Love Stained

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Chapter 8 - Realisation

Quinn POV

Obi had left a few hours ago to notify Jayce of what was happening. I lay on my bed, sulking like a child. It was kind of ironic, I had come here because I’d felt trapped in Fern Creek...and now I was pretty much a prisoner in the Panthera Kingdom. I knew the Queen hadn’t technically said that I was a prisoner but I had a feeling if I tried to leave, I would be stopped.

I couldn’t relax. I felt completely on edge. My nerve endings were electrified and my muscles tensed, ready for anything. I didn’t know if it was my body’s way of telling me I was in danger or if it was Rogue’s way of telling me she was ready to shift any second if I needed her. either way, I was wound tighter than a clock.

I sat up on my bed as I heard a knock at the door. My stomach turned slightly and I waited. Another knock came.

“Luna?”

I sighed. It was only the butler.

“Yes. What is it?” I asked.

“The Prince...he was wondering when you were going to be joining him. Apparently you were meant to meet with him an hour ago...”

I tilted my head back and pinched the bridge of my nose. Was this prick ever going to give up? This was the third time the Prince had sent one of his minions to hurry me along. Was he too good to come find me himself?

“You can tell the Prince that I’m busy. I’ll be there when I’m ready”

Silence on the other side of the door. After a minute I heard the butler clear his throat.

“Luna. The Prince doesn’t take well to people running late...or being told people are running late. He is a busy man...please?”

The desperation in the butler’s voice made me feel sorry for the guy. He was clearly shitting himself about telling the Prince that I wasn’t coming. It had me wondering what happened to the other two panthers I had sent away.

I sighed and walked towards the door, opening it.

“Show me the way” grumbled.


................


Obi POV

Here I was again, for the second time in a matter of days. I moved through the forest, running, but not in my panther form. The forest around here was too dangerous, there were way too many wolves. If I ran as my panther I would be killed on the spot, seen as a threat. In my human form they would at least stop to ask questions...and then hopefully not kill me, depending on the answers I gave.

I sniffed the air.

Aghh. Wolves. Disgusting.

I knew I was close. The potent scent of canine burnt my nostrils. It was stronger than the last time I had come out here. The hair in the back of my neck prickled, I wasn’t alone.
I slowed my pace, concentrating more on the forest around me rather than just what was ahead.

I continued on for a few more minutes, my pace having now completely slowed into a walk. The presence around me was strong. Whoever was following me wasn’t being very stealth, clearly they wanted me to know they were there. I stopped.

“You might as well come out and talk to me. Save me the trip to your pack...Alpha

A low growl emanated from the trees in front of me, followed by the loud cracks of branches breaking before an impossibly large black wolf came barreling towards me. I clenched my jaw and held my ground, if he was going to kill me I was dead either way.
The wolf stopped running only a few feet from me, then proceeded to approach me slowly, taking me in.

I knew from the sheer size of this wolf that it had to be the Fern Creek Alpha. Stories circulated of the Alpha wolf that had never been beaten, the wolf that took down a witch...but also the wolf that fought alongside a panther and a bear. My heart told me that he wouldn’t hurt me...I hoped my heart was right.

The black wolf circled me, sniffing my scent. No doubt picking up on his mate’s scent mingled through it. He snorted, shaking his head. Then he shifted.

“Alpha Jayce. I have a message for you...”

If I thought his human form was going to be less intimidating than his wolf, I was mistaken. His eyes were black, a rage behind them that made me shudder. The man was not happy, that was for certain.

“Where. Is. She?” He snarled between gritted teeth.

I swallowed. My mouth suddenly dry.

“She is safe. She is in the Kingdom, staying in the palace with Princess Onyx”

I could see something change in his demeanour as he took in what I was saying.

Princess Onyx?”

I nodded.

“Take me to her”

I snorted. He had to be joking. The glint of rage returned to his eyes, showing me that he wasn’t.

“I can’t just bring an Alpha wolf into the Panthera Kingdom” I scoffed, “The King would have my head”

Jayce circled me, the muscles in his magnificent chest twitching as he clenched his fists.

“And what do you think I’ll do to you if you don’t?


.............


Quinn POV

I thanked the butler as he took me to the Prince. He mumbled a version of ‘you’re welcome’ under his breath before hastily making his escape. I shrugged, turning around.

Oh.

Now the butler’s rushed exit made sense. The Prince stood there, a few metres in front of me, arms crossed in front of his chest and foot impatiently tapping on the floor.

“Been waiting long?” I asked, giving my best sickly sweet, pageant girl smile.

The Prince’s face gave nothing away, he just stared at me. I waited for him to bite but he just...stared. I started to feel uncomfortable, there was something in his eyes, I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew I didn’t like it.

“Well?” I asked, mirroring his stance and tapping my foot on the stone flooring.

As if he had just snapped out of a trance, the Prince frowned and a look of disgust washed over his face.

