Secrets of Ravenstone: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book One

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Chapter 16

Jonathan asked as he shifted in his seat,

“Anyone know the time?”

“It is…4:30p.m.”I replied, looking at my I-pod screen.

“Seriously?” Sarah added.

I nodded in response showing her the screen.

“Relax, young ones.” Marxus said over the radio, “We’ll be stopping again soon, so just hang in there. There’s a campsite ahead where we could rest before venturing further. From what I remember, there was a snack bar where we could purchase hot dogs, sandwiches, and rest for a couple of hours.”

“Cool.” I replied, “And I didn’t know you can purchase rest, unless we’re staying at a hotel?”

“My thoughts exactly.” Sarah added.

Erik and Jonathan shook their heads, hearing the feminine comment.

“No, but we will be stopping at that abandoned barn out there in the distance to our right. Should provide enough cover until this rain ceases.”

“A barn!?” Sarah complained, “Where there’s animal dung and smelly beasts!? I’d rather stand in the bloody rain, if that’s the case.”

“Then stand in the rain because that’s the case.” Marxus answered bluntly.

Everyone remained silent, for Marxus had said what everyone felt at that moment.

“Besides, Sarah…you’re related to a smelly beast so it shouldn’t be a problem.” Jonathan taunted over his shoulder, viewing her in the rear-view mirror.

“That’s not funny, Jonathan!” she snapped, “You don’t know what you’re talking about, so shut up you bloody bloodsucking…” she paused, then remained silent for the next words would’ve led to an argument that not even Marxus could’ve prevented.

“Bloodsucking…what, Sarah!?” Jonathan turned, frowning as he leered at her.

“Never mind.”

“No, tell me!” he commanded.

“Jon, mate…let it go.” Erik pleaded, “With all of us raising our voices, it’s going to get Zanzabarr agitated which he already is, so let’s not make it worse. Alright? You two can settle things later, yeah?”

“He’s right.” I added, “For a lot of reasons.”

Jonathan nodded, turning in his seat while Sarah huffed; eyes watching the rain roll down the glass windows.

“Oh, boy.” I whispered under my breath, scratching Zanz’s neck.

Marxus shook his head, overhearing the conversation without the two-way radio. He may not have been in the craft with us, but he listened on a magical level.

Driving off the road hovering across the landscape, Marxus avoided large puddles of water as he instructed us to raise further off the ground. Feeling the elevated height, turned my stomach. Approaching closer, we glanced out the dashboard windows, viewing an old collapsed house with an adjacent barn a few feet away, still in tact but with its doors broken from their hinges. Slowly pulling inside, we parked the crafts. Climbing out, everyone examined ten abandoned stalls with doors broken and old bales of hay in the eaves. Straw was spewed all over the wet ground while rain poured through small gaping holes in the roofing, but overlooking all of that, it provided just enough shelter, with a dry area to the right.

For an hour, we stretched our legs taking advantage of the coverage we had. Thomas walked over to Marxus, mentioning we should give the vehicles a rest for the cold damp weather could do damage to the engines. Agreeing to his suggestion, Marxus mentioned we’d stay here for an extra hour while he and Thomas refueled the diesel engines.

Unfortunately, Sarah and I had to use the bathroom and unlike men, we couldn’t just go anywhere. So, walking around a bit, she discovered an outhouse behind the barn. Oh, it wasn’t pleasant on the outside, so imagine the inside. Sarah barely touched the door before it completely fell to the ground, splashing water on her feet and pants. The inside? Oh, good God! There were old spider webs EVERYWHERE, with God only knows what growing and SWIMMING inside the toilet! She and I looked at each other and mumbled simultaneously,

“No way!” then she continued, “Bush!?”

“Bush.” I answered.

We finally discovered a secluded area, away from the men; ruins of a stone wall. Ducking down behind it, out of view, Zanz stood watch as a sentinel until we finished. That’s one experience I never to wish repeat EVER again, as the damn grass tickled my butt as I squatted. But it was very difficult trying to hold an umbrella for each of us and well, the rest I’ll just leave to your imagination.

