Queens

Ever heard of that joke about the lion amongst the wolves? No, well, neither has Vivienne. How was she supposed to know that her life would be the punchline?

Vivienne is a little special. Turns out, her best friend Casey, is also a little special. According to a local legend, they're part of a group called 'The Ascended', who's purpose is to reunite werewolves and wereanimals together.

Can they do it? Can they do what no other person has done and be the heroes that everyone wants them to be? Or will they crumble and fail?

[Cover made by me, but the picture isn't mine. Found it on tumblr]
[COMPLETELY UNEDITED]
[not your typical werewolf story]

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10. ten

Chapter 10

“What do you know about The Exiled?” Louis asks.

The question leaves me stunned, causing my mind to blank. I look around the table to see the confused expressions that match my own – even Sly has a crease on his forehead. The Exiled is a famous legend that everyone used to talk about when I was younger and some still talk about it. I can’t remember much but I know that everyone talks about it in hushed whispers. The death of Alpha Nelson’s wife was common knowledge across the country but the circumstances surrounding her death made the news global.  Apparently, she was killed by an exile but nobody ever confirmed this. Her body was never found but everyone assumes that she’s dead. Shortly after her death, there were new laws that were stricter on rogues and exiles entering an Alpha’s land. I didn’t really understand what was happening at the time – our teachers told us to ask no questions.

There’s a period of awkward silence, each of us daring each other to speak. Ally takes the plunge, and raises her hand. Her arm falters as we turn our heads quickly towards her.

“Um. Aren’t they werewolves that aren’t exactly werewolves?” Ally asks, her brown eyes lighting up.

Alex sniggers, causing the smile to disappear from his sister’s face. “You don’t really believe in that, do you?”

“Actually Alex, your sister is on the right track-” Louis interrupts.

I turn back to Ally to see her stick her tongue out at her brother, who rolls his eyes.

“-The Exiled are wereanimals and are as real as you and I. Wereanimals were rare, and still are, but they co-existed with werewolves. This all changed when some werewolves started to believe that the wereanimals are not pure, and have been tainted somehow.  A bunch of werewolves started the belief that wereanimals were scum and therefore The Exiled was born.”

The way he spits the words out makes the words swirl around in my mind. Pain and sympathy fills my heart, for these people who didn’t choose to become what they were. Anger starts to rise in my body as I think of the injustice that was acted against them and the misery they must have put themselves through.

“Are you being serious?” Gabe asks, wide-eyed.

“Serious. They say that the abuse became so bad that some of the wereanimals had to leave and venture out into the country. Some were even killed for something they could not change.”

“Killed?”  Lucas repeats.

Louis nods but keeps silent, allowing us to swallow that bit of information. Allowing me, anyway – I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m a bit overwhelmed. This meant that we, werewolves, are the cause of over a hundreds of deaths.

It was more than a hundred. The voice says sadly.

What?

Go on, ask him. It was more than a hundred.

I raise my hand and everyone falls silent. The rain falls heavily, almost slamming into the windows. The wind whispers sadly and the thunderclouds rumble deeply. It’s as if the weather is mourning the deaths.

“How many were,” I struggle to find the right words, “killed? How many were wereanimals?”

 “There were over a million. I don’t know the exact figures, but I know almost half were killed. The others, well, nobody has seen them for a long time.”

Told you.

“A million?” Lucas repeats again.

Louis nods, sadly. “Nobody really knows, but that’s a safe estimate.”

Jared clears his throat, allowing us to turn towards him. The lighting in the library highlights his strange spots on his face. As he clasps his hands together, I realise that the spots on his face aren’t restricted to his face as well. Are they all over his body too? I want to ask, but it’s probably not the best time to ask him.

I wonder what’s wrong with him. Is it a skin condition? It has to be a skin condition. Is there a cure for it? I hope there is – the type of questions he must get must be ridiculous.

“Not to be insensitive or anything, but what has this got to do with us?”

“Thank you Jared, for the quick subject change.” Louis laughs, but then his expression grows serious, “They say that there were some wereanimals and werewolves that had a special ability.”

I notice Adele keeps clutching her head, as if she’s in pain. I elbow Casey, who gives me glare then notices her too.

“Adele.” Casey whispers, her voice low.

She doesn’t notice.

“Adele.” I whisper a little louder, aware that everyone is still laughing.

