| Nathalia |
The days before the Certare loomed above our heads like a catastrophe waiting to happen. The anticipation was palpable, excitement buzzed in the air, with bets going around the academy as each fighter prepares for the duels.
Training rooms were packed with audiences from all races, trying to analyze which candidate will most likely make a run for their money.
“Do you think I could bet for myself and Cassy? Would have been a good way to earn money.” I told Lana as I was watching a frenzied Ilwani guy who was calling for more bets.
Lana adjusted her ponytail and trainers. “You can’t bet for yourself. You can bet for Cassy though.”
“Do you think you can lend me money?” I asked shamelessly, slightly teasing.
She grimaced. “Beat me right now and I will.”
Groaning, I shut the door of the training room and went to the center of the room, taking my position in front of Lana.
“Listen, they know you have the skills to manipulate elemental magic. Let’s just say that you trained hard to achieve that. But you can’t by any means reveal that you’re a hybrid. Never let your wolf out during the fight. Do you understand?” Lana said, adjusting her stance.
I bounced on my toes and hopped from side to side to warm up my quads and hamstrings. “Aye, ma’am.”
Lana launched herself at me, beginning her attack with a roundhouse kick. I tried to receive it with the side of my forearm, only to regret it afterward as my radius and ulna suffered terribly from the impact, making me skid backward, cradling my arm to my chest.
She followed up with a series of hooks, jabs, and crosses in rapid succession. I blocked, slipped, and swayed, waiting for my chance to counter. I saw an opportunity and with speed and footwork, I landed a blow on her right jaw, Lana’s head snapping
With my eyes trained on her arms, a sudden sidekick hit my obliques, making me hunch in pain, and without bestowing mercy, she kneed me fully on the stomach. I fell flat on the floor backside first, wondering which hurt more, my arm or my abdomen.
“That’s foul.” I groused.
Lana squatted in front of me. “Nothing is foul in the duels. You can do anything except killing your opponent. Until one waves the white flag, the fight continues.” She bounced on her toes and dipped her head. “Come, let’s try with weapons this time.”
I stubbornly laid on the floor and flapped my arms and legs, pretending to make a snow angel. “I’m tired,” I grumbled. “I need to rest.”
Lana pulled one of my arms and I let her carry my whole weight to a sitting position. “You’re not taking this seriously. I thought you wanted money.”
“I was just kidding. You can keep your money.” I said, still smarting from her assaults.
“Oh come on, don’t be such a baby. You’re a werewolf for god sake.” I let Lana pull me more until we were both erect. She took a wooden sword and I conjured my own version of it.
For the rest of the day, we did nothing but train. When Lana finally decided to let me go, I was breathing hard and was aching all over, my muscles complaining from the exercise I’ve put it through.
Checking my phone, I saw a message from Theo telling me to send him a message when I’m done training.
With a crazy idea in my head, I rollicked to The Circle and went on finding the janitor’s closet. I took a picture of myself with an annoying duck face, getting a huge chunk of the various cleaning items in the background.
I typed a text to Theo.
Me: (Picture Attached)
If you find me, I will give you a reward ;) ;) ;)
Humming a song to myself, I waited patiently for Theo to arrive. When I caught a whiff of his scent, I smoothed my hair and released my wolf.
I positioned myself behind the door and eagerly waited for him to open it. My heart was already doing her usual happy dance when Theo came storming into the room, a trickle of perspiration running down the sides of his face.
His head snapped at me and I beamed at him and waved my fingers. He came to me full force, slamming his lips to mine, gripping me closer, and reaching for the door to lock it.
Giggling, I wrapped my arms around his shoulders while responding to his kisses, his hands covering my bottom.
“You’re sweating,” I said in between kisses.
He was breathing heavily as he kissed me. “I ran.” He left my lips and went down to the crook of my neck, nibbling and sucking the sensitive skin.
I closed my eyes and leaned my head back, gripping his shoulders as I did so. “You ran. Why? Where did you come from?” I whispered in between labored breaths.
