The Luna Trials: Epilogue 2

The celebrations were finally over and Elene was happy that they were finally done with all this. Now she could let all this stress go since everything went according to plan for once, and the people closest to her were happy.

His brother had his Queen now, and that left the Northern Princess to wonder what was in store for her next. She’d spent years by her brother’s side, assisting him the best she could and performing some of the Luna duties. This wasn’t needed anymore, and she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do now. What was her place in this new world? Did she even have one?

She was happy for everyone, but at the same time, the void inside her was still there. Would she ever meet someone to fill it? “There you are,” Savannah appeared out of nowhere and without any guards by her side. This was something that Elene was still working on with the new Queen. One could never be too safe, especially considering her little niece in that woman’s belly.

The Queen was glowing, and pregnancy suited her even if it wasn’t visible yet. One could feel it just by laying their eyes on Savvy.

“Just getting some air,” Elene leaned over the balcony rails and took a deep breath. “It’s so stuffy in there!”

Savannah smiled but didn’t reply. She stalked towards her sister in law and gave her a gentle hug she did not expect.

“It’s going to happen to you too, you know,” she whispered, and the princess let the heavy sigh that had been building up for a while escape her. They both knew what the Queen meant. The Princess craved love just like anyone else. She wished to find her other half and her place in life. Now more than ever.

“I don’t know about that,” she admitted. “Maybe I don’t deserve it.”

“You were a young girl who had the responsibilities of a Queen placed on her shoulders without actually being one,” Savvy said. ” You are the kind of person who is ready to do anything for the ones she loves. You deserve happiness, and never let yourself think otherwise.”

Elene wanted to reply something to that, but they heard some kind of commotion below, and their eyes darted that way.

Below them, Celia and Inga stood in Brigit’s way.

“Don’t you even dare dream of getting close to my brother!” Celia snarled at the Bear Queen, not afraid of any kind of consequences. “Alter what you did to him, I cannot believe he accepted the position of an Ambassador in that rotten kingdom of yours!”

“I hope he did it so he could destroy it from the inside!” Inga chimed in. “That would be all that you deserve!”

Brigit had nothing to reply to any of that. Both she-wolves annoyed the hell out of her, but there was truth in their words too.

“If you had an ounce of decency, you would have asked for a different Ambassador!” Celia gritted her teeth. “Can you imagine what it is going to be like for him to meet all the people who tortured him?”

“He will be safe-” Brigit wanted to protest when she saw a hand raised that was about to slap her. She realised that she was going to accept the slap. She deserved it, after all.

“Stop!” A loud voice emerged from behind their backs, and they saw Princess Elene marching their way angrily, followed by Queen Savannah, who took her time.

Celia lowered her hand, scowling.

“I’m sorry, but she deserves this!” the redhead insisted. “You know what she did to Aspen!”

“I understand,” Elene agreed. “And I know that Aspen can deal with it on his own. While you have to remember that you are talking to the new Bear Queen and you are representing our Lycan Kingdom.”

“She was just emotional,” Inga gave her friend a hug.

“Also understandable,” Elene agreed. “And this is why there will be no punishment… this time. But consider yourself warned for the next. And now, follow me, ladies.”

The Princess turned on her heel, and Savvy gave her a light smile. She’d handled the situation well.

The other Northerners left and the Bear Queen of the Nova Oberon intended to do the same.

“Brigit!” Queen Savannah gracefully walked towards her, a friendly expression on her face. This was the first opportunity that they’d had to talk in private.

Brigit’s lips curled involuntarily. She was happy and angry at the same time, and a swarm of emotions was rippling through her.

“Why didn’t you tell me he was alive?” The she-bear asked bluntly. “I inquired so many times! 1- I was mourning him all this time!”

Treacherous tears burned her eyes despite her not wishing to demonstrate her weakness. She knew very well that she was an appointed Queen. And with that title came conditions. She and the Lycan Queen of the North weren’t equals. At least not now.

“Good,” Savvy responded, and Brigit’s eyes shot at the other woman.

However, the Northern Queen’s face wasn’t hostile or derisive. A soft smile was playing on her lips.

