A few days had gone past since the destruction of Trihkul village. Olivia sat in the cave wearing a thick grey wool sweater and a pair of black trousers. Of course, they were stained with smoke with a few holes and cuts but it was like gold compared to the pathetic excuses of clothing Olivia received at Limrock. The girl was more than grateful to wear decent clothes for outings.
Olivia gazed at her feet happily covered by warm socks and a pair of boots. Rykal had found most of everything she wore whilst Olivia found just the grey shirt, a scarf, a pale purple dress and beanie in the clothing stall, everything else wasn’t salvageable.
Meggan was next to her wearing the pale purple dress, a pair of dirty white shoes and a thick brown sweater. In front of them was a small campfire, though the flames were flickering a bright blue, belonging to Rykal. Olivia felt so warm and cozy, it was such a rare experience since the girl would be cold most of the winter, a reason why she didn’t like the particular season. Though maybe it was the reason why she wasn’t phased with being barefoot whilst walking on the snow. She was surprised she hadn’t caught frostbit and have her feet cut off.
She glanced at Meggan who had her eyes closed, her features calm. Rykal and the lycan, Kane, had left a few hours ago, saying they were going hunting for food. It felt a little weird not having Rykal around, but she was more weirded out by Meggan and Kane. Olivia didn’t have much time to process the idea of them together when Meggan was so fragile and he wasn’t. It was more confusing when they used the term mate. Last time Olivia checked, mate meant friend, and friends didn’t do romantic things.
Her train of thoughts disappeared and Olivia blinked at Meggan. “What is it, Meggan?”
Meggan frowned slightly. “Meggan doesn’t know.”
Olivia looked at the fragile girl perplexed. “Do you want to talk about something?”
The girl nodded.
“Okay. Can you tell me about you and Kane?”
Meggan nodded with a smile. “It was love at first sight. When Meggan saw him, she knew it was him. Kane was her mate. A special bond that will last forever,”
Olivia blinked at her, both confused and worried for her friend. “So. . . you two are in a relationship then? A romantic couple?”
Meggan looked at her weirdly and nodded her head. “Mate means romantic couple. Doesn’t Olivia know that?”
Olivia blinked again and shook her head, It must be a relationship thing I haven’t heard of yet,
Meggan chuckled at Olivia’s confused face and rested her head on Olivia’s shoulder. Olivia looked at the girl in utter confusion, not being able to keep up with her strange mood switch since the lycanthrope had arrived.
Too confused and lost to think, Olivia closed her eyes and laid her legs in front of her, a groan of satisfaction at the pleasurable feeling of stretching them after so long. She crossed her ankles and choose to watch the flames instead of attempting to fall asleep. She was carefully leaning against the wall, putting most of her weight on the opposite shoulder to her injured one.
Silently, the girl watched the flickers of fire crackle in an unspoken rhythm. They brought the heat to her skin and a warmth embedding into her chest, melting the chill from her body. For a moment, Olivia felt at peace. She felt calm and safe without a worry in the world. Over time she had come to a better understanding of mythical creatures existing beyond a child’s book. It was something that Olivia still needed time to fully understand since she denied it nearly her whole life.
Though, at least she wasn’t staring at Rykal like a deformed version of Quinstella.
Olivia rolled her eyes, All this time I thought the people of my village were the fools. I was the fool all along,
It depressed her a little, but not by much. She thought back to the morning that changed everything, wondering what would’ve happened if she didn’t listen to Quinstella. Olivia found it a tad funny that berries were the reason why she was in a cave with a dragon shifter and the lycanthrope king a week later.
A wind picked up and blew harshly against the blue fire. Olivia glanced up toward the cave entrance. Her eyes widened slightly as Rykal stood there. His large wings folded behind him in a smooth manner as he entered the cave. The first thing Olivia noticed was the black buttoned long-sleeved shirt with red stitching he wore. He left two of the top buttons undone and rolled up the sleeves and Olivia thought it suited him well. The shirt brought out his lean built cleanly without the shirt too large or small on him. The next thing she noticed was the new pair of dark brown trousers. They weren’t ripped or shredded, only rough on the material. The trousers were tucked in by a pair of dark blue boots that looked similar to Olivia’s, only hers for more blacksmithing and his for hiking.
Rykal looked normal if it weren’t for the large wings behind him, the glowing scales on his cheeks and forearms, and the tail trailing behind him. He looked so clean and handsome, the way his dark hair had been played and messed with, the masked expression he kept on, and the way his eyes calculated the area; he appeared much like a businessman. Olivia smiled softly at the thought, finding it somewhat amusing. She did wonder where the clothes came from though.
