Bound by Duty

By The Crimson Quill All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Drama

There is No Running Away

“Dani!” Someone shouted, waving at a girl standing in the aisle of the department store. The girl waved back and went to join her in the queue by the payment counter. No one noticed the ears of an inconspicuous girl jerk her head up on instinct. She looked in the direction of the girl called Dani, her stare lingering at the same spot long after the other left. Wincing at her carelessness, she quickly stuffed some boxes inside the cart and pushed it towards the smiling clerk.

“Good morning!” He chirped cheerfully. Jerking her head in an imitation of a nod, she pushed the boxes forward, immediately tugging at her hood which cast a shadow on her face. Being recognised by some overly observant civilian was the last thing she wanted. The moment he handed her the receipt, she grabbed the bag and shoved some notes on the counter, walking out swiftly. She got onto her bicycle, hanging the bag on the handlebars and rode down the road back to her temporary hovel.

The last eight months had not been very pleasant for Danielle. She had been hiding in obscure places in big cities, not using any traces that might lead back to her. In fact, she was doing a good job of it until recently when, for some reason, the people tracking and tracing her location had increased. She was sure that it was from her father’s side or from her step-mother’s pack. More forces meant more people to trip upon. She wondered why her father was looking for her. Was it to punish her for killing that man? Her father had never looked favourably on her anyway.

Danielle was a miracle case. She first phased at the age of five, where most would phase at twelve or thirteen years of age. She had had no help from her father then. She had managed to shift and shift back all by herself. That was a tremendous aptitude for a five-year-old. But once she mentioned this matter to her father, his surprise turned into strange looks and an Alpha command to not mention it to anyone until it was time. That’s when she understood that she was abnormal.

She parked the bicycle outside the motel and hurried upstairs to her room, locking it. The curtains were drawn and the windows were closed. She switched on the light and quickly ripped off her clothes. The cool air from the fan brushed past her making her sigh with relief. Her pale white skin was covered extensively with crisscrossed patterns of different colours; scratches, gashes, wounds, cuts and scars decorated her body. Her face had been spared, though. She always wore a mask while fighting. At least they shouldn’t be able to recognise or identify her, regardless of who they were.

Very carefully, she cleaned her fresh wounds and applied the salve, bandaging them up again. She took some ice and held it against her hip which had bruised quite badly and sat on the bed, switching on the television. A grainy cable channel appeared and she gazed at it unblinkingly. “Fucking hell,” she cursed, “this is so twisted, I don’t even know whom to blame.”

The previous week, she had been in another city in a similar motel. All of them, all the good, bad and the ugly chasing her relentlessly had been close to catching up. She always made it a point to avoid confrontation and escape as soon as possible. But sometimes, there were always people foolish enough to try and fight with her.

Did they ever stop to consider that she had royal blood in her ancestry, and she was the product of two Alpha lines? How could they have known that she could challenge her Alpha father and goddamnit, win, but she didn’t because she didn’t feel like it? Her abilities far surpassed an ordinary wolf’s high up the hierarchy. The important part was that eighty per cent of her ability was honed and trained, and not inborn.

She hated fighting, so when she saw herself being herded to an alley and not followed, she had no choice but to turn and face them. “If you go right now, you will live to tell your superiors where I am.” She had told them in a hoarse voice. Weeks of disuse had done that.

“You think you can take us all on?” The man looked taken aback. He barked out a laugh. “You sure are confident for a pup.”

Another woman smirked and perused her relatively small frame. “Look at her, no meat anywhere. Where does she get the guts from? She’s like a rodent which keeps escaping traps.”

Danielle sighed. The insults which used to infuriate her hot-headed self before no longer affected her. How much more could you fill a bowl which was already filled? They used to provoke long debates of self-reflection at the end of which Lupa would angrily shout at her and stop talking. So she silently contemplated these days, diving into despair often. The term ‘get a grip’ was her favourite. It was the only reason she was able to move on.

“Alright.” She rasped. “I’ve warned you.” Saying this much, she had lunged at the man, half-shifting mid-air. The woman froze in shock. Partial-shift was a rare ability, and the owners of it were deadly fighters. She quickly extended her claws and took a swipe at Danielle’s back. The shirt tore, but the skin was only scratched. Dani aimed for his neck and heart, to make a clean break, ignoring the woman like she was a buzzing fly. When two other people joined in, the fight got intense with bits of flesh flying around, sounds of fists slapping the skin echoing across the narrow path.

Halfway through, growls started coming. She was always relieved when they turned to wolves. It was easier that way. A loud rumble came from her chest as she shifted completely. Lupa was indisputably larger, bigger than most Alphas. Some wolves in the front whined, stepping back. She growled loudly again, sitting on her haunches and looking down from above. All the wolves bowed and flattened themselves on the floor, unable to resist an Alpha’s Absolute Will. Seconds later, heads rolled, and she shifted back, gazing at the bloody mess.

“They never listen. I hate killing.” She murmured. Tying up loose ends was essential, or her surprise attacks wouldn’t be effective.

Breaking out from her thoughts, Dani got up and walked to the balcony, feeling the breeze. The corners of her lips twisted into a grimace as a gust of wind blew from the north-west direction. Werewolves. Everywhere. It was time to move again.

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