~5~

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Leanna found herself wandering the third floor after discovering the second floor to be extra bedrooms and the first floor to have only studies and a second living room with an adjacent game room.

The third floor only had four rooms, and one of them was the bedroom she shared with Vincent. At the thought of him, a smile graced her lips and she felt her stomach flutter.

She opened the door across the hall from the bedroom and found a room near ruin. The walls were charred as if from an old fire, the air smelled heavy of dust and smoke that clung to the remaining furniture. 

A small bed, as if made for a child, was in the middle of the room, half the mattress destroyed and the pillow feathers stuck to it. A half-burned teddy bear and doll were at the foot of the bed, a chest sat against the bed itself.

Against the purple wall was a dresser that appeared to have been hit with a hard object, the drawers snapped in half.

It was a strange sight really; a half-burned room covered in such a fine layer of dust it appeared as though no one had stepped foot in the room in several years.

Odd.

Leanna left the room, shutting the door behind her and making her way to the next room. She opened it and found a library that hadn't been touched as at as well. The walls, bookshelves, and tables were covered in a thick layer of dust.

Completely dumbfounded, she shut the door and made her way to the fourth and final door in the hall.

Her hand closed around the knob and she hissed in pain, her skin quickly blistering and turning red like it did when exposed to silver, which deeply affected wolves.

"What even...?" she found herself whispering, watching the skin heal slowly before looking at the door.

He told her to explore.

And what she'd found so far was disturbing to say the least.

She shuddered and made her way downstairs, glancing around and finding the place surprisingly empty. And after searching for a med kit, she wrapped her hand in gauze and continued to wander the house until she approached a door that led down into the basement.

Normally she wouldn't be very nosy but Vincent did say to explore and, being Luna, no one could really stop her from doing as she pleased. The realization of that terrified her. She had more power than she'd ever had and she didn't know what to do with it.

Tapping the door with her finger, she decided it wasn't silver and opened it with her good hand. She was the met with the sound of tortured groans and fear took hold of her throat.

"Lost, little bird?" a gruff voice spoke and she jumped, turning around quickly to face Beta Rick, Brandon's older brother.

"I was just..exploring.." she mumbled, looking down the stairs as the Beta shut the door, locking it with a key that he pocketed right after.

"No need to go down there, Luna. Not a pretty sight for someone so...gentle," he smiled, making her uneasy.

"Are there rogues down there?" she inquired, staring the man who once used to scare her.

Despite Brandon being her friend, Rick was not. He was the Beta and was not mated, which was rare for a Beta. He made her uncomfortable with his wondering eyes. But being Luna had made her confidence shoot up and caused the fear to dissipate. 

He nodded, leaning against the wall. "Yes. there is. A few rogues we found last week on the border. They were not compliant in giving us answers so we're using other means to get that information."

"Does Vincent know?" she raised an eyebrow, crossing her arms.

"I wouldn't use his name in earshot of others," he said condescendingly. "Even his mate should refer to him as Alpha. Being the female Alpha doesn't make you as high up as him."

"I believe being Luna does, in fact, make me his equal," she growled lowly, her wolf rising her head, wanting to take over and show him who was in charge in the pack.

"You know his ex is still here in the pack?" he smirked. "She's not mated yet and her plan was always to give him his child if he didn't find his mate. Of course, I could convince him to reject you."

Leanna paled, her wolf whining in fear and growling in anger.

"Don't go down into the basement if you know what's good for you," he said and left.

She stood there for several minutes, trying to wrap her head around what he'd just said when Zachary appeared, his eyes lowered.

"Luna, would you like me to tell the Alpha who he has said? So that, should his anger become uncontrollable, it is not you he strikes?" he questioned, his voice quivering but filled with determination.

She looked at him, stunned. "No need for that. I can talk to Vin-the Alpha, myself."

He nodded and started to leave but she grabbed his arm, stopping him. She noticed his body go rigid at her touch, his mind and body preparing for the strike that never came.

"Zachary, would you like to join the school? And train?" she asked gently, looking at the teenage boy who appeared suddenly quizzical. 

"Why would you do that for me, Luna?" he asked carefully, the hope that it was real too small for him.

No one had shown him the kindness in the years he'd been there than what she'd shown in the past few hours.

"You deserve it as much as anyone else," she smiled gently. "How old are you?"

"Sixteen," he mumbled lowly.

She nodded, her original guess off. He was old enough to find a mate and he was old enough to already be on either border patrol or out hunting. But the years of neglect had made him small for his size and thus, behind.

"Well, my father teaches at the school. He will be able to teach and tutor you as well. My mother will be able train you for the extra attention you need."

He stared at her hesitantly. "The Alpha wouldn't allow that."

"I'll deal with him. Now off you go. No more catering to the pack. There's a small, blue house down the road. My parents will be expecting you," she smiled widely at him.

"Thank you," he whispered, but couldn't help the smile that stretched across his pale face as he took off, a small jump to his step.

She grabbed her phone, sending a quick message to her mother of the new guest they would temporarily have then she looked around and made her way outside to the backyard, taking in the sights.

Her wolf whimpered in alarm and Leanna frowned, her body instinctively following the feeling. Something was wrong.

Very wrong.

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! Please vote and comment if you did. Any thoughts on the Beta?

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