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Chapter 6 - The Unwanted Wolf

Mark led me into the pack house, and I felt myself growing nervous. Mark was patient and seemingly accepting. He wasn’t pushing me too much, but I had no idea if his pack members would be the same. The living room was fairly quiet, but I heard sounds echoing from what sounded like a kitchen not too far off. It was almost dinner time, so it made sense that food was being prepared. I wondered if the pack typically ate together like a family or if it was fend for yourself.

When I was younger, my family would eat with the other pack members. Even if we weren’t blood related, we were all family. The early part of my childhood was definitely the best years of my life. Slowly, people started growing apart, and then one day we all stopped eating together. I didn’t really know what changed. I was kept out of the important details my mother and father had to deal with in regards to running the pack.

“Are you okay?” Mark asked, pulling me out of my thoughts.

I nodded. “Yeah, I’m still just trying to wrap my head around everything here.”

“It’ll get better.” Mark squeezed my hand tighter, and it was more comforting than I had expected. He started moving towards the stairs. “Doctor Zayla’s office is this way. She knows we’re here. Let’s see if we can get you some answers.”

I pulled my lips tight, trying to smile, but anyone looking at me would know it’s fake. We climbed the stairs and turned left. Being back in the house almost felt like a dream. I was so weak and out of it when escaping that I didn’t remember many details, but at the same time, everything felt familiar.

Mark knocked on the door. “It’s me, Zay.”

“Come in Alpha,” a muffled voice said through the door.

We walked into the room, which was completely covered by books and scattered paperwork. Dr. Zayla was sitting behind a desk with a pair of reading glasses slowly falling down her nose. She was wearing a white lab coat and still had her nose in a book. She didn’t bother to look up as we approached.

Mark motioned for me to sit in one of the chairs in front of the desk. I sat down in the farthest one, and then Mark sat in the one next to me. He let go of my hand as we sat.

“Have you-” Mark began.

Doctor Zayla held up a finger. “I’m almost done. One moment.”

I looked over at Mark and he gave an apologetic smile back. My guess is this was a pretty normal interaction for Doctor Zayla. After a moment of awkward silence, Doctor Zaya put her book down and then looked directly into my eyes.

“All right, now that that is finished, onto you, miss escapee. Do you realize how stupid you were for running away in the condition you were in?” Doctor Zayla’s voice was borderline monotone with a hint of frustration in it.

“Hey, that’s not helpful,” Mark quickly said.

“I’m just saying the girl could barely stand. We were offering her help. It was not a smart choice to leave.” Doctor Zayla’s frown deepened.

“I don’t have to explain my actions to you,” I said. “But for the record, I woke up in a strange place with werewolves I did not know. There are some cruel packs out there, and I knew nothing about you. I don’t appreciate you looking down on me for making a decision I thought was in my best interest.”

The corner of the doctor’s lip curled up. “She’s got spunk. I like it. Alpha, you have chosen an excellent mate.”

I choked a little at her statement. I didn’t know what to say to that.

“Zay.” Mark’s tone held a warning in it. “Let’s focus on the most important part here. Someone tried to kill Adira.”

“Right.” Doctor Zayla shuffled some papers around before finding what she wanted. She handed a paper over to me that had a bunch of numbers and words that I was not familiar with. “Do you see this number?” She leaned over her desk to point at a specific number.

“Yes,” I said.

“That’s the amount of wolfsbane in your blood. That would’ve killed any regular wolf. The only wolf that would have had a chance to survive would have been a strong alpha or a mixed-blood.”

I swallowed hard at this. “So that’s why you don’t think I’m a pureblood wolf?”

Doctor Zayla nodded and then shoved another piece of paper into my hand. “That and this. This is the DNA breakdown from your blood sample. These markers here are typical for wolves.” She shifted her finger to another section. “However, these here should not be in a wolf’s DNA.”

I set the papers down. They didn’t really aid my understanding of the matter. “So what am I then?”

Doctor Zayla sat back and pulled her lips tight. “I know it’s not human, but as for what your blood is mixed with, I do not obtain that knowledge. I do not have the resources here to cross reference the DNA breakdown of other races. Usually, other unworldly creatures keep to themselves, so it’s difficult for wolves to obtain research on them.”

“Is there a way to find out?” I asked. It was weird thinking I wasn’t a purebred wolf. I didn’t feel any different.

“Do you know perhaps who your parents are?” Doctor Zayla asked.

I chewed on my lip for a moment before answering. “Well, I thought my parents were the alpha and luna of the Lyna pack.”

“It is likely your father is not your father, and your mother cheated on him, resulting in you.” Doctor Zayla organized a few papers.

“Zay!” Mark snapped. “That’s a rather bold accusation.”

Doctor Zayla blinked. “I am simply stating my hypothesis. It’s either that, or one of her parents is posing as a wolf.”

I stopped listening to the doctor for a moment, my mind racing to my sixteenth birthday. The look my father had on his face was burned into my brain. It was like he hated me with a passion. He had been a doting father before that, which is why it never made sense. However, if I wasn’t a pureblood, perhaps whatever I was mixed with emerged when I turned sixteen. Werewolves were like that. Our wolves emerged when we are ten years old, and at various milestones, our powers grow. Maybe sixteen was some kind of milestone, but why didn’t anyone tell me anything? Didn’t I deserve to know the truth?

“Is there any other options for finding the truth?” I asked.

Mark turned to me. “Any chance your family would be willing to help?”

I instantly shook my head. “I was told to leave and never return, or they would kill me.”

Mark’s face twisted. “What kind of parents would do something like that to their own daughter?”

I looked down at my lap. “Maybe Doctor Zayla’s right. Maybe I’m not actually my father’s daughter.”

“When did your father kick you out?” the doctor asked.

“Sixteen.” I couldn’t bring myself to look up at her.

“And you’ve been on your own since?” Mark asked, disgust evident in his voice.

I nodded in response, and in an instant, Mark’s fingers were intertwining with mine. I looked up and made eye contact with him. His eyes were soft with worry. “It’s okay. I’ve been able to manage okay. Does this mean we are out of options?” I looked over to Doctor Zayla.

“Well, I do have a contact that might know more.” Doctor Zayla looked over at Mark, a little nervous.

Mark visibly tensed. “Is that the only option you have?”

“It’s the fastest, easiest, and most guaranteed. I will leave this up to you, Alpha.”

I watched Mark carefully, getting the sense that there was a story behind this. His jaw was tense, and I could tell he was conflicted. “Does it matter what I’m mixed with?” I finally asked, breaking a silence. “I didn’t know I wasn’t pureblood before, so I don’t think it’s messed with my life.”

Doctor Zayla contemplated for a moment. “It’s not the most urgent, but it could be helpful down the road. If the person attacking you has any idea of your nature, they could find a different kind of concoction that would actually kill you. We could prepare an antidote for a worst-case scenario.”

Mark froze at her words. “I’ll set up the meeting with my old pack.” He sounded final in his words.