“As if it wasn’t enough the King making me work with you, but now I have to put up with your tardiness and disrespectful attitude too? You are a poor excuse for a Luna” he answered, his voice void of emotion.

Rogue stirred inside me, clearly not liking the Prince belittling her status as Luna.

“Your sister was right. You are a jerk” I spat.

The Prince pursed his lips and turned to walk away.

“Come with me. Like it or not, we have business to tend to”



The Prince and I walked down a few halls and through foyers, turning in different directions, this palace was an architectural maze. My heart started to race slightly as I realised I had no idea how to get back to my room. The Prince didn’t look at me once, didn’t say a word.

“Where are you taking me?” I asked. I kicked myself as my voice wavered slightly.

“Somewhere we can talk privately...no prying eyes or ears” he answered flatly.

I glanced out the side of my eye. The Prince’s mouth was set in a hard line, the muscle in his jaw tense. It was as if every second in my company caused him physical pain. I wondered if it was everyone that he hated this much, or just me.

The Prince came to a stop at some glass doors that led out on to a private terrace, he opened them and ushered me through. The terrace was surrounded by a spectacular garden, similar to the one off the dining hall but this one appeared larger and more overgrown.
My eyes and ears were drawn immediately to a small natural waterfall, the clear water cascading down the rocks and slowly making its way down the small river that flowed through the middle of the garden.
It reminded me of the creek that ran through the back of the Fern Creek compound. My heart sank as I was reminded how much I missed home already, and Jayce.

“This is my wing of the palace. No one will disturb us here”

I nodded my head, the reality sinking in that I was in a strange place with someone that clearly detested the ground I walked on. Why did he bring me here?

“The garden is lovely” I said, not knowing what else to say and not particularly wanting to piss him off any further.

The Prince just looked at me, his emerald eyes searching for something in my blue.

“You should never have come here” he growled.

“You’ve already said that. Last night, remember? I would be back home by now too...if it weren’t for you!”

The Prince continued staring at me, the frustration radiating off him thickening the air around us.

“You really think you are the key to bridging the gap between wolves and panthers?” He asked.

I blinked. His question caught me off guard. I was sure he was just going to retaliate with some nasty comment or degrading statement.
I thought for a moment.

“I don’t know” I answered truthfully.

The Prince mumbled something under his breath and pinched the bridge if his nose, then walked down the stairs into his garden. I watched as he paced the river, clearly deep in thought. I was just about to open my mouth to make a smart arse comment about wasting my time, when the Prince stopped and looked at me.

“Show me”

“What?” I asked, confused.

He rolled his eyes and gestured to the empty space in front of him.

“Show me your panther”

Fuck.

“No”

The Prince raised an eyebrow, as if silently asking ‘what the fuck did you just say?”.

“I want to see it. Shift”

“No” I said again firmly.

“You expect me to put my trust in you...a multi species mutt...and you won’t even shift in to your panther?”

Oh no he didn’t!

My fists clenched. Rogue was tearing at me to burst free and show this prince what happens when some worthless piece of shit dares speak to a Luna like that.

“My sister might worship the filthy ground you walk on, but I’ll need a little more convincing. Shift!”

“No”

The Prince laughed, shaking his head in pity and walking slowly towards me. His emerald eyes dark.

“I knew it. You can’t. You’ve been too focused on keeping you flea ridden little dog happy that you’ve neglected your panther. Tell me...has she completely blocked you yet? Or is there still a little bit of her clinging on to your worthless subconscious?”

I could feel my fingernails digging into the palm of my hand, droplets of blood falling to the ground at my feet. If it wasn’t for his comment stirring some small ounce of realisation in me, I would have torn his throat out right there and then. Could he be right? Could that be why my panther was unreachable.
The corner of the Prince’s mouth turned up slightly, knowing that his comment had hit home. He stepped in front of me, his breath heavy on my skin.

The prince leaned forward, his fingers tracing softly up the length of my arm. I closed my eyes involuntarily and breathed in his scent. It was familiar...sweet.
My eyes shot open and I pushed him back. He laughed, his emerald eyes taking on a sadistic glow.

“It was you” I breathed, barely a whisper.

“Of course it was me. It was always me”

The Prince stepped closer to me again, I stepped back but the coolness of a marble pillar pressed firmly on my back. The scent that I had been smelling for all these weeks, the scent that I had been so desperately intoxicated with...had been his.

“So” he drawled, grabbing a fistful of my hair and palming it aggressively into his face as he inhaled my scent, “are you going to show me your panther? Or am I going to have tear it out of you?”

I was frozen to the spot. I couldn’t move. My heart was pounding in my chest, my skin was burning up, my legs shaking and weak. I needed to get out of here, I needed to run. I needed to get back to Fern Creek, back to Jayce. This had all been a mistake.
I placed my palm flat on The Prince’s chest with the intention of pushing him away. Instead I felt my fingers tense, fisting the material of his shirt and pulling him towards me.
Then I felt it. Something inside me came to life and the purring my head was almost deafening.

Mate.


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