A/N: I will let you guys be the judge of Mali’s character.
Character review has been updated. It has the characters from West Coven. Check it out!
This chapter required a lot of emotions to write so, comment below what you feel after reading this chapter.
I got up with energy pumping my veins, but I was hesitant to move. What if the answers Mali had was not what I wanted to hear? Will living a lie be better than knowing the truth?
I tried to take a step forward, but then I just stood where I was.
“What are you waiting for, Draco?” Lyra asked in a soft voice.
“I... I don’t know,” I whispered back.
There was a chuckle and then she stood next to me. “I don’t know what has happened between you and Mali and I am in no position to say that I understand you. But if you think talking to her will help you, then go and talk. No matter how difficult the conversation will be.”
My shoulders slumped. “It’s just that... I used to trust her so much. Now, I am not sure.”
Lyra sighed. “There was a time I thought my brother betrayed me. Turned out, he was protecting me all the while, sacrificing nearly everything in his life. I won’t judge Mali for doing something. Just talk to her. For all you know, she might have just given you some illusions to bring you out of the death of Harriet and Tressa.”
I nodded. “I guess I will go then.”
She said, “Do that. Don’t regret not talking about this to her when you had the chance.”
She raised her hand as if she wanted to pat me, but dropped it. She turned and rose an eyebrow at Zyon to which the other stood up and they walked away. Why was Zyon hanging out with Lyra too much? But then again, I would not blame him. She had that nurturing instinct that would make anyone feel comfortable with her. Not to mention, she had been an Alpha and that said she knew how to deal with people.
I played with a small stone as I was walked towards Riley’s office. The stone rolled off somewhere when the building came in my line of sight. I sighed. Was I actually going to do this?
But the thought of Harriet not being my mate swirled in my mind. I had to know this.
I stood in front of the door and looked into the camera. A few seconds later, the door opened and Sorrel stood there, chewing her lips.
“Hey, Draco,” she said. “Finally out of the hospital, I see.”
“Yeah,” I drawled. “You never came to see me, though.”
She blew a strand of blonde hair from her face. “You just passed out. You just have overdramatic friends. You need someone who grounds you to reality. Like me.”
I blinked at her. “You?”
She nodded seriously. “Yep. Me.”
I shook my head. “I don’t have any energy to contradict that.”
She grinned. “Mali is in Riley’s office. She is waiting for you.”
I gulped. “Is this a good time?”
Sorrel stared at me for a while before she dragged me to the sofa in the lobby. She then made me sit and took a seat herself.
“I don’t know, Draco,” she said. “How to say this to you, but Mali is my Omicron’s mate. She finally accepted him and they are marked.”
I nodded. “I already know this.”
“You don’t,” she said vehemently. “Did you know? When Riley first began our Coven, he was touring the other covens to see how it worked. His friends from his maternal coven helped him. That time, he once visited Summer Coven. He met Mali there.”
I just stared at her. I never knew this.
“He is half-star, Draco,” she said, her eyes brimming with tears. “Mali is just not his mate, but she was his Soul-Bound. Stars fight with everything for their Soul-Bounds. No one can stand against such a bond. Just see Aries and Lyra. That is a Soul-Bond. But she refused him. Said she already had a mate and she would not leave him.”
“Dave was not worth it,” I said. “Any of it.”
Sorrel blinked her tears back. “But do you know how heart-broken, Riley was then? He used to be the great Riley Garcia that even our Omicron was afraid of. The one who single-handedly solved the smuggling of drugs in the East Coven. That great vampire. He was broken, Draco. He wanted to kill himself. Had we not called Nox, Riley would have been dead. Can you see?”
I looked up at her. “See what?”
“What Mali means to him?” she asked. “I know. I am asking a lot. But if you hurt Mali, Riley won’t let go of you easily. He finally got her back and he won’t even care what you might mean to her. He is half-star, Draco. He can kill you and not give an excuse. No one can do anything about it. I am telling this for your good. Please, don’t hurt my female Omicron.”
The second she finished something struck me. “You know. You know what she is going to tell me.”
“She was telling Riley and-”
“Shut up!” I snarled as I got up. “It was my story. What right has she got to tell it to everyone? And what right do you have to plead for her to me?”
