“I can show you instead,” Onyx offered, and Riannon felt herself drifting off to sleep. “This is what the Goddess told me to do-” her wolf whispered.
She trusted OnyX with her life and knew her better half would take good care of her.
However, she wasn’t expecting what happened to her next, and soon she found herself in the one place she never wanted ever to be again.
The day she died. Although not at the exact time of her death, she realised she had travelled back a few ,hours before the tragedy happened.
She couldn’t help but remember that time well, and a dull throbbing pain grew in her chest. This was unusual. She was sure she had overcome all the trauma associated with these memories. Yet now, seeing how her pack had gathered once again for what Brayden had explained was a blessing ceremony for his future heir was painful for her to relive.
“Onyx, can we fast forward to” her voice broke.
Did she really want to see herself being killed? Was it really that important? She had her suspicions and was at the least relieved to discover and know it wasn’t Dean.
This was good enough.
“No,” her wolf replied, “You need to see the whole picture.”
“l am not sure I want to,” Riannon confessed, slightly embarrassed by her momentary weakness.
“Too late now,” Onyx chuckled in her mind, “Know that if you look carefully, you will find out more than you have asked, and not only about yourself, but of others too.”
This gave her the strength she needed to revisit the most traumatic and fatal experience of her life. Her life has never been only about her. She wasn’t the only victim, nor was she the only person she lived for. If she could get an important piece of information from this experience, then she owed it to all the people she loved to try, to endure, and to succeed.
She quickly realised she wasn’t actually there. She could walk among the people and observe what they were doing, but none of them saw her. Riannon was just a spirit observing them all, and they could even walk through her, not affecting her at all.
This also helped her to calm down. She wasn’t actually reliving the day. She was watching. A guest who was there in spirit.
She noticed herself sitting in the summer house in the garden, right where they had voted the other day in real time. Riannon from the past did not look well with hollow cheeks and a pale complexion. She was also thinner than usual ánd did not look good at all. The year of stress and pain had taken its toll on her.
She wanted to tell herself it wasn’t worth it, that something bigger and better was waiting for her, but then she noticed a friendship bracelet in her hands.
Maya had made it for her when they were kids, and after her death, she retrieved it and kept it close to her at all times. She sought the warmth and support her friend used to give her, and this little trinket was her only anchor.
“Luna,” an omega called, appearing next to her with a tray in her hands, “I’ve brought some tea for you.”
“I didn’t ask for the tea,” Riannon from the past replied, but the girl placed the tray on the bench beside her.
“The Alpha sent it for you. It’s cold, and you’ve been sitting here for hours,” the omega replied, smiling at her,
“It’s herbal tea, one of your favourites.”
“Thank you.” Ria stared at the cup, and her present self remembered how she felt a little glimpse of hope that maybe Brayden was sorry for what he had done to bring her so much pain. She took the cup in her hands and slowly drank the tea, looking around at the busy pack. By this point, she was so broken inside that she didn’t feel the heat of her tea nor taste the flavour of her.
“Ria.” Ash appeared next to her, holding a huge pile of folders in his hands, he asked, “Are you okay?”
“l am great,” she lied, taking another sip without looking up at him, “Can’t you see?”
The present Riannon noticed he wanted to say something more, but changed his mind at the last moment and walked away.
“Everything is for the best” he muttered, “You will see.’
She knew his motivation and understood his reasons for making those wrong choices. Althoūgh knowing didn’t make her feel any better. Riannon finished the tea and placed the cup back on the tray.
Immediately, the same omega appeared, gathered up the tray and rushed away.
A bad feeling rose in her chest. She remembered too well she had not asked for tea. She didn’t eat nor drink much those last few days. Since she knew nothing important would happen to her before the ceremony, she decided to follow the omega instead.
The girl was clearly in a hurry even though she tried to pretend she wasn’t. Riannon grew more suspicious with every passing minute. I wasn’t until the omega turned in the opposite direction from the kitchen and sped all the way behind the mansion that Ria knew her hunch was correct.
She hurried and caught up with the girl right as she made a turn and almost bumped into Roxy.
It was the perfect hiding spot because it was central to practically everything, and no one used this road. It was also dark and secluded.
Roxanne wore an expensive black silk maternity dress and caressed her belly every few seconds. When she saw the maid she withdrew a little plastic bag out of her pocket and opened it, gesturing for her to drop the cup inside.
“Did she drink all of it?” Roxy asked with a gentle smile on her face.
“Yes, Luna,” the girl affirmed, nodding. Riannon cringed. Roxanne wasn’t a Luna yet. Not that it was the most important thing at that moment. This little omega girl, someone who lived in her pack and was using the protection she provided, without which no omega could survive in their cruel world, was the one who poisoned her with aconite. Now she had no doubts.
“Good,” Roxanne approved, stretching her hand to squeeze the omega supportively on her shoulder, “Don’t worry. All is for the best. I just don’t want her to make a scene tonight. This will weaken her a bit, and we will have a calm and fun night. Then tomorrow you will be the personal helper of the new Luna.”
“Thank you!” the girl beamed, not bothering too much about the details of her promotion.
“Alice” Roxy gave her a smile that looked so sincere Ria could almost buy it if she didn’t know Roxy for the scheming cunning fox that she was. “We are almost at the finish line. Remember, she will need one more doze in an hour or so for our plans to go smoothly.”
“Everything will be done as you’ve instructed, Luna, ” the omega pledged, bowing as Roxanne waved her off.
“Go now,” she said calmly, “People shouldn’t see us together yet. This evening, we will celebrate. Come to my room for a glass of champagne.”
