The Rise

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter Twenty-Two

“I have some news that you might enjoy,” Valerio said during our meeting.

“What is it?” I asked.

Nakida smiled widely. “He found someone who knows how to jump souls.”

“I think I found someone,” Valerio clarified. He met her gaze with a hard one, and she looked down at her lap. He wasn’t as angry as he had been toward her, but the hurt was still evident in his eyes.

In the past few days, they had said a few words to each other. Nakida never said or did anything rude to him, but I did feel like I had to protect Valerio. Valerio was strong, but he was also affected by the pull Nakida had toward Vihaan. And it didn’t help that she had been spending the majority of her time with him. She had even missed a meeting this morning, which was very much unlike her.

“I contacted her yesterday but am still waiting to hear back,” he continued, his voice much softer.

“How did you find her?”

“Ayodele and I did some research,” he confirmed.

“And where is Ayodele.”

The door to the room swung open and Aaisha and Ayodele walked in. “We here.” She placed a hand on her baby bump as she walked. Ayodele was trailing after her, holding her purse and a bag that smelt oddly like chicken wings.

She sat down next to me with a wide grin. “Sorry we’re late. We had some…” She wiggled her eyebrows at me. “...things we had to take care of.”

I rubbed the bridge of my nose and chuckled softly. Oh, Aaisha.

“So, what we got going on?”

Once we caught everyone up with Aeron’s surprise appearance on the mountain, we made plans to meet again next week when, hopefully, the doctors have done scans of everyone infected and have some idea of how to fix this. Until then, if we didn’t have any updates, there wasn’t much we could do besides stop the drainings and try to hunt down the Hunter.

When everyone stood to leave, I told Nakida to stay. Her brows were drawn together. “Is there something wrong, Moon Goddess?” She rubbed her palms together.

I shook my head and sat across from her. “Nothing is wrong.”

She pressed her lips together and took a deep breath. “What would you like to chat about?”

“Vihaan,” I said. She swallowed and gazed down at the table. “He’s your mate, I know.”

“You do?” Her eyes were wide.

I nodded. “I could tell right away.”

Nakida sat up, tears in her eyes. “I never wanted to hurt Valerio,” she whispered. “I-I just couldn’t stop the way I felt after seeing him for the first time after he rejected me.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “I thought that the feeling would be gone, but it was still there. Valerio has made me so happy, but I...I…”

Again, I nodded my head. “I know,” I whispered. “You feel connected to him, even after he rejected you. You feel like there is still a chance. You feel the love that was and that could be. I’ve felt that before.” I took her hands in mine. “Is Vihaan who you want to spend your life with?”

A tear slid down her cheek. “I-I don’t want to hurt Valerio.”

“Valerio is already hurting, Nakida.” I didn’t want to make her feel bad for choosing her mate, but it wasn’t healthy to hide the truth. “Being sad that the person you loved is choosing to be with her mate is totally okay. There is nothing wrong about him hurting right now as long as it’s not intentional.”

She shook her head. “No, no, it would never be intentional.” Tears began to flow faster than she could wipe them away. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I did this to him. I don’t want him to hurt.”

I rubbed small circles on her hand with my thumb. “He would hurt either way.”

Nakida took a few moments to herself before speaking. Her gaze stayed on the table as she did so. “This is the hardest decision of my life.” She met my gaze. “But I want Vihaan.”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Okay.” I grabbed her hand tighter. “I just need you and Valerio to be speaking and civil. We all need to be a team when this is going on, okay?”

She bowed her head. “Yes, of course. Nothing is more important than this team to me.”

A/N Read up to chapter 60 on Patreon now <3

Destiny Diess

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.