A/N: Did you enjoy the last chapter?
Some questions may be answered in this. Enjoy the book as long as it is sweet. It may get a bit gory... in a while. Not now, but soon enough.
Enjoy for now :)
After a while of Taurus blushing and Antlia choking, Niran pulled a dazed Nox on his feet.
“He still lives,” Taurus muttered under his breath.
I blinked at him. “You weren’t serious when you said you would kill him, were you?”
He still did not look at me. “I don’t joke.”
That adorable redness on his face faded when Nox and Niran looked at him. For a second, I wanted to tease him to bring that colour back, but I withheld myself. Who knew what he was thinking?
Nox gave Taurus a betrayed look. “I expected better, Taurus.”
“Better to kill you?” Niran asked.
“Actually,” he said. “Yes.”
Antlia found her seat again. “You really do big or go home, don’t you?”
Nox nodded. “That’s my principle.”
Niran sat a few feet away from Taurus next to whom Nox was seated. When Taurus glared at him, he stuck his tongue out.
“What brings you, two idiots, here in the middle of the night?” Taurus asked, looking at them.
I tried to find his gaze, but he purposefully avoided me. I sighed. I would talk to him. If that incident back then scared him, I might as well act as if I forgot it. If I could not have him as my lover, I would rather have him as a friend, who would stand by my side no matter what. Who would rush to my side on just a call.
This was what I was afraid of. Spoiling what we had.
“Or what?” Nox egged. “Afraid that we would see something we should not have?”
“Please!” Niran said. “Think about it. It’s the middle of the night. House away from other houses. Just the two of them. Enough to say what they would have been doing had we not interfered.” Then he looked at Taurus and I with a sorry face. “Sorry to interrupt you guys.”
“They are right, aren’t they?” Antlia asked. “I did catch you in a very compromising position. Had we not come… what would you have done?”
“Probably dying?” I said.
Taurus then glared at Niran. “If you don’t shut your trap-”
“Please,” Niran said in a sing-song voice. “You can’t do anything to me! I am Rune’s mate! You are given a job to protect Luna’s family. That includes Rune and me!”
Taurus clenched his jaws and closed his eyes. “Give me strength.”
“For what?” Niran asked.
I had never met anyone who wanted to die with this much eagerness. Did he not value his life anymore?
Before Taurus could snap, Nox finally acknowledged me. “So… Draco. Tell me. What were you doing in the basement with Taurus when we came down? He was shirtless and you… you were quite near.”
I wanted to frown. How could he not have scented us? Scent me? My arousal must have been heavy in the air. But one glance at the Warrior, I knew he hid it. For a second, hurt like the sharpest arrow pierced my heart.
Who was I kidding? How could he ever choose me? Even if he was into males, there must have been a lot of stars in his life. Lost of people he had seen. I would be just a small figment in his life.
“I came down searching for him,” I said nonchalantly.
To them, I was uncaring, but somehow this small act was breaking my heart. Wrecking it. I did not know how much further I would go with Taurus nor did I know if I would ever survive it. Another glance, I stilled. There was no chance of survival for me.
“Searching?” Niran said in that teasing voice. “For what? Taurus did not take care of you last night well?”
While Taurus’ eyes blazed, I refused to look at the princess who somehow knew what I was feeling. She kept on intruding in my mind to speak something, but I kept ignoring her.
“I had a dream,” I said simply. “A flash of some sort.”
That did get Taurus’ attention. And just like that, he was back to the Warrior I knew. It was better than silence.
“What flash?” he asked.
His gaze was on me, but he still refused to look me in the eyes. “Something. I wanted to talk to you about that.”
“What is it?” Antlia asked.
“I have been getting some flashes ever since I met Lyra,” I said. “I think… it’s past somehow. I don’t know if it is mine, but I am sure it is past.”
“How could it be the past?” Nox asked. “How are you sure?”
When I realised that the Warrior would not look at me no matter what, I turned to Niran. “I saw a female named Eltanin in that flash. She was playing chess with Thuban. Now, does it make sense?”
