01 The Necklace
“Are you insane?” Beatrice huffed with a mocking grin on her face, towering over me, “You would never be adopted by General. What he needs is a mature and sexy Beta, just like me. You’re barely a wisp of a little girl.”
The snow was heavy. I struggled to open my eyes as I tasted the tang of blood and mud in my mouth. My side was still sore with a dull pain.
I gasped as I put a hand on my back, curling in the freezing snow from the burn of the open wound.
Beatrice and her minions had found me this afternoon and beat me up bitterly. My shirt was torn and tainted by blood. I could barely move my arm.
No matter how hard I tried, I still couldn’t withhold the tears welling up from my eyes.
But I wouldn’t cry out loud.
I would never give her that satisfaction.
“Beatrice is right,” Tiffany agreed with a whiny voice, “You would never be adopted. A powerful Lycan like General only adopts beautiful Betas who are suitable to be their lovers. Even General agreed to adopt you years ago, he probably would regret his decision after seeing your face.”
“Beatrice is the most beautiful girl in the orphanage. She’s the only one who suits the general’s rank.” Bella scorned with contempt, “General might have given you that token years ago so he could recognize you when he comes to the orphanage this month. But I bet he would wish he had given that necklace to Beatrice after he saw you. Why don’t you just give it to Beatrice already? It would save everyone a lot of trouble…”
“Interesting,” I managed to spit out a mouthful of mud as I strung my neck to stare at Beatrice’s face, “I thought you were the most beautiful girl in the orphanage. Why are you still so worried about a silly token? Just like you said… what if General suddenly regrets his decision after seeing you and me? What if he decides to abandon his promise after realizing that you’re much prettier? If you’re really that positive about the outcome, why are you still relying on a small token?”
“Do you think I’m as stupid as you, Lola?” Beatrice sauntered forward, her silky blonde hair damp from the snow and her arms folded before her chest.
I let out a whimper as she ground the tip of her boot against my wrist.
“Don’t play tricks with me, Lola. You know the consequence. Frank was a great example. Do you still remember our chubby little piggy?” Beatrice said with a nasty smile, her lips coated by the thick pink of her lipstick, which was half smeared by melted snow trickled from her hair.
Frank had been the new kid who came to the orphanage months ago.
He had been a chubby and quiet little boy.
But he had accidentally offended Beatrice for unknowing reasons.
A couple of weeks ago, his cold corpse had been found down the stairs of the teaching building.
Beatrice was held responsible for Frank’s death. And she would be sent to jail after the formalities of the court were done.
I knew why she wanted to be adopted by General so urgently.
In this country, the power of the army knew no limits, not to mention how much privilege those military high officials enjoyed.
The General was basically the most powerful man in this state.
He could halt Beatrice’s trail and made her escape from jail if he wanted to. And no one would dare to ask any questions.
After all, Alphas and Lycans tended to spoil their lovers once they were chosen.
But would that man really do that for Beatrice if he decided to choose her?
I closed my eyes and a pair of clear blue eyes emerged from my vision. The blue was so benign and peaceful, as beautiful as the deepest ocean.
“Lola, my sweetie. You’re still too little now. I promise you that I will come back to pick you up one day. By then, you would be my family and I will love you and protect you for the rest of your life.”
I had held my breath when he placed that beautiful ruby necklace in my little palms.
He had crouched down and left a kiss on my forehead.
I remembered the refreshing and masculine smell of his scent.
“And this is the token of my promise,” those blue eyes stared at me and smiled, “Wait for me, love. When the war is over, I will come back for you.”
The smile had been so beautiful and those eyes had been so intent when they looked at me.
Would that man break his promise for Beatrice?
Would he desire a Beta who was more mature and experienced?
Someone who was more suitable to be his lover than me?
No… He was so intelligent and fair…
He would never abandon me for someone like Beatrice.
And I couldn’t give in so easily and abandon him…
I snapped my eyes open and my voice took on a new edge, “I know what you did to Frank, Beatrice. And you clearly have no idea what kind of person General is. If he gets to know that you’re a murderer, he wouldn’t even cast a glance at you. He will only despise you, not to mention helping you…”
Venom churned under Beatrice’s green eyes as she sent the tip of her boot into my side again.
I cried out loud in pain and my whole body was sent rolling in the mud. I felt the coldness of the necklace slip out of my shirt.
My hand shot out to clasp it under my body.
I couldn’t let Beatrice rob the necklace…
This was the only bond between me and General…
General wouldn’t recognize my face after so many years…
This necklace was the only thing he remembered. If I lost it, I would never be able to leave this snake pit and get the money to save Jasper’s life…
He needed the money…
I tasted the bitterness of tears and blood in my mouth as Beatrice walked over again.
