Terra (The Vulgri Hybrids Book One)

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Chapter 18

| Nathalia |

“Where are those scumbags, Lana?” I demanded, intent on making them suffer. “Never mind, I’ll find them myself,” I said after not receiving an immediate answer.

I whirled around but Lana managed to grab my arm. “Lia, stop.”

I glared at her. “Let go.”

Theo gently placed his hand on my shoulder but I shook it away. I was feeling so frustrated and desperate. I didn’t care that Theo’s friends were there or that they might have a terrible impression of me.

“No, listen to me first─” Lana tried again but I ignored her and started to go for the curtain, only to be spun around her grip tightening. I winced in pain causing Theo to come forward, growling at Lana.

Lana shot us a disgusted look. “Dogs and their bitches,” she spat. “Lia, will you just stop and listen for a moment?”

I struggled against her hold. “Let me go, Lana! I will make them pay!”

“Cassy told me you would be like this. Don’t you have any faith in your sister?” Lana asked, glowering.

I paused. “What do you mean?”

Holding my gaze, Lana slowly released my arm, and I unconsciously touched where she held me, pressing on the muscles she tortured.

“Come,” she said, cocking her head. Theo and I followed her with the other three werewolves remaining by Cassy’s side.

Deeper into the infirmary, more occupied cubicles came into view. Lana strutted to the cubicles, shoving curtain after curtain, each exposing the injured Taurus members, all suffering life-threatening wounds, more severe than Cassy’s current situation.

Lana crossed her arms and raised her brows at me after revealing the last cubicle. “There. You can’t make them pay anymore because Cassy already did. Are you happy now?”

Instead of answering her question, I opted to survey all sleeping members of the Taurus guild. Were they acting on Jade’s orders or they acted on their own volition? Were they afraid that their master will be humiliated for the second time on the Certare?

I was glad that Cassy did not go down without a proper fight. But still, she didn’t deserve to be attacked like that. They should have done that to me instead of her. I was the one who broke Jade’s leg, not Cassy.

“We can bring Cassandra on the manor so she could summon her wolf out. She can heal faster that way.” Theo spoke up beside me. I regarded him and considered his suggestion. I wasn’t sure who else was in his place. It seemed like he has already told our secret to his closest pack members. If more wolves know about us, I will only jeopardize our plans further.

I decided to decline his offer. “I think I will bring her to the dorm. I know how to release her wolf.”

Having one last satisfied look at the guys who have hurt Cassy, I flounced back to her bedside. The three Lupus who were beside her stood up straight when they saw me. The gorgeous caramel-skinned boy with beautiful grey eyes bowed his head to me. The one who introduced himself as Zion, who resembles a Mexican model, was peering at me tentatively. While the last one, an Asian guy, probably Korean, was grinning from ear to ear, his eyes shining. He was the shortest among the three, almost the same height as me. I decided I like him already.

They must have thought I was completely nuts.

The Asian hottie cleared his throat and smiled. “Princess, I’m Joon Ki, Theo’s gamma.” He held out his hand to me and I stared at it in bewilderment and gawked.

He called me Princess. I don’t know what to say about that.

I accepted his hand and shook it lightly. “Nathalia,” I said, an awkward smile creeping across my face.

“Malik. Beta.” Malik removed Joon Ki’s hand and placed his, making me chuckle. I stared at him and appreciate his physical appearance. His face was sculpted perfectly and he got a really nice pouty kissable lips.

Theo appeared beside me and stared his beta down, making the latter retrieve his hand forcibly. I punched his shoulder but he just shrugged at me. “Stop ogling, mate.”

“I’m not ogling.” Theo gave me a disbelieving grunt so I decided to be honest instead. “What, he’s handsome,” I smirked. That earned a small flinch from Malik and another growl from Theo. I shook my head at them and sat at the edge of Cassy’s bed, holding her hand.

I released a huge breath before turning to the werewolves in the room. “Can someone carry Cassy? I’ll bring her to the dorm and release her wolf from her chains.”

“I’ll carry her, Princess.” Joon Ki eagerly volunteered. I shot him one weirded out look then Theo, hoping that he would correct his gamma, but he said nothing. I made a mental note to myself to put this on a later discussion.

I rose from the bed and went to Lana. I gave her a hug and inhaled her sweet rosy scent. She patted my back as she received my embrace. “Two days before your fight, Lia. Don’t do anything reckless, okay?” she murmured in my ear.

I dipped my head in affirmation before leaving the room and asking permission from the nurse to allow me to take Cassy back to the dorm. After getting her approval, Seth carried Cassy to his car and I rode with him despite Theo’s objection. No way would I leave Cassy’s side.

