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    astone2292
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Love in the Shadows - 28. Chapter 28: Troublesome Turning

This is a warning for this chapter's content, as a character(s) will experience pain and suffering that may not be pleasant to read about.

Vincent closed his eyes and felt the sudden pull for his wolf to take over. Opening his eyes, Vincent's wolf looked around and smiled at the new faces, eager to meet them all. "Hello!"

Cyrus couldn't help but giggle to himself at the slightly scruffy voice. "Well, hello there, young wolf. It's a delight to meet you."

Sizing up the large bear, the wolf instantly felt the intimidating presence lying underneath the man. He...very strong. I can feel.

Yeah, he doesn't seem like the kinda guy I'd want to tussle with. "Good meet. You...Cyrus? You lead big pack soon?"

"Yes, just yesterday, I received word that the Executive Council cast their final votes. I'll be sworn in as soon as I'm comfortable to take the title."

Cocking his head to the side, Vincent struggled to comprehend the way the bear was taking leadership. "No challenge? Why not?"

Tierney chuckled at the question. "Because he is not challenging me. I'm retiring of my own will, and since it's a large and complicated pack, the EC needs to find a worthy candidate who has a vast amount of experience. Putting someone in who just has the strength qualification with no leadership and public speaking skills would be a disaster."

"Understand. Make sense to me." Vincent sat calmly as his wolf began to meet his friends. His ears twitched as he heard a distant conversation. "Someone else here. Near back of house?"

Dirk nodded. "That's Kaplan, Tierney's Beta. Just a heads up, young wolf, he may not look like a Beta wolf shifter, but he's trusted and carries a lot of weight in our pack."

"Not strong wolf, but smart. That make strong wolf as well. He talk to himself?"

"Nah, he's on a call. One of his cases went belly up. He's our pack attorney, and from what I overheard, his client withheld information from him and the court."

Vincent grumbled. "Court and laws. Not smart enough to understand. Hope turn out okay. I like meet Beta."

The smaller bear in the room smiled and began to turn towards the back of the home. "I'll let him know." He headed to go fetch his fellow councilman. As Vincent waited, he felt the need to stand and pace. I want to run. Feel lot of energy in body.

Easy, bud. I'm sure we'll go on a run tonight. Don't you want to save your energy and make our first run a long one?

A light growl emitted in Vincent’s mind as the wolf realized that his human’s idea was very solid. Yes. Don’t like, but know run at night be good! I wait. Mason could tell his wolf felt the need to be mobile. “Hey, Vinnie?” His mate quickly turned to face him with the biggest smile on his face. “Did you want to take a walk? Stretch your legs for a bit?”

Mason watched his smaller man’s face light up in excitement. “Yes! Walk! I want run, but human says no. Save energy for turning.”

“That’s probably for the best, but we can go for a walk if you need to move around a bit. Anyone want to come along?”

“I would love to take a stroll!” Cyrus took his hands from his pants pocket and fastened them onto his hips. “Tierney keeps going on and on about the woods around here, and I feel I need to see for myself.”

With a nod, Dirk felt the need to go as well and rose from his seat. With the three Alphas and one Enforcer, Mason led the way towards the back door, but ran into Kaplan in the kitchen. “Kap! Hey, buddy!” The larger wolf gave the Beta a firm handshake.

“Alpha Wilson! Vincent! So good to see you again.” Kaplan swiftly bared his neck to the Owensville power couple. ”I’m sorry for not coming out sooner. One of my clients practically just handed the victory over to the prosecution.” Looking between the four men, he got a little curious. “Are you all headed somewhere?”

Dirk grinned at his fellow council member. “Yeah, just going for a walk. Vincent’s wolf just took over and needs to burn off some energy.”

Widening his eyes, Kaplan examined the Mated Alpha. His wolf took over? Already? It’s still very light out. As he looked over Vincent, the slightly smaller man grinned with all of his teeth. Yep...that’s a new wolf. Always happy.

“You Kap...lan? Name is...different.”

Wow...after all these years, no one has ever commented about my name. “Uhh, yeah. It’s an old French surname meaning priest or chaplain.” The Beta watched his friend tilt his head. “Are you okay, Vincent?”

Shooting his eyes back up to Kaplan’s, Vincent eagerly nodded. “Yes! Just...lots of energy.”

Kaplan looked at the group going on the walk, and was concerned with Dirk going. “Dirk, shouldn’t you stay with Alpha Scott? You know you’re the better fighter than I am, and I doubt that the Alphas need a bodyguard.”

Realizing the layout of the group, the bear agreed with his friend’s assessment. “Yeah, you’re right. I know there’s not much of a threat here, but someone should stay with Tierney. You mind going on the walk?”

The Beta nodded, and felt a few of his neck hairs stand. He turned to Cyrus, who was staring at him with sultry eyes. The panda quickly looked away with the sound knowledge that he accomplished his little deed. Just putting it out there for you, Kaplan. I’m watching you, little pup. Every step you take.

Mason kept his face forward, but caught the elusive glances between Cyrus and Kaplan. Holy...shit! Are those two...a thing? That’s very interesting! I think I’ll keep that to myself for now. Just as he finished that thought, he found that Vincent was staring at him with a blank face. “What’s up, hot stuff?”

Vincent moved his eyes between his mate and the other two men, but turned back to Mason. “Confused. You all looking at other. Why this?”

Cyrus and Mason did their best to keep their hearts from dropping into their stomachs as they shared the same thought. Young animal spirits. They just don’t know when to keep their mouths closed. Like a charismatic genius, Mason gently grasped his mate’s hand and held Vincent by his side. “Just waiting on you, my mate. Let’s head outside.”

I tell they hide something. But what?

You mean...you didn’t see that, bud?

What? See what? I miss it!

