“Sometimes you need to burn bridges to stop yourself from crossing over them again,”
The plane comes to a stop and I rub my eyes, still tired despite being able to sleep whilst Roman worked on the plane for a couple hours of the flight. After the night before my body couldn’t resist the urge to try and fall asleep although my mind woke me up in intervals, like it stopped night terrors arising before they even appeared as a thought.
Our arrival fell in the dead of night, which also pleased me because it meant that there would be no formal entry to the pack, no hand shaking or cameras or any of that. Part of me thinks Roman planned that in advance, knowing full well that putting me in front of a live camera is a risky move. Which is as annoying as it seems however I can’t say it was the wrong move. If I were given a voice, unfiltered for all ears-wolf and human alike- to hear… I might just let a few things slip that Roman wouldn’t approve of.
When we stepped out into the cool crisp air I had no idea where we were in Asia, nor did I have the time to ask as Roman was constantly talking to someone, on the phone to security details, discussing with the grey uniformed generals who were our only greeters upon arrival. Their ethnicities didn’t prove a giveaway either, I thought that perhaps if there were human workers visible I may be able to discern something but it was pitch black and those who I could see were from different places across the wide scape of Asia. We went from the plane to the car to the palace and the tinted windows of the sleek limousine offered no significant landmarks for me to note either.
It occurred to me that maybe we were entering somewhere hidden, like Roman’s ancient castle secured by magic or logic in the forest of somewhere in Northern America and the thought made me more anxious. If not for the fact that I was utterly unknowing of my surroundings then for the fact that it struck me I didn’t actually know where to pin point the place Roman wanted me to call home on a map. It also struck me that I might never know.
As the car rolled through the night I could’ve surpassed Tiananmen Square or the Taj Mahal or The Enchanted Kingdom… anywhere. I could be in outer space and it wouldn’t make a difference because when you are in a position like mine you only know the information you avidly seek.
“I don’t care how long it takes you, I don’t care if you work yourself to death. I want those papers in my office first thing tomorrow morning and if you can’t do your job properly then I’ll find someone who will!” I glance over at Roman as he continues growling into the phone from the large bed I just cleared more rose pedals off. His muscled back, bare underneath the moonlight glimmers as he grips the phone tightly and paces on the balcony.
Our only view is lights of a bustling city and from the sea of lights below I gage we are in a high rise of some sort. I haven’t been in a city for five years and its my understanding that most of the ones that still stand look completely different. A few of my clients that were able to travel due to work in the sectors mentioned how clean everything was now, brighter, better.
I wonder just how different things are over here in Asia, if people were treated the same as before or if they too had lives under their leaders like I did. Truth is, I don’t know. Based on the need for reforms one can only presume that the current situation for humans wasn’t ideal but Asia is a large place. Like Europe and South America, there are multiple countries and I’d wager that made things a lot different when it came to taking over. Perhaps Roman struck gold when he only had two government bodies to effectively overrun.
“Tell Elijah that I want a full security detailing over here within the next three days. Akeno is gone, the Alpha’s are all testy and our Luna has already been subjected to attacks. Nicholas is going to be well aware of our presence here, the whole damn world is and I am not taking any chances. Michika is young and untested, not to mention the death of his parents could change a lot of things. I want my best warriors here and that is final,” Roman growls into the phone and I place the book of history gifted to me by the Alpha aside on the table.
There is only limited information I can actually retrieve from the ancient scriptures, most of which are re-tellings accounted by humans or legends of the great Alphas to have ruled. I also managed to learn that the Alpha King once had a sister, a twin born after him before the death and destruction of his pack.
Her life ended of old age after meeting the then Alpha Superior of the New Moon packs, the extremely great-grandfather of Roman. It helped explain his lineage to the throne but when I delved further into the book to find more on the story I was met with that ancient language, foreign to my eyes.
The balcony door slides closed and I glance over to Roman who gives me a small smile. “Are you ready to go to sleep?” He asks, before twisting the lock on the sliding door and stretching.
“Are you?” I counter with raised brows and he chuckles.
“I am putting my phone on silent. If anyone needs to contact me that urgently then they’ll mind link me,” he says before moving around to his side of the bed. “We can watch a movie if you want?”
I look over at the plasma screen on the wall opposite us and shake my head. “Actually I was wondering where we are, like in Asia,” I ask and he smiles.
“We are in China as of now. The Superior family has many homesteads across Asia and their headquarters is ever changing but this one in particular is where Akeno and Tsuki met and it is where they wished their funeral to be held.” China. I never imagined travelling to another country when I was younger but I always thought that if I did the circumstances would be much different. This isn’t exactly idle tourism, after all.
