We hurried and took the barely alive vampire to the hospital. Nox was pissed, but he did accompany us.
The hospital was not a big one as I had seen in Summer Coven, but it would suffice.
The second we entered, the nurse who was talking with the receptionist with a coffee in her hand, threw the plastic cup in the dustbin and rushed to get the stretcher.
The emergency team came by, but Silver was not letting go of Aiko.
Taurus and Nox had to pull zir off her. As they rushed her into the emergency unit, Silver broke down right in the hallway, clutching zirs head. A sharp cry left zirs mouth and resonated in the hospital.
For a vampire who was so composed and who had so promised to take care of Mina, ze was losing it. One hand flew to zirs neck and the other to zirs heart. Tears left zirs eyes, but no more words came out.
The nurses and doctors were rushing here and there and I quietly left the emergency ward and went to the main reception.
“I...” I paused at the receptionist. “I want an admission.”
“Name and age,” she said monotonously as she clicked the computer back to life. “And what doctor called you here today?”
I closed my eyes and shook my head. “My... my friend is admitted in the emergency-”
“You don’t need to worry about that, sir,” she said, raising her head up. “Registration in the ER will be transferred here. You don’t need an admission here.”
I smiled. “Thank you.”
“No problem,” she smiled.
I let my eyes wander around the reception as I took in a deep breath. Keeping my hands in my pocket and walked slowly until my eyes caught the board which held the names of all the doctors who worked here.
Mina Ruiz’s name came under the surgery department. I smiled at the irony. Silver’s mate was brought here, to get treated in this hospital while zirs chosen mate worked here. What would happen?
Would Aiko be alright? Did she even find that Silver was already marked? Would that not break her further? She had been waiting for her mate for a long time and this happened. While I could not fault Silver or Mina, I would still stand by Aiko.
But knowing her, if she knew that Silver was already mated, she would leave zir.
As my eyes scanned over the names, one name struck me hard. She was a psychiatrist. Dr Alexis Hayes. I took a step back when someone collided with me.
“I am sorry,” I said turning to see the male who had bumped into me.
“I am so sorry,” he said at the same time.
He blinked at me and then gave me a weak smile. “I am Jed Davy. Beta of the pack under Alpha Eric.”
I shook his hand. “I am Draco Stykes. A guest here.”
“Ah!” he nodded. “I remember Eric talking about your arrival. Can I take it that you like it here? Anything you like to change?”
“Once a beta,” I smiled. “Always one.”
“What brings you here?” he asked.
I took in a deep breath. Just now I thought I would not think about it. “My friend... she is near death. Starved for six months. If my other friend had not given her blood a few weeks ago, she would have been dead now.”
His lips parted. “Is... is she fine? Do you want me to call Mina? She can get things done faster here.”
I looked at the ground. It was their problem. They had to work it among themselves.
I waved my hand. “It’s fine. Theta Silver had been the one to rescue here.”
“Ai-Aiko,” Jed said after recollecting. “She is the one, right?”
I nodded. “Yes.”
He then sat on the chairs in the reception. He linked his fingers and looked at it. “I... I know what it is to lose a very good friend. Your friend is still alive. Don’t ever leave her. Try to save her.”
I sat next to that male. I did not know what he had gone through, nor did I want to ask. Each had their own demons to lure them in the darkness and their own angel who tried to put them back together. I could not interfere.
“She is like my sister,” I said, the image of her malnourished body burning in my memory, If I ever had to kill Dave, I knew the perfect method. “She took care of me like her own brother. I won’t leave her.”
“That’s good,” he said.
“So?” I asked. “What brings you here?”
He took in a deep breath. “I lost a friend in the war with the West Pack. Eric thinks I have to attend the therapy sessions here.”
Lost a friend in the war. That might be the reason why he was concerned with Aiko. But I did wonder. If he knew who Aiko was to Silver, would he still say me to save her?
“With Dr Alexis Hayes?” I asked.
He looked surprised. “You know her? Is she that famous?”
