The Beast And The Blessed
The castle was oddly empty, even for the middle of the week. I felt like there were eyes on me
everywhere I went, but then I would turn, and the room or hallways would be empty beyond my new
collection of guards.
I had asked for one extra. Tobias had responded with two.
There was no arguing with a man who refused to talk back. He won almost everytime.
The pack was steering clear of the possibly infectious Lycans that were chained up and sedated in the
infirmary. I hadn’t even seen Charlie around since the incident, but I knew she wasn’t far. Every so
often, I would see one of her wild men either in the castle or on the training field.
So far, no one else had shown any signs of the curse or disease, but it was wise of our people to steer
clear of the area for the time being.
What wasn’t wise was that I kept trying to get closer to them. I would make it to the end of the hallway
and would stare down the long corridor. The desire to check on them and support them through their
healing was masked by the fear that settled its way into my bones after the first visit.
What if there weren’t enough people to hold them down, and they managed to get out of the reinforced
chains? Surely, the healers were keeping them sedated still, but we still had no idea what magic was at
Joselin had been rumored to be on the verge of a breakdown while she tried to dissect the curse and
magic used. She hadn’t been eating or sleeping either.
At one point, Killian had to run out of bed and calm the panic Joselin had started when she manifested
in the infirmary at one in the morning. From what Killian told me when he returned to our room, she had
sliced Heath’s arm right open let him bleed into a bowl for a second, and then vanished, leaving the
healers to rush to close the gaping wound.
At first, I had been stunned, but then uncontrollable laughter forced its way free as I pictured Joselin
terrifying everyone with her unusual ways.
Killian lit up as I laughed, and it was good to see him that way. After he let me explore his Lycan, he
shut down. He tried to hide it. He shifted back immediately and went to the shower.
Afterward, he still kissed me goodnight, held me while we slept, and said goodbye in the morning with a
heart-stopping, toe-curling kiss. But the look in his eyes was distant. He was distracted and had the
right to be. But something about the way the emptiness stayed in his eyes as he looked at me made
me feel guilty like I had done something wrong.
I just didn’t know what.
Since he didn’t seem to want to tell me what I did wrong, the least I could do was try to help him and
take some of the weight off his shoulders.
Joselin had been terrifying the staff, and every time I brought her up Tobias would shift his weight. He
seemed to be just as worried about her as I was. Killian just seemed annoyed by her antics. If going to
see her would ease some of Killian’s frustrations and put Tobias at ease so he could focus on his job,
then that was what I was going to do.
Tobias led the way to the witch’s tower, while my two new guards followed behind us. The silent man
was anxious… eager even, to see the pale-haired woman. I bit back a smile as I thought about how
cute it was that he was openly showing his emotions for her, even if he wasn’t ready to give in to her
obvious attempts at seduction.
The grey brick wall was cold and uninviting, but it was the black door covered in hand-drawn white and
crimson runes that sent a shiver down my spine.
I wasn’t sure if I should knock or just enter. It was her tower, but she had also been a bit preoccupied,
and I was almost positive that she wouldn’t hear me if I had gone as far as to try and kick the door
Tobias chose for me, pushing the door open without an invitation or warning, and made his way inside.
I followed behind him, shivering as the air thickened in the doorway. It wasn’t unpleasant, but the
several inches of what I assumed were magic was not enjoyable. I had no clue what I had just walked
through, but my guards didn’t seem to notice.
What did catch their attention was the high-pitched scream of frustration followed by the sound of
ceramic shattering against a wall.
“Joselin?” I called out from the entrance of her tower. The area was cold and bland. My finger ran along
the thin layer of dust covering a console table against the wall. The surface was bare of belongings as
she probably rarely ever used the door or dropped her stuff on the table when she came in.
I glanced away an irritated groan echoed down the stairwell. “Joselin, I’m coming up.”
The dark decor and limited lighting beyond the few candles on the table in front of her made me slow
as I pushed open the cracked door after going up one flight of stairs. The black, round table in the
center of the room was filled with dancing shadows as the candlelight flickered from the center and the
objects on the table disrupted its stream of light.
The witch was leaning over it with her hands gripped tightly around the edge of the table. Tobias
approached her slowly, but my attention was taken by the mess on the floor.
Blood was splattered over the light grey walls and decorated the floor beneath it. Shards of ceramic
were scattered over the hardwood, and I stepped over them carefully as I approached Joselin.
Tell me what I can do to help,” receiving a sharp side-eye from Tobias that had me quickly correcting
my statement. “We. Tell me what ‘we’ can do to help.”
“You can’t do anything. I can’t do anything!” Her frustration was thick as she slammed her palms down
on the table. “I think it is time to call in the council.”
The mutter of defeat made my stomach drop. Who was the council?
“I fucking hate their smug faces. They just love it when I have to ask for help. I just want to smash their
heads into the ground!” She exclaimed as she pushed off the table.
My eyebrows raised in amusement as I watched my new, socially inept friend get even more worked
up. The guard behind me moved forward slowly as if wanting to get between the witch and me, but with
my arm at my side, I raised my hand discretely to tell them to back down.
The last thing Joselin needed was to feel threatened. Who knew what would happen to them in that
situation. But she wouldn’t hurt me.
‘Who is the council?” I asked, regretting it instantly when her empty, white glare snapped up to me. Her
eyebrows were lowered, and her eyes were narrowed as she laughed malevolently.
“A group of bitter witches who resent that I was chosen as the royal advisor, and they were not. Those
fucking bitches. Get ready, your highness. You’re about to meet the worst of the best.”
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