Chapter Fourteen: Piss & Rain
They continued through the forest, not saying much. Wolfric helped Akira a couple times when she stumbled, but other than that, they were silent and reserved. When night fell, they set up camp, and Akira found a spring to refill their canteens.
Wolfric looked at Malique once their Psychi was out of hearing range. “I have never seen her so quiet.”
Malique nodded. “The Dark Elf was her first kill. Even if it was life or death, she is an innocent, the purest soul I have ever seen.”
Wolfric sighed, “I will get dinner.”
Malique watched his friend leave their camp, then moved to set up the fire for whatever Wolfric came back with.
Malique turned to the voice of his Psychi and smiled. “He went to get dinner.”
She nodded and held a canteen out to him. He took it from her and spun off the cap, then took a drink and spit it out. He looked at the canteen, then moved so fast she squealed when her canteen was thrown out of her hand, and her Warrior’s face was in hers, his nostrils flaring.
Was he angry with her?
“Where did you get the water?” he asked, his eyes searching her face, his nostrils still flaring.
“O-over there,” she stuttered, pointing in the direction she had found the stream.
“Did you drink any of it?”
She nodded. “After I filled the canteens, I drank from the stream. Why? What’s wrong?”
She squealed when he lifted her over his shoulder and carried her toward the stream.
“What’s going on, Malique?” she asked, trying to breathe, his shoulder digging into her.
He did not say anything as he walked to the stream. He set Akira on her feet and looked out over the water.
‘There,’ Malique thought when he saw it.
“Akira,” he whispered.
She looked up at him, worried. “Ye-yes?”
“Was that there when you drank from the stream?”
Akira looked in the direction he was looking in and scrunched up her face. “I didn’t see it, but what is it?”
He took her arm and pulled her back from the stream. “It’s a Hobgoblin.”
She blinked. “What did he do to the stream?” she asked.
Akira looked across the water at the small creature who was now looking at them.
“He probably pissed in it,” Malique growled.
Akira found herself heaving as she puked up the water she had drank. ‘Shit, that is disgusting.’
She looked up at Malique, then out at the Hobgoblin, who was grinning at them.
“Will I be okay?” she whispered.
“You’re a healer; you should be fine,” he said, then wrapped his arm around her waist.
“What about you?” she asked, watching him.
He chuckled, “I have drunk worse, believe me.”
“Why would he do such a thing?” she asked as she turned to watch the Hobgoblin.
“To torment us, of course,” Malique sneered.
“How will we get fresh water?” she whispered.
He looked down at her. “You’re a healer.”
She blinked. “And?”
He chuckled, “and some healers can heal more than the body.”
She scrunched up her nose, and he chuckled as he kissed it. “But what if he does it again?”
“You can purify the water you have already collected,” he said, then turned her from the stream and walked back to camp.
“Why did you freak out?” she asked as they walked away from the stream.
He looked down at her, concern in his eyes. “Because if it was something more sinister than a Hobgoblin, we would be in a lot more trouble.”
“What did you taste when you drank the water?” she whispered.
“Deception,” he said.
Malique returned his attention to the trees and walked his Psychi back to camp.
Akira thought about that for a moment. Her Vampire is strange; he can taste and sense the oddest things. But that was a good thing. She smiled and cuddled against her Warrior.
“Where did you two go off to?” Wolfric asked as he watched Malique and Akira step back into their camp.
“Bad water,” Malique grumbled at the same time Akira said, “Hobgoblin.”
Wolfric dropped the fish on the forest floor and rushed over to Akira.
He looked her over as he spoke. “Did it hurt her?”
Malique shook his head. “No, just tainted the stream.”
Akira giggled as Wolfric took hold of her shoulders and looked into her eyes.
“What did it do?”
“Pissed in the stream,” Akira said, gagging.
She felt her stomach churning again.
Wolfric chuckled and pulled her against his chest. “Thank Zeus.”
Malique chuckled. “Thank her lineage for being a healer,” he said, placing his hand on Akira’s shoulder.
Akira sighed when her Vampire Warrior touched her. Having both of her Warriors worried for her safety felt amazing. Growing up, the only person who cared for her was her mother, until she was three, of course, and her Wolfie came into her life. She closed her eyes and drank in their nearness.
“We should cook the fish,” Malique said, looking up at the sky. “A storm is moving in. The fire won’t last long with the winds and rain.”
Wolfric nodded and backed away from Akira. He kissed her lips, then walked over to the fish he had dropped and pulled out his knife. Akira walked over to Wolfric and held out her hand. He eyed her for a moment, then smiled when he remembered her stories of Brynhildr teaching her how to survive on her own. He handed her the knife and went to help Malique light the fire.
Wolfric turned his head to look at Akira and grinned when he saw her scaling the biggest fish, not even a bit of disgust on her face. She was at home here in the wild. Once the fish was scaled and gutted, Wolfric stuck a stick through it and held it over the fire.
Malique took the guts out far enough that animals could enjoy them without attacking their camp. When he returned, he picked up a canteen and carried it over to Akira.
Akira looked up at her Warrior and smiled. “I thought it’s tainted,” she said, watching him.
Malique nodded. “It is. I will show you how to purify it.”
