One Month Later.
I was going to be sick. I was becoming more and more accepting of my fate as the minutes ticked by. My wolf and life-long companion would never forgive me if I embarrassed us that way, but the anxiety was twisting and turning my stomach until nausea was left in its wake.
This was our time to shine, a test that would prove what exactly we could handle. We had battled rogues, vampires, and a hot-headed Alpha or two, but never this.
This was entirely new, in the best and worst of ways. Give me something to fight, and I’ll win or lose with pride, but I wasn’t quite sure I could handle this.
This would be the first act that would propel us from simple werewolf, into the infuriatingly complex role of tribrid Luna.
It was a coveted position, one that plenty of she- wolves wanted. They had a glamorized version of the life of a Luna in their head. One where they would oversee the women of the pack, and greet their mate as he came home from work that day.
Eighteen years and a few children later, they now had someone to inherit the pack and take over. This is what my mate’s parents did, and there is nothing wrong with that.
So rarely do our kind have peaceful lives, especially during the years where petty wars and rogue attacks are at their highest.
The problem is that these glamorized ideals of being a housewife, they encourage us to close our eyes and ignore the truth of what’s happening in the world.
It couldn’t go on any longer, this ignorance to the world around us- -the arrogance that truly led us to believe that we were the most powerful creatures on this earth.
Perhaps, at one point we had been at the top of the food chain. We lived within this false bubble of peace, while the Vampire’s and Witches hid in the dark, acclimating–changing.
They were all here, all of the people most important to me. Beacons of courage that reminded me I have been through worse than this—the people I love have been through worse.
Breyona and Giovanni stood off to the side together, eyes always roaming one another as they held their little private conversations, even back stage at what would reveal not just myself, but him as well.
Even Tristan had come, his sour expression common but his presence was still encouraging. Dad, Grandma and Sean were all backstage, talking to Mason and some of the lighting crew as they finished up some final touches.
“And how is my favorite Queen of the Undead?” Zeke’s cheerful voice boasted through the room, earning an instant grin from both Breyona and I.
Tristan and Giovanni collectively snarled under their breath. The one and only thing the two Vampire’s agreed on nowadays was that Alpha Zeke was a nuisance to humanity, and vampires.
“Trying not to flake out on this entire thing.” I groaned uselessly, grumbling when Zeke swept me into a bear hug. “Can I flake out on my own pack meeting?”
Over the past three months, Zeke’s gone out of his way to help the two of us. Not only was I adjusting with my new position as Luna, but I had an entire country full of Vampire’s to rule- -half of which absolutely hated me, the other half only followed me out of fear and respect to whomever held the crown.
Zeke, though still woefully unmated as he liked to gripe about from time to time, had become like family to Asher and I.
“Flake out? And miss all of the fun? ” He scoffed; his over exaggerated expression of surprise made me lift an eyebrow.
“Is it bad that I’d rather fight in another war than be forced into public speaking?”
” Of course not. Even us Alpha’s feel that way.” He snorted, flashing his lopsided grin which had earned him the majority of his dates. “But wartime is over, which means certain things need to be done in order to establish long lasting peace.”
“How very wise and just of you, Alpha Zeke.” Breyona cooed, coming up behind him with a grin on her face. I snickered when Giovanni snarled under his breath, stifling a laugh when Zeke winked.
Breyona had just cropped her hair short again before coming with us to Asher’s hometown, so it now reached an inch or so above her shoulders.
Even without the ability to shift, from when she had me make a deal with the shadows for her mate’s life, Breyona retained her werewolf perks of enhanced senses and speed.
Constant training, along with her morning and nightly runs, kept her and her wolf sane. “Did you read that out of a book somewhere?”
” Actually, I Googled it.” Zeke grinned, but quickly wiped the expression away for one of his rare, serious moments. “For real, though. There are only rumors circulating right now, nothing anyone is taking too seriously. When this gets out, word will spread.
The entire world will know what happened here today, and that their future will forever be changed. For what it’s worth, you’re doing the right thing. Exactly what a Luna and Queen of the Undead would do.”
“That is not my official title and you know it, Zeke.” I scolded him, swallowing the emotion in my throat every time he threw out some of his wisdom.
“Well, your actual title is a bit of a mouth full. Who has time to say, ‘heir to the Kouritis bloodline, companion to the shadows, host to the Renaldi magic – -?” He pouted, jutting out his lower lip.
