Chapter 42 - Inkling
Vulcan Romanov’s P.O.V.
I run in my beast form with warriors behind me, scouring the land for a trace of my mate’s scent. So far we have found nothing which frustrates me to no end. We had spent the night Aurora had been taken scoping out territories we thought the vampires would have taken her to. We concluded that Dragos had probably contacted his brother, Andrei, when he knew he was going to die, who then sent more vampires across my territory whilst we were in the midst of a battle.
After seeking out permissions from the neighboring Alphas to search their lands and travel across it, we found ourselves in territories that belonged to vampire clans. I have met with almost all of them and none can tell me where Andrei has disappeared to. It’s like hitting a dead end in a maze repeatedly, the further Aurora remains kidnapped the more I grow livid, my beasts itching to take over completely. Regardless, I fight with them no matter how much I want my blood lust to come forth and destroy everything in my path.
We have taken breaks to rest up and hunt for food before setting off again. It has been almost a week and the separation between my mate and I is driving me insane. Nevertheless, I stop and allow our warriors to rest, Damon disliking the idea just as much as I but finally relenting.
We have been searching day in and day out for her and our hopes rose when our best trackers caught onto her scent one day. However, it turned out to be a dead end once more, but it was the place they had kept Aurora in previously. Her scent was stale and we had found where they had presumably tied her up, a lone metal chair had been tipped over with a dark spot of her blood on the concrete floor. The rope was also rough from places where blood tinged the material, the brown color confirming that she had been tied and bled.
I had lost control and shifted that day, wanting to put Andrei through hell for even spilling a drop of my mate’s blood. They were all going to be tortured mercilessly by me. I haven’t been able to use my dream-walking ability on her either because there is some sort of barrier preventing me, I know that Andrei has blocked her mind from me.
Night is now falling and we decide to set up camp near an area in the forest where we will be well hidden. If any vampire wanders too close, we will know. Damon nods at me tiredly before he retires to his tent for the night, Kaden meeting my eyes next and indicating that he too is about to head in. I nod in return, seeing my warriors settle down in their respective spots to go to sleep. Indigo is sharing with Kaden, leaving me a tent for myself. Some pack enforcers volunteer to stay up and watch for activity. I make a mental note to let them rest tomorrow morning before we set off again.
I zip up my tent and head for the sleeping bag, getting comfortable before thinking about my mate which seems to be a constant thing nowadays. Even when Aurora is okay and in my sights, she will still be on my mind. I think of where she could be right now, my beasts whining out in sadness knowing she is hurt. I long to have her near me again, to fill my senses with her alluring scent, to have her small frame against mine whilst she snores softly and denies it in the mornings. I miss everything about her.
I feel like an absolute failure to my mate. Even with the mind link and mate bond we share, it wasn’t enough to save her in time. Sighing heavily, I concentrate on trying to connect with her mind to dream walk. Having no luck, I try again and again only to hit the same barrier that makes me growl in frustration. After about an hour, I finally get through to her, my heart accelerating in excitement and longing when the barrier eases up and lets me through.
Aurora must have regained consciousness but fallen asleep. Craving to see her, I enter her dream, adjusting it so that we are back in our bedroom at the pack.
I stand there frozen, staring at her peaceful form on our bed but what pains me is the dried blood on her temple, the bruises on her body and the crusty, red blood on her wrists. Sucking in a sharp breath when she moves and slowly sits up, her beautiful grey eyes blinking before she gasps in disbelief. Her teary eyes land on me, making my heart ache as she desperately tries to make her way towards me. I rush over, taking a seat on our bed and hush her soft cries, caressing her cheek.
“V-Vulcan, h-how did you...is this real?” I finally hear her melodic voice, the sound that I have been craving for so long.
“No baby, it’s one of my abilities. I can appear in your dream when you are asleep.” I press my lips to her, eliciting a soft moan tumble from her.
They are soft and sweet, just like I remember. I tangle my hands in her messy black hair, stroking it before cupping her face and deepening the kiss. But as soon as the kiss turns desperate and hasty, she hisses loudly and pulls away. I stare at her in concern while she shakes her head before smiling at me shakily.
“What did he do?” I growl possessively, my arms encircling her waist tightly.
“Nothing, I –” She is cut off by my snarl as I dare her with my eyes to lie to me, making her sigh softly. “He um...he punched me and cut my lip open when I talked back to him. I’m okay though, please don’t get angry.”
Growling furiously, her hand rubs my arm soothingly before I stop her. Grabbing her wrists, I stare at them in sadness before my gaze averts to the wound on her temple. I can see that she is trying to be strong for me but her grey eyes still well up with tears before she hugs me tightly. I feel my own eyes water when I sense fear and anguish through her in our mate bond.
“I’m looking for you, Роза. I’ll find you soon. Don’t worry, you won’t have to go through this any longer.” I hush, whispering sweet words in her ear and encouraging her to wait for some more time. (Rose.)
“I m-miss you s-so much, Vulcan. Please hurry.” She whispers, pulling away and letting me wipe her tears.
“And I miss you, my moon. Terribly. I will find you but, you have to help me. Where did they move you to?”
“I-I don’t really know.” She replies dejectedly before her eyes brighten in realization. “Oh wait! When I regained consciousness, I realized they had moved to a different place. The guards thought I was still knocked out and I heard them say that you would never be able to find me in such a big place. They also said that it was the second largest territory.”
“Second largest...second...territory...oh my Moon Goddess.” I trail off in a hushed whisper, my eyes widening when I get it.
