𝐼 stood, quickly approaching Azir and Leonus, who continued his declarations, annoying Zanz and Abraxas who laid nearby. They immediately rushed to be at my side but how they itched to sink their teeth into the man.
“Time is of the essence and you’re talking about riding on a f*cking dinosaur!? Come on! We should just get the army together, head to the Great City and take our chance!”
“Alright, that’s enough!” Derek stepped forward, growing tired of the man’s voice and bracing his stance, he swung his large right fist pounding it against the Scotsmans’ left jaw; the force from the impact knocked the 6’6 alpha to the ground. Derek huffed, flashing his yellow eyes hearing gasps mutter from around him, but he had enough, “I’ve had it, Leonus! I’ve had it with you! After everything that’s happened, and after everything you’ve done, you just won’t f*cking learn! Or listen! That girl there…” he pointed toward the young half-breed, “is trying everything she can while you’re doing everything YOU can to stand in her way! I won’t allow it anymore!”
Leonus pushed himself into a sitting position before quickly springing to his feet. Rubbing his jaw flexing it around, he barked in rage,
“How dare you! How dare you punch your alpha, you f*cking beta! You hold no rank to challenge me!”
“Here we go. They’re going to measure each other’s, well, you know.” my mom whispered as she leaned in toward Natash, who giggled.
Nick and Caleb stood nearby placing their hands on their weapons and tranquilizer guns ready to use them if necessary but I shook my head in protest, allowing the Lycynians to settle things on their own. It was between them and them alone. However, I could see the disappointment in their red Wraith eyes that flashed quickly, and their fangs as they inconspicuously hissed.
“Take this outside...” I ordered firmly, “or I’ll have both of you locked away to transition in a cramped cell! TOGETHER! SAVE YOUR RAGE AND HATRED FOR THE BATTLEFIELD!”
Derek glanced over his shoulder toward the young woman, then leered back at Leonus who backed away, nodding in agreement to take things outside. Derek followed quickly with Lt. Forester not too far behind.
“I’ll go with them!” Anthony announced as he stood then smiled in my direction, “Later.”
“Mm-hmm.” I returned the smile, feeling butterflies in my stomach.
Thomas stayed behind watching as his little brother walked in fast strides through the hall and out the manor’s front doors; voice erupting loudly outside.
“Aren’t you going to stop them?” Thomas worried.
“It’s my duty as Keeper to keep the peace among everyone here, yes, but that’s NOT my place.” I muttered, “I’m not stupid enough to even try. Half-breed or not.”
The rest of us approached the windows watching as the Scotsman and Samoan engaged in another skirmish of words.
“Of course, Leonus...everyone’s nothing in your eyes but you’re nothing! And I might be a Beta but if there were a leadership vote, I’m confident enough to know I’d become the new alpha. At least to my loyal few, while the rest are ignorant and sniffing your a**! If it weren’t for you that night, I would’ve…” he controlled himself as his claws began protruding from their fingertips and eyes flashing yellow, “I survived fine out there before coming here; without an alpha and I can do it again! Alpha my a**...” he spat at Leonus’ feet.
“I’ve been here longer than any of you!” Leonus screamed, “So all of this…” he waved his arms around, “is mine and I think I have the right to challenge anyone here for command! Vikings once owned this Island, not immortals!”
“Command?” Anthony added, “Command? What world are you living in? No one’s in command! Yes, there’s the Keeper’s position but not even Marxus pulled the I’M IN COMMAND card…” he finished the sentence in a slur of Italian words, calling Leonus an ignorant bastard that needs to pull his head out of his a**, “sei un bastardo con la testa così in alto nel culo!”
“Not from what I hear.” Derek argued against Leonus’ rants, “I’ve heard the Nubian Jinn created this place into what it is now, with the help of Demons, so if anyone here holds seniority, it’s those old enough to be our Elders!”