“On the phone you mentioned the new Alpha Superior… Michika? Does he have a Luna already?” I ask and a chuckle escapes past his lips.
“Listening in were we?” He asks and I scoff.
“It wasn’t exactly in my control, you basically yelled it.” He chuckles again and the way his body shakes with the small slither of happiness is difficult to not focus on.
“Michika is unmated. Now that he has been handed his title I’m guessing he will begin to search for his mate,” he says and I lean back into the headboard.
“You obviously didn’t search for your mate, when you first came to power,” I point out and his smile falters slightly.
“I didn’t have much time on my hands, not with the orders for takeover pressing down. But I did search for you though, I held galas and attended every wolf gathering that would have people in my age bracket for mating but I never thought I’d be paired to a human. Chances are Michika won’t either, though if he is without a mate for too long I suppose he’ll start broadening his search,” he says and it unsettles me. All those years where I lived in relative fear I should have been quaking. Looking for me. I was being hunted down and I had no clue, an unsuspecting deer falling victim to a wolf with a taste for blood.
“There was something in the book the King gave me that I wanted to read but it’s in that language. I was wondering if you’d translate it for me-just the title even and then I can get the rest done by someone maybe?” I ask, I didn’t expect myself to be nervous in asking but what I’d seen… it gave me a shred of curiosity that I couldn’t write let go of.
Roman turned in the bed and slid under the covers, nodding, “Sure, I’ve got no problem with that,”
I flash him a smile and retrieve the book from my bedside, flipping over to the bookmarked page sporting that ancient language but also an image. Its the only image in the entire book of a wolf in mid-shift, agony covering their faces as the shadowed human side of itself peels away. I show Roman the book and his eyes scan over the image first before I watch as he reads over the words.
His body tenses, ever so slightly and I would’ve missed it had I not felt it. Felt a slight shift in the air-through our bond. “Its about the first shift of a were,” he says, smooth, convincingly but I can’t look over his initial reaction.
“Is it?” I press and he nods, grimacing ever so slightly.
“Yes. The first shift of a wolf is a very painful experience, one I thank the goddess you never endured. The title here see-” he points at the title, formed in jagged markings, “This translates to bloody moon. It is a reference to the blood a teen sheds when moving into their second skin. It actually says moon bloody but there’s a lot to understand when reading this language. It’s not very straightforward I’m afraid,” he chuckles and my hope diminishes a tad.
“Oh,” I comment and he closes the book, passing it back to me.
“What interested you in that page anyway?” He asks innocently as he throws a decorative pillow behind him to the ground, his muscles still tense.
“The photo seemed interesting,” I say and he nods knowingly, “I’ll start up those lessons with Madam Regina when we return anyway, if they are purely about the language and not any of that other nonsense,” I comment and he laughs, drawing in a breath through clenched teeth.
“That’s a conversation I’m not looking forward too,” he laughs and I give him a small smile in return, throwing away the unnecessary pillows from my side of the bed as well. “You shouldn’t worry anyway, there’ll be plenty of time to get learn the language and history in the future,” he comments dismissively and I give him a tight smile before he turns the light off.
It might just be me, but I sensed as he snaked his arm around my waist, tighter than usual that he wants that day to stay as far away in the future as possible.
“I say we host a banquet tonight, in honour of our guests. Nothing too large of course but something to show our appreciation for your early arrival in these truly trying times.” My eyes train on the woman sat two seats from the now Alpha Superior Michika, the Beta female giving a us polite smile almost as radiant as her.
Her mate nods his head and the Alpha mimics this, taking a bite of bacon instead of verbalising his answer. “I could take you to try some dresses, Luna, it’ll only be around ten of us but there’s no harm in dressing nice for the occasion wouldn’t you say?” She asks me and I stare wide-eyed, still enthralled in her sheer beauty. She is of Indian descent but shows no hint of the accent, her words falling off a tongue that is foreign to anything I know of.
“That sounds… great,” I say, although it doesn’t-not really. I’m just trying not to be rude to a woman who is only offering kindness.
“Of course the Alpha and yourself are busy with all the wonderful plans my mate informed me of, so just have your people contact me a time that would be suitable. But I must say, Luna Maeve, that I am very impressed with the mark you are leaving for us female leaders, it’s always inspiring to see,” she smiles up at her mate who’s hard face cracks at the sight.
I’m more than thankful for her presence regardless, Adhira has been the only one out of the three wolves sat opposite the breakfast table to try and make genuine conversation. Michika just looks miserable and Roman has been observing him since the moment we walked in the room. He told me that after the loss of a parent, wolves feel mourning on an extremely high level but I can tell from the hard look he gives him that he is going to try and change that.