Ha! Cyrus was checking out Kap! That’s so freakin’ juicy!

Check...out? Like...challenge?

Oh no! No. Like...checking out. You know? Like how we look at Mace’s butt when he’s not looking?

Oh! That is...interesting. New Alpha want to mate with current Alpha’s Beta. May cause problem later.

Didn’t think of it that way! Yeah, I doubt Ty would like that very much. We might want to keep it a secret for a while, and ask Mace when we’re alone.

Good idea. I like. Go on walk now. Vincent put on a sly grin and gave a deep laugh. “You all strange. I go for walk.” He kept his grin and flashed his frosty irises at his mate as he found the back door. Mason and Cyrus couldn’t help themselves but shared a fit of laughter and followed the smaller Alpha.

“My word, Mr. Bolton. Did you just flash your eyes? Those are some of the most frightening eyes I’ve seen in a while!” Authentically impressed, Cyrus pictured those eyes in his mind. He is an impressive Alpha! His wolf is just barely developed in regards to knowledge, but he practically flaunts his power, knowingly and unknowingly. His eyes caught Kaplan’s wide-eyed stare in Vincent's direction. Oh? Did Kaplan not know Vincent was an Alpha? “Mr. Alvey? Are you alright?”

Kaplan had several mixed feelings coursing through his mind. In regards to Cyrus, he was still processing that suave stare that made his blood run south. I’ve been given these stares for the past few days. The looks make my muscles go limp. What does this mean? Am I...falling for an Alpha? Does he share the feeling? I need to talk to him when we get a moment alone. But the Beta also had to contend with his newest discovery. Vincent’s wolf...is an Alpha? “Vincent!” Kaplan quickly bared his neck to the new Alpha. “I didn’t know your wolf was an Alpha!” He looked between the three men before him. I’m surrounded...by Alphas! That’s just crazy!

Observing the Beta’s scurried reaction, Vincent blinked in confusion. “You submit to me already. No need do again. Yes, I am Alpha wolf, but...I see human view. You don’t submit me.” He bored his friendly gaze into Kaplan. “You are friend. No need submit.”

Mason grinned at his mate’s resolve and joined in. “Same for me, Kap! I know you had a rough past, but I don’t require your submission.”

A light giggle came from the panda. “And you know how I feel about hierarchy, Mr. Alvey. Count me in on this understanding.”

The Beta scanned the three Alphas before him and smiled. “Thank you, sirs. That means a lot to me. I know I’m trying to get past the world of my previous pack, and I still can’t thank you enough, Cyrus, for helping me, but I think this will take more time than I expected.”

The panda put a hand on Kaplan’s shoulder. “Take all the time needed. You went through an ordeal, and that takes time to deal with. Just remember, he will never hurt you again.” Kaplan and Cyrus shared a smile as the Beta nodded in agreement. “Now! Enough dawdling, everyone! There is a forest out there with my name on it!” Cyrus took charge as he began to tire of the conversation and desired to let his legs do some talking. Exiting the house, the large man felt a bundle of energy disperse through his body and took a bountiful leap off the porch and into the slightly warm grass. Mason and Vincent quickly caught hold of the contagious energy and walked hand-in-hand towards the forest with Kaplan right behind them.

***

As an hour passed, Mason checked his phone to be sure of the time. It’s almost time. The moon is beginning to rise as the sun sets. Glancing at his mate, he noticed Vincent’s body was still itching to move around, but he could tell his wolf had become more and more anxious. It’s affecting him. Good thing we’re almost back to the house. "Did you have fun, Vinnie?"

Vincent felt relaxed as he let the breeze flow across his face. "Yes! Feel nice. Still have energy, but can sit now."

"I'll say, Mr. Bolton!" Cyrus followed behind the mated couple with Kaplan at his side. "You were practically running around us the entire time!"

Kaplan chuckled to himself. "I've never seen a human with so much energy to burn."

The panda looked to the Beta out of the corner of his eyes. "Have you witnessed a human turning, Kaplan?"

"I've seen a couple, but compared to how Vincent's acting, this is completely different. The humans I've seen are usually too busy gazing at the moon the entire time."

"I agree. This will actually be my first time watching a human turn into an Alpha, regardless of species. I'm sure this amount of energy has something to do with it."

The group was a mile out from the house, and Cyrus wished to speak to Kaplan alone for a little bit. Looking forward to the Alpha couple, Cyrus spoke up. "You two run ahead. I'm rather fatigued, but I'll catch up. Mr. Alvey, would you mind staying alongside me?" With a nod from the three wolves, Mason and Vincent kept walking as Cyrus and Kaplan slowed their pace. "I have a question, young Beta. Why do you feel angst and anxiety around me? I can barely smell it, so you're hiding your emotions very well."

Kaplan held his head low as he figured the bear would approach the subject sooner than later. "Well...I...umm. I know that you keep giving me those looks, Alpha. So I know you're interested in me. I'm unsure of your intentions, but if you are wanting something of me...a certain something...I don't know if I'm worthy of that."

Cyrus slowed to a halt as he grasped the wolf's thoughts. "Mr. Alvey. As my future Beta, I have no intention of doing something you do not feel comfortable with. Having said that, my bear cannot help what it wants. And I feel you need to have a talk with your wolf. A rather long talk at that.

"But I can not stand idly as you cower in your previous pack's mindset. You are free to be with whomever you want, regardless of status, as long as the other wants the same thing. I will not hide myself, neither my intentions. I would like to court you, Kaplan."

Kaplan's eyes widened as his breath was held. He...wants to go out...with me? "However." The wolf's attention was steadied on the large panda as he tugged on Kaplan's heartstrings. "As an Alpha, I can not hold my Beta's hand when he doesn't know how to articulate his feelings. I understand your issues, and how your past has haunted you over the years. So I will give you this challenge, young Beta."

