Chapter 27: Royal Blood
I set the sword down on the table and took off the helmet.
That was the weirdest training session ever. How did I know what to do with the sword? And how on earth did I block all of those hits?
‘I don’t know but that was awesome!’ Artemis gushed.
I laughed slightly. ‘Thanks. But still. I’ve never even seen a sword in real life. How did I do that?’
‘Who cares! Girl, you beat Perseus!’ Artemis continued.
‘Yeah.’ I sighed taking off the chest plate.
“Hey dear.” Hecate said as she walked up to me. “You did great out there.”
“Thank you.” I smiled. “Training is a lot of fun.”
“You kicked ass out there!” Janus smiled.
“How did you do that?” Apollo asked with wide eyes.
“I-I have no idea.” I gulped. “I really don’t know what happened.”
“What do you mean?” Hecate asked.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “I saw Perseus come for me and then all of the sudden this warm feeling went through me and the next thing I know, I was moving and Perseus landed on the ground.”
“Well whatever it was, you looked like you’ve been working with swords your whole life.” Janus laughed.
“You have to show me those moves.” Apollo said.
“You and me both.” Perseus said as he walked over. “That was an excellent technique. Amazing form, perfect posture. Terrific.”
“Thank you.” I blushed while rubbing my neck.
“Let’s take a water break.” Ares said. “Then we can go to the small course over there.”
I looked over to where Ares pointed and saw some big obstacles. “Wow. Those are tall.”
“You don’t have to go on those just yet.” He said softly. “Those are walls that you have to climb over by pulling yourself up with a rope.”
“Yeah.” I paused. “I don’t have the muscle for that just yet.”
“It’s okay.” He smiled, kissing the top of my head and wrapping his arm around me.
“Are you sure, my King?” Perseus asked. But I couldn’t help but notice the look in his eyes.
“Yes.” Ares nodded. “I think she’s ready for some of those.”
Perseus looked a little hesitant but nodded anyway.
‘What the hell is going on?’ Artemis growled. ‘First the little scene in the kitchen and now this?’
‘I’m getting annoyed.’ I agreed. ‘I want to know what they are keeping from me.’
“I’m going to go grab a water bottle.” I said suddenly and shrugged off Ares’ arm.
As I was walking over to the coolers, I turned around and saw Perseus and Ares in a heated conversation.
‘Something is definitely going on and I want to know.’ Artemis said sternly.
I sighed, grabbing a bottle and sitting down on the ground. Training is definitely taking a lot more of my energy that I initially thought it would.
‘But it’s so much fun.’ Artemis laughed. ‘I feel like a whole new person. I get to do stuff that I’ve never done before.’
‘Right?’ I asked laughing. ‘I’m so excited that I get to spar and do all of this. I can’t believe I was missing all of this when I had to run errands for Rick.’
Artemis was about to say something but Janus popped up, cutting her off.
“You did really good out there.” Janus said as he grabbed a water bottle and sat down next to me.
“Thank you.” I smiled at him and he returned it.
Janus has come a long way. He’s always been pretty cautious around me and didn’t really speak much. Apollo was always the one who talked to me and asked me how my day has been. Janus, not so much. But he’s really been opening up to me and interacting with me.
“I mean it.” He laughed, bumping his shoulder against mine. “You have come such a long way than when you first got here. You are doing really good.”
“I feel good.” I nodded. “I can see the difference and it’s amazing.”
“And that sword sparring?” Janus smiled. “Damn girl. You got to teach me that.”
“I would if I knew how I did it.” I confessed. “Something just took over me and then that happened. I don’t know what it was.”
“How did you feel?” He asked, getting serious all of the sudden.
“What do you mean?” I asked confused.
“Like what was going on through your head when that happened? You said you felt a warm feeling. Explain it.”
“I guess determined.” I shrugged. “It’s hard to explain. But when Perseus came at me, I gripped the sword and when that warm feeling flowed through my body, I felt like I knew exactly what to do. I instantly knew how to block, how to swing the sword, how to move my feet, everything. It was the strangest sensation and I’ve never felt that before. It kind of scared me, to be honest.”
