Chapter 37

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Outside the throne room, Izara stood in front of the massive double doors and took a fortifying breath. It was early in the morning and light from the open point on the pyramid spilled into the open main hall shining across the beautiful fountain in the middle. Like the rest of the stark décor of the metal palace, the fountain was made of the same black metal. Four towering statues of huntresses stood with their spears at each corner of the shimmering reflecting surface.

It was beautiful yet brash in its own way. Very yautja. Too bad she couldn't truly enjoy it. Nothing about the alien planet and its mysterious yautja inhabitants sparked any of her usual joy. Inside she just felt dead. The truth about what she was and what Bor had been assigned to do when he came to Black Mountain was too much to bear.

The truth had decimated her. Izara would give anything to go back to the lie, back to the moment she could look at Bor and not want to scream.

What a fool he probably thought she was. Probably what they all thought, she frowned thinking of the other cyborg women.

Cyborg. That was what she was, wasn't it? Not simply enhanced as she had always been led to believe but truly different. Hell, even different from the cyborgs here on Ojibwe.

Izara's nails dug into her palm as she thought of the people back on Black Mountain. Everyone had always treated her like a pariah. Turns out they had been right to treat her that way. Izara recalled the pitying look Justice had given her and her gut churned with anger. She was some sort of lab-born freak.

"Are you ready?" Ravki's voice broke through her spiraling thoughts.

Taking another deep breath, she nodded and followed the hunter as he pushed through the giant doors.

Once inside all eyes turned to her. There was a small crowd dotted around the massive room, some humans, mostly hunters. Without thinking her eyes found the familiar pair of red eyes coming towards her. Izara ignored Bor. Doing as Ravki had instructed she walked down the center of the room directly to the dais at the end.

At the center of the dais stood a metal throne with another yautja sitting on top of it. Ravki told her their leader was named Rakkah and he decided all on Ojibwe. Standing next to him was a yautja holding a spear. Maybe his guard or advisor? She wasn't sure, Ravki did not mention him. Stopping a few feet away she waited for the yautja leader to turn his glimmering gaze towards her and nod his head.

Izara swallowed, she could feel the eyes of the room on her. "I am told that I must speak with you in regards to leaving."

The room had already been silent but now all noise ceased as if there had been a silent collective gasp. Beside her, Bor shifted in agitation but did not interrupt her.

Rakkah stared at her, considering her words for a moment before lifting one clawed hand and gesturing to the wide room. "Beyond Ojibwe, you will be hunted. Here you may live freely."

Ravki told her to expect a denial but she refused to believe it. Why would he deny her? She was not yautja there should be no reason why she should be here. "I rather take my chances."

Rakkah said nothing.

Frustration welled up inside of her but she did her best not to show it and kept her voice calm as she pressed on with her argument. "Ravki has told me your scientists have no interest in me. I should be free to leave!"

"And what of your mate?" Rakkah indicated to Bor at her side.

Refusing to look at him, she continued to stare at Rakkah. But it did not mean she couldn't feel him. His eyes bore holes into her flesh and she could sense the desperate need for her to turn to look at him. She refused.

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