A...challenge? "I am able to separate my work from my personal life, and if you are able to as well, then I would like to take you out on an official date. But!" Cyrus stepped forward and stopped himself lower to be in Kaplan's face, grinning from ear-to-ear. "I will only do so...when you gather your balls, and ask me out."

The wolf gasped as he realized what kind of plot he fell into. I...have to ask him...Oh Gods! Kaplan was beside himself in the mental struggle.

"Mr. Alvey, I will give you this one bit of advice. If you want something, you find a way to obtain it." Kaplan watched as Cyrus walked away with a sultry giggle. Remembering his promise to Tierney from several days ago, he felt a newfound sense of willpower.

"Alpha Vonder!"

The panda halted but didn't turn around. Is he…?

Kaplan walked to the Alpha, fists curled at his side. He watched as Cyrus slowly twirled with a curious face. "Your words hit me...and you're right. I need to grow a pair. If I'm to make good on my promise to Alpha Scott, then I need to move forward.

"I'm asking you out. It'd be my honor to even be considered to court a gentleman such as yourself."

The panda stood in complete shock. He assumed that the wolf would struggle with his little challenge. Instead, Cyrus listened to his future Beta actually ask the Alpha out. "Mr. Alvey...I am floored! I suspected you would have taken the time to at least contemplate whether or not you possessed the nerves. But there you go, amazing me once again!

"I accept, Kaplan." Cyrus stepped forward once more and grinned wildly at the wolf. "But I'm paying...and choosing the meal...and where we go...and what we do."

Kaplan was motionless, but let the giddiness ride in his soul. I...just asked Alpha Vonder...on a date. This is so weird, but it felt so right asking him. He's smart, strong, and very funny. It may be a little unprofessional working with someone I might be in a relationship with, but I think I can keep my pack work separated. "That sounds nice, Cyrus."

"I have one more thing to let you know if this blossoms into a relationship. My bear...doesn't allow intimate relations immediately. So if that would be on your agenda, you may have to be patient. My species tends to rely on long relationships. I trust you as a Beta and a friend, but to gain my trust as a lover...that, Kaplan...is the true challenge. It may even be weeks before my bear may think it is okay to merely hold your hand."

With that bit of news, Kaplan could only smile. "If that is what your bear wants, then that is what your bear shall receive. I'm perfectly fine with that. Especially since...well…"

"What is it?"

"This...will be my first relationship...ever."

***

After an hour of having his friends and family gathered, Vincent and his wolf couldn't help but feel the anxiety reaching a peak. Sheer avalanches of energy pumped through his body as he fought to sit still. "It is okay, my mate." Turning to see his big man, Vincent felt the need to hold Mason's hand. Contact. Just need little. Feel so...alive!

Yeah! I don't get what's going on, but even I feel the need to run around.

It is turning. Moon gives me energy. It so strong! "Yes, I okay. Ready…"

"Ready? Ready for what?"

Vincent looked out of the living room window and felt an urge that couldn't be described. "Turn. It coming."

Mason could feel the pulsating vitality in the bond he shared with the smaller man. It's barely starting to get dark and he's ready to turn? Well, that's pretty similar to my turning, so I can't say anything. "Let's head outside then. Everyone else should be arriving soon. We're still waiting on Morrine and Dave."

The mage looked to the floor and made a quick decision. "I wait. If go out, I know I shift. I want wait."

"Okay. Just don't make yourself uncomfortable, pup."

Leidolf and Elaine nodded as the mustached Alpha spoke up. "Yeah, as much as we would be fine with you turning now, you'll want to have more space than this room."

A knock on the door brought everyone's attention together as Elaine got up to answer. She opened the large ornate door and welcomed Morrine as the tigress bowed her head to the lady, along with bows to all of the other Alphas in the room. "Thank you for inviting me! I couldn't miss this special moment." She turned to Vincent and smiled sincerely. "There's my favorite sweetheart!"

Cocking his head to the side, Vincent's wolf examined the new face and turned to Mason and whispered. "Sorry. Who this?"

"This is Morrine. She's the one who makes those deli sandwiches you love so much."

Vincent's face lit up at the mention of the legendary food. "Yes! Good food! You nice."

Morrine heartily laughed. "I take it you’re Vincent's wolf. My tiger welcomes you to our little world."

"You are tigress! Nice have different shifters in pack."

Mason smiled as his mate held conversation with the tiger. As they finished up chatting, another knock came from the front door, but as he got up, his mother beat him to the door. "Dave! So good to see you again!" The Beta was ushered in and bared his neck to all the Alphas, including Vincent. "Uh, Dave? You smell...clean?" Elaine raised an eyebrow and held her hands on her hips.

Stroking his thin hair, Dave smirked. "Yeah. Trying to give up cigarettes. Kinda had an awakening moment and decided to quit cold turkey."

Leidolf rose in concern. "Are you alright? Health concerns?"

"I suppose you could say that." Dave kept a grin on his face, but was unsure if Mason told his parents about their celestial experience. Best to leave that conversation to the Alpha. Would hate to bring up Vincent's connection to Bol in front of everyone. "Just trying to live longer, I guess."

The group of shifters admired the Beta's ambition and gave him positive comments. But the enthusiasm was short lived. Vincent's happy attitude turned sour as he felt a jolt of pain hit his knees and caused his body to drop. He yelled in pain with his wolf's deeper voice.

"Vinnie! He's shifting!" Knowing that his mate needed space, Mason grabbed his mate in a cradling arm hold. "Someone get the backdoor!" Kaplan was the closest and hustled with the Alpha right behind. Mason rushed out the door with Vincent as Kaplan opened the door.

