Chapter 59 – Changes – Alaric's POV

Raine slept for eight hours. I was beginning to wonder if something was physically wrong with her, but her vital signs remained calm and stable. She even snored softly at times. I held her tightly with her back against my chest, feeling her heartbeat through her skin.

Finally, she stirred in my arms as she came to awareness. Suddenly, she started to thrash her body, trying to break free of my grip. I held her tighter and whispered urgently, "It's just me...You are safe now. No one is going to hurt you."

She exhaled loudly as she stopped fighting. Then she curled into me tighter. I wrapped myself around her as much as I could, even bringing a leg over hers, locking her in place and making it impossible for her to move. Still, she pressed back into me, wanting more of the safety and security she felt by my body, as I enveloped her.

I smoothed her hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear as I continued to murmur soothingly, "Everything is going to be okay." I wasn't really sure if I spoke the truth, however I needed her to calm down and she was still visibly shaking.

After a few more moments, her body was still and relaxed in my arms. I whispered, "Do you remember what happened?"

She twisted so that she could face me. I loosened my grip a little as she repositioned herself comfortably, but I still kept her close to my body. She wrinkled her eyebrows and answered, "I'm not sure. Everything is a little hazy. I remember Echo surrounding us...And then fighting...."

I tried to help her piece it together by filling in the blanks as I could, "Your heartbeat slowed way down. After we were attacked, you actually held off two vampires. I didn't know you could fight like that."

She contemplated, "I can't...At least, not normally. But sometimes my body changes when threatened. Until now I have only fought against Hunters. I didn't know I had the strength to combat a vampire, let alone two at a time."

I interrupted in surprise, "You have been in hand-to-hand combat against the Hunters as well?!"

She nodded and explained, "They tried to kill me. There is a prophecy that states my loyalty rests on the head of a pin, and the side I choose will cause great devastation and realize great victory. Three of Hayden's warriors were convinced I would align with the vampires against them. So they broke into my chalet and attacked Cage and I. It was the first time I had ever felt that strange sensation; it's like a vibration that I can hear and touch in the air. During those times, I have more-than-human strength. But the ability comes and goes."

I listened to her in amazement and concern. I had not been aware of any prophecy. I asked, "Why didn't you tell me about the prophecy?"

She shrugged, "Because I didn't think it meant anything. Yes, I have been able to defend myself on occasion, but more often than not, I am at the mercy of the vampires around me. And certainly never have I been in a position of strength against them."

I considered her words and what they might mean. I reflected on the events from yesterday and murmured, "Your eyes glowed blue."

"They did what?!" she gasped.

Obviously, she was unaware of the trait. I confirmed, "Yes, whatever power or influence you used coincided with your altered vision."

Her eyes were wide as she breathed, "What does it mean?"

"I don't know. I've never seen or heard of it before. Thankfully, you did not try to force Gen. Raed or myself into submission, only Echo and his men."

She looked appalled and whispered, "I would never want to do that to you. I have no desire to control anyone."

I murmured gently, "You clearly desired it yesterday. You even stroked one of the men affectionately when he swore his allegiance to you. He was also the one that mentioned he was no longer in pain. What did he mean? Were you inflicting pain on him as well?"

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