Chapter 1 - Warrior Princess

Samantha POV

Waking up at 5 AM on a Saturday is not my cup of tea. “5 more minutes, I need sleep.” I mumbled to my twin brother. Despite my groaning he kept nudging me to wake up. After brushing him off for a 3rd time I hear his footsteps. Maybe I won this time, maybe, just maybe I can actually get that extra 5 minutes of sleep. Nope, wrong, that was not in the cards for me.

My blankets are ripped out of my grasp and water is poured all over me. I shoot up with a growl and I can feel my wolf come out and groan as she was not ready to be woken up either. Her name is Akira.

“Jake, you are dead!” I shout and start chasing him. Playfully of course. I hear him snickering down the hallway thinking he got away, but I pounce on his back and tackle him to the ground. We wrestle for a few minutes until I pin him, patiently waiting for him to tap out.

“Will I ever get a quiet morning?” my mom walks in the room and rolls her eyes. Yes, this is a daily occurrence.

Jake taps out and sighs in defeat. We run to the kitchen island and wait for breakfast. My dad comes in and chuckles. “So, who won this time?”

Jake grumbles and cuts his eyes at me. I raise my fists in victory and my dad comes over and kisses my cheek. “That’s my girl, strong and proud as a Beta wolf should be.”

My dad is the beta of our pack and even though I have beta blood the title will be passed to my brother. The next in line for the Alpha position is Jake's best friend, Carson. I’ve had a crush on him for years, but he will never notice me. I am nothing to him, if anything I'm sure he doesn’t even realize I exist.

“Are you both ready for the shifting ceremony tonight you two?” my mom asks as she slides a plate of bacon and pancakes in front of us.

We turn 18 today and it’s the day we are finally able to shift into our wolves. We get them initially when we turn 16 to start our bond and work together to develop our skills as a team. Akira and I have a strong bond, she is a part of me and I her. I wonder what we will look like.

“We will be amazing, Samantha. I can feel it.” Akira pipes in.

Me and jake both nod to my mom and they begin to go on about telling us their first shifting ceremony. The first shift is supposed to be painful, but after that it is supposed to be easy as pie. Jake's wolf is named Nanuk, he is as brotherly to me and Akira as Jake is.

“What color fur do you think Nanuk will have?” I ask jake.

He taps his chin no doubt conversing with his wolf. “Well, mom is a light tan and dad is a charcoal grey. My bet is I will be grey like dad. I bet you will be tan like mom.”

We finished breakfast and headed off to the training field. We graduated high school last month, so we have been dedicating all our time to train. Since I know I won’t be getting the beta position my goal is to become head warrior. I am a strong fighter, I am skilled, strategic, and can take down almost anyone except the alpha family. I may be small, but I know I can fight. At 5’3 I am one of the shortest she wolves in this pack and I use that to my advantage as a lot of people underestimate me.

Carson is already at the training fields when we get there. Time to spar!

“Come on Samantha you can do better than this! Focus and try again.”

Our Current alpha, Aaron Marks, is who I am sparring with. I'll admit tonight’s ceremony has my thoughts in a daze. Not only will we shift for the first time we may be able to find our mates. My wolf perks up her ears at my thoughts and next thing I know I’m being pinned in the grass.

Alpha Jones helps me up and pats my shoulder. “Let’s take a break. Tonight is a big night I’m sure that’s where your head is. You, Jake, Carson and the rest of the trainees take 10 laps around the territory line then you’re free for the day."

I bow my head in respect. “yes, alpha.”

I head to the rest of our group to get prepared for our run. This would be so much easier if we already had our wolves.

Carson got his 6 months ago, his wolf is named Onyx and has fur as Black as night with a white patch around his left eye, chest and all his paws. He is a gorgeous wolf that’s for sure.

Akira sighs in my head daydreaming of him. I wonder if he is our mate. Would he accept us or reject us? Lord knows I haven’t had it easy. I never fit in with the popular crowd at school. Not to mention he already has a girlfriend. Lyssa. They’ve been dating for 2 years. She was my main tormentor in high school. I came home with so many black eyes and bruises. No one ever believed me except for Jake. He was there to witness it all, but it didn’t mean he stepped in to stop it. He loved me yes, but he wouldn’t risk ruining his perfect reputation for a loner like me. He’d always apologize behind closed doors.

