To Love

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Chapter 20

“We drink the poison our minds pour for us and wonder why we feel so sick.”

-Atticus

“The man that I met with at the meeting isn’t just another hunter,” I say, watching the Kings brow raise with curiosity. He hasn’t slipped into blind rage yet and I have a feeling it will hit him when he least expects it.

“The meeting to save your brother?” He asks and I nod. “How is he holding up? I’ve hardly heard a word regarding the captured rebel. Should I be concerned?” He asks, everything about him maintaining that aura of calm, making him all the more unnerving.

Roman and I both don’t respond to his question for a notable moment, giving him an answer all the same. “That’s up to you, but both Roman and I have taken more than enough precautionary measures to ensure nothing bad comes of what we know. Measures including informing you of course,” I reply and he waves his hand, encouraging me to continue. “The hunter was Carter’s father.”

The King looks somewhat stunned and lets out a dry laugh. “So the prisoner we have captured is also a hunter- I see that as a win for us, wouldn’t you? One less for us to eliminate,” he says and it makes my stomach churn. If his stance wasn’t clear before…

I shake my head. “That’s not the point. Carter isn’t a hunter yet, he hasn’t initiated his curse and he doesn’t plan on it either. He wants to help us,” I say and I can see my true aim slipping underneath the array of things I have to tell the man in front of me. Maybe it’ll soften the blow if I add more truths before telling him of Arthur Hunt’s existence.

Tiberius looks at Roman. “I’m sure your mate can agree with me when I reiterate the point I have made to you countless times, Luna. Hunters are not to be trusted, not ever.”

I gulp and Roman’s steely expression remains, not letting anyone catch light of his true feelings. “He has proved his worth and his allegiance,” Roman says, his voice sturdy, affirming my stance over his King’s.

“How so?” Tiberius asks, like he wants to be humoured.

“He has given us information about a military base that the hunters are storing their weapons in. Taking the base and destroying the weapons will aid us monumentally should this war progress as I am sure you can understand. Not only that, it will give us further insight to take down others and eliminate the threat of the rebels before it can grow any further. He has proved to be on our side in this battle and since his father shot him, his allegiance to their cause has become severely distanced,” Roman explains and it grabs the Kings interest, his attention now transfixed.

“His father shot him?” The King asks and I nod.

“He isn’t who we thought he was. Not even Carter knew if his identity until his father thought he’d die,” I say and the King’s brows furrow.

“And what is his identity?” He asks and I let out a shaky breath.

“He is the leader of the hunters,” I say, gulping. “Sir Arthur Hunt.”

I never thought I’d see the expression on the King’s face in my lifetime that I am currently staring at. His face, for a fleeting moment goes pale with shock before a grimace overtakes his face.

“What?” He grits out through his clenched teeth and Roman puts a hand on my knee, warning me.

“We figured it out not long after taking Carter with us and we had to verify it was true before bringing such information to you.” Roman says, purposefully drawing the King’s attention to himself.

“And you have the son of that man in your custody?” Tiberius asks and my heart sinks to the bottom of my stomach, understanding the intent behind the question loud and clear. He wants to kill him.

“I expected you to be more elated,” Roman says and I try to mask the confusion on my face as the words fall from his mouth. This isn’t following the plan we talked about and from the calm way Roman is acting, I can tell it is going according to how he wants.

“At the fact you are harbouring the offspring of the man who has systematically killed our kind for centuries?” The King asks, his eyes darkening, an action that makes me remember his inhuman side still exists.

“Precisely,” Roman says and my nerves become fully taut. His hand that rests on my leg doesn’t feel so comforting anymore and I consider his intentions. What if this was his plan all along? To hand Carter over to the King right in front of me? I don’t want to believe it but the King did just dish out a friendly reminder.

Arthur is quite possibly the number one enemy of wolves. The man who orchestrated the killings of countless of Romans people, including his family. It shouldn’t shock me at all.

“Though he is virtually useless as a barraging chip, he can still be helpful in many ways,” Roman says and I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s just made it clear that killing Carter or threatening to won’t help-which is true considering Arthur would only take it as a favour. “He has already been able to give us information that will help us in shifting the tide of whatever conflict might erupt and we’ve only talked to him over a matter of days. Our people have been trying to understand that man since he became a hunter-I’d imagine if anyone can give us useful insight it would be his offspring,” Roman says and the King’s lethal expression subdues somewhat.

“So you propose we keep him alive and extract the information from him?” The King says and I give him a shocked look. It doesn’t take a genius to know what extract means in his books.

“There isn’t a need for that,” I intervene, the rebuttal flying from my mouth before I can stop it. The King snaps his attention towards me and Romans grip on my leg tightens ever so slightly.

