Michael was gone hours as Keeley held me hostage with her and the kids, although I didn’t really mind, they always made me smile.
“Hey kids have you seen…Oh…You’re in here…” Luciana smiles as she wanders into the kid’s room as I’m sat talking to Janie about her wolf.
“Need something?” I raise a brow.
“Yeah, it’s the funeral in an hour, I thought we could get ready together,” She says as I nod sighing sadly.
Janie grips my hand in hers and squeezes as I smile at her, kissing her head as I get up.
“Right, you lot will be getting ready with Meryl, she’ll be up soon to help, behave,” Luciana points at them sternly.
“Yes, Luci,” They giggle.
“Trouble, all of you,” Luciana laughs.
“We learnt from the best,” Janie pokes her tongue out playfully at me.
“Hey! Don’t blame me!” I laugh.
“I blame you too,” Luciana smirks at me as I shoved her playfully.
“Behave kids!” I smile as we leave the room walking towards mine as I notice a black dress hanging on the wardrobe.
Taking it off the hanger it looked beautiful.
“Michael said it was your mothers,” Luciana says.
“Wow…” I murmur as I begin to get changed with Luciana. She helps me put up my hair into a neat bun with curls framing my face softly.
“You girls ready?” Trey knocks as we tell him to come in.
“I’m not sure ready is the word, who is ever ready to say goodbye to someone,” I sigh.
“I…Shit…Sorry,” He bows his head sadly.
“It’s ok, Trey,” I smile at him as he offers an arm to each of us.
“Stealing them both are you?” Kai smirks leaning against the door frame.
“It’s not my fault you got here after me, someone had to escort these two beautiful ladies,” Trey sniggers.
“Well then, put the girls in the middle, we’ll both take them,” Kai smile as Trey goes to Luciana’s other side as Kai takes my arm, leaving Luciana and me to take each other’s hand.
“Where are Kade and Michael?” I ask as I watch some of the other fae and wolves head outside as we descend the staircase.
“They will be bringing your father out,” Kai says.
I nod, not knowing what to say as we make our way outside where there is a huge pyre ready for my father’s body.
“I feel sick,” I murmur, anxiety building in my heart as the pack members shift into their wolves, bowing in respect as we pass them and head towards Violet.
“Deep breaths,” Kai whispers clutching my hand.
“This isn’t just about Dad though, I never said goodbye to Zane, my Mother, Layla or even Mrs Taylor, so many people we’ve lost and I’ve barely taken a moment to truly say goodbye,” I gulp back the tears threatening to come out.
“Then take tonight as your goodbye, let this set you free,” Kai kisses my head as we stand beside Violet by the pyre.
Music begins playing as a soft melody begins to drift through the crowd, Michael and Kade carrying my father’s body.
They made Kade a leg…
My eyes drift to his leg where he has a prosthetic on, he’s limping, clearly struggling to get used to it, but he manages as Michael watches out for his friend, keeping at his pace.
“Shift Phoenix and lead a howl in his honour,” Violet says behind us as I nod, Luciana and Trey following me in shifting as Michael and Kade look our way as I lead the wolves in a howl.
I’d never known a sound so powerful than that of a pack howl, I wasn’t the only one howling for others, I could feel the power behind every howl as they honoured their own.
Michael and Kade make their way past us as I finish the howl, shifting back once more as Jae passes me a lit torch as I look at him in shock.
“I can’t,” I whisper.
“I’ll help you,” Michael comes up beside me as Kai nods at me with a soft smile. Michael holds the torch with me as we walk up to the pyre, Kade walking up to my other side as he puts a hand on it too.
“Together,” Kade smiles sadly at me as a tear drops from my eye as I nod, we lower the torch setting the pyre on fire as it bursts into flames.
Kade takes the torch and places it on the pyre as we take a step back, both of them wrap an arm around my waist as I cry quietly.
“May the fire take you, may it love you, may it take you to mother, for all that we have lost you will always be remembered, goodbye dad, may you be resting with Mum, Zane, Layla, Mrs Taylor and all those that have been lost. One day we will meet again, I love you all,” I whisper to the wind as it whirls around us all, closing my eyes I listen to the trees creak, the fire crackle and listen to the people all around me.
“Goodbye old boy, I’ll take care of your little girl like she’s my own,” Kade says beside me.
“Goodbye buddy, until we meet again,” Michael says quietly as his arms wrap around my waist, I lean my head back against his chest as he kisses my head softly.
I hear Kade move as he goes over to Luciana, hugging her tightly to him as she cries in his arms.
I can hear Violet saying a few words but I’m not paying attention to them as I watch the flames engulf my father’s body before flicking my hand up creating shapes in the fire, small firey versions of those we had lost as they flicker in the air.
“Oof,” I grunt as Janie, Keeley and Blake all run up to me, hugging me tightly too.
