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T H I R T Y - F O U R


"Uh..." I looked at Rhys "No, I'm Kassi"

Rhys vampire Uncle shook his head twice before staring at me like a creep.

"I'm sorry" he said sincerely "You just look like a friend who I haven't seen in a very long time"

"It's okay" I smiled slightly before checking on my brother

I breathe a sigh of relief when I found him sleeping, curled up into a little ball.

"What are you doing here Uncle Xander?" Rhys asked

"Can't a man visit his favorite Alpha Nephew?" Rhys uncle leaned forward and grinned.

From the corner of my eye, I saw Orion shift uncomfortably on his feet and stand closer to me.

Rhys Uncle caught the movement and zeroed in on Orion.

"And who is this?" he asked

"This is Orion" Rhys answered "Kassi's brother"

"Oh?" Xander said before approaching us "The Princess has another brother?"

"How do you know who I am?" I asked

He grinned at me and Orion growled "Oh Darling, everyone knows who you are"

I stiffened, not only from his words but also, from him tucking my hair behind my ear.

"Uncle..." Rhys tone had a challenging tone "Don't..."

"A Royal and Hunter will forever be bound, for they will produce a child that will wear the crown. Once the child meets their Mate, will their destined fate await"

I stared blankly at him "Is that supposed to mean something to me?"

"Well, aren't you a feisty one" he chuckled before looking at Rhys "Good luck with this one"

Rhys ignored his Uncle "What are you doing here? In the dungeon?"

"More importantly" I added "Why are you watching my brother?"

"I find Shifting fascinating" he answered bluntly "Considering that every Pack shifting is different and since yours is on the verge of extinction, I thought this might be my one last chance to observe a shifting from the First Pack ever created"

"So you find my brother suffering in agony amusing and insightful?" I stepped forward and just when I got into the stupid vampire's face, Orion pulled me back.

"Stand down Kassiopeia" he whispered "You don't know what he's capable of"

"He doesn't know what I'm capable of" I growled before shaking his arm off of me "Let go of me"

His grip tightened

"I didn't mean to be rude Princess" Rhys Uncle raised his hands in surrender "But your family is just interesting to me"

"Why is that?" I got closer and Orion's grip tightened "What do you know about my family and me?"

He stared at me, a smirk forming on his face.

Just as he was about to say something, a small timid voice spoke up.


I turned and all but ran to the door "Hey buddy"

"Sissy" Ares cried "Where are you?!"

He sat there crying and calling out my name.

I clawed at the door, trying to open it "Why can't he hear me?"

"It's sound-proof from the inside" Matt said quietly "We can hear him but he can't hear us

"Let me in" I demanded

"No" Rhys, His Uncle, and Orion, said at the same time.

I glared "Somebody better open this door right now"

"And that's our cue to go" Matt mumbled to the others.

Everyone that joined us after discovering Rhys Uncle was here, now left.

I turned to Rhys and crossed my arms "Open this door"


"Rhys..." I pleaded "Please?"

"No..." he posture said one thing but his eyes held hesitation.

"Sit down boy" Rhys Uncle rolled his eyes "She's playing you"

"No I'm not" I exclaimed

"Yes you are" he pointed at me "You can't expect him not to react after you bat those eyelashes"

Rhys blushed and I felt my face flush "Whatever, that wasn't my intention"

"Hmm..." he rolled his eyes before going to the door that held Ares.

He flicked his wrist and a tablet popped up.

"How in the hell did you do that?" I exclaimed "I've been trying for two days to figure out how to break into that room!"

"When your as old as me," he typed in some numbers "You learn to pick up a few things"

"What are you doing" Rhys snapped before lunging for his Uncle

Rhys Uncle was faster, punching in a few more numbers before a clicking sound was heard throughout the room.

My heart nearly jumped out of my throat when I saw Ares, in his wolf form, emerge from the room.

He sniffed the air before snarling at Rhys Uncle and running out of the room.

"Ares!!" I ran after him "Wait!!"

"Kassi" Rhys pulled me back "Not a good idea"

"I swear to God" I glared at all three men "If someone man-handles me one more time, they'll be missing some very important anatomical parts that make them male"

Everyone winced

"Now let me go to my brother"

"He'll be okay Kassi" Orion reassured me "I did the same thing when I changed"

"So did I" Rhys said

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" I deadpanned "Because if so, it didn't"

"Kassi..." Rhys sighed

I ignored him and looked at his Uncle

"Why did you release him if I couldn't see him?"

"Because it needed to be done" He sat down and took a long drink from his cup "His shifting process needs to be completed soon. A part of the shifting process is for the Wolf and Human to survive a night outside, alone, in order to enhance their hunting abilities. Rhys was never going to release Ares because he didn't want you to get upset with him"

I looked at Rhys and he looked away, his cheeks blushing pink.

"I thought every Shifting process was different?" I asked "How did you know that Ares needed to be released?"

He smiled, his eyes taking on a faraway look "My friend, the one you look and act so much like, taught me"

"Okay..." I said "But that still doesn't explain how you knew this would work for Ares. We come from a different Pack than normal Wolves do. Apparently, what works for other Packs has the opposite affect for us "

"My friend was very familiar with the traditions of your Pack" he smiled slightly "Well, considering, she was the youngest Princess of the Dimitriou family"

My lips parted in shock

"I knew your Aunt Athena" He smiled slightly "She was one of the few that I trusted with my life"I was flabbergasted, not knowing that I had an Aunt.

My father had told me that he was an only child

"She died when she was 16" he looked at the floor "That's why I was so shocked when you walked it. It was like I was looking at a ghost"

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