Grabbing my other sword from where it had fallen from Ezra’s fingers, I turned my attention to the mother-fuckers who had shot him. My f**king man. I growled in fury. I had never felt like this before. My mind was hazy, misting as I began carving my swords into the approaching Coms, floating into a black shroud of protection and ferocity.

I saw no one but my enemy. Heard nothing but Ezra’s heart as it began to slow. Scented only his blood as he continued to bleed out. Felt only the leather under my hands as I moved in a continual circle. Tasted single-minded vengeance as I slaughtered.

I screamed as I progressed, never having moved like this: with absolute focus zeroed in on the next Com that came into view. My arms, wrists, and hands worked in concert with my swords, which had become natural extensions. My thigh stopped bleeding, and my actions only became that much faster. That much more deadly. With each Com I took down, it still wasn’t enough, as Ezra’s heartbeat slowed even further.

Time flew by in splatters of blood and in the screams of the fallen.

I let one sword drop and drew my gun, shooting across the circle as I took care of the other side with my sword. As I began to weaken, tiring, my eyes glowed sharply and my wolf pressed to take over my strength. My mind.

I let her, my wolf in agreement with the woman as my fury’s voice became hoarse. And I still screamed. The black haze enveloped me as my wolf peered out through my eyes.

Protect Ezra.

Kill any other mother-fucker who neared.

Protect.

Kill.

Protect.

Kill.

Time seemed to pause as I snarled, my head darting back and forth. My nostrils flared in the odd silence. Scanning the area as the wolves began to circle me, I saw two people left standing, both with black and red hair. They stood staring at me. I snarled at them, raising my gun. And suddenly, they were gone.

Protect.

My hand moved, putting my gun away, and I jogged to my dropped sword, picking it up as I continually scanned the area. I scented no other prey close by, although those two who had disappeared were still near, and I growled in the direction I smelled them before running to Ezra. My wolves circled us, protecting, watching for any enemy.

Brushing aside a lion cub, I threw the dead Coms from Ezra’s body, and a little girl stared up at me. I paused, sniffing her. No threat. I ignored the mute girl. Ripping Ezra’s shirt down the front, I probed his wounds. None of the bullets had left his body. There were three still inside. My head dropped back and I howled in sorrow, my wolves joining me even as their feet never stopped moving, doing as ordered.

I sliced into my wrist and held it to Ezra’s mouth. With the silver in the sword the wound stayed open longer. I snarled when he didn’t latch on. Smacking his face only produced a grunt, his eyes never opening. I sliced my wrist again, shoving it against his mouth. Some of it had to be going down. Resting my forehead against his, I kept up this process even as my wolf grew tired, the woman long past exhaustion.

Protect.

I felt wetness coat my cheeks and fall to his as I blinked blurrily at his closed eyes. He was getting cold. He was never cold. I whimpered, nuzzling his cheek with mine after cutting into my wrist again. He needed warmth.

I lay down beside him, covering him with my coat as much as possible, keeping one wrist to his mouth. My head fell against his shoulder when my wrist closed again, and I listened to his heartbeat slowly thump, my movements sluggish and my mind working at a slower pace. But I still heard sounds behind me. The wolves began growling, their tails twitching as they kept their rotating circle moving.

Voices. The sounds were voices.

I growled, fumbling for my gun. My fingers wouldn’t release it from its clasp, so I grabbed a sword from the ground, which was much heavier than before. Pushing up and stumbling to my feet, I pointed it at the newcomers. I swayed as I took them in.

It was the two I had seen before, now with four others and a lion cub leading the group. They ran in our direction, moving between the fallen enemies. I snarled at the two that had run away earlier and they stopped. The other four kept approaching. One of brown and blond hair, one of brown, one of yellow, and the other of black hair.

Protect.

Kill.

Placing a foot over Ezra’s unconscious form with the little girl cowering behind me and peering around my leg, I got a better grip on my sword. Cocking my head, I pressed my will onto the wolves to kill. They snarled and began creeping forward.

The four men and cub stopped.

The black-haired one held a hand out to the others, stepping forward to crouch. His eyes glowed navy, and he growled back at the wolves. I felt his own will pressing, and I pushed back, releasing mine to the maximum strength of what I was able. His eyes met mine and he growled loudly even as I wobbled, shaking my head to stay conscious.

I felt when he gently broke through my control. His will overran my order, and the wolves broke apart, lowering to the ground just as I fell under his control. Lying over Ezra’s body, I was barely able to lift my head as I snarled at the black-haired man, holding my sword out in his direction. He was moving forward slowly, the others following behind him even as the brown-haired man shouted, the brown- and blond-haired one holding him back.

The black-haired man held a hand out to me as if he meant no harm, but he growled low in his throat, telling me he was an alpha. I snarled back, placing my free arm under Ezra’s head and holding his face close to my neck.

Protect.

He watched, his head cocking.

I felt the press of his will.

Then nothing. Darkness.

Chapter Twenty-Five

My eyes shot open to blinding white light.

I jolted, sitting up.

I rolled, falling heavily onto a cold, hard floor.

“Queen Ruckler, stop!” a man shouted, the voice vaguely familiar.

Twisting, I squinted into the brightness, my eyes darting. I was in the infirmary at King Cave. There were medical beds throughout the room, and the Mage that had worked on me previously after my bout with Elder Kincaid was standing at the end of the bed I had fallen from.

He held his hands up, saying, “You’re alright. Try to calm yourself.”

“Ezra,” I stated instantly, my voice hoarse and my eyes going to the other beds. “Where is he?” I remembered avidly the events at the beginning of the attack. The last bit was a little blurry, once he was shot, but I remembered Elder Merrick’s face at the end.

The Mage’s eyes carefully blanked. “Queen Ruckler, you need to—”

“Fuck off. The only thing I need to do is find him.” I slammed a shaking hand down on the bed, and hauled myself on wobbling legs. The white gown they had put me in was drafty, and I shivered as I got a better look at the occupants of the beds. Ezra wasn’t there. “Where the hell is he?” My heart knocked, dread hammering me.

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