She still doesn’t notice.

“ADELE!” Casey and I shout at her, bringing her back to reality.

We bring everyone else back to reality too, causing an awkward silence among us. A faint blush rises behind her dark skin, and her eyes widen.

“Are you okay? You seem like you’re in pain.” I ask, concerned.

“Yeah, yeah. I just feel, like….no, don’t worry. It’s stupid.”

“What’s wrong?” Casey asks.

She hesitates before murmuring, “Don’t laugh at me, okay? Sometimes I get this wave – kinda like motion sickness. Then I get a sinking feeling in my stomach and a horrible pain in my head. Then I hear stuff and feel like something’s going to happen.”

“Is something going to happen?” Gabe stands up, only to be yanked back down by Lucas.

She closes her eyes for a few seconds. “Someone’s coming. Well, not someone. People. Numerous. Wolves, maybe? They’re close. They look angry. I can’t – I can’t tell anymore.”

Louis slams his fist on the table. The force itself makes an imprint on the table. “Shit. Simon? SIMON?!”

I turn around to see the librarian hop over his desk, and rush to Louis’s side. Louis whispers something unintelligible to him, and the librarian looks alarmed. My heartbeat increases as the librarian checks the window.

He nods at Louis, who is dragging his hand down his face. He lets out a cry of frustration before standing up.

“What’s happening?”

“I can’t explain now okay. None of you are supposed to be here and you’re going to have to go. I didn’t expect them to come so quickly…” He trails off, his expression panicked.

We start to stand up, but he gestures for Casey and me to sit back down. We sit down slowly, and pass a glance to everyone else.

“We’ll meet again, sometime after Vivi’s birthday. By then, everything should be a bit clearer, and I promise to explain everything. I just can’t at the moment, but we have to go-”

“My birthday? How do you know my-”

“They’re coming closer!” The librarian hisses at Louis.

“HIDE!” He turns to us, “You’re going to have to distract them. Just act normal, and keep them as long as possible so that we can use the back door.”

We nod in unison, unsure of what’s happening. Before I know it, everyone has disappeared, the librarian is back behind in his desk, and the library is quiet.

“What are we going to do?” I whisper to Casey.

“Just act normal, I suppose. Although, I’m having trouble remembering what normal is now…” She trails off.

I know what she means. In the space of thirty minutes, I’ve learnt that the word normal doesn’t have the same meaning anymore. Everything that I was taught, everything that I know seems to be based on lies.

The doors swing open, and I hear various voices filling the library. Through the small gaps between the books, I see Alpha Nelson and a couple of werewolves arguing with the librarian. Simon, as Louis called him, looks panicked as he tries to calm the raging mob.

“What’s going on?” Casey whispers.

The low rumble of voices keeps me from answering. It looks like the same group that ran after Sly earlier. I wonder if Nate is with them, and whether he’ll talk to me this time.

Ha! As if! This is what your future relationship will be like!

“I don’t know Casey. They look pretty angry.”

“Shit.”

It wasn’t rare to see Casey swear but I flinch. The reality of the situation hits me like a bag of bricks. If we didn’t get our story straight we could put everybody’s lives in danger.

“What’s our story?” I ask, keeping my voice low.

“We’re brainstorming for your party?”

I give her a look. “Brainstorming?”

“Do you have a better idea? ‘Cause if you do, now would be a good time to say it.” She snaps at me.

“No, sheesh. We’ll go with your idea.”

She huffs. I look back to see Simon, as Louis called him, failing to keep the mob calm. They swarm around him, almost making him disappear completely. The rumble of voices grows louder, nearly drowning out our conversation. Alpha Nelson turns around suddenly, as if he heard us talking. I freeze as he uses his left hand to silence them.

Silence descends on us and all I can hear is Casey’s sharp breaths and my pounding heart. And that is not a comforting sound.

He whispers something to one of his men before walking in our direction. Following him is a man that looks strangely like Nate. I peer closer to see…Crap that is Nate! If it’s possible for my heart to beat anymore, it does. Nate knows when I’m lying, and so does everyone else, so if he finds out, I’m screwed. We’re screwed.

Everyone’s screwed.  Unless…

Don’t even think about it. If he knew what’s going on, and even if he swore to secrecy, you know the first person he would run to would be his Dad.

“He’s coming. With Nate.”

She inhales sharply. “Just follow my lead.”

