𝒲yatt released a loud whistle breaking up the interruption; everyone standing present covered their ears for the whistle was louder than expected. He nodded then glanced down at me, allowing me to speak.
“Thank you, Wyatt.” I spoke then felt Zanz nudge my knees as he ran across the field toward me, Hey boy, I know...sorry about that.” I scratched his head then focused on Derek and Anthony, explaining the situation taking place, “That’s all any of us know at the moment but we need all the help we can get. Azir and his Jinn are going to...”
“Who?” Derek stretched his neck out slightly as he hunched.
“Oh, right. Um...the Nubians that were standing with me before I went up on the wall.” I revealed, “They’re Jinn. They knew Marxus. And they’re here to help in whatever this place needs.” I smiled, “Did that answer your question?”
“Not really, but whatever.” Derek groaned.
“What do you need us to do?” Anthony added.
“Be here when other warriors arrive to explain to them, what I’ve told you.” I replied bluntly, ignoring the awkwardness between him and I.
“Si, of course.” he smiled then sniffed the air, catching the scents of the returning Wraiths.
“And what about the other warriors on the Isle?” Derek questioned, “I mean, they’ll feel a little left out when they hear about this, don’t you think?”
“Do you honestly think I haven’t thought about that?” I argued, “But why have all the warriors ready for whatever this is, if quite possibly they’ll just pass over and find nothing.”
“All us here, you included, know they’re not going to pass over and find nothing.” Anthony added in his own argument.
“Stay out of it, mutt!” Erik barked, leering in the Italian’s direction.
“I just don’t want everyone gathered in one place which is why…” I turned to see an adequate handful of warriors were gathered; dressed in their loungewear and carrying their weapons of choice, “that’s all we need!” I frowned, “Got it?”
“Got it.” Anthony nodded.
“No Leonus?” Erik mocked, “You two are so chummy.” he leered at Derek.
“Mother…” Abraxas’ voice interrupted the conversation telepathically.
“What!?” I snapped, glancing at the sky.
“They’re coming!” he hovered then dove toward the ground. Inches away, he stretched out his wings, leveling himself out before shooting back up into the sky becoming one of the Ravens.
His words held truth for such a small creature because I had just received a text confirming his observations.
“Alright, look...put aside your goddamn differences and let’s just get through tonight, alright!? If we survive, you can kill each other later!” I ordered, “Derek, walk with me and that’s not a choice.” I affirmed.
He nodded then walked past Erik, bumping shoulders with the young Demon who groaned.
I needed Derek’s help to plan our defense and seeing a spark in his eyes, he grew a wide smile. He clapped his hands together thinking tactics that suited our predicament and location. I studied his mannerisms and I could see his blood pumped, bringing back memories of successful strategies.
“I have so many ideas.” he revealed.
“Okay, well...go inform everyone of them and I’ll be there in a minute. There’s something I forgot to discuss with Azir.” I persisted.
He sprinted toward the warriors; Anthony and Erik among them, then explained his strategy receiving arguments and agreements back and forth.
I turned away, dialing one of the guards and they answered,
“Hand the phone to Azir.” I insisted then watched as the screen moved; faces changing from the guard to Azir and once the screen was steady, I voiced my concerns pertaining to Axeon’s health for he’s been appearing drawn and tired, “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He won’t tell me and I don’t want him getting injured. He’ll hear it above ground, I’m sure but Azir…you have to instruct him to stay put. Whatever comes after this, we’ll need all his strength but not tonight.” I continued quickly glancing around, “I have another source of which you’ll know when you see it. Trust me.”
“I’ll visit him quickly before the ships arrive which isn’t long now.” Azir’s golden eyes squinted, glancing past the phone’s screen toward the distance then returned the phone to the guard who ended the call after my face vanished from view.
“Abraxas…” I called out searching for the sky and watching as a Raven flew toward me, it quickly shifted into Abraxas’ small dragon form of which landed roughly in my arms.
“Yes, Mother?” he looked into my dark eyes.
“I need you tonight.”
“Always, Mother. What do you need?”
Walking across the field toward the dwellings, I revealed to the small creature the needs I required of him. He listened attentively, swerving his head back and forth slightly like a snake.
“Like months ago in Ireland?” he questioned.
“Yes, very much like that.” I remembered that night clearly.
He blinked his eyes then nudged his snout against my chin. Beginning to release low purr-like roars, Zanz barked as he ran around ahead in a moment of happiness I suppose, I didn’t know. Arriving at the dwelling, I instructed Zanz and Abraxas to wait outside by the door while I went inside to search for my mom, of whom sat in the kitchen brewing cups of tea. Hiromi sat at the table engaging in a discussion about Asian herbal mixtures for aches and pains that proved effective when suddenly, his senses alerted him to someone’s presence standing nearby. Retrieving a knife from the table where they were cutting and chopping new herbs my mom had purchased, he turned to the figure approaching from across the lounge.
“Whoa...hey, it’s me! It’s me!” I pleaded with my left hand held in surrender while my right hand grasped the hilt of a dagger I carried on my belt; the fire on the stove erupted into flame.