Afterwards, we returned to the crafts.

“Everything come out alright, ladies?” Nathan remarked, watching as we shook the rain from our umbrellas. Leaning against the barns’ door, he gave us the once over in a sexual manner.

“Piss off, brother!” Sarah scolded.

“F*** off!” I snapped then turned, watching as Zanz jumped in the air, twisting and running in circles, catching droplets of water.

He looked just like a puppy, which in my eyes he was. As I sat in the craft watching him run around barking and howling, I remembered the day I had found him in the Great City three years ago today, actually:

My mom and I ventured into the city’s outdoor markets shopping for fruits and breads, enjoying the day. My mom went one way to one stand selling fruits and vegetables, while I stopped by the bread and fresh meat stand. Placing a few loaves in my basket and a nice cut of pork roast, I abruptly heard voices laughing and hollering out over the chorus of vendors calling out their products from their stands,

“Ha-ha...look at that! It’s trying to run. Run little dog...run...”

Pushing my way through the crowded streets, I looked in the direction of their voices, seeing six little chubby; actually fat boys standing in the alley closest to the streets.I quietly walked up behind them watching as they threw small rocks at six, 20-day-old Wolf-mix puppies; red, white and black.

“Hey!” I shouted as I dropped my basket pushing them out of the way burning their bare arms as I steamed, “Get out of here you little fat shitty pigs!I picked up a handful of rocks throwing them at the boys who ran off, cursing under their breath, holding onto their burnt arms.

Dropping the rocks and making sure the boys were out of view, I turned my attention toward the puppies. Unfortunately, five of them were already dead, but the sixth; solid black in color and much larger, tried crawling away from the others. It whined, trying to let out small howls. I looked around for the mother, but she wasn’t anywhere in sight. I figured she must’ve been killed, taken to the nearby shelter or abandoned them, leaving them defenseless. When the helpless pup looked up, it howled as if trying to communicate.

My steaming persona faded as I knelt down.

“Hey there...it’s alright. Shh, I’m not going to hurt you. Come here...” I whispered softly as I reached out picking it up.

Attempting to squiggle out of my hands and frightened I might harm it;acting without thinking, I grabbed my basket placing it inside to keep it safe, and retrieved the groceries. Afterwards, I searched for my mom relaying to her what happened.She too fell in love with him, so we took him home...and the rest is history.

He always was a very unusual dog, in his behavior and loyalty.Extremely intelligent, as if he were a person in a dog’s body. He was larger than your average alpha male Wolf, with a lean frame and long legs.His piercing gold eyes contrasted beautifully with his black short fur. When I walked down the streets of the Great City, patrons steered clear of me as they were afraid Zanz would attack them. Let’s just say, I never got robbed or even approached by cute men. Bummer!

After a rest, everyone decided to get in practice time.

Nathan observed Erik, Marxus and I having a moment of laughter watching Zanz, forcing him to look away in disgust. He sat there smoking another cigarette; a habit I had never noticed although smelled. Not even something as innocent as a Wolf playing and enjoying himself could cheer him up. Everything made him miserable.

Marxus glanced in his direction, then excused himself. Reaching into the backseat of one of the crafts, he retrieved a sword then walked toward Nathan.

As Nathan sunk deeper into his misery, he suddenly felt a sword tap his shoulder.

Looking up, there stood Marxus with a sword in his other hand.

“Not now, Marxus.” he said as he turned away.

“All the more reason, Nathan.” Marxus replied, “Can’t be miserable for the rest of your life.”

“That’s my business.”

“As it is mine. Now get up and keep your mind on better thoughts.”

“Like what!? A stupid animal!? No, thanks. And what the f*** am I doing here!? They hate me and I hate them even more, so leave me alone!”

“Why are you here!? Because I don’t trust leaving you back at Ravenstone...unattended and I won’t leave you alone. Now, get off your ass and fight.” he menacingly leaned in.

Thinking momentarily, he quickly stood. Glaring atMarxus, Nathan threw his unfinished cigarette to the ground in a puddle of mucky rain water, catching the sword Marxus gently tossed. They stood in position and started sparring.

