The Luna Trials Chapter 56
Savannah was afraid to move even an inch because Bjorn still hadn’t left room. He stopped his narration, and a part of her was worried he would get back into bed with her. That was something she wanted to avoid at whatever cost.
“That man, The Serpent, quickly became my father’s most trusted advisor. My father was obsessed with the idea of destroying the Fox king, and he was wasting all our resources on that, despite order from the lycans to avoid any confrontations. He ignored them, of course, and soon we found ourselves fighting on two fronts. The lycans did not like being contradicted.”
He turned back to look at the moon shining brightly over the northern mountains.
“was growing up in the middle of all this, training fiercely, knowing the reality I would have to live in. But most importantly, I couldn’t forget my Mother’s words about becoming strong and powerful and bringing her back.
Considering what my father was, wanted to have the only other family I had left, so I did everything possible for it to happen. When I was around fourteen, I thought I was ready. As an heir, I had people loyal to me, and I took them with me when I went on the mission of retrieving my Mother from the foxes.
I already knew by then that the Fox King had gotten her back and punished her severely for escaping. She was his queen and his obsession, but she didn’t have a happy life with him.
I found a house for her to live in for when I would bring her back. I knew my father would never accept her as his mate again. He did not marry again, but he had many mistresses to replace the need for his lost mate. Their bond was already long broken.
It was a small but comfortable cabin in the woods on one of the northern borders, and I was sure I could keep her safe there. Maybe even with my brother if she wanted to take him with her like the last time. It all played out very nicely in my head, but, of course, the reality was different.
I watched the foxes for quite some time before I became daring enough to go into their territory one night to try and retrieve my mother. Now I think I was foolish thinking it would be so easy to outfox the foxes. I got to her bedroom, and she was terrified to see me.
She hadn’t seen me for years, but she didn’t even give me a hug because she knew that every second could cost me my life. She told me to run, but I refused to do so without her. This was when Castiel walked in on us with a broken l!p, probably seeking some comfort from her. He didn’t even know who I was back then, but Mother begged him not to tell anyone he saw me, and he swore on the spot.”
The white bear inhaled sharply and went back to his sleeping princess. Savannah felt the mattress dipping as he sat beside her and ran his fingers through her silky hair. It seemed he couldn’t stop touching her the moment he got close. Luckily, she still felt nothing. which was bringing her some relief. Whatever he felt, whatever he was thinking, she did not share his beliefs. He was no mate of hers.
“Mother tried to make me leave before it was too late, but I was stubborn. I worked so hard for this and didn’t want it all to go to waste. I told them about the house and that I would keep them safe there until I got the bear crown.
And that once I did, I would give them the life they deserve. Castiel asked Mother if we could really go. He was around seven back then and ready to leave his father in an instant and without hesitation.” Bjorn’s voice broke, and he took his hands out of her hair, running his palm over his tired lace and pausing when his lingers touched his missing eye.
“They tried to hide me in the adjacent room, and my mother sent Castiel back to his chambers right before her fox husband arrived, but he-he didn’t buy the trick and found me within seconds, Foxes and their scent abilities… You can’t hide from them. Funnily enough, I thought I could still take him. Moreover, I almost did. I fought him and almost won. Almost-”
Savvy dared to take a little peek at what was going on and saw Bjorn sitting next to her with his eyes closed. He looked as exhausted as she was, and for a mere second, she… considered trying to kill him now when his guard was so low.
“We would hardly succeed,” Athena cooled her down, disappointment washing over them both.
Bjorn’s head snapped in her direction, and she barely managed to close her eyes in time. Savannah still had no idea if he knew she wasn’t sleeping and was sharing his sad story just to get it out, or maybe it was his tactic to make her see him as a human after everything he had done.
She wasn’t impressed so far. This wasn’t enough. Nothing would ever be enough to make her forget Kai, Gideon, Riannon and Kyle’s deaths. As well as all the others.
They dragged me to the dungeons and chained me in bronze-coated chains to weaken me,” Bjorn went on, trying to suppress the rising emotions inside him. “Then they starved me for a few days to ensure they had me in the condition they wanted me. And then… the tortures began.
The beatings were all right. I underwent extensive training before that and could take it all. Even with my healing abilities substantially slowed down, I could still heal. So, that was when the lox started to experiment, searching for ways to leave marks on me. I didn’t understand at first why it was so important to him. I thought I would die in that dark, dump place. Alone and forgotten because no one was visiting me there in between tortures. Until one day-”
He took another moment to gather his thoughts and continued, “Castiel sneaked into the dungeon to try and set me free. By then. his father had already kicked any naive thoughts out of my head, and I told him to leave. I was ready to die, and I didn’t want to drag him with me. I beg him just like my mother begged me when she discovered me in her room.