Mason set his screaming mate down just a few steps past the porch and did his best to sooth his mate. Everyone in the house trickled through the door and surrounded their friend. Seeing how Vincent was helpless to remove his clothes, Mason shifted his index finger and began cutting the man's clothes. Shifting out of clothes can be a hassle, especially for a first shift. Carefully cutting the pant legs, the clothes were successfully removed. The Alpha knew his mate would be furious for being so exposed in front of his family, but he assumed that the mage was in too much pain to care.

Vincent felt a knee cap snap out of place and howled in agony. The pain traveled through his body like lightning. His brain did it's best to internalize the pain, but as his left shoulder dislocated itself, the wolf began to lose control. "It's okay, Vinnie."

He found the strength to look up to his mate. "Pain! Hurts!"

"I know, baby, I know. But it will be over soon. You'll be a beautiful wolf, I just know it." Mason looked around him to see his friends and family with concerned stares. Leidolf held onto his mate as they watched with unbroken gazes. Looking past Lei's head, he saw the moon just above the horizon. "Vin. Look at the moon. Feel the pull on its power over you."

Through the intense waves of torment, Vincent saw the large glowing orb in the darkening sky. A downpour of calm set in, but he felt the pain in the back of his mind. It...hurts!

You're feeling this, too?! This is fuckin' awful! As more of his bones and joints began to snap and reshape themselves, the louder Vincent's screams became. If the pain wasn't intense enough, a burning sensation erupted across his flesh. In an effort to alleviate his new problem, he rolled onto his back and fidgeted.

Whispers, gasps, and voices of wonder permeated the air around the turning human, but Mason couldn't speak. His mate not only was going through the worst pain imaginable, but transforming into a wolf. It's about halfway done. Gods, if only it could go faster! The Alpha watched as white fur oozed out of pores across Vincent's body. As the fur grew, specks of gray and blue littered across the white hairs.

Screams turned to yells. More violent changes came to Vincent, causing him to turn back onto his hands and knees. Both of his knee joints cracked loudly as his legs became hind legs. A blood-curdling howl blasted out of Vincent's throat as he powered through his biggest wave of pain yet.

A throbbing headache slammed Vincent's mind, along with the sensation of his face contorting. His eyes burned frost blue as his nose and jaw bone formed into a muzzle. The new headache ripped through Vincent's mind as his skull took a new shape, pulling his ears higher. He could barely hear his mate's words of encouragement. "Keep looking at the moon, Vinnie! Give in to its power!" Yeah! Heard you the first fucking time! Gazing at the moon again, the familiar sense of calm flowed into his veins, relieving his pains for a moment. He felt his eyes sinking into his skull from the effects given off by the moon.

His body had stopped feeling like it was on fire, but more bodily changes were coming in. Vincent fell backwards as his finger bones began to shorten. The mage watched in suffering as his thumbs receded into his hand and the hands became paws with black pads. Feeling a new pain on his backside, he quickly rolled over, knowing that his tailbone was growing exponentially.

Vincent breathed hard as he struggled to recover. Looking once more to the luminescent sphere, he let relief wash over him. The pain ceased, but his muscles trembled from his bodily changes. Is...is pain done? I want done!

I...I think we might be good. Nothing new is hurting, but fuck...am I sore! Mace wasn't joking when he said this would hurt like a bitch.

"V-Vinnie?"

Vincent slowly turned his head to see Mason, but was confused when his big guy was discolored. What...in the Hell?

Wolf...wolf see different. Less color. Can see yellow. And red. Some blue, but not much.

Oh, wow! I always thought dogs and wolves could only see in grayscale.

No, we see some. "Vin? You good?" The mage could tell his mate was distraught, but saw the eyes filling with tears.

Vincent tried to speak, but his words wouldn't form and a grunt took its place. Looking down to the ground, he growled as he laid and attempted to figure out how his voice box worked. Growl work same. Need...bark. How to bark?

Maybe...not as deep down the throat for a growl, but just a little higher, and more quickly? Trying his human's suggestion, the wolf played with the theory. A small yip came out, but he tried again. Vincent kept attempting until he was able to bark, causing a smile to come to Mason's face. Seeing how his mate was happy with the response, Vincent let his tongue roll out and panted in joy.

"You...are so beautiful, pup. Your coat is just...just beautiful! It's white...with gray and blue sprinkled across your back and down your legs. And your eyes are the same as when you flash them when your human." Mason got to his knees and crept closer.

Closer, mate. Too tired to move. Vincent let a small yip out and moved his head to the ground. Understanding the wolf's instruction, Mason crawled to the white furred wolf and laid his hands onto the fur. "It's so soft. You must be exhausted, baby. Just want you to know I love you so much right now. You did it! You're a wolf!"

Did it...Did it! I am wolf!

Hell yeah! Look at us go! Dream team, right here!

Yes! We team! But we need rest. For a bit. Need to lay. Then walk.

Sounds like a plan. So, we figured out how to talk. I'm guessing our next challenge is walking?

Yes. Might be tough. We got. We team. Vincent turned to Mason and snorted with another dip of the head towards the ground. "Yeah, you lay here, hot stuff. You've earned a break. But I think everyone wants to come say hi." Hearing how his friends and family want a closer look, Vincent barked lightly.

Mason motioned for everyone to come closer and see their friend's wolf. Lei and Elaine stooped lower and got a good look at their son-in-bond. Elaine couldn't help but shed a tear at the sight of the wolf before her. "Vincent...Oh Gods, your wolf is gorgeous! I know your pain was terrible, but you survived it. I am beyond proud of you and your wolf." She ran her hand across Vincent's head, letting the wolf discover one of the greatest sensations he had ever felt.

Oh. Oh! Pats! Rubs! Yes, yes!