“Interesting.” Janus said quietly.
“Why do you ask?”
“Just wanted to know.”
“Janus.” I said sternly. “What is going on? I know Ares is keeping something from me and I want to know what it is.”
Janus sighed. “It’s nothing that you need to worry about right now.”
“Bull shit.” I growled as I clutched my water bottle tighter.
“Right now, you just need to focus on training.” He said as he stood up and held out a hand for me. “Okay?”
I huffed and grabbed his hand, letting him pull me up. “Fine. But I’m not going to give up on finding out what you guys are keeping from me.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Janus laughed and nodded. “Let’s head to the obstacle.”
I took another sip of my water and followed Janus to where Ares was almost done setting up.
“What’s he doing?” I asked as we got closer.
“He’s rearranging the course for you. Before it was for wolves who have been training a lot longer than you have.”
“I would have never been able to do it then.” I said.
Janus laughed. “That’s why he’s fixing it up for you.”
“Ready?” Ares asked, looking over his shoulder.
“Ready.” I confirmed.
Remember how I said that I was excited to train and how it was so much fun? Yeah, well I take that back.
“Come on.” Ares teased as he jogged up to me. “It’s not that bad.”
“Give…me…a moment.” I heaved as I held up a finger. I’m currently bent over trying to breathe and feel my body which is quite numb from running three miles.
“And you said you were excited to train.” Ares continued his teasing.
I growled and ran over to him, jumping up and successfully knocking him over.
“Oof.” Ares groaned as we both landed on the ground.
I laughed and quickly jumped off of him and sprinted down the path.
But that didn’t last long as I felt arms wrap around me, causing me to halt. I was then lifted in the air and swung around.
“Ares!” I shouted, laughing as I held onto his arms.
Ares laughed and stopped spinning. “That’ll teach you not to knock me over.”
I continued to laugh but stopped once I saw Apollo’s worried face.
“Ares. Stop.” I said and he quickly put me down.
“What’s wrong?” He asked worriedly.
“Apollo.” Was all I said before I ran up to Apollo. “Are you okay?”
“Rogues.” He growled. “They broke through patrol.”
“How many?” I asked as Ares stepped close to me.
“That’s the strange thing.” Apollo said confused, but alert. “Three.”
“Then let’s go.” I said looking up at Ares. “Why are we still standing here?”
“You want to go with?” Ares asked shocked.
“Duh.” I nodded. “I’m now the Alpha Queen. Did you really think I was going to stand back from the sidelines and watch? Hell no.”
Apollo chuckled and Ares gave me a proud smile.
“Well, you heard the lady.” Ares called out. “Let’s go!”
The other wolves that were training nodded and we all shifted. We followed Apollo as he darted through the thick trees and soon came to a clearing about forty-five minutes from our training grounds.
When we shifted back behind the trees, we saw the three rogues in the middle of a giant wall of warriors.
“They aren’t talking.” Jason said as he ran over to us.
“They said they would only talk for the King and Queen.” Achilles finished.
“Wow. Word does travel fast.” Janus said.
“I’m going in.” Ares growled.
“And me.” I said grabbing his hand.
“I don’t thi-” Ares started to say, but I cut him.
“What did I just say back on the field?” I said giving him a pointed look.
He sighed, but the corner of his lips twitched up. “That you are the now the Alpha Queen.”
“And what does that mean?”
“That you aren’t going to sit on the sidelines.” He finished.
“Very good.” I nodded once with a smirk. “Now let’s go.”
“Fine. But you are staying close to me.” Ares commanded. “Jason. Achilles. You are to stay right behind Athena. You don’t move.”
“Yes, Alpha King.” Jason and Achilles said with a bow.
Ares and I walked forward and I watched amazed as the warriors parted like the Red Sea as they saw us. A couple more steps and we were right in front of the rogues.
“Why are you here?” Ares asked, his voice ricocheting off the trees and sending the birds flying high.
