Chapter 40 - Healers Plea
Mantilo returned from the horse ranch feeling decidedly heavy with possibilities and a fledgling plan of action for the coming morning.
This time when he neared the house, his Mate was nowhere to be seen, until he had climbed the winding steps of their home, up past the second floor where the scent of the intruder lingers slightly on the air.
A new scent and so its presence seemed like a blaring sigh to the beast inside that he needed to go and investigate, but Mantilo ignored it, he was far too tired to do anything more but climb to the third floor.
The leopard embossed wooden doors that stood like wooden gates before him, the beautifully carved twin leopards in the wood laying down and mirrored in a back to back pose always managed to make him feel a pinch of pride. Not only because it was Mantilo’s great grandfather who had carved the beautiful door, but because it was Mantilo himself that had restored it after a fire nearly took its magnificence from the world.
The doors opened softly with a rush of air and solid weight beneath his palms as he pushed into the room beyond.
The familiar settings about him, from the large bed that dominated the center of his room, with all of the curtains pulled back. And there was his Mate, sitting, curled up on her side and staring down into a book.
She was dressed in a slimming pitch black gown that stood at a clear contrast to her sandy blond hair and bright green eyes. She was so small, sitting in the middle of their large room and mattress and in comparison to him, that Mantilo often and foolishly feared that he would squash her, but he felt a dual appreciation for her mind and her inner strength.
The moment he steeped closer she turned and sat the book she was reading on the floor. Shinning beautiful green eyes that he could get lost in for days glanced him over and she smiled. All signs of her earlier anger gone. “Come here.” She urged him, putting out a slender hand.
Mantilo walked over to the bed, he wouldn’t have turned form her If her could.
“Welcome back....” she said first, pulling him closer.
He expected her to jump right into the talk about the mortal, but she surprised him by raising his hand and placing a kiss to his slightly red wrists. The irritation and swelling that the bug bites had created had begun healing on the run over and now all that remained were the bright red marks that would soon fade all together. She rubbed her cool palms over the healing skin in a compassionate way that only a healer of her caliber could manage, then she looked up at Mantilo. A new question hanging on her lips.
Once again his mate surprised him, took his other hand and pulled him towards the bed. “So what happened at the Martians Farm?” She questioned him softly. It wasnt an empty inquiry Mantilo knew. Even though his love was worried about the mortal, she cared deeply for their people and any struggles the villages were facing.
“They were attacked, but the Martins themselves are fine. ” He clarified as he placed a peck to her temple. “Unfortunately they lost a few horses tonight.”
“Oh no....” She tisked angrily. “The Martins adored those animals. I hope they weren’t too broken up over their loss.”
The Martins had appeared more upset about the damage done to the farm then they murder of their livestock, but Mantilo decided to keep that to himself.
He took a seat on the bed beside her, groaning softly as the weight being removed from his feet allowed him to realize how sore he really was. The soles of his feet throbbed in time with his heart beat in the back of his head as he continued to fill her in.
“So far we’ve been two steps behind this thing.” He began looking at her lovely face in the candle light and smoothing a hand down one of her arms so that he could take her hand. “We need to route this menace as soon as possible, and keep everyone as safe as we possibly can. It’s attacking indiscriminately....it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt...”
“Do you know what it is? Or where it’s gone too?” She asked him, swiping a piece of straw off of his shirt and dropping it off the bed.
“No....I only have a vague hunch to go on right now. I’ll do more research on its ID later....” Mantilo said in response to the first question then shrugged to the second. “As for the killer’s location, the boys are scouring the Martians farm for clues. Then I assigned each of them to making individual rounds in each of the villages but I fear that the menace has had its fill of free food and will be laying low for the next few days.”
“So what will you do?” She asked him. “If it goes to ground it will take you even longer to find it, and if it’s randomly traveling all over the place killing things it could pop up anywhere next time.”
