by Jane Doe
Epilogue (Breyona & Giovanni)
Five Years Later – Breyona’s P.O.V.
I appeared in a plume of inky shadow, emerging from the darkness like I’d been there all along. If there were any humans nearby-which my hearing told me there wasn’t-they’d see nothing more than a lingering shadow dancing along the brick walls of the abandoned store front I lurked outside of.
This wasn’t my ideal hangout spot, but for whatever reason, this was where Freya had chosen to hide a bunch of magical texts and artifacts. I absolutely adored my job of traveling the country via shadows, collecting information that was thought to be lost among the witches.
It was similar to what my parents had done, a realization that never failed to bring tears to my eyes.
Even after all these years, I missed them so much.
I slinked along the back wall, past the rusted dumpsters that hadn’t been used in Goddess knows how long, to the backdoor Ember’s source promised would be unlocked. Sure enough, when I tugged the handle, it swung open with a metallic gr0an.
The inside of the abandoned store was far worse than the outside led me to believe. Judging from the discarded mildew stained stands and faded posters, this place used to be some kind of cellphone store.
That was long before the Blood Witch-may she not rest in peace-turned this place into her own personal hiding spot.
Lola and Clara had been furious when they found out how much information Freya had been hoarding, keeping it for herself to hold over the heads of young witches everywhere. This was exactly why I signed up for the job.
If there was one thing my parents believed in whole heartedly, it was that knowledge should not be kept hidden. Knowledge was meant to be shared with the world.
I tiptoed inside, keeping my ears peeled. There was little in the way of light, but I expected as much after eying the blown fuse box outside. A quiet scuttle just inside alerted my attention, but as I crept closer, past clusters of soggy boxes and overturned displays, I realized it was a very chunky rat.
“If I were an evil Blood Witch with a superiority complex, hell -bent on destroying the world, where would I hide a bunch of dusty magical texts?” I asked myself, lowering my voice halfway through. She had a way of making the smallest of sounds seem louder, and the last thing I needed was to draw attention to myself if any rogue witches were nearby.
Starting my search, I thought back to last month and how drastically things had changed.
This was my first job since returning from my honeymoon with Giovanni. His parents had this incredible villa in Italy, set in the Tucson country side. It was surrounded by rolling hills and a vineyard as far as the eye could see. There was even an olive grove, whose owner was more than happy to give Giovanni and I a tour.
It was Lola, and her crazy ass magic, that made all of this possible. She’d given Giovanni and I a wedding present, something we could’ve never expected.
For those two weeks in Italy, she’d made Giovanni impervious to the sun.
We were able to visit all of the monuments and do all of the wonderful touristy things I had on my list. A dream vacation after a dream wedding.
I kicked open one of the soggy boxes, wrinkling my nose at the stench that wafted out. Wet, mildew-covered paper had a stench that was eerily similar to rotting trees. Moving on, I followed the dull tingle of magic in the air, and began searching one of the overturned displays. Grabbing a shard of broken wood off the floor, I nudged one of the display’s doors open, humming the first song to pop into my head.
The sweet and soft melody that had been frequenting my head the past month was none other than the song played at my wedding. I shared the day with Mason and Clara, a decision I didn’t regret in the slightest.
The dual aisles split in two by rows upon rows of our closest family and friends was incredible, lined with fresh roses and orbs of starlight that Lola herself had conjured. Even Ember and Tessa had a hand to play in the wedding. There were floating sconces with cobalt flame that flickered the breeze. A breeze which carried the scent of wildflowers from the vines they sprouted on.
Marrying Giovanni and having my breath ripped from my lungs as I spotted him in his tux, while also watching my best-friend marry the love of his life, was by far the best part. Well…almost. It was a tie, actually. The ceremony had been beautiful, but the reception was another thing entirely.
Seeing the look on Mason’s face when Clara stood to give an impromptu speech, only to reveal the secret she, Lola, Holly, and I had kept for almost two months, was a moment I’d never forget. In fact, I had a picture of said moment tucked away in my wallet.
Mason had scooped Clara into his arms, tears cascading down his cheeks, when his bride revealed she was pregnant with his child.
