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   Chapter 3 Put on a Show

Hunted Princess By kari Characters: 29447

Updated: 2018-07-15 20:04

Killian's laugh resonated in her skull as he helped Gwen pull her up from the ground. Siberia let out a growl, shaking off the helping hands and brushing the grass off the dress.

"Miss, you're putting too much thought into walking. You just have to walk, use the gracefulness of your wolf training." Gwen straightened the dress skirts and gestured for Siberia to begin again.

She let out a sigh and began walking down the cobblestone path that circled the training grounds. "I have fought in the arena for years, faced undefeated opponents, and this is the one thing that I have issues with, walking in a gown." She stepped on one of the skirts and began to lose her balance, Killian grabbing her arm and steadying her.

Gwen stood in front of her, hands on her hips, "Miss Siberia, you are thinking too much! I may just be a human, but even I know that shifters have a grace that no one else has. I have seen the way you fight in the arenas, and I have seen how the Queen floats along the ground. Close your eyes, and walk miss."

With a growl, she reluctantly closed her eyes and called on her wolf, letting her rise just enough to give her stability. She put one foot in front of the other, walking along the path, feeling with her senses rather than seeing with her eyes.

There you go, Sia! You're doing it! Kane yelped out in excitement.

"Now try opening your eyes, " Gwen said gently, her hand skimming Siberia's arm.

Sia's yellow eyes flicked open, scanning the area around her. They had made it to edge of the grounds, the sound of the Askars training a faint buzz. A slow smile spread across her lips, walking along the path with confidence, turning around and heading back towards the main house.

She glanced at Gwen, "You said you were a lady's maid to the queen?" Hearing Killian's and Tobias' light steps behind them, watching their flanks, and Kane padding in front, ears alert.

Gwen nodded, "Yes Miss, I have been for sometime now. I was lady's maid to the previous queen as well."

"What are they like? The King and Queen? Is he as ruthless as everyone says he is?" She pried, trying to get any information on what exactly she would be dealing with when she arrived at the tournament.

The maid's heart skipped a beat, "Oh miss...I don't wish to speak ill of the King and Queen as they are our rulers...but there is always truth to the rumors that stem from the Kingdom. I wouldn't worry too much, my lady, the contenders of the tournament never truly meet the King, he just looks them over and then watches from his seat. The ball is merely for showcasing the Askars, and for flaunting of course."

Siberia paused, looking over at the others and seeing the various shifts while their familiars watched from the sidelines, providing power and support. "And the Queen? What's she like?"

"She's a Queen, she carries the weight of the realm on her along with the stress of bearing an heir for the King. I do feel sympathy for Her Highness, but she is a royal and she has her demands. But again, you won't be meeting them miss, why do you ask?" Gwen eyed the warrior curiously, noticing the way she held her herself as she watched over the other Askars, recognition sparking in her mind.

Siberia shook her head, "Just curious, it's not every day that an Askar like me gets to meet the royals of the realm. I'm a lowborn; it's surreal to be seeing them in person. Granted I'll be in an Arena, but it's still an honor."

Gwen's eyes widened, "Miss, you remind me so much of-"

"Gwen! I think that's enough on etiquette for today, the new Askars are here and I need Siberia to help me test their skills." August came walking up from the training fields, hands behind his back, tension rolling off of him in waves.

Gwen bowed, "Of course sir, come miss, let's get you back in your armor."

August smiled, "I have other plans for you, Gwen. Siberia's mother will help her out of the dress. Killian, take Sia back to the barracks."

Siberia eyed August but didn't question his orders. August seems a little tense doesn't he?

A little is an understatement, but with the attack I can't blame him. Kane padded next to her, tongue lolling.

That makes sense...what do you think the new Askars are like?

Probably pups that Killian won't let get near you. Kane huffed a laugh, shaking out his fur.

Killian let out a rumble, "Making fun of me with your soul bond are you?"

She smirked and punched his shoulder, "Only a little, the same that you do with Tobias."

The wolf in question gave a toothy grin, Nah, he drools over you in our mind links. He projected to her.

Killian's eyes widened, face flushing, "Tobias!"

Siberia laughed, continuing down the path to the barracks. Poor Killian, Tobias completely threw him under water.

