Savannah watched Zack, and his wolves fight the werecats from a safe distance when Naya got her a phone. Her heart was still in pain, seeing her mate out there. What was he trying to do? Was he trying to win her back or did he want to kill her before she warned Gideon of what was going on? She wasn’t sure she wanted to know his true motives.
Someone wrapped a piece of fabric around her, and something similar was given to Naya who immediately turned it into a stylish wrap dress. The werecat seemed confident and maybe a tad arrogant. She did not seem to have any doubts about who she was or what was going on around her. Savvy did not care about any of those observations at the moment as she punched in her brother’s number. It went straight to voicemail, so she called Reid instead.
“Pumpkin, it’s not the best time” their Beta told her, but she instantly interrupted him.
“I need to speak to Gideon! It’s urgent, Reid! Zack is the traitor you were looking for!” she practically screamed into the phone.
“Are you all right?” was the first question she heard.
“Did he hurt you? Are you safe?”
“I managed to flee to the werecat’s territory and asked for asylum. They are fighting Zack as we speak,” Savannah explained quickly. “Reid, l am serious, I need to speak to my brother. Zack is the least of our problems right now!”
“Got you,” the Beta said firmly, “He doesn’t have his phone with him. However, I will forward your call to one of our warriors, who is by his side and usually has a phone on him at all times.”
“Good!” she exclaimed, exhaling deeply as she observed two pumas tear one of the enemy wolves to pieces. Zack’s black wolf fought too, but she caught him looking at her from time to time. It pained her that he was her mate. Savvy found the situation was worse because he didn’t accept her rejection. She couldn’t be tied to a man like that. She had to set herself free from him. One way or another.
“Say,” she heard her brother’s familiar voice on the phone and instantly felt a little bit better knowing she got through to him on time.
“Gideon, listen to me very carefully” the princess said, “Don’t say anything until l am done. Zack is the traitor. He has been working with Castiel this whole time.
There are others too-“
“Are you okay?” Her brother seemed really worried, forgetting her instruction to not interrupt her once he heard her initial words.
“Yes,” she responded, knowing she couldn’t let him ask more questions so as not to lose any more precious time. “It’s all irrelevant now, G. So, pay attention, please!
This is a trap! Not the kind you’re anticipating when you set off to get Riannon back. Right at this very moment they are attacking our kingdom!”
She heard her royal sibling swear on the other end of the line, but he got over the detrimental news rather quickly.
“That’s fine, Sav. Kyle is there and so is our Gamma along with most of our warriors. They will defend it,” he said firmly.
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” she retorted, biting her lip nervously, “They are bringing a whole army there! This is exactly what we’ve been worried about this whole time.”
“Now we know when they will attack. We have known about their plan to attack for a while now.”
Gideon’s confidence gave her strength. “We were warned so we are ready. I will retrieve Riannon and we will be there soon to join in the fight for our people. Now, tell me everything else you know.”
She disclosed the names she had learned of one by one and every other little detail she could remember.
“Savvy,” Gideon said when she was done, “l am so proud of you. I am sorry for-“
“Don’t,” she stopped him. She did not want anyone’s pity. At least not now. “Go, Gideon, save her.
Prove to everyone, to me, that true mates still mean something. I need to know this now more than ever.”
She switched off the phone, not wishing to hear anything else. He needed to act, not console his little sister.
She had things to do. Silence stopped her in her tracks. She could no longer hear the sounds of battle.
Savannah slowly turned on her feet and saw werecats licking their minor wounds. Werecats were notorious for their ability to speed up their healing.
Despite the battle scene earlier, Savvy couldn’t see any trace of the wolves around her.
“Cowards!” Naya snorted, folding her hands on her chest and looking at Savannah with interest.
“No,” the princess whispered. She had to find him.
She needed to break their bond, and she needed him to accept the rejection. He couldn’t have run away without a trace!
“What are you going to do about your mate?” Naya sighed, and Savvy clenched her lips, thinking of her next step.
“I need your help.” she said quickly. “The kingdom will be attacked soon. I need the werecats to help us.
“Oh, really?” The girl c0cked her snowy brow.”
You’ve certainly quickly gone from begging for Asylum to demanding things-“
Savvy wanted to explain to her why it was so important and necessary when she heard an authoritative, firm voice.
A gorgeous, tall woman with sleek black hair was walking in their direction, wearing a red dress which looked like it was made out of a long piece of fabric which was fashionably draped around her perfect athletic body. Savvy caught herself at the thought that this was actually a genius idea. One swift movement of her hand and she could shift without ruining the garment, then she immediately felt guilty about thinking of such trivial matters at a time like this. She knew instinctively the woman was Alpha Ramina. Ramina was followed by her beloved Luna Aisha and their top warrior, Alexander. Their names she had learned because she had to know this as a royal. Judging by the snow-white colour of his hair, Savvy knew the rumours about who Naya’s and her sisters’ father were probably true. This must be an interesting relationship.