“Aye…” Hiromi sighed, lowering the knife; my mom stood frightened against the kitchen counter after patting out the flames, “little Miss don’t sneak up on me like that!” he warned, pointing the knife in my direction.
“Yza, what the hell is wrong with you, scaring us like that? And setting things on fire again, I see?” my mom complained, gesturing at the counter where it was scorched from the stove’s flames.
“I’m sorry.” I muttered, taking a seat at the table, “And thank you…” I looked over at Hiromi.
“For what?” he laid the knife back in its place.
“Being aware of your surroundings, protecting yourself and my mom. That might not have been me, you know.” I referred to the moment that had passed seconds ago.
“Aye, well...no thank you needed, but don’t do that again, yes?”
“Yes. I mean, no...I won’t.” I chuckled.
“You’re out late. Again.” my mom observed, pouring tea in three cups then handed out one each.
“Something came up, which is why I’m glad you’re both here.” I leaned on the table, holding the hot cup between hands; its heat felt good and calming.
“Everything alright?” Hiromi worried, “Is Erik alright!?”
“No, everything’s not alright and yes, Erik’s fine.” I sighed, then briefly explained the situation about to take place.
Hiromi abruptly stood, interrupting. He practically knocked the chair over as he ran from his seat, upstairs hollering loudly enough for us to hear,
“Not again! I’m not being left out again!”
“He does realize he’s dressed in his pj’s right?” I teased.
“Maybe, maybe not.” my mom smiled then sipped her tea.
Waiting for Hiromi’s return, I reassured my mom that things would hopefully be fine. Although, I had my doubts. I gave my mom a comforting hug, when Hiromi suddenly rushed down the stairs, boots on his feet and sword held in hand. He stormed through the front door startling Zanz and Abraxas who reacted to his sudden exit; he stumbled backwards in surprise of their reaction.
“I have to go.” I pondered softly, “But Mommy, please...listen to me…” we stood, “I want you to lock the doors after I leave and warn the others in the building for I don’t think anyone here has been alerted. Okay?”
“Okay.” she nodded then walked with me toward the door, following my instructions in every detail. Locking the doors’ three locks; one at the top, middle and bottom, she then watched through the window as her daughter and Asian friend sprinted across the field. She sighed with worry then approached the wall near the door to a keypad; a speaker system connected all the rooms together. You could either dial an individual room or connect to all the rooms so my mom pressed the ALL ROOMS button then quickly spoke into the speaker that left a message to all in the building.
As Hiromi and I approached the gates, there stood Erik with Nick, Jon, Wyatt and Caleb speaking with Anthony, Sarah and Derek. Hiromi stood alongside Erik who teased his father about his pj’s; Hiromi sneering his reply,
“A warrior comes dressed in anything, when it comes to a fight! Even his underwear!”
Men being men, spewed jokes amongst themselves; ones of which were a little too bold for my ears but I laughed them off then turned to Zanz, who walked around sniffing the ground near the gates as if searching for something. Abraxas flew cloaked above the Isle, waiting until I called on him.
Stepping away from the group of gathered warriors, I suddenly sensed someone standing nearby; eyes staring in my direction. Turning my head, there stood Molock behind one of the many trees on the property. Abruptly, running past my feet was Zanz, heading toward Molock’s direction which gave me the opportunity to speak with him. Calling out his name, Zanz didn’t respond. Sprinting across the field, Molock knelt down, scratching Zanz’s neck speaking to him softly.
“How the hell, and hell being the operative word, are you doing that?” I asked, “He won’t allow anyone to touch him but myself. Oh, god that came out totally wrong.” I chuckled with a blushed face.
Molock chuckled along; such a pleasant chuckle it was too, knowing my meaning.
“I’m not just anyone, my lovely.” he answered with a smile, “Besides, I deal with his parents so perhaps he’s catching their scent.” he shrugged casually yet elegantly.
“So that’s what that smell is…the one you leave behind?” I mocked sarcastically.
Molock continued to stand there with his sexy smile then insisted bluntly,
“Oh, no-no…that’s strictly my masculine scent, my lovely. Good to know you notice.” he slowly approached, “But I didn’t come here to chitchat, per say. I came here to wish you luck and to warn you of falling debris in what’s to come.”
“In what’s to come? Meaning what?” I questioned.
“Yzavela…” a voice interrupted and turning around, there stood Anthony.
“Yes, Anthony...just a moment.” I acknowledged his presence then turned to question Molock once more but he disappeared. I sighed then turned to Anthony, “Sorry.”
“It’s alright.” he nodded with a smile, but his thoughts were pretty clear on his underlying intent.
“Anthony…” I complained revealing I had read his thoughts, “please, not now.”
“I know, I know but...can you just tell me something?” he urged.
“Yes?” I hoped he wasn’t going to make a big deal out of things that were in very murky waters.
“I’m not one that chases after women, for they’ve always chased after me, you know that by now, I’m sure but with you…” he approached closer, “you’re different and I need to know if there’s anything…” he gestured at the distance between him and I, “between us, you know? No pressure, you know that, but I’m vulnerable here too.” he grinned.
