Nineteen | Cleo
My bare feet slapped against the wooden floor of my room as I paced. I clasped my forehead in an attempt to keep myself calm.
How could I possibly be calm after what I had just learned?
I knew it was a trap, goddammit, I knew the whole thing was a set up to drag me out of the shadows. I knew it would be irrational and stupid of me to damn the consequences and go anyway.
The only thing that was holding me back at this point was not this nagging voice of common sense, but my desperation to stay out of the light.
Although I had changed since that day two years ago, although I had turned off the switch for my feelings and became Rala, Cleo was now making an appearance. Her personality, her ideals and morals were returning as they always did when Hakota was involved.
And I tried. I desperately tried to wrench that handle back to turn off the emotions I could feel bubbling up inside me, ready to explode all at once. I pushed at the lever, throwing all of my mental weight into it to shut it off.
Just when I thought that I had the handle nearly twisted back to off, the handle broke and the emotions came gushing out, drowning me in its downpour.
My mate knew I was alive, my real mate who had tried to kill me. Not my substitute mate that I didn't appreciate.
Hakota was trying to draw me out, not even bothering to hide the fact that he was baiting me. He was taunting me, because he knew that I believed he would kill Terrin if I didn't come. After he had killed me, I knew there was no line he wasn't willing to cross.
I couldn't risk Terrin, I couldn't let him become a causality in the battle between Hakota and I, I couldn't do that to Syn. Syn needed Terrin and if nothing else, I would answer Hakota's call to save Terrin so that Syn could have his mate.
These overwhelming feelings of dread, of longing and of protection, feelings I hadn't felt for nearly two years, were swallowing me whole.
Rala fought Cleo to regain control within me, to let that cold indifference beat every other feeling back. I desperately wished I did not care about it, about any of them. Everything would be so much easier if I just cared about myself.
Lune had a different plan for me it seemed. She kept that switch inside me broken, refusing to allow me to mend it and revert back to Rala.
Emotions upon emotions piled up. Pain and grief filled me, anger only taking over when I remember the betrayal of my own mate. I felt hatred for the male that had promised to love me and then moment later ripped his mark off my throat calling me a regret. A mistake.
Well I would show him what his real mistake was.
Letting me live.
Not making sure I was really dead.
He wanted me to come to him?
I would come.
But I would not play into his hands. I would not crawl back to him like the pull on my heart pushed me to do. I would not let my guard down around him. I refused to give him the chance to stab a knife in my back again. I would not be fool enough to let him past the barriers of my heart.
And I wouldn't just disappear into the shadows after I saved Terrin. Hakota wanted me and he would get me in all the worst ways. I would be a permanent pain in his ass, I would play his damn games and we'd see who was the real mastermind. We would see who was the better player. I'd mess with his head, give him many more things to worry about than this stupid war with the Lunars.
I opened the small closet where a single item was located. A full backpack stared up at me, begging me to grab those straps and leave.
Just for a moment I rethought my plan. Words of doubted filtered through my mind before I violently shoved them away, reaching down and slinging the strap over my shoulder.
I left the small room that I had come to occupy during my stay at the Lunar Kingdom. My backpack was all I had, the only thing I needed.
I slipped through the dorms, making my way to the main hallways of the building. I knew I had to be careful to avoid Coda and Sebastian. Coda would never let me leave and quite frankly it was just a matter of time until he learned of Hakota's taunt and came running to me to stop me from going. Coda knew me better than I knew myself, and he knew Hakota better than I did since he wasn't blinded by the mate bond and complex feelings.
I knew that if Coda were to catch me before I left, he would convince me out of my crazy plan but I couldn't let that happen. This was something I needed to do.
It was time to face my demons, and if that meant that Hakota or I had to die in the end because there was no other way, then so be it.
Although I would never just flat out kill Hakota, I would definitely put him in situations where Fate would choose if he lived or died. I'd always provide him the means for his survival should Fate wish he get it.
Tightening my hold on the strap over my shoulder and my will to see my plan through, I was soon out of the base and walking through the streets of the city.
Knowing I still had Mila's spies tailing me, I lied in wait to take them out one at a time. Reaching a side walk, I pretended something was wrong with my backpack and slung it off from my shoulder, setting it on the ground and unzipped it. From my bag I palmed three sliver knives, slipping them up the sleeves of my black turtleneck. When I straightened,and picked up my bag I continued walking, waiting for that perfect chance.
Needing to get them closer to me, I quickly made a set up. Looking around sketchily, as if checking for anyone watching, I made my way into the nearest shop. Upon entering the soap and candle shop I browsed casually, looking through the shelves. Two of the three spies entered the shop as a pair, doing a horrible job of looking inconspicuous with their terrible performance of being to friends out for a casual stroll through town. They didn't even talk to each other, only splitting up to look through the shelves.
I pulled a bottle of honey and vanilla scented soap from the shelf, smiling to myself as I smelled the bottle. From the corner of my eye one spy was coming up behind me looking at the soap on the other side of the aisle.
