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Amazing cover above by @Lost48! Thanks, love!

Well as usual, the writing is extending longer than I initially expected, so in addition to this Epilogue Part TWO, there is still another EPILOGUE PART THREE coming after this!

Chapter 165— Epilogue Part Two

Raine

The pitter patter of little feet coming from the opposite side of the Council room caught my attention. In a blur of movement, a small bundle of energy raced toward Armand with his hands out. "Papi!"

Instantly, Armand's complete attention focused on the little boy. He crouched down, ready to catch his hurtling offspring, when Brialle rushed into the room behind him.

"Tarquin!" she gasped and then gulped in air to catch her breath before continuing, "You know not to run from mommy!"

I bit back a giggle. Brialle's hair was askew, tendrils flying haphazardly around her face, and her chocolate colored eyes a bit wild as they zeroed in on my fifteen-month-old brother, who was now safely tucked in Armand's embrace.

Armand stood to his feet, holding the boy to his chest, who was the spitting image of Brialle. Tarquin smiled brilliantly up at him, flashing his pearly white teeth. Armand's eyes danced, but his chest gave a slight rumble and his voice lowered sternly, "Is that true? Did you run from your mother?"

Tarquin's smile slipped. He uttered softly, "Um...no?"

Armand's eyes darkened and the rumble in his chest got louder. My little brother was certainly not immune to the devastatingly fierce aura that Armand held. Instantly, Tarquin rattled out in a panic, "I mean yes! I'm sorry...I didn't mean to!"

I could see Armand holding back his laughter, but he maintained his stern expression. "How exactly where you running...but you 'didn't mean to'?"

Tarquin shifted uneasily in his arms, his eyes darting around the room for any help he may receive. When no one spoke up, he sighed heavily and dropped his head. "I'm sorry, Papi...I won't do it again."

"Uh huh," Armand couldn't hold back his snort. He lifted the little boy's chin with his fingers. To Tarquin's credit, he held Armand's intense lapis gaze, his own sable brown irises not wavering. Armand's voice dropped even lower, all humor gone. "Never lie to me, son."

Tarquin may have successfully held his gaze, but he flinched...he understood the heavy weight and seriousness of Armand's command. His eyes opened wider as he whispered, "Yes, Papi."

Armand relaxed. "Good boy, but for your indiscretion, you will train an additional hour tomorrow."

I rolled my eyes—like that was going to deter my little brother from future misbehavior —Tarquin loved to train. Armand may as well have offered him an ice cream cone instead.

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