We all took a break watching as Nathan and Marxus fought because none of us have ever seen Marxus in action. He fought with such precision, force and speed that Nathan took a break, catching his breath. And he was an excellent swordsman.

Watching as Nathan’s sword caught Marxus’ upper left arm, I could’ve sworn the blade went right through without a cut, as if Marxus were a holographic image.

Thomas too, took notice of this occurrence but said nothing as he stood alongside Anthony.

Blinking a few times, I removed my glasses, rubbing my eyes.

“Are you okay?” Erik asked.

“Hmm?” I replied as I looked at him, “Oh, yeah. I’m fine. Just my eyes.” I placed my glasses back on.

Glancing toward Marxus, he paused his sparring session; catching my gaze. He knew I witnessed what occurred. He told Nathan he was finished then turned, walking away.

Nathan stood there watching as Marxus walked away then threw the sword to the ground.

“That’s not the warrior’s way…throwing your weapon to the ground.” Anthony stated as he walked over, picking it up, “You used it…you put it back!” he shoved it toward Nathan.

“I didn’t get the f***ing thing. Marxus did. So f*** you, pimp!” Nathan cursed. “And I don’t need to be ATTENDED to either!” he hollered toward Marxus’ direction.

“What!? Excuse me!? I didn’t quite hear that, so can you repeat that!?”

“I called you a pimp! That’s what you are, isn’t it!? You get paid for sleeping with women. Gee, why didn’t I think of that!? But wait, that’s not a pimp. You’re a male prostitute! Even better!”

Anthony raged as he lunged for Nathan but Thomas stepped in, telling him that now wasn’t the time for that. Arguing over the matter, Anthony made a point that now is the perfect time since everyone sparred. Thomas said nothing, for that was true but Anthony taking pride in himself in a gentlemanly manner, knew Thomas was right. Passing Nathan brushing his shoulder roughly he leaned in, whispering into Nathan’s right ear,

“Later, Nathan...you flea bag-mutt!”

Nathan turned, leering in Anthony’s direction then called out after him,

“Oh, you bet…pretty boy!” then removing yet another cigarette he turned away. Typical chain smoker. Finishes one, starts another.

The rest of us stood aside, shaking our heads in disgust, aggravation and wondered ourselves, as to why Nathan was even here.

Sarah looked around hoping no one would notice as she approached her brother.

“Are you alright?” she inquired as she stood in front of him.

“I could be.” he hinted, “If you know what I mean?”

“Nathan, come on. Don’t do this again. Not now.”

“Why!?”

“Sarah!” Jonathan hollered from near the shuttles.

“You better go. Your bloodsucker’s waiting for you.” Nathan mumbled, blowing the cigarette smoke away from her face.

Sarah looked into Nathan’s cold blue eyes then walked away, shaking her head.

I witnessed their whole encounter, noticing there was something a little more between them other than just brother and sister. The way she touched his arm and stroked his back, followed by flirtatious eye contact. When she turned to walk away, my suspicions were confirmed, when his head turned, eyeing her up and down. It definitely wasn’t my place to say anything so I turned away, forgetting about it as everyone continued their sparring exercises. Our steps splashed around the puddles of water that had accumulated.

Erik and I engaged in a brief session and he grew pleased with my progress.

Once finished, we splashed cool water on our faces from a nearby trickle of water pouring through the roof, then gathered around listening and laughing, as Marxus told stories he learned from an OLD FRIEND. We sat on dry stacks of hay that hadn’t been effected by the rain, and grabbed snacks from our bags.

The two hours passed rather quickly as we repacked the weapons.

However as everyone stood ready to leave, Marxus stood in the barns doorway, examining the darkened skies. I walked over standing alongside him, curiously asking,

“What’s wrong?”

“I was hoping it was nothing, but it seems our break had wasted time. It’s getting too late in the evening now to be traveling anywhere. I haven’t been out this way in quite a long time so I don’t know how the roads are.” then he turned away.

