The Luna Trials Chapter 23
One thing that selfishly bothered him even more than her being hurt thanks to him was that Savannah reeked of another male. It was impossible to tell the species, which could only mean one thing-his assumptions about who attacked them were correct.
Yet, once again, the Western Princess stood before him alive and in one piece.
“Please, don’t throw me in the lake again.” the girl knitted her brows, reading his facial expression correctly. He felt a prick of guilt deep inside. How low was her opinion of him?
Instead, he grasped her and pulled her into a hug, tucking his head into her hair. Kai inhaled her scent so deeply that his whole lungs were filled with it now. For some reason, it helped to calm him down, although he wasn’t in any rush to let her go. He almost lost her, and the feeling was horrific.
Her delicate fingers glided over his bare skin as she awkwardly wrapped her arms around him instead of pushing him away.
“I am so sorry,” he muttered, but she heard his every word. “I don’t see how any of this is your fault,” Savvy whispered, and he exhaled heavily,
distancing himself from her.
“I was supposed to keep you safe on my territory.” The Northern King averted her gaze, shame flowing through his mind and soul.
“Yeeeah” She stretched the word. “Your territory is roamed by your enemies. Are you sure you don’t want that alliance my brother is offering?”
Her smile faded when he didn’t bite the joke. Although this was understandable to some degree, considering their circumstances. Maybe this wasn’t the time for jokes.
“Who was with you here?” Kai looked her straight in the eye.
Savannah disliked that this was suddenly becoming an interrogation. Nevertheless, she could also understand where he was coming from. In his place, she would do the same thing.
“I have a feeling you know who it was.” She stepped away from him and crossed her hands on her chest. While she was understanding, she wasn’t appreciating.
“Do you?” The King lifted his brow at her.
“Darius Bjorn, the white bear shifter with one eye who claims that he will be the King of The North soon,” she said bluntly, trying not to miss his reaction as this was important. She noticed how he clenched his fists and how his eyes glowed again, meaning that his wolf was angry and trying to get out.
“Did you meet him before you came here?” Kai was unsure if he really wanted to hear her answer.
“No,” she said calmly, and he experienced temporary relief. However, temporary was the keyword.
“Did you have any contact with him prior to arriving in the North?”. “No.” “Did you know about him at all?” “No.”
She was starting to get furious. “Did you …” He started asking the next question, but she lost it.
“Kai Fion….laugh,” she almost swore because this last name always caused her to stumble, “what is it exactly you want to know?!”
“I want to know why the man who kills anyone he meets, who has never left a single witness alive, left you in one piece twice!” the Lycan growled, and she narrowed her eyes at him.
“Maybe because I am so adorable, he can’t resist me?” Her l!ps curled into a sly grin, making this the last straw for him. In one swift move, Kai lifted her up in his arms and started walking.
“What do you think you are doing?!” Savannah snarled at him. Athena was joining in the game as well. They were Alphas and were not going to be manhandled like that again. Enough was enough, and the Northern King had already gotten away with it once.
“There is a lake nearby!” The man smirked, and she hissed at him.
“I swear, if you do this again, I will shift and leave the North and those stupid Trials for good!” she announced, not expecting any kind of reaction.
However, this made the King stop. After a few seconds of hesitation, he even placed her back onto her feet, startling her.
Savvy didn’t know how to react and what to say. She just watched Kai return to where she initially fell and picked up the leather jacket. He then turned back to face her and threw the garment at her.
“Put it on!” he commanded, and Savannah rolled her eyes, shoving it back at him.
“You put it on! You need it more!” The princess let her eyes slide down just once, which caused her breath to hitch. He was one gorgeous lycan specimen, after all. Too good to forget. Ever.
However, she returned to her senses when the jacket flew back to her face. “Put. It. On.” A roar, not even a growl this time.
Kai didn’t know why it was so crucial for him now, but he wanted his scent all over her. His. Not anyone else’s.
“Seriously!” she grunted but decided to accept the questionable gift anyway. “I am not joking! You need to cover yourself!”
Slowly and menacingly, he stalked toward her with a smirk on his l!ps. His eyes had a dangerous glint in them that resulted in Savvy’s instant silence. Towering over her, he placed his large palms onto her delicate shoulders and turned her away so she couldn’t see him anymore.