Oh my Gods! What was that?! I need some more of that shit! Vincent licked Elaine's hand and rubbed his head on her hand once more, encouraging her for more rubs. But it wasn't Elaine's hands that came down.

"Just look at ya, Vincent!" Lei's loud, boisterous voice echoed into Vincent's new ears as two large hands came down on his head, rubbing intensely behind his ears.

Yes! Big rubs! The best rubs! Alpha father gives good rubs!

"It's not every day someone gets to see an Alpha's first turning. And now I've seen two! Like my mate said, your wolf is just stunning!"

"I'll say!" Tierney came from behind Lei and admired the new four legged beast. "Vincent, you have got to be one of the most spectacular wolves I've laid eyes on!" The white wolf woofed at his friend as he reached down and ran his thumb in circles behind the right ear. Closing his eyes in pure pleasure of the attention, Vincent's back-right paw began thumping on the ground.

Kaplan, Dirk, Dave, Caleb, and Tasha all came up and gave their praise to the new wolf along with several pets, pats, and rubs across his head, back, and sides. When Cyrus stepped forward, he didn't approach with an eager attitude, nor praise. The panda circled around the wolf as it laid on the ground with Vincent following the large man with his own gaze.

Getting a fair evaluation in, Cyrus knelt in front of the wolf and grew a wide smile. "Young wolf. You've received words of praise, one statement after another. Those words are to be echoed through my thoughts and onto you. The birth of an Alpha wolf is a powerful moment, and is to be relished for years to come. My bear demands that I wish you a beloved Turning Day, and to give you…" Cyrus reached his hand close and ran two of his fingers under the wolf's chin, much to the delight of Vincent. "...a good chin rub. It's a personal favorite of my panda when he comes out to play."

Vincent gave Cyrus' fingers a quick swipe of his tongue and woofed his praise towards everyone. He felt an important need on the horizon of his mind. Time. Time for walk.

Alright! How do we do that? I say we focus on the front legs for stability and figure out how those work. Then work on the hind legs and try to maintain balance.

Human smart. Good idea. Dragging his front limbs out to the front to a proper lying position, Vincent put pressure on the legs and found a good level to hold on to the firm ground.

Mason became ecstatic at the sight of his mate learning to stand. He's already trying! "Here, Vinnie. Let me help you keep your balance." Standing up from his kneeling position, Mason held onto Vincent's sides as the wolf mastered how the front legs work. Now the hind legs, pup.

With the guidance of his mate, Vincent pushed upward with his hind legs, wobbling as he struggled to find the balance. "You're not putting enough pressure on your paws. Think like a car. The front is for steering, while the back pushes."

Vincent's human mind quickly got the analogy. I get it! Put more pressure on the back while using the front as pillars.

Ah. Let try. Following the human mind's instructions, the wolf was able to transition his balance into the hind legs, standing perfectly still. Did it!

Alright! Small victories! "Awesome job, baby. Let's try a step." I'm sorry, you want what now? A step? Big guy! We just struggled to stand!

We got. Dream team, remember?

You're right...we can try. "Just push lightly on your hind legs, and put one front paw forward." With Mason's instructions, Vincent put his left paw forward while pushing his hind legs gingerly. The wolf felt like they were going at a snail's pace, but knew it was needed to grasp the fundamentals of being an animal. "There you go, pup! Keep going. Yeah, that's it! You're walking!"

Vincent took several steps in his new form and began picking up speed as he understood how walking worked. A sense of pride filled through his body, from both himself and his bond with Mason. Over the next half an hour, Vincent tried different movements like stopping, turning, and walking backwards while everyone watched the new wolf get used to his body. With his mate’s instruction, love, and affection, Vincent became more adept in the simple functions of movement.

Confident in his newfound power of walking, Vincent pushed himself. Want run. Need faster.

Alright, but let’s take this one step at a time, bud. Let’s try a canter-like pace, then work our way up. The wolf mind agreed with his human side and started walking in a straight line, but worked up the speed. A few tumbles were caused, but after realizing he needed to increase his leg’s stride and the power of his hind legs in cooperation with his front leg stability, Vincent was able to go at a jogging pace. Yes! I am faster!

Good job, bud! Starting to see your ambition for wanting to run. Let’s try going a little faster.

Yes! Time to run! The speckled wolf increased his speed and stride, and quickly found the proper coordination between legs and power to run. “Vinnie! You-you’re running!” Mason watched in joy as his mate ran at a decent pace around the backyard. My Gods! He’s fast! And I can tell that he’s not even trying to be speedy. He might even be faster than me.

“That’s it! I can’t take it anymore!” Vincent halted himself as he and Mason turned to face Lei who stepped forward and began taking off his clothes. “I need to run with my son-in-bond!” As the Alpha stripped himself down, he started his shift, erupting in charcoal gray fur across his body with bones painlessly snapping into place. Vincent watched as his father-in-bond completed a seamless shift into the large wolf with tan irises. Strong wolf! He bigger than Mace wolf.

Yeah! This is my first time seeing Lei’s wolf! It’s beautiful, but so intimidating at the same time! The white furred wolf stood still as Lei approached and gave a thorough examination of the new wolf. After sniffing around his son-in-bond, Lei confirmed that the wolf was part of his pack and snorted out of his nostril. Woah! What...is this? He just snorted, but I got a lot more information out of that than just him breathing outward.

Yes, you now understand wolf speak? Good. No more tell you what wolf say. Vincent understood that Lei let him know that the mage’s wolf was always welcome in his presence. As the wolves familiarized themselves, some of the other shifters began shedding their clothes. Once naked, Caleb and Tasha shifted and began their judgement of the new wolf. The lion quickly gave its approval, as did Tasha, but Vincent wanted to look closer at the leopardess as it was his first time seeing her in an animal form. She was slender, but the wolf could tell by the corded leg muscle that she would be the fastest of the group of shifters. Tasha brushed herself up against Vincent’s side, letting him know that she was being friendly towards the wolf.