But the little fox thought he was too smart for his own food, it turned out that it was a test of his loyalty. He didn’t just get there. His father wanted to see what he would do if given a chance. Of course, Castiel didn’t pass the test. The warriors broke in when he tried to get rid of my chains. His father asked him why he tried to save me, the replied that he just wanted to see me… because I was his brother.”
Bjorn closed his eyes, remembering the day and how a sharp bronze knife was pressed against his eye while he was shackled. It wasn’t his punishment. It was Castiels. For disobedience, for thinking he was too smart for his own good.
“Too bad your brother will not be able to see you anymore, Coss!” The Fox king sheered as he plunged the blade into his flesh.
He did not remember the pain anymore, but he remembered the fear That gut-wrenching feeling that crawled up his spine and into butcher and it seemed like it stayed there forever, that moment in time when the fox king was about to cut his second eyeball out and blind him permanently, and he could do absolutely nothing about it
-That man didn’t want us to like each other, and he wasn’t going to take the insult of me, a white bear, being there on his territory and trying to take something he had stolen before. He was about to stall my second eye when Castiel prowled and shifted into his red beast form for the first time in his life. It would have been a joyous occasion only his parent didn’t hate me more than anything.
He still tried to stab me, but Cas threw himself at him and tried to light luni despite them not being on equal terms. His father was so furious that when he finally caught him, he thrust the blade in Castiel’s eye instead of mine in a race.”
Guilt washed over him. He should have begged his little brother to stop, but he didn’t. In the hope that maybe, just maybe, he would be saved, but his moment of weakness resulted in his younger sibling being hurt in his stead.
“Now you match with your bear brother, mutt!” The Fox king spat when he closed the doors behind himself, leaving them alone in the dungeon’s darkness, Castiel was still in his beast form, with a collar around his neck to keep him just like that. It was probably the won first shift in history.
Bjorn opened his eyes and looked at Savannah again. Seeing her helped soothe his heart, which was aching from the painful comes.
“Cass and I were locked together for days, healing slowly. Il one could call it that, of course. My eye could never heal, and his fox lost his partially. I guess you noticed that only one of his eyes was glowing when his beast was getting through. He used to joke that he liked it better that way. That it made him look fiercer” Bjornchuckled to himself, remembering the good old days.
“He couldn’t shift back to his human form, and I found solace in talking to him. To be honest, I feel like this was what kept me going back then. I was telling him stories of how we will be free from our fathers one day, how we will take our Mother to live far away from there, how no one will ever put us into this position again… As for our Mother, she pleaded with her husband, and he released Cassa lew days later.
So, I was back to counting the hours until I died in solitude. But to my surprise, after beating me severely again, they threw me out on the border of the white bear territory. Our people had already been searching for me for weeks, and one of our warriors found me.
My father was called almost instantly, but he only took one look at me and frowned. He told me that I was his biggest disappointment in life, even bigger than my Mother. And that I wasn’t good enough to wear his name.”
Savvy knew that there was a reason he called himself Bjorn more than he used his first name. Now it made sense. It was a statement. The right he was deprived of by his father, the right he had to take back and own it.
“After all that, my father started to look for a new wife. He announced that he wanted a new heir because I didn’t meet his expectations,” Bjorn solved bitterly. “Women started arriving at our castle hoping they would be chosen by him. In a way, he had his own Luna Trials, only with no rules or boundaries. And one of these women turned out to be my first mate.”
That… was a new development, and Savannah would have gasped if she could. Playing dead was harder than ever.
“Her name was Ingrid. She was beautiful, smart and strong, a perfect future Northern Queen, I recognised her at once as every fibre of my soul responded to her. She didn’t look my way, and at first, I was happy because that meant my father would never know who she was.
I thought I could keep her sale in that way.” Something changed in his voice, it became colder and somehow empty. “I never liked the Serpent before and tried to avoid him as much as possible. So, when he visited me unexpectedly, I was wary of him at first. But he told me that I had to see something and then after that, I had a decision to make.
I followed him hesitantly as curiosity took over me. My father’s most trusted advisor wanted something to do with me all of a sudden. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? I was shocked when he pressed what looked like a random brick on the wall and opened a secret passage in my castle that I had no idea about. How was it possible that this man knew my own home better than I did?
