As soon as the sun rises, I am up and ready for today. Last night was one of the most restless sleeps I have ever had. If not for Atreus I would probably not have slept at all.
My mind was a buzz of all the things I needed to get done, the book the Paramount had taken information from was a priority to say the least but for me…
The desire to explore the ruins of the Goddess Temple and hopefully find some new leads for the Patria Luna’s disappearance and possible demise felt most urgent.
I have just felt drawn to the place since I entered the city, it’s like it was a beacon calling me. And somehow – maybe? Just maybe it was! I could only hope so.
Atreus had gone down to the food halls for some breakfast and to converse with some of his allies. He is in overprotective mode right now; he didn’t even want me to leave the apartment without him. And as endearing as that maybe, I need room to breathe.
He can’t always be where I am nor should I need to follow him around like a lost puppy. So, I forced him to go ahead himself and have the meetings and we will meet up later.
Getting as many people on the right side as possible will be vital to our success in this mission against the Paramount.
In this, we all needed to be closer, fight for each other but the awful truth was the Paramount has got to have herself rooted deep within our society to hold such power.
My only fear is that her reach is too broad, and we will not be able to counter any maneuver’s she makes.
After dressing I make my way over to a full-length mirror that stands in the corner of the room so that I can tie my hair up and out of my face.
My reflection stuns me somewhat…
I had not even thought about my appearance, as I dressed today and yesterday how the clothes, I wore resembled the one’s that the Keeper’s were wearing. All white, with the same fine cotton material. I didn’t see it. Until now, that I stood in front of my own reflection it was so obvious. I could have been mistaken for one of them if we had been put in a line up.
Was this done on purpose. It definitely had my mind spinning into it usual overthinking mode. And maybe that is all that this was I was overthinking things. Reading too much into coincidences when in truth that may be all that they are.
Even if the more I think about it though, the more I realize I saw no other wolf wear all white apart from the Keepers. Had they left these clothes for me? I queried…
That was a thought for another day, and I skipped through breakfast as quickly as possible wanting to get on my way.
I left the apartment in a rush and made my way over to the elevator, tapping the button for down and hoping it would come fast.
The urgency to get to the Goddess Temple growing stronger every minute.
“Ah, we meet again.” A deep male voice says. And I turn to the right to see the same older warrior with the salt and pepper hair from the day before. I give him a curt smile and nod, only too happy that the elevator had arrived. I stepped in.
After entering I press for ground floor and turn to face the closing door while the man passes closely, harrumphing when he enters and stands beside me.
“My name is General Ignis by the way.” He says with a smirk.
“I didn’t ask but thank you for the information.” I reply giving him the best smile I can muster. It’s not normally in my nature to be so curt with people but the fact he was with Angelina and my former friend Vaughan yesterday made me instantly weary about him.
“Oh.” He says with a little indignation. “That’s how it is pretty lady? I don’t take to kindly to disrespect.” He continues.
“Honestly, I wasn’t going for that. No offense to you…” I smugly mirrored the words he spat at me yesterday.
“Yet, even though you expect it for yourself, you showed me little respect yesterday when you greeted me in the foyer of this building.
I may be new to the role of Luna of the Dark Orb of knights and perhaps you would not have picked me as the Luna.
But the fact remains I am - and I deserve the respect afforded to me by the title alone.
By disrespecting that, you are not only disrespecting me the Luna but also Atreus the Alpha.”
Finishing with my little rant the door dings, I give the General no time for a comeback just throw him another brusque smile and step out with haste, a little sweat on my brow and my heart pumping at a rather speedier pace than usual.
Though pleased with myself that I stood up for my name, strengthening the little backbone I have got. I may not command the respect that Atreus has but I sure am not going to let him down by letting people disrespect me.
Making a beeline for the exit and ignoring the crowds that have gathered in the early morning rush. I walk with haste to the door. I’ll see if I can grab Quinn or one of my other buddies to accompany me to the library, not wanting to disturb Atreus and the work he needs to get done.
“Don’t even think about it.” The intoxicating smell of whiskey and woods envelops me at the same time I hear my mate speaking, just as I am about to step outside.
The strength and dominance in his voice disarms me and I stop in my place. Knowing full well I won’t be going anywhere without the overprotective man.
Plastering a cheeky smile on my face hoping that it will be enough to appease his anger. I give it my all.
“You’re a very naughty young mate, I may have to bend you over my knee and teach you a few lessons.”
