Chapter 83: Plans in Motion
"S-Scarlett Haven dies with S-Sebastian White,"
I murmur, turning to look at my father’s corpse.
"My f-father never thought I-I could be y-your Alpha and none of y-you bestowed upon me an ounce of
ki-kindness despite my i-innocence.As such, I-Il cannot trust y-you all will follow or re-respect me as y-
your Alpha and I-I refuse to lead y-you," I say, shaking my head at the Scarlett wolves.
"I-I will renounce the alliance with Crescent Mane and will f-formally hand y-you over to Onyx
Stone.They will decide y-your fate."
There are murmurs amongst the crowd of Scarlett wolves but they all seem to fade away when I again
feel a pain in my chest.
Grayson whines.She needs us.
As I turn to leave, however, the Ravenstone wolves begin to ask their own questions.
"Alpha, what would you like ustodonow ?" Tylen asks, his eyes glaring at the Scarlett Wolves.
"Do we take them as prisoners? Do we take their weapons and detain them?" I look around at all the
faces now turning to me for guidance and I desperately try to sort out my thoughts and my worry for
"know it’s overwhelming, but just take it one step ata time," Toran mind-links me.
"Look around you.What is the most pressing matter at the moment? What needs to be done first?"
Taking his advice, I scan the area and find the first few issues.
"I need volunteers to collect the bodies of our fallen soldiers.They deserve to be put to rest with the
utmost respect for their sacrifice.Someone should also search for General Taryn’s body in the water.I'd
like to give her a proper burial," I add quietly, noticing Toran shield his face from the prying eyes of his
pack for a moment."We will hold a Moon Ceremony sometime this week for everyone.
Three young men immediately step forward.
"We volunteer to find the general " one of them says, the young wolf bowing his head in respect to
"Thank you ," I reply.
"Someone, please check on the bunkers and make sure everyone is accounted for.I'll also need a few
of you to survey the island's and create a full report on the damages we endured and what repairs
need to take place immediately.As for the Scarlett wolves, take their weapons, gather them all together
and take them to receive medical treatment -"
There are a number of disgruntled growls in the crowd but Grayson puts his foot down and glares at
them for their disobedience until the wolves fall silent.
"The war is over and we are not Scarlett Haven _," I snap, the wolves lowering their gaze in shame.
"We will treat these wolves with respect because we are Ravenstone and we are not cowards who
harm those who are already down.They are to receive medical treatment, food, and will be left
unbothered while I arrange a meeting with their King.Whatever grudges you hold against them, bury
them now.Am I clear?"
"Yes, Alpha," they reply in unison, though I can tell not all are not pleased with my decision.
"Good, let’s get to work then ;’ Lreply, the wolves dispersing to complete their tasks.I stay a while to
oversee their work and give orders whenever necessary.At first, it's awkward, but I quickly find a rhythm
as a leader and grow comfortable handing out tasks.
"I have a few contacts with neutral packs that can arrange a meeting with King Arthur and Alpha
Richard for the transfer of power," Toran offers.
"We can have this settled as early as tomorrow morning and get you home to your mate in time for her
"Thank you," I sign, Toran puffing out his chest with pride.
"My pleasure," he says via mind-link.
"You're doing well, by the way.Keep it up and you might just build your own mother pack in no time." I
shake my head at him, the fear of Talia’s reaction to my new title filling my thoughts.
"You fear your mate may be angry with you for accepting my title,"
Toran observes, leading me towards the pack house.
"T-Talia has already been Luna and she w-was unhappy in h-her role," I say quietly.
"And you believe she will be unhappy by your side?" Toran asks and I nod silently.
He takes a deep breath and we walk in silence for a moment.
"Being a female leader in a male-dominated society is a challenge many fail to see," he finally says.
"Their voices are often drowned out by Alphas who talk over each other to see who is loudest.They are
easily overlooked and often degraded simply because they are women and men know what’s best for
their pack," he sighs.
"But failing to acknowledge a Luna’s power and importance more often than not leads to the downfall of
a pack.I assume Talia’s experience as a Luna was soured by the lack of respect her Alpha had for
her?" He asks and I nod.
"Then never forget to respect her.Listen to her opinions, take her advice when needed, give her a voice
because the world will be hell bent on silencing hers.Make her your equal and you will always have a
Luna willing to stand by your side.
"Rionna and I were a partnership.I never moved a finger without first consulting her and she
reciprocated that trust.When there is mutual respect and shared responsibility, your pack grows
stronger.Respect Talia and she will be proud to be your Luna."
"Perhaps you should take your own advice," Grayson says, taking over momentarily.
Toran raises an eyebrow in confusion at me.
"Aren’t you the man who handed his wife divorce papers based on an assumption?"
A sheepish smile spreads across Toran’s face and he looks ahead as we approach the pack house.
"I guess I am," Toran chuckles.
"So perhaps you should listen to your wife before you make decisions for her," Grayson says smugly.
"Maybe then you’d realize she’s more willing to forgive than you think.Toran doesn’t reply but I can see
the cogs turning in his head as he rethinks his divorce.As we arrive at the meeting room, a soldier runs
in with our clothes and hands me my phone.
