“Just because I saved your ass back there from being fried to death, it doesn’t mean that that’s going to happen. Nor does it mean that I’m weak or that I owe you anything.” Thea crossed her arms over her chest as she sent him a stern look, watching as his hand froze mid-air, the slice of bread hovering over the soup which was no longer so piping hot.
“I have the upper hand now so it’ll be best for the both of us if you remember that.” She threatened him in a dangerously quiet voice. “If you want Malik and I to stick around, you need to be completely honest with me otherwise, I’ll turn my back and both you and I know that you can’t do anything to stop us. The decision is up to you.”
Orpheus frowned lightly as he stared back at her, clearly not very happy with her words but instead of getting angry at her as he had done so many times in the past, he just looked upset.
“You and Malik can’t leave.” He shook his voice, answering her in a quiet, vulnerable voice; one which she had never heard him use before. As far as she knew, he could be playing her right now, trying to get her to fall for his act but Thea refused to let her guard down.
“I won’t be able to manage if the both of you leave.” He murmured quietly when she was lost in her thoughts for a few moments. “The both of you can’t leave.”
“Then you need to start being honest with me otherwise I’ll be forced to leave you with no choice.”
Orpheus sighed and bowed his head, bobbing it up and down slightly as he agreed. After what she had done to him, this was only the least of what he deserved.
Thea still struggled to come to terms with the fact and severity of what she had done and to be completely honest, she wasn’t sure if she would do the same thing or not if she had the chance to go back and change things. All she knew was that this last second decision was very rash and if it didn’t work out the way that she hoped it would, she would have no one to blame but herself.
Not to mention the fact that all of these children that she had been worrying about, their safety was in her hands.
Lost in her thoughts, Thea didn’t realise that Orpheus had retracted his hand so he could finish off the rest of his meal – still starved after having not eaten in two days which was ironic since he had treated her in a similar fashion for a whole week – though made sure to keep his gaze trained on her; studying her, watching her every move and action in order to find out as much as she could about what was playing on her mind.
It was only after Orpheus had finished off his lunch as well as hers since she didn’t have any sort of appetite that he decided to pick up the conversation again, finally asking the question that he had been wondering since the moment that she had made the formal confession.
“Why did you lie for me?” He asked in a quiet voice, reaching for his glass of water.
“You’re not grateful that I lied to save your ass?” Thea shot him a questioning look, not the least bit concerned with her language and whether it offended him or not.
He had already done to her what she feared the most so now, there was nothing left to keep her afraid and at bay. She could play things whatever and however way she wanted but first, she needed to find out exactly what was going on.
“Trust me, I’m beyond grateful.” Orpheus couldn’t help but sigh in relief. “But the last time you spoke to me down in the dungeon-”
“You mean the same dungeon cell that you locked me up in for an entire week?” Thea cocked a questioning brow in his direction, purposely cutting him off and making a show of being as difficult as she could possibly be.
“Yes.” His lips stretched into a thin line but he was forced to nod his head as he was speaking nothing but the truth. “Sorry about that.”
“I don’t think sorry cuts it.” She rolled her eyes, not bothering to hide her frustration and anger toward him. “Not to mention that one evening that your guard forgot to feed me.”
“I’ll have a word with him about that.” Orpheus clenched his jaw as he spoke, all but forcing each word out of his mouth yet not once did he raise her voice and she hated to admit it, but she was a little more than impressed.
“I’m sure he didn’t forget to feed you one evening, did he?”
He simply shook his head in denial and sighed, raising a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose in extreme frustration. So far, all Orpheus had known was the scared, submissive Thea that she morphed into whenever he was around or rather, what she had become after he had raped her for the first time but not now and not ever again.
It was about time that she put all of that behind her and started being true to herself.
“Let’s get back on topic, shall we?” Thea prompted with a knowing grin on her face despite her having been the one that had cut him off and driven them off topic, though she was far from apologetic.
“Yes, let’s.” He pursed his lips, an uncomfortable expression on his face as he fidgeted in his seat.
Taking a deep breath, he willed himself to remain strong and true as he spoke, knowing that this moment meant a lot to her and she would settle for noting less than the truth.
“I would like to take a moment to apologise for my actions and everything that I put you through.” Orpheus whispered as he bowed his head in shame, feeling genuine remorse for what he had done to her even though being completely sure of it in the moment.
“You mean for raping me? Again?”
“Yes.” He pursed his lips but forced himself to nod his head, even more so since he was very aware of the fact that she had the upper hand in this situation. “I am sincerely sorry for raping you. Twice.”