His hot breath tickled the skin next to her ear, and she heard his raspy whisper, “All you had to do was stop staring.”
She blushed, unable to control it, and was disappointed when his heat was gone, leaving her feeling alone, cold and, well … unsatisfied.
“I am sorry” Kai şuddenly hugged her from the back, and although she should have pushed him away, she didn’t. She leaned her head back, welcoming his unexpected embrace and his grip on her became tighter. His l!ps pressed against her neck, right where a mate’s mark should go, and Savannah felt goosebumps run all over her body.
“I am sorry,” he repeated. “Just the thought that he was next to you … That he touched you … It’s more than I can handle. He never leaves anyone alive and ….”
“Would you prefer him to kill me?” she snorted, and he sighed. “Of course not….”
“Then what are you so worked up about? You know I came here for the alliance. I am not working for the bears. They tried to destroy us just a few months ago, and you should have seen how bloody that battle was!”
“I am worried for you, Savvy.” His hand went up to her neck, cupping her chin while his thumb caressed her lower l!p softly. “I am sorry. It’s my fault, and I hate that you were exposed to this psycho twice because of my negligence. The fact that he didn’t do anything to you only scares me more. If you were mated to someone like him …”
She flinched hearing that and stepped away, wrapping the leather jacket tighter around herself as if it was going to help her hide from the truth. The truth she wanted to share with him.
“He is not my mate,” Savannah said quietly but firmly.
“Thanks to Fenrir!” Kai breathed out in relief, realising for the first time that this was what he wanted to hear more than anything.
already had a mate.” Her following confession made his excitement disappear.
Savannah. “He was lost for words, not knowing what to feel and how to react. She was already mated to someone. He knew that they weren’t mates, but thinking of her mated to someone else wasn’t easy for him.
“He wasn’t a good man,” she clarified quickly without giving him as much as a glance. “It didn’t work out.”
Kai decided to not hold back and hugged her from the back again, squeezing her so tight that she would know how he felt.
“His loss,” he whispered, and Savvy felt one single tear rolling down her cheek. “And my gain,” the lycan king added, turning the woman around and lowering himself so that his l!ps could trace hers, parting them. Their eyes locked. A pause which had him silently asking for permission. When she blinked, he crashed his l!ps back into hers for a deep and passionate kiss. He felt the salt from her single tear, and it made him angry that someone made her cry. Even if just a little bit.
He wanted more of this, more of her, but so many people were knocking into his mind right now that he had to stop, painfully tearing his l!ps off of the woman he knew he wanted. Badly.
“I’ll shift and take you to the castle on my back.” A grin formed on his handsome face, and he placed his hands on both sides of him, right above the perfect V that led right to … where Savannah was desperately trying not to look. Especially after their shared kiss.
“Excuse me?” She arched her brow defiantly.
“Or would you rather walk in one shoe?” The man chuckled softly. “Come on, Savannah. I’ll shift and take you back home. It’s going to be the fastest route. When else are you going to ride the King of the North?”
“Something tells me there are going to be quite a few opportunities,” she taunted him unexpectedly, and he lost his breath for a second. He considered telling Lachlan, who hadn’t stopped trying to reach him, to piss off.
A few howls emerged in the distance, and they both knew their moment was almost gone.
“Quick.” Kai smirked. “Before they find us!”
He shifted into a giant wolf right before her eyes, and she had to bite her l!p to hide her excitement. She knew they only had a few seconds before his warriors would be able to locate them, but she allowed herself to admire his black and smoky grey fur.
This colour was so rare that she couldn’t stop admiring it, mindlessly running her hand through his coat and enjoying how soft and silky it was.
He turned his head to look at her, and his eyes gleaned with blue light in the darkness of the night
“Hi, Asgard,” Savannah greeted the wolf with respect. “It’s nice to meet you again.”
He growled softly and tucked his head into her chest while she leaned forward and rested her chin on his head.
The moment was sweet, but the howls emerged again, and they both knew it was time to go, so she hopped on top of him.
There was absolutely no need for this. Savannah could have shifted herself, and they could have run back together. However, the King wished to take her on his back instead, and she decided to go with it, remembering a small extract from the history book she read for the Trials.