There isn’t any time to mope when the world could be on the brink of war. It’s worse that he is without a mate according to Roman but even I can tell he needs to get a footing on his leadership soon.
“Thank you,” I reply and she grins widely.
Roman wipes his mouth with a napkin and places it on the table beside his empty plate, “Well we’d love to stay but the Luna and I must attend to our own duties this morning. I’ll be in your office around lunch to discuss some things Alpha Michika,” Roman announces and I note the way Michika flinches at the word Alpha.
“Until then,” Michika replies in perfect English and I rise from the table with Roman, giving them all a small nod and waving to Adhira before exiting into the hall where two escorts meet us.
“Was it just me or was that tense as hell?” I ask, dismissing how Roman tenses at the cuss word as it leaves my lips. He has adapted to my way of speaking, but it still mildly bothers the ancient part of him.
“The young man is in mourning but I agree that he presented a tense welcoming. I’m glad I have a few days before the King arrives because that type of hospitality would not have gone under his radar. Akeno was a firm man and perhaps he trained his softer than I but I know he would want his son to show a strong front at his first show of leadership with the other Alphas,” he says and I nod as we turn down another hall.
“Have they assigned us an office area yet? I am supposed to be revising some notes this morning and I have a few phone calls to make,” I ask and he nods.
“They have, we can head straight there if you’d like,” he offers.
“Yeah I don’t see why not. And I’m not exactly sure how I am going to get out of that whole dress shopping thing now that I’ve committed to it,” I mummer and he laughs.
“The option to say no wasn’t exactly there. If you really don’t want to then just let them know… I dunno just make something about dresses up?” He suggests and I roll my eyes.
“Your expertise is really helpful, thanks,” I mock and he laughs again.
“Look, it’ll probably only last an hour at most and you might make a good friend out if it. I’d love to have you all to myself but making some new connections could be fun,” he says and I don’t know what to say back to that because the mere idea of me forming any kind of connection with people here alludes to my compliance with this whole situation, something I don’t want to confront.
Luckily, we enter the office before he I get the chance to and it is similar to the one we held in France, except larger… and lined with warriors who look lethal enough to rip me straight in half.
I turn to Roman and widen my eyes but his focus doesn’t drift my way, the mirth on his face completely wiped off and replaced with a tough exterior. I run my eyes over the wolves and notice a few familiar faces, the most notable being the member of my Umbra who halted my escape.
That same wolf, hair cropped in a buzz cut steps forwards and addresses Roman with an ice cold tone, “Alpha Superior we apologise for our late arrival and Beta Superior Elijah sends his regards.”
“Where are the rest of the deployment?” Roman responds, his voice deep and full of command.
“They are residing in their assigned barracks, Alpha. Beta Elijah sent the security detailing plan through to you last night for you to look over and should you feel the need to change anything I can call extra men up promptly,” he answers, his spine straight and face hard, just like all the other warriors.
“Let them rest for the morning but I want all soldiers who aren’t being put on duty to be keeping up with a strict trining regiment. I want to have someone be able to tell me where all the other Alpha Superiors are at any given point during the next few weeks and I want it to be inconspicuous. Am I clear?” He asks and the scheming stakes a nerve but I bite my tongue, still peering at Roman with annoyance.
“Yes Alpha, I’ll have someone on that right away.”
Roman nods and his hand grips mine. “Good. That’s all I’ll be needing for now so you may resume your positions outside of this office but remember the message relayed to you before your deployment. If any one of you breaks from your duty there will be severe punishment.”
A chill runs down my spine as Roman growls out the words and I nearly flinch at the implication. Breaks from your duty… these men are mainly here for me. For my protection or to keep me trapped I’m not sure. Probably both.
The men nod in union and file from the room, closing the door as I break from Roman’s grasp. His head jerks to where our hands once connected and he furrows his brows. “What?” He asks and I just roll my eyes, clenching my jaw as I move to stand behind my desk.
“What is it Maeve?” He asks again and let out a huff.
“I just don’t like the idea of being constantly watched,” I answer and I sense his agitation grow.
“I’m trying to keep you safe,” he growls and I narrow my eyes, the deep rumble emitting from his chest making my stomach twist.
“Don’t growl at me.” I snap and his glower falters at my command but doesn’t leave. “I get why you are doing it and why your not going to change your mind it just annoys me. The idea of having even more people smother me might be something I have to deal with but it doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it,” I bite back and he clenches his jaw.
“I’m not smothering you, Maeve. I’m keeping you safe, protecting you like any mate would the least you could do is show a bit of gratitude,” he counters and I scoff, folding my arms in front of my chest.
“So keeping me under the constant eyes of either your watch dogs or you isn’t smothering?” I counter and he narrows his eyes.
