A/N: What do you think of Antlia now? I did say that Lyra will appear in this chapter, but it got pushed to the next one.
Antlia merely blinked at Rune while he glanced at her with an emotion I rarely saw Rune have. It was awe.
“Antlia?” Rune whispered. “As in Atticus’ daughter?”
Antlia just blinked again.
This would that rare moment to see Antlia speechless. Erica gasped dramatically and Niran gave a shocked expression, despite knowing everything.
Then she turned at Taurus. “Yo-you knew? You twelve know?”
Taurus looked at her calmly. “Julius said he never wanted to associate with the Royal family ever again. As much as we gave him that privacy, we still kept tabs on him.”
Antlia began to hyperventilate. While the one sitting next to me did not know what to do, I jumped from my seat and walked over where she was. As if she knew who I was, she just fell in my embrace as I gathered that poor girl.
If my daughter had been alive, she would be more or less this one’s age. Strangely enough, Mali flinched where she was. What was that about?
Reserving that question for another day, I just gave my attention to her. Until she calmed down, silence prevailed over us. Just her sobs were amplified by the still night.
People who sat at the other tables seeing their Omicron and Alpha were silent, became silent too. It was not until that Ryan gave me a smile and retired for the night with his mate, Carson did the spell break.
Antlia pulled away from me slightly and her tear-streaked face had a smile. I swore that I had never seen anything more strong than this girl in my life. She was breaking apart yet she gave me a smile. To reassure me.
“Thanks, Draco,” she whispered. “Thank you.”
I wiped her tears with my thumb and murmured. “Tearing makes you red, Ant.”
She threw her head back and laughed. “At least not blue like Zeke.”
“Hey!” Zeke protested with a whine. “That was one time and I fell in blue paint.”
When she dried her tears she gave me a grateful smile. Sorrel scooted to the next seat and I sat next to Antlia.
Thank you, Dray, a cool, collected voice of a child resonated in my mind.
I had been thinking that my mind was protected, yet it was breached so easily. Before I could let the surprise show on my face, I blinked at Antlia who tapped on her table. This one was damn powerful.
As much as it was fun watching Taurus flail like a chicken on water, she said with a chuckle. You just jumped to comfort me. Not many has done that. As much as I know Lyra would have done the same thing, there had been just one who had comforted me. I thank you for that.
Only after she mentioned him, I glanced at him. To others, he might have that cold, untouchable feel, but I knew better. This male was one who was worried when a ball came in her direction. The one who ached when he left her with me when he heard her cries.
He might be able to conceal it from everyone else, but not from me. Not me who knew what his energy was like. Who was he trying to fool?
It was like a veil was lifted. I could see the pain behind his silver eyes. As much as I could not see, I knew from that light taut on his muscle near his elbow that he was clenching his fists. There was a hint of tick of his jaws.
His form was relaxed, but I knew that if I had not jumped to action, he would have walked over her and he would have comforted her the same way I had. I just knew it. I confirmed it when his eyes met mine and there was some sort of understanding behind them. I could just offer a small smile.
“So?” Antlia said, breaking the spell that was being woven over us. “Rune Bidaya?”
“Antlia,” he said.
She chuckled. “I am so sorry. I completely lost it when I heard that my family was not lost.”
Rune shook his head. “Julius is no longer family-”
“He is,” she insisted. “He is just no longer Royal. He is still family.”
“I don’t get this.” Niran raised his hand, cutting Rune who gave his mate a blank look. “How is it that he is family but not Royal?”
Antlia smiled. “You are... Niran Chankul. I know you.”
“I work for this Warrior here,” Niran said in a bored voice. “You might have seen me once or twice. But now, I am Rune’s mate.”
“Damn it!” Erica burst. “Does that mean you are Royal family?”
“No,” Rune said sharply. “When Julius was stripped off his title, none of his children would ever get it. Princess Antlia honouring me as family is enough. I won’t ask for titles.”
Antlia smirked. “You know... before I was born, my father thought he would be heirless and he was going to name you as the heir. That does give you a title.”
Mali nodded. “I heard about it.”
I saw the leaders and Eric, Sam and Riley were slowly sipping the beverage they had in their hand. While Eric and Riley were intently watching what was happening, Sam was genuinely enjoying the drama being unfolded.
Rune blinked at his sister. “Who said you this?”
“Halle,” Mali said. “I speak to her. You are not the only one who does that.”
“Who is this Halle?” Niran asked.
“She is Julius’ third child,” Taurus said. “His second daughter.”
