A Gift from the Goddess Book Two – Chapter 29

…I couldn’t believe I was actually thinking of doing this.

Again

I should have already learnt my lesson by now… no, I really shouldn’t be trying to make it stronger. I already knew how dangerous that side of me was. And yet Kieran looked at me with those puppy dog eyes, making it feel impossible to deny him.

…So here I was.

Contemplating doing the very thing I was sure would make him happier than it would make me.

I knew he wanted me to be completely healthy again, to be able to do the things he could do, to try and… fix me. Which wasn’t a bad thing, per se. It was great. It’s just… I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that yet. This wasn’t like asking me something trivial. He was asking me to connect with a beast who had terrorised me for years.

A shiver went through me as I recalled every time it had happened, remembering the blood and bodies. Remembering… the pain. Not even Kieran had been sale last time, it having lashed out at him as well. “I’ll be right here with you, I promise,” Kieran said, disrupting my thoughts. It won’t be like the last time. You don’t need to worry.”

Right.

Because the medicine should have stopped the suppressors by now… which should theoretically stop the pain… which should then stop the blackouts… and the death toll after it.

So simple. Logical

Surely nothing bad would happen again. I could do this.

And so I held my breath tentatively. “…Okay, Kieran,” I said, feeling numb. “I’ll do it.” And I agreed to do the very thing that terrified me.

I stood a foot or so away from him as we got started, watching him carefully. A small tremor was shaking through me, but I did my best to push through it. Now, more than ever, I needed to focus entirely on what Kieran was trying to tell me.

It quite literally could mean life or death.

“Deep breath, Rae,” he said, doing it himself as if to remind me how.

Yes… thank you for that.

But I still did it regardless.

“Okay, now… close your eyes… and reach deep inside. Try to connect with her,” he instructed

I wanted to be sick.

“Rac… close your eyes,” he repeated, seeing me hesitate.

…And I did as he asked.

So basic. This was meant to be straightforward biology. Because turning into a wolf was meant to be normal. Yep, just a totally ordinary thing to do.

But as I reached down towards it inside, I felt a spark of revulsion. One that stemmed from the idea of letting it control me once more. It was like tempting late, opening the door to allow it to hurt others; something that I had sworn to leave behind as I began my new life.

And so I said… no. No more Never again.

If we were to do this… then we were going to do it my way

And I quickly grabbed ahold of the creature lurking, its teeth bared at me from the shadows of my mind and I threw it to the surface. I threw it to the surface and held it in place, forcing it to do what I willed it to.

An action that was then swiftly followed by the sound of my joint cracking.

SNAP
…And another…

*SNAPPpo

…And another….

And soon I felt pain overcome me, my body shifting and twisting in all sorts of ways I didn’t think possible. Contorting into new shapes, burning with every modification … a loud orchestra of flesh and bone moving that overwhelmed my ras

“Are you still with me?” I heard Kieran say.

Yes, I was still here the pain wasn’t as bad as the last time. It felt manageable… And I kept if that way. Though it was something that took my entire concentration to achieve.

At some point, Kieran had moved to my side, I could tell that much. Maybe to try and get a reply from me. But it wouldn’t matter for long. No, I could feel the end soon ahead, just within reach.

…And it only took another moment before everything stilled. The world stopped moving, my nausea slowly passed… and, finally, it was over.

“Rae?” Kieran asked.

I looked up towards him, my vision now different. Though truthfully, it wasn’t just my vision. As I moved my head, it seemed as though everything was now… sharper, my senses feeling heightened tenfold. “Are you okay? You still in there?” Barely.

I was still holding the creature hostage inside, its teeth snapping at me for control. But not this time. This time, I wouldn’t allow it even an inch of leeway. I was stronger now.

Perhaps Kieran had found a way to be with his wolf in peace, which was great for him… but that didn’t mean it had to be that way for everyone. Whatever I was doing was clearly working and it meant that I could feel more reassured. Reassured that it wouldn’t hurt anyone ever again.