Careful Sia, I might do the same to you one day. Kane gave wag of his tail, smiling.

She let out a growl, but smiled at her soul bond. He was like a brother to her, he came to her not long after her fifth birthday, just a wobbly pup that felt her power as a shifter and filled the void in her heart. They made it to the barracks, Siberia's mother waiting out in front for them.

She smiled at her daughter, "Look at you, I can't wait to see the actual gown August is having made for you. Now come, let's get you out of that."

She followed her mother back into her room, Kane padding along and looking back over his shoulder. What is it?

Pretty sure Killian is dying to come in here but Tobias is holding him back. He sat at the threshold of her room, I'll wait here just in case he tries to come in.

Sia shook her head, letting her mother start to undo the ties of the bodice and corset. She felt the relief of the corset loosening and took a deep breath, stretching her rib cage after being contained for so long.

Her mother chuckled, "Feel better?"

She nodded, stepping out of the skirts and putting on her armor, feeling like herself again. "It's not very comfortable or functional." Lacing her gauntlets, stretching her claws and feeling her power thrum through her at the promise of testing the new Askars.

Mary folded the dress as much as possible and left it on the bed, studying her daughter, "How did it go with the etiquette training? I saw you walking with the human." The young wolf was tying her boots, her kill tattoos marking her forearm, her wins marking the other.

Siberia shrugged, "Nothing too difficult. I'm just glad I was born an Askar and not a highborn, having to dress in those death traps. Now let's go meet the new blood, my wolf is anxious for a fight." Pulling her hair back into a braid and walking out the door with Kane following close behind.

Killian was wrestling with Tobias, waiting outside the door of the barracks, eyes flicking up at her as she appeared in the threshold. "August is having us meet them at the front of the main house. He said it's three wolves and a fox, all coming from a trainer in Terra."

She nodded once and started making her way to the main house, "From Trainer Liam?"

Killian matched her pace, with the familiars running ahead, "No, from Trainer Liam's son, Daegan. He's starting his own little training facility, won those four from an auction but claims that they're too strong willed for him to break. So he traded them for four of our fledglings, he wanted four apprentices but August laughed in his face."

Siberia grinned and felt her claws extend, "Strong willed? My favorite to train, I've been itching for a hard fight since the qualifiers. Let's see what these pups can do."

The pair walked out to the front gardens, flanking either side of August as a transport iron cage rolled in front of the house, pulled by large horses. Trainer Liam and his son, Daegan, rode up behind the transport cage, their capes billowing behind them. Siberia stood taller, fixating her eyes on the cage as August greeted the two trainers. She heard the slight growls come from the barred windows, immediately picking up on the scent of an aggravated wolf.

"Liam, it's nice to see you again old friend!" The Spark clasped the forearm of the other man, flashing him a bright smile.

"You as well August, it has been too long, since the start of the season no?" Liam's tanned skin crinkled with his smile, his salt and pepper hair giving note of his age. He was a Tiger, a highborn shifter and a respected trainer from Terra.

"I believe so, I did mean to go down to your training grounds to find a few sires from you but time got away from me." August's magic crackled around him with excitement, it wasn't often he was able to see his friends.

Liam took a step back, eyes landing on Siberia, "With good reason, I hear you have a contender in your midst. Congratulations August, you certainly deserve it."

August dipped his head, "Thank you Liam, but Siberia is pure talent. I merely fine-tuned her skills. Now, Daegan, I hear this is your first trade?"

The young, dark haired man dismounted and shook August's hand, "It is, thank you sir for agreeing to trade. Other Trainers wouldn't fulfill when they saw what they were getting." He looked back to the transport cage, fear slowly changing his scent.

August shook his head, "Nonsense, we have all been there. What we think is a good deal at an auction ends up being a bad mistake, it happens to all of us. It's why I have Siberia and Killian here, they are Master wolves. I've trained them myself since they were pups and I have no doubt that they can break these stubborn novices. I will take you to the Novice barracks and you can choose any four, they are all far along enough to not have any obedience issues, but they still need a firm hand."