“Exactly, so the only thing I can do...” “Mantilo sighed coming to a conclusion in that moment. “Is something that’s going to make me terribly unpopular for the next few days with the entire Clan?”
Glen gasped. Her gaze sparking with light as she quickly realized what he was moving towards. “You putting the Village on Lock Down, aren’t you?”
“It’s for the best....Right now, this thing....whether I’m right about its identity or not....its vicious and aggressive.” Mantilo hissed. “And it’s bold. Taking out full grown moose which is big intelligent game for any predator to tackle. Then it finishes by attacking Ezekiel, Nate and now a farm full of horses....” Mantilo shook his head. “I think it’s going to kill someone if we don’t find it soon.”
“But a Lock Down Mantilo?” Glen pushed softly. “It will only a few more weeks before the Celebration is scheduled to take place in the Clan. Preparation will be totally crushed if we are forced to stop all travel and remain confined in our separate villages. Please tell me this is going to be less of a disaster then the Lock Down we had to enact when that terrible orange Fever broke out last fall.”
Mantilo shook his head, even as he sort of shuttered inside. He remembered that particular Lock Down all too well. The orange fever, so named by his Mate and the other Healers in the village, because the effected Shifter that contacted it broke out in hives and swelling complemented by the whites of their eyes acquiring a healthy orange tine....all before the Shifter fell into shock and died. The orange fever had been a mysterious plague on his land that had seemed to come from nothing and eventually disappear altogether.
But in an attempt to save lives and slow the spread of the sickness, Mantilo had had to enact a massive, unforgiving Lock Down that had lasted nearly three months. Banning all traffic through the villages except by the Healers, his eldest sons and a Few Clans men brave enough to risk infection to pass out food.
“Well....” Mantilo breathed coming out of his own thoughts. “Hopefully this it won’t be as severe as past Lock downs or as long. I’m planning on enacting a simple curfew and a band on most travel in the forests or along the edges of the Village, which seems to be the main areas where this thing is choosing to strike form.”
A small smile curved Glen lips as he brushed her hair behind her shoulder. It was a simple smile, but it was a smile that he felt was about to out maneuver him somehow.
Glen asked him another veiled question. “So basically there won’t be any travel allowed?”
“Well travel among the four Villages will be risky, but outside of that, I’m more concerned about the fringes of the Village. So I’ll be limiting travel across the Clan Lands for the next few days until the beast is brought down. So yes, I’m putting the entire Clan on the same exact leash.”
“The entire Clan? Everyone in the Clan?” Glen asked him slowly as though she were trying to line up her own thoughts as well as clarify his own.
Mantilo hissed softly at her. He felt it coming, the purely male part of him sense her quietly maneuvering him the way that she wanted him to go, but he wasn’t sure what she was doing just yet. “Yes, everyone in the Clan.....Glen what are you doing?” he asked her sharply.
She rose her left shoulder, shrugging innocently at him. “Nothing. I’m just saying....” She inhaled deeply, then exhaled her next sentence in a rush. “I was thinking, if you’re Locking Down the whole village anyway.....and you want everyone inside of it to stay away from the border, then the mortal could remain here.....”
With a snarl Mantilo flopped back on the bed. He couldn’t even respond. He was so tired and run down. And the bed felt far too nice beneath him. Glen would argue. She would continue to pester him. He couldn’t avoid it. But in her timing alone his Mate had nearly defeated him.
She fought him every step of the way when it came to the mortal. Something about him had captured his wife’s gentile heart in a vice. He understood that, but that didn’t mean that Mantilo had to like it or even allow it to stand.
Mantilo sighed as Glen climbed on top of him, with a soft sensual hiss that made his pulse pick up despite his fatigue. He reached out and she bent down to him so that his hands glided into her scalp, pushing her sandy brown hair back from her face and neck. He enjoyed the few beautiful brown locks that spilled out of his grasp and tickled his forehead, neck, and chest as he pulled her down and kissed her. They both groaned and sighed as they shared their tastes, it was pure delight and utterly calming to his soul to have her there.
