“You have until daybreak. The last standing werewolf, or human, will become the new Alpha.” The elder declared as we stood at the base of the bowl once again.
We were already down to the final match, and I had to get first place if I wanted to save Daniel from the guilty verdict. Victor had loaded me with every ounce of venom he had on him. That only gave three doses at about ten-minutes a dose. That meant that for barely thirty-minutes of an eight-hour night I’d have the supernatural powers needed to keep up with these werewolves.
The boys were all gathered around me except for Stephan and Daltom. Stephan said he had some last minute theories he was looking to prove. I had skipped the werewolf banquet. I probably wouldn’t have felt welcome there eating among the other competitors. Instead, I spent the last four hours getting random pieces of advice from the eight boys as they tried to prepare me for what was coming next.
When I had shown up with my retinue, I received several hard stares and looks of disapproval. As Daniel’s mate, hanging around all of these other boys looked bad. They were tolerating it because I was a human, but it wouldn’t do Daniel any favors after her was made king. None of that mattered to me though. As long as Daniel was safe, we could worry about a few backwards werewolves later.
As for Treena, she simply refused to make eye contact with me. I had learned from the boys that Treena had barely gotten tenth in the obstacle course. This gave me a little bit of pleasure, until I remembered that I came out last.
Mr. Xavier had been openly apologetic about not doing a better job protecting me. If he did anything too apparent, he definitely would have gotten caught, so I was happy he played it safe. The boys had instantly wanted to storm the course when I was knocked unconscious, but the elder refused to let them interfere with the track.
“When a combatant has been rendered unconscious, please shoot out their flare. Also, if you wish to surrender prematurely, you may shoot your own flare at any time.” The elder continued.
“Until rendered unconscious?” Rune muttered under his breath, “What do they think you guys are, Pokemon?”
Alex leaned forward, “Well, Jane certainly does try to collect them all.”
I kicked Alex in the leg who gave a little squeal in response. It didn’t seem to be loud enough to disturb the elder’s speech though.
“Please remain safe and fair, we may be werewolves, but we are not animals.”
“Jane, are you sure? If anything happens, just shoot the flare,” Andrew reiterated for the tenth time.
“It’s fine, I’ve got this.”
“I’ve got your contacts calibrated for night vision, but we haven’t had time to test it out,” Allan explained.
“It’s okay, I can see. I feel like the freaking predator.” I glanced at the large gathering of shirtless boys lined up with me, “and not the Chris Hanson kind either.”
“Are you sure?” Rune broke in.
“I have a plan… guys, I can do this.”
“You keep saying that,” Andrew interjected,” But…”
“Trust me.” I glanced at each of them.
The boys lowered their eyes in turn, except Ryan, who just seemed amused, and Allan, who muttered “ridiculous” under his breath.
“Go!” shouted the elder as the clock hit zero. Dozens of werewolves dove into the forest beyond. A few immediately b-lined to follow others. Some got hit in the sides, snarling at each other. The cloaked Treena leaped into a tree then glided along the tree branches out of reach of the boys. Didn’t anyone ever tell her she was a wolf, not a cat?
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I had to be like Daniel, to think like him, to move like him. Reaching down, I grabbed the hem of my shirt and pulled it up over my head, tossing it to my side. There were several sounds of shock or surprise behind me. I looked back over my shoulder at their surprised faces.
“Werewolves don’t wear shirts.” I raced forward into the forest, to hide the blush on my face as much as my apparent nudity.
As I raced into the darkness, which took on a green hue thanks to Allan’s robot contacts, I was glad that I had such a modest bust size. I couldn’t imagine doing this with Alex’s honking breasts or even Samantha’s. Those things flapping around in the forest wouldn’t do anyone any good.
I hadn’t run for more than ten minutes when a werewolf lept in front of me and snarled. His snarl turned into a whimper as his eyes caught sight of what he was looking at.
I gasped, covering my breasts, “You pervert!”
The werewolf instinctually covered his eyes, and I took the opportunity. My knee slammed into his groin. The werewolf howled in pain.
“Take that in the wereballs!” I shouted, running past the groaning he-beast.
Stun, incapacitate, and keep moving. That was the plan. It was admittedly a stupid plan, but that was exactly why it was going to work. Nobody was expecting a half-naked teenager running through the forest being chased by a werewolf. Well, maybe Hollywood expected that, but no one normal would. Not to mention…
Two hands grabbed around my waist, I threw up my head and screamed, “Rape!”
