The Luna Trials Chapter 61
Savannah’s l!ps curled into a smile, but the man who was staring at her from the main square of the castle did not return it. She wondered for a second if he did not remember her, but then she noticed that he was surrounded by several white bear guards, and it occurred to her that he was probably just playing his part. She knew that Riannon trusted this man, and it was unlikely it was a coincidence that he was the one who came to rescue Petra.
Although, who knows.. So many things had changed lately. Maybe he came to the North to negotiate peace with Bjorn on behalf of the Western Kingdom. It was a possibility.
Or worse… Maybe he was a traitor.
Memories of Zack flashed before her eyes, but Savannah blinked them away.
“That’s not important,” Athena said in her mind, “We weren’t counting on anyone helping us anyway, but if he’s on our side, that’s an unexpected pleasant advantage we did not anticipate.”
The maids returned in about an hour, and one of them asked Savannah meekly what she wanted to do next. The Princess realised they have already received their orders from Bjorn not to push her too far.
Surprisingly, he was serious about the promises he made to her. Not that she was interested in any of them.
However, maybe, just maybe, she was the one who could push him now to make a mistake?
“Leave me,” Savannah snapped at them, and the omegas disappeared. She did not need their help to prepare for tonight, and also, she wanted it to be a surprise. And an unforgettable one at that.
Ash and his delegation were not greeted by the White Bear King in person, but he did not expect a warm welcome in the first place. It was a miracle that they were allowed inside this castle at all and with such great timing. Instead, they were searched time after time, after time, by new guards, warriors and high-ranking bears of the North. Each of them already felt superior to wolves, and each of them tried to let them know.
It was a new reality, and Ash swore to himself that he would be one of those who ensured this new world order would not last. He had strict orders about what to do from Riannon and was ready to play his part, not wishing to disappoint her. His main task was to bring his Queen information about the hostages and leave a little surprise at the main gate. He’d already done that before they started searching them. Getting Princess Savannah out was his next priority if the opportunity presented itself. Freeing the Gamma of the North and the heiress of the Blue Forest pack was the last on his priority list, but he would keep his eyes open for any opportunities.
Although, he had to be realistic about it, and it was enough to know where they were being kept for when the Lycan allies started their attack.
“We are taking these,” one of the warriors pointed at the box where the werewolves had to put all of their devices – phones, smartwatches, even earphones.
“I need to stay in contact with my pack,” Ash gr0aned, but only received a diminishing gaze back. He didn’t count on receiving anything back, though. It was best to play like he really needed his phone, and they made the right decision by taking it away. He wanted them to feel they were in complete control.
“You need to stay alive while you are here. That’s what you need!” The huge bear with a bald head and a long red beard chuckled. “And if we see any of you using a phone, you will be executed.”
Ash looked at his men and nodded at them, letting them know that they had to obey and stay quiet. Grim silence was his answer. No one was happy about them being here, but he knew they would fight for him if it came to it.
“‘Stay here until we come for you,” the Red Beard told them when he and the other warriors were at the doors of the dark, stuffy room they were brought into.
“Can we at least see the girl and make sure she is fine?” the Alpha asked calmly. He wasn’t giving them the satisfaction of seeing him nervous and tried to behave as if it was a completely normal situation.
“You will see her at the marking ceremony,” the Red Beard scoffed.
“The marking ceremony?” Ash furrowed his brows, his whole body went tense. They were watching the news and searching for every bit of information about what was going on inside of this castle, and it was implied several times that the marking ceremony of Bjorn and Savannah would take place soon, but they had no idea that the date was set for today.
“Well, if you are fortunate enough,” the bear scratched his beard. “Some say it was canceled, some say it is still on. I guess we’ll find out when we are there.
But if it does happen, consider yourself lucky because it’s going to be the event of the century.”
Ash smirked at that, but only because this whole situation reminded him of something from his past. He knew that Riannon had faith in the Princess, and now he could understand why. It appeared that she was messing with the white bears’ plans already.
“Excellent,” he nodded and went to one of the chairs, taking a seat and lazily crossing his legs, placing his ankle on the top of his knee, trying to demonstrate how relaxed he was.
This mission was important to him, since it was for her. Riannon might have become a Queen of the whole Western Kingdom and found her mate, but Ash had been in love with her for many years. Nothing changed, and he really believed that nothing ever would.
His Gamma and Delta were on edge, knowing that if it came to battle, it was possible that not all of them would make it alive. If any. Ash knew that too, but he had to get the important player out. He knew that Gideon played a crucial part during the last massive battle, thanks to his third royal form. There was no denying that they needed his sister if they wanted to win this war. Not to mention that Riannon told him that Savannah Stormhold was the only one who would be able to help Amarok.