There weren’t enough words in my vocabulary to express how happy I was for my best-friend, and for the joy he had found in his life after enduring so much. The light in his eyes sent me reeling back five long years ago, to a conversation I overheard between Sean and Mason.
Just one month before Sean’s murder, I’d nearly walked in on the two of them talking. It was their hushed tones that prompted me to stop, while a tingle in my gut told me to stay and listen.
“You like her, she clearly likes you. What’s the problem, man?” Sean had asked.
It took Mason several seconds to respond. “You don’t think it’s Wrong of me to want her?
“How could it be wrong?” Sean replied.
“I had a mate, and I lost her. I-I can’t replace her with Clara.” Mason’s voice cracked, a shard of it ricocheting off the wall and into my chest.
There was a sharp clap, and I assumed Sean had patted Mason on the back. “This is going to sound harsh, but I think you need to hear it. Your mate died, yes. But she also chose to reject you. Spending the rest of your life alone and hurting for a person who couldn’t see your worth is a terrible waste. You deserve happiness, even if it’s not with the one the Moon Goddess paired you with.”
Mason let out a long, shaky sigh, followed by a halfhearted chuckle. “You sound just like Lola, you know? How come you haven’t moved on from your mate?”
“I haven’t met anyone quiet like Kanyon. You’re lucky, Mason. It’s different when you’ve completed the bond. Part of you dies with them, and that part of me knows Kanyon is out there waiting-waiting until we’re together again.”
It was funny to think that Lola’s brother was responsible for Clara and Mason getting together. Sean had been more right than he could’ve ever known.
“Ah-ha!” I gasped, kicking open yet another door on an overturned display.
This time, instead of old phone cases and corroded wires, I found a box completely untouched by the water damage infesting this place. After a quick victory dance that resulted in me kicking the door and sending it flying off its hinges, I bent down to slide the box out of it’s hiding place.
Sure enough, inside was four different books, each one named after one form of magic or another. I scooped them into my arms and made quick work of slinking back into the shadows, willing the slippery little bastards to transport me somewhere else-to the very person who sent me on this mission.
“You’re late.” Ember’s snarky voice permeated the room I teleported into. The stone crafted fire place to my left was the only source of light, casting a number of shadows along the heavily decorated walls.
I slapped the box of spell books onto the nearest table before propping my hand on my h!p.
Narrowing my eyes at the red-head, I spat back. “Easy for you to say. How long has your ass been in that cushy chair? Three hours? Four?”
A smirk twitched onto her face. “Five, but who’s counting?”
Laughter rumbled in my chest, leaving my mouth the same time it left Ember’s. I approached the massive executive desk with my arms outstretched.
“She met me halfway, pulling me into a hug that all but enveloped me in her cinnamon-apple scent. It’s good to see you, Ember.” I stepped out of her grasp, eying the emerald-green pants suit she had on. It was adorned with golden buttons that matched the dainty chain around her neck-a gift from Brandon that she begrudgingly accepted only after he threatened her into it.
I made absolutely no attempts to understand their relationship.
“It’s good to see you too. I’ve been swamped with work, and I’ll admit, it’s nice to see a friendly face.” She winked.
With the box of spell books forgotten, we spend the next hour chatting, catching up with one another’s lives. I told her all about my honeymoon and the adventures Giovanni and I shared, while she both complained and bragged about her hectic schedule bouncing between not one, but two jobs.
Another Magisterium had been built last year, this one in Zeke’s pack. Ember leaped at the chance to take over as Headmaster, even though she was already acting as Ambassador to the Witches. The only thing keeping her from prematurely greying under the work load was the fact that both jobs often went hand in hand.
“Encounter any rogue witches?” Ember asked offhandedly, as she always did when I returned on one of my missions.
Propping my feet up on the cushioned footstool perched in front of the chair I sat on, I shook my head. “Nope, sure didn’t. From what I could pick up scent-wise, there hadn’t been anyone around in weeks.
“Good, good. I really hate sending them to the Tower, but I know it’s a necessary evil.”
My stomach twisted at the mention of the Witch prison Lola, Ember, and a few of the others had created. It was the only place on this earth strong enough to contain Witches that dabbled in dark magic.