“Good?” Brigit raised her brow up, clenching her fists so tight that her nails pierced her skin.

“Yes,” Savannah replied, giving her a stern gaze this time. “Now that you have lost him for real, you will know how it feels. You will treasure him the way he deserves. Or you will lose him again.”

The words were like a slap in the face, but the new Bear Queen knew she deserved it. Everything bad that happened to Aspen in the past was her fault. She would have to live with that knowledge forever.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” she lowered her head, her voice shaky. “We aren’t mates.

“Did you stop loving him then?” Savvy tilted her head curiously. anymore.”

It was the most obvious question in the whole damn world, but for the first time, Brigit had to admit it, at least to herself.

She’s never stopped loving Aspen. In fact, she only loved him more with each passing day: Mate bond or no mate bond. She did not need a magical pull to tell her that he was the one for her.

It was a whole different story for him, though.

“He probably hates me, and rightfully so,” she whispered, eyes downcast.

“He wants to hate you,” Savannah tried to explain, choosing her words carefully, “But each time he woke up in agony while he was healing, it was your name on his lips.”

A quiet little sob escaped Brigit’s chest, and the Lycan Queen stepped closer to shield her from anyone else observing them.

“If you love him, truly love him, you will fight for him. And you will earn his trust back,” she said, giving the she bear’s hands a tight squeeze. “I am not promising that it’s going to be easy, but ”

“I’ll do whatever it takes,” Brigit interrupted her friend. Yes, now she could call Savvy that. A friend. “If there is at least the tiniest chance of him loving me again—”

“He never stopped,” Savvy grinned, but the grin slowly turned into a snarl. “However, Brigit, hurt him one more time, and I will personally send the whole northern army for you!”

“I won’t!” the werebear chuckled. “I-”

“Save those words for him,” Savvy let go of her and turned on her heel, looking over her shoulder. “He is the one who needs to hear them.”

Joran did not want to come back.

At first.

But as the world he worked so hard to build started to crumble, the memories of an insolent boy who did not want to be tamed flashed before his eyes, awakening something he was sure was long dead.

The Dragon God felt his Champion die while he was on his way to chase his favourite Dragonfly, infuriated that the war so carefully planned was ruined by his brother, who wasn’t even supposed to be there.

What was Fenrir thinking? They had a deal! He wasn’t supposed to meddle in Joran’s business anymore.

So, when that wolf decided to bless everyone too and ruin the last remaining advantage of the bear army, it enraged Jormungandr.

It infuriated him so muci: that he’d made a mistake with Bjorn, leading to him taking his anger out on his Champion.

Of course, the bear was invincible. He’d given him one of the most precious powers out there. When the dragon had thrown him

away, Bjorn was supposed to be fine. Nothing could kill him.

Yet something did. Or someone. After all, Fenrir was there. It could have been him, and if it was indeed the Alpha God, then he would pay for this.

To his own shock and resentment, the Serpent regretted his fit of anger. The boy was foolish, but it was partially Joran’s fault for persuading the Moon Goddess to link him with the Western Princess. What seemed like a great idea at the time did not work out so well in the end. He should have arranged their meeting earlier, but it was impossible to predict that she would fall in love with the Northern Lycan King and then choose him over both of her true mates. That had never happened before. It was a stipid mistake to not interfere and also partially his Dragonfly’s fault… She had distracted him and held him back during crucial moments.

It hurt him more than he’d expected to feel Darius’ death. With all his flaws, the boy was promising, and Joran spent years mentoring him. It was one of the reasons the Serpent had once switched sides from his father to him. Bjorn looked like he would be able to finish the job and break both powerful Lycan Kingdoms once and for all.

Initially, the deity did not plan to come back for his body. Bjorn failed him, and it was reckless to return to where Fenrir could appear again. After all, his motives were unknown and it was too early to test his brother. Joran wasn’t ready for that yet. It would require even more elaborate planning before they could meet. And if Fenrir wouldn’t withdraw when that day came, Joran would have to kill him.iSomething he should have done years ago if he was honest with himself. However, there was something he needed Fenrir to do before his death. And when it was done, it would finally give Joran exactly what he wanted..