“Texas!” I grin, cupping her face in my hands. “You’re in Texas, it’s the second largest state in America after Alaska!”
“Really?” Her breath hitches as she smiles happily, grinning when I nod in confirmation. “How long will it take you?”
“We’re in Denver, Colorado at the moment. It’ll take us two hours at the most to enter Texas and then all we have to do is follow your scent. My beasts should be able to pick up on it the second we step over the border.” I pull her onto my lap, inhaling her scent deeply. “If we leave after this, I should be able to make it by night and find you, then I –”
“No.” She cuts me off, making me snap my head towards her in shock, a possessive growl escaping me at the thought of her being away from me a day longer. She sighs and leans up to press a kiss to my lips. “They are more alert at night since that’s when they think you’ll plan for attack. If you come during the day, they’ll be caught off guard and won’t be able to run anywhere because the sun will be up; their greatest weakness. There will be two guards outside a wooden door at ground level, that’s where I’m being kept as far as I know. I’m sorry, I can’t be of much help.”
I shake my head at her words before hugging her tightly. My chest rumbles with a snarl when I feel how thin she has become, of course the bastards aren’t feeding her right. I admire my mate for being so strong and hanging in there, I can only assume how terrifying it would be for a human knowing that their blood is a vampire’s life source.
“Have they done anything else to you besides this?”
“No, they haven’t bit me or drank my blood. They keep threatening me and the guards scared me so bad once that I actually thought it was the end for me, but they claimed they were only having some fun. Sick, twisted minds.” She mutters, making my blood boil in fury.
“I’ll show them what fear really is when I hunt these bastards down.” I growl furiously, wanting to rip them from limb to limb.
“Is the pack okay?” She asks in a worried tone.
“A few serious injuries but other than that everyone is fine.”
Aurora opens her mouth to reply but frowns, shaking her head slightly. I see her form fading and whine sadly, pulling her close and pressing my lips to hers, softly.
“They’re waking you up. Don’t let on that you know of my ability or that I am coming for you. I love you, my light. I’ll find you soon.” I whisper against her lips, feeling her form slouch in sadness.
“I don’t want to go, I want to stay here with you. Vulcan...please.”
“I’m sorry, baby. It doesn’t work that way.” I press a kiss each to her wrists, below the wounded skin and praying to the Moon Goddess to heal her. “Tell me you love me, say it back. I need to hear it to go on, baby. Goddess only knows how much I’m dying without you by my side.”
She smiles, shaking her head making her wild hair move enticingly, my fingers itching to play with the strands. “You don’t ever have to ask. I love you Vulcan, forever.”
And with that she fades completely and I’m brought out of the dream, waking up to find the morning sun’s rays streaming down on the tent.
After having breakfast, I gather everyone around me. We are all fully rested and fed, having regained our energy for this last run to the finish line. I can’t wait to have my beautiful mate back in my arms where she will stay, she won’t leave me ever again nor will anyone take her from me. I look at the numerous pairs of eyes staring back at me, expectantly. Their expressions turn to complete shock when they see me grin slightly.
“She’s in Texas. Get your things together, we will set off immediately and search that territory.”
Everyone cheers in delight, rushing off to grab the essentials as Damon, Kaden and Indigo all walk up to me with relieved yet confused expressions. Save for Indigo because he already knows of my ability. I chuckle at their faces, knowing they must be wondering how I figured out that Aurora is in Texas.
“I have the ability to dream walk through people’s minds when they are asleep. Every vampire is given a unique gift and since I’m a hybrid whose other beast is a vampire; my gift is this.”
“We should have known I guess.” Damon chuckles, Kaden shaking his head in amusement beside them.
I nod, gesturing for them to start gathering their things so we can set off. After grabbing the essentials and tents, we throw them in the car that has been following along, filled with food and supplies. Indigo has called ahead and arranged for guards to drive a number of cars down for us as I know our men are tired and we will all appreciate the time to rest up before we attack.
We meet back at the clearing and I debrief them on what exactly will happen and our plan of action. Everyone listens carefully as Damon and I discuss our best options of entering the territory without alerting the vampires. If they find out about our arrival, then I fear to think of what they’ll do to my mate. There is no way I will ever jeopardize her safety.
There are only a few places they would have taken her and our best bet is in crowded place, the number one area being Austin, Texas. We decide to search there first and then move on to the other areas. After confirming our plan from everyone and making sure they know it inside out, I nod in approval.
“It’s going to take us about two hours at least to reach the border of Texas, we can stop and rest up since it will be nightfall around that time.”
“Wait, what?!” Damon objects, anger in his eyes as he turns to me. “We can’t rest. I want my her back by tonight!”
“I thought that too but Aurora told me to wait until morning when the sun is up so they have nowhere to run. As far as I know, there is no vampire that has immunity in Andrei’s clan. We attack in the afternoon when the sun will be at its highest.” I reply, easing his worries as I can see that the time of attack makes sense to him now. “Alright men, let’s head out.”
Just before I shift into my beast, Damon comes up to my side making me glance at him expectantly. “Is she alright?”
I sigh heavily, shaking my head making his baby blue eyes burn bright in anger. “They aren’t feeding her properly, she’s got bruises and wounds. We need to find her before they do any more damage.”
He growls ferociously before nodding, using his ability to speed away and catch up with the rest of the group. I follow suit and together we make our way to the front, overtaking Indigo and Kaden who had been leading the group.
I’m coming for you, Aurora, I think mentally, promising myself that I will not go back to our home without her in my arms.
It’s time to bring my mate back home.