Not only did I avoid visiting Tessa for the next three days, but I also made it a point not to think of her or what she knew.
I stumbled back into my routine even though everything felt off-kilter. Chris made warrior training worth it, but my heart was no longer invested in my magical studies. There was only one thing I was fixated on, and that was dark magic.
The one and only time I used it was almost enough for it to corrupt me. There was nothing more terrifying than feeling the sickening euphoria of ultimate power, and ultimate evil. I wanted to learn everything I could so I could make sure it never happened again.
There was just one problem.
Since only a handful of witches successfully pulled from that kind of power, there wasn’t exactly any information on it. There were a few vague descriptions, but nothing going into detail on how or why those witches did what they did.
I voiced my frustration to Asher every spare chance I had, along with the absolute terror I felt when I looked down to see spider webs of sickening black crawling up my fingers.
Asher hadn’t blamed me for drawing on dark magic. He wasn’t even angry. There was a part of me that wanted him to be.
I’d been reckless, desperate to not be taken that I wasn’t thinking clearly. We knew to little about my magic for me to not exercise extreme caution when using it. Asher knew this, but he still insisted on being utterly perfect by not reaming into me every chance he had.
He was a master at covering up his emotions, but I could feel his fear flicker down the mate bond like it were my own.
He might not have been angry with me for using dark magic, but he was just as freaked out over how close it had come to consuming me.
The first and second day, Asher sent out a few groups of warriors to monitor the Safe haven. He and Zeke, along with a dozeń of our most skilled fighters, made he short trip to Zeke’s pack. It was more of a precaution than anything else, but with Zeke dead set on risking his mind to get information out of Tessa, we had to make sure his pack was well protected.
Asher had gone to hell and back trying to change his mind. I’d known from the moment Zeke sauntered out of Tessa’s prison cell that there was nothing short of a miracle that could keep him from going through with this.
Tristan and Giovanni were working harder than ever to integrate more Vampire’s into the safe haven. As it turns out, things were growing more precarious for the Vampire’s that had yet to pick a side. The witches were closing in on one side, and the Vampire’s still aligned to my father were closing from the other.
It was becoming dangerous to be a Vampire with no monarch to pledge your allegiance to, prómpting a lot or them to seek out a safe haven.
According to some, there were whispers all across the country of a growing town that was safe for Vampire, regardless of their pasts. It was uplifting to know that the word was spreading, and that more and more Vampire’s were becoming open to the idea of coexisting with Werewolves.
Both Tristan and Giovanni’s families were making their way across the country to meet the new Vampire monarch and to scope out the safe haven.
It worked out perfectly considering I was planning a trip there anyway to finally attempt some sort of protective spell over the land. I’d been binging on blood and high-protein foods to get my energy levels up and was actually feeling pretty positive about the whole thing.
We had made it almost three solid days without an incident when naturally, everything went to shit.
It started when Brandon’s voice slid into mine and Asher’s head. He had surprised everyone when he single handedly stepped up and joined the groups of warriors sent to protect the safe haven. For as long as I lived (however l ong that might be) I’d never forget the look of bewilderment on Asher’s face when his brother asked to take lead.
Witches launched another attack.’ His voice faded in and out. There’s more this time..and the fire bitch is leading them. Send back up and be fast about it damn it.’
Asher and I locked eyes with one another, the same thought running through our heads.
The witches chose to attack in the middle of the day, rendering the Vampire’s there all but defenseless.
We already knew that if Ember was truly leading the team of witches, it was nothing more than a ploy to get her sister back. It was likely that the attack was meant to be a distraction. We’d send all of our troops to the safe haven hoping to end he fight before it begun, while another team of witches slipped past the pack’s boundary line and reclaimed Tessa from her cells.
Depending on who their spy was and how close they were to Asher and I, there was a chance the witches already knew where the prison cells were and how to get to them.
On one hand, we couldn’t play into their plan, and on the other, we couldn’t leave the Vampire’s defenseless.
Together, Asher and I made the decision to send another two hundred warriors to the safe haven, hoping it would be enough and that they would get there in time. Every other warrior in the pack was given assignments to move further inward, towards the capital where Asher and I called home.
Not only were our boundaries protected, but we had a dozen extra warriors inside the facility where Tessa was being held.
Zeke had surprised us both by insisting on joining them.
While Mason, Clara, and Sean helped fend off the witches at the safe haven, the rest of us remained at the pack waiting, holding our breath and wishing for the best.
We knew the witches were going to attempt to rescue Tessa, we had predicted it long before they actually reached the borders. What we hadn’t anticipated was how boldly they would slice through our borders.
The entire town was vacant, the families pushing further inward to steer clear of the fight. The only ones that remained in this part of town were Holly, Tristan, and Giovanni. Even though the two Vampire’s swore to protect my sister at all costs, I couldn’t help but call to check in on them.
Tristan answered on the first ring, skipping all pleasantries when he grunted, “Any update?”
“Not yet, but they’re coming. I can sense it. I think we all can, actually.” I shuddered Just calling to see how Holly is doing.
“She’s doing well enough. She just woke up from a nightmare.”
I frowned. “This is the first one she’s had in a while, isn’t it? Did she tell you what it was about?”
It is, and she did, but it’s not much to go on. All she said was that she kept seeing dead, bloody animals and she knew that something horrible had happened. “He replied. There was a commotion in the background that made him snarl. If you hear anything from Breyona, do let me know. Giovanni is a weepy, bleary-eyed wreck without her.”
Giovanni’s protest was cut short when Tristan ended the call. Where we stood, papers scattered across the roads, pushed by an invisible breeze that was cold to the touch. Silence took the place of all the townspeople, but it was fleeting.
Asher and Iweré among the many faces stationed outside the prison. There had been a split second where we all looked at one another, each one of us feeling the air shift as our instincts told us that something wasn’t just coming-it was already here.
‘Alpha, they’ re coming in from the west!?
Beta Blake shouted over mind-link mere seconds before the surrounding forest began to tremble and a stream of witches poured through.
Their cloaks of deep crimson billowed behind them. They melted into one another, forming a sea of blood that was both beautiful and horrifying.
Men and women shifted into wolves, thrusting themselves into the sea with fang and claws bared. They were swallowed by the waves, devoured by the crimson that continued to grow and grow and grow.
Magic careened through the air in the form of heat waves that melted fur, or orbs of eleçtricity that made anything they touched crackle and smolder. One witch with wild, curly hair and eyes of steel cupped her hands around her mouth and let out a shriek that sent the nearest werewolves flying through the air.
Another raised her hands above her head, drawing boulders from the forest to hurl in every direction.
Asher and I locked eyes,a wave of understanding passing between the two of us.
“We don’t let them get her. No matter the cost.” He said.
Agreed.” I nodded, steeling my nerves with a deep breath.
There was no getting used to battle, or the death that followed but Asher’s presence made me feel blissfully grounded. He stood tall and proud, not a hint of fear on his face.
In fact, he seemed so confident in our victory that it filled the others like a drug, Even in the middle of death and destruction, I’d never felt safer than when he was by my side.
A smirk tickled the corner of my lips as I said, “I love you, Alpha.”
Asher’s eyes, which were almost fully gold from his wolf breeching the surface, twinkled playfully.
“I love you too, Luna.” He said, exploding in a mass of fur the same bottomless color as the shadows.