Beep! Beep! Beep!
The constant droning of the monitors pounded in my head as I process everything that’s happened in the last few hours. I sat slumped in the chair next to my bed staring at the white wolf laying on it. My mate.
I know I should have taken her to the barracks hospital, but I could not bare to have her far from me. So I brought her here to my room in order to always be close to her.
The doctors rushed in as soon as I arrived ready to take charge and assess her injuries. I had to hold back my wolf as he wanted to snap and snarl at every doctor that tried to touch her. After a few hours they had declared that she was stable before I locked everyone out of my room to be with her.
Beep! Beep! Beep! I stared at my mate memorizing the details in her coat. She was laid on her side so that she could be hooked up to the various IV’s and monitors. Bandages covered her limbs and torso. Three broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, a head concussion and numerous scrapes and cuts. I had memorized each injury as they were identified, all inflicted because I couldn’t protect her. I didn’t even know who she was. Was I so weak I couldn’t even see my own mate?
Behind me I heard my bedroom door open. I didn’t bother to look at who it was, but listened as two bodies shuffled in. Couldn’t they just leave me a alone. The pair stood there quietly waiting for me to turn to address them. I had no interest in doing that.
“Oberon sweetie?” It was my mother. I could feel as she tried to reach out to my feelings and wrap the tension in a sense of calm. My wolf gave a low threatening growl. He didn't want his feelings manipulated, even if it was by our own mother. Upon hearing the growl my mother pulled back her efforts sensitive to my wants.
There was a long pause before I heard heavy footsteps walk over to stand next to me by the side of the bed. My uncle’s body came into my sideview as he stood next to the bed staring down at my mate. Glancing up at him, his face was a swirl of emotions. Guilt, sadness, and anger all shifted across his gestures. Tentatively he moved his hand to caress one of her paws with the lightest touch of his finger.
My wolf’s snarl echoed off the walls. No one was allowed to touch her. My uncle was not phased by it. He just looked down at me before speaking.
“We need to talk,” he stated simply. I stood to insert myself so I separated him from my mate.
“Alright, let’s talk. But first...” without giving a warning I swung my fist landing it into his jaw at which the weight of it threw him into the wall. My uncle crumpled on the ground groaning. My mother snorted watching it I happen from her spot by the door. My uncle was able to recover enough to send her a murderous look.
“Don’t look at me like that,” she scolded. “You are lucky there aren’t more chairs.” My uncle gave a large sigh as he pulled himself together and stood rubbing his jaw.
“Alright, I deserved that. Can we talk now?”
“We can talk,” I replied. “Can’t guarantee I won’t hit you again.”
The three of us gathered what few chairs there were and sat for our discussion. I made sure to sit myself within arms reach of Artemis just in case.
Edmon gave a sigh when we were settled.
“I believe I need to start with an apology for my behavior. I withheld some information from you both.”
“ You lied,” I growled correcting him. He needed to call it what it was. My uncle nodded his head.
“I did. I always planned to tell you guys about Artemis eventually. We all know that the kingdom has been less stable since the beginning of Oberon’s reign. The counsel is corrupt and there are those who would wish Artemis harm. I thought by keeping her hidden, eve for just a little while, I could prepare her for the dangers she will face. “
“Do you realize how idiotic that sounds,” I growled at him. My mother snorted again.
“Well now that I says it out loud..” he continued. “Alright yeah, I’m an idiot. I regret my actions and I will do whatever I can to make it up to you both.”
“Well you can start by moving on from this sad excuse of an apology and tell us everything.” I had no intention of forgiving Edmon. He made a poor move and he deserved the guilt with it.
“What do you want to know?” He said openly.
“Artemis. Who is she? Why didn’t I recognize her as my mate? Why did my wolf and I think she was dead?” Edmon gave another sigh before speaking.
“I don’t know who she is exactly. I’m still searching the records for her birth family, but she was adopted by the Ever Green Alpha and Luna when she was three. They had no idea where she came from so they raised her as their own.”