The deity tried to ignore the ugly, heavy feeling that scratched him from the inside, making his heart ache. He didn’t think he was capable of these emotions anymore, but even he had to admit that he did not want to leave Bjorn to rot in the lands he couldn’t conquer. The White Bear King deserved more.

When he arrived at the scene, the Northerners were lucky to have already departed. The dragon deity would have destroyed anyone in his way because he was still in that state of mind where he had to admit that everything had gone wrong. He hadn’t lost for a few hundred years already. And it tasted just as bitter as he remembered.

Locating Bjorn in all that snow wasn’t problematic for him, he could feel the remnants of his own energy at the end of the frozen river far too well. His Champion was washed ashore and then buried under piles of snow that Joran melted with a wave of his hand to see him clearly. The melting caused his newly injured eye to bleed again, only a small wooden hilt was poking out of it.

“Mistletoe,” Joran gritted out, not knowing whether to laugh or level these mountains to rubble. How did they guess? Who told them? This was literally one of only two things that could kill Bjorn. All this time, he’d feared him meeting the Northern Lycan King in battle, but it had to be this stupid twig that killed him.

No. He was not ready to accept that.

It would set him back in his plan, it would drain his powers, already weakened by recent events, but he would not let his Champion go out this way.

Not letting himself think twice, Joran knelt next to Bjorn and wrapped his hands around the little dagger. At least the mistletoe did not let the body decay as it was a magical death. So, he had plenty to work with.

Ideally, he would have wanted to return Bjorn in time to a moment where he could have changed all the recent events. It worked so well for the Moon Goddess with the one she chose to bless. The Goddess’ desperation made him laugh back then. Well, karma, indeed was a b!tch, and now he was in a similar situation.

However, that plan had one significant flaw. It would drain him even more, making him vulnerable, and he’d already used so much of his strength. He needed to restore himself first, so his options were limited for now.

Joran looked at his Champion one last time. Now he was missing both eyes, but again… the deity could work with that. For now, just one spark of life would be enough. He would have to think of the rest later.

Placing his hand on Bjorn’s chest, he shared with him one more speck of his divine power, giving him a piece of his own soul. An irrevocable act.

And just like that… Darius’ heart started beating again.

It was a long way to recovery, though. Luckily, werebears were not new to hibernation and this was the state Joran put him in for the moment.

The Serpent knew that it was better to take the bear away from here to safety. His time would come again. He would ensure that.

Shifting into his dragon form, he took Bjorn’s unconscious body into his claws and spread his wings, charging into the sky, slashing the air with his enormous wings.

The tall gleaming buildings of the Southern Republic were already visible when Joran turned in a slightly different direction.

He took his Champion to the island, where he trained his Dragonflies, watching neat lines of firstborns exercising before he landed.

A few of his highest ranking warriors arrived instantly to greet their master and looked at Bjorn lying at his feet questioningly, probably assuming that he was some kind of prisoner. No one here knew about the one he chose as his Champion. That knowledge wouldn’t do any good to them.

“I want him healed,” Joran announced. He was about to leave when he added, “He is important, so… take good care of him.”

That startled his subordinates, but none of them would think to question him, so they stayed silent.

This was why Joran wasn’t used to disobedience.

His mood was still sour when he reached his luxurious quarters, so he went straight to his bar and poured himself the strongest mead he had at his disposal when he heard a chuckle.

“Hard day?” The last person he wanted to see now, other than his brother, turned out to be sitting in his chair. Forrest, the senior member of the Alpha Convocation of the Southern Republic and the one who loved to oppose him at every opportunity imaginable, smirked at him.

“Are you lost?” Joran gritted his teeth. “This is my domain. I’d be careful here if I were you.”

“With all due respect, Chairman, we needed you at the latest session,” the Southerner was not impressed by what was clearly a warning. “There is chaos after the defeat of our plan, and your absence is not helping.”

“Why is there chaos, Principal Chairman? Isn’t it your job not to let that happen?” Joran chuckled darkly, taking a sip of his drink and feeling his powers slowly start restoring. Sadly, too slow for his needs. “We didn’t take part in this war, after all. What do we care?”

“You know that we care if the West and the North are growing and cooperating,” Forrest stood up. “This shouldn’t have happened.”

