“I never told you about that.” I scoffed, “How did you know?”
Caroline’s eyes widened, her lips fumbling over words. She knew she had been caught, with what I was unsure of. Everything ran much deeper than I had anticipated.
I felt like a child, trying to play a game clearly designed for adults. Just when I thought I was finally gaining the upper hand, something happened. A new twist was thrown into the mix.
Instead of backtracking, Caroline’s face contorted in anger. Any friendliness or companionship had faded from her face. Her light eyes were dull and lacked warmth, her lips turned up in a sneer.
“Princess Arabella.” Caroline sneered, flipping her hair behind her shoulder. “Born the luckiest girl alive and doesn’t even know it.”
“I don’t see what that has to do with anything, Caroline.” My voice conveyed the confusion and hurt I felt. Caroline looked nothing like herself, her eyes burning with hatred.
“You wouldn’t.” Caroline scoffed, shaking her head. “You think you’re actually a player in any of this? Honey, you have your head so far up your Royal ass you can’t see straight.”
My jaw dropped, my lips parting as Caroline continued her tirade. Her pale face was turning red with anger, her hands shaking.
“Caroline, where is all of this coming from?” I frowned, “How did you know about my necklace?”
“It’s coming from sixteen years of hatred, Arabella. You’ve just been too blind to see it.” Caroline chuckled lowly.
I couldn’t wrap my head around what Caroline said, nor did I want to at the moment. I could deal with every cruel thing she said to me when I was alone. I let her words deflect off me, resisting the urge to wince as they ricochet from my skin.
“How did you know about my necklace?” I asked again, my voice stronger this time. “I never told you I gave it to Uncle Jaspar.”
“Uncle Jaspar and I talk, Arabella.” Caroline smiled widely at me. She emphasized Uncle Jaspar’s name, her smile turning sour.
“Since when do you and Uncle Jaspar talk?” I scoffed. Caroline had no reason to speak to Uncle Jaspar.
“Uncle Jaspar and I talk quite a bit, considering he’s my Father.” Caroline snickered, watching my expression change.
“How is that possible?” I shook my head.
‘It’s a lie, it has to be.’ Aela shook her head, ‘We would know if Caroline was half werewolf.’
‘Only if she has an active wolf.’ I pointed out, my voice growing weak. ‘If she doesn’t have a wolf, we would never know.’
“You know how sex works, cousin.” Caroline rolled her eyes.
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” I frowned, wondering how she could keep that a secret for all these years.
“It was smarter to keep it a secret.” Caroline shrugged, but her face turned down in disappointment. “This isn’t how we planned for it to happen, but you know the truth now.”
I hadn’t realized Caroline was slowly reaching behind her back. My mind had been a mess, but I had noticed her action just in time. Caroline pulled a knife from the waistband of her pants, an ornate dagger made of silver.
My hand wrapped around Caroline’s wrist as the dagger was only an inch away from my stomach. I could feel the tip of the knife grazing the dress I wore, scratching at the fabric. Her blue eyes were wild, blazing with a hate I hadn’t known existed.
Dad had me begin training a year ago, something I never thought I would use. I was not an exceptional fighter, but I could defend myself if need be. I had never genuinely appreciated training until this moment. If I had been untrained, I most likely would have died.
Caroline pushed forward, much stronger than I thought she would be. Caroline had the advantage for quite some time, as I spent my life thinking she were fully human. Her strength nearly matched my own, but I had been trained against werewolves.
Killing Caroline was the last thing on my mind. I needed her off me and preferably restrained until the guards came. While she might’ve spent her life hating me, I didn’t hate her.
I twisted Caroline’s wrist, watching as pain flashed her gaze. Caroline switched the knife to her other hand, a move that showed she had trained. I couldn’t imagine Caroline exerting the energy to fight someone, she hated sports and anything to do with sweating.
While I only remembered bits and pieces of training, my body seemed to remember the rest. Aela wanted to shift, determined to end Caroline’s life. I kept myself together, holding Aela back as Caroline surged forward. My Mom’s necklace heated against my neck, the feeling lingering in the back of my mind.
Caroline lashed out with the knife, her eyes bright and wild. I moved back in time, the knife whizzing past my face. I couldn’t risk killing Caroline. She still had information she was holding back. I couldn’t help but notice the necklace growing warmer, stinging as it sat against my throat.
I leaned back as Caroline came at me again, knocking back my fist. Aela gave me strength as I punched, a sickening crunch coming from Caroline’s nose. Caroline seemed unphased as the blood ran down her lips. She ran forward, slamming her shoulder into my stomach.
The two of us fell to the floor, the knife wrapped tightly in Caroline’s grip. I landed on my bottom, sliding against the linoleum floor.
A surge of energy flooded throughout my body, all radiating from my necklace. My head was thrown back, dazed as the energy crackled off my skin.
The horror set in when the energy left my body, thick black spots dancing in my vision. I heard the thud of Caroline’s body hitting the floor before my vision began to clear.
I couldn’t force myself to look at what I had done. The black spots faded from my eyes; Caroline’s mop of blond hair covered her face. My head was throbbing, but I managed not to pass out.
