I was stunned by Edward’s rash decision to kill Cole. However, truth be told… I wouldn’t stand someone talking like that about my mate either. Besides, it seemed that Cole had made his choice when that last phrase left his mouth. The few steps towards Antonio’s holding cell were the only sounds breaking the silence, and the air was heavy, yet I couldn’t tell if it was because of what just happened or the silver surrounding us. Finally, Michael again stops beside a door and opens it. The sight was familiar by now: Antonio was chained to the walls, incapable of reaching us. Compared to Cole, Antonio instantly begins crying and kneels with his whole body, asking for mercy:
“P-Please, I b-beg of you, my King, excuse my behaviour! Elder Cole came up to me with this plan and I did not agree to it! He is trying to pin this on me!!”
Edward growled: “SILENCE! Don’t you dare speak without being spoken to!” which made Antonio cower in a corner.
The Gamma’s attempt to escape punishment would have probably worked if only he had done a better job at hiding his smell from the pack’s secret wolfsbane supply. Knowing this, I did not hesitate with my questioning:
“There’s no use denying your involvement in this matter. Let’s say that you didn’t try very hard to hide your disgust towards me, which brought you and El-, I mean Cole, together. There are only two questions that I need you to answer for me. Be warned, your answers will make a great difference when it comes to deciding your fate.”
Antonio’s face displayed a look of acceptance, as if he had realized he cannot get out of this as easily as he thought, and nodded in understandment.
“Alright, then. First of all, why did you cling so hard to the idea of Rachel being the Luna that you chose to raise her as such?”
Antonio sighed, lowered his head and began talking in a low, barely audible voice:
“You see, raising a daughter by yourself is hard, to say the least. And everything was because of that f*cking pointless war. Imagine fighting while being kept in the dark about everything, a mad leader who can only view his warriors as mere pawns… That’s when I realized that I can do better, and I wasn’t to trust anyone else on how to influence other people’s lives for the better. However, due to my age, Rachel was the only way I could attain a seat of power. So, I raised her into the ideal queen, fed her dreams and beautiful stories…” Antonio pauses with a horrified expression, as tears begin to appear in his eyes “…I did that to my daughter…” he says weakly.
The way Antonio spoke displayed the shame he was feeling while realizing what he had done, but it doesn’t erase the life he ruined. I took a deep breath, trying to be strong, and asked my second question:
“What does Rachel know about yours and Cole’s plan?”
He started nodding aggresively in denial, tears splashing all around: “Nothing, I-I-I swear! I would have never risked her life with this!”
I looked at Edward and Michael, whose faces betrayed no feeling or judgement, and nodded to signal that we could go. The next cell we were supposed to visit was Rachel’s, but I told them that I had already made my mind, so we went home.
The clock inside Edward’s office made us aware that it was 2 AM. Amanda was also called by Michael to be present for this, so me and Amanda sat on the couch in front of Edward leaning on his desk in front of us and Michael standing by the door, as usual. The silence was broken by Edward’s serious tone:
“What is your decision, Emily?”
I looked him in the eyes when I said: “My opinion is that what happened to Cole could have been avoided. Probably a public execution would have kept others away from following on his footsteps. However, what has been done, cannot be undone. Regarding Antonio and Rachel, I believe exile should suffice as their punishment.” Accalia did not necessarily agree with my decision, but she was too happy hearing what Edward did for us to care. Amanda let out an almost inaudible sigh of relief besides me. Edward straightened his back and continued, while playing with his chin:
“Mhm. You are right. Cole’s demise could have served a greater purpose. I am sorry for making you witness such a scene. Even so, I disagree with your decision. The Greybacks should both be executed for their actions.”
Hearing this, both me and Amanda were shocked. Edward went on:
“Antonio had clear intentions of killing you, my mate, regardless if he did it himself or not. That’s already a good enough reason to rip him to shreds. Rachel, too, had the audacity to challenge you to a fight, despite our private talk in which I recommended her to refrain from such an action.”
Amanda tried to say something, but I interrupted her:
“Rachel did not know any better. You heard Antonio… being your mate, your Luna, was instilled into her way of life since a young age. It’s not her fault that she doesn’t know better!”
Amanda nodded at my words, in agreement. Edward’s eyebrows came together and he crossed his arms. I continued, before he managed to say anything:
“She deserves a second chance at life.”
Michael took a few steps besides the couch and pitched in using his calm voice:
“Alpha, if I may, I also believe that your punishment for miss Rachel is a bit harsh. We should keep in mind that she is not even of age yet. Her actions could be considered immature.”
Edward listened to us attentively, despite being clearly annoyed. Eventually, he decided:
“Alright. I’ll compromise. Rachel will be exiled with the possibility of joining other packs of our county. However.” and he paused for a second before announcing: “Antonio shall be publicly executed. Tomorrow.”
At first I was content with his call, then I remembered that Rachel had already lost her mother and it would break my heart if I would be the cause of Antonio’s death. As such, I begin making a case for him:
“Antonio showed remorse for his actions. Maybe he shou-“
At figuring out my intentions, Edward instantly growled: “NO! I will hear no excuses for that scum! These are my final decisions!”
Amanda and Michael let their heads down, seemingly in agreement with his words. Their immediate change of attitudes baffled me, but I could not stand down: “I thought I would have a say in this now that I’m the Luna! Even more so because of your rash decision to kill Cole!”
Everyone in the room suddenly looked at me confused. It took a moment for the realization to hit me: Edward used an Alpha command. And I talked back.