“Wait a second…are you telling me that we’re going to have stay the night here!?” Sarah complained, overhearing his worried statement.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying. If you don’t like it, Sarah…then you can sleep outside in your tent…in the rain.” Marxus snapped, “Now, gentlemen…pitch your tents in dry spots, while Sarah and Yzavela will take the crafts. I don’t want to hear any complaints!”

“It’s not a complaint, but there aren’t Boar-wolves out here too, are there? Or any rogue lycans in their transition?” I asked.

“Neither.” Marxus reassured, “Get some sleep. We wake at dawn.”

After grabbing more snacks for the night, we rested. Zanz and I shared one craft while Sarah slept in the other.

Before Nathan climbed inside his tent, Nathan glanced toward the crafts, thinking about making a visit but thought better of it especially since Marxus himself stood watch.

Dawn approached and after a quick breakfast of eggs and coffee that Marxus manifested, we were on our way. This time we took turns driving. Anthony drove the shuttle in front of us, while I took the wheel in ours. I drove with Zanz in the passenger seat, following the curve of the road up a slight hill then down again. This pattern occurred a few times, making us all feel uneasy as if we were on a roller coaster. I got used to the feel of it after awhile. Quite different from a regular wheeled vehicle, I must say!

We passed through a small town that held nothing of interest and continued driving until we came to a hill top overlooking a valley, where we parked examining the area. Marxus stood there speaking in a disappointing voice,

“Oh my...what’s happened here? Where’s the campground?”

The valley below, revealed a rundown town without classic structures. Large buildings looked to be in good condition though we couldn’t really tell from this distance. Everything ran on steam with no electricity of any kind. Piping created a grotesque looking entryway with large rusted cogwheels that spun in place but had no purpose. The steam pumping from pipes on the rooftops were gray and black, releasing a strong noxious odor. It didn’t look like a very inviting place and I hoped we wouldn’t have to pass through.

“Thomas...would you hand me the binoculars, please?”Marxus asked, “They’re inside my camouflage bag in the back.”

Thomas nodded as he walked over to the shuttle opening the trunk, reaching for his bag. He shifted through until retrieving a pair of strong binoculars with superior lenses.

Marxus held his right hand out when he felt something placed in it.

“Thank you.” he mumbled, adjusting the focus.

We paced watching Marxus attentively.He stood there for several minutes adjusting the lenses mumbling HMM and MMM of different tones. He lowered his hands as he turned, stepping toward the shuttles in silence. Leaning against the side, he stared at the ground.

“Marxus...” I asked curiously, “what’s wrong? What did you see?”

“Yes, I’m fine.” he replied, “I’m just really surprised how things have changed since I’ve been here last, that’s all. There used to be a campsite there. A fairly nice one. But, I guess they moved on.” then he walked around to the trunk, placing the binoculars back inside his bag.

“So, what do we do now?” Erik asked.

“From what I saw, it’s not a place to dwell around. We’ll pass through and stay no longer than necessary.” he replied as he looked up at us, “The people I saw walking around didn’t particularly look like other people we’ve encountered. Thomas…can I speak to you you for a moment, please?” he urged.

He and Thomas stood around the trunk, but Marxus didn’t want their conversation overheard so he reached out telepathically. Thomas grew worried of the topic as well as the mild headache but agreed that it had to be done in order to continue the journey and get back to Ravenstone safely and on time.

“Can I count on you to keep silent for now?” Marxus asked verbally.

“Agreed.” Thomas nodded.

Jonathan and Erik glanced down into the valley and using their vampire vision,they witnessed for themselves what Marxus spoke of.

Everyone then turned their heads in my direction including Marxus, remaining silent and I could feel all their eyes staring at me.

“What!?” I said, “Why are you looking at me? I’ll stay quiet and I won’t steam.” then I glanced toward Marxus, “I promise.”

Erik shook his head while the others just smiled. Except Nathan.

Not in the mood to joke around Marxus commanded quickly,

“Come now, everyone. Let’s not stand around all day deciding what to do. Let’s do what we have to and leave.” he turned, climbing into the driver’s side.

As he did, his eyes scanned the skies for Axeon.

“What’s wrong with him?” Sarah asked.