“No, it’s not. You have been hell bent on getting yourself killed since the moment I met you and I’m doing my best to limit the amount of times I need to save you from yourself,” he counters, his chest still reverberating with his anger.
“Your not some hero, Roman,” I let out a loose laugh, “what do you want me to do? Grovel on my knees and beg your forgiveness?”
His eyes darken, swirling with what I can only point as lust and my lip raises in a snarl. “Really Roman? You’re really going to get horny right now?” The look vanishes from his face like I poured cold water on him and he matches my snarl.
“If you don’t like my reaction then I’d suggest not putting the image of you kneeling anywhere near my mind. You might not enjoy being under watch but it’s going to happen whether you like it or not. I’m under watch too, Maeve and those men out there are here to serve us both,” he counters and I bite my tongue.
“Its not going to be like this forever Mae,” he says, softer this time, “when this threat is gone and I can trust without a doubt that your life isn’t in danger things will be different. All those men out there want is to help you, it is in their blood so just let them, and when this whole thing is behind us we can rethink things,” he says but I the word we doesn’t settle well with me.
We aren’t making any decisions. He is. And if its for my safety then maybe that’s the best but it doesn’t change how suffocated I feel, how suffocated I’ll probably feel forever if things don’t change because I can’t count that they will. Roman won’t ever trust me, not fully. Even in a world where hunters and Alpha Nicholas aren’t attempting to kill me there will always be some kind of threat, Some reason for Roman to not let me wander outside the walls of the palace without a watchful eye.
“I’ve got to go, Alpha Michika will be waiting on me,” he says lowly and I nod, even though I know he isn’t expected with the Alpha for another few hours.
“Bye,” I reply, my voice distant and he doesn’t spare me a glance as he stalks from the room and closes the door firmly behind him. I hear him mummer a harsh command to the men outside my room and it doesn’t take much for me to figure out what message he is relaying.
I frown deeply and let out a harsh breath just as the phone rings and my first task for the day arrives just in time for me to move my mind outside of the walls that trap me.
“Luna? Are you finished in there?” I clench my teeth at the guards question.
“Almost,” I reply and am met with silence. It’s almost a slap in the face in and of itself to have the guard that prevented me from escaping leading the Umbra. To be fair to his irritating pressing, I have been holed up in this dressing room for a while, if not for trying to figure out how the hell to put on this complicated dress then to buy a moment of alone time.
I fix up the hanging pice of lace that is either meant to be hanging loosely over my shoulder or tucked in somewhere and slide the curtains open, strolling into the fitting room that adjoins to where Adhira is currently browsing top end dresses.
“Its Simon right?” I comment to that same guard, one of the Betas cousins though I cannot remember which and he narrows his eyes. He has grown stronger, his thick muscles and hardened demeanour evidence enough that he is no longer a recruit in training.
“Sam,” he corrects and I raise my brows, nodding.
“Right, Sam. Well I suppose since I am going to be spending a whole lot more time with you it’d be an idea to get to know you,” I say and his folded arms tense, his eyes flashing with pride before smouldering over in roughness.
“We are under orders to not converse with you outside of a certain jurisdiction,” he says firmly and I scoff.
“Of course you are,” I quip. He clenches his jaw but doesn’t respond and I take my leave, moving into the room where Adhira is currently sitting on a large chair inspecting jewels.
Her head shoots up to me and she gasps. “Oh my, I think that this is the one. How gorgeous!” She exclaims, her teeth glistening in a wide smile.
I turn around and look at the dress in the large mirror that spans the length of the wall. She is right, it is a gorgeous dress, too beautiful almost. The soft blue accents that wrap around my skin in layers of thin fabric and flow out into a sea of deeper blues in a flowing trail make me look like I’ve risen from the ocean itself. It’s stunning.
“I bet the Alpha Superior Roman won’t be able to keep his eyes off you wearing that!” She says with a suggestive laugh and I look back in the mirror, at the sheer look of the gown and imagine Romans hands roving over my body, staking his claim and pulling me tight against him in the presence of others.
“I think I’ll try on something else,” I comment and I don’t give her the chance to retort as I walk back into the dressing room, feeling Sam’s eyes follow me the entire way there.
I spent the whole day writing, reading and editing? You proud? You should be coz I know quiteee a few of my teachers certainly aint. Lol I dunno things have just been really weird lately and it aint covid. Everything is just strange and the future looks seriously uncertain. Ew I don’t know y im ranting on here about it but HEY all this inner conflict shit is pretty good writing inspo!
Also I ended up getting twitter but im not gonna make that all public til I figure out how the hell to use it and even then… I dunno BUT SOMEONE FOLLOWED ME bro this is a strange a/n, guess im a strange person, but HOW ???