On the Evil Scale: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book Two

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๐’ž๐’ฝ๐’ถ๐“…๐“‰๐‘’๐“‡ ๐Ÿฆ

๐ธntering through the doors, stood Jonathan and Sarah arguing over something that held no interest to me. Turning their heads, they watched as I walked through the lounge toward my momโ€™s room, which was left open ajar. They listened as my momโ€™s voice spoke in a worried and angered tone before the door closed behind me.

โ€œHow can she be so calm!?โ€ Sarah questioned.

โ€œBelieve me, Sarah...sheโ€™s not calm.โ€ Jonathan replied, โ€œThereโ€™s a storm brewing and the outcome will be disastrous.โ€

โ€œHow do you know? Are you psychic now!?โ€ Sarah argued, folding her arms, โ€œIs that something new youโ€™ve learned?โ€

โ€œNo Sarah, but look at everything thatโ€™s happened and still happening! I swear, youโ€™re a dimwit and sometimes, I ask myself, what I see in you!โ€

โ€œExcuse me!?โ€ Sarah huffed.

โ€œNo, excuse meโ€ฆโ€ Jonathan stormed out of the lounge shaking his head, leaving his off-on girlfriend standing in disbelief before she huffed once more stomping up the stairs.

โ€œThat Goddamn son of a b*tch!โ€ I exclaimed, as I paced my momโ€™s room, โ€œIf I see him again, I swear Iโ€™ll...โ€

โ€œFirst, you need to calm down.โ€ my mom pleaded seeing my Aura appear, โ€œSecondly, how is poor Erik? I heard he was thrown through a window? Is he alright?โ€

โ€œI am calm!โ€ I snapped, โ€œAnd Erik...heโ€™s...Erik. Heโ€™s pretending nothingโ€™s wrong and is afraid to tell me about it. I mean, sure...the fight was vicious, but he has an underlying problem that he wonโ€™t share with me. After everything weโ€™ve been through, youโ€™d think heโ€™d trust me enough and yes, heโ€™s fine. Just shaken up a bit. Who enjoys being thrown through a Cathedral window? I had Caleb take him to the clinic to get checked out and have glass removed.โ€

โ€œOuch...that must hurt. Poor thing.โ€ my momโ€™s voice softened, โ€œBut it has nothing to do with trust issues, honey. Sometimes we all need to keep things to ourselves, especially if those things may hurt others we care about. You should know that. Besides, pureblood Demons in particular are a little more...complex, you know that so patience is a virtue, some say.โ€

โ€œYeahโ€ฆpatience my a**!โ€ I mumbled then turned to her, โ€œAnd speaking of patience? Did you have any with the practitioners in Ireland?โ€ I watched as she rolled her eyes biting her lower lip in contemplating that question, โ€œWell, there you go! Your expression said it all.โ€ she looked at me saying nothing in response, โ€œAnd donโ€™t get me started about how much itโ€™ll cost to repair that window. So much detailing and intricate coloring. Shame, but Iโ€™m glad Erik didnโ€™t break anything.โ€ I sighed, walking over to sit next to my mom who sighed, gently rubbing my back before she stood, offering me a cup of tea that I gratefully accepted.

Two days passed and Leonus began waking from his unconscious state, recovering from the events that took place in the dining hall. He laid there with flashes of the encounter play through his mind before the pounding aches of a headache began dancing across his skull. Pushing himself up into a sitting position, he held his right hand to the area, feeling a large bump; sensitive to his touch. He removed his hand noticing spots of blood on his fingertips, and moaned in discomfort as he rubbed the back of his head. His ribs and back too, were sore from the impact of being thrown. He also felt tired and drained of energy; even attempting to shift took a lot of effort.

โ€œF*ck meโ€ฆโ€ he mumbled leaning his head back against the wall.

In addition to his current predicament, he was beginning his mid-transition before the full moon; occurring in eight hours. Glancing around, he noticed he was locked away in one of the prison cells. Barely standing to his feet, he began kicking and banging against the silver and iron bars with his feet and hands, alerting the Wraiths and Demons he had woken. The prison cells located on the island, were close to the cliff side. The prison itself was circular; ten cells following the curvature pattern. Iron embedded with silver alloy barred doors, overlooked the inner courtyard, displaying a concrete slab surrounded by grass. Daylight shone into the cells from above, through open grid gate panels. Walkways all around the prisonโ€™s roof including between the cells, allowed the guards views inside from above. In each cell, were small cots and buckets for whatever purpose was called for. Marxus designed them this way, offering no comfort for if an individual wound up here, they deserved the time spent. There was no shelter inside the cells, shielding the prisoners from the weather conditions.

