The Rise

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Chapter Two

Samuel and I walked back to the pack house, both lost in our own thoughts. A woman stood at the front door, and I easily recognized her as Ashur's mother. Ashur.

The two young pups that we saved were standing next to her. "Mae!" they screamed. They ran over to me. I scooped one into my arms. Samuel held the other.

"Hi, little one," I said, a hint of a smile on my face. She was so small in my arms; so cute. I could only imagine what it'd be like to have a pup with Damon. She'd have his smile, his laugh, his eyes. He'd love her more than anything in this entire world.

Maybe, one day. Hopefully, one day.

Ashur's mother approached us. "Moon Goddess. Alpha." She bowed. "I wanted to thank you again. You have saved my pup so many times. How could I ever repay you?"

I gently rubbed her arm. "You can repay me by enjoying every minute with these tiny munchkins." I lightly tickled the girl's belly, making her giggle.

"Hey, I am not a munthkin," the boy said, crossing his small arms over his chest.

"Sure, you are," Samuel said, tickling him too. He squirmed in his arms, trying not to laugh. Samuel gazed over at me, a twinkle of happiness in his eyes. It warmed my heart.

The woman looked at me again, brows pulled together. "Let me do something please." She paused. "We've all had it pretty rough these past few weeks. Why don't you and your Protector, Valerio, I think his name is, come over one night for dinner?"

Dinner. She wanted me to come over for dinner with Valerio. Just like in my vision.

"Uhm," I stuttered. What should I say? I didn't know if now was the right time, and I didn't want to tell her about the future, that her son's spirit would rise again, because what if I couldn't pull it off? How did – or how do I – put a spirit into another person's body and where the Hell do I even get a body? That body. That exact body I saw in my vision.

"Sure," I said. "But let's have dinner when everything settles down."

She nodded, her smile stretching from ear to ear. After a quick goodbye and promising the pups some ice cream when they got home, they all ran off. Samuel eyed me, his hands stuffed into his pockets. "What was that?"

"What do you mean?"

"You stuttered."

"I always stutter."

"No, you don't."

I turned away from him and walked into the pack house. "It's nothing." I brushed it off because I haven't told anyone about my vision. Not even Valerio. I couldn't risk getting everyone's hopes up that both Ashur and Damon could actually live again; I didn't want to get my hopes up either.

The possibility of seeing him again, hearing his laugh, seeing his smile. It was absolutely glorious. But it really wouldn't be his laugh or his smile; it'd be someone else's. He wouldn't be himself, would he? It'd just be his soul in someone else's soulless body.

Was it even possible? It could be years before I found a way. Who knew what could happen in that time.

"Mae, come on. You can tell me," Samuel said, now leaning against the counter. His fingers grazed against my elbow. "It's okay."

I shook my head. "No. No, I can't. When the time is right, I will tell you. But, right now, you need to rebuild your pack."

He pulled me into a hug, telling me that he'd always be there to listen. I didn't know what to say, so I just promised that I'd visit more often, then I left.

When I returned to the Protector's pack house, Nakida and Valerio were curled up on the couch. Valerio was lightly snoring, his arm curled around her waist. Nakida stared at him, a smile on her face.

"Moon Goddess," she whispered.

"Mae," I corrected.

She turned onto her side, so she was facing me. "I know we are extremely busy, but would it be okay if my family came to visit next week? I want to introduce you to my brother. He's a very good tracker and an expert in the history of divinities. I think he could be of help to us."

I smiled at her. "Of course, Nakida." I wondered if he knew the history of the moon and the night. Could he tell me about my powers and magic? What about souls? Hopefully. We needed all the help we could get.

After parting with her, I slipped out of the front door, wanting some fresh air. It was past midnight. The stars were sparkling in the sky – a sight I now resented. The darkness surrounded me and brought pain and bad memories. But it was a part of me now; it was the only way to feel alive. Darkness was my greatest enemy and my closest friend.

Guards watched me, extra carefully, as I walked into the forest. Some followed me, trying to be stealthy. Valerio probably ordered them to. He knew I'd been visiting the forest every night alone to think.

I took my usual route, walking through the thickest part of the woods, stepping over roots and dead vines. The moon gleamed through the trees. I stopped and gazed around at my forest. Even in the darkness, it looked so beautifu—

Two green eyes were staring at me through the trees, glowing brightly but from a distance. My heart raced. Green eyes. They looked so familiar, yet I couldn't place exactly where I'd seen them before.

They seemed out of place, hovering next to a big red oak tree. They definitely didn't belong to any of the Protectors. I was certain of that. And if this wasn't a Protector, then why was it on our property? How did it pass our guards?

I mind linked the guards on duty, making sure they were all still alive. They were.

Who was this?

The wolf – if it even was a wolf – continued to stare at me, unmoving. I gulped. Okay, just a little weird. I stepped forward, wanting to gage its reaction. The wolf turned and bolted in the opposite direction.

I found myself running after it, leaping over branches, pushing vines out of the way.

"Wolf is on the run, headed east. Stop him,"I said through the mind link to the guards. I pumped my legs harder, trying to keep up with his incredibly quick pace. He was faster than any wolf I had seen before. As I approached the big red oak, he seemed to disappear.

Swearing to myself, I gazed around in every direction, trying to find him. He was gone. All I could do was hope someone else stopped him. I tried the mind link, but everyone told me they didn't even catch a glimpse of the wolf.

Frustrated, I sighed. Who was it? Could it be Luca? Maybe, but Luca didn't have glowing green eyes. Could it be the divine? Yes, quite possibly.

I leaned against the oak when I saw a bunch of branches on the ground. They were deliberately set in a shape. I didn't know if it was a sign of friendship or a warning. My mind was buzzing with a million possibilities.

After scoping out the area to see if the wolf was still here, I took one last look at the branches.

A crescent moon.

A/N

Isn't Samuel a cutie?

Who is this wolf??

How is your day? Tell me something fun you did this weekend!

Warmly, Destiny <3

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