The dust settled down around them as they surveyed the scene around them, taking in the bodies scattered around the room. The horrific scene before them was a terrible sight to see. Riannon gulped as she recognised her friends. The smell of burnt bodies and blood was almost suffocating. An internal scream desperately gripped at her throat, straining to leave her body, but she knew this wasn’t the time for grief or panic. She turned to Maya, who was equally petrified, instructing her, “We need to check their pulses and get them out of here if they are alive. Assess injuries and decide if they need extra help before regeneration kicks in. Especially if they are ranked below a Gamma.” Her Beta nodded in agreement “We need to keep them alive until the medics arrive or until they can heal themselves.”
The heavy weight of the devastation lifted somewhat now that she voiced her plan. The distraction of the task provided the reprieve she could concentrate on.
They got to work. One by one, they checked the Lunas, who were unconscious. Luckily, most of them had pulses still beating its steady rhythm. Some did not.
Riannon closed the eyes of Luna Selena as a tear trickled down her cheek. Her mother’s friend did not make it. She remembered the many times she visited The Pearl Moon pack when she was still a child, and her siblings were alive. It was a true loss.
She heard a noise beside her and saw some movement under a pile of splintered wood that was once a table. She recognised the red dress at once and rushed to help Luna Ada to get out from under the rubble.
“Hold on,” she mumbled as she grabbed the pieces and tossed them out of her way, “I” ‘ll be there in just a sec.”
Ada was covered in cuts and breathing heavily.
However, Ria was positive that she was going to make it. Her frenemy was of Alpha blood and was supposed to heal quickly.
She managed to clear her and dragged her out of the room in hopes that the healers were already there.
They always had a few teams ready for each Summit.
“My husband,” Ada winced from the pain, “My husband-Where-“
“People are looking for them,” Riannon told her as she placed her on a bench outside, “l am sure he is fine.”
“Your law-did you manage-” the injured woman had trouble finishing her sentences.
“Yes, we did it.” Ria tried to calm her down, smiling gently as she brushed the hair out of her face. “It worked.
Alphas went on a break, so most of them left the building. I am sure your husband is one of them.”
“Good” the Luna nodded and waved Ria off “Go, help the rest of them.”
Riannon did not waste time, and together with Maya and a few other people, including the alphas who were unharmed, who joined them, worked through the restaurant, getting out the injured. The foyer’s floor was covered with the bodies of those who died.
The rest were taken outside. Luckily, some of the werewolves were regenerating quickly, and some were now able to join the search party.
“I think we are done in that part of the building,” her Beta told her, “The upstairs was not damaged too badly, but it would be best to evacuate people in case the building collapses.”
“Yes,” Riannon agreed, “Can you arrange that?
“On it,” Maya said and disappeared at once. This was why she was the best second-in-command. She was a Woman of action.
Ria broke one of the vending machines that miraculously survived the blast and confiscated all the water bottles it contained. She walked outside, offering them to the people who were slowly coming to their senses. At the same time, she tried not to think of the many who did not have that luxury. There were too many.
She took a deep breath of air, throwing her head back. Too many thoughts were circling in her head like vultures over carrion. Ambulances arrived, and she knew they would take over the situation from there. Just then, she noticed a dark figure lurking behind the parked cars.
He was standing at a distance, and it seemed as if he was looking at her and only her. He wore a black coat, his brown hair touching his shoulders, and stormy grey eyes eyed her.
She clenched her fists and wanted to track him down and kill him. However, he was gone in less than a second, and she did not know where he had disappeared.
‘Everett’ definitely had something to do with it, and now she was sure of it more than ever.
But that also meant that Roxy had something to do with it as well.
Her lips parted at the realisation. Of course! There was no point for Roxy to be here. Intuition told Riannon that Roxanne had read the documents she had prepared Roxanne was supposed to know what she was planning. She would benefit from the divorce. So, why would she have bothered to attend the Summit when everything was going smoothly for her?
Unless she had a completely different purpose.
Ria retrieved her phone and dialled Harper’s number.
“Yes.” her ex-sister-in-law was not happy to hear from her. As usual.
“Are you okay?” Riannon queried, deciding to play nice for a start since she needed information, “There was an attack on the Summit, and Roxy said you were nearby.”
“Oh, Goddess! How are Bray and Roxy?” Harper’s intonation changed. She didn’t inquire about her health, though.
“Bray is fine,” she frowned, “We are still looking for Roxy. Tell me, what time did you bring her here?”
“I don’t remember. Why?” Harper was as careless as ever.
“We are trying to build a timeline of events here.
This is important,” Riannon lied. Partially.
I think I dropped her off at about eleven,” the girl hesitated with her answer, “Do you want me to come over?”
“No need,” the ex-Luna replied, “Go back to the pack. It’s safer that way.”
