Chapter 4

It was odd to look my dad in the eye and not recognize him. He looked every bit the same, saved for the beard that he hadn’t had before. There was this haunted look on his face as if he’d seen terror and actually lived it. It made me wonder what had happened these past few months. 

“Dad?” I greeted him as I stepped into the room and approached him.

He looked up and immediately stood from where he was sitting. “Xyrra.”

Despite everything else that felt different, the way he called my name hadn’t changed at all. I rushed to him, throwing my arms around him and burying my face in his chest. “Dad.”

“I missed you, Sweetie.” He kissed the top of my head and breathed in. “So so much. You have no idea.”

I pulled away slightly, my eyes searching for his. “Then why did you leave?” 

“Because you’re in good hands. Alpha Ryker is a strong man, and I knew he’d protect you no matter what because you’re his mate. With Atlas being uncontrollable sometimes, I didn’t want to take any chances that I might hurt you.” He took a sharp breath, then added, “Like I’ve hurt your mother.”  

The thought of my dad killing my mum still felt foreign to me. Eros had told me about it after my dad had left about how my dad and his wolf, Atlas, had no recollection about what had happened the day my mum died and how my dad had been punishing his wolf with all sorts of torture involving wolfsbane and silver to redeem himself for killing his mate.  

Hearing my dad actually talk about it, admitting it out in the open, felt bizarre. A small part of me still wished it wasn’t true.  

“You’d never hurt me, Dad.”

My dad gave me a rueful smile. “I don’t think I can guarantee it, sweetheart. Atlas can be unpredictable sometimes.”  

“No, I mean I won’t let you.” I took a step back. “There’s something I found out after you left.” I summoned a ball of red smoke in one hand by flicking my wrist and watched my dad’s eyes widen in surprise. “I’m a sorceress, Dad. I can protect myself well.”

My dad moved his gaze to Eros, then Dmitry, before his eyes landed back on me. He blinked again as if the red smoke would be gone if he did so. When it didn’t, he breathed out, “You have magical powers.”

“Yes.” I inched my way closer to him, hoping that he wouldn’t move away or, worse, be scared of me. “And I think I may be able to bring back your memory of that day.” 

He didn’t move, but he eyed the red ball of smoke curiously. “I’ve tried so many ways, but I can’t remember. Atlas can’t remember either.”  

“I know.” I nodded, giving him a small, sad smile. “Please let me try, Dad.”  

“She will be able to make you remember,” said Eros, trying to reassure my dad. “She helped me before. A month ago, when an evil witch locked my memory away, hell, she even locked my consciousness and let Ares take over my body after altering his memory too.” He put one hand on my dad’s shoulder and nodded. “Trust me, Rob, it will work.”  

That small nickname was from my dad’s fake name, ‘Robert Lancaster’, back when he lived with humans in the Center. Back before all of this had happened. Back when I’d still believed that I was a mere human.  

My dad gave Eros a decisive nod, then took a step toward me. He always listened to Eros, which made me jealous sometimes. I didn’t know if it was ‘a boy thing’ and if he secretly wished he had a son instead of a daughter, but I often felt like Eros was his child and not me. I quickly shoved away those thoughts and focused on the task at hand.  

“What do you need me to do?” My dad asked. There was a sliver of doubt in his eyes that I wanted to cease so bad.  

Although I wasn’t sure whether I could do it to him — since I had no idea whether he was hexed like Eros and Seb or if it was something entirely different, I really wished that I could do it. Just so I could finally learn the truth of what had happened and also to prove myself to him that I could.

“Nothing. Just relax.” I summoned a ball of red smokes each on my palm, then slowly moved and reached to his temples. The first time my magic touched him, I felt a little prickle of electric current on the tips of my fingers. I wasn’t sure what that was about, but I kept on working my way, searching for any hex inside his body. At first, I couldn’t do it, so I did another sweep. The second sweep came up with nothing, but on the third one, I found a small hex at his thigh. 

“I found one.” I looked at Eros and Dmitry. “I think I need to wrap this one and search if there are more before I dematerialize it.”

“You think?” asked my dad incredulously.

Ignoring my dad’s remark, Dmitry said, “Do what you think is best. Do not worry much.” 

I nodded and searched for more hex. After several tries, I managed to find six. After wrapping each of them with my magic, I dematerialize them all at once, making sure that there wasn’t anything left there before I retract my magic from each point back to the top and that was when I noticed there was something odd inside his brain. I couldn’t describe it, but it felt like a container. The real question was what it actually contained. I didn’t dare open it without learning about it more, so I pulled my magic out of my dad’s body and took a step back. 

Eros leaned forward out of curiosity, watching my dad with a small frown nestled on his forehead. “Well?”

