I was too wrapped in my thoughts to feel the other emotions swirling through me. It seemed I could only feel my mate's emotions when my mind was clear.
I knocked on the door to my Dad's office and entered at the sound of his voice. Viktor gave me a gentle nod and waited outside the door. Dad looked up from a stack of papers and sighed.
I decided to get straight to the point.
"So, I ran into someone interesting today." I lifted my eyebrow at my Dad and saw the awareness flood into his eyes. He knew exactly what I was talking about.
"Who might that be, Bella?" Dad responded, humoring me instead of simply coming clean.
"Bryton Duboi." I pursed my lips, "If I look around will I find the other Royal's?"
Dad sighed and ran a hand through his curly hair, "I'm afraid you might."
"Why might that be?" I plopped down in one of the leather chairs across from Dad's desk.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, Bella." Dad frowned, "You were unconscious for days. When I wasn't worrying about you, I was going over new security details and recruiting more personnel."
"I understand, Dad." My eyes softened, "Tell me now."
"I'm afraid I insisted the Royal's stay for a few days." Dad scowled, hating the idea as much as I did. "While the Aslanov family is back in their own Kingdom, the other Royal's remain here. They are each being questioned in regards to the attack at your Gala."
"You think some of them were in on it?" I grimaced, "If I had to guess, I'd say Aslanov without hesitation."
Dad frowned, his eyes guarded. "I would agree with you Bella, but we must remain patient in these times. Things such as these are rarely one sided, especially when Royal's are involved."
"Isn't it dangerous though?" I frowned, "If some of them are in on it, their right here in the mansion."
Dad nodded, "Yes. I have considered that. I fully trust Viktor to protect you for the time being. It is my full intention to interrogate each one as quickly as possible, and send those who are innocent on their way."
"They won't be here for long?" I frowned.
While I didn't mind Erik or even August staying, I wanted the others gone as quickly as possible. The night of my birthday Gala flashed through my head. The image of August Halifax tackling one of the mask men was brought to the forefront of my mind.
"I promise you they won't." Dad nodded, a small smile forming on his lips.
"One last thing." I called out, turning before I left my Dad's office. "August Halifax saved my life the night of my Gala."
Dad looked up from the papers, shock shining in his eyes. "Did he really?"
I nodded, "He tackled one of the men before they could kill me. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here."
"I will take that into consideration, Bella." Dad smiled softly, "Thank you."
"Bella, might I steal you for a few moments?" My Uncles voice filtered through my mind.
"Of course." I nodded, "I can head to your office now if you'd like."
"Perhaps in twenty minutes or so. I'm finishing up some work for your Dad." Jaspar replied.
"I'll see you then." I replied and ended the mind-link.
I roamed the halls in silence for quite a few minutes. Truthfully, I didn't want to run into any more Royals.
As a testament to my horrid luck, I encountered another familiar face.
"Hello, Princess Arabella." My name came out in a well concealed sneer.
Annalise Halifax stood a few feet away, looking as beautiful as ever. Her fire kissed hair curled down her shoulders, while she eye'd me critically.
"Hello, Princess Annalise." I smiled politely.
"You were missing these past few days." Annalise pointed out, her eyes gauging my every move.
"Oh yes." I nodded, reigning in my emotions before they registered in my eyes. "I'm afraid my birthday Gala was rather.. stressful. A few days off was something i desperately needed."
"How very nice it must be to simply step away for a few days." Annalise looked down on me, her lips pulled back in a sneer.
Aela's patience was running thin, as was my own. Annalise might have not looked like her mother, but she was the spitting image. The same hidden meaning in every word. Insulting you whilst remaining poised and polite. Acting like a ditsy Princess would not work with these women, they were much too smart. Being cast to the side had made them incredibly observant, and they had little patience for glimmering facades.
"Sometime's it is necessary when an attempt is made on your life." I murmured, keeping my eyes glued to her own. "A poorly planned attempt, but who am I to judge?"
Something flashed through Annalise's eyes, "You've finally come out to play."
A smirk twitched on her lips, "I heard my Mother had talked to you."
"She has." I nodded, "Though I'm not quite sure what we have in common."
Irritation flashed through Annalise's eyes, as well as envy. They simply wanted me for my position. If I wasn't heir to the throne, they would've never looked my way.
"We are women. We are cast to the side as something pretty to look at, but we are much smarter than they give us credit for." Annalise murmured, a snake-like smile forming on her face.
"You are right." I nodded, "But it seems we have very different goals in mind."
"You think that now, but you'll see." Annalise's ruby red lips were pressed in a thin line as she walked past me, "Mother thinks you can be swayed to our side. Do think about it won't you? We could do great things together."
With one last serpent-like smile, Annalise departed down the hall.
"Bryton Duboi said the same thing." Aela murmured, "We can do great things together."
"Why are they so desperate for my loyalty?" I questioned, "It can't be as simple as more land or more subjects."
"Isn't it obvious?" Aela scowled, "Annalise and her Mom are two of the smartest Royal's here, not counting the Aslanov family. I'm betting they have plan's, and those plan's hinge on getting you to their side."
"They can try, but I don't like either of them." I frowned.
"They will continue trying." Aela murmured, "But I'm afraid of what they have in store if you refuse."
"I suppose we'll just have to see." I sighed.