She hung up, not waiting for a response. She already knew what she wanted to know. Roxy was here before they arrived. Everyone knew that she was an Alpha’s mate. After all, Brayden had paraded her at the Alpha Ball. So that meant that she could wander freely in the hotel without being suspected of anything.
Could she be the one to do it? Or was it just a coincidence?
A m0an not far from her stopped her train of thought, and Riannon approached that person to see how she could help. However, the medics got there first, so she decided to go inside and check on what more she could do.
Inside, the atmosphere was grim. People were crying over their deceased loved ones. She noticed a line of bodies at the other end of the foyer that hadn’t been there before and counted at least eight people.
Just then, Gideon appeared with another man in his arms. Their eyes met and he carefully placed the Alpha, who was dead on the ground, next to the others.
A few seconds and they ran into each other’s arms.
The Lycan king pressed his Luna tightly into his chest, burying his face in her hair.
“I love you,” he said, and she flinched. Deep inside, she always knew it. He had not hidden his feelings from her from the very beginning, still, it was the first time he said it out loud like that.
“Gideon.” She looked at him, and he took her face into his hands.
“l am sorry,” he apologised, smiling sadly, “This wasn’t how I wanted to do it. You deserve so much better than this. Seeing the many people who lost their mates today-They will never be able to tell them those words ever again. The thought that it could be you and me-That I could die without letting you know how much you really mean to me. I decided I need to tell you this now. And not waste any more of our time together. I love you, Riannon. More than anyone. More than anything.
For me, there will never be another. Only you. You are my life. I need you to know this.”
“I love you too,” she admitted, wrapping her arms around his neck. She began to mouth words, to tell him more than those three simple words, but he couldn’t wait any longer, and his lips crashed into hers. The k!ss was ragged and mad, with the two of them taking breaks only to take in a gasp of air. She felt so guilty feeling this happy amidst such a disaster. Then they heard another scream. They both forced themselves to stop. There was still too much work to be done here for them to be lost in each other right now.
“Help!” they recognised Brayden’s voice and saw him running with Roxy in his hands, “My mate is wounded!”
“I need to check on that,” Ria told Gideon. The redhead was her prime suspect, and she needed to know as much about her whereabouts and actions as possible. She needed proof because she knew that simply pointing suspicions and accusations at the girl wouldn’t be enough. Especially if it was her. She went to Brayden and pointed him to another empty bench while the medics were busy.
“Calm down,” she told him, checking the girl’s pulse, “She doesn’t look too bad compared to others.
Where did you find her?”
“In one of the shops at the back,” her ex informed her, seemingly annoyed.
“Then she should be all right,” she muttered, “It’s far from the restaurant and the conference hall. You could even say she is lucky.”
“Lucky is not the right word here, Ri,” Brayden snapped at her, “She is an omega, and the effects on her would not be the same as for the top-ranked wolves!”
“Yet she barely has any scratches,” Ria pointed out, but he ignored her. His attention was now focused on his mate. It was interesting how he went from forgetting about her to caring about her so quickly.
“Anyway,” Riannon stated as she stood up, “Good luck to the two of you. I am sure she’ll be fine.”
She went back inside. After all, she knew everything she needed to know from that short interaction with Brayden.
The day went on and on. Even after everyone, who was alive, received the help they needed, it did not end.
The Alphas stayed to discuss the next course of action.
“Well, at least it’s obvious who did this,” Zack Morgan said, rubbing his chin.
“Hardly.” one of the Alphas shook his head, “We have zero proof to begin to blame anyone at this point.”
“Because the foxes and the werebears not appearing at the Summit is not proof enough?” Ramina snorted, folding her hands on her chest, “Wake up!”
“There are a few other alphas who did not attend,” someone said, “We can’t cross them out this easily from the list of suspects.”
“We will investigate everyone,” Gideon said, not happy at all with the direction this was going.
“We need to return to our packs for now,” Alpha Caleb of the Jade Moon pack said, “In case there will be any attacks on our pack lands. Whoever did this wanted to weaken us. No doubt before another major advance toward us.”
“True,” Riannon said, “But their plan didn’t work out as well as they planned.”
“ls that what you think?” one of the alphas growled at her, “My mate just died! And so many of our colleagues!”
“l am sorry about that,” she sighed, “However, it would be even more devastating if the Lycan King hadn’t started the Summit earlier than it was supposed to. We would all be in that room. No one who remained there is alive now.”
“Or maybe this is exactly what the plan was all along!” Brayden gritted through his teeth, “Everything is going so smoothly for the mighty Lycan King! He wanted us to take part in his war, and we were reluctant. Look at us now! Everything is pointing at the foxes and the werebears, and, of course, any alpha would want to avenge their Luna or their dead friends. How convenient that the King announced the break right before the bomb went off so he and his precious new Luna could get out just in time?”