“Oh there isn’t?” He taunts. “I suppose you suggest we just ask nicely. Well I am going to ask you nicely, and just this once Luna to stay quiet unless spoken too. I can handle your unfortunate past with a male other than your mate… but to be tied to the family of Arthur Hunt? My faith in you is being tested with every lying breath you take and I suggest you take that as a warning because there’s no telling what I’ll do if pushed to my limit,” he says lowly, his voice full of raw power and a shiver runs down my spine.

His voice came out as a command but one that wasn’t laced with magic. Not that it changes a thing. I seal my lips shut and feel fear beginning to creep into my system once more. I am his subordinate, everyone is and I get that-but being put in my place isn’t a feeling I enjoy. Being reminded that I am less than is like a nuclear blow to my pride.

“We have certainty that the prisoner will work with us without the use of force but you are of course correct in having it as an option. For now our focus remain on taking over the base that he has given us details for and seeing what leads that presents.” Roman says, ignoring the blatant disrespect the King just showed his mate.

“So the prisoner is just happy to answer whatever questions we ask?” The King asks, leading into the idea of questioning him himself.

“Not exactly,” Roman says and the King shoots him a firm look. “We are to retrieve someone important to him in the mission-a human girl. He has made the deal to cooperate if we can guarantee her safety,” Roman explains and the King nods.

“Good. I want all the details of this little expedition sent to my desk within the next hour and that girl-whoever she may be, is to be left for me to deal with. Prisoners don’t make ultimatums, but since you were wise enough to give him that option, I’ll have to make some ultimatums of my own,” he says and it’s like a dagger to the heart.

Alani was supposed to come out of all of this safe. And now she won’t.

“The information we have will all be provided for you,” Roman assures and the King looks at me, his hard gaze not faltering at the expression on my face.

“Is there anything else you’d like to confess while I have you here? Now’s your chance,” he says to be and I fight the urge to cower because I am in this pack, whether I like it or not he is above my rank.

I shake my head, not breaking eye contact with him. “No.”

“Good,” he says, turning his attention back to Roman as he stands from his chair, clearly still incensed. “And I suggest you start rethinking the improvements your luna has decided to make to her role. Maybe if she was less concerned with appeasing pack criminals and working with our enemies you’d have an heir,” he says firmly and Roman nods, removing his hand from my thigh.

“Your advice will be taken into account,” Roman affirms and it takes everything I have to conceal my rage.

“I will be seeing the both of you soon I’m sure. In the meantime I suggest you start planning how you are going to defend your pack against Nicholas’ armada.

“Thank you your majesty,” Roman says with a nod and Tiberius doesn’t force me to acknowledge him, sparing my pride after his brutal attack as he leaves the room swiftly, his muscles tense.

The second the door slams I rise from my seat turning to Roman with narrowed eyes. “Taken into account?” I ask and he gives me an incredulous look, shaking his head.

“Of course not,” he says, rising from his own seat. “Tiberius needed to hear what he wants to hear, welcome to pack politics. He’ll likely cool off but it could be sometime, I knew he wouldn’t take it lightly but it was better this way than another-it’s his arch nemesis we are dealing with here.”

“Well it seems to me that Carter is no safer either way,” I rebut.

“Trust me, he is much safer this way. But you’re right, his life it still at risk so long as the King see’s him as a threat. All Carter needs to do now is work with us and if it isn’t by his own choice then the King will make him.”

“You can’t let him do that,” I say, beginning to panic at the prospect.

“I can’t stop him from doing anything, he’s the King, Mae. I will do everything in my power to keep him safe but we have issues bigger, our pack is under an imminent threat. I know your brother means a to to you but none of it is going to matter if Nicholas moves in on our land,” he says to me, clearly frustrated.

“If this pack is the strongest in the world then what does it matter? Surely they don’t pose that much of a threat,” I say and he shakes his head.

“That’s not the point. We may be stronger than they are but they have shown that they aren’t afraid to use alternate methods to achieve their goals. If they are already within our borders it might be a different fight than the one you envision,” he lets out a sigh, running his hands through his hair. “Besides, I don’t want their to be any casualties on our side if I can help it. If Nicholas is prepared to team up with hunters there is no telling the lengths he will go to to win. I’d never make it a point of war to target innocents but I say with certainty that our enemy has no trouble going there.”

“The King isn’t going to stop until he kills Arthur, is he?” I ask and Roman shakes his head.

“No, he most likely won’t. And I’m not about to stop him either, this might be the one chance we have to eliminate the threat of hunters for good and for the King who has been trying to do so for hundreds of years… he’s not going to pass up an opportunity like this,” he says and I can’t quite discern his feelings about that from the way in which he talks.

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I ask and he shrugs.

