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Duncan watched from his seat in the arena. Steele had found some of the zest Duncan had hoped to rile up, and took down one of the werewolves that were sent in to kill him. It was an interesting matchup. In the stands around the circle of the arena, werewolves, both changed and in human form, gathered taking in the action. The walls vibrated with howls and growls with profanities and jeers thrown in.

In Steele's mind, he refused to focus on the fact that Amara was dead. What he did focus on was the fact that he had gone back on his word. Steele prided himself on being a man of his word so that guilt rode him hard. Amara had been dead a long time, and he had left Nerina to the same fate. He had left Bile and others to the same fate. He could have saved them but instead—Steele shook off the sidetracking emotions. He had to live to escape to salvage something—anything.

While Steele was occupied in the center of the arena, Duncan was being given a message. The body hurtling down and landing almost on top of Steele had him looking up. What came next was Duncan jumping down into the ring half changed. He growled at the werewolf that had been fighting Steele, and the one he had thrown down from the stands. Both cringed, heads bowed leaving him alone with Steele.

Steele was ready for him. Their fight had been long in coming. Long before the Grand March, long before Duncan had left the clan. Duncan went back to human form, rolling his neck and his shoulders. In a loose circle, they moved around facing each other, waiting for the other to make the first move.

"It appears your friend has survived."

Fury was radiating off Duncan in droves. Nerina was alive and she had managed to draw Duncan's attention. That was both good, and bad. Steele kept his face blank not allowing his relief to show. She was alive, but that did not mean she would ever be able to forgive him. Not that he could blame her.

"She is resilient."

"Resilient," Duncan spat. "I hope she's more resilient than your precious Amara. It would be a shame to lose someone else you cared about. Although," Duncan said, holding up a finger, "something tells me this woman does not mean as much to you as Amara does. Pardon me," Duncan said with a wolfish smile, "did."

A tick in Steele's jaw was all Duncan got. That was enough. He was pushing the right buttons.

"I'm already your prisoner Duncan you don't have to bait me to kill me." Steele opened his arms wide. "Here I am." Steele tilted his head to the side. "You have won. You killed my father, you killed my mother, and you killed the woman I love. You may have already killed my friends and you have taken my home from me. What else do you need to be satisfied?"

"Your pride," Duncan said his teeth gnashing together.

Steele dropped his arms slowly back to his side. "That you will never get." His voice held firm. "How did it feel to kill your Alpha?" It was his turn to push some buttons.

"You killed him," Duncan shouted back.

"We both know that isn't true but you are the Alpha now. You have won. Look around you," Steele said looking around, "you have all this and yet you have nothing."

"Watch how you speak to me."

Steele held his hands out from his body again. "Kill me. Silence my insolence in front of all these people. You know they remain silent out of fear more than respect." It was a dare.

A howl broke the silence followed by another, and then another until the chorus rang out loudly around them. As the Alpha, Duncan could literally feel the emotions, the fear, the warning from those who had sounded the alarm. The werewolves in the arena became agitated moving about, but clearly waiting for the orders from their leader. Two more howls came and Duncan howled changing into a massive werewolf, fur a glossy black as he did. His eyes were the shade of a burning fire.

When he spoke, the words went directly into Steele's mind. "What have you brought amongst us? That woman—"

"She is hardly a threat." Steele wanted to keep Duncan's attention on himself.

"Hardly a threat?" Duncan spat, taking a step closer to Duncan. "She tore down the back door to hell."

***

Nerina stood on the pile of bodies she had created laughing hysterically. Her head and clothes were soaked in blood. So much that they clung to her skin. So much blood that it stained her skin and teeth red. Nerina could feel the power surging through her body creating sparks in every cell.

She loved it. Needed more. She looked towards the portal as the ground began to quake.

"This is going to be fun."


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Author's Note:

Fun for whom exactly?

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