โ€œOh, look...heโ€™s awake.โ€ a Demon guard complained.

โ€œYeah.โ€ a Wraith mocked.

โ€œCall the Keeper and let her know heโ€™s awake.โ€ the Demon proposed.

โ€œMmโ€ฆโ€ the Wraith answered then dialed the studyโ€™s office number; a womanโ€™s voice answering quickly and once revealing the Lycynian had awakened, her orders were given to be released only for the simple fact that he needed to join the others in the compound for their monthly ordeal, โ€œYes, Maโ€™am.โ€ the Wraith continued then ended the call.

โ€œLet me out!โ€ Leonus ordered, โ€œLet me out of here, you filthy bloodsucking...demonic...f*cking sh*ts!โ€ he continued pounding his massive bulk against the bars of the well fortified cell.

Nick and Caleb, receiving word as well that he had awakened, appeared outside the cell staring at Leonus who burned his hands on the silver. They studied the man; his wrinkled clothes, hair and beard unbrushed and dirt smudged on his face. This was unlike him for regardless of who and what he was, they can say that heโ€™s always an immaculate and clean individual.

โ€œListen, mutt...if you donโ€™t shut up and calm down, we might have to dart you. Or better yet...bite you.โ€ Caleb taunted letting out low laughs of contentment, as did Nick, at the thought of doing it, and believe me thereโ€™s nothing more theyโ€™d love to do, โ€œI already killed one of you during that little...whatever you want to call it. Yeah...your mate died man and it...was...perfect!โ€ Caleb smiled as he leaned on the bars momentarily before backing away.

Nick stood with a smirk.

Leonusโ€™ eyes changed red; his fangs protruding and claws extracting from his fingertips. He attempted to begin his transition but trying to focus on the shift, was impossible for all he could hear was the pounding drums in his head. His effort ceased when he heard them mention the dart. Realizing he couldnโ€™t harm them from behind the bars, Nick removed the dart gun from his belt, loading it with a heavily dosed tranquilizer laced with Wolfsbane. They firmly held their guns in hand as Caleb kicked the front of the cellโ€™s gate, then removed a ring of keys from his belt, unlocking the cell. Leonus stood leering, thinking they were young inexperienced lads who had never dealt with Lycynians before on a combat level. He scoffed but knew they were skilled. Trying to avoid confrontation, Nick assured as he held his tranquilizer gun in surrender,

โ€œIf you leave willingly with no problems or outbursts, we wonโ€™t use these. Or our fangs. And knowing the bars are silver, why do you keep touching them?โ€ he gestured toward them.

Leonus growled then held back his words, nodding in agreement. Caleb and Nick cautiously stepped aside, allowing him to pass but making it five feet away stepping foot onto the stone slab, he stopped, turning around. In his rage, he attempted an attack in a threatening manner but moving aside with supernatural speed, Caleb aimed his guns, shooting two tranquilizers; one in his shoulder and the other in his mid torso. Taking minutes to run through his bloodstream, he fell to his knees landing face down in the snow. These tranquilizers could bring down an Elephant. Baffled at Leonusโ€™ stupidity, Caleb and Nick released low hisses of hunger and rage, as they knelt down leaning in craving to sink their fangs into his flesh. Standing back to their feet they glanced at each other, trying to shake off their rage. They were famished enough as it is.

โ€œYou get his hands and Iโ€™ll get his feet.โ€ Nick suggested.

โ€œSure, but if he wakes up...Iโ€™m biting this f*cking bloke right in his ugly flea infested face!โ€ Caleb added giving the bulk on the ground a soft kick.

โ€œJust get his freaking hands, will ya!?โ€ Nick chuckled, flashing his fangs in a smile.

They shared a moment of distaste, having to touch him then teleporting his bulk, they appeared outside his home where his wife stood, waiting by the door. Inviting them in, they laid him in front of the fireplace; well, more like dropping. Thanking them, they left her home closing the door behind them.