Daegan looked to his father for guidance, "Thank you Trainer August, my father and I heard about the attack this morning...we weren't sure if you still wanted to-"

"I can assure you the threat has been taken care of, my guards are patrolling the grounds as we speak and I have wards all around the training areas and main house. You have nothing to fear, now please, spare us the suspense and show me my new Askars." August snapped at the young trainer, eyes flashing purple.

Daegan swallowed hard, nodding his head to the two panthers that stood next to the transport cage. Siberia took a step forward to get a better look as the door was unlocked and swung open. A large brown wolf launched himself at the panther, snarling and snapping at his face before fixating his eyes on August. The wolf snarled and lunched towards the spark, Siberia shifted midstride and locked her jaws around the brown wolf's neck. She pulled the brown wolf away from her Trainer and threw him down on to the ground, snarling as the wolf tried to break out of her hold.

Siberia let out a loud growl, tightened her jaws around his neck, Submit.

The wolf continued to struggle, refusing to listen to her command. Siberia placed her paws on the wolf's chest, digging her claws into his flesh, One last chance to submit willingly.

The wolf snarled, I will never bow to a she-wolf.

Siberia saw red, she would show this wolf who she really was. With a growl, she lifted the unruly wolf by his neck and threw him against a tree. A sickening crack left the wolf limp at the base of the tree, whimpering and struggling to get up. Siberia shifted back to her human form, claws and fangs extended, she grabbed the wolf by the scruff of the neck and growled her command, Submit.

The wolf quieted down and went limp in her hold, attempting to roll over and show his belly. She straightened slowly, her eyes never leaving the wolf lying at her feet. She could feel the emotions rolling off the trainers surrounding her, awe coming from Liam and Daegan, and pride coming from August.

August clapped his hands once, "See Daegan? Even the most stubborn Askars will submit to power. Siberia, Killian, take the novices out to the intake area and have Melanie look them over, once they're assessed, test their limits and rank them. I will be by with Liam once Daegan chooses his four new Askars. Come friends, the novices have just finished training and lunch shall be served in the foyer soon. I have the best cook from Rantock."

August's voice dwindled as he walked away with the two other trainers, leaving Siberia and Killian alone with the other shifters. Killian went over to the Panther guards and exchanged a few words, they guards nodded once and began to pull the three other Askars out in chains. Siberia kept her foot firmly planted on the wolf's neck and watched the Askars file out of the cage. She scented the air, fear pouring off the Askars as they kept their eyes down and refused to look her way.

"Do they have names?" Siberia asked the panther closest to her.

His eyes flashed a brilliant green, "The one under your foot is Gleric, the fox is Sonia, and the two other wolves are Clay and Lucio, they're twins."

She nodded, "And yours, panther?"

He swallowed hard and shifted his feet, "Ivor, I don't know why it is of importance-"

She let out a snarl, "Ivor, it is of up most importance because this wolf almost attacked my master, and easily bested you in combat. He also was not chained as the others were. You should be stripped of guard and be placed as a kitchen servant, but I doubt even there you would succeed."

"Siberia, leave him be, we need to take the novices to the intake area." Killian spoke softly as to not anger the aggravated she-wolf even more.

With one last growl, she picked the wolf up off the ground by the scruff of his neck and shoved him towards the other Askars. The wolf, Gleric, shifted back to his human form and scrambled over to the fox. Siberia snarled at the group, "Ranks! Follow me. You even attempt to run and every single askar here will kill you, understood?"

They remained silent and kept their heads low as they moved into ranks, the fox taking up the final rank. Killian let out a sigh and took up the back flanks to keep an eye on the Askars, "Let's move out."

Siberia huffed and lead the novices through the main house out to the back training area. Every Askar they passed would stop and stare at the new fledglings, then nod their head in respect to Siberia. She glanced back at them, noticing how they kept their eyes down, their chains clanking as they walked. Gleric kept his hands at his sides, being the only one unchained. They made their way to a small tan building nestled amongst the trees, far way from the bustle of training. A short, tan woman stepped out, her curly hair flowed around her and a smile played on her lips.

"Siberia, there you are. August told me you would be bringing by new recruits. You didn't m

aul them too bad did you?" The scent of lavender drifted off of Melanie in waves, calming the aggravated she wolf.

