The only thing that was keeping her from running towards the opposite direction was Zack's hand on her shoulder. Elize walked nervously along the long corridor. The entire pack was following them. Every now and then she'd steal a glance at Aileen's straight back walking in front of her. She wanted to talk to the old woman but she didn't dare, in front of all those people. It seemed like Aileen was angry at her on a scale never seen before. Though she couldn't understand why.
"Why do they all seem pissed at me?" Elize whispered to Agatha beside her.
"I don't think its you. I think its about the attack." She replied, nervously biting her nails.
Elize scrunched her face in confusion. "Eh? Then why are they taking us to see this man? We didn't do anything wrong."
"No clue. But the thought of seeing that man again is giving me creeps." Agatha said, slightly shivering.
"What do you mean?" Elize asked, her brows raised in confusion. She didn't know that Agatha noticed it too. She thought she was the only one who noticed that there was something weird with that man.
"Well remember the day of your initiation?"
"Yeah? What about it?"
"Your wolf was calm. It wasn't supposed to go out of control. Your magic was stronger. Something triggered it and I-" Agatha paused, and looked around.
"Go on." Elize said.
She watched as Agatha quickly put a spell around the two of them. The energy that it emitted was so low that it was barely noticeable. But she knew that even though the wolves wouldn't notice it, the witches surely would.
"It's okay, no one will react. It's a noise cancellation spell, just for some privacy. I think there's someone listening in on us." Agatha said, keeping her head down.
"What?" Elize asked nervously. She was about to look around when Agatha squeezed her hand.
"Don't make it obvious. It's not the wolves. There's something fishy going on."
Elize nodded and stole a glance at Zack. His hand was still on her shoulder, but there was no reaction from him. It seems that he was oblivious to what was happening right beside him.
"Go on." She said, turning back to Agatha.
"If I was not standing right next to you on that day, I wouldn't have noticed it. There was a surge of dark magic which was directed towards you from the crowd. And it came from his direction."
"Yeah I remember that. But I didn't think much of it back then. And no one seemed to notice it around me at the time. Why didn't you tell me that you felt it sooner?" Elize asked.
"I wanted to be sure of it Elize. It was dark magic. This is something serious. It is banned among witches. You could get in serious trouble for accusing someone of practicing it without proof." Agatha replied.
Elize noticed that Agatha was tensed. It was the first time that she was hearing about dark magic. But since she remembered how it felt to be hit by that strange magic, Elize knew what Agatha meant. It was only pure chance that she could withhold the force of it and not fall down. If the magic was what triggered her wolf, then the wielder surely didn't have good intentions towards her, Elize thought. But a question suddenly came up in her mind.
"Wait but this man is a werewolf. How is he a wielder of magic? That- that's impossible." She said.
"Exactly. That was why I was more confused. I discussed this with Irina. She was as shocked as I was. Although she didn't feel anything that day, even she thought that there was something off about that man." Agatha replied.
"Wait, speaking of Irina, where did she go? I didn't see her in the clearing."
Agatha drew a deep breath before replying. "She went to St Petersburg hoping to get some information on the case. She has uhh connections there."
"Ohh. So does Aileen-"
Elize was interrupted by a loud clearing of throat. She looked towards the direction of the sound, only to see Aileen's stern smile. Agatha quickly dispersed the spell as if on cue. Just then,, a man fully covered in black came out from the the room which Elize knew from memory was Zack's office. She remembered pacing to and fro the very same corridor a few weeks back.
"Alpha Li is expecting you. Please come inside." He said, respectfully bowing before Meiling.
Meiling nodded and looked towards where Elize and Zack were standing. "Come children."
Elize gave her best fake smile and moved along with Zack and Agatha towards the door when Aileen stopped them.
"Agatha, stay here. It won't be long." She said.
"But-" Elize protested.
"Not now Elize. Come inside with Zack." Aileen warned, cutting her off with a stern look.
Elize looked helplessly towards Agatha.
"It's okay. I'll be waiting." Agatha said, sensing the conflict going on inside her friend's mind.
"Come Elize, let's just get this done with." Zack interrupted, slightly tugging at her hand.
Elize nodded and followed him inside. The two matriarchs followed behind them. As soon as they entered the room, the door was closed shut from behind. Elize looked around the luxurious office space. It was the first time she came into Zack's office. The room was huge, with polished wooden ceiling and carpeted floor. A plush sofa along with matching chairs were situated at one end of he room, surrounding a small tea- table while on the other end was a carved antique study table.
A man sat behind the table with his hands placed languidly on the polished surface of the wooden table. Many stacked layers of papers lay beneath his hands. The familiar feeling of dread filled her when she looked at the graying man in front of her. There was something definitely off about him, but she couldn't place it. The moment the man caught her staring at him, his devilishly handsome face broke into a wide smile, somehow projecting the existence of that ugly scar on his face dramatically.
"Well well, isn't this a surprise? The legendary witch of Ruah Yareach herself stands before me." The man's deep voice resonated in the room.
Elize bowed respectfully towards the figure behind the table. He might be creepy, but he was still Zack's grandfather, she thought raising her head.
"Grandfather." She acknowledged.
The man laughed hearing her. His entire body shook as he did. Elize looked at him confusedly. Why was he laughing at her?
Suddenly he stopped and narrowed his eyes at her. "Grandfather? When did I become your grandfather?" He asked in an amused tone.
Meiling interrupted Elize before she could say anything. "Father, she is Zack's mate. So much happened in your absence that I-"
"Oh? Is that so now?" The man asked, rising from the chair.
"Why don't you ask the guests to take a seat on the sofa Ling'er? It is not proper for them to stand like this."He said, cutting his daughter off.
Meiling nodded her head, a grave expression covering her face. She then turned to Elize. "Come Elize, take a seat." She said, walking towards the other end of the room.
Elize turned towards Zack. His face was devoid of any expression, but she could feel that he was getting irritated. She softly tugged at his hand, which was holding hers. Zack turned towards her, putting on a fake smile.
'I'm okay Zack. We can do this.' Elize said through their mind link.
'Please bear with it a little more. I promise I'll make it better.' He replied, sensing her discomfort. It was clear to her that Zack didn't like his grandfather any better than she did.
'I trust you.' She said with a smile.
"Elize?" Aileen's voice interrupted them.
Without giving anything away, she said, "Yes, we're coming."
The elders were already seated on the expensive looking sofa set. Aileen and Meiling were sitting together on the sofa, while Alpha Li made himself comfortable on the chair adjacent to it. There were two empty chairs opposite to him, left intentionally for the couple. Elize slowly made way to the seat, all the while holding on to Zack's hand. As they sat down, they were still holding hands. The graying man looked at their hands and chuckled.
Elize kept her eyes down. She didn't want to meet his gaze.
"So tell me Ling'er, what happened in my absence?" Alpha Li asked, keeping his eyes trained on the couple.
"Father, while you were gone, a small misunderstanding happened between her brother and Zack. Elize was heavily injured and we all felt that it was better to shift her to the pack house for her safety." Meiling replied with caution. Elize could see that she had knowingly omitted the part about why she had gotten hurt.
"I see. Anything else you want to tell me dear?" He asked. His voice was almost too soft, as if coaxing a puppy to eat food from his hands.
"I don't know what you're talking about father." Meiling lied.
Alpha Li's face showed a dangerously charming smile. Elize knew at that moment that the man knew more than he was letting on.
"What about the fact that my grandson already bit her without asking for permission from me? Tell me daughter, what else do you plan to hide from me?" He asked. Alpha Li's smile faded, replaced by a stern look on his face as he turned towards Meiling.