“I could get used to this,” Michael murmurs in my ear.
“What? Funerals?” I raise a brow.
“No, me, you and a few kids,” He smiles as I blush.
“Slow down there, plenty of time for that one,” I smile as he laughs.
“I know, just putting it out there,” he kisses my cheek softly.
“Please let us all go to the main hall for refreshments as we honour the dead!” Violet calls out as people begin to file from the pyre.
“Is Mrs Taylor in heaven?” Blake murmurs.
“Yeah, I’m sure she’s up there telling all the naughty kids off,” I ruffle his hair.
“There are kids in heaven?!” He exclaims as I close my eyes grimacing.
“I…Well…Yeah…I…” I stammer.
“Sometimes bad things can happen that we cannot stop Blake, a person can get sick, an accident, war, anything, we cannot always stop death, we can prevent it and do our best to live as long as possible, but it cannot always be stopped. But, I swear that Phoenix and I will protect you for as long as we can,” Michael kneels beside Blake.
“But who protects you guys?” Keeley says sadly.
“We protect each other, we work with our friends, our family and do our very best to keep each other safe,” I say.
“I keep you safe too!” Blake exclaims jumping into my arms.
“I’m sure you will Blake,” I kiss his cheek with a smile.
“Phoenix, that guy is staring at us,” Janie murmurs looking behind us as I turn, it’s the guy from earlier, the one that talked shit about Kai being a vampire.
“Pay no attention to him,” Michael says to the kids.
“Come on guys, let’s go get some food,” Luciana walks up to us with Trey and Kade in tow as I see Kai glaring at the man behind us.
“You’re coming too right?” Keeley asks me.
“I’ll be along shortly,” I nod as she grins taking Luciana’s hand as they walk back into the building.
“Do I need to know something?” Michael asks his eyes going between Kai and the man.
“Do you know him?” I ask, nodding to the asshole.
“I know of him, I don’t know him personally, I believe his name is Tusk, he and about six men came to us yesterday, I believe they are the only ones left of their pack, quite a ruthless pack I’ve heard, a few anger issues, we’ve been keeping an eye on them,” Michael says.
“He wants all vampires dead, started on Kai earlier,” I tell him as I take his hand in mine walking over to my best friend.
“Why is he just standing there like a creep?” Kai hisses.
“Ignore him, he’s probably trying to rattle your cage,” I tell him.
“Well it’s certainly working,” Kai’s jaw clenches as he glares at Tusk.
“If it helps, his name is Tusk…I mean, what kind of name is that?” I smirk trying to distract him as his eyes dart to me, I can see the amusement.
“Tusk…What is he a wolf or a warthog?” He chuckles.
“Come on, let’s go inside,” Michael nods towards the building as I watch a few fae guards are keeping watch over the pyre as it begins to fizzle out.
“Ok,” I nod as I grab Kai’s hand, hearing Michael growl lightly under his breath.
“You’re not going to get all possessive with me if I hold my best friend’s hand, are you?” I smile at him as I hear Kai snigger.
“I won’t, can’t say about my wolf though,” Michael smirks.
“What is your wolfs name?” I ask.
“Flint,” He says.
Flint…Mmm, can’t wait to see him again now that we know he’s our mate.
Calm your hormones Storm.
I chuckle under my breath.
“Why do I feel like Storm is getting a little…you know,” Kai winks at me.
“Kai, please keep your thoughts to yourself,” I groan rolling my eyes at him.
“Not my fault you’re eighteen and still a virgin,” Kai laughs.
“What…” Michael stops behind me.
“Thanks for that Kai…” I sigh as he laughs walking inside alone.
“You’ve never…My god Phoenix…I knew you and Zane never completed the mating process but I thought that maybe you had…had…” He murmurs.
“Had sex, no I was saving it for someone special, we can’t all be like my buddy in there, he’s a bit of a slut,” I roll my eyes thinking of the countless girls he’d been with already.
“Wow…” He whispers.
“Why do I feel like this changes things for you?” I sigh.
“You’ve barely experienced life, how can I take you when you’ve barely lived,” He groans.
“You know, I thought you might see this as a positive thing, I’m untouched, all yours if we do mate, no one has ruined me, I will be solely yours,” I reply.
“Phoenix, I’m over five-hundred years old, I’m older than Kade, I’ve experienced everything there is, how can I hold you back?” he argues.
“So what?! Why can’t I just experience things WITH YOU! Why does it have to be with another?” I exclaim as his eyes bore into mine as he growls.
“I don’t want you with another, please don’t get me wrong, but I also want you to know that this is what you want, I want you to be one hundred per cent sure… I won’t do it if you don’t love me as I love you,” He says as his eyes widen.
“You love me?” I whisper.
