Chapter 233 – Alpha Asher by Jane Doe

Chapter 233

Alpha Asher

by Jane Doe

One moment I’d been swallowed by the darkness, and the next it was nowhere to be seen.

Light assaulted my eyes, carrying with it colors so vibrant they practically glowed.

Sprawling hills of emerald grass wove in and out of the land in all directions, topped with lush trees whose branches dipped and bowed, providing soothing patches of shade to escape in when the sun became too unbearable.

Rays of glittering gold shone over everything. Over the birds as they flew, over the butterflies that darted from wildflower to wildflower. They even shone over the structures in the distance, the ones that rose up out of the grown at odd angles, with pieces that swung in the gentle breeze.

Wait a second. Was this a park?

I broke into a jog, racing down the hill I stood atop of. Silky threads of grass caressed my legs, gentle against my bare skin. The air was cool in my lungs and surprisingly sweet on my tongue. As it filled my body, my head became clearer.

Drawing near, the figures that had once been blurry in the distance were now sharp and vibrant with color.

A jungle gym sat to my left, one with spiral towers and a network of little wooden bridges that made it look like a child’s dream castle. To the left was another tower with a slide curling around it’s base. A swing set sat next to it, the four seats swaying in the breeze.

In between the structures was a network of paths, dotted with benches and water fountains.

A pang of recognition struck me right in my chest, but it was nothing in comparison to the surprise that rendered me speechless when I heard his voice.

“Lola? It’s about time. I was beginning to think you were standing me up.”

I spun around so fast the world blurred, colors mixing and the air sparkling with hints of what I swore were actual magic.

None of that mattered though, because the man standing before me with a wistful smile on his face, was none other than Sean.

My big brother.

Looking back, I wouldn’t remember sprinting to him or how the scenery seemed to change, the distance between us shrinking as though the earth itself couldn’t wait to see us embrace. What I’d remember was throwing myself into his arms, taking in his scent and the way his skin glowed with life and warmth.

The wall I’d constructed in my heart, the one holding back every ounce of grief and pain, was obliterated the moment I stared into his eyes. I couldn’t stop crying, just as I couldn’t stop staring at him, clinging to his shirt and skin because who knew when this dream would end, and I’d spiral back into the real world? The shards of my shattered, broken heart slipped through my fingers, slicing my skin as they fell to the ground.

My brother was gone, dead. The boy I grew up with, who was there for every single moment, was lost.

Sean took my face in his hands, smoothing away my tears and continuing to do so even when the action caused more to fall. The entire time, his wistful smile remained in place.

“Now, sis. This isn’t the place for tears. Can’t you feel it? Here, take some deep breaths. Let it wash over you. You remember this park, don’t you?”

I had no clue what he was talking about but did as he said regardless. Swallowing a ragged sob, I inhaled deeply. The crisp air swirled in my lungs, sweet from the wildflowers sprouting in thick clusters. Some of the pain subsided, and with it came a feeling of peace.

Sean was right, I did remember this place. This was the park mom would take us too as kids. It was where I’d go with Sean after school. As children, we’d race to the swings and try to get as high as we could. Mom would always scold us, saying it was too dangerous, but we did it anyway.

With each breath I sucked in, the feeling grew. It settled in my bones, bringing on a weightless sensation that had me looking down at my hands.

My unblemished hands. I had felt the dark magic crawling up my arms, slithering over my shoulders and down my back, but there wasn’t so much as a speck as I looked down. I flipped them over to inspect them further and found nothing, absolutely nothing.

Sean shrugged, a knowing smile on his face.

“Evil can’t exist here.”

I snorted in his face. Only Sean would give me a half-assed explanation like that. Part of me wondered if they’d return when I woke up. It was something I could’ve easily asked Sean, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.

Now that its influence was gone, I realized how strong it had been, how it had tainted every thought that passed through my brain, coating in malice, jealousy, and evil. It had been corrupting me from the inside out, and I had let it.

“Where where am I? You’re dead. Does that mean I’m dead too?” I asked reluctantly.

After all that happened, tricking my family and friends to sneak away with

Holly…only for her to betray me, to turn me over to her mother. It was all too perfect, the way I unknowingly threw Holly into her mother’s arms. I’d been the one to set things up between them, thinking it would help Holly after everything she’d been through.