“I know, Anthony…” I approached him then glanced past his frame toward the crowd near the gates, “and I’m sorry, but honestly, I don’t know.” I shrugged, “We kissed yes, and it was amazing yes, but please do me a favor and stop acting like Erik giving me an ultimatum! I expect it from him, but not from you! Besides, having a man in my life doesn’t seem like something the universe has lined up for me, at least right now or it’s the curse of becoming Keeper! But if and when it happens, it’ll be when I’m ready for it or want it, and believe me, I do want it.” I offered a friendly smile of which he returned.
“So you’re saying there’s hope?” he teased, giving me a big smile.
“Always the charmer!” I laughed, “Come on…” we turned, sprinting across the field returning to everyone calling out my name.
Erik frowned, hearing our thoughts and grew sick of the content and images flashing through his own mind. He scoffed, shaking his head then heard his father’s voice distracting his moment of distaste.
“Everything alright between you and Anthony?” Sarah, among our warriors, asked curiously.
“Yes. Why?” I answered, adjusting the weight of my sword held in hand.
“I don’t know. Things looked pretty...chummy between you. Has something happened?”
“Sarah, if something has happened between Anthony and I, you certainly wouldn’t be the one I’d tell.” I mocked, knowing she’s one of the gossip mouths on the Isle, “But something is, yes and I don’t know what it is or how to go about handling it without…” I sighed.
“Without what?” Sarah’s blue eyes grew wide.
“Without playing one guy over the other or coming off as a slut!” I complained.
“That’s one thing you are not, but can I suggest something?” she approached, whispering softly.
“Sure. Why not?” I looked into her eyes.
She looked around and answered telepathically, as warriors paced back and forth around us,
“If you’re not with Erik, not anymore really, and you have stronger feelings for Anthony than you did for Erik, what’s the issue? Being loyal is one thing yes, but who are you really loyal to? Erik...or yourself? Because from where I’m standing, you’ll be letting a great thing go if you waste your time on something or someone, that doesn’t treat you right. Bloody hell, if I weren’t with Jonathan and Anthony gave me that much attention, I’d jump at the chance to see where that happiness could go. And even if in the end, it doesn’t work out, at least you know he treated you right and gave you what you want in ways Erik can’t.” she smiled, giving a quick nod.
Her words surprised me greatly but she was right. Here I was trying to be loyal to Erik and fight for whatever we had but in the end, I wasn’t being loyal or true to myself and emotions, or to the possibility of giving my heart to someone who means his intentions. I glanced in Anthony’s direction then became distracted as everyone gathered suddenly heard Azir’s powerful voice boom as if amplified,
“It’s time! They’re here!”
Panic began brewing.
“Alright, this is what we’ve prepared for and are still preparing for.” I instructed, “So, let’s do this! Jon...” I turned to him quickly, “I want you up on the wall with Wyatt and when you hear me call out to you up here…” I tapped my head, “open the outer gate.” I watched as they nodded, “Good. Derek and Anthony...” I turned to them, “go open the inner gate.”
The four of them nodded then dispersed, performing their assigned tasks.
I carried my sword tight in hand as I ran toward the tunnel approaching the outer gate overlooking the island’s vast landscape. Erik, Nick and Hiromi weren’t too far behind, giving Erik a moment to talk. Glancing between Nick and his father, he knew his words weren’t meant for their ears so he reached out telepathically, feeling a block from anyone trying to enter my thoughts but watched as I turned to him, knowing he needed to talk.
“What?” I asked, making the connection.
“You and Anthony? Really?” Erik argued.
“There is no me and Anthony!” I frowned, as I stepped away from the gate stepping aside with him, “And stay out of my head! Now isn’t the time for this!”
“I wasn’t in your head. I was in his, and his thoughts were very visual. So you kissed and you didn’t think to tell me about it?”
“Why would I?”
“We’re not anything!” I muttered verbally, attracting Nick and Hiromi’s attention but they looked away in respect, “Not anymore, so what I do with my time, who I kiss and give my heart and trust to, is my business so why don’t you go back to your ex, if she’ll take you back!” I snapped telepathically then turned, approaching the gate once more.
Erik nodded, biting his lower lip. His grip on his sword grew tight as a rage of jealousy brewed. He turned away, leaving the tunnel and stood within the wall near the warriors who waited anxiously.
“Everything okay between you and, uh...Erik?” Nick wondered.
“Your attempt to stay out of our business was appreciated and it’ll be none of your business.” I objected, “But no. As of tonight, he and I are…” I sighed.
Nick placed his hand gently on my shoulder, as if letting me know that no more needed to be said. He offered a friendly smile then glanced out toward the harbor watching as the ships came into view out above the waters near the harbor dock.These events were taking place late after curfew so everyone had retired to the safety of their homes and rooms. I sent out a message over the broadcast system so I knew everyone would heed my warnings. I waited until my message said SEEN down the board, letting me know it was received. We waited in the tunnel gazing out toward the harbor where search lights shone down among the village and homes.