A Gift from the Goddess by Dawn Rosewood Chapter 42 by NovelsYou

Chapter Forty-Two I sat by Aleric’s bed in the Golden Blade’s hospital, having waited a few hours now for him to wake up Much to my relief, the doctors said he would make a full recovery despite everything that had happened. They successfully managed to remove the knife and seal him up until his body’s natural healing ability could kick in.

Any minute now he would be waking up… and that ended up being exactly the case. He opened his eyes slowly, looking around the room with eyelids still heavy, until he finally saw me.

“Aria…?” he mumbled weakly.

“I’m here,” I replied, moving a bit closer. I guess the nickname was staying and I still wasn‘t sure how to feel about it. “What happened…?” I realised he must have had some drugs left in his system as he sounded a bit out of it all still. “It was a silver knife,” I explained. “You’re lucky to be alive.”

He just nodded drowsily, settling back into the bed again.

“You realise you shouldn’t have done that, right?” I asked. “You‘re the future of this pack. You can’t go around tanking knives for the sake of a Beta. And need I also remind you that you actually have two Betas currently? There’s no reason to risk your life.” He groaned out a bit, but I didn‘t think it was from the pain. More so because I was nagging him.

“Contrary to what you may believe, Aria,” he said quietly, closing his eyes again. “…I would actually care if you got killed.”

I didn’t know how to reply to that. Instead, I sort of just… stared at him.

Did he realise how close I came to killing him?

I felt sick just thinking about it now.

His face then became calm as if he were drifting back to sleep, and so I wasn’t sure if he heard what I said next. But I did end up managing to reply to him ever so quietly. “If you got killed… I’d care too,” I whispered finally, though I wasn’t sure if I was telling him o r myself.

Regardless of who I’d once known, this boy in front of me deserved the benefit of the doubt. I had to have faith that he could change. That there was a better future ahead of us this time. Shortly after he fell asleep again, I finally got up to leave, satisfied that he was going to be okay. I had instructions to head home without him and knew whoever was coming to pick me u p would be waiting.

I gathered up my things and left the hospital, however, I was surprised by who I found by the car. Waiting for me outside was my father, staring off to the side with a look on his face that told me he was extremely unimpressed.

“…Father? What are you doing here?” I asked. He looked up as soon as he heard my voice and instantly his body relaxed. He even made up the last few feet between us quickly and pulled me into a hug. “You scared me,” he said, relief flooded in his voice. “…I’m sorry.” Even though I was fine, it felt nice to be hugged by him. I still felt safe being with him, regardless of the fact that I had spent so long toughening up these last few months. His presence brought me an immeasurable comfort.

After a few seconds, he finally pulled away, shaking his head.

“You have nothing to be sorry for. If those d**n warriors had done their f*****g jobs, none of this would have happened.” I was surprised to hear my father swear for the first time. He really must have been furious. I could only imagine the punishment waiting for those poor warriors once they returned home. Not that it was their fault. Aleric and I had been the ones to wander off without telling them, after all.

“It’s okay, I’m fine,” I assured him. “Weirdly enough… Aleric saved my life.”

“Yes…. I heard.”

His face then became conflicted like he wanted to say something. “What is it…?” I asked. I found his reaction odd since it was unusual these days for him to hide anything from me, especially after what we’d shared. “Well, it’s not that strange to hear he saved you…,” he finally said. “I‘ve been wanting to tell you this for months now but I couldn’t. In fact, I still shouldn‘t. But I think it‘s important so you can get the full picture given your history.” I frowned, worried over whatever he was about to say.

“The day of the meeting for your admittance to be trained as a Beta heir,” he started. “The confidential discussion didn‘t play out the way you probably thought. The way it was standing was a four to five sway… and Aleric held the last vote to decide. If he didn‘t vote in your favour, Aria, you would have lost.”

I stood shocked, unsure what to make of that. If that were true, then he knowingly agreed to, not only work alongside me as a team, but also supported what would inevitably mean rejecting him as my mate one day. Multiple different theories started going through my mind as to why he would give me a chance to become Beta, but none of them really made sense. Not really, anyway

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If anything, all I felt now was more confused. I agreed to keep the information my father told me to myself. After all, none of the participants were meant to know what went on during that meeting room whilst we stood outside. If I told anyone then my father would end up with pretty severe consequences.