I made my way to Uncle Jaspar's office and entered at the sound of his voice. Viktor gave me another gentle nod and waited outside the door.
Jaspar was sitting in the same position as my Dad. Hunched over at his desk, staring down at a pile of papers.
"Having fun, are we?" I smirked at my Uncle and he lifted his head wearily.
"Loads of fun." Uncle Jaspar smirked, "I would be the happiest man alive if I never had to look at a single sheet of paper again."
"I'm afraid that won't be happening for quite some time." I chuckled, sitting down in one of the chairs.
Jaspar nodded mournfully, "I'm fully convinced I will take my last breath at this wretched desk."
"Hopefully it won't be for a very long time." I smiled softly at my Uncle.
Him and Dad were up to their necks in work, all because an attempt was made on my life. While I knew it wasn't my fault, the guilt lingered.
"I'm sure it wont be." Uncle smiled softly in return, glancing down at his papers to make a quick remark.
"Uncle?" I frowned, "What is it you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Ah, that." Uncle sighed, his face falling.
My stomach lurched at the sight of his expression, but I kept the emotion carefully contained.
"This conversation will have to remain between you and I." Uncle frowned, pushing his papers to the side. "Is that something you're alright with?"
I nodded, "That's fine with me, Uncle."
Uncle Jaspar had a tendency to tell me things my Dad would rather keep quiet.
"I'm fully aware of what your necklace can do, Bella." Uncle Jaspar pursed his lips, struggling to find the words to say.
"You are?" I replied softly.
Dad had strictly told me not to tell anyone, and I blindly included Uncle Jaspar in his conditions.
"Yes." Uncle Jaspar nodded, "I recognized the necklace at your Gala, but I couldn't remember where I had seen it before. Your Mother once wore that necklace, didn't she?"
"She did." I nodded, and my fingers ghosted against the cold metal of the necklace.
"I'm aware it has.. certain abilities for those she-wolves who wear it." Uncle Jaspar frowned, something else was troubling him. "Has it revealed itself to you yet?"
"No." I shook my head. The memory of my birthday Gala flashed through my mind. Ten men falling to the ground lifelessly, along with a pulsing burst of energy flowing through my body.
"I'm not sure if your Dad told you this but.. the necklace is dangerous." Uncle Jaspar glanced at me, worry filling his eyes. "Especially to the user."
Surprise tangled itself in my stomach. Dad hadn't mentioned that. He simply said it was a weapon, not that it could hurt me as well.
"He didn't tell me that." I frowned, disappointment clear on my face.
"The necklace acts as a conduit. It cares not whether it is used for acts of good or evil." Uncle Jaspar pointed out with a nod, "If the user's intentions are not pure, there could be catastrophic consequences."
"Such as?" I grimaced. The necklace didn't feel deadly, but then again that burst of energy I felt was strong enough to render me unconscious for days.
"It could eat away at your body, mind or soul." Uncle Jaspar grimaced. "If a good person used the necklace for a good reason but their intentions were evil and malicious, that evil energy would flow through a good person."
"I understand." I nodded.
My head was reeling. Just when I thought I was getting somewhere, something new was thrown at me. I'd get the upper hand just to lose it and gain it back again. Uncle Jaspar could see the worry and indecision cloud my face.
"I'm sure he had his reasons for keeping this from you, Bella." Uncle Jaspar gave me a small smile. "He does everything he can to protect you."
"But why give me a necklace that could hurt me?" I frowned. It just wasn't making sense.
Why would he give me a necklace that could hurt me when his intention was to protect me.
"He may have believed the benefits outweighed the consequences." Uncle Jaspar sighed thoughtfully, "But there is something I would like to ask of you."
"Name it." I nodded.
"Bella, I have your best interests at heart." Jaspar frowned, "I think it would be best if you gave me the necklace for now. I would simply hold onto it, nothing more. Once you are ready, truly ready, it will be returned to you."
Aela remained speechless on the matter. Uncle Jaspar was truly concerned for our safety. If what he said was true, the necklace could hurt me. I wasn't sure how to use it, let alone making sure my intentions were pure.
"I- I'm not sure, Uncle." I frowned, "I would have to think about it."
Uncle Jaspar nodded gently, "I do understand, Bella."
"What brought all of this on, Uncle?" I grimaced in confusion. His confession had come out of nowhere.
"The night of your Gala, something strange happened." Uncle Jaspar frowned, "Ten of the masked men collapsed to the floor."
"I remember." I sighed, "I watched it happen."
"I had an autopsy preformed on one of those men." Uncle Jaspar's words surprised me.
"You did?" My eyes widened, "What happened to them? What killed them?"
Uncle Jaspar's next words would finally explain what happened that night.
"I believe you did, Bella. You and the necklace." Uncle Jaspar looked truly disturbed, "They were dead before they even hit the ground."
"I- I couldn't have." My voice came out in a hushed whisper.
"It couldn't have been anything else, Bella." Uncle Jaspar's voice was gentle, calming but I wasn't having any of it.
"I- Uncle- I'm not capable- It wasn't-" My brain had stopped working, and all I could do was listen as my Uncle's next words made my blood run cold.
"They were all Lycan's. Each and every one of them." Uncle Jaspar's voice was hushed, as if sharing a secret. "When their bodies fell to the floor, they were human. They weren't Lycan's anymore."