“From the dorm.” He reclaimed my lips and kissed me passionately and fervently.
I gasped. “That’s far.” He got here in less than 7 minutes when it was supposed to be a 15-minute drive.
“U-huh.” He released me and smiled. “I missed you.”
Oh Goddess what shall I do with this boy? He’s wearing his heart on his sleeve!
“I missed you too,” I whispered.
He smirked. “So what’s with the cleaner’s closet?” He asked, looking around the tiny room.
Blood rushed to my face and I chuckled. “I wanted to try it for once. You know, just like in the movies.”
He tilted my chin up and gazed at my eyes. “Tell me anything you want and I’ll fulfill it for you.”
I snorted. “That’s so cheesy, Your Highness.” I playfully slapped his chest.
“It’s your fault. You’re making me say these things.” He grunted.
“No, I’m not! You’re delusional.” I said, shaking my head at him.
He laughed and pinched my nose. “Yeah cause you’re the only one I can think of lately.”
“Oh my god stop!” I covered my ears and glared at him. He grinned, flashing me his perfect set of teeth. He began tickling me and I started shrieking and laughing, doing my best to push him away.
“Please stop!” I giggled, running away from him to the corner of the room. I raised both my hands to stop him from tackling me again. He gave me a malicious look and started approaching when a knock startled the both of us.
“Alpha, this is Zion,” came the voice from outside. It sounded urgent.
I cocked my head to Theo, curious to the sudden intrusion.
Theo opened the door and I saw one of the boys who was always with him. The boy turned to look at me and he hesitated, seemingly lost for words.
“What is it Zion?” asked Theo.
Zion alternately looked at me and Theo, then finally focusing on me. Theo gave a warning growl. I frowned at him, not appreciating his being territorial.
Zion ignored him and trotted towards me. “Hi, I’m Zion. I’m sorry that we haven’t been introduced yet.” He held out his hand.
I smiled at him and accepted his outstretched hand, ignoring Theo’s deepening scowl. “Nathalia.”
Zion exhaled loudly, apprehension clouding his hazel eyes. “Listen, I’m sorry to be the one informing you about this but we have news that your twin is in the infirmary.”
I inhaled sharply, bile rising slowly in my throat. It felt like a cold metal chain gripped my heart and nothing but primal fear replaced my whole being.
I did not waste time asking questions. I subdued my wolf and stormed out of the closet, cursing myself for not feeling anything related to my twin. Theo and Zion were following behind me, both grim-faced.
I prayed to the five Gods, hoping that Cassy was okay, that maybe she just scraped her knee or something.
One look at me and the nurse already knew who I came for. With pursed lips, she accompanied me to a cubicle, my heart racing as she opened the curtains for me. Lana and two more of Theo’s friends were already there. They all gave me worried looks.
My knees gave way when I saw my twin. Theo caught my fall but I shove him away and threw myself at Cassy. “Cassy, no.” I bellowed. I covered my mouth with my hand and sobbed.
Cassy’s face was mangled and an IV line was inserted at the dorsum of her hand. She was sleeping peacefully, the nurse must have given her something for the pain.
“What happened?” I reached for Cassy’s hand, tears of rage falling from my eyes. A large circular bruise was evident around her right eye, her bottom lip was busted, and there were numerous abrasions and marks on her arms as if she was tied with something as they feasted their attacks on her.
Lana answered for me, her face anguished and she looked like she was also about to cry. “She was attacked. Ten to one. They... They stabbed her too. Twice.” She said, her voice breaking.
Squeezing my eyes shut and gritting my teeth, I asked in a deadly whisper, “Who?”
I snapped my eyes open and snarled. “Jade Lynx?”
Lana shook her head. “No. Only her members.”
Blinking back tears, I stood up, my whole body shaking furiously, my eyes turning a darker shade of green.
A low ferocious growl escaped my lips.
“I will kill them, Cassy. I will bury them alive and make sure that they will never see another sun in their lives again.”