Of course, I knew the literal definition of jealousy.
It’s just never been an emotion I’d consider feeling, an emotion that never occurred to me.
There wasn’t much to be jealous of when I was underground, everyone pretty much equally had it bad.
I briefly licked my chapped lips, trepidation welling up in my chest.
“I’m sorry-” he began, he had seen my reaction to him calling me jealous, the astonishment, the burning hatred.
"I didn’t mean to make you embarrassed.”
I scoffed, he had added fuel to the bottomless pit of fire.
Words could not express the emotions I am feeling, but fortunately- or unfortunately- I can project them to him without words.
I surged him the raging emotions, enraged to the point that red hazed around the corners of peripheral.
“Mya,” he gritted his teeth as he felt the onslaught straight through his chest- or more specifically... his heart.
“You can not seriously hate me for something you feel!”
Does he seriously think that is the only reason why?!
It was ridiculous, this whole situation.
He’s under some false pretense that everything can be okay in the end, that we’re going to slide down a beautiful rainbow, holding hands and laughing cheerfully with our little litter of monster children following our wake, and the whole pack cheering us on.
It’s like no matter what I say, he won’t budge on his absurd fantasy.
“I’m not jealous.”
Brilliant, I’m brilliant with replies, I mentally applauded myself.
A wry chuckle, “of course.”
The interaction reminded me of one I had with Carter a long time ago. Often times, Carter knew me better than I knew myself.
Whenever I was too stubborn to admit something that caused me embarrassment, he’d sarcastically agree with me.
It were as if I forgot about him, my best friend.
Bile rose in my throat.
I had been so preoccupied with my own problems, he hasn’t even been a thought.
My best friend since childhood.
I looked back up at the Alpha, debating if I should discuss the topic with him. If I handle it wrong, he could decide to end Carter’s life, I have to tread carefully.
“I want Carter freed.”
The Alpha barked a short quip of laughter.
“He drugged you, and you expect me to let him go?”
“Carter is innocent in my eyes, I will never even consider the claim if you do not let him go.
That sparked his interest.
Claiming is completing the bond, finally allowing us to be one.
It requires me to accept him fully and unconditionally, in every way.
“Mya-” He is being pulled in different directions by his wolf.
On one hand, the mate bond being completed, something he’s wanted since the first time he saw me; the other, seeking vengeance on those who wronged him and what’s his- pride.
“I promise he will not be harmed until the verdict of your people, whatever happens to them, shall happen to him.
I nodded my head, “To give him a surviving chance is all I want.”
His eyes darkened, “But, if he is to leave unscathed, your freedom will be compromised if you haven’t come to accept me at that point.
You will sleep in my room, you will compete the claim and ascend the mate bond, and you will stick to my side.”
Bubbles pooled in the pit of my stomach, nausea hitting me at the thought of us sharing a bed.
“Fine. I’m heading to the garden.” I turned to leave.
“You can’t go outside.”
I turned back towards him with narrowed eyes, “And why not?”
I didn’t bother telling him that I had already been out there once before.
“The lights, the falling chandelier, they were not issued by Carter. That was a rogue attack on you, on me.”
I let the fact that people are hellbent on my death sink in.
“I’m not going to be trapped in here.” I retorted, I had been underground for years, the last thing I want to do is keep locked away inside all over again, without any nature and sunlight.
“You do not have a choice. No one is to remain in the pack house, anyone can pose as a threat to you, and I am not willing to take any chances.”
“You kicked people out of their homes?! What about Nova?!”
The Alpha regarded me, “she is still here, their room has been moved to a safe place.”
Nova has been sleeping in the same room with me ever since we’ve arrived.
“Nicolas has marked her, she requested to stay with him.”
Pure envy reflected in his words, and I felt my heart drop.
“No-” I sputtered.
“N-no, she’s 15! She- he’s lying!”
“Mya, she is the one who asked me to move rooms.” Pure sincerity shone in in eyes, I can tell if he’s lying, I can feel it.
And he’s not.
“There has to be more to the story... Tell me where she is!”
“I’m afraid I can not. She will come to talk to you when she wants to.”
“You’re keeping me away from her on purpose?!”
“I’m not taking the chance of you influencing her decision... and neither is she.”
A look of worry welled up in his eyes as he felt my hurt from Nova’s actions.
