I couldn’t stop staring at the outline of his supposed kingdom. Ba’al sitting in his lush castle with his devoted minions running around doing as he demands. I couldn’t help the tingling pain coming from my right arm. I wonder when that would stop?
“You need to come in here, the sun will be down soon again and we don’t need to be sitting at the entrance of the cavern,” Hera spoke to me from the mouth, only a few feet away from me. I was starting to get used to her company and like I’ve noticed before, Howl enjoyed her as well.
I didn’t like doing as she asked, I never listened to anyone after the age of fourteen when I was told to take over the protection of our people. Now those same people threw me out, what am I supposed to do now?
I was pitying myself and I hated it but for some reason, I just couldn’t stop. My eyes looked up at Hera who was still standing and waiting for me. There were a million things on my mind but I couldn’t focus on any one thing at this time. I wanted to think of a plan to go storming into his castle and tell him that I wasn’t going to just lay down and take the beating his people gave me. I wanted to scream at the heavens that I wasn’t down for the count but I just couldn’t.
“Stop pitying yourself and get the hell up.” Her voice broke through the dangerous thoughts in my head for a second. The cold wet nose of Howl shocked me awake for a moment. The fuzz cleared from my vision as I pushed out of my brainless fog and back to reality.
“Sorry, what were you saying?” I asked, not really knowing what she was talking about and partly not caring.
“Gods, if I didn’t have to deliver you to someone I would beat your ass myself. Get your head out of the clouds and get in this cave. Now.” She demanded from me what I couldn’t give her right now. There were a million questions I wanted to ask her but they floated away just as any positive thought had.
“Just leave me alone, I would be better off thrown to my death from the mouth of the cavern,” I admitted making her walk closer and closer to me. I didn’t move, wishing she would push me to my death. Every nerve in my body seemed dead. I didn’t react in my normal fashion and I didn’t think about every point of destruction I could see on her body as she sauntered over here.
“You are on my last nerve. Get. Up. Now.” She demanded from me again and I kept my eyes down while Howl tried her best to make me move again. She pressed her wet nose into the side of my newer short hair again. For a second I could feel a bit of myself come back but the painful tingles from my right side reminded me that I wasn’t myself and I would never be that person again.
“That’s it.” Her gruff voice made me look up just as her hand landed on my head.
Suddenly, I was roughly pulled up to my feet by my hair. I winced and grumbled under her immense strength. She was able to pull me all the way to a standing position just the tug of my hair. If I was in a better mood I would accuse her of being a vampire again. Only they could probably match her strength.
Her hands found their spot on my shoulders as she squeezed them making me stand still and stare directly into her eyes. For a second I thought I saw them flash a different color, but that could be the flickering of the fire in the far back. A human’s eyes couldn’t change color like that nor could a vampire’s.
“What the hell are you?” I started to come back for a moment as our eyes stayed connected. For another moment I thought she was going to throw me off the cliff, something I had been fantasizing about all morning, but when she let my shoulders go I sighed in defeat.
“I’m something you’ve heard of before, maybe a long time ago, but we’re only a story now. I can’t say anything else at the moment. But you need to know you’re apart of a bigger picture.” She blinked away her normal eyes for a moment and in their place were golden yellow slits like a feline’s. They were encircled by a deep moss green, something I’ve never seen before and as quickly as they came she made them disappear.
Reality snapped back to me and a horrible anger fueled my body as I pushed her away from me, hard, making her stumble back a few steps. I knew she wasn’t human, not completely anyway.
“You saved me from the beasts when you yourself have been lying to me about being a part of their world this whole time? I’m going to ask you again, what the hell are you?” It was my turn to pin her against a wall and grab her by the collar of her shirt. She didn’t seem phased, in fact, she seemed a bit excited by what I was about to do.
“I did it for the shock value. I’m still not going to divulge what I may or may not be. I need you out of your own head and back to your beast hating thoughts.” Her words slipped past her front teeth as she whispered her plan to my face. I held the collar of her tunic top tightly with my left hand but I gently began to let her go when I realized her plan worked. I wasn’t thinking about my arm loss or about what I’m supposed to do next, I was thinking about pounding her head into the side of the cave wall instead.
“Damn it,” I cursed.
I shoved her back with my good arm before I walked away for a moment. Howl took to slowly walking in between the two of us. I paced, trying to figure out my next move. The tingling pain in my right arm was still consistent but I was getting used to it. I needed to get off this cliff and show Ba’al I still can’t be fucked with. Right now he thinks that I’m dead somewhere in the forest or if his minions haven’t said anything about it yet, he thinks I’m just planning my next move. He’ll next expect me to come to the castle and show up for our meeting that’s been years in the making.
“What’s your next move?” Her voice traveled over to me while I paced and thought about what my next move really meant. Would this mean that I was officially declaring war on the vampire race? I know I’ve spoken to Donovan and the soldiers back home about it but it’s never been official.
“I will meet with Ba’al and I will declare war. It’s the last move before finally taking down his empire.” I met her eyes again but this time they were their normal shade of deep brown that not even the fire could dampen. She looked at me like I was an enemy. I wasn’t sure what was going on behind those eyes but the second I saw her movement to the left I brought my right arm back like I was going to stop her before she got too close but I fell short. By about half an arm.
She took that second of hesitation and clocked me straight in the face.
I was knocked back a bit but not as far as she could have knocked me had she used her entire built up strength.
“What. The. Hell.” I asked, wiping away the drop of blood she drew from my nose.
“If you’re going to walk up to Ba’al’s castle with one arm left and a shitty plan for a declaration of war, you’re going to need to learn to swing left instead of right.” A wild smile pulled across her lips as she readied herself for a second punch but I didn’t let her get that far. I caught onto what she was doing, however ill-planned it seemed, she was trying to get me to use my new dominate hand.
I shoved her away with my left arm and watched her barely stumble back. With a wicked smile on my face and a new determination to get myself out of this funk, I lunged for her and brought my left arm back and aimed for her smug face.