I had never seen Rune emitting anger this much. He was usually a composed and a level headed male but tonight his array of emotions blew me off. Once, maybe before I had met Taurus, this would have appealed to me, but now, I could barely look at others if that Warrior was in the same room as me.
“What?” Antlia asked. “I have more family members?”
“You’d be better off without them,” Rune muttered.
“What are you saying?” Mali intervened. “Halle is an amazing-”
“I was not talking about Halle, Beau or Leila,” Rune snapped. “I was talking about Julius and Sharon.”
“You have three siblings?” Erica asked, popping a fry in her mouth. “Three?”
“Excluding Mali and Bhuppa,” Rune muttered. “I have totally five. Or should have had seven.”
Niran must have felt something. He squeezed Rune’s hands. “Seven? I don’t think Apinya-”
“No,” he croaked out. “Leila was a twin. When she was born, her twin was born dead. Lost one sibling then, later, Sharon became pregnant again when Leila was seventeen. That child died too. Not because he was born dead. But because...”
His voice broke and he closed his eyes. My heart lurched to my throat. I knew this pain. Not as a sibling, I knew as a father. When I was lost, it was Rune, Lawan and Wirat who pulled me up. But now, Rune had Niran and that was all I could hope for.
“Because?” Antlia pressed softly.
“Because he was out in the cold,” Mali said, her voice hard. “Julius and Sharon did not care. He died of hypothermia. He was barely two.”
Antlia covered her mouth with hands and when she staggered, I was there to hold her. Sorrel bit her lips and she leant against her boyfriend while Eric appeared white, Sam took in a deep breath and nodded.
“This is so fucked up,” Zeke commented. “I had been complaining about how my father cut my allowances when I crashed my car. But damn! I love my old man and woman to no bits after this. They actually made sure that I was clothed and fed.”
Zyon nodded. “Though I was grown by my sister, she did her best to make sure that I would be alive.”
I knew about his sister. Xylah. I had seen her just once and even that was not face-to-face. It was a video conference in Sial. But I could tell that Zyon was her brother just with one glance. Seeing me, she had an amused smile. For what, I did not know.
Taurus just got up and left. While a part of me wanted to follow him, another wanted to stay back to comfort the princess.
Go, Draco, she said after she caught me giving the path Taurus a long look. Not many can comfort him. He is thinking that if the warriors were there, they could have saved that little boy. They were, after all, sent to protect my family.
I would have followed those words had I not seen the way her eyes were glinting.
What is that about? I asked her in the same link she barrelled in my mind. That smile.
Nothing, she said but I could no longer ignore that amusement. Just that Taurus never had someone worrying over him. Even Fia never did. The Warriors worried over each other in a different way. You are the first I am seeing worrying over him and not to mention, he lets you comfort him.
That is nothing! I protested, but even to my ears, I knew how pathetic I sounded. Nothing at all.
Nothing when you were holding his hand when the match was taking place? she asked.
I resisted the urge to groan. I knew she saw it. I never realised how keenly she had seen it. That was... he was worried about you.
That is not the question, she said. It is regarding him allowing you to comfort him.
He probably thinks I am a good friend, I said. Had I been a female or him a female this confusion would not be taking place. How could I possibly know if he was interested in males?
Right. She sounded defeated. That is a possibility. Even if that is the case, you are the one who could... you know stand by him even when he is pushing everyone away. Just stand by him as a friend. I know that everyone thinks the Warriors are enamoured souls who feel no pain, no hurt. But I know better. I saw how Aries was when Lyra was taken from him. They might feel a bit too much for they suppress their emotions. Just... I don’t know why I am asking you this, but can you just help me take care of him?
I chuckled and Sorrel gave me a weird glare. The others were talking about Niran’s past. It had been a clever tactic employed by the said vampire to divert everyone from Rune’s story. When the subject was changed, Rune visibly relaxed. Those two were indeed made for each other.
I shook my head at her.
Take care of Taurus? I asked her.
Do you realise that apart from me and Niran you are the only one who calls him by his name?
I had no answer to that. Yet I weakly managed to say, I could be because I saved his life.
We keep believing in what we see, she commented. You believe this. I will believe something else.
I snorted. Yeah, do that. It’s not like you can sense people’s feelings.
Actually, she said to me while she laughed at something Eric was telling. I can sense that. Not all emotions, I can sense mate bonds between people. Not mate-bonds as much, but bonds... potential mate-bonds between people. I can differentiate between a fake-bond and a true-bond. So-
Wait a second! I yelped. Does that mean there are fake-bonds?
