Family Ties - (Book 3 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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29a. - Finding Marshala Pt. 1

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Like what?”

“Elijah...”

Elijah grinned. With his head propped up on his elbow, he looked down at his sleepy lover, lying nestled against him. Two naked bodies lost in a sea of fine white sheets. He ran the tip of his pointer finger over her thick, plump lips. His light blue eyes eagerly searched the dark chocolate irises that stared back up at him. “Am I not allowed to look at you, mon coeur?”

Marshala rolled her eyes as she turned on her side. “I need to sleep, Elijah. I have a huge exam tomorrow,” she said, stuffing her face into the large fluffy pillow.

“You know that you’ll do well, mon coeur. You always do...” Elijah ran his palm over her dark mocha skin, lightly caressing down her spine until he reached her plump backside. He shifted his body further down on the bed, his lips teasing the curve of her buttocks.

“Elijah...” Marshala whined. “Let me sleep.”

“Don’t worry, mon coeur. I’ll make sure you sleep very well tonight...”

He left soft kisses over the curve of her ass and down her thighs that he gently eased apart. She shivered in his grasp as his nose scoured over the goosebumps forming on the back of her thighs until his tongue darted out to taste them. Electricity shot through Marshala’s body as she felt his tongue slip between her thighs to a part of her he had been all too acquainted with.

“Elijah...” Marshala breathed out in ecstasy.

~

“Elijah...” Marshala groaned in pain.

“Bloody hell! She’s calling his name again!” a woman with dark red hair said as she let go of Marshala’s battered face. “I can’t get past that fucking Blackbourne. I almost feel like she’s intentionally keeping me out.”

Shae trembled in the corner of a dark and wet warehouse that was completely unrecognizable to her. Her wrists were so raw from trying to rub free of the rope binding her that she was bleeding. Tears streaked down her lightly-bruised face as she watched the woman that had saved her dangle from a chain that held her arms high above her head. Marshala was still bleeding from being stabbed in her side. Shae glanced around the room to see several people standing around. Only, she was certain they weren’t actual people from the inhuman way they moved and the way their eyes frequently turned red whenever she was caught in their gaze.

“Try again, Mary,” Hugo ordered. He stood with his arms crossed over his chest, glaring at Marshala.

“Seriously?! We’re not talking about some amateur witch here, Hugo! She’s a fucking Toussaint! A damn NOLA witch for crying out loud! Her kind is the reason so many of yours died during the war,” Mary said with exasperation. “Don’t you remember?!”

“OF COURSE, I FUCKING REMEMBER! I WAS THERE!” Hugo snarled loudly. Mary immediately shrunk back in fear. Hugo cleared his throat and walked up to Marshala. He grabbed her chin and turned her head to analyze her face. Marshala’s eyes could barely open as she caught just his shadow in her line of sight. “He wants to know where Evangeline is. He wants to know what binds her. This witch knows and we will retrieve it from her,” Hugo sneered. He looked back at Mary. “Try again!”

Hugo walked over to a blonde woman standing in the corner. Her blood-red eyes were locked on Shae. “Gwendolyn,” Hugo said, gently touching her scarred face. Gwendolyn hissed as she quickly slapped his hand away. Hugo frowned as he pulled his hand back. “How can I make it better?” he asked.

Gwendolyn glared at him. “I’m famished.” She looked back at Shae who was trembling with terror.

“We need her for the ritual,” Hugo said. “I will send one of the others to find you someone to-”

“I want that LaFleur bitch! I want to rip her fucking head clean off of her damn shoulders. I hate all of these fucking witches!” Gwendolyn growled angrily.

“I promise you will get your revenge, my dove. I swear it,” Hugo assured her. He brought his hand to her tense, mutilated face. “You are still beautiful to me...” he said. Gwendolyn tried to muster a small smile on her scarred, wrinkled skin as they leaned in to kiss.

Shae curled her upper lip in disgust as she watched Hugo and Gwendolyn tongue each other down. She looked back up at Marshala who was still dangling, just barely conscious as she faintly uttered two words.

“...Nicholas... Elijah...”

~*~

“STOP! WAIT! I TOLD YOU I DON’T KNOW WHERE SHE IS-!”

The sound of bones cracking and flesh being torn apart rippled through the air. Ben looked down as the head of one of his vampires rolled towards him, stopping at his feet. His eyes scanned his surroundings and his jaw tensed with frustration. The ground was littered with the dismembered and headless bodies of his vampires. The air was thick with the putrid, metallic stench of vampire blood.

“No! No! Please!” He heard more screaming and glanced to the side to see a large black wolf latch its massive jaw onto the head of one of his vampires and rip his spine clean out of his body. Another vampire ran frantically in Ben’s direction.