“It might make you feel good admitting it and apologising to me for the rape, but that doesn’t change the fact that you violated me. That you took me against my will, all but forcing me down each time even though I was crying and near hysterical both times.”
Unable to think of anything to defend himself because everything that she had said was nothing short of the truth, Orpheus gulped and merely stared back at her, the sorrow and remorse for his actions shining through his eyes. Not that she could bring herself to care all that much however, she made a show of thinking about it.
More so for his sake than hers however, this part of the conversation wasn’t over just yet.
“There’s also the fact that you tried to kill me.”
Almost as if this had piqued his special interest, Orpheus lifted his immediately and blinked at her with big, wide eyes.
“I didn’t mean to.” Orpheus shook his head but even to his own ears, the words were weak and held little to no meaning.
“Just as you didn’t mean to rape me?” Thea dared to question and even though she knew that she was pushing the boundaries, she only laughed softly in response despite how serious and sensitive the topic they were talking about was.
Not wanting to hear any more of his excuses as they only resulted in angering her further or rubbing her up the wrong way, Thea made a show of sighing and shaking her head, almost as if she was trying to shake and get rid of all the bad.
If only it was as simple as that, but that was an issue for another time and right now, there was some pretty convincing acting that she needed to get a start on.
“The real reason that I lied about the rape and saved you is because of the way I saw you down in the dungeon.”
Not daring to say something that could possibly upset her even further or worse, piss her off enough to get her to shut him out once again, he chose to keep quiet and instead,
“I know this may be hard to believe, but I really think that things could work out between us.” Thea lied smoothly and sighed, forcing herself to lift her eyes and lock gaze with him. “Seeing you down in the basement and then at the trial, accepting all the mistakes that you made and willing to face the consequences of your actions, even going as far as to accept what would be akin to the death penalty, I just couldn’t let you go through it.” She made a show of pausing and shaking her head, tricking him into believing that just thinking over what was close to happening was upsetting her; this kind of vulnerability immensely difficult to share.
“I know that I’m human so the effect of the mate bond aren’t even half as strong on me as they are on you, but I just couldn’t let my mate suffer through such a fate, especially when I was at the root of all of it.”
“The mate bond?” Orpheus questioned in a barely-there whisper, his eyes brimming with hope as he stared back at her in awe. As the joy bubbled inside him, he forced a cap on top of it so it wouldn’t spill over prematurely but to deny the fact that his body was soaring with hope couldn’t be further from the truth.
Thea nodded her head in confirmation before forcing herself to press on with her mini speech even though it consisted of her nauseating herself with all the lying through her teeth that she was doing.
“What are you saying?”
Thea forced herself to inhale deeply before she answered him, not trusting her voice to not waver and give everything away.
“I’m saying that ’m willing to give you this one last chance but this time, everything is going to be on my terms and the second things start to go awry, I’ll be gone so quick you won’t even see it coming.”
Orpheus couldn’t bring himself to answer as he was genuinely moved with emotion by her words – as well as her giving him this last chance even though he no where near deserved it – but forced himself to nod his head, needing her to know that he was onboard with this.
“Now that I’ve been truthful with you, it’s about time that you return the favour.” Thea stated firmly while maintaining eye contact, showing him that she meant business and wouldn’t refuse anything less than the truth.
Taking a deep breath, Orpheus got ready to spill out the truth, very aware that this would be a lot for her to comprehend let alone begin to understand or make sense of.
“Do you remember that time when you were kidnapped a few months ago?”
“Remember? I won’t ever forget what happened that day.” Thea snorted and rolled her eyes at the stupid question, but was quick to catch herself as she realised just what his question entailed. “Wait! How do you know about that?”
“Because I was behind it all.” Orpheus shrugged as there was no avoiding the truth now.
“I thought you said you were only part of it all and not in charge?”
“I lied.” His lips stretched out into a grimace. “The whole thing was actually my idea. To be honest, it was my father’s idea but he didn’t know how to go through with it all. But after his passing, I took it upon myself to make sure his dream was fulfilled. To make sure our dream was fulfilled.”
Without realising it, Orpheus had just blown her mind. This whole time, she had thought that he was simply part of the child trafficking operation because he had stated the fact while locked up in the dungeon but now it turned out that he had lied to her. Thea had thrown the whole trial and lied to set him free simply because she thought that he would be more valuable to her alive than dead, because she had thought that she needed him to get to the root of the child trafficking operation and put a stop to it, but it appeared that he was the root of it. If she had kept her mouth shut and allowed for the silver death to happen but now, it would all continue and it was all down to her. All her fault.