He seductively whispers in my ear, sending a shiver down my spine and igniting in my groin. The more he talks like this the more I feel I could get on board with such a suggestion, the mere mention of it has lit a fire within, I wasn’t quite expecting.
“You know where I need to be, I just didn’t want to burden you. Especially since your contacts and allies will be equally important to this matter.” I shared my thoughts with him hopeful that he could see my point of view.
“Love… My little Bunny… Right now- You and only you are the most important thing on my mind and in my reality. We can’t take any chances. Now, we will say no more about this.” He says and pulls me out the door.
To my surprise a large black stallion is stood at the bottom of the steps, being held by Elder Tsuki. We make our way down the steps of the building and I can’t help but stare at the beautiful creature that is stood restless before us.
His body is lithe, all muscle and sinew with grace and elegance he moves his hind leg forward and back. Apparently ready to get moving. The black coat that adorns the animal is so vigorous and striking that it shines with a pure obsidian luster I have never seen on animal before.
And yet I can’t help noticing the restless behavior like it’s agitated to get to somewhere or to someone.
My eyes and attention are enraptured by the beast. It truly is magnificent almost ethereal in its beauty.
“What is his name?” I asked completely smitten by the horse.
“Epona.” He said with a smile.
“You like him.” Elder Tsuki says as I rub and pat the animal down. It’s only when I hear silence, I register that he was talking to me and so I look up momentarily and nod replying with a “Yes.” And return to the beauty again drawn to its magnificence.
My touch seems to have soothed the animal and I continue to rub my hands over the horse’s coat and main completely enraptured by it.
“He is all yours then, well that is until you find his owner…” The Elder cryptically states.
“What!” I exclaim in shock and finally turn to the Elder who would gift away such a magnificent creature to a mere acquaintance.
“You can’t. I mean you don’t hardly know me.” I say shocked and then return to gaze at the animal that has caught my attention.
“I can and I will.” He replied with a smile, taking a deep breath. “He lost his owner a long time ago and as the only heir you are the only one who deserves this privilege.” He looked at me with hope in his eyes.
“I brought him here to see if he would have any reaction to you. You see, he was in the care of the Patria Luna a long time ago. She had asked me to care for him in my stables until his owner would come to claim him and you see all these later and yet no one ever has.”
There was a wistfulness about the Elders voice when he spoke and I felt like he was reliving an old memory as he gazed at the stunning beast.
I stepped away from the animal and glowered at Elder Tsuki for a few seconds, had he lost his mind? The animal would have to be well over one hundred for that to be the case. And the longest a horse can live would be between twenty-five and thirty-five years.
My eyes hooded and my eyebrows knitted then I said as much, and he nodded his head.
“You are absolutely correct, but this is no ordinary horse. It hasn’t aged a day since the first time Nimue brought him to my home.”
“Then why on earth would you just give him away like that. Clearly he is not even yours to give!”
“Also, another truth.” He said and walked to the animal that now had begun to move about even more agitatedly. Running his hand down it’s face and then over his back the horse continued to move restively.
It disturbed me to see the beautiful creature like this. Elder Tsuki moved aside as I began to pet and rub the animal down again the soothing movements worked and once again the animal simmered down to a peaceful state.
“You see.” The Elder shouted in an elated voice.
“Not in all the years that this beautiful boy has been in my care has he been as content as he is right now. It was just a theory, but I believe that he may have been owned by one of your ancestors maybe even your mother.”
I looked at him now more seriously more engrossed while he continued to speak.
“There are a few things I know. Both the Patria Luna and the Vegus Luna were not rivals or enemies they were in actual fact allies.
Distant relatives and I believe that they continued on the traditions passed down by our ancestors. Both bearing the same blood.
They were family, and acted as such.
My theory is that the previous Vegus Luna asked Nimue to look after the stallion.”
“Look, Elder Tsuki your offer is extremely generous and during normal circumstance I would take you up on the offer but right now I am in the middle of this city. With a ton of problems, probable death calling at my door and I don’t really have time to look after this beautiful creature.
I’m sorry I just cannot accept the offer no matter how generous it is. But I do thank you for the thought.”
I apologized with a sad smile; it is true I would love this animal I just can’t accept such a responsibility right now.
“No no, there is no need for you to take the animal my dear. I will continue to care for it, just know that he is yours whenever you want to use him.”
It was a strange morning after finishing speaking to the Elder who insisted I take the horse to the library just to see how it would go.
It was amazing the animal, even kneeled down without any prompt so I could climb on. I was a little weary but loved the experience.
