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Chapter 4 - Umiko

My hands will not stop their trembling, and I can feel the cold sweat trickling down the back of my ao dai. This is how I have been since I met Alpha Fenriz, since I met the man who I will be married to… the man from my nightmares. 

As soon as our eyes met for the first time, the scent of cut teakwood and burnt sage enveloped my senses, and I was nearly pulled under. My heartbeat raced in my chest, and I almost lost all reason - the pull towards him was unmistakable, and I still do not know why.

“Calm down, Umiko-sama; this is supposed to be an auspicious day!” Yui’s excited voice cuts through my thoughts, and when I look up at her, I notice that her smile does not reach her eyes. 

“I told you to stop with the honorifics, Yui. We are no longer in Japan, and you know that I see you as more of a friend than a servant.” I say again and sigh, but she simply tuts and continues fussing over me.

Yui is the same age as me, but she insists on using honorifics when she addresses me. I had to endure it back home, but I told her not to bother with them while we were here. If there is anyone I trust implicitly or think of as a sister, it would be Yui.

I look at myself in the floor-length mirror, and nervousness grips my heart once more—a virgin bride for a Lycan King. 

Wearing traditional white and lace with red and gold embellishments - my mother had a traditional ao dai (Vietnamese dress) made for me since my father forbade me to incorporate his culture into this ‘wedding.’ I didn’t want to make a big deal out of this, and neither did my father. But my mother insisted that I wear this and incorporate some of her Vietnamese customs into this ceremony.

But that is as much as he would spend on me - there was no Dam Hoi, and there would be no Tea and Candle Ceremony. More insults from him, even as he gives me away to another man.

We’ll sign the papers, have dinner together, then afterward, my parents will leave me to whatever fate awaits me here.

“Oh, don’t you think the Alpha is handsome?” Yui swoons in our native tongue and bats her eyelashes. “He looks powerful too, like he can command anything!”

I roll my eyes. “That’s what you thought when you saw him? He terrified me!” I say. 

But that was not the only thing I felt when I looked into his eyes. Apart from feeling absolute terror under his crimson gaze, there was something else there. I felt drawn to him and would gladly have fallen at his feet if he had asked; the entire thing confused me, so after that, I kept my eyes downcast the entire time.

I know in our world, there is something called a Bond between two people who are fated to be together. One that is so powerful that nothing can break it, not even death. But I was taught that since I am a runt, there would be no partner for me, no other half. Our Gods made me to walk the face of the earth alone since I am good for nothing.

/“Oh, but you know that is not true, Umiko; you felt it,”/ Ahmya says for the first time since we got here and opens her emerald green eyes to stare at me. Her silver fur seems to have an even darker green aura around it than usual, and her grin seems more mischievous than before.

/“I don’t know what I felt,”/ I admit to her, and for once, she actually looks confused.

/“You do not know what that was? The gravitational pull you felt towards that man when his gaze fell on you?”/ she asks, and I nod. This causes her to stand up, and her fur starts to bristle with what I assume is anger.

/“Your father truly is a good for nothing, and your mother is the same! They did not explain anything to you, did they?”/ She growls, actually looking offended. 

I raise my eyebrow at her. /“Well, you haven’t exactly been as forthcoming with anything, you know,”/ I fire back. Granted, I haven’t been the best person either, ignoring her when I should have gotten to know her, but her power scares me. She scares me.

Ahmya sighs and gives me an apologetic look. /“Umiko, that feeling is called the Pull of the Mate Bond. Fenriz, your intended husband, is your fated Mate.”/

As trepidation sets deep in my bones, I jump to my feet, knocking the bouquet in my lap to the floor. The trembling in my hands gets even worse, and my heartbeat starts to race even more. How can this be? How could father possibly have known that Alpha Fenriz is my fated mate?

“Umiko?” Yui asks with wide, worried eyes. “Is everything okay?”

I blink and look at her. “Y-yes…yes, I just got a fright,” I say with an apologetic smile and pick up the flowers with shaky fingers. 

/“Your father has something planned for Fenriz, Umiko. Find out what it is before it is too late.”/ Ahmya says before disappearing again and leaving me with more questions than before. 

My husband-to-be is the one fated to be mine; he’s the one the Gods made me for. But what exactly does this mean for us? Does he know who I am to him? Does he even care? I have been cut off from the outside world, so I don’t even know the type of person Alpha Fenriz is. All I know is that he scares me half to death.

