Bound by the family values of annihilating Alphas without mercy had honed me until I grew up to be a fine young lady disguised as an Alpha slayer.
I was treated as an illegitimate child—born out of wedlock—even though I was the firstborn before Papa married his four concubines and became part of the House of Cantavalle.
Born as Papa's first pup from my mother, his first mate, who he did not end up with due to circumstances, had brought me to my disadvantage. I was born to compromise everything and was trained not to harbor emotions.
We, the Cantavalle children, were not supposed to have that.
Having emotions would make someone weak.
I was a marionette under my father's hands who was bound to be the best Alpha slayer in the Cantavalle family.
I was still one of the heir candidates, so I couldn't say I was the best Alpha slayer until Papa chose me as the next head of the House of Cantavalle.
"I have picked you to perform this big assignment. This is the right time to take advantage of this situation."
I was slightly surprised. "Who shall become my target from one of the horsemen, Papa?" Finally. With this assignment, I could prove to him more that I was suited to be the head of the House of Cantavalle.
I would become Marchioness Cantavalle in my own right.
The soft whisp of the parchment being shuffled bestowed music to the study room, bringing more anticipation on my part while remaining calm demeanor before Papa laid out that parchment.
I accepted it and read it.
"Valerian Leveaux... Alpha of the Nocturnal Crest pack... and Duke of Alsfield..." My mouth dried at the mere mention of my next target. My thumb sparked friction against the rough parchment as I stated that name in my mind, engraving it in a graveyard tombstone with an exciting smile creeping on my lips upon seeing the portrait of my target. "Fascinating..." I chuckled softly.
"What is it?"
I saw him arching his eyebrow, curious at my response.
Meeting Papa's icy stare was something I was already accustomed to. Not only that, his eyes were blazing with abomination and unwillingness toward the Alphas just because of one person who imprinted a trauma on his part.
It was just one single Alpha that led him to become like this. Thus, we had to inherit his legacy and pass it down to the next generation of Alpha slayers.
I paused for a moment, testing the waters. "He is my mate."
"What?" Surprised was evident in his eyes, seeing that he did not expect my words. He stared at me, silencing me momentarily as if he was weighing my words after telling him how and when I knew that I was a mate of an Alpha he despised with. "Why did you not tell me sooner that he is your mate?"
"My apologies, Papa." I bowed my head, eyes fixated on the floor. "That is a mistake on my part."
Even though my loyalty to Papa prevailed, it was truly a mistake that I did not tell him sooner upon my arrival after going on a vacation in the Solacia where Valerian lived.
However, little did I know this was the beginning that I would start making excuses.
"It's you again..."
I could still remember that day when Valerian and I first met again at that moment. That surprised tone from his had created a small pathway to my heart.
Meeting Valerian at that time was letting these butterflies flutter in my stomach. I did not understand what I felt then, but my heart was hammering inside my chest like some rats were tunneling it. Even my wolf was feeling skittish just at the sight of him.
Bewildered at what I felt then, the first thing I did was comment sheepishly.
"Oh, I see! You are that man who looks like a volcano when it erupts!"
"What the hell?!"
I was only teasing him since his reaction was adorable, seeing how his lips turned south as if the world was against him.
It all started there until things had gone deeper between us, and I began to fulfill my mission.
I was highly confident at that time.
However, it became an empty promise once I was there, starting to feel I would fail in this mission.
Being with Valerian was a wrong choice as I fell into him.
His sweet gesture... His tender gaze... His burning touch... Everything.
Even I, a stone-hearted one, had fallen into him while doing the scheme.
"I shall tell my pack that you are my mate—their Luna, honeydew. I cannot wait to tell the world you are mine." Valerian's soft, husky tone brought me to heights. His calloused hand brushed the surface of my face, letting that tender gaze pierce my whole being. "You are the best thing that happened to me, Lilith."
"Me, too, honeydew... And I couldn't ask for more..." Waves of emotions blinded me. My face drew closer to leave a sweet kiss on his rosy lips. "I cannot wait to be yours, Your Grace."
I thought I could keep this facade that I was just using him, but when it came to Valerian, this uneasy feeling tickled and poked me that could drown me without fail. Seeing how happy he was that we would be together was enough for me that I did not deserve to be with him.
"This coming lunar eclipse," Papa paused as soon as I told him that I needed more time to take Valerian's trust. I was creating grounds not to continue this mission. It seemed Papa noticed my behavior seeing how he impaled a glare in my direction. "I want you to orchestrate your plan to finish him. No excuses anymore, Dominixe Lilith Cantavalle."
Those stormy cognac eyes, gritting teeth, and flaring nostrils obscured fear for the first time. And now, I was cornered, unable to fabricate any excuses anymore...
Guilt cascaded down my whole being. It was suffocating, yet I would like to stay in this state.
Until that unfateful day when I proved to myself that I was ready to sacrifice Valerian... that I was more faithful to my father than him—that I was more into pleasing Papa than choosing the love of my Alpha mate.
"How does it feel to lose everyone, honeydew?" A smirk stretched on my lips, having to put an act that would make him certainly hate me more.
"I will kill you! I shall not spare your life!" Valerian snarled as he used his wolf strength and made me step backward. "I shall rip you into shreds and make you feel I loathe you! You should not have become my mate, you insolent slut!"
His words made me feel a pang of pain in my heart. The orange fire dust impregnated his distressed face, highlighting his features with so much solemnity.
Groping the hilt of my sword, I ignored it and used my wolf strength to defeat him. This might take a while since fighting an Alpha was no easy task, even if their emotions deprived them.
After all, they were the second to the strongest werewolves in the power hierarchy next to the lycan, considered royalty.
"Talk more, honeydew! I want to hear how you suffer from what I did," I said, continuing to mock him as if it would help to add more fuel to the fire.
Despite that, my wolf was furious at me. She wanted me to halt this madness as I kept hurting our mate. She kept telling me that I must not follow Papa's orders and must consider protecting Valerian at all costs.
However, I did not listen to her. Why would I? Why would I listen to my wolf? Something more important needed to be done than listening to her.
If I risked my emotions, I would risk the part of losing how I sowed the fruits of labor to be in the status of being branded as one of the heir candidates.
I couldn't risk that. It would put me at a disadvantage once in a turbulent state. I couldn't risk it. I just couldn't.
Since Valerian was blinded with anger right now, I must do what it took to finish this tonight. This was the last day of the grace period Papa had given to me. I did not wish to be punished by him if I extended this again.
I must not be affected by our mate bond, which until now, Valerian hadn't uttered the words that he wanted to finish everything.
But it would kill me if he did.
"Say, Valerian." We both distanced ourselves after I bestowed him a roundhouse kick. "Why don't you reject our mate bond now, hmm? I think this is the right time." I kept this smile on my face, disregarding this affliction battling inside me.
Damn it... Papa said I must not create a deep bond with Valerian, yet here I was... I was affected by the suggestion I said to my mate.
Eyeing him, his height was already more than six feet, I noticed. I thanked myself that I could fight Alphas with their strengths and height, almost on par with them. But I knew I was still no match for them, so I must do what it took to make some dirty tactics to finish everything.
My heart jumped when Valerian expressed a painful expression as he dropped his guard. "Why..." he said in a meek tone. "Why is it easy for you to suggest that as if I am not your mate, Dominixe? Do everything you show me just a facade?"
Hearing how his voice croaked with the hint of his heart shattering, I knew by then that I would regret this.
And that became the biggest regret in my life as soon as he used my sword to stab his chest, making me scream his name.