“Leave me alone.” I spat.
He gazed after me as I turned away from him, didn’t say anything as I wordlessly opened the large doors, a creak in their wake, and walked out.
I had the intention on finding Nova, wanting to seek solace in the only remnants of home.
A streaming current of high-pitched noise echoed in my ear because of the eery silence of the halls.
It was odd seeing them vacant, I’m used to streams of people walking around.
I made my way back to the library, upset about the fact that Nova didn’t want to see me, and wanting to settle down and reflect on just how much has changed.
When I entered the large room, the fresh smell of books hit me like a slap in the face, a good slap in the face.
Skimming the book spines with the tip of my fingers, I stopped suddenly at an old werewolf folklore, taking it out despite my contradicting thoughts.
I hate werewolves, but it couldn’t hurt to read some stories about them, even if fictional.
Settling down, I turned to a random beginning of a chapter and began.
A prophecy about an abomination, hybrids born out of pure hate and pure light. Foretold to destroy anything in their path. He will conquer both realms, leaving fire in his wake.
Yada yada yada.
I hardly understood any of the words, my vocabulary limited due to the lack of formal education.
Align the races. Kill the beast. Awaken the conscience.
I slammed the book shut, not as interested in the story as I had intended to be.
Another book caught my eye, this time a very old book, one before the time of werewolves, one of the very few.
I sat down on a wooden chair, opening the children’s book and reading it avidly.
A screech of the chair interrupted my reading, I briefly glanced up to see Nala clad in tight-fitting pants that accentuated her long legs, and a top that rose high on her stomach and low on her cleavage.
Rage bubbled in my gut at her beauty.
She gazed at me knowingly, she knew I knew of her relationship with Luka.
Without a word, she slid a paper over to me, eyes peering at me emotionlessly.
I unfolded the paper, looking up to see her finger to her lips, telling me to keep quiet.
I know a way out. It read.
A gasp lodged in the back of my throat.
She wordlessly handed me a pencil, and I swiftly wrote out my response; my handwriting chicken scratch compared to hers.
Nala shook her head,
Not here, you are being watched. Meet me in the gardens tomorrow night when all of the lights in the house turn off. Go out your window, Luka stations guards outside of your room. Be quiet, and inconspicuous.
The Alpha was suspicious of my sudden excitement from wherever he was, attempting to enter into my mind.
I resolutely built a barrier between us in my mind, blocking my emotions from his.
Do what you have to do, take who you need to take, but you need to be ready in 2 weeks, that’s when we’ll leave.
I spared her a look, you care coming with me?
I have a journey of my own.
And with that, Nala walked out, ripping up the note in her hands.
Now, I just have to find Nova, and get my answers once and for all.
It wasn’t too hard to find her, she was wondering the halls, a wistful look in her face.
It only took slight coaxing of the kitchen staff to know what part of the house she was being held in, it was three young women who are omegas, and view me with the utmost respect.
Nova had spent most of her time with Nicolas, but if she isn’t with him, she is in the kitchen eating.
“Nova!” I called, causing her to yelp, jerked out of her thoughts.
She winced when she was the betrayed and hurt look on my face.
“It’s not true... is it?” Except, as I asked that, we both glanced down at the slightly red mark on her slender neck.
“He treats me like a princess, hell, I live like a princess! Why do you fight this, Mya? It’s practically a dream come true!” She was exasperated with me, designer clothing clad her body.
“How can this be?! Why did you change your mind- what about what they did to your father?” I hit her with question after question, compensating for my lack of knowledge.
“Mya, you’ve been too busy to even notice what’s going on with me. I loved my father, but he blamed all wolves for my mother’s demise, Nicolas is completely default of what happened to her.”
Guilt arose, I’ve been so busy with my own problems, I completely forgot about my friends.
“They enslaved us! Took away our freedom!”
Nova blinked up at me with her innocent, large, emerald eyes, devoid of all emotion except content.
“I’m happy, I don’t feel trapped. There’s food on my plate, a soft bed to sleep on, and a boy who will stay with me no matter the cost...”
“You’re only a child.” She doesn’t know what she’s talking about, she’s only 15, she couldn’t possibly know what she needs.
“And you’re in denial. I might be the youngest here, but I’m sure not acting like it. Grow up, face the facts!”