In the North, this was considered to be a special kind of closeness as no wolf usually allowed any riders on their back. Unless, of course, it was someone special. Moreover, it was a part of an ancient bridal ritual when a male brought his future wife to his home on his back.
Savvy knew, of course, that Kai probably didn’t even know that. That tradition was long gone now. He couldn’t possibly be thinking about it. Needless to say, a little smile encroached on her l!ps.
The rustling of leaves distracted them both, and they saw two dark figures stepping out of the nearby bushes.
“You must be f*cking kidding me!” they heard a familiar voice.
Savvy turned to see who the intruder was and noticed Lachlan walking out of the bushes, quickly wrapping something around his torso. She was extremely thankful for this because it would have been incredibly challenging to handle another naked Northman tonight.
The Beta watched the sight before him with a puzzled expression, and when Elene appeared right behind him, he didn’t even react to her presence.
Savannah, however, felt her cheeks getting red from the look the northern princess gave her.
“Kai Fionlagh!” she gritted her teeth. “Are you serious?!”
Savannah was sure Kai would shift back to his human form now and talk to his sister and Beta. She had started imagining how Elene would probably accuse her of everything that had gone wrong, starting with the attack and conspiring with the white bears. However, to her surprise, the giant wolf huffed at his sibling and then simply sprinted away.
She barely managed to dig her fingers into his fur to stay in place. Not to mention, she had to lean forward so that her chest was pressed against his back since keeping balance was next to impossible otherwise.
After just a few moments of their midnight run, her shock dispersed without a trace. She never rode on someone’s back before, and it was, to say the least, really something!
The shrubs and trees surrounding them swayed, their leaves rustled by the wind. The scenery around them was changing rapidly, and she squealed with excitement, breathing in the earthy scent of grass.
To see the speed of a Lycan wolf with human eyes was improbable. Yet here they were …
Kai ran through the woods he owned, and it was obvious he knew every inch of his land, letting her enjoy it and taking her through the most picturesque locations now that they didn’t have to use the road anymore.
She would never admit it out loud, but this quickly turned into the best date of her life. Even despite falling off a cliff.
Savvy tried to contain her emotions but gave herself away when a heartfelt laugh escaped against her wishes. She got bold and leaned herself forward all the way to his large furry ear, shouting, “Faster!”
Kai was happy to oblige her request. He was ready to do anything to hear the sound of her laughter again. He was ashamed to admit it, but he would do circus tricks if she demanded them right now. Luckily for him, she just hugged him tighter, letting him envelop in that lovely bluebell scent of hers.
The guards at the gates gaped at the sight of their king bringing the western princess to the castle on his back, but neither commented on what they saw. After all, they all wanted to live.
Kai brought her to the pond, carefully lowering himself to let her hop off easily.
Savvy realised they would have to talk if she lingered any longer. That conversation could ruin everything.
So, she did the most’adult thing she could think of and, without further ado, tried to run away
She didn’t get far since she only had one shoe on, significantly slowing her down. She hadn’t reached the backdoor when two strong hands wrapped around her waist and stopped her lousy escape attempt.
“Wait,” Kai whispered into her hair, her heart fluttering in her chest at the sounds of his husky voice. She could feel that by some miracle, the king already had some kind of pants on. He probably had a secret stash of clothes somewhere here, which was a relief to her.
“It was a really long day,” Savannah offered, and they both knew it was the truth. “I am aware,” he admitted. “But I don’t want it to end like this.”
“Like what?” The girl turned to face him, and a corner of her soft l!ps curled slightly. “Like the day the Northern King gave me the ride of my life?”
He couldn’t help a low growl that escaped his chest. She was teasing him knowingly when he could barely control himself around her as it was.
“Savvy,” Kai pulled her so close that he could hear her hastened heartbeat, “sometimes you are playing with fire.”
“What can I say,” she shrugged, “I always liked dangerous games.”
“Savannah,” he exhaled reproachfully as he pulled her closer and took her chin into his warm, rough palm.
“What?” She tried to avert his gaze, but it stopped being important when he leaned forward to capture her l!ps, stealing her breath away. His hand glided to the back of her neck, fingers lacing with silky strands of her hair to tug it softly so that she would arch her back for him.
Kai deepened the kiss, still holding her tight against himself. However, this time he managed to stop first, panting and wanting more, neither moving away nor continuing what he started. He gently pressed his forehead over hers, savouring their moment as their noses brushed over each other.
