The sun was warm on June’s skin as a light breeze kissed her face and ruffled her hair. The unmistakable smell of nature filled the air, easing her muscles into relaxing. Far away, her ears picked up on the sound of rushing water and chirping birds.
Confused, June opened her eyes. As she suspected, she wasn’t at home but in a forest. Looking down at her feet, she saw that the ground was littered with flowers that made up a path which wove through the trees. She looked around for a sign of another person but there was no one. Still, the flowers couldn’t have put themselves there. Whoever had done it was surely on the other end, possibly waiting for her.
Deep down, June knew she should be scared or wary but all she felt was absolute peace and tranquility. There was something about this place that made her feel safe. It was the same feeling she had when Donovan was near or when her dad, on rare occasions, would show her affection.
She let the feeling guide her forward. Her feet never strayed off the path as she rounded the trees and up the occasional hill. Near the end of the trail, June found herself on a bridge above the brook she had heard. Her eyes went to the water for a second and when she looked back up, she saw a figure ahead of her.
It went without saying who the woman was. In the sunlight, her black waves shined like the night sky. Her eyes were two stars that entranced June to keep walking. She wore a breezy white gown with chiffon sleeves and a slit going up the side. Strapped across her chest was a bow and at her feet were two wolves, one white and the other black.
The trio stared at June as she approached. Her footsteps became the only sound in the forest as the brook went silent and the birds stopped singing. At the end of the flower path, June stopped and turned her head to the side, baring her neck, “Nyx.”
“June Gilley,” The goddess spoke warmly, her lips molding into a smile. Her eyes turned to watch something over June’s shoulder for a second before adding, “And Genesis.”
June blinked and followed her eyes. A gasp left her as a russet colored wolf come bounding out of the tree line. The wolf’s blue eyes locked on hers as it let out a howl of acknowledgment. June held her breath as it ran towards her. She dropped onto her knees as it skidded to a stop in front of her. June’s hands tangled in the wolf’s coarse fur and their cheeks touched in familiarity as they recognized the other.
Genesis stayed glued at her side, even when June stood, taking her place at her feet like the goddess wolves. Looking at Nyx, she hesitantly asked, “How is this possible?”
The goddess shrugged, “You’re the one who brought us here, June. I do not know the answers which lie in your own soul.”
Genesis whined as a lump formed in June’s throat. She felt a tear slid down her face as she admitted, “I-I didn’t want to go back to that house. I couldn’t face it again. It was torture thinking Donovan was dead because of me.”
Nyx nodded along, her eyes sparkling in a way that wasn’t human. When June was done, she asked, “You would do anything for your mate, correct?”
She nodded, her mind going back to her promise to Endymion as she answered, “Without hesitating.”
The goddess stepped forward, her bare feet soundless. Her hand reached out and grabbed June’s as her eyes stared deeply, “Then let go of your old self. The June Gilley, the human version, is gone. If you want to save him, you must let her go and embrace the powers I have gifted to you. The beginning of the end is near but it doesn’t have to be the end of you, June. Either go down screaming or don’t go down at all.”
She squeezed the goddess hand, “What if I can’t do what you want me to? What if Endymion wins?”
Nyx’s dark brows pulled together, creating a crease, the only wrinkle on her face. Her eyes were distant as she spoke, “Then everything we love will be razed to the ground. I choose you for a reason, June Gilley, keep that in mind whenever you’re scared of what will come. He can only hurt you as much as you allow him. So, pull your family close and prepare because a new world is rising.”
“I will,” June vowed and dropped Nyx’s hand. She went back down on her knees, facing Genesis. The wolf stared back as if knowing what was coming. June put her head against the wolf’s and closed her eyes as her soul sang in her chest. Beyond her lids a burning white light grew, encompassing her and Genesis. When she opened her eyes, the wolf physically gone but not really. June flexed her fingers as Genesis took her rightful place back inside her soul.
“It feels different,” She commented, looking to Nyx. She could feel Genesis inside of her, but she was stronger, more real.
“By letting go of your human side, you have finally accepted the gift of the True Luna,” The goddess remarked, adding, “Use it wisely, June. Not many are blessed in such a way.”
Before June could ask what the gift was, Nyx, her wolves, and her forest was gone in a blur of color. When her vision righted, June found herself staring at the floor of the packhouse. She reared back in surprise at the two, giant, russet paws that sat in front of her. Her eyes scanned over the room, searching for Genesis and then she froze.
A foot away from her was the remains of the television. In the shards, June saw Genesis but when she moved, the wolf moved as well. It took a moment for her to realize why. It took a moment for her to realize why as the goddess words regarding the True Luna gift became clear.