“And is this the new Queen?” A rogue asked with a smirk causing me to shiver in disgust.
“Keep your eyes to yourself before I rip them out.” Ares said getting angry.
‘I get first dibs.’ Artemis growled. ‘No one talks to you like that and gets away with it.’
I smirked to myself. I love Artemis.
“Eyes over here.” Ares growled.
“You should really answer his question.” Apollo said glaring at the rogues.
“But maybe I want to talk to this fine little lady.” The taller rogue smiled as he took a step towards me.
Right as he did that, the warriors growled and two rushed in to grab his arms.
Ares walked up to him, but he didn’t look angry. He just stood there and smiled when he reached him. But his face turned hard and cold as he leaned forward and got in the rogue’s face. “You touch my mate and I will personally break every one of your fingers slowly and rip out your tongue. Do you understand me?”
My eyes went wide at his behavior. This is a side of Ares I have never seen before and I don’t think I want to see again. He’s kind of scaring me.
‘Well okay then.’ Artemis gulped. ‘I can’t decide if that’s hot or scary.’
The rogue shrunk down as much as he could and nodded his head. “Y-Yes, my King.”
“Good.” Ares said giving him a smile. “I would hate for something to happen to you because you decided to be stupid and tried to go near my mate. You know how mates are. Very protective and willing to do anything if someone harmed them.”
“I-I understand.” The rogue whimpered.
“That’s what I thought.” Ares snapped before turning around and walking towards me.
I jumped as I felt a soft tap on my shoulder. I turned my head and saw one of the warrior wolves that stepped closer to me when the rogue threatened me.
“Are you okay, my Queen?” A warrior asked as he looked down at me.
I nodded. “Yes. Thank you.”
The man still looked a little unsure but I gave him a smile to reassure him.
He bowed his head with a soft look on his face, but it turned serious once again as he looked forward getting back into his protective position.
I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to the fact that these people are protecting me because they want too.
Ares made it to me and stood next to me, close enough that my shoulder was touching his arm. I was about to say something, but I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up.
‘Something’s wrong.’ Artemis said worriedly.
‘I agree.’ I said as I carefully looked around so no one would get suspicious. ‘I don’t like this feeling.’
‘We aren’t alone.’ Artemis said on high alert. ‘Now would be a good time to tell the rest of our pack.’
I closed my eyes and I heard the slightest sound of a leaf being crunched on the ground. My eyes darted to the left, towards the sound of the crunch.
When I looked over, I saw the softest flash of light before a click sound rang through my ears.
“Get down!” I yelled as I shoved Ares on the ground.
I ducked just in time. It seemed like everything happened in slow motion as I saw a silver bullet fly right over my face, almost skimming my nose, and into the tree directly behind me.
I jumped back up so I was standing and glared at the direction in which the bullet came from.
‘Hunters.’ Artemis and I said at the same time.
“What the hell was that?” Ares asked, still lying on the ground.
“Hunters.” I said as my eyes followed the soft stream of light.
‘That must be the sun reflecting off of their guns.’ Artemis said.
‘But how?’ I asked as I continued to watch it. ‘They are in the trees where no the sun can’t reach. How can I see it?’
‘I have no idea.’ Artemis said. ‘But they are getting away!’
“Jason and Achilles. Let’s go!” I growled as I shot off in the hunter’s direction.
“Athena, wait!” I heard Ares growl. “You guys stay here and watch them. Kill them if they move.”
I heard Ares shift behind me but I was too focused on chasing these hunters.
‘Do you know how many there are?’ Artemis asked.
I gritted my teeth in frustration. How could I be so stupid? Chasing hunters through the dense forest and I don’t even know how many there are.
‘Don’t be so hard on yourself.’ Artemis said softly as I continued to run.
I listened closely and I could hear each step that they took.
‘Wait a minute.’ I said in shock. I continued to listen carefully and I heard six sets of feet hitting the earth. Two belonging to Jason and Achilles, one being Ares, and one being myself. So then the other two must be the hunters! ‘There are two hunters and it looks like they are couple yards ahead of me. I can’t really see them because of the dense foliage and trees.’
