by Jane Doe
The moment my eyes opened; I regretted every single decision I’d ever made that led me to this point in time.
“Fg h*l.” I tried to groan, but my tongue stuck to the inside of my cheek.
Clutching my head, I tried to turn over. Sharp, pulsating pain left my nerve endings blistered and raw. I swore I could feel my skull rattling in my head like it was full of rocks. Something was blocking me from moving, and that something immediately stoked my anger, not that there was anything I could do given my current condition.
The second time I tried to pry my eyes open, I felt tears drizzle down my cheeks. What light surrounded me b****d and made the migraine I had much worse. I was surrounded by a mass of color that moved and twitched. It carried the scents of Asher and Zeke, but they weren’t the only ones I recognized.
“Let me up. Goddess, is there a boulder on top of me or something?” I snarled, my mouth bone dry.
In the background, someone chuckled. I’m pretty sure it was Zeke, or possibly even Mason. That didn’t make much sense though considering Zeke said Clara and Mason wouldn’t be back for another hour or two.
“Good to know she’s not fatally wounded.” Someone chuckled.
This time I was certain, that laugh belonged to Mason. It was full of warmth, even if it sounded strained and tainted with worry.
Zeke’s voice appeared much too close to my ear. “That boulder you’re talking about is your mate.”
I snarled at the two of them, lifting my arms to shove Asher away, but it felt like my limbs had been injected with lead. There was something soft beneath me. A bed, I assumed. I felt it shift as the immoveable presence keeping me in place drifted away. Rolling onto my side helped lessen the throb in my head but did nothing to help me open my eyes.
Slowly, something grazed my forehead. It was both soft and rough, but the immediate rush of sparks told me exactly who was touching me. His voice filled my mind, but it was hazy and muffled, lingering around the edges of my migraine without managing to break through. The feel of my mate close by did help ease the pain, but it still took several minutes before I was able to keep my eyes open.
“What the h*l happened?” I mumbled, s*g down another mouthful of water.
I felt like I’d run an entire marathon in human form, then shifted and bounded through the woods for another seven hours. Using my magic unintentionally never once felt like this. If this was how it would feel every time I conjured something, I wasn’t sure how I’d defeat the witches.
Asher cupped my face, cradling it in his large hand. For a moment, the world around us melted away, along with the curious eyes of Zeke, Mason, and Clara. Even my worries didn’t dare stand a chance, vanishing one by one until only the hum of the mate-bond occupied my thoughts.
I groaned softly, the pain already dimming. “Ugh, I love you.”
Even though I hadn’t yet opened my eyes, I could tell Asher was smiling. It was one of those soft smiles he reserved for my eyes alone. He must’ve been shaken up if he were looking at me like that in front of all these people.
“I love you as well, mate.” He murmured huskily.
Hovering around me was Zeke, Clara, and Mason, each one with a look of curiosity on their faces. Turning onto my side, I felt the stiffness of the cot beneath my shoulder, and realized we were all packed inside the holding cell. I blinked at the four of them, Asher included. Every muscle in my body voiced their disagreement as I tried to sit up.
“What the hl happened?” I grunted, stretching out my arms and wincing. “It feels like I just lifted a cp ton of weights. Everything hurts.”
Both of the Alpha’s turned to Clara for an answer, but the curvy witch merely shrugged and shook her head. The jungle of curls tumbling down her shoulders bounced and swished from the movement.
“Don’t you two go lookin’ at me for answers. Just cause I’m a witch don’t mean I know what’s going on with her. And I’ll remind you guys that we got here after she passed out.” She said, placing her hands on her hips.
Asher’s jaw tensed, but he did a good job of hiding his irritation. “Is it normal for witches to pass out after using their magic?”
“Oh!” I shot up out of the cot, nearly toppling over the second I landed on two feet. “I want to see if it worked. Is his mark gone?”
Asher’s reflexes were lightning fast, and without a moments hesitation he wrapped his arms around my waist and held me flush to his side. I squirmed a bit, trying to get to the two-sided glass across the cell. He steered me to where l needed to go, his hands skimming down my torso before landing on my hips. His hands were hot against my b**e skin, a fact I had to force myself to ignore.