Nox coughed vigorously and moved away from Niran. “Eltanin? Isn’t she in eternal sleep? Taurus here put her to eternal sleep.”
Something flashed in his eyes. It was too quick for me to follow, but something was up.
“Why?” I asked.
“Cause her soul was on the verge of shattering,” he said. “I had to put her to sleep to preserve her soul that if she ever put her soul together, she could wake up. Like a hibernation.”
Nox pursed his lips and was lost in his thoughts.
Antlia cleared her throat. “Can you please explain who this character is?”
I turned to her. “Eltanin?”
She nodded. “I have never heard of her name.”
I just stared at Taurus and Nox. “Ask them. They seem to know her better than me.”
Taurus sighed. “It was way before. There were five stars in the Kelp Confusion-”
“Woah!” Niran said. “What is this Kelp Confusion?”
Taurus sighed. “I nearly forgot how you guys don’t know anything.”
“As if it is our fault,” Antlia muttered.
Taurus gave the princess a look. “Okay. Do you at least know the Dungeon and the Maze?”
Antlia nodded. “Of course! Lyra was thrown there!”
“What are they?” Niran asked. “I mean, I know they are some sort of prison, but I don’t know what it actually is.”
“It’s a space with giant kelps,” I said, keeping an eye on the star with misty eyes. “You can’t see where it begins and where it ends. It just goes on. And the place it has so many Kelps. It just confuses you where you are.”
Nox’s eyes widened after I finished. “How the hell do you know about that?”
“I said I get these flashes,” I said. “In that, I have seen them.”
“What else?” Antlia asked.
“That place was indeed built by Aelius,” Taurus said. “Qamar’s friend. It was to serve as a prison. People are put there unable to find their way out. It is also a connecting place.”
“Connecting place?” Niran asked.
“This is not the only world,” Taurus said. “There are many. Because of many problems, the worlds began to drift away. But places like the Maze, the Dungeon, Kelp Confusion that serves as a prison to all the worlds alike connect them.”
“A path for spaces?” Antlia asked.
Taurus nodded. “That is exactly that.”
“Wow!” she whistled.
“So that is Kelp Confusion,” Niran said. “What of the five stars in there?”
“Dziban, Thuban, Eltanin, Alrakis and Rastaban,” Taurus said. “The five stars who were there. But Dziban left them after the Bind War.”
I did not miss the way Nox flinched.
“The bind war?” Antlia whispered. “Lia told me something along these lines once.”
“There is strong protection around the universe where life is. Beyond that, is a malicious space of poison and dark matter and raw energy,” Taurus said. “If that poison comes in, the life of the universe could potentially be destroyed.”
“How so?” I asked.
“That raw energy there,” he said. “It can take the energy that makes the basis of life back, making sure such a soul does not exist.”
“Wow!” Niran muttered. “Such a thing exist? So what happened in the Bind War?”
“The Bind obviously fell,” Taurus deadpanned. “The poison began to seep in.”
“But-” Niran began.
“But we were ready,” Nox said. “We fought against that.”
“How?” Antlia asked. “How could you fight against that dark energy?”
“By some people who could control that energy,” Taurus said. “Some people who can manipulate that energy itself. We had a few on our side and they helped us.”
“Seriously?” Ant asked, her eyes widening.
“Yes,” Nox said. “But they were not Immunes. Immunes, the ones who are resistant to any poison. They helped us too.”
“So?” Niran pressed.
“In that,” Taurus said. “The Kelp Confusion was one of the first places that took the brunt force of the bind breaking. Kelp Confusion was not that famous. So, relatively a few stars lived there. When it hit, Eltanin was the one to take the poison to save her comrades.”
“She took the poison?” Antlia whispered. “Did she not die?”
Taurus shook his head. “No.”
“How is that possible?” I asked.
Could it be that-
“She was an Immune too,” Nox said with a softness. “She could have withstood the poison, but it was too much for her to handle it. Her soul began to shatter. Taurus went there and the only way to save her was to put her to eternal sleep. If her soul is healed, she can wake up.”