“Depends on how you look at it. On one hand it forces him to be here and on our side, a man with that much knowledge is valuable to have around in a time like this. However on the other hand it means that whatever we do, we need to be careful about it. There can be no more secrets and sneaking around him if he is within our grounds-it simply won’t work,” he replies and it quite honestly does nothing to make me feel better.

“So what do we do now?” I ask, my voice dejected.

Roman looks at me, certainty in his eyes. “We be careful and start planning how we are going to get rid of our enemy. Starting with the attack on their weapons base.”

-

I thought in the two weeks that had passed more would’ve been done, but it felt stagnant. No matter how many meetings I attended or how many briefings I read over, everything felt like it was moving at snail pace. Most of that was probably due to the infuriating silence I was forced to take up.

I’ve been belittled by wolves before-I endured years of it but still, nothing can really prepare you for being reduced to a pawn again. But it wasn’t just me. Perhaps the King targeted me more so than others due to his disdain towards me, but others were targeted too.

The entire operation was being surveyed under his watchful eyes, nothing occurred without him knowing about it and every ounce of power held by the leaders was only awarded by Tiberius himself. Not even Roman held the authority to go against his orders. Honestly, after everything that went down I was lucky that the King wasn’t forcing me to stay out of meetings.

Roman said it’d pass, that the King needed to run things for the time being, but it felt like his rule would never end. I could understand it, and even if I couldn’t Roman would explain it to me over and over. This was too important to Tiberius, finding Arthur and killing him once and for all was imperative and I guess he believes the only way to ensure that happens is to do it himself.

It has meant that my time around him has been limited to meetings though, he has been operating mainly from his office and sleeping in his quarters at night. I’ve only seen his accomplice, Katina a few times since the Kings arrival. Mainly just walking down the halls of the office, too and from the King’s quarters. I didn’t expect to see much more of her either, the King had announced early on that he wouldn’t be attending any banquets or festivities during his stay here and that meant that she wouldn’t either.

“Mae, what are you doing in here?” I snap my head to the library door where Roman walks through, straight towards my seated form.

I place the book I was staring at down onto the table in front of me. “Just catching up on some content from Madam Regina of course, the King’s powerful words have really drawn me to my goddess given role,” I reply sarcastically and the beginnings of a smile play on his lips.

“Oh really?” He says, taking a seat next to me, his body slumping with exhaustion. “And what have you learnt?”

“Many things, revolutionary stuff I tell you. My body is a mere vessel, I am an heir making machine and my devotion is entirely to you, my one true mate,” I say, feigning the dramatics and he laughs.

“Doesn’t sound half bad,” he says with a pointed shrug and I throw the pillow next to me at him, which he catches with an effortless grace.

“I bet it doesn’t,” I reply with a smile before pulling my legs up on the chair, sitting cross-legged across from him as he leans against the arm of the chair. “What brings you here anyway?” I ask and his smile falters.

“I was looking for you. The King is currently deciding on the date we are to move in, he has finalised his plans and it is looking like we are to go there within the next few days,” I furrow my brows, unsure of his sombre tone.

“That’s good news though isn’t it? When will we get the plans on how to move in?” I ask and he cocks his head to the side, a slight grimace worming its way onto his face.

“There is no we,” he says and my breath gets caught in my throat.

“What do you mean?” I ask and his silence is an answer in and of itself. “But you said I could come, oversee what was to happen to the rebels left after the surrender,” I say and he gives me a grim look.

“I know, but things have changed. The King won’t allow it to happen, tried to reason with him, have you brought in after the take over but he won’t budge. He says it’s too dangerous and he is still spiteful it seems. I’ll still be going alongside him and I will see to it that those who surrender are treated as our new pack laws demand,” he says and I can’t help but feel deflated from it.

“And Alani is still going to be brought back here?” I ask and he nods.

“We will bring her straight back here and have her processed similarly to Carter. She’ll be given any necessary medical attention and you’ll be notified the moment she is with us safely,” he says and I let out a huff.

“Do you think he is going to trust me again anytime soon?” I ask, though part of me knows the answer.

“He doesn’t trust anyone, Mae. He hasn’t for a very long time. But I’m sure he’ll get over this, once we have won the war he’ll be different and though he’ll probably never admit it, part of him will probably be thankful that you were the one to finally lead him to his enemy,” he says and I nod. The King showing an ounce of gratitude towards me is a long shot, but I’m all for optimism.

“So what now? Do I get to at least monitor the operation from here?” I ask and he nods.

“You and Jayce will both remain here at our military offices. If you want to stay informed, that’s the best place to be,” he says sighing. “And as for what to do now, we can only wait until the King has made his verdict. The rest of the afternoon is ours to spend.”

“What about preparing the military against Nicholas?” I ask and he shakes his head.