“At age five her pack was attacked by rogues. From the recent information I’ve acquired from my new friend in the dungeons, I can confirm that it was the Ralacks that attacked. I’m confident that Artemis was their target. My plans to keep Artemis hidden were based on the fact that I believed the Ralacks were not aware of Artemis, but they knew who she was before we did. Unfortunately for them, they underestimated her. Artemis’ wolf was able to shift and fight long enough for the pack warriors to come to her aid but at a cost.”
“The scars and limp,” I added.
“Yes that,” my uncle continued,” But I also think it was more. When her wolf was forced out so early it was so damaging that she lost ties with her wolf almost completely. Alpha Langston said she lost the pack bond as a result of it. Her wolf didn’t come out again until a few months ago when I pushed her to shift.”
“You forced that poor girl to shift?” My mother cried.
“Trust me, there was no way to force her.” My uncle defended. “No amount of pulling on my part did any good. It was only when her wolf decided to come out on her own that she was finally able to shift. That’s when things got complicated.” My uncle stopped and thought for a few moments trying to find the words for whatever he needed to say.
“Artemis wolf is not like other Lunas. When she shifted she formed a new pack. In a way I think it was a way to protect herself.”
“Who’s in the pack?” I questioned.
“The rogue in the dungeons is the newest member. Although I guess you can’t call him a rogue anymore. Her childhood friend Dalton is one too.” I looked at my mother curiously.
“The warrior whom you found unconscious near her,” my mom clarified. Understanding filled my mind. The boy had obviously tried his best to protect Artemis and had paid the price on it. Even now he was still at the barracks hospital hooked up to who knows how many machines fighting for his life.
“Yes Artemis will be filled with guilt when she wakes. He’s like a bother to her...and then there is me?” My head whipped up to look at my uncle in shock.
“You!” My uncle did no look at me at first. His shame was evident. I struggled to maintain control as the pieces fell into place. “That’s why the pack bond broke!”
“You can only belong to one pack,” he confirmed.
“All this time! I hounded you for weeks asking to reestablish the bond. You kept telling me you needed more time, that you were still recovering and now I find out you had a pack bond all along, it just wasn’t mine!”
“I know I should have told you-“
“Damn right you should have told me!” I bellowed. “We could have avoided this mess if you were just a little more open. Just because you can tell when someone is lying doesn’t mean you get to do it yourself!”
I brought my hands up to run through my hair. My mother leaned over to place a hand on my arm to comfort me. I was furious with the man. Who knows if I could ever trust him again.
“Alright tell me one more thing,” I finally said in frustration. “Why didn’t I recognize Artemis as my mate. She was at the palace for months and I even spoke to her several times. I was fond of her but... why didn’t I recognize her?”
“I can only theorize,” my uncle started, “but I think when she was attacked and lost her pack bond it broke the mating bond too. Alpha Langston was never able to reestablish a pack bond with Artemis. Her wolf kept rejecting it. I believe something similar happened with the mate bond. When it broke we believed your mate had died because that was the only we knew that the bond could be broken.”
“Artemis’ didn’t form another pack bond until her wolf shifted again. It’s her wolf that creates the pack bond, not Artemis. Therefore it was her wolf who needed to also reform the mate bond. The mate bond didn’t return until Artemis’ wolf saw yours and recognized you as her mate.”
This was all so damn confusing. The worst part of this was my uncle was mostly going off of theories and speculation. One thing I know for sure, whatever happened to the bond it was fixed now, and I wasn’t going to let anything happen to us this time.
The three of us sat in silence mulling over every revelation that was given. It seemed to crazy to believe. I looked over at my mate with a new found appreciation for her. She went through so much and still came out on top. My mate was strong and fierce and kind...
“So what do we do now?” My mother asked.
“Now,” I started, “we clean house. Time to get rid of the rabble.”