My mate was amazing. She was strong and intuitive and yet kind and thoughtful at the same time. I saw how the Council members drooled at her like a piece of meat ready to devour her. They thought her easy pray. She shut them up real quick. Once they were dismissed she walked out of the room holding her head up high. I couldn't help but to crack a grin as we walked out.
Once in the hallway I rushed to embrace her in my arms. Holding her tight I swung her around in my excitement before holding her close again.
"You were amazing!" I said pressing her to me. My wolf purred in content at having her close. After a moment I started to pull away but Artemis just drooped back into me. I chuckled at the motion. I pulled her back again only the have her sway heavily against me.
"Hey, are you ok?" I asked lifting her chin. Once I could look at her face I could see her eyes were drooping. She could barely keep them open. Why was she so tired? She shook her head trying to right herself.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me." she answered bringing her hand up to rub at her face.
"You just went into a room full of the most ruthless people in the kingdom and crushed them without contest. It's ok it feel a little drained. Maybe you should take a rest." Artemis didn't speak but nodded before turning to walk away. She only made it a few steps before her body dropped.
Before she could hit the ground I scooped her up in my arms to carry her. She curled her body into me her eyes fully closed now.
"Mom, something's wrong," I desperately called out. My mom rushed over to look at Artemis feeling her forehead with the back of her own hand before giving a sigh.
"It's alright Oberon," she said consoling. "I know what's wrong. She'll be fine she just needs some rest. I'll explain when she is awake. Let's go lay her down.
Even with my mother's assurances I was still worried. I rushed with her in my arms to her room. My mother thought it best for her to have her own room while we were figuring out the whole mate bond thing and had the one next to mine prepared.
Once I laid her on the bed, a flurry of maids came in to situate her. Once satisfied, they left while I sat in a chair next to her. My mother walked near to rub at my shoulder.
"I don't think she will be out long. When she wakes call for me ok?" I nodded silently at her before she walked out.
It was over an hour before Artemis began to stir. I had a maid send a message to my mother before turning my attention back to Artemis. Even with her rest I saw it took a while to pull herself from her slumber. It gave me a chance to admire her.
After a minute she was able to focus and recognize who I was. I smiled seeing the blush on her cheeks. Quickly she sat up in the bed and began to look around the room.
"Your Majesty?" she called out unsure. "Where am I? What happened?"
"You collapsed in the hallway. I brought you here to rest, " I explained. "We're in an apartment in the royal residence wing. My mother had it prepared for your use." Artemis looked at her hand and began to fidgit with the fabric of her blankets.
"Thank you, your majesty," she said. "It seems you are constantly saving me.
"Oberon," I replied with a soft smile. "I want you to call me Oberon." Artemis looked at me uncertain. I was going to have to push her to get her to follow through on using my actual name.
"How are you feeling?"
"Tired, but otherwise I'm well." My body relaxed a bit knowing she was in no immediate danger.
"Do we know what happened?" She asked.
"I"m not sure. My mother says she might and would explain when you woke. I've already called for her."
"And I am already here," a voice called out behind me. I turned to see my mother entering the room with my uncle following. She walked to the other side of Artemis' bed and felt her head again.
"And how are we doing?" my mother asked. "Any headaches, spotted vision?" Artemis just shook her head. "Good. Well then we need to have a little chat. Eddie, can you grab a few more chairs. I think it's better to have it in here away from listening ears." My uncle left and returned with two more chairs which mother and him sat in. Once everyone had settled my mother began.
"Alright my dear. This is your first official lesson about being the Goddess' chosen Luna. What I am about to tell may be the most important thing you'll learn. Being the Goddess' chosen has its privileges, but with them come a price." Everyone stared at my mother confused.
"Maybe you'd better get on with it, Sarina," my uncle suggested.
"Alright, alright. Artemis, the chosen Luna isn't simply the next queen, she is the representative of the Moon Goddess among her people. When in need, the Queen Luna can tap into the Goddess' power. This shouldn't be done lightly. We are not made to withstand the power of a goddess indefinitely. The more we use it the more our energy is drained."