‘Damn girl!’ Artemis howled. ‘Look at you!’
How am I doing all of this? Is the training I’ve been doing really paying off? But so soon? None of this makes sense.
I didn’t have time to think about that just yet because I saw that I was gaining on the hunters. And I was right; two hunters.
We kept running for a couple more feet before I got close enough to pounce on one of them.
I growled and launch myself up in the air and came slamming down on the one on the right. He grunted and we rolled a couple more feet before hitting a tree and stopping.
“Kyle!” The one on the left yelled as he realized what happened.
‘Kyle’ kicked me off of him and stood up, but was limping slightly.
‘Good!’ Artemis growled.
I quickly stood up and got in a fighting stance.
Kyle put his fists out in front of him and the other one raised his gun.
Well that’s not fair.
I heard a loud bang and the one that was holding the gun dropped instantly to the ground, clutching his leg.
A couple of seconds later, Perseus emerged from the trees holding a rifle.
“Perseus?” I asked laughing.
“I can’t let you have all the fun, my Queen.” He winked.
I sighed in relief and gave him a hug. “Thank you.”
“You shot him!” Kyle yelled.
“And he shot at us!” I retorted. “We’re even.”
“You bitch.” He snapped as he lunged for me.
I quickly twirled and he kept running as I dodged him. He stuck his heels in the dirt to stop himself and ran back towards me.
I smirked and sidestepped to the right, making him miss me again.
“Athena.” Jason huffed. “Damn girl. Why do you have to run so fast?”
“Watch out!” Achilles yelled.
I turned around and brought my fist up, causing it to smack Kyle right in the nose. He dropped like a rock holding onto his bloody nose.
“Ow.” He groaned as he rolled around.
A second later, Ares came out and growled but stopped once he saw the scene before him. He tilted his head and ran behind a tree to shift. He came out in shorts and smiled at me.
“Nice punch!” He laughed. “I’m so glad that you’re alright. But don’t run off like that. You had me worried sick.”
“I’m sorry.” I said quietly. “I saw the gun and I knew I had to act.”
Ares smiled softly and hugged me. “I’m just glad that you’re okay.”
“Perseus is really good with a rifle.” I commented as Perseus bowed.
“I told you.” Ares said.
“So those three were just a distraction.” Janus said as he looked at the two hunters rolling around in pain on the ground.
“But why not bring more reinforcements?” I asked confused. “There were only five people.”
“Yeah but with that sneaky move.” Apollo started. “They wouldn’t need that many people. And with how their stunt went, my guess is that their only plan was to take out the King. Sure they knew that they would probably be captured and killed, but they only cared about taking Ares out.”
“Taking him out would cause chaos.” Janus continued. “Every wolf in this pack would feel like straight through the heart. That’s one of the downfalls about being a part of the Royal Pack.”
“But don’t all the wolves feel it when their alpha dies?” I asked.
“Yes.” Janus nodded. “But it would be worse for us because our alpha is the Alpha King. So the feeling is intensified if he dies.”
“Well, that’s just great.” I said sadly.
“But that won’t happen.” Ares said as he wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me close. “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
“Hate to break up this little lovey-dovey fest, but what do we do with them?” Perseus asked as he pointed at the hunters with his rifle.
“Bring them to the dungeon.” Ares commanded.
“But give them medical help as well.” I added.
Jason and Achilles nodded and they both grabbed a hunter.
“I was just informed that all three of the hunters are in the dungeon right now.” Apollo said after his eyes went back to normal.
“I can’t believe you guys have a dungeon.” I laughed.
“What kind of castle would we have if it didn’t have a dungeon?” Janus smirked.
“Touché.” I smiled as Ares grabbed my hand.
“Hey, Athena.” Apollo started as we walked back to the castle.
“What’s up?” I asked as I looked at him.
“How did you know there were hunters?”
“Yeah!” Janus said. “I’m curious about that too. You found them before we did.”