“Are you kidding!?” Leonus protested, “My ancestors lived on his island before the Templars or the f*cking Castillion's invaded, taking it for themselves! This island rightfully belongs to the Vikings and since I’m the only living man with Viking background, it’s mine and one day I will have it! And no one...” he approached Derek, “will stop me. Not you. Not them.” he gestured toward Lt. Forester and Anthony who stood behind Derek, “And definitely not the runt!”
“Jesus Chr*st, Leonus!” my voice shouted as I emerged from the manor, growing tired of the back and forth so I was going to end it, “You want this island? Fine. I’ll make you a deal.”
“What!?” Azir appeared behind me.
“Yza, what are you doing?” my mom protested.
“I’ll make you a deal right here, in front of everyone.” I continued ignoring their objections, “If we make it through this goddamn war and I die...the island’s yours. No one, not even Azir, will stop you. But…” I approached the 6’6 man hopefully for the last time, “if I live? Every single f*cking Lycynian loyal to you on this island, will pack their sh*t and go. I don’t care where…” I backed away, “just as long as it’s not here.” I folded my arms.
“You...but you can’t...you can’t do that!” Leonus’ words stuttered in surprise.
“I just did. Take it or leave it because the offer expires in ten seconds.” I frowned, “Ten…nine...”
“Agreed!” he accepted quickly, puffing his chest, “And if I win, every Wraith, Demon, half-breed and Jinn…” he studied their figures before him, “will be thrown into the sea for fish food!” he gloated, “And them!?” he pointed at Zanz and Abraxas, “I’ll wear the wolfs’ fur around my shoulders then have myself dragon stew!”
Zanz and Abraxas released their warnings.
“But there’s one little hiccup in this deal.” I interrupted, “It only takes effect when the war starts on that field. No sooner, so before you continue another long rant about this or that, your rights or whatnot, Nick, Caleb…” I stepped back, “lock him back in the cage and tranquilize him too, while you’re at it!” I continued.
Everyone stood in silence as the two Wraiths stepped forward, not understanding or believing the line I had just crossed. Or drawn. Before Leonus could object, the Wraiths grabbed hold of him, disappearing from sight. I turned to everyone who just stared at me, thinking I had gone batsh*t crazy.
“I can’t believe you just gambled with the Keeper’s position as if it means nothing!” Azir protested his concern, “What if something DOES happen to you!?”
“Gee, Azir…thanks for the confidence and support.”
“He’s right, sweetheart.” my mom added, “That was risky.”
“Aye…” Hiromi spoke in, “it was. That man didn’t give up before, but now he has cause to never stop.”
“They’re all right, Little Yza.” Anthony approached, “Are you sure you want to play that game?”
“It’s too late not to go back, number one and number two...I don’t plan on dying out there. Believe me, I know it was a bold move, but with men like him, if it gives them something to hold onto, it’ll consume them so much that after a while, their greed for that specific thing will be their downfall. Besides…” I sighed, “if I win, it’ll get the Lycynians off the island. Except for you…” I leaned into Anthony’s embrace, “and Derek and your group. That is, if you’d still want to be here among Demons and Wraiths.”
“I have nothing against them.” Derek nodded in agreement.
“Me either.” Lt. Forester added.
“Good. Now enough said about it.” I affirmed, “Derek, talk to Azir about Axeon and he’ll give you more details since he’s in better communication with him than I. Magically speaking, that is.”
“Alright.” Derek nodded then glanced toward the Jinn’s direction, receiving a nod in approval.
Leonus couldn’t object to the sudden teleportation by the supernatural creatures, but he certainly felt the uneasy sensation that came with it, a feeling that passed as he blinked his eyes, taking notice he was inside one of the prison cells. From behind him, the cell door slammed, locking tightly. Turning around, there stood Nick and Caleb; Nick swung a ring of keys around the index finger of his right hand. Leonus rushed forward shouting out as he reached his hands for the bars but paused, knowing they were crafted of silver,
“Let me out, you f*cking Bloodsucking twats! Let me out right now!” he kicked the lower bars with his foot.