"Is that what happened?" I asked. "She grew weak after channeling the Goddess' power?"
"It makes the most sense to me," my mother replied. "Artemis were you using your affinity in some way? Maybe in a way that was different than before?" Artemis shook her head.
"I'm not even sure what my affinity is?" she pleaded.
"What on Earth have you been doing all this time?" my mother said scowling at my uncle. "Identifying her affinity should have been your first priority."
"Making sure she could defend herself, was my first priority," my uncle rebutted. "And I was right to do so as she was able to fend off an attack already."
"An attack that wouldn't have happened if we were told she needed protection," my mother countered back. My uncle gave a long sigh at her scolding.
"We can bicker about this again later. It still doesn't explain Artemis' collapse after the meeting." My uncle leaned forward to talk directly to Artemis. "Was there anything unusual during the meeting? Even the slightest thing could be significant."
Artemis thought carefully furrowing her eyebrows. I could almost see the event of the meeting play across her eyes. "There was nothing," she finally answered. My uncle gave out a frustrated sigh as he sat back in his seat. "Maybe I'm just tired from mind linking for so long?" Artemis suggested. My uncle raised an eyebrow at the suggesting.
"Mind linking? What mind linking?"
"After you left the meeting, while talking to Lady Ingrival we were mind linking," Artemis further explained.
"No we weren't," my uncle said flatly. Artemis' eyes grew wide in concern.
"Yes we were. You were talking to me the entire time." She was adamant about it. I grabbed her hand gently to calm her.
"Artemis can you tell us what he was saying?" I asked. Artemis took a deep breath before turning back to my uncle.
"You kept telling me whether something that was said was a lie or not. That's your affinity, right?" My uncle shook his head.
"I told you already. My ability only works if I physically hear the words said. I can't tell listening through the mind link." My uncle sat in thought for while. "When you heard me mind linking you, what did I say?" It was Artemis' turn to sit in thought.
"It wasn't words per se, more like a feeling. I knew instinctually whether something was a lie or not. There was no doubt." My uncle rubbed his chin.
"Well I think we know why you collapsed now. Somehow you were able to use my ability without me being there."
"You think the goddess did that?" I asked.
"I don't see another explanation," my uncle answered.
"Don't worry dear," My mother interrupted. "You'll be fine, but you need to be careful. It can be dangerous if you tap into the goddess' power too much. It gets much easier when you claim a mate. When you have a mate you share the strain of it and it affects you less."
Artemis didn't respond but just looked at her blankets in thought. We were overwhelming her with the new information. She was being thrown in to all of this and we needed to give her a chance. to breathe.
"Don't worry about anything right now," I said to her. "We'll figure this all out one step at a time. In the mean time we'll let you rest. Call us if you need anything." Giving my mother and uncle a pointed stare, we all gathered ourselves to leave the room.
Later that evening I sat in my room that still stood in shambles. I couldn't bring myself to have it put back together after Artemis' wolf tore it apart making her den. My wolf whined at not having her here. Only some plaster and wood separated us but she might as well have been half way across to the world according to my wolf. I couldn't do anything but sit and stare at the evidence she left me.
Late into the evening I heard a scratching at the door. At first I ignored it thinking it was nothing but another round of scratching pulled me from my thoughts.
Upon opening the door, a white blur ran past me. Artemis' wolf jumped to pounce on the pile of bedding she made. Turning in circles she adjusted the blankets before laying down, all the while I stood staring with the door still open. The wolf looked up at me with her lavender eyes telling me it was Artemis' wolf that was in control now.
"Are you sure you should be in here?" I asked. "Last time Artemis woke up in here she near had a heart attack." The white wolf looked up at me with her puppy eyes and whined. My wolf grew agitated at the suggestion that I would kick our mate out.
"Fine," I said with a sigh and closing the door. "One night. But if Artemis asks, this was your idea. Not mine." The wolf simply wagged its tail happily at me. Pulling my shirt off I climbed up the pile and settled in. Artemis' wolf crawled across to lay her heard on my chest.
Unconsciously, I stroked the soft fur behind her ears as I closed my eyes and finally let sleep take over.
END OF PART II