A lot of time passed after the events at the Golden Blade. For starters, I turned sixteen finally.

It was something I had been waiting to happen for so long, and I was already extremely excited to start my full responsibilities as Beta heir. With it also came the added bonus of finally being able to drop high school and begin full-time training for the future ranked position

The relationship between Aleric and I became much better also. We now spent a lot of our days in the gym sparring and practising, even doing close combat. It didn’t feel as weird anymore and, on a certain level, we had even built up a level of trust with each other; as most would expect after he had saved my life. Some might even say we were friendly now. However, neither of us had brought up what he’d said in the hospital since coming home, and I didn’t dare ask if he’d heard my last words either… but I was getting used to him calling me Aria now at the very least. It seemed like such a small insignificant thing and yet… it had been something that held a lot of weight for me in my past life. My full name had always been something that seemed to create more distance between us, like a wall he used to keep me out.

But there were more changes too.

Ever since that day with the rogues, there had been a shift within myself too. A split. I felt like there were two Arias now. There was the ‘me’ now, who was strong, determined and constantly fighting for change… and the old ‘me’, who was broken, anxious and constantly terrified at any given moment she would be hurt. That she would be rejected again… or worse.

Seeing Aleric dying with his life in my hands that day had only seemed to cause something inside my brain to crack, and now it was becoming painfully obvious just how different we were. It had been her voice I’d heard inside my head. The voice of a girl who would succumb to murder as a means of survival, both present and past.

And I saw her, the old Aria, every time I caught my own reflection in the mirror. It was like she was constantly there, scared and insecure, peering out from behind my eyes. Because of that, I found it difficult at times to assure myself that I was on the right path. I knew she was always s o close by, just hiding behind the surface. …Whispering every now and then my worst fears. But there was something else that bothered me too. Something that had been disturbing me for a few months now. And yet, every time I went to remember what it was, it would escape m e instantly. I found my memory would begin to have lapses like this every now and then, slowly becoming more frequent the more time that went by in my new life.


Then, finally, after all these months later, it came time for Aleric’s coming of age ceremony. He had turned eighteen and the event being thrown tonight was considered no light matter.

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NEROZAT Spray

Tonight, he would shift for the very first time and learn to become one with his wolf. The Alpha heir’s eighteenth was considered the biggest event of the entire generation and took literally months of planning.

And so, of course, I was expected to attend also.

I debated wearing attire more fitting for a Beta heir; maybe some pants and a shirt. Something that would tell others I took my role seriously. But it didn‘t take long for me to realise how dumb that was. I hadn’t spent all this time arguing for my right to be taken seriously as a female Beta just to try and impress anyone now by dressing more masculine. If they were going to doubt me over just the clothes I wore then they weren’t worth my time anyway. I had a right to feel both pretty and pretty badass at the same time without their judgment. And so I went with a violet dress that matched my eyes. It was definitely more embellished and delicate than what I would have chosen normally, but given the event, I felt it was necessary. Lucy also had a ridiculous amount of fun styling my hair, something I‘d normally tell her not to fuss over. But she took it to the next level and the results were, admittedly, actually very stunning.

An hour later I finally arrived at the event. A large and very swanky looking building in town had been rented out for the occasion. It was double story and had a balcony surrounding it that overlooked the forest down below. Later tonight, Aleric and a few other selected pack members would go down to that forest and witness his first shift. I wouldn‘t be there for that part though; it was tradition for those witnessing to be already of age so they could go running in the woods after. Looking around inside, there were a lot of faces I did recognise, and many I did not. But everyone was impeccably well dressed in their formal attire for the evening. A few I assumed were representatives from alliances in a show of good faith for Aleric’s future, others I assumed were here in the hopes of finding their mates. It was common to travel to other packs if they had no luck in finding their other half within their own territories. I was grateful to not have to worry about any of that tonight myself. Whilst Aleric would be coming of age, he would still need to wait until I was eighteen for the mate bond to be formed. Until then, neither of us would feel it. Not that it mattered though. I planned on becoming Beta and doing what was necessary to fulfil that. It wasn’t long after everyone arrived that Alpha Tytus gathered a crowd for a few speeches and announcements. All of which were thankfully fairly short.

