Chapter 9: Wild And Free
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With my heart pounding in my ears, I waited for the familiar sound of my mother's soft snoring before slipping into my hunting gear. I also grabbed the crossbow and a quiver of arrows I had previously stolen, this time without anyone noticing. Midnight had fallen, casting an eerie silence over the village as I stealthily made my way out of our cabin and toward the small square where they were keeping Silver. Shadows from the trees danced on the ground, intertwining with the faint moonlight that filtered through the dense canopy above. The village was a collection of rustic cabins, each one slumbering in the darkness, their inhabitants blissfully unaware of my secret mission.

Fucking Silver, how the hell did he get himself captured? My annoyance at him was palpable, but it was mingled with fear. Tomorrow, they would execute him for a crime he didn't commit... And I couldn't tell the Hoods he was innocent because he was having amazingly wild and hot sex with me at the time. I shuddered at the memory, feeling the heat between my legs despite myself. No, I had to find some other way to save his sexy ass. Fucking Silver...

Careful to remain hidden, I stopped between two cabins, using the darkness as a cloak. Peering around the corner, I caught sight of the cage holding Silver, still in his werewolf form. He was curled up in a corner, his beautiful silver fur glinting in the dim light. His powerful form was unmistakable, even in repose - broad-shouldered and muscular with long, sinewy limbs, yet surprisingly graceful. His yellow eyes were closed, but I knew they held a fierce intelligence and passion when opened. God, he was gorgeous, even like this.

I scanned the area, noting with relief that there was only one person guarding the cage - Adriano. At least that was something. I couldn't help the small, satisfied smirk that crossed my lips. Time to put my rescue plan into action.

Taking a deep breath, I stepped out from the shadows and walked toward Adriano. He looked up, surprise flickering in his eyes as he recognized me. "Red? What are you doing here?" he asked, concern etching lines on his young face.

"Adriano," I said, trying to keep my voice steady, "would you mind leaving me alone with the monster who killed my grandmother? I want to have a word with him." My heart beat faster, hoping he'd buy the act.

"Are you sure that's a good idea, Red?" Adriano questioned skeptically, glancing at the caged werewolf.

"Please," I insisted, my serious expression unyielding. "I need this."

He hesitated for a moment before finally relenting. "Alright, but be careful, okay?" Adriano squeezed my hand gently, offering a reassuring smile. "I'll give you some privacy." With that, he walked away, far enough so he wouldn't be able to hear our conversation.

As I approached the cage, I watched Silver curled up in the corner, his fur shimmering like moonlight. "Silver," I whispered, touching his fur gently to rouse him.

"Ugh, what?" he grumbled, not even bothering to open his eyes. "I'm awake."

"Really? You could've fooled me," I retorted, rolling my eyes. "How's your wound? Did the Hoods hurt you?"

Silver snorted, finally opening those intense yellow eyes to meet mine. "I'm fine. The Hoods didn't do nearly as much damage as the Ironfang werewolves did." His voice was low, almost sultry.

"Seriously, Silver, how the hell did you get captured?" I asked, exasperated.

He scoffed, his yellow eyes narrowing. "A Hood patrol found me while I was listening to you and your boyfriend talk."

"Adriano? He's not my boyfriend, not that it's any of your business," I shot back, crossing my arms over my chest.

"Really?" Silver smirked. "It sure looked like it by the way he hugged you."

"Are you seriously giving me grief over a hug? What the hell are you talking about, are you jealous?" I teased, raising an eyebrow at him.

"Of course not!" he snapped defensively, looking away. I couldn't help but grin at his reaction, the tension between us crackling with a strange mix of anger and attraction.

"Anyway," I continued, trying to refocus our conversation, "Adriano doesn't know of anyone else who was aware of the location of my grandma's hideout, and he says no one followed him. So he's a dead end."

"Your precious Adriano is a fucking liar," Silver growled, moving closer until he was practically nose-to-nose with me. His werewolf breath was hot against my skin and his dangerously hypnotic yellow eyes were mere inches from mine. A shiver ran down my spine as I felt both frightened and drawn to him at the same time.

"Wh-what?" I stammered.

"Adriano is a werewolf," Silver snarled, his voice low and menacing.

I blinked in shock, trying to process what he'd just said.