The expression made him look younger, less of the rugged Playboy he acted like. “Besides, Queen of the Undead has a nice ring to it.”
“I ‘m glad you think so , because you’re the only one allowed to call me that.”
“Which is what makes it even better. ” He smirked, giving Breyona and I a half wave. “I think I’ve hyped you up enough for one afternoon, I need to go bother your mate about security detail. We’ll be right there on stage with you.”
“The man says he wants a mate, but I don’t think he could slow down if he tried.“ Breyona laughed breathlessly, shaking her head at where Zeke had stalked away.
Her eyes met mine, flickering with humor even though she was nervous about tonight as well. “I think since you’ve become the Vamp Queen, this is the most fun he’s ever had as Alpha.“
“Whoever she is, I already know we’re going to like her.“ I smirked, “Especially if she can tame him.“
“So, are you ready for this?“ She asked after a few seconds.
“Not at all. What about you?“
“Oh, hell no.“ She chuckled, her eyes flitting over to where Giovanni stood, always watching her. He had become ultra-protective since her wolf was locked away, a trait I understood entirely, even if it was a little overbearing. “I’m not even the one speaking and I’m nervous.“
“Here’s to hoping I don’t fall off the stage or puke on someone.“
“I think you’ll surprise yourself, Lola.“ She smiled softly, a genuine one that gave me just a hint of courage. “You’ve changed from the girl you used to be.
I always knew that when you finally came home, you’d shake things up. Granted, I didn’t think things would change this much, but I ‘m ready to help you work towards a better future, we all are.“
“Are you sure you don’t want to give this speech?“ I chuckled breathlessly, blinking back the emotion that prickled behind my eyes.
”Now, I’d definitely puke on everyone.” She grinned, making it nearly impossible to remain nervous and fearful.
”Would you mind if I borrowed our Luna? ” Asher’s gravelly voice slid up my spine, wrapping around my neck as it filtered through my ears. I turned and tried not to lose my breath entirely.
His usually messy hair was styled, paired perfectly with the button- down shirt and slacks he wore. The dark colored clothing made the unusual shade of gold in his eyes stand out, swirling and churning with the darkness in them.
”Not at all, Alpha.” Breyona smirked, mouthing ‘ good luck’.
”Zeke told me you were terrified. ” His chuckle was deep and rich, as was the smirk that fell on his face.
”He would use that particular phrase, wouldn’t he?” I grunted, lifting an eyebrow at him from where he stood across the room. I ro11ed my eyes at his grin and turned back to Asher, ”I’m not terrified, I’m nervous. There’s a difference.”
”We’re all nervous, Lola.” His voice was the courage I needed, the confirmation that there was nothing wrong with feeling this way. ”With all of the changes that have come our way so far, I’d be concerned if you weren’t worried.”
”I’m worried not everyone will be accepting.” I admitted reluctantly, forced to look at the golden swirls in his eyes when his hand tilted my head up. The last part was quiet, quiet enough that only Asher could hear, ”That I’ll tear this pack apart.”
The stage manager waved us forwards, letting us know we were on.
“Not everyone will be accepting, that is an inevitability.“ He shook his head, not at all phased. “ There will be some who wish to challenge you, but I know that my Luna can hold her own. Those who matter, whose loyalty spans countless generations, they’ll follow us.“
Over and over, I repeated the words I needed to say. I took a deep breath, and then two. There would be no fear, no shame or hesitation. I was so much more than this world knew, but they were about to find out.
I stepped out from behind the billowing curtain in front of me, and faced the crowd of thousands.
Our world was no longer safe, no longer as secure as we wanted to believe. Vampires were no longer content with hiding in the shadows, and the witches–they had plans of their own.
For years, we had turned a blind eye as the Vampire’s gathered, cultivating their race and accumulating their resources. Only when they were on our doorstep, did we finally see truth and fight back.
There were still many of us who had refused to believe the Vampires were even an issue in the first place.
Now, there’s something even greater calling to our attention. Something that will require both Vampires and Werewolves cooperation, which has been all but impossible in the past.
Things are changing since my father’s lifeblood watered the earth, and the power and weight of my new role came crashing down upon my shoulders.
There is magic in the world, magic that many of us had forgotten about. It had left for a while, and no one alive cares to remember why.
It’s finally waking up again, bringing Goddess knows what along with it.