โ€œDid you hear how hard that lump of a man fell?โ€ Caleb asked.

โ€œThatโ€™s a man? Bleh...I thought it was a Redwood tree!โ€ Nick joked then dragged out the word, โ€œTimm-berrr! And at least we had our gloves on. Couldnโ€™t imagine touching him bare handed.โ€

โ€œMm. Iโ€™d have to scrub for days with bleach.โ€

โ€œAnd Vervain just for an extra kick.โ€ they laughed once more then disappeared.

Walking over, Leonusโ€™ wife Heather grabbed a pillow, laying it beneath his head. Combing his red hair from his face she whispered sternly but loving in her soft Irish voice,

โ€œOh, my Big Guy...what have you done now? Always in trouble but this?โ€ she stood covering him with a blanket. โ€œOne day, my love, a Demon or Wraith, will get the upper hand and it wonโ€™t be pleasant.โ€ she knelt down, kissing his forehead before tending to her sons who had just come home. Seth was the only child to attend school since Liam, their oldest had already graduated and of course the youngest, Daniel, required special attention and stayed at home for his schooling, taught by Heather.

โ€œHello, Motherโ€ฆโ€ Seth, their middle son greeted her with a smile.

โ€œHello, my boys...how was school?โ€ she took Sethโ€™s backpack placing it by the door.

โ€œWe learned about Science and the Isleโ€™s history this week.โ€ he answered cheerfully.

โ€œReally? Sounds wonderful. Thank you Liam dear for picking him up for me today.โ€

โ€œFatherโ€™s home?โ€ Liam glanced toward the fireplace.

โ€œYes, but heโ€ฆโ€ she turned in his direction trying to find the words.

โ€œNeed not say more, Mother.โ€ Liam smiled, kissing her cheek then helped her prepare early dinner for his brothers before heading to the compound.

Two hours later, Leonus woke from his drugged stupor taking in the surroundings of home. Throwing back the blanket, he stammered to his feet. Scanning his home, there seemed to be no presence of his family. Hearing their laughter coming from the backyard he walked toward the kitchen window, observing his sons who played a game of hide-and-seek; his youngest, Daniel struggled to run and hide due to his genetic abnormalities of half Lycynian-half human gene. His focus was broken when Heather emerged from their bedroom, humming an Irish tune. She raised her gaze catching Leonusโ€™ eye; his form standing against the counter. Things were quiet between them as she scampered around the kitchen, but the environment quickly grew hostile as he began making demands of her.

โ€œIf you want something to eat go to the manor, Leonus! Or better yet, sleep at your friendโ€™s...again.โ€ she stated firmly, โ€œThe kids and I already ate, and Iโ€™m not cooking again. Besides, you have to be at the compound in a few hours, so thereโ€™s no time anyway!โ€

โ€œBut youโ€™re my wife! A man has needs.โ€ he grabbed her wrist as she reached across him toward the cabinet.

โ€œAnd youโ€™re my husband but Iโ€™m not your slave! Donโ€™t you dare throw your Viking male demands at me. You know better, now let goโ€ฆโ€ she commanded firmly.

โ€œMother...everything alright?โ€ Liamโ€™s voice broke the tense moment.

Leonus released his grasp on Heatherโ€™s wrist of which she hid behind her back rubbing it briefly.

โ€œOf course, sweetheart.โ€ Heather smiled but her eyes showed her emotions, โ€œYour father was leaving for the compound. As should you.โ€

โ€œThis conversation isnโ€™t over!โ€ Leonus leaned in whispering in Heatherโ€™s ear.

โ€œTheyโ€™re always over the moment you walk out that door, so what makes this one any different.โ€ she stared up into her husbandโ€™s blue eyes remembering days where they laughed and shared tender moments.

โ€œGet your clothes, boyโ€ฆโ€ Leonus barked.

โ€œIโ€™ll get them when Iโ€™m ready.โ€ Liam affirmed.

โ€œBullox!โ€ Leonus cursed then turned, storming out of the home slamming the door forcibly behind him.

