Outside of the Night Life building Ant waiting in a patch of shade. He had bought a new pair of sunglasses and was tapping mine in the palm of his hand. He didn’t smile when he saw me. He handed me the pair of glasses and fell in step next to me, “So what’s the plan?”
“I become leader of the Celestial Body.”
We walked with Darwynn taking the leader – he was by my side but we followed him. There was a general foreboding in the air. I felt it with every fiber of my being. I could die in this battle. I don’t know why it scared me. Theory was I was immortal. All Ascendant’s were. But when was I ever a guy who followed rules.
We walked for what seemed like forever. And when I was smart enough to look at our surroundings we’d been walking in circles. I looked at Darwynn and he said, “Trust me.”
I shrugged and nodded. I trusted him. We’d come a long way from him trying to kill me. He’d gone from pack leader to a lackey. And I’d gone from an inconsequential nothing to the Ascendant. How the fuck does that even happen?
We made the same loop one more time and that’s when I noticed all the energy around me. All the supernatural Therian energy around me. I stopped and looked behind us, in the crowds mingling around me I saw familiar faces – Adrian and Dom were the two most recognizable, but I saw other were’s I’d saved or helped or caught and let go. I looked at Darwynn and frowned, “You’ve been calling them?”
He shook his head, “No. Pack magic. A challenge has been issued on intent, we are circling to make sure enough of your support is here.”
I sighed. “I have all the support I need.” I tapped my chest over my heart. “Let’s just do this.”
He nodded and headed for a building across the street. It was an old theater that was no longer showing plays or movies. But for it’s lack of shows it was immaculate. Darwynn walked me to the auditorium and he and Ant both took a step back behind me as I pushed open the doors. I was really doing this.
I took a deep breath and stepped into the darkness of the room. I felt energy of all sorts around me. But up on stage sat a throne, and in it a man who was bristling with power. “Why if it isn’t the vampire’s pet?” James called out. Behind him stood a hulking man, he had a head full of hair and a thick beard to match. He reminded me of the wolf he was.
“I need you to stop trying to blow up the Venatori. You killed a lot of innocent people today.”
“Casualties of war. And Humans are expendable.”
“So says a former human.” I quipped.
James laughed, “I wasn’t bitten, born to the cause just as you were. Though I can’t say the same for all of my brethren who have not escaped your injustice.”
“It’s not my injustice, James. I try to do right by all of you.”
“And what did that get you? Exile. Feras!”
I sighed. “You know I’ve been called worse.”
There was hissing all around me as I walked towards James Wright – leader of the CCB. His people hissed and chanted Feras in a low murrmur that followed me up to the stage. The aisle filled with my people Ant and Darwynn directly behind me and the New York City wolf packs filling all the empty spaces. The tension was high.
“Why are you here, boy?”
“I told you.”
“You know I won’t stop because you asked me to.”
“I can try right?” I grinned at him.
I vaulted up on to the stage and gave the king a flourishing bow. “I cha…”
Charles Saunders stepped between his King and myself and growled at me, “I challenge you to the rule of the Ascendant.”
I laughed, I hadn’t thought about that. They thought it was a title, something earned not born to it. “Sure.” I said. “Rules?”
“There are no rules, pretty boy. To the death.” He said even as he charged me.
“Okay.” He was therian – which meant he was super strong, super fast and super healed. And yeah, his bite could kill me. But he was a wolf so chances are I was safe. That DNA file I caught only a glimpse of, had werewolf written in big bright letters. I hadn’t really had time to read it. But I understood it well enough.
My mother had come to the Venatori because of a rogue werewolf attack on her family. She was the sole survivor. Bitten but alive. But my mother never changed with the next moon – or any moon there after. My mother carried the genetics to become a werewolf. Her children could become were’s. But she would never turn. The full moon didn’t affect her and she was essentially human. Except she wasn’t and when I was born I inherited the same genes. Being half Venatori I was also part werewolf. It had explained a lot in those few moments before I let the wolf inside me go. It was pack magic for certain when I stepped out of the way of the charging bull before he slammed into my mid section. He stumbled past me and took a few second to collect himself.
He was wolf. I pulled every bit of my power to me, everything vampire, and wolf, my cesari magic and I let it flow outward. I didn’t do anything with it but I heard the gasps from the crowd around me and in front of me the man who was charging me again fell to his knees, cowed by the power.
Behind me James Wright hollered, “Finish him. One must die.” He laughed. “You can’t do it boy! How do you expect to beat me.”
I looked out into the crowd not on the stage and each and every one of them except the alphas were kneeling. Ant stood tall. Darwynn was bent to his knee but not nearly as low as everyone else. Dom and Adrian were standing and James Wright behind me sat in his chair unphased.
Mercy would not do here. I walked up to Charles and knelt down and looked him in the eye. “I’m sorry your wife left you, but it has nothing to do with me, you should have stayed behind him.” I reached up and grabbed his docile head and I snapped his neck with a move the Venatori taught me. It was quick and easy and I had won.
I stood up and turned to James Wright. “Since I was so rudely interrupted let me say it again. I challenge you to the leadership of the CCB.”
“Your tricks won’t work on me.”
“Same rules?” I asked.
“You really are just a kid.”
I grinned at him. “Just checking.”
James stood up from his throne and took a step towards me. He cracked his knuckles, “This will be fun.”
“I just want to clarify that anything goes?”
He growled. “Yes.” He lunged at me aggravated and I stepped out of his way. I didn’t want to fight him but I knew I had to do this.
His hands grew to claws and he attacked again. He anticipated my movements and landed a blow with his claws against my side. I felt the sting and pain of the slashes. He slashed again and again and I was barely able to get up a shield to block his blows from landing against my body. I backed up with each blow and he kept coming and now he had me pinned against the curtains. All I was doing was defending myself. I had to end this.
I embraced my power and pulled air in and I wrapped it around James’ heck and then tugged. It was how I had killed Emerson and the moment I felt the power take his life and the werelion fell to the ground in a heap.