Something was definitely not up.
“Her parents were the stars who helped Aelius built the Kelp Confusion,” Taurus supplied. “She knows that place like the back of her hand. She is not a navigator, but sure as hell knows how that place works.”
Something was not adding. Something was missing.
“What of the others?” I asked.
“Dziban left after the war, claiming he did not want to be in the place where Eltanin nearly died,” Taurus said. “Thuban manages that place now. Alrakis and Rastaban live there from time to time.”
I kept glancing at Nox. The mirth in his eyes was lost to the shadows of his memories. Wasn’t it a curse? To live so long?
“What is it, Nox?” I asked. “What are you not telling?”
Nox snapped his eyes at me. “Me?” he mumbled. “There’s nothing I am hiding.”
“You can lie to them,” Antlia quipped behind me. “Not to me.”
Taurus then frowned. “What is happening?”
Nox then pulled his legs to his torso and nearly curled up. “Elta… Elta is my Soul-Bound.”
Taurus froze. “But she and Thuban-”
“I met her when she was on the verge of breaking,” Nox whispered. “I met her during the battle. I was about to beg you to save her, but you naturally did and I am grateful for that.”
“Thuban does not know, does he?” Taurus asked, his voice soft.
Nox shook his head. “No.”
Niran’s eyes widened. “Eltanin was with Thuban?”
Taurus nodded. “Both did not find their Soul-Bound. It was natural.”
“How are you even alive?” Taurus asked. “How?”
“I don’t know,” Nox whimpered. “Just talking about her… I hate myself for not being there for her.”
Antlia walked to the star and gave him a tight hug. “She will wake up soon. How can she ben sleeping when her amazing Soul-Bound is causing a lot of trouble?”
I smiled. This was worse. I had seen that guy’s smiles and anger but never had I realised that he too had pain.
“Is that why?” Niran asked. “Why you were so particular about mate bonds and Soul-Bonds? Of Silver and Aiko?”
Nox sighed after a few minutes. He returned Ant’s hug and then let her go. “Not just because of me. I saw what it did to Riley.”
At the mention of that Omicron’s name, something flared in me. Anger and hatred. If I think about that vampire another time, I would have to give Rigel an explanation of why his second son was dead. Wait a minute. Did Rigel have only two kids?
Perhaps they had sensed my wrath that rolled off in waves. Or they knew what Mali had done.
“Okay there?” Niran asked.
I nodded and closed my eyes. Behind my eyelids, instead of phosphenes, I saw Mali’s tearful face and Riley’s angry eyes. What right did Riley have to be angry at me? How could he ask me to understand? Would he be the same if someone was to manipulate his life?
I was not okay. And everyone here knew it.
Suddenly, my anger was being washed away. My fists were no longer clenched and the familiar scent washed over me. It was then the sense of touch told me what was happened. Taurus was next to me, holding my shoulders. Shaking me to reality. Grounding me.
I opened my eyes and gazed into his furious ones. Why was he angry? My eyes widened when I realised he was not angry at me for losing it. No, he was angry at the ones who made me lose it. The one who was behind this. When he had picked me up from Tara’s, he did not ask me what had happened. When I had come to the basement, he did not ask me.
He was waiting for me to open up. He was like a mountain, patiently waiting with the sturdiness that I needed. It was as if he knew I would talk to him about it and if I did not, he was not worth it.
Another crack lined my heart. How could anyone survive knowing this side of Taurus? How could anyone be with him and move away?
“What happened?” Niran asked. “For a second, you were about to beat Taurus!”
It took me a while, but I just blinked at the vampire. “What?”
“Beat Taurus!” Niran said. “In the competition of being who is the scariest. I was under the impression it was Taurus, but damn, Draco, you are changing my mind.”
Ignoring him, Taurus turned my head to him. “Are you alright?”
“If I am alright, will you let this go?” I asked.