Over the years, Leonusโ€™ behavior had grown more belligerent and violent, leading to arguments ending with his banishment from home, him storming out or disappearing for days to places unknown. Heather sat at the kitchen table crying. Liam approached her, kneeling beside her when Seth and Daniel came inside. The stress and the environment was beginning to take its toll, leaving the fine lines around her blue eyes more prominent. Gathering around her in comfort, Liam knew he was the man of the house and was going to do his best to protect his family. He was a handsome young man; same red hair and blue eyes like his father, standing at 6โ€™2 with a lanky build but to top it off, he was the next Lancaster alpha Lycynian which was beginning to cause issues between he and his father for there had never been two alphas in a single generation living in the same household.

During the two days that had passed, my mom and I had settled in our rooms; our belongings were unpacked as if we had never left. Although, during these days I hadnโ€™t seen Erik and wondered where he couldโ€™ve been, not that he was my entire focus for I had more important things and issues to attend but I worried about him nonetheless. Jonathan and Sarah, even Anthony, spent their time making my mom and I feel welcome with laughter; Anthony laid on his continuous charm and no matter how many times I had declined his offer for a cup of coffee, I finally took him up on it but made the specific stipulation that we were just friends. We sat in the dining hall (Zanz and Abraxas laid within the doorway), talking about our families and how he became a Lycynian; one of his mistressesโ€™ husbands came home to find her fooling around with the handsome Italian and upon his attempt to leave the house in a calm but boisterous manner, the womansโ€™ husband had bitten him. He got himself into loads of trouble in the ways of having the husbands coming home but never was he threatened or attacked.

โ€œIt was a mistake I learned from that very night and when the next month came, Thomas and I had just finished a long daysโ€™ work when the moon shone through the clouds and wellโ€ฆโ€ he paused sipping his coffee, โ€œI turned that very night. I ran off before I could injure anyone, especially Thomas who had just married the week before. He didnโ€™t know what to do but told me that he searched for me all night before finding me laying nude in a nearby park among a thick cluster of bushes and you can imagine how awkward that must have been for families and individuals.โ€

I remained silent for a moment then answered after clearing my throat,

โ€œWell, I can imagine it certainly.โ€ I smiled with a blushing face, โ€œBut youโ€™ve managed to learn how to control it, obviously. I mean, that day when we were fighting those Hunters, you transitioned easily enough.โ€

โ€œYes, Iโ€™ve learned to control it well enough, I suppose. But it certainly wasnโ€™t the life I had ever imagined for myself.โ€ he chuckled.

โ€œAnd what life would that be?โ€ I leaned on the table.

โ€œI donโ€™t know.โ€ he thought about it, โ€œIโ€™ve grown accustomed to this life, so it is what it is.โ€

โ€œWell, Iโ€™m sure someday if you had chosen that life, you wouldโ€™ve made a woman very happy.โ€ I pushed away my empty cup then noticed the time, โ€œWell, I better get going.โ€ I stood from the table, โ€œAs should you actually. You donโ€™t want to be late.โ€

โ€œDonโ€™t remind me.โ€ he smiled as he too stood.

โ€œYou know, I never thought to ask this butโ€ฆโ€ we paused in the doorway just before entering the foyer, โ€œdoes it hurt when you change? I can imagine it does, butโ€ฆโ€

โ€œAt first when I first went through the change yes, and sometimes even still, depending on the aggression and pull the moon holds over us.โ€ Anthony answered calmly and elegantly, โ€œBut now...I donโ€™t think about it.โ€ he shrugged.

โ€œMm.โ€ I nodded, โ€œI canโ€™t imagine how that must be.โ€

โ€œBeing a Lycynian isnโ€™t for everyone.โ€ he winked, โ€œNow, Iโ€™ll let you go. It was a pleasure sitting with you.โ€ he reached for my right hand, giving the top a gentle kiss then backed away strolling through the front doors and oh how I loved watching him walk away.

โ€œOh, boyโ€ฆโ€ I muttered then ascended the stairs to the study to handle things that required my attention for thereโ€™s no rest for the wicked, as they say and I must be pretty wicked! Zanz and Abraxas followed after me quickly.