Akira blinked at him as he sat down next to her, still holding the canteen out to her. She took it from him and opened the lid. A foul stench slithered out of it and made her gag. Why hadn’t she smelt it before?
“Hold your hand over the opening,” Malique instructed.
Akira nodded and did what he said.
“Now think about crisp, clean water,” Malique whispered into her ear, making her shiver.
Akira closed her eyes and thought about the clearest spring water, the taste of it, the feel of the coolness as it slid down her throat. She felt her hand warm and looked down to see her hand and the canteen glowing the same amber color as her eyes. When it dissipated, Malique took the canteen from her and took a drink.
“Ah, now that’s refreshing,” he said, looking at her. “Well done, little Havent.”
Akira smiled. She loved it when her Warriors were proud of her.
“Can I clear the other two canteens?” she asked, watching him.
He shook his head. “We will share this one for now. I don’t want you to exhaust yourself.”
She pouted, and he chuckled, then leaned forward and kissed her pouting lips. She moaned as she kissed him back.
“Dinner is ready,” Wolfric announced.
Malique smirked and leaned back from his Psychi. “Eat, then you can clear the other two canteens before we go to bed.”
She nodded, and they walked over to the fire to eat their supper with her other Warrior.
Akira moaned and turned in her sleep.
“Akira, wake your cute little ass up.”
Wolfric’s voice finally penetrated Akira’s foggy mind. She opened her eyes and sucked in a breath when she saw the branches of the trees swaying overhead.
“The storm has hit—we need to find shelter,” Wolfric said as he helped her to her feet.
She blinked and looked around them. Their camp had already been packed. She looked at her Warriors, who were smirking at her.
“Let’s go,” Wolfric said.
He took her elbow and pulled her against him, then moved through the trees.
“There’s a cave up here,” Malique said, moving in front of them.
“How do you know?” Akira asked.
“He went in search for cover while I packed up camp,” Wolfric said.
She looked up at him. “And you didn’t wake me?”
Wolfric smiled. “We’re your Warriors, little one.”
She snorted, and both her Warriors chuckled.
“There!” Malique shouted over the wind and rain, pointing up to the mountain.
Akira squinted her eyes and looked up. “How will we get up there?”
“Easy,” Wolfric said, then let go of her arm and dropped the bag he was carrying.
Thank Zeus, they’re waterproof.
Wolfric smiled at Akira and shifted into his giant white wolf.
Akira squealed with excitement. “Do I get to ride you?”
Wolfric’s wolf grinned a toothy grin.
“Don’t do that,” Malique said with a growl, “it’s very creepy.”
Akira giggled. “I like it,” she said, patting the top of her Wolfie’s nose.
Wolfric sneezed on her sleeve, then leaned down for her to climb onto his back.
“That was gross,” she said, rubbing her arm on her pant leg.
Wolfric shook his head and sneezed again.
“I think he’s allergic to you,” Malique said with a chuckle. “I guess that means I get you all to myself.”
Wolfric growled as Malique smirked at him. When Wolfric sneezed again, Akira paused.
“He has been with me since I was three. He’s not allergic to me,” Akira said, then looked down at her parka. “He’s allergic to this.”
Akira quickly pulled the parka off and tossed it at her Vampire.
Malique scowled as he watched his Psychi shiver. “You need to wear it.”
She shook her head. “N-not if it is g-going to m-make Wolfie s-s-sneeze,” she said, her teeth chattering.
“Fuck,” Malique grumbled as he shoved the parka into his bag. “Keep as close to his fur as you can.”
She nodded and crawled onto her Wolfie’s back, then wrapped her arms around him.
“I hope you’re secure up there.”
Akira blinked. “Wolfie, did you just talk to me?”
Wolfric’s eyes opened wide as he looked back at his Havent.“Holy shit, did I?”
Akira giggled, “you did it again.”
“Must be the link formed when you took her marking,” Malique said, watching them. “She can hear your wolf now.”
Akira smiled. She can finally hear her Wolfie.
“Let’s get going,” Malique said, then lifted their bags and took off for the mountain.
“Hold on!” Wolfric called out to Akira.
Akira smiled and held onto her Wolfie. Her front was nice and warm, but the wind on her back made her shiver.
“We will be there soon,” Wolfric said as he leaped over a fallen tree, heading up the mountain.
He followed Malique’s scent, and they stopped in front of a small entrance to a cave. Akira jumped off her Wolfie’s back, knowing he would not fit in wolf form. Wolfric shifted and wrapped his arms around Akira’s shivering body.
“Let us get inside. Malique should have the fire going by now,” he said as he pulled her toward the entrance.
Akira nodded and let her Wolf Warrior lead her into the cave. It was dark but warm. He was right—Malique had the fire burning bright.
“Bring her over here,” Malique said when he saw them.
Wolfric walked Akira over to the fire, and Malique started pulling her wet clothes off her body. Akira giggled and helped him pull the sticky, cold clothes off. Once she was naked, Malique wrapped a blanket around her and rubbed her arms. They sat before the fire, her in his arms as he rubbed warmth into her. She drifted off to sleep, and he pulled her closer.
Malique kissed the top of her head and whispered goodnight just as her mind drifted off into oblivion.