The Rise

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Chapter Ten

The bar was busy like it had been months ago when I met Damon for the second time. People were dancing and grinding against each other. Wolves were watching she-wolves. Well, more like eying their prey as they moved to the beat.

“Last time I talked to him, Damon told me he was worried that you were putting too much trust in the Man of the Night,” Vihaan said after taking a sip of his beer.

I pressed my lips together, a wave of guilt washing over me, and sipped mine. “I know. I should’ve listened to him. It was stupid of me to trust so blindly.” Another sip. This time I gulped it down like I needed it.

Vihaan placed a hand on my shoulder and squeezed lightly. “We all make mistakes. You couldn’t have known this would happen. All you can do now is avenge him.”

Another sip. “I’m working on it.”

I wasn’t lying, but I felt like I was. I knew nothing about Aeron’s whereabouts except that skull, and even that was a long shot. Did it have any importance to Aeron? Of course, it did – at one point – but now? He hadn’t visited it within the past sixty years at least.

Vihaan looked from one side of the bar to the other, his 5 O’clock shadow amplifying under the dim light above us. He leaned in closer after scoping out the area. “I might have something that could help.”

“Like what?”

He grimaced. “I promised Damon that I would never tell you, but I feel like it could help avenge him.” He took a deep breath. “Since he met you Damon had kept tabs on your friends and the people you associated yourself with. You know, as the possessive, borderline controlling alpha he had to do that.”

I smiled and shook my head. Well, that sounded just like him. “I wouldn’t have changed him for the world.”

Vihaan leaned back for a moment and raised his brow. “Come on. You wouldn’t change anything?” he teased and swung his beer back. “I’m just kidding. Anyway, yeah, he kept tabs on a few people. Pretty sure he had a spreadsheet or something.”

I laughed. “Damon? Damon used a spreadsheet?” I clutched my stomach, trying to hold back my laughter, and leaned onto the bar. Even after his death, Damon was still surprising me.

“I don’t think anyone really knows about it, except me. In Damon’s words, ‘Samuel likes her too much. Can’t trust him with this. He’ll try to steal her from me.’”

I rested my head against Vihaan’s shoulder and giggled. My man was crazy, but I loved him.

From across the bar, the door opened. Valerio walked in and shook out his jacket that had been drenched with rain. He pushed through pack of people in the middle of the bar who were drunk off their asses and headed our way.

Vihaan noticed him and grabbed his beer. “Well, I should get going. If I can find the spreadsheet, I’ll send it over to you.”

Valerio eyed him as they passed each other. “Who’s that?”

I smiled. “A friend of Damon’s.” Vihaan exited the bar.

Valerio raised a brow but brushed it off. The bartender placed a drink in front of him. He sat next to me. “Have you thought about that riddle?”

I let my head hang down. Strands of hair fell in my face. “No.”

He intertwined his fingers in a dramatic fashion and sat up. “Well, I have,” he stated proudly.

“And?”

“And, I have no idea what it means.”

I rolled my eyes and pushed his shoulder. “I was expecting more from you Valerio,” I teased.

“I’m good. Just not that good.” He took a spare napkin on the bar, pulled a pen out of his pocket, and wrote the riddle down.

In the dark of night, he will be there.

Far, far away from here, he’s nothing but a hare.

Dark as day and Light as night,

his storm will follow you with all its might.

“Let’s take it line by line,” I said, finishing my drink. It probably wasn’t the best to be drinking right now, but I needed to take the edge off. I felt like I couldn’t catch a break. I was constantly going, even on designated rest days.

Valerio pulled the sleeves up his forearms and leaned them against the bar. “We know that he’s always around in the dark – he’s the Night God.”

“Thanks for stating the obvious.” I smirked over at him and snatched the napkin. “Far, far away from here, he’s nothing but a hare,” I continued.

Valerio sighed. “Are we thinking far away as thousands of miles or lightyears?”

“In space?”

Valerio nodded. I scrunched my brows together. “I don’t know honestly. I would assume that it doesn’t mean in space. He has an agenda here.”

Honestly, I was hoping it was here too, but darkness was everywhere. I couldn’t even think on that large of a scale right now. I was tired, drunk, and ready to catch Aeron as soon as possible.

The bartender came over and took my empty glass, replacing it with another one. I gazed around the room.

“Hare?” Valerio pulled out his phone and typed something. “According to this myth website, hares are clever, selfish, unreliable…” His gaze moved down the page. “Hard to catch.”

“Couldn’t describe him better.” I laughed, trying to think lightheartedly. But something wasn’t right. Aeron was clever, selfish, unreliable, and a hard catch.

But he was also incredibly intelligent and someone who thought ahead. If he wanted to kill me earlier, he could’ve. He had multiple chances when him and I were alone. Why didn’t he try then?

We needed to be ready for anything. We couldn’t be taken aback by any other surprises.

“Dark as day, light as night,” Valerio continued, looking intently at the napkin. I almost laughed at how hard he was trying to ignore the alcohol in his system and think. “Where is it ever dark during the day and light at night?”

The bartender came over. “Eclipse?” He smiled sweetly at us as we stared at him. Was he listening to our conversation? He held up Valerio’s glass. “Do you want another Eclipse?

Valerio paused, but then shook his head. “No, no… I’m good.” When the bartender left, Valerio looked over at me. “During an eclipse, its dark in the day, and the night of the eclipse the Moon is one of the brightest.”

“So, we wait for an eclipse to find him? How is that going to even work?”

Valerio’s face lit up and suddenly he stood. “We don’t wait for it to happen. We make it happen.”

I raised my brows. “And how do you expect to do that?”

“You’re the Moon Goddess. You can do anything,” he said, then smirked. Okay, he was definitely a bit drunk now. “And Ayodele has connections.”

“Connections?”

“To the Sun.”

A/N

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