After safely depositing Cassy to her bed, Joon Ki politely retreated out of the room. Theo gave me one kiss on my forehead before leaving with him. Finally alone together, I coaxed Cassy’s wolf out by using my magic. I searched for her wolf and imagined that I was slowly releasing her shackles. Cassy stirred and opened her eyes, with her wolf free, her healing can progress faster.

“Hey, Cass.” I stroked her hair, my voice breaking.

“Lia? Did you do anything stupid?” she croaked.

“No,” I replied, pouting.

She smiled. “Good.”

I shifted on the bed and went under the blanket beside my twin. “I’m sorry Cass. It should have been me. Should I burn one side of my face so they’ll never mistake me from you?”

“Don’t say that you fool. They got me right. I will be the one competing with Jade, not you.”

I sighed. “Then she will win by default. That’s so unfair.”

“It’s alright. It’s not like the duels can help our cause. It’s not important, really.”

I stared at the ceiling and contemplated Cassy’s words. She’s right. The duels were not important but I was not entirely sure if I could allow myself to lose.

***

The fighting arena was packed by all races and visitors from all kingdoms. The Certare was the only day that the Mesina opens its doors to non-students. Mesina has two arenas, one on the west and one on the east.

The west side arena would be holding Suuri, Lupus, and three Lawin duels while the east side arena would be conducting Ilwani, Syren, and two Lawin duels. All duels would be televised in all buildings inside Mesina including the dorms.

Bets were being finalized as the hosts of the duels announced that in an hour, the first Certare of the year would finally commence.

The amount of Vulgari inside the arena was unbelievable. Their cheers were all turning into a single white noise. All I could think about though was that Cassy was left alone in her room, watching this event.

The hosts in the east side arena were a female Lawin and a male Ilwani. They were doing a great job in enthusing the crowd, generating roars of excitement, all impatiently waiting for the show to begin.

“First off, it is an honor for me to welcome our special guests in today’s event!” The Ilwani boy beamed to the audience. “Please give a round of applause to King Wang Yu and Queen Xenia of Poseo!” A thunderous holler echoed through space, most notably from the Syren race.

My eyes darted to the colossal jumbotron hanging above the center of the arena. The camera focused on the said king and queen in their royal blue gowns. Both of them rose from their seat, smiling and waving at the audience. I tried to memorize their faces. They were part of the Vulgari council, hence they belong to the ones responsible for the assassination of our parents.

At their side was Morden Skinner, in a navy blue warrior uniform, standing proudly beside his king.

The Lawin girl came forward, her chestnut feathers bouncing at her back. “Unfortunately, King Raegar is in the west arena but we have here Prince Idris, Princess Celeste, and Princess Yllona Storm. It is a pleasure to have you here, Your Highnesses.” With the look of complete adulation in her eyes, the girl spread her wings, placed her closed fist on her heart, and bowed. All the Lawins in the arena mirrored her gesture creating a moment of silence and solemnity among the crowd.

The girl returned her gaze to the three royalties. ”Reliqua ut supra diximus volant. May we fly above the rest,” she murmured and the phrase was repeated by all Lawins including the three heirs to the throne.

I noticed that Yllona was searching for someone. When she found me sitting near the arena among all the participants, she nodded slightly at my direction before training her eyes to the center. I appreciated the gesture.

I glanced to where Calla was seated. Earlier, I’ve noticed that she was taller than me by a foot and her muscles were well defined, something that only years of training could achieve. Her hair was cut short, almost like a boy’s. She was pretty much intimidating, to say the least. I was confident in my abilities but I knew that I still needed to be on my guard.

Finally, the hosts introduced one more special guest. I was itching to finish this event so that I could go back to Cassy and check on her. The jumbotron was showing an elegant looking woman draped in an elaborate gown of gold with bedazzled jewels, her blonde hair perfectly braided down her back. She was introduced as the Fifth Oracle of Ilwania, her smile was ephemeral and her back was poised regally. I hated her instantly. I saw her whisper something to Barthier Lynx before scanning all of us in the participants’ row. Her gaze landed on me and I matched hers with an equal amount of inquisition.

She squinted her eyes at me as if finding my behavior disrespectful. I didn’t care what she thought about me though. All I knew is, someday, she’s going down along with that man beside her.

Someone went to our side and motioned for the first duelers to come up on the circular stage. When they reached the center, the torches on the corners started producing heaps of fire. The crowd erupted into boisterous cheers and the pounding of the drums began.

“Ladies and gentlemen! Fellow Vulgari! We welcome you to the first monthly Certare!”

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