Chapter 2: House
“Hi,” I shifted uncomfortably.
“You’ve made a bold move, coming here,” he challenged, eyeing me up.
“You’re not going to kill me, Xander. Can I come in?”
“Ah, so we’re engaging in pleasantries now,” he smirked. He stepped to the side, allowing me inside. My heart shattered a little at the scene inside. The walls were torn to shreds with claw marks, and washed out stains of blood tarnished the pale hard wood floors. I tried not to let it show in my expression, but I also knew that one of Xander’s most shining qualities was being able to see straight through people.
“You look horrible,” he noted.
“Thanks,” I frowned.
“Here I was thinking that I would never get a visit from the official Queen Luna of my people.”
I ignored him, pacing through the hallway to the kitchen in the back. All of the memories of my time here were flashing through my mind, but this place was unrecognizable. Come to think of it, I was unrecognizable from who I was nine months ago, so maybe I shouldn’t expect differently from others.
“It must be horrible,” was all I could manage to say.
“Do you mean the immeasurable amount of pain that she puts me through when I shift on a full moon, or when I woke up to find that I had murdered Luca and clawed his face until he was only recognizable by his tattoo?” He laughed, but it was slick with pain. “You can’t fool me, Cyan. The only reason you’re visiting me this time around is because I killed one of the people you deem worthy.”
“She wasn’t just a person, Xander. She was a girl.”
His smug gaze dropped from his lips, and he sat in the armchair.
“I’m aware of that. If you came here to try and charm me with words, you’re forgetting that I have no control over it. Whoever wanders into this house on the full moon is risking their lives. If you want to have a conversation with someone about it, ring up that little Moon Goddess that you’re so close with.”
I took a deep breath, trying my best to swallow my pride. Despite the hell that he had been living in, it clearly did no damage to his sparkling personality. I sat in the chair that was across from him, and leaned back.
“Believe it or not, I came here to check up on you.”
“Not likely,” he snorted.
“Tell me, how is it that you’ve managed to care even less than you did before?”
“Tell me the real reason that you came, and I’ll care a little more.”
I rose from the seat, opening the slider door as I walked out back. I turned at the edge of the porch to him tentatively.
“Can you come out here? Is that like, a part of the…”
“Yes, I can walk anywhere on my property line,” he chuckled. I nodded, resting my hands on the coarse wood of the railing that lined the porch. I heard him walk behind me, and I felt his hand fall overtop of mine. “Is that really why you came here?” It came out nearly inaudible, like a whisper.
“I have to get back before they notice I’m gone; it’s a long drive.”
I avoided his question purposefully; his bad attitude had turned me off. With a blunt goodbye, I climbed back into Lyon’s car and drove back. Thankfully, I don’t think any of them had noticed my departure because Lyon was right; the palace was swarming with concerned citizens. I ducked into Lyon’s bedroom, dropping the keys on his side table before going back out to see what was going on.
Most of the commotion was taking place outside Damien’s office. I approached Evan, Damien’s new guard. It sounded kinder than saying Ace’s replacement, but we all knew that was what he was.
“What’s going on?” I tapped on his shoulder, turning him around.
Evan still had the fresh look of Damien’s guard that hadn’t been worn down yet. The fear of my husband, however, was already there. I didn’t know if he would last, but he was a sweet kid.
“He’s in with the girl’s family,” he said under his breath. “You should go in.”
I rested a hand hesitantly on the grand handle of the door before pressing it forward and going inside. The girl’s parents were sitting on the couch in Damien’s office, sobbing. A little boy was with them. He couldn’t have been older than ten. When she entered the room, Damien’s arms were crossed as he leaned against the side of his desk with his back turned to her. He followed the gaze of her parents as he turned to me, his eyes softening automatically.
“I was beginning to wonder where you were,” he said.
I gave him a soft smile, pacing across the floor as I knelt at the feet of the mother. I took her hand into mine with a firm grasp. I could feel Damien’s surprise from behind me. A Queen, but more importantly, a Queen Luna, never knelt before her subjects.
“I am so sorry for what happened to your daughter. What was her name?”
“Eleanor,” she whimpered.
“Your apologies aren’t good enough,” the father spewed. The mother went wide-eyed, nudging her husband.
“Richard, stop it,” she murmured.
“He’s right,” I nodded. They were both surprised by that statement. “We’re going to increase guard detail on the eve of the full moon, I will personally see to it. Nothing like this will ever happen again, I promise.”
She pulled me up onto the couch and into an embrace, and I stayed with her until she felt consoled. She and her husband uttered a grateful word before leaving the office. When I opened my eyes, I saw Damien staring at me with awe. I smiled back at him, going over to him as I straightened his tie. I peeked up though my eyelashes at him, and let him kiss me.
“You are the best Queen that this kingdom will ever know,” he murmured. I smiled wider, kissing him deeper. “I have to talk to the rest of them, but you should go. I don’t want to overwhelm you.”
I agreed, but not because I thought that he was right. I needed to talk to Lyon to tell him about what happened, and the more that Damien was in the dark, the better off the whole situation was. My eyes searched every room in every corridor, but I found him out in the garden with Alessia. I greeted them both, embracing Alessia in a warm hug before sitting beside them.
“How did it go?” Lyon asked tentatively. His hopeful look faltered when he read the expression on my face.
“He’s just as much of an ass as he was before, in case either of you were wondering.” I let out a defeated sigh. “His mansion is…it looks like a slaughterhouse, Lyon. He killed his own right hand man during one of the full moons. He really does have no control over himself. On the bright side, he does at least feel remorse now.”
“Don’t be fooled, Cyan. He’s no better a man now than he was…then.” He shot a doting glance at Alessia. “Damien is going to try and increase guards on the border, but let’s be honest, then its his own men who will be murdered, and then…”
“Then he’ll send a kill order for his brother.”
“Which will result in a full out civil war between us and the rogues.”
“That’s why it’s up to me.”