“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Apollo added quickly.
“It’s alright.” I laughed. “And it was weird. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up so I knew something was wrong.”
“Did you see them first?” Apollo asked.
I shook my head. “I wanted to say something but I couldn’t. So I just carefully listened. That’s when I heard the faintest sound of a leaf being crushed which was odd because no one was walking. Then I saw this soft glow of light to the left of me.”
“Glow of light?” Janus asked confused.
“I think it was the sun hitting the metal of the gun. I honestly have no idea.” I explained. “That’s when I heard a click and I instantly knew it was a gun.”
“But how come none of us heard it?” Janus asked.
“You guys know what this means right.” Perseus smiled.
“No.” Apollo said shaking his head as he stopped walking.
“You are in the presence of another Royal Blood werewolf.” Perseus smiled proudly as he bowed to me.
“What?” I yelled.
“This makes so much more sense.” Janus said.
“My Queen.” Perseus started as he looked at me. “How else do you explain your excellent weaponry work or how you outran two warrior wolves? I’m not saying that you aren’t fast, but you have had no training whatsoever. So technically, you shouldn’t be able to outrun Jason and Achilles.”
“Oh my gosh.” I mumbled. Now it’s all coming together. When I first outran them back when I hadn’t accepted Ares yet, how I was slightly stronger than I actually thought, and how I outran the hunters just now. “But what about the weapons?” I asked confused.
“My guess is that coming back to your original pack has awakened your inner power. And when you beat me at swords was your inner power shining through.” Perseus explained. “And then when your mate’s life was in danger, your inner power fully awakened. Hence why you were able to dodge that bullet at the last second and save him. You are in fact of Royal Blood.”
“I knew you were special.” Ares smiled.
“Now all that’s left is the ceremony and we’ll be set!” Perseus exclaimed excitedly.
“That and the mating process.” Apollo laughed as my face reddened.
‘I can’t wait.’ Artemis yipped.
“Ceremony?” I asked trying to get off the mating topic.
Perseus nodded. “The ceremony is held and that is when you officially become a queen.”
“Like an actual Queen?” I asked. “Like with a crown?”
“You are going to look so good in a crown.” Ares smiled. “You also get a thrown.”
“This is too much.” I laughed getting a little overwhelmed.
“It’s going to be okay.” Apollo said. “We are all going to be right there with you.”
“But the alphas of our ally packs are going to be there.” Ares added.
I froze. Would Rick’s pack be there? No. I don’t think Ares even knows who that is. Oh gosh, I hope not.
“You okay?” Janus asked.
I nodded quickly. “Just a little stage fright is creeping up on me is all.”
“It’ll be okay.” Apollo smiled. “If you get scared, I can make a face at you so you’ll laugh.”
I chuckled. “Thank you.”
“No problem.” He waved me off. “Now let’s go get food.”
“You always want food.” Janus said rolling his eyes as he followed Apollo and Perseus.
“You’ll do great.” Ares smiled down at me. “I know you will. And I will be right there with you and so will Perseus. He’ll actually be the one swearing you in.”
“That makes me feel a little bit better.” I admitted. “I’m still worried. What if I fall? Do you know how embarrassing that’ll be?”
“You won’t fall.” Ares laughed. “You can’t freak yourself out like that.”
“Too late.” I gulped.
“Don’t think about that.” He said and then smirked. “Just think of when we complete the mating process.”
“Not right now.” I said quickly, but then my eyes went wide. “I’m sorry. That came out a lot meaner than I intended that too.”
“I know, I’m not going to pressure you.” Ares smiled and he bent down to give me a kiss. He pulled back and grabbed my hand again. “I’m just saying. When the time comes, I can’t wait.”
I felt my cheeks heat up as he gave me a wink and licked his lips before turning forward again.
‘Oh. My. Gosh.’ Artemis howled. ‘Did you see that tongue?’
I kept my face facing forward for fear of Ares seeing my red face. But by the way he squeezed my hand and laughed, he already knows.
But why did I get a little excited? Who knows?