I looked at Kieran in a way that I hoped conveyed my presence and nodded my head.

This is what he wanted. To prove I was better. Well… here I was.

A wolf.

Moving in the skin of the monster I loathed.

“Did you want to try going for a run?” Did I?

No… not particularly. I think I mostly just wanted to change back.

However, it seemed that running was the assumed next step as he proceeded to start shifting himself. And, before too long had passed, his dark brown wolf was soon greeting me.

I could tell the difference now. How there was Kieran and then there was his wolf. When I’d first seen him in this form, It had very clearly been Kieran in control so to not scare me. But now… I guess with him presuming that I was the same, I

could feel as his wolf was more in charge. It felt more… animalistic and playful as he moved.

Could he tell I was holding that side of me back? That there was something a bit… off?

Well, if he could, he didn’t show it.

And though he wanted me to follow him, I could feel my anxiety building inside instead.

It built… and built… and built… and by the time I was finally taking my first steps, moving for the very first time as myself in this form… I felt as my hold began to thin.

Thinning until, suddenly… it broke. *Shift back. NOW,’I demanded inside.

The beast was trying to take control, attempting to push me aside so quickly it was like an elastic band that had snapped. But I managed to command this one last thing, saying it a second before it was too late. And, to my relief, my body started to revert back to normal.

It was over… for now. “What was that?” Kieran asked, a few moments later. “Is everything okay?” He’d been much faster at shifting forms than me, as was to be expected.

“Sorry, I’m fine,” I replied. “I’m just… learning.”

My body was now shaking uncontrollably as I spoke, unable to hide the adrenaline that fear had shot through me. I’d been so close to losing control… so close to letting it loose.

“Hey… you did so well,” he said, coming over to hug me.

But, even in his arms, I was unable to relax.

“I’m sure you’ll be shifting like a pro in no time. Don’t worry about it.” Oh, but I was worried. Of course, I was. This was yet another thing I needed to overcome. Another thing to prove my worth to stay here. And so, just as I learned to fight, I was determined to learn how to conquer this as well.

Conquer… t

The beast inside.

“Are you ready to leave?” Kieran asked as I left my room.

We had another formal dinner tonight, the first since the one held for my welcoming. I assumed it would be easier than the last given I knew a lot more now. I’d had time to get to know the people better and settle in, and, though I was still a bit shaken from the events earlier that day, I was relieved for a distraction. Anything to take my mind off shifting

“Ready.” I smiled.

And we left for the dining hall to meet the others.

It was a pretty normal dinner, all things considered. Allison was seated next to me once again, happily chatting away. I was thankful that she could carry the conversation easily without much help needed on my end. Truthfully, her presence still put me on edge, but I’d been getting better at focusing my mind.

Now, I could sit here talking to her without paying it much attention at all. Like an annoying buzzing background noise that I’d learned to live with, but instead of noise, it was an urge to lash out at her. Putting it to the back of my head was just a way to enjoy her company in a weird, convoluted way. Whatever worked though, I guess. “…And then after I went to the temple, I went for lunch at that café I showed you last week,” she said, finishing the incredibly detailed recount of her day.

“That sounds nice,” I said, meaning it genuinely.

But it was her next words that then took me by surprise, not expecting the topic.

“Oh, and I went for a run,” she added casually, much to my discomfort. “I love having the time to do that. The wind always feels amazing against your fur, don’t you think? Anyway… what did you get up today?”

My mind instantly flashed to the shifting incident, feeling sick at the whole thing. And suddenly I felt the burning need for a drink. Or perhaps some air. Or maybe

both.

“Oh… um, nothing much. The usual,” I vaguely replied.

“Did you – ,”

“I’m just going to go to the bathroom quick,” I said, cutting her off. “I’m so sorry, I’ll be right back.”

I felt a little bad about the abruptness, but I hadn’t meant it maliciously. I was just starting to feel suffocated.

“Rac?” Kieran asked, probably realising it was odd timing,

But I smiled at him. “Back in a minute,” I reassured. And I left towards the bathroom, moving before anyone could stop me.

