Chapter 43

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Dante snarled, his wolf was trying to come out and his claws began to elongate as he stepped forward, ready to rip out Georges' tongue. But, Jade put her arm out stopping him and took a step closer to her uncle. Her anger was mounting and her control nearly gone. Her own wolf was at the surface ready to tear George into shreds, but Jade fought to maintain whatever semblance of composure she still had, although her entire body was shaking as she spoke.

"How dare you!" she said, her voice gravelly with emotion and her wolf's presence. "You claim that I destroyed your life, when you are here because of your repeated betrayal? You had my family murdered, you paved the way for me to spend month after month in torturous slavery. You betrayed your pack, your Alpha and Luna who had always taken care of you." As Jade spoke, her confidence rose and her voice grew louder, carrying with it the weight and force of a Luna. "Countless wolves died, because you weren't happy with the station you were granted within the pack. Your own friends and family, murdered because you wanted more. And yet you stand her and claim that I ruined your life?"

George had begun to cower as Jade's voice carried with it more and more force. Her wolf was already showing its growing strength after having been marked by Dante, and she was embracing the strength and power that comes with being mated to an Alpha. Ever defiant, even as he was being force into a huddle, George looked up toward Jade.

"I've hated you since you were born" he said through gritted teeth. "If you had been a boy, at least then it would have made sense for you to take over for your father as an Alpha of the Silver Crescent Pack when he was done leading, but you're just a weak little girl and you always have been. Yet your father regarded me as less, wouldn't even make me his Beta. My sister, your mother, was his mate because we were both born with Beta blood. Yet even that wasn't good enough. Your father planned to let you take over the pack, and gave me nothing. I deserved to lead that pack" he continued, and as he spoke he rallied his strength and once again stood before Jade, his despising regard for her evident in every word he spoke.

At the mention of her parents, Jade's claws came out, and when George stood before her, she reached through the silver bars, her flesh burning at the touch. She grabbed George, her nails digging into his chest, and pulled him toward her until his face was touching the bars and his skin began to sizzle against the silver, his screams echoing around them, as his wolf fought to take control. His teeth were growing and his nails extending, and his wolf's hair beginning to grow, but because of the silver, he wasn't able to fully shift.

"You may have Beta blood in your veins, but you have never been worthy of leading a pack. Your rampant disregard for life, your cruelty toward your own and your betrayal of your leaders are all a testament to your disgrace. You will never have the opportunity to betray again."

With her other hand, Jade reached between the bars and toward George's screaming face and she grabbed his canine teeth with powerful yanks, and she broke them off and dropped them to the floor in front of him. Jade then released him with the other hand and collapsed.

Everything had happened so fast, a shocked Dante hadn't had time to interfere in any way, but he was close enough to catch Jade as she fell, immediately picking her up and he took her straight to the infirmary to treat the silver burns on her arms. He rushed from the facility, with an unconscious Jade in his arms, leaving a howling George, writhing in pain on the floor of his cell.

"Where is he?" Jade asked, sitting up with a start, waking suddenly after her collapse.

"He's still in his cell" Dante said, standing beside her and holding her hand. "Are you ok? You burned yourself pretty badly on the silver bars."

"I'm fine" she said, even though she could feel the throbbing pain coming from her bandaged arms.

"I have to be honest, Jade," Dante said softly, "you scared me back there."

"He deserved it and more" Jade said, her anger once again rising to the surface.

"Yes, he does. And I'll kill him right now, if that's what you want."

"Death is too good for him. He needs to suffer" Jade replied, her increased heart rate evidenced by the rapid beeping of the machine next to her.

"Jade," Dante said, pausing as he held her hand up to his lips. "I'm not going to stop you from doing whatever you feel you need to do. But I want you to consider what I'm saying to you, before you decide."

Jade began to calm down again, as Dante caressed her fingers, and looked intently into her eyes.

"I'm listening," she said with a guarded tone. She wanted to hear what Dante had to say, but at the same time she was telling herself that she wouldn't let him talk her out of exacting further revenge upon the man who had cost her everything she had held dear.

"This is not who you are," Dante began. "You can argue that I haven't known you for very long, which is true, but everything I have come to know about you is that you are kind and thoughtful. Beautiful inside and out. Someone who loves and cares for those around you, willing to fight and sacrifice for them, even when you still have fears about whether or not they will accept you. Please don't let your need for vengeance overshadow who you really are."

"Who I am, and who I have been, is weak" she said, as a tear rolled down her face. "When my family was attacked, I ran. When forced into slavery, I played along, too weak and afraid to run for my life. Too scared to help those around me. He did that to me, he put me there. I'm physically free now, but because of him, part of me will always be captive and afraid. He needs to pay for what he's done."

"Jade," Dante said to her as a brushed the tear from her cheek and pulled her into his arms. "Whatever you decide, and however you want to deal with this, I will support your decision. But hear this, I've killed many. Both wolves and men, some without a second thought. But don't think that I don't remember every single kill. Some have deserved it more than others. There were times I could have shown mercy and didn't, likewise there have been times that I have shown mercy and probably shouldn't have. But every kill is etched into my being. It's something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It's the life I chose, and continue to choose. As an Alpha and a direct representative of the Council, it is part of who I am. But I don't take it lightly, and I pay for it. I don't want that for you. That's not a burden you should have to bear. You are so wholly good, I wouldn't want you to compromise who you are, and let this consume you any more than it already has. But I'm here for you, always."

Jade began to sob uncontrollably. The sadnessand pain from her past, fully weighing upon her. She was reliving the pain oflosing her parents and her pack all over again. She felt the fear and sadnessof being forced to work for Luther's pack. She felt the grief she'd had fromhaving her wolf suppressed for so long from the wolf's bane cuff she'd beenshackled with. She felt the pain of the betrayal when she found out it was heruncle, her own flesh and blood who had caused it all. Jade sat there held byDante, and cried until her body could handle no more grief, and she fell asleepin his arms.

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