“Master!” the vampire screamed before Ben watched a hand plunge out through his chest, ripping out his heart. When the dead vampire fell, Elijah stood before Ben holding the heart in his hand. His friendly blue eyes long gone as his red irises reflected his rage. His hands were drenched with the blood of the vampires he had torn apart in a fit of fury.

“Elijah...” Ben said warily.

Elijah dropped the heart to the ground as he kept his eyes trained on Ben. “Where. Is. She?” Elijah said coldly.

“Am I supposed to know who you’re talking about?” Ben said with a raised brow.

“Benjamin!” Elijah snapped sharply. “Of all the times to play coy, now is not one of them.”

Ben looked up to see the large black wolf growling as it stalked angrily towards them. Blood dripped from its drenched fur. Ben took a tentative step back and looked at Elijah. “I have no clue as to where your witch is. Nor do I see it fit for you to attack my clan. Yet, this is so typical of you, Elijah. To be so irrational. So impulsive. Quick to react off of mere emotions,” Ben chided.

Elijah stepped up to Ben and looked him in the eye. “If any harm comes to her by your hand, you will beg for mercy before I am done with you.”

Ben raised a brow. “Is that a threat... old friend?”

Elijah’s nose flared. “It’s a promise.”

Ben rarely saw the look in Elijah’s eyes that he was seeing at that moment. He knew that Elijah took his witch very seriously. And with the wolf watching, ready to attack at any second, Ben was aware this was not a fight he was willing to risk. “I do not know where she is,” Ben said. “But you can question my clan. I’ll have no more of your senseless bloodshed.”

Elijah glanced back at Nick’s wolf who quickly transformed into his human form. “Just hurry this shit up,” Nick growled angrily as he stormed towards them.

“Nicholas,” Elijah said quickly.

“What the fuck now, Elijah?!” Nick said impatiently.

“Just because you’re a beast doesn’t mean you need to act like one all the time. For fuck’s sake, put some damn clothes on, you cretin,” Ben snapped.

“You know what, you pussy ass motherfucker. How about I shove my foot so far up your fuckin’-” Nick growled as he lunged for Ben.

“Nicholas!” Elijah said firmly. He blocked Nick by putting his hands up. “Marshala.” Nick grumbled as he walked to a closed store and broke the glass window before jumping inside.

“The audacity to claim that I have replaced you with Edward when you’ve traded me in for a wolf. How miserable has your life become,” Ben mocked.

“Not as miserable as yours will be if I find out your clan had anything to do with her disappearance,” Elijah quipped.

~*~

“Kiara!” Rhea shouted as she ran into Kiara’s arms. The two spun around from the impact of their hug. “I’m so glad you’re okay,” Rhea said, pulling back from her. Kiara could see tear stains on Rhea’s face.

“She’s going to be okay, Rhea,” Kiara assured her. “Don’t worry. We’ll find her.”

Rhea nodded as she wiped the tears from her eyes. They walked into Marshala’s home and gathered in the living room. Rhea glanced across the room to see Peter sitting on the couch reading a book while Alexander and Cole stood in front of him talking. Her jaw tensed with apprehension and she turned back around to face Leo, Levi, and Kiara. “Can we not do this with them here?” Rhea asked.

“Don’t start, Rhea. We need them,” Kiara said.

“Do we really though?” Levi mocked.

“You know we can hear you assholes,” Cole shouted as Alexander sighed.

“You don’t have to be here!” Rhea snapped. “We can find Marshala ourselves.”

“Then, by all means, Elphaba, get the fuck out,” Cole chided.

“Don’t you fucking talk to her like that, you blood-sucking freak,” Levi growled as he stood protectively in front of Rhea.

“Too much yelling,” Peter whined. He tugged on Alexander until he picked him up.

“Guys!” Kiara shouted. “We don’t have time for this. We need to focus on finding Marshala.”

Leo looked at Levi and Rhea. “She’s right. Suck it up for now. We need to focus.” “Did you hear from Nick?” Leo asked Levi.

Levi shook his head. “Called him about a hundred times now. He’s not picking up.”

“He’s probably an emotional wreck,” Leo sighed. He glanced over at Alexander who was already staring at him before Cole blocked his view.

“Elijah’s gone dark. Can’t reach him,” Cole said to Alexander. “I can feel his anger. He’s probably ripping the shit out of everybody.”

“Not surprised...” Alexander sighed as he ruffled Peter’s hair. “It’s Marshala...”

Cole glanced at Kiara running to grab a book from the shelf. “You seem... different, little thing,” Cole said curiously.

Kiara looked at him with a grin. “Do you sense that I can kick your ass now?”

“Woah! Where did you get those big ass balls from?” Cole laughed.

Kiara rolled her eyes as she brought the book to the table. “Marshala told me about a locator spell,” Kiara said, leaning over the table.