“How can I not? You’re beautiful, smart, caring, protective, loyal, completely impulsive…” He says coming closer as his hand caresses my cheek as I giggle, blushing at his words.
I bite my lip before taking the plunge and kissing him as our lips clash against each other.
“I’m not sure this is the greatest spot for us to kiss either,” Michael chuckles deeply as he continues to kiss me slowly.
“Perhaps we should leave it until we aren’t in a weird place,” I laugh.
“You’re right, however, one more for the road,” he smirks before kissing me once more, my arms around his neck as he slowly lifts his lips away and puts his forehead against mine.
“I hope dad’s not watching right now,” I giggle as Michael groans.
“I take everything back,” He says going to walk away from me playfully before he extends a hand.
“Still love me?” I giggle.
“Yes, I just hope your father is not watching right now, he would kill me,” He groans as I laugh, he wraps his arm around my waist as we head inside. Glancing around I notice Tusk is gone.
“Have you two sorted your issues out now?” Kai smirks as we sit at a table with him and the others.
“What issues?” Kade frowns at Michael.
“Don’t worry Kade, no need to go all dad with a shotgun on him,” I laugh.
“There is every reason to do that when you’re a virgin,” Kai says as I throw a salt shaker at him as he laughs.
“I WILL revoke the best friend title if you’re not careful,” I growl at him.
“No! You can’t do that!” He pouts playfully.
I smirk leaning into Michael’s arms as he kisses my head as the others continue to chat, I watch the people around me, the mansion was already starting to fill slowly as fae and wolves were chatting together with ease around the room, sounds of laughter and happiness flooding the room as my eyes gaze around.
“Catch me if you can!” Blake laughs as he flits around Keeley as she huffs, stomping on the ground unable to catch him as he sees her distress and begins to slow down so she can have more fun.
“A budding romance,” Michael whispers in my ear.
“It’s so cute,” I smile.
“Phoenix, I don’t feel well,” Janie walks up to me, holding her stomach as I sit up quickly.
“You were fine earlier,” I frown.
“Have you eaten?” Luci asks.
“Yes, I drank too,” she nods.
“Can someone go grab a healer,” I say as I have her sit on my chair, her skin pale.
“I don’t like the way Tusk is looking at the kids,” Kai says as I stiffen looking around for him as I see him with his goons in a corner.
“Queen Phoenix, you summoned me,” Rodge bows politely as I gesture Janie as his hands begin to wander over her body.
“Michael, have a team keep an eye on them,” I tell him as he nods, kissing my cheek before rushing off towards a group of fae and wolf warriors.
“She has been poisoned my lady, I must see to her immediately,” Rodge says as my eyes widen.
“How do you think she got poisoned?” Luci asks.
“Food or drink, if it had been injected she would be dead already,” Rodge says.
“Can’t we have a moments peace! Take her, Kai stay with them, Luci go grab the kids and take them to their room, stay with them. Kade, Trey, I need you to find the Queen, tell her what’s going on,” I order as they nod getting on with their jobs quickly.
“Why has Janie been rushed off with a healer?” Jae runs to my side.
“She’s been poisoned, I need to figure out how and by who,” I say.
“I will get the healers and have them check for traces of any poisons,” Jae nods as he rushes off too.
Jae returns quickly with a group of fae as they begin to wander around the room as my eyes keep on Tusk and his group of men as they begin to get antsy.
“Oh my! My Queen Phoenix! I must talk to you immediately, I believe I may have put something in one of the pies by accident! The labels were swapped, I didn’t notice until now!” Meryl rushes up to me in a panic.
“What got put in the pies, Meryl?” I ask.
“Wolfsbane!” She cries.
“Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention, please! Can all wolves please refrain from eating for the moment, there has been a dangerous mix up with the ingredients and I need all those who are feeling ill to please go see a healer immediately! All food is to be recalled into the kitchens until this is cleared up!” I call out as I hear the clank of forks dropping on plates as several of the wolves rush from their seats towards some of the healers.
“How the hell did wolfsbane get in the fucking kitchen?” I growl at Meryl.
“I don’t know! I came as soon as I realised, I’m so sorry,” She cries.
“Phoenix!” Trey shouts as he, Kade and the Queen rush up to us.
“My queen I am so sorry!” Meryl drops to her knees begging before her queen.
“What happened Meryl?” Violet asks.
“Wolfsbane was planted in the kitchen, the labels swapped so it got in the food,” I answer as Meryl cries.
“Girl get up,” Violet orders Meryl.
“As if we don’t have enough trouble,” Trey groans.
“Any suspicions?” Violet asks.
“Yep,” I nod towards Tusk and his crew as they all stand talking and laughing still with each other.
“I trust someone is watching them?” Violet asks.
“Yes, I had Michael put a team on it,” I nod.
“Good,” She nods.
