Chapter 10: Truth Or Die
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The darkness of the Black Forest enveloped me like a heavy, suffocating blanket. The moon hung low in the sky, barely casting any light through the thick canopy above. I could feel my heart pounding against my ribcage as adrenaline coursed through my veins. My werewolf hunter training kicked in as I followed Silver's tracks, which were luckily still fresh, and my senses sharpened with every step.

I was furious. If Silver dared to hurt even a single hair on Adriano's head, I would tear him apart, no matter how infuriatingly sexy he was. A sudden wave of fear washed over me, making my chest tighten. What if Silver killed Adriano? I could never forgive myself if that happened.

As I tracked them down, my anger at Silver only grew, fueling my determination. After what felt like hours, I finally spotted them. There, in a small clearing, stood an old, abandoned hut, its wooden walls weathered and decaying. The door creaked as Silver, carrying a terrified-looking Adriano, entered the dilapidated structure. My friend's face was pale and his eyes wide with fear.

Cautiously, I approached the cabin, careful not to make a sound. Peering through a cracked window, I saw Adriano tied to a chair, his hands bound behind him. Silver stood before him, his human form barely covered by a pair of black boxers that clung to his muscular thighs. His chiseled abs and broad chest glistened with sweat, and the sight of him almost made me forget why I was there. Fucking sexy stupid beast... Did werewolves hate clothes, or was it just him? I mentally scolded myself for getting distracted – focus, Red!

"Please," Adriano whimpered, "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Sure you don't," Silver replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "I can make this easy or difficult – your choice. You either confess you are a werewolf, or I make you confess." He flexed his fingers, revealing long, sharp claws that glinted in the dim light, making Adriano flinch.

"You're crazy!" Adriano cried out, panic etched across his face.

"Fine," Silver snarled, raising his muscular arm, ready to strike. "I'll make it difficult then."

"STOP!" I shouted, unable to contain my rage any longer. Exhausted and enraged, I stormed into the hut. I needed to save Adriano.

I leaped towards Silver with every ounce of strength and determination I had, grabbing onto his outstretched arm just as he began to swing it towards my friend. The sheer force of his movement sent my body flying through the air, but I held onto his arm with a death grip, desperate to stop his claws from reaching their target.

"Red!" Adriano cried out, his panicked eyes locked onto mine.

"Let go!" Silver snarled, his yellow eyes blazing with fury. But I couldn't let go, not when Adriano's life was on the line.

Unfortunately, even my best efforts weren't enough. Silver's strength was overwhelming, and despite my grip on his arm, he managed to bury one of his sharp claws in Adriano's leg. The sound of Adriano's agonized scream pierced the air, tearing through my heart like a knife.

"Adriano!" I choked out, tears streaming down my face as I tried to pull Silver's arm away from him. My mind raced with panic and fear, my heart pounding like a drum in my chest. How could I have failed so completely?

"Stay out of this, Red," Silver growled, his voice dark and threatening.

My heart raced as I watched in horror as Silver buried his claws deeper into Adriano's leg. "Confess, or it'll get much worse!" He shouted, his eyes blazing with determination.

"Please, Silver! Stop!" I cried out, tears streaming down my cheeks. My loyalty to Adriano warred with the inexplicable attraction I felt toward Silver. I knew I had to do something, but what?

Adriano's face twisted in agony, sweat pouring down his brow as his body trembled under Silver's brutal grip. It was unbearable to watch, and I felt a mixture of helplessness and rage boil within me.

I stepped back, ready to do whatever it took to save Adriano from Silver's wrath, even if it meant killing him... But as I prepared to strike, something stopped me in my tracks.

Adriano's face began to contort unnaturally – his features stretching and elongating, his skin rippling and shifting. I watched, horrified and fascinated, as his human form transformed into that of a brown werewolf. The ropes binding him snapped like twigs, unable to contain him.

His newly formed body was tall and muscular, although not particularly big for one of his kind. His once frightened eyes now glowed a fierce blue.

"Impossible..." I whispered, disbelief tightening in my chest. Had Silver been right about Adriano all along? And if so, what did that mean for our friendship?

"Red," Adriano growled in a voice that was both familiar and alien to me. "Please... believe me."

"How could you?!" I shouted, tears streaming down my face. "You've been lying to us all these years... You were family to me!" My voice cracked with the weight of my emotions. I couldn't believe what was happening right before my eyes.

Adriano's wolfish features softened slightly, and he tried to speak, but I couldn't hear him over the sound of my own anger. "Red, please," he began, only for me to talk over him.

"Did you kill grandma?" I demanded, my hands shaking as I clenched them into fists.

Adriano hesitated, his eyes flicking between Silver and me. He tried to reach out his arm, perhaps to comfort me, but Silver was quick to react. With a snarl, Silver grabbed Adriano's arm and growled, "Don't you dare touch her if you want to keep your limbs!"

I watched as Adriano winced under Silver's grip, and my heart squeezed in my chest. I wanted answers, but I also didn't want him to be hurt.

"Answer me, Adriano! Did you kill her?" I repeated, my voice cracking with emotion.

Adriano looked at me with tear-filled eyes, and his body began to shrink, fur receding back into his skin. His clothes, torn and ragged from the transformation, hung loosely around his now-human frame. His face was a mix of shame and sadness as he finally managed to choke out, "No, Red... I could never harm Beatrice. You know that."

"Do I know it?" I spat bitterly, clenching my fists so hard that my nails dug into my palms. "How can I trust you when you've been keeping this from us?"

Adriano averted his gaze, fresh tears welling up in his eyes. "Beatrice knew..." he whispered, his voice barely audible.