“Draco! It’s just-”
“So it’s fine if she can hurt me,” I asked, containing that anger. “It is not so if I do it?”
“I don’t mean that-”
Without listening to her further, I left. She kept calling my name but ignoring it, I went towards the room that held her scent.
I did not even bother to knock and I just opened the door. The sight greeted before me was not something I was familiar with. Mali was sniffing in Riley’s arms while Ryan and Carson were holding hands and were standing in front of them.
“Draco!” Mali whispered as she got up.
“Draco!” Sorrel had caught up on me. “Listen to me-”
“Shut up!” I shouted at her. “You have no right, Sorrel. No right.”
There was a change in the female I knew. “How dare you, Draco. How dare you say that to her? My Epsilon-”
“That’s right,” I scoffed. ”Your epsilon. Not mine. I don’t belong in this coven, Mali. I don’t need to. I can talk however I want to.”
“Draco!” Riley warned. “You-”
“Are you going to say that I can’t shout at her?” I asked. “That she has all the rights to tell my story to everyone and not me? That she has the right to question my friendship with her when in reality, I should be questioning hers?”
Ryan stood and pulled his mate up. “As I said before, Mali. We, Carson and I, don’t have to be here. I am glad that my female Omicron trusts me, but what you have to speak with Draco, does not include us. We are leaving.”
Carson wordlessly followed his mate out. But Ryan turned and came up to me. If he was going to say something about forgiving Mali, I would have to show them what a real hitman was.
“Draco?” he said, his voice calm. “It’s your life. You can feel wronged. You can feel hurt, we have no right to tell you what to feel. From what she said, she did everything to protect you. But if I see from your side, you have been wronged, deceived and used. This truth will definitely not mend the bond you have with Mali, but it is something you have to hear. I will not even ask you to consider Mali because you have to consider yourself first. But if you want anything, my house will be open tonight for a mug of hot cocoa.”
“How dare you, Ryan!” Sorrel screetched as she took Ryan by his collar. “How dare you?”
Immediately Carson shoved Sorrel away and stoked protectively in front of his mate. “Dare you to touch him, Sorrel!”
“Carson!” she exclaimed.
“You are protective over our female Omicron,” Ryan said, standing behind his mate. “I understand that. But would you do if I tell you that your whole life was nothing but a hallucination? An illusion cleverly weaved that the pain and ache you felt was for something that was never there? Answer me, Sorrel.”
I just glanced at Mali who was crying in her mate’s arms. “What was that about, Mali?”
She just kept crying and I could not bear to see the female who wore the steel armour break apart.
Sorrel looked down and walked away. Ryan pulled his mate and gave me a nod before they left. That Ryan should have been the Theta of the coven. That guy knew how to dispel a situation cleverly.
I entered the room. Riley stood up defensively. I could care less about this male. As much as hurt was there, there was also the need to comfort her. While I may not be close to Mali as I had been with Lawan, there had been times when it had been Mali who came to comfort me. I could not be that heartless and forget that.
“Draco,” she whispered and pulled herself together. “It’s time I told you something.”
“Good,” I said and took a seat in spite of Riley glaring at me. I was thankful that my voice did not break like I thought it would.
She looked at me, her weary, teary eyes boring into mine. “It began twenty years ago.”
Riley squeezed her hand.
“Harriet,” Mali’s voice broke. “She is a scientist working for Dave in the lab he has in Taherah, an island fifty nautical miles from North Coast.”
“Is?” my voice cracked just like I knew it would. “Is? She is alive?”
Mali nodded slowly. “She is.”
I ran my fingers through my hair. I need to anchor myself to something. Anything.
“Where is she now?” I asked.
Mali licked her lips. “Still there. She is the one who is giving me all the inside information.”
“Tressa?” I dared to ask. “What about her?”
Mali looked away and she cleared her throat. “She... she never existed.”
I could only blink at her. “What have you done?” My voice barely above a whisper.
She inhaled sharply. “You have to listen, Draco. Shout at me, hit me, slap me later. But please, will you listen?”
I did not know what I did but she began to talk.
“Leigh, Lana’s sister one day came to me,” Mali said. “She was on the verge of dying when she knocked on my door. Dave in the basement with Lana and I took her to the hospital. What she told me that night, changed everything.”