Entering the study, it was exactly how I remembered with everything basically in its place but some things re-arranged. Sitting behind Marxusโ€™ desk in mockery was Leonus, acting like he owned the Isle, shifting through a handful of paperwork; traces of bruises and a black eye, beginning to heal. Sensing my presence in the doorway, he said as he kept his eyes fixed on the papers he held in his hand, than at me,

โ€œCan I help you with somethingโ€ฆKeeper!?โ€

My familiars had taken their place near Marxusโ€™ settee while I forcefully shut the door behind me, creating a loud slam heard from downstairs. Leonus remained calm. I nodded, biting down on my lower lip as I strolled forward standing in front of the desk. Remaining silent, I watched this Redwood Tree of a man sit there taunting me, treating me as if I were absolutely nothing. Thinking he had the upper hand of things, I replied firmly with confidence as I folded my arms,

โ€œYes, you can help me with something. You can start by telling me what the hell you think youโ€™re doing sitting your ugly, hairy ass in my chair!?โ€

โ€œIโ€™m sorry?โ€ he mocked sarcastically as he leaned back in the chair, โ€œI donโ€™t see your name on anything in this office and a letter doesnโ€™t mean anything. You know NOTHING!โ€ he waved his right hand in a smug gesture then glanced toward the settee, โ€œI see you brought your entourage.โ€

โ€œMy name isnโ€™t anywhere thatโ€™s trueโ€ฆโ€ I unfolded my arms, โ€œbut neither is yours and last time I checked Leonus...thatโ€™s the Keeperโ€™s chair and youโ€™re not the God damn Keeper!โ€ I slammed my hands forcefully on the edge of the desk, rattling items placed for decoration.

Leonus leaned forward asking again,

โ€œAre you challenging me!? Do you not remember who I am...what I am?โ€ he stood, also firmly resting his hands on the edge of the desk, in defiance.

I stared into his fierce blue eyes.

โ€œYes.โ€ I answered gazing up at this 6โ€™6 Redwood Tree of a man who could snap my neck like a twig, โ€œIโ€™ve learned a lot during my absence, Leonus. One of which is a new lethal skill set that Iโ€™d love to practice on you.โ€ I watched his jaw clench, โ€œNow I want you to remember this saying Bigfoot...THE BIGGER THEY ARE, THE HARDER THEY FALL because youโ€™re going to fall hardโ€ฆreally hard and Iโ€™m going to be there when it happens. Believe me, I donโ€™t need a Wraith, Zanz or Abraxas to make it happen. Thatโ€™s a promise.โ€

โ€œIs that a threat?โ€ he muttered as he walked around the desk, standing before me; tall, striking and intimidating.

โ€œConsider it a warning from the Keeper herself. Yes...thatโ€™s me! Iโ€™m not just full of hot air, Leonus. Iโ€™ve come back after two years from an unpleasant experience and Iโ€™m not about to take any sh*t from you or your kind. Do you understand?โ€ then I walked around sitting in the chair that belongs to me and shifted through the papers until I found the inventory sheet, โ€œAnd before you go, I want to know what the f*ck this is!?โ€ I pushed it towards him.

โ€œThe inventory for the last three months. What about it?โ€ he answered bluntly without having to look down at it; knowing exactly what it was.

โ€œWhat about it!? Iโ€™ve received word the blood supply for the Wraiths wasnโ€™t ordered for the last three months. I distinctly remember leaving Nick and Caleb in charge of that but itโ€™s not their signature I see. Explain that to me! And choose your words wisely. If you donโ€™tโ€ฆโ€ then I glanced toward Abraxas and Zanz, โ€œyouโ€™re theirs to do what they will and I wonโ€™t stop them!โ€

Leonus stood silent, as he glanced from me over toward Abraxas; his wings twitching and chest breathing deeply ready to release his bellowed flame. Zanz continued to stare with his golden eyes, snarling viciously. Ignorantly, he placed his right hand on the hilt of a dagger tucked away in its sheath strapped on his belt, ready to use it if necessary.