I chuckled. “Unfortunately, no. I don’t know about her.” I pointed at the board with the doctors’ name on it. “I saw her name there.”
He laughed lightly. “She is the best psychiatrist here. You know Ryan? Zeta-”
“I met him,” I said. “Quite a character.”
“Well, Alexis is his mother,” Jed said. “She transferred her with her mate and son when her mate got a job here.”
“Ryan’s mother?” I asked. “That’s a bit of surprise.”
“I know,” Jed said. “She is human. But because of her Mark, she lives like us. But let me tell you, she is damn good at what she does.”
“Really?” I asked.
Jed nodded. “She... has been helping me a lot.”
“She takes in new patients?” I asked.
He gave me a long look. “She does. But she is in a session with someone else. Better come tomorrow. I could ring her up and ask for a meeting, perhaps?”
“That would be amazing,” I said. “I appreciate it.”
“Any... specific reason?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Nothing specific. Just a few things troubling me.”
He nodded and that was when Taurus came here. His silver eyes were frantic as it scanned the entire reception before it finally laid on me. Heaving a sigh, he walked towards us.
“Second Warrior!” Jed gasped softly as he stood up.
I frowned. “You know him?”
“Yes,” Jed replied. “He was there at the war with the West Pack.”
“So I have heard,” I commented as Taurus came where I was.
“Second Warrior,” Jed mumbled, lowering his head.
Giving him a nod, Taurus’ gaze narrowed on me. “Where in the Moon’s Lair were you?”
I pointed towards the reception desk. “I was trying to get Aiko an admission.”
“Admissions in ER are-”
“-transferred here,” I finished. “I heard it now. Things were different in Summer Coven.”
“Okay. Come on. The doctors said that someone has to put a sign as a family member.”
I stood up. “Let’s go.” I turned at Jed who was blinking at me. “Coming or-”
“As the Beta, I am expected to be there.” With that, Jed followed us.
“You are the wolf who brought Antlia from the East tribe to us back safely,” Taurus said. “We thank you for that.”
“First Warrior already did,” Jed said.
Taurus nodded. “But I hadn’t.”
When we entered the ER, there had been another accident case where the medics were rushing to. One female was running with a saline bottle, the other was digging the box that held all the syringes.
Taurus led us towards a quieter part of the ward where Nox was simply standing behind the doctor who if he was intimidated, did not show it on his face. She muttered a few things to her assistant who was taking notes diligently.
Seeing her, I lost my breath. I could literally count her ribs through the thin white cloth she was draped in. Her cheeks had no flesh and there was a hollowness surrounding her eyes. Her hair was frail and her fingers were mere sticks. Her carotids were visibly pulsating and if I was not wrong, I could see the feeble pulsations in her jugulars. Her raspy breath filled the air.
My eyes were fixated on her. That pale skin that had not seen the sun for the past eight months. Her hair that I knew she had cut with a sharp rock. Dust and dirt caked her body, but her face and her hand were clean as if someone had wiped it with a clean cloth. As if to prove it to me, a nurse came with a bowl of lukewarm water and a washcloth and she was washing her legs.
The doctor finally looked at us. “Any family members?”
“Me,” I said. “Brother.”
She gave me a long look. “Not biological?”
I gulped. We both looked nothing alike. She had sharper, slanted features while mine was more of rugged.
“Adopted?” I said.
“Are you asking me or telling me?” She blinked at me with that no-nonsense face.
“Telling you.” I tried to smile. This one was damn strict.
“Any biological family or mate we could contact?” she asked.
“None as of now,” I replied, giving Silver a sideways glance. If ze wanted her, ze should first clear it with Mina.
She sighed. “Fine. Sign this. She is severely malnourished. As a vampire, she had not been giving blood for nearly a month. We need to-”
“She had not been given blood for six months, doc,” I said, ignoring the way other’s eyes bulged. “Before a few weeks, a vampire out of kindness gave her blood. That’s all.”
“Six months! By Amaris!” the doctor swore. She glanced at Aiko. “How is this girl even alive?”
“Six months?” Silver roared.
