seventeen

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A/N: on the fifth 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 felt like a rockstar walking out the front foor of the pack house and onto the lawn. Mother's and Children stood in all the windows, some pouring out onto the lawn to watch the warriors, dressed in their leathers, leave. The group that congregated around the forests edge looked fierce, their faces showing every ounce of fury that they felt.

Illyria approached the biggest group, the towering men parting like the red sea as she passed. Not only was she their Luna, she was a warrior, and there was no greater proof of devotion from a Luna than to go into battle by their sides; though the practise was rare, Luna's often being cherished and protected.

Alpha Logan smiled as he caught sight of her, his eyes drooping showing his exhaustion that being without his mate had obviously caused. Illyria felt her heart clench, knowing that Alpha Nick should've been here with them too. "You ready for this?" Alpha Logan asked, looking up at the sky as the clouds moved across the blue canvas, the sun slowly inching it's way towards the west.

"As ready as I'll ever be," Illyria affirmed, her hands fiddling with pieces of hair that hung down the nape of her neck. Alpha Logan nodded, calling all the warriors to attention. Illyria ignored his speech, catching herself glancing up to the only empty window in the house; Tristyn's bedroom window. Her heart clenched but the warrior cries that were released into the atmosphere tore her from her distraction. It was time for her game face.

Slowly the men started pouring into the forest, their boots rhythmically pounding against the dirt as they jogged. Illyria allowed her mind to go clear, blank as she went over her instructions. She was in the second wave of the attack. The first being the groups that take out the patrol guards. After they were taken down her group, comprised of Pierce and both pack's best fighters, would storm the right side of the compound while the other group took the left. A few of her group members would split off to battle the guards and other lurking rogues, while the rest of her group would infiltrate the Rogue Alpha's headquarters with the intent to find the prisoners.

Their main instruction being to take no prisoners, kill and kill quickly before moving on and checking for prisoners. "The rogues are ruthless," Alpha Logan had said, "so you need to be too."

The words had chilled Illyria to her core, but nonetheless herself, and her wolf, were in agreement. When it came to the rogues, it was kill or be killed. There was no other choice.

The group of men Illyria followed slowed, in turn causing Illyria and the team at her flanks to slow. The sky had darkened to a purple hue with streaks of red and pink like paintbrush strokes over the horizon. Illyria pushed to the front where a group stood watching the guards, waiting for them to turn their backs and the newer patrol guards to arrive. Ten seconds passed, and then thirty. A minute. A minute and a half, and then, there. The patrol guards moved, their replacements calling out from a few metres behind them.

Illyria snuck back to her team, all the warriors from the south arranging themselves into their positions while assuming the men surrounding the perimeter did the same. As though a silent signal rang out through the air the first wave of the attack began. Illyria watching with a detached facination as the men silently approached the patrols, attacked. It was over before anything even began and though that was a good thing Illyria found herself oddly disappointed; it was clear that her wolf was out for blood.

The first wave of men signalled for Illyria's team, and though unpractised, her group of warriors began moving silently, speedily and in perfect synchronisation, making it towards the first drop spot in record time. This is where they split, Illyria stopping by some trees while some of her group moved foreward taking out the lurking rogues. Once again it was over before it had even started, there wasn't even a whisper in the trees of death. Another strange sense of foreboding fell over Illyria and once again it was ignored. Her usually green eyes shifting to a black, her wolf on the surface ready to break free.

Illyria's team waited, and since no sound came, no hint of an knowledge from within the compound, they charged. Illyria was the first through a side window, finding herself in a storage room filled with canned foods and sealed packets of cigarettes. Her team followed as she approached the door, listening intently to the other side. There was the usual sound of squeaking footsteps, and loud male voices reverberating through the hallway, sensing no threat Illyria twisted the doorknob.

A man stood on the other side, a cigarette in his mouth dropping to the floor as he noticed the warriors. He opened his mouth as though to scream, and then he fell to the floor, Pierce already having moved forth and broken his neck. And such was there advance. Quiet, and deadly. As they moved deeper into the tunnels, checking each door they came across, they left a wake of fresh corpses and yet no sound, just that of their heavy breathes, and the occassional ruffle of fabric.

As they came to the underground section the number of rogues increased and therefore so did the number of bodies left behind. Unknowingly they hit an open section, a cafeteria almost, and that was when the chaos started. Rogue men jumped to attention while women screamed and ran. It was pandemonium and yet, Illyria and her team moved through with surprising ease. Only four members staying behind incase more rogues happened upon their path.

With the previous chaos it was safe to assume that the element of surprise was well ruined for them, so they began with the pack brutality. Kicking down doors left right and centre. Punching out lights and cameras until they came upon a desolate looking stretch of tunnel, mostly concrete, though the ground was gravel. Only a light bulb every twenty five metres, dimly illuminating the path.

Illyria began to move forth with precaution, Pierce now on her right, almost infront of her, protecting her. The light bulb above them began to swing, a breeze shooting through the stale hallway and then, darkness.

Then a low, gravely laugh rang through the tunnel raising the hairs on Illyria's arm. Everything about it was familiar, and everything about it illicited memories of her being strung up like a pig after the slaughter. If it were possible her eyes would've been an even darker onyx shade than they already were.

Pierce sighed, "is that-?"

"The Rogue Alpha," Illyria confirmed.



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