After I dismounted outside the main Library building the horse took off when I said “Tearman Epona.” Elder Tsuki had said it was a command for the stallion to return home. It meant sanctuary Epona.
Atreus had run along side us in his wolf form, and I loved every minute of it.
So here I was again outside the doors of the Pretiosum Liber ready for the search hoping it would be quick.
Though all the memories of this place had left me full of wonder. Witnessing how the room could move about on its own left me with doubts about how quick the search will be.
Did it change every time someone entered?
Would the books always be in the same place or moved around just like the shelves had?
Even though the room had appeared to return to its original state after I had left the viewing area I just didn’t know, and I wasn’t sure I could ask Mrs. Laurent.
So, I left it, I didn’t want to raise suspicion towards my acts, and I couldn’t inform her on everything, there were to many chances for a spy to be close by. Even poor old Mrs. Laurent could be one, though I didn’t believe that I just couldn’t take a chance right now.
She had insisted that I go alone. She was one of the Guardians and so I did trust her and what she said to convince Atreus was true enough.
“The Pretiosum Liber is the safest place in this city, heck! It is probably the safest place in the whole country for that matter.” Atreus could do nothing but agree.
The mammoth wooden door creaked open as I stood there in wonderment. Stepping through and into the center of the room I was surprised to see the Leader of the Keepers walk out.
Bowing to me she said…
“Vegus Luna, it is good to see you I have been awaiting your arrival.” I was a little nonplussed at that statement. But went with it, they did say they would appear when I needed them.
“Ah ok, how may I address you, Keeper?” I asked.
“Keeper is fine, My name is Yi though either is acceptable with me.” She said with a smile.
I returned the warm gesture smiling widely, I was happy to see her. Maybe now I can get some more answers.
“What was it you wanted Yi?” I asked curiously.
She turned to the side and I could then see the table behind her had a large book sat upon it. It was the book! The one I am looking for.
“Wow you found it.” I exclaimed and ran over to the book to take a peek inside. “I thought I would be here for days maybe weeks looking for this.” My mouth was running with excitement, as I ran my fingers along the spine of the book.
“How did you know?”
“We know all when it comes to the Pretiosum Liber.” She said seriously and her words stirred up a few questions with me.
“Can you explain why the Paramount is able to enter this room then. After all, Mrs. Laurent explained to me that anyone unworthy would not be able to enter. I just understand how she is capable.” It was true, this one fact had stumped me.
“You raise a good point there Luna. The Paramount or Louise as she should be referred to was in fact once worthy. She was the aid to the Patria Luna. Having gained respect and place by her side after many years of servitude to the house of Gaizka. She entered the Pretiosum Liber with the aid of the Luna.”
“That seems a little redundant, so she once was worthy, so she always gets entry? Seems a little stupid.” I pondered over the facts.
She smiled at me.
“Ah I see you point Vegus Luna though all is not as it seems. As you witnessed upon entering the viewing tower the room changed.
For many years we kept Louise out of the Pretiosum Liber. After the seer had gone missing it was evident that Louise was involved. The room rejected her time and time again.
She brought in witches to counter the magic imbued in the walls. Her hunger for power has only grown over the years. And we feared that one day she may breach the room and use its contents for great evil. So…” She trailed off then began to pace the room.
“So?” I Questioned filled with curiosity.
“So- we came up with a plan. One that would protect the room and our people. We created a spell that would cause the door to open but would hide the contents. When she enters or should I say before she enters the room protects it’s precious content and replaces them with other books and items that she could use but not have much success with.”
“Wow that is actually rather clever. So can you tell me anything else? where should I go or what I should do?”
“Luna, you know the answer to these questions. Return to the start and you will find what you need to know. Only you can do this. I cannot.”
I knew at this point that the keeper was done. She had given me all she could, and I was grateful for her. She had gifted me a head start and now I didn’t need to spend hours or days searching through the library for this book. I lifted it up happily thanking her for her kindness and went on my way.
To say Atreus was shocked to see me so soon was an understatement. His eyes trailed over me repeatedly and then he wrapped me in his arms.
“You are something else my little bunny.” He affectionately said.
“Now let’s get to the Goddess Temple I have some exploring to do.” I laughed excitedly.
“Once we are there you can bring the book to Elder Tsuki and return for me. I will not leave the grounds of the temple without you babe. Is that ok.” I noticed his apprehension straight away though was glad that he succumbed to my will after I reassured him.
Next stop the Goddess temple!!
Fingers crossed I will be safe, and I will find some answers.