I was the one who thought she should talk to a therapist.

This entire time, I had already met the blood witch. How many meetings did she have with Holly under the guise of therapy sessions? How many did it take for her to coax Holly into her arms and onto her side?

I couldn’t be dead. This couldn’t be how things ended. There was too much to fix, and a fight still left to be had.

“No, you’re not dead. You’re…just visiting.” Sean explained, grinning when he caught my confused stare. “Don’t think too hard about it. Not many people get the chance to say goodbye.”

A tear slipped free as I closed my eyes. ”

There’s a good chance I might come back a second time…only to stay. I don’t know what I’m doing, Sean. I don’t know how to win this.”

“Mm, maybe.” Sean mused. “There’s always that possibility. Life isn’t a certainty, and anything can happen but…” He trailed off, eyes sparkling with mischief. “… but I have it on good authority to let you know if you win this if you defeat the blood witch, you won’t be coming back here for a long, long while.”

I tried hard to wrap my head around what he was saying, but the thought of living a long life with Asher by my side no longer felt like a certainty. It felt like a dream, one not nearly as tangible as the one I currently stood in.

“How can you know that?” I demanded, pausing to sniffle.

“Let’s just say, you’ve got someone looking out for you. Someone important.” He winked, and I had the feeling he expected me to know who he was talking about.

“Now, we’ve got some things to talk about and not nearly enough time to do it. Tell me, how’s dad doing?”

As I explained to Sean the moments after his death, the tears continued to slip free. Sean’s smile faded, his eyes growing dark and mournful.

“Make sure he doesn’t blame Asher, Lola. It’ll eat him alive if he does, and he’s not meant to come here for a long time.”

“I don’t know how, but he doesn’t.” I chuckled, wiping the moisture off my cheeks. “It shocked all of us. He hugged him, Sean…and—and they cried together.”

A soft smile returned to his face. “Tell dad I’m proud of him-that mom is too. And even though it wasn’t his fault, tell Asher that I forgive him.”

“You’ve seen mom?!” I gasped.

Sean chuckled, glancing over to the forests edge. “Yeah, I have. She misses you, Lola, but she’s loved seeing how much you’ve grown.

At first glance, it was nothing more than your average forest, though the colors were much more vibrant. The longer I looked, the more I noticed the subtle differences that made this forest anything but normal.

First of all, every bird and butterfly in the park seemed attracted to that one spot, weaving in and out of the trees, only to emerge and circle the park. The sunlight streaming down on the treetops sparkled like it had been imbued with flecks of gold.

Even the air itself shimmered with magic; a kind that felt familiar yet ancient.

“What is that place?” I asked, unable to tear my eyes away. “Can-Can I go in there?”

Sean was silent long enough for me to turn my head. When we locked eyes, there was a gentleness in them that I’d never seen before. It wrapped around my heart and stole away the pain, replacing it with a longing so strong my eyes began to water.

“Ah, I’m afraid you can’t. That’s the point of no return, sis. Like I said, it’s not your time yet. Someday, you will, and when you do, I’ll be there waiting.”

I closed my eyes, fighting the wave of tears.” I don’t want to do this without you.

“Look at me, Lola.” He demanded, though not unkindly. Reluctantly, I did as he said. ” I’m right where I’m meant to be, and I will always be watching over you, little sister.”

I couldn’t help it; I didn’t want this moment to end. I threw myself into his arms, wishing more than anything that I could will my magic to stretch these seconds into hours- into an eternity. It would never be enough.

As I sobbed into his chest, not wanting to let go, something rustled within the grove.

“Look up…” Sean whispered.

I craned my head towards the patch of magical trees, and when I saw whatSean was looking at, my heart split in my chest.It was Kanyon, my brother’s mate.

He stood at the cusp of the grove, a breathtaking smile on his face as he watched Sean and me. When he noticed me looking, he waved. When I turned back to Sean, his eyes were brimming with joy and love, so much that I now realized what a horrible mistake it had been to try and bring him back.

Finally, after all this time, Sean had reunited with his mate.

