Chapter Forty-Six: In the Shadows
“I don’t like this,” Malique said as they left the cabin the following day.
“Me either,” Darius grumbled.
“I’m not thrilled. But you know our little Havent would go looking for her Warrior on her own, then she would have no one to protect her,” Wolfric said as he watched their Psychi and Julianne talk as they walked toward the vehicle.
“I’m not letting her out of my sight for one second,” Malique said as he stepped off the porch.
“Me either,” Darius agreed.
Wolfric sighed. Why had he agreed to this after Akira got a warning from a Banshee of all things? From what they described, the Banshee seems to be related to Akira’s mother. He stepped off the porch and walked toward the vehicle.
Wolfric prayed to Zeus that he kept an eye on his niece while they searched for her fourth Warrior out at sea.
“Oh wow,” Akira said with bright eyes.
She stared at the large Naval ship Wolfric had found to help them sail the ocean for her Warrior.
“Incredible,” Jules said breathlessly.
“Did you tell them about us?” Stella asked, looking at Wolfric.
Wolfric smiled at the Troll. “Yes, I told them we will be accompanied by two Trolls.”
Stella grinned. “I bet they have never seen a Troll before.”
Wolfric laughed, “you would be betting correctly.”
“Are they okay with them?” Akira asked.
Wolfric looked at his Psychi and nodded. “As much as they are okay with three Warriors, a Havent, and two Fairies.”
“What about Nibbles?” Akira asked, looking at the rabbit in her arms.
Wolfric chuckled, “as far as they know, Nibbles is just your pet bunny that you don’t go anywhere without.”
Akira grinned. “We’re a crazy mix. Aren’t we?”
The Warriors laughed and squeezed their Havent.
Akira giggled as her Warriors squished her and Nibbles. She could hear Nibbles making strange noises in her arms but knew he was used to her Warriors squeezing the crap out of them.
“Ahoy there!” someone shouted from the ship.
Wolfric waved at the Navy man and ushered his group onto the ship.
“Ahoy there?” Akira whispered as they walked up the plank to the ship.
Wolfric chuckled and squeezed Akira to his side. At least the Navy men have better manners than Pirates. Not even one of them looked at Akira or Julianne. Wolfric had made sure they all knew both women were taken. Even if Jules and Levi would not admit it.
The ship’s captain greeted them, then led them down to the two rooms they cleared out for them.
“How did you get a Navy ship to agree to take us out with them?” Akira whispered to Wolfric as she set Nibbles on the floor.
Wolfric smiled. “When you use the words, Havent, Warriors, and Gods in the same sentence, people listen.”
Akira smiled and leaned into her Wolf Warrior.
“I hope everything is satisfactory,” the captain said as he stood in the hall while they looked at the two rooms.
“Just fine,” Wolfric said with a nod.
“Do I need to prove that I’m a Havent?” Akira asked.
Her Warriors looked at her. The fact that no one ever takes their word that she is a Havent hurts her.
“Not this time,” Darius said, pulling her into his arms.
Akira sighed and let her Warrior hold her.
“Thank you,” Wolfric said to the captain, then closed the door when the man turned to walk away.
“I guess we’re sharing the other room,” Julianne said as she looked around the large room.
“With the Trolls,” Wolfric said, smiling.
Jules nodded. “Of course.”
“I would rather be up on deck, so I can watch the men,” Stella said, folding her arms over her chest.
“I know you would. But you can trust these men,” Wolfric said, looking at the female Troll.
Stella snorted. “Like we could trust every other man around Akira?”
Akira chuckled, “I think I will be okay, Stella.”
Stella huffed, “fine, but I’m not sleeping in the room. I will sleep in the hall. No one is getting the drop on my Havent,” she said, then turned and left the room.
“I thought you were our Havent,” Darius said with a chuckle.
“She means that Akira is her Havent to watch and protect,” Fin said.
Akira looked at the male Troll and smiled. “And I appreciate everything you and your sister do for me.”
The Troll’s cheeks turned a light pink. “I’m joining my sister,” Fin said, then skidded out the door and into the hall where he collided with his sister.
Akira and the others still in the room chuckled as they listened to the twins’ banter.
“I guess we will head to our room,” Julianne said, turning to leave.
“You don’t have to go to bed; it’s still the middle of the day,” Akira said with a frown.
“I do believe she is giving you some privacy with your Warriors,” Malique said as he lifted Akira off her feet.
Akira squealed and laughed as her Vampire fell onto the bed with her in his arms.
“That I was,” Julianne said with a snicker.
Jules and Levi escaped the room before the other Warriors joined the two on the bed.
“Let’s check out our room, then go up top,” Levi said, smiling at Julianne.
Jules nodded, and they walked into the smaller room they would be sharing for however long it takes for Akira to find her fourth Warrior.
“Told you we’d find them up here,” Akira said as she and her Warriors stepped onto the deck of the ship, Nibbles secure in her arms.
Julianne and Leviasen were sitting on the deck, leaning against posts while the twins sat on either side of the door that led down to the quarters.
“Hey!” Jules said with a bright smile when she saw Akira.
Akira walked over to her best friend and sat down next to her. Jules took hold of Akira’s hand, then turned her face up to the sun. Nibbles jumped off Akira’s lap and laid on the deck in the sun.
“When did the ship set sail?” Akira asked.
“About two hours ago,” Jules said, tilting her head to look at Akira. “Didn’t you feel it move?”
Akira giggled, “not with what the guys were doing to me….”
