I didn't know what to expect but I'm sure as hell, it was not this.
After the Royal Beta intercepted us on the back road to wherever we were headed, he took us back the way we came from and drove onto a few rough turn-offs. Nothing was said. We weren't treated to any type of cruelty, nor did I sense hostility. Our first stop was at a human town. We were welcomed by the sheriff and a few humans like old friends.
A shower was offered and a warm, delicious meal. Mia and I were dumbfounded yet scared of things going awry in the blink of an eye. We then ventured on in a new vehicle, it was a large SUV that gave us more comfort than our old beat up pick-up. I don't know just how long we were on the road for but I slept with ease.
At our last stop, the beta woke us up. Looking out the window, it was early morning and large wolves were circling the vehicle we were in.
"We rest here. When we are all refreshed, a chopper will take us to Verans. This is Alpha Seamus' pack. He's under the Royal seal. Come on," he said getting out of the vehicle. Mia and I watched on as they all waited for us to get out, no guns were drawn, no defensive stance. Cautiously, we got out, clutching our backpacks close to our bodies. Jakobe leads us to a large house that looked both out of place and suited for the surroundings. As we approached the front door, a couple and a young boy exited the home.
"Royal Beta Jakobe. Welcome back to our home," the man said bowing slightly to the strapping man before us.
The woman and maybe her son bowed their heads in respect before turning to us.
"Thank you, Alpha Seamus. I will like to extend our thanks in keeping the kids safe during such harsh times. They're both with Alpha Jonathon doing very well. Expect an invite for their induction in a few days," Jakobe said with a smile.
"Wonderful news. We're so happy that everything is resolved. The king will have our loyalty for generations to come," Alpha Seamus said. I can sense his honesty, even from his mate and their son. It was a rare chance to see and hear the wolves dynamics of law and upbringing.
"Meet Mia and Chelsea Franco. Guests of the king and queen. We've come a long way and wish for a place to rest before the chopper arrives in a few hours," Jakobe stated with a smile.
"Of course. Your men can go to the packhouse. You and your guests are welcomed to the two guest rooms on the ground floor," the woman said, gesturing us to go in. Throwing a smile our way, Jakobe gestured for us to walk ahead of him and into the most beautiful house, I've ever seen. I can hear Mia's gasp along with my own, "This is beautiful. You can feel the love you've put into this place to call it your home," I complimented.
"Thank you. I'm Liza and this is my son, Sean," the woman introduced herself to us boldly, offering a handshake. We took it timidly only to be given a confused expression on her face.
"It has been a long ride. I'm afraid I've pushed them too far. If my mate was here, I will be the one in the pack-house alone," Jakobe said, erasing the awkwardness.
"And much more, I expect," Liza huffed. She beckoned us to follow her. We left the foyer, passed a grand staircase and entered a well-lit hall. Three doors met us, Liza escorted us to last one at the end of the hall. When she opened the door, we were greeted with bright colors and modern decor. The twin beds looked so comfortable with their matching purple bed sets, a door to the right led to a normal sized bathroom. The morning sunlight was peeking through yellow and purple abstract designed curtains making the room feel light and peaceful.
"There are towels and toiletries in the bathroom cabinet. When you're sure, you've rest enough, you come to find me in the kitchen," the Luna said.
"Thank you for your kindness," Mia returned.
"You're in need of help. It's the least I can do. Now go have a rest. I bet you're excited to reach Verans," Liza said, practically beaming.
"Why?" I asked.
"Sweetheart. Verans is the only hybrid coven in the US. Their bloodlines stem from the old country. They're descendants of the first royal monarchy. The Hybrid Kingdom. Only a few purebred wolves know of them. They're said to be the Royals' secret soldiers. The King and Queen camps there now," she informed us. With a small wave, she left us be. Mia and I sat on our own beds, staring at each other.
"Surely there will be punishment for helping Shia," Mia whispered.
"Then why are we still alive?" I asked just as confused as she.
"Public execution. Shia said Dimitri is as ruthless as his father," she replied with venom in her voice.
"The same Shia who told you no human will die. The same Shia who made you watch as he abused over and over. We were both pawns, Mia. Finding you as his mate was a bonus. You had luxury while I was placed in a concrete cell while that animal had me like bait to those things he created. Forcing me to hide him and his inhumane plan. He was sick and you know it. I understand he was your mate Mia but mates don't hurt you," I spat angrily. Feeling the fatigue of our travels, I left her to sulk in the room and took a warm shower to ease the still tender injuries on my body. She didn't know why all of a sudden her sister was being defensive of Shia. In the beginning, Mia was just as happy to be free though she was mourning the loss of her mate. She admitted how guilty she was for being by Shai's side but now she was defending his actions.
Was this remorse of being alive and her mate isn't?
I've read upon broken mate bonds through death but I couldn't understand.
Maybe the wolf king can help.
The urgent voice of my sister startled me out of my dream of Shia. Opening my eyes, I was confused as to where I was then everything came back.
"Beta Jakobe says the chopper will be here in ten minutes. We need to get ready. Luna Liza got us fresh clothes," Chelsea said moving from the bed over to a large bureau. She began to braid her freshly washed hair into a large braid down her back. I noticed the smile on her face and bitterly wondered why was she smiling.
We were ultimately heading to our deaths. Though I wish it will come sooner. Losing Shia still hurts. I missed his smile and the way he will play with my hair after lovemaking. She will never understand the connection one has with their mate. Chelsea has always been one for the craft, always had her head down in the books. She was so naive to believe everything was going to be okay.
