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A/N: on the third day of christmas gen10 gave me to me, another chapter of gentle predator..... (let's pretend it rhymes). To get everyone into the holiday spirit, and to count down the last 12 chapters of this book, I thought I'd post a chapter a day until christmas! Merry Christmas you guys! 

Illyria awoke to a rhythmic beeping, and a stinging sensation of something sharp in her arm. Blinking away some of her sleep the dull ache of healing wounds revealed themselves on her stomach. Aching muscles protested as she shifted on the hospital gourney, and the rough, papery fabric of the hospital johnnie rubbed on against her senstive skin like sandpaper.

Illyria sat up and wiped the sleep away from her eyes. On the bedside table she found a glass of water, and instantly she recognised the dry feeling in her mouth. "Luna Illyria! You're awake?" A nurse exclaimed, rushing into the room to check Illyria's vitals. Time passed in a daze as a cavalry of doctors and nurses pass through her hopsital room, all offering news on Tristyn's healing, food and well wishes. Illyria wished nothing more than for it to be over.

"You look like hell," A voice spoke from the doorway, causing Illyria to turn her head. She faintly recognised the man as Pierce, Tristyn's future beta, were he to take over as Alpha of the Lycan pack. Illyria looked at him with a raised brow, "surely that's not a way to talk to your Luna." Her voice was quieter than intended, but he heard her all the same, approaching her bedside with the distinct smell of male dominance and Lycan.

"That's true, but maybe my Luna will forgive me when I tell her that there's a stratgey meeting going on down the hall with all the warriors, to get back the Lunas, and your friend Jessah."

"Jess," Illyria corrected, pulling out the various wires and needles stuck into the crook of her elbow. Alarms sounded and nurses rushed into the room but Illyria stopped them with one glare, swinging her feet over the edge of the bed and placing her bare feet against the cold tiles. "You sure you should be doing that?" Pierce questioned, moving forward and placing a hand on her lower back to support her. "You sure you should be question your Luna?" Illyria shot back, grabbing a pile of sweat pants and singlet from the room's couch and heading towards the bathroom.

"Fair enough." Pierce replied, leading Illyria towards the door. Illyria felt herself smile, and moved into the bathroom, stopping to turn towards Pierce. "You know Pierce, I think we could be good friends," Pierce smiled cheekily, "with all due respect Illyria, not when you're dressed like that." Illyria bit out a laugh, "screw you Beta,"

"Again, no thanks Luna," Illyria shook her head in silent laughter as she closed the bathroom door behind her, making quick work of the hospital johnny and changing into warmer, more modest clothes. Within a minute she was out of the bathroom and standing infront of Pierce, pulling her slightly greasy hair into a slick, high pony tail.

Pierce smiled, the dimple in his left cheek popping as he held out a familiar pair of worn blue converse. "Can't have our Luna going barefoot now can we," he pretended to faint, "what would the elder's say."

"The elder's would say nothing because the Luna can do what she wants," Illyria smirked, pulling on the shoes while Pierce let out a low whistle. "Look at you bossy pants, telling it like it is."

"I'm just keepin' it real, homeslice," Illyria shot him a cheeky smile and made her way into the hospital hallway. Various pack members and doctors slowed to watch her walk by, Illyria was confused by the attention, but ignored it, hoping it would disappear. Pierce mindlinked her, 'it's because you woke up less than six hours ago, from shitty injuries, after two days, and now you're walking around all brand spankin' new. They're in awe and also really proud that their Luna healed that quickly.'

Illyria bit her lip as anxiety filled her, when people placed their pride and hope in a person, it only created pressure to succeed, and the opportunity to dissapoint. Pierce however bit back a smile, 'my my, our little luna's modest,' Illyria chuckled, "Shut up Beta."

A few more steps followed before they stopped outside of a large carved door, already having found themselves through the pack hopsital and into the pack house, now just standing outside of the strategy room. A large study room designated for war meetings and patrol plans; a room Illyria had never before been subject to enter. And now as loud angry voices reverberated from behind the heavy oak doors, Illyria found herself wanting to run, wanting to hide.

Pierce stood flanking Illyria, waiting for her to push open the doors and enter. Illyria sighed, hanging her head forward before squaring her shoulders and pushing open the doors. Immediately a tense silence fell across the room. Illyria raised her hands in a surrender as she approached the unused spot at the far end of the table. The place used for visiting Alphas. "I come in peace," Illyria spoke, her eyes meeting Alpha Logan's, but before he could respond an older gentleman, probably the current Lycan Beta, spoke. "Pierce, what is she doing in here? I thought we told you to keep her away-"

Pierce opened his mouth behind Illyria to respond but she held up her hand to stop him, her eyes now trained on the beta. "I forced him into bringing me. I used a Luna command. Surely you can't berate him for that," The older beta opened his mouth to respond but Alpha Logan cut in, "It's fine Illyria, please come in. How are you doing?" Illyria offered him a small smile as she moved to sit in the Alpha spot. "I'm good thank you, slightly achey but I'll live."

Alpha Logan smiled and began to fill her in on their plans so far, and slowly but surely Illyria had a distinct idea that these men had a point of difference, their allegiences to their packs overruled their ideas of reason. Instead of trying to work together it was all a display of testosterone, a lot of small arguments, taking them further away from their original plan to save the Luna's and further towards a 'mines-bigger-than-yours' scenario, than a happy ending with the Luna's save at home.

It took Illyria less than ten minutes to draw this conclusion.

"Gentlemen," Illyria spoke for the first time, drawing all the eyes to her. She cleared her throat and straightened up her posture, "You have no ideas, do you?"

Illyria spoke with a raised eyebrow, the men opening and closing their mouths, with no sound coming out. Obviously Illyria drew the right conclusion. "How about this," she spoke, leaning forward to look at the map of Pack Territories, and the No-Man's-Land that lay beyond them. She turned towards a warrior, "where exactly where the original breeches of the territory?"

The warrior came forward, pointing to three spots on the North West of the map. Beyond that dead space lay another Pack's territory. Illyria turned to the Lycan Beta. "Could you please call the Alpha of that territory, ask him if there have been any recent attacks on his pack and where the breeches on the patrol happened."

Illyria's commanding voice left no room for argument, but the Lycan beta still turned to look at Alpha Logan for the go-ahead before retreating to the office. The room was silent as Illyria leaned back in her chair and waited for the Beta to come back. A few minutes later, he did.

"Luna," he nodded respectfully approaching her side of the table and pulling the map closer to them. "Alpha Gregory has said that there have been a few attacks, and the breeches have happened here and here," he spoke, pointing to two spots on the opposing territory line. Illyria stood, grabbing a ruler, a red pen, and a piece of tracing paper. Placing it over the map she began to mark out the spots where territories were breached in red. Once done she leaned back, "well gentlemen, looks like we have ourselves an area to search."

The men stood with open mouths as they realised what this meant. Illyria sat back down, "well what are you still doing here? Organise a search." The Lycan Beta nodded, and walked into the hallway with all of the men following, now only Illyria and Alpha Logan remained.

"My, my little Luna. What are we going to do with you?" Alpha Logan spoke, amused, Illyria just shrugged. 

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