Ashleigh took a shuddering breath as tears welled in her eyes. She tried desperately to hold them in, to keep from blubbering like a child when Lily stood before her so calm and held together.
“I’m so sorry,” Ashleigh whispered.
“It was a long time ago, Ashleigh,” she said. “I have cried my tears.”
“Solana still seems pretty upset,” Ashleigh commented.
Lily looked away sadly.
“We had good lives,” she said. “In my own way, I loved Geri, and she loved Caelter as well. They were good mates, great Alphas. Our bonds were strong, and our children were stronger.”
Lily took a deep breath.
“But I made a decision that she did not agree with,” Lily sighed and then looked at Ashleigh with a mournful smile. “As I said, she has her reasons.”
Ashleigh nodded and wiped away the tears that fell.
“You came to learn how to control the power we offer you,” Lily said, changing the subject.
“Yes,” Ashleigh said. “Otherwise, Solana will never allow me to be Luna of Summer.”
Lily laughed heartily.-.
“Is this funny to you?” Ashleigh asked.
“No,” Lily said with a smile. “But Solana has no power to stop you from being Luna of Summer.”
“What? No, I have to receive her blessing to be Luna,” Ashleigh replied.
Lily shook her head.
“If that were true, how could we have become Lunas, to begin with?” Lily asked. “Besides, do you really think she has approved of every Luna Summer has ever had?”
“I don’t understand. My mother and Fiona said I won’t be Luna until she has accepted me.”
“Listen, the power of a Luna comes from the same place as the power of an Alpha. The Goddess,” Lily began. “As the first Luna, Solana retains much of that power, just like I do. So, yes, having her blessing helps. It makes you stronger and more in sync with the wolves of Summer.
“But even if she never approves of you, you are still their Luna. Because they look to you as such. Your control over your own Luna is what matters.”
“Then you are my–”
“No,” Lily shook her head. “I am not your Luna. That is a part of you. But it is a primal part that is deeply affected by the rest of you. So… until you learn to control the power you already have… your Luna will never bow down to you.”
“So… learn to control the power I share with you, and my Luna will accept me… and then Solana will accept me.”
“And how do I do that?”
“It is very simple,” Lily smiled. “Accept the power I offer.”
“That’s something only you know,” Lily replied.
Ashleigh growled in frustration.
“I’m sorry,” Lily smiled. “It seems complicated. But only if you make it complicated.”
“Fine, I accept,” Ashleigh growled. “I accept the power you offer me!”
The moonlight shone through Lily’s eyes again, and her face contorted into a snarl.
“Liar! Do not mock us!”
Lily closed her fists and took a deep breath, she shook her head, and the light faded away.
“This power is not the rage that you assume it is, and it is not the power of the Luna. This comes from your bloodline. From all those that came before you.”
“I know,” Ashleigh started to say.
“I am saying, Ashleigh, that it’s a living thing,” Lily said. “We are a part of you. We know what you feel and think. We know if you accept or reject us. We know if you fear us.”
“If this is from my bloodline, then Axel should have it too,” Ashleigh commented. “Why am I the only one with this issue.”
“He does,” Lily said. “It’s not exactly the same as yours, but the power he has, he already accepted and embraced as a part of himself.”
“I don’t know,” Lily smiled, “why not ask him?”
“Secrets,” she sighed. “So many secrets you all hold from each other.”
“I just don’t know how many people I should be telling about this….” Ashleigh said.
“Axel isn’t people.” Lily smiled. “He is your brother, my descendant as much as you are. Doesn’t he have the right to know where his power comes from?”
Ashleigh nodded and looked away nervously.
“Why are you so scared to share your burdens?” Lily asked.
Ashleigh looked back at her without a word.
“You have hidden your truths, covered them with lies, to yourself and others. All this has done is increase the burden on your shoulders,” Lily said. “Your father has done the same for many years, but I can tell you, he stands much taller now that he has unencumbered himself.”
Ashleigh thought of the last time she had seen her father, how relieved he had been to tell Caleb the truth about Cain.
“What am I hiding?” Ashleigh asked aloud.
“That is a very important question,” Lily smiled.
“What’s the answer?” Ashleigh asked.
“Well, I don’t know,” Galen replied. “It’s something only you can know.”
Ashleigh looked around the room, her confusion evident on her face. She was back in the training room where she had been meditating. Lily was gone, and, in her place, stood Galen.
“Are you alright?” Galen asked, taking a step towards her.
“I think so…” Ashleigh whispered. “How long was I out?”
“Out?” Galen asked with concern and confusion in his expression. “What do you mean by that?”
Ashleigh shook her head.
“What were we talking about?” she asked.
“I was telling you about how we find the individual weapons for each person. I suggested you try to figure out what was different about the power.”
“You just asked me that?” Ashleigh questioned.
“Just now?” she asked
“Yes,” he said. “Is something wrong?”
Ashleigh shook her head.
“No, I’m just tired,” she said.
“Alright, if you’re sure.”
“We received a message from Caleb,” Galen said. Ashleigh looked up at the mention of his name, “he said he will be back this evening. Maybe getting some rest before his return would be a good idea.”
“What? You don’t think I should greet him looking tired and ragged? Are you afraid he won’t find me attractive anymore?” Ashleigh joked.
“He will always find you attractive, my Luna,” Galen said. “But I worry about the rest of his if he sees you looking worn down.”
“Good point,” Ashleigh laughed.