“Such a common sight!” Caleb mocked, “A dog put in a cage for bad behavior again. I swear Leonus, this is more your home than your actual home with your family, but keep it up...and you’ll be put down. And that...I’ll enjoy watching.” he flashed a smile of contentment.
“Let me out!” Leonus shouted with an underlying growl as his eyes flashed red, fangs protruding from his gums and claws extracting slowly. He grabbed hold of the bars severely burning the palms of his hands but he didn’t care because the rage blocked the blistering pain, “Let me out!”
Watching as the bars held against his weight, the two Wraiths didn’t take the chance that they wouldn’t. Revealing their True Selves, they too, flashed their red eyes and fangs, releasing low hisses of aggression and warning. Guards that patrolled the prisons from above, appeared behind them, offering a larger than expected number of Wraiths. Too many for the alpha Lycynian to handle. Human form or not.
Leonus continued pushing against the bars but watching as the two young men outside presented their supernatural counterparts, knowing their bite could kill him instantly, he slowly released the bars; his hands falling to his sides. He growled as he backed away from the door, nodding intimidatingly.
“One day, bloodsuckers...one day…” he muttered, “I’ll wrap my jaws around your necks and tear out your heart, turning you into nothing more than piles of ash blowing in the breeze. That, I promise you!”
“Blah-blah-blah…” Caleb mocked then reached his right hand to his belt removing the tranquilizer gun, “night-night!” he aimed, shooting two darts toward the Scotsman without a second thought. Watching as Leonus backed away stumbling in place feeling the effects from the Wolfsbane and liquid silver tincture, Caleb holstered his tranquilizer gun.
“Really?” one of the guards asked.
“What?” Caleb shrugged, “He threatened us. Besides, I’m sure if Yza were here, she probably would’ve shot him herself just to shut him up.”
The other guards stood there studying the cocky Brit then nodded, shrugging to that assumption. They grinned, shook hands then returned to their posts upon the prison rooftop, while Nick and Caleb as well, returned to the manor where the meeting had ended in their absence.
Having a few hours before locking himself away in the Lycynian compound for his full moon change, Anthony and I walked through the maze talking about what he had said earlier. Holding onto his arm, I looked up at his handsome face, asking softly,
“So...you love me?”
Anthony paused, hesitating to answer then turned to me face-to-face. He studied the young woman’s face then gently cupped her face with his hands.
“Yes, Little Yza...I do.” he smiled, “It’s not how I wanted to go about telling you, because believe me, I had the whole moment and evening planned, but sometimes things don’t turn out the way we expect.”
“That’s true.” I answered, “But why?”
“Excuse me?” I tilted his head.
“Why do you love me?” I wondered, “I mean, what is it about me?”
Anthony removed his hands, placing them on his hips in disbelief of that question.
“You and I both know that if I have to find or list things, I’m not sincere. Why can’t knowing that I just do, be enough? I’m NOT Erik, Little Yza...searching for things to love about you, though there are many!”
I studied the Italian standing before me, listening in on his thoughts and he was sincere. Perhaps maybe, Erik did put a bad taste in my mouth but at the same time, I was confident enough in myself to know that I could be loved. And if that meant being loved by someone like Anthony, who has had such experience, I knew Anthony was sincere. I smiled, glancing at my feet with concealed tears.
“Did I say something wrong?” Anthony questioned gently.
“No. No, definitely not.” I raised my gaze.
“Why the tears?” he wiped them away.
“I don’t know.” I blinked them away quickly, afraid that if he saw the sensitive part of me, he’d think I was just a gushy woman.
“Don’t wipe them away.” he gently pulled me close then finished, “I don’t expect you to feel the same or have an answer right away, so I’ll give you time to think about it.” he smiled, “Okay? No pressure.”
“Anthony...I don’t need time.” my voice cracked before I cleared my throat, “This is the first time I’ve ever heard a man say those three special words, so yes...it caught me off guard and I had my doubts as to why, but for me?” I placed my hands to my chest, “I have no doubts.” I shook my head, “You want an answer? I have one. I love you too and oh god...this isn’t at all how I wanted it to go either.” I placed my hands on my hips.