Luckily, it wasn’t too hard, because the minute I saw the patch of b**e skin on my neck, I squealed with joy.
“I did it! I actually did it.” I gasped, poking, and prodding at the spot with my finger. “How insane is that? I made it go away just by thinking about it.”
“I’ve never heard of a type of magic capable of removing a mark, vampire or otherwise. You said you made it go away just by thinking about it?” Clara questioned, her hands still on her hips, but her expression was one of confusion rather than sass.
Surprisingly, Asher was the one that spoke first, and it wasn’t to tell Clara to mind her business. He seemed much less hostile towards the witch this time around, making me wonder what exactly happened to them all during their time away.
“You can tell her.” He said, his eyes softening as he looked down at me.
I could feel my eyebrows crawling up my forehead.
“You trust her?”
“Fina-fg-ly, and all I had to do was save his men and uncover a secret witch village.” She snorted, narrowing her eyes at Asher. “Took long enough for him to believe me when I said I had no interest in killin’ his mate. Guess I can’t really blame him though, you do have a knack at getting yourself into s*t.”
I returned her glare, “The type of magic I have is called Conjuration. It runs in my family, and its existence is kept a secret for the most part. Well, according to the book, anyway. Supposedly, I can conjure things into existence. Ideas, thoughts, dreams, nightmares…you name it.”
Clara’s pouty lips thinned as she forced them together, her expression one of disbelief but it wasn’t long lasting. She made a sound of surprise and mumbled, ” Remind me not to go pissing you off.”
“I wouldn’t hurt you.” I grimaced, “If I went and offed everyone who said something I didn’t like, I’d be the Queen and Luna of nothing.”
For the longest time I’d felt like a monster because of my heritage, and I was quickly beginning to realize that as useful as Conjuration could be, it would certainly turn some heads.
Clara snorted. “I know you wouldn’t intentionally hurt me, but the last thing I need is to ps you off and you have some insignificant thought about me gettin’ run over by a bus or some st. I don’t know about you, but I like my legs the way they are, long and thick.”
Her eyes veered toward Mason as she spoke. Judging from the way his eyebrows slumped together and his mouth opened, I thought he was going to comment. Before he got the chance, there was a heavy pounding off in the distance, muffled through the thick metal walls.
“That would be your Vampire confidant.” Zeke said.
I must’ve looked confused because Zeke took the moment of silence to explain.
“Tristan showed up a few minutes after you passed out. He said something felt wrong, so we let him in to see for himself. He didn’t say much, but I think he was kind of relieved you managed erase his mark.” He shrugged, leaving the holding cell only to return with Tristan at his side.
Zeke was more intuitive than I gave him credit for. Sure, Tristan’s usual scowl was painted across the sharp angles of his face, but there was a lightness to him that hadn’t been there before. It felt like some of the shadows had dissipated from his high cheekbones and bottomless eyes. A faint smile spread along his lips as my face lit up at the sight of what he held in his hand.
“Never seen someone so excited over blood.” Clara murmured, eyeing the water bottle warily.
I snickered, waving the bottle at her. The crimson liquid inside sloshed around, coating the inside of the bottle. “Between this and Asher, I’ll be feeling better in no time.”
“Good, because we got to talk. Just keep that away from me, I get squeamish around too much blood.” She said firmly, the weight of her tone instantly putting a dampener on my good mood. “Something happened during your mate’s fight with that Alpha. Something serious.”
For the second time today, I found myself sitting at the metal observation table just outside of the holding cell. There weren’t enough chairs for everyone to sit, so Mason and Tristan hovered along the outskirts. I couldn’t help but notice how Mason seemed to orbit close to Clara, even though I was more than sure that his job as her babysitter had come to an end. When I tossed a pointed look in his direction, all I got back was his signature lopsided grin, which didn’t exactly tell me much.
I never got the chance to ask, because Clara started by dropping a bombshell on all of us.
“Alpha Bran was working with the witches.”
Alpha Asher by Jane Doe
Author: Jane Doe
Native Language: English