Nightshade Page 33

“Welcome.” His gaze moved slowly over the tense young Guardians. “I realize that this meeting is somewhat unexpected, but things will change quickly now that the union is so close.”

Logan rested his elbows on his knees. “In order for the alphas to proceed with the Rite of Union, they must be of age. For Ren and Calla that won’t happen until Samhain, the day you both turn eighteen and the date on which the new pack will officially form.”

He began drumming his fingers on a manila envelope. “In order to ensure a smooth transition, I’ve gathered some materials for you so that you’ll know what the duties of the new pack will be, what the logistics of your new lives entail, and the timeline for the stages of the transition.”

Logan nodded at Ren, who caught the envelope that sailed toward him.

Ren pulled open the flap and peered inside. “What’s this?”

“Specs for the new development,” Logan said. “Where you will live.”

The young wolves stirred in their seats and exchanged wary glances.

Logan made a calming gesture. “Like I said, this change will occur in stages. Some of you—Ansel, Cosette—are quite young, and the Keepers understand that. The five houses of the new development are in the midst of construction. Of course, Ren and Calla’s home is finished and they will be able to occupy it as soon as the union takes place.”

I fought back the rising heat in my chest and neck, glancing at Ren, but his eyes remained locked on Logan.

“Bryn, as well as Sabine and Dax, will be the next to make the move, since they will also finish their schooling this year.”

The two named Banes stiffened. Bryn shuffled her feet while Ansel gripped the sides of his chair. Ren cleared his throat. Logan arched an eyebrow at the alpha.

Ren looked at his packmates and then at the Keeper. “Are you pairing them up? Setting new matches now?”

Logan smiled slowly. “Would you have an objection to that, Ren?”

Ren stared at our master but remained silent. Logan’s jaw twitched and then he laughed. “No. I’m not pairing them.”

Dax and Sabine both relaxed, and Fey expelled a long, relieved breath. Bryn offered my brother a weak smile.

“The only mated pair as of this time will be Ren and Calla, your alphas,” Logan continued. “You’re free to live in the houses we provide in whatever arrangements you choose. Each house has multiple bedrooms and baths; the five homes are being constructed around a common garden space with a pool and spa. In the same way we’ve provided for your parents, you’ll have a cleaning staff, gardeners, and full-time maintenance specialists so you don’t have to focus on anything other than your duties. I’m sure you will find the living arrangements quite to your liking.”

Quiet noises of approval sounded from the Nightshades and Banes. A sparkle of optimism lit my heart.

Logan smiled. “As I said, Ren and Calla will be the first to move. The other seniors will follow. As to the rest of you, until you finish school, you are welcome to continue living with your parents should you prefer to, or you may move into the new development as the houses are completed. No matter where you reside, however, from this point forward you no longer answer to your former packs. You answer to Ren and Calla, and to me.”

The Keeper stroked his chin. “My father has generously offered to assist with the oversight of the new pack. He seems to think that, as such a young group of Guardians, you might prove unruly.”

His gaze fell on Sabine. “But I think that if we all show a commitment to our duties, then surely his involvement will not be necessary.”

Ren glanced at Sabine, who had begun to tremble. “Of course, Logan,” he said. “Whatever you ask.”

A half smile pulled at Logan’s mouth. “Excellent.”

He pointed at the envelope once more. “You’ll find in those papers the forms for any requisitions you’ll need. Each of you can request a vehicle of your choice. The purchase orders are there.”

Dax hooted, and Logan grinned.

“We’ll also make arrangements for a weekly grocery delivery at your homes. Their location will make running errands into Vail something of an inconvenience.”

“Where are our new homes?” I asked.

“At a much higher elevation on the eastern slope of the mountainside. Only one access road has been built for the site. The location of the development coincides with the primary objective of the new pack.”

“And what will that be?” I leaned forward, interested.

Logan straightened, his eyes narrowed. “We have reason to believe that the Searchers will move against Haldis Cavern with whatever force they can muster within the next year. While the Nightshades and Banes will continue their patrols of the perimeters, the new pack will offer a second layer of defense at the cavern itself.”

He broke into a grin once more. “Which brings me to another issue. Normally a pack is named after its Keeper, but a Bane pack already exists. The new pack will be named Haldis, after that site you are sworn to protect.”

I glanced at my packmates and at the Banes. All their faces lit up.

“I’m glad the choice pleases you,” Logan said. “While guarding Haldis will be the pack’s key role, there is another matter that requires your immediate attention.”

He looked from Ren to me. “Your alphas were introduced on Friday evening to a human boy by the name of Shay Doran. He is a senior at the Mountain School; he just arrived last week.”

I shoved my hands underneath me. I couldn’t afford for Logan to see them shaking.

“Shay represents a significant interest to the Keepers. His safety is our highest priority; it was this boy who was the target of the Searchers’ attack on Friday.”

“What do they want with him?” I blurted.

Several of the wolves gasped.

I dropped my gaze to the floor. “I’m sorry, Logan. I’ve gotten to know Shay; I was just curious.”

“That’s quite all right, Calla.” He waved off my apology. “We are indebted to you for preventing his abduction. The truth is that we don’t know what the Searchers want with Shay, only that they believe he is important to their success against us. Therefore we must keep him safe and out of their hands.”

I kept my eyes averted, nodding.

“I have also had the opportunity to get acquainted with the human boy. It seems he’s become quite infatuated with you. We need his trust, so I’d like to encourage that. Please befriend him. Think of yourself as something of a de facto bodyguard for the time being.”

Prev Next