"What?" I exclaimed, disbelief lacing my words. My chest heaved with anger and confusion, my breaths coming in short, ragged pants.

"Beatrice knew about me," Adriano repeated, meeting my eyes once more. "She didn't want me to tell anyone else."

My heart felt like it had been ripped out of my chest. The betrayal, the lies, and the secrets – it was all too much to bear.

"Listen, Red," Adriano pleaded, his voice cracking under the weight of his confession. "I never wanted to keep this from you, but Beatrice told me not to say anything to anyone." He sat down heavily on a broken piece of furniture, his shoulders slumped with defeat.

"Grandma...?" I whispered, my mind racing. "Why would she do that?"

Adriano wiped at his eyes, trying to regain some semblance of composure. "I was an orphan, thrown out by my clan because I had difficulty transforming and was weak. Beatrice found me one day, injured and alone in the forest. She knew what I was and took pity on me. That's when she took me in and I came to live with the Hoods."

My jaw clenched as I tried to process this new information. It went against everything I thought I knew about my grandmother. She had always preached her hatred for werewolves. How could she have kept such a secret?

"I don't know if I believe you," I said, shaking my head, feeling my anger turn into a cold numbness. Adriano's face crumpled, and it felt like a dagger through my heart.

"I understand..." he muttered, looking away.

Silver stepped forward, towering over Adriano. "What Clan did you belong to?" he demanded, his yellow eyes piercing through the dim light of the cabin.

"Nightshade," Adriano replied, his voice barely more than a whisper.

"Red," Silver began, turning to me, "the Nightshade Clan has been the ruling clan of the Black Forest for many years. Like any werewolf clan, they are proud and strong... and can abandon their weakest members without a second thought." His tone was calm, almost detached, as he relayed this information to me. "It's plausible that what Adriano says is true."

My eyes darted between Silver and Adriano, trying to piece together this impossible puzzle. So now Silver believed him? My heart ached as I thought about the boy who had grown up alongside me, who I'd once considered family. A part of me wanted desperately to believe him, but the betrayal still stung like an open wound. Still, I could not deny the love he felt for my grandmother... She was almost like a mother to him.

"Silver," I began, my voice wavering slightly but determination shining through, "Adriano's fur is brown. Even if he is a werewolf, he loved my grandmother. That much I know." My eyes darted between the two men, and I continued, "He didn't kill her."

Adriano's eyes glistened with unshed tears, and he managed a small, grateful smile. "Thank you, Red. Thank you for believing in me." He paused, his gaze falling on Silver, brows furrowing. "But... If you're looking for a silver werewolf, Silver here isn't the only one."

My heart skipped a beat as I processed Adriano's words, and I could see the shock mirrored on Silver's face. Silver werewolves were so rare it was hard to believe there could be more than just him.

"Are you serious?" Silver asked, the surprise in his voice almost palpable. "How do you know this?"

Adriano hesitated before revealing, "There were several silver werewolves in the Nightshade Clan. They were expelled because the other werewolves feared them. But at least one of the females should still be alive somewhere in the forest. I saw her once."

This revelation sent a shudder through me. A new lead in our quest for justice, but also a harsh reminder of the danger lurking closer than we thought. The thought of another silver werewolf out there, possibly responsible for Grandma's death, made my blood boil.

"Then we have no choice," I said, clenching my fists, feeling the fire inside me growing stronger. "We must find the other silver werewolves. If they are responsible for my grandmother's death, they will pay."

"Agreed," Silver replied, a grim determination etched on his handsome face.

With the weight of Adriano's revelations still heavy in the air, I closed the distance between us and placed a gentle hand on his cheek. His eyes held a mix of relief and pain, and I knew that despite everything, he was still my friend.

"Thank you," I whispered, my voice thick with emotion. "Thank you for finally telling the truth."

"Red, promise me," Adriano said, leaning into my touch like a wounded animal seeking comfort. "Promise me you'll keep this secret – the Hoods... they're my family."

"Of course, I promise," I said earnestly, meeting his gaze. "You're part of our family."

He smiled, tears rolling down his face.

"Silver... He's not the killer, then?" he asked hesitantly.

"No," I shook my head. "He's not. Trust me. I can't tell you how I know, but I do. We'll find the one who did it. I swear. For now, just keep this quiet."

"I trust you, Red," Adriano nodded, tears filling his eyes once more.

We embraced, our bodies clinging to each other as if to mend the bond that had been so brutally tested. Finally, with one last squeeze, we let go, and I watched him leave the cabin, heading back to the Settlement. His injury was gone, and I smiled. Being a werewolf had its perks.

As Adriano disappeared from sight, I felt Silver's presence behind me. He cleared his throat, approaching me with puppy eyes that fooled no one...

My heart pounded in my chest, adrenaline coursing through my veins as I pivoted on my heels to face Silver. With one swift movement, I was right in front of him, my index finger jabbing into his solid chest.

"Listen here," I spat, my anger barely contained. "If you ever pull something like that again, I swear I'll kill you myself."

His eyes held mine, full of stubbornness and the tiniest hint of amusement. "I believe you," he replied calmly, a slight smirk tugging at the corners of his lips.

It was glaringly obvious we couldn't return to the Settlement now. To linger would mean certain discovery by the Hoods, and neither of us were keen on that possibility. So we both agreed we had to leave. Silver moved to a closet in the corner of the hut. He pulled out some clothes and a bag, and began to change into them.

I watched him, my anger simmering just below the surface. The way he moved, the chiseled perfection of his physique - it was all infuriatingly distracting. But I knew better than to let it get the best of me.

As we set off into the dark, eerie forest, I felt a strange mix of determination and longing. But one thing was for certain – we had a murderer to catch and we were getting closer. 

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