His fascinating eyes teased me again when they subtly changed colours. The lightness vanished when the silver took a darker shade. And the flecks shimmered.
“Are you?” he asked.
I shook my head. “I am not. I am not alright. I can’t hold it together anymore.”
Antlia came up to me and squeezed my hand. “We are here for you, Dray. I am not sure about the other three, but as sure as Luna, I am here for you.”
Niran scoffed. “I am here too. Antlia! I am your uncle! If not for him, how would I have met my mate? Of course, I shall be here.”
Taurus did not need words. This time, his silence gave me the answer much louder, clearer than any words he might have used.
Nox gritted his teeth. “It has something to do with Riley, right?”
I nodded. “I don’t expect you to-”
“He fucked it up, did he not?” Nox asked.
I stared at him. Seeing his grief-stricken face, I did not know what to answer. He did not know if his Soul-Bound was coming back to life. And top of that I could not tell what Riley had done.
“Tell me,” Nox said. “Go ahead.”
“He sided with Mali,” I said. “He sided with her.”
Niran was the one to be silent. “What did Mali do? She may be my mate’s sister, but I don’t have to respect her if she had done something to my friend.”
“She lied,” I managed to croak out. “She lied my entire life.”
“What lies?” Nox asked his eyebrows meeting.
I took in a deep breath. “About Harriet and Tressa.”
“Isn’t that your mate and your daughter’s name?” Niran asked.
I shook my head. “Harriet was never my mate.”
Antlia squeezed my hand again. Despite my pain, my raw wounds, I was amused. This little girl. She was barely sixteen. But here she was, comforting me. What did she see in the world for her to have that maturity in her face? What had she faced?
“What?” Niran asked.
I nodded. “Harriet was working for Dave and Harper. She was experimenting on mate bonds. She made Harriet come to Laukris from Tahareh and forced a mate bond on us. For that, Mali wove the memories I had with Harriet, making me believe that Harriet was my mate. Harriet was never there, but she kept weaving memories not only for me but for everyone. Later, I snapped from her power and Harriet took it in her own hands to manipulate me. She even went as far as to create a false memory of me having a daughter. Still, Mali never told me what happened. She wanted to hide it.”
“This is fucked up,” Niran swore softly.
“I snapped from Harriet and Harper’s powers one day and on that day,” I said. “Dave came to kill me. Mali wove another story and in that process, somehow Sean was killed.”
“Then?” Antlia urged me gently.
“When Mali told me,” I snarled, remembering how she begged me it was all for my good. “She said she was doing it for me. She wanted me to be happy. Before she even told me, she was telling it to Riley, her Epsilon and her Thetas. Sorrel and Riley wanted me to understand. They wanted me to not be angry at Mali. As if she had not done any damage. She was the one who started it. If she had not agreed to Harriet at the beginning, it would not have come to this. She had twenty years to tell me. Twenty! But only after Antlia said that something was wrong with my past and I questioned her, she opened her mouth. How manipulative could she be? Twisting it so that she could be safe?”
Nox inhaled sharply. “I had seen how broken Riley was after he came from Summer Coven on a trip. I had known then that he had met his Soul-Bound there. For a long time, I was angry that he could so carelessly leave her there. She was his Soul-Bound. What bond is stronger than that?”
Then he laughed humourlessly. “Soul-Bonds are everything to stars. You have no idea how powerful it would be. It can turn people against each other. It can give strength like no other. It ties two souls together. It is beyond time and space. No one can do anything against it. The mate bonds Luna gives can be rejected, but Soul-Bonds? Try to refuse it an see. It will tear your existence to insanity. I had been worried for Riley because I know the pain myself. I wanted him to get her.”
Antlia stared at him with wide eyes. Had Nox told me earlier, before I learnt what Mali had done, perhaps I would have felt that sympathy for him.