“Phoenix, we have found no other trace of wolfsbane anywhere, no other wolf other than Janie has ingested it,” Jae walks up with a team of healers.
“What did she eat?” I frown.
“Phoenix, go see her, ask her what she had,” Kade says as I nod.
Rushing off to the medical wing I find Kai with Janie laying beside him fast asleep.
“How is she?” I ask walking inside.
“She will be, though, we found what she had to eat, we had to pump her stomach and I found this,” Rodge holds out a small tray with something that looked like a hard-boiled sweet.
“She can’t have had it long, it’s barely touched, but it had enough wolfsbane in it to kill her,” Kai frowns.
“She’s the only one it happened to…” I sigh.
“Do you think someone is attacking those with royal bloodlines?” Rodge raises a brow.
“I…Possibly, we don’t have enough information to say yes or no,” I sigh running a hand through my hair.
“Can’t you just look in her mind?” Kai asks Rodge.
“No, I do not have such power, Rook would be able to,” Rodge answers.
“Where is Rook?” Kai asks.
“Stay here, you protect her with your life understood Kai?” I say sternly.
“Nothing is going to happen to her when I’m around Phoenix,” Kai nods as I rush back out. Running down the stairs and through the corridors as I try to sniff out Rook as people are filtering out from the main hall.
“Phoenix! Are you ok?” Michael shouts from the entrance.
“Rook, where is he?” I ask.
“I haven’t seen him in a few minutes, he joined the watch on Tusk’s men, he took off after one of them,” Michael says.
“Janie had a sweet in her system, filled with enough wolfsbane to kill her, I need Rook to see what’s in her memories as she’s out cold right now,” I say.
“But that doesn’t make sense if Meryl found it in the kitchen…” Michael frowns.
“Alpha, I must report something,” Tusk stands nearby with his arms crossed and a smug smirk on his face.
“Oh, and what is that?” I asked glaring at the man.
“I saw the girl taking sweets off of one of the fae, I didn’t think anything of it until now,” he says.
“Which fae?” I ask.
“Meryl,” He answers.
“Is that all?” I ask barely believing a word he says.
“Yes, I will take to my room now, goodnight,” he says bowing and walking away as I see a wolf warrior follow him carefully.
“Meryl came to warn me that she had used wolfsbane in her food by accident, yet no one else got sick, Janie got sick from a sweet that was laced with wolfsbane, I don’t know Michael, something doesn’t feel right, I feel like we’re on a wild goose chase,” I sigh.
“We’ll find Rook, get him to look into Janie’s mind and go from there,” Michael takes my hand as we head towards where he last saw Rook.
“Where is Rook?” Michael asks one of the faes in the corridor.
“Rook…He went looking for Queen Phoenix when a wolf gave him a tip-off,” they answer.
“What tip-off?” I frown.
“That the children had been left with Meryl the whole time, that she was acting suspicious,” they answer.
“Where is Meryl?” I ask.
“Haven’t seen her since seeing her with you in the hall,” they shrug.
“Luci? How are the kids?” I ask through the link but I get no reply.
“Kade! Can you get a link to Luci?!” I panic.
“No! I’m heading that way now!” He growls back in my mind.
“Someone find me that fae! I want Meryl in custody until this is cleared up! Michael, we can’t get hold of Luciana, she was with the kids,” I say as his eyes widen as we both shift bolting through the corridors towards the kid’s room, we end up meeting Kade in the hallway as he limps as quick as he can that way, I bark and tilt my head for him to jump on my back as he jumps on and we race ahead.
“Luciana!” Kade shouts as he slides off my back and tries to get into the room, but it won’t budge.
“Move!” Michael growls as Kade moves out of the way and Michael rams the door. It won’t budge.
“Help!” Luci’s voice screams from the other side suddenly as I help in ramming the door with Michael, we crash through it and into the room.
“Luciana!” Kade comes in, taking her in his arms, she’s beaten black and blue, cuts all over her arms that aren’t healing.
“Who did this? Where are the kids?!” I ask quickly.
“They took them! Tusk, his men and Meryl, she’s working with them! You have to hurry, they’ll kill them!” Luci cries.
“I want this whole place locked down!” I howl, it echoes through the mansion as the whole place goes on high alert.
Sniffing at the ground I manage to catch the scents of the kids.
“Kade, we will take you and Luci to the medical wing, stay with her, Kai and Janie. Michael, we’ve got some hunting to do,” I growl.
“Let’s go,” Michael nods as we gather them on our backs racing to the medical wing before dropping them off quickly.
“Oh my, what happened?” Violet is pacing in the room as she watches them.
“I’ll catch her up, you guys go,” Kade nods as he places Luciana down carefully.
“Phoenix, I’ll come with you,” Kai stands.
“No, I need you here to help protect them,” I shake my head as he sighs but nods at me.