Mali gathered herself a little and poured a glass of water for her. Riley, on the other hand, was hovering over her like she was a fragile glass.
“Apparently, Dave found that Leigh had found her mate and he took them to the lab he had in Taherah. With the help of a female named Harper, he... he broke the bond between them. Her mate died of pain, while Dave... well, he marked her too, seeing that I had never been his mate. That somehow kept her alive.
“She then told me what was happening in that lab. And she begged me to stop it. She said she had an insider who would help me with this,” Mali said. “That was about the time, I met Gaelan and Nox with Lawan. Gaelan was imprisoned in the Dungeons and he was able to send a part of his shadow to talk to us. Nox knew about Gaeland he was the one who sealed when Gaelan was not available.”
“Does Lawan know about Leigh?” I asked.
Mali shook her head. “No. Lawan does not know. She does not know it. It was a secret between Leigh and me.”
A second later, she continued. “I was even more convinced. Then, Harriet came to the mainland. The night she came, she saw you with Rune and said she had fallen for you. She wanted me to create a past for her. An illusion of past for you to believe that she had been a part of Summer Coven all along. I refused at the beginning.”
This was not going the way I knew. No, no, no. this was not happening.
“Then she said she was your mate,” Mali chuckled humourlessly. “She said she wanted to tell you first and that was why she said she had just fallen for you. Since it was mate bond, I decided to help her. I wove a story for her. Two days later, she met you in the coffee shop and you said she was your mate. I was happy that I had helped you.”
At that point, I did not know what to feel.
“That was the first time I deceived you,” she said. “But once is always enough right?”
Riley sat down next to her and gathered her in his arms.
“I thought it would stop there,” she muttered. “But it went on. Slowly, I don’t know what happened but she came and begged me to weave better memories. The happy evenings. The romantic date nights. She said she was investigating the fake bonds and she did not want to leave out. It went for four months. But those were the most difficult four months for me. You were the hardest to control. You often slipped from my grasp and I had to increase each time. You were suspecting Harriet and she even began to use the forgetting portion, for she was a witch, not a werewolf.”
My heart began to beat furiously. Where was this going? What had actually happened?
“I stopped to help her,” Mali said. “But I never told you the truth either. I just wove the scenes in such a way that everyone believed it. Then, I realised what she was doing. She was a witch and she was contorting portions to alter the truth of your life. Do you remember her pregnancy?”
I blinked and I tried my best, but I could just manage a few hazy memories of accompanying her to the hospital for an ultrasound.
“Just a few visits to hospital right?” Mali asked dryly. “Go to the hospital and check. You will not find any reports of a female named Harriet Grin or Tressa Grin for that matter.”
“As a witch,” Mali began. “She was altering your memory and she made you believe that you have a daughter named Tressa. Funny enough, I knew about this. Dave knew I knew about. I was forced to make these false things a part of your memory. Not because Dave forced me to, but because you were so happy, Draco. You had been so happy in the false memories. But her hold on you was not strong enough. It never was.”
And just like that, the memory of me carrying Tressa and spinning her around shattered and dispersed faster than dust. I tried to grasp the one where she gave me a toothy grin as she finished colouring a purple carrot, but that too fled from me.
“You see Draco,” Mali said. “I was a fool. I thought I could protect you forever from the truth by hiding this. Never did I imagine that this day would come. I refused to tell you the truth and played along with Harriet just so you could be happy. I never wanted to hurt you. I just wanted you to be happy. I changed everyone’s memory of Harriet and Tressa. Even my mother’s. Even Rune’s. Dave was the only one apart from Leigh and Harriet who knew the truth.”
My whole life was nothing but a lie? A playground for two females to meddle with?
“But, Draco,” she said. “You were so strong. I could never comprehend how, but you, you broke her spell. You broke the spell Harriet placed on you. That night, I had no choice. I could either tell you the truth and have Dave kill us both or change your memory for one last time. I considered the choices and chose the one best for both of us.”
“You changed it,” I said. “You changed it in such a way that I perceived it as them both being dead.”
She nodded. “I had to. You have to understand this.”
“Understand?” I scoffed. “You are telling me that my whole life was a lie and you are asking me to understand?”