Even after all the years they had spent together he still found the feeling of her body next to his awe inspiring. It felt right. It felt good to embrace her every night, to share his body and his soul with her. To share burdens and love. His Life Mate. He looked into her eyes and everything just faded away. The tension, the confusion and the stress.
Her slim weight settled over him as she pulled back to look him in the eyes. “So dose that moody silence mean yes to the mortal staying?”
Mantilo paused. “Glen....you are like a dog with a bone! What is it? I mean you’ve never been so hard on me before...” He rumbled looking into her green eyes and urging her to be open with him.
“Well It’s the mortal himself. I sense that he’s in trouble. Even if we can’t help him and he only stays here for a few days, he needs rest and food and tending to his injuries.” Glen tried to persuade him.
Mantilo wasn’t taking the bait just yet. He looked at her dead on. “What else?” he asked her.
“Uhmmm....” Glen mumbled shrinking back a little. Her innocent look deepening, which only spelled out to him that she was hiding something.
“Ummmm-What?” Mantilo pressed but Glen only bit her lip and looked away.
“I don’t think I can continue.... “She began looking affronted. “I really shouldn’t say anything more without his permission. I’d be breaking a Healers rule.”
“What rule would that be?” Mantilo picked, trying desperately not to roll his eyes to the heavens.
Glen caught onto his careless tone and glared at him. “I’d be breaking the confidentiality between a patient and their doctor.”
Mantilo failed. He rolled his eyes, dropped his head back on the bed, and groaned obnoxiously.
“Okay!” Glen snarled in frustration, perhaps sensing that she was losing him. “Just this once...and only in the spirit of protecting my patient form further harm.....” Glen began, swallowed then proceeded to shed so disturbing light on their uninvited house guest.
“I saw it when I was seeing him up and changing him out of the bloody rags that he came here in. There are markings all over him. Someone’s been cutting him up.” She attempted to outline the mortal’s injuries in an objective streamlined fashion, so Mantilo knew that she didn’t exaggerate the mortal’s sate of being in the least. He knew that his wife had dealt with everything from broken bones to severed limbs and everything in between.
“The evidence is all over his skin...” She explained to him seriously. “From his chest to his back, down to his knees and the sheer volume of the damage is atrocious. How he went through what he must have went through and survived....I don’t really know.”
Mantilo growled, sharing comfort and disquiet all with that one small sound. “Don’t do this to yourself Glen. You always want to take on the worlds problems. But you don’t own that boy anything. So, stop trying to get me to sympathize with him.”
“I’m not trying to get you to sympathize. “She growled back at him hotly. Piqued at his seeming coldness towards this new information. “I’m answering your questions, even though it completely goes against patient, doctor confidentiality to do so. Now tell me that he can stay!”
“No Glen, besides he’s only your damn patient by so sick twist of fate.” Mantilo growled with a little fire of his own. He was tired of her using her responsibility as a Healer against him where the mortal was involved. “He told us that he came here by coincidence, he could have ended up anywhere out there. And just because he lands here it doesn’t automatically make him our responsibility. Besides I questioned the boy myself. IF he was in some kind of trouble wouldn’t he have said something back then!?” He demanded.
But his Mate came right back at him. “You intimidated him! You’re the last male on earth any Shifter would come too when you fly into rages and threats like you did.”
Mantilo felt she was being unfair and hissed as he came up slightly on his elbow to point out where he was coming form. “Glen, I gave him a chance to explain his intrusion into our home and he in turn acted like a rude little brat! So now I say...his fate may as well be out of our hands!”
“Ok.....I get it.” She began sighing away some of the tension that had been developing between them. She leaned down and began to layer him with kisses. First on his forehead, lips and chin, then down on his throat. Deftly she began to undo the buttons of his shirt. “But.....can’t you see that you’re being a little too ridged about this? Wont you rethink this... for me” She asked him as the shirt opened and he found not only the cool air on his chest, but also her small warm hands.
