Antonio's movements were precise and deliberate as he slashed through the air with his blade, the metallic hiss of the weapon cutting through the silence of the training grounds. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. Every strike, every maneuver, was executed with a calculated grace that spoke of years of honing his craft.
Nicholas appeared at the edge of the training area, his expression formed into a mask conveying caution. Antonio's eyes narrowed, his grip on the blade not relenting. "What is it?" His voice was low and commanding.
Nicholas glanced around, his eyes sweeping over the surroundings as if assessing any potential threats. He took a step closer to Antonio, his voice hushed yet urgent. "We have a visitor."
Antonio's surprise was evident, his eyebrows raising in a mix of curiosity and suspicion. A visitor in their territory was a rare occurrence, and one that warranted caution. He tightened his grip on the blade, the weapon gleaming in the sunlight as he held it ready.
"Who?" Antonio's voice held an edge, his instincts urging him to prepare for any eventuality.
Nicholas hesitated for a moment, his gaze locking with Antonio's before he finally spoke. "It would be better if I took you to him."
Antonio's jaw clenched, his eyes narrowing as he weighed his options.He stared at Nicholas then finally nodded, though his grip on the blade didn't loosen. "Lead the way."
As they reached the outskirts of the training area, Nicholas slowed his pace. He turned to Antonio, his expression serious. "Prepare yourself, Antonio. Our visitor is... different. And I wouldn't have agreed to bring you to him if I didn't see the potential."
Antonio's brow furrowed in confusion, He held his blade steady, ready for whatever awaited him. "Different how?"
Nicholas' gaze held a hint of uncertainty, as if struggling to find the right words. "Just... wait and see."
With a final glance at Antonio, Nicholas continued forward. Antonio's grip on the blade tightened.
As they moved deeper into the woods, Antonio's senses remained sharp, his eyes scanning the surroundings for any signs of movement.
Finally, they reached a small clearing, and Antonio's eyes fell upon the figure standing there, bathed in dappled sunlight. His grip on the blade tightened involuntarily, his muscles tensing as he assessed the newcomer. He didn't need anyone to tell him, he knew one of them anywhere.
His grip tightened as he turned to Nicholas, his eyes narrowing in anger, " You brought me to one of them?"
Antonio's hand moved instinctively, ready to draw his blade, but Nicholas placed a restraining hand on his arm.
"Wait," Nicholas' voice was firm, his gaze never leaving the visitor.
Nicholas turned to Antonio, his voice low. "This is the one I wanted you to meet, Antonio. He's different, but he's not our enemy."
He regarded the newcomer with a mixture of scrutiny and curiosity. "Who are you?"
Liam's lips curled into a faint smile, a glimmer of amusement in his eyes. "I am Liam" he replied, "And I believe we have matters of mutual interest to discuss."
Antonio's gaze remained hardened, his eyes fixed on Liam as if daring him to make a move.
"And what could that be?" Antonio's voice was laced with skepticism, his arms crossed over his chest.
Liam took a tentative step forward, his expression earnest.
"You should be on your knees right now, begging for your life," Antonio's voice was cold and calculated. "Do not provoke me, and stay where you are."
Liam's expression remained composed, though there was a flicker of irritation in his eyes. He nodded, his lips forming a thin line. "Very well," he conceded. "But know that my intentions are not to provoke, but to offer a chance for something greater."
Antonio's stance remained unwavering, his gaze locked onto Liam. "We're listening."
Liam's smile was a mixture of charm and tension as he spoke, "I have heard rumors about the child Aria is carrying."
Antonio's eyes widened slightly, a flicker of surprise and confusion crossing his features. He exchanged a quick glance with Nicholas, who mirrored his astonishment. "Aria?" Antonio questioned.
Liam's smile widened, a knowing glint in his eyes. "You see, that is exactly why you need me," he stated calmly. "Aria is the marked wolf, she carried the prophecy child and we were almost mated. I know everything about her, things you may not even have considered. You might think you understand the ways of a werewolf, but you never truly know the intricacies. I could help you navigate those complexities."