Yes, she said. Mali had been trapped in one.
What? I asked.
Had been, Dray, she said. I said she had been. Now, she has something even better.
What do you even mean by that?
What I mean is, she said. She is finally reunited with her Soul-Bound. Something that is much stronger than mate bond. While mate bonds could change, Soul-Bonds cannot be.
What? Was the only thing I could ask.
Yes, she said. I started feeling the difference after my escape from East Tribe. You know what? She is, in fact, sitting next to her Soul-Bound.
I looked at Mali to see that while no one sat on her left, there was one on her right. Riley was sharing a joke with Eric.
My widened eyes met Antlia. She just laughed out of context.
I stumbled out of the dinner, searching for that soothing scent. It was calming my soul and I needed that. Especially after what Antlia told me.
“Draco?” Zyon called, coming behind me. “Got a second?”
I nodded and followed my friend. He took me to the bleachers where the volleyball match took place. I sighed as I gazed at the moon. Even Mali and Riley being mates or Soul-Bounds was not as shocking as the other one she told me.
“Draco?” he called, snapping me out of my thoughts.
“What is it?” I asked.
“You know?” he said with a crooked smile. “I said that your future was unpredictable?”
I nodded. “My own fortune teller.”
He laughed. “I thought that after you met Torre... Taurus, your future would be visible to me, but it is becoming more and more blurry. It’s like I don’t know you anymore.”
I turned to face him. “But you do.”
“I know that,” he said, sniffing. “But I feel like I am missing something. Xylah might know something.”
“Where is she, by the way?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. She was hiding somewhere deep in the South.”
“You are not worried about her?” I asked.
He sniggered. “Should it not be the other way around?”
I rolled my eyes. His faith in his sister was something that astounded me.
“And,” I pressed, unable to not ask him. Something was nagging me. And I had to get my mind out of what that princess told me. “What did you do with Taurus? You both left one day and-”
“Nothing,” Zyon said. “We did nothing.”
I huffed. “Sure, it was nothing.”
“Enough with the sarcasm,” Zyon said. “I am straight. Do I have to spell it out for you? I did nothing with him.”
When his words hit me, I could not help that colour that raced to my face. It was like the blood in my body had a competition about who would reach my face first.
“N-not like that!” I protested. “Zyon!” I cried when he began to laugh at me. “Be serious!”
He tried to control his laugh but he failed. After a minute, I began to laugh with him at me. I knew I could trust him.
He took in a deep breath. “I had gone with him because I got a vision.”
I listened intently.
“It was a vision that would change the world as we know,” Zyon continued. “There was a female star named Dubhe. She was being used by Melantha to be tortured and another female, Nira was tortured to give birth to four genetically modified kids.”
What in the Moon’s lair was I hearing? This project sounded awfully similar to the one Summer Coven started years ago and it did coincide with the information Lawan gave to Fia.
“Yes,” he said. “It had roots to the project Summer Coven did twenty years ago. I went there because I saw some terrible things. Dubhe was Ursa’s daughter and she had her mother’s ability to wield space.” Upon seeing my questioning face, he said, “Ursa was one of the Warriors. She was killed along with her Soul-Bound. Don’t ask me the story. I don’t know. I know what my sister told me.”
“You went there to stop a terrible future?” I asked.
Zyon nodded. “Taurus was going to meet Aries. I just went to warn Lyra there.”
“Who is this Lyra?” I muttered. “I want to meet her.”
At this, Zyon laughed. “If I am sure of one future you have, that is, you will meet Lyra. Trust me. I am getting a lot of visions of you talking with her.”
I blinked. “Okay...”
He smiled. “I think she will be the one to help you. She definitely will. Now go. You did not come here to talk to me.”
With that, he got off the bench and left me. What was with all these people? Was my attraction to that male that obvious? Was it written on my forehead?
Scowling, I left the benches and followed the scent again. If anyone was to interrupt me again, I did not know what I would do.
He was standing where their town ended and the forest began. He was looking at the far reaches of the forest wistfully. There was a defeated sigh on his shoulders and his hands were in his pant pockets. As much as he looked lost and surrendering, there was a certain softness that the darkness showed me about him.
My heart just clenched at the sight of him looking at something with longing. The shadows licked his form and like faithful friends shrouded him. There was something off about him.
“Why are you here?” he asked, his voice raw and deep.
“Can’t I?” I asked, picking my courage to stand next to him.