“What in the-” Nox began. “How the fuck is she surviving?”
I looked only at the doctor. “Will she be fine?”
The doctor came out of her stupor. “She is alive now, right? She will be fine. As much as I am going to infuse her with fluids, I need someone to donate blood to feed her now.”
“I can-” I began.
“You are a werewolf,” Taurus said gently. “Unless she is awake and conscious, she can’t take your blood.”
“I will,” a voice said suddenly. “She can take mine, right?”
“Don’t do this, Silver,” Nox warned. “She is already dying! We don’t need to-”
“It will be perfectly fine!” Jed said. “Ze is a vampire. Unless we are going to find a human or another vampire now, ze is the perfect choice.”
“But-” Nox began.
“What but? It is the safe option we got!”
“If ze gives her zirs blood, the bond will be complete!” Nox yelled at Jed.
Jed froze at his words. “Wh-what did you just say?”
It was then a scent that I had scented this afternoon wafted to my nose. That floral scent was something I would never forget.
“That means,” she said as she came towards us. I turned to see any signs of distress, but her face was calm and composed like cool spring water, as if she was expecting this. She cleared her throat. “This means, Silver is her mate. If ze gives blood to her, it is just short of marking her.”
“M-Mina!” Silver spluttered. “Mina!”
She waved her hand at zir. “Don’t. Just give her your blood, Silver.”
“But Mina-” ze began.
“You were so willing before I came,” Mina said with her face so composed.
Even her eyes had that front of iron. But there was a tiny crack, that shake of her fingers that she cleverly hid in her pocket that revealed how much she was breaking apart inside.
“What happened now?” she asked as she took the reports from the other doctor.
“Dr Mina,” the other doctor began. “Are you fine?”
“If I am not, will you stop treating her?” Mina asked as she took Aiko’s hand and checked her pulse. “As a doctor, don’t let your emotions come in when you are treating someone. Especially someone who is dying and who needs your help. Even more so, when they have fought so long to keep themselves alive.”
Taurus and I shared a look but we did not say anything. They had said what an iron-strong female this Mina had been. I had not believed them when I saw her this afternoon, but now, I would bow to her. She was the strongest female... creature I had ever seen in my life.
She had tried her best and had lost her mate. She had even marked him in hopes of at least dying with him. But she had lived through that nightmare. When she was offered a second chance, even that mate had found his true mate. And she was forced to save that female.
At that moment, I did not know what to do. But deep down, I knew that I cared about Aiko more than I cared for Mina. I knew Mina was breaking apart and this was killing her, but this was Aiko, the female who took care of me. Who loved me like her own brother.
Even if I admired Mina, if a fight were to break between them, I would stand by Aiko.
“Mina,” Jed said. “But if Silver does this-”
“Nothing more worse could happen, Jed,” Mina said nonchalantly. “I have been prepared for this. Give her your blood, Silver.”
Ze stared at zirs chosen mate like ze was seeing a ghost. “Mina, do you remember? You gave me blood before I left. It will trigger your Heat-”
“I am aware,” Mina said dryly. “I am here to save her. Give her your blood.”
“Mina-” This time it was Jed. “Mina, I don’t think-”
“Do it, Silver,” Mina said sharply. “Do it.”
“I will be-” ze began.
“You think I don’t know that?” Mina asked. “Give her your blood.”
Gulping loudly, Silver cut zirs wrist and when a drop of blood beaded, Mina opened Aiko’s mouth and brought zirs wrist over it.
The first drop of blood fell in her mouth and when it touched her tongue, she immediately clutched zirs wrist as if it would save her life and she began to suck on zirs blood.
Mina slowly removed Aiko’s hand that held the venflon and she checked the pulse. Mina’s eyes misted as she took in a deep breath. Her erratic heartbeat finally calmed down.
Then she nodded to the other doctor. “She will be fine. Give me hourly reports until next morning and then we will discuss her condition.”
“What about her condition?” I could not help but ask.
