Heart of a Beast

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Chapter 36 - Tiberius (Part 2)

Tiberius stared up at the three-story packhouse buried deep within a forest as their vehicle slowly approached, its tires crunching softly on the loose gravel.

He never anticipated stepping foot onto Blauwald soil. It was oddly quiet and the wild, untamed nature of the woodland tugged on his senses like never before. It was something he’d never felt even in his homeland. The only thing close to it was when he was running wild, but his mind and senses were focused on one thing only.

Now that he had found Crystal and that need had been fulfilled, the wilderness that surrounded him now had his beast eager to jump out and explore every inch of the terrain. It called to him in an unspoken voice.

He and Crystal sat in the back seat of the Lancaster’s Pack SUV with Brooke in the seat in front of them and Alexander behind the wheel and Rhonda next to him in the front passenger seat. Brooke couldn’t turn down the opportunity to see her best friend and sister off to start her own life.

Again, a stab of pain struck him at the thought of his family turning their backs on him, but Crystal remedied it by snuggling up to him and pushing soothing feelings onto him through the matebond. Crystal’s excitement was marred only by his conflicting emotions over the situation.

When they pulled up and parked, the members of the pack assembled in front of the house. Four males and two females—and to his great surprise, Amora was there as well.

Was this everyone in the Blauwald Pack?

How could Amora stand next to that male after everything he had done?

[Keep an open mind, T,] Crystal said, finally using the nickname his family used to call him.

His hands were clenched into fists and he released them as he exhaled slowly.

[I’ll try,] he muttered—his mantra for the last two weeks.

Everyone climbed out and greeted the pack with open palms and bending their knees in submission to Amora—the last remaining lycan of the original four pairs created by the Moon Goddess thousands of years ago.

He’d never met Amora, but knew immediately that it was her for she was renown for her ethereal appearance, pale white skin and hair like the snow of the tundra she lived on for thousands of years.

Amora touched Crystal’s head and then Tiberius’ before they both rose to their feet. “I see a new path opening up, one that the Goddess Herself is shining Her light upon.”

Crystal blushed, clutching to Tiberius’ hand and stepping behind him.

He looked over his shoulder at her. [Cris?]

Flushed with heat, she peeked over his shoulder at the ancient female shyly. [She’s so powerful…]

He slipped his arm around her and urged her to stand at his side. [Don’t hide. You have no reason to.]

The petite female with golden blond hair was bubbling with excitement but held herself still next to that blond male with blue eyes that regarded Tiberius with apprehension.

“Thanks for coming guys,” the Luna said. “Crystal, you’re looking great! You’re glowing!”

Crystal blushed a deeper shade of red. “Thank you, Luna.”

“Tiberius, you’re looking well,” Alpha Stone uttered. He looked tense until his mate shot him a look with a raised brow.

He visibly relaxed and the rest of the pack followed suit. The dark-haired beta cracked his knuckles as a grin spread across his face.

Everyone shot the male a look before he busted out laughing. “Aw, come on? Just a little?”

The two females rolled their eyes and the youngest male shook his head disapprovingly, while the alpha and big buff blond male remained impassive.

Amora smiled broadly. “Another time, Beta.” She stepped back and turned to the Luna. “Luna, may you do the honors?”

The petite female nodded and stepped forward, introducing herself and her pack to Crystal’s family before introducing the Lancaster Pack members and finishing with Tiberius.

“Welcome,” Alpha Stone said. “Shall we begin?”

Nodding heads answered before everyone headed to the edge of the forest and stripped down before emerging in their wolves.

First, they would hunt, then feast. Breaking down barriers for new opportunities to grow from within.

Putting his pride aside, they set out on the hunt. The beta of the Blauwald Pack, Alistair, leading the way, followed by the twins, Gwen and Gavin, him and Crystal, her parents behind them, Amora and the bulky head warrior, Gunner, behind them, the Luna and Brooke behind them, with the Alpha taking up the rear.

The earth was soft and rich under his paws, the trees tall and wide, the foliage lush and healthy. His senses devoured the fragrances, the sounds, the tastes, and the textures of the land and reveled in it as they trotted through the woods in a line until they found a pair of deer and took them down, working together as a pack and feasting together as a pack.

They returned to the packhouse at nightfall, except for the beta and head warrior, who went out for the nightly patrol.

The Alpha and Luna invited Tiberius and the werewolves to stay in a recently built cottage a few miles from the packhouse while the Blauwald Pack stayed in the packhouse.

Alpha Stone pulled Tiberius aside before he could enter the cottage and asked him to walk with him.