I looked up at Aleric from within the crowd and saw a slight happiness in his eyes that I couldn’t recall having seen the last time I‘d gone to this party. He wore the same expensive and nicely fitted suit, his black wavy hair still perfectly tamed, and yet it was his expression that stood out the most. He seemed happier, if that was even possible for his usually very stoic face.

In the past, I had been paraded next to him for this entire event, the assumed future Luna. It was one of the first times we’d ever really spent an extended amount of time together. I could remember being in silent awe of him, wondering if he would really be mine one day. In true Aleric fashion though, he had barely even looked at me the whole night. I was grateful this time that no one was pressuring me to fulfil a role based on that

assumption; the one where we’d be romantically involved one day. Though I doubted many would even dare to insinuate it now. These days, I’d spent so long asserting my position to be treated as a Beta heir, that i knew they’d be too scared to mention it. And so, I looked on at Aleric from the crowd only, our eyes only meeting once the speeches had finally ended. He walked over to me when everyone started to disperse and I dramatically bowed in jest at his approach, smiling

“Happy birthday, Alpha heir. May the Goddess smile upon you.”

His lip tugged ever so slightly in a smile, narrowing his eyes at the scene I was making. “Cut that out, Aria.” I laughed. “Well, I’m glad you look to be enjoying yourself at least.” But before he could reply, suddenly Tytus shouted back over the crowd and everyone went silent.

“Oh, I almost forgot, everyone!” he yelled, getting the room’s attention again. “To kick off the event, Aleric will need to partake in the first dance.”

I tensed up. I remembered that dance too well. They couldn’t actually make me do it again this time… could they? But to my dismay, Tytus’ eyes moved to me and I realised he had thought of this already. “Aria, you are the highest-ranked female in our pack who is of similar age to Aleric. Would you mind joining him in starting tonight‘s festivities?” I sighed internally. I shouldn‘t have expected anything less from him. “It would be my honour, Alpha,” I replied, a forced smile on my face. I turned to Aleric, bowing my head, before curtsying to signify my invitation. Even though I knew he wouldn’t decline, I was still relieved when he held his hand out towards me.

And without any further delay, we started to dance. The music was classical and somewhat upbeat, but I managed to keep up. I had spent hours practising this type of dance in the past and yet, despite it being a very long time, I still remembered the steps perfectly

Aleric’s hand was at my waist, my own against his shoulder, and it was a nice feeling to be so close to him without being afraid. We had spent so many months training together now that it had oddly brought us closer. We moved together effortlessly, everyone standing around to watch us. I expected to feel nervous by the crowd’s stares, scared of making a mistake at any minute, but instead I felt comfortable enough to keep my head up. I had to remind myself I wasn’t *her*. The old Aria. I was stronger than that.

Before long, the song came to an end and we stepped back to bow to one another, the entire crowd clapping. I smiled at him and was thankful the entire thing had gone by without a hitch. Very quickly after that did everyone around us begin to talk loudly as they walked off or went t o dance themselves; the music for the next song already having started up.

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“You look really…,” Aleric started to say, but his voice was cut off by the noise of the crowd and music.

I frowned, having not heard anything he said. “What did you say?” I yelled back. But I didn’t get the chance to hear whatever it was because suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder, the voice of someone by my ear. “Do you mind if I cut in for the next dance?” they asked.

I could feel my heart race and legs become weak. Because that voice was so familiar.

But it couldn’t be. Could it…?

I sharply turned around and there, standing right before me… Was Cai.

Cai.

In the flesh. He was here. Really here.

He smiled at me, his golden eyes striking and somehow even brighter than how I had remembered them. “Hey, little one,” he said in a casual tone. “Been a long time, aye?”


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