“I don’t know.” I replied, “But that town really freaked him out.”

“What do you think he saw?” Jonathan asked.

“I have no idea.” Erik replied, “But from what we saw, I don’t like it at all.”

We slowly followed Marxus down into the valley.

We came to a stop outside the piped entry, looking out our windshields for a name of the town, but it had absolutely no name. The town looked quite different up close. From the hill, the buildings looked to be in good condition but up close; old, rusted and run down shacks; gray and brown in color with old rusty doors and broken steps, shattered windows, etc.

The people scattered were dressed in full steampunk clothing. The men wore freaky spiked hair styles and mohawks, tattoos and piercings, and the women were plain, sloppy or frumpy with dyed unbrushed hair of different colors. Whatever children that were spotted, appeared barefoot and filthy; unkempt.

“Keep your windows up.” Marxus said over the speakers, “These people probably haven’t seen people like us, dressed the way we are in our...” then he put the emphasis on the next two words, “DARK CLOTHING. Not to mention our vehicles.”

“Um…have you seen their bloody clothing!?” Erik objected, “They’re wearing DARK CLOTHING too.”

Marxus’ voice cursed in Spanish over the radio, then continued in English,

“Watch it, Erik.”

I smiled as Erik shrugged.

“Nicely done.” I teased.

Erik raised an eyebrow as he flashed a sexy grin.

Cautiously, we drove through. The people ran erratically into the buildings while some grew brave enough to stand in the doorways with unfriendly expressions.

We pulled up, parking outside a rundown, and I literally mean rundown, tavern with a sign hanging from one corner on its last hinges gruesomely named with rusted letters:

THE HOOKED AND HANGED TAVERN

Hanging underneath and swinging in the breeze was a giant meat hook used for hanging slabs of meat in a butcher shop.That really said a lot about what kind of people live here. We waited outside unsure of what to do next. Some of the townspeople came from their buildings; brave enough to venture close to the hovercrafts. Cautiously, they ran their hands over the smooth surface impressed by the architecture of our new-on-the-market crafts; first time driven and seen.

Come to think of it, we didn’t notice many vehicles,except for horses and wagons, or steampunk bikes. There was a rusted pickup truck from the 1950s parked down at the end of the street; tires torn from the rim and windows shattered. It seemed the people here were the backwoods type, unfamiliar with the newer technology, uneducated and lacking manners.

Marxus said bluntly as he pushed the speaker button looking out the windows,

“Listen and listen well. I want all of you to stay inside the crafts while I go inside to see where we are. Don’t follow me, understand?”

“Absolutely.” I replied.

“No problem.” Erik added.

We watched as Marxus hesitatingly climbed out of the craft in front of us. As he did, the crowd ran off, frightened by his presence. From afar they pointed. He really did stand out in his expensive white parka, black jeans, expensive hiking boots and leather gloves. I guess to outsiders, he did look intimidating. Even dressed as he was, it was how he carried himself as someone you didn’t want to mess with. Very statuesque. But then again, the Spaniards are.

We waited outside, while he ventured toward the tavern.

He walked up wood planked stairs, stepping on a few that were loose and unstable. Making his way to the front doors,they were old and rusted, hanging off their hinges. He cautiously pushed open the door emanating a loud creak that could be heard from the crafts.

This place looked like an old ghost town. All I waited for were the tumble weeds to roll by.

Marxus stood by the door momentarily, contemplating if he should enter. He looked around briefly, ignoring the decor then slowly walked toward the bar, beginning a conversation with the barkeeper.

Minutes passed.


“What’s taking him so long?” Jonathan asked,“He’s been in there for…” he looked at his wrist watch, “twenty minutes now. Do you think he’s alright?”

“He’s Marxus.” I replied tapping the steering wheel, “Of course he’s alright.” then I paused before continuing, “But if anyone sees something or someone glowing or exploding, then you know he’s not.”

“I’m not sure of this place.” Erik added, “Bloody freaking creepy.”

“There!” Sarah suddenly pointed toward the tavern doors.

“How much do you want to bet he’s going to make us wait here.” Jon mumbled.