“There is nothing more we can possibly do to prepare, at least not until we have more information which we’ll hopefully get in seizing this base,” he replies.

“There is surely something else we can do besides just… wait,” I say, the notion of not working alien after all these months of dedicated work.

“Nothing that can’t be dealt with by others. This might very well be the last night off we get… I’m sure there are plenty of things we can do other than wait,” he says, a suggestive look coming over his face.

I laugh and he points to the books on the table, the fiction novels I jokingly passed of as scripture before. “You said something about sole devotion to me?”

“I did?” I reply, a confused look on my face. “That stuff is too hard to comprehend, much less remember,” I tease and he smirks.

“I could teach you a thing or two, jog your memory,” he replies and I try to ignore the way my core tightens at his tone.

I let out a chuckle and stand up, walking past him. Before I can move away completely, he takes ahold of my hand and pulls me closer to him, so that I’m stood in front of his seated form. “No goodbye kiss?” He asks and I lean down, pressing my lips against his.

His hands move around to my waist, drawing me in closer to him and before I end up in his lap, I pull back a safe distance, laughing at the pout on his face. “Goodbye,” I say and he lets out a huff as I near the door of the library.

“Guess I’ll just stay here all on my own then,” he says from behind me, sulking in his lonesome as I exit the door.

“Guess so!” I shout back, closing the door and making my way down the halls to my office. As nice as an afternoon off sounds, there is still work to be done-I’m sure of it.

The reforms haven’t come to a stop because of the threat of conflict and there are always papers to sign and news to hear. I’m just thankful that the people working on it are dedicated to the cause.

I near the office complex within no time but before I can enter, I’m stopped by two guards stood out the front. They are wearing uniforms different to that of the wolves I’ve seen around and their expressions are ice cold, not an inch of warmth to be seen.

“Is there a problem here?” I ask and even at my tone, they don’t move.

“You are not permitted past this point, Luna,” the man to my right says and I furrow my brows.

“Excuse me? Why on earth not?” I retort, pulling the attention of people passing by for a brief moment before they glance away.

“Under orders of his majesty you are no longer able to enter this complex for the foreseeable future.” The answer comes out robotically and nothing about the stoic expression on their faces says their stance is going to change.

“There has to be some kind of mistake, my work is in there-everything that I do. You’ve made a mistake,” I say and their faces don’t change with any shocking revelation.

“Are you Luna Maeve of the New Moon packs?” He asks, completely disinterested in my antics.

“Well, yes,” I reply.

“Then you are no longer able to enter this complex for the foreseeable future.”

I narrow my eyes at them. “I want to speak to the King,” I say, trying to move past them but they stop my movements once more.

“The King is not taking any meetings. If you wish to speak with him contact his office via phone, if that is all Luna, please be on your way,” the same man says to me and I stand my ground.

“This is ridiculous, he can’t ban me from my own job. I have every right to be in there,” I say, not relenting.

“With all due respect, Luna. He can. If you can’t leave this complex then we will have to escort you.”

My jaw nearly drops to the floor as I stare at them incredulously. I feel like I’m back to square one, unable to enter and threatened to be dragged away, like none of what I’ve done in my time here matters. I go to open my mouth but a hand clasps on my bicep, making me spin to see Roman who looks at me with sympathy.

“Mae, let’s go,” he says and I contemplate ripping my arm from his grip and exploding into argument but his pointed look makes me decide otherwise.

I give the guards one final stare, mustering all the vehemence I can into the glare before turning around with Roman, falling into step with him as we retreat down the hall. “What the hell is going on?” I ask, anger lacing my voice.

Roman’s jaw clenches and he leans down closer towards me. “Not here. I’ll explain when we get to our private office, there have been a few changes.”

authors note

god I’ve been a busy little bee, mainly-and ill be honest here bc we have that kind of relationship-watching a lot of community because it is freaking addictive, but also studying/taking my last exams!

Life’s gonna probably get pretty hectic in this next month for me if I’m being real, im moving out, getting a job all those adulty things (even tho im not technically an adult yet lmao) so updates might continue to be skewed.

But of course I am going to try to write as much as I can for you guys and keep putting out as many updates as I can-be sure to follow me to keep up to speed on things too :) I’m really trying tho, so just try to stay patient and if you r craving more updates, maybe just have a fun lil #reread

thats all from me,

kh-a-le-si

ps: that ^ was supposed to be a rhyme

pps: spiders keep crawling on me, no cap I woke up to this big old black spider on my face and im starting to think I live on a spiders nest. Good news is that apparently they spiritually mean im having a creative breakthough (which I kinda am..... ;) ) but also bad news bc I live in a country with the worlds most deadliest spiders sooooo maybe the spirit gods can send me like a lady bug instead?

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