THE ALPHA NEXT DOOR

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Chapter 32

“Lunar Lupis Liber.” Quinn reads the words cut into the keystone above the door of the Library, as we stand just admiring the ancient building. We have walked and talked the whole way here. Healing comes in many forms and the time spent with loved ones is definitely the most fruitful.

Ancient buildings filled with ancient books, and I can’t wait to get in there. Though I need to keep my head on straight and not get lost in the fantasy of it. I need answers…

This place could be that step on the ladder that I need to take.

Goddess I hope it is!

“Come on bunny let’s get in there before your turn as ancient as the books your about to read.” She laughs cheekily and pulls me on up the stairs. Through the doors and then back to the main athenaeum. I am back in my element.

I have spent my life in books, their pages bringing me to new worlds, spinning new adventures that I could never hope to experience, enlightening me with knowledge. Freedom.

That is what they brought to me, the freedom to dream, to hope, to learn to experience something new.

Closing my eyes and taking in the serenity of the place, a true book lovers paradise. Even that ticking of the grandfather clock was soothing this time.

“YOU TWO! OUT!” The same old librarian came scuttling over to boot us out again. All five foot of her, with her dazzling white hair cut into a sharp bob, golden reading glasses perched on her neck and a long blue dress the surprisingly modern covering her petite slim figure.

I looked to Quinn with a smirk and bit my lips to hold it back. Oh my! I feel so bad for her and also, I can’t help laughing at the situation. She probably thinks us heathens for not worshiping the books like she would. I honestly feel regretful for that, never in my life had I been kicked out of anywhere and to be banned from a library is like a nightmare to me.

Quinn stood back, eyebrows raised and just waited for me to get us out of this situation.

What should I do?

“I ran you two out yesterday, I won’t tolerate disorderly behavior. The books in here are precious to all our kind. You can’t just go out and buy this in any bookstore, you do know this?” She scolded and questioned us. I looked into her bright brown eyes hoping I could make this situation better.

“Sorry Mrs. Laurent we are truly regretful for what happened yesterday. I can promise that nothing like that will happen again, it really was an emergency yesterday. Thankfully, the culprit was apprehended by my mate Alpha Atreus, of the Dark Orb of Knights.” Luckily for me she had a name tag on, and I know people always respond better if you treat them with respect.

“Isn’t it funny the difference a day can make!” She said, her mood calmed, and she nodded her head. It took me a minute to recognize her meaning. Then I realized she was referring to my mate’s mark. My cheeks instantly turned crimson and my heart, bet that bit fast.

“From an Omega to a Luna, I didn’t expect that.” She said and laughed. It was my first time to be acknowledged by another as Luna. My emotions tumbling up all kinds of feelings.

“Ah well, I actually was informed on the situation last night. That girl had some audacity, I was told she tried to fake a mate bond. What kind of she-wolf would try such a heinous thing. The disrespect not just to the people but to the Goddess.” She said and then pause taking a breath.

“What are you, young ones learning these days?” The old lady was on a roll, Quinn was smiling like a big kid and I just let Mrs. Laurent go on. After all- old people love the chance to talk.

Another fifteen minutes of a lecture on how things were different in her day she finally quit.

“So, what can I help you ladies with?” She finally enquired a little less hostile now.

“Atreus- sorry I mean Alpha Atreus said, that I could visit the restricted books. Apparently now that I am Luna, I have access?” After my little slip of the tongue, I asked her politely trying my best to come across genuine and trustworthy. Hopefully, I was convincing…

“Ah yes that is correct all Alpha’s, and their counterpart are eligible. Though this young lady accompanying you will not be granted access. Sorry dear.” She says briskly.

Did I catch a hint of mischief there?

“And why exactly not? I am an Alpha after all.” Quinn’s hackles raise and she’s instantly pissed off, the tone of her voice has gone from relaxed to terrifying, in the flip of a switch.

“Young one, do not tempt me…” The old lady fights back with such fervor that I am momentarily stunned at the power she exudes.

“Yes, you may be an alpha, but only those that are ruling are permitted to the Pretiosum Liber. Do you think we allow every Tom, Dick and Harry in to such an important a precious area? It is known as the restricted section for a reason my dear. And I, like yourself have the blood of an Alpha running through me, do not think because of my age I would be afraid to teach you a lesson.” Mrs. Laurent sizes up to Quinn.

I am stuck between awe and fear, a little laugh escapes me at this crazy situation.

Where is this heading?