“Alpha. Luna.” Savannah bowed to each of them respectfully. “I humbly ask for your assistance. The enemy is about to attack the Western Kingdom’s capital and”-
“How is it our problem?” Naya snorted, although one sharp glare from her mother was enough for Naya to set aside her sassy attitude and become serious.
“It is our problem, Daughter,” Ramina responded, giving her child a look only a mother could that would instantly cause their child to think twice about their behaviour.
Naya closed her mouth again.
“We are members of the Union pack, and if we want the members of the Union to come to our defence when we are attacked, we need to fulfil our part of the deal.”
“We can protect ourselves!” Naya gritted through her teeth.
Her mother frowned at her insolent ignorance.
“This is why I will never pass on my title to you, Naya,” the Alpha said harshly, “You never see the full picture! We are the best warriors, yes. But our clan is not that big, and there are bigger threats out there. We need this Union. This is also why we are going to help Princess Savannah.”
“Thank you, Alpha.” Savvy held back a smile. “We need to hurry then. Since Zack is gone, they are going to attack sooner.”
“Gather the warriors!” Ramina told the man behind her, and then turned to k!ss her Luna gently. The two women couldn’t take their eyes off each other.
“Be back safe,” Luna Aisha whispered, but Savvy could hear her with her lycan hearing.
“Keep our home safe while we are gone, and I will,” the Alpha promised, brushing her palm over her mate’s cheek. Savannah felt a prick of pain in her heart. She would never have that. Not anymore.
She was surprised by how quickly the feline warriors gathered, and she now stood in front of a little army. The best thing about them was they were hard to notice. Some men and women leaped from tree to tree with grace, others walked out of the bushes and it seemed like they didn’t disturb a single branch. Yes, there was something about those cats and their abilities that were different from other shifters out there.
“Lead the way,” Alpha Ramina told Savvy when they were ready. The princess was happy to oblige.
A smug smile sat on Castiel’s broken face. Gideon couldn’t wait to wipe it off once and for all, but he had to wait to make sure he wasn’t jumping ahead of himself.
The foxes weren’t the strongest of warriors compared to lycans, but they made up for their lack with their wit.
Their wit is what made dealing with their constant schemes really hard.. This was the area where the foxes were definitely and undeniably the best. Gideon had to be sure he wasn’t missing a piece of crucial information.
“Another trap?” he smirked, trying to agitate the enemy more. “Castiel, did you do anything else this past year other than think about me? Seems a bit obsessive, don’t you agree?”
The Fox King coughed up blood, but the grin on his face only grew wider.
“You have no idea,” he hissed.
“About the attack on my kingdom that’s unfolding this very moment?” Gideon chuckled. “Don’t be naive, Cass. Of course, I know.”
.He could feel his mate’s shock through their bond and tried to send a wave of reassurance to her. He had this under control. Gideon wished he could turn and grab her in his arms, but he had to be a leader first.
He didn’t break eye contact with Castiel, who scanned his face to find out if this was the truth.
“Your f***king sister!” The FoX spat, and the lycan nodded, enjoying the moment.
“Finally outfoxed,” Riannon chided, joining Gideon fixing the red shawl on her body, which probably belonged to one of the red women that a female warrior who had caught up with them brought for her to wear, Riannon grinned. It. The Luna did not hesitate to support her mate’s game. “Twice in one day.”
“Shame you didn’t mention the bomb in your packhouse, Ria,” Castiel added, trying to give her an arrogant smile, but it came out as a scowl.
“You are lying,” she snapped, looking at him with so much hate his heart clenched. He never had a chance with her. He desperately wanted to believe he did, but her eyes told a different story. How he hated that story so much. Why didn’t he ever get what he really wanted in life? Why did it always have to be this way? This was supposed to be his win, his triumph. Now his brother will have to finish what he started and win this war instead.
He would bet his brother could even find a way to make Riannon stay with him if he wanted her. That bastard! He looked at her again. This time hate filled his heart. For his brother, for the Lycan King before him, for the woman who did not fall for him, for the life that slipped away from his multiple wounds.
He had seconds to make the decision.
Then, he made it. He wouldn’t go down a loser king who got outsmarted by a woman and didn’t achieve anything in his lifetime. At least this could be his legacy, no matter how the war ends. Even if his brother took all the credit for his work, he would know this achievement was his!