โ€œYouโ€™re signing your own death certificate, Leonus.โ€ I muttered observing his grip growing tighter, โ€œLike I said, I wonโ€™t stop them. Or myself for that matter.โ€

โ€œWhat do you meanโ€ฆyourself?โ€ he barked as he removed his hand off his daggerโ€™s hilt, โ€œWhat are you going to do, you little pipsqueak of a runt! Hmm? Iโ€™m a powerful Alpha and thereโ€™s nothing you can do to me! And as far as your mutt and bat? Iโ€™ll wear his fursโ€ฆโ€ he pointed toward the hound, โ€œand eat him for dinner.โ€ he referred to the small dragon, โ€œCanโ€™t say Iโ€™ve ever tasted dragon. Iโ€™m sure he tastes no different than a lizard and you?โ€ he eyed me up and down, โ€œMaybe Iโ€™ll have fun with and see why Nathan wants you so badly.โ€ he threatened, โ€œAfter allโ€ฆitโ€™s what Vikings do, RIGHT!?โ€

I laughed in mockery while feeling a rage flood to the surface; my Aura ignited suddenly catching the 6โ€™6 alpha off guard as he stepped away from the desk toward the door. Engulfed in the faint red flame, I walked around the desk, leering at him with a spark in my eyes. Raising my hands to either side palms upward, I gathered my energy as taught. In a low tone I tormented,

โ€œThose are your plans, are they? Wellโ€ฆhere are mine!โ€ and before he could reply, I pushed my hands forward forcefully aiming the energy of my demonic chi toward the Lycynian who had nowhere to retreat to.

Erik had heard word that I was handling business in the study and decided to wait in the upstairs lounge. Sitting in one of the chairs flipping through a magazine without really reading its contents, he suddenly heard a loud moan grunting from behind the studysโ€™ door before the heavy door made of sturdy Oak shattered outward; Leonusโ€™ bulk flew through the doorway hitting his back against the railing of the staircase. Flames smoldered the surface of his upper torso and quickly sitting himself up, he attempted to pat them out but burned his hands in the process.

Erik threw the magazine onto the table as he rushed to his feet watching as a hound and dragon exited through the broken door frame; a petite woman following closely behind. He backed away afraid of the confrontation taking place but he was ready to step in if needed.

Leonus crawled backwards, silent and afraid. He didnโ€™t dare turn his head as both Zanz and Abraxas stood on either side of him, eager to finish him off. Leonus watched as I approached, standing at his feet. His eyes grew wide as I knelt down, leaning in still engulfed in my Aura. I paid no attention to the figure standing to my right for I was solely focused on Leonus.

โ€œThat was just a warning, Leonus.โ€ I warned in a low tone, โ€œThis is one of those things I learned during my absence so the next time this happens, Iโ€™ll burn a hole right through you. Right here.โ€ I drew an X with my petite index finger across his burnt clothing, โ€œIโ€™ve done it before. Now, you listen to me very-very carefully. I might be a pipsqueak of a runt but I think Iโ€™ve proven myself, donโ€™t you think Bigfoot? Nod if you understand?โ€ he nodded, โ€œGood. Nowโ€ฆgive me your Goddamn set of keys before you never make it to the compound for your transition.โ€ I held my hands out gesturing, โ€œGIVE IT HERE!โ€ I watched as he fumbled through his pocket searching for the keys while keeping eye contact; the Lycynian continued staring into my eyes watching the flame flicker wildly. Once hearing the jingle of metal, he immediately dropped them into my hand, โ€œGood dog.โ€ I stood, โ€œNow get to the compound and in the morning, come back so we can discuss things further. And thatโ€™s not a request, Leonus Lancaster. Nine oโ€™clock sharp. Thatโ€™s the KEEPERโ€™S order and Iโ€ฆam the Keeper!โ€

He slowly stood, stumbling down the stairs wanting to leave the premises as fast as he possibly could. Once hearing the front doors downstairs slam, I closed my eyes, breathing deeply, controlling my demonic rage. Opening my eyes, I turned my head, seeing Erik standing there with wide eyes and no words were spoken. He stepped forward whispering as he held his hands out,

โ€œKeeps, umโ€ฆare you okay?โ€

Staring into his wide gray eyes, I smiled as I felt calm.

โ€œYes, Erik. Iโ€™m perfect. Couldnโ€™t be better, thank you. And god, that felt good.โ€ I smiled.

โ€œWhatโ€ฆwas that!?โ€ he referred to the fiery blast.