Dad blinked once. Twice. Then took a long, deep breath and nodded. “I remember what happened.” He locked his gaze with mine. So many emotions coursing through his eyes, it was as if he was experiencing everything that he’d once experienced, but forgotten all over again.

My breath hiked up as I impatiently waited for him to speak of what had happened. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, and felt each thump pressing against my rib cage.

His eyes met mine and before he even said it, I knew. I knew it in my heart and from the remorse shown in his eyes. “I did kill your mum, Xy. I killed Gaia.” 

Everyone was simply staring at my dad.

Eros was the first to break the silence. “If you did, then who put those hexes on you? Did you ask a witch to do that in order to make you forget?”

“No.” Dad shook his head, then brought himself down to the couch. We all followed suit and sat. “I believe Gaia put the spell on me. Maybe before I truly killed her.”

“Why not tell us from the start?” Dmitry suggested. “That way, we can truly understand and assess what happened that night.” 

My dad narrowed his eyes slightly at Dmitry, but he listened to his suggestion. “At first, I didn’t know that Gaia was a witch. I was madly in love with her. She was simply the perfect woman, it was beyond me how she agreed to marry me. I didn’t know that she was from the House of Delvaux, one of the strongest witch families. I only knew her as Gaia, the girl I met when I was on a hunt in Scotland. My mate.” He lowered his eyes and I could tell that he was walking down memory lane. The memories he had with mum. The good memories that he’d forever cherish.  

“Thinking that she was a mere human, I was scared that if she knew what The Erebus truly is, she’d leave, so I asked for a house far from the crowd where we could find peace.” He shook his head, indicating that the peace that once sought was nothing but a mirage. “I became Beta after I got home and one day, the Night Walkers’ Alpha came to visit and we found out that he was your mother’s mate as well. We—” he took a deep breath and let out an exhausted sigh, “the only thing we agreed on was the duel. After Alpha Sinclair died, things started to go downhill.”  

My dad shook his head, then ran a frustrated hand through his dark curly hair. “One day, I got home and found you and your mother in the kitchen. She was doing some incantation. There were runes all over the kitchen floor and on the ceiling as well. I asked her what it was about. She told me about her family, House of Delvaux, and how they got stronger by absorbing others’ power, especially those who shared the same blood.” 

“Wait, are you saying that she’s going to take Xyrra’s power?” asked Eros, his blue-green eyes widening in shock.

Dad nodded, sadness was evident in his eyes. “I pretend to let her do the whole thing but right before she was about to sacrifice Xyrra, which was her most vulnerable state — she told me this and asked me to protect her at all cost, I turned on her and killed her.” He closed his eyes for a few moments and when he finally reopened them, he locked his gaze on me. “I’m so sorry, Sweetie. It’s my fault that you had to grow up without a mother.”

“You have done her a favor,” said Dmitry, who had been quiet and observing the whole interaction. “If it was not because of you, Xyrra might not be here today.”  

“He’s right, Dad.” I held my dad’s cold hand and rubbed them with mine. “You did what you had to. You saved my life. You saved me.”

“No.” He shook his head, tears brimming in his eyes. I’d never seen my dad cry before and I found myself both surprised and scared. “I didn’t know that when I ruined that ritual and killed Gaia, her power — all which she’d gained from killing her sister, parents, nephews, and other family members — went to the only next of kin, which was you. All of her power is now inside you, sweetie, and I can’t say that it’s a good thing.” He dropped his gaze and watched our entwined fingers. “I suppose Gaia used her last power to make me and Atlas forget what happened, so when the patrols came and saw everything, they assumed I killed her.”

“Alpha Leonidas never believed that,” said Eros. “Neither did my dad or me. We know you couldn’t possibly do that to her, Rob. You loved her. You did everything you could to make her feel comfortable and live comfortably.” My best friend gave a small shrug. “We just didn’t know how to make sense of what happened, especially when you yourself couldn’t even remember.” 

“Atlas did what he did to save me, Dad. Don’t punish him anymore,” I said carefully as I reached for his hand. “And as for the power, you didn’t know that when it happened.”

°°°°°°°

Author Note: my sincere apologies for the delay in updating the story. Someone I truly respected had died last Friday and it really shook me. I still couldn’t believe he was gone. We’d just talked last Wednesday, four days ago. I really hope you enjoy this story. Please leave some reviews to show support if you like this story. Thanks a million! Take care and stay healthy and happy!

Comments (9)
goodnovel comment avatar
irene forman
deepest condolences on your losd
goodnovel comment avatar
Rita M. Watkins
Sorry for your loss. I'm hooked, can't wait to see what happens with Xyra
goodnovel comment avatar
Tabitha Reynolds
Deep Condolences
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