17. Negotiating Gone Wild

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Abel didn't retake his seat, leaning over Adam's chair and eyeing the stranger alpha like the pup posed a threat to his little brother. In Abel's eyes, most were. "I don't give second chances," He ground out. "Spit it out, pup."

"It's alpha!" One of the betas with unsightly bed hair slammed a palm on the table.

Both brothers shocked them all when any indication of possible understanding or emotion wiped clean and left their faces blank. If there had been any doubts of them being related to one another, those would be gone within seconds. "It is soon to be beheaded pup if you dare speak to Alpha Abel like that," Adam's voice was soft, deceptive and carried well when everyone was silent. "My brother is the alpha here, not some annoying child who is biting off more than he chew. You are a brat and a guest. As such, you will address him with the respect he deserves."

A hand dropped down onto Adam's curls and rubbed at his canine ears. "Impress my brother and I'll consider hearing out your proposal," Abel rumbled, pinching one of Adam's ears for added measure.

"Mr. Adam," The alpha turned to him this time, smiling in an attempt to charm. "My pack and I have come to meet over trouble with the neighbouring packs. My mate, she was unfortunately involved in an accident with her father and they... they passed on."

Karma then, Adam thought as he grimaced. The visitor didn't smell of mourning, a tang of deceit in his scent. He put on a good show but he did not miss his 'mate'.

"I took over his pack but the integration isn't going as well," Alpha Tyrone murmured while feigning a grimace. "His nephew is vying for the alpha title. In the case that he is successful, it will keep our packs separated and many are agreeing with him."

"Keep the packs split, do the smart thing of separation and make a treaty for his ascension," Adam stated, shutting his book with care and eyeing the visitor. "I know that nephew through an old friend of mine, who vouches for that nephew's credibility as a leader. He was raised for that, to be the alpha of his pack."

"It is mine by rights of mating, however that child was raised," Alpha Tyrone murmured, lips pulling back from his teeth. He couldn't keep a lid on his anger when blindsided. "He has outright challenged me and before I can actually accept his challenge, the pack must be united on the front of accepting the victor. I am sure I will win and take over, however, there is the threat of the more stubborn becoming an issue."

"What is more important to you, Tyrone? Your pack's stability and ongoing health or another notch in your belt as an ineffective alpha?" Adam prompted, oblivious to the utterly adoring smiling on his brother's face and slack-jawed expressions in everyone else. "I know just as well as many others do that you are known for your flippancy and manipulation. I think you will be lucky to leave with your life."

Adam laughed at the outrage colouring the puppy alpha's face. "We came here in peace, for a discussion and you'd be breaking the Council Accord if your pack were to attack one of our own," Alpha Porter's second with a thick note pad in his lap stated, nose in the air. Adam felt his cheek muscles ache with the smile stretching over his face. Oh, these young ones could pretend to be all knowing and assured but Adam had lived through seven revisions and two Council revolts on these laws. He knew the Ancient decrees before the age of seven and those were still in the governing bodies, still in effect. Fancy words or not, an eye for an eye counted.

"The Accord also states that if there is prior issues or insults to the affected party, they also have the right to end neutrality in the case of no mid-point being reached," Adam retorted and watched with a slight smile as Tyrone tensed, eyeing him speculatively. "Prior issues may involve acts of cruelty or hatred towards a family member, refusing to honour their oaths and, but not limited to, breaking Mother Moon's sacred rites. You, alpha Tyrone, grievously harmed one of my dearest people and by default, my brother."

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