The After Effects

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A Third?

My heels clicked down the pristine hallway as Harper hummed at my side, her ponytail swishing from side to side as she skipped alongside me.

Although it was the weekend, there was never a dull moment around here and right when Harper and I decided to pay Ragnar a visit, the King had other plans as one of his guards intercepted our path, requesting that we present ourselves in the throne room immediately.

I instantly regretted bringing Harper with when the doors to the throne room opened.

Her humming came to an abrupt halt and her skipping turned into shaking behind me when she saw the huge figure standing between two castle guards.

From the back view, it was obvious that a Viking stood before the King. The massive size of his muscles and back gave his heritage away. Surprisingly though, he didn’t have the characteristic long hair like most Viking men. His black hair was cut short and unnatural from the usual blonde hair that Viking men had.

Harper let out a shriek as her arms flung around me from behind and she crushed herself to my back. Her little noise drew the attention to us.

“Acer.” The King nodded, a cruel smile gracing his face. I always felt a bit of whiplash when King Samuel was forced to put on his sadistic mask.

My eyes moved from the King to the male figure and I watched the back of the Viking, how every muscle in his body tensed.

It’s funny how the roles switch... In the wild, the Vikings rule and they don’t fear anything or anybody. But in this throne room, and by his self, the Viking knew that I was the top predator.

My eyes flicked to Locke who was standing to the side of the Kings raised podium. Soren leaned against a pillar not too far from the main action, watching everyone in the room intently.

“King Samuel.” I nodded my chin respectfully.

I took slow steps, allowing Harper to remain hiding and shaking behind me, as I walked to the King and turned to face the Viking.

I met amethyst eyes that showed no emotions, even as they traveled up and down my body, pausing on the little arms wrapped around my waist.

“Who’s the guest?” I asked the King, my voice slithered with venom as I eyed the Viking.

“Some of my men found him in the Forest." From the emphasis he put on Forest I knew that he meant the Black Forest. My Forest.

“And?” I looked over my shoulder to the King, my brow tilted in question.

“He was alone, ca-”

“You’re men found me in my camp.” The Viking suddenly boomed, his amethyst eyes glinted with someone close to violence as he glared at the King.

If he wasn’t a Viking, I might be inclined to enjoy his company and attitude. I mused as I watched the male.

Harper let out a cry when the Viking spoke, her shaking turned to trembling and her arms tightened almost painfully around me.

I turned to Soren, who was wearing a black cloak, though the hood was off. Motioning him to take the cloak off, I was thankful that he handed it to me. I slipped the cloak on, and adjusted Harper so she was tucked into my side so I could rub her back while I figured out who this male was.

“And yet you didn’t fight them... Why is that?” The King asked, intrigue coating his words.

“I need to speak with you... in private.” His eyes flicked around to all the guards.

The King sighed, seeming to be debating the Vikings request. The King’s eyes briefly flicked to me, saying unspoken words.

As the King stalled for me, I turned to Harper and whispered to her. “I have to protect you and I need you to go to Locke... Can you do that?” Gray eyes full of unshed tears met my eyes before she gave me a soft nod.

Relief flooded through me as I realized that she trusted Locke enough. I looked over her little trembling body to meet Locke’s eyes. With a slight nod from me, he came over and picked her up, tucking her head into his shoulder as he went back to standing next to the King.

Free to move and ready for whatever, the King dismissed his guards. Everyone but Soren, Locke, The King, and I stood before the Viking.

The amethyst eyes flicked to me again, an emotion I couldn’t really recognize shone in his eyes for mere seconds before he went stone face again.

“What’s your name?” The King asked the male as he stood up, no longer being pushed down by the guards.

“Rorek.” The male’s baritone voice had me focusing completely on him, though I knew every time he spoke, Harper was pushed into a horrible memory.

As much as I wanted Locke to take her out of here, I know she needed the security of him and me more than she needed space.

“What was so important that you willingly were kidnapped?” The King asked.

Which made the male scoff. “I wasn’t kidnapped... I asked to be escorted here because either way, I needed to speak with you.” Each word was spit with venom and it took everything in me to not smirk at the male’s attitude.

“Well... On with it then.” The King waved a hand at the male, making his jaw grind at the dismissal.

“I’m..” Amethyst eyes bounced around the huge throne room, checking if we were along. “One of you.” The male ground out his words as he looked back up to the King and briefly to Soren. “And I need your help.”

Soren pushed off the pillar he had been leaning against and circled around the male, breathing deep. “I don’t smell your dragon.” Soren sneered at the Viking.

“That’s why I need your help... He disappeared.” The male seemed ashamed at his admission, his head bowing slightly as he spoke.

“What caused it?” The King asked, leaving his comfy throat so he could be closer to the male.

With the male’s head down, I was able to fully check out the stunning male. Like Soren and the King, the Viking was extremely good looking. His night-black hair and amethyst eyes were a good match. He stood taller than everyone in the room. His broad shoulders gave him his massive appearance. He was also the biggest male I’ve seen since my arena battles, he looked as if he lifted trees for fun as his body was heavily muscled and barely covered by the thin white shirt and jeans currently strapped to him.

Although I was supposed to be on high alert, ensuring the male didn’t kill the King or Prince, I couldn’t help my wandering eyes. This is a sexy man. I decided as I checked him out one last time.

“I was part of the North after the Merge, unwillingly.” The male added the last bit in a hurry. “I don’t support what they do and I didn’t want to be a part of it... But I didn’t have a choice... If those Fae bastards ever knew what I was, they would’ve killed me on sight.” Rorek explained. “A week ago, they made me... they made me do something against my will and he left me. I haven’t heard from him since and I can’t shift.” Rorek’s eyes met the King’s. “Please help me... I can’t live without my other half.”

Pity cracked at my heart as I thought about what he was going through. That must be horrible.

“We’ll try our best son... But you’d be careful to mind yourself, in case your other half comes back and starts feeling territorial.” The King gave Rorek a nod, trusting and accepting the male into the castle.

Soren met my eyes as if to say, I’m not sure about this.

I gave a little nod, as if in agreement. Luckily Locke was put on dragon guest duty, so after giving me back Harper he took the male away and to wherever his room was to be.

Harper was asleep when Locke gave her to me, so I propped her on my hip and set her head on my shoulder, allowing her to sleep as The King, Soren, and I talked.

“We're not the last?” Soren asked his father, hesitation evident in his voice.

The King nodded. “It would appear so, if we can get his dragon back our species might just stand a chance at reproducing, that is if you both find your mates.” A look was shared between the two.

“Mates?” I asked, swaying while I held Harper.

The King sighed as he faced me, “Every shifter has one. It’s like a soul mate for humans, but there’s an actual bond between mates. Dragons can only reproduce with their mates, hence why our species has almost gone extinct, many were never able to find their mates.” The King explained.

“That’s horrible.” I sighed.

They nodded in agreement before we all went our separate ways, all of us deep in thought about the new guest.

Never a dull moment around here... That's for sure.

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