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THREE

My suffering started from my birth. My birth had been inauspicious. I'd been thirty-two weeks in the belly when my mother went into labour on a Friday, the thirteen day of the month. On the day I was born, a storm started from nowhere and ravaged the pack, uprooting trees and destroying houses and businesses. Of course, that day was marked as a cursed day, a day of ill omen for the pack.

Throughout that day, my mother tried to push me out despite me not being due for at least another six weeks. The doctors had been preparing to cut her open after a long day of excruciating labour when I came out at almost midnight. My mother died after my first cry and it was settled from then on.

I was the ill omen.

It didn't help that the storm calmed at midnight.

It may have been a coincidence but what did it matter? I was born on an ominous day and then I killed my mother. My father lost his mate because of me and even as a child, he never let me go for long without the reminder that he hated my existence. I cost him his mate, the most precious being to him on the planet. To him, I fought too hard to be born and because I was born an omega, he told me I had no reason to be alive.

I was always small for my age, timid and weak. While other children hit their milestones at the right time, everything about me was delayed. I could not walk until I was three and had difficulty speaking until I turned five. My existence disgraced my father, a renowned Beta of a powerful pack.

When he looked at me, I saw anger and hatred in his eyes even before I knew what those emotions were. I remember once, as a child, after going weeks without seeing my father, he returned from a trip and I ran to hug him. Tears gathered in my eyes when I remembered how hard he shoved me away from him that day.

Since the Beta had no regard for me, no one in the pack paid me any attention. My mother was a beloved member of the pack and even as a child, I had to endure the hands pointing me out as the useless and cursed child that took her life. Why were the circumstances of my birth unlucky? Why did I have to be born if I had no relevance to my family and my pack? People would whisper and sneer at me, and my teachers who used to be my mother's colleagues would frown sternly at me. All the time, I had to live knowing that I was bad luck and not worth being born.

I tried all my life to prove my value, to show my pack that I was not worthless but now, the desire to prove myself to people who did not have any affection for me was gone. Silver Moon did not need me any more than I needed them. I had to leave this place before Kade could stop me.

All the things I packed, the little possessions I gained throughout my life, I would have to leave them behind to move quickly. I opened my purse that was stuffed deep inside my ratty handbag but what I saw made me blink twice.

"No." There was no way this was happening to me. "He can't do that. Goddess, let this not be real." I ransacked my bag, ripped apart the compartments of the purse, turned my bag and shook out its content but nothing.

My savings were gone.

"No way." I started to scatter my packed bags. Sweat dripped down my face as I moved around the room, overturning things.

I searched under the bed, in the holes of my torn carpet, the bags I packed but now unpacked. I checked my pockets, my shoe, everything in that small place but I knew where I left the money but it was not there anymore.

"Kade, you bastard –" I choked down a sob as I continued to check everything. I searched for hours, until three in the morning, I was searching for my lost savings but deep down, I knew the money was gone.

He took it. The realization was something I did not want to acknowledge. It crushed my soul to admit that all the money I gathered for over a year to leave this hell had been taken by that bastard.

"What should I do?" I paced my room.

Without a doubt, he would not give it back to me. A hundred thoughts sped through my mind. I could steal it back from him or make a fuss in public until he gave it back. None of that would work.

My back hit the ground as I fell with a sob wrenching from the deepest part of my being. Why would this man continue to torture me like this? I had never done anything to offend him. I never did anything wrong to these people and I never meant to kill my mother! What did I do to deserve this cruel treatment?

"I have to get out of here." I could not allow myself to wallow in self-pity. Continuing to cry now would not solve any of my problems. Kade had my money and he would never give it back. Did I want to stay here until I made more money to leave?

You will never leave this pack!

I stuffed clothes into my handbag in a hurry. It would be stupid to delay now. I had to get out of this pack no matter what. Whether or not I had money did not matter at this point. What did was that I left this hellish pack and stayed hidden long enough for my bond to the pack to break.

