Chapter Thirteen

~Shane~

I quickly got up, now that I could since my wound was gone and hurried back into the cave. She got up and followed me into the cave and down the long tunnel.

"Shane, come on, you're going to have to eventually," she pleaded.

I didn't respond, I just kept walking until we were in the enormous part of the cave. What she saw then made her stop and gasp.

Now, to really help you understand the absolute enormity of this cave, it was a like a bowl cut in half at a diagonal so there was a roof over the ground just outside, but it was embedded into the side of a cliff. But the bowl would have to be about the size of a mountain. So think like… 100,000 feet high. Inside the cave circling the edge was a large ledge about sixty yards, cutting into the cave's center (which was still like, a hundred yards in diameter). In the day time, we had torches lit all around the edges and on every place that might still seem dark after that.

Now, what you aren't expecting is the houses; built into the sides of the cave on the large ledge, there were small, doorless cottages that we used even when we were wolves. And above the first ledge was another ledge. And above that another. It was like shelves that just kept going up until the top, making six shelves in total, and on each ledge were about ten houses, with ramps leading from the ledge above to the ledge below.

But what surprised us both was the amount of people. There were at least one hundred some adults, let alone the children. I knew we had the largest pack that we knew of, but I hadn't imagined this many.

I felt a tap on the shoulder, and I turned to find Jayden and Brent. Brent motioned for me to follow. I nodded, leaving Jayden and Lacia alone behind me.

~Lacia~

I watched Shane walk further away into the cave, and I started to follow, but Jayden grabbed my shoulder.

"We cannot follow," she said solemnly, not looking at me.

"Where are they going?"

Suddenly, her eyes darted to me sharply. "You may think you're like us, but you're not. You're still just a human being. And if you hurt Shane, I will make sure the same is done to you," she growled lowly.

I frowned, taken aback. "What? But I… how could I hurt him?"

She rolled her eyes. "He may be strong and tough, but he still has feelings."

"What? What are you talking about?"

For a moment, she just sat looking at me as if I was the stupidest human alive. "You really are dumb, aren't you?" she asked. "Wow, Shane, great pick," she muttered, not really talking to me anymore. "Leave it to that over protective, good natured idiot to pick a totally idiotic, careless girl who is more worried about what she wants than making sure you're comfortable-" she started.

Whoa. Hold up. Who did this chick think she was talking to?

"Excuse me?" I snapped, interrupting her.

She stopped, then narrowed her eyes at me. "Oh, you heard me, honey."

And suddenly, something blew in my mind right then. "Okay, just because you think you know who I am doesn't mean you can just go and make bitchy judgments about me, who's been through a hell of a lot more than even you have. And I'll have you know that I care a lot about Shane. He's the only real family I have left so just shut the hell up, Jayden. I would do anything to save him. He's like a brother to me," I snapped, my eyes narrowing to little slits.

She sighed, dropping her eyes to the floor. "Yeah. That's what I was afraid of."

"What? What do you mean?"

"You don't get it do you?" she snapped, looking up at me again. "Shane-"

"Jayden!" someone called from behind her. I looked over her shoulder to see Brent. She turned to.

"What is it?" she asked calmly, as if she hadn't been pissed less than a second ago.

"Father wishes you. Both of you," he added, looking over her shoulder at me.

I nodded, pushing past Jayden and walking forward, past Brent. Within seconds, they had both caught up to me and Brent was leading us to Silas.

We were half way there when I got the sudden feeling that something was wrong.

"Brent," I whispered.

He raised an eyebrow, turning back to look at me. "Yeah?"

"Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, everything's fine," he said, his brow furrowing in concern. "Why?"

"Oh, no reason," I said hastily.

He shrugged, turning back forward. He brought us down another stone tunnel that led off somewhere. After a while of walking, the tunnel began to brighten until there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We were almost at the end when we stopped at a door about a yard and a half from the end of the tunnel.

Brent knocked once… Twice… Three four.

Suddenly, the door swung open and a man with sharp features and deathly black eyes opened the door.

"Well, hello there," he crooned, and suddenly, an invisible force pulled us into the room.

Inside, we found Silas, Bryce, and Seth. Both of the boys had a somewhat pained look on their face. And kneeling on the floor, his hands suspended behind him, was Shane, a piece of string tied into his mouth so he couldn't say anything. He was also shirtless, and it took me a second to realize why. My stomach did an unexpected lurch when it noticed the puddle of dark liquid pooling around him. I gasped and attempted to step back, but found I couldn't move.

Shane looked up at me, his eyes wide and regretful. His face was pale, probably from the loss of blood and looked like he would fall over if he wasn't tied into place.

"Alright, boys. We have the girl, we can let the others go. Bring the boy," he said gesturing towards Shane, taking a step towards me.

"No, Crucian!" said Silas. "You will not harm the girl," he warned.

"Oh, I assure you, the girl will come back unscathed. What better way to hurt her then force her to watch her beloved be whipped to death?" the man named Crucian asked, a menacing look in his eyes.

I felt my eyes widen as they shot to Shane, then when I found him looking back at me, looked down, feeling my cheeks redden. But I quickly looked back up Crucian, giving him a dark glare.

He met my gaze for a long time, then turned back to Silas. "Fine, if it's really worth it, she will come after him. You can keep her. For now. But as for the boy… you might as well say good bye now. Bridgette?" he beckoned.

It took me a moment for the name to sink in. Suddenly, a cloaked figure stepped out of the corner, pulling the hood back, to reveal a head of bright red hair.

"Bridgette?" I gasped.

Worst. Day. Ever.

"Surprise, Lacia dear," she mused evilly.

"Bridgette…" said an anguished and devastated voice Bryce.

Suddenly, the evil, manipulative front melted as she spun to him. "Bryce, I…" she trailed off, and for the first time ever, I saw actual sadness in her eyes as she looked at him.

Crucian sat watching them for a while as they said nothing, his eyes darting back and forth between them, as if waiting for something, then turned with a growl of frustration. "Come on, bring the pup. We'll see you quite soon, I reckon," he said to me, an evil grin momentarily spreading across his face.

And within seconds, they were gone. I ran out the door and to the entrance of the cave, but they were nowhere to be seen. I sighed, dropping onto the ground. Suddenly, I felt a warm hand lay on my shoulder. I looked up to find Silas.

"Come, now, Lacia. We must get inside in case they come back for you," he said, gazing into the surrounding forest.

I shook my head, standing up. "They won't need to," I said quietly.

"What? Lacia, Shane knew the price of becoming your guardian. He has saved you, has nothing to regret," he said, trying to drag me in by my arm.

I wrenched my arm away from his grip. "But I'll have to live with myself for letting him go! It doesn't matter if none of you care enough to go after him, but I am, whether you're with me or not," I stated plainly, then turned and started to walk into the forest. I was going to save Shane, alone or not.