The Rise

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Chapter Sixty-Three

I grabbed the chair in my office and hurled it at the wall. Damn it! How did she get past me without anyone noticing?

The chair crashed and broke into pieces, falling onto the ground. I sighed and leaned against the door. How was I supposed to defeat her? How do I destroy a whole soul? I had no fucking idea, but I needed to figure it out as soon as possible.

I needed that one thing that made her weak. I had scribbled a million notes on the white board in front of me, erased a million times, and rewrote them all again. Everything I knew about Mother Nature was posted around my office, like some terrible holiday decorations.

Valerio sat on one of the couches, struggling to keep his eyes open. Within the past seven hours, we had made contact with most of the parents, especially the ones whose pup had died. I spent hours on the phone with them, trying to explain to them the situation, trying to explain that I was doing something, but at the end of the day, after those 700+ phone calls I was losing hope and I knew my people were too.

Would this ever end? Mother Nature drained pups, I became weaker, I became strong enough to fight her again, she drained more pups. It was a never-ending, vicious cycle.

Only a few pups remained downstairs and I, reluctantly, gave Nakida the job to watch over them. I didn’t want to do it, but everyone had worked so hard the past few days that I needed someone fresh to keep an eye on them.

I guess it was some sort of punishment, but I didn’t think she saw it that way. I needed her to do something and she had to do it no questions asked. I hadn’t given her a true punishment and she knew it was coming once this was all over. But for now, she could start bettering herself by watching the kids.

Valerio mumbled my name and a smile washed over his face. I turned back to the board. Okay, focus Mae.

Mother Nature knew my weakness - draining my pups. And this was my weakness because I had given a part of myself to each of them, I gave them life, I helped them stay alive.

Did she have something like that? Of course, she did. Everyone had a weakness that picked at their soul.

What did she care about? A few things. She cared about nature and life. Seeing it destroyed made her angry, but I wasn’t sure if that made her weak.

Maybe, I needed to think about it differently. What made her strong? If I could remove her strength, she would be weakened. I sat back and thought about it for a long time. Each scenario that she took part in played through my mind.

They all had one thing in common.

“What are you thinking about?” Valerio said, nearly scaring me. He wiped his eyes, his voice was gruff.

“The plants… nature… when she uses her powers… she gathers energy from a natural source.” I remembered that every place she used her powers, things around that spot were dead or were dying. The trees around the Great Oak were dying and dried out. When we found Luca in that woman’s house a long time ago… things had died. My heart raced, realization washing over me. “I know how to stop her.”

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