As I walked, I was consumed by my own thoughts, feeling… unsettled and inadequate. Like I was out of place. I knew Allison hadn’t intentionally meant any harm, but her words had been a badly timed sting. I didn’t know the feeling she spoke about, I didn’t know how it felt to casually go running… I didn’t even know how to enjoy those things. I wasn’t… normal.

“Always in such a rush,” then came a voice to my left. I had interrupted my concentration so harshly that it made me jump, and I looked up sharply to find Sterling there.

Great

He had a drink in hand, his eyes watching me in a way that sent a cold shiver through me. The very last person I wanted to talk to right now.

“What can I say? I’m a busy gal,” I said, smiling politely

“A busy gal indeed, and a pretty one at that,” he said. “Your dress is very beautiful and yet it pales in comparison to you.”

He was drunk. He had to be. There was no way he would say these things to me in a sober inind, knowing I was Kieran’s mate

“Thank you. Have a great night,” I said, brushing it off to leave.

But his words stopped me. They stopped me… and caused a panic to start filling inside

“I never expected you to come here,” he said. “Though… I can’t say I expected you to go anywhere. Not with your upbringing.” “Excuse me?”

1 instantly spun back around to look at him, any heart pounding loudly in my

“Nothing.” Iar smiled “I meant no harm”

And he told his drink up at me as though we were toasting to something giroul

“HAVE’ pleasant covering, Raven,” he said and leisurely turned around to look

out a window

It took a minute before I could start to walk again, my breathing shallow as I processed what he’d just said. But the more I thought on it, the more I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something in his words. As if he knew more about me than he led on, more than just how I was raised by humans.

…And soon I found myself heading in the opposite direction of the bathroom, my pace slowly increasing in speed until I was almost running, darting through the hallways of the packhouse, narrowly avoiding attendants as they watched me pass by in shock.

I ran until I finally reached my room, quickly throwing open the door and grabbing my mobile phone. The phone I hadn’t checked in a few days, almost forgetting about it amongst everything that had happened with Kieran recently. I immediately turned it on… the screen flashing up… and it showed me I had missed calls. Seven missed calls and four text messages, to be exact. All from Zac.

F#ck.

I dialled the number straightaway, grateful to see I had two bars of service in here, though my fingers trembled uncontrollably as I tried to maneuver it. “Rae? Where have you been? I’ve been trying to call you,” Zac’s voice then said on the other end.

“I’m sorry, I… I don’t have great reception here, remember? I haven’t been able to check my phone until now.”

A half lie.

*Did you find out anything? Did Noah give you a name for the supplier of the drugs?”

I heard Zac sigh. “Yeah, yeah, it was a whole ordeal. We had to go track down Miles’ old ledgers which was an adventure in itself. The guy kept it in some remote ass place in the middle of nowhere. Since Noah is meant to be dead, it took us a week to just get to the office safely and sift through all the junk-” “A name, Zac,” I said, quickly interrupting.

“I need a name.” “Right, okay, jeez, I was getting to that,” he said defensively. “Anyway, we got the ledger, found the drugs and yeah, the ingredients were a bit weird. And… yes, there was a name. Someone supplying the drugs from a place not too far from where we found the ledgers.”

“Who? Who was it?”

My hand was gripping the phone so tightly I probably could have broken it. But

this was it. The most important information that could make or break my chances of staying here.

To stop anyone investigating into my past.

To be allowed to remain by Kieran’s side.

“I don’t know, some dude I’ve never heard of .”

“Who, Zac?!” I almost screamed in frustration.

“Freaking hell, chill,” he said. “Ah… I think his name was… Sterling.”

And my breathing immediately choked to a stop in my throat.

“Sterling Lycroft.”

“…Sterling… Lycroft…?” I repeated slowly, hoping I was just hearing wrong.

But before Zac could reconfirm, I then suddenly heard footsteps behind me.

“You called for me, little bird?” the voice said.

…And I watched as Sterling entered my room, closing the door behind him.

*Click

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