The Red Beard returned a few hours later and lazily offered them to follow him down the dark corridors of the castle. Looking around, Ash noticed that they tried to make this place look festive. There were flowers in vases that seemed out of place and some strange wooden bear ornaments here and there, but overall, it was clear that the castle wasn’t built for entertaining guests. Even the tinted windows of the main halls looked like they were cleaned for the first time ever, with dark smudges visible on the coloured glass.
They arrived in a spacious but dark hall with many wooden tables lined up in neat rows and set for the guests. Ash was happy to discover that their places were in the first row. Some of the high-ranking bears glared at them as they sat, probably thinking that wolves were not worthy of the honour.
Something felt off, though, and Ash’s wolf, Nox, was agitated inside. Wolves often felt what their humans couldn’t but rarely bothered to explain these things.
Bjorn was there as well, seated at the centre of the long table that stood on a platform at the top of the stairs, above everyone else. His most loyal men were by his side, but the chair closest to him was empty.
Ash hoped to see Princess Savannah, but she was not present. The Northern TV-presenter twins, however, were in attendance, working in front of the camera, as usual. The Alpha frowned as he watched them, knowing how easily they betrayed their previous King. Now they clearly had a new one and served him happily as if they did not witness me he committed. Just the thought that Riannon might not have been so lucky at that time and could have died as planned made him furious. She may have been with another man, but he still cared about her deeply. In all honesty, he still loved her and didn’t know if he could ever stop. He wished her happiness, of course, but if anyone were to harm her, he’d do whatever it took to destroy that person.
And now he was looking at that person. Looking and smiling respectfully, plotting how to kill him sooner.
“Ah, Petra’s family!” Bjorn suddenly acknowledged the werewolves presence as he gulped a large glass of what looked like whiskey. “You’re here finally! It means we can start the auction!”
Ash stretched a smile over his l!ps and nodded politely. All he had to do now was to buy the girl out, hopefully, pass a message to Savannah and then leave safely with the information he managed to gather while in here. But when the doors opened, a strong floral and vanilla scent reached his nostrils, making him dart his eyes in the direction of the people walking in. A girl with long pink hair in soft waves walked in wearing a pink one-shoulder dress of sheer fabric that was so revealing that she tried to cover parts of her with her hands. She was trembling, and almost every man in the room looked at her with their gazes full of lvst.
Ash snarled involuntarily. He couldn’t do anything about it or suppress it because he now knew who that girl was. It wasn’t just the fact that she was Petra Biernat, daughter of the Alpha of the Blue Forest pack in the Northern Lycan Kingdom.
She was his mate.
His second chance.
He didn’t think he would ever get a second chance mate. They were a rarity and hardly anyone ever got one.
It was getting harder to breathe, because Ash knew he did not want a mate. He knew he was not lucky in love. His first mate died so early that they were barely beyond being pups. The love of his life, Riannon, married his best friend and then met her own mate and became a Queen. Ash had been through so much pain that he didn’t even want to try anymore. He chose to stay by Riannon’s side even if it was from the shadows. He had another woman in his pack, Harper, tending to his more primal needs when it was required. Everything was working out for him.
And he didn’t want to change the status quo.
Petra stopped trembling for a second and looked at him with wide eyes, probably sensing what he had already figured out. Her eyes were as blue as forget-me-nots, and this was ironic because Ash knew that he would not be able ever to forget this woman now.
Petra was extremely young. She looked as if she’d barely reached the age of eighteen. Ash almost instantly knew that she was wrong for him. This second chance was probably a mistake. The Moon Goddess was mocking him for always wanting what he couldn’t get.
Someone made a sultry joke about the pink-haired girl, and everyone else in the room laughed. It made Petra’s eyes well up, but she didn’t cry. heir gazes locked again, and he smiled at her reassuringly, hoping to let her know that it was going to be okay.
The White Bear King gestured to Claude and Chloe to stop recording, and their cameraman pointed the lens at the floor.
“Shall we begin?” Bjorn’s voice brought both Ash and Petra back to reality. Ash was glad that Petra had the sense not to scream that he was her mate.
Something told him that this would have complicated things.
Other men in the room roared in approval. It looked like most of them wanted to buy his mate tonight, and this made him so angry that his claws elongated against his best attempt to hold himself back.
“What is it with you?” his Delta hissed when he noticed what was going on, and Ash managed to get himself under control.
“Nothing,” he gritted his teeth.
