KING CONROYs P.O.V

Fehr Eric Andromeda Rahl IV

Slayer of the blood hounds

Ruler of Ancientrova ”

These words carved boldly on the stone slightly uplifted at the entrance of the dark forest made me know that I have arrived at the boundary dividing Valeria from Ancientrova.

The horse won budge and take the first step in; its shoe kept clacking against the stones nervously.

Not that I blamed the good horse.

The forest, foreboding enough had quite a sinister aura to it and even the bravest of men couldn venture past the first path before fear twisted them half out their minds but I am no mere man.

I jumped down from the horses back and after tying it reins to a sturdy branch, I lifted the hood attached to my cloak and breathed in the strangely murky air.

I walked to the belly of the carriage and peered at the face of the woman who had tried to kill me in my own chambers. She hadn moved an inch and her shallow breathing kept getting worse as time passes and time was a luxury I couldn afford.

”Who are you? ” I whispered, aching to learn who she was but she was deathly silent.

My eyes caught a flash of gold hanging out from her body and I reached for it.

It was an amulet.

I recognize it. It had once hung down the neck of Fehr Kingston. It was the heirloom of the royal Vampire family.

”Did he send you to kill me? ” I asked my killer mate. As I brushed the hair from her feverishly hot face, a whispered, ”no, ” fell though her lips and I wondered in shock if she had truly responded to my questions.

”Well, there would be enough time to get answers from you. ” I said in a grim tone.

Shedding my clothes with the brusque movement of a trained soldier, I was buck naked in no time and I effortlessly lifted my mate on my bare shoulders after wrapping her in my cloak my corded muscles, straining under the weight.

Pinching my red lips together, I tightened the thick rope I used to tie my killer mate to my back.

Untying the nervous horse who sprinted away immediately, I took firm steps into the forest, pushing some branches aside. As I stepped into the dense vegetation, a strange noise caught my attention and I straightened to listen.

Barking, whining and haunting howls echoed in the evening air.

”I thought I had been alone in the forest but by these howls and barks, it seemed some rogues had tailed me. ”

I began to run, my pace getting faster, with a low shout, I leaped over a raised hedge and shook out my fur as I shifted into my wolf. A benefit of being a hybrid, I can control my shit and shift whenever I wanted to, and right now, I damned had to.

I am a gigantic wolf, roughly about seven feet tall even on my crouched position. Balancing on my hind legs, I rolled my shoulders and placed my assassin mate better on my back. Sniffing the air, I picked up on the scent of the rogues.

As the scent of the rogues neared, my human self now fought with my wolf. Second guessing our decision for coming after the vampire king to save a mate we barely knew that had also tried to kill him. But my starved wolf that had been mate-less for years growled and snapped its teeth ferociously, there was no going back. I knew it was the right decision—now that I had her, I won lose her. I will question her about the attempted assassination later when she is hale and hearty, crowned as my Luna, queen of the Valerian kingdom.

snap! the sound echoed in the quiet forest and I growled angrily. ”Of course, there were traps for werewolves. ” I thought in irritation.

Gnashing my teeth, I clawed and forced my paw ensnared from the trap, losing some skin and the shred skin began bleeding.

As I continued to tread the dangerous path of the forest, stopping to listen for the shallow but steady breathing of my mate, my spine primed and prepped to attack any creatures lurking in the shadows.

Suddenly a shriveled bony old woman morphed out of the darkness right in front of the me and hissed, pointing a bony finger at my mate ”Shes nay for you, my King! She is a poisonous flower that hath to be destroyed, burnt alive! ”

So startled I was by her sudden appearance that I jerked haltingly to a stop and rendered speechless.

As I stared closer at her, it soon became clear who she was. It was the old sorceress, Esme, all swathed up in her bits of tattered rags. A moth-eaten scarf swam about her head with bits of yellowed hair peeking from beneath it. Her nose was crooked and hooked while her toothless mouth barely covered by shrunken lips.

”Why? Be gone with you, old witch. I do not have time to spare for this. ” I used my mind to warn the old hag off as I shook my fur.

”She tried to kill you. Has she nay? ” Esme laughed, pointing a crooked finger at my mate.

”What do you speak about? Have you lost something of value? Maybe your dried out brain? ” I snarled at the old woman.

”Some might say so, aye. ” Esme responded with a hostile look at me, cast from boggy brown eyes. ”Tho others wouldn . ”

”Leave my path old woman. ” I growled, bearing my sharp canines.

”Nay, my good king—you would lose your life to the thing strapped to your furry back. You might nay recognize it now until it is late. ” The old woman responded mysteriously. She cackled with sour laughter, waggling her wretched wand in her claw-like hand as she spoke.

”Esme, be gone with your cursed words. I command you. ” My voice was filled with menace but the witch remained obstinate.

”Why, the truth hurts, doesn it? You know very well of the prophecy, and this being so, how can the king be so stupid! She would be the end of you! So do nay try to cast yer spell on me! ” Esme demanded with an angry twist to her wrinkled lips.

That being said, she turned quickly from me, hobbling off between the water-soaked bushes that bordered on either side of the path as though she had suddenly become scared and ran for her life.

Still angered by unsettling conversation with the old sorceress, I shoved her words to the back of my mind and lumbered on, climbing over slippery logs and jagged rocks, pushing my way through the tall grasses. And then my paw caught on a broken log and clusters of rocks but before I toppled over, I somehow managed to regain my balance.

I didn fall but my hind paw was twisted, it pulsated, now slowing me down.

Suddenly, a deeper more menacing howl rang through the forest and angrily I howled back. The rogue wolves were getting louder, coming closer and closer still. I am not scared of some rangy rogue wolves but I am concerned for the safety of my mate.

If they decide to be trouble for me, I wouldn be able to fight back properly with my mate on my back as she might get hurt during the scuffle.

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