Chapter Twenty-One ! IMPORTANT ! (AUTHOR NOTE): Hi everyone! The GoodNovel APP version does not support formats (e.g. bold, italics etc), meaning this chapter might be a little difficult to understand at first. To make it easier, I’ve now added ‘*” to speech that is being said ONLY in Aria’s head (as a memory of her past). In future chapters, I will also be using single quotes’ for just things Aria says to herself internally. An author note reminder will be added to the next chapter it’s used, which hopefully assists in reading/understanding what’s happening. No…
He couldn’t be here. He wasn’t supposed to be here yet.
1*”You are nothing, Ariadne,’*’I heard his voice speak in my head, an old memory replaying from my past life. ‘*”You are only here because I let you be here.”*’
No, please, no… I’m not ready… ‘*”You have been found guilty of the charges against you.“*
Cold, familiar green eyes stared down at me.
Piercing. Like a tiger watching its prey with curiosity. “*”Therefore, with the power held within me, I, Aleric Dumont, Alpha of the Winter Mist Pack…”
I took two steps back slowly, unable to take my eyes off the man in front of me. ‘*”…Sentence you, Ariadne Chrysalis, former Luna of the Winter Mist Pack…”*) “Aria?” a familiar friendly voice called out beside me. However, I couldn’t register their words.
I fell backwards to the floor in front of the man who had been my death.
…Who will be my death.
“*”Your sentence is to be carried out immediately.“*‘
No, please, make it stop.
I covered my ears feebly as the rational side of my brain tried to convince me this wasn’t real, that the voice was just a memory inside my head and nothing more.
Stop… stop… stop… STOP… STOP….STOP… STOP…
My body began to rock, trying to force the memories to leave me alone.
That was his voice. It broke through my mental turmoil enough to make me freeze. It was
exactly the same. Nothing was different. Nothing had changed. “… Why are you here?” I managed to whisper. However, I wasn’t sure if I was asking the question to him or asking myself.
“You realise this is my pack and I’m allowed to be here, right? They called me back home due t o an emergency with that girl who was attacked. I’ve only just arrived.” But when I didn’t reply he frowned.
“You know, it’s rude to present yourself in this manner to your future Alpha,” he said, a tone o fannoyance in his voice. The way he spoke wasn’t filled with the same level of hatred that I had become accustomed to hearing, but it still sent chills down my spine nonetheless.
“Ariadne, please get up. You’re embarrassing me in front of a future Alpha within our alliance.
I could hear what he was saying but all I could see was the swing of the broadsword before it hit my neck Over… and over… and over… and over again…. “Are you honestly just going to completely ignore what I’m saying to you?” he said, increasingly becoming angrier. I couldn’t get my body to respond. Nothing I did would let me take control. I was helpless to him, just as I had been in the past.
I wasn’t different. I hadn’t changed. He was fated to control my life no matter how many times I came back
“Stop it! Get up right now!” I could feel the tone of his Alpha authority trying to command m e, but even that wasn’t able to get through to me.
When he saw me still refusing to move, he eventually lost patience and reached his hand out towards me. And at that, my body finally did react.
I flinched, turning my face away as I held my hands up in defence against the slap I expected was about to land.
…Only it never came.
I dared to peek up at him and saw he held a look of shock at my response, the hand he had stretched out having stopped midway before making contact. I looked at his arm and, to my surprise, I saw how it was positioned as if he had been planning to pull me to my feet rather than slap me. I’d acted on impulse when there had been no real danger of physical pain.
“I think it might be best not to touch her and leave her be,” Cai said, stepping in. Cai was here. This was real. This wasn’t the trial grounds. Aleric wouldn’t be able to kill me without a valid reason in front of a witness. “What are you on about? I haven’t even done anything to her and she’s acting like a complete
fool.” He gestured down at me however, I found I was unable to stop the involuntary flinch that shook me once again; the sight of his quick movement towards me having triggered the muscle memory.
“I’d say by the looks of things that she really doesn’t feel like being around you right now. Probably best to also keep in mind she’s been in a coma for the last three days and was released only about two hours ago.”