And suddenly he felt her petite warm teeth and tongue nipping and caressing at his throat, a shiver passed over him as she moved down the length of his torso. Kissing, sucking and setting him to a slow burn so that nothing mattered but her and more of her touch.
Suddenly she lowered her head and wrapped her soft lips around his right nipple. As she bit him on the hard tip, he felt the point of her canines on his flesh, scraping sensitive flesh, bringing pain, but also feeding the burning pleasure.
Mantilo hissed, and slid his hands up into her curls, encouraging her as she moved on. Pressing a sinfully soft line of kisses across his chest to his other nipple which she lavished with the same attentions as the one before.
Then her head, her lips and her hands were drifting down his hard stomach and past his hips. Mantilo dropped his head back as Glens mouth nibbled and licked at the edge of his jeans. All but ignoring the large bulge that was developing beneath her supple hips, until he felt her hands grinding and pushing against him through his pants. With a growl as his teeth grew longer behind his lips, nearly cutting him in the process, Mantilo pulled her hands up, so that they locked behind him, then he guided her back up so that she sat on his hips, the silk dress bunched up over her luscious thighs in a deliciously seductive fashion. He tried to kiss her and roll his aroused hips against her hot core, Glen began to rock against him.
A sinful arch of her hips against his that made pleasure blossom like a spike in his groin and gut. His head drifted back even further which allowed her to bypass his mouth and suck on his nipples again. Everything in him responded to her touch. He felt like he was burning all over and nothing but her skin against his own could halt the flames that had ignited.
But That was how it was between Mates. Passion and pleasure that could ignite as fast a gasoline and was as consuming as a storm of ferocious flames across the mind and soul.
Often most Shifters never found their Mate, not their true Mate at least. IT was a fluke....a twist of fate that brought two people together whose souls....just seemed like one.
Some loved it....others loathed the connection that Mates formed once they met...because mentally and physically a Mate was more important than breathing. Their touch, or scent, more vital than even a drink of water. In this way one Mate was like a slave to another. Their whims....their feelings....Their love. It could consume a couple. It could override common sense. It could destroy two peoples happiness.
And in this way Mantilo could have resented what Glen was trying to do, He knew that his Mate wasn’t playing fair and Mantilo knew it needed to be addressed.
For one, he adored the woman in black silk. Nothing fit her as snuggly or as sensually as silks, and black was always so mysterious on her that he couldn’t resist loving to watch it move on her body and skin....until he took it off of course.
But beyond his Mates choice of clothing, it was what she was doing to him. When he had meet her, and realized she was his Mate sex had taken on a new meaning. The urge to dominate that one person. To have that one person...it was maddening at times. Only years of time in that persons company did anything to dull the ache, and even then Mantilo had never known the urge to slack off it was just more manageable for him.
Using that power, a power only she had over him as his Mate, that no other man on God’s green earth would ever posse to distract him could have upset him. But it didn’t, simply because he had that same power over her. And unlike his Mate he was used to using it to get what he wanted from her. There had been plenty of times when he had pushed the strong healer out of an argument simply by kissing her or touching her till she was a mess for him. Using the Mate bond to drown her in ecstasy. He had used their bond to capture her heart after all long ago...and felt no shame about using it now back against her.
He brought her head up, and stole a demanding kiss from her, as he pulled her closer. He played her mouth and body knowing that his kisses drove her wild and breathless
She hissed, as he rocked back against her, taking some of the control out of her teasing as she let him guide her moves. She panted as her body began to squirm and heat up in his hands. She fought to speak as her body yielded to him.
“You have enough to worry about already Mantilo. With the Celebration coming around and now this beast on the prowl....can’t you just ignore this.....”
