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Chapter Twenty.

Clarice Mont

She walked with her head bent and her shoulders huddled over.

Every step she made, made her want to whimper in pain, but she bit her bottom lip roughly to hold it back.

She was walking towards the castle.

She refused to cry, she did not want to repeatedly be seen as a crybaby by those evil men that resided there any longer.

Especially if she was to spend her whole life there.

Rettacus patiently walked beside her, they were going at a snails pace. Trailing through the pathway that lead them from the hospital directly towards the castle.

Around them were trees that went on and on; seeing the woods daily has become utterly normal to Clarice by now.

“Are you okay?” Rettacus asked her, he had wanted to carry her once they left the hospital, but he knew Clarice would not want him to touch her, so he just walked by her side at a respectful yet cautious distance.

Clarice froze before looking up at him, she took in his genuine concern before nodding her head - however, he noticed her grimace.

He was thankful that the weather was slightly better than it was the past couple of days - it was warmer, but there was still a slight breeze that made the makeshift hospital dress Clarice had on sway.

“Clarice, I can carry you if you will allow me. I promise I will not do anything else than that. I should have thought this through and brought a car with me seeing as you can not yet...” he trailed off awkwardly when he noticed her frown.

She knew what he was implying - that she did not know how to shift on her own without it being forced upon her by her wolf yet, however no matter how much it hurt to hear she knew he was right.

“I apologize, I did not mean to upset you.” He instantly stated while frantically shaking his head when he sensed a drastic fall to her already sunken mood.

She was still shocked by how kind he acted towards her and how carefully he chose his words. It made her feel oddly safe, like she truly had someone to rely on.

She shook her head at him before yawning - her cheeks flushing in embarrassment.

They did not have much longer to walk, but due to their slow pace, it was taking a lot longer than usual, and it seemed to be tiring Clarice out.

Her head went back to being slightly hung and that allowed her knotted auburn hair to curtain around her face.

She looked and felt a mess, and she was aware, yet she had absolutely no care over her appearance.

She was frail. There was no doubt about that. Especially now, after weeks of starvation.

“Clarice please, allow me to carry you, like I said, I will not-”

Clarice held her hand up to stop him, and he did, instantly.

That made her brows furrow - he obeyed her as if she held a rank over him and it made her stomach churn.

She nodded her head softly, giving him consent with her eyes to carry her, because even she felt how close she was to collapsing any second.

He smiled, relieved that she was beginning to warm up to him before he placed a hand around her waist and flipped her up carefully.

She held back a gasp before calming down.

He looked down at her, “is this okay Re-” he quickly stopped himself, she did not question why.

She nodded her head in response.

Rettacus inhaled shakily before beginning to walk while carrying her bridal style.

Even though she laid in his hands tensely and timidly - she felt safer than she had in days.

She felt that familiar warmth that she had so badly craved ever since she was taken from her family.

She could not help her head as it absentmindedly leaned deeper into his broad chest comfortably - it did not feel like anything special, just warm. Warm and safe.

After a good five minute walk, Rettacus and Clarice had finally entered the castle.

They were greeted by the main door guards who were standing stoically by the large wooden doors, then by a couple more that were walking inside with the same expressions painted on their blank faces.

Clarice was still in his hands and even the stoic guards could not help but glance her way curiously.

However, with one stern look from Rettacus, they instantly looked away and quickly went back to doing what they had been doing as if they were not just caught staring.

He made way towards the throne room - he had an agenda in his head.

He had a plan.

“Clarice, you can open your eyes now, the guards are gone.” Rettacus stated softly, his gruff voice sounded different to her now, after listening to him talk all this time - it sounded a lot softer.

She complied to him. Her eyes slowly opened and instantly widened.

She took in the old stone gray walls, all the large paintings, the golden decorations and the thick red carpets on the ground.

The castle was a lot different than she had expected it to be and it most certainly looked a lot older.

Rettacus wanted to chuckle at her reaction but decide against it because he did not know if she would take it as an insult or not - he did not want to risk anything when it came to her.

“Do you want me to put you down?” He asked when they reached two large doors, the guards that were usually situated in front of them had left for their daily hunt and he was thankful for that.

Clarice sheepishly looked up at him before nodding her head, he nodded back before setting her down onto the ground.

Once her feet hit the ground she felt a slight breeze on her face making her eyes softly close before opening - it felt like a breath of fresh air, and it made her brows furrow.

There was not one window in the hallway.

“We will enter the throne room... I am sure you know what that is... I just wanted to let you know before you step inside.” Rettacus told her calmly, his eyes glued onto hers as he awaited her reaction.

Clarices eyes widened expectantly and snapped onto the door in front of her - her heartbeat picked up and she gulped.

She looked at Rettacus and shook her head frantically, her eyes beginning to well up.

She most definitely knew what the throne room was, or better yet, who would be inside. And she so badly did not want to see him again, nor undergo his wrath.

Rettacus rubbed the back of his neck, “listen to me, I promised you I would not allow anyone to lay a single finger on you and I still stand by my promise. You must believe me.”

Clarice shook her head once again while covering her trembling lips with her hand - she should not have allowed him to bring her here.

