I promised Luna Freya I would speak to Alpha Asher about Brittany before the day ended. It was just another thing on my already full plate.
I couldn’t ignore the look of concern in Luna Freya’s eyes, nor the fear she felt for her own daughter. I fully believed Luna Freya had faith in her daughter, but I remained rightfully suspicious.
The last time I had met Brittany, she knew about the Vampire’s they worked with. While she could have found out later on, my suspicion remained intact.
I met up with Mason and Breyona outside of the training building. The moment I stepped outside; their eyes were locked on me. Concern and curiosity filled their gaze’s and I knew what they would ask before their lips parted.
“What did Luna Freya want with you?” Mason was the first to ask, his light-colored eyes filled with innocent curiosity.
My gaze flickered to Breyona, her eyes holding the same emotion. The two of them looked much like myself.
Hair messy and face’s red from training, but wearing clean clothes. Breyona looked a little more worried than usual, but it seemed the entire pack was on edge.
There hadn’t been another murder since Kanyon, and I hoped he would be the last. Alpha Bran, Alpha Zeke, and Luna Freya each brought a handful of men with them.
Their men added to our own patrol, increasing security around our small town. I doubted the Vampire’s would strike with the added security, but it was best to always stay on guard. They had slipped through our defenses before, certainly they could again.
I debated telling Mason and Breyona the truth. I had already trusted the two of them with so much and felt guilty keeping this bit of information from them. I decided to tell them about Luna Freya and her daughter, desperate for another opinion on the matter.
“I’ll tell you at your house.” My eyes were set on Breyona. She shifted to her other foot, confusion filling her eyes. “I need to see that book your Mom showed me.”
“Alright.” Breyona nodded, “She won’t be home for another half hour. She’s already curious about your sudden interest in Vampire’s, asking a second time will make her suspicious.”
“That works for me.” I nodded, “I’m not sure Alpha Asher wants everything out in the open right now.”
Alpha Asher had been honest with everyone in the pack. They knew the attack had something to do with Vampires, but hadn’t a clue of the severity of the situation.
I could tell Alpha Asher hated keeping everyone in the dark, but he had to prevent panic from rising. Everyone was already on edge, but panic would lead to chaos.
The three of us headed to Breyona’s house. Her parents were teaching extra classes at the local college, but Breyona was used to living in a near-empty house.
Her Mom and Dad both held a strong love for History. Their interests weren’t designated to a specific species. Vampire, Werewolf, Human, they were interested in all.
“It’s on her special bookshelf. Give me a minute.” Breyona huffed with an exasperated eyeroll.
“Special bookshelf?” Mason snorted, plopping down on the antique looking couch. “Who has a special bookshelf?”
“My parents do.” Breyona grimaced, the large book in her hands. “It’s where they keep all of their important texts and artifacts. They don’t like me touching it, so this stays between us three.”
“How priceless can a book be?” Mason raised his eyebrow at Breyona, but she merely shook her head.
“My parents have enough books and artifacts to fill a small museum.” Breyona chuckled dryly as she sat beside me on the couch.
I ignored the two of them as they began full-scale bickering. My fingers ran against the jagged pages, faded and stained with age. The book itself smelled old and musty, looking as though it would crumble to dust at any moment.
The repairs Breyona’s parents had made to the book were all that kept it from falling apart. A grimace formed on my face as I reread the information.
‘Did you expect it to change?’ Maya chuckled humorlessly, ‘It says the same thing as before.’
‘I’m part of the Kouritis bloodline—we know that much.’ I frowned, discomfort filling me as the realization hit.
‘Which is why the shadows answer to you.’ Maya grimaced, recoiling at the idea.
“Did you find what you’re looking for?” Breyona frowned, her full lips puckered as though she wanted to say more. Something troubling flashed in her eyes, gone before I could look any further.
“Not really.” I sighed, closing the book gently. “Only reaffirming what I already know.”
“What are you looking for, Lola?” Breyona grimaced, “Did something happen?”
If only you knew, I wanted to say. While I wasn’t sure I wanted to mention my trip to visit the Vampire King, I needed to give her something.
Instead of mentioning my visit, I told them about my fight with Alpha Bran. From the shock on their faces, neither of them had noticed anything strange that night. Only Alpha Asher had seen the gathering shadows, had felt the cold chill rush against his skin.
Part of me wondered if my Grandma had seen the same, that would explain the sour expression on her face. Grandma wasn’t one to miss things, she had the uncanny ability to see through people. I wouldn’t be surprised if she saw exactly what happened that night.
“So, you can control shadows?” Mason gaped, his eyes wide with a renewed sense of curiosity. “Like some kind of superpower?”