It’s hard to believe this is the same girl bawling for her father’s death, afraid of the thought of a werewolf laying eyes on her.
They have really, truly brainwashed her.
“Everything we sacrificed, the people who’ve lost their lives, you’re going to let that be in vain? This isn’t like you, if only you could see that it’s Ni-”
“Don’t- say it.” She spoke calmly, but angrily.
“You’ve become that fond of him, huh? You’d put him over me?”
Her silence was my answer.
“You can’t be serious! I can’t believe this is actually happening!”
More silence ensued.
“Come wi-” I cut myself off.
I didn’t dare entrust her with the information of my nearing escape, she is bound to go back to her mate and snitch the information.
“What?” She asked confusedly to my sentence that was cut short.
“Nothing, nothing. I just never would’ve expected this, especially from you.”
“Nova!” Nicolas’s voice came from a few halls down.
“There’s your savior.” Bitterness shone in my voice.
Her eyes held contempt now.
“And our people?”
She shook her head, “We all have our own problems to deal with, they are not mine.”
I looked at little Nova, a firm set of her mouth, her once mousy hair now full and luminous, her sunken eyes, bright and clever.
And knew, she was done for, there was no getting her back.
“There you are-” Nicolas threw his arm around her petite shoulder, “Luna, need anything?′
“No,” I stared at Nova, who couldn’t meet my eyes, “nothing at all.”
“Very well, if you’ll excuse my mate and I,” he turned them around, manhandling her by pulling her close to his chest, his grip on her tight.
He’s afraid that my words left an impact on her, an impact that would jeopardize the progress he had made on their relationship.
“Nova!” I called after her, she stopped short despite Nicolas’s protests.
“Don’t forget where you came from, your roots.”
And then they kept walking.
Carter is who I planned to talk to next before night time, curfew is in the next half hour.
My intentions were simple, not to release him, but to tell him my plan, give him hope, and not leave him hanging.
The dungeon is just as dreary as I remember, but the guards were suspiciously not at their post.
I shook off the bad feeling in my gut, violent flashbacks of what happened last time I came here fresh in my mind.
My fingers came up to my neck, a dull ache following its touch.
With a shaky hand, I grabbed the keys hanging from a key holder and pushed it into the lock, turning the knob.
The door creaked open, voices arising from separate cells, each with a different message for me.
But, I came her for only one person, Carter.
I peered through each cell, searching for the face of my best friend, but he was no where in sight.
“Aye, girly.” I stopped short at a cell containing a withered, old rogue.
A rogue is a werewolf who attempted to overthrow the werewolf regime, despite them themselves being werewolves; they’re the rabid version of raiders.
“You are to leave this place soon, correct? With the intention of leaving your mate behind?”
My brows furrowed, “How did you know?”
He chuckled, “Not important, you must take this though.”
Then reached through the bars, a wrapped object in his bony hands.
“What is it?”
He ignored my question, “Do not open it unless there are no more options left.”
“Wha-” He handed it to me despite me not being ready to grab it, then settled back into the darkness of his cell.
“Wait! Can you tell me where they’re now holding Carter Tucker?”
“Did someone say Carter Tucker?” I spared the cell one last look, waiting to see if the old man would return from the shadows.
When I concluded he wasn’t going to, I followed the source of the voice to a cell adjacent to the old man’s, clutching the medium-sized, wrapped object to my side.
“I’ve got info on the kid.” The wolf was burly, blonde, unruly hair sitting atop his shoulders and arms the size of tree trunks propped against the bars of the cells.
“You know where he is?”
He chuckled, “Yes, for a price.”
Damn mongrels and their stinginess.
I looked down at myself for something of value to trade with him, but found nothing.
“I don’t have anything to offer you.”
He scrutinized me up and down, “Well...”
“No!” I growled, enraged at his insinuation.
“I’m kidding, Silver. I’ll give you his whereabouts if you grant me my freedom.”
I contemplated his offer, I need to know where Carter is, but I’m not sure trusting this mongrel is smart considering how he is a werewolf.
But, I’m desperate.
And, I am leaving soon.
I waited a beat.
“You have yourself a deal.”
He smirked, “The name’s Dean. Your little boy toy is in the arenas, he’s to fight with the wolves tomorrow.”