Hackles raised, Tiberius excused himself from the others inside the cottage and closed the door.

Following the Alpha a few paces behind him into the brush, the Alpha eventually slowed a few hundred yards away from the cottage and waited for Tiberius to come closer.

“You know why I asked to speak privately with you,” Stone said before turning to face him. “The only thing holding you back is me.”

Tiberius nodded, meeting the Alpha’s blue eyes without flinching. He was an older male, experienced in combat and fierce, but not of Alpha Blood like himself. Tiberius could beat him easily, if only he had been trained to harness his innate Alpha Authority.

“My mate adores Crystal and her family. Your mate wants to be here, your wolf is compelled to be here—don’t think I haven’t noticed—but you’re the one holding back,” the Alpha continued. “It makes no difference to me what you decide. I have everyone I need and the blessings of the Goddess bestowed on me. However, I don’t want anyone here who can’t respect me as Alpha. If you choose to stay, you must submit to me and my mate. If you dare to challenge me, you will face the consequences. The decision ultimately lies with you on whether you both stay or not.”

“Blessings?” The word was like venom on his tongue. “You took a human as a mate.”

“Yes, as granted by the Goddess. Do you dare question Her?” the Alpha challenged in a cool and even tone.

Tiberius clamped his mouth shut as the older male sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose before brushing his fingers through his hair.

“I spent the last year reiterating this over and over. Last month, I spent my honeymoon in Europe with my mate, reinforcing our position and breaking down an ancient law that challenged the Goddess’ blessings. Taking a human as a mate is still verboten, unless it can be proven to be a soul-blessed union by the Goddess. She makes all things possible and punishing those who receive Her blessings is unforgivable. The Council had to acknowledge this. Furthermore, you saw my mate. She is a lycan now and will be until the day she dies. Just as your mate will be too.”

Tiberius scoffed. “My mate is a werewolf.”

Was a werewolf,” Stone corrected. “You sealed the matebond, did you not?”

“Yes.”

The Alpha nodded. “You will see. In time, she will become like us, perhaps sooner than you think. Just look at her paws. They look less like a wolf now and are beginning to take lycan form.”

Tiberius thought her paws were looking a little bigger than when she first shifted, the shape of them slightly different, but didn’t say anything about it.

But how? Lycans were born, not made.

Reading the look on his face, Stone nodded. “The truth lies within us. In our blood. She will become like us in time, I assure you. You will spend eternity together, as I will with my mate.”

Tiberius was stumped by this news. He’d never given much thought to Crystal’s limited lifespan as a werewolf and now he wouldn’t have to. Would she like being a lycan without realizing it would happen the moment they marked each other?

“How is any of this possible?”

“I explained—”

“No, I mean…” Tiberius trailed off, exhaling loudly and squeezing his eyes shut, trying to wrap his head around everything the Alpha was saying. It defied logic and yet, it made sense.

Crystal was going to be a lycan like him. Age more slowly, live forever, change from a wolf appearance to a more humanoid lycan one, bear lycan pups that would likewise live forever…

“Anything is possible when the Goddess wills it,” Stone said when Tiberius didn’t finish his sentence. “Go back to your mate and rest. We will speak again in the morning.”

The Alpha turned and walked away, leaving Tiberius alone to mull over his thoughts further before he retraced his steps back to the cottage.

Crystal was anxiously waiting for him and followed him into one of the two bedrooms, where he closed the door and enveloped her in his arms.

[Tiberius?]

[You’re going to become a lycan.]

She pulled away and stared up at him with wide eyes. “What?”

“It’s in our blood. My blood. When we sealed the matebond, you consumed some of my blood and now you will become a lycan,” he whispered, swallowing and lowering his gaze. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that would happen or I would have given you a choice.”

“What choice?” Crystal asked. “It would have happened eventually, right?”

“You’re not upset?”

She shook her head and snuggled back into his arms. “No, because either way, I have you.”

He kissed the top of her head before climbing into bed and pulling her close.

[What do you think about this pack now?] Crystal asked, her head resting against his heart.

[I don’t know. I’m still not too sure about the Alpha.]

[Give him a chance. I think he deserves one.]

A chance. That was all he needed all those weeks ago. A chance for Crystal to get to know him. A chance for her to fall in love with him. A chance to be with her forever.

The Goddess granted Alpha Stone a second chance with his mate despite his past. She gave Tiberius a second chance at life when he fell through the ice.

[Okay,] Tiberius said as he closed his eyes and put his mind at ease. [I’ll give him a chance.]

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