The familiar Red Beard walked up to Petra and stood next to her, announcing loudly, “Consider that the auction has started! The king is willing to listen to your offers!”
Some huge white bear stood up first, stating, “The White Claw Clan offers thirty thousand for the girl.”
Others laughed, indicating that none of them took this offer seriously. New offers followed. Bigger offers.
Better ones. The bears were offering money, fealty, lands, their own daughters or sisters in return. Women were traded as if they were cattle.
Petra began looking smaller and smaller in the middle of all this, hugging her shoulders as if it could heip her protect herself.
This was when he knew that he wouldn’t be leaving her behind. He would get her out whatever it cost him.
The realisation was sudden but so clear he didn’t even have to think twice about it. He couldn’t leave her.
Ash waited for everyone to state what they were willing to give for his mate, and Bjorn seemed pleased with all that. However, the King’s eyes locked with his after all the bids were given, and the werewolf realized his offer was the most important either way. His delegation was invited to take part for a reason, and he was starting to realise what that reason was when he noticed Bjorn looking at the main entrance from time to time. He was waiting for his own queen to arrive.
The Alpha stood up, and now all the attention was on him. Clearing his throat, Ash pronounced loudly, “I
offer you any sum you name, the loyalty of my pack and-
“A few people chuckled behind his back. They were offering so much more. “And the Western Lycan Kingdom.”
Now a wave of gasps erupted through the crowds.
Whispers filled the room after, and Bjorn had to let out a mighty roar for everyone to get quiet. When the desired effect was achieved, he looked at the daring Alpha before him.
“What makes you think I need you to give me the West?” The king scoffed, arching his brow and gesturing for one of the servants to pour him more alcohol. “Not to mention that I can’t see how you can even offer that.
Who are you again?”
“l am Asher Jones, the Alpha of the Silver River pack, “Ash replied calmly. “I believe that I can be of service to you. Now that the Lycan King of the West is dead, Beta Reid is preparing to become the new King as we speak. It just so happens that I’m invited to his coronation. And I swear to bring his head to you if you let me have Petra.”
“Are you planning to return her to her father?” Bjorn asked.
“Temporarily,” the Alpha responded dryly. “We have an agreement about our future alliance, so after Petra spends some time with her family, she will join me at my pack in the West.”
Petra was now watching him with hope in her incredibly blue eyes, and he felt guilty because what he had told was a lie. There was no alliance in plans between him and her family. However, he pushed these thoughts aside. It was important that he was simply saving her. It was… enough.
“Fine,” Bjorn smirked. “I think we have a winner here.
I can kill that Beta myself, but since you volunteer- I am always interested in saving my own resources. The girl is yours once you fulfil your promise.”
The Red Beard was about to take Petra away, but Ash spoke again, “My King- Maybe you will allow Petra to stay with us for tonight and enjoy this evening?”
Bjorn considered it and nodded slowly. His own night was already ruined because Savannah didn’t show up. At least he’d made a good deal and l all this with Savvy’s help. She was the one who asked him to let these people in. So, he decided to reward the daring wolf. Even if for just one night.
Petra was pushed to werewolves’ table, and she looked happy to be able to stay with them. Ash showed her to an empty seat, and she smiled at him gratefully.
Bjorn frowned at that. Sometimes it seemed like he was the only one unlucky with women. Savannah never looked at him like that, despite them being mates. In fact, he would kill for her to look at him just without resentment. Her taste was still on his l!ps from their k!ss earlier today, and he gr0aned, remembering how sweet she tasted.
He wanted more. More of that taste, more of her.
He had some regrets about giving her the freedom to choose whether to come tonight or not. He would feel so much calmer if he could finally place his mark on her.
No one would be able to undo that, and it would secure his claim on her forever.
But he decided to be generous and play nice. And now she wasn’t here…
The main doors to the hall burst open, and he lifted his head to see who exactly wanted to die tonight.
However, when he saw the intruder, he went speechless and stood up, placing his glass back on the table.
Savannah stood there in a gown of wine-red silk.
The draped bodice expanded into flowing skirts that resembled flames. Her l!ps were painted red too, which made them so much more desirable. If she were to mark him today, she would leave traces of l!pstick all over his neck.
Bjorn’s breathing became ragged just from thinking about it.
She came! He gave her a choice to postpone the marking, but she chose to be here tonight, and this made his l!ps grow into a proud smile.
Savannah smirked, pushing a strand of hair that she wore down today behind her back to demonstrate her bare neck. She did not even wear any necklaces, fully ready for him to mark her.
“Sorry l’m late,” her grin deepened, and she took a step towards him.