โ€œJust me...the real me.โ€ I smiled proudly then instructed Abraxas and Zanz to calm themselves and once taking notice they were, I continued making eye contact with Erik, โ€œI was looking for you. Where have you been these past two days?โ€

โ€œI wasโ€ฆโ€ he paused, โ€œresting. I was thrown from a window, remember?โ€

โ€œHow can I forget? But youโ€™re okay though?โ€ I worried but took notice he was healed from all cuts and scrapes.

โ€œIโ€™m fine, love.โ€ he smiled, โ€œI was spending time with Jonathan and the other guys.โ€

I remained silent for Jonathan hadnโ€™t mentioned he spent time with Erik so why would he lie? What was he keeping from me?

โ€œAhโ€ฆโ€ I nodded playing along, โ€œJonathan mentioned something about it.โ€ I squinted my eyes then changed the subject, โ€œAnd speaking of our Australian friend, looks like Iโ€™ll be needing his services and that of his father.โ€ I turned, descending the stairs holding onto the keys acting if nothing had happened and once downstairs I turned to Erik, โ€œYouโ€™re quiet. Whatโ€™s wrong?โ€

โ€œNothing. Itโ€™s justโ€ฆ this is a new side to you.โ€ he gestured at me.

โ€œAnd? You donโ€™t like it?โ€

โ€œIโ€™ll admit, itโ€™s different. Youโ€™re definitely not like other women.โ€ he answered, โ€œI knew that before and I know youโ€™re a halfbreed, but damn...you were on fire! Like literally, love. Is that an everyday thing orโ€ฆโ€

โ€œThatโ€™s part of the training I went through in Ireland. Iโ€™ll explain it later and no...itโ€™s not an everyday thing. Only when I get angry or on command. Kind of the Hulk except I donโ€™t turn green. At least I hope I donโ€™t.โ€ I teased, โ€œBut right nowโ€ฆI want to do something to get my mind off that incident.โ€

Erik nodded.

โ€œJust as long I never get you that mad at me, we should be fine.โ€ he teased, โ€œNow, I could think of something to get your mind off everything, hmm?โ€ he glanced down at me then leaned in, kissing me and once our heads pulled away, I stared into his eyes, โ€œHow was that for distraction?โ€ he flickered his eyebrows. โ€œSorry I didnโ€™t do that earlier after your return.โ€

โ€œI donโ€™t know...I think I need another.โ€ I smiled flirtatiously.

Erik smiled and before he could lean in for another, an all familiar voice blurted in disgust,

โ€œWould you two just quit the flirting!? Youโ€™re sickening!โ€ and turning our heads toward the dining hall there stood Nathan holding an apple with three bites taken out of it, โ€œBut hello again, love. Good to see youโ€™re back.โ€

โ€œHate seeing you too, teen-wolf.โ€ I mocked turning to him.

โ€œI heard about what you did to Leonus. Did you really do that?โ€

โ€œWord travels fast around here, doesnโ€™t it? But yes...itโ€™s true.โ€ I answered, โ€œWant a little taste? Oh, wait...you already have!โ€

He gulped remembering the day I had burned him. Taking another bite of the apple he stepped toward the young man and woman before him and leaning in, he whispered in the young womansโ€™ face,

โ€œMaybe another time, love. When youโ€™re not with your pack hereโ€ฆโ€ he backed away referring to Zanz, Abraxas and Erik, โ€œCatch you later, little bird.โ€ he tossed the apple into my hands then pushed past us.

Glancing at the apple I burned it quickly; its contents disintegrating into nothing. Wiping my hands against my thighs I complained,

โ€œYou know, I was hungry and I was going to get something from the kitchen for my mom and I but I lost my appetite.โ€ then I glanced up at Erik, โ€œTell you what, why donโ€™t we get something to eat at the dwelling and we can tell each other everything thatโ€™s happened?โ€

โ€œI have nothing better to do.โ€ he smiled.

I returned the smile, as we exited the manor, walking toward the dwelling where the Lycynians made their way toward the rear of the property for their change. Anthony was among them and waved in my direction followed by a slight bow.

I waved returning the smile.

โ€œWhat was that?โ€ Erik questioned bluntly.

โ€œWhat was what?โ€ I looked at him.