“You’re right.” I said, but the words came out as a whisper. “You’re meant to be here, aren’t you?”

Sean tilted his head to look down at me. “I am, Lola. I promise.”

Squaring my shoulders, I embraced every facet of the pain. Rather than shoving it down, I let it consume me. Then, like the birds and butterflies darting about, I let it all

“I think I can let you go now.” I said, my voice cracking.

Sean pulled me into a hug, and I held on for dear life, committing every detail about my big brother to memory.

“You’re strong, Lola. So strong. You can do this, you hear me? You’re going to change everything, and I’ll be right there watching it all.”

He let me go, then took a step back.

“Walk me to the edge?” Sean asked, glancing in Kanyon’s direction.

“Of course.” I smiled, blinking to see past the tears.

With our fingers laced together, something we hadn’t done since we were children, my brother and I walked past the park that was once such a huge part of our childhood, and towards the magical grove that would cherish him always.

We stopped right at the edge of the towering trees. The sweetest scent trickled from in between them, coming from somewhere deep within the forest. I tilted my head, registering the sound of laughter and bell’s twinkling in the distance.

The feeling of utter peace was stronger here, so much so that part of me wanted to take Sean’s hand and follow him inside.

I knew deep down that I couldn’t, that when it was my time to come here, it would be Asher’s hand I held.

Sean squeezed my hand once before releasing it. “This is where we part, little sister, but it’s not forever. It’s never forever.” Abruptly, he snapped his fingers.

Oh, I almost forgot. There’s something I need to tell you before you go, something important.”

“What? What’s so important that you have to tell me now?” I frowned.

Sean swallowed, the first and only sign of nervousness I’d seen from him since coming here.

“They said you need to know this before you go back, that it’s crucial.” I pursed my lips. “You’re freaking me out here. What is it? What do you need to tell me?”

Sean paused. The silence seemed to stretch. on for miles, far beyond the park and the magical grove we stood in front of. I wanted to ask who this ‘they’ was and if they were the same person Sean claimed was watching over me, but even more so, I wanted to know what he was going to say.

“I’m going to tell you the identity of the second witch. I’m going to give you her name.”

Before I could react, he leaned in close. His lips grazed my ear as he whispered a name- a single name that threatened to tear the ground out from beneath my feet.

I wanted to deny what he said, ignoring the truth in favor of something more manageable, but I couldn’t. Perhaps the old me would have but being tainted by dark magic left my changed in ways I couldn’t quite name at the moment.

Instead of disbelief or fear, I felt only determination.I wanted that future Sean said I’d have, and I wanted it bad.

“I’ll stop her. I’ll stop all of them.” I promised him, myself, and the mysterious person watching over me.

Sean’s lips quirked up in a grin. “I know you will. We all do. When you wake up, you’re going to notice something pretty quickly. Just trust me on this, will you?”

He laughed, taking in my downright suspicious expression. “It’s a gift, alright?

From…from someone important.”

“Who is this person?” I questioned stubbornly, planting my hands on my hips. As I looked around for this said person, I found only Kanyon and Sean staring at me with identical looks of amusement on their faces.

“She has a lot of names, but the werewolves know her by one.” Sean replied with that mischievous twinkle in his eyes. For a split second, they glazed over, staring faraway before returning to the present. “She has a message for you. If you don’t mind, she’d appreciate it if you didn’t try to bring me- or anyone else, back from the dead again. She has a balance to keep, you know.” He winked, backing into the grove.

All I could do was stare at him as my brain worked to connect the dots. The magic laced within the golden sunlight rippled as he passed through it, so ethereal and pure that it felt almost impossible- Oh.

From in between the trees, Sean threw back his head and chortled at the shock on my face. The sound was enough to break the spell and send me rushing forward. I stopped at the very edge of the grove, cupping my hands to shout at him.

“Wait, what am I supposed to do when I wake up? How do I defeat the witches? You can’t leave me with all these damned questions!”

With his arm wrapped around Kanyon’s shoulders, my big brother turned and smiled at me once last time.

“You live, Lola. You live.”

Alpha Asher by Jane Doe

Status: Ongoing

Author: Jane Doe

Native Language: English

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