Sia shook her head, "No, he didn't fight too hard, Melanie. All except one are chained, but Killian and I can restrain him if you deem it necessary." Glancing back at the wolf in question.

Melanie rolled her eyes and motioned for Siberia to step aside, "Siberia I have been assessing shifters for as long as I can remember, my magic protects me and they certainly don't need those things." With a wave of her hand, the shackles fell off the Askars, "There, that's better. Now, names, shift, rank and age please. We'll start with you sweet boy." She pointed at the dark wolf with green eyes.

The wolf looked up, "Lucio, grey wolf, delta novice, and...I don't know my age miss Melanie."

Melanie sighed and snapped her fingers, a ball of magic leaving her fingers and filling the shifter with light. Her eyes glowed a brilliant purple as she held her hands out in the direction of the shifter, the other shifters eyes widened at the display of magic in front of them. Her eyes dimmed, "Hmm, good health, and a twin. That's why you don't have a soul bond, you are each other's balance. The soul of one wolf lives in the two of you. Interesting. Twin two, same questions."

The wolf's brother took a step forward, mirror images of each other, "Clay. Everything else is the same as my brother, miss."

Melanie smiled at the pair of wolves, "Killian, you may take the twins to the intake arena to be assessed. They have the upmost potential of being great Askars."

Killian bowed his head and gestured to the wolves to follow as he walked away, Tobias suddenly appearing at the edge of the woods and padding along next to him.

Melanie turned back to the last two remaining shifters, studying them intently. "Siberia which one gave you trouble? The male or female?"

Sia gave a little snarl, "The male, Gleric. He's a brown wolf delta, but the attitude of a beta."

She let out a laugh and held her hand out to the wolf, "Siberia, he's just a novice, leave him be. He's powerful, no soul bond, which explains the outbursts and refusal to submit. I recommend leaving him here in the intake cells until a soul bond arrives for him. The next pups will be born any day now." Her eyes dimmed as she turned towards the fox, "You're a Halfling aren't you?"

Siberia furrowed her brow and looked towards the thin fox. "A Halfling?"

The girl curled inward, " handler said I was omega...I've never shifted before...Trainer Daegan kept commanding me...but I never could..."

Realization hit Siberia, "That's why he said Trainers wouldn't trade with him. Twins, an unbound shifter, and an omega who has never shifted...Melanie do you know why she can't shift?"

Melanie placed her hands on the shifter's shoulders, lavender permeated the air as she focused in on her magic. She sighed in frustration, "Her fox spirit is there but it's too timid to be coaxed out. Daegan may have commanded her but he's only an Alpha in training and he's never put her in the arena. Perhaps stress can trigger a shift? If not I have to tell August that she can't shift and she will be retired to kitchen maid or traded away. I'm sorry sweet fox, but a shifter that can't shift...well they don't belong on Askar training grounds."

"Should I try testing her in the training arena? Or just send her straight to August?" Siberia asked, hands behind her back.

Melanie shrugged, "Try the arena, but if that doesn't help I don't know what will. Whatever handler she had did not nurture her fox spirit when she was a pup, if the connection isn't nurtured well...the shifter spirit will dwindle away. It will be as if she was never a shifter to begin with."

Siberia glanced at the meek girl and nodded once, "I'll take her to the arena and test her. Send word once Gleric has a soul bond and then I will test him. Thank you Melanie." She bowed her head and turned in the direction that Killian had gone.

Kane padded out from the woods and fell into step with her, How did it go?

Well only two right now have the prospects of being Askars but they're twins. One doesn't have a soul bond, and this one has never shifted. If she doesn't shift today in the arena, she may lose her fox spirit. Where have you been? I needed you when one of them attacked. She growled at Kane, quickening her pace to reach the arena. She was nearing her limit of control, with no idea as to why.

Kane picked up her agitation, Siberia stop. Take a deep breath. He pulled on her wolf spirit, sending calming thoughts through the bond. Why are you so irritated?

Siberia took a deep breath, silencing her growls in her mind. I think a lot has happened today, and I am just exhausted of getting attacked outside of the arena. I haven't allowed myself to fully focus on the thought of being chosen...but now is not the time to dwell on it. I must get this fox to shift.