Standing between the two, I put a hand on each of their shoulders. “Ladies…” I plead and look from one to the other and then back again. For a moment I thought I was going to have to get in between the two strong females.

I could sense the determination coming from both. After all… The Alpha blood calls to be respected and both, have it. Though I cannot believe that it’s between Quinn and a woman of such an advanced age.

Don’t get me wrong here, I actually think Quinn might have her work cut out for her, the power from Mrs. Laurent is supreme.

When I felt the tension rise even further as the face off continued, I placed my hand on each of theirs. Whether it was the skin-to-skin contact or some divine grace they finally looked at me and I feel the tension drop until it was like I had sucked out all their anger and diffused it.

Thank the Goddess!!

“Please ladies, Quinn…. Now’s not the time or place, seriously!” I exclaimed.

“I love you, you know this, but I need to get some answers and my best bet- is here. Fighting isn’t going to solve anything. You go back to your father, watch that bitch Caroline for me.

I do not trust her, especially not with Atreus. She must have someone in her pocket.

You know your dad will be happy to see you there too. That’s the whole reason you’re in this city in the first place. He wants you to learn from him. Giving into your base instincts and causing havoc with a respected member of this city will only bring more trouble your way and your fathers way too.”

Thankfully, she agreed, and we hugged it out. So many feelings have been brewing in the people around me, Quinn being one. It’s difficult for all of us and the fear of the unknown is driving our inner wolves to resort to their more primal selves more and more.

Quinn is at that stage where she is between complete control of her wolf or utter loss of control. It happens with Alpha’s and their blood line more than us regular wolves. The power of their wolf side being so strong they can struggle to contain it. I’ve seen her like this a few times.

To see her struggling now because of me is hard to bear. She is the sister I never had, and it hurts me to see her hurting.

When all is calmed and she say’s her goodbyes, even I can see how resistant to leave that she is, but she leaves with a mission and that will keep her content for now.

“You are something special my dear…” the voice of Mrs. Laurent catches me off guard as I watch the door that Quinn just left through, my mind in turmoil as usual. I swiftly turn in her direction and smile at her.

“Am I?” I question her, cocking an eyebrow.

“Yes dear.” She says and walks off calling out, “This way.” And I follow her.

We walk through the large central room of the building, rows and rows of books filling the aged bookshelves that line the isles. The place is set up like a maze and we twist and turn through the place and l look behind trying to recount my steps and remember the way but struggle with the direction.

I feel dizzy, disorientated…

Mrs. Laurent continues ahead of me, always a few feet ahead, even when I try to keep her pace. Something distracts me, and my attention will focus on it. I picked up my pace and still the dizziness caught me off guard. It was only when she stopped that I managed to stand by her side.

“It’s a bit of a trip.” She says with a laugh. My eyes hood and I look to her suspiciously.

“What do you mean.” I enquire, feeling she may be up to something. The disorientation making me question her more so.

“Dear…” she says and looks at me filled with an unknown knowledge.

“A sacred place like this is guarded… It has been for millennia. You know this city is where we originate from. Where the moon Goddess created us…” She looks at me above the rim of her golden glasses expectantly, with curiosity and hope.

Nodding to her statement. I am sure she would be disgusted if I did not even know that much, I would be too!

“So that is why I am feeling this strange effect?” I questioned her.

“Yes dear, without my guidance you would never make it to this door. Nor would anyone else. I am a guardian. I am sure you have knowledge of us, have you not?”

“Yes.” I said in a whispered tone.

“I just never met any in person before. But they are widely known throughout our world.” I could not help staring at her with a little awe, the guardians could be called our caretakers. Known to live for hundreds if not thousands of years, protecting our kind and guarding them from themselves and others.

“Good dear, well you see the Pretiosum Liber is filled with our most precious books, scrolls, literature and artifacts. Many are from the era of the first ones the Turba Lupi. They must be protected especially from those that would use any of the contents for evil or to harm others, especially our kind.

No one with ill intentions will make it here. Even if I was to lead them, they will not find the way.” She looked at me with curiosity still, her head tilted to one side.

“Yes, you definitely are special.” She reaffirmed, looking at me almost knowingly.

Did she know something?

I shook off any thoughts of trying to interrogate her if she wanted to tell me she will. I hope so anyways…

Turning to the large wooden door ahead I was mesmerized, it stood at least ten foot tall and about six foot in width. It was a dark wood, black. Carved into the door was a female figure, the moon Goddess. Two figures either side of her, on their knees. Her hands on their heads as they looked up to her. Below the figures was a depiction of their transformation from human into wolf. A depiction of the cycles of the moon was carved into the top of the door from new moon to full moon, to a waning crescent moon and all that lies in between.