He put his hands on her hips to still their movements. Not so much because he wanted her to stop, but because he needed to concentrate. Mantilo gave up on trying to move past the subject “Look Glen.... “He breathed slightly harder as his body warred with his mind for control. He wanted her, he would always want her, but not if it was going to be the end of the talk when he did take her down into the sheets. “I see what you’re saying, but even with that beast, and the Celebration, I would still be able to escort the mortal off our lands. He is leaving that’s that!”
Glen sighed, green eyes tinted with need and anger equally. “You’re such a sour puss right now.”
“And you’re cheating, you little seductress...” Mantilo pointed out right back to let her know that he wasn’t fooled.
“Only because you’re acting like a stubborn mule.” She nipped at his throat with her fangs, then pulled back.
She tried to pull away from him completely, but Mantilo wrapped her in his arms once more, locking her close, still straddled over him.
“Am I?” Mantilo growled. He kissed her softly as he took one of his hands and ran it down her side and along her belly. “I think I’m just not giving you what you want so you’re trying to pout.” And before she could quite muster a response to that Mantilo slid his hands down her small silk covered middle, closing in on the molten heat of her core, the sweet heat and scent of her arousal for him making his mouth water and his manhood hard and thick between them.
She jumped, pulling back slightly from his lips. He pushed against her, caressing her through the silken nightgown that she wore. He urged her to move, as he slowly ran his fingertips between her legs and against the silk barring him from touching her directly. When she moaned and her hips began to move against his hand he growled softly. He pulled her down for a kiss fully prepared to forget about their talk all together.
When their lips met it was like a spark. Sweet and hot and just the beginning.
But once more Glen broke the kiss and put her forehead against his as held her dainty weight to his wider chest. “Please Mantilo....” she whispered to him, sounding like she wanted to cry. Her eyes were closed as though she were making a wish. She begged him, holding off a sob. “Oh please, my love?”
“Dammit Glen.” Mantilo sighed, felling like the bad guy suddenly. Like a bully. “Arr you serious! Your begging for that little irritating child...Okay... okay! If you’re going to cry on me....I will concede.” Mantilo told her, he couldn’t bear to ignore her any longer. Or ignore how much she wanted his cooperation. For some reason taking care of this young stranger was important to her. He suspected that the kindness came from the part of her that made her a wonderful mother.
But Mantilo didn’t completely roll over. “If it will give us peace. Then I’ll give the boy temporary stay here. At least for another few days. The Beast should be located by then and dispatched. It will also allow him time to heal his wounds....I guess that matters too. A little bit.”
Glen’s eyes flew open a moment later as she laughed and pulled back slightly. Her green eyes were full of glimmering joy that made him melt for her.
“You will let him stay!? Oh thank you!” she cried. Then she put her hands on his cheeks and kissed him again sending tendrils of sweet pleasure and hunger all over his skin and lions and Mantilo could taste her excitement and her love for him all at once.
He kissed her back, growling as he tumbled their tongues and moaned her name and just as Mantilo got ready to flip her over and pull her beneath him and satisfy them both; Glen pulled away from him and hopped off the bed all together.
“Glen!?” Mantilo sat up on his elbows as she moved toward their bedroom door. “Come back woman! What are you doing now?” he growled as she sauntered further from his grasp. The black silk shimmering in the candle light like water as she moved.
Glen pivoted on her heel to look back at him as she put her hand on the doorknob. Her eyes, glowing slightly like gossamer jewels and contracted like a wild cat, glittered with excitement and impatience. “Well I have to make sure the boy doesn’t think you’re going to wake up tomorrow and kill him now. Right?” she said.
Glen opened the door and disappeared from his sight before he could respond. He stared at the empty door way trying to figure out how it had come to this. A moment ago Glen had been all his and now it looked like he wasn’t getting any of her time any time soon.
Mantilo dropped back on to his bed with an overburdened hiss. “Heavens!! It’s like there’s a new babe in the house dammit.” He said to himself. “I didn’t get any of her time back then either.”
He refrained from thinking about the fact that that that exact same baby on his mind had grown into the man that had brought the mortal into his home.