Chapter 8: The princess and the betrayal
Liam cautiously walks in behind me.
Willow: It’s Tom.
I whisper under my breath, while dialing Daniel's number into my phone. After several attempts I look up at Liam.
Willow: We need to find Daniel. Victor is going after everyone I’ve been in contact with.
Liam: I’ll go, you go with my dad back to his place with the rest of the pack where you’ll be safe.
Willow: He’s too dangerous.
Liam: Your blood runs in my veins and I feel more powerful than I have ever felt in my life. Bedsides Luke will be with me, we will be faster and stealthier on foot.
Willow: But it’s me he wants. Maybe if I go...
Liam: Don’t even think about it. You are our princess. Our goddess. It is our duty by right to protect you at all costs even if by death.
Mr. Reed holds out his hand to take me with him. I turn slowly toward him reaching for his hand when the need to feel Liam against me takes over my being and I jump into his arms kissing him wildly. Liam's chuckle vibrates through me. He sets me down touching our foreheads together in a moment of silence.
Liam: Go baby. I’ll be fine. I promise.
Reluctantly I go with Mr. Reed. Minutes seem to pass like hours as I pace back and forth near the window, watching anxiously as other pack members gather. Some familiar faces I’ve seen around town, other deputies and even Miss Tinzel. An older women with sky blue eyes, long grey hair and a kind smile comes to stand beside me, looking over the 15 or so weres occupying the front driveway as Mr. Reed explains why he’s called upon them.
Older Women: Brings back memories.
Her voice is kind and soft.
Willow: You’re Liam's grandmother, Velora.
She bows her head slightly.
Velora: Come dear, I have something for you.
I follow her down a long hallway passing the enormous living room where everyone is assembling. Few eyes glare as we pass, some whispers and some snarls of distrust. Velora leads me into a room gesturing for me to take a seat on the bed while she opens a chest pulling out a small wooden box carved from willow wood. She takes a seat next to me holding the box.
Velora: Celia was a dear friend. All of us who survived the battle of Hades thought she was one of the many who were lost to us. You can’t imagine how delighted I was when she arrived here after all those years. I knew she couldn’t tell me everything, but somehow I knew it meant the rumors had to be true and the lost princess would soon return. Celia, would not confirm nor deny this of course. She simply handed me this box a few weeks before she.....
Velora sighed and mumbled “died” below her breath
Velora: and said I would know who it was for when the time was right.
Velora hands me the box and gets up to leave.
Velora: You look like your mother.
Willow: Did you know her?
Velora: I had the honor of fighting beside her. She was the kindest soul I had ever met and the bravest most fierce warrior in or out of wolf form. There was not a creature alive that could defeat her.
Willow: All but Hades.
Velora: Honestly, I think it was her own heart that was her demise. After seeing your father fall she simply could not bear to stay.
She pats my shoulder and leaves me alone in the room. I open the box to find a vial wrapped in blood red silk, shining as bright as a full moon with a letter beneath. I carefully break the seal of the ancient piece of paper, unfolding it slowly, afraid it could crumble to dust. I gasp at the sight of my mother’s name signed at the bottom of the letter with it addressed to me.
Luna: My dearest Willow.
I do hope this letter finds you well. I know Celia will have done a fine job raising you as her own and keeping you safe, but if you are reading this, then it can only mean she has gone from your world. Fret not my sweet girl, she will always be with you as I have always been, but it is your time now little one to fulfill your destiny. This vial contains essence of the moon, the very energy that runs through our veins. Breathing this in will give you infinite knowledge of all the gods, as well as break the enchantment, thus releasing your powers and inner beast. Do not be afraid. You my child you are the most powerful of all.
I love you my sweet Willow.
I open the vial watching the blue light rise and swirl like smoke. Breathing it in I am instantly thrown through time. I stand in a familiar field, my mother in the distance with her long raven black hair, in her lavender dress caked in mud and blood along with her sword at her side. The sound of swords clank and spark as she fights a behemoth of a man with pale grey skin and long black hair with a demonic glare. His bulging muscles flex through his torn clothing. “Hades” I whisper. He knocks Luna’s sword to the ground and aims his at her heart. Thomas appears out of nowhere plunging a titan dagger into Hades' back. Hades spins running his sword through Thomas flinging him across the field. Succumbing to the effects of the titan dagger, Hades falls to his knees. Luna lifts her sword high above her head. In one swift strike she beheads the demon god, and runs to Thomas, cradling his lifeless body to her chest.
