I pushed through the forest, howling my soul, pleading with the moon for peace, hoping for a sign of something that would lead me to Sophia, but I knew I was heading nowhere.
How can I have experienced joy, anticipation and hopelessness simultaneously?
I berated myself for wasting time, for thinking there would always be time. I believed she would always be there, within my grasp, ready for me when I was ready.
Her father had ripped her away from my life for reasons best known to him.
Coming to a halt, Alex plopped on the dirt by a tree, mourning our loss because deep down, I knew I might never see her again.
"She might reach out on the phone," Alex thought, and with that, a glimmer of hope rose in my heart.
As much as that was a possibility, I wished I had seen her tonight and told her my intentions. What if it is too late by the time she reaches out?
"We can utilise the royal resources to find them," Alex said.
"You know Father would see that as an abuse of power and privilege," I replied my wolf.
"Uncle David or Theodore might help," he said, and even though they were the least strict members of our family, I knew they would not see reason.
It wasn't like Sophia and I were fated. Besides, they will still hand the matter over to Alpha Thompson, and Mike is his beta. I doubt it will be helpful.
"We have to rely on that phone call," I said, and I opted to try her number, but I had lost my phone when I shifted.
Knowing I needed a phone for her contact number, I traced my footsteps back the way I came. It took a while because it wasn't easy to trace my scent. I made many rounds and finally fell asleep by a tree.
I woke up in the morning and continued until I found the device on the ground. I used my nuzzle to flip the phone to the screen and saw that the battery was dead and the screen was cracked, but that was an easy situation. I would just have to replace the screen. Holding the phone in my mouth. I headed towards my grandparent's home.
People waved and greeted Alex as we strode along, congratulating me for graduating, but there was no way to acknowledge them. I hoped they wouldn't see me as arrogant, but my heart wasn't in a good place at the moment.
I finally arrived at the estate and found Charlotte outside, worried sick. She still had her nightdress on, and she had bags under her eyes.
"Liam," she said with joy and ran towards my wolf. Bending, she hugged me and began to cry.
"We were afraid. You didn't come home, and we were afraid," she said, weeping.
"Where did you go? You got everyone worried; Grandma and Grandpa were worried sick; each hour passing, they contemplated calling your father. You know, Grandpa just got his wolf back, yet he shifted and went to look for you. Why will you disappear like that?" she said, still crying.
I was ashamed of myself for putting my family in so much trouble and unrest.
"Where are Marvin and the others?" I linked her. She broke away from me, and we started heading back to the house. I refused to shift back to my human form.
"Everyone is out looking for you, especially Harper. She said you went to Sophia's house. We called, and her father answered. He said you didn't come by; that was why we got very worried," she said, and a rage surged within me. Why would that piece of shit lie? I immediately shifted back to my human form, and the phone fell. I picked it up and stormed into the house.
"That lying piece of shit," I growled, and Charlotte was confused.
"What is the matter, Li?" She asked.
A worker brought me shorts, and I wore them before turning to face her. Her eyes were swollen and tired from tears. I wondered where Gemma and Jewels were.
"Where are the others?" I asked.
"They went with Harper," She said and moved closer to me. She used the back of her hand to touch my forehead. I guess she was wondering if I were sick.
"What happened out there, Li? Why are you mad?" she asked.
I could be angry around her because she was an Alpha like me; some might even argue that the triplets were stronger since their biological mother was an Alpha too.
I stepped back and sat on a chair.
"I am angry that that bastard, Mike, lied that I did not come by the house. I went there, and we spoke before Alex took over from rage, landing me in the forest," I said, and she was surprised, then slowly, anger covered her face.
"That snake? Why would he lie? What happened?" She asked.
"I went to check on Sophia and found out she wasn't there. While trying to figure it out, he came out through the back and told me he had sent her and her mother away for their protection. I tried to find out where he sent them. I even accidentally compelled him, but he said he had anticipated compulsion and told his mate not to tell him where they were going. That tipped me off, and I bolted into the woods to calm down," I said, and she was silent for a bit.
I knew my reasons might seem silly, but only I knew how I felt. Charlotte might not even comprehend it.
"Did you call her phone?" Charlotte asked me, and I realised how stupid I was.
"No, I didn't. The way Mike spoke to me did not allow me to think. I later realised that was an option and spent the rest of the dark searching for my phone, which I did not find until dawn. But the battery is dead, and the screen is broken," I said, and she handed me her phone.
"Take, use my phone. Call her," Charlotte said.
"You have her number?" I asked, and her cheeks coloured.
"Why do you think no one dared ask her out? We made sure of it. Harper, Gemma, Jewels, and I have always known of your crush. I mean, you made our parents send all of us to Grizlo because of her. The instant you chose Grizlo Academy, we knew why; what we did not expect was that our parents would require us to join you. Well, here we are, so we kind of kept tabs on her to be sure she won't break your heart when you are ready. We do not want a heartbroken king ruling us," She said, making me laugh.
Her phone gave me hope, and the realisation that I could reach out to Sophia gave me hope.
Charlotte unlocked her phone and displayed Sophia's number. I dialled it immediately, and I was grateful the phone rang. It rang for a while before she finally picked.
