Tick–tock tick – tock tick – tock
The sound of the wall clock, for some reason, was louder than usual in Bella’s ear. Even though it was placed on the wall high above opposite and far from her, she could hear every single tick of its arms every time they shift. Not only that, every shuffle, tap or sigh made by anyone in the room resounded more, and she swore she could hear some heartbeat sounds.
Her father had started the discussion about the bill, but she could hardly focus on his voice while she kept massaging her temple because of her growing headache.
Why was everything so loud all of a sudden? Beads of sweat gathered on her forehead and neck, and she tried to wipe them off with the back of her palm. Her cloth didn’t even cover much, and the air conditioner was on full blast in the hall. She wasn’t sure, though, if the heat was because of the burning stare she kept receiving from the man opposite her or something else.
The King sat at the head of the round table, his mate on his left and his son on the right. The six council members followed after the Prince, and then Bella’s father sat at the other
head. Then next was Bella at his right and her brother at his left. Brenton, along with the other
hunters, followed suit beside her.
A sharp ringing resounded in Bella’s head once in a while, causing her to wince and shift in
discomfort. Her father beside her didn’t notice as he was busy talking about the bill while copies of it were passed around. She wanted to look up and match the Prince’s stare with a
glare of her own, but she just felt too disturbed. She wished she could deep herself into a cold
bath and even sighed internally at the thought.
Servants had walked in earlier to serve some coffee, butter tart doughnuts, and fruits. But
Bella had barely touched hers. And this was something Logan noticed. He had been watching
her for long now and saw how restless she was in her seat. Her skin was flushed pink even
though it was a bit chilly in the room, and she didn’t seem like she was concentrating on what her father was saying. Not that he was listening much also since his attention was mostly focused on her. Nevertheless, he still had an idea of what was being discussed. And he doubted any of the council members was liking where this was going.
He was in a relaxed posture in his chair with his elbow propped on one arm and his jaw leaning on his fist. His azure eyes were fixed mainly on Bella, and he couldn’t help but admire how much her outfit made her all the more appealing and gallant – fit for a Queen. But still a bit
But what was wrong with his spunky huntress? With his enhanced hearing, Logan could
when the man beside her leaned in to whisper something in her ear.
“You alright, dear?” Dear? Logan hated the word the human used for his huntress. Bella nodded while forcing a smile out, “I’m fine, Brenton.”
He knew Bella had a boyfriend. And he had imagined ending the human’s worthless life a lot of times. He knew how to make a clean job without anyone ever finding out it was him, not even the hunters. He also knew people who were ready to do the job for him without him
getting his hands dirty. His beast was ready for the task, but his blasted conscience wouldn’t let him. After all, he was the one who left Bella alone in the snow in that forest after finding her. He could have taken her back with him and completed the mating process after she accepted
him, but he did the opposite. So it was his fault for leaving his mate alone and vulnerable for
other males to leech off of. And he deserved the suffering he felt every day for being away from
And being in the same room with her right now wasn’t any better. It was taking a lot of
self-restraint not to jump at her over the table and claim her for himself. His beast kept
snarling and growling in his head to let him out, to finally have her in his arms. And he feared
he would soon give in.
“…not only do you hunt our people for your sick pleasures without facing any consequences, but now you want to dictate to us how we live?” A council member burst out in outrage, tossing the paper containing the proposed bill on the table.
Another scoffed, “And how many werewolves do you think will agree to this nonsense?”
“It’s not nonsense if we’re thinking of how to protect humans from your barbaric natures.” A hunter lashed out as he leaned forward to glare at Lycan council.
“And tell me, how is it protecting humans if they become one of us the moment they get mated?” The only female in the council member interjected.
“It’s not like they want to become monsters out of their own free will,” Ethan spoke up this time, and the room erupted in a sea of chaos as arguments are thrown about.
It sounded ridiculous to the Lycanthrope that humans, who were found to be mates of werewolves, had to wait four to six months before deciding if they wanted to be marked or not. For Lycans, the mating process started immediately that they met each other. They usually don’t waste more than a week on it. But for werewolves, there were some processes they follow that took up to two weeks or more before they could complete it. Their beast wasn’t known for patience, and to be told to wait that long sounded impossible to them.
King, Queen, Crown Prince, and Bella. They all watched, confused about the situation on what to do. On one hand, they couldn’t simply say no to the hunters as they were doing their job of protecting humans with their government behind them, and any form of resistance could cause a war between them. And on the other, it would be nearly impossible to get the council or their Packs to accept such a bill. The hunters and humans, in general, may seem defenseless, but the truth was, the Lycans had cause to also be wary of them. They had access to military weapons than they did and were more in population. If a war was to erupt, the odds of any party winning was fifty to fifty. But it would end up bloody, which is something they were to prevent from ever happening.
