On my way to the hospital, I had time to process some of what had just happened.
I could still feel it; that hum of energy deep inside me I‘d never known was there. It was as if it was suddenly awakened, brought forward by my desperation and pain.
This was true authority, I knew. Something I‘d never realised existed, nor did I think anyone else had either. If they‘d known I had this control, I was sure they would have tried to lock me up sooner.
There was a huge difference between following me by choice due to being chosen by the Goddess, and me being someone with an ultimate authority to control others by force. I was now an even larger threat to the traditional hierarchy.
Upon arriving, I could see the hospital was quiet. There would only be skeleton staff around at this time of night so it wouldn‘t be hard to navigate my way without being seen. This was particularly important since I didn‘t need further cause to jeopardise my current position.
It only took a couple of close calls of nearly being spotted, and going down one or two wrong wings, before I finally found the door Thea must have been behind.
I knew because it was guarded by a warrior.
I‘d forgotten that my father had mentioned her being put under watch. And to make matters worse, I recognised his face as being one of the few that had been present when Thea was found. It was unlikely he would allow me to see her knowing that I was taken off the case and expressly asked not to see her.
This left me with only one option… I‘d need to order him to stand down.
But I wasn‘t sure I could pull it off again. The first time had been a fluke and I still wasn‘t sure how dangerous it was for me to invoke that ability given my body‘s reaction the first time.
I nervously gulped, closing my eyes to try and calm myself.
I needed to do this. Once I was inside those doors, I would have access to Thea. I could end this once and for all and hopefully get the answers I needed in the process.
“I can do this,” I whispered to myself.
And with that, I strode down the hallway towards the warrior.
They saw me immediately and looked just as confused as Ray had been at the evidence locker.
But I didn‘t stop for chit–chat this time. I kept walking directly at him, trying to pull at that energy deep inside and bring it forward once more.
“Beta heir?” he asked confused. “I thought you weren‘t a part of this case anymore. Wait… didn‘t Aleric Alpha order–”
I grabbed at his shirt so he was forced to stare directly at me.
“You‘re going to leave. Now,” I commanded in that same voice that didn‘t feel like my own. “Go to the bathroom. Stay there for thirty minutes.
Do not talk to anyone. Do not be seen by anyone. After thirty minutes, you may resume your post but you will not remember I was ever here.”
Just like before, I watched as his eyes glazed over from the order, but this time the side effects hit me a lot quicker.
As he walked off to carry out my command, I felt vertigo once more, my legs giving out from under me. It was so much worse than last time and I wondered if it was increasingly taxing my body given everything I‘d already accomplished; first breaking Aleric‘s orders, then commanding Ray, and now the one guarding Thea too. There had barely been any breaks in between for me to recover.
Thad to give myself a moment to rest but, the second my head cleared enough, I didn‘t waste any more time.
This was it.
I threw open the door and strode quickly towards her bed.
Somehow I managed to move faster than I thought I‘d be able to. So fast that she hadn‘t even opened her eyes yet.
Or, at least, I‘d thought that was the case.
I jumped onto the bed, straddling her under me, and immediately drew the dagger to her throat.
“Any willing confessions before I begin?” I asked calmly in a low voice.
I‘d expected her to be scared by the sudden pinch of the knife against her, but instead, she only slowly opened her eyes to meet mine, not an ounce of fear in them.
Her sheer lack of any self-preservation was enough to make me flinch. Didn‘t she realise I was about to kill her?
She remained silent as she stared at me coldly, almost seeming unimpressed.
I shook it off though. If she wasn‘t afraid to die then at least she wouldn‘t fight back.
“Fine then. This is how the next few minutes are going to go,” I said slowly. “You‘re going to tell me what I want to know and, in doing so, maybe I‘ll let you die with all your appendages still attached. But, if you want to make things more difficult… –.”
I swiftly shifted my dagger down to her hand where her fingers were, nicking the skin at a joint so it bled. Her eyes narrowed slightly but she weirdly didn‘t even wince, something that only made me more unnerved.
She must have caught my slight hesitation at her reaction though as her lips tilted into a small smirk. That same look on her face that made me want to punch her. How the hell could she be smiling in a situation like this?
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” I asked, my anger starting to seep into my words. “Are you actually this much of a goddamn psycho?”
At least she wasn‘t bothering to put on her sad victim facade this time. But even though I could feel she was showing me her true colours, all of it still felt wrong. Even her voice didn‘t sound as sugary as normal.
“Bit rich coming from the girl who paid someone to stalk me for two years. Not to mention attempting to attack me in front of your future Alpha.”
“At least I‘m not a murderous piece of shit like you,” I spat back.
She simply raised an eyebrow at me and looked down towards where my dagger was hovering over her hand, ready to cut her at any second.
“Don‘t start that crap,” I hissed, quickly moving the knife back to her throat; my patience beginning to dwindle. “We both know what you did to Myra. Admit it.
Admit that you killed her and had some plot to overthrow the pack. Admit that you‘re a filthy rogue.”
…But instead of answering, she just started laughing at me instead. Loudly.
It was so sudden that it made me jump a little too aggressively. Her reaction felt as though she was mocking me.
“Stop it! What the hell is so funny?!”
She tried to quieten herself down but I could see her eyes had watered with tears from the sheer amount of laughing
“You don‘t actually know anything, do you?” she said, still giggling. “Here I had been worried that you‘d somehow figured it all out two years ago, but in reality, you just think I‘m a rogue.”
She started laughing again, even harder this time, and I swore I could see red with how angry I was getting.
I pressed the dagger to her throat slightly deeper but it did little to deter Thea from her moment of humour.
“Sorry, sorry,” she said, trying to stifle her laughter. “I‘m just… you were meant to be the smart one. I can‘t believe I was worried about nothing.”