โ€œThat...wave between you and Anthony?โ€

โ€œIt was just a wave. He and I had sat for a cup of coffee as friends before his change. It was nice and I got to know him a little more.โ€ I answered, โ€œWhat difference does it make? I mean, itโ€™s not like you didnโ€™t have cups of tea with people from your past while I was gone.โ€ I referred to reports Jonathan had revealed that Erik and his ex-girlfriend, Lilien spent time together during my absence.

โ€œWhatโ€™s that supposed to mean?โ€ he paused.

I paused then turned to him.

โ€œIโ€™m talking about you spending time with your ex-girlfriend Lilien while I was gone.โ€ I folded my arms, โ€œYou want to tell me about that, because it seems I have to find that out from our friends. Is that the reason why youโ€™ve been relatively quiet lately? Feeling guilty?โ€

I had flashbacks of meeting Lilien during our first time here on the Isle; she was a beautiful Asian of half Chinese-English with long black hair and slender build at the height of five-foot five. Her family were established business owners from the Great City so while they handled business from the Isle, they were financially stable. A rich girl so to speak to match his rich boy persona. She was also a pureblood Demon. When speaking with her, she was very nice and once finding out she was his ex-girlfriend, I didnโ€™t hold that against her but found out that they broke up for Erik wouldnโ€™t give her more than she wanted in their relationship. I asked her if he was like Nathan but she reassured me, once finding out I had begun having feelings for Erik, he was the perfect gentleman.

โ€œKeeps?โ€ Erikโ€™s voice broke my flashback moment.

โ€œWhat?โ€ I snapped as I turned to walk away.

โ€œItโ€™s not what you think!โ€ Erik chased after me.

โ€œYou donโ€™t know what Iโ€™m thinking, so why donโ€™t you tell me!โ€ I argued.

โ€œShe and I...weโ€™re just friends. I mean, itโ€™s a bit difficult to avoid an ex when you live on the same island. Besides, we left things civil so thereโ€™s no harshness between us.โ€

โ€œAnd that makes it alright to lie to me about it?โ€

โ€œIโ€™m not lying about it.โ€

โ€œNo. You just didnโ€™t want to tell me about it.โ€ I turned away once more.

โ€œBloody hell, Keepsโ€ฆโ€ he rushed after me, โ€œplease, donโ€™t do this.โ€

โ€œDo what?โ€

โ€œDrama. Thatโ€™s one thing I canโ€™t tolerate is drama.โ€ Erikโ€™s voice grunted.

โ€œGood to know.โ€ I turned walking away for the third time.

Erik frowned as he clenched his fists, following after the petite woman once more. His words rushed from his mouth, explaining the time they bumped into one another; moments that were innocent enough but could look suspicious from anotherโ€™s point-of-view but nonetheless, they were innocent moments. They shared the riding trails for the horse stables, accidentally met at the pub for her parents had a business meeting she wanted to sit in on and were on break and other bump-ins.

โ€œThatโ€™s it. I swear.โ€ Erik muttered, โ€œTrust me.โ€

โ€œTrust.โ€ I mumbled, shaking my head, placing my hands on my hips, โ€œItโ€™s a fragile thing, trust.โ€ I glanced into his gray eyes, โ€œLie to me again, about anything, and this...whatever this is between us...is done.โ€

โ€œI swear.โ€ he smiled, โ€œAnd I understand if now, you donโ€™t want that early dinner.โ€

โ€œOh, no Iโ€™m still hungry.โ€ I glanced at my feet.

โ€œWell, then...still want my company?โ€ he raised my chin and gaze, โ€œHmm?โ€

I studied his handsome face and features then answered with a nod but I was going to be careful. Someone this gorgeous and charming, should be watched very carefully with an open mind but guarded heart.

The Lycynians gathered going through their monthly transition but for Leonus, his change was far more aggressive. Running around among the horde, he attacked others who came close; even his own son Liam who had now begun experiencing the change for himself for the first time. He was of age and would present an issue for Leonus in dominance.

The Demon and Wraith guards upon the wall watched as the horde of Lycynians below, engaged in their vicious skirmishes; they listened to the howls of aggression and anguish as some suffered wounds or scratches. The barrier the Demons had put in place, shimmered brightly as the beasts below and those outside of it, antagonized one another. The arcane practitioners infused the barrier with more spells and incantations that kept the magic in place.

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