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Chapter 26

In a split second, Cassidie was diving after the falling black wolf. She tried to stretch out her paw and catch him, but the ground was rushing up too fast. Turning into the feathered bat, she continued diving for the black wolf until some other wolves jumped forward and caught him. Cassidie pulled up as fast as possible and looked down from the sky.

“Alpha Vincent?” a wolf asked from the group.

“Kill the purple wolf.” Said a weary Vincent.

As one, the remaining wolves turned to Alex.

“Aw bats!” cursed a frightened Alex.

Cassidie changed back into a hybrid and landed heavily in-between the two groups. “Don’t touch her.” Cassidie commanded and all of the wolves turned to her.

“I believe you have something of mine, Vince.” Cassidie told him. “Either you give it to me or I take it.”

Vincent laughed viciously and sneered, “Go ahead and try to take it, Cassidie.”

Cassidie shrugged and raised her paw, the book appearing in her clawed fingers. Vincent’s eyes shot wide open and he screamed, “NO!”

Rushing Cassidie, he made to punch her, but Cassidie held out her own paw and winded him without even striking. The white wolf made the book disappear back to her room as she turned to the black-furred alpha wolf.

“You know,” she said, her monotone voice taking on a menacing quality. “I didn’t ask to be ‘the Keeper’, I didn’t ask to have to save the world, and I certainly didn’t ask to meet you. So either put up with this change of events or you’ll be sent to a special type of prison.”

Cassidie turned to walk away, but a roar from behind made her sigh. Grabbing two nearby swords, she tossed one to the oncoming Vincent and gripped her own. As Vincent swung, Cassidie slashed diagonally upward; the swords didn’t meet. Instead, Vincent’s sword clattered to the ground as his head rolled away. Everything went still as Cassidie dropped her sword and flicked Vincent’s body backward.

She sighed. “I did tell him he’d go to a special prison.” She murmured. “He should have gone with isolation.”

“Cassi?” Cassidie looked up to see a very worn Jacob padding toward her.

“Yeah?” she asked warily.

“You know I have to fight you now right?”

Cassidie groaned inwardly. “Jake!” she breathed heatedly as the green-striped wolf picked up his father’s fallen sword. “Fine!” she grumbled, picking up her own sword and preparing for an attack.

Jake surprised her by holding his sword out and kneeling. “I surrender to you, Mistress Cassidie.”

He said and, as one, the entire crowd kneeled as well. Cassidie sighed in relief and tossed her sword to the side. “Now,” she muttered. “To put everything back the way it should be.”

Summoning the book again, Cassidie flipped to the page with the fleeing werewolf. Chanting the ancient spell, she watched as the buildings repaired themselves, the trees and undergrowth came back to life and the citizens returned to their former states of well dress.

When the world had been righted, Cassidie strode over to Alex, a little unsteady on her feet. “Hey Allie.” She said.

Alex glared at her and flicked her tail. “I’m still angry at you.” She snarled.

“For?” Cassidie asked, her heart sinking sadly.

“Pretending to die and causing world destruction!” Alex shouted. “You had me thinking that it was my fault. I wanted nothing more than to slice Vincent into bitty pieces and serve them to unsuspecting puffballs as appetizers.”

Cassidie frowned guiltily. “I’m s-so-sorry, Alex.” Cassidie grimaced at the word before continuing. “I didn’t know how long the spell would last and it’s not like I could tell anyone. And don’t think anything gone puffball is your fault. Everything wicked is all you, but never anything puffball. Kay?”

Alex looked up into the pleading purple eyes and sighed. “Kay. I forgive you Cassi.” She murmured.

Cassidie sighed in relief and was about to say something else when a wave of dizziness hit her.

“Cassidie?” Alex looked at her in alarm and her eyes widened. “Cassi, he got your neck!”

Cassidie felt at her throat and realized that the marks Vincent’s teeth had made were still open and bleeding. “Bloodloss…” whispered the white wolf as the world went fuzzy.

“Cassidie!” Alex began panicking as her friend slumped to the ground. Mind working quickly, Alex began licking away at the wounds to close them up faster as she held her paws to Cassidie’s stomach and began healing the cuts and scratches along her body.

When Alex was satisfied that she had done enough, She and