“It doesn’t matter,” the deity brushed him off, “Nothing will help them when I am done with them.”

“The plan was not to use the Southern army,” the Alpha reminded him.

“The plan was to weaken the enemy without revealing ourselves. And we did just that,” Joran reminded him.

“You have revealed yourself, though.” Forrest poked at his wound.

“The deity in me revealed himself, but Jordan Nathair remained untouched in this mess.”

“And how about your brother? Will he be a problem?” The lycan kept pushing him to his limits.

“He will not,” Joran replied. “And you should stop meddling in my business. Go back to the Southern Republic and play your role until my return. Do some damage control and offer the North and the West some humanitarian help which they will, of course, decline. I have quite a few ideas of whom we should engage into this next to finish what we started.”

“Care to share?” Forrest folded his arms over his chest as he waited expectantly. Joran knew that he wouldn’t like his idea. Not that Forrest liked any of his ideas before that.

“Who do you think?” The deity taunted. “The only kingdom that we haven’t been involved in this war yet. The one that perished.”

“East?” Forrest scoffed. “Only rogues live there.”

“Exactly. This is why they will be desperate to join us,” A sneer spread over Jordan’s lips. “And do our dirty work.”

A few days ago Astrea ran as fast as she could. She had always been the fastest, but now she was exhausted after a few days of travelling by foot. What could she do, though? If she had tried to go by plane, she would have been caught for sure. And the route she had to use to hide from Joran was impossible to cross by car. She’d had to adapt, but she could feel it with her skin that they were close. The ones she grew up training with were after her now.

It was so stupid. She had been dreaming of escaping for years and never acted on it.

However, when she was ordered to poison the whole royal family of the North and their guests, it did not sit right with her.

Many things did not sit right with her but she’d always executed every order from her superiors. This time was different, though.

Initially she loathed the Luna trials and every single contender who took part in it. She was not interested in the king, believing that he would end up as her target. But then she took a liking to the Western Princess and witnessing her love with the Lycan King bloom, she grew attached. She found Petra funny and her mentor, Evelyn, the picture of a perfect mother she never had. She respected Naya, who was a great warrior but somehow found her biggest value as an amazing and loyal friend. She found it funny how Kyle manipulated the opinions during the Luna Trials broadcasting. At some point, she realised that she liked these people more than anyone else she knew, possibly.

And then she met the Luna of the Western Lycan Kingdom.

Though they barely spoke to each other, Riannon was a picture of kindness, elegance and strength. But most importantly, she felt so familiar…

Astrea was distraught when she received the message to poison them all with the exception of Savannah during her short fake fight with Bjorn in the shrine. She played her role well back then, and no one suspected a thing. All for the greater good…

If it were just one of the kings or even both of them, she would have probably done it. She would have killed them as she’d done to many before them.

This time, however, it was a much harder mission because she’d had to live with those people for such a long period of time. But also… just by observing them she knew that they were good rulers. Better than the ones in her kingdom. Maybe they weren’t perfect, but they sought to make the world better and Astrea found it very appealing.

So, she convinced her partner Emma to give the antidote to Savannah while she took care of the poison in everyone’s cups. She’d had to go to great lengths to save them. Luckily, no one was interested in her much, and she managed to sneak out one night and get to one of the secret witch apothecaries in the capital, where she paid a hefty sum for the potion with the desired effect.

She put them to sleep instead of killing them at the moment they all fell to the ground, her clock started ticking.

Astrea knew that they would soon discover what she had done, how she had betrayed Joran and the other dragonflies.

And they would never forgive her.

Emma didn’t. She realised that something was wrong first when Astrea tried to dump her in the woods and drive off alone.

But Emma caught on to her suspicious behaviour early on and attacked her before she could do anything. They’d been rivals for as long as she could remember, and Emma was happy to discover that Astrea was a traitor now. She’d intended to reveal the betrayal to Joran, and this was one thing the assassin couldn’t allow. Her teacher would never forgive her for this. She knew that much.