Bella couldn’t take the noise in the room anymore. With everything being heightened for
her, it sounded even worse in her ear. It felt as if everyone had gathered around her and were screaming in her ear their opinions altogether. Closing her eyes, she tried to block out the
sounds, but it only got worse, accompanied by the ringing in her ear.
“Stop!” She shouted while also abruptly standing to her feet. And at that moment,
everyone kept their mouth sealed as their eyes snap to her. Even the council members were a
bit surprised as the aura she emitted for a second felt powerful enough to shut them down, but only for a second. They even thought they imagined it.
Bella’s chest heaved up and down as her breathing was a bit heavy. She swallowed when she noticed all the gazes glued at her in waiting. She hadn’t realized how much she had screamed and demanded their attention as all she wanted was for the sounds to stop. And they had. Not a single sound could be heard in the room except for the damn clock still ticking. She wished she could rip it from the wall and toss it out of the window. At least the ringing in her head had also gone.
She realized she had to do something as everyone was staring at her with their eyebrows c**** d. She sank her teeth into her bottom lip, thinking about her next words and regaining her composure. Her father had always taught her to never show fear or any sign of nervousness to the enemy as they would think her weak and attack or prey on it. Even in the face of death, your chin is to be up in the air, and you are to never back down.
She took in a deep breath before starting. “Our duty as hunters isn’t to cause you trouble or have fun by chasing your kind with the intent to end them. Trust me, I would rather be in some fancy office sipping on some latte while I tap away on my laptop.” She laughed a bit at that. Some hunters actually took pleasure in hunting werewolves, both innocent and guilty.
was given severe punishment that in some cases was even death, depending on the height of
“What we’re charged to do is to protect humans from any of your kind that may be or is a threat to us. And in doing that, we’re to also keep the supernatural world a secret from them.” She paused for a few seconds, meeting everyone’s gaze, including that of Logan’s, who hadn’t once strayed from her. She couldn’t decipher what he was thinking as his face was blank with
no emotions showing forth. But she couldn’t stop herself from admiring his features and
wondering how many days God, or their moon, had used in creating him. Because that kind of
perfection couldn’t be made in a few hours or even a day.
Clearing her throat, she continued. “Imagine if a werewolf or a Lycanthrope found out his mate was human and forced the mating bond on her without her consent. I don’t know what you call it here, but it’s rape from where I come from. And such a person is meant to serve nine or more years in jail. We might be humans, but we have rights just like every single one of you does. And I don’t remember ever hearing a werewolf forcing himself on another without consequences. So then why aren’t we allowed to look out for ourselves?”
Bella’s father beside her felt a sense of pride at the speech her daughter just gave. A smile could be seen playing on his lips with his chest puffing out. He had taught her well and
couldn’t be any happier. She would make a good leader someday and would lead the hunters
alongside her brother perfectly.
Bella also was content seeing the change in the councils’ eyes. They seemed ready to rethink their opinions as she made a good point. Some were even nodding along and picking back up their papers. She was about to sit back down when a voice stopped her.
“Well, that was a wonderful speech – one deserving of an Oscar award.” Logan teased with a glint of amusement in his eyes. His smirk widened when he saw the spark of anger ignite in
Bella’s eyes as she glared at him. He couldn’t help it. He had wanted to elicit a reaction from her ever since he saw her walk into his home. And he couldn’t let the opportunity pass by. The truth was, he didn’t have anything against her speech. In fact, he was pleased to see his huntress standing tall, regal, and confident, defending her people with all she had. And she had done that with so much bravery, he felt so proud. She was already showing symptoms of a true
leader in front of everyone.
“But,” Logan sighed as he leaned forward, “let’s not forget about the possibility that they might not accept to be bonded to a beast for the rest of their lives. So tell me, what will happen
months? That alone could drive a beast crazy.”
Logan’s words were enough to make the council members stop nodding to Bella and drop back their papers. It wasn’t that he wanted to give her more trouble. He just wanted to make sure she was able to stand for herself no matter what.
Bella was left speechless at Logan’s question. She hadn’t thought about the possibility of
that until he spoke and had to think for a few seconds before coming up with an answer.
She regained her composure and met Logan’s challenging stare head-on. “If the mate
bond is really as strong as you all claim it to be, then I’m sure the human wouldn’t be able to resist.”
Logan flashed his pearly white teeth in a dangerous smile, “Oh, but darling, there have been instances where a werewolf refused the mate bond. You see, the mate bond helps us understand who we’re made for, but we also have brains of our own and can decide to ignore it. The same can happen to a human, and he or she may decide not to mate with the werewolf or Lycan. And since the beast had waited for long only to be rejected, it could lead to a dangerous situation. And what are we supposed to do when deprived of a meal we’ve been aching for so long only for it to be snatched away? Remember we’re beasts with animalistic