She took in another deep breath. “I did. I changed it so that none of us would die. Leigh never stood with me from the beginning, you see. Ever since Harriet asked me to create a past for her, Leigh was against it. So, she investigated Harriet further. And she learnt that... that Harriet had already been mated and she and her mate had a boy. Harper had them under her control. Harper had said to her that if she wanted to see her son alive, Harriet had to test the faux bonds Harper gave.”
My head spun. Harriet had a mate? She even had a boy?
“And she used me.”
“Yes,” Mali agreed softly. “She tested the bond on you.” Then Mali smiled proudly. “But you, Draco, you could not be controlled. Leigh said that even Harper was not able to control you and she had to call her mother, Rionach to test the bond on you. Rionach was as powerful as one of the Warrior. Even when she imposed the bond, she could hold you only for four years.”
“You say as if it is a great thing,” I said. “As if I have to be proud.”
Mali shrugged. “Even Riley here can’t resist Rionach’s power. You could. That is something you must be proud of. That was how it all came to be. Harriet is still in Taherah and she had another girl just a few years ago. If you want, I will give her number to you. You can talk to her.”
“My life was just an experiment to you all?” I asked. “That’s all?”
Mali shook her head. “No! Never! It was never my intention. But I had deceived you once and I had to keep doing that to save you from the pain.”
“Save me from the pain?” I spat as I stood up. “You should not have changed anything, Mali. Nothing. You may have been the Omicron of Summer Coven, but that never gave you the right to do what you have done.”
Riley just glared at me and had been anyone else, I would have been buried right there. “Draco, she did what was right for you.”
“Right?” I scoffed. “Right for me? Or was it right for her?”
Riley snarled and walked over me. He was emitting a deathly aura that screamed that he wanted to hurt me big time. “Look here, Draco. You are in my territory. And you are distressing my mate. Leave before I do something we both regret.”
I sneered as I got up. “Leave before you do something to me? What can you do to me?”
Riley grit his teeth and he tried to enter my mind, but as I predicted, he was unable to do so. He forced himself more, but nothing happened.
“Weak,” I snarled lowly as I walked out.
I thought I would be a whirlwind of emotions after hearing what she had to say, but I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was devoid of emotions. It was not like I could not feel, but rather, I did not know what to feel anymore.
Sorrel was at the entrance of the building when I came out. She took a step forward but I walked right past her.
Each step I took was heavy and forced. I did not know where I was going anymore. The past that defined me was not mine at all. Then what had I done? Who was I? The meaning behind the pain that I carried? What of it? I did not know who I was anymore.
Who could I blame this on? Mali? Harriet? Me? Dave and that female Harper? Even if I did pin the blame on someone, would it change the past? Would it undo the time?
My head ached, but my soul even more so. At a point, I could no longer force myself to walk. There was a tiny bench along the path a few steps ahead of me. Pulling myself, I crashed on the cold metal seat and saw the cool, unyielding moon.
I swallowed hard. I had been twenty-three-years old when I first met Harriet twenty-five years ago. I thought I was lucky. Who else would meet their mate at such a young age? I should have known. I should have.
When I got married to her two years later, Sean had been there. He had put the witness signature. Two years later, when I saw them die or in Mali’s words, I snapped out of their control, Sean had offended Dave by helping me. It was all slowly coming back to me. What had actually happened that night.
Dave had ordered a witch to put me in coma and then tried kill me. Sean had interfered and saved me that night. For that, Sean had died. His mate had lived on for the life she carried in her womb.
If those two had not played. If Mali had said that this had all been just an illusion twenty-five years ago, perhaps, Sean would have been alive. I had thought Sean’s death was my fault and to this day it would be mine. But the lines were not clear anymore and the path before me was hazy.
Was this the uncertainness Zyon was talking about? Only if you knew who you were, you could go on in your life even if your path was murky. But what if your past itself was a tangled mess? What would you do then?
Could I pin this all on Mali? On Harriet? As much as Mali had done this for me, as much as she had protected me, I could not bring myself to believe her again. Even for a second. What of Leigh? The female I used to hate. The female who had actually found what was wrong with my life. Could I hate her too? Or did I owe her something?
My head began to spin. The soughing grass danced to the eerie tune of melancholy and a few crickets yipped around their homes. My hands slid into my pocket and fished my phone out.
I opened the contacts and sighed at the first name I had searched for.
