The Moon Goddess
Once I had found the clothes that I set aside in the forest, I had gone to the Temple at the heart of the city, hoping that I might find some sort of answer for everything that was going on. I sat on the floor in front of the altar, staring up at a statue of the Moon Goddess. The temple was classically simple, with white marble walls and stone benches. There was a large hole in the ceiling, directly in the middle, letting the light from the moon wash down over the delicately carved statue.
“I don’t understand why. Why Ryker? Of all the people you could have possibly chosen for me, why him?” My voice shook slightly, the emotion and stress of the day taking its toll.
The air became icy cold, bringing chill bumps to my arms. I could see my breath coming out in white puffs as the room was filled with silver light. My pulse quickened, adrenaline coursing through my body. Whatever was happening, it wasn’t normal.
Before me, the statue of the Moon Goddess was overshadowed by a misty, translucent image of a woman. Her hair was white as snow, with striking eyes to match. Her dress and hair billowed around her, as if she was underwater, and when she spoke her voice sounded like it was coming from some far distance, echoing and reverberating against the marble walls.
“Asenna Lupei.” She said, coming closer to me until we were eye to eye. Her eyes looked sad, even though there was no distinguishing the whites of her eyes from the irises. “My poor child.”
“Who…who are you?” I breathed.
Her lips pulled up at the corners, giving me a small smile. “I am the mother to all wolves. The light to which my children pray. The Goddess they call Selene.” The Moon Goddess, she was here, in front of me, talking to me. “And you my dear…” She placed her phantom hand on my cheek, the feeling was strange, almost like a prickling sensation. “Are in desperate need of my guidance.”
This was my chance. This might be my only opportunity to get some answers about this ridiculous matchmaking job she had done.
“Yeah, about this whole mating thing. I think you made a mistake-”
“I am never mistaken in my matches, Asenna. The Prince is your one true mate. The one to whom your soul sings. It is useless to fight me on this.” She interrupted. I bit back a retort, deciding it wouldn’t be wise to argue with a Goddess. “I come to you now on another matter. You have wandered this world in darkness for too long. It is time you face the truth of your past.”
“What do you mean?” My brows furrowed and my muscles tensed at the insinuation she was making.
Selene’s face fell. “I am mother to all of your kind, but the Spartans were my chosen children. My own perfect creation. Ferocity and loyalty, honor and reverence. And they were destroyed, betrayed by those who came to them under a false notion of peace.” Her eyes glowed white hot with frightening power. “It is time to rewrite the history books, my child. Time to tell your tale, right the wrongs, and hold the guilty accountable.”
“What does that even mean?” I pushed. “I don’t even know why or how it happened! How am I supposed to hold strangers accountable? How do I find out who came for us?” My voice was raising, calling after her retreating figure.
“Your search will be your journey, child.” She answered. Selene turned back to me, her figure beginning to disappear. “And teach the Prince the Spartan ways, Asenna. He will need all his strength for the coming battle.” I started to argue, but she cut me off. “Take care of yourself, my child. I will be watching.”
And with those annoying words of promise, her glowing, misty form vanished from the Temple, leaving me alone with only the sounds of the city coming in through the hole in the ceiling.
As I made my way back to the manor, my mind was going over Selene’s words. Rewrite history. Right the wrongs. Hold the guilty accountable. But I didn’t know who was guilty. I didn’t know who attacked us. I didn’t know what caused it. Selene wanted me to bring my people’s murderers to justice, but how would anyone listen to me? I was a lone wolf, an eighteen-year-old girl with no one to back up her words.
Ryker. He was the answer. If I could get him to support whatever evidence I found, maybe he could help. I hated to admit it, but the Prince would be good for something. But if I was going to get something from him, he would want something in return. Selene’s words repeated in my mind- teach the Prince. Okay, Goddess. I’ll teach him, but that’s as far as it goes.
I got to my room, surprised to see Bryce waiting by my door.
“Oh, hey.” I said to him, awkwardly shoving my hands in my pockets.
“Hey.” He said, a slight redness creeping over his cheeks.
The idea of this big, muscled up werewolf being embarrassed was almost comical. “Did you need something?
“Um…” Bryce scratched the back of his head, turning his eyes down to the floor. “I was just wondering if- maybe- you might want to, I don’t know, hang out? If you’re interested in that, you totally don’t have to if you don’t want to.” He stammered and stumbled over his words, sending them out in a flurry of verbal vomit.
“Well, sure, I guess.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Were you wanting another training session?”
“Oh, no.” His eyes were darting all over, avoiding mine. “Nothing like that. I was just thinking you might want to do something…else?”
I raised my brows, asking for some clarification. “Such as…?”
“Like… a date? Maybe?” He chuckled nervously. “I, uh… I think you’re really awesome and just wanted to get to know you more, maybe see where things go. If you’d be up for that.”
“Oh.” I stepped around him, placing my hand on the doorknob. This was my first time dealing with something like this. Did I have to say yes? I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. “Bryce, I just have a lot going on right now. I don’t think I’m going to have any free time to really do anything fun.” At the sight of his face falling in disappointment, I felt a pang of guilt. “Maybe some other time, when things die down a bit. Maybe we can do dinner or something.” It was the only thing I could offer him. I was still so confused about Ryker and my talk with Selene. I liked Bryce, but I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel about anything anymore.
His face brightened and he nodded with a smile. “Yeah, definitely. I totally get it. You probably have a bunch of stuff on your plate. No worries, I’ll wait ’til you’re free and we can do something then.”
I nodded with a tight smile. “Sure. I’m going to get some sleep. It’s been a really long day.”
“Sure thing.” Bryce said, leaning down to kiss me on the cheek. “Goodnight little wolf.”
My face was warm as I closed the door behind me. I didn’t know what to think of that small show of affection. It was weird, but it felt pleasantly normal- something I had never experienced. A normal boy kissing a normal girl that he liked on the cheek.
I got dressed for bed and went to the closet where I had set up a cot of blankets on the floor to curl up in. The hard surface was more comfortable than the soft, cushy mattress. I nestled down for the night, closing my eyes and concentrating on Ryker, sending my thoughts to him through the mind link.
We begin tomorrow.
We begin tomorrow. Asenna’s voice had echoed in my mind.
I laid in my bed, letting made up scenarios run through my imagination. Goosebumps prickled up on my skin at the feeling of her presence, even if it was only in my head.
Tomorrow then. Tomorrow I would have Asenna all to myself. A smile spread across my face at the thought. So, Bryce hadn’t taken her from me.
I fell asleep, drifting off into dreams consumed by my silver haired wolf with electric blue eyes.