twenty one

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Illyria felt as though she was suffocating. As she stepped through a break in the trees pack members swarmed around her, making sure she was alright, asking her if she needed anything, thanking her for bringing back the Lunas. It wasn't like Illyria didn't appreciate the doting, but all she wanted in this moment was a quiet, peaceful shower where she could rearrange her thoughts, and a healthy mate to help her come up with a plan to find her best friend. Unfortunately only one of these was a possibility.

Illyria smiled, and hugged, and gushed as pack members surrounded her and what felt like hours later, but was in actuality only a few minutes later, she was finally on her way up the stairs to her bedroom. Her thoughts were mostly negative, she was doubting herself, and her packs ability to find Jess. To stop the rogue Alpha.

Illyria stepped into her marble shower, the glass walls coated in steam and the tiles dripping with condensation. She tilted her head back and let the water hit her collar bones and chest; turning her milky skin a bright red. Illyria relaxed as the hot water melted away some of her stress; the knots in her muscles disappearing and her mind releasing the excess baggage, focusing only on the steady thrumming of the water agaisnt her body and the heat surrounding her.

The peace didn't last long before harsh knocking brought Illyria back to her present situation. "Illyria, we're all just waiting for you now," Pierce called out, Illyria barely able to hear him over the rhythmic pounding of the shower. "Alright, I'll be right out," Illyria yelled, groaning at the thought of leaving the calm space. "Huh?" Pierce called out, not hearing Illyria the first time. "I'll be out in a sec!" Illyria yelled louder, washing the conditioner from her hair before stepping out into the steam filled room.

With a fluffy towel wrapped around her body she rushed into her bedroom towards her closet, passing a mirror on her way and stopping because of the changes in her appearance. Her eyes seemed deeper inset, almost skull-like, and the green was a deeper shade than she remembered. Her skin was red from the water but smooth and clear, except for a tiny smattering of freckles on her shoulder that reminded her of Tristyn.

She met her eyes in the mirror and she could see herself visably wilt. Oh Tristyn, she thought again, her heart contracting around the thought. She wouldn't even have a chance to check up on him until after the meeting, she realised, and the realisation didn't sit well with her at all. She forced herself to move away from the mirror and into her closet, dropping her towel and looking for something comfortable. She settled for a pair of yoga pants and reached for a hoodie, realising that it was one of Tristyn's. She brought it up to her nose, hoping for a whiff of his scent, but finding only the fresh scent of laundry detergent.

She pulled on the hoodie, tugged her hair into a soggy bun, and made her way through to the meeting room only in socks. The room was packed and Illyria felt a small smile tug at her lips as she saw Pierce standing awkwardly trying to make conversation with Keon. The noise level in the room dropped as Illyria took her seat at the head of the table and Alpha Logan drew everyone's attention to the map.

The meeting progressed slowly, and Illyria felt her mind wandering. She only participated when asked to point out the scent trail she followed after the rogue Alpha left. Keon taking part in the conversation to point out hiding places in the territory that he could have gone. Illyria felt herself thinking more and more about Jess, and how lucky they were that Keon was going to help them look for her; whatever his reason for it was, Illyria was thankful.

As the meeting dragged on Illyria felt her already limited concentration wavering. Her eyes glazing over as she felt the exhaustion settle into her bones. Pierce must've noticed because not even ten minutes later the meeting was paused and Illyria followed the crowd of warriors to the kitchen for a late dinner.

"Psst," A voice whispered, "Psst," it whispered again, this time accompanied by a grape hitting Illyria in the face. She picked it up and popped it into her mouth, chewing while she looked up at the thrower- Pierce, - and frowned. "What?"

"I wanted to know if you were okay," Pierce asked, leaning against the counter and popping another fresh grape into his gob. Illyria forced a smile and nodded, feeling as though her head felt hundreds of kilograms. "Just tired Pierce," she yawned, "and you?" Illyria wiped tear from her eyes as they drooped, the past few sleepless nights catching up to her and hitting her in one fowl swoop. Pierce laughed, "yeah I can see that. Are you going up now?"

"Going up where?" Illyria asked stealing another grape from his bowl. "... so you going?" Pierce asked again expectantly, Illyria shook her head. "I'm sorry, can you-" she yawned, "repeat that please? I'm about as sharp as a spoon right now." Pierce chuckled, "I asked if you were going up to see Tristyn, apparently he's up now." Illyria felt like a pitcher of cold water had been tossed over her. "What?"

Pierce's eyebrows knotted together, "I thought you knew, Tristyn woke up a little while ago-" Before he could even finish his sentence Illyria had jumped out of her seat with energy she didn't know she possessed and had rushed out of the kitchen, tripping over a few feet before finally making it through the revolving doors and up the stairs.

Illyria felt herself unaware of her surroundings as she ran towards Tristyn's bedroom which, upon arrival, she found empty. Her heart pounded in her ears and panic surrounded her. Her wolf whimpering in her mind. She felt her hands begin to shake and she stepped back into the hallway. Her eyes wide. A foreign feeling of anger built in her and she realised quickly that she was feeling Tristyn's emotions through the bond.

She was confused, until she heared the yelling, and once again took off with an abundance of energy towards the kitchen. The yelling grew louder, along with the growls, and Illyria kicked open the door only to find Keon being forced against the wall by Tristyn, both of their canine's bared and their eyes black.

"Stop!"



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