He opened a link with the last existing spy in Riannon’s pack, the one she hadn’t figured out yet. Their eyes met, and for a second, he felt she understood what he was about to do. Her lips parted slightly while he said the code word via the link he opened.
His man did not respond. He knew that once the word was uttered, he had work to do.
“What did you-” Riannon looked terrified, and he enjoyed this small victory. Maybe this was what he should have done to her from the very beginning, and not play nice to her as he did with the others.
“lt’s done,” he laughed, coughing up more blood, “
Right now-Your packhouse is gone. And you-“
Realising what had just happened, Gideon did not let him finish. One firm masterful movement of his leg and the Fox’s neck broke, ending the life of the controversial King. Castiel couldn’t let him give any more orders to his spies. Even the intel that he could give was not worth it. Castiel was too dangerous to keep alive.
He then looked at his mate, who was calculating her next move. Her eyebrows furrowed, and gazed distantly as if she was not there.
Finally, she noticed him, and their eyes met.
Goddess, how much he had missed her! He would give everything to hug her, k!ss her, take her, but he knew too well that he couldn’t. Everything was far from over.
He knew Kyle and his Gamma would be able to fight off the enemy groups who attacked the kingdom, but he had to be there to make sure everything went smoothly.
He also knew that if Castiel wasn’t lying about the bomb, a disaster had just occurred in Ria’s pack.
“Who is missing?” Riannon asked suddenly. Gideon did not understand at once what she meant.
“What are you-“
“Who is missing out of the people you brought here with you!” Ria was beside him in no time, her nails digging into his flesh. “Gideon! He gave someone an order via mind link! It means this person was within range! It’s another spy in my pack! Or yours-probably mine.”
She muttered word after word, but he now knew where she was going with it. The house probably hadn’t exploded yet. There was still a chance to save people and perhaps, even the building.
“I need a phone!” Riannon screamed, and a young lycan immediately appeared next to her, handing her the phone she requested. Her fingers pressed the familiar order of digits one by one, and soon she heard her best friend’s voice.
“Yes?” Maya did not seem surprised. She was waiting for news.
“Get back to the pack. Order to evacuate the packhouse! Now!” Ria screamed, ” Every nearby building too. There might be an explosion, so make sure people are at a safe distance away from any structures. No one should be left inside. Place guards around the perimeter.
See who are the first to return from the warriors you sent, and apprehend them if you can. I’ll be back soon.”
“Sure you will,” her Beta said. Before hanging up, she added, “I will do everything you’ve asked.”
Ria gave the phone back to the warrior and fixed the shawl on her shoulders.
They didn’t have a second to spare; however, when their eyes met again, Gideon grasped her hand and pulled her into his chest. He k!ssed her hungrily, greedily.
As if she was air and he was drowning. As if his life depended on that one k!ss. As if this was their last time.
“I need to go,” she gasped, breaking the k!ss, which seemed like the hardest thing in her life to do.
“No, Ria. Come with me” he muttered, not willing to let her go again. First, he had to wait for her to feel their bond. Then she was taken from him. Now he couldn’t face parting with her yet again.
She was his. His woman, his love, his Luna, his Queen, his equal. She was his everything.
“l need to get back to my pack,” she whispered, swallowing down her own desire for him. Glancing at him through her lashes, she pleaded, “I am the Alpha.
This is what Alphas do. If the explosion happens, I need to make sure l am there working with everyone. If it’s prevented, I will bring my people to fight by your side as per the agreement of the Union.
“Riannon,” he objected, he considered forcing her for the first time ever to not leave his side. However, seeing the inferno of determination in her eyes, he knew his commands would be useless. He loved an Alpha, not just a Luna. He had to respect that. She had to go and save her people the way he had to come to save her.
“Gide” she started to say when he covered her lips with his again. This time roughly and briefly, but with the same immense desire as before.
“This is the last time we will ever be apart,” the Lycan King told his mate. She nodded, agreeing wholeheartedly.
“The last time.” They entwined their fingers together; their breath becoming ragged.
“Go,” he told her, “Go before l decide to abandon both my kingdom and your pack and run away with you.
Just you and me, no crowns, no exes, no psychos, no obligations-“
“The dream.” She smiled and right before turning into her wolf, added, “We would get bored too quickly.
She sprinted away, closely followed by her people.
Before getting into his car and driving all the way back to the Western Kingdom for the final battle, Gideon made a few orders to the people he had left in this house.
Riannon was so close to her pack when the smell of burnt char, and fire reached her. She howled to let her people know she was near that she was with them.