Using Conjuration, Lola created a tower in the middle of the ocean that could only be accessed through special doorways planted in both Asher and Zeke’s packs. As the only person able to transport themselves through the shadows, I was often stuck escorting prisoners to and from various places.
Lola had put so much effort and energy into the Tower that she was out of commission for over two weeks. Asher still hadn’t let her live it down, but through her crazed efforts, the Tower of Delirium was born.
I still found the place horribly chilling. A tower comprised of snow-white brick, so pale that one could see their reflection in it’s surface, perched out in the middle of the ocean. Once inside it’s walls, there wasn’t a magic on the face of this earth that could be used.
Not even my shadow abilities-which was scary as all hell.
“Hmm, I think that ‘Elemental Magic for Beginners’ and ‘Potions, Elixirs, and More’ would be better suited in Lola’s pack, don’t you think?” Ember mused, her eyes scanning some of the pages scatted around her desk. Her voice carved through my thoughts, chasing away the chill that the Tower never failed to evoke.
They held the respective student populations for both schools, along with the various magical types.
Seeing as the Magisterium back home had more Elementals than in Zeke’s pack, it only made sense to send the spell book home. Either way, it’s pages would be scanned and entered into the Academy’s database so that all Witches would have access to the knowledge.
“Works for me.” I nodded, sipping on the tea Ember had given me. The herbal mixture was a bit tart from the orange peels inside, but even they failed to hide the undertone of bitterness.
Noticing the grimace on my face, Ember smirked. “Tastes like ass, doesn’t it? I promise it’ll help ease your nerves. It’s the least I can do. Her eyes flickered downwards, to the apex of my stomach.
“Have you told him yet?”
I swallowed a gulp of the lukewarm liquid, an inkling of unease squirming in my chest. It hadn’t taken much for Giovanni to get me pregnant. In fact, it was all happening so quickly that I often wondered if some other force was at play.
‘No, not yet. I.. I’m working up to it.” I sighed, brushing the strands of hair that had fallen out of my high pony from my face.
Ember nodded understandingly, but her lips were knitted tightly together. “Was Lola able to figure out why the baby is interfering with your shadow abilities?”
My hand drifted to my stomach on it’s own accord.
Even though the life cooking away inside my body was a vast sea of unknowns, it was one I wanted to tread regardless. It wasn’t just a piece of myself, but of the mate I loved with every fiber of my being.
“The most she can deduce is that the baby is inheriting it’s own shadow abilities. We won’t know more until it’s born, but I’m hoping it doesn’t mess with them any further.”
I was only a month along, barely noticeable apart from the fact that this little nugget somehow had the strength to screw with my shadow abilities. I’d be relaxing in bed, or taking a calming bath when the shadows would begin to slither over my body, seconds away from plopping mne someplace new.
Each time I managed to stop it before I actually vanished, but my fear was that with the passing months, my child’s power would grow.
Ember’s eyebrows went up, just as mind had when Lola hit me with her theory. “She thinks your child is inheriting shadow abilities?”
That’s what she said. “You know, I kind of liked being the first wolf to have this kind of power, but now that my baby is involved, I’m honestly terrified.”
“I don’t know what my body is creating. What if it’s a monster?” I felt terrible to think these thoughts about the life I had helped to create, but the possibilities for this to go horribly wrong were endless.
Ember leaned back in her chair, practically swallowed whole by the silk cushion. She crossed her arms over her chest, and from the twinkle in her eye, I could tell she was about to speak with her usual dose of brutal honesty.
“Lola was playing with the fabric of reality by turning you into what you are. Like it or not, these sorts of things have consequences. This -this is one of them.”
I sank my teeth into my lower lip to stifle a pitiful whine. “What am I going to do? After being taken, my wolf spent too much time with the shadows. Lola isn’t comfortable changing me back to normal.”
“When the time comes and your baby is born, no matter what it is or what it’s capable of, we’ll all be there to help you.”
Even with so much left to the unknown, the promise of one of my newest and dearest friends was enough to sooth the jagged shards of my fear.
If only it could erase it completely.
Alpha Asher by Jane Doe
Author: Jane Doe
Native Language: English