I nod, unable to say anything remotely intelligent. Nate’s presence has removed any ability to form a simple sentence. I watch as she takes a piece of paper and writes onto it. She plasters a fake smile on her face and looks at me as if we were gossiping about what happened in school.

Her smile does nothing to my chaotic mind but my body seems to relax. The footsteps near closer and I hear Nate’s voice.

“No Dad. I didn’t say anything to her. I don’t understand what the big deal is.” He sounds tired, almost like he’s been through this conversation before.

Casey’s smile drops off her face as we lean towards the voices.

“There’s something mighty fishy with that girl Nate and her so-called best friend. I’m just warning you to be careful about her, since you’re the soon-to-be Alpha.” 

“She’s my mate. If you thought something was fishy about her, why didn’t you tell me before?”

“Don’t raise your voice at me.”

“Sorry, Dad. I just don’t understand what you want me to do.”

“Just- Ah! My favourite two girls!”

I jump at the sound of his voice.  I want to growl at his words but I keep the urge to growl down. He was just talking about me and now I’m one of his favourite girls?!  What did I ever do to him anyway? I’ve been the polite, respectful mate that he’s always harking on about!

“Why’d you stop – Vivi? What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to ask you the same question.” Casey pipes up, her voice laced with anger.

Nate looks nervously around, not meeting my eyes. “We were-”

Alpha Nelson silences him with his hand. His body and his posture just leaks arrogance and pride. I wrinkle my nose at him, wanting to get out and away from this man.

“There’s no need to answer her, after all, she’s not the Alpha.”

My eyes widen at his insult to Casey and I want nothing more than to wipe that dirty sneer from his face. Nate seems to benefit from his dad’s advice, immediately standing up straighter.

I want to scream at him for not having a backbone, but at the last minute, I restrain myself. There’s no need to cause unnecessary attention to myself, especially when I want to know what Nate’s hiding from me.

I meet Nelson’s cold glare with my own emotionless glare. Before Casey can retort, I interrupt, “We came here for peace and quiet, to plan my birthday party.”

“Your birthday, it’s next week isn’t it! You’ve grown up so fast.” He gushes, but pausing afterwards, “But why didn’t you do it at home? I didn’t know you two were such big fans of the library.”

“I heard that a book at the library contained some ideas about what we could do at her birthday.”

Quick thinking, Case! Okay, this is going well. Maybe he’ll buy it and leave us alone.

“But, where is this book?”

Shit. He’s caught us out. We’re screwed. There’s going to be a massacre-

Dumbass, let me handle this.

“We asked the librarian but he said that the book had been taken out by someone else. What’s going on?” The words pour out of my mouth, before I can stop them.

“I don’t think that has anything to do with you girls.”

Alpha Nelson turns around to talk to Nate, leaving their backs towards us. Casey kicks the back of my foot, making me grimace in pain. I send her a glare but she grabs hold of my chin and turns my face towards the end of the library. I see Louis giving us thumbs up before exiting out of the library himself.

Casey lets go of my face, allowing me to move my jaw. She starts to stand and collecting up the papers. The noise causes them to turn around. Alpha Nelson has a satisfied grin on his face while Nate looks concerned.

“You’re going?”  Nelson asks.

We nod.

“Vivi, could I talk to you privately?” Nate asks.

I freeze, before nodding slowly.

“Meet you outside?” I whisper to her as she walks past.

Nate takes me aside, his fingers digging into my skin. My mind runs through all the questions he could possibly ask me and quickly making up answers to go with them. His whole demeanour has changed. He stands up tall and proud, slightly resembling his dad. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or not.

“What did you want to talk to me about?” I ask when we’re a reasonable distance away from his dad.

“Are you cheating on me?”

“Are you out of your mind? No! I’m not!” I hiss at him.

Cheating on him? How could he even think that? No guy looks at me in that way – let alone, a second glance!

He folds his arms. “Well, you’re hiding something from me! We’re mates Vee. No secrets.”

I stare at him for a while, unable to form a polite sentence that doesn’t contain the word “jerk.” I sigh, realising that I don’t want to fight, or have a big argument with him. I don’t want to hug him or reassure him that I’m still the girlfriend I’ve always been. For the first time, I don’t want to be near him. 

“If you’re allowed to keep secrets, then so am I.”

I leave, expecting to hear him calling but I hear no calls.

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