The Culling

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Chapter 7

Seven days; that’s how long my captain and the king made me take off. It was the longest week of my life. Both men had given me a list of things that I couldn’t do, but the one thing that neither told me that I couldn’t do, was train as much as I wanted. And train I did.

On the last night of my ordered rest, I was out running patrols, not that anyone except for Major Green knew about that, though. I loved the feeling of running free in the woods with nothing and no one to stop me. But just as much as I loved that feeling, I loved being a Guard more. My lifelong dream had finally come to pass, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything, not even my mate.

Stopping just feet from the stables, I closed my eyes and let the breeze play through my fur. Slowly forgetting where I was, my guard dropped for a moment, allowing the breeze to carry my scent away. When I realized my mistake, it was too late. But I didn’t know that.

Quickly hiding my scent again, I spun around and ran back towards the barracks. It was almost three in the morning when I slipped into the bed, tired and ready for sleep. But I knew that I’d have to be up by four thirty at the least.

Prince Stone stood in the stables, frozen. His mind had to be playing tricks on him. That was the one answer he knew. The slight night breeze had brought his mate’s scent towards him and it consumed the air around him.

Rushing towards the open doors, he was just in time to see a silhouette of a wolf running back into the woods. His wolf told him that the creature was his mate and to run after her. But his feet didn’t move. After all the looking he had done, he had discovered a clue; a clue that would lead to him finding her soon he hoped.

His mate lived within his pack, of that he was sure of. Her scent hadn’t been corrupted with the stench of a rogue. In the morning, he would start the search. But he knew that he had to be careful. If word got out amongst the women, it would be a nightmare for him.

Sighing softly, Darcy returned to his horse and finished brushing his coat. Once he was done, he made sure that the tools were all up and the lights had been turned off. Shutting the door behind him, he headed up to his room. As he entered the back door to the castle, he caught a glimpse of a dark shadow from the corner of his eye, but he wasn’t worried. He knew that it was his guard.

At exactly five-thirty, I was standing outside of the prince’s door. I had just left the Captain’s office. He had seen me slipping into the barracks early this morning, so I told him the truth. It hadn’t crossed my mind to try to lie my way out of it like most others would have done. A guard had to be honest in all things, and that had been ingrained in me since I was six years old. I wouldn’t change my ways now.

When the prince emerged half an hour later, I could see that he hadn’t gotten much sleep either. Keeping my thoughts to myself, I fell into step with him as he headed down the stairs to breakfast. Once he was seated, the Queen spoke to him softly, but I could still hear their conversation. “Did you find your mate, my son?”

“I didn’t Mother,” Darcy replied sighing heavily. I felt my wolf surge forward, wanting to go to him and take the frown off his face. The behavior of my wolf had just about driven me crazy as I tried to figure out why she was acting this way. The wolf side of me had always been picky about the males we hung around, and it wasn’t like her to take a liking to a male this fast. After all, it wasn’t like the prince was our mate.

At that thought, my face quickly paled. Bane, who had been given charge of Rebecca, Darcy’s niece, saw the change of the color in my face and sent me a worried look. Shaking my head quickly, I refocused my eyes out the large bay windows. Try as hard as I could, I couldn’t push that thought from my mind. Sure, I had thought about my mate but I wasn’t like the other femmes. I didn’t really long to find my mate.

I had been content in training for the position that I now held. If he was indeed my mate, would he expect me to give up my spot as a guard? What kind of question is that? I asked myself as my eyes searched every inch of surrounding outside. If we were mates, of course, he would demand that I give up my job.

After all, the future queen couldn’t be in a position every day that could possibly be life threatening. The thoughts swirled in my head as I silently followed the Prince back to his father’s office. Once he was inside, I blocked their conversation from my ears as I searched for the connection with my brother. Lincoln, can I ask you a question?

Sure Bee, what’s up?

If you think someone is your mate and you want to find out for sure, but you don’t want that person to know, how would you go about finding out?Lincoln was silent as he thought over his sister’s question. It had startled him if he was being honest. In the past fifteen years, not once had he ever dreamed about his sister finding her mate.

I’m not sure Bee. The only ways of knowing who your mate is for certain is making eye and skin contact. But then, that would allow him or her to know that you’re their mate as well. Have you found your mate?

I...I’m not sure Lincoln. I fell quiet for a while after thanking my brother for the information. Surely there had to be another way of finding the answer I sought after. By the time that Green relieved me that evening, I was mentally fatigued. Slowly, I walked out of the castle and made my way to the barracks.

For the first time in my life, I had no clue as what I should do next. I knew that I should speak to either the Captain or the King, but I kept quiet. Taking my time going through my nightly routine, my mind kept turning my problem over and over, trying to find a solution. Finally, with a drawled out sigh, I slipped into the bed and closed my eyes. And just as I slipped off to sleep, a howl rent the air; a howl that caused my wolf to answer.

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