The white wolf turned around to find a cream colored wolf approaching. It swiftly bared its neck toward Vincent as he realized that it was Kaplan’s wolf. Nodding to acknowledge the Beta’s submission he felt a larger presence behind him. Quickly turning, he was faced with a big black bear. Dirk! A loud bark caused the white wolf to crane his head. The noise came from the large black to silver countershaded wolf with red eyes.

Alpha wolf. Alpha Scott!

Yeah I love how his wolf looks! From the corner of his eyes, Vincent saw Morrine’s tiger come up from behind Tierney’s wolf. Just as she was going to pounce, Tierney quickly turned and playfully swatted at the tiger with a paw.

As Vincent looked across his friends’ animals, he began to appreciate the group of friends that have come into his life. A cold body of fur brushed against him, and he found that a wolf he had never seen before came into view. It possessed a lighter gray coat with pale blue specks of fur dotted along the paws. Who...is this wolf? I haven’t seen this one before!

Silly human. It mother-in-bond.

Miss Elaine! Wow! That makes so much sense. Between Lei’s darker gray and her lighter gray coat, it would explain Mace’s silver fur. And it’s cold as winter around her! Vincent’s human mind gasped in a sudden realization. Is...is that a possibility?

What? What think?

Can I use...my magic as a wolf?

Interest! May test later? But now, run.

Yeah, we’ll test that later. Dave, Cyrus, and Mace still need to shift. The wolf brought his attention to the remaining three shifters in their human form. Cyrus and Mason looked at the Beta and nodded for him to shift first. Dave quickly stripped and let his brown and white messy fur come out. The Beta wolf quickly bared his neck to Vincent and laid down in a patient manner, waiting for the other two men.

Cyrus pursed his lips, but kept a furrowed brow in thought. This group of shifters. I almost feel a bond of kinship with them. They make it seem like I’m already a member of their family.

Go.

My...my bear? What is this? You...wish to run with them?

Yes. I trust. Shift. I wish come out.

...as you wish, my friend. Letting out a deep sigh, Cyrus began unbuttoning his white dress shirt. I just hope this won’t raise too many questions. Bringing up those memories still is an issue to me. The bear slipped one arm out of the sleeve, revealing his intricately detailed tribal tattoo, nearly covering every inch of his chocolate skin. In black ink, it ran from his shoulder all the way to his elbow. Slipping the other arm out of its sleeve, the panda revealed the mirrored tattoo on his skin, but in white ink.

Mason stood by the bear’s side and couldn’t help but admire the delicately defined art on the man’s arms. But his attention was shredded to pieces as he flung the shirt back and took a few steps forward as he removed his trousers. The Alpha wolf’s breath caught when he saw the bear’s back. Remorse flooded his mind and soul as he saw a side of Cyrus that he couldn’t have imagined.

Welts and scars were littered across the defined muscular back of the man. Circular burn marks. Long and bulging lines. Deep indentations into the skin. He...he has been tortured! That has to have been silver! My Gods...I...I can’t stand to stare, but I feel like I must! Dear Gods, Cyrus. What has this man gone through?

Cyrus felt the gaze from the wolf. Not so jolly, now am I, Mr. Wilson? Maybe one day, I’ll share my story with you, young Alpha. To teach you the dangers of being too reckless with your ambitions. With his slacks off and thrown to the side, Cyrus dropped to all fours and let the black and white fur seep out of his pores. His eyes changed to black pupils as his face was restructured. Having completed the shift, Cyrus slowly crept his way to Vincent’s wolf and sat down on his bottom next to the white furred beast.

Wow...oh, wow! His panda...it’s so elegant.

Agree. It rare to see panda. Appreciate. Vincent then turned to his mate. Mate need turn.

Seeing how all of his friends and family have shifted, and with Vincent giving him a stare, Mason shed his clothes and began his shift. Seconds later, his silver wolf paced towards his mate, encouraging his minds to appreciate the details on Vincent's body. Mate wolf stunning!

I agree, my friend. He is absolutely beautiful! My heart is still fluttering when I look at his fur.

Yes. Mason and Vincent circled each other, assessing their mate and inhaling their respective scents, committing them to memory. The silver wolf nuzzled his snout against Vincent’s muzzle and was met with the same action.

Mason huffed at Vincent’s wolf. Howl, mate. Howl loud, so prey hear you.

Vincent bobbed his head and attempted to figure out how to howl. Human. Thought? How to howl?

Well, a howl is something that comes from deep in the throat, but then elevates to about the midsection as you hold the note.

Okay. Will try. Taking in as much air in his lungs as he could, the white wolf craned his neck upward as he started at a lower tone, but quickly rose to a moderate pitch. He held the note as he felt his power emanating around his voice. Yes! Good howl! Strong howl!

That felt great, bud! Kinda want to do that again!

Yes, again! But with mate. And friends! Vincent licked his mate’s face and encouraged him to join in. Both wolves let out a simultaneous howl, letting the forest’s inhabitants be aware as they are about to begin their hunt. Lei and Elaine let out one of their own, and the other shifters began to join in with their respective howls and roars.

Once the group was done making noise, Vincent was given a nudge from Mason’s wolf. This Turning Day. You lead. Will be by side whole time.

In response, Vincent nuzzled the silver wolf. Yes. Let run! The white wolf barked out the order for the group to join in the hunt, and set his sights for the dark forest beyond the backyard. And he ran with his mate.

December 25th. This is a special day, in regards to many walks of humanity. A day where we commonly come together, to visit family and friends, to volunteer our time for those in need, and to tear down the walls of despair to remind the world that joy is just as common. I wanted this chapter to come out on this day. This chapter, that carried so much. So much pain, joy, new avenues of adventure, and a sense of a bright future.