My bedroom door’s clamored open, Uncle Jaspar came into the bedroom. His eyes found Caroline and I instantly. I could feel myself slipping into shock, amazed at how blissfully numb I felt. I watched as Uncle Jaspar processed what happened. I imagined my own Dad and how devastation would fill his eyes at the sight of my death. Uncle Jaspar’s eyes were hard and absent of emotion.
“Stupid girl.” Uncle Jaspar spat, “Letting her petty jealousy get the best of her.”
“What?” I shook my head, “You’re her Dad.”
“Don’t try to stand, you’re weak from using the necklace.” Uncle Jaspar grimaced, “I do care about you, Arabella.”
“Is that why you sold my necklace to Nikolai?” I scoffed, looking up at him in anger.
“That necklace belongs to his family, it was never yours. Nikolai Aslanov is an ally.” Uncle Jaspar scoffed, “Your Father was too foolish to see it.”
“No, he’s not.” I stared numbly at my Uncle. “He’s just a man very good at manipulating people.”
“You were never going to make it to the throne, Arabella.” Uncle Jaspar murmured, his hand wrapping around the knife Caroline just used. “It was only a matter of time. Your childhood best friend managed to murder you, mysteriously dying in the process. It’s unorganized, but a necessity. We gave you many chances, Bella. But you kept turning them down.”
I was still having trouble processing killing my best-friend, making Uncle Jaspar’s words sit on the back burner. My limbs felt like lead, lifeless as I tried to defend myself. The knife surged forward, yet it never reached my body.
Beta Devin darted into my bedroom, his body connecting with Uncle Jaspar’s. Beta Devin was stronger and more skilled than Uncle Jaspar. Uncle Jaspar slashed and stabbed, grazing Beta Devin’s skin a couple times. The werewolf hissed in pain, his claws sinking into Uncle Jaspar’s waist. Beta Devin threw Uncle Jaspar to the side, getting to his feet.
Shannon’s golden eyes were struck with surprise as they darted around the room. She was standing just inside the doorway, her eyes locked on Caroline’s mop of blonde hair.
“Mind-link your Dad, Bella.” Beta Devin grunted, shoving a shirt against Uncle Jaspar’s bleeding abdomen.
I hadn’t heard what he said, my mind buzzing numbly. It was Shannon’s voice that pulled me from my head. Her eyes were hard but full of concern, purposefully looking away from our dead friend.
“Snap out of it, Bella.” Shannon hissed, her hands grasping my upper arms. “Mind-link your Dad. Beta Devin heard everything.”
‘Dad, I need you to come to my room—’ I stopped, unsure what else to say. How could I put something like this into words? I wasn’t sure I could say them without falling apart.
‘Just a minute Bella—it’s hectic down here.’ Dad grunted, ‘Nikolai Aslanov left half an hour ago, thankfully. But Elena Halifax is missing, we think she fled the house. Geoff and Annalise Halifax remain here.’
My brain focused on what my Dad said, using anything to ignore what just happened. Elena Halifax had left, leaving her husband and daughter behind.
’Caroline attacked me- ’My voice cut out, a sob wracking through my chest. I blinked back the tears that stung my eyes, fighting against the weight of what I had done. Dad ended our mind-link, his voice fading from my head.
Dad was in my bedroom within minutes, but I hardly noticed his presence. Beta Devin was having a heated conversation with Dad, his eyes flashing angrily as he looked from me to Uncle Jaspar. I assumed Beta Devin was telling him what happened, what Uncle Jaspar had tried to do.
“Bella?” Dad’s hand flashed in front of my eyes, grabbing my wavering attention, “Bella, are you alright?”
“I’m alright.” I nodded, my gaze flickering to Uncle Jaspar. His skin was pale, coated in a sheen of sweat as he bled out onto the floor.
“I need you to tell me what happened.” Dad murmured lowly; his eyes were burning holes in my own.
“Caroline, tried to kill me.” I stuffed my own emotions away, forcing myself to focus on my Dad. “Then Uncle Jaspar tried to do the same. He’s her Dad.”
Dad stiffened, and I could see my words land blows as he registered their meaning. His own brother had plotted against him, plotted against his daughter. I was beginning to realize how deeply everything ran and wondered how deep Uncle Jaspar was in this mess. Caroline had been right along side him the entire time.
“I want him stabilized.” Dad barked orders at Beta Devin, his frame shaking with anger. “Place him in a cell, heavily guarded. Give him immediate medical attention.”
Dad turned his back on his brother, letting his men carry Uncle Jaspar out. Dad leaned down to face me, Shannon at his side.
“I think she’s in shock.” Shannon stated, her lips pressed together tightly. “Not that I can blame her.”
“Bella, I have some news for you.” Dad murmured, turning my head away from Caroline’s corpse.
“News, what is it?” I nodded, struggling to keep eye contact. The fatigue was weighing down on me, my mind begging for just a few moments of sleep.
“Viktor’s name is clear. Nikolai Aslanov found evidence on the person behind the attack.” Dad murmured seeming unconvinced, “Nikolai Aslanov found evidence against Elena Halifax.”