“That’s brilliant!” Rhea said surprised.

“See? I’ve been paying attention,” Kiara said. “Anybody got a map?”

“Nobody carries around a map,” Cole chided.

“I do!” Ava said, walking in with a rolled-up map in her hand.

“Ava,” Leo smiled as he hugged her tightly in his embrace.

“Hey, Leo,” she smiled brightly at him. “Something... seems off about you... you okay?” she asked.

Leo’s eyes widened. “What?! Of course, I’m okay! I’m perfectly fine! Why wouldn’t I be fine? That’s a weird-ass question, Ava. I mean-”

“Relax, Leo, damn,” Levi muttered as Ava chuckled. Leo slowly exhaled as he anxiously ran his fingers through his hair. He glanced at Alexander who shook his head in disappointment.

“Do you know how to do this?” Rhea asked.

“Yea, it’s easy,” Kiara said, looking at the map. A wind picked up, blowing her hair around her face.

Rhea eyed her curiously. “Something really is different about you...”

“I had my Rey moment,” Kiara said.

Rhea looked at her confused. “Your what?”

“My Rey moment. When Rey learns how to use the force? Y’all come on,” Kiara said, rolling her eyes. “Melissa scolded me about being a weak bitch and now I’m like on magic steroids.”

“Kiara...” Rhea sighed as Cole burst into laughter.

Ava lit a candle and placed it at the center of the table while Kiara grabbed one of Marshala’s scarves and wrapped it around her hand. “Leo, since you’re closest in relation to Nick, I need a bit of your blood to help give me a push,” Kiara said.

Leo held out his wrist before Rhea quickly grabbed him. “Are you sure that’s a good idea with...” Rhea gestured to Cole and Alexander.

“Oh come off it, princess. If I wanted to drain you of your blood I would have done it by now,” Cole snarked.

“Fucking try it!” Levi barked back.

“Levi... come on,” Ava said, putting her hand to Levi’s chest. He looked at her annoyed before he scowled and leaned back against the wall, glaring at Cole.

“RiRi, it’s fine,” Leo said. Rhea sighed and reluctantly backed away. Kiara made a small prick with a pin in Leo’s wrist and let some of his blood drip onto the map.

“Give me your hands. I’ll find her faster,” Kiara said to Ava and Rhea. The three of them locked hands as the guys watched on in silence.

“What’s up with you and the wolf?” Cole whispered to Alexander.

Alexander glanced at Cole sideways and shrugged. “Nothing.”

“Then why do you guys keep looking at each other?” Cole said with a quirked brow.

Alexander narrowed his eyes at Cole who snickered. “Because we both care about Kiara.”

“Uh-huh...” Cole smirked.

“Shut up, Cole,” Alexander muttered.

“I’m picking up three locations,” Kiara said as she watched the blood drippings convene to three spots on the map.

“It’s probably because of the soul bond,” Alexander said. “It’s picking up all three of them.”

“So, which one do we go after?” Rhea asked.

There was silence before Ava spoke up. “All three. We can split up into groups. One of us is bound to find Marshala,” she said.

“Isn’t that where we saw that vampire who attacked Kiara?” Leo asked, pointing to a bloody spot on the map.

Alexander set Peter back down on the couch before he looked at where Leo was pointing. “Yea,” Alexander said. “We’ll go after that one.” He exchanged glances with Leo as they both nodded. Cole and Levi looked at the two of them confused by the small exchange.

“Okay, we’ll take this one,” Rhea said, pointing to another spot on the map. “Levi, do you wanna-”

“Actually,” Ava said, cutting her off. “I think I should go with Levi and you go with Cole.”

“WHAT?!” Rhea, Levi, and Cole blurted at the same time.

“Ava, have you lost your fucking mind?! I’m not letting that damn bloodsucker anywhere near my mate!” Levi growled.

Ava deeply exhaled. “We’re at a time when we really need to lean on each other. I think this is a good time to start building trust if we’re going to get through this.”

“Ava’s right,” Kiara said. “I mean Alexander and Leo are getting along now, so why can’t-”

“Angel, what the fuck?!” Leo blurted. “I can’t stand his ass!”

“I actually hate him,” Alexander snapped. “We’re just tolerating each other for you.”

Kiara looked at both of them confused. “But... yesterday you guys-”

“You know what,” Leo said, grabbing Kiara’s hand. “Let’s go talk outside, yea, Angel?” Leo and Alexander exchanged tense looks before they pushed Kiara out the front door.

“Could those three get any weirder?” Rhea sighed.

“Honestly, I don’t really need any of you. I’m better working alone,” Cole retorted.

