ARC ONE: Landow Pack: The Landow’s Home and Graveyard
Chapter One: The Birth of the Savior and the Threat
Mallory was forced to watch as a vampire kills her family, only to accidentally trigger her ‘Blessing’ and killing the vampire. In her escape with her friend, Oddny, they got rescued by Leofric, who became her destined mate. However, he rejected her. Mallory went to find a clue to break their bond, and when their bond broke, the vampire attacked their new pack, and Mallory got kidnapped.
Leofric could no longer feel their bond. After realizing what he's done, he desperately tries to find Mallory. But Mallory doesn’t want to involve herself with him anymore. She wants to part ways with him but to kill their enemies, the vampires, she needs to shake hands with him and cooperate.
Now, how would Leofric redeem himself when Mallory can’t even stand the sight of him?
And how would Mallory carry her duties as the Goddess’ Blessed when she had someone by her side that she didn't trust?
Lyall placed her hand on her hips, her face slightly contorting from the difficulty of standing. She looked down to watch her bulging belly. Slowly, a warm smile blossomed on her face.
It’s her time of the month. Finally, after months of suffering, the baby is about to be born.
Suffering? Lyall wants to laugh at herself. It was hard, yes. But carrying your child is hardly called suffering.
Lyall looked around and heard the distant laughter of the children and the noises of labor everyone was doing at that time. With the aid of the lush and gigantic trees around them, the harsh light of the sun was greatly minimized, making them gently touch the skins of the werewolves in the pack. The night was coming, everyone was preparing for dinner.
Lyall stood by the door of their house, looking at the peaceful scenery of the pack. The smile on her lips never left, and the pain she felt earlier was gone, just like that. The pregnant were-woman stood there until the sun descended on the west.
“Hi,” Lyall looked, and the smile on her face automatically stretched widely and brightened even more. “How was your day?”
“Remus,” Lyall gently called the name of her husband and watched him take her hand and gently press his lips on it. Her gaze softens upon the sight, and her heart can’t help but flutter. Unconsciously, Lyall whined. “It was laborious. Our baby wants out.”
Remus laughed, held her on the waist with one hand, then leading her to their house while also opening the door using his free hand.
They were half-hugging. Lyall, with her extra sensitive nose from pregnancy, could smell the sweat oozing from his body. She nodded in her head and commented with a laugh, Dada’s working hard!
As soon as they entered the house, Remus dropped to his knees and cupped her big belly. He then thinned out his voice as if he was talking to a born child. “Baby, please don’t give your mom a hard time, okay? You’ll be out soon, don’t worry! After that, we can hunt prey together!”
Lyall’s sweet laughter erupted. “Please! When they get born, they can’t even walk for a few months!”
Remus returned the laugh and stood up. Curiously, the man asked. “So, did you ask the elder for their gender?
Lyall shook her head. “Not yet. I was told that the elder is not feeling well.”
“Is that so?” Lyall could hear the disappointment in his voice.
Lyall understood very well. Just like he is, she wants to know their child’s gender to give them a name.
Lyall mused when an idea popped into her mind. “Ah! Remus, let’s do it like this; if he’s a boy, let’s call him Conri.”
“Conri…” Remus repeated the name, and his smile turned deeper. “I like that. So, what if it’s a girl?”
Lyall smiled at him. “If it’s a girl---”
“AHHHH!” A shrill scream erupted outside, jolting the two out of their comfort zone.
Alarmed, the two looked outside the window and saw other werewolves running left and right, as if they were trying to escape some monsters.
Puzzled, the two simultaneously asked, nervousness can’t be hidden in their voice. “What’s happening?”
Their eyes diluted the moment they heard that. Their gazes locked and with no more words, the two tactically went to their room and packed their clothes in a bag. They carried their movements with urgency. They had no seconds to waste. Some clothes dropped on the ground, but the two ignored that and just stuffed the bag as much as they could.
Nothing was uttered between them, but they could hear each other’s heartbeat quickening.
Lyall feels the sweat sliding down her face. Fear slowly ate her heart, and she held her stomach. ‘Goddess, a vampire attack? Now?’
The last time they attacked her pack was at least a hundred years ago. Their village was destroyed and was unrecognizable afterward. She and others had no other choice but to enter a new pack. Lyall then found Remus here. They bonded, and now they’re having a family together. Everything is going fine—it supposedly continues like that, but it’s happening again.
Sensing his wife’s anxiousness, Remus stopped packing and looked at her. She was getting paler as minutes passed by. Remus has his heart in his throat too, but he ironed his heart and held his wife’s hand reassuringly.
“Lyall? Are you with me?” Remus softly shook her out of her trance. After seeing her regain the light in her eyes, Remus wiped her forehead with his hand. “Don’t worry, we can just quietly escape. We have long known what to do whenever something like this happens, right? We just need to do by the rules, and we will be fine!”
His words greatly reduced the stress in her heart. Lyall’s nerves loosened up, and she looked at her husband with determination. “Right. Sorry.”