She glanced back at the fox that was following her, the girl's eyes flicked up and met her own, heart racing as she quickly stared back down at the grass. That may prove to be harder than I thought. They arrived at the entrance of the arena and the fox's heart was pounding in Siberia's ears.

Killian stepped out to meet them, confusion flickered across his features, "You're missing one."

"Gleric needs a soul bond, Melanie is keeping him until the pups arrive and he bonds with one to regain control. How did it go with the twins?" Siberia followed Killian inside, hearing the poor fox struggle to keep up.

He smiled, "They have excellent promise. They work well together as a pair; we just have to teach them how to work separately. And this one?"

"She has never shifted before, if she can't shift in the arena today, she will be taken to August. Put her in the competitor prep cage, Kane will lock me mine. We will see if I can scare the fox out." She and Killian went separate ways, Kane padding alongside her as they went further down into the arena.

Her mind quieted as she slipped into her arena mindset, focusing on the fight ahead of her. They neared the door of the holding cell, Kane pulling it open for her and locking it after she stepped in. Siberia rolled her shoulders, claws and fangs extending, her eyes burning a golden yellow. She looked back at Kane, grounding herself to their bond.

Remember, this is a practice fight. The fox may not shift and if she doesn't after three hits, leave her be. Kane reminded her, his own eyes glowing as he felt her power thrum through the bond.

She nodded and turned back towards the front of the cage, waiting for the door to open and let her out into the arena. "I'm ready." She growled through her teeth.

The iron door swung open, and Siberia ran out, shifting mid air and landing on all fours in the middle of the arena. Her white fur bristled, muzzle held in a snarl with a stream of growls coming through. She could hear the heart beat of the fox coming from the holding cell, fear tainting the air. Come out little fox. Face your opponent the way an Askar should.

She heard a struggle and saw Killian pulling the flailing fox out from the cell and tossing her out into the arena. He ran back in and shut the cell door before she could bolt back inside. The fox began to plead and cry to be let in.

Siberia amped up her snarls. Shift!

The girl screamed, "Please, please stop. Don't make me! I don't know how!" She tried to run to the side of the arena where some Askars sat watching.

With a growl, Siberia chased after her, swiping at her leg and bringing the girl tumbling to the ground. The smell of blood filled the air, making Siberia's mouth water.

Sonia fell to the ground, screaming in pain and holding her leg, "Someone help me! Please! She's going to kill me!"

Siberia shifted back into her human form, "I'm not going to kill you, you stupid girl. I'm trying to get your fox to show itself. You said you're an omega. Now I know why. You're worthless. You have no strength, no shift, no purpose. You are a disgrace to shifters everywhere. You really think these Askars would save you? They would help me kill you. Pathetic Omega." She grabbed the girl by her neck and tossed her back into the center of the arena. "Fight back. Prove me wrong! FIGHT BACK!"

Siberia raised her claws to attack once again when the girl began to writhe around in pain. Blood curdling screams came from the young girl, and the sound of bones breaking pained every askar in the vicinity. Where the girl one lay was now a thin fox, panting hard and whimpering. Her red fur was loose around her ribs, ears flat against her head and tail firmly between her legs. Siberia shifted back into her wolf form, shaking out her white fur and walked slowly over to the fox.

Congratulations Sonia, you found your fox spirit. You may remain here after all. Now rise, you may be omega, but you are a shifter. Siberia gently picked up the fox by the scruff of her neck and set her on her feet. Her ears perked up at the sound of applause coming from the stands. She looked up and locked eyes with August standing next to the two Terra Trainers.

Liam raised his brows, "I see why she won spot in the Tournament, August. I also see why you refuse to trade her. You've got a good one on your hands, if you ever breed her, let me know, I'll buy her first round of pups."

August let out a laugh, "Thank you, Liam. But I think she has a few more seasons in her before I find her a sire. Once I do though, you will be the first one I contact for her pups. Siberia, Killian, put on a show for our guests."

Siberia whirled around and growled at the fox, Leave us. Now.

Killian sauntered out, shaking his fur out and a grin on his muzzle. Don't worry Sia, I'll go easy on you. And I'll prove what a good sire I will be for you.