Her mournful cries echo through the silent fallen field before their bodies are engulfed by a blinding light. Thousands of tiny blue specs of light swirl in the spot where their bodies were, just before turning into little blue butterflies that drift off in the wind. Tears sting my eyes as my heart aches, feeling my mother's pain. What Velora said was true. Movement catches my eye where Hades' body now turned to ash had fallen. A figure lifts the titan dagger and turns in my direction. A flash of the moon's light reflects off the blade revealing a familiar face. Daniel! I gasp, as a chill shoots through my every inch. But this can’t be, it makes no sense. I squeeze my eyes shut and suddenly I am thrown through a multitude of time, past and present. Those of my own and those of the gods, till all becomes silent and still.
Voices muffled at first become louder and clearer as all my senses heighten. One particular stands out above the rest as I hear Liam asking for me. I can smell his cinnamon spice scent as if he where next to me.
I walk gracefully down the hall through the large crowded living room. Bodies move with gasps and whispers.”The princess”. Many heads bow, even those who glared and snarled before now show their respect. Liam looks me over intently with flared nostrils as he takes in my true scent and places a palm to my cheek.
Liam: There you are.
I lean into his touch glancing over his shoulder at Luke standing near the door with his head down.
Liam: I’m sorry Willow, he got to him before we could.
Willow: Is he?
Liam: There was no sign of him, but his place was thrashed. There was a lot of blood.
I collapse my head on his chest as he wraps his arms around me. As the pack consults on what to do about the vampire problem I head out onto the porch. Startled by my phone buzzing I answer frantically.
Victor: Is he one of your lovers too? The poor mortal willing to die for a love he can never have.
Victor: You know what I want Willow. I will let your weak pathetic mortal go in exchange for you. We set sail at midnight .... oh and love, if you wish for your beast to keep his head I suggest you come alone.
As the phone goes silent, I look back through the window watching the pack continue in a heavy debate. I take in Liam’s godly sculpted jawline remembering the first day we met outside the gallery. I was his at first site, and he mine.
I whisper taking in a deep breath, knowing what I must do. The instant I leap off the porch my inner beast stirs awake. I feel my body stretch and bend, my fingers turn to claws, my hands become massive paws sinking into the earth, covered in fur as white as snow glowing under the moon's light. A sneeze escapes me from the twitch of my snout. I run my tongue over my elongated K9s and feel the rumble of an angry growl deep within my chest. With lightening speed I bolt for the tree line without a second glance behind me.
In mere minutes I am standing hillside looking down at the harbor evaluating a body count as I pin point Victor's yacht. I make quick work of the first two guards at the dock entrance before shifting back to human form, sneaking my way onto the ship and below deck where I fight off two more vampire guards, sending one of them crashing through a door. There in the middle of the room Daniel sits tied to a chair bloody and beat, but still alive. I rush to his side breaking the restraints.
Willow: Daniel....Daniel come on we need to go.
I suddenly find myself struck with a searing sharp pain in my right shoulder. The tip of a harpoon opens, four large silver prongs dig into my flesh as I am yanked back and drug across the floor away from Daniel. I reach above grabbing hold of the wire, twisting myself around planting my feet firmly before me and stop. Ripping the wire free of the guard's hands, I snap off the tip pulling the harpoon out. His eyes widen in fear. I throw the torn metal directly through his heart. Another vampire makes his way into the room with another harpoon.
Willow: Silver doesn’t work on me you fool.
He bears his fangs and takes aim. I easily flip out of the way catching it mid air, flinging it back at him. The harpoon pierces through his skull pinning him to the door. A subtle moan from Daniel draws my attention back to him. Quickly I help him out of the chair and get us to top deck. It is quiet. Too quiet. Daniel's heart beat begins to grow strong and loud. Setting him down against a rail, I watch as his body tenses, and a look of guilt flashes across his pale blue eyes. Any wounds that had been visible now heal before my eyes. My heart skips a beat as fear creeps in.