"Sophie, Sophie," I said.
"Li?" she asked, and I relaxed.
"Where are you? I went by your house last night, and your father said he had sent you and your mother away. Tell me where you are, and I will come and get you. If you need protection, I can provide it," I said, and I heard her crying on the phone.
"I didn't think you could help us, Li; I think my father …." She did not finish when I heard a rustling sound.
"Sophie! Sophie!" I called out on the phone, afraid something horrible had happened to her.
"Hello," a female voice said, and I knew it was her mother.
"Mrs. Maguire, it's me, Liam," I said, and she sighed.
"Oh dear Liam, my husband said you came by yesterday, and you were distraught," she said, and I did not respond.
"I am sorry it was sudden, your Highness, but this was for the best. You need not involve yourself in things that are beneath you. You were always above our class. I think it is best this way. I am sure you have other friends," she said, and I was confused.
"What are you saying? Where are you? If you are in trouble, I can help," I said, and she sniffled, which made me know she was crying.
"You can't help us. I doubt the Royal family will want to be caught up in this mess. I am sorry, your Highness, but where we are going, even your father won't be able to find us, and as for this number, I have confiscated it. It is best you move on and forget about my daughter," She said, and I heard Sophia in the background.
"No, momma, no! At least let me say goodbye, please. I am begging you." She was pleading and crying in the background, and her mother said no.
"I am sorry, Li! I …" she said, but the line went dead before she could finish the sentence.
I took the phone from my ear and looked at the screen in my hand. Silent tears were streaming down my cheeks.
I redialed the number and put it on speaker, hoping it would ring, but it did not go through. I called repeatedly, and Charlotte quietly pried the phone from my grip.
Without saying a word, she wrapped her arms around me and held me. I did not know I was crying until she held me.
"It is okay, Li; it is okay to cry. It is just us; no one will know," she said, her voice shaking too. A sniffle betrayed her tears. She had heard the conversation too.
She held me for a bit, and soon I wiped away my tears and went to my room to freshen up.
I was going through the motions. Thinking of the many ways this would have gone.
Had I arrived there early, they wouldn't have been able to take her. I would have abused my power and grabbed her from them. I stood under the shower and wept.
I had planned it all out. My graduation, asking her out, marrying her. Everything.
Some would say I was too young to think of things like that at eighteen, but I had it all planned.
I had the urge to go to her house and beat the hell out of Mike.
I wanted to beat him until he could tell me why.
I fought my rage under the shower, and when I finally realised I had to give in, I turned it off, dressed up, and headed out of my room. Ready to return to the Maguire's residence and do some damage.
I was greeted by everyone in the living room. My grandmother and everyone looked concerned. They felt sorry for me, and somehow, I knew they knew. I looked at Charlotte, who shook her head, indicating she did not tell them.
"She didn't tell us, Liam," my grandfather said.
"We figured it out when your cousins returned from the Maguire's and said the house was empty. Mike has fled too," Grandpa said, and my grandmother came to me and hugged me.
"Oh, Liam, my sweet child. I am sorry your journey is starting like this. You have to let her go, Liam. Her father is in big trouble, and I doubt they can ever show their faces again. You have to let her go," my grandmother said, and I broke the hug and looked at her.
"What did Beta Mike do?" I asked, and she looked at me. I could see her contemplating whether or not to tell me what he did.
"You have to tell me, Grandma," I said, desperate to understand what had happened.
"He murdered the alpha and his family. Their bodies were found this morning. People are looking for him. Unlike in Lucland, Grizlo's laws are a bit different; if they catch him, it means they will slaughter his wife and daughter too. Your parents can't interfere with the local law," She said, and I froze.
It was as if everything was at a standstill.
