Prologue

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A pair of golden eyes watched a girl from amid the darkness of the shadows. His orders had been clear and he remembered his Alpha giving it to him like it was just yesterday.

Everything had been going well over the past couple of years. She seemed like an ordinary girl, reserved and well behaved. But as every year passed, the number of mysterious deaths in and around the places she went to or lived in, increased.

Too good to be a coincidence and these are definitely not accidents, he thought as he followed her across Illerea, but he never found her anywhere near the deaths when it happened. It had also become increasingly difficult to track her on numerous occasions and this was a serious disgrace for him as he was the best tracker in the pack.

"There is going to be a masquerade ball tonight and everyone is invited," he had heard a couple of people saying.

"The Host of the ball has come back after more than a decade and would like to get to know everyone in the village. I remember when the war raged on and he volunteered to go fight for this place. He was only a little boy of sixteen. I cannot wait to see what kind of a man he has become now," one of them said.

Perfect. She should be coming to this, he thought to himself as he walked towards the village to buy a mask, changing into a handsome young human with every step, and pulling on the clothes his King had given him.

The sun set way too fast for his liking as tracking her had kept his nerves on edge every night, but he had a duty to carry out. As guests trickled into the mansion one by one, he too slipped into the massive house with them. He had never been anywhere near her so he didn't know her scent, but he knew he would recognize her when he saw her.

The mansion in itself was a nice place, or rather, the hall was. The side walls were adorned with paintings of what, he assumed, were of the family. The pillars around the sides of the room gave a touch of elegance, but what caught his eye the most was the simplicity of the place. The ceiling to floor windows added to that grace. He walked around, observing the place and keeping to the shadows as much as he could, dreading any form of socializing and forming bonds. But as minutes turned into hours, he was forced to partake in the dances and festivities held there, mainly to avoid suspicious glances from the humans around, much to his annoyance.

Very soon, he did notice a girl with black hair which was intricately held back by a circlet of silver and wearing a midnight blue gown, had caught the Host's attention, and he had seen them dancing and talking several times.

It has to be her, the way she walked and carried herself is the same. It has to! he thought as he moved to the buffet table to get a closer look at her. A group of women stood, huddled together, looking at him intently, whispering and giggling. He heard them guessing as to which one of them he might ask for the next dance with his heightened sense of hearing.

Humans, he thought to himself with disgust as an idea came upon him. It would be easier for me to get closer to her if I can dance near her. He picked up his stride and went right to a girl, who didn't seem over twenty-one summers, wearing a forest green gown with golden embroidery that reminded him so much of home.

"Good evening, Miss. May I have the honour of getting acquainted with you over this dance?"

The girl's face lit upon hearing this and she politely accepted his request. Predictable. Both he and the girl took up their position near his target. The dance started and he began getting acquainted with the girl he was dancing with when he was greeted by the sight of both the Host and the girl he was tracking, walking deeper into the house, his hand by her waist.

'Time to go.' He took the girl away from the center of the room, excused himself and followed them out of the hall, keeping to the shadows. They kept walking until they reached a balcony at the end of the hall. She had taken off her mask and they stood there for a while, talking about meaningless things, oblivious to the fact that he was watching them and hearing their conversation. The Host was touching her face tenderly and she looked into his eyes with love. As the host moved to take his mask off, a silver gleam caught his eye.

The cry that emanated from the Host would have been heard loud and clear had it not been for the deafening music. He fell on his knees, eyes bulging. Blood. He could smell it even from this distance.

It is trickling down from where she had driven her... silver stake? Where did she get that from and why? he thought alarmed. But the wound, it was inflicted in such a way that it wouldn't kill him if he was left to die he thought as he watched her take out the stake and wipe the blood off of it. Unless... he took in a deep breath. "Poison," he whispered, realizing the man's end was near.

The Host's eyes portrayed betrayal and pain, but her eyes, her ice blue eyes were as clear as it could ever be. As the Host lay there, dying slowly and painfully, she turned to where he was hiding. He realized she had heard him and made no effort to conceal himself, but was careful not to show his face. As she made eye contact, a chill went down his spine. Her eyes showed no remorse or fear but instead looked as if to challenge him.

He had seen enough. As he slipped back into the shadows, he saw fear and annoyance pass through her eyes. He knew he wouldn't make it out alive if he waited to see what happened, so he ran out of the house and into the woods nearby where he changed back into a wolf once more and hurried quickly to report what he had seen.

He was sure now. She was the One.

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