“Good night, Savannah,” he whispered and then took a step back, startling her. “Really?” she raised her brow questioningly.
“Really,” Kai took her hand and bowed to kiss it, his warm l!ps touching her skin briefly to send a wave of … tingles.
“What a gentleman,” Sayyy giggled, trying to not let him know that this little gesture was driving her crazy with lust for him.
“You said it was a long day yourself,” he reminded her.
“I did, didn’t l?” The princess tilted her head to watch him intently, and then a sly grin spread over her face. “You sister and Beta are trying to reach you, aren’t they?” She covered her mouth so
as not to laugh too disrespectfully.
“It’s going to be a long night, too,” he chuckled, admitting the truth and stretching his hand to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear. “Dream of me, all right?”
“No way!” she shoved his hand away playfully and limped in the direction of the backdoor. She stopped before she got too far, turning back to glance at him. “Think of what could have been while they nag you.”
The king’s l!ps parted, and the princess was finally able to escape.
Savvy was walking up the stairs for some time when she finally decided to give up and sat down to remove the shoe, rightfully deciding that it would be faster to walk with bare feet than like this.
“Savannah?” She heard a familiar voice call her and turned to see Astrid with a girl she didn’t know walking out of the corridor that contenders usually used. Savvy noticed a small suitcase in the stranger’s hands. The girl wore a wine-red dress that hugged her generous curves perfectly and played with her ebony-black curls right next to her revealing cleavage.
Yes, Savvy would remember someone like that. She was new. “Hi,” the princess greeted the fellow contender. “I just had some air outside.” “And lost your shoe?” the newcomer scoffed.
“Emma!” Astrid scolded her. “Sorry, Savannah. Emma just arrived. I finally managed to get them to let one of my friends stay with me. Everyone here has a support team, and I felt lonely.”
“Understandable,” Savvy nodded. She was ready to agree to anything as long as the focus was off her.
“So, what happened to the shoe?” Astrid giggled. “You didn’t think you were getting away with it, did you?”
Of course, she didn’t. Getting some air was a lame excuse, and she knew it. “Well,” Savvy sighed, “I went for a run, but when I came back, my shoe was missing.”
“Really?” Astrid rolled her eyes and gave her a hand, helping her stand up. “It must be Celia or Inga. Those two have no boundaries!”
“Yeah, probably.” Savannah just went with it. It was better than the truth. Although, of course, she knew that Astrid didn’t buy the little lie. She was too smart for that.
“By the way,” the girl changed her voice to a whisper. “Emma just found out what tomorrow’s task will be.”
“Oh really?” Savvy looked at her in surprise. Was she really going to tell her? “Obviously, it’s a big secret,” Astrid added, even quieter than before.
“Then maybe you shouldn’t share it with another contender!” Emma hissed, narrowing her eyes.
“Savannah is a friend,” Astrid looked slightly annoyed. “I need someone in the competition who won’t stab me in the back. Trust me, Em, she is the only one here who wouldn’t!”
“No promises!” Savvy snorted, and her new self-proclaimed friend giggled as well.
“Seriously,” the blonde sighed, “I tried talking to everyone here and other than you, Petra is the least blood-thirsty one. Can we agree to be on the same side at least until the final trial?”
“Are you sure we are going to stay here that long?” a chuckle escaped the princess. “Do you even remember that we are the least desirable contenders here?”
“We are the most underestimated ones!” Astrid corrected her with a smirk. “Something tells me, you are getting far in this contest. And I am not a quitter either!”
“Feisty little southerner!” Savvy giggled. “Fine! I like the idea. Now, spill. What is the next challenge?”
“Interviews,” Astrid replied, looking around cautiously. “Emma just arrived and saw that the twin’s filming crew came right before her.”
“Maybe they are just going to film everything as usual,” Savannah suggested.
“Unlikely.” Astrid shook her head as the three of them climbed up the stairs. “She saw folders with our names, and they discussed questions as they waited for the security check. We don’t know any specifics.”
“Too bad!” Savvy chuckled.
“And what information do you have to thank Astrid’s kindness?” Emma grunted behind them.