“Shh…” he raised my chin, “shh. It’s alright...it’s been said, although I’ve never said it to anyone before. That’s all that matters, hmm?” he leaned in, giving one of his Anthony kisses that could make a woman melt like butter.
It wasn’t at all how either of us wanted. It was better!
“I promise I’ll make up for it later hmm?” he flicked his eyebrows.
“Oh, you better Musketeer!” I teased with a chuckle.
Suddenly, there was a beeping coming from Anthony’s pocket watch. Removing the timepiece from his pocket, he noticed the time.
“I have to go.” he complained, wanting the moment to last just as much as the young woman.
’But it’s not even time yet?” I moaned.
“I know, but all day for some reason, I feel this moon’s pull is different and it’s making me more...more anxious than normal.” Anthony muttered.
Staring into his brown eyes, they suddenly flashed yellow.
“Your eyes. They’re…” I stuttered.
“Little Yza, I have to go before…” Anthony groaned and before he could finish, he felt a sharp pain run through his entire body, “no, it’s too soon...it’s too soon…” he referred to the transition taking place, “Yza, please...go!” he pleaded.
“But…” I backed away cautiously.
“Please!” his voice grunted as he fell to his knees scratching at the packed gravel pathway of the maze, “Go!”
I continued backing away then called for guards; two Demons immediately appeared upon my summons. They grew cautious, thinking something had happened between Anthony and I but telling them what was taking place, I urged them to get him to the compound. They approached the Italian who held his head low, speaking to him softly that they were going to help. He didn’t make eye contact but answered with a brief nod before they gently placed their hands on his shoulders. Opening a portal inches away from them, the breeze was strong as they were lured through the center before it disappeared. I worried for Anthony and even in that moment, for the other Lycynians on the island, so running through the maze back the way Anthony and I came, I ran toward the entrance of the compound; guards were closing the silver doors.
“Yza, what’s going on?” Wyatt appeared alongside me.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged, “I was with Anthony in the maze and then he…” I explained the sudden need for his change, “I don’t know what’s going on.”
“Wyatt...Yza…” Justin approached, “we’ve managed to get all the Lycynians in the compound except for one.”
“Leonus is in the prisons.” I added.
“Not Leonus. Derek.” Justin worried, “As a matter of fact, Derek and his friend Lt. Forester.”
“Well, the last I saw them, they were with…” I remembered who they were with, “oh, my god.”
“What?” Wyatt questioned.
“They were with Azir and Natash the last I saw them. They were talking about Axeon.”
“You don’t think they’re…” Justin pondered worriedly.
Before I could propose my further fears, Azir and Natash appeared with Derek and Lt. Forester who laid unconscious at their feet, frozen mid-way through their transition.
“Azir, Natash...oh my god!” I rushed toward them, “Are you alright?”
“Yes, we are. Thank you.” Azir groaned, adjusting his tunic and belt.
“These Lycynians were fine moments ago but then suddenly, they just erupted into their rage and began transitioning.” Natash revealed.
“It was the same with Anthony.” I added, “I was with him in the maze when it happened.”
“Azir, mate...why is this happening?” Justin asked, then glanced at the sky, “It’s not even night and the moon hasn’t come out yet.”
“I don’t know.” Azir pondered, unfamiliar with the Lycynian race of which he honestly stated.
“Perhaps HE would.” Natash announced.
Azir glanced at Natash in surprise.
“No!” he objected, “No, I would not call on him.”
“But he’s the only one who might understand what’s taking place.” Natash argued.
“Who are they talking about?” Justin leaned toward Wyatt.
“No clue.” Wyatt answered with a shrug.
“HE? He who?” I asked.
“Molock.” Natash interrupted her husband before he could argue further, “He’s the only one who could help us understand this strange behavior.”