He had played her right into his hands and she fell for it like the gullible idiot that she was.
Not daring to give anything away, Thea merely blinked in response and prompted him.
“Child trafficking is your father’s dream?”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” He chuckled lightly though the sound was far from humorous. “You see, we’re actually not trafficking children but rather, we’re sacrificing them.”
“Sacrificing them?” She questioned in a gasp, struggling to keep her jaw from dropping. “What do you mean you’re sacrificing them?”
“As you know, the Apo to Chaos pack worships the true God – Lord Erebus and not the false Moon Goddess that the rest of the werewolf world has been conditioned into worshipping. Like I told you, the Moon Goddess locked him away and took credit for all of his work, claiming the first two werewolves as her own creation even though that couldn’t be farther from the truth.” Orpheus couldn’t help but growl as he gave her the backstory, but forced himself to not get too carried away with things as there was still a lot left to explain.
“What the Moon Goddess didn’t realise is that by killing Lord Erebus, she only destroyed his vessel but not his soul, and so that’s how we’re still able to worship Lord Erebus today.”
Thea nodded her head in understanding even though that was what she lacked; understanding and relatability, but those were two things that she could worry about later once she had been given all the required information.
“No one outside of the packs knows this but the book of Erebus talks of a myth stating the process of how to bring a God back to life.”
“By sacrificing children for them?”
“Yes!” Orpheus cheered with a proud glint in his eyes. “Well, my father and I’s dream is to bring Erebus back to life so that we can be ruled by the true God once more!”
“How many children do you need to sacrifice to achieve that?” She tried not to choke over her words, barely able to get them over her mouth with how disgusted the truth made her feel.
“That’s the part where we’re not sure.” He admitted, rubbing a hand down his jaw. “The Book of Erebus is quite vague when it comes to the numbers but every time the ritual is performed, the Alpha wolf can feel
“You’ve performed the ritual before?”
“A few times.” Orpheus nodded. “But not in a few months.”
“Let me guess. Not from before you got caught?”
“That’s right.” He nodded his head again. “Kidnapping new borns was proving more difficult as time passed, and each ritual that we were able to perform was usually far and in between so Harvey – I’m sure you’re familiar with your friend, Harvey Ainsley – was inspired by your other friend, Anastasia, with the idea of using surrogates to mass produce pups for us. To be completely honest, it was pretty solid proof and in the long run, would have proved the most fruitful solution however, none of us had anticipated that Anastasia, a human, was mated to a wolf, and an Alpha wolf at that. It’s safe to say that Marcellus and Anastasia fucked everything up for us so we had no choice but to take a step back for a little while to remain undercover, especially since we lost quite a few of our members already, but that’s not going to be able to stop us.” Orpheus ended with a sharp, determined glint in his eyes, alerting her that all of this was far from over.
She nodded her head and sighed, trying to make sense of all of this information which she knew wasn’t even the icing on the cake. She knew that the more questions she asked and the more they delved into the matter, the more she would learn of the disgusting situation she had somehow landed herself in.
“You know what? This is all starting to make sense now.” Thea sounded aloud with a thoughtful expression on her face, making a show of mulling over his words even though she truly thought of them to be nothing short of bullshit and cult mentality, though she dared not voice her opinion out loud in fear of the anarchy that it would result in.
“It is?” His whole face lit up as he smiled up at her and for a moment there, she almost felt bad for playing him along like this but to remain on top of this, she needed to earn his trust. That shouldn’t be too difficult since she had literally saved him from death,
“Yeah.” Thea smiled and reached across the kitchen counter to place her hand over his even though the simple touch made her want to crawl inside herself and die. “While I don’t necessarily agree with the notion of sacrificing children, but I understand that all of this is being done for the greater good.”
“Exactly!” Orpheus beamed at her with genuine passion and excitement radiating off of him, giving her a hand a gentle, loving squeeze, unable to see the way she was clawing at herself from the inside in attempt of getting away from him and his despicable touch.
“I’m totally against harming children in any way, shape or form regardless of the reason but like you said, we’re only doing all of this for the greater good. Once Lord Erebus is back in power, all will be right in the world again and there’s be no more of that False God!” He snarled at the end, his lips curling up in distaste at the mere mention of the Moon Goddess herself.
“I can’t wait.” Thea forced a smile even though it was so far from genuine that opposite was not enough to describe it.
To be completely honest, she was absolutely terrified.
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