Chapter Four: Upir
-Five Years After the Jet Crashed-
Wolfric looked at his friend as they walked through the forest.
“What?” Malique Athanasiou asked, looking at the Direwolf.
Wolfric shook his head. “Nothing. Just wondering how you’re still single.”
Malique chuckled, “because I like the ladies. And I do not need to be tied down to one woman. You should try it.”
Wolfric snorted. Ever since he had found his Psychi, he has not had a woman in his bed. Even after she disappeared five years ago. Something deep in his soul knows she is still out there, waiting for him to find her. That is why they are here today.
His brothers had found this forest the other day—something the search party had missed five years ago. Even though his brothers believe Akira to be dead, they still help him where they can.
And Malique, well, he is here for the fun of tormenting his friend.
“Not like I have a Psychi like you do,” Malique said, bringing Wolfric back to their conversation.
Wolfric smiled at his friend. It is true; Malique is an Upir. And he has never heard of one having a soul, let alone a soulmate. But who knows, maybe he will be the exception. After all, he is a Mythical Creature.
“We found something!”
Wolfric looked at the radio on the clip at his hip, then pulled it off and hit the talk button.
“What did you find?”
“The jet,” another of their search and rescue team said.
“Any bodies?” Malique asked.
“Negative,” another said.
“Fuck,” Wolfric grumbled, then asked for directions to the jet.
Within fifteen minutes, they were at the jet that had left five years ago carrying his thirteen-year-old Psychi and her mother.
“It looks like someone lived in here,” a man said.
Wolfric and Malique watched the man jump out of the jet’s back half that had disconnected from the front. Wolfric jumped into the jet and looked around. There was a small area where a fire had been lit and a tent made from blankets. He moved to the fire pit and felt the ashes. It has been a long time since anyone has set a fire here.
“Where are you, baby?” he whispered.
Wolfric felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up at his friend.
“There are grave markers over here,” a man announced.
Wolfric and Malique moved out of the jet and walked over to the graves.
“Someone buried the pilots,” a search and rescue man said as he squatted beside the graves.
“Are you sure it’s the pilots?” Wolfric asked.
The man nodded and held up the ID cards that had been placed over the graves. They were dirty and almost hidden in the mud. They could see the faces of the men who had piloted the jet.
“That just leaves the girl and her mother,” Malique said.
Wolfric nodded. He had a feeling it was his girl. Her mother would have made sure she survived.
“Check every cave in the area. I want her found,” Wolfric said, then turned from the jet and headed toward the hills.
“What do we do if she’s feral?” someone asked.
“Put her down,” another said.
Wolfric turned, but he was not fast enough. Malique was in the man’s face before Wolfric could open his mouth.
“That is a scared little girl you’re talking about,” Malique sneered in the man’s face.
The man did not back down. “So? She is a nothing, an Empty Vessel. We should not even be out here searching for her. No one can survive out here on their own for five years. Especially someone without a soul….” The man screamed when Malique opened his mouth.
Malique snarled and clamped down on the man’s neck. Wolfric rolled his eyes and watched his friend drink the man’s blood.
When Malique finished, he tossed the man at one of the others. “Your friend needs a break,” he said, wiping his mouth and walking over to Wolfric.
“How was he?” Wolfric asked, watching Malique.
Malique opened and closed his mouth a few times, then smirked. “Tart,” he said, then turned and walked toward the hills.
Wolfric chuckled. “Did you kill him?”
“No. Not that he didn’t deserve it. But we don’t need the trouble a corpse would bring.”
Oh, did I mention that an Upir is a Myth from the Slavic cultures? Yep, they are a Mythical Vampire who can walk in daylight. They keep to themselves mostly, but when they make a friend, it is for life. And they are very protective of that friend.
“There are a couple caves up this way,” Malique said, looking at the map.
Wolfric looked at the map and nodded. “You take that one, and I will take this one.”
Malique nodded, and they parted ways.
Wolfric did not find anything in his cave. He had hoped for at least some sign that his girl is around here, somewhere.
“Uh, Wolf. I think I found her.”
Wolfric lifted his radio and hit the button as he moved quickly out of the cave. “Be there in ten.”
“I don’t have ten,” Malique said, then hollered. “Fuck, shit, fuck, fuck.”
Wolfric shifted into his wolf and ran for the cave his friend had covered.
Malique stared at the woman before him. Her hair was long and covered her face well, but who else would be out here? She screeched and used her nails as claws, scratching him again.
‘Fuck, she has sharp nails.’
“Stay away from me,” she said with a growl.
“Believe me, I’m trying to,” Malique said, backing away from the feral woman.
The sound of paws pounding on the ground as a giant wolf came running to the cave had Malique sighing with relief. Hopefully, she is not feral enough she will not recognize her Warrior.
“You have someone coming for me,” she said, pointing to his radio. “Did my father send you to kill me?”
Malique looked at his radio, then at her. Maybe she is not as feral as he thought.
A large wolf barreled into the cave, and everyone froze.
“Wolfie?” Akira asked, looking at the giant wolf, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Is that you?”
Wolfric barked and wagged his tail. It is her—she is alive!
“Oh, Wolfie!” Akira shrieked.
She ran to her wolf and wrapped her arms around his large frame, snuggling her face into his fur.
Wolfric shifted into his human form and held onto the small woman.
’She is here—she is alive.’
And not skin and bones like he had imagined her to be. She looked like she had not been missing in the forest for five years.
“Oh, Wolfie,” she cried, nuzzling against his chest. “I have missed you so much.”
Wolfric sighed. “I have missed you more than words can say,” he said, kissing the top of her head.
