Chapter Twenty-Four: Rats, It Has Started
Laila watched as her brother defended himself from a blast their father sent at him. Instead of it knocking him on his ass as it had the last ten times, he blocked it, but part of it escaped and cut a gash in his upper arm.
“Shit!” Riddle shouted as he looked at the cut.
“You okay?” Laila called as she rushed to him.
“Yeah,” he said as he looked at her.
“Too bad you can’t shift like your sister, or I could heal that,” Riley said with a grin.
Vectore shook his head. “Has everyone forgotten again?” He said with a grumble as he pointed to himself. “Shaman!” He shouted, then moved over to his son and placed his hand on the cut.
Soon the cut was healed, and Riddle was grinning. “You think I have that power?” He asked as he looked at his father.
Vectore shrugged, “won’t know until we get to that. But you may not have it. Your sister doesn’t have any healing, but what do I know. I’ve never had kids before.” He said with a grin.
“Dad,” Laila said as she looked at him.
Vectore grinned at her. “Yes, dear?”
“How old are you, really?”
Vectore sighed, “I knew this would come up sooner or later,” he said, then cleared his throat and straitened his shoulders. “I am three-thousands-nine-hundred and five years old.
The three of them stared at him with their mouths open.
Vectore chuckled, “you may want to close those before flies gather in there.”
All three mouths shut teeth clanking together.
“Seriously?” Laila asked an eyebrow shooting up.
Vectore nodded, “I wouldn’t lie to you about my age. It’s something I’m very proud of.”
“I can see why,” Riley said with a laugh.
Vectore looked at her. “Yes, it is a very impressive age, isn’t it? But I am proud of it because I’m the oldest living Shaman no one has ever lived as long as me. I am also one of the original Shaman.”
Laila and Riddle stared at him with their eyes open wide.
He smiled at his children. “You two, I hope will live a long time like your old man.”
Laila snickered, “you don’t look like an old man Dad.”
Vector laughed with his daughter. “No, I guess I don’t. But give it about sixty years, then I’ll have that long white beard you imagined,” he said with a wink.
She blushed, and Vectore chuckled then kissed her cheek.
“Okay, let’s get back to training,” Riddle said as he flexed his arms. “I want to whoop your ass, old man.”
Vectore laughed, “bring it on, sprout.”
Laila smiled as she watched her brother and father battle it out. Her brother did very well at holding his own, but their father was still stronger and whooped his ass yet again. But Riddle didn’t give up. He kept going after their father each time he did, he was stronger than the last and knew what their father was going to do.
Two hours later, barely exhausted, Riddle finally took their father down.
Vectore smiled up at his son from the ground. “You are ready for your next lesson.”
Riddle nodded, then helped his father to his feet.
“Just one more week. Are you excited?” Riley asked Laila as they lounged on lawn chairs in the back yard, watching Vectore and Riddle.
Laila sighed, “extremely.”
Riley chuckled, “I can’t wait until I have Mark’s cub.”
Laila smiled, “probably be better to wait until after all this is over. I’m so terrified for the twins.”
“I know what you mean,” Riley said with a nod, “Mark and I have decided the same thing.”
Laila nodded. A squawk had her turning her head, and she scowled. “Avel, Nova. What are you two fighting over?”
The two Osprey stopped and turned to her.
Laila watched them. “What’s for dinner?”
Nova picked up the dead rat and waddled over to Laila.
Riley squealed and jumped to her feet when she saw the dead rat in Nova’s mouth. “That’s a huge ass fucking rat!” She cried out as she stood on the lawn chair, her feet running in place as if she could get away from the rat that way.
Laila rolled her eyes at her friend then looked at Nova. “Was he one of ours?”
Nova shook her head, and the tail of the rat slapped Riley’s leg making her scream.
Vectore and Riddle stopped what they were doing when they heard Riley’s scream, and Mark ran out of the house. He stared at his mate as she climbed up on top of the table by the chairs.
“He was trying to get into the house. We stopped him, and he attacked us.”