“But now,” Nox breathed. “I regret Riley meeting her. I remember him being fair and just. He would have been the greatest Omicron. Was Mali not his Soul-Bound, he would have sided with you. He knows what is right and what is wrong and he can’t stand lying. I can only blame the Soul-Bond for him siding with Mali. He can’t stand against her. Even if he did stand with Mali, he should not have asked you to understand Mali. He had no right to do it.”
Taurus then forced me to look into his eyes. What was he doing? All this while I wanted him to look at me and he was avoiding it and now he wanted me to look at him?
“Show me everything,” he said sturdily. “What happened.”
I shook my head. I could not show this to him and expect him to sit here. This was baring my soul naked. I could rather show someone my naked body and walk away. But baring your raw soul to someone… I was not strong enough. If I showed my ugly side to him what would he think?
How could you ever show your weakness to the one you like? Especially when you did not know if they returned the feeling?
“Asking permission,” Niran said. “Who are you and what have you done with the great Taurus I know?”
But Taurus ignored them. “Show me, Draco.”
His voice was like a Siren’s call to me. It was not just a slight push in his voice, but that warmth and caring. I could melt rocks.
I could only melt and nod. “Yes.”
For the second time, he was in my mind. Everything flashed so fast, so bright. He did not just see what Mali had done. He saw what I showed him. I showed him the flashes and then the incident with Mali.
When he left my mind, he was glaring at me. “Why didn’t you tell me that Riley was threatening you?”
“That was not exactly a threat,” I mumbled.
“That did sound like a threat,” he snarled. “Just because he was unable to get inside your mind, he left you be. Otherwise, he would have smashed it.”
“What did Riley do now?” Nox asked.
“Riley threatened Draco,” Taurus said calmly as if everything was alright. This stillness scared me more than his ire would ever do. “If he does anything, anything at all, I am not holding back.”
Nox sighed. “I can’t get involved. I will just leave if it ever comes to that.”
Antlia frowned. “I never expected Mali to be such a…”
“Bitch?” Niran supplied. “I know. I am surprised too. If Rune hears about this, he would be pissed at her. Sean was his friend and if he comes to know that she had played a part in Sean’s death, he would be mad.”
“Lawan and Wirat are already mad at her,” I supplied helpfully.
“Lawan and Wirat?” Niran asked. “How do they know?”
“I wanted to confirm,” I rasped. “To know if they had ever played a part in this.”
“They did not?” Antlia asked.
“No,” I said. “They were even mad at Mali for doing it.”
“This Mali,” Antlia shook her head. “I have never met anyone more shameless than her. I am with you, Dray. With you.”
I smiled at her determination. “Thank you, princess.”
“You’re welcome, my loyal subject,” she said with that fake seriousness.
Then I looked at the others. “Thank you, guys. Thank you.”
Niran snorted. “What’s there to thank?”
“I have to knock some sense into my brother,” Nox mumbled.
“But why are you here in the middle of the night?” Taurus asked them.
Niran, Antlia and Nox looked at each other with that sheepish look. “Tara said Draco was not feeling well to Alpha Eric and that you came to pick him up. We were worried about you.”
When I heard that, I was baffled. “My mother was not worried?”
“She…” Niran drawled. “She does not know. She is with Aiko in the Hospital. And by the way, Mina said Aiko is stabilised and she is being moved to the general ward from the emergency.”
“Zeke did want to come,” Antlia said. “But he got a call and he left. Saying he had to book a flight to do something. He did ask me to tell you to give him a call.”
I frowned. What was that call? Why did he leave? I shrugged, I would give him a call later.
I then looked at Niran. “Do you have contact with Beta Jed or Theta Ryan?”
Niran frowned and then whipped his phone out. After searching, he said, “I have both their numbers. Who do you want?”
“Theta Ryan?” I said. “I need to talk to Dr Alexis Hayes.”
A/N: What do you think of Taurus and Draco’s interaction in this chapter?
What do you think of Nox and Niran?
What do you think has happened to Antlia? (Yes, she does have a dark past)
What about the phone call Zeke said?
Last but not the least, what do you think of Dr Alexis Hays? Why would Draco want to go to her?
Until next update,