| Theodore |
I woke up instantly to Zion’s voice. I glanced at my watch and noticed that it was already 1:47 am. The only reason Zion would be here was if it was something important.
I groaned and forced the sleep out of my system. Sitting up, I glanced at Nathalia’s bed and sighed at her current state. Her healing was progressing slowly. If only I could bring her to their dorm and ask Cassandra to release her wolf. But the nurses insisted that she stay the night in the infirmary. I couldn’t tell them about her Lupus side so I decided to let them heal her for now.
Nathalia. My mate. Such a stubborn and headstrong girl. I wasn’t praying for a submissive mate but it would be a hell lot easier if she would just be a little compromising. But no, I could only imagine the rest of our lives being spent on endless arguments, all of those I wouldn’t mind as long as she was with me.
“What’s going on?” I whispered, careful not to disturb Nathalia’s sleep.
“Your Father asks for you,” Zion said, his head bowed, his tone and expression serious, a little out of his character as he only does that when given a royal command.
“Where is Malik?” I asked.
Zion smiled a little. “With Isabella.”
I smirked. Good for him, he turned out to be Isabella’s mate after all. Releasing a harsh breath, I eyed Nathalia one more time and nodded at Zion. “Will you stay here?”
When Zion agreed, I went to Nathalia and planted a small kiss on her forehead before leaving the infirmary. I nodded at the two Syrens at the entrance and walked to the parking area. Getting inside my car, I thought about what my father needed from me. But I already had a guess, and it would most probably be my display of affection towards Nathalia in that goddamn match. It was the worst feeling ever, having to stand there and watch my mate get hurt without being able to do anything. If it was only up to me, I could have stopped that duel from happening.
I found my father in the largest study in the manor. He was sitting behind the desk with a stern expression on his face. His eyes were as always the same, cold and commanding. It was incredible how the both of us had a stark resemblance to each other. The similarities, however, ended at that. My father wasn’t a kind king.
I dipped my head lower when I approached him. “Father.”
“Son.” He stood up and circled around the table so we stood face to face, our heights almost the same. “I’d like an explanation for your behavior. Are you having silly romantic ideations with an Ilwani?” he glowered. “You know I never forbid you to satisfy whatever you crave as a boy but that kind of display ruins our reputation. You are the Prince, you should know better.”
I clenched my jaw and curled my fingers into fists, finding it hard to keep my anger at bay. He noticed my hands and he surveyed me with a mixture of confusion and displeasure. “Do you care for this girl?” he asked.
I closed my eyes to control my rising temper. When I opened them, I stared at my father with conviction and resentment. “Yes, I do.”
He scoffed. “You are young, boy. You will get over it. And I suggest you start now.”
“No, Father. I love her.” I said, not leaving his eyes for a moment, showing him how I meant every word.
He growled and snarled. “Take back what you said, boy. You are charting a dangerous territory. You know the law very well. You know what happened to Malik’s sister.”
“Yes, Father. I know. I know how you let them kill Lyra. I know how heartless you are!” I thundered. I turned my back on him and went to the door.
“Don’t you dare turn your back on me, boy! We are not yet finished.” He used his Alpha tone on me. I tried my best not to flinch. He was the Alpha of the Prime Thunder pack before he became king and I only just recently inherited the pack when I turned eighteen, making me the youngest Alpha in the whole kingdom.
Glancing back with my spine and shoulders straight, I sneered at my father, the King. “Yes, we are, Father.”
I shut the door closed with a loud bang. Taking two steps at a time, I went back to my car and hurriedly drove back to the infirmary, to where my mate was. She was my light in this long unending tunnel. It was still too soon to say but I really meant what I said. Without noticing it, I have grown to care for her so deeply it made my heart tremble every time I saw her.
Zion was at the entrance of the infirmary when I returned. He stood up when he saw me. I frowned, wondering why he was not at her side. “Why are you here?” I asked.
“Oh, the doctor said he would take a look at her and asked me to come out for a while,” Zion replied.
“Doctor? At this time?” I asked him, befuddled.
Zion faltered. “Yeah... He said something about examining her wounds.”
Having a bad feeling about it, I went to Nathalia’s bed and found no one inside. I gave Zion a hard look. “Are you sure there was a doctor in here?”
Zion looked equally confused. “Yes, he entered here...”
I checked Nathalia for any sign of change or distress. She seemed to be still sleeping peacefully. “What does he look like?” I asked Zion just in case.
“Dark brown hair, dark eyes, about this tall,” Zion placed his hand under his chin. “Oh and he’s a Syren doctor,” he shrugged.
“Alright. Just keep an eye on him and tell me if you see him again.” I placed my hand on my forehead and massaged my temples. The sudden awakening from sleep and the argument with my father was giving me a headache. “You can go now,” I told Zion.
When Zion was completely out of the room, I sat back on the only sofa that was available. I took it upon myself to stay with my mate for the whole night. Cassandra wanted to come immediately after Nathalia’s duel but I told her that she could take the night to fully heal herself and come early in the morning. I admired how protective they were with each other and I’m glad that Nathalia had someone with her when their parents were killed.
Malik had us too when his sister and her Lawin mate were both killed by the cruel Vulgari law. It was traumatic for all of us since Lyra was a pack member of the Prime Thunder. Father, however, washed his hands on everything, saying it was the right thing to do. I thought Malik would hate me back then, but that boy was the most loyal person I have ever met; he never left my side despite his anguish and grief against the throne.
I went full alert when Nathalia stirred on her bed. “Mama, Papa, I’m sorry...” She was mumbling repeatedly.