These questions are pulling me down even further, and I don’t think I will get the answers myself. I have always been the timid and quiet one, but I think since I will be the wife of an Alpha, I will have more power here. Perhaps, even more influence than my father?

I chuckle nervously as the thought gets implanted in my mind and shake my head. I could never be more powerful than my father. The second he thinks I could grow, he will squash me, even if I were the wife of a powerful Alpha.

Movement at my bedroom door gets my attention, and my father steps into the room. His presence is overwhelming as usual, and I can sense Ahmya’s resentment towards him deep down. 

He glares at me, with no emotion behind his dark eyes, and when he speaks, it is simply to say “Time to go” before he walks out again.

I sigh and smile at Yui as she helps me get to my feet and steers me towards the door. This is it, time to give my life to another man who could possibly break me even more than my father has.

My father waits for me at the door, and I slip my arm into his before we start to walk towards the living room area downstairs. There would be no ceremony, no blessings, no gifts - just a cold signing away of my life, a dinner, then possibly death.

“Smile, Umiko. This is a happy day,” my father suddenly orders, and my body reacts before my mind does. A smile spreads across my face, and he walks me into the living room, where everyone is waiting. 

Fear is such a powerful emotion, isn’t it? My father has never lifted a hand to me in my life… he never needed to, not with the grip he had on my soul itself. 

I catch his scent before I even step into the living room, and my eyes immediately find his. Fenriz is tall, but I can tell he's well built and muscular underneath his custom-made suit. His long, dark hair is braided down the middle of his head, like that of a Viking depicted in images, and I can clearly see the tattoos where his hair has been shaved away.

Everything about this man screams danger, and yet I am entirely drawn towards him, towards whatever he has planned for me. Our eyes meet, and that pull is so strong that I nearly let go of my father and walk toward him. My breathing becomes shallow, and for some reason, I can hear his heartbeat pick up at the same time as mine. I see him clench his fists, and then he reluctantly breaks whatever moment we just shared.

I know it’s not just me; he feels the same way I do, but why is he fighting it?

“Let's get this over with, shall we?” he says, his voice causing my stomach to tighten, but my gaze does not leave him when he approaches my father and me. 

He looks back into my eyes, and that strange feeling returns, then he holds his hand to me. My father places my hand into his, and I let out an involuntary gasp when our hands meet; the mere touch of his skin on mine feels like each of my nerve endings is on fire. I peer up at him and almost take a step back when I see that there are double irises present in his eyes - the eyes of a Lycan.

However, if my touch did anything to him, the only thing different would be his eyes because he still remained impassive. I tried to strain my ears for another change in his heartbeat like there was with mine, but from what I could tell, I was the only one who felt that spark. 

/“You’re disappointed,”/ Ahmya remarks, but from what I can tell, so was she.

With his fingers intertwined with mine, he leads me over to where my mother is standing with Yui next to her. I frown when I glance at my mother; she has never shown any emotion towards me, but right now, there’s something else behind her brown eyes. Was it a concern for me?

Next to them stood, what I have gathered, Alpha Fenriz’s second in command, Andreas. He was the first one we met when we arrived in Las Vegas a week ago.

After that, I became a Vega bride within five minutes. 

When the Kaen name fell away as soon as I signed the papers, something in me cracked open, and I literally breathed out a sigh. There was no more heaviness in my heart. The shame I felt when my father told me he was marrying me off to a stranger evaporated. 

I can’t describe it, but I think this is what confidence feels like.

Placing the pen down, I look up at my father, and when our eyes meet, instead of fear gripping my heart, I feel nothing. The grin on his face falls away when he sees me smiling, and for the first time, I see confusion on his face.

/“He expected you to cower; he did not expect your smile,”/ Ahmya chuckles, and when I truly focus on my fox spirit, I can see her eyes clearly. They shine like the rarest emeralds, and I can tell that she is happy; excited even, with no bloodlust present in her aura. 

/“You seem happy,”/ I remark and shake my head. /“I have never seen you like this before.”/

/“We’ve escaped your father’s hand; he does not know what he’s done by placing you in this Alpha’s care. He does not realize that now you are out from underneath his thumb, you can accomplish so much more than he ever could. Well, with me at your side.”/ She giggles.

I frown at this, but before I can ask her what she means, someone touches my hand, and I nearly let out a yelp - only to look straight into Fenriz’s crimson eyes.

Comments (1)
goodnovel comment avatar
Marrie Mitipelo
That was a revelation! Ahmya Is her most reliable source... She needs to Trust her. Umiko/Marina has found her Mate...
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