Mina looked at me with a smile. “She is severely malnourished, as you can see, Draco. We would have to discuss her diet and then some lifestyle modifications. She had been in prison for a long time. Once she is physically cured, we will direct her to Dr Alexis Hayes. She is one of the best psychiatrists here. Once she gives a green signal, Aiko will be allowed in the society again, but with a follow up.”
I forever would be grateful to this female. “Thank you, Doctor.”
“It’s not a problem,” Mina said as she walked towards another patient as if her marked mate was not giving zirs blood to zirs true mate.
How she swallowed the pain and smiled at the child on the other bed with radiance, I would never understand. While Aiko was still drinking Silver’s blood, I could not take my eyes off Mina. She then politely explained what was wrong with their child and then she walked into a room.
“That,” Nox whispered. “That was something else. I could never be like that. I could never be. Mina has my full respect.”
Jed inhaled sharply. “I knew her before she met her mate. I saw how happy she was when she met him. I was there when she happily gibbed her mating ceremony. I...” he broke halfway through. “I was... I was there when Nash died. I... I saw her break apart. I saw her clutch Nash’s body as she cried. I was there when she insisted on being there for Nash’s funeral. I saw how she locked herself up and tried to die. I was there when Silver Marked her. She told me how elated she was for a second chance and how not many would get this. I am here, watching her fall apart all over again.”
It was then Aiko left Silver’s hand and ze looked down, unable to watch any of us.
I took short shuffling steps out of the hospital. Taurus and Nox followed me out. Jed and Silver stayed back in the hospital to take care of Aiko.
A familiar ring tone pulled me out of my thoughts and I reached for my phone. I sighed seeing the name on the screen.
“Hello,” I said, pressing the accept button. “Why are you calling so late?”
“Alpha Eric told me just now!” she exclaimed. “Were you never going to tell me?”
“I am coming to tell you,” I protested. “I am coming to tell you.”
“Get here fast then, Draco,” she snapped and cut the call.
I blinked at the phone.
“Mothers are sure tough,” Taurus commented.
“I did not do anything!” I protested. “I just did not call her!”
Taurus chuckled. “She was just worried.”
“I know,” I mumbled and began to walk towards the direction where the guest house was.
Our walk back was quite silent like there was something brewing underneath. As the distance decreased, my steps became shorter. The image of Aiko laying there, quiet lifeless made me stagger. How much had she gone through? What would happen if she knew that Silver had marked Mina? Would that break her further? Would she leave?
Nox sped up and walked faster, but Taurus slowed his pace to match mine. Finally, we reached the guest house where that annoyingly familiar face greeted me.
“Your mother was so worried,” he said.
“I know,” I said entering the house.
Zeke then led me to the hall on the first floor where my mother, Alpha Eric, Omicron Riley, Mali, Rune and Niran were there. After finishing the dinner, did they directly come here?
“Draco,” Kessa said. “What happened?”
I pressed my lips together and just found a seat to sit. My heart was beating fast and the impact of the night was hitting me finally.
“What more should happen?” Nox bit out. “Aiko is Silver’s mate!”
“What?” Riley stood up. “What did you just say?”
“I warned you,” Nox said. “I warned you all. That Silver Marking Mina would be a bad choice. Did anyone listen?”
“Th-this is-” Alpha Eric began to splutter.
“Their problem,” Taurus said calmly. “Aiko is still unconscious. Let her wake up. The three should decide on this.”
“Bu-” Rune began.
“Nothing more,” Taurus said. “It’s their life. We can’t do anything. Nothing good will come even if we talk about it.”
Mali stood up. “I will go and keep a watch on her.”
“She is in the emergency unit,” I said, stressing each word. “No one can stay. Even Jed and Silver has to return. Once they shift her to the normal ward, you can visit her.”
“Jed’s with them? He did not return with you guys?” Eric asked. “That’s good.”
“That’s good?” Niran scoffed. “How so?”
“Look,” Eric sighed. “Silver... ze had marked Mina as zirs mate. But.... ze now met zirs mate and seeing Aiko in that condition, it could set some triggers in Silver. Like making zir mark her or something. When Jed linked me about Aiko and Silver’s pairing, I could not help but wonder. So if Jed is going to stay there, he would make sure that nothing will happen.”