She looked up at him, and he moved her hair out of her face. He sucked in a breath as he looked at her. She is beautiful. Even more so than Wolfric had imagined.
“You came for me,” she said with a smile.
He smiled back. “I told you I would.”
She nodded, then tilted her head toward Malique. “Who is he?”
Wolfric chuckled, “he’s my friend. He has been helping me search for you.”
Akira sighed and laid her head on his chest.
Wolfric took in a deep breath. She smelled of dirt and wildflowers. No wonder he had not been able to sniff her out. She smelled like Earth.
“I can finally leave here,” she said with a deep sigh.
“How are you not crazy?” Malique asked, watching his friend with the girl.
Akira chuckled. “I had guidance.” She turned and looked at the man she had attacked. “I’m sorry about the scratches.”
Malique laughed. “No worries,” he said with a smile.
When she looked at him, his breath caught in his throat. Her eyes were the prettiest color of amber he had ever seen, and they were glowing so bright. He swallowed and walked toward her. This is not supposed to happen; he is not supposed to have one.
“Psychi,” he whispered.
Wolfric stared at his friend as Malique touched Akira’s cheek. A smirk formed on Wolfric’s face as he watched the shocked look on his friend’s face turn to one of adoration.
“You’re one of my Warriors,” Akira said, staring up at the strange man.
When she had seen him, she had thought he was here to take her back to her father.
“I guess I am,” he said with a laugh.
“What is your name?” she whispered.
Akira giggled, “I will call you Mal.”
Malique opened his mouth, then closed it and smiled. There was no way he could deny his Psychi anything.
Akira looked up at her Wolfie, more than happy to see him again.
“Can we go home now?” she asked.
Wolfric chuckled. “Are you that anxious to get out of here?”
She rolled her eyes. “I have been waiting for you for five years.”
He pulled her against his chest and held her tight. Well, now they only have three more of her Warriors to search for. He sighed heavily. And any of them could turn out to be her chosen mate.
They made it back to the jet before the sun went down. Akira had packed up her bags quickly and let Wolfric shift into his wolf, so they could get to the jet faster.
“You found her. That is amazing,” a search and rescue man said when he saw them approaching.
“And she’s not feral?” another asked as they watched Malique help the girl off the wolf’s back.
Wolfric shifted back to his human form and placed his arm over Akira’s shoulders.
“Not even a little,” Wolfric said with a huge grin.
“A bit defensive, though,” Malique said with a grin, referring to her attacking him.
Akira looked at her Warrior and smiled. She looked at his arms, and her face scrunched up when she noticed the scratches she had delivered were gone. He must be a fast healer.
She wondered what he was. She hasn’t asked that yet. Oh well, she has time for questions. A whole lifetime with them, to be exact. And they live a very long time.
“I guess we’re heading back?” the search and rescue guy asked.
“Have you been able to reach anyone? I tried to radio you on our way back and couldn’t reach anyone,” Malique asked.
The man shook his head. “Haven’t been able to reach anyone in a while. I’ll have a guy call it in from the helicopter.”
“Don’t,” Akira said, her body shaking.
“What is it?” Wolfric asked, looking down at her.
She looked up at him, fear in her eyes. “I don’t want my father to know I’m alive.”
Wolfric pulled her to his side. “You’re eighteen. Your father has no say over you anymore.”
Akira shivered against him and shook her head. Malique touched her arm; she looked up at him and smiled.
“You have us now,” he said with a grin.
Wolfric watched his Psychi. She is so beautiful. Even as dirty as she is, she was more beautiful than any woman he had ever seen. She reminded him of her ancestor—the beautiful Brynhildr.
“I want to go home with you,” she whispered.
Wolfric’s heart skipped a beat. How long has he waited to hear those words?
“You will. But first, we need to get out of here.”
An hour later, they still were not able to leave. Wolfric and Malique bundled their Psychi into the jet to keep her warm as they talked with the search and rescue team outside. They could not reach out to anyone, and no one could contact them. They had tried the jet’s radio, but it was destroyed in the crash.
“I sent a man to get our transportation headed our way, but the chopper can’t come until daylight,” the man in charge said as they stood around talking.
Wolfric nodded. He wanted to get Akira out of here now, but another night would not hurt anything.
“Do you smell that?” Malique asked.
Wolfric sniffed the air. “Fuel,” he said with a growl.
They turned to the jet at the same time.
“Fuck!” Wolfric bellowed when he saw the flames.
“You get Akira out of there,” Malique said as he ran toward the jet.
“What are you doing?” Wolfric yelled at his best friend.
“I saw someone running from the jet,” Malique said with a feral growl.
Wolfric sighed, then shifted into his wolf. He pushed himself into the jet, which was hotter than shit at the moment.
“Wolfie?” Akira asked as she peeked out from the tent they had left her in.
He whimpered and licked her face.
Akira looked out a window and sucked in a breath.
Wolfric tried to get her to go with him, but she was not leaving her bag. She went back into the tent to get her bag and squealed when sharp teeth grabbed hold of her pant leg. Akira grabbed her bag as Wolfric dragged her from the jet by the leg of her pants. At the edge of the jet, Wolfric picked her up in his mouth and ran. The jet exploded, knocking them to the ground.
Akira rolled out of Wolfric’s mouth and turned to look at the flames. “Wow,” she whispered.
Akira looked over at her Wolfie, who was lying on the ground panting. She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him.
“You’re my hero,” Akira said with a sigh.
Wolfric barked once, then shifted.
Akira squealed as she landed on his chest.
Wolfric chuckled and held onto his Psychi. She is a crazy one—she is.
But crazy is as crazy sees.