RED

I could hear faint voices in the background. When a cold drop of water fell on my face, I opened my eyes dazed.

” Find her! She could not get too far! ” I heard a harsh voice address others around, by the sounds made of rustling leaves and snapping twigs. Fuck! I probably blacked out from exhaustion on my way to the city, as I found myself lying face down on the snow. The dawn was near and Id lost the chance to reach Wolfhagen under the cover of night. My plan went to hell. Whats more, the hunters caught up with me! Fuck, **, **! I quickly got up, picked up my weapons and started sprinting through the thick trees.

” There she is! Get her! ”. My deep steps were heard, but they were too close to go for a stealthy escape. The red cloak didn help too much either. A branch cut through my cheek, drawing blood as I ran, pursued by four bulky hunters. At least I was well rested now, probably slept a couple of hours like a corpse. I jumped agile over a big log that blocked the middle of the path, as one of the hunters tripped and fell, cursing the gods.

I grinned and continued the chase until I reached a small clearing. I could see the city gates through the trees. ” So close! I have to get rid of them now! ”, I thought, halting my steps right in the middle of the meadow. I turned, facing them and smiled like a mad woman. They too had evil expressions plastered, ready to strike. My advantage was that they still needed me alive. Adrenaline rushed through my body as the first one attacked. I easily parried his blade and kicked him hard in the stomach with my foot. The second tried to catch me off guard from behind, but I crouched at the last moment, slicing his knees and rolling out of the way. He screamed and fell, the snow around him becoming red. The third stinking man caught me by the hair and pulled, making me yell in pain.

” Let go, you bastard! ”, I rotated angrily, feeling strands being ripped from my scalp. I punched him in the face and opened up his gut in the commotion, blood spraying all over me. He tried to cover his neck, but he died quickly, choaking. I suddenly heard lots of steps approaching from the far end of the woods, but I had no time to look, as the last hunter jumped me. We crossed blades until I managed to put him down.

I panted tired, sweat dripping, teeth gritted from the effort. Just when I thought I was safe, my eyes fell on a large pack of wolves, waiting at the edge of the trees. I gasped, taking in the size of them. Five large beasts, as tall as I was, watched me intrigued. Their leader, I taught, by the way they all surrounded him, took a step forward. His fur was exquisite and thick, a combination of gold and grey tones. His intense gaze was fixed on me and I felt it burn on my skin.

” Good doggy! ” I heard myself say, but it wasn my voice. It sounded weak. There was something about this wolf that made my heart skip a beat. Maybe it was just the fear, that sky rocketed when the whole pack howled wildly. I started walking backward, trying to come up with a plan. But there was nothing I could do. Running was pointless. Fighting all of them was also impossible. This was the end of my adventure. Killed by wolves, just like my mother. I should have known better, damn it! At least I will take some of them with me. I managed to gather some courage, as my grandmas smiling face crossed my mind.

I raised my weapons and yelled, ” Come and get a piece of me, furry **er! ”. Then, before I could blink twice, the golden wolf accepted my challenge and crossed the distance between us like it ment nothing. But what happened next blew my mind definitively.

All its fur disappeared while jumping mid-air, the beast being replaced by the most beautiful man I had ever seen. He was really tall, like 6 feet of firm, rippled muscles. His light skin and short platinum blonde hair resembled perfectly his wolfs fur. He had a strong, square jaw and the most stunning sapphire eyes, glowing in a non-human way. But what I felt first was his manly fragrance. He was so close that it hit me instantly, an earthy aroma of wood, but spicy at the same time, like cinnamon. My mouth fell agape, trying my best not to sniff him out like some freak. He towered over me, trying to be intimidating. Which he surely succeeded.

” Who are you calling a furry **er? ” he said, sounding amused, but threatening as well. His voice was a deep rumble, that made me vibrate to the core. I stood there frozen, looking at this godly man, not knowing what to say. I swallowed hard like a stupid little girl, the air around us electrifying. What was going on? Not being able to stop myself, I let my eyes travel down his body. The left part of his chest and arm was covered in tattoos, depicting a tribal wolf, in Viking art style. It was incredibly detailed and it made me wanna touch it.

Then, I finally noticed that he was completely naked and I flushed a deep shade of red, as I regarded his large manhood. It was the first time Id ever seen a mans sex and I turned my gaze away, feeling extremely shy and hot. How could I miss that?! He smirked, as he studied my reactions closely.

” Wolf got your tongue, lass? ” He joked, clearly enjoying the way I was squirming in his presence. I cleared my throat, trying to look the other way and say something smart.

” You…you
e a… Lycan ” I stated awkwardly. Really, Capitan Obvious? God, I had to get a grip.