It was painful to see the house she loved so much burning in flames. She knew she wasn’t allowed to be weak even for a moment. Maya spoke to one of the warriors, giving him orders on how to put out the fire.
She lowered her head at the sight of her alpha and gestured for one of the omegas to bring her clothes.
“l am sorry, Alpha,” she said, “We were in the middle of the evacuation when the detonator worked. It is my failure and I understand if-“
“‘Stop talking nonsense,” Riannon snapped, quickly throwing on a simple pair of jeans and a short-sleeved white t-shirt, which someone handed to her, and began putting on shoes as well. “Did you manage to get the people out?”
“Almost everyone-” the Beta responded. “I suspect there might have been a few omegas in the storage room. We couldn’t find them after the explosion and were about to go in search of them. Plus, the prisoners in the dungeons. I didn’t get to them; however, I think we got the traitor you were looking for. Ash caught one of the warriors in the woods. He had a device which looked like a remote control with a radio transmitter. We suspect he used it to trigger the bomb which was installed in the building earlier. Do you want to see him now?”
“No,” Riannon stated, shaking her head. Standing up, she continued, “There will be time for all that.
People’s lives should come first. I will go in to look for survivors too.”
“Maybe that’s not the best idea.” Maya did not feel comfortable endangering her Alpha. However, looking into her friend’s eyes, she knew this battle was already lost.
“I”ll go with you,” Brayden offered, appearing in dirty clothes with smudges of cinder all over his face. It looked like he had been helping clear the ruins. Ria knew she could use all the help there was to be had right now.
Riannon I’d not care about the annoyed looks Maya gave her ex. An extra pair of hands was what they needed.
She walked for a few minutes inside what was once her house. The marble floors were cracked, and some of the columns were broken. The staircase survived by some miracle, but she did not go upstairs. She wanted to look for survivors.
It was weird to have Bray by her side at the moment like this. She would have given up a lot for it to be Gideon instead.
“Would you look at that!” She went up to a huge mantlepiece which was also broken. There used to be a silver-plated spear placed above it, a replica of what the Moon Goddess, according to the legends, had used.
That was now gone. Like most of her belongings. “I wasn’t such a great Alpha after all. Just a few days and the packhouse is burned down.”
Brayden stopped walking over pieces of glass which crunched under his feet, staring at her.
“You must be kidding me right now, Riannon,” he said simply, and she turned to face him. “The damage would have been so much bigger without you. Ash detained the main suspect, and Maya managed to evacuate the people. You can always rebuild the house.
However, the lives you saved are priceless.”
“Look at who is back to his senses,” she teased, giving him a vague smile and walked into the next room. Brayden followed her, not saying anything else. She reached the door, which led to the dungeon’s staircase, where he placed his hand on hers.
“I feel like l am back to my senses,” he said, standing right behind her. “Everything has become so clear to me, and Ri, the way I treated you.”
“It’s water under the bridge,” she replied, brushing him off. This was neither the time nor the place for that conversation. However, it did not stop Brayden.
“Whatever you think of me, I deserve it” he insisted, clenching his fists. “You were not just my wife and the love of my life. You were my friend and partner before everything else, and I betrayed your trust. I paid the price, and I will continue to pay it every day. You found your mąte, and Moon Goddess knows you deserve it. It’s hard to be happy for you-really hard, but I will keep trying Ri,you deserve all the best things in life. You deserve a man who will make you happy. If l could turn back time” His voice sounded distant and so broken that she felt sorry for him.
“Everything is how it is supposed to be,” Ria assured him, pushing the door and slowly descending the charred stairs leading to the cellar. It did not look good down there. The floors were flooded, and water splashed from several pipes. She saw sparks of electricity in the distance and was happy she wore sneakers with rubber soles.
“What I am trying to say.” Brayden mentioned, clearing his throat. “I hope I can at least be your friend.
Losing you to another man is one thing. Losing you forever is another. Ri. I am so sorry for everything. I truly am.”
There they were. The words she had wanted to hear so desperately in her past life and never did. She thought she would feel some measure of satisfaction at that moment. All she felt was empty. It did not make her either happy nor unhappy. Bray’s regrets did not impact her at all. She knew that now.
She was finally ready to move on from those horrible memories. What Brayden said or did was irręlevant to her.
Despite her realisation, she could see he was sincere. She knew him enough to assess that much.
“I know you will probably hate me forever” the man added as he knelt to check for any signs of life on one of the many bodies in front of them.
“I don’t hate you,” she offered as she stopped and rubbed her forehead, “Brayden, I–-“
Riannon felt someone else’s presence and quickly turned to see a splash of red locks in the distance.
Something shiny was thrown at her. The last thing Ria managed to think was; she found the spear.