“Can’t wait, Luna!” Alice giggled and ran away quickly.
Riannon decided not to follow her. She knew what the girl would be doing for the rest of the day. She chose to stay face-to-face with her mortal enemy, who was still a mystery to her. Roxanne caressed her bump. Ria wondered if it was her ex’s child.
A dark figure appeared from the nearby bushes, and Roxy didn’t flinch when one of Brayden’s warriors, Marcus, lazily leaned over the wall next to her. She handed him the plastic bag and he took it, clearly aware of the contents inside.
“Get rid of it,” the fox said coldly, and she nodded even though he stood with his back to him. The woman sighed and then added, “After Alice is done, be sure to get rid of her too. I don’t want any traces. It’s not time yet.”
“It will be done,” the man assured her, while Ria tried to recall what colour his wolf was. Was he the one who killed her? Or did Roxanne have more accomplices on their territory?
“Will you need me to accompany you this evening?”
Marcus asked before leaving.
“No,” Roxy shook her head, “l have everything ready just the way I need it. You make sure no one disturbs us, and have everyone remain at the party.”
“Fine,” he grunted and walked back to where he came from.
The fox stood, looking in the same direction and soon Riannon realised she was watching the past her.
Roxy’s lips curled into a sneer and her eyes glowed red for a second, but she quickly regained control.
Riannon followed her as the day unfolded, however, nothing new happened for a while other than Roxy being Roxy. By this time she had stopped pretending she was a weak omega and had positioned herself as the Luna of the people. She threw herself into offering to help everyone she met but, of course, her huge belly prevented her from actually doing anything, and it still gained her the sympathy vote from everyone she encountered.
It was painful for Riannon to watch this, but she forced herself to. Afterall, if she was to obtain any useful information from anyone, it would be Roxy.
Finally, the fox retreated to her room to change her clothes for the event, however, once she was inside, she sat in a huge armchair with her phone in her hands. After a while, the phone rang, and she immediately picked up, leaving Ria with no chance at checking the caller’s identity.
“Cass,” Roxy purred, her voice becoming sweet.
Riannon scooted closer to eavesdrop on the phone call and hear both ends of the conversation.
“Is everything ready for tonight?” the familiar voice sounded, causing Ria to cringe. Of course, he was the mastermind. Not Roxy.
“Yes,” his subordinate replied, “Brayden is ready.
His Luna will go tonight.”
“Good” Castiel sounded indifferent. Like this wasn’t a big deal for him at all. This made her furious. He was deciding their lives and didn’t seem to care either way.
A smile formed on Roxanne’s face at the little piece of praise she received.
“Make sure there are no delays,” the man added, “I need this pack by the end of the week. A lot depends on it. It’s crucial for my plans to kill the Western Lycan King.
He is our last obstacle on the way to victory. And he is close to making a deal with the Northern King. If that happens.”
Riannon’s world froze at the mention of her mate.
Those bast.ards didn’t just want her pack. Gideon was their aim. While the pack was just a tool to hit their target. Now that she thought about it, of course, he was.
If they wanted to destroy the wolves, then the leader of the Lycans would be their number one target.
“I know,” the pregnant girl sighed, stroking her round belly, “lt will be done. Just tell me when you want Brayden dead.”
“End of the week,” Castiel stated calmly, “Make sure there is no one to lead the pack. The Luna, Beta and anyone else who could take the Alpha’s place in case of an emergency. They will all have to go.”
“Got it” Roxy agreed as easily as if they were discussing a grocery list. Riannon noticed she was fidgeting with her hair and stood right in front of her trying to read her facial expressions. “Castiel,” the woman crooned, changing her tone to a more sedvctive one, “I miss you-“
“Gross,” Ria muttered to herself. To her, it was clear the two foxes had something going on between them.
Nonetheless, the man’s harsh reply startled her.
“Just concentrate on the mission,” the Fox King snapped, cutting her off, “Roxy, don’t you dare to use your siren powers on me. Even over the phone.”
Roxanne’s facial expression dropped at once, while Riannon covered her lips with her palm as if she had to stay quiet from the shocking revelation she stumbled upon.
A siren! Of course! That explained so much, and, yet, it was hard to comprehend since she hadn’t heard of anyone seeing them for the past few decades. Not to mention, she knew for a fact Roxy was a fox too: This meant her mixed genes made her a hybrid. A very dangerous hybrid.
“l am sorry” she apologised. The glint in Roxanne’s eyes disappeared as if someone sucked the life out of her, “It’s hard to control myself now due to the pregnancy h0rmones.”
She wanted to say something more, but then removed the phone from her ear, and Ria realised he had hung up on her.
The girl’s eyes filled with tears. A usual sight for Ria. Although, this time it seemed sincere.
“You really like him, don’t you?” Riannon chuckled to herself when the door opened, and Brayden walked in.
He wore grey trousers with a grey waistcoat, a white shirt, and looked handsome.
“I thought you came here to change,” he stated, puzzled as he looked his ‘mate’ up and down.
“l wanted to, but your hair is so strong. He keeps kicking me,” Roxy said, using her sickly sweet tone and stretched her hands to her Alpha, “Here, help me stand up.”
“Are you ready?” Brayden asked as he stretched out his hand to hold her up. She gave him a soft smile.
“I can’t wait!” she giggled, making Riannon want to throw up in disgust.
The two of them walked out of the room, and she followed them closely with a smirk tugging at her lips.
Unknowingly, they gave her an idea of how to win the war, and the evening had only just begun.