Chapter Forty-Three: Cow Tales and the Dew of the Mountains
Wolfric sighed with relief when they hit the freeway. He has never been a fan of small towns. He still was not sure where they were headed. He will need to stop at a gas station and grab a map.
His eyes glanced down at the gas gauge, and he grunted. And some gas. He swears—no one seems to know how to fill a fucking gas tank.
“Are you okay?”
Wolfric turned his head and smiled at Akira. She had not needed to call shotgun. Malique had shoved her into the front seat next to Wolfric and grinned across at the wolf before buckling her in and climbing into the back.
“I’m fine, little one,” he said, taking hold of her hand.
Akira smiled and closed her fingers around her Wolfie’s hand. She liked being in the front with him and was thankful that Malique had placed her up here.
“I’m sorry I caused so much drama at the Diner,” she whispered.
Wolfric snorted. How could she blame herself for the actions of an asshole?
“It’s not your fault, Akira,” he assured her.
Akira sighed. She loved the sound of her name on his lips. He does not say it enough, but when he does, her body vibrates, and she wants to jump his bones every time.
“Where are we headed?” Jules asked from the very back of the vehicle, where she sat with Levi and the Trolls.
“Not sure yet,” Wolfric said, concentrating once again on the road.
“Does anyone know where we are?” Levi asked.
“Nope,” Wolfric answered.
“Should we stop at a gas station?” Malique asked.
Wolfric sighed, “I had already planned to do that.”
“Oh, goodies, I want to see what kind of yummies they have that I haven’t had in a long time, and maybe something new I haven’t gotten to try yet,” Akira said with excitement.
Wolfric turned his head and smiled at his Psychi—he had not seen her this giddy since she was thirteen. He laughed inside at the memories. He grinned as he remembered he had picked her up a treat at the grocery store.
“Malique,” he said, looking the Vampire in the eyes through the rear-view mirror.
“What’s up?” Malique asked.
“Can you get me my bag from the store, please?”
Malique smiled and nodded, searched the bags at his feet until he found Wolfric’s, then pushed it between the two front seats.
“There is something in there for you,” Wolfric said to Akira, his eyes looking from her to the bag and back again.
Akira smiled and pulled the bag onto her lap. She found water, juice, crackers…
“Oh, my, God.” Akira nearly shrieked as she pulled out something she had not seen in more than five years.
Wolfric smiled. That was the reaction he was looking for.
“Oh, Wolfie.” Akira sighed as she stared at her favorite treat.
“There should be four of them. I didn’t look at the flavors, just grabbed,” Wolfric said with a smile.
Akira searched for the other three and squealed. There were two original flavors and two she had never seen before.
“Caramel Apple,” she said with a sigh. “This one must be new since I’ve been gone because I would definitely remember this one.”
Wolfric smiled. “I am glad to see I picked up something new for you to try.”
She looked at him, a tear sliding down her cheek. “Thank you, Wolfie.”
“Don’t cry,” he said, his lips drooping in a frown. “They were supposed to make you happy.”
Akira unfastened her belt and jumped to her knees, then wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.
“I am very happy,” she whispered. “Makes me love you even more—knowing you remembered something I long ago forgot.”
Wolfric wanted to pull over and drag her into the woods and have his way with her, but he stopped himself and settled for letting her squeeze the life out of his throat.
“I love you,” she whispered into his ear.
“I love you too, little one. Now sit back in your seat and buckle.”
She giggled as she pulled away from him and did as he said. Akira pulled open one of the Caramel Apple Cow Tales and took a bite. The caramel tasted good, but the apple in the center was amazing.
“So. How is it?” Wolfric asked, taking a peek at her from the corner of his eye.
Akira moaned, “amazing.”
“What is that?” Darius asked, curious to know what had his Psychi all excited.
“Cow Tales,” Akira said with a grin, then took another bite of her treat.
“What now?” Jules asked from the back. “You eat an animal’s tail?”
Akira chuckled, “no, it’s candy.”
She lifted an original Cow Tale, unwrapped it, then pulled off a piece and held her hand up to her Warriors.
“Can you pass this back to Jules, please,” she asked sweetly of her Warriors.
Malique smiled and took the piece of candy from Akira, then turned and handed it to Jules.
Jules took the strange-looking treat from the Vampire and stared at it. She placed it into her mouth and made a face.
“You eat these?” she asked, still making the same face.
Akira chuckled. “It’s definitely not for everyone,” she said, then pulled off a piece of the new flavor and handed it to Malique. “Try this one.”
Malique passed the piece of candy to Jules, who stared at it for a moment, then popped it into her mouth.
“This one is better,” she said with a nod of her head.
Akira giggled. “They were my favorite when I was a kid. Wolfie used to sneak me some when I was alone. My dad found one once and threw it out the door. Once he was gone, I ran outside and found it. Luckily, I had not opened it yet. I ate it before I returned to the house.”
Everyone in the vehicle chuckled at her sad story. Though her Warriors felt more anger than anything toward the man who was not her real father.
“Take that turn off there,” Malique said, pointing to the next exit.
Akira looked at the sign and saw that it had pictures of gas stations.
Wolfric pulled off that exit, and they looked for the gas station. Once they spotted it, Wolfric drove to it and pulled into the parking lot.
