Chapter 5

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The entire day had been spent in preparation for the arrival of the Black Shadow Alpha. Even though Luther had said that they had never met personally, he was going to a lot of trouble to impress the man. Everything was cleaned and re-cleaned, and food prep had begun hours before dinner service. Seven was relieved to see that she hadn't been assigned serving duty, and she busily went about her duties throughout the day, looking forward to it all being over.

When it was announced that the Alpha and his Beta had arrived, a hush fell over the entire house. Not that many had been speaking, the Omegas were consistently quiet, but even the staff who weren't slaves were quiet, as everyone prepared to serve the meal.

Alpha Dante and his Beta Jackson were led immediately to the dining room, offered beverages, and the first course of the meal was served. During the first course, only light conversation occurred at the table, as the tension in the air was thick. Those at dinner were Luther, his Beta Curtis, and his Gamma James along with four next level warriors. Luther wasn't going to pass up on an opportunity to show his strength, and the fortitude of his pack. No women had been invited to dinner, although without a Luna, it wasn't out of the ordinary, although Beta Curtis and Gamma James both had mates, so it wouldn't have been out of place during a friendly meal, for their presence to have been requested. But, as it was, Luther didn't want to show any signs of weakness, and he felt that women dining with them would have given that impression. Instead, the only women were those in a serving capacity, bringing the food and serving the beverages.

After the second course was served, the conversation turned toward the slaying at the Silver Crescent pack, from a year and a half ago, and Dante's real purpose in his visit, although he tried not to be too transparent in revealing his objective.

"So how has your pack been handling the recent insurgence of rogues pushing into pack borders? Every pack I've spoken to in this region seems to have seen an increase in attacks" was the question Dante posed.

"We've certainly seen our share, it's true" responded Luther, nodding his head in agreement as he took another bite of his food.

"Have they been violent, or manageable?" Jackson asked.

"We can take care of our borders" was Luther's non-answer.

"No doubt" Dante said, with a nod of his head, toward the silent warriors at the table. "I can see you have excellently trained men at the ready. We just hope to never have to see another massacre like the one a couple years back. What was it, the Crescent Moon pack?"

"Ah yes" Luther said, with a snarling grin on his face, that almost looked like he was attempting to show sympathy and failing. "That was a tragic event, most definitely. And to a pack so close. It's only a hop skip and a jump away from us here. Fortunately we haven't seen much like that since" he continued. "And correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe you and your pack had a hand in exterminating a majority of the guilty parties involved, correct?" he asked, faking an impressed tone.

"We certainly made an effort to round up all of the violent rogues, as well as rehabilitate and find packs for those less involved and non-violent, who had been found nearby." Dante responded curtly.

"Indeed" Luther nodded, "as you may well know, I pride myself on assisting with the rehabilitation of rogues. Frequently, I take it upon myself to being them into our fold, and help them overcome their rogue tendencies and assimilate back into a pack."

"Yes" Dante replied, "your reputation proceeds you in that regard. We've certainly heard of your philanthropic efforts toward rogues" he said, with a slight touch of condescension.

"So, when you rehabilitate a rogue, do you typically allow them to join your pack?" asked Jackson, curious to know if these rehab efforts were at all for the good of the individual wolf, and not just a means for Luther to add free labor to his ranks.

"Sadly," Luther responded with a forced frown "not all rogues have it in them to be rehabilitated, and I am not willing to risk the safety of my pack on the saving of one rogue, so often they must remain as outsiders to an extent, and they are not offered permanence. But they are clothed and fed, and allowed a part in the hierarchy of the pack, which is really the basic need of the wolf that prevents them from going rogue."

"How generous of you" Jackson responded dryly.

"You may doubt my sincerity, gentlemen" Luther said, with a sudden desire to show off, "but let me show you, in fact we have a lovely young omega she-wolf, working in our kitchen right now, who has benefited from my generosity. In fact, she was a rogue we found trespassing on the very night of that tragic pack slaughter. And she's found a home here with us, and serves well in the kitchen, nicely adapted to pack life here" he bragged.

"Is that so" Dante responded, somewhat eagerly. A rogue that was captured nearby on the night of the attacks might have information about them, and might have even been involved. "I would love to meet this rehabilitated rogue of yours" he followed up.

Luther seemed to be considering it a moment, deciding whether or not he wanted to pull back the proverbial curtain. But, he considered, he didn't want to seem overly guarded, this was the council's enforcer that he had in his dining room, and if he seemed too guarded, he might draw suspicion that would end up coming back to bite him, so after considering for a moment, he decided it would be better to let the Alpha meet his little pet omega rogue.

"Vincent" he hollered over his shoulder to the pack house butler of sorts.

"Yes, Sir?" the dutiful man-servant asked, immediately appearing at Luther's side.

"Bring in Omega Seven" Luther barked at the man.

"Omega Seven?" Dante asked, "questioning the name given to the rogue.

"Yes," Luther nodded, "sadly many of our rogue family are so feral when we find them, that they no longer remember their own names, and for the sake of simplicity, we assign them a number."

"How welcoming for them" Beta Jackson responded with a touch of sarcasm he couldn't hide from his tone.

"You disapprove, I understand" Luther said dismissively, with a wave of his hand. "But the unfortunate state of these rogues is such that much bending of the will and retraining must occur, in order to bring them back into compliance with basic living standards. Many of them can only understand basic commands and aren't even able to communicate with basic speech, even after years of our assistance."

When Vincent appeared in the kitchen, everyone stood still. He never had a reason to be in there, as that was Gretchen's domain. She glared at him openly, at his intrusion. "What are you doing in here, Vincent? Is there a problem with the food?" she asked.

"Alpha Luther has requested Omega Seven to come to the dining room" Vincent responded.

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