“We’ll have better chances of finding her if we partner up,” Ava insisted. “Rhea is really good at putting pieces together. And she’s a powerful witch. Better than me and-”

Rhea grabbed her sister’s hand and abruptly pulled her to the side. “What the hell are you doing?!” Rhea said angrily. “We can’t trust these psycho killers!”

“If Marshala and Kiara trust them, so should we,” Ava said. “I’m not a fan of vampires either, Rhea. But we’re running out of allies. We need them to get through this. Marshala always said if we just look hard enough, we can see their humanity. I think spending some time with one will help you to-”

“They have no humanity!” Rhea blurted.

“Do you want me to go with him instead?” Ava asked.

“No!” Rhea snapped before she sighed with frustration. “I don’t want you to get hurt, Ava. You’re all I have left...”

Ava looked at her younger sister with a small smile. “Then go, baby girl. Marshala needs us...” Ava said.

Rhea looked up to see Cole watching them curiously. She figured he probably heard everything they said from the look on his face. “Fine...” Rhea muttered. She walked up to Levi who looked as if he was ready to blow up any second from what he dreaded she was about to say.

“Don’t you dare, Rhea,” Levi growled.

“Levi, baby... please go with my sister. I’ll be okay,” Rhea said.

“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me!” Levi shouted.

“Levi, come on,” Ava said, tugging at his arm. “Please... this is important. Marshala needs us.”

Levi glared at Cole who looked completely unbothered. Levi wrapped an arm around Rhea’s waist and pulled her in as he ferociously kissed her. “You call me if that motherfucker tries anything,” Levi snarled. Cole merely rolled his eyes.

Rhea pulled out of Levi’s arms and turned to Cole. “Let’s go, Dracula,” she muttered. Rhea and Cole stepped outside to see Leo leaning back against his truck with Kiara in his arms, her back to his chest. She held Alexander’s hand who stood in front of her. The three of them were casually talking. Rhea furrowed her brow in confusion. The sight was strange to see. They looked too... comfortable. “Kiara?” Rhea asked.

The three of them glanced to the side and Alexander quickly distanced himself. Kiara rolled her eyes at Alexander before turning to Rhea. “We’re about to head out. Are you and Cole leaving together?” she asked.

“Unfortunately,” Rhea sighed.

“One of us should take Peter,” Alexander said to Cole.

“I don’t mind taking him with us,” Ava said. She walked outside holding Peter’s hand.

“Ava... you’re killing me here,” Levi groaned.

“You’ll be alright, Peter?” Cole asked.

“Yea. I like her,” Peter smiled up at Ava.

“Aww, I like you too cutie,” Ava smiled down at Peter brightly.

“Just don’t eat her,” Cole winked. He chuckled at his own joke till he met Rhea’s unamused glare to which he laughed even harder.

“Make sure to reach out if you find Marshala,” Kiara said, getting into the truck.

“And if we run into Elijah or Nick?” Rhea asked.

Leo looked at her. “Then stay out of their way...”

~*~

“Soooo is ginger Jacob just not fuckin’ you right or do you always act like you got a stick up your ass?”

Rhea turned around and glared at Cole. “It’s just you.”

Cole rolled his eyes as he followed Rhea through the woods. They had driven as far to the city where they assumed Marshala to be and had no choice but to trek on foot for a better search. “I feel like I always see you with a scowl on your face. You’d look hotter if you smiled more,” Cole mocked. “I bet I could help with that...”

“Fortunately, my smile is not for your amusement, asshole,” Rhea chided. “And I have nothing to prove to a psychopathic serial killer like yourself.”

“Seriously, what’s your fucking problem,” Cole said, appearing in front of her. She stumbled backward shocked by his speed before she snarled at him.

You’re my problem! Your family, your kind! All you do is bring death! Just stay the fuck away from me!” She walked around him as Cole rolled his eyes and followed after her.

“Let me guess... vampire killed your ex-boyfriend or some shit,” Cole said.

Rhea shook her head in frustration. “How about vampire held me down and made me watch as they ripped my father’s head off and raped my mother before ripping her throat out.”

Cole stopped and blinked at Rhea in shock. She stood there shaking from anger as tears streamed down her face. “I have never... felt so helpless... in my entire life,” she muttered. “Do you know what it’s like? To hear your mother screaming for her life while she’s raped until she bleeds? Only to watch her die in front of you? Do you have any idea?”

Cole sighed with remorse. “Well shit, Elphaba... you got me there...”

Rhea quickly wiped a tear from her eye and wrapped her arms around herself. She watched him cautiously as he picked up a rock and threw it. “I’m sorry that happened to you… Who saved you?” he asked.

“...Leo...” she said softly. “He had lost his parents too... it was... god, it was such an awful time... they were such good people. They didn’t deserve that...”