Remus only hugged her in return. Gathering their bags, he urged. “Now, let’s go!”
The two quietly opened the door behind their house and, with the bags in their hands, they rushed toward the end of the barricades.
They built their village inside tall wooden fences to keep other creatures from invading their crops and stealing their food. Outside was a forest that if you don’t have a prior understanding of, you’ll find yourself trapped.
Screams and inhuman growls engulfed the air. Crashing and banging noise almost drowned the voices of the clamoring werewolves, but it failed to cover the terror in the atmosphere.
The husband and wife continued running, ignoring everything, not even when someone dropped dead a distance away from them.
When the vampire saw them, with his red eyes and bloody face, he smiled at them. Lyall’s heart dropped, knowing that he changed his target to them when an elder of the pack changed into his wolf form and blocked his path.
The vampire looked at the elder angrily, and then with his sharp nails, he slashed at him, creating a deep, bloody wound on the wolf’s face.
Lyall’s eyes watered. She knew who that was. It was the elder who gave them divination whenever he could. He was the elder Remus wanted to divine the gender of their child. He wasn’t able to help them identify their child’s gender, but he was there to protect them from vampires.
From the distance, she could see how weak the elder is compared to the vampire. He was sick. Any time soon, the vampire would escape from his grasp—or even kill him—and run towards them.
Remus tightened his grip on his wife and turned away from the scene, running away as far as they could, not even bothering to save the older one who clearly had no chance of surviving alone.
They had no other choice. It was the rule.
Preservation of the race comes first.
They lack the power to defend themselves from the vampires except for the few werewolves that were successfully blessed by the goddess. But even so, their ability is not much, not even the alpha of the pack can kill one without the help of others. That’s how weak their pack is.
Their pack has written some rules because of it;
One; if the number of invaders is less than five, do your best to defend our home ground.
Two; if the numbers of the invaders are more than five, run.
Three; if situation two comes, werewolves who can defend stay and block the vampires to ensure more survivors.
After reciting the rules in his head, Remus suddenly stopped running. Lyall looked at him in alarm and puzzlement, but after seeing his eyes, Lyall felt her heart drop. She sobbed and shook her head. “No…”
“Go,” Remus smiled at her and held her face. “I’ll be right beside you.”
“No!” Lyall held his hand, not wanting to let go of it.
“Lyall…” Remus’ eyes slowly turned red. Clearly, he was also unwilling, but if that gave his wife and child a higher rate of survival, he would do anything he could. Even if that means sacrificing his life for it.
Lyall choked, wanting to deny the fire in his eyes. But no matter what, this didn’t disappear. Lyall’s tears couldn’t stop from welling out. Her vision blurred.
Taking a deep breath, she held his hands and said seriously. “Okay. Follow me after, okay?”
Remus only smiled and hugged her. This made her cry even more.
Lyall only took the bag she was carrying and, without turning back, she ran.
She doesn’t know how she escaped the pack, but amidst the explosions and flying debris, Lyall found the exit and fled.
After getting distance away, she can’t help but turn back.
The trees covered the village view, but they didn’t block the red-orange fire that was lighting up the sky. Her heart tightened, and without any warning, memories flooded her brain, making her recall everything she had in that place; happiness, sadness, loneliness, and anger.
Everything mixed inside her and this continued even after she couldn’t see the pack anymore.
She was already that deep in the forest.
Lyall can’t see, nor does she remember where she was. All she knew was to run aimlessly. Later on, she felt her stomach aching and felt water flowing out, wetting her thighs and legs.
Lyall’s eyes widened, and without a second thought, she changed into her wolf form and bit the bag. When her four legs touched the ground, she quickly surveyed the area and let out an inaudible sound.
It was the blessing the Goddess bestowed on her. An ability to locate things a kilometer away using sound waves. She always thought that it was useless. She wanted something more—something that she could help herself fight back. Something that could fight and kill vampires.
But now, the Goddess proved her wrong.
A second later, Lyall senses a deep cave just a distance away from her.
Without hesitation, Lyall ran in that direction and saw the cave.
As she ran, the moon was lighting her way towards it, as if it was afraid that she would lose her way. Lyall silently thanked the Goddess in her heart and entered the cave. She then dropped the bag and immediately changed back into her human form.
She looked down and saw blood and water coming out of her.
The pain in her stomach intensifies, and Lyall just wants to pass out. She laughed, thinking of how much preparation she did in the pack, but to only give birth in a random cave.
Lyall took a deep breath to ease herself and searched the bag for a cloth that belonged to Remus. Clenching it tightly near her lips, she whispered. “Please, give me strength.”
After putting everything to cushion the fall of her baby, Lyall began to push painfully. Sweat drenched her body and her silent whimpers and screams were silenced by the cloth she had between her teeth.
Outside, the cave was like a place under the ocean. Nothing can be heard, as if all the creatures were giving the birthing mother the silence she needs for a successful delivery.
Minutes later, a sharp shrill of a baby’s first cry swamped the cave.