“Shut up, dude.” Erik said.

“That’s not funny.” I protested.

Zanz growled, hearing the tone in everyone’s voices.

Marxus walked over, tapping on the driver’s window. I unrolled it, knowing something wasn’t right as Marxus displayed a disappointed expression.

“What’s that look for?” I asked, then repeated myself, “What’s that look for!? I don’t like it!”

“I have some good news and bad.” Marxus sighed, “Put me on speaker.” then he watched as I pushed the button which he continued immediately after, “Unfortunately this is the correct location I had in mind.”

“And the bad news?” Nathan asked over the speakers.

“New ownership.”

“That’s very subtle.” Anthony added.

“We’re going to have to stay here…just for a bit.” Marxus groaned.

“What!?” we argued as we started talking at once.

“Quiet!” Marxus commanded, “For once, listen without talking back! The barkeeper told me there’s a large supply store back the way we came that we missed because of the weather conditions blocking our views, but unfortunately we need to give the crafts a rest and allow them to cool down before we go any further. Afterwards, then we can drive back to the supply store to fuel up. Plus, we might need extra supplies and clothing for the lot of you.”

“You’ve got to be kidding, right!?” I objected, “You want us to stay here!? I mean, have you seen this place!?” I quickly waved my right hand gesturing to the town, “And you told us we didn’t have to stay here any longer than needed. So now we have to!? Why don’t we just drive back and figure it out then!? Or just stay inside the crafts while they cool off!?

“I agree. None of this makes sense, Marxus!” Erik added.

“Young ones, please…” Marxus pleaded, “I need you to cooperate. I don’t like the idea either, but there’s no other choice right now. Besides, it’s all part of your training. All of you.”

We all exchanged looks of surprise. Training? For ALL of us?

“Very well. I’ll stay with them inside the tavern, while you’re out here taking care of the crafts.” Anthony added with a sigh.

“Are you sure?” Marxus questioned.

“Si..yes.”

“Thank you, Anthony.” Marxus appreciated,“Now I want all of you to listen very carefully. The barkeeper reassured me after making a financial deal with him, that we’ll be safe here for the time being. The people here aren’t very welcoming to strangers passing through uninvited or unwanted, so we need to stay to ourselves. And please keep your mouths shut. Especially you, Little One.”

We all nodded, saying nothing. It took everything I had to contain myself.

Erik looked at me over the back seat, waiting for me to say something. I caught his glance then jokingly pushed him back.

“Now,grab your things and keep them with you. We must hurry before our stay’s not welcomed.” Marxus said then looked at me, “He may not like it and neither will you, but Zanzabarr will have to stay inside the craft for I don’t think a Wolf will be allowed inside.”

“Alright.” I hesitated then turned to Zanz, speaking to him softly, “You be a good boy.” I scratched his neck worriedly for we’ve never been separated except for when I had him neutered as a puppy.

Jonathan, Erik, Sarah and I grabbed our personal bags.

Anthony walked over, saying with a large fake smile,

“Well, are you guys ready for an adventure?”

“That’s not funny, wolf.” Erik replied.

“He’s right.” I added, “Not about the wolf part, but about it not being funny.”

“That’s alright, little lady.” Anthony commented, “He doesn’t like me? That’s fine. I don’t like his race either as they all smell of death.”

“Drop dead.” Jonathan mumbled.

“Bite me.” Anthony sneered.

“Love to.” Erik threatened as he and Jonathan released a low hiss.

As Anthony growled stepping toward them, I stated firmly as I stood between them,

“Stop it! Now…isn’t the time for this! Please…and look around. We’re being observed!”

Anthony nodded as he turned away cursing in Italian, leaving Erik and Jonathan irritated, as they continued letting out low hisses. I shook my head as I too, stepped away tying Zanzs’ leash to the door inside the craft.

Watching his brother walk around, Thomas turned away, pulling Marxus aside.

“Marxus, are you sure you want them to stay here!? I’ve never questioned you but I don’t like this. We don’t know anything about these people, or this town.” he objected, “And what if we all get into an argument, hmm? You have a lycanthrope surrounded by two lethal vampires. Particularly Erik because of his arrogant temper.”