“Em, please!” her friend begged and looked at Savvy apologetically. “I know who will be the twin’s main target,” the princess winked at her two companions. “Something we don’t know!” The brunette did not seem impressed by her humour.
“Doesn’t matter,” Astrid intervened. “If Savvy happened to know something, she would tell me too.”
“You are too kind!” Emma mumbled, but both of them heard that. “Don’t worry,” Savannah smiled, “if I have a chance, I will repay …. everything.”
They said their goodbyes, and Savvy got into her bedroom. She considered getting a shower, but Kai’s jacket was still on her, and she liked its scent. Besides, she was so exhausted she simply didn’t have the strength for anything anymore. So, she quickly slid out of the clothes, casually throwing the jacket right next to the bed and then wrapped herself in sheets.
The forest scent gently surrounded her, making Athena purr in her mind as the two of them drifted off to sleep almost immediately.
Savvy woke up and stretched in her bed with a smile on her face. She decided to take a bath and soak in it a bit since she didn’t get to it after the events of the previous day. What happened yesterday left her perplexed and puzzled. It was difficult figuring everything out in this strange place. She was used to political games; however, back in her kingdom, at least she knew who she could trust. She had her brother Gideon, who always had her best interest in mind. She had Reid, his Beta, who was also like an older brother to her and was always spoiling her more than anyone else. She also had her warrior friends. She knew that each of them was ready to die for their princess.
She didn’t have any of that here, and sometimes it felt like she was walking in a minefield.
Kyle had been her best friend ever since she could remember, and she was happy that he volunteered to come here with her. But he couldn’t help her much in the North. They already figured this much out.
Closing her eyes and slowly slipping underwater, Savannah had to admit to herself that she enjoyed her date with Kai. She liked talking to him, kissing him, okay, probably more than just liked it. The way they parted yesterday was so promising. She was excited for the first time in a long while.
That Bjorn bear was intimidating. It bothered her that he was physically stronger. Not many
Lycan males could boast that. She was a royal, after all. A simple bear wasn’t supposed to be able to tackle her this easily. Which could only mean one thing… Bjorn wasn’t that simple.
It was kind of obvious considering Kai’s reaction after each of their encounters. Savvy saw a dark figure hanging over her and got out to the surface immediately.
“Morning, Sunshine!” Kyle flashed his pearly whites at her, and she threw a sponge at him.
“Eww, Kyle! Boundaries!” she shouted as he escaped to the bedroom.
“It’s your fault!” her friend replied from behind the door this time. “You were gone last night, and we couldn’t find you in the morning! Do you know that it’s the middle of the day already?!”
“Really?” A wave of guilt washed over Savannah. But it wasn’t too big of a wave.
“Yeah,” Zara confirmed. “We had to wake you up. They just announced what you are going to be doing tonight.”
“The interviews?” Savvy asked, quickly finishing washing off. “Yeah,” her assistant sounded startled. “How did you know?”
“I had a friend share that valuable info with me yesterday,” the princess giggled, wrapping a towel around herself and walking back to her two partners in crime.
“Is that why we couldn’t find you yesterday?” Kyle looked at her suspiciously, and she averted his gaze.
“So, what else do we have here? Any peculiar news?” Savvy tried to change the subject while Zara was busy arranging her breakfast on the table.
“Not much,” she shrugged her shoulders. “I bribed a few people and now get regular reports about the other contenders. No fairy princesses among them. They are here to win. Even Petra.”
“Shocking!” Savannah giggled, taking her seat at the table and winking at her assistant. “Thanks, Zee. I don’t know what I would do without you!”
“She is a star!” Kyle confirmed, looking at his laptop. “Thanks to her little spies, the Truthteller now has more info to share. And thanks to that, he doesn’t look biased toward a certain princess. Kai’s date with Salome today was just golden!”
A piece of toast stuck in Savvy’s throat, and she tried to desperately cough it out. “Are you okay?” Zara rushed to her side, but she motioned for her to stop. “Yeah, I am great,” she muttered. “What are you talking about, Kyle? What date?”
“An improvised one,” the guy sneered. “He found her early in the morning and invited her to have breakfast with him. The drones are all over them. That breakfast is still not done! And it’s been hours!”
“I have to say,” Zara chimed in, “I didn’t think much of the witch in this kind of a competition, but judging from the photos I am getting, the King is smitten with her.”