Our world that we live in has seen a dark shadow. The COVID-19 virus has touched lives in ways that we only read about in textbooks. But in true human-like fashion, we fight it. Even on this day. This special day. Video calls to loved ones, mailing presents, and sending letters to remind our loved ones that we still care. I know for a fact that Mr. Kringle himself would be proud of humanity as a whole, even as some countries still battle this virus.

From my family to yours, I wish all the readers here Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a very safe rest of the year. And one day, hopefully in the near future, we will be able to once again safely shake our neighbor's hand without fear.

Thank you, all!

-Aaron

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

5 hours ago, Philippe said:

What a Merry Christmas indeed. Why settle for dragging a tree into the house when it’s easier to have your very own, big, strong, Alpha carry you to the forest!

Amazing thoughts and conversations, innermost to foremost, and human to animal alter. We experienced the continuing learning curve being bent to define more of the unexpected; perhaps beyond the bone crunching and morphing we are further baited of the changes within, as the inner human ponders, VinnieW may get to experience a never before experienced and extremely unique connection to being an Alpha Mage Mate...I wonder, can we?...thinks Vinsy.

The Mage who has been largely self taught, may demonstrate a new lesson plan in magic; in 3-D, or at least three affinities! Exciting Christmas indeed as we still have more packages yet to reveal their surprises! Maybe the Leopardess needs to be enforceress, as it appears the Big Ole Alpa, and Cay Cay may have troubles in keeping up and fulfilling the promise to be by VinnieW’s side; wait, was that greased blue lightning? Can he do that even without the Shadow Magic? Hahaha 

Not to overlook Cyrus and Kaplan, oh with sweet pitiful sorrow, we learn more to explain the kindred spirits shared of this pair. As we also come to understand the not so subtle hatred that The Electric Panda held for Kaplan’s former Alpha; as judged unworthy of leadership and then ultimately life.

Yes, a very Merry Christmas indeed, thank you @astone2292! You have another winner, a fantastic installment to this exciting tale, and even Kris Kringle was working hard to keep Mr Cliff Hanger on the good boy list this chapter! ☺️

Ooof, a big strong Alpha can carry me anywhere...Hmm? Oh, sorry, forgot where I was for a minute. 

Imagine a wolf darting around in the shadows. Vincent...could take out a whole herd of deer for a wolven banquet for his friends if he so wished...well, that is if he can figure out how to hunt. Oh his poor human mind...finally being forced to eat deer ;D

Great power isn't achieved by being born into it. It comes at some sort of sacrifice. Cyrus didn't become this pack fixer extraordinaire overnight. I felt like my favorite character needed a sprinkle of backstory. And what a sprinkle...

Thanks @Philippe, always appreciate your comments and insight. Did a fair bit of traveling today, and with the husband driving around the insanity of Louisville, I got some progress on Ch29. 

5 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

A lovely chapter; and the warning was thoughtful.  But we all must realize that with any growth some pain is not only possible but probable.  I really love how the conversations flow between the individuals and their animal selves.  That is so inventive and so well written.  Keep up the great work...

I figured this chapter deserved that warning, and I think I need to go back to a few chapters to place more (dirty scenes, Vincent coughing blood in Ch15, etc.). With all of your praise, sir, a part of me can't wait to get this book done and see your official review posted! 

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My friend...again your chapter, your words, are flawless.  Epic descriptions of the change and the pain that comes with it. The bringing together of so many kinds of shifters for an event is spot on!  Strong community ties...everyone supporting each other...there for each other.   Your writing is so profound.. You are really telling several different stories at once.  Kaplan, Cyrus, Tierney, Dave, Caleb...all their stories being intricately told in Vincent and Mason's.  (maybe not the full story, but enough to be the catalyst for many other books!)  As great as your story is, it's your thoughts at the end that brought the most intense feelings for me.  Enjoying time with family and friends is so important.  It has definitely been a year of struggles but we still fight and push forward.  That's just what we do!  Thank you so much for writing...for providing an escape from our own troubles.  I wish for you a perfect Christmas and continued prosperity in the New Year!  Nothing but love for you my friend...Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! 

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18 minutes ago, Patch1 said:

My friend...again your chapter, your words, are flawless.  Epic descriptions of the change and the pain that comes with it. The bringing together of so many kinds of shifters for an event is spot on!  Strong community ties...everyone supporting each other...there for each other.   Your writing is so profound.. You are really telling several different stories at once.  Kaplan, Cyrus, Tierney, Dave, Caleb...all their stories being intricately told in Vincent and Mason's.  (maybe not the full story, but enough to be the catalyst for many other books!)  As great as your story is, it's your thoughts at the end that brought the most intense feelings for me.  Enjoying time with family and friends is so important.  It has definitely been a year of struggles but we still fight and push forward.  That's just what we do!  Thank you so much for writing...for providing an escape from our own troubles.  I wish for you a perfect Christmas and continued prosperity in the New Year!  Nothing but love for you my friend...Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! 

@Patch1 Another awesome comment from you! Christmas was great, even if it was a door drop off styled one! Made me feel like one of Santa's elves! 

I want to tell everyone's story! Each character has one to tell. As much as I want to write a book for each one, I think I'll settle for just a trilogy, plus some short stories and flashbacks along the way. 

I love leaving little notes at the end! I'm trying to do it while I can before I even think about publishing this monstrosity!

Christmas has come and gone, but now New Year's is on the horizon...which means handling my party-lifed husband since his birthday is January 1st!!! 

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Merry Christmas a day late, and thanks for this terrific chapter! I really enjoyed all the transformations! Your descriptions were easy to picture. I am looking forward to Vincent's wolf interacting with all the other characters' animals.  Thanks. 