“You can,” he said. “You can.”
I offered him a smile. When he did not see me, I took in a deep breath. “Should I leave?”
He shook his head slowly. “No. I mean, no one has ever come after me.”
I shrugged. “Then you have not met me.”
He laughed and that dispelled whatever hold the shadows had over him. “I haven’t then.”
I gulped. “Want to ta-”
“Two members of the Royal family has died,” he croaked out. “I have to tell the others, but this is killing me. If I say this to Lia, it will kill her further.”
“Who is Lia?” I asked.
“Libra,” he said. “She was the one who sais she would keep an eye on Julius and his mate. Though they are no longer Royal, they still have Luna blood flowing through them.”
“Luna blood?” I asked. If that was the case, then it explained how Antlia could sense those bonds.
“Luna came down,” Taurus said. “When she did, she met a male named Inacus. With him, she had a child named Arren. Arren’s bloodline is the Royals.”
I blinked. “So... the Royals have Luna’s blood?”
“Yes,” he said. “We are sent to protect her family. From everything. Even against their own parents? Sometimes, yes. We should have-”
I went and stood before him. “Look here. They killed their child. With one child dead, they should have been even more careful. They weren’t. I... I know what it is to lose your child. I know. It is not your fault. Not anyone’s fault apart from Julius and his mate.”
He raised his lowered head with surprise flickering on his face. “You. You lost your child?”
I nodded. Everyone who knew me knows the story. What was the point of hiding it from him?
“Twenty-four years back,” I said. “I was nothing but a guy who worked in an app developing company. They paid me well. It was enough. One day, I was running late to my work and I stopped for a coffee to chase the sleep away. It was Monday morning after a party on Sunday. While ordering my coffee, I saw her. My mate walking in a bright sunny dress. She was in haste, trying to leave somewhere.”
I smiled at the memory. I remembered how the shy sun after rain peeked through the clouds and when it fell on her caramel skin, I was lost. She had been perfect. Her blond hair had been pinned perfectly and her legs were long. I knew many males had been staring at her, but oblivious to the males’ reaction at her beauty, she just ordered a latte and began her work while she was standing.
“I was called and when I picked it up,” I laughed at what I did. “I poured my contents all over her. That was when she looked at me and we clicked. We went on couple of dates after which we got married. You see, me being an unshifted werewolf, I could not mark her.”
He nodded. When his attention was completely on me, I could not help but be bitter.
“We were living happily,” I croaked out. “We had a daughter and for the next four years, I was the happiest male alive. Then, Dave came in. He came with his men and killed Harriet, my mate and my daughter. I watched him kill my mate. After that, I passed out in pain and when I woke up, I saw that even my daughter was dead and I was lying in the pool of their blood.”
He gasped. “That’s-”
I laughed without humour and glanced at the moon. “Had it not been for Lawan, Rune and Wirat, I would not know what I would have done.”
“I am grateful for them then,” he replied. “But... Draco why do you sound-”
“Sound bitter?” I asked. “Lifeless? Cause Antlia just told me something and I could not shake that feeling off.”
He narrowed his eyes at me. “What did she tell you? She tells a lot of stuff but many does not make sense, like her sudden wish to buy an army of llamas.”
“She told me that,” I gulped. “That I should ask Mali regarding my mate. About my daughter. Cause she did not feel that I ever had a bond with Harriet, to begin with.”
Taurus’ eyes turned into slits. “What?”
I nodded. “Antlia can sense bonds and she said she could not sense the one I had with Harriet.”
“Hell!” Taurus swore. “But-”
Whatever he was about to say was cut short when a familiar star appeared before us, his hand holding a vampire I knew and that vampire carrying a female I knew too well.
“Nox,” Taurus said.
Nox nodded at him. “Taurus.” Then he glared at Silver. “I told you that marking Mina would be wrong!”
Silver just looked at us, zirs eyes hopeful while ze was clutching zirs mate who appeared to the knocking on the doors of death.
A/N: What do you think of this chapter?
What do you think Mali is hiding from Draco? I know, I ended three chapters with Mina, Aiko and Silver. But don’t worry. I might torture them for now... but I do swear that they do have a good end. Not the end you might expect, but a happy end. So, don’t worry.
If you can’t see Jed, it’s because he is still mourning over Brent’s death and Rye is not over her mate’s death. They will come in the next few chapters. But until then, you will see a lot of Sorrel, Brody, Erica, Niran and Rune. (I love these characters)
Until next update,