403 New Hobby
For the remainder of that day, Cirrus allowed himself to brood and let his heart bleed quietly. He allowed his thoughts to wander, getting only darker the longer time passed. In constant search of an answer, of a reason, of something to blame… In search of something to help him up once more.
Whatever he was looking for, however, was to come from inside of him. He blocked out the pack link and kept to himself, staying inside the room… and allowing the great Commander of Death Platoon to break down. He stood at a crossroads, without a purpose and with no goal to look forward to.
An existential crisis…
What he wouldn’t let himself do at all costs… was suicide. It didn’t matter how low he went, that was the one thing he was sure of. ‘I’m not giving up… never…’
The images before Katie began to speed up and bits of information about events were filtered into her mind, explaining the events that followed the prince’s heartbreak.
After that day, Cirrus was able to pick himself up. He regained his quiet, calm and collected demeanour, however, it soon became clear to the two empires that he had been severely weakened after his visit to the Origin. That something had happened between him and the goddess.
No one ever got to know what happened to him at the time. The goddess, however, knew what it meant for him to stay in this weakened state. In fact, it worried her to watch him stay this way.
The conditions for his weakness were clear… and yet, it never vanished. Not even once… If anything, the prince seemed to be getting weaker with each passing day. Celeste knew her powers wouldn’t incapacitate him to the state of being paralyzed, but they would make him incapable of working with others if all remained as it was.
Appearing in his dreams didn’t help either. The prince would simply turn his back away from her like always… and shut her out completely.
Nothing she’d done had helped him give up on his mission to eliminate humanity. If anything, his hate for the race burned even brighter now, for he was far weaker than he’d been when she’d first cursed him.
During the time that he was weak, he took on a rather peculiar new hobby. Reading…
What was more that he wasn’t just reading novels, but books of all kinds and he was also making research, a change that shocked the werewolves and hunters that heard of this new development.
However, without having any real reason to worry, they gracefully allowed him to pursue this newfound ambition. The prince made his research on so many things, some of which he kept concealed from the king.
King Hamedale soon found his mate and got married. And during this time, Cirrus did nothing to move other aspects of his life forward.
The king had tried talking to him plenty of times, having noticed how ‘stuck’ Cirrus was. Before finding his mate, he would arrange for the prince to go out with him to search for their mates in the different packs around the world, but prince Cirrus declined his offer each time.
The images finally stopped fast-forwarding and zoomed in on a walking Cirrus seven years later. He carried himself calmly and acknowledged everyone he passed by with a kind smile that never reached his eyes. He picked his words carefully as he spoke, speaking little and making sure to conceal his real emotions and intentions.
At this point, the prince knew what it was like to be completely isolated from the pack link and he’d even grown used to the sensation. For a normal wolf, it was one of the worst forms of torture. One that was even used against criminals that went against the king’s orders.
Cirrus, on the other hand, found this easier to do once he’d been rejected. Somehow, being alone felt like his element and felt remarkably familiar to the loneliness he felt when the goddess brought him news of his partner’s escape… that he would never see Jane again.
The only person that wasn’t fooled by the prince’s facade was the King of Lycaon, Hamedale and he had approached Cirrus on the matter. An argument had broken out where the king was the only one yelling… addressing a calm prince with a heart that had turned to ice.
‘Just give it up already, Hamedale,’ he’d told the king and walked away from him, leaving him unable to do or say anything else. He’d said all he could, but nothing got through to Cirrus anymore. Nothing fazed him… nothing interested him… Nothing was important to him at all… Nothing, but his research and books.
Cirrus walked up to the doors of the throne room and pushed them open, not waiting for the guards to do that for him.
Inside the throne room, the king and queen were seated on their matching thrones listening to a tale from one of the hunters that had come to present a progress report in the capital.
The trio had gotten sidetracked and somehow the hunter, forgetting his place, had spiralled into a tale of a hunter who’d gotten himself into a bar fight with an alpha and gotten the lion’s share of the resulting injuries.
The Agency had turned a blind eye on account of his foolishness. Nonetheless, the gruelling details of the two men that had duked it out seemed quite the spectacle to pass up during the narration of this event.
Cirrus stood behind the hunter waiting for the man to finish narrating the story. At this point in the story, the drunk hunter mistook his steak for a sword and went swinging without thinking twice.
“The alpha thought he was being insulted and ended up lunging straight for the hunter who began defending himself with the stake. I don’t understand how someone forgets the feel of a sword, but with everything before my eyes, I just had to accept it,” the man laughed.
“Am I interrupting something?” Cirrus asked when he couldn’t take it much longer.
The king stopped laughing, “Oh my… Cirrus. What’s the time? I hadn’t noticed how time was slipping by. Why does it always rush when having fun? You’ll have to forgive the intrusion, Hunter Russel,” the king apologised when he realised the hunter had overstayed his welcome.
“It’s on me, your majesty. I’m sorry for taking too much of your time,” the hunter chuckled, bowing in respect to the king.
“Oh no, it’s no problem at all,” the king chuckled, “It’s always a pleasure to have you.” Cirrus remained quiet as he watched the man leave. The room finally settled into a peaceful silence.
“Have you finally chosen to ask for a tour through the empire? The empire is filled with potential…”
“No, that is not why I asked to meet with you, your majesty,” the prince cut the king off. Hamedale withheld the subtle frustration that came with each time his brother did this.
“My research has finally brought me to something astonishing. I wanted to share with you the details or at least… the simplified explanation of what I have been working on,” the prince responded.
“Oh? I thought you were simply learning about different plants in the empire and their reactions to the bodies of other animals. Is there more to it than that?” the king asked him.
“Oh, there is much more, little brother. I assure you of that… I also might have held back on telling you everything I have been working on,” the prince added sternly.
“Okay then, you have my attention,” the king replied, leaning back in his seat.
The prince took out the rolls of parchment from under his armpit, gesturing to one of the king’s beta alphas to hold one and another to take the other as they presented them to the king. The king read through the work for a moment, his eyebrows scrunching in concern before widening them in shock, “This research… Are those moon lotuses?”
“Yes, they are. I have always wondered why they glow in the moonlight, so I started using them in my experiments. They are not easy to find or many for that matter…”
“They only grow in places where the goddess has landed before. That is the Origin from which we are forbidden from going,” the king cut him off sternly.
“The Origin is not the only place the goddess has landed. I found another place and my research has really been going well ever since,” the prince’s eyes sparkled with what looked like excitement for the first time in seven years. The king reluctantly let the subject go and continued reading.
His eyes shot open once more, this time filled with mixed emotions… the most prominent emotion, however… was rage, “Cirrus, what have you been doing? This is…
This is a recipe for something that could weaken werewolves and you have the audacity to call it Wolf’s Bane, what are you thinking?” the king was livid.
No matter how angry the king got, the man before him stayed perfectly calm. The level of power between the two royals was insurmountable and yet the new Queen could have sworn she saw him smirk.