“Yes, I know.” Marxus glanced at Erik the continued, “But fear not, Thomas. I sized up the situation when I went inside and it’ll be good for them; part of their training to be exposed to the outside. As long as we stay quiet as planned, we’ll be no problem. I need to know if they can follow directions and handle themselves accordingly. If anything should happen, the girls are in good hands. Trust me. As far as your brother and the two vampires...I can’t promise anything.”

“Just remember that if a fight does break out, Marxus...that’s my brother over there. If anything happens to him, you’ll answer to me. As far as the young ones...I know Yzavela’s experienced with the outside world and what goes on around her, but the others know nothing. They’re sheltered and innocent. And have you seen the weaponry these people carry? None of it is natural.” then he spotted a man scampering away carrying a butcher’s knife in his hand, “Look at that man…he’s carrying a butcher’s knife.” he frowned.

“Yes, I’m aware. Perhaps he works as a butcher.”

“Of sorts, I’m sure.” Thomas shook his head.

He stood alongside the first craft with Nathan leaning against the side, smoking another cigarette. They watched as Marxus approached the group of fearful youths. Words were exchanged and then after, Marxus escorted us toward the door. He instructed us to head inside and find seating while he, Thomas and Nathan were to remain outside momentarily caring for the vehicles. Thomas glanced in our direction, staring at all our faces, feeling compassion and sympathy that was immediately replaced with fear and worry. He took one more look at his handsome brothers face, before Anthony turned away. Thomas worried before climbing back inside the craft with Nathan.

“And why are we staying out here?” Nathan leaned forward in his seat, “Shouldn’t we go inside with the others?”

“No. Marxus wants us out here to check the crafts.” Thomas answered, “But you do have a point.” he raised an eyebrow then watched as Marxus mysteriously appeared in the drivers seat of the first craft they waited in, “How did you…”

Marxus didn’t answer as he turned the switches on. The vacant craft behind them, also started while Zanz began whining nervously.


We had just stepped foot through the doors when we then heard engines roaring, as they powered up. Dropping our bags knowing they were crafts, we rushed outside watching as they made swift U turns, leaving behind a trail of exhaust fumes. We felt abandoned and discarded; unwanted. We ran into the streets, shouting after them but they were too far to hear. We all panicked; screaming, yelling and cursing which of course, drew more attention from curious faces that peeked through broken windows.

“What the hell is he doing!?” Anthony raged.

“He’s coming back for us, right!?” Sarah squeaked holding onto Jonathan, “Right?”

“Who the f*** knows but I don’t like this one freaking bit!” he added.

I screamed, feeling the steam starting to rise but Erik stood behind me, placing his hands on my shoulders. His touch was gentle and comforting. I turned to him; afraid and worried, as he pulled me in for a quick embrace.

“What is he doing?” I whispered.

“I don’t know, Keeps.” he answered as he glanced down into my worried face, “But it’s cruel and if he thinks we’re all going to understand this later on? He’s wrong…very wrong.” then he stared into the distance, releasing a low hiss.

“He has my dog.” I worried, “My Zanz, oh my god…” I paced, “he’s going to kill them and tear them all apart. Oh, god…I’ll be Keeper quicker than I thought.”

“We need to stay calm.” Anthony remained poised; filled with rage, “I don’t know what’s going on here either but I’m sure Thomas will set things right. But right now, we need to get inside and find ourselves that seat, yes?” he eyed everyone standing before him, “They’ll be back…they’ll be back and I myself, can’t wait.” he growled.

“Would all of you stop hissing and growling!?” Sarah feared, “There are eyes watching…everywhere. Look…” she glanced around.

We took in the surroundings and she was right. We nodded, taking deep breaths before we reentered the tavern, retrieving our bags from the floor. Did Marxus plan this; putting all our lives in danger!? If so, what for!? If this is training, then I want no part of it and neither does anyone else, it seems. But, we have two vampires, one lycan, a ditsy human and a half-demon. Let’s hope our origins remain hidden.

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