Jules placed her free hand over Akira’s mouth. “I do not need to hear it.”
Akira burst into fits of giggles, and Jules smiled as she removed her hand from Akira’s mouth.
“I can’t wait to find my fourth Warrior,” Akira said, a swelling in her heart making her take a deep breath.
Jules chuckled. “Why? Aren’t three men enough?”
Akira looked at her friend, her eyes aglow with the thought of another Warrior.
Jules shook her head and looked back up at the sun. “They have you spoiled.”
Akira nodded. “I know, and I love it.”
Both women laughed, then stopped when a large shadow formed over them. Nibbles’ head popped up from his nap, and he hissed at the shadow.
“What the fuck?!” Leviasen shouted as he jumped to his feet and pulled out his sword.
A hackle could be heard as the shadow moved closer to Akira. A loud growl was heard, and another shadow joined the first.
Akira watched her Wolfie fight the shadow. His giant wolf took it down and ripped into it as if it were flesh. She guessed in that world the shadow would be. The shadow withered away. Akira watched her Wolfie step out of the shadows, blood dripping from his mouth.
“Now that was awesome,” Fin said with excitement.
Wolfric shifted to his human form and looked for Akira.
“Wolfie,” Akira cried as she ran into his arms.
“It’s okay, my love. I have you—I will always have you,” Wolfric said, holding onto Akira.
“What the fuck was that?” the captain asked as he joined them.
“A Shadow Walker like myself,” Wolfric said, looking at the captain. “Have you seen them hanging around here before?”
“Actually, we have,” the second in command said as he joined them. “But we didn’t know what they were.”
Wolfric nodded. “They’re sneaky and look for something or someone to thieve.”
“Why did it go after your Havent?” the captain asked.
Akira looked up at Wolfric. She wanted to know the answer to that too.
Wolfric looked down at Akira and sighed. “She knew you were worth something to us.”
Akira blinked. “She?”
He nodded. “Yeah, she.”
“A woman?” a sailor asked.
Wolfric looked up at the man. “Not a woman you would want to look at, let alone protect. She is—was—a Shadow Walker. They’re not pretty….”
“But you’re a Shadow Walker,” the captain interrupted.
Wolfric looked at the captain.
“Yes, I am. But it is my power, my gift, not what I am.”
“Is there a difference?” another sailor asked.
Wolfric nodded. “Yes. A Shadow Walker is a soulless beast who lives in the shadows and only comes out to kill, eat, hunt, steal, or die….”
Wolfric backed himself and Akira up as the Shadow Walker appeared on the deck, dead.
She was so grotesque that no one could bear to look at her. A couple men ran to the edge of the ship and threw up overboard.
“Toss that thing into the ocean!” the captain commanded.
Akira’s people moved out of the way as four men lifted the creature and tossed it overboard.
“What did she think she could get from you if she took me?” Akira asked, looking up at Wolfric.
Wolfric growled, “she somehow knew that my family is rich.”
Akira blinked. She did not even know that. But she guessed it was something she should have figured out.
“All right, everyone back to their stations!” the captain commanded, then looked at his passengers and shook his head.
Wolfric nodded to the captain. “I will get with you later so we can search the ship for more stowaways.”
The captain nodded, then turned and left them.
“Why haven’t you used your powers until now?” Akira asked.
Wolfric smiled. “Because I couldn’t chance using them in other realms. A lot of the other realms shadows have things that go worse than bump in the night.”
Akira giggled, and Wolfric squeezed her tight.
“That was close,” Jules breathed. “If you didn’t have your gift, that beast would have gotten Akira.”
Wolfric nodded to the Fairy.
“Do you think this is what the Banshee was talking about?” Malique asked.
Everyone looked at the Vampire. They had forgotten about the Banshee’s warning.
“No,” Akira whispered.
“How do you know?” Wolfric asked, looking down at his Havent.
Akira took in a deep breath and let it out. “Because she said that water would….”
“We’re on water,” Malique pointed out.
Akira nodded. “Yes, but I don’t think….”
“I don’t even want to think about this,” Darius said with a growl, then turned and walked away.
Akira pulled out of Wolfric’s arms and walked over to her Pegasus Warrior. He was standing against the side of the ship, looking out into the ocean.
“Darius,” she whispered.
Darius turned his head to her, and she sucked in a breath. His eyes were so sad. She had never seen them that sad before.
“I can’t lose you, Akira. I just can’t.”
Akira reached up and tucked a strand of his white hair behind his ear. “I know how you feel,” she said with a smile. “I couldn’t bear to lose any of you, either.”
Darius smiled and pulled her into his arms.
Akira sighed and laid her head on Darius’s chest.
“I love you, Akira. Nothing will ever change that.”
A tear slid down Akira’s cheek. “And I love you, Darius. More than I thought I could when I first met you.”
Darius chuckled at the memory of their first couple of days together. Hard to think it was not so long ago, though it felt like a lifetime ago.
“None of us are letting you out of our sight,” Wolfric said as he joined them.
Nibbles growled, making everyone chuckle.
Wolfric looked at the Al-Mi’Raj. “Not even Nibbles will let you out of his sight.”
Akira chuckled at her Wolfie, then smiled when she felt four more hands on her back.
“Not for a second,” Malique said with a grin.
“You’re stuck with us,” Darius said, his hand sliding down her back.
“If we have to take turns staying awake at your side, nothing will ever touch you,” Wolfric said, nuzzling her neck.
Akira sighed into her Wolfie. She loves her Warriors so much.
Why does she have to choose just one?