” Does that bother you? ”, he said visibly worried and his expression became serious. He raised his hand, whipping the blood off my grazed cheek. When his fingers touched my face, small sparks erupted everywhere, calming my injured skin. A small breath escaped my lips and his too, probably feeling the tingles as well. We looked into each others eyes for a moment that felt like forever. I almost didn notice that beside us, another naked man appeared. Seriously?! Two in one day? This one was almost as tall, but was younger, not so buffed and had chestnut hair.

” Sorry to interrupt this cheesy moment, but we have company! ”, he said alarmed and pointed out at a large group of hunters on the other side of the meadow. I could clearly see Theon and his father leading them. They had furious expressions, shooting us death glares.

” Shit! Thats Cernunnos! Erik, we have to go now! There are too few of us to face him! ”, the young man said, clearly aware of his enemys power. When I heard his name, I snapped my head and looked at the fair-haired lycan.

”Erik? You are Erik König? ”. So he was the one I was looking for? My supposed connection or lover ? Did he just come to rescue me? I blushed, thinking that I was lucky indeed, but I shook my head, not being the proper time for naughty thoughts. His eyes widened at the sight of the God of Hunt and turned quickly to me.

” Yes, the one and only! Now listen my flower, we need to get out of here, so you will ride me! ” he ordered in a hurry, pulling me by the hand.

” Excuse me? ” I raised my brows, blushing even more at his choice of words and also because of the cute endearment. ”Riding ” him was not exactly what I needed to focus on right now.

He noticed, his lips curling into a smirk and added ” Don worry love. We will get to that too! ”. Before I could say anything, his bones snapped, shape-shifting back in his wolf. The transformation was amazing to watch and it happened almost instantly. He looked at me, his blue eyes still unchanged and leaned lower so I could climb on. From the other side of the clearing I heard Stefans violent scream ” Don stand there looking stupid! Get them now!! ”. So the hunters, with Theon in toe started sprinting in our direction. They were keen on catching Erik, their whole attention being on him. I wasted no more time, hopping on Eriks back. His fur was incredibly soft and I felt his muscles contract, as I dug my fingers deep into his thick mane, grasping it firmly. I lowered myself into him, holding my thighs around his body, as he growled and started running through the woods. The heat he radiated was amazing, it made me want to fall asleep right there. I could hear his thundering heart under my ear and I swear that a feeling of utter pleasure sprouted in my chest. I still had no idea who he was, but I never felt so right about someone in my whole life. I opened my eyes, but everything around me was a blur of shapes and colors, because of the speed. The other four wolves were on our tail, moving as a team. Some arrows flew our way, but the werewolves were too fast to get hit.

Soon, I realized that we managed to lose the hunters and were almost at the citys gates. For some reason, I didn want the ride to end. I wanted to stay like this longer, tied to the warm beast. My eyes widened at the sight of Wolfhagen. It was enormous, surrounded by impregnable stone walls and a wide river. As we crossed the bridge, I could see a large group of elves fishing on the edges of the water and some women doing laundry. Ive never been outside of Eder and its small Blue Forest. The market was my only glimpse of the outer world. The gates seemed as high as the ones to heaven and I couldn help but stare with my lips parted the whole time. A big, golden coat of arms decorated it, representing a lone wolf running through the woods. I wondered how they managed to keep the secret from the rest of the world, it seemed so obvious. Maybe because now I knew? The guards must have probably spotted us, because they sounded the horn and opened up immediately.

As we passed through the entrance I had a feeling of change, of a fresh start, which scared me a little. Everyone turned their heads as the pack of wolves running along the square. Ive never seen so many people in one place. Ive also spotted many interesting shops along the way, which I planned to visit later.

Then, like a dark cloud over my head, thoughts and questions started to flood my mind. Will there be a ”later ”? Will I be able to stay here? Will it be safe? Is Erik someone I could trust? Doubting him felt wrong in my heart, but we barely met. He knew nothing about me. I squeezed his fur like I never wanted to let go, like a whipped damsel. Fuck! What was happening to me? At some point, the Lycans stopped. They all looked at their leader, growling. I realized that they were communicating in some way, as they left in a different direction.

I remained alone with Erik. He turned his head looking at me from the corner of his eye. I blushed, gave him a small smile and patted his neck fur. I was grateful he came for me. I wouldn have made it without them. The beast purred happily and continued up the hill, on a stone alley. I wondered where he was taking me. The surroundings became richer and more extravagant as we moved away from the lower level of the city. You could see impressive statues of warriors and rose bushes everywhere. Atop, on the highest point of the city, a big mansion was situated. It looked like an elven masterpiece. Its outer walls were painted with a combination of green and dark blue hues and amber leaves all over as a finishing touch. The wooden roof had intricate flowery details, guarded closely by stone wolves. I noticed it was also safely surrounded by sentries too. Behind the villa, a tall tower pierced the sky like an arrow. On its pick was a golden sun surrounded by small planets. They moved slowly in circles, which made it look magical. I stared, lost for words at its beauty. Erik watched my reaction the entire time. The lord of the city lived here for sure, as it seemed to be the best lodgings around.