I didn’t think of that. I felt incompitent in that second.
“I’ll see if he’ll appear.” I hinted then turned, calling out Molock’s name three times. We waited but nothing, “It was worth a try.” I complained.
“Someone call?” Molock’s voice answered not even seconds after I called for him.
I smiled, pleased to see he kept his promise to appear when summoned; Azir stood aside disgruntled by his presence on the island.
Natash and I quickly explained what took place.
“And what makes you think I’d know anything?” Molock teased.
“Because you’ve seen so much!” I argued, “Molock, please…”
“Alright, alright. There is something I know.” Molock revealed, “Every now and then, the moon gets too close, whether it’s before, during or after the full moon cycle, and the magic that awakens in the Lycynians, of which needs to emerge at the moon’s fullest, begins to morph sooner than expected. Don’t you ever wonder why they wait until the moon is fullest in the sky to fully shift?” Molock had a point studying the curious faces gazing upon him, “Well, it’s basically the same in this case but the moon…” he glanced at the sky seeing it faintly through the clouds, “isn’t quite at its peak yet, so what they’re feeling in there…” he gestured toward the compound, “is the moon’s pull closer than it should be before its fullness.”
“Thank you, Molock.” Natash appreciated, “I don’t think anyone here, could have guessed that was the cause. Am I right, husband?” she glanced at him but he didn’t react, “Am I right, husband?” she nudged him roughly.
“Yes...yes.” Azir groaned, not giving Natash or Molock the satisfaction of appreciating the help.
“Yes, Molock. Thank you.” I added, “That has helped everyone here…” I gestured at the figures present, “understand the Lycynians on a more physical level according to their transition. Something that wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the Lycynian book.”
“What Lycynian book?” Wyatt and Justin muttered simultaneously.
“Long story. Not for your eyes.” I answered sharply, “All the Lycynians are in the compound though, right?” I turned to the guards.
“Yes. Derek’s comrades that arrived were the last to get through the gate.” Wyatt revealed.
“Good, that’s good.” I nodded, sighing heavily, “I can’t believe this sh*t is happening. Not now.”
“There’s always a reason for everything, demoness.” Molock added.
“And why are you still here?” Azir argued, stepping toward the DemonJinn, “You came. You answered. Now go.”
“No, for you see, diapers…” Molock approached the Nubian towering over him a few inches, “I was called upon by Yzavela and only she...can dismiss me. Surely a man capable of such magic can understand that law, yes?” he squinted his brown eyes that flashed Demon red momentarily.
Azir knew Molock was correct. Backing away, he remained silent as he turned, walking away in fast strides toward the manor with Natash by his side after she bowed respectfully in Molock’s direction.
“Why did you do that?” I huffed, looking in Molock’s direction.
“What? It’s true. You, my lovely, of all people, should know that it’s true and speaking of which, is there anything else you need of me? I was in the middle of collecting souls from the Middle East when you summoned me. My copy can’t keep up the performance too long without my physical presence near.” Molock advised.
“Never thought a being so ancient could have performance issues.” Justin mocked.
“What was that?” Molock leered in their direction.
“Nothing.” Justin cleared his throat, “Nothing.”
“Mm. Nothing is right.” Molock warned.
“Molock...don’t!” I pleaded, “You’re dismissed, or however that works.” I waved my hands.
“That’ll do. Thank you.” Molock bowed then vanished from our presence with such finesse, “And you two?” I turned to my friends, “Stop antagonizing magical beings that are above our heads in all aspects! Alright?” I watched as they nodded, “Get back to work and keep an eye on them in there!” I glanced back at the gate, “As a matter of fact, can one of you take me up there?”
“Yza, I don’t think you want to…” Wyatt attempted to comment.
“Take me up there, please?” I asked firmly, adding the word please.
“I’ll take you up there.” Justin offered. Stepping toward me placing his hand on my shoulder, he instructed, “Hold your breath.” and watching as the young woman followed his instructions, he appeared up on the wall overlooking the compound.