn't discern fact from fiction. Eventually, I laid my head down and rested my eyes.
The bed was comfortable, but I slept fitfully. Over the last several weeks I'd become used to being wrapped in Joel's arms at night. Now the thought of him holding and stoking someone else in our bed made it hard to sleep.
I was worried what she might do to him while he slept. I just wanted him to tie her up and beat her until she talked. When I finally did settle down it was near sunrise according to the clock on the computer.
The lock sliding in the door sent me from sleep to awake instantly. Nate jerked the door open and came in scooping me up. He paced down the hall and into another open room.
"What are you doing?" I asked struggling a little. My voice was still thick and groggy.
"Stay here," he said putting me in a different prison room. This looked just like the place I had originally been put in complete with the cot, harsh light, and metal toilet. I stood in the middle of it and tried to wake up.
The door swung open a second time and now it framed a stern looking Joel with his arm around Ryana. Several Betas stood impassively behind them.
"For attempting to kill my mate; I sentence you to death, witch," he said sounding threatening.
"NO," I gasped, "you have the wrong person. I'm your mate. Please, I love you, stop this," I begged him. If this was still a game, I figured that was the correct response.
"I have my mate right here," he sneered pulling Ryana closer and kissing her head. She just grinned and smirked at me.
The idea of him touching her like that infuriated me. He was mine; I wanted to kill her. Lunging forward I almost reached her, but Joel whipped her back out of my grasp.
"If you wish me to torture you first, you will continue to try and harm my mate," he said canines elongating. "Your sentence will be carried out tonight in our sacred circle at sunset. Enjoy your last day of life," and the door slammed closed.
The look on his face had been awful. He regarded at me without a trace of recognition. I prayed her spells weren't really working and he was just that good of an actor.
I heard talking coming from beyond the door. They must be out there discussing 'my' death. In my mind I saw her touching him, controlling him. It was nerve racking.
After a while, I sat on the cot and put my head in my hands. I felt barely rested, I must not have been asleep long. When Nate reappeared in the door I stood up quickly. This was horrible. The worry was killing me.
"Please, tell him this has to stop. I can't take anymore. Watching him with her, the thought she's going to hurt him; it's making me crazy," I begged Nate as he rushed me back to my original room.
"It has to continue for a little while. He 'accidentally' broke her vials of spells and now she's making them right in front of him. Can you believe it? We never could have forced her to give us what she's handing us willingly. We won't get a chance like this again," Nate said.
A knock at my door interrupted him. I recognized Anthony outside handing Nate a breakfast tray. He scented the air and wrinkled his nose.
"It reeks of fear in here," he commented handing the meal over.
Nate agreed, taking the proffered tray. He inspected and sniffed every item on the tray before setting it down.
"I'm not hungry," I grumbled sitting on the bed.
My mate was hanging out with the witch while she made spells. That didn't make me feel any better. I put my head down and looked at the floor.
I didn't want to eat, but I could hear Nate fiddling with the tray. It sounded and smelled like he was fixing coffee.
"Madam Alpha, this is necessary. Please eat your breakfast or Alpha Latro will be very upset," he said buttering a plump biscuit and slathering it with jelly.
Nate stayed and watched me as I ate. He stood calmly.
"She really can't hurt him?" I asked.
"Not with anything she has up there, no," he answered.
I had to calm down. If this was the way Joel wanted to play this; it was probably the right way.
"I just thought he'd be more violent when he found her," I commented. Frankly, I kind of wanted him to be more aggressive. That would have made me feel better about wanting to kick her teeth out.
"He will be violent, later. Alpha Latro didn't get to be the respected Alpha of a large pack by lack of planning. There's more to him that just brute strength," Nate said in an almost chastising way.
"Yes, thank you for reminding me," I drawled, catching his tone. "I just assumed he could get what he needed a little quicker."
He enunciated every word he said next, but not in a way I could directly construe as demeaning. "She is making her spells in front of him, including the spell she put in the punch. If we know the catalyst she is using against us, we will know how to block it."
"Fair enough," I said. "Do you have to go back to him?"
"Not right now," he answered sounding confused.
"Then have a seat and tell me everything you know about the witches," I commanded.
Nate looked a little surprised at the tone, but did as he was asked. He sat down and talked. Nate's opinion of the witches was lower than Joel's and I hadn't thought that possible. They were greedy, dangerous, and uncaring as a whole, he said. Family meant almost nothing to them and they killed their own frequently.
Joel had formed a working relationship with the witches as a way to keep an eye on them. He didn't want to be surprised like his father had been. According to his research Althea and Davonna really were good witches. They seemed a safe group to become involved with. Joel paid them steady money for their spells. His generosity meant the witches talked to him and shared their secrets.
Most witches sold their spells to humans with vendettas. They made a living cursing and uncursing the unlucky. Witches had great powers to heal, but rarely used those because they weren't as lucrative. When Nate was finishing I rubbed my temples in frustration. While I felt better about Joel hanging out with the witch, I was irritated they were allowed to get away with what they did.
