The Lycan Kings Unwanted Mate
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It is supposed to be a game—a game of life and death. But what started with the maze trials ended in a prize that is more than Zirah bargained for. She never thought the prize would be for her to choose between the three Lycan Kings, who are all fighting for their father’s throne. Upon meeting the three Lycan kings, Zirah learns that the Kings are no prince charming’s. That this would be no fairy tale love story, but one where her life is constantly balanced on the sharp edge of a knife's blade. A knife that is poised to take her life or leave her horribly broken. The Kings want nothing to do with her or each other and plan to get rid of her. What they don't expect is for Zirah to fight back, only she plays with something far more dangerous than weapons. She’ll play with their hearts. Zirah has to pick one King, but secrets will be revealed, and the battle between the Kings will be for more than just the throne. They will battle for the queen that they tried to break. But there's just one issue: Zirah wants revenge, and what better revenge than taking away their precious throne?
The howling sounds of wolves echoing through the cave alerts me first to the knowledge that the small bubble we all live in is being invaded. Which is something we all have lived in fear of. We have waited for this day, it was only a matter of time, and it appears our time is finally up. At first, I think I am dreaming that the echoes and screams are just part of the nightmare my mind is conjuring up.
Nightmares of this time have always plagued me, so I knew just like grandma something was coming, but still we held onto the hope that our dreams were only based on our subconscious fear of this exact moment.
Another blood-curdling scream has my eyes opening. It is too close, too loud to be mistaken for anything in the dream world. Snarling and shouts has me sitting upright in my bed, followed by the first vicious growl somewhere down the cave’s corridor.
My eyes scan the dark cave while I secretly pray that I am wrong. Yet the sound of flesh being ripped apart and claws scraping rock has me tossing my legs out of bed. A bed is too nice of a word. It is actually a boulder covered in bear’s fur and anything we have scavenged for cloth.
The caves are cold at night, and they are even chilly during the day, too, but they are our only place of safety. Well, not anymore. My eyes dart to my grandmother's bed. However, she is no longer asleep either. Instead, she is moving toward the fire that is reduced to glowing embers as the last of the log burns away. She douses it with water, holding a finger to her lips, while my eyes move to entry into this part we live.
These aren't regular wolves. Oh, how I wish they were. Ordinary wolves, I would have preferred. No, these were werewolves: part human, part animal. Beasts of man.
These savage beasts are part of the reason the human population is being so terribly decimated. They are also the reason we live in these caves, far away from the monsters that linger on the borders of the mountains and surrounding the neighboring Kingdom.
More screams ring out loudly as I jump down from my resting spot, before making my way over to her. She glances in the entrance direction, where the screams are coming from and growing louder, while ushering me to follow her.
Not that there is any need. We have practiced this scenario more times than I can count, it has been drummed into me for as long as I can remember. We move quickly, making our way deeper into the cave, climbing the rocks and squeezing through tight crevices. Despite my grandmother being nearly 70, she moves fast for an old woman.
“Hurry, Zirah, it isn't just werewolves,” she whispers, and I peer over my shoulder, suddenly fearing the dark. My eyesight is better than most, but this cave is blinding in the darkness. We would be lost if we weren't counting our steps right now and using our fingers that are scraping the walls for direction.
“What else?” I ask.
“The Lycan king's guards,” she answers. I know better than to doubt her. My grandmother has the gift of sight. She is a witch, a seer, old yet no less powerful. However, her parlor tricks, potions, and spells would hold no ground against a Lycan. They are another beast entirely. Similar in a sense to werewolves, but vastly different. They walk on two legs and are faster, stronger, and deadlier—also a hell of a lot bigger.
“This way, hurry,” Grandma hisses, pushing me faster and further into the cave. “We can't let them find you,” she says, grabbing my hand and leading me down another branch of the cave. Her words make me glance at her, but her features are obscured by darkness.
“I knew it. I knew when that bastard left that he would rat us out. Now he has ruined everything. I need more time, I should have had more time, the prophecy’s isn’t for another year,” she mutters before her words cut.
“Grandma–” I try to question when her hand clamps over my mouth. We listen to the sounds of people running, and I know it is the Lycans. Their pace is much faster than werewolves, and I can hear them moving in closer. My grandmother's hair swipes my face as she stares in the direction we come from.
Her hands tremble as she muffles me. “If the King finds you and figures out what you are—” she trails off, grabbing my arm and ripping me into a narrower area.
“Grandma, what are you talking about?” I hiss. She sounds like a madwoman.
“Hush, my child, keep your voice down.”
“You're making no sense,” I whisper as she stops at the narrowing incline. She glances up at the hole above, which looks like a tiny speck from the minimal light coming off the moon.
“I promised your mother. Now I have failed her. That fool led them right to you,” she whimpers, and I grab her arm. Only for her to spin and clutch my head in her hands.
“Listen to me; they can't find out what you are. You must keep it a secret from the King. Death would be more merciful.” She stammers, her hands shaking on either side of my face.
“What are you talking about?”
“The King's sons,” she says, letting me go, and she starts climbing. I hurry after her, wanting to know what she is talking about, but I get no more answers.
The sounds of running and men hollering make my breath halt in my throat as we climb through the narrow gap to the opening above, using our feet and hands to keep us from slipping back to the cave floor. Each step my grandmother makes has dust and small rocks hitting me behind her, yet my hands and feet refuse to lose the little traction I have on the small opening.
“Zirah, hurry!” my grandmother hisses, and no sooner had she breached the opening above did I hear a snarl below. Grandma hauls herself out, and I look down to see amber eyes reflecting back at me.
Nothing gets you moving faster, knowing the only thing that awaits you is claws and teeth below. I shriek. I can't help it, my grandmother waving her hand above my head when the Lycan jumps into the narrow gap. He grips my ankle and nearly makes me slide back down.
My nails tear from my nails bed as I claw at the cave wall, shaking and kicking my leg. The Lycan roars below, his claws slicing through my delicate skin like a hot knife on butter.
“Zirah, hurry,” Grandma hisses, her hand barely touching my fingertips. Gritting my teeth, I try to use my foot that is still on the wall to push higher. The Lycan below me loses his grip slightly, his sharp claws hooking into my ankle to rip me back down.
My hand flails, trying to grab Grandma's. When she manages to grab it, she grabs my arm with strength I didn't know she still wielded, and the Lycan claws at the inside walls of the tunnel, trying to reach me.
Kicking my foot out, it connects with the side of his head and he tumbles back out. Grandma groans and I look up to see her eyes glowing white. Her pupils then glow blue as a current of air tunnels around me, and she rips me out of the far too-narrow hole peering down, the Lycan is trying to squeeze through the narrow opening before sliding back down to the cave floor, unable to fit.
Looking at my ankle it is a bloody mess, the claws marks deep, and the cuts sting yet where he dug them in like fis
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