Taking in a deep breath, I pressed call and waited as the phone rang. He picked on the third ring.
“Draco?” His voice was worried. “Is everything all right there?”
“That’s Draco?” a familiar female voice asked behind him. “Give me the damned phone.”
“It is,” I said. Could I trust them too? Could I trust anyone right now? ”Not”
“What’s not right?” she immediately asked as she took the phone from her mate. “What happened, Draco?”
“Lawan,” I started. ”Did you know? Know that my whole life is a lie?”
“Whole life is a lie?” Lawan scoffed. “I was with you the whole time. I don’t understand, Draco.”
“You don’t know?” I asked. “That Mali had meddled with my life?”
“Mali had meddled?” she raged. “What the fuck do you mean by that, Draco?”
“She....” I choked. “She changed a lot of things. Altered my memory. Harriet was never my mate and Tressa never existed. You don’t know about that?”
“Fuck!” she swore. “I don’t. I have no idea about this. Wirat!” she screamed. “Do you know about this?”
“I have no idea, love,” he said. “I never thought Mali was capable of this.”
“Really?” I asked. They did not betray me? They did not lie to me? “You have no idea about this?”
“Draco,” Lawan said, her voice sharp and strong. “Tell us what happened.”
I did. I told them what Mali had said to me. I just could not hold it back anymore. I needed someone from my past whom I could trust. Whom I could see and know that my life was not a complete lie.
“Hell!” Lawan swore softly. “That happened? Mali and Harriet did that?”
“Yes,” I said. “They did.”
There was a minute pause. “Wirat? Book tickets to East-”
“I will do it right away,” he said. “The earliest flight.”
“Heard that, Draco?” Lawan said. “We are coming as soon as possible. Don’t worry.”
“You are safe there!” I protested. “Why are you risking to-”
“Look here,” Lawan said. “You are important to us, Draco. You are like my little brother. I have to be there next to you when you are going through this difficult stage. I have to question Mali myself. What was she thinking when she did this? I am coming and you can do nothing to stop me.”
She cut the call just like that. The hope that had forsaken me came back slowly. My thumb then moved over to another familiar number. I hesitated. I called him but the phone went on the full dial.
Hanging the call, I began to walk. Surprisingly, I had walked over Tara’s place. She was still open and she was cleaning things up.
I went in and gave her a weary smile. “Is it okay for me to come now?”
She must have seen something in me as she nodded. “Okay, son. Sit anywhere you want. Want something?”
“A mug of hot cocoa?” I asked
“Coming right up!” she said as cheerfully as she could and left me in the diner.
I chose the spot I sat two days ago when I was directing Silver to the dungeons of Summer Coven. Tara served me my cocoa and went to the cashier to watch whatever she was seeing on her laptop.
I stirred my cocoa and just saw the way it swirled. My phone buzzed and I picked it up to see the person whom I had called earlier calling me.
I took a sip of my cocoa and answered the call. “What’s up?”
“You called me,” he defended. “So, what’s up?”
I chuckled humourlessly. “I am sorry to bother you late at night-”
“Draco?” The lethargy in his voice was gone and he was up alert. “Where are you?”
“At Tara’s,” I said. “Why?”
“You don’t sound right,” he said. “I am coming over. Don’t do anything stupid.”
“Or else what?” I asked.
“You don’t want to know,” he said, as he hung up.
I sighed at my phone and finished my cocoa. Seeing the digital clock, I could just count the second in my mind. The red light of the digital clock became hazy as my head rolled on the table over my propped hand. The last thing I saw was Taurus walking towards the diner through the glass window, but I did not have enough energy to be awake to greet him.
The door opened somewhere faraway when my mind pulled me to sleep.
A/N: What do you think about Mali and Leigh?
Like Cain’s arc in Aries, there is one arc in Taurus too. It will explain what he does on the island in Tahareh. I am planning on releasing the 4-5 chapters together. So, that might take a while. You can guess from who’s pov I will write that.
So while the next update may be a bit late, it would have 4-5 chapters together. If you want one chapter update, that is also fine. Tell me who you want it.
What of Riley and Sorrel? Do you think what Mali did was right?
I am thinking of doing a short chapter from Lawan’s pov when she is in West Coven. This will clear questions about Gaelan and his daughter and how he got out and stuff.