The Culling

By ASouthernRose All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter 11

Once the doctor turned me loose, I made my way to the barracks. I knew that Captain Taggart would understand once he learned who my mate was, but it would be hard. I could feel the eyes of several of my friends when I came to a stop just outside his office door and knocked. When he opened it, he smiled as he saw me.

“Come in Rivers. What can I do for you?” He asked as I took a seat. “Sir, it’s with a heavy heart that I am saying this. I am resigning as a Royal Guard.” Silence filled the office as Captain Taggart stared at me. His face was blank and I couldn’t get any kind of reading off of it. “Are you sure Rivers?”

“Yes sir.” I pause and then meet his eyes. “It’s not because I want to quit Captain, but it’s because I have to. For the past few months, I’ve had suspicions on who my mate was and they were confirmed the day of the attack. If he had been anyone else, I’m sure that I would have still been able to stay on as a guard.”

He stood up and I did the same. “Well, I’m sorry that we’re losing you, Rivers, you were one of my best.” The captain shook my hand and gave me a small smile. Leaving the office, I slowly make my way to my bunk and start to pack my things up. This would be my last night in the barracks and the thought saddened me.

The next morning at five, I was out of bed. All my things were packed and sitting at the foot of my bunk, waiting. Taking one last look around me, I hurry outside and towards the castle. I wasn’t sure how Darcy was going to take the fact that I knew we were mates but kept quiet about it. Reaching his room, I nod to Green who gave me a smile and left.

At six when Darcy stepped out of his room, I couldn’t help but check his face. The cuts and bruises had healed nicely with no scarring. Breakfast was slow, but I didn’t care. With each passing hour, I was becoming unsure of the meeting that was waiting for me.

Finally, about ten after seven, the price stood up, hugged his mother and headed down the hall towards his father’s study. Five minutes after Darcy entered the study, I knocked softly. “Come in.” I heard the king call out and I slowly open the door. I could feel both of their eyes on me, but I kept my eyes on the ground.

“Please sit down Phoebe.” The king said softly but I just shook my head. I was too nervous to sit down. I could feel that Darcy couldn’t understand why I was there. Slowly meeting the king’s eyes, I nod my head. “Son, the hunt for your mate is over.” The king spoke looking at his son.

“What do you mean Father?” Darcy demanded as he glared at the king. “I mean that your mate has come forward. You don’t have to go looking for her.”

“You know who she is?” He asked softly, his voice uncertain. My heart jumped and my wolf whimpered softly. She wanted to comfort him but I held back. “Who is she?” Darcy demanded. The king didn’t say anything. Instead, he just turned his gaze to me and waited.

I could tell that Darcy was getting more and more upset. “Could you give us a few minutes Sire?” I asked softly, my eyes glued to the desk. “Sure Phoebe. I’ll be outside in the hall.”

The quiet once the king left was almost unbearable. “I’m guessing that you know who my mate is since my father left you in here.” He spoke and I turned to look at him. “Yes, my prince. I know who she is.”

“What’s her name?” Without looking at my mate, I move to the window and look out. “May I tell you a little about her first, my prince?” I asked softly, feeling his eyes on my back. When he didn’t answer, I start speaking. “Your mate is a hard worker and very dedicated. She never gives up until the job is done.

“Her whole life was spent working to achieve her dream. When she discovered that she was your mate, she became confused. She had finally become what she had spent her whole life trying to become and suddenly she runs into the one person who she didn’t think she’d ever meet. For several days, she has battled with her mind. She knew that she had a duty not only to her mate but to her people as well. What she wanted for her life didn’t really matter anymore due to the fact that she had a higher purpose that had been laid on her.

“And now she’s ready to face what life has given her.” The silence of the room was just about to get on my nerves. “I found out that I was your mate the day that the rogues attacked and you wanted to go back and fight. I had to knock you out, and that’s when I realized. My wolf had been trying to tell me ever since you went pack hopping, but I wouldn’t listen to her.”

My mate didn’t say anything and when I turned to face him, I found him staring at me like he didn’t believe a word I was saying. With a soft sigh, I take down the block I had on my scent. Instantly, his face changed. “You’re her.” He whispered but it was more like he was speaking to his-self. “That’s why I couldn’t find you. You’re a guard.”

“I was.” His eyes snapped to mine. “What?”

“I said I was a guard. I resigned this morning because I knew that I wouldn’t be allowed to keep it.” He slowly nodded his head. Suddenly, I see anger flash in his eyes. Confused, I just watch him. “Are you dating that man?”

“What man?”

“The man who rushed out to meet us the other day after you rescued me.” Slowly I shake my head no. “That was Lincoln, my brother. He was the Beta of First Death until the rogues took it over.” I couldn’t read his face. Was he upset that I was his mate, a guard? Did he want someone like me as his mate, or had he been hoping for someone else, someone of higher standing?

He sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. “I, Darcy Stone,...” Whether he was going to accept or reject me, I didn’t find out. The door flew open and the king rushed into the room. “We’re under attack”, he said as he rushed to the panic room and quickly punched in the code. My face paled as I looked towards Darcy. When the door opened, I ushered the two royals into the room. But before they realized what happened, I stepped back and shut the door behind Darcy.

What are you doing Phoebe? The king demanded when he realized that I wasn’t joining them. I have sworn an oath to protect you and your family, Sire. Just because I’m the mate of the crown prince doesn’t mean that my oath stops. Besides, I add with a smirk that he couldn’t see, Darcy hasn’t accepted or rejected me. So technically, I’m still a guard.

Fighting could be heard as they came closer towards the castle. Suddenly, the rest of the Stone family rushed into the office. Their guards were right behind them. Nodding to the queen, I unlocked the room and opened the door just enough so that they could easily enter it. “Phoebe, join us,” Darcy spoke softly but I didn’t answer. My place may have been in that room being protected by my fellow guards and friends, but I didn’t see it that way. My place was to protect them, especially my mate.

Lincoln, are you alright?

I’m fine Bee. Where are you?

I’m protecting my charge and the rest of his family. I’m in the castle.

You need to get out of there! I could hear the panic in his voice.The family can’t be moved until the threat is over Lincoln.

Phoebe, the rogues are headed straight for the castle. You have to evacuate it. Now! Lincoln roared at me through our link and I inwardly flinched. Looking at the guards around me, I passed the word. Rogues were headed our way and the fight would be brutal.

Most of those that were standing with me were seasoned warriors and protectors. The smell that all rogues carry could soon be easily detected, and that’s when we knew that they had made it into the castle. The rest of the guards left the office, leaving me and three others to make sure that the royal family remained safe in the hidden room. I knew that as long as they were safe and the pack could still feel their connections, we wouldn’t fail. The rogues would not be taking anyone while the guards were still standing.

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