Nicholas regarded Liam with a mix of curiosity and suspicion. "You're suggesting that you have insider knowledge. Why would you offer that to us?"
Liam's gaze held steady, his expression sincere. "Because I understand the threat that's brewing. I've seen it from both sides. And I know that if you want to protect your people, you'll need every advantage you can get."
Antonio's brows furrowed as he processed Liam's words. He unfolded his arms, his posture still cautious but slightly more open. "Let's say we entertain this idea. What's in it for you?"
Liam's eyes glinted with a hint of defiance, his voice tinged with a touch of bitterness. "I have my reasons, just as you have yours. But at the core of it, I want to see all of them dead. Except for the child."
Antonio and Nicholas exchanged a glance, their silent communication reflecting the complexity of the situation. "And the child is of what purpose to you?" Nicholas inquired, his tone measured.
Liam's eyes flashed with intensity, a fire burning within them. "I am only a representative here," he began, his voice carrying an air of authority. "The news has spread about the prophecy child, the one who will harness immense power and hold the delicate balance of the world in his hands. There are wolves, powerful and ambitious, who want that power for themselves. I, on the other hand, just want to see them all eliminated, especially Aria's sister."
Antonio and Nicholas exchanged another silent glance, their unspoken thoughts passing between them like a current.
Nicholas finally spoke, his voice steady, "Give us a minute to talk this over."
Liam nodded, his gaze moving between the two men before him. He took a step back, giving them the space they needed to deliberate.
Antonio's mind raced, considering every angle, every possible outcome. Nicholas was about to speak when he noticed Antonio's subtle shake of the head. "He has advanced hearing," Antonio murmured, his voice a low whisper. "Marcus will come to watch him while we discuss. We need to find a place with enough noise to drown out our voices."
Finally finding a secluded spot where the sounds of rustling leaves and distant birdsong would provide the necessary cover, Antonio spoke. "He's a wolf, one of their kind."
Nicholas nodded, his expression serious. "I know, but he possesses information that could be invaluable. He has insider knowledge, and that could give us an edge."
Antonio sighed, his brows furrowing. "Insider knowledge comes with its own risks, Nicholas. And what about the child? He wants to hand it over to his kind, the ones who seek to exploit its powers."
Nicholas met Antonio's gaze, his voice steady. "That's exactly what we want to do too, isn't it? Use the child's power to our advantage, then eliminate all of them. We should agree. Use him for as long as we can, then kill him alongside the other werewolves when the time comes."
A slow smile tugged at the corner of Antonio's lips as he recited their chilling slogan, "Death to all werewolves."
Nicholas repeated it with a sense of conviction. "Death to all werewolves."
They went back to Liam who stood patiently waiting for their return, his expression calm and collected, "Have you decided?"
Antonio answered for both of them, his voice unwavering, "Yes. But before we agree, we need to know every werewolf who will be involved in this alliance."
Liam nodded, his lips curling into a dangerous smile. "Very well."
With a swift and fluid movement, Liam's eyes shifted, his inner wolf flashing. He let out a haunting howl pierced the air, a sound that seemed to echo through the trees and reverberate off the distant mountains.
In a matter of seconds, the forest seemed to come alive, figures emerging from the shadows. Werewolves materialized, their forms moving gracefully, their eyes fixed on Antonio and Nicholas.
Antonio's hand instinctively moved toward the blade at his side, his fingers curling around the hilt. He exchanged a quick glance with Nicholas, who mirrored his cautious stance. The werewolves had come prepared, and Antonio knew they had underestimated Liam's connections.
The realization hit Antonio like a blow, the weight of their predicament settling heavily upon him. They were outnumbered, surrounded by creatures who possessed strength and agility beyond human limits.
A cold smile curved Liam's lips as he watched the hunters, his confidence unwavering. "You didn't really think I would come alone, did you?"