Rykal was already looking at her as Olivia caught his eye. “Kane made me more decent, in his words,”
Olivia blinked and covered her mouth with her hand, fighting back a smile and a blush. “They suit you well,”
Rykal twitched his mouth in disagreement. “It feels entirely awkward,”
Another voice intervened before Olivia replied. “Shut up, Rykal. At least you’re decent now,”
Olivia looked over and saw Kane walking in with a hog hoisted over his shoulder. Her eyes widened at how effortlessly the lycan carried it into the cave and placed it down near the fire with nothing but a grunt. She was amazed the men had been able to catch the large hog during the time of winter. Usually, all the animals would be hibernating throughout the winter. She knew squirrels and bears hibernated, maybe hogs didn’t?
Kane went next to Rykal and hooked his arm around Rykal’s shoulders. “Quit complaining, dragon breath. You have clothes on, so you’re decent now,”
Rykal rolled his eyes and looked at Olivia with gestured hands. “In his words.”
Olivia stifled a small fit of laughter as Meggan stirred. Olivia glanced over and didn’t realize the fragile girl had fallen asleep on her shoulder and noticed Kane looking at the girl with a calm, adoring gaze. It made Olivia awkward and she averted her gaze to the ground.
She didn’t like the way he looked at Meggan. It was uncomfortable and wrong even if they were a romantic couple. It didn’t sit well with her and she would’ve liked for him to give Meggan space once in a while. They were always clinging to each other and were hardly ever apart. The lycan didn’t know what horrors the girl went through nor of how broken she was before he met her.
Though he did make her happy and she began communicating again. Olivia knew there was nothing she could say or do to even slow down the rate they were going, but if Meggan was happy then Olivia would have to accept it whether she liked it or not.
Rykal cleared his throat and the girl couldn’t help but look up at him as his intense eyes met with her curious ones. “Are you hungry?”
Olivia nodded her head shyly. All she had eaten for the day was the leftovers from the night before which consisted of boiled vegetables. The men sometimes ventured back to Trihkul village from time to time for supplies that they could salvage from the wreckage. So far everything they’d found was placed in the corner of the cave. Supplies such as a pot, a pan, a few forks and knives, a few wooden cups, two or three plates and lastly, and a pile of clothes. Having things that were found in a home seemed to give the cave a more homey vibe.
It felt strange but right at the same time. Even though Olivia hadn’t gone out since the destruction of Trihkul village, she didn’t mind it that much. The cave felt homey and having Meggan with her every day to keep her company was relaxing.
But from time to time she’d wonder how Dreya was doing. Meggan said that Dreya was with her mate, and if it meant the same thing as Meggan and Kane then it must mean Dreya was in a relationship as well. It seemed so sudden and sprung upon, considering Olivia had never seen Dreya with any male or female for longer than a few minutes.
Wondering about the rebel girl made Olivia smile faintly, She’s okay. She can take care of herself,
Though she wished Dreya could’ve waited to say goodbye before leaving the two girls.
“Demons, you lycanthropes are too possessive for your own good,” muttered Rykal.
Olivia snapped out of her trance and glanced up at the two supernaturals. They were both sitting down side by side while cutting into the dead hog. Rykal shook his head as he threw the hog’s furry skin to the side while Kane did the same. She frowned and wondered what they were talking about.
“You can talk, dragon breath! You shifters are worse than lycans. If anything you’d mate with her in front of all the males to show she’s your mate!”
Rykal scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Our pride and dignity wouldn’t allow such a repulsive action,”
Kane looked at him for a second before agreeing and commenting, “Vampires would though.”
Rykal cringed but nodded in agreement. “Disgraceful,”
Olivia blinked at the two of them, not having a single clue what they were talking about as they continued to cut out chunks on meat and put it on a plate between them. The meat was stacking up high and Olivia thought that she should cook the meat instead of sitting around, clueless.
She’d never felt so lazy before since usually, she would be either cleaning, cooking or doing errands. The thought of her cooking made Olivia glance over to the treasures from Trihkul village, spotting out the rusted pan before glancing at the sleeping Meggan nestled into her side. She smiled softly at the fragile girl.
Gently, Olivia moved her shoulder down and brought her hands up. Transitioning from her shoulder to her hands, Olivia slowly lowered Meggan to the floor as she moved out of the way. When she did, she stood up and stretched out her aching muscles. After a sigh of relief, Olivia went over and grabbed the pan, a plate and a fork. From the corner of her eye, she saw Rykal watching her curiously as she turned around. She didn’t know why but a blush rose into her cheeks as she sat down next to him in front of the blue flames. He tilted his head at her actions and Olivia shyly held the pan up.