"Adriano is not a werewolf!" I snapped, feeling my face flush with anger. "I've known him since we were kids, Silver! You can't just accuse him of something like that!"

"Red, I'm telling you, I can smell it on him," Silver insisted, his voice firm yet laced with concern. "You have to trust me on this."

My head shook violently as I refused to believe what I was hearing. Adriano had been there for me through thick and thin, always ready to lend a hand or offer a shoulder to cry on. He couldn't be one of them... could he?

"Don't you think something about his past doesn't add up?" he asked.

"His past?" I scoffed, trying to brush off Silver's inquiries. "He's just an orphan, okay? My grandma took him in when he was just a child. That's all I know, and that's all that matters."

"Fine," Silver said, his tone taking on a more serious edge. "If you won't take my word for it, then let's put it to the test. We can kidnap Adriano and inflict some pain on him. If he's really a werewolf, he'll turn."

"Are you out of your damn mind?" I almost yelled, my rage boiling over. The very idea of hurting Adriano made my blood run cold. "No way in hell am I going to do that!"

"Fine, forget it then!" Silver growled low in frustration, as his yellow eyes pierced into mine.

As much as I wanted to ignore Silver's accusations, a nagging doubt clawed at the back of my mind. What if he was right? What if Adriano had been hiding this secret from us all along? But the thought of hurting him, of betraying his trust like that, was unbearable.

I glanced over at Adriano, who was growing visibly impatient. He shifted his weight from one foot to another, his gaze flickering between Silver and me. It was time to act.

"Alright, Silver," I said, feeling the tension in my voice. "As much as I enjoy arguing with you, there's no time. Let's get you out of here." I pulled a hairpin from my auburn locks and began picking at the lock on the cage.

Silver chuckled, his deep werewolf voice resonating through the night air. "You are a woman of many talents," he remarked, as the lock clicked open.

My heart raced as I looked back at Adriano. His eyes widened with alarm, sheer terror etched across his face at the sight of the now-freed silver werewolf. Under the moonlight, Silver's powerful form seemed even more monstrous than before. His beautiful silver fur shimmered, while his strong muscles rippled beneath it. His yellow eyes gleamed with a dangerous intensity that could freeze you on the spot.

"Go into the forest, Silver," I told him, whispering. "I'll find you later."

But instead of obeying, Silver smirked and, in a burst of speed, ran towards Adriano. Panic gripped me as I realized what he was doing.

"Don't, stop!" I shouted, but my words fell on deaf ears as he continued to charge towards Adriano.

My friend's eyes widened with terror as Silver lunged toward him. He unsheathed his knife, preparing to defend himself against the massive werewolf that was now upon him. But it was no use; Silver was too fast, too strong.

"Damn it, Silver!" I screamed as I watched him effortlessly snatch Adriano from the ground, hoisting him onto his broad shoulders like a ragdoll. "Let him go! Now!"

But the stubborn werewolf ignored my pleas and took off into the forest, Adriano's muffled cries fading into the distance. My heart pounded in my chest, adrenaline surging through me as I sprinted after them, cursing under my breath. That crazy, damn fucking werewolf!

I ran as fast as I could, desperately trying to catch up. Behind me, I could hear the village stirring, the sounds of alarm growing louder, distant shouts and cries filling the air.

"Silver, you better release him, or I swear I'll make you regret it!" I yelled into the night, though I wasn't sure if he could even hear me. My legs burned from running, but I couldn't afford to stop – not when Adriano's life was on the line.

As I continued to race through the dark forest, my thoughts were a whirlwind of confusion. Why did Silver take Adriano? Could it really be true that Adriano was a werewolf? And why, despite everything, did I still feel that magnetic pull towards Silver? Could you simultaneously want to kill someone while still yearning for their touch?

"Ugh, get a grip," I scolded myself, pushing away those dangerous thoughts. I needed to save my friend, even if it meant going against the very creature that ignited my deepest desires.

"Silver!" I screamed again, my lungs aching as I pushed myself to run faster. "Don't make me do something we'll both regret!"

The sound of a low growl echoed through the trees ahead, and I knew I was getting closer. My heart raced with anticipation, and I steeled myself for the confrontation that was bound to happen. I had no idea how this night would end, but one thing was for certain – there was no turning back now.