The Beast And The Blessed
“You were right.” Charlie’s voice carried through the empty library, making me tense as she approached
I had moved on to a new book, one I could actually read myself, which Thomas was happy about. I had
been studying how to enchant items and was almost ready to try it after I reviewed it a few more times.
My legs were curled beneath me, with a blanket thrown over my lap. So far, only two council members
seemed amused by me, but the rest wanted to kill me.
I had accidentally locked them in a room together this morning so they could work out their differences.
The only problem was that I couldn’t get in to talk to them about the war, and they either hadn’t found a
way out yet or were all dead.
My magic grew stronger by the day, and I still had no control over it. I had discovered that I could do
some powerful spells, but they happened on their own, and I hadn’t figured out how to undo them yet. I
figured starting with something small, something I could focus on would help me master my craft.
If not, I would just have to find a way to get food to the room of angry women before they died. I
doubted they were doing anything with the candles, crystals, and maps I had left in there for them.
Charlie’s voice made me freeze, and I ripped my eyes away from the page I was on to look up at her. I
promised Killian I would make things right, but I wasn’t sure how to do that when I firmly believed in
what I had said when we argued.
“Just hear me out.” She pleaded as she moved to sit on the couch next to me with one leg pulled up as
she faced me. I turned to give her my undivided attention, closing my book on my finger and holding it
on my thigh. “I have only been thinking about myself and have a lot to make up for with Killian. But I still
need to put myself first. He is killing himself, putting his people and kingdom before himself, and it had
almost cost him his mate and his happiness.
“If I hadn’t left, I never would have found Damien. Now that I have him, if I could go back and do it
again, I would. I would still go because now I’m not alone. Killian is happy because he has you. But
before you, he was miserable. I was miserable without Damien. But I can do better to be there for
Killian. I will do better.”
My empty hand rested on hers on her lap as I squeezed her hand before pulling back. “I understand
where you are coming from, and I am sorry for how I went about that conversation. It wasn’t right. I was
just so angry that you were talking about me to Lindsey and those other women. They have made it
clear that they do not like nor respect me, and it hurt when I saw you all looking and laughing at me.”
I looked down, mentally kicking myself for acting like a child instead of a leader. It was embarrassing to
admit to her that I felt betrayed. She was one of my only friends here, and not being able to trust her
“That’s why you were so mad at me?” Charlie laughed, leaning back against the armrest of the couch.
“We weren’t laughing at you! We were laughing at Killian. I told them I thought my brother had no
chance of winning any arguments against you because of how strong you are now.”
My cheeks warmed as I glanced back up at her to see the amusement on her face.
’Did you really think I would talk bad about you? We’re sisters now. We have to stick together.” Charlie
laughed again as she looked down at the book I was reading.
She had said it before, but the reminder that I had a sister now and that this was how our relationship
was supposed to be shocked my system. It was so different than growing up with Haylee. It was
something I would have to get used to.
“Why isn’t the council helping teach you when they aren’t looking into the vampires and witches?” She
nodded toward the book, and I sighed in frustration.
“They are a bit…uh… stuck at the moment. I’m letting them focus on more important things right now.”
Tobias snorted from where he stood against the wall at the entrance to the library, and I shot him a
“Is that what all that yelling and banging was earlier?” I nodded as she laughed, but when I listened
closely, she was right.
The castle was strangely quiet, and I groaned at the thought of the carnage I would walk into.Jf I ever
got that door open.
’Oh, shit.” The whisper of dread left my lips as I placed my book on the cushion between us, losing my
place and getting to my feet. My guards and an amused Charlie followed my slow jog down the hall and
to the conference room. “Are you guys still alive in there?”
I flinched when the yelling started again, but this time was joined by solid objects slamming against the
“I think they might need some time to cool off.” Charlie laughed as I felt someone pushing into my mind,
using the pack link to alert everyone that someone was heading our way.
The hall fell silent, and I narrowed my eyes as Tobias gestured from me toward the hallway with his
head, wanting me to lock myself back in my bedroom. But I had trained far too hard to go back to being
the weak prisoner, hiding from an unknown threat.
My back straightened, and my chin lifted as I stared him down.
Satisfaction washed through me when he looked away, submitting to me.
“Well, it looks like they are going to get that time to cool down after all. We have a visitor to greet.” I
smiled, turning on my heels and walking away as the witches grew louder.