Cole looked at her and shrugged with a sigh. “Life is short for your kind, Elphaba. You have the luxury of focusing on the good with what little time you have on this earth.”

Rhea looked at him offended. “Are you trying to be nice? Because it’s a huge fail right now.”

Cole shook his head with a sigh. “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to downplay what happened to you because it’s fucking awful. I mean what happened to all of you witches during the war was awful. I’m just trying to say that... at least you have fond memories of your parents. It beats being immortal where your only memory of your parents is being beaten within an inch of your life.”

Rhea looked at him sadly. “Your parents... abused you?”

“That’s putting it lightly,” Cole chuckled condescendingly. “My father would have killed me if he could. My mother just let him get away with doing whatever he wanted to me. I was a miserable little shit for the majority of my mortal life. I hated my parents. That’s why I killed them both as soon as I turned. So yea, I guess I am a psychopathic killer. Because good fucking riddance.”

Rhea swallowed hard as she bit her lip. “Course my maker is about a thousand times worse but hey... shit happens,” Cole shrugged.

“Why won’t he just leave you guys alone?” she asked.

Cole shrugged. “Cause he’s a fucking sadist? Who knows. He’s the one who made me what I am. Not like we had a choice. None of my brothers were given the choice to turn down being these ‘psychopathic serial killers’ you keep calling us. Only thing is... I really don’t give a shit and I’m not going to apologize for who or what I am. I’m done feeling fucking sorry for myself. And fuck anyone else who has shit to say about it.”

When she hadn’t said anything, Cole glanced at Rhea who was looking down remorsefully, lost in her thoughts. “I don’t need you feeling sorry for me, Elphaba,” Cole smirked. “We’ve all been through a lot of shit. But we’re better for it. And I don’t regret a damn thing.”

She looked up at him sadly before she saw two ferals behind him. She said a quick incantation that tore one of them apart into pieces as the other headed for them. She didn’t speak fast enough before Cole grabbed her, pushing her out of the way. He tore the feral’s arm off and kicked its body to the ground. Rhea looked up from the ground to see Cole tossing the feral’s arm to the side.

“See? I could have let him eat you,” Cole smirked.

“I saved your ass first, idiot!” she snapped. Cole grinned as he lowered his hand to help her up.

~*~

Alexander grabbed a vampire by her arm and whirled her around. He tossed her into a tree, knocking her out as she slid to the ground unconscious. Leo flipped backward as he shoved both feet forward, knocking the wind out of another vampire and sending him to the ground. He quickly pounced on top of the vampire and grabbed him by the neck.

“If I have to ask you one more damn time, you won’t have a head,” Leo snarled, tightening his grip. The vampire clawed at his arm, tearing his skin and leaving bloody marks.

“Seriously, Volkov?!” Alexander said angrily as he yanked Leo off of the vampire. “Just because it doesn’t phase you, doesn’t mean it’s not hurting her. You’re fucking reckless.”

“Shit...” Leo said, glancing at Kiara’s bleeding arm. “I’m so sorry, Angel. I’m so desensitized to the pain that I forget sometimes.”

“It’s fine, guys, really,” Kiara said, watching her forearm heal. “It toughens me up a bit.” She walked up to the vampire, but Alexander grabbed her before she got too close.

“If we do this, we do this together,” Alexander said, maneuvering behind her. “If he won’t speak, you can pull the information out of him...” Alexander nodded to Leo who grabbed the vampire by his jacket and held him up in front of them.

“I’ve never done that before, Alexander,” she said. “I can see visions sporadically... but I can’t target certain memories and just pull them out.”

“Yes, you can,” Alexander said in her ear. He ran the tip of his fingers down her arm before he gently grabbed her wrist. He lifted her hand in the direction of the vampire. “Just focus...”

“You got this, baby,” Leo encouraged her.

Kiara focused intently on the vampire still thrashing in Leo’s grasp. He stopped moving as he looked into her eyes that suddenly flashed jade green. Leo eyed Kiara curiously as her face darkened. “Marshala is at some warehouse in... Pennsylvania it seems...” she said.

“Told you, you could do it,” Alexander smirked.

“Alright, let me get rid of this guy,” Leo said.

“No, wait,” Kiara said as she approached the vampire. She eyed the vampire’s face before she touched his chest and immediately lit him on fire. Leo quickly let go as she used her magic to whip the body into the air until it exploded. She squealed as she jumped into Leo’s arms. “I’m getting so good at this!”

“I guess we can let her go,” Alexander said, looking at the other vampire who was rubbing her head. “Get the fuck out of here,” he growled at her. She scrambled to her feet and ran in the other direction before she abruptly bent over backward, her spine cracking in half. Leo and Alexander looked at the vampire in confusion as her body contorted and shriveled up until she landed on the ground dead. They both looked back at Kiara to see her jade green eyes phase back to brown.