To the east of Silver Moon was no man's land. If I managed to cross out of this pack to no man's land, I would be in Blue Blood pack lands in a few days. From there, I could leave for the human territory a few miles from them. I did not have the money to board a train or book a flight but I had a wolf to run.

I hefted the bag over my shoulder and crept out of the pack house. In an hour's time, the other workers would start to wake to prepare for Kade's succession. I would have to shift and run as fast as I could before anyone noticed my absence. As today would be a busy day, I hoped no one past Maria would notice my absence. In fact, I prayed no one noticed my absence, especially not him!

Asena, my wolf, ran as fast as her legs could manage. We leapt over branches and twigs, fueled by the urgent need to escape but a low, wretched howl made us slow down. Asena stumbled on her feet as she skidded to a halt when we heard that howl again.

"What is that?" I asked my wolf. Her ears perked up as she listened for the sound again.

"An animal is hurt. It sounds like an ordinary wolf." She pawed the ground in unease. The need to flee beat at us but ignoring that wretched cry for help was not an option.

"Could it be Rena?" I asked. My wolf shook her head. She would know Rena's scent better than me not just because she had better senses than me, but because I used to shift in my free time to play with Rena in my wolf form.

"It is not Rena but we can still check it out." Despite her unease, Asena's large heart, as always, made her put someone else before herself.

We agreed to check it out and my wolf bounded over to the direction of the sound. My heart ached when I saw the condition of the wolf. It looked as if it had been abandoned by its pack and ended up being attacked in its weakened state. I would like to know what attacked it but I had no means of communicating with ordinary wolves. Even Asena did not understand the language of non-shifter wolves.

I shifted as I approached the wolf whimpering on the ground. I noticed the blood oozing from its wounds the closer I got. The sheer quantity of blood pooling around it made me nervous. I approached with caution, careful of spooking the injured wolf but it was too feeble to move.

Squatting, I pulled clothes from my bag to put pressure on the bleeding but nothing I had could wrap around such a big wolf. In a panic, I pressed my hands against the biggest injury. My hands met open flesh and gooey blood that made my stomach churn.

"The wolf is going to die," Asena said in my head. "His injuries are fatal."

Despite not knowing this wolf, the thought of losing it made my heart ache. After losing Rena, I stared helplessly again. I pressed my hand harder into the wolf's injury.

"Asena, what can we do?" I asked my wolf.

The weight of everything that happened in the past twenty-four hours crushed me. I did not know this wolf but I could not leave it to die!

Something like a jolt of electricity passed through me. The tingling sensation made me take a step back then I noticed the bright light in the darkness of the night surrounding the forest. My hands were emitting a bright white light, like a bulb!

"What is this!?" I screamed in my heart, my heart palpitations almost driving me mad. "Why am I glowing!?" I slapped my hands together to put out the eerie light but nothing happened.

"This –" Asena whispered in awe. "I can't be certain but it feels- this is the healing light."

"What is the healing light?" I kept clapping my hands together to turn off the lights but I only succeeded in hurting my palms.

"Put your hands on the wolf!" Excitement rang in my wolf's usual dead voice. "I am certain this is the healing light!"

I put my hands on the wolf like she instructed and to my horror and amazement, the light encompassed the wolf, covering it and brightening until I had to close my eyes against the blinding white light. Still, the light penetrated and hurt my eyes. It went out as fast as it came, the light dying and leaving behind a blanket of darkness.

I peeked my eyes open slowly. Looking down at the wolf, I saw it as stiff and quiet. Did I kill it!?

"Oh, it's asleep." I placed a hand on its fur matted with blood. "I have to go now and I hope you don't feel I abandoned you when you wake up." I pressed a kiss to its eyelids and stood on shaky legs. It felt as if the light zapped out my energy and with the thought – healing light – I staggered to my feet.

I had power.

The thought made my knees jerk underneath me so I shoved it to the back of my mind. Satisfied that the wolf won't die, I focused my attention on leaving Silver Moon. I could not afford to dwell on my discovery or to wait for people to notice my absence.

"Stop right there!" An unfamiliar voice boomed in the darkness, making me turn like a robot. Two men had guns trained on me when I turned.

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