Laila nodded to the Osprey. “Who killed him?”
Laila looked over at Avel when he answered then back at Nova.
“You know the rules, Nova. If you kill it, it’s yours now give the rat to your brother.”
Laila watched as the Osprey returned the dead rat to her brother.
“You can have half.”
Laila smiled at how sweet Avel is. Nova’s wings flapped as she picked up the tail, and they pulled until the rat split in half, and Riley fainted, falling in a spin off the table.
“Riley!” Mark called out as he rushed to her side.
Laila sighed. Riley never was a fan of rats or spiders. Mice she can handle especially if it’s her mouse but rats especially that big of one, she’s a goner.
Vectore walked over to Riley and knelt beside her and felt for any injuries. “She didn’t hurt herself; she’ll just be bruised,” he said, then stood and walked back over to Riddle.
“What were the Ospreys fighting over?” Mark asked as he lifted Riley into his arms and sat in the lawn chair she’d vacated.
“A large rat,” Laila said, “it was trying to get into the house, and when they stopped it, it attacked them.”
Mark shook his head. “I think it’s starting.”
Laila nodded, “the closer it gets to my due date, the more rodents and other little enemies try to get to us.”
“I thought you’re the Queen of all Animals.” Mark said as he studied Laila.
She laughed, “I am. But even a queen has enemies.”
Mark nodded as he looked down at Riley when she made a sound of coming to.
“Mark?” She whispered.
Mark chuckled. “Hey, babe.”
“Avel and Nova split the rat, and you passed out,” Laila said as if it was an everyday event.
Riley groaned, “that was the most sickening thing I’ve ever seen.”
Laila and Mark laughed.
Laila looked at her stomach. “That is something I don’t think I can get used to.”
“They talking to you again?” Riley asked as she sat up in Mark’s lap.
Laila sighed and nodded. “They’re hungry.”
“Then let’s fix lunch,” Riley said as she pushed herself off Mark’s lap.
Mark stood, and they both helped Laila to her feet. Her stomach has gotten so big she can barely move.
“Want a lift?” Mark asked.
Laila sighed, “sure, will save my energy.”
Mark chuckled as he lifted her into his arms, then followed Riley into the house and set her in a chair at the dining room table.
“Everything okay?” Paxton asked as he walked into the dining room.
Laila nodded as she smiled at her mate. “Yep. Just a bit tired and hungry. Mark offered me a lift, and I accepted it.” She then told him about the rat and Riley passing out when the Ospreys split it.
Paxton chuckled. “A bit of a weak stomach there, healer?”
Riley snorted, “I hate rats.”
“So, do I,” Park said as he joined them. “Another one try to get inside?”
Laila nodded as he kissed her cheek.
“Good thing we have the Ospreys,” Park said with a grin.
“Amen to that,” Riddle said as he entered the house. “You okay, Sis?”
Laila grinned, “I’m fine it’s Riley who freaked out.”
Riley grunted, “I. Hate. Rats.”
Everyone looked at her and laughed.
“We know,” Mark said, walking up behind her.
“I don’t think you should be alone until after the boys are born,” Paxton said, looking at Laila.
Laila surprised him by nodding. “I agree. That’s the third rat in two days.”
“And even more will come. Those were just scouts,” Park said as he sat at the table next to Laila.
Laila sighed, “I wish these boys would hurry up and show themselves.”
“Just another week,” Park said as he leaned over and kissed her.
She smiled as he moved back from her.
“God Sis, please,” Riddle said as he walked back outside.
“What’s that about?” Laila asked as she watched her brother.
Riley frowned, then walked over to Laila and whispered into her ear. Laila’s eyes opened wide then she jumped to her feet.
“Laila?” Park and Paxton asked at the same time as Park jumped to his feet.
She waved for him to sit. “It’s a brother and sister thing. Please stay here. I will have Riddle and Vectore to protect me.”
Park nodded and sat back in his seat. Paxton looked at Riley, who had gone back to fixing lunch then watched Laila walk out the back door.