Grabbing the jeans and the maybe too large tank top, I went for a quick shower and quickly got dressed. Grabbing my still packed backpack, I followed Chelsea out of the room.
"Mia dear. Don't you want something to eat?" the Luna asked. Her charming and sweet demeanor irritated the heck out of me. When her mate casually came to her side, I felt Shia's loss even more. "No thank you."
"Alright. I hope to see you two again. I can hear the chopper coming in," she said shaking both our hands. Beta Jakobe stepped forward and gave his thanks before shuffling us out of the house. Two guys were on the porch, dressed in casual jeans and simple t-shirts, standing at complete ease, waiting for us.
"Ready to go home? Elder Elias and his wife are at Verans, so I guess after a quick visit with Dimitri we'll head home," Jakobe said to the men.
Chelsea was looking at them curiously as we all walked away from the alpha house.
"Beta Jakobe, may I ask a question?" she asked.
"Yes, little one. I see you're learning to trust us," he replied. Chelsea blushed when all three males smiled her way. I rolled my eyes at her naivety.
"Can you tell us about the wolf king?" she asked.
I glared her way but she ignored me.
"I've known Dimitri since we were babies. Russia is our native country, I came to America when my parents the Deltas followed his father, King Vincent, to bring peace among the restless packs here. He had to stay in Russia with his mother, to learn the ways of a king. Dimitri preferred the old ways that he was taught and not the modern but his people were adapting. So he had to also. He loves his people and fiercely protective of them. He upholds the law but gives a fair judgment. Dimitri tends to be quiet and somewhat reserve but you can always depend on him for a listening ear. As only children of our parents, we spent a lot of time together, considered each other brother....."
"And Shia? Where was he? How did you become Beta and not him, after all, he was a Beta's son," I interjected. Shia was right. Dimitri never liked him and saw him as a threat.
"Betas are chosen by the kings or alphas. Shia was under his father's thumb since he was ten and Dimitri never fully trusted him. Now I know why. Throughout this entire ordeal, Dimitri still saw Shia as a friend, it pained him to do the execution. We all felt his pain but it had to be done," Jakobe said.
I scoffed at his words. The three wolves including my sister turned to me with darkened expressions. My mate had a vision, though it was in a rather cruel way, he had a vision for his kind.
“I take it, you were his mate. Tall, slender and dark-haired exactly how the kids described you. I think Dimitri will have an interesting talk with you,” Jakobe said eyeing me closely.
We were now standing at the edge of the field when the chopper arrived closer and made its descent. The men covered our heads and led us to it. I stayed silent as we buckled in, Chelsea seemed to be in a grand mood for her to strike up a conversation with one of the men. Their talk lasted all the way to our destination. I rolled my eyes when they began speaking of books and their meaning.
"Descent in five!" The pilot said over the headphones.
"You ladies will love Verans. It's a very human-like town but open to all supernaturals. Chrysallis, our hometown is the very first nomad town and pack," one said.
"Interesting. I always wondered if all supernaturals can live under one leader. How was that possible? I'm so excited to meet other witches and learn about your kinds," Chelsea exclaimed.
"Get that silly notion out of your head. We were part of a treason act. We can be killed in the next ten minutes by their king," I snapped. The three men growled my way, probably because of my tone on the word king. I didn't care. I now passed the level of grieving mate. I was now angry. Angry that they took him away from me.
"You were. I was forced," Chelsea bit out turning away from me. With that, my sister returned to her quiet self. We were so involved in our little spat that the helicopter landed and was powering down. The men escorted us out and set us on the path to what looked like a backyard of a gymnasium. Jakobe's pace fastened when a group of people rounded the well-beaten path of the building. When they were in talking distance, my eyes widen when a glowing energy ball formed in the Royal Beta's palm right before he threw it at the dark haired man ahead of the group.
The man chuckled just as he formed a shield causing the orb to bounce off and fizzle out.
"Blessed gifts. Wow!" Chelsea said in awe. I had to roll my eyes at her childlike look.
"We finally figured out Dante's cryptic statement when eight rogues surrounded me and I got electricity coming out my fingers like fricking Thor. Mother gave us gifts. Never have non-royal blood been blessed with gifts," Jakobe exclaimed rushing to the dark haired man. The man hugged him like an old friend and brother while a dark-haired woman stood slightly behind him, looking at us curiously.
"Times are changing and new blood is in our world now. One must adapt brother. Your mate called mine during a fight, I was nervous for you, don't worry," he said giving the woman behind him a playful glare.
No one had to tell me that this was the infamous Dimitri Romano, the supernatural king.
Jakobe turned to us. "Chelsea and Mia Franco," he stated.
Chelsea stepped forward and bowed respectfully. "Your majesty," she said keeping her head low.
"Ah! My hide and seek partner. You're a strong one, tiny, but not strong enough. Were you trained by the last white witch?" he asked. I couldn't get his tone but it seems my sister was contented.
"Oh. I was never trained. I've read the books handed down each generation," she answered.
"Impressive. Chelsea, I presume," he returned with a smile before turning to me. "And Mia."
I said nothing nor do nothing.
"Defiant this one," the woman said beside him. The king didn't waver his gaze even when his mate wrapped her small arms around his large one.
"Indeed. I'm King Dimitri and this is....." he started.
"I know who you two are. You killed my mate," I shouted lunging at them but I was thrown to the ground before I got to touch him.
"Yes. Yes, we did."