“How do you plan on getting to this mansion you mentioned?” I asked, once we were out in the hall.
Julian’s Beta, Brian, fell in step behind us. “We can’t take that flashy car again, if we actually want to keep
it secret this time.”
“It would be too conspicuous to drive. Even if we escaped the grounds undetected, the bad guys would
quickly notice our arrival.”
“What’s your plan, then?”
He glanced at me. “Can you ride a horse?”
I haven’t ridden since the academy, but I thought I could still manage somehow. So I nodded.
“Good. We’ll have to sneak there though. Brian?”
Brian widened his stride to walk at Julian’s side. “Yes, Prince Julian?”
“Run interference, yeah?”
“Of course.” Brian increased his pace, breaking ahead of us, likely to block the path of any guards or
unwanted onlookers we might run into or who would run into us.
Texts began to pour into Julian’s phone near instantly.
Following Brian’s instruction, we were able to follow a path that lead us away from absolutely everyone. We didn’t even see a single servant until we reached the stables themselves, where the stable hands
were preparing two horses for ride.
“Your Royal Highness,” they said with a bow as we approached. They’d been expecting us.
“Take the mare,” Julian said to me. “She’s gentler Better for a rider out of practice.”
I hadn’t told him the last time I rode, but he’d seemed to surmise it all his own. Julian was like that, noticing things. I wondered if I had any secrets I could keep from him. He already seemed to know everything about me.
I put my foot in the stirrup and mounted the mare. Once I was in the saddle, my horse–riding days returned to me quickly. Although in almost every memory, I had been by Nicholas’s side. I felt a bit hollow, not having him here now.
Julian, from atop his horse, received another text. “Brian is in the security office. We have to go now to avoid being seen on the cameras.”
Following his lead, we rode our horses out of the paddock. Once we were past the fence, we urged our horses to run. I rode in Julian’s shadow as he expertly maneuvered the terrain.
I remembered how after he and Nicholas had saved me from the boar, they had claimed that no one knew the area around the palace better than them. Julian continued to show that now, expertly avoiding fences and too–high cliffs that might hurt the horses.
We rode for an hour or so, seeing nothing but wilderness, until he finally slowed at the edge of a clearing. I slowed my own horse beside his, until
fully stopped, hidden just behind a tree line.
Past the clearing stood a massive mansion, almost as large as the palace itself. Someone very
important must have lived there.
I almost asked Julian who it was, when suddenly I felt something, like a pull in my chest.
It stole my breath away.
Julian noticed. “Piper?”
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even think to formulate words.
All I could do was focus on this pull, this tether that begged me to follow it.
Was this my wolf? Was it calling to me?
The danger of the moment was forgotten. Everything else was too.
“Piper!” Julian must have seen what I was about to do before I did, but he wasn’t fast enough to close the distance and grab my reins
He tried, but I was already kicking my horse forward and tearing across the field as fast as the horse
“Wait!” Julian gave chase. I could hear a second set of horse hooves pounding into the grass, echoing those of the animal beneath me.
I wouldn’t slow. I couldn’t.
My wolf was here.
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