Well, I always wanted a dog I just never imaged I would become one, June thought, rolling her eyes when Genesis let out a growl that filled the room.
The lighthearted moment ended a nanosecond later as their eyes went to Kade. June’s heart ached at the sight of him, unmoving. Unlike the others, she knew he wouldn’t be waking up and it was soul crushing.
He’s with the goddess now, June said as Genesis let out a long, morose whimper, Endymion will pay for his crimes but for now, the fight is behind us. We have to wake up the pack.
Genesis hummed in agreement and slowly, on shaking legs, they rose from the floor. Walking on four legs versus two was something June had never thought she would be doing. It was definitely a lot harder, each limb requiring a step in order to get somewhere.
A solid two minutes passed before June was able to make it to Donovan. Genesis’ snout nudged the side of his strained face. The alpha’s brows were furrowed, and his jaw was clenched as he faced whatever haunted him behind closed lids. Yet, no matter what June did, even when she tried to open the mind link, he stayed catatonic. Where Donovan should have been was a void.
June thought of her options. She knew The Guide’s incantation wouldn’t work in this case. As Lycos has mentioned before when Dalia and she had been in the temple, it required the dream walker to release their hold on the victim. Looking around, June knew that wasn’t plausible. Endymion was long gone, and he had no doubt taken Lena with him.
Any ideas? June asked Genesis.
The wolf sat back and tilted her head in thought before tipping her head back and letting out a howl that would shame any actual wolf. In the sound, their power carried. She heard glass shatter and swore the house quaked underneath them.
Through Genesis' eyes, June could see the start of something happen. It was a subtle shift at first. The remaineder of Endymion’s power in the air dissipated like snow that melted when it touched the ground. Barely a second later, she saw the pack members eye start to blink and then their limbs followed as the hold over them disappeared.
And then they stilled for a different reason as hushed whispers fell over the room. Every eye was either on her or Kade. The silence was broken as a woman broke through the crowd, landing on her knees in front of the fallen guard. June knew instantly she was his sister. They shared the same features and once, sharp brown eyes.
Those same eyes turned on June as she sobbed, “W-hat happened? Who did this? Who killed my brother?”
June was solemn as she opened up her mind to the pack, saying, His name is Endymion. He is the father of the dream walkers and he has declared war on our kind. Kade died protecting me from him. On the goddess, I swear to you, all of you, that it was not in vain. Endymion will pay for what he has done and I will be the one to make sure of it.
Kade’s sister nodded in response. She didn’t look away from her brother as another woman reached out and helped her off the floor. Two men stepped forward and gathered Kade in their arms. The crowd parted for them, his sister in the back, clutching her arms to herself, as they left the house, taking all of the air with them.
A heavy hand landed on the back of Genesis' head and for a moment they froze, thinking it was Endymion until the familiar touch of their mate flooded their system. They leaned against his side, Genesis’ head nearly at his waist, and soaked in the comfort he gave without a word.
To the pack, Donovan transformed into their alpha, addressing them calmly, “Go home, every one of you and be with your families. We will resume normal duties after a funeral for our fallen pack member. Until then, rest and lean on one another because soon, we won’t have that option. A war is coming. There is no sugarcoating the challenges we are going to have to face in the future.”
June was silent as they shuffled out of the packhouse. Mates clutched each other like lifelines as father’s carried their children away. The air was lifeless and stagnant. Even after they were gone, she remained at Donovan’s side, not quite ready to leave it as if doing so would force him back into Endymion’s grip.
“Baby,” Donovan started and lowered himself to his knees so that they were eye level. His eyes caught hers reflecting the pain she felt. With his hands still in her fur, he asked, “Can you shift back?”
The desperation that carried in his voice was gut-wrenching. She felt the need to hold him to her so that his troubles wouldn’t be so bothersome. Before the thought had even left June, she felt her body begin to change. Heat scorched her insides, but it wasn’t painful as her bones rearranged themselves back into place and the fur was pulled into her skin, disappearing instantly. In total, the change took less than ten seconds. When June opened her eyes, she was more surprised to see herself naked than human.
“Well?” June asked warily, watching Donovan’s expression for any traces of fear or disgust. She certainly wouldn’t have been sane after witnessing a wolf change into a person.
Her mate smiled softly and grasped either of her cheeks, “Strong and beautiful, both of you.”
June wished she could have savored the moment but at that second the front door hit the wall. Donovan yanked her forward, hiding her nakedness from the intruder as well as he could. June rolled her eyes and looked over her shoulder to see the beta and gamma who had consequently missed all the fun. She could feel the anger rolling off the alpha as if he was thinking the same thing but he didn’t get the chance to express it.
Dalia gripped the edge of the doorway, out of breath as she panted, “She’s awake. Marigold is back.”