I frowned, confused over what she‘d said. ‘Smart one‘? That implied that there were more people involved than just me. Who else was she referring to? Was she talking about Aleric?
I needed answers. Genuine ones. Not this crappy beating around the bush while she looked down at me. I was the one holding the knife and yet I didn’t feel like I had any of the control in this situation.
She‘d completely shaken my confidence in everything I was doing.
“Who else do you mean? Are you talking about your plans to seduce Aleric for the Luna position?”
Genuine confusion crossed her face a split second, as if she was trying to gauge if I was actually being serious, but it didn‘t last long as she erupted into laughter again.
“Where the hell do you come up with this stuff? I swear I haven‘t laughed this much in years. Why would I waste my time seducing your shitty Alpha heir?”
I froze. How could that be possible? Was this just a mind game so I‘d let my guard down? That had been her whole scheme in my past life, her whole reason for killing me.
If her goal wasn‘t becoming Luna or taking Aleric for herself, then what was she really after?
“ENOUGH!” I finally yelled with my marked authority, my patience now completely gone. “Tell me the truth. Now. Tell me what you‘re actually planning!”
The order effects hit me like a tonne of bricks as I held onto the bed rail to stop myself from falling on top of her. This time a coughing fit overcame me too, feeling as though pins of pain stabbed into my brain.
If I didn‘t know better, it honestly felt as if I was dying.
Had I even managed to use enough energy to pull off the command correctly? It hadn‘t felt right.
Thea‘s eyes glazed for a split second… but it wasn‘t like the other times. She snapped out of it instantly. almost as if it had done nothing at all. My order hadn‘t been strong enough to force her to comply.
“What was that?” she asked. “Did you just try to Alpha order me?”
“… Tell me,” I said weakly, my vision becoming blurred.
Even with the intense pain, I could still see the smirk on Thea‘s face as she looked back at me.
“Oh… sweetie, no,” she said condescendingly. “Oh, and you‘ve also, uhh… you‘ve got a little something… –
She pulled her arm out from under me easily and tapped her nose to indicate something was on my face there.
I frowned, but gently touched with a finger to the place she‘d shown me. Sure enough, my nose was bleeding as I pulled my hand away to inspect it.
“Seems as though you‘re just a puppy with a bark too big for your paws,” she said, still mocking me. “You
know, I was planning to keep you alive for a little longer, but maybe if I just killed you now it would save me some time.”
And with that, the heel of her palm suddenly shot out directly into my chest, throwing me across the room and sliding along the floor.
I could feel where she had hit me and it was a lot stronger than I‘d expected. It probably didn‘t help that I was feeling so incredibly weak still at that moment either. In my current condition, I knew there was a good chance she‘d actually be able to kill me here.
gripped the dagger tighter in my hands and watched her get out of the bed.
To my surprise though, she winced slightly when she started walking towards me. Was her injury actually legitimate? I couldn‘t believe she‘d really gone the extra mile to dislocate her own ankle for the sake of infiltrating the pack.
I needed to think and focus though if I had any hope of escaping. Because that‘s what this was really coming down to now. Even with her foot injury, I knew I wasn‘t a match for Thea in my current state anymore; especially if she could just shift and rip my throat out as her wolf,
“It‘s been fun, Aria,” she said casually.
She reached down to grab me but I somehow managed to dodge her hand at the last second, skewing my body around her. I knew too well that this would be one of my only openings and quickly grabbed onto her leg, impaling my dagger through her already injured ankle.
Thea screamed out in pain, something I was beginning to wonder if she was even physically capable of doing, and I retracted the knife back out immediately. With any luck, hopefully the injury would make her bleed out.
“You bitch!” she hissed as she tried to reach for me again.
I didn‘t allow her a chance to get a hold of me though as I quickly brought my leg up and kicked at her with as much force as I could muster.
Without a wolf and already weak, my attack certainly didn‘t throw her across the room as hers had me, but it did do enough. She fell backwards hitting the floor, her injury preventing her from keeping balance on her feet.
This was the best opportunity I was going to get, I knew. I picked myself up and left the room as fast as!
she was going to try and chase me but stopped as she saw me leave through the doorway, having thought better of it.
I could only assume this meant she had the patience to wait before carrying out my death. Her pause told me that, whatever she was planning, it had to be something not worth chasing me through the hospital for. Even her attack on me had felt half–hearted, as if she was more lazily playing with me than actually trying to kill me.
I wasn‘t sure if that made me feel better or worse.
The whole ordeal made me realise just how unprepared I‘d been going in though. I‘d thought I knew at least some of what Thea was planning, having lived through it already once.
But from what she‘d told me, had I been wrong? What else could there possibly be that I didn‘t know about? Her laughter from over assumptions were evidence enough that there had to be some big secret I was completely unaware of.
Something that may or may not have to do with the rogues. Because even though she’d laughed at the accusation, she hadn‘t actually denied her affiliation with them. I
And Aleric… was she lying about that? I couldn‘t imagine a future where she wasn‘t trying to constantly steal him from me.
Even in this life, where I‘d made choices purposely to avoid that future again, I was pretty sure nothing I‘d done could have dramatically changed Thea‘s plans that much. If anything, I‘d made it even easier for her to take him this time.
All of this was way too confusing.
Confusing enough that, without realising, I‘d walked into the forest and wound up somewhere I hadn‘t intended to go. I knew I hadn‘t been looking where I was going when I‘d run into the night, but surely should have realised the direction I was going well enough to avoid this place.
…So why had I come here?
| stared at the mossy stone circle before me, at the hill… and at the stump.
The stump that my head had laid upon during the moment of my death; my blood having once seeped into the soil around it. Because, to my utter horror, somehow… I‘d arrived at the trial grounds.