It was unfortunate, but she had to kill Emma. The other woman kept attacking her and sadly there was no way around that. So, Astrea thrust a dagger into her chest and left. Then she had burned the magical tattoo on her arm, knowing that this could be used to track her. That shimmering dragonfly was a part of her but for now she had to get rid of it. And she would have to keep burning her skin in this place for the rest of her life because her skin would regenerate and the tattoo would shine in its full force again.

She heard the howls and the snarls, speeding up as twigs were hitting her face while she ran. Beads of sweat formed across her forehead and all over her back.

Close. They were so close! The Firstborns were near.

And if they manage to catch up to her, she would be dead by the time the sun set.

Kai’s fingers were covering her eyes for quite some time since he brought her to the woods next to their castle, telling her that it was a surprise.

“Just a few more steps,” he cooed, chuckling at her unhappy face. Savannah hated surprises. She’d had enough of them for ten lifetimes already. All she wanted now was the stability he had been giving her for the last seven months. That was priceless.

She expected a picnic, or maybe another gorgeous view of the North she hadn’t been aware of yet; Kai loved to show her those, and it seemed like the North would never run out of picturesque locations. They managed to do a tour around the country while her pregnancy was still allowing it, and her husband proudly showed her everything that he loved in their country.

A sweet floral scent reached her nostrils, and she stumbled. She had to be wrong about it!

“Is that-” she gasped, and finally, he took his hands away, letting her see why he had brought her here.

It took the Queen a few seconds to adjust to the light, but when she did, she couldn’t find the right words for what unfolded right before her.

“Kai!” she whispered, covering her mouth. “How?”

“The magic of love, my dear,” he winked at her, a wide grin plastered all over his face, “the magic of love!”

A thick blue and violet carpet covered the ground of the forest, and it seemed to be stretching for miles. The delicate flower petals were trembling in the wind, glistening with morning dew in the first rays of sunshine. A picture of serenity and a miracle in flower form.

“But- they aren’t supposed to grow here!” Savvy gasped, glancing back at her mate.

“You have no idea how hard it was to make them grow,” Kai confessed. “But your face right now was so worth the effort!”

“You are a gardener, after all!” the woman giggled, and he turned her to face him and pulled her closer, resting his forehead against hers.

“You were right back then, you know,” he hummed, the sound of his voice vibrating against her skin. “There are no flowers like bluebells. They are… unique…”

He placed a soft k!ss on the tip of her nose.

“Uh-huh,” Savanna’s smile grew wider.

“And beautiful,” Kai’s lips brushed over her lips feather light.

“True,” she agreed, taunting him slightly.

“And the scent drives me crazy!” his voice rasped right before he crushed his lips against hers, devouring her greedily, fingers tangling in her hair and not letting her pull away. Not that she intended such a thing.

A soft whimper left the Luna of the North and Kai immediately stopped.

“What is it?” he studied her face.

“The little princess is kicking me,” Savvy chuckled at her husband’s worried expression. “It looks like she takes after you.”

Kai relaxed a bit hearing it. “I don’t know about that. Sounds just like her mother!”

She pinched him.

“Ouch!” he let out a hearty laugh. “You see what I mean?”

They both laughed, and he turned her around again to wrap his arms around her from behind, enjoying her closeness and this moment of peace they finally got.

But there was something lingering over and tainting their happiness, and they knew it. They always felt it despite all their efforts to pretend that it wasn’t there.

“I will not give her away, Kai,” Savannah confessed all of a sudden. “Not to a God, not to anyone. She is our daughter.”

“I know and I am so sorry for my stupid mistake” The Northern King’s voice broke.

“Don’t be,” she gave his palm that rested on her belly a little squeeze and leaned her head back into his chest. “It was right at the time, but it doesn’t mean that it’s right for us now.”

“Agreed,” Kai k!ssed the top of his wife’s head. “The witches promised her their protection, but in case that’s not enough, I will try to strike new deal. Or-”

“Or what?” Savannah shifted on her feet to face him, locking their eyes.

“Or we will have to find a way to kill a God,” Kai told her firmly and he meant every word.

“Is that even possible?” she whispered, afraid to speak too loudly considering what they were discussing.

“Anything is possible with the right motivation,” the King said firmly and pressed his wife tightly against himself.

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