She yanked at my hair and forced me to look at her, the gigantic smile on her lips threatening, “What are you talking about? I don’t understand a single word coming out of your mouth… And who are you calling ‘Beatrice’?”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you. From today, you’re Beatrice Dunn and I’ll be Lola Fling. Our files have been switched. Mr. Chen, the head keeper of the record room just did me a small favor. Now, all I need is that stupid necklace. Give it to me right now. Or I will make sure that crippled little brother of yours surfer every minute in this orphanage for the rest of his life!”
My heart sank horribly.
She had switched our files? Did that mean I had to spend the rest of my life in jail as Beatrice Dunn?
“How… how is it even possible? It’s… it’s impossible…” I stuttered. I had been taken by an unspeakable horror.
The shockingness on my face seemed to please Beatrice. She threw back her head and laughed, “This is one thing I like about you, Lola. You’re always so sweet and naive. How is that possible? Well, all I can tell you is that Mr. Chen has his access and he’s absolutely obsessed with me.”
“You will go to hell for this…” I clenched my teeth as tears rolled down my cheeks, “You will burn in hell for murdering that innocent boy and stealing everything from me…”
“Stealing everything from you? Who the f**k are you to think that you’re entitled to have General’s love and protection?” Beatrice glared at me viciously with a cruel sneer on her face, “Lola, you have to admit that you don’t deserve to be adopted by the most powerful Lycan in this country. I am just better than you, in all aspects. Now, give the necklace to me. Or I will crush every single scrawny little bone in your body if I have to.”
“What did you do to make Mr. Chen exchange our identities? Did you suck his c**k?” I spat, “He’s a married old man and he’s bald. You’re a stinky w***e!”
“Shut up!” Beatrice screamed like a madwoman as she sent her foot into my abdomen again.
The pain was so sharp that an inhuman screech escaped my mouth.
My hand went to cover my stomach as the necklace fell into the blood-tainted snow.
Beatrice’s eyes lit up like a hungry wolf’s when she spotted the red of the ruby in the blinding white.
She lurched forward to grab it. I tried to stop her but everything was too late.
My whole body was sore and torn. I couldn’t even stand up.
I could only watch as Beatrice dangled the beautiful ruby necklace before her eyes, staring at the giant ruby greedily…
Bella and Tiffany also came forth to admire the beauty of the jewel…
“Wow… It’s so beautiful…” Bella, as if infatuated by the glow of the stone, reached out a hand toward it…
“DON’T touch it!” Beatrice slapped her hand away.
“Sorry, Bee…” Bella cradled her swollen hand as she smiled apologetically.
“General will definitely adopt you after seeing this necklace.” Tiffany flattered, “I heard Alphas tend to spoil their mates once they took them into their families, not to mention a wealthy Lycan… General is one of the richest men in this country. You will be living like a princess, as you should be…”
“I know,” the smile on Beatrice’s lips was smug and lazy, “I can’t wait to leave this shithole. And I will never come back after I get adopted.”
“You must be joking, right?” Bella asked timidly, “You will at least come back to visit us, right? After all… we are best friends...”
Beatrice huffed, “Gosh, Bella, give me a break. I will send you some cash. You happy now?”
“But you promised to beg General to get us out of here when you get adopted… He’s a powerful man… He can definitely do that…” Tiffany broke into a nervous string of words.
Beatrice made her shut up with a stern glance, “Shush, Tiffany. I didn’t promise anything. Or do you want to take Lola’s place and go to jail?”
Tiffany instantly bit her tongue, “I’m sorry, Bee.”
“And I heard the guards in that jail are extremely nasty.” Beatrice grinned as she redirected her cold eyes toward me, “They said they would r**e you and make you work 16 hours a day. Some of the jail mates were even exhausted to death…covered in their own s**t and blood…”
I clenched my teeth, resisting the urge to shiver.
Beatrice sauntered toward me, stomping a foot on my chest as she leaned downward to meet my eyes, “I hope you enjoy your comfy stay in Eastern River Jail, Lola. I will make sure to visit you after General adopts me. I will f**k your General so hard until he forgets about that stupid promise he made you. By then, if you still wish to see him, I would probably bring him and my other alphas with me when I visit you. And you will see how much he’s obsessed with a ‘stinky w***e’ like me.”
Beatrice’s smug smile was the last thing I saw before I lost my consciousness.
Darkness swallowed me.
I tried to cry out loud for help in my cold and damp nightmare.
But no one heard my prayer…