Being bullied left its mark on me. My self-confidence is at an all-time low except on the training field. That is where I feel at home. No one ever took me seriously at training except for the alpha, and my family, so dealing with the constant belittlement from the other warriors and guys always made me push myself harder. Things got better for me when I gained Akira and hit puberty, but the torment still happened.

I finished tying my long brunette hair up in a ponytail, and we start our run.

After finishing the run, I feel refreshed. I may not be able to shift yet, but that doesn’t hold me back. I kept up with the front runners the whole time. I weed through the crowd to find my brother to go home and get prepared for the ceremony.

I find him huddling with Carson and a few other warriors. They are all facing the lake chatting. He doesn’t notice me coming up behind him, and the wind is blowing the opposite way, so he doesn’t pick up on my scent. He carries on with his conversation.

Perfect time to scare him!

“Jake man, I feel bad for you having to deal with that fat cow as a sister. It can’t be easy having to be around her all the time. I’m just happy she won’t be our Beta. That would be an embarrassment.” One of the head warriors’ states.

I freeze in my tracks. I want to hear how he responds to this; we aren’t in school anymore. He is the future Beta. He can easily command them to fall in line and demand respect.

“I hear ya man. Yeah, it isn’t easy. She gets on my nerves 99.9% of the time. She has mom and dad wrapped around her finger though, so nothing I can do about that. I wouldn’t let her become Beta even is Carson decided to go out of his mind and grant her the Beta Position. I’d challenge her in a heartbeat. She doesn’t have what it takes. She's weak and no one would take her seriously. Shed fail within the first 5 minutes...”

With tears in my eyes, I run home. I don’t stay to hear him finish whatever it was he was going to say. So much for him being my brother, my twin. He said how he really feels about me. I thought we were fine. I thought he cared. That wasn’t an act back there, I felt his emotions, I felt his anger.

Being a twin, we can feel each other’s emotions. There was some truth to them. I’m sure he can feel my emotions right now, but it’s clear he doesn’t care.

Luckily when I get home, no one is there. I run to my room and lock my door. I collapse on the bed and ball my eyes out. Family isn’t supposed to do this. If he feels that way, and fooled me to think he cared, everyone else must feel that way too. I must be a big disappointment.

I can feel Akira whimpering in the back of my mind. She is heartbroken that jake could do this.

“Akira, can you feel Nanuk? What are his thoughts on this?” She just whines louder. I guess that’s my answer, both Nanuk and Jake hate me. What a great 18th birthday this is turning out to be. I don’t even bother wiping my tears and pass out on my bed. I feel so numb.

I wake up a couple of hours later. It is 5:00PM and the Ceremony starts at Midnight when we turn 18. No better time than now to get ready, I guess. I don’t even want to go anymore.

I hear a couple of knocks on my door. I don’t answer. I don’t want to talk to anyone right now. I get in the shower and turn the temperature all the way up. If my skin isn’t melting off, the shower simply isn’t hot enough.

I stand under the water for at least 20 mins just sulking. I still feel numb inside. Akira hasn’t spoken to me since then, and I know she’s hurting as well. Her brother doesn’t care about her.

I force myself to wash my hair and body and shave my legs. I don’t know why I bother. Everyone has made it clear that I’m not wanted here. My brother hates me, this pack hates me, the alpha is only nice to me because he must be, my parents must be putting on a show. I don’t know why I bother sticking around. That’s when it comes to me. I’m not wanted here, no one would miss me when I’m gone.

“We should leave Akira. I can’t take any more heartbreak. We deserve better.” She huffs her approval with my plan, but I can feel her despair. It is coming off us in waves.

I get out of the shower and immediately get to work on my plan. I get dressed into a pair of leggings and Mint green Racerback tank top and running shoes. I brush my hair and tie it in a messy bun. I grab a duffel bag from my closet and pack it with as many clothes as I can fit. I run to my bathroom and grab my toothbrush, hairbrush and toiletries and toss it into the bag as well. I toss my favorite fleece blanket, and phone charger into the bag. I may not have any friends and my family may not care, but I still want my phone.