The cabin would have been better.

“I just need to address something with our King, and then we will leave to your room. You will be alright, I promise you.”

Clarice inhaled deeply while squeezing her eyes shut, she knew that there was clearly nothing she could do to make Rettacus change his mind.

And so, with tearstained cheeks and shaking shoulders, she hesitantly nodded her head.

He exhaled in relief before placing a hand on her shoulder, she held back a flinch and he noticed.

“I promise.” He repeated, his voice barely above a whisper, the look in his eyes made it hard for her to look away from him.

She knew he was serious about all of his promises. For some reason, she just knew.

Rettacus looked away from Clarice before pushing open the doors with all of his strength.

The doors opened almost in slow motion.

Clarices knees slightly wobbled but she composed herself - she was holding Rettacus to his promise.

“May I enter?” Rettacus asked, he was going to either way, but he felt like it was far more respectful to ask rather than to just barge in.

The King cleared his throat, the familiar sound making Clarice jump, “you have already opened the door.”

Rettacus nodded his head before looking at Clarice, he bobbed his head towards the throne and motioned for her to walk inside with him.

She nervously did.

Her gaze was casted downwards, the last times she had seen the King have all been utterly horrible experiences, this time she wanted to avoid his intense glare at all costs.

She could not help but sniff the air greedily and Rettacus instantly noticed, even under the knotted locks of auburn hair that curtained around her face.

The King sat on his throne expressionlessly - his eyes were set in a hard and narrowed glare that was stuck on Clarice.

Rettacus looked from his Kings eyes to his tightly clenched hands, he even noticed the twitch in his leg when they got slightly closer to him - he knew Clarices presence had an effect on him, however what he needed to learn was how strong his control truly was.

“Speak.” The King growled out, Clarice held back a flinch at the abruptness of his hoarse voice.

“I had brought it upon myself to situate Clarice inside of this castle. I just wanted to come by and let you know so you do not suddenly find out.” Rettacus told him.

The King curled his lips up in distaste before forcefully ripping his gaze from Clarice - who was still keeping her head bowed - and brining it towards Rettacus.

“You just wanted to come by and let me know?” The King repeated while growling lowly - his anger and annoyance was evident, even Clarice could sense it without once looking up.

“Yes.” Rettacus stated carelessly while shrugging - his gaze not once wavered from his Kings.

“Well, if she is to be situated in my castle, I must properly initiate her, do I not?”

Rettacus raised a brow at that - he had no idea what his King meant, yet he had a small idea about how prior castle initiations went.

“Alright, if you wish.” Rettacus stated making Clarice furrow her eyebrows worriedly - she hugged her upper body protectively.

“Then leave.” The King growled out with a deadly smirk on his face.

Rettacus’ face morphed into that of worry when he noticed that familiar psychotic look in his Kings coal colored eyes before shaking his head.

“No. I will stay in this room. You will not lay a single hand on her, I will make sure of that.” Rettacus stated making the King push himself up from his seat using all of his strength while growling - the growl so strong it shook the paintings all throughout the castle and made the wind roar louder outside.

Clarices eyes had long welled up, but now they had raised to look worriedly at Rettacus who was glaring at his King.

In a matter of a second, the King had appeared before Rettacus making Clarice yelp before stepping back in shock - neither of the men paid her any mind as they glared intensely at each other.

Clarice took in the length of the Kings huge body with wide eyes - she was not shocked to see how big he was, she had long grown familiar to his abnormal muscular size.

However what caught her attention were his elongated thick black claws that made her forcefully choke back a sob before slapping a shaky hand over her trembling lips.

You will watch how you speak to me. I spared your pathetic life once, believe me when I say, I will not again.” The King gritted out, his voice octaves lower and darker than ever before.

He sounded like death. The aura that danced around him screamed power and evil.

Clarice wanted to run, but she knew if she did, they would catch her, and she was utterly horrified of the repercussions.

Rettacus scoffed, “You-”

The King shook his head before placing a claw over Rettacus’ lips - instantly shutting him up.

Clarices eyes widened even more than before - tears silently trailing down her cheeks.

“Choose your words carefully, pup.” The King spat out at Rettacus, pulling his finger away from his lips before turning his head slightly.

His deadly gaze caught Clarices and made her flinch - she prayed he did not near her.

“My apologies my King. I meant no disrespect, I just-”

You nothing. Leave!” He ordered loudly, his deep voice echoing in the room and making Clarice shiver in terror.

Her knees were wobbling and she cried into the palm of her hand helplessly - her worried gaze remained glued on Rettacus who was equally as helpless as her before the King.

“Alright, I will leave.” He whispered out in defeat making Clarices heart plummet deeply into her stomach.

Her face paled - whiter than ever before.

She felt conflicted - how could Rettacus possibly keep his promise now?

Rettacus turned his head slowly towards Clarice with a frown - as if reading her thoughts.

“I promise.” He whispered to her again before turning around and walking out of the throne room.

Clarice was left trembling and alone with the angered King standing before her - his gaze holding a threat that held more of a promise than Rettacus ever could.

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