I stepped back, 'bumping' into them and caused them to drop the bar of soap they were holding. Apologizing, I picked it up from them, handing it over at the same time I stabbed one of my knives into their stomach. I put my hand over their mouth to muffle the gasp and slowly lowered them to the ground. I hid nearby, waiting for the other to find their fallen comrade. Sure enough, upon seeing the dead body, my second spy whirled around, looking for me. When I stepped from the end of the aisle it was already to late for them as I let my claw shaped knife fly. It dug into their chest and the spy stumbled back, his hand going up to blade protruding from his chest.
His hands went for the handle of the blade, but with one tug he found out that the knife would not be easy to remove. If pulled it would hook under his rib and then be impossible to retract. His palms were red with blood as he looked at his hands and the silver blade before meeting my eyes and smirk.
With a smile I left him there, strolling out of the shop and immediately locating my final spy. She was sitting in a window at a shop across the street with a clear view of the door I had just exited. I headed over to the shop, stepping through the door and approached her without hesitation, sliding into the seat across from her.
The look of surprise on her face was genuine but I only smiled at her. I gestured at the menu that was lying open on the table in front of her. With a skeptical look on her face she slowly slid it over to me. Before she could retract her hand, I grabbed her wrist and pulled her over the table, forcing her halfway out of her seat.
I grabbed her, digging my claws into her shoulder and injecting a large amount of my venom into her. She winced but to her credit made no sound. Pulling her closer I whispered, "Tell Camilla that her spies need a lot more training if she hopes to get any real use out of them."
With that, I released her and stood from the table and left the shop. I hoisted the backpack up over my shoulders from where it had slipped down. Blowing out a breath, I began my journey to the outskirts of the Lunar Kingdom where I knew Hakota was currently plowing his way towards the heart of the kingdom.
It didn't take me long to make it to his camp. I had kept at a fast and steady speed, knowing that if I dared to slow Coda would catch up to me. Once I was inside the camp though, I knew Coda would turn back.
He respected me enough not to get involved without me asking him to. He would wait it out and wait for my instructions because that was just the way he was.
When I approached the first set of border patrol guards, I merely walked up to them in broad daylight, not even flinching as they took several threatening steps forward. They demanded my name, my purpose and to halt where I was.
I kept walking towards them, assessing the werewolves. They were nothing special, on par with the Lunar werewolves. I breezed past the duo, easily dodging their claws and outstretched hands.
With three well placed blows they were both on the ground, hands to their necks where I had slashed a shallow line with my claws and injected a small amount of venom to incapacitate them for awhile so I could move through without their annoying antics to halt me.
And so it went for the next three patrols I passed, with every new set of guards their strength increased. It made sense that Hakota would want the better protectors closest to camp. After all, having the weaker ones killed was no big deal and it kept the fear alive within the ranks.
When I could finally make out the black peaks of the tents where their camp was located, I released a shuddering breath, gripping my backpack straps with shaky hands as I surveyed the camp where the worst of my demons was residing.
I nearly turned back right then and there but then my eyes landed on the reason I was here. From the high point where I was located, I could see Terrin chained and muzzled to a pole in the center of the camp where there was a large clearing, no doubt for me to have this exact view.
Separating me from the camp was a valley the dipped from where I was standing on the hill. Hakota had strategically placed his camp on the crest of another hill directly across from me. He would easily be able to see enemy forces coming and they would have to descend into the valley and then fight Hakota uphill. Even if Hakota pushed the enemy forces back they would be fighting in the valley on flat land, giving the enemy another disadvantage of having to retreat uphill.
Steeling my nerve, I gritted my teeth and forced my feet to move. I descended into the valley, my heart quickening with each step.
Through my head I chanted my new mantra.
I will not run away, I will make him pay.
And so I repeated this to myself over and over as I began my climb up the hill, coming closer and closer to those foreboding tents.
When I crested the hill, coming face to face with Hakota's troops, I only rose my chin and made my way through the camp.
They were obviously aware of my arrival, letting me stroll through without so much as a word of protest. The path to my destination was clear also, another sign that my arrival had been expected and staged for.
I did not falter when I felt their awed eyes follow me in my march through camp. I did not shy away when I heard the whispers and nods at my mangled neck where no doubt people were making the connection. I did not drop my eyes as I heard the rumors of what had gone down between my mate and I. Gossip was only natural in a war camp, and I was sure many of them had been witnesses to Hakota's supposed insanity and had come up with stories about the alpha of lycans and his mate and how I had driven him mad.
I forced my feet forward, my eyes only focused on those tents arching behind the five poles, one of which held Terrin. Those tents that housed the lycans, a family I had thought I could have been a part of.
My throat was suddenly thick with tears. I swallowed them down, refusing to show weakness.
Terrin's eyes were wide and he screamed, the muzzle muffling his words. He pulled at the chains binding him but I only walked past him to the tents behind him.
I squared my shoulders as I looked at the daunting flap of fabric that kept me from my mate who I could scent just beyond.
I didn't let the stares of every one of the soldiers of the camp who had followed behind me to witness this scene sway me from my choice to be here and reached for that flap.
Closing my eyes and exhaling one more deep breath, I flashed my eyes opened and swept the fabric aside, stepping into darkness beyond.
Alright guys, it's almost here! Next chapter is the moment you've all been waiting for.
I'd love to hear all of the theories you guys have on what's going to happen in the next chapter.😁