I start writing one single letter to everyone. I seal it in an envelop and place it on my bed. I look around and start crying again. I am going to miss this place. They may not love me, but I love them with all my heart.

This hurts so much. I hear a knock and my doorknob jiggles. I still don’t answer the door. They’re probably just making sure I’m getting ready for tonight.

“Sam, open up.” That voice brings out my anger. Jake. I won’t answer him.

“Sam, what is wrong I can feel your sadness and anger from here?” I still don’t respond. I can feel a pressure in my head. He's trying to mindlink me, but my walls are up. He cannot get through. I won’t let anyone get through. I am tired of him pretending. I am so tired of all of them pretending. I hear him growl and his retreating footsteps. He has no reason to be mad at me. I’m giving him what he wants. I’m giving everyone what they all want.

I gather my Bag and glare at my goodbye letter one last time. I look at the clock and see it says 9:00PM I need to get a move on.

As I open my window to make my escape, I spy a frame on my nightstand. It’s a family picture of us all. We look so happy. I take the frame and throw it against the wall and watch it shatter. “I'm out of here.” I turn my back and jump from the window.

It's been about an hour and I've finally reached the territory line.

“Are you sure about this, Akira?” she pauses to think about it. Good, that means she is making sure she is calm and collected about her decision. She has always been a wise wolf despite our age.

“As much as we love everyone, it is clear they don’t love us, Samantha. We have each other and that is all we will need. We will no longer be a burden to this pack or family. We are making the right choice I can feel it in my bones.”

I drop my bag and sit against the tree. I just want a few minutes of peace before the chaos. 5 minutes later my head begins to throb. Usually, when it hurts this bad that means there are multiple people trying to break through my block.

“I guess they found our letter.” she huffs.

I guess I better hurry before they send someone to look for me. As I’m standing up I feel my mental block shatter.

“Samantha! Get home now! Let's talk about this? Baby girl, we love you come talk to me I promise us…” I interrupt my dad’s pleas.

“NO MORE LIES!” I shout through the link and throw my block back up and make sure it is secure. I grab my duffel bag and hike it over my head and drape it across my body. It's now or never.

“I, Samantha Layne hereby cut and sever all ties with the Blue Ridge Mountain Pack. Henceforth I will be a rogue.” I shout through the entire pack link.

I can feel the bond with the pack break and I drop to my knees it is painful. I feel like my insides are being torn. I hear multiple howls and I take that as my cue to step over the border. Everyone now knows. I bet they’re jumping for joy.

I run onward. I'm in rogue territory, and it's night-time. If im scented out by a rogue it would be trouble. I have no doubt I could win any fight, but I would rather keep moving forward. About a mile outside of the territory I fall to the ground in pain.

“Akira, what is happening?"

She whimpers in pain. “we're shifting, sam. Stay strong. I am trying to make this as painless as possible.”

I look at my watch and sure enough it says 12:01AM. My bones are breaking, I feel like my skin is on fire. I feel fur sprouting from my skin. I hunch over on my hands and knees and belt a loud scream. I feel like hours have passed when in reality it's only been a couple of minutes.

After 20 mins of pain and snapping and rearranging it all stops. I look around and see my paws. I have paws! I did It! I yip and bark and spin around. I have a tail! This is amazing.

I trot to the nearest puddle and look down. Jake was wrong, I don’t look like mom, I look like dad. My fur is light grey. Reflecting in the moonlight it almost shines like silver. It's beautiful.

“Akira, you are beautiful.” Our eyes are still green and are brighter than ever in our wolf form!

She huffs her approval at my compliment. I can only be sad now that I think about everything. I did this alone, and that means Jake shifted too. I wonder what he and Nanuk look like.

Akira growls at the thought of our brother. “We need to move Sam. This is rogue territory. I don’t want to be a sitting duck. Let's find shelter” with that I turn and pick up my back in with my teeth.

I look at the remnants of my shredded clothes and feel a tear fall. We're really on our own. With that thought, I take off at a full sprint, feeling the wind run through my fur.

I am free.