“What?” she shrugged. “It’s target practice.”

~*~

Marshala deeply exhaled as she speed-walked towards the vampire that she caught in the trap she had set. She crouched down to look at the vampire that had been incapacitated from her potion. She took a sample of his skin before he fully turned into a feral.

She hesitated for just a second. “You know... some people would refer to this as stalking,” she said.

Nick stopped in his tracks and looked at Marshala who wasn’t even facing his direction. No one had ever been able to detect him before. An amused grin came to his face. “Just admiring the badassery. Never seen anyone take down a feral in mid-transition like that before,” he smirked.

Marshala rolled her eyes as she closed up the jar with the sample. “I thought wolves weren’t surprised by anything,” she said. She stood to her feet and tucked the jar in her satchel.

“...guess it must be the woman then...”

Marshala turned around to face the wolf that couldn’t seem to leave her alone since the moment he laid eyes on her. She remembered when she first saw him during one of the meetings between allies. Her grandmother was speaking with Alpha Volkov. His oldest son was looking at her so fiercely she thought for sure he was going to kill her at any second.

The way he pursued her immediately thereafter couldn’t have proved her more wrong. She couldn’t deny her attraction to him. His body was a reflection of the lifestyle he lived. Every muscle defined. He never wore anything more than a pair of sweats and boots due to how many times he and his pack transformed. She tried not to give him the satisfaction of catching her staring at him.

But he was always looking right back at her.

She went to walk past him when he quickly grabbed her arm. “What do you want, Volkov?” she said irritably.

“Your witches won’t make it to the end of next month on potions alone. They need to learn to fight,” he said sharply.

“My witches are not fighters,” Marshala said. “They are peacekeepers. They maintain the balance of-”

“They won’t maintain shit if they’re dead. And at this rate they all will be,” Nick said.

Marshala pulled her arm out of his grasp and looked at him warily. “What are you proposing?” she asked.

“I’ve never seen a witch outmaneuver a vampire like you. You’re fast. You’re smart. You’re fucking sexy as hell.”

Marshala raised a brow. “That last part was not relevant.”

“It’s relevant to me,” he grinned.

Marshala rolled her eyes as she folded her arms across her chest. “Do you have a point?”

Nick smirked amused. “My pack can train your coven.”

“I told you, they’re not-”

“It’s either kill or be killed, babe. You’re skilled, but they’re not. You’re sealing their fate by not even giving them a fighting chance.”

Marshala considered his offer before she looked into Nick’s eyes. “If you’re really willing to teach them...” she said.

“I’m willing to teach all of you,” he said.

Marshala gave him a sarcastic grin. “And just what exactly could you teach me?”

Nick grinned mischievously as he backed her into a tree. He trapped her between his arms and looked down at her. He stared at her thick dark brown plump lips before looking into her large brown eyes. “...I’m willing to bet... a whole lot...”

~

“Now, I’m getting the wolf. She’s purposely blocking me out,” Mary groaned irritably as she dropped her hands.

“She’s nearly dead from her blood loss,” Gwendolyn sneered. “Perhaps you’re just not as powerful a witch as you make yourself out to be.”

Mary glared angrily at Gwendolyn. “She’s a fucking NOLA witch!”

“You say that like it’s supposed to mean something,” Gwendolyn said flippantly.

“It means that she’s a formidable witch who should not be underestimated,” a deep voice with an English accent said.

Shae looked up from the floor to see a pale man with the most striking blue eyes she had ever seen walk up to Marshala. He wore a crisp black suit that clung to his intimidating, tall lean figure. The look on his face was so cold and dark it sent a shiver up her spine.

“Master,” Hugo said, bowing his head. “I did not expect you to grace us with your presence.”

“I was bored...” the man said as he grabbed Marshala’s chin. “And you haven’t delivered.”

“She’s not exactly that easy to crack,” Mary said anxiously.

“That is because you are not targeting the right memories,” the man said. “You must target where she is most fragile... where she is weak... vulnerable.”

Marshala struggled to open her eyes. Her lids barely lifted before she felt her heart stop momentarily as she looked into the cold, terrifying blue eyes of William Blackbourne. She tried to swallow but her throat was too dry. She clenched her teeth in fear.

“There you are... my son’s little... pet...” William smirked. His nail slowly elongated slicing across the skin on her cheek and causing her to wince in pain. “You think you know what love is, Hugo,” William said. “My son murdered her brother in cold blood, and yet still she loves him. That soul bond is truly remarkable... isn’t it, Toussaint?”

Marshala squinted at him in confusion, wondering how he knew about her brother when he wasn’t even there. “I know everything there is to know about my children, pet,” William said almost as if he could hear her thoughts. He leaned in closer and stared directly into her eyes. “I don’t care how much you love him. Or how much he thinks he loves you. He is mine. They are all... mine. And they will always be mine.”

