The Rise

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Chapter Thirty

Nakida appeared in the doorway with a smile on her face. “Moon Goddess, can I speak with you alone?”

I nodded to Valerio, and he left the room. We gazed at each other for a few moments, waiting for Valerio to walk down the stairs, then she parted her lips.

But before she could say anything, someone from downstairs said, “Where is she? Where is Mae?”

Nakida stood, immediately recognizing the voice as Vihaan. I pressed my lips together and walked to my office door. I opened it, immediately hearing a struggle downstairs - a vase breaking, chairs behind pushed around, Protectors yelling.

Nakida pushed past me, racing down the stairs, her ears back slightly. I followed after her, wondering what was happening.

Downstairs, Valerio held Vihaan by the collar. “Settle down,” he ordered. Vihaan continued to try to peel Valerio’s hands off of him.

Nakida shrieked and threw her hands up in the air. “Valerio! Put him down! You’re hurting him.”

Valerio clenched his jaw. “Not until he calms down.”

Nakida began to run over to him. They were mates, but this little thing going on between them was getting on my nerves for all the wrong reasons. She was obsessed - obsessed with him. She seemed to not even think for or about herself anymore.

I growled. “Nakida, stop.”

She stopped immediately, whimpering. “But, Moon Goddess-”

I don’t want to hear it,” I seethed through the mindlink. “Your mate needs to calm down or he’ll hurt someone.” I took a deep breath and walked to Valerio.

When Vihaan saw me, he sighed in relief. “Oh, thank God, you’re safe!” He stopped fighting Valerio a deep frown on his face. “He-He has it.”

“Who has what?”

“Aeron…” He pointed to the door. “He… he has the skull.”

My eyes widened. “What?!” I ordered Valerio to release him.

Vihaan took a deep breath, shaking his head. “My office was destroyed when I got in. Papers everywhere. My floors were torn to shreds. When I looked for the skull to make sure it was still there, it was gone.”

I gazed at the other Protectors in the room. “Make sure nobody leaves.”

When I turned back to Vihaan and Nakida, Vihaan stepped forward. “Are you going to the warehouse? I can come with you.”

I shook my head. “No,” I said between clenched teeth. “We need to keep you safe.”

Before he could say something else, I grabbed Valerio’s hand and transported us to Vihaan’s office.

Floorboards were pulled up, bent back, and shredded. Papers and documents were scattered around the room. The desk was flipped onto its side. His safe was open, everything fully intact.

I hurried to the floorboard where the skull had been hidden. I wasn’t expecting it to be there and it wasn’t, but the thought of Aeron taking it was tearing me apart inside.

It didn’t make sense. How did he find this place? Was the skull that strong that it attracted him?

I didn’t think it was.

Aeron was getting weaker without it, which meant that it would be more difficult for him to find it. And, I never, never spoke about this place to him. He would’ve had to search every single other place of importance to me before searching here.

Aeron didn’t even try to search my pack. He came directly here.

I searched around the office for any clues, while Valerio searched the axe-throwing lanes. When I was finished, I had one conclusion as to how this could’ve happened.

Valerio stood at the door, arms crossed over his chest. “Aeron didn’t do this.”

“I know.”

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