“I can cook tonight,” she mumbled.
Rykal looked at her with a curious expression and Olivia averted her gaze to the ground. She couldn’t help but feel shy and nervous around Rykal, something about him had drawn her in from the moment they first met. She didn’t understand it.
She heard Rykal shift in his spot and it grew to her curiosity. When she looked up, he was leaning forward and she didn’t have time to react as his warm lips pressed against her cheek. The kiss was tender and sweet, just like the kiss was a few days ago in the ruined village. Sparks buzzed through her, tickling her cheek as it sent a shiver up her spine.
Olivia’s eyes went wide as Rykal pulled back. He gazed at her but didn’t smile or show much of anything. But Olivia didn’t focus much on it, her focus was on vehement his eyes were. The emotion pooling his eyes was pure delight and ease and how he pulled it off without letting it show through his expressions was impressive. Though Olivia couldn’t stop herself as she touched the cheek he kissed with her cool fingers. She could still feel the tingles spreading through her cheek faintly.
Without noticing, Rykal had gotten two pieces of meat, placed it in the pan before gently pushing it over the fire. Olivia curled her fingers into a fist and blinked back to reality. She cleared her throat and silently poked at the meat, moving it around so that it wouldn’t stick to the pan.
Meanwhile, Kane chuckled. “You good there, Ryks?”
Rykal glanced at him with a strange look. “What the demons is Ryks?”
Kane gave him a deadpanned look. “Its really obvious what it is, dragon breath,”
Rykal glared at him. “I know what it is, mutt, I just don’t understand why,”
Kane cocked his brow. “Why what?”
It was silent for a moment and Olivia flipped the meat over with the fork and glanced at Rykal. The corners of his lips were curled into a somewhat cheeky smirk as he looked at Kane. “I don’t understand why the nickname is so stupid,”
Kane narrowed his eyes at Rykal before he had a coy smirk of his own. “Don’t blame me because you have a boring name, lizard,”
Rykal narrowed his eyes. “Don’t blame me because you lack the intellectual mind to think of a decent nickname, dog,”
“Don’t blame me for your nonsense of not having good taste,” Kane fired back.
“Nonsense? Nonsense?! You have a horrible taste with nicknames and names in general!”
Kane crossed his arms and turned away from Rykal with a growl. Rykal the same. Olivia looked at the two, puzzled. If she didn’t know any better she would’ve guessed the two were brothers bickering.
“Lizards,” Kane grumbled.
“Mutts,” Rykal scoffed.
Olivia stayed silent as she took the plate in hand and carefully moved the cooked meat off the hot pan. When she did Olivia shyly held out the plate to Rykal. The dragon shifter looked at the cooked meat through one eye as the other was closed tightly. He looked at it for a few seconds before he took the plate from Olivia and turned to Kane.
“What,” Kane snapped.
Rykal nudged the plate against Kane’s arm which got his attention.
“Eat before I eat it,” Rykal answered and Kane took no time grabbing it.
The lycan got up from his spot and went next to Meggan, cooing her awake. While the couple ate the hog meat, Rykal placed another two chunks in the pan and let Olivia move it around with the fork. She didn’t mind him being next to her, it was the fact that he watched her with an expression she couldn’t explain. It was similar to the way Meggan and Kane looked at each other but vaguer.
One thing was for sure, she couldn’t get the image of him kissing her cheek out of her head. It was a moment of untold affection that she didn’t understand. Why Rykal would be doing the types of actions was beyond her thoughts. It was weird because they’d only known each other for a week and Olivia didn’t know much of anything about the dragon shifter. And yet, the strange new feelings had begun stirring inside her the first moment she laid eyes on him.
It was love at first sight
Meggan’s words rang her ears and the thought of it made Olivia’s ears redden. She stirred the meat around a bit more before flipping it over, seeing that she was cooking it well.
“Oi, Ryks,” Kane called.
Rykal groaned and shot an annoyed look toward the lycanthrope. “What?”
“Thanks,” he answered.
Rykal cocked a brow. “For what?”
“For helping me find Meggan again. It means a lot, brother,”
Rykal nodded. “I know you would do the same for me, Kans,”
Kane cocked a brow before bursting out into a fit of laughter. The sudden loud noise made Olivia flinch in shock and she almost dropped the fork.
“Copying me now?” Kane teased.
Rykal rolled his eyes and grinned. “Only because mine is better than yours,”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha,” Kane faked laughed. “No,”