“With Mina there,” Nox muttered. “What can happen?”
Kessa cleared her throat. “I will go and see Aiko tomorrow. I can’t rest here without knowing about her.”
With that, everyone dispersed, except for Zeke and Taurus who stayed behind.
Zeke took in a deep breath. “This is terrible. How much more should she suffer?”
“I have no idea, Zeke,” I said. “I just... I just wish things could get better.”
Zeke nodded. “I just got some information. Happens that Dave sent people to check on Allen. I think bringing Allen back to Laukris is the safest option we have now.”
“Bring him back?” I asked. “That’s like-”
“Dave already found that Allen is alive and he sent people after him,” Zeke said. “We have to save him and this might be the only way. We can’t go there to save him.”
“And this Allen is?” Taurus asked.
“He is Aiko’s brother,” I replied. “Aiko, she has a biological brother. When Sean protected me, Dave lost his mind. He killed Sean and began to mistreat Aiko. A few years ago, he threw her in prison. Not to mention, he was about to take Sean’s mate as one of his sex-slaves. But in time, we found that she had been pregnant with another child and to save him, I arranged with Zeke to send her away to a country in Asia. Now that...”
“That Dave found that Allen is alive,” Taurus mused. “He wants him dead. But I really don’t understand the basis for this hatred. Sean was killed cause he protected you. Why should his children suffer the same fate?”
“Cause,” I said, looking at him in the eyes. “Sean had once defeated Dave. The Elders of the Coven acknowledged him as the next Omicron.”
“That’s why,” Taurus mumbled. “It would be safe to say that Allen has an equal claim on the title as Dave has.”
I nodded. “The Elders of the Coven did agree that Sean’s children has equal claim.”
“Explains why he is hunting them,” Zeke said. “But it does not explain one thing. Why not Aiko? Why just let starve? If he killed her, one less person to fight.”
“A rule in the Coven,” I said. “Unless it is an issued fight, two people who have a claim on the title cannot kill each other.”
“Twisted,” Zeke commented.
“That’s the rule,” I said. “What we can’t do anything.”
After a night of just tossing on my bed, I got up and dragged myself to the place where I had my lunch yesterday. On my way, I checked my phone. My mother and Mali were visiting Aiko today. Lawan texted me that she and Wirat had reached the West Coven and they had settled well.
Upon entering, I saw an unfamiliar female, next to whom Antlia was curled like a cat and a male who had silver eyes similar to Taurus’.
Opposite to the male, Taurus and Zyon were sitting and to my surprise, Omicron Riley and Alpha Eric and Sam were here too.
“There he is,” Taurus said. “That is the one who saved me.”
“Draco?” he asked. My memory did not fail me. I knew who this one was before me.
“That one,” Taurus said.
I bowed my head to him. “First Warrior.”
He smirked. “Call me Aries.”
“Explain me,” Niran said, poking his head from the counter of the kitchen. How did he get here? What the hell was doing down there? He took a bowl of soup and sat next to Zyon. “How does he gets to call you Aries?”
“I am not answering that question,” Aries said with a faint smile.
“You should-” Niran began.
While Niran was pestering Aries, the Warrior did not give him any answer, I could not take my eyes off the female. I had seen her somewhere. Was it that big golden eyes that said she had secrets more than anyone? Or was it that knowing smile she allowed her lips to take?
Somewhere, I just heard her scream. I knew her from before. But where?
Antlia slowly raised her head up and her eyes lit. “Dray!”
“Draco?” she said, her voice sounded like she was someone out of the world.
She smiled. “You have no guess?”
I blinked. The way Antlia was close to her. The way Aries was close to her. I knew who she was.
“You are Lyra.”
She just smiled and sipped the tea before her.
A/N: What do you think of this chapter?
What will happen to Silver, Aiko and Mina? What do you think of Mina?
What do you think Lyra will talk to Draco about?
Until next update,