~Liam~I was yet to wrap my head around what I had just heard. I sat on the couch, trying to make sense of everything. Beta Mike had gone on a mission with Alpha Thompson. That was what Sophia insinuated, so why the murder? I remembered how he looked when he came from the back of his house. He had just showered, and he seemed a bit uneasy. What could have come over Mike to make him do this? I now understood why Sophia's mother said I couldn't help them. I sat on the chair, clueless and confused. I should be celebrating by now, and Sophia should be with me; instead, there was a shadow of gloom over me."You'll be alright, Li," I heard Harper's voice in my head. I turned towards her, and her eyes were misty where she stood next to Lilly. Eleanor , my younger cousin, was in tears, too, and Gemma was consoling her.How could my life take a turn in one night?"It gets better, Liam," My Grandmother said, and I looked at her and shook my head."I never got to say goodbye or tell her how I f
~Liam~I remained with my back against the tree, thinking about how best to handle the matter with Sophia. Letting go wasn't going to be an option. How could I lead one day if I could not save the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with? Only I knew how I felt."What's up?" Miles asked me, taking off his shirt. I shook my head."I am not hunting; Alex isn't in the mood," I said, and he stopped what he was doing."There is nothing we can do about it, Li. Mike fucked up. You aren't King yet and won't be for a long time. I think you should just let her go," he said, and Marvin and Oliver approached."Yeah, I think you should let her go, Li. She is great and all that, but this is beyond us. You heard our grandma Stephanie; we can't get involved. Even our parents can't get involved. I doubt we would still be in Grizlo if they had told either of our fathers. They know how close we are to the Maguires because of your relationship with Sophia. There is no way they would have let us re
~Tamia~ (Liam's Mother and The Queen)The news of the incident in Grizlo had profoundly unsettled us. My anxiety grew when Stephanie called, informing me that Liam hadn't returned home. I repeatedly dialled Harper's number, each time hearing that they were still searching for him, which only heightened my fear.The situation worsened when I discovered that Liam had visited Mike's house, and the man had claimed not to have seen him, as relayed by Jake. Even though our world had been relatively peaceful, I knew all too well that trouble could arise at any moment. Nothing felt within our control. So I anxiously waited, contemplating whether or not to inform Sylvester.My worry escalated upon learning about Mike's criminal activities. I feared that Liam might have witnessed something and been harmed as a result. It took great courage to keep this information from Sylvester. Finally, hearing his voice brought immense relief. I was grateful that Liam was unharmed and safe from Mike's grasp
~Tamia~We remained in the garden, engrossed in conversation about various topics until evening when we received word that our children had returned from Grizlo. I quickly rose from my seat, followed by Claudia, Linda, and the rest. Nicole, whose children were grown and residing in Lucland City, didn't share the same sense of anticipation as we did.With haste, I made my way towards the driveway in front of the mansion. The vans had arrived, and our children were disembarking. Keith and Joseph immediately embraced Harper as she emerged from the vehicle, and she reciprocated their affection with a radiant smile.One by one, the others showered our returning children with hugs and warm greetings. Charlotte playfully tousled their hair, patiently waiting for her younger siblings to join. It was a joyful but crowded scene, the culmination of the news they had shared and the realisation that their graduation meant they wouldn't need to return to Grizlo.I approached Harper, and her face li
~Liam~The words I uttered left my parents in a state of shock, evident from the look in their eyes. My father stood before me, rendered speechless, and I couldn't bring myself to meet my mother's gaze.Though my actions were impulsive, I stood by them wholeheartedly. I had carefully considered everything, engaging in discussions with my sister and cousins during our journey home. When I heard Sophia's distressed voice on the phone, I realised I couldn't remain passive, waiting for someone else to come to her rescue. I had to take action. While everyone else sought retribution, I was the only one determined to uncover the truth. I yearned to understand why Mike had committed such acts, and I was resolute in my mission to save Sophia."No, absolutely not," my mother's voice cut through the air, and I turned to face her."Liam, are you out of your mind? You've just returned home. You graduated yesterday, and now you want to throw your life away in haste. We know nothing about Alpha Thom
~Sylvester~(Liam's father and the King)I didn't know how much Liam had grown until he made that dangerous request. Despite my instincts telling me to shut it down, I could see the determination in his eyes. The permission he sought was merely a formality; he had already made up his mind.Liam was just like me, driven by an unwavering determination and a sense of responsibility. Every fibre of my being screamed that he would continue with his investigation, even if I tried to dissuade him. Tamia, too, recognised this, which explained her tears. We both knew that nothing we said would make him hold back. He was resolute in his mission to save Sophia, and nothing would deter him.This was no trivial matter. Liam cared deeply for the girl, and while we suspected there were romantic sparks between them, we never anticipated the magnitude of his devotion. Unbeknownst to him, he was willing to walk through fire for her. I couldn't allow him to traverse this path alone. My father had caused
~Liam~Restlessly, I waited in my room, eagerly anticipating my father's summons to his office. He had given me his word that I could be present when he contacted Alpha Christain, and I anxiously awaited that crucial call.Harper had retreated to her room to freshen up, while I remained in mine, contemplating ways to assist. The details of the situation still eluded me, but I hoped that clarity would soon prevail. Anxious thoughts filled my mind, but I hesitated to confront the problem directly. If Sophia hadn't confided in me about her and her mother's distress, perhaps I could have found some solace in the notion that time was on our side. I knew her father would never harm her, which was precisely why he had sent them away initially. However, I couldn't extend the same assurance to the unidentified men who held her and her mother captive on their vessel.Marvin's voice echoed in my mind, asking, "How did it go with your folks?"It was frustrating that we weren't living in the mansi
~Liam~Sleep eluded me the entire night. My mind was consumed by nightmares, haunted by the terrifying possibilities of what might have befallen Sophia. Restlessness permeated the air, not just within me, but also evident in Alex. Eventually, I sat up in bed and gazed out at the moon through my window. Its radiant glow captivated me, and in my desperation, I found myself wondering if it held some wisdom. Could the moon speak to me? Could it somehow reveal the whereabouts of Sophia? Perhaps its luminous beams had touched her in some way tonight. I entertained these thoughts, hoping for a sign or inspiration on where to search and whom to reach out to. But deep down, I knew it was mere wishful thinking.The reality was that as each day passed, the chances of finding Sophia diminished. We were now entering the third day, and the weight of that grim possibility pressed heavily upon me. Dread filled my thoughts, refusing to be averted, as I confronted the unsettling notion that time was sl