She growled at the grey wolf, Over my dead body. She launched herself at him, teeth and claws sinking into his back.

Killian yelped out and tried to buck her off his back, but she twisted herself off before he even had the chance. She nipped at his back paw and backed away from the swipe of his claws, a small smirk playing on her muzzle. Killian's anger came off of him, his muzzle pulled up in a snarl and his fur standing up. He charged at her, mouth open to bite down on her neck. She bolted to the side last minute and shifted into her human form, swiping at his side. Killian roared and shifted, charging at her again. He shouldered her onto the ground and punched her in the jaw, rearing back to swipe with his claws. Siberia kicked him in the chest and rolled onto her feet, claws and fangs out as she roared her challenge. She took her stance, yellow eyes locked on Killian.

Go for his left leg, it's the one you took out in the beginning. One more swipe and he's done. Kane's voice filled her mind.

She smirked, her fangs giving her a devilish appearance. "What happened Killian? Are you going easy on me? Or are you just wanting to sire me?" She taunted him, trying to rile him to charge her again.

He roared and bounded to her, ready to slam her into the wall. Siberia slid right in between his legs and sliced at his inner thighs, blood spilling and coating her hands. Killian fell to the ground snarling in pain and panting.

Siberia stood and walked over to him, watching him struggle to stand. "Submit." She growled.

Killian managed to sit up against the wall, and bared his neck. "I submit."

She smiled and held her hand out to help him up. He barked out a laugh and took her arm, pulling himself up and leaning against her as they turned towards August.

Daegan's mouth was open in shock while August and Liam nodded their heads once. "She's so strong. Are you sure she's a beta?"

"Very sure, she's just absolutely in tune with her wolf. Keep an eye out for power Daegan, you ever know where you will find it. Thank you Siberia and Killian. Killian you are dismissed; Melanie will heal you, Siberia stay put. I wish to speak with you about the tournament." August walked out of the seating area, Liam and Daegan following close behind.

"No hard feelings?" Siberia asked Killian as their soul bonds ran out to them, three shifters behind them with a stretcher for Killian. She helped Killian settle on the stretcher, noticing the damage she had done.

Killian half smiled, "No hard feelings. You are a contender after all. I knew what I was getting myself into. Now we really will be breeding pairs."

She rolled her eyes and nodded for the others to take him away. At least I didn't hurt him too bad.

Your's healing Sia... Kane cocked his head ears flicking back.

She shrugged, He must have not hit me that hard to warrant help from Healer Melanie.

That can't be. Sia I felt it, it cracked my own jaw through the bond-

"Wonderful job today Siberia. Trainer Liam was impressed. He hasn't seen you fight in years. And his Daegan, well he's more excited to start training his own Askars. He took two wolves, a fox, and a panther. I was hesitant because of Sonia, but you managed to get her to shift. I am very, very proud of you." He clasped her shoulder, and his eyes flashed purple, a shock going through the both of them.

She winced at the shock, "Of course August, it's my duty." Her head began to pound at the magic that flew through her body.

August furrowed his brow, watching her intently, "How are you feeling, Siberia?"

The headache began to get worse, her vision darkening, "I can't...August..."

With a snap of his fingers, the headache left her as suddenly as it came on. He brushed a strand of her hair back, "I forget how special you are Siberia. Round up your novices, run some drills and then meet at the main house for dinner. We'll go over more scheduling for you then."


Siberia left the training arena with Kane padding along next to her. He let out a sigh and turned towards the she-wolf that approached him, "Yes Mary?"

"She's getting stronger August. You can't hide the truth from her forever, and I know you can feel her changing as much as I can. This tournament isn't good for her, send Malia instead." The Elder wolf crossed her arms, her grey eyes challenging the spark.

"I know Mary. I understand how dangerous it is for her, but it's necessary. Something's coming, something big, and she's going to play her part she just doesn't know it yet. Trust me on this Mary, Siberia will be safe no matter how dangerous this tournament gets. I have a plan, all I ask is for a little patience." His purple eyes focused back on the she-wolf, quelling any rebuttal he could see brewing in her mind.

"Let us begin."

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