The Culling

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Chapter 8

For three months I kept my suspicions to myself. I was torn between my desire to live my life as a Guard and protect the royal family and the desire to learn the truth. And I knew that if I was in fact the Crown Prince’s mate, then my life would never be the same. And I wasn’t afraid to admit that the thought alone scared me more than anything in this world could.

With each passing day and still no answer found, my spirits started to sink. I managed to hide my feeling well, but those around me who knew really me knew that something was wrong with me.

And they wanted to help Phoebe, they just didn’t know how. So, they kept away watching as she pushed herself every evening she was relieved, and every day that she didn’t have to work.

It was nearing fall when I had had enough. I was going to speak to the Captain and finally get down to the truth. The news that Prince Stone’s mate lived among us had spread like wildfire, and I knew that it wouldn’t be long before he found that none of the higher born wolves was mated to him. He would then have no other choice but to start searching through the others. And if I was truly his, he would find me, it was just a matter of time.

The day was growing late, but the prince still hadn’t turned in for the night. He was riding, not paying any attention to the darkening sky. But I was, I was always on alert. When there were about thirty minutes of light left, I spotted something that made my blood curdle. Almost two dozen pair of glowing red eyes appeared in the woods behind my charge.

Opening all links that I held in my mind, I screamed Rogues, as I rushed out from my hiding place. The sudden jerk of Prince Stone’s head hadn’t passed my attention, but I kept running. They surged from the woods as I reached the horse. Just as I was about to have to make a decision, several guards and warriors sprung from my left and right, charging towards the invading rogues.

Grabbing the horse’s bridle, I started running back towards the stable, paying no mind to the demands that my prince was giving me to stop so that we could join the fight. The king’s order to make sure that his son was always safe pushed my legs to run faster as the sound of fighting grew louder. When the stable came into sight, I slid to a stop causing Darcy to tumble from the saddle.

His horse quickly trotted in where a stable hand was quick to take him. Turning around, I came face to face with a very angry prince. “I demand that we return to the fighting.” He yelled at me. I could tell that his wolf was fighting to take control, just as mine was. “I can’t do that my prince. I have to get you to safety.”

“Hang my father’s orders. I’m going back.” He spun around and was just about to shift when I reached forward and grabbed his shoulder. With just enough force, I made him face me. With the king’s words echoing in my mind, I slammed my fist against his face and watched as he crumpled to my feet, unconscious. But that’s not what had shocked me. It was the fact that the moment my fist connected with his face, sparks exploded down my entire arm.

Brushing the fact aside, I picked him up the best I could and hurried towards the castle. I knew that there was a hidden room in the king’s office, a panic room that could only be opened from the outside and only by a special code. The only ones with that code were the royal family and their guards. There were many wolves rushing out of the castle and none paid attention to me or to the fact that I was carrying their future king, unconscious.

I reached the king’s office quickly and entered the code to the panic room. Once it swung open, I placed the prince on the large couch and shut the door behind me. No one would get past me, nor would they get the code from me. I was now not only protecting my future king but my mate as well. And as I stood guard, I couldn’t help but wonder if he had felt the sparks as well when I punched him. I could only hope that he hadn’t.

The fighting had lasted well into the night and into the early morning. I hadn’t moved from my spot at all. My body had been on edge, on the verge of shifting in a blink of an eye if the need to protect Darcy rose. When I heard Major Green’s voice via mind link, my body sagged with relief. The fight was over and we were victorious. Phoebe, where is the Crown Prince?

He’s in the panic room located in the King’s office. When the fighting started, I got him away but he wanted to join the warriors. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was determined. I had no choice but to knock him out so I could get him somewhere safe. The regret of knocking him out could plainly be heard, but only I knew the real reason it was there. I had caused my mate pain, even though I had done it in order to protect him.

It was well past nine o’clock when the door opened and King Stone entered with Major Green. Instantly, my body relaxed. The adrenaline had finally left my body, only to leave it tired and weak. “Phoebe, Green told me what you had to do in order to protect my son. I’m sorry that he gave you a hard time, but I understand. You were doing your duty. Thank you.” The king spoke to me and I bowed deeply to him.

“You’re relieved Rivers. I’d suggest that you head to the barracks and try to get some rest. You’ve earned it; just make sure to eat a good meal when you wake up.”

“Yes sir Sire,” I spoke softly before bowing again and slowly heading towards the door. Just as I reached it, I turned around and spoke. “Sire, could you please tell the Prince that I’m sorry for knocking him out? I feel bad about having to do it but he gave me no other choice.”

“I’ll pass along the word Phoebe.” I gave him a tired smile and left the room. My steps picked up as I heard the first beep of the keypad, and by the time that the last digit had been entered, I was almost to the barracks. A hot bath and a long rest was waiting on me, but when I woke, the problem of Darcy finding out that I am indeed his mate would be waiting for me. And I couldn’t help but wonder if he would want a mate like me at all, or if he would be ashamed of me and reject me?

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