He brought me to a small room that I soon discovered was hidden behind my father’s bedroom, he motioned for me to be quiet and opened a little hole in the wall that allowed me to see what was going on wide. My father was waiting for someone, and soon Ingrid arrived, wearing the most provocative dress.”
Savvy knew where this story was going, and she did not like it.
“I already told you, my innocence died when I was in captivity. I stopped believing in the good in people, so the moment I saw her enter the room. I knew why she was there,” he chuckled as if it was funny. “He asked her if she was indeed my male, and she consumed at, looking straight into his eyes. And when he asked her whom she would choose, she chose him without as much as blinking.
He asked her to prove it, and she did right then and there. On her knees-” Bjorn grunted as if the memory alone made him sick. “After she was done proving herself, he told her that he would make her his queen if she succeeded with the task he gave her. The task, of course, was to help him get rid of me.
I stood there, shattered by the betrayal, and listened to them discuss how she would do it and mate with me and reject me in the process, killing me off while I was still in pain. She didn’t have a problem with any of that. But the more I listened, the more I realised that he was going to use her for this meant that there was absolutely no way he could do it himself.
That knowledge liberated me. I realised that no matter what he was telling me, I already had enough power for him to be afraid of me. So, when Ingrid arrived on my doorstep that night, I welcomed her with open arms. I gave her one last chance to save herself, but she seemed inclined to go on with my father’s plan. So, l allowed her to serve me the way she served him, and she was happy to do it, thinking that she was on her way to becoming the bear queen of the north.
I rejected her while her mouth was still busy and broke her neck when she gasped from the shock and tried to pull away. I got out the blade she had tucked safely into the stocking of her thigh and called the guards, telling them she tried to kill me.
No one had any reason not to believe me, and my father’s brilliant plan went to waste.l even got a loyal vassal in the end. I had to kill Ingrid’s clan for treason, but I chose to show mercy and gained their forever servitude as a result. All thanks to that snake! The Serpent suddenly chose me over my father, and my life became much easier after that happened. I never trusted him completely, of course, seeing how easy he switched sides. Up to this day, we have a barter relationship, but it works.
He was the one who helped me to orchestrate the battle where Kai and Elene’s parents, the former King and Queen, were killed and blame it all on my father, cornering him between the foxes and the lycans.”
Savannah’s chest tightened. She expected many things, but this wasn’t one of them.
“Keep calm!” Athena hissed in her mind. “This may be just a provocation, and you will give yourself away if you react! This doesn’t change anything for us! This doesn’t change anything for him!”
The princess had to chant the words in her mind to keep her claws from growing. She just prayed to the Moon Goddess for this night to be over soon so she could finally take a break.
Bjorn was silent, watching her intently, but she didn’t move or do anything that could indicate she wasn’t sleeping after all.
“Our Mother died a year before all that, and I was finally able to meet my brother again since he was almost of age and was allowed more freedom.
Neither of us was favoured by our fathers, which potentially meant death. We decided to do something about that, and this was probably the only alliance l could trust in my life. I helped him a lot, and Castiel had his talents too. Thanks to him, I became untraceable. The research he had done on scents is irreplaceable. Did you know that we could all change our scents if we wanted to? All that is required is a little DNA-sharing procedure and the scents you want to imitate. I have about a dozen scents injected in me now, and I feeI will add more in the future.”
He sighed heavily, and suddenly Savannah felt him close to her. Too close for her liking.
“I talk too much, don’t 1?” His l!ps brushed gently over her cheek, and his hot breath made the hairs at the back of her neck rise. “I only had that with Castiel. And now you. My first mate may have been a mistake or a test to see how much I could take and if l am worthy of becoming the king of these lands, but I intend to pass it. I intend to make it work, no matter what it takes, Savannah. You and me – we’re right together. It feels right. And you will feel it soon too. You will recover, and the bond will snap in its place.”
He continued talking for some time, telling her about his favourite battles and tactics, about the things he had to do and some bits and pieces about Castiel. She tried to listen, but it was too much, and she was too exhausted. She didn’t even know how she drifted off to sleep or when .
Savannah woke up in the same room the following day and was happy to see just one of the maids from before watching over her. The girl jumped to her feet when she saw her open her eyes.
“Would you like breakfast, my queen?” She asked, trembling slightly. “The king told us you have to eat something today.”
She knew what it really meant. If she didn’t eat, they would be punished.
“I ‘ll eat,” Savvy smiled and tilted her head to look at the maid, knowing that this werebear was at her mercy. A little plan had already formed in her head. “But before I do, I want to speak to someone, and you will bring this person to this room.”