“Not everything is about superheroes.” Breyona rolled her eyes.
“Well excuse me for trying to lighten the mood.” Mason narrowed his eyes at Breyona, who in turn scoffed.
“I wish it was like a super power.” I chuckled lowly, “It feels a lot darker than that.”
“I wonder if you can also get into people’s minds—like that one Vampire did to you.” Breyona hesitated, not wanting to speak Tristan’s name. If only she knew the mere mention of Tristan send a shard of longing piercing within me, one I ferociously fought against.
“She’s part of the Kouritis bloodline—but she’s not a pureblooded Vampire.” Mason pointed out, earning a surprised look from Breyona and I.
“I hadn’t thought of that.” Breyona frowned, “So I guess you can’t get into people’s minds.”
“I can live without that.” I chuckled dryly as I remembered what it felt like to have my mind invaded, “I don’t think anyone should have that kind of power.”
I told the two of them what I heard that night, and how the shadows had fed from the blood leaving my ankle.
Today, the cut on my ankle was nothing more than a pink line but the searing pain that rushed through me would linger in my mind forever. The pain I had felt as the shadows fed from my blood was horrifying, so cold it almost felt hot.
“You have to pay for their services?” Breyona shifted uncomfortably, “That sounds kind of dangerous.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” My face mirrored her own. Slowly, Mason’s curious gaze faltered and turned into one of worry.
“I wouldn’t use a gift like that.” Breyona shook her head, her short hair bouncing from the movement. “It doesn’t sound like a gift at all.”
“A gift you have to pay for in blood.” Mason added in, a frown forming on his boy-ish face.
“The bigger the request, the higher the price.” I recited the words my Father had spoken last night.
“Like more blood?” Mason frowned, “What do shadows need blood for?”
“I’m thinking the price isn’t just about blood.” Breyona frowned, “To me, a high price would be someone’s life.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they asked for that.” I murmured, “I don’t plan on using that—gift again.”
I silently promised myself to keep far from the shadows. The power to control them felt dark and alluring, a power I could see myself yielding completely to. The power was tempting, a soft caress against my cheek. I could see myself using this power, giving into it completely. It was a tempting idea, to use the shadows against my own Father.
What price would they command if I asked for his death? For the deaths of the Vampires against us? The idea’s that crossed my thoughts sent an icy chill down my spine.
“Is that why you wanted to see the book again?” Breyona frowned, another hidden flash ghosting past her almond shaped eyes.
“I wanted to see if anything else fit, now that I know more.” I sighed, “I really want to know about this stupid mark on my skin.”
Breyona hesitated, clearly debating on whether she should say something or not. Her eyes were pained, her lips pressed tightly together.
“My Mom has a secret stash of books; one’s she won’t let me see.” Breyona spoke the words quietly, as though her Mom were hiding in the walls listening to our conversation.
“I was thinking about finding them—to help you, of course. They might have more information about Vampires.”
I couldn’t help but linger on Breyona’s words. She had clearly thought of these books long before I mentioned my heritage, but decided not to speak on it. I couldn’t shake the feeling she had her own reason for wanting those books.
“Would you be able to find them?” I frowned, my eyes sparking with interest.
“I already know where they are.” Breyona’s eyes flickered to the hallway in her house. “Locked in a safe, that’s how important they are. She’d kill me if she ever found out I touched them.”
“Can you get into the safe?” I pressed, “Can I see them now?”
“Not now.” Breyona shook her head, her eyes glancing to the large clock on the wall. “Mom will be home in ten minutes. We can get them tomorrow after training, her and Dad have tons of lecture’s tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow.” My stomach twisted into knots at the thought of learning more.
“I can’t promise they’ll have anything about Vampires.” Breyona frowned, “But it’s the only place I know to look.”
“It’s a start.” I nodded, “Your Mom keeps those books hidden for a reason, let’s hope it helps.”
Breyona had tucked away the old book before her Mom came home. The three of us stayed on the couch, our faces lighting up with innocence as her Mom walked through the door.
“Where’s Dad?” Breyona quipped calmly, tucking a strand of her light-colored hair behind her ear.
“A student needed his help with their presentation, he’ll be home in an hour or so.” Breyona’s Mom shot the three of us a smile, one that said she was glad it wasn’t her staying behind at work.
Breyona’s Mom offered to cook the three of us dinner, to which we wholeheartedly refused. Breyona’s Mom couldn’t cook to save her life, and had given up many years ago.
The three of us made sandwiches, eating them in silence. While I wanted to continue talking about my complicated lineage, I couldn’t do so in front of her Mom. My fingers were practically twitching at the thought of getting my hands on those books.