“What was that about?” Mark asked Riley.
Riley looked at her mate. “It’s between Laila and Riddle,” she said then returned to fixing the sandwiches.
Laila walked out the kitchen door and walked over to her brother. “Please excuse us, Dad,” she said as she pulled her brother away from their father and walked him to the other side of the yard.
Riddle stared at his sister. “What’s up, Sis?”
“Riley told me,” she whispered.
He stared at her with wide eyes. “She wasn’t supposed to.”
“No,” she said with a shake of her head, “she wasn’t, you were.”
He groaned, “I didn’t want to freak you out.”
She sighed, “it kind of does. But seriously, I would try to block the feeling if I had known you could feel it too.”
He snorted, “I doubt the twins would appreciate that.”
She chuckled, “next time we do something, I want you to go to the cabin..."
“That’s what I’ve been doing. Dad drags me there every night until the feeling is gone. I’m sorry to inform you, Sis, but distance doesn’t take it away. It lessons it sure, but I can still feel it. You know, before we met, I just thought I was always horny. Now I know it was you.”
Her cheeks turned crimson, and he chuckled then kissed her forehead.
“You have two shapeshifters as your mates. It’s logical that you have a lot of sex..."
“They were my first,” she whispered.
He watched her, then nodded. “That would explain the pain and why it had started when you got with the twins.”
She sighed, “not that I didn’t have any offers before them, but I always had this feeling that it wasn’t time for me to lose my virginity, and it just never happened.”
“Until them,” he said as he motioned towards the house with his head.
She grinned “until them.”
“Are you really okay with having two mates?”
She nodded, “from the moment I met them, I wanted them both.”
He chuckled, “they really love you.”
She sighed, “and I really love them.”
“All I want is for you to be happy. I know I haven’t known you for very long, but you’re my sister- my twin.”
She smiled up at him. “I want you to be happy too, Riddle. More than anything other than my sons and mates. The five of you are most important in my life. Well, and Dad and Riley and Mark..."
Riddle chuckled as he pulled her into his arms and hugged her close. “I love you.”
She sighed, “I love you too.”
“I’ll be okay, Sis. Okay? Don’t worry about me. But when I find my mate watch out.”
She laughed, “that’s okay. I’m sure the twins will be glad to accommodate me when I get horny..."
Riddle broke into laughter, and she joined him.
After lunch, Riddle and Riley went back to their training. Laila stood on the porch as she watched Park and Paxton on either side of her.
“Riddle is getting good,” Park said as he watched his brother-in-law.
Laila smiled and nodded. “Dad says that Riddle is almost as powerful as he is.”
“His aim is so perfect I believe now that he hadn’t wanted to kill you and Riley that day in the store,” Paxton said.
Laila nodded, “Dad saw it when he watched through his eyes in the bullets. Riddle hadn’t wanted to hurt anyone they had forced him. But now they will never have any kind of control over us again. Dad made sure of that.”
Park placed his arm around her back and pulled her against his side. “We’re lucky to have them both in our pack.”
She grinned, “we are.”
They turned to the sliding glass door as an out of breath Ryce came out huffing and puffing.
“What is it?” Paxton asked.
“You’ve got to come see this, all of you,” he said as he looked out at the others in the yard.
They all looked at each other then followed Ryce through the house and out the front door. Laila sucked in a breath when she saw them.
“Holy shit.” Park and Paxton said at the same time.
“What the hell?” Mark said as he joined them.
“Are they here to fight us?” Laila asked.
Ryce laughed, “no, my queen. They’re here to join us.”
Laila’s hands flew to her mouth, and she cried.
In their front yard and beyond was hundreds of shifters. Wolves, Coyotes, Bears, Panthers, Tigers, Lions, Bobcats, even a few large bird shifters stood there staring at Laila and the twins. Then all at once, they shifted into their human forms and took their knees.
“Your majesties!” They shouted.
“Looks like we have our army,” Paxton said with a chuckle.
“No,” Park said, looking at their mate, “looks like Laila and the boys have their army.”