The hands let go as another werewolf jumped out from behind a tree.
“What the hell were you doing?” The second werewolf demanded.
“I swear man, I didn’t touch her!” The other one backed away from me.
The second werewolf leaped over me, pouncing on the first. The two began to bite and wrestle with each other. That was my sign, I ran away. I reached into my pants pocket and pulled out a dose of the venom. Well, I wasn’t going to take off my pants, that was for certain. I took a drink.
It seemed to be perfectly timed because another werewolf started running on my tail. He lept towards me and grabbed. I had the distinct feeling he already knew about my nudity and was less impressed. He managed to grab my arms, trying to wrestle me to the ground.
“No means no!” I shouted, twisting my arms.
The surprised werewolf spun, my enhanced strength catching him off guard as he slammed into a nearby tree. When he hit the ground, it was clear he was unconscious. Thank goodness Samantha had brought me to her self-defense classes. I didn’t plan to shout the defense slogans, but they seemed to help.
I guess that was my cue to send up his flare. I felt around for it and pointed up, shooting into the sky before dropping it at his feet and running. Remarkably, the self-defense moves managed to knock out two more werewolves before my energy started to wane. I took the next dose, not wanting to be caught off guard. I knew the competition was until daybreak, and it had only been like an hour of running in the forest, but how many werewolves were competing? Only like twenty or so that I saw, and I’ve seen at least fifteen flares shot up. It had to be wrapping up soon.
Another ten minutes passed and I didn’t see any more werewolves. I finally let my body slow down and I moved to a crouch, holding on to my last dose of venom. There couldn’t be very many left. They were probably in hunt mode now. I should stay low, maybe smother myself in mud Arnold Swartzanngger style. I moved to a small bush and hid behind it. I might have let the momentum and excitement get me to pull off my shirt, but smothering my body in mud would take a few drinks first.
“Jane, I can smell you nearby.”
The voice came to a short distance to my left and I froze. It was Treena; the last person I wanted to see here. Why couldn’t one of the werewolf guys have gotten her earlier? I slowly moved back as she moved into my view. If only I could sneak away. Right, sneak away from a werewolf hunting me by smell. I did have one last dose, but if I took it, that was it. She moved carefully, her head looking around in search.
Then I noticed another hidden form behind her. It looked like another werewolf, but rather than shirtless or cloaked like Treena, he wore complete black. Without my Allan-enhanced eyes, I wouldn’t have seen him myself. Then there was a glint of steel.
“Treena!” I shouted standing up and pointing, “Look out!”
Treena flinched in surprise at my outburst before turning. The assassin seemed to have been just as surprised. He lunged clumsily at Treena, a knife flashing in front of him towards her throat. Treena leaped to her side, but the man followed after her. I took a step forward. Every instinct told me to run, but Treena needed my help. I threw back the last of the venom.
Treena dodged another swipe from the man but stumbled and fell. The assassin took the advantage, descending on her. He didn’t expect me to ram him from the side, causing him to spiral off into a tree. He was agile though, bringing up his feet and moving back to a standing position.
“Just go, run, I got this,” Treena snapped at me.
“I’m not going to leave you.” I snapped back.
Treena gave me an exasperated look before turning back to the assassin. His movements seemed unsteady as Treena began to circle around him. I was just about to charge when a flicker of light caught my eye. If it hadn’t been for that unique combination of the quick reflexes and faster eyesight, I wouldn’t have been able to move in time. Instead, a knife flashed where my head would have been if I was a millisecond slower. It slammed into a nearby trunk.
“Go!” Treena stated, “Find the other one, I’ll handle this.”
I nodded and turned the direction the knife had come from, racing at full speed. It wasn’t until I could see another cloaked figure running in front of me that I realized how stupid I was being. All of the adrenaline and energy flowing through me at this point and time had just hyped me up. Now I was trying to hunt werewolves myself?
The cloaked figure suddenly stopped, turning back around. I slowed down and moved into a defensive stance. It was something kind of like what I had seen Andrew and Rune take in previous situations. It felt wrong and uncomfortable, but it was all I had to work with. The man pulled back his cloak and I gasped; it was Bran.