PART THREE: THE FIRST MISSION
Prince Felan’s room was especially inviting with bright yellow tapestry. The room featured large open windows where a cool breeze wafted into the room. An entire wall surface was lined with books, all perfectly aligned on a book shelf. The room was neatly arranged with no filth in sight as could be expected of a werewolf’s abode.
The Prince was seated next to the window looking outside with an impassive look on his face. He was chained up by enchanted chains; potent enough to bound a strong werewolf. Upon hearing the door click shut, he turned to face his audience with renewed interest.
“Ah, Oracle Tabitha and… company. To what do I owe the honor of your visit?” stated the arrogant Prince. His disrespectful disposition earned him the ire of the Oracle’s pack most especially her Protector who growled threateningly. Prince Felan smirked upon hearing the threatening growl and his eyes swept the room once more before they settled on Talulla.
“You honor me, my lady. I see you brought a little consolation prize for me. I shall cherish her element to the last drop,” he arrogantly declared.
Dolphus had to physically hold Lufian as at the moment Talulla’s life was threatened, the latter lunged at the Prince, growling furiously.
“Oh, I am sorry, is she your pet, good sir? My mistake, I just rarely ever encounter such distinguished guests,” Felan stated sneeringly.
Oracle Tabitha looked at Talulla and nodded. The Prince continued his jeers but no one paid him any mind.
“Well, if you were just going to stare at me all day long, you could have just used security drones to monitor the room. Now that I think about it, however, I suppose you wish to torture me by bringing such a tasty offering that you know I cannot touch. If that was your little game, the jig is up. Let’s get this over with quickly,”
“Why are you in such a hurry to get rid of us, Prince Felan?” the Oracle asked him.
“Well, you make for really poor company,” he responded nonchalantly.
“It is because he is afraid, my lady,” Talulla claimed.
“Me, afraid? Preposterous!” the Prince defiantly chided.
“Hidden beneath all those layers of arrogance lies his true dominant emotion; Regret,” Talulla continued.
“Is that right? Now riddle me this, Prince Felan, what would an arrogant jerk like you have to regret?”
“Nothing. Your little guest is a terrible telepath,”
“There is someone he regretted killing and no matter how hard he tries, the guilt never goes away,” Talulla continued.
The Prince looked at her stunned. “Who are you, little wench? Do you presume to know me? How arrogant of you,”
“The true key to peace is by honoring that emotion, your majesty,” Talulla stated. She used her empathic abilities to increase the feeling of regret Felan already felt gnawing at him.
“No! Stop that! You have no right- you wench! I am going to tear you limb from limb! Get out of my head!”
Talulla pressed on until the Prince was on his knees weeping. “Stop it! I cannot bear it anymore… She-deserved better… I am nothing more than a filthy beast… I am irredeemable and what I did is irreconcilable and yet she-“
“She forgave you. That woman whom you looked down on had a power you never could have imagined, didn’t she?” Talulla asked approaching him cautiously. Lufian sought to hold her back but the Oracle encouraged him to let her go which Lufian did reluctantly.
Prince Felan continued to weep as his memories were flooded with images of his last victim, Qiao Grayson. He recalled their childhood memories and of how strong and brave she had been even when she faced off against the monster he had become. Qiao had done the impossible and had held a secret power the Prince could never have imagined she possessed- the power to forgive him. He had thought himself invincible and had taken many lives to feed the insatiable hunger werewolves were plagued with and yet he had made the mistake of targeting her. Previously, she had been nothing but an unremarkable religious Sage and yet with three simple words, she had irrevocably changed him.
“Her death will not have been in vain if you truly change for the better… You must embrace the path of light to honor her memory,” Talulla stated placing a reassuring hand on his right shoulder. Several moments passed as the Prince continued to weep in silence until Talulla turned to face the Oracle and nodded.
“I believe he is ready now,”
The Oracle nodded and began to draw a circle around the Prince as Talulla slowly withdrew from him but continued talking to him, gradually allowing the Prince reprieve from the overwhelming grief gnawing at him. Once the magical circle was completed and its bounds were reinforced with enchanted crystals, the ritual sacred herbs were burned as the Oracle began the incantations required to break the Werewolf curse.
The Prince began to shudder as he unwittingly began to transform into his werewolf form which was excruciating. He howled in agony for several minutes as the ritual progressed. Talulla projected feelings of healing and relief to overlap the searing pain taking over the Prince’s body and it gave him reprieve for a few precious moments even as the curse’s dark energy was violently expunged from him.
After what felt like an eternity, the Prince involuntarily turned back from his werewolf form and collapsed on the floor, convulsing violently for several minutes before coming to and accepting the gift of Talulla’s element offering, his own energy almost entirely spent so that his appearance became pale and emaciated. The malevolent energy was then exorcised and banished to the Hellish plains before it could wreak any more havoc.
Once he had fed of Talulla’s element to his fill, he rested his head on her laps and looked up at her like a trusting child in their mother’s arms.
“Who are you, truly?” he asked her curiously.
“My name is Talulla, my lord,”
“Your element is… exceptionally good. It feels as if I have been reborn,”
“You have been reborn in the light, my lord, like a noble phoenix,”
The Prince smiled and then appeared to be deep in thought before asking Talulla, “My lady, could you, by any chance, be related to Queen Aris?”
Talulla was stunned he made the connection right away. “You know of her?”
He nodded. “She is an indelible part of my peoples’ history after all,”
She smiled at him and nodded. “I am honored to share the same blood and ancestry with the noble Queen Aris,”
“Then you are this generation’s Lady of Wolves?”
“How fascinating. It is such a sublime honor to have been saved by someone of your stature. You have my eternal gratitude,”
“It was my honor, your highness,” Talulla stated with a humble bow. The Prince reluctantly sat up and helped Talulla get back up on her feet. He bowed reverently before the Oracle and her party who had silently observed their interaction. Prince Felan then profusely apologized for all the crimes he had committed and stated he would gladly face justice for them even if it meant dying or imprisonment.
“I have a better punishment in mind for you, Prince Felan,” Oracle Tabitha stated.
“I will gladly accept whatever that punishment may be, my lady,” he stated with a bow.
“Very well. You shall reach out to each of the Feudal families and convince them to join hands with Mialand in the upcoming war against Empress Weylyn. Her reign of evil must be expunged from this world entirely and we can use all the help we can get,”
“You have my support, my lady,” the Prince declared solemnly.
The Oracle smiled and went on tour with Prince Felan, visiting each of the existing feudal families and letting the newly reformed Prince garner their support for the upcoming battle. With the current Denary government and the feudal lords’ support, Oracle Tabitha counted on the might of both countries’ armies even as she went around garnering support from the other Magical Realm countries to fight against the Red Veiled Empress.
Tabitha helped Talulla put her powers to good use by the latter reaching out to as many werewolves as she could to convert them and save them from the evil paths they had chosen, as was reasonably safe for the Queen Apparent to do. Talulla even reached out to lycans at risk of turning before the curse turned them into monsters and slowly began to make a name for herself as the Wolf Sayer of her age. In time, Tabitha reassured Talulla, the latter would leave an indelible mark on history just as Queen Aris had done in her time.
TO BE CONTINUED….
What does Fate have in store for the Lady of Wolves? Stay tuned to find out! Links to previous parts are listed below. Enjoy!