“I need to pee,” Akira said once the vehicle was stopped beside a gas pump.
“I will go with her,” Jules said as she squeezed out of the very back seat.
“Holler if you need us,” Darius said as he watched the two women head for the store.
“Yeah, like that will stop anyone from touching them,” Malique mumbled.
The three Warriors looked at each other. They were still upset that they had not been there for their Psychi when that man had touched her in the Diner.
“You three need to get over that,” Stella said, watching Akira’s Warriors.
Darius turned to the Troll and smiled. “Harder than it looks.”
“Pump the damn gas—I’m going inside,” Malique said to Wolfric, then jumped out of the vehicle and headed for the store.
Darius jumped out of the vehicle and followed his fellow Warrior.
Wolfric shook his head and pumped the gas.
Levi slid out of the vehicle and followed the others into the store.
“So much better,” Akira said as she and Jules left the store’s bathroom.
“I like your realm,” Julianne said as she followed Akira through the store.
Akira giggled, “I can’t wait to see yours.”
Julianne grinned. “Maybe once we have found all of your Warriors, we can visit the Fairy Realm.”
Akira nodded. Excitement dancing in her eyes.
“There you two are.”
Akira turned to Malique’s voice and smiled at her Warrior.
“Do you want something before we take off?” Wolfric asked as he stepped past Malique.
“I don’t know. It has been so long since I was in one of these. I want to see if there’s anything new,” Akira said, looking around.
“There’s a new Mountain Dew flavor,” Wolfric said, remembering how much she had liked Mountain Dew.
“Show me!” Akira shrieked with excitement.
The others chuckled as they walked toward the fridge section.
Akira has not had Mountain Dew in so long—she hoped it was still her favorite. The only flavor she found she did not like was the blue one. The others she had loved so much, especially the Code Red.
“Here it is,” Wolfric said, stopping in front of a row of Mountain Dews.
“What is it?” Akira asked anxiously.
Wolfric pulled one out and handed it to her.
Akira shrieked. “Major Melon! They finally made one with watermelon!”
Everyone chuckled at her excitement.
Akira opened the bottle and took a drink.
“Uh, Akira. You’re supposed to pay for it first,” Wolfric said with a chuckle.
Akira moaned as the liquid flowed down her throat. “Sorry,” she breathed, staring at the bottle. “Can I have more than one?”
Wolfric grinned. “You can have the whole store’s worth.”
She giggled, “nah, just a couple more.”
Akira linked her arm through Wolfric’s and walked toward the front to pay for the one she had taken a drink from. In her excitement to try it, she had forgotten she had to pay for it first.
When they got to the checkout, Akira placed the bottle of her new favorite drink onto the counter and giggled when she saw Malique and Darius set a dozen more beside hers.
“We figured we could all try it,” Malique said, wrapping his arms around her.
Akira smiled up at her Vampire Warrior.
“Let’s get going,” Wolfric said once he paid for the drinks, and they were bagged.
Akira picked up hers before the cashier could bag it and turned to leave.
“You look happy,” Jules said as she linked her arm with Akira’s.
Akira nodded and grinned. “I am,” she said as she laid her head on top of her new friend’s head.
“Are we ready?” Wolfric asked as he passed the girls and opened the back and passenger doors.
“Ready!” everyone shouted.
“Did you get a map?” Akira asked, looking at her Wolf Warrior.
Wolfric smiled. “Sure did. Now get in so we can find the damn ocean.”
Akira giggled as her Wolfie helped her into the passenger seat.
Wolfric got into the driver’s seat, and they were off. He handed the map to Malique since this is also his realm, and he would understand it better than the others.
They found their way to a town close to the waters, but still no flipping ocean in sight.
“How is this possible?” Akira asked for what felt like the hundredth time.
She and her friends were walking the streets of a town that was supposed to be near water.
“Are you sure we’re in the correct town?” Darius asked, flinging his bag over his shoulder.
“I know how to read a fucking map,” Malique grumbled.
“I triple-checked,” Wolfric said. “There should be water nearby.”
“All I see are buildings and woods,” Darius said with agitation.
They will never find Akira’s fourth Warrior at this rate.
“Maybe we should travel through the woods. Does it say which way the ocean is from here?” Jules asked, trying to see the map in Malique’s hands.
“Maybe we should ask someone who lives here,” Akira suggested.
“I asked the baker,” Wolfric reminded her.
Akira sighed. She remembered their stop at the bakers—they had ordered croissants and apple turnovers. But still, the man would not answer which direction the ocean was.
“This place is creepy,” Stella said, moving closer to Akira.
For the girl’s protection, not the Troll’s, of course.
“Maybe that woman up there can help us,” Akira said, pointing to a woman who was standing in the shadows.
Wolfric stopped walking and stared at the woman Akira was pointing at. She was not an ordinary woman.
“Maybe we should go through the woods,” Wolfric said, his voice full of worry.
The woman came out of the shadows, and there was no escaping her now.
“We’re screwed,” Wolfric mumbled.
“What is she?” Akira asked as she watched the woman walk toward them.
“That, my dear Psychi, is a Ciguapa,” Wolfric said as he placed his hand on Akira’s shoulder.