The mark on my neck stung against the itchy fabric of my shirt. The pain reminded me that what happened wasn’t born from my imagination.
I could have never anticipated someone like Princess Arabella, or her decision to accept me. Guilt swirled in my stomach, an emotion I had experienced little. The small Princess was making me feel things I had only heard about, but never experienced.
I felt true fear for the first time in her presence. Fear had been a distant memory, present in the mind of child-like Viktor. My name had been different back then, but I had also been a different person. Fear was a constant companion as a child, but it was beaten and torn from my body until nothing remained. I had felt fear in its rawest forms at the Princess’s Birthday Gala. Her life had been hanging by a thread, threatened in her need to save my life.
She knew nothing of my past, nothing of the things I’ve done and yet she still accepted me. I could feel how sure she was, how nothing I said would change her decision. My wolf clawed at my mind. She was begging me to mark her, to take her body for my pleasure. Her large emerald eyes were pleading, her pupils blown wide with lust and longing. I gave into her desires, her screams of pleasure continued ringing in my ears. Even as I jumped from the window for the second time, I could still feel her soft skin against my own.
The guards on the lower portion of the house were distracted for the time being. I circled around the house, following the hasty directions Arabella had given me.
I cared nothing for the tasks she gave me, as I would already do anything for the little Princess. She could send me across the world, and I would follow her voice the entire journey.
The little Princess cared for August Halifax in her kind-hearted way. She wished to help the Prince how she could. It was clear she had not thought of the weight of her plan. August Halifax would owe the young Princess a life debt, something that demanded repayment.
I traveled to the other side of the house, keeping in the forest like where the shadows protected me. Half of the lights on the house were out, cloaking everything in darkness. I counted windows, my eyes running along the Mansion walls until I located the Prince’s bedroom. A small balcony was attached to the window, the orange haired Prince standing staring out into the night. Even in the dark, I could make out the look on his face. Fear lingered in his eyes, but there was also acceptance. Geoff Halifax stepped onto the balcony, hugging his son tightly before walking away. The hug lasted only a second, a goodbye.
The concrete patio was smooth under my feet. This would be a convincing death if the mother were not to walk in. I trained my ears on August’s Halifax’s bedroom, listening closely for any sign of disruption. August Halifax seemed to slow as he fell through the air. I couldn’t help but take that moment to think. August Halifax would surely die if I didn’t catch him. Werewolf or not, a fall that high onto concrete would end anyone’s life.
I crept towards the house, using tree’s and shrubbery to cloak me. I looked out into the gardens, the usual lights that twinkeled were absent. The bright and colorful garden was cloaked in shades of black and dark blue’s. Princess Arabella loved the garden’s bright colors, the gentle scents of flowers swirling in the breeze. The garden looked much different at night, absent of light and color.
I stood under the small balcony, looking up at the Prince. I used the ledge against the house to shield myself, my eyes flickering to the dark window beside me.
August Halifax had been expecting me, looking down as though he could feel my presence. He had a grim sense of determination in his eyes. It was clear he hated running away, but his only other option was death.
August glanced one last time at the balcony doors, the doors his father had retreated behind. Without hesitation, the boy climbed over the balcony railing. His fingers slipped from the railing effortlessly and I watched as he fell.
This was the part I was not looking forward to.
I gripped my bottom lip between my teeth, catching August Halifax as he fell. The moment his feet hit the ground, I let him go and stepped back. Someone had come through the bedroom door, someone with light footsteps and a racing heart.
“August?” Elena Halifax’s cold voice sounded throughout the bedroom, pouring down from the balcony.
“Play dead.” I grunted, shoving August to the ground.
It was a far cry from what it should have been. There was no blood staining the patio. The lack of splattered brains would draw anyone’s attention. My eyes had adjusted to the dark with ease, something a normal Werewolf was incapable of. Our success would hinge on Elena Halifax’s ability to peer into the dark.
A normal werewolf would clearly see a dead body, a hint of fiery hair resting on its head.
I flattened myself against the wall as Elena Halifax walked out onto the small balcony. I could see the whisps of her light hair lifting in the cool breeze. She was peering directly below, right where her son had fallen.
Everything was silent for those few moments Elena Halifax peered down at her very much alive son. Crickets could be heard chirping in the distance, branches crunching from the abundant wildlife in the forest around us.
The only sound that rang out into the night, was Elena Halifax’s mournful cries at the loss of her only son.
Elena Halifax had seen exactly what she was looking for. Her cries were false, forced on by years of practice and experience. Geoff Halifax embraced his wife, his eyes looking at the ground below.
“Go, Elena.” Geoff grunted, “Stay with Annalise, I’ll take care of him.”
Only when Elena Halifax’s light footfalls faded into silence, did I move from the wall. Geoff Halifax stood on the balcony, his face a twisted mess of pain. Geoff Halifax didn’t try to pretend. He truly had lost his son for the time being.
I pulled August off the ground, placing my finger against my lips as his feet hit the ground. I pulled him against the side of the house, scaling our way back around. August Halifax was not skilled in keeping silent. The boy tripped on nearly everything within a five-mile radius.
I feared Elena Halifax would become curious, venturing downstairs to find her son’s dead body missing. I had done my part, now it was up to the Princess and what allies she had quickly made.
I pulled August Halifax into the forest. This spot was the easiest escape route. It was dense forest until you finally reached the edge, taking you just outside the Adair Kingdom. August would be safe in neutral territory, assuming we could keep him from sight.
The young Prince walked silently beside me, stepping over stray branches instead of tripping on them. His fiery hair was darker at night, looking a deep shade of red.
“So, you’re her mate, huh?” August Halifax broke the silence. His voice was surprisingly calm for someone who had just lost their life.
“Yes.” I nodded. It was the first time I had said it out loud.
“And you don’t mind helping me.” August’s voice was even as he made his observation.
“I am doing this for her.” I grunted, quickening our pace.
I remained silent for the time being, the young Prince was quick to catch on. I could tell he was growing tired when his movements slowed.
“Do not slow.” I snapped, “We have limited time.”
“Why aren’t there any patrol teams out here?” August Halifax murmured, his eyes darting around at the trees suspiciously.
“Many of the Royal Guard patrol the forest, they are distracted for the time being.” I replied. I wasn’t sure how long the little Princess had distracted them for, making our speed crucial.
Shifting was an impossibility. August Halifax’s scent would be much stronger if he shifted. His human scent was growing faint with each passing breeze. By the time the Patrol team ventured back out, his human scent would fade from the forest.
The two of us walked on in silence. At one point we had broken out into a jog. The hour and a half of silence and paranoia helped keep the young Prince awake.
Another half hour later, the forest line ended.