Mrs. Laurent approached the door and it opened by itself…

I watched! She did not even touch it.

Goosebumps arose all over my body at the spectacular moment. I was in awe!

“H-how did you do that?” I questioned looking around for levers or mechanical bits to make the door open but could find nothing.

“Ah yes dear, you see this place has been spelled, some would call it bewitched. It has an incredibly special kind of magic. It is built into the walls, doors, floors, even the ceiling. They all have magic ingrained in the fabric. It protects the Pretiosum Liber and its contents, the same as the isles you just walked.”

She then brought me through into the round room. The door closed behind us and I was left dumbfounded standing in the center of the room.

Slowly turning around taking in the space. The outer wall had shelving holding all kinds of books. Above the bookshelves at about eight foot began the bottom of a giant mural that was about six foot in depth and span the whole circle of the room. It was the story of the Moon Goddess and how she came down to share her gift with us, creating the first of our kind. A masterpiece.

Scrolls made from animal hide and papyrus lined the shelves. There was even bamboo and wooden slips. Books of all kinds littered the room, from tiny ones to ones so big I would struggle to lift one. My mouth was agape.

I didn’t even know how to react to the sacred place I was in. There was so much going on…

Where would I even begin. Actually, I was terrified.

I looked down at my feet, my hands had begun to tremble a little. I grabbed one hand in the other, suppressing the tic.

Hopping when I felt someone touched the skin on my shoulder and let out a little yelp.

It was Mrs. Laurent. Of course, it was! But the jumpy part of me could contain my candy-assed self. Ugh! Still jumpy like always.

“It’s ok dear, it is just me.” She said and smiled. “Sit here for a moment.” Then directed me to a wooden table that had two chairs and a large wooden stand for holding the books.

“There is no need to fret, you see- like I said this place and it’s contents are ingrained with magic. Even if you wanted to destroy one of the books or scrolls here it just wouldn’t be possible. Take a look around.” The old woman, held out her hand, guiding me to look about the room.

“You will see many different states the books and scrolls are in. Some more tattered than others. Once an item is brought in here it will immediately be protected by the spell, unfortunately it cannot restore an item to its original state, but it will maintain it at the point it entered.” She smiled again to reassure me.

After me guiding through all the procedures dos and don’ts. I asked for some help on where to start and she helped me retrieve some large books a couple of scrolls and even one bamboo slip. Then left me be, to get on with it.

On opening the first book, I laughed. Thinking at what an idiot I was. All the words were written in ancient text. I checked out the others and of course they were the same, filled with words I couldn’t understand, or hieroglyphs and characters from foreign languages. What kind of idiot am I to not even think of this obstacle?

“Look at it again.” Mrs. Laurent shouted.

I thought she had already left!

So, I did what she said and looked at the first sentence in the book I had propped on the book holder. And to my surprise the words were foreign but as I read them somehow, I could understand. I looked over Mrs. Laurent my mouth agape. She just winked and left.

This place truly is magical.

I spent the rest of the afternoon scanning the pages hoping that I would find anything that could help me understand the predicament I was in. The rumbling of my tummy was a good indicator it was nearing time to leave. I just wanted to look over this one last scroll and then I would be on my way.

Three paragraphs down and I was immersed in the text. It was strange because I could sense I was coming close to something. I am not sure if it is a werewolf thing, but my heart began to race, and I felt all jittery.

“Goddess Marked!” A woman said in an authoritative voice.

I jumped, looking around me. To see that I was surrounded by nine women. All dressed similarly in white cotton trousers, tops, and dresses. They all had their gaze locked on me, I pushed back my chair and shot to my feet. I was not going without a fight! Even if it would be a quick one, I will give it my best.

“Who are you.” I gasped out in fear.

“We are the Keepers.” One female said, I am assuming she must be in command, my eyes jotted about the room.

I thought this place was safe. Shit!!

They all stood arms akimbo, and I was stunted, frozen. Like a deer caught in headlights.

“Ok! Is there something I can help you with? Do you need anything?” I asked hoping for an out.

“Yes, there is something we want.” She said with fire in her eyes, what the hell does she want?

“And that is…” I replied rolling my hand for her to get on with it, before I had a heart attack.

“You.” She stated and looked me in the eye not blinking, challenging me.

She said what now?

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