I stood up and stroked her hair. “It’s alright, baby,” I said softly. “It’s alright.”
Her breathing went back to normal after a few more strokes. I pushed the sofa near her bed, rested my head on the edge, held her hand and allowed myself to drift back to sleep.
| Nathalia |
Theo’s hair was sprawled on the bed and was covering a part of my arm when I woke up. His hand was holding mine and he was snoring lightly. I smiled at this little discovery. Reaching for his head with my other hand, I played with the ends of his hair, enjoying its silky and smooth texture, wondering what he would look like with a clean cut.
When Theo moved his head, I noticed my exposed arm and remembered my weird dream last night of someone coming in here and taking my blood. Maybe that’s the side effect of being beaten and bruised, dreaming of something that felt so real. Or they pumped me with too many opioids, making me really stoned. I chuckled at that thought.
My soft chuckle woke the prince up. With doe-like eyes, I met his with a small smile on my lips. It was the second time that I woke up to him being the first person that I see, and I would say that it was one of the best feelings ever.
“How are you feeling?” He asked, his voice still husky from his sleep, sending the butterflies in my stomach into hyperdrive.
“Happy,” I answered.
He frowned. “Why? You got beat up really bad.”
“I like seeing your face.”
That earned me a smile, a touch on the face, and a soft kiss on the lips.
“I like seeing yours too, preferably without wounds.” He said, his eyes scolding.
“Lia, you stupid ass!” Cassy came barging into the room, her brows furrowed, her mouth pressed into a thin hard line.
Lana followed after her, wearing a smug smile. “I told you,” she sang.
Snarling at Lana and smiling at Cassy, I struggled to put myself into a sitting position. Theo’s hands immediately went on both my sides, assisting me tenderly. Lana scrunched her face in disgust when Theo’s back was on her. I stuck out my tongue at her and laughed.
“I’m glad you’re all healed, sis.” I turned to Cassy.
She scoffed. “Now you’re the one injured. I hope you see now that our training was still not enough.”
“I know. I will, okay? Just get me out of here so I could release my wolf.” I grumbled.
It took me a full week to recover from my wounds and sore muscles. I’d say it was only three days but Cassy and Theo wouldn’t allow me to move around until everything was completely gone, including minuscule bruises.
Coming back to the academy felt weird. My classmates were giving me glances of admiration and I’m not sure about it but I thought their gazes hold respect too. It was utterly bizarre and surprisingly pleasant. I thought I didn’t care about their opinion of me but apparently, I did.
It was one afternoon when Yllona ambled towards us. Lana, Cassy, and I were in one of the many lounge areas inside The Circle with lovely circular rattan seats and crimson-carpeted floor. The ceiling was decorated in mahogany wood in a dazzling spiral design. The place was very cozy and homey, making it one of our favorite spot to stay inside the academy.
“Hi.” Yllona greeted, looking tentatively at each of us. It was a miracle that she was alone. “Nice match last week, Nathalia.”
I scrunched my nose and grimaced. “You saw that I lost, right? But thanks anyway. So, have you decided?” I asked her.
She took a seat beside Lana. “Yes. I’d like to fight for what is right. And I also believe that the law was unjust. Also...” She bit her lower lip and fiddled with her hands that were on her lap. With her eyes locking with us, she whispered, “I would like to find my mom. Help me and I will give you guys my full participation.”
“Wasn’t she assassinated?” Cassy asked.
Yllona shook her head. “No. My father helped her escape. I believe that she is still alive. But I haven’t seen her since I was seven.”
Lana shrugged and looked at all of us with renewed enthusiasm. “Deal. Now we have to find our water conjurer.”
“I think I have an idea of who that is.” Yllona blurted. She stood up and shook her shoulders, the feathers of her wings rippling, like a bird who just finished preening its wings. “Come follow me.” She started to walk and I smiled in amazement at how confident she was that we would follow her without any arguments. She was surely a princess, no doubt about that.
We did follow her, receiving quite a few curious glances in return, probably wondering why the Lawin princess was with us. Arriving at the Syren building, we followed Yllona to an exit door leading outside where small groups of Syrens were currently gathering.
I didn’t know there was a frozen lake in here. But how would I? It was my first time going inside the Syren territory in the academy. I instantly recognized what the hype was all about. There were few people skating in the lake but there was an Asian girl, perhaps Japanese or Chinese, whom everyone’s attention was focused on. She was petite, slender, and with smooth porcelain pale skin. Her shining long dyed-auburn hair was swaying wildly at her back as she glided and spun along the ice.
Her movements were precise and elegant and there was a certain air of glamour around her, like she owned the whole lake, and she was its queen. A pair of earphones were placed inside her ears and she was doing an energetic dance, her hips swaying to the music she was listening to. She then rotated in an anti-clockwise direction, with her arms raised above her, her chest held out, head back, and left leg in the air. Transitioning smoothly from the spin, she glided along the frozen lake, going forward and backwards, then jumping high in the air doing two flips before landing magnificently back to the ice. She was totally captivating.
“That’s Kagame Suzuki. No one knows much about her as she keeps to herself most of the time but she was famous for being called the Ice Princess,” Yllona explained. “There’s a lot of bad rumors about her though─thief, prostitute, killer. Anyway, the most important part is that she’s an orphan and nobody knew who her parents were. Maybe she’s our girl.”
I held my breath when Kagame paused and faced us with her eyes squinted in suspicion. She was shorter than the four of us but her presence was largely intimidating. She skated towards us and when she was finally near enough, she asked, “Are you looking for me?” in her crisp notable accent.