A knock at the door interrupted us, "Alpha Latro wants you back upstairs," Anthony said to Nate as he opened the door.
Nate nodded and politely excused himself. I heard him bolting down the hall. Anthony turned to look at me with his eye brow cocked.
"I smell the fear," Anthony commented. "It's not as bad as before, though."
"I want to kick her teeth out and tear her fingernails from their beds," I told him as I stretched out on the bed.
"A fine idea, Madam," Anthony said stepping into my room and taking a seat. "I'll help you."
We spent the next hour calmly discussing all the ways we could torture Ryana. It turns out the conversation was very much to Anthony's liking; he had some great ideas. He was disappointed when I told him Joel had promised her grandmother a quick death.
"A guy can dream," he said in response.
A second later the air was split with a scream. I bounced off the bed only to be thrust behind Anthony who was mid shift. The brown wolf man growled menacingly at the door.
I stayed very still against the wall and listened as the screaming continued. It sounded like Ryana, but it was hard to hear over Anthony. A door slammed down the hall and then everything was silent outside. Anthony had never let up.
I wondered what would happen if he shifted completely. The room we were in was small and barely big enough for everything in here now. A giant angry wolf was never going to fit.
Suddenly the growling stopped. Anthony shifted back into his human form and took a deep breath.
"I am calmer now, Alpha Latro," he called toward the door.
My heart leapt into my throat, Joel was out there. I pushed past Anthony and flew into Joel's arms when the door opened.
I kissed his neck and his lips. I examined his body with my hands and looked for any sign of damage. It was remarkably easy to check him since he wasn't wearing a stitch of clothing
"Where's Ryana? What's going on? Why are you walking around naked?" I asked him.
"Ryana is locked up until her execution. As for why I'm nude, the witch liked me to stay in my animal form. Someone had told her the spells were more effective on the animal in me," he laughed holding me tight. "I take it that's not true," I said into his chest, he was nearly crushing the breath out of me.
"Not even close, love. It just made it easier to talk to my pack," he said.
Mentally, I went over what I knew about Joel. I had no idea he could talk to his pack when he was in wolf form. I wasn't even sure how he would talk in wolf form.
"As the wolf I can communicate telepathically to my pack members who are also in that form. I'll teach you how to do it after I change you," he said nuzzling into my hair. As we walked out of the basement a cheer went up in the main hall. Many wolves were in their animal form, which I hadn't frequently seen them do inside the den.
"At the circle within the hour the witch will meet her end!" Joel called out.
I screamed my approval of the plan along with the rest of the pack. Ryana needed to pay and pay dearly. I hoped he'd get in a few good punishing swipes before he killed her. That damned bitch should suffer.
"I have knives upstairs," Joel whispered in my ear. "If you wanted to be the one to finish her, I would let you use them," he told me quietly.
Suddenly, I realized what he was offering. I hated Ryana. Hated the way she had made me feel for the last many weeks. I despised her for what she had tried to do to the pack. I nodded my head silently to him.
"If you can't, I would understand," he said quietly.
"No, I can do this," I said looking into his eyes.
"Cut the throat," he told me, "that's the most efficient way."
I nodded silently and tried to wrap my brain around what I'd agreed to do. I'd never killed anything larger than a roach before. The roaches, however, had never tried to kill me first.
Joel directed Anthony to retrieve the weapon from his rooms. We waited until he returned with a vicious looking knife. It gleamed wickedly in the light. The thing looked sharp enough to cut through rock.
"Almost," Joel laughed at my internal monologue as he handed it to me.
Directing his next comment to the pack he boomed loudly, "To the circle." The room around us was exploding in shouts and howls.
It was getting dark outside as we made our way to the clearing. I tested the weight of the knife in my hand. Shawna had taught me to hold and use weapons to some extent, but I'd never held a weapon with such deadly intent.
I saw Ryana emerge from a tunnel in front of us as we got closer to the clearing. Joel told me those to be punished traveled without the pack to the clearing, it was tradition. From a distance I could see Ryana was struggling with her guard, but not getting anywhere.
As we made our way out of the trees the light was falling and a cool breeze was blowing. Omegas were dutifully lighting torches around the circle.
Knowing the pack they were going to party long and hard after this was done. The wolves were literally salivating they were so excited. The area felt like it was bursting with energy.
The whole pack was out to see Ryana punished. They surrounded the circle of stones. Ryana was walked by two guards to the center of the circle. She screamed that the wolves didn't deserve their wealth. Joel and I approached her and stopped about fifty feet from her. We listened to her ranting for little and then Joel called out her crimes to the pack.
Watching Ryana struggle I thought about her. We had been friendly at the clinic. She had been someone I had depended on when I first got there. She knew most of the patients and helped me deal with some of the more eccentric ones. The more I thought, the more I doubted I would be able to kill her. I had never been a killer; I was a healer.
Joel called out Ryana's punishment was death and the pack howled its agreement. I looked up at him and shook my head. I couldn't do this. No matter how much I hated her, it just wasn't in me.
Joel looked disappointed but nodded to me, "It would be my honor to do this for you," he said shifting into his large black wolf.