Chapter 10

I found myself on the ridges above the lake, laying down with my paws over the edge. The other wolves eventually scattered off to go on patrol or to hunt. I just lay there, still feeling numb. A lot has happened today, over the past couple of days. Don't worry, Father, I will protect this clan, even if death is the only option.

Sooner or later the question popped into my head as I pondered my situation. Why did Grandma give me this necklace? I phased into my human form and, sitting Indian style, I took the necklace off and examined it. I know you're doing something to me, but what? Hmm. Maybe Mom will know. I put the necklace down, took out my phone and texted her to meet me on the ridges.

Mom walked over in her human form and sat down next to me. "You needed to ask me a question, darling?" Her voice was soft.

"Yes. Mom, on my way to get the Oswego clan, we went past Grandma's house. We visited her and, well, she –"

"Darling, Grandma died last month." Her baby blue eyes scanned me up and down. The only emotion I felt was confusion and fear. Mom could sense it. I knew she could. "Darling, why do you ask?"

I held up the necklace, "She gave this to me the other day, Mom."

Mom was speechless, and she looked at the necklace for a long time before she spoke. "I. . . I. . . That's. . ." She reached her hand out to touch it, and then froze. "Aubrey, that's Grandma's necklace. How did you get it?"

Mom sounded exactly how I felt. "Mom, I told you. My clan and I saw her the other day. She told me the story about your father. Then she gave me the necklace."

I saw blank eyes staring back at me. "Aubrey. You have been given a marvelous gift."

"What gift?!" I yelled. I had too much on my mind to be told this.: half of my family dead, including my own father; the Sons of Ebony, loose and prowling. Now, I have been given a gift? A gift of what? Pain and suffering? Because that's all that this necklace has made me feel.

"Yes, darling. Grandma was given the gift from my father after he died. He appeared, but only to her. I honestly have no clue what power this necklace holds – I've never asked." He long platinum hair draped over her as she stood and walked to the edge. "All I know is that only the greatest leaders ever had that gift. Please, my child, understand. I am very happy for you, but many malevolent wolves and humans have tried to take that power. You need to be careful."

Standing up, I walked over next to her. "Will do, Mom, will do." I put the necklace back in place, and let out a scream as sheer pain jarred my body. This time, though, I heard thoughts in my head, but they were not my own. They were in another's voice.

"I need to make it out alive. Aubrey, please, I'm sorry. Forgive me. I should've known better then to fall in love with you. If I make it out alive, I'll be the friend you need right now."

The voice sent chills up my spine. It sounded so familiar, but I couldn't place whose it was. Everything around me seemed to stop as I heard a howl from Comegy out in the distance. In sync, Mom and I jumped from the ledge, landing in the water below. We swam until our feet could touch the bottom, and then took off in our wolf forms.

We arrived at the school where a fight had already broken out between four of my packmates and four wolves I didn't recognize. Looking over at my mother, she let out a growl and took off into the huge fur-flying fight. I couldn't make any sense of what was going on. Why did my mom do that? She usually just stays back until needed, or if asked to fight. Scanning around, I saw Bloodlust. She ran into the school's trees. Instinct took over when I got a whiff of Xavier come from that direction. Within seconds I was at Bloodlust's back paws and in sight of Xavier, who stood was in front of her. I jumped forward in the hopes I could latch onto her neck. I missed, as Bloodlust jolted sideways in another direction, away from Xavier. I barked, and Xavier looked over his shoulder and realized it was me. Backing up in a painful daze, he tripped over an uprooted tree and fell to the ground.

Phasing I landed next to him. "Xavier?!" I screamed, scanning his body and finding scratches and a bite mark. "Xavier, please answer me!" I started to sob, as I could hear his heart beat drop quickly. "Don't leave me, please. I've lost so many already, I can't bear to lose you. Not now, not never." My neck started burning as if it was on fire.