Cai bent down and gently touched my trembling shoulder. I wanted to look at him, to look into his kind eyes for reassurance, but I couldn’t make myself lose sight of Aleric. My body’s natural reaction was to fear the pain he could inflict at any second.
“Don’t touch her,” Aleric growled. “She doesn’t belong to you.”
“Guess you didn’t hear the news yet, but she doesn’t ‘belong’ to anyone anymore,” Cai replied in a casual tone, completely unphased by Aleric‘s attitude. “Besides, I don‘t think I need to remind you, but you do realise that you’re not actually officially confirmed as mates yet, right?
“‘Doesn’t belong to anyone‘? What‘s that supposed to mean?” “Probably best to have a chat with your old man about that one. For now though,” Cai said scooping my tiny body up into his arms with ease, “I think you‘re giving the poor girl a panic attack”
My eyes widened in fear as Cai picked me up. Aleric was going to kill him. He was going to kill me. He wasn’t allowed to touch me like this.
I watched in horror as Aleric then stepped forward, blocking Cai from exiting. He puffed up his chest as if he was about to challenge Cai right then and there for daring to touch what he believed was his.
Aleric had never loved me but I knew he had loved to possess me in our past life. He had kept m e caged the entire time we were together, cutting off all ties of friendships I had tried to make with anyone of worthy status.
So now, seeing someone else holding me like this right in front of him? Well, if Cai wasn’t from an allied pack, I was sure he would have been dead or down in the cells already by now. Or at least, the Aleric from my past would have done that. I never knew him well at this age but I could only imagine he was much the same.
Seeing the two of them standing together was almost surreal. Even though they were both still only teenagers, both of them stood tall and were as well-built as you would expect an Alpha to be. I was terrified to think of what a fight between them would look like.
I knew from previous experience that Aleric was like nothing else when it came to the battlefield. Just like his father before him, he had become completely undefeated once he had ascended to power. But I couldn‘t deny that I had seen what Cai was capable of even without his fully shifted abilities. He was frighteningly dangerous with all of his training. “Do you really want to start something with a kid having a mental breakdown in my arms?” Cai queried, tilting his head slightly to scrutinise Aleric with his eyes. “Can’t we both agree that the best thing for her right now is to take her back to the hospital to recover? She was dragged out of bed prematurely due to your Alpha requesting an audience with us urgently. Or
should I go and ask your Alpha why the Beta’s daughter is being prevented from receiving medical attention?”
Aleric stared at him coldly for a few more seconds before finally deflating, having thought better of the situation. Begrudgingly, he stepped aside to allow Cai to carry me outside. The two locked eyes as they walked by; Aleric’s fiery and furious gaze, and Cai’s collected and unreadable one.
It wasn’t until the door to the meeting hall finally clicked shut behind us that I felt my body begin to relax. I was still on edge, knowing that Aleric was nearby and at any minute could come for me, but having Cai by me was reassuring. Aleric wouldn’t be able to risk starting anything publicly that could be blatantly detrimental to the pack’s political ties. He wasn’t an Alpha yet. “So much for ‘I’m the f*****g future Luna of this pack‘, aye?” Cai said jokingly, trying to quote what I’d said to him before Myra was attacked. I knew he was trying to help lighten the mood and distract me, but inside I felt destroyed and utterly defeated. I’d been working so hard to become a different person this time around and yet I was still weak, haunted by memories that would likely never leave me.
I was completely defenceless to anything Aleric wanted to do to me, eternally trapped by his every whim. The Goddess mark may stop him publicly disgracing me so easily now but I knew that, if he truly was the same as he was in the future, this news may trigger an anger inside him I’d rather prefer to avoid. And the worst part was that, other than the fact that he had sincerely loved Thea, I never actually found out the initial reason for why Aleric hated me so much. How was I meant to diffuse his hostility towards me when I didn’t even know what I’d done wrong to begin with?
I looked up at Cai and, as much as I wanted to return his joke with a snarky reply, I did the only thing I was physically capable of doing in that moment. I broke down and cried.