Panic started to set inside my chest. He most likely took me to be interrogated by the ruler of these lands. When they will discover that I initially came here to sneak in and kill Lycans, I will be thrown into the dungeon. Maybe eaten or killed? I could lie. Tell them that I had no idea why Theon and his father kidnapped me. Although, Erik has seen my fighting skills and silver weapons. No innocent lady would carry something like that in her purse. Lying will be even worse. I sucked at it.

While I had my inner battles going on, an old man dressed in a servant uniform, opened up the great doors.

” Master Erik! You return safely! And I see you found your lady no less! ” he said with a genuine smile. ”Master? So he lives here? ” I thought, narrowing my eyes confused at the wolf. He huffed and lowered himself so I could climb down. The beast disappeared, before my eyes now standing Erik, in all his manly glory. I blushed and turned my look towards the house. The inside was as magnificent as the outer design. The same amber leaves pattern stretched on the walls. In the middle was a black grand staircase that led to the upper levels. Everything looked expensive and I started to get intimidated. I never possessed something worth more than a couple of silver coins. I felt Eriks gaze on me the entire time, arms crossed on his chest. The butler came back with a pair of pants, handing them over to him.

” Thank you, Alexander ” said Erik, as he pulled the knickers on. I could safely face him now, without turning into a tomato. Although I had a hard time trying to not drool at the sight of his broad shoulders and six-pack. ” I didn have the chance to introduce myself properly. Im Erik König and this is my home. What is your name? ”

” Im… Red ” I replied short, sounding really lame. But this was the nickname my Grams used all the time. No one, except her, knew my real name. After my mother died, I was happy to change it, in order to get over the pain and nightmares. Made me feel like a different, stronger person. He raised his eyebrows surprised.

” Red? Like the color? ” he sounded amused. ” Is this your real name? ”

” Its the one I use ” I said, crossing my arms defensively. Erik didn pray further, sensing that I wasn keen on talking about it for now. The old man turned to me smiling.

” Can I take your cloak, Miss? Also, should I prepare the tub for a hot bath? ”. I took a quick look at myself then. I was a blood and mud-covered mess. I scratched my head ashamed.

” If its not too much trouble ” I looked at Erik, while Alexander had already taken the cape from my shoulders. They both stared at the daggers tied to my belt, as they were in full view now. I certainly didn look like a ”lady ”. Eriks jaw hardened visibly.

” No trouble at all. Alex, prepare a room for her too. You will be sleeping here, for now. ” said Erik with a final tone, gazing deep into my eyes. I held it, my lips parting. As much as I wanted to argue with his statement, it didn seem like the right time. I could feel that electrifying tension between us again and I wondered why he had such an effect on me. The butler cleared his throat and quickly left. An awkward silence settled around and I shifted nervously on my feet.

” So, am I your prisoner? ” I said with a small voice, finally breaking the silence. His brows furrowed, as he closed the gap between us. The briefs hanged dangerously low on his waist. His fair hair was wild and tussled. I swallowed hard at the sight.

” Only if you try to run ” he joked, grinning at me. His lopsided smile made him look even more handsome if that was possible. ” We don usually let prisoners take baths or… keep their weapons ”, he added, emphasizing the last part. Erik raised his hand, gently removing a leaf from my hair. His fingers traced slowly my injured cheek, reaching than for the lips. I closed my eyes and shuddered, amazed by my bodys reaction. It was like a switch he turned on every time he touched me.

” We need to talk. I have to tell you something. ” I whispered, then shook my head, trying to wake up from this strange sensation I had around him. His hand dropped and he took a step back.

” Yes, we do have a lot to talk about. But you need to rest first ”. Erik ran his fingers through his hair frustrated, looking like he was trying to contain himself. A female servant appeared from the next room, waiting. ” I need to go and report this whole hunter situation to the Alpha. Ill send in the court physician to tend to your wounds ”. He then pointed to the maid. ”Mary here will show you to your room and tend to all your needs. I will check up on you when I return ”. She bowed and waited for me to follow. I wanted to ask when he was returning, but it didn seem like I had the right to question him. Erik took my hand in his and kissed it softly, tingles spreading through my arm. His lips felt warm on my skin and I blushed, my heart beating madly.

” I will see you later, my flower ”.

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