"Your phone has been ringing nonstop, sir," he says before running off to finish his other duties.
There are over twenty missed calls and at least thirty text messages from Talia.I hurriedly call her back
and at the first ring, she picks up, a sob immediately escaping her throat.
"Zane?" She whimpers.
"Zane, are you alright? Are you hurt?"
"l-It’s okay, I-I’m fine," I reply, hearing a small sigh of relief from her.
"Wh-what’s wrong? Are y-you and K-Kota okay?"
"No, I’m not! Christian took Kota!" Talia cries, my breath hitching as my world suddenly goes very still.
"Wh-what?" I stammer, unsure if I heard her correctly.
Hearing the concern in my voice, Toran stops changing to listen.
"We were at the mall and he was playing at the play center.It was only a second and he took him!" Talia
"He took our baby!" she cries angrily.
"I can’t breathe, Zane, he took my baby! He took my baby and he hurt him!"
A terrifying snarl ripples through my chest when her last words register in my ears.He dared touch my
son? Grayson roars, his fur bristling as he trembles with rage.
"W-what did he do?" I ask through gritted teeth, desperately fighting to contain the hatred coursing
through my veins while combating the urge to strangle someone.
"There’s no time for that," Talia says.
"I’m on my way now-"
"I’m in Maine already," she explains.
"Celina teleported me here and I am on my way to Silver Crest now to get our son back."
"Ta-talia, no," I say, shaking my head despite her being unable to see me.
"I-it’s too dangerous to go there on y-your own.Wh-what if it’s a trap and he h-hurts y-you."
"I’m not alone," Talia retorts.
"Rionna and Jordan are with me-"
"Y-you took my mother with y-you?" I snap, Toran equally upset that his wife has been put in danger.
"You went to war," Talia snaps, a bit of resentment in her voice.
"You don’t get to pull the danger card on me.I didn’t know what else to do and I couldn’t sit around
waiting for you to answer your phone! Kota is scared and alone with aman who’s completely lost his
mind.I’m not going to sit here and wait for Christian to hurt him again."
"Ta-Talia, p-please just wait a few hours," I say back, hoping there’s a chance she may rethink this.
"I-I’ll be on the first plane to Maine and go with y-you.P-please, just stay put."
"I promise I’ll be careful," Talia replies.
"But Kota needs me now.I’m not waiting for you.Please understand."
"l love you, Zane," she murmurs, hanging up the phone.
I ring her back, but Talia doesn’t answer, my distress soaring as I think of what that man will do to her
when she inevitably breaks his delusion and he sees that she now belongs to me.
"I-I need to get on the f-first f-flight to Maine," I say, Toran sensing the urgency.
"l get the jet ready for us."
Kota wakes up by the time I finish signing the paperwork and he helps me clean up the mess in the
We make bubbles in the sink and have a dance party after finishing each chore to keep the cleaning
In the bedroom, we play Simon Says and have a pillow fight where I let Kota defeat me in battle.The
little boy asks to build a fort and we gather our supplies from the bedroom to construct it in the living
As we drape the blankets over our framework, the door knob jingles.My heart rate soars as Jack steps
into the house, a scowl on his face when he sees our mess.
Sensing my fear, little Kota stands in front of me, puffing out his chest and spreading out his little arms
to shield me from Jack’s wrath.
"No! Go away, you bully!" Kota growls.
"I don’t like you!" Jack smiles with amusement.
"You know you are really starting to get on my nerves, little man.I blame your mother for spoiling you."
Kota huffs angrily, flaring his little nostrils at Jack.
Jack pulls out a picture from his wallet of his wedding with Talia and holds it out to the little boy.
"You still think I’m not your daddy?" He asks.
I beg him, pulling Kota behind me to shield him from his father.
"He’s just a little boy.He won’t understand your relationship with Natalia.He grew up without you.You
can’t expect him to love you right away when there’s another father figure in his life."
"Natalia should have told him about me!" Jack snarls.
"But she didn’t," I retort.
"In Kota’s mind, you’re just a stranger with a picture.Try to understand that he already has someone he
Anger burns through Jack’s green eyes as he glares at the little boy, but a sinister smile curls on his
lips that sends shivers down my spine.
"He'll call me daddy soon enough," he smirks.
"Once I marry Natalia, everything will sort itself out."
I don’t respond for fear of what he might do to that pup, but the extent of his delusion worries me.I just
hope Talia is prepared for what’s to come.
"Are the papers signed?" Jack asks as he turns to search for them.
"On the kitchen table," I nod, Jack laughing with satisfaction as he snatches them from the table.
"Good," he snickers, flicking through the pages to make sure they are all signed.
"If it’s any solace," he says as he looks up at me.
"You were a good f**k," he adds with a smirk.
"But nothing compared to Natalia." I cannot help the tears that spring to my eyes, and I am ashamed
that his stupid comment hurts me so much.