Daniel: Forgive me Willow
Before realizing what has happened, an intense pain shoots through my side.
I fall back looking down at the titan dagger. Looking upon Daniel's face I am shocked by his grim smirk.
Willow: What have you done.
Daniel stands tall stepping toward me as I try to scoot away. He reaches down pulling out the dagger and lifting it to his lips, licking my blood.
Daniel: I have helped you unleash your powers, and now I will be taking them.
Another presence kneels behind me and whispers.
Victor: Hello love.
Victor turns my face to him as his lips crash forcefully onto mine. Unknown to Daniel and Victor my wound has already healed. I bite Victor's lip viciously as I kick the dagger from Daniel's hand and flip a mortified Victor over. Catching the dagger I drive it through this heart. His eyes widen in disbelief as he turns to ash. An eerie laugh sounding much like the Joker's from Suicide Squad followed by a slow clap grabs my attention. I face the man whom I considered a brother, and friend.
Daniel: I am impressed.
Battle howls boom in the night as wolves and vampires fight. Two vampires rush me but swiftly meet their end. The whisper of a blade slicing through air behind me is cut short. I turn to see Liam in his mighty werewolf form dwarfing the vampire he holds in his grip far off the ground. He crushes the vampire's throat tearing it from its body before shifting to human form and turning to me. He grabs my face kissing me with fear and lust.
Liam: What were you thinking?
His expression softens as he sees the pain of betrayal in my eyes.
I turn quickly looking for Daniel but he’s gone. Frantically I sift through the ashes for the dagger.
Liam grabs my shoulders turning me to him.
Willow: It was a set up. Daniel was working with Victor.
Liam: Where are they?
Willow: Victor is dead.
Liam: and Daniel?
Willow: Gone with the titan dagger.
I mumble beneath my breath. Just then I pick up his scent. The grief of betrayal turns to raw anger as I shift. I can feel Liam’s eyes on me, smell his heat as he takes in my wolf for the first time. Pride and lust seeps from him as his member begins to rise. I grin over my shoulder, my fur ruffled beneath his glare. I shake my head refocusing with all my anger on Daniel as I leap from the boat.
I track his scent to a nearby parking lot as he’s getting into the back of a car. I lunge for the driver beheading him with my massive jaws before he could get in. I stand on the hood glaring at Daniel. A slight glimpse of fear shadows over him as a deep menacing growl rumbles through my core vibrating the car.
Gunshots go off, followed by the sound of shattering glass. Another vampire shoots through the windshield as he jumps behind the wheel and peels out like a bat out of hell knocking me to the ground. I shake off the bullets and give chase. Liam joins me in his beautiful massive black wolf form creating a frenzy of emotions. With bloodlust in my eyes, and a rising heat of wild sexual desire, I dig my claws deep into the earth kicking with my back legs picking up speed. With the cold wind stinging my face it’s almost as though I’m flying. We quickly catch up to the car and I ram one side as Liam rams the other causing it to spin out of control, plummeting over the side of a cliff into the ocean.
Without hesitation I follow, shifting back to human form mid dive. By the time I reach the car near the bottom of the swell Daniel is gone. I grab the vampire trapped in the driver's seat and drag him to the rocks.
Willow: Where is he?
The vampire twists his lips with a hiss refusing to comply. I place my thumb between his eyes resting my palm on his forehead. My light flickers across his blank stare as I am drawn into a vision. Back again on the field where Hades' fell. I hover weightlessly over an image of myself kneeling before Daniel.
Liam’s voice cries out from the distance, held back by a force, a force I wield as well as Luke and another I cannot see. Daniel grows taller, his muscles tear through his clothes, as he takes on a resemblance to Hades. A flash of light blinds me temporarily till I am again facing what remains of the vampire as he turns to ash in my grip.
Liam makes his way to me through the water catching me up in his arms. I grab hold of him never wanting to let go.