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I know I've said it before, but I really do like VinW very much. He and VinH are so well suited. VinW is young but he is so clever as well, plus he listens to VinH and vice versa. They really are a Team. Plus, I think we all need to 'grin with all of our teeth' more.

Cyrus seems like he could be really intense. I am glad you are thinking of (?) telling Kap's story. That would be very interesting. That whole scene with him and Cyrus - I just wanted to give him a big hug. After Cyrus' big reveal, we may need a background story about him as well.

In regards to the turning, I am allergic to pain. Especially when it starts off with a '...knee cap snapping out of place...' I get that there has to be pain in the initial Turning, but damn was that willy shrinking. Plus, I love when Alpha Mate's Wolves are white. It is generally rare so makes them special. Kaplan surprised me. I've never heard of a cream coloured wolf.

Onto the next chapter...

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4 hours ago, Buz said:

I know I've said it before, but I really do like VinW very much. He and VinH are so well suited. VinW is young but he is so clever as well, plus he listens to VinH and vice versa. They really are a Team. Plus, I think we all need to 'grin with all of our teeth' more.

Cyrus seems like he could be really intense. I am glad you are thinking of (?) telling Kap's story. That would be very interesting. That whole scene with him and Cyrus - I just wanted to give him a big hug. After Cyrus' big reveal, we may need a background story about him as well.

In regards to the turning, I am allergic to pain. Especially when it starts off with a '...knee cap snapping out of place...' I get that there has to be pain in the initial Turning, but damn was that willy shrinking. Plus, I love when Alpha Mate's Wolves are white. It is generally rare so makes them special. Kaplan surprised me. I've never heard of a cream coloured wolf.

Onto the next chapter...

Oh, thank goodness! I thought this would be a Buz-less chapter comment section. Vincent's wolf, or anyone's animal for that matter, is so much fun! 

Cyrus has that flip switch attitude, and Kap's former Alpha found out the hard way! I'm right there with ya, bud. I wanna give Cyrus the biggest of hugs...then run my fingers along those arm tats! Woof. 

Buz, I think we are too stinkin' similar. I forkin' hate pain! It's painful to think about pain! Ewwwyablergh!!!! 

I'll see ya over on 29 then!

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Now that was a special day as well as a special day of Christmas! I hope all of GA had some good times on these holidays! May all the wolves, pandas, tigers, leopards, and bears and also all the shifters out in the writing world, all have a special day you all call your own like we humans do. We are all one and the same. We are all our God's creations! Whether it be fiction or nonfiction!

The story on this chapter was by far the best chapter I have ever seen written by a paranormal author! @astone2292, you should be proud of yourself and your readers are proud of you too. You have the ability to keep your readers glued to the story in awe!

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Vincent's turning was impressive and well thought out. In many stories there wouldn't be a consideration a newly turned wolf would need to learn to walk.

Cyrus's scars were a shock. To have those and still be so jovial and easy tempered tells of his strength and character.

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35 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

Vincent's turning was impressive and well thought out. In many stories there wouldn't be a consideration a newly turned wolf would need to learn to walk.

Cyrus's scars were a shock. To have those and still be so jovial and easy tempered tells of his strength and character.

I'm so glad you pointed out Vincent learning to walk! I think this is what encourages me to write. Reading story after story, I notice details that I would love to learn more about, to get more details about. There are so many tiny events that happen in life that, in my opinion, should be explored. If a story mentions a trip to the grocery store, but offers no details, I get upset. Did something happen at the grocery store? Did the character find a sale? Did they run into a familiar face? Did a kid throw a pickle jar? I want to know, therefore, I want my readers to know!

For Vincent, learning to walk, bark, and howl are detrimental to being an animal. The main character turned into a wolf for the first time. I could have kept writing into further detail, but I understand that there has to be a limit. I could have had Vincent be absolutely fascinated with his new tail! I know if I grew a tail, I'd be beyond interested in the dang thing!

Honestly, I'd say Cyrus showing his scars is one of the defining moments for his character. He is, to date, my favorite character to write for, and I don't think that's going to change any time soon...

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Will you write a story about Kaplan and Cyrus like give a back story about his life and his relationship with Kaplan I will love to read that 

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4 minutes ago, Nana Atuwa said:

Will you write a story about Kaplan and Cyrus like give a back story about his life and his relationship with Kaplan I will love to read that 

Cyrus' side story will probably occur after I finish the trilogy. Rising in the Shadows features a glimpse into Cyrus' backstory, as well as his relationship with Kaplan, but a sidestory will be needed much later. 

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Alright, for the benefit of your US readers: Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day and in history was the day the lord of the manor would gather up all the remains of the Christmas feast, put them into boxes and distribute them to his tenants. It has become a habit in Britain, to give a small sum of money as a gift to tradesmen (butcher, baker, grocer, mailman, etc) in the same spirit.

Americans say 'Merry Christmas', Brits say 'Happy Christmas', and just to confuse things even further, in Hawaii, they say 'Mele Kalikemaka' (there is no 'R' in the Hawaiian language). In Holland, Sankt Nicklaus (sp?) rides a white horse being led by a little Black boy and leaves small gifts for good children. Many Dutch put a sabot (wooden shoe) out at the entrance to their home with straw in it for the horse to eat. The fir tree is of German origin, but not connected with Christmas; when building a house, a small fir tree was tied to the highest roof beam as thanks to the Gods of the forest for the use of their wood in the building. In ancient days Christmas tree lights were small candles clipped onto the branches of the fir tree (with a bucket of water sitting nearby in case of accident) to bring back the bright days of Springtime. Oh, there are hundreds more Christmas traditions in various parts of the world and a study of them would be very interesting. Christmas and Easter are probably the most widely celebrated Christian holidays in the world.

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