OMG (That's Oh My Goddess, you guys!!!), 5 thousand people read the last chapter! That's 5 thousand of you totally mad at me right now for not updating fast enough. *hides under the table and trembles in fear*

It's 9:09 right now, on Friday. I feel like I keep posting later and later, so this weekend I'm going to pretend I live in Australia. Say, Melbourne or Sydney? So I'll be posting the chapter while it's still Monday there--and Sunday here! So like, almost a whole day early!!! What do you think?

Okay, on to the dedication: this chapter goes out to cassie764, the first member of the Official STAWP Art Contest Judge's Panel. The Judges get to help me decide on the prizes, and so far we've come up with some really good ones!!! If anyone else wants to be a Judge, inbox me. 

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Logan

Logan, get Saffron home, Father orders. I'll take care of everything else.

I nod in acknowledgment and reposition my arms so I have a good grip on her wolf form. Her head fits perfectly in the crook of my elbow as I cradle her warm body against my chest, and her fur feels soft against my bare skin. Her chest continues to rise and fall with each breath, and if I focus, I can pick up the steady beat of her heart.

Alright everyone, lets go, Father orders as soon as I start toward the house.

At first, I jog slowly, trying to get a hang of running with her in my arms. I try to keep my upper body stiff and my arms strong, since the last thing I want is to jostle my mate, but I can't keep her from bouncing with each step.

Take Nisha and Joshie back to the house, Father shouts the order, presumably to the kids' parents.

Yes, Alpha, they reply, and then I hear more footsteps behind me.

Cleanup, you have five minutes, Father orders the next group of wolves. As the name implies, this group is trained to clean up any evidence that might make some unsuspecting human freak out and call the cops. They do monthly timed drills, dividing the battlefield, covering up blood with dirt, and gathering up shredded clothes. Even though I can't see them at work, I can picture them doing it now.

Tanks, take the Rogues to the house, Father issues the next order, his voice so faint I barely pick it up. Tanks are big and muscular, but they're not the pack's best fighters, the way Warriors are. In battle, they always get the tasks that require brute strength, like carrying the enemy to the pack house. Or chaining up Rogues in the dungeon, and then putting the fear of the Goddess in them during interrogation.

Father shouts more orders, but I pick up the pace until I'm running at wolf speed, and quickly get out of range of the link. Although I can no longer hear what he's saying, I know intuitively what his orders must be. I know how to coordinate everyone and make sure they're all in sync and doing their job. Father's had me practice in drills since the day I turned twelve, and now it's all second nature. If my mate hadn't been hurt—if she hadn't been all I could think about—I would have been right there next to him, issuing orders and getting this done.

I take a clearly marked path that leads to the pack house and watch for rogues as I go. I can see Jasper's tracks on the path ahead, so I can assume it's safe, but assumptions got us in this mess in the first place. The girls had assumed the walk home would be safe. Why shouldn't they, when there hadn't been a rogue attack in our town since before I was born? None of us really understood Father's warnings about being prepared in case of an emergency. We all knew there were rogue attacks in other towns—we all heard the stories—but until today, I don't think any of us really understood.

Alpha sent us to escort you, a voice announces over the link and then two Warriors catch up to me. What they really mean is protect, but I don't protest. I let one of the Warriors get ahead of me, taking the lead, and the other stay behind me, covering my back. If they vigilantly keep an eye out for an ambush, I can focus all my attention on my mate.

"Shift, Saffie," I remind her, hoping that she can hear me. Her chest moves up and down, and Doctor Dev's bindings hold, stopping the bleeding. I repeat the words, over and over, but she doesn't wake up. She doesn't shift.

By the time we get halfway to the pack house, I'm too out of breath to keep moving, let alone talking, so I start to link. I'm not sure she can hear me when she just learned to link, but I have to try. Shift, I chant, like a mantra, in time with each step. If I focus on repeating that one word, I can pretend my back doesn't ache and my arms and legs aren't on fire. Even though I'm a wolf, running while carrying my mate isn't easy and this afternoon's basketball practice, coupled with the run to get to Saf, has really done me in.

I think I'm on the verge of collapse when Father catches up to me and shifts into human form. Let me take her, he orders, but he still waits for my nod before taking my mate. As soon as I agree, he scoops Saf up into his arms and continues to run. The fact that he manages to speed up—to almost double his pace—is a testament to how tired I am and how much my body aches. I was running as fast as my feet would carry me, and yet that wasn't nearly enough.

I shift into my wolf, giving my body a chance to rest. I'm so much faster as a wolf that the grueling pace suddenly feels more like a leisurely jog. It lets me catch my breath and regain my strength so I can run in human form. There's no need for me to shift back since Father can carry Saf, but I need to see her face. I need to watch her chest rise and fall. I'm afraid that if I don't, she won't be okay.

Saffron's a strong girl, Son. Father tells me as soon as I shift back. I wait for him to add that I shouldn't worry—that she'll be okay—but I know he can't promise me that.

Who were they? I demand. Why did they do this to us?

Rogues, Father growls and I can hear the pain in that one word; the venom. Rogues killed his parents, my grandparents, before I was even born. Rogues destroyed my cousin Hunter Sky's pack, murdered Father's sister and her mate—my cousin's parents—leaving Father and my then fourteen year old cousin to pick up the pieces. Both times, the rogues went after the Alpha and Luna, killing them on sight. Both times, the pack avenged the dead, and the rogues lost. Only the dead were never our age—they were the adults, the pack leaders. What was so different now?

Why didn't they go after you and Mother? I demand. Or me and Jasper? Why attack the girls? And the kids? And why take Jess? None of it makes any sense.

I have some theories, Father growls, but we'll find out soon enough. When they wake up, we'll commence the interrogation. If the Sprinters don't get to them first, or the Trackers. Either way, we'll make each and every Rogue pay for what they've done to this pack, this family. We'll destroy them for this.

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Did you like this chapter? 

If you'd like to find out what happened to Logan's cousin, Hunter Sky, check out my other story, Hunter's Luna.

I know a lot didn't happen in this chapter, but there'll be some drama in the next one :) I don't know if that's good or bad news, but it is what it is, right?


♥ I know I'm totally behind on comments. I can't reply to everyone, so I'll be replying to a few of the more recent comments whenever I log in. ♥

♥ If you want to chat with me in real time, we can pick a time once a week when we can all hang out in the most recent chapter and I can respond to comments/questions/etc (just no spoilers). Not sure anyone would actually show up to do that though, so it's totally up to you guys. ♥ 

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