I continued my plea. "You didn't fall in love with me. We fell in love with each other. I'm so sorry, I'm sorry I couldn't protect you. You are my true love, Xavier. All along the way you were. I should have been here for you – oh, if I could I'd take it all back! I would make things right." I put my hand over his chest and his heart began to race, as though he were running a marathon. His eyes flung open and he tried to catch his breath.

"Aubrey, look out!" He pointed behind me.

Turning around I saw Bloodlust in midair. I clenched my fist and heard a growl from deep down inside my human throat. My hand jolted up, and having grabbed her throat, I flung her into a tree. CRACK! I heard a whimper as the tree broke and fell. In front of the broken tree, a human girl lay, broken as well. I didn't know what to make of it. The Sons of Ebony are half bloods like us? This doesn't make any sense! my mind screamed.

The girl stood up, and I sensed the anger flowing through her veins. Quickly phasing, she took off in the direction of the battling. Phasing and putting Xavier on my back, I tried catching up to her. I felt so weak and fatigued that I couldn't keep up. Once I was back at the school grounds, the other wolves were gone. All that remained were my packmates.

"Report," I ordered as I reached them.

Comegy spoke first. "I was patrolling the grounds when I heard screams. So I ran towards them, coming upon Bloodlust and three other wolves, all fighting with Kia."

Glancing at Kia, I saw that she was marked up badly. "Was it an ambush?" I directed the question at her.

"Uh – well. No." She lowered her head. "I saw them attacking Xavier and I figured I could take them."

I snarled at her, "I told the pack to howl if something went wrong!" I bared my teeth in frustration. "You're off of patrol!"

"No!" Kia yelled.

"Until you can learn the responsibilities of being on patrol, you're either going to hunt for the clan or watch the young." I shot daggers at her when she tried to object. "Go on, Comegy."

"Well, like I saying, I saw a group of wolves attacking her, so I alerted you. Just as I finished, I saw Fang appear from where you took off after Bloodlust, and Mike appear in the opposite direction. We all attacked." He laid down to licked his injured paw.

"You guys did the right thing. I am proud of all of you." I walked over to Comegy and licked his ear and forehead to comfort him.

"We wouldn't have been in that predicament if Kia had just alerted us to begin with." Fang was just as mad at her as I was.

"I was trying to protect the Xavier boy!" Kia exploded with anger. "If I didn't attack them, then he would have been killed!"

"You should at least have howled while attacking! Ugh! Kia, you're not Alpha. You're barely strong enough to bring down game!" Fang matched her anger.

"Yes I can!" she leaped towards Fang. Just as fast, Fang leap towards her. Kia hit the ground.

"That's enough!" I barked. All eyes were on me. "There will be no attacking pack-mates in my clan!" Fang got off her and sat down. "Kia, thank you for trying to protect Xavier. But you should have called for backup. No one, not even your father, could have went up against those odds and lived to tell the story. Your spot still stands, though. You will hunt and watch over the young. On occasion you can go on patrol, but under supervision." I had spoken. Ren stepped out of the bushes, walked over to Kia, and helped her clean her wounds.

"Listen to Aubrey, Kia." I was glad Ren was on my side, reinforcing me.

"Yes, Dad." Kia spoke in a defeated tone.

I smiled at Ren, thanking him for backing me up. A favor for a favor, I figured, and decided to share what I had just discovered. "Ren, the Sons of Ebony are half bloods like us."

Rejections arose between Ren and Mom. "What do you mean?" Mom spoke.

"That's impossible!" Ren bared his teeth.

"It's true. While all of you were fighting, I saw Bloodlust take off into the forest after Xavier. I was right behind her as she jetted off in another direction – or, well, so it seemed. Xavier tripped over a root and fell. I went to go aid him while he pointed behind me and, well – I somehow managed to fling Bloodlust into a tree with my human hand. As I walked over to see if I had killed her, there lay a human girl. She soon got up and took off, phasing back into a wolf." I finished all in one breath. But I left out the part where I basically brought Xavier back to life, because I had a feeling it was the safer thing to do. I looked around to doubt filled, confused eyes.