The excitement of meeting the last council member replaced any fear I had. Since they had been
invited, I heard countless people discussing a witch named Talia. She was the previous royal advisor
From what Killian had told me, she went a little mad after what happened with the queen.
Yet, everyone still seemed to love her. They talked about her like she was the greatest thing to join this
world since magic. Multiple times I had heard people talk about how betrayed she had felt being
replaced by Joselin when Killian had taken the throne. They all agreed that she was the only one who
could keep the council from killing each other and led them with pride.
Now it was finally my turn to see what all the fuss was about.
Killian met me at the top of the stairs on his way to meet our guest. He greeted Charlie with a nod and
me with a chaste kiss on the lips. I could see how stressed he was now that he was stuck playing catch
up from his time away from the castle. It was disappointing that I didn’t know how to help him beyond
dealing with the council.
’Do you think it’s Talia?” Charlie asked with excitement laced in her words. She was damn near
bouncing on her toes at the prospect. “Do you think she is still mad? She cant be, right?”
Killian gave her a look of uncertainty with his lips pressed into a line, and his eyebrows pulled together.
“We will find out.”
“Maybe she can release the council from the room I accidentally trapped them in.” My mumble made
Killian’s gaze shoot to me, and I giggled as I saw the genuine panic on his face for the first time.
A door slammed down the hall, and the loud stampede of angry women had me moving behind Killian
and pushing him out the front door as quickly as possible. I knew they would just follow us, but at least
in front of our people, they had to act united and civil.
Charlie ducked to be on the other side of Killian as he stood tall, staring down the steps and over the
courtyard as he waited for our guest’s arrival. Her positioning was perfect to be as far away from the
angry mob as she could be while I was stuck standing to Killian’s left, the closest to the door and to
“Chicken,” I mumbled to Charlie, who raised an eyebrow at me with a smirk. Yet, I grabbed Killian’s
hand to keep me tethered to him so the council couldn’t hurt me.
I felt the magic before I saw her approaching the gate across the courtyard. The familiar pull had me
letting out a deep breath. I no longer had to make the decision to seek her out as she had stayed true
to her word and came to me.
Charlie jumped as Aurora, the alleged direct descendant of Selene and my mother, appeared at the
bottom of the steps and made her way gracefully toward us.
Her jet-black hair was pulled up in a high ponytail, and her pale green eyes looked tired as they landed
on me. The soft smile that stretched across her face when she gazed upon me dropped as the council
burst through the front door. They were disheveled and angry, looking as if they had been trapped in an
arena against a raging Lycan for the past few hours instead of locked in a conference room with each
Joselin was the first to notice my birth mother. Her white eyes widened, and she dropped into a curtsey
that even I had never been graced with. The other women spared Joselin a confused look for only a
second before they stopped and looked at Aurora as well. One by one, they dropped into a formal
“How the hell did you get them to do that?” I asked, astounded as a few council members turned their
heads to glare at me. I narrowed my eyes back at them, and Aurora chuckled.
“She is the descendant.” Cora snapped at me. “Everyone should be bowing to her. Even royalty.”
My mother didn’t respond to her as she turned to Killian and me, dropping down into a curtsey before
us. Cora’s eyes widened before she looked back down to the ground, mimicking my mother.
“Your Majesties,” She addressed.
I felt as if I needed to reach out and touch her, whether it was on her arm or a hug. But I wasn’t there
yet. Maybe after I got to know her, I would feel more comfortable.
“Aurora, we are glad you could make it,” Killian responded for me as I was torn on how to address my
own flesh and blood.
“You sound pleased but look disappointed. Was I not who you were expecting?” My mother looked over
the council as they stood tall. The collection of women blocked the entryway.
’We had been expecting the last of the council, but you are a welcomed surprise.” I offered, my hand
tightening around Killian’s. My mother nodded in understanding before looking back at me with a sad
“I see. I am disappointed that I don’t see my old friend, but she made her choice.” My mother gestured
with her hand for Killian and me to enter the house first, so she could follow. The council did not miss
the sign of respect, and I saw a few pout. “I have known Talia for many decades. Had she chosen this
side, she would have arrived first. We will just have to make do without her. With my daughter here, I
am sure your people will be fine.”
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