"You can wipe those crocodile tears, I’m not falling for your s**t," he snaps and I quickly wipe them
"You can’t honestly tell me you didn’t know you were nothing compared to her.You are an utter failure,
Nessa.As my Luna, as my wife, as a daughter, as a sister, as a f*****g woman, you were a
disappointment and no matter how hard you try, you will always be a disappointment.Just look at
you.You turned, got pregnant, and were still too weak to protect your own pup, meanwhile your sister
was rejected, demoted, and still managed to give me an heir."
"Stop," I whimper, unable to bear his assault any longer.
"Why?" he asks.
"Why hide from the truth? Why not face the fact that you are a waste of space?"
"Okay, I get it," I murmur.
"And you should never forget your place in this world, Nessa," Jack sneers.
"This way, you'll never ruin someone else’s life." He tosses a bag of clothes at my feet and the blanket I
"Here’s the s**t you wanted. Get him dressed and put him to bed."
I hold back my tears as he storms away, finally collapsing on my knees when he slams the door shut
behind him and leaves.Kota runs up behind me and hugs my head to comfort me.
"Don’t cry, Nanessa," he whispers, patting my hair with his small hands.
"He’s just a meanie.I like you,"he says with asmile.
"I like you too," I murmur.
The plane ride to the south goes off without a hitch, though my guilt eats at me as I ignore Zane’s calls.
"So what’s the plan?" I ask, hoping to take my mind off Zane.
"Well," Jordan sighs.
"Vanessa has Kota at the cabin.Christian doesn’t expect you until morning, so I say we head to the
cabin now and you and Rionna take Kota home.I'll deal with Christian."
There’s no way we’re letting the Gamma handle this, Devina snaps.I want to bathe in Christian’s blood
for what he’s done to our pup.
"No," I shake my head.
"No, I'm finishing this once and for all.I want to look Christian in the eye and make him pay for
everything he’s done to me and Kota.I’m coming with you to face Christian."
"Nat, I don’t think that’s a good idea."
"He'll never leave me alone unless he sees me," I retort.
"I need him to see that despite everything he put me through, I’m better off without him.That I’m finally
happy in a way I never was with him and that he will never live another day to touch my son again."
I turn to the back seat.
"Rionna will go to the cabin to retrieve Kota.Micah and Nikki will keep an eye on Brody here and make
sure the path is clear for Rionna to get Kota safely out of this miserable place," I instruct and point to
"You and I will go meet Christian at the pack house and finish this."
I see the uneasiness in Jordan’s eyes but my mind is already made up.I cannot live in peace knowing
Christian still breathes after tonight.
With everyone’s role sorted out, Jordan drops off Micah and Nikki near the edge of the forest just
outside of Silver Crest’s territory, Nikki immediately shifting to patrol the area while Micah ties Brody to
We drive onward, Rionna and I hiding in the truck bed under some tarps in case any Silver Crest
guards spot Jordan’s truck as we make our way to the cabin.
"s**t, there’s a lot of guards around here,"
Jordan mutters under his breath as we approach the pack territory.
A few moments later, he begins to curse.
"There’s a checkpoint up ahead.I need you both to not make a damn sound while I figure out what the
f**k is going on here," he hisses, slowing down the truck as we approach the check point.
"Jordan, you’re back!" The guard says as Jordan pulls up to the guard post.
"Where you been, man?"
"Washington on another wild goose chase in search of Christian’s missing Luna," Jordan laughs.
"Ah well, like father like son," the guard jokes.
"Alpha Christopher appears to have lost his wife.Can’t seem to find her and he’s got all of us searching
high and low for her.Not to mention, Luna Vanessa is also missing.Not that we miss her ...but you
know.She is Luna."
"Damn, I leave for a week and y'all lose all the Lunas," Jordan chuckles.
"Yup," the guard laughs.
"Well, if you don’t mind, I have to check the back."
My heart pounds in my chest when he says that, both Rionna and I looking at each other and holding
"Be my guest, but it’s kind of a mess right now.I’ve been sleeping there all week," Jordan says with a
"No worries," the guard says as he opens the tailgate of the truck bed.
In my nervousness, I feel the urge to sneeze, my eyes widening as I hold my breath.We hear the
guard's footsteps walking around us and see the bright light of his flashlight scan the area.
Beads of sweat gather on my forehead as he moves the tarp a little and pokes around with his baton.
Jordan clears his throat.
"Yup," the guard says, walking away from the truck bed.
"You’re good to go, Gamma."
Jordan replies, putting the car in drive.I count to twenty seconds and finally sneeze when I feel the car
take a sharp turn and the road becomes bumpier before pushing away the tarp for fresh air.
"That was close," Rionna sighs.
We remain in the truck bed in case of any further checkpoints and only peek when we feel the car
come to halt.
"We're here," Jordan calls out, opening the tailgate for us to climb out.
My heart races anxiously as I stare at the lonely cabin in the woods and I rush to the door, nearly
bursting into tears when I find it locked.
"Kota?" I shout, knocking on the door.
"Kota, it’s mommy! Kota, I’m here! Mommy’s here!" I cry, desperately trying to open the door.
The door suddenly swings open and I stumble into the cabin, crashing into something hard.