We had the right direction, so in mere minutes we make it to the place she was found. There seems to be a commotion as Arthur arrives on the scene, as we immediately notice Michael and Amanda, in human form, trying to talk to a red wolf? My eyes deceive me for a moment, as I fail to recognize Accalia, her white fur being mostly crimson now.
The imposing frame of a still-raging wolf is standing in front of what looks to be Grace’s lifeless body, growling at anyone who even dares to approach her. There are a few mauled, unrecognizable pieces of bodies scattered around the area, building up to what happened here. As Michael, Amanda and a few others pack warriors arrived on the scene try to reason with her, I see them breathe a sigh of relief when Arthur arrives. I take over control of my own body despite Arthur’s will and I get dressed while Michael gives me the rundown of the situation:
“As you can see, Accalia is way too protective of Grace’s body. She doesn’t seem to listen to anybody and is in an aggressive stance, attacking any being which approaches within her reach.”
I simply nod and attempt to approach Accalia slowly, thinking that maybe she would react differently to her mate, but her growls only roar deeper and more threatening. It seems that she’s not recognizing even me, which is quite a shock. My mind already conjures images of us fighting, unsure of my abilities to calm her. However, I press on. I cannot risk the Luna harming any member of our pack. So, I try to talk her down, hoping my voice will be enough:
“Emily, I’m going to get closer to you now. Please, take over control from Accalia, I’ll try to soothe her.”, I say, taking careful steps forward. My words seem to do the trick, as Accalia is clearly being suppressed, her arm twitching as if trying to make a swipe towards me. I keep going:
“You’re doing great Emily, just hold on a bit longer…”
“Emily… aggressive… closer…” I hear some distant voices, while sitting at the table waiting for mom and dad to cook me dinner. My memories are being played back to me like an old, broken tape. It’s as if they are on repeat, ending with the same event. However, I’m trying to enjoy my time with them, as now I can see clearly the figures that have been appearing in my dreams. My dad has brown hair, just like me, and my mom is a gorgeous blonde. They give me the impression of warmth as they smile and joke a lot. People visiting the house speak to them with respect and friendliness. I could remain here forever…
“EMILY!” Edward’s voice echoes in my mind, as clear as day, startling me. My parents look at my worried, 9 years old, face and smile kindly. They get closer to me and lean down, kissing me on the forehead. My mother, with teary eyes, once again tells me:
“Sweetie, you have to go now, ok? It’s not his fault, don’t let Accalia hurt him. We love you very much.”
And my vision becomes blurry, changing to Edward slowly getting closer to me. He seems to be worried about something, so I try to wake up and shift. However, Accalia seems to be on edge. I feel extreme rage emanating from inside her, as if she doesn’t recognize Edward and is about to attack him.
Making an attempt to stop her, she becomes annoyed at me and I hear her primal growling voice saying “Need… protect…”.
“It’s alright, Accalia, you don’t have to protect me anymore.” I say calmly, while caressing her mind.
She stops growling at my words and retracts her claws, allowing me to shift into a human, just as I feel a warm embrace.
“We’re safe now…” I think, as my mind drifts away again after the tiredness hit me.
As I open my eyes, I find myself in a cozy, familiar, bed. My heart thumps inside my chest as if I’ve just woken up from a nightmare. Looking around, I recognize our room, but I quickly notice a nurse, sitting on a chair by my bedside, reading a book. She notices as my head slams back on the soft pillow, because the moment after, she goes to the door, opens it and shouts that I was awake. No more than 5 seconds pass before the whole mansion begins screeching with rapid stomps, closely followed by two other sets of footsteps.
Out of breath, Edward finally stops at the door, his eyes meeting my eyes, making him awkwardly smile. He comes near the bed, just as Michael and Amanda burst into the room, also having ran to get here.
“Oh my Godness, you’re finally awake”, Michael speaks in relief, but using a tone that it’s not characteristic to him. “You’ve been out for three entire days, but thankfully in a stable state, as we’ve been able to move you to your room and…” but I begin to tune out Michael’s words, focusing instead on Edward’s big dumb smile, sitting beside me and holding my hand into his, in silence. I also try to return the smile, but tears begin to flow slowly, warming my cheeks. “It was not a nightmare.” I think, as the realization sinks in: She’s really dead. The atmosphere of the room shifts, as everyone begins to console me, in their own way:
Amanda says nothing as she hugs me tightly, caressing my head. The change in her breathing pattern tells me that she’s also sobbing with me. Michael lets down his head and touches Amanda’s shoulder.
Edward somberly delivers the news that Grace is indeed dead, and that her body has been given a proper burial, which apparently I’ve slept through. I continue to bawl my eyes out, while Edward ushers Michael and Amanda out of the room using a self-explanatory look. As much as I enjoy my friends’ presence, I feel glad that Edward acknowledges the need for intimacy during this time.
“It’s okay, I’m here with you”, he says as he climbs into the bed beside me and hugs me tightly to his chest. I continue crying for a long while, until I run completely dry. Even then, the need to weep still lingers behind my eye sockets but nothing comes out anymore. Edward stood there all throughout my moment, in silence, patting my head. His ever-present warmth made me feel loved, almost like all of the problems between us were gone. Between sniffles, I raise my head and meet his loving eyes, then I begin to speak:
“I… regained part of my memories.” I said, to Edward’s surprise. I continued, despite having a stuffed nose and speaking funny: “After Grace… got attacked, my body just… stopped. I couldn’t move and the rogues were getting closer, so Accalia took over and protected me. During that time, I had a lot of dreams about my childhood, my parents, the event that led to losing my memories. It would appear that both my parents were born of Alpha blood, surprisingly, which would explain…”
He looks utterly shocked as he pieces together the conclusion to my origin, completing my sentence:
“…the reason why you can resist my Alpha commands. I must say, I hadn’t even considered this as a possibility. You must know this is such a rare occurence, it would happen once every couple hundreds of years.” He sighs, relieved. “Thank you, Emily, for sharing your past with me. I feared the worst happened when you didn’t follow my command. It still stings a bit, but I’ll manage to get over it.”
While Edward explained humbly his side of the story, I managed to wipe away my tears, preparing to ask my next question:
“I need to ask this, but do you have an idea of why we were attacked so suddenly by the rogues?”
“I’m afraid we didn’t manage to squeeze anything useful, mostly due to Arthur becoming enraged at the thought of not finding you”, his cheeks redden as he keeps going: “so he killed any rogue on sight, determining the surviving ones to run away. We increased the border patrols, but so far… nothing.”
I feel another rush of sadness, thinking that Grace’s death will go unexplained. The truth that will eat me from inside out for a long time going forward is that my best friend died a senseless death. Despite my strength, speed and every attribute I held myself to, I was still unable to help her in due time. I begin sobbing anew, embraced by an Edward that is again trying to console me:
“We’ll find the ones who did this, Emily. For Grace.” as if reading my mind.