The Rise

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Chapter Forty-Nine

“That’s bullshit.” I crossed my arms over my chest.

“It’s the truth!” Aeron said behind the bars of my prison. When Damon died, I ordered some Protectors to create a special cell that would stop Aeron from using his abilities within it--just in case we captured him. “Why would I lie to you?” he asked.

I narrowed my eyes. “I don’t know. You lied to me about being my father. You flirted with me - told me to come to bed with you. You killed my lover and are using my best friend to kill and drain innocent wolves. You tried to fucking kill me Aeron. You betray me time and time again. So, I don’t know why you fucking lie to me, but I’m not falling for anything that passes between your damn lips, not even those riddles.”

“I’m trying to protect you!” Aeron said again. “You don’t know how dangerous she is.”

“He’s stalling,” Sun said, her eyes burning brightly into the holding cell. “He’s always stalling.”

Aeron raddled the cage and pointed a finger at her. “Don’t fucking lie just because you hate me.”

Sun laughed. “You think I hate you? Darling, you hate me.” She rolled her eyes. “You have since we met.”

Aeron took a few deep breaths and looked at me. “Mae, daughte-”

“Don’t you dare call me that. After all of this, don’t use that card on me. You’re not my father.”

“I am trying to protect you from her.”

“By trying to kill me?” I asked, pressing my lips together. “Huh? Is that protecting me?!”

Aeron took a deep breath, his eyes falling for a moment. “I’m sorry.”

I was about to scream at him again, but I paused. He was apologizing? I never thought I would hear those words come from him. “You have a lot to apologize for, Aeron. You need to be more specific.”

“For it all. For killing Damon. For trying to kill you. For not respecting you enough to tell you about her true identity.” He looked up at me, almost with light in his eyes. “I’ve been trying to keep her away from you, Mae, but I can’t stop her anymore. She’s too strong.”

“Where is she getting this strength?” I asked.

“From draining the pups. She takes their souls.”

“Where do you get the strength to keep up with her?” Valerio said from behind me.

“Well… I did get it from the skull before you took it from me.”

I retrieved the skull from the other room and held it in front of the cell. “What happens if I accidentally drop it? If it shatters into a million pieces and turns to dust?”

“Don’t you dare.”

From the most brittle piece of the skull, I held it between my fingers. “What if it happens, Aeron? What happens to you?”

“I shatter into a million pieces, Mae. I turn to dust.”

I laughed and looked at Valerio. “Would that be that bad?”

Sure, I wished he could suffer for all of his wrong doings, but things would be so much easier if he was dead. He didn’t deserve to live. He took too many lives from too many people.

“Mae, please,” he begged. “Please, I’ll do anything.”

I pulled a chair next to the cell and sat in it, placing the skull in my lap. “Tell me about her.”

“She’s strong, Mae. Stronger than you’ll ever be.”

I raised a brow. “Wrong answer.” I broke a piece off of the jaw on the skull and let it fall and shatter on the ground.

Aeron shrieked and grabbed onto the bars. The right side of his jaw slowly turned to dust. He slapped his hand over it, trying to hold it together. “Mae...” he warned.

“Answer Aeron,” I said. “Or the next time it’ll be a bigger piece.”

He pressed his lips together and swore under his breath. “She jumps from body to body. She has been for thousands of years.”

“Why?”

“Hers was destroyed by a wolf - one of your wolves.”

I pressed my lips together. “A true divine couldn’t be destroyed by any creature that’s not a divine.”

“She was destroyed by the black wolf that you hold in your palm.”

“Why?”

“I don’t kno-” He stopped as I grasped another piece of the skull and dared to pull it off. “They got into a stupid fight. She is Mother Nature, goddess of natural life. She was born to protect it. When Selene had the power of both the light and the dark, she was controlled by the darkness more than the light. And that darkness led her to become obsessed with her creatures ruling the world. She tried to take over everything, even ordered her wolves to kill her.”

I took a deep breath. “She was the only other person to use our true form,” I said. This must be the reason why.

“I was Selene’s brother, so I took th-”

“You’re all kinds of fucked up, aren’t you?” First his daughters, now his sister.

“It was a different time back then, Mae.”

“Well, you obviously haven’t figured that out since you’ve been flirting with your own daughter in our current time.”

“Let me finish,” he said. “I took the power of the night from Selene because I didn’t want to see her suffer and then I had to kill her because she was too far gone. Our daughter was still a child so she didn’t understand what had happened. Naturally, she absorbed the Moon from her mother.”

Valerio leaned closer to me. “When this is all over, I’m taking us both out for a goddamn drink.”

“I think I’m going to need more than that,” I said, gazing over at Aeron. “Where can I find her?”

“Listen, Mae, she has gotten so much stronger than she was over the hundreds of centuries. You need me to help you defeat her.”

I furrowed my eyebrows and stood. “Your story is extremely touching, Aeron, especially the part when you told me that you’ve fucked your daughters.” I stood and walked around my chair. “But the one thing I learned from your whole speech is that I don’t need you. We never did.”

He jumped up. “Mae.”

“Where is she?” I held out the skull in one hand.

“Damon’s pack,” he said. There were so many lies from him that I didn’t believe this one. “Let’s get her together.”

I smirked. “You took the Night away from Selene, you took our powers away from us.” The skull trembled in my hand. “And I’m going to take it back from you. We don’t need you anymore.”

In one swift movement, I release the skull from my hand. When it crashed onto the ground, a rush of excitement washed over me. Aeron’s body disintegrated right in front of me, leaving him in a pile of pure ash.

His soul - the darkness itself - hung in the air like Luca’s did and like Damon’s did. I opened the cell door and stepped in, allowing the darkness to drift around me. I might not be able to jump bodies, but I can absorb souls.

And this soul didn’t need a wound fill. I was that wound, and I knew it’d fill all of me.

I closed my eyes and breathed it in. The darkness filled every part of me. It seeped into my veins and pumped through my body. It was pure exhilaration.

My veins turned black. Small dark specs covered my body. I saw black. It felt so fucking good.

Suddenly, my mark burned much harsher than it ever had before. Valerio appeared in front of me, eyes wide, yelling something, but I couldn’t hear him. All I felt was the sweet feeling of death… and life. The Night Sky and My Moon. I was whole and stronger than I had ever been.

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