Marshala’s jaw clenched as William stepped back with a smirk. “Try again, witch,” he said to Mary. Mary hesitated before she walked up to Marshala and touched her head again. Marshala immediately screamed out in pain.

“MARSHALA!” Shae cried out.

Several morbid images flashed through Marshala’s mind. She repetitively saw her brother’s lifeless body fall to the ground and begged for it to stop. Mary looked at William who merely shook his head. “Keep going,” he ordered. Tears streamed down Marshala’s face as her eyes glazed over. Her mind flashed to a dark scene of bodies littering the forest floor. Screaming could be heard in the distance as the smell of blood choked her nostrils.

Rapid images of Rhea, Peter, and Levi lying dead on the ground flickered to images of Cole, Alexander, and Leo groaning in agonizing pain. Her mouth fell open as she watched the life drain from their eyes. “Stop this! Please!” Marshala cried out. Her eyes widened in horror to see an image of Nick choking on his own blood before he stopped moving. “I love you, mon coeur...” were the last words to escape Elijah’s blood-stained face before he stopped breathing altogether.

Marshala broke out into hysterical sobbing as she frantically shook her head. “No! No! Please no!” she muttered over and over again.

“What did she see?” William asked Mary.

Mary swallowed hard as she looked at Marshala. “Her future...”

~*~

“Your worst mistake was keeping your humanity,” Ben chided. He led Nick and Elijah to one of his many lairs, where his vampires resided.

Your worst mistake was abandoning yours,” Elijah served back.

Ben rolled his eyes. “I see you have yet to learn your lesson when it comes to dealing with these mortals. Wasn’t stalking your blood family enough? How many times have you put their lives at risk? They’re better off without you.”

“You sound like you’re projecting, Benjamin,” Elijah said coldly.

Ben looked at Elijah with offense before he rolled his eyes. “I rejected the name Beaumont eons ago.”

“And yet you never took on another,” Elijah said. “Tell me, Benjamin. If you truly rejected your mortal family. Why are you here? In the States?”

Ben hesitated to open the gate leading to his clan as he tried to find his words. “I have clans all over the world, Elijah. You know that,” Ben said.

“Last I heard you were in Korea. It is not lost on me that the youngest Beaumonts are but a few miles from here,” Elijah said mockingly.

“Fucking hell!” Nick blurted impatiently. “I get that you two Shakespearean tragedies are having a fucking moment, but I really don’t give a shit! I’m trying to find my goddamn woman! Elijah, can you shut the fuck up for 5 seconds?!”

Elijah looked at Nick before glaring at Ben who sighed in resignation. “I don’t need either of you imbeciles killing any more of my vampires,” Ben said, unlocking the gate.

“I really don’t give a fuck,” Nick snapped. “I’ll kill every last goddamn leech to find her.”

Ben looked at Elijah wearily. “Control your dog,” he muttered as he walked through the gate.

Nick growled angrily. “YOU FUCKIN’-”

“Nicholas!” Elijah snapped. “Focus.”

You fucking focus with all your melodramatic century-old bullshit,” Nick snapped. He stormed past Elijah and through the gate. Elijah groaned as he turned and followed Nick. Nick’s emotions were raging and they clashed with the anger Elijah already felt from Marshala’s disappearance. She was in pain. They both felt it. And she was distressed, thinking about them. That hurt them the most.

Elijah didn’t know what was worse, controlling Nick’s anger or tempering his own. They had already massacred three entire clans before ripping half of Ben’s clan apart. They were itching for an excuse to cause more damage for every second they spent apart from the woman they loved.

Elijah stood over a ledge that looked down at hundreds of vampires below. The mood in the atmosphere changed as they all looked up at the unwanted presence. “WHY THE FUCK IS A WOLF HERE?!” one of them shouted.

“Did you bring him for us to play with,” one of the female vampires teased. “He looks fun.” Nick’s lip curled in disgust.

“You play with that wolf and he’ll rip your pretty lil head off,” another vampire said to her. “He’s not just any wolf... he’s a Volkov... and an Alpha at that...”

“You’re famous,” Elijah smirked at Nick.

“Shut up,” Nick chided.

“Do not be alarmed,” Ben spoke loudly. “They don’t intend to bring any of you harm.”

“Debatable,” Nick muttered.

“Why else would an alpha wolf be here if not to cause shit?!” another vampire shouted. “They already tore apart half the clan.” Ben looked back at them in dismay. Elijah sighed and Nick shrugged.

“I’ll take it from here,” Elijah said. He stepped forward and looked down at the crowd. “All we want to know is who took the Toussaint witch that you all saw in the bar earlier,” Elijah said calmly.

“Who gives a fuck about your damn witch!” one shouted.

Nick snarled but Elijah quickly held his hand up. “The sooner you provide us with the information we need, the sooner we will be out of your hair,” Elijah assured them.

“And why the hell should we help you?!” the first vampire shouted. “Aren’t you the piece of shit that turned on your own for the fucking wolves and the bitches that cursed us?! FUCK YOU!”

Elijah’s eyes flickered angrily as Ben smirked amused. “I will ask... one. more. time...” Elijah said calmly.

“Or wha-” the same vampire started before his eyes opened wide. He looked down to see a hand sticking out of his chest before he felt his spine break. He immediately collapsed to the ground.

Ben looked down to see Elijah holding part of the vampire’s backbone in his hand. “I will not. ask. again!” Elijah snarled.

“Elijah,” Ben started.

“SILENCE!” Elijah shouted. He glared at the vampires looking at him timidly. “You can either tell me who took her... or I will rip the spine out of every single last one of you,” he threatened as he dropped the spinal cord to the ground.

Nick saw from the corner of his eye, a vampire trying to sneak away. Nick grabbed the railing and jumped down. He leaped in the air and tackled the vampire to the ground. “Please don’t!” the vampire shrieked.

“Why were you sneaking off, you little shit,” Nick said, grabbing him by the neck. “Do you know where she is?”

The vampire struggled to speak. “I... I-”

“You have 5 seconds before I rip your fucking head off!” Nick snapped.

“Hugo! Hugo took her!” the vampire squealed.

Nick looked up at Elijah who approached them. “Do you know where they went?” Elijah asked. The vampire apprehensively nodded.

“Then your ass is coming with us,” Nick said, pulling him off of the ground.

~*~

“Have you been able to reach your brother?” Alexander asked.

“No,” Leo said, pumping gas into the tank. Alexander leaned back against the truck with his hands tucked into his pockets. They waited for Kiara to emerge from the store. His keen eye watched her pay at the register.

Leo removed the gas pump and sealed the tank. He followed Alexander’s gaze to Kiara. “Is it just me...” Leo started. “Or is she...”

“Yea...” Alexander said lowly. “I feel it too...”

Kiara skipped out of the store and ran up to them. “I just thought of something!” she said excitedly. “A way that I can help Marshala. She was at a warehouse surrounded by a bunch of vampires but there was another witch there too. A redhead. Marshala seems too weak for me to connect with, but maybe I can connect with her.”

“Do you really think you can do that?” Leo asked.

“Only one way to find out,” Kiara said. She opened the truck door and sat on the edge of the seat with her legs dangling out. Leo and Alexander watched her as she closed her eyes:

~

Mary kept her eyes focused on Marshala and glanced at William who had stepped outside. She had heard so many terrible things about the great William Blackbourne. Never in her life did she imagine she’d be working for him. She was starting to wonder if the money was really worth her involvement.

Suddenly Mary jolted as her eyes flashed a bright jade green. She felt a foreign presence overwhelm her mind. She became a passenger in her own body, being controlled by something else. She lifted her arms and sent several vampires flying in different directions.

Hugo and Gwendolyn stopped talking to see Mary throw multiple vampires in the air before they could charge at her. “Mary! What the fuck are you doing?!” Gwendolyn growled.

Shae watched the redhead witch start attacking the vampires. She had no idea what had gotten into her but thought it was best to use that opportunity to make their escape. Shae slipped out of the rope that she had been sawing away at with a piece of metal on the floor and scrambled for Marshala. While the vampires were distracted with Mary, Shae grabbed a piece of rock on the ground and started smashing against the chains holding Marshala up.

“Marshala, come on,” Shae begged. She kept smashing until one finally broke. Marshala’s body fell limp as she still hung by the other chain. Shae smashed with all her might until the next chain broke and Marshala fell against her. “Come on, please!” Shae said, grabbing her. “I need you to wake up! We need to get out of here!”

Marshala struggled to open her eyes and weakly looked at Shae. She took a deep breath as she leaned on Shae to find her strength. Shae looked at her and Marshala nodded as Shae helped her crawl out of the warehouse through a small window. Marshala looked back to see Mary still whipping vampires everywhere in mass chaos. The green tint in her eyes looked awfully familiar.

“This way!” Shae said once they got outside. She stared across a field of high grass and started to hobble along. But in seconds, a vampire flashed in front of them.

“And just who the fuck told you, you could leave?” he growled, grabbing Shae by the throat. Marshala weakly said a quick incantation that sent him flying away from them as he caught on fire.

“We have to hurry,” Marshala choked out as Shae rubbed her sore throat. William stood by the side of the warehouse and watched the two of them escape.

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