625 years equals 228,125 days.
That is the equation that encompasses Raiden’s life. He had been around for so long that he had stepped over nearly every grain of sand and dirt on the planet had to offer.
He had lived so much that he became desensitized to the emotion of surprise.
“Is that all?” he quizzed a panting Sol.
Sol ran the back of his hand across his sweaty forehead to prepare his face for the glare he was going to deliver. “What in the third sin do you mean is that all? I just told you that a lycan is after you!”
Raiden shrugged. “We have dealt with demented lycans before. We can do it again.”
Sol looked between Raiden and Artemis and then looked over his shoulder. He swallowed hard and repeated the process.
“Are you okay?” Artemis asked him tenderly, noticing how antsy his movements were. He was a sweaty, dirty, distraught mess. She wanted to embrace him but that wasn’t an option with his nudity in the way.
“Yeah, yeah... I just thought he would get to you first and I was...”
She bit back a smile. These lycans would prefer to live through their curse 5,000 times instead of admitting that they cared for each other.
“We’re okay. Everything’s okay,” she promised. “It’s good to see you. Raiden and I missed y—”
A sharp tug from her wrist had her spinning about three times. The world came to a stop when Raiden shoved her face against his chest.
“How are you human?” Raiden asked. “Your 30 days weren’t up.”
“Easy. I had to do a lot of begging and bargaining with Luna. Listen, we should really get the hell out of here,” Sol suggested as he squinted at the trees.
“Was he alone or did he bring company?”
“He was alone,” Sol answered. “Well, not really. The guy was accompanied by a perturbation that can be classified as scary. I can’t explain how fucked up the guy was. You will have to see it to understand it.”
His hand rubbed against the back of his neck feverishly. “He was so off. When he found me, he kept ranting about needing to see Wrath. I didn’t answer him so he just left.”
Raiden nodded. “If he wants to see me then he will.”
“What? We need to go. We’re in the middle of nowhere with an immortal lycan chasing us,” Sol countered.
The argument earned him a glare. “We’re a group of alphas and lycans, Sol. I think we can handle a crazy son of a bitch considering we know a bit about craziness ourselves.”
Sol turned back to the trees. “He must be an hour or two away. Where is Lukas?”
Artemis cringed, recalling the reason why Lukas passed out in the first place.
“Uh... he’s napping.”
Every shift of the trees worsed the tension in his shoulders. As he stared at the darkness expectantly, Raiden found himself thinking back to the days he spent waiting for Sol and wishing that the wind stopped toying with him.
It took a little over two hours for his wish to come true. There, in the edge of the woods that separated the mysteries of the dark from the truth of the moonlight, appeared a dark silhouette.
The man stood beside a tall oak, chillingly just staring in their direction.
Artemis stood beside Raiden, more curious than frightful. But she didn’t let her amazement distract her guard. She looked away from the mystery lycan for a second to analyze their surroundings.
The call dragged Artemis’ eyes back to the edge of the woods. The voice was quaky— one you’d expect from a teenage boy.
The man stepped into the moonlight, and in doing so proved that he was very much a man. He was entirely naked and his face was heavily bearded. The distance helped hide other features like his eye color.
“What do you want from me?” Raiden threw back.
“Answers!” Lust replied.
The group watched with nervousness as Lusts’ shoulders began shaking. What was he doing? Fighting a shift?
A sob dismissed that question. Lust wasn’t shifting.... he was crying.
“I need your help!” he croaked. “I heard that Luna forgave you. What did you give her? How did you do it?” he asked with an accent of desperation.
Raiden’s breath hitched. The tears and snot on Lusts’ face painted the unmistakable picture of agony.
The lycan stepped a few yards closer. “I don’t want this curse. I regret all I did! Please help me,” he screamed out to the sky, directing the plea at Wrath and Luna.
Both Raiden and Sol’s hearts quivered in their chests as they got dragged down the tunnel of memories. The first years of the curse were always the worst. Although they were the oldest memories, they were the most traumatizing.
Lust extended his hands out like a beggar with nothing left to his name. Raiden’s arms felt heavy as his muscle memory recalled striking that same pose thousands of times as he begged the moon to forgive him... only to get rejected.
Raiden and Sol had been in these man’s shoes centuries ago. And although they knew that he earned the title of Lust by committing an atrocity... the two lycans couldn’t help but pity him.
“I’m sorry,” Raiden’s voice faltered. “I can’t help you.”
The blow of the rejection made Lust take a recoiling step backward. More tears joined his wet face. “What did you give her? I already regret what I did. What more must I do?”
Both Raiden and Sol knew that he was lying. He didn’t regret his mistakes... he regretted getting caught.
Regret doesn’t come to lycans overnight. It gets forged into their soul after they took the time to reflect on their selfishness and empathize with their victims.
“I gave her time,” Raiden answered truthfully.
Lust fell to his knees and sobbed under the moonlight.
“Let’s go,” Raiden told the group. Before he walked off, he faced the new lycan one final time. “Good luck with your journey, Lust.”
With his elbows dipped into dirt, Lust dug his fingers into his hair and continued wailing.
Everyone entered the car, relieved that there was no altercation but shaken to the core. Raiden, in particular, was so gobsmacked that his face felt numb.
The encounter with Lust shoved a realization down his throat: centuries had passed since he earned the title of Wrath. While Lust had only dipped a foot into the lake of suffering, Raiden had been swimming in it for years, replenishing it with his tears.
Today, Wrath acknowledged that he was far from the catastrophe of a man he once was.
Today, Raiden finally became ready to complete the mate bond and start the beginning of his new life with his mate.
A/N: What do you think Lust did?
These are some questions I saw:
Q: How come Sol was forced to shift but Raiden wasn’t?
A: The 30-day shift doesn’t happen to all lycans at the same time.
Q: Will we see more of Gluttony?
A: Yeah, you’ll see his crazy ass and Envy and all the other crazies in The Tale of Pride
Q: What did Raiden mean in chapter 45 when he asked Sol “how are you human?”
A: Sol was supposed to stay locked in his lycan form for 30 days but he came back in his naked glory after nearly 3 weeks. Raiden was wondering how he escaped his lycan form.