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Shadows of the pack novel Chapter 87

As Isolde's gaze flickered to Malachi's arm, her heart skipped a beat. A dark, intricate pattern marred his skin, its twisted design sending a shiver down her spine.
Malachi's lips curled into a humorless smile, his eyes gleaming with a twisted amusement. "Ah, you've noticed. A little gift, you could say."
"What is it?" she asked, her voice laced with concern. "What have you done to yourself, Malachi?" Her brows furrowed, her concern for him outweighing any fear. "Malachi, answer me. Are you using black magic?"
He shrugged nonchalantly, his gaze never leaving hers. "Just a means to an end, Isolde. A way to harness a power greater than anything this realm has ever seen." A mirthless laugh escaped his lips, the sound sending a chill down her spine. "And if I am?" he retorted, his voice dripping with disdain.
"Black magic is forbidden," Isolde replied, her voice unwavering. "It's dangerous, corrupting. It twists the heart and feeds on darkness. It's not a path you should be walking."
Isolde's eyes glistened with unshed tears, her heart aching as she looked at the man before her—a man she had once loved, now consumed by hate and darkness. "This isn't you, Malachi," she whispered, her voice laced with sadness. "You're letting the darkness control you."
A wave of sorrow washed over Isolde as she looked at the man before her. The Malachi she had known, the one who had stood by her side, was fading further into the shadows, replaced by this embodiment of chaos and destruction.
"You're lost, Malachi," she said, her voice soft yet filled with conviction. "This power you're seeking—it's consuming you. Can't you see that?"
His laughter echoed through the night, a sound that sent chills down her spine. "You never understood, Isolde. Power is not something to be feared; it's something to be embraced. Those who hesitate, who cling to their morals, are the ones who fall behind."
Isolde shook her head, her eyes glistening with tears. "Power without purpose is empty, Malachi. You're becoming a tyrant, and the realm will pay the price."
His expression darkened, a flicker of anger crossing his features. "You always did have a way of seeing the worst in me, didn't you?" he retorted, his voice laced with bitterness.
Isolde took a step closer, her heart aching as she looked into his eyes. "I see the man I once loved, buried beneath this darkness," she said, her voice unwavering. "I see the potential for redemption, for change. But you have to let go of this path you're on."
Malachi's laughter turned cold, a chilling sound that sent a shiver down her spine. "Redemption? Change?" he scoffed. "Those are just words, Isolde. Empty promises that people cling to when they're too weak to seize their destiny."
Tears welled up in Isolde's eyes as she reached out, her fingers trembling as they brushed against his arm, the mark of darkness. "Malachi, please," she whispered, her voice a plea filled with heartache. "Don't let this power consume you. Remember who you are."
For a moment, she saw a flicker of uncertainty in his eyes, a glimmer of the man he used to be. But it was fleeting, replaced by a hardened resolve as he pulled away from her touch. "It's too late, Isolde. You should leave."
She shook her head, her tears falling freely now. "I won't give up on you, Malachi. Even if it means I have to stand against you to save the realm."
Malachi's expression turned cold, his gaze unyielding as he met her tear-filled eyes. "If that's your choice, then so be it. But remember this, Isolde: I will not be stopped. Not by you, not by the Order, not by anyone."
"There's still a chance. I love you Malachi. You can still be saved."
Malachi's laughter was bitter, a harsh sound that seemed to cut through the night. "And now you're here to save me? To bring me back to the light?"
Isolde took a step closer, her eyes locking onto his with unwavering intensity. "Yes, Malachi. I won't give up on you. I won't let the darkness win."
Tears welled up in Isolde's eyes, her heart breaking at the realization of just how far he had fallen. "Malachi, the hate you're carrying—it's consuming you," she said, her voice gentle yet filled with conviction. "But hate won't give you the power you seek. It will only destroy you."
His laughter was deranged, a chilling sound that sent shivers down her spine. "You still don't get it, do you? This power—it's intoxicating. It's like a drug that fills the void, the emptiness that's been gnawing at me."
Isolde's voice held a note of desperation, her words a plea that she hoped would reach him. "Malachi, power gained through darkness is a false victory. It's a fleeting high that will leave you empty and alone."
Malachi's eyes bore into hers, his gaze unyielding. "Leave Isolde. Leave and never return. Your love is meaningless to me now."
Isolde sighed, "You will force The Order's hand. There will be blood Malachi— your blood."
A cruel smile rose on Malachi's face, "There was always blood because The Order refuses to see past their weakness and that will be their downfall. You included Isolde. Now get out of my territory or your blood will be the first spilled."
Weeks had passed since Isolde's heart-wrenching encounter with Malachi, and with each passing day, the realm seemed to descend further into darkness. Malachi's actions had grown increasingly ruthless, leaving a trail of destruction and death in his wake. He had become a tyrant, killing anyone who dared to stand against him or refused to pledge allegiance to his chaotic rule.
As the turmoil deepened, Alaric's summons to Isolde came as no surprise. She found herself standing once again within the grand chamber of The Order, the atmosphere heavy with tension. Alaric's gaze met hers.
"We've had a meeting," he began, his voice carrying a weight that seemed to settle in the air around them.
Isolde's brow furrowed, confusion flickering in her eyes. "A meeting? Why wasn't I included?"
Alaric's eyes held hers, his gaze unyielding. "You know why, Isolde. Your connection to Malachi could cloud your judgment."
Isolde's heart tightened at his words, the truth of them a bitter pill to swallow. She knew that her emotions for Malachi ran deep, and that those emotions could potentially interfere with the decision that needed to be made.
"What was decided?" Isolde's voice was steady, her gaze locking onto Alaric's as she sought answers.
Alaric's expression remained somber, his words heavy with finality. "We've decided that Malachi's reign of chaos must be stopped. Permanently."
Isolde's breath caught in her throat, her heart racing at the implication of his words. "Stopped? You mean..."
Alaric nodded, his eyes unwavering. "We have to kill him, Isolde. It's the only way to end this madness."
The weight of his words settled over her like a suffocating shroud. The thought of ending Malachi's life, the man she loved, was a devastating notion. But as the realm crumbled around them, she couldn't deny the necessity of the decision.
"Isolde, you must understand," Alaric's voice sounded snapping her back to reality, "He's beyond reasoning, beyond redemption. The realm can't withstand much more of his chaos."
Tears welled in Isolde's eyes, her emotions in turmoil. "I know," she whispered, her voice filled with anguish. "But it doesn't make it any easier."
Alaric's hand rested gently on her shoulder, a gesture of both support and understanding. "I know the pain this brings you, Isolde. But we have to put the realm first. We can't let his darkness consume everything we've worked so hard to protect."
Isolde nodded, her resolve firm despite the tears that threatened to spill over. "I understand, Alaric what needs to be done."
Alaric's grip tightened briefly before he released her shoulder. "There's something else you need to know," he said, his voice grave.
Isolde's gaze sharpened, her attention fully on him. "What is it?"
Alaric's eyes held a distant glint, his voice tinged with gravity. "The celestial eclipse."
Isolde's brow furrowed, confusion evident on her features. "Celestial eclipse? What does that have to do with anything?"
Alaric's expression turned serious. "During the celestial eclipse, all werewolves will lose their ability to shift. It's a moment of vulnerability for them."
Isolde's eyes widened, the implications of his words sinking in. "You mean... they'll be defenseless?"
Alaric nodded, his gaze holding hers. "Exactly. It's a rare occurrence, and it's the perfect opportunity to end Malachi's reign of terror.
Isolde's mind raced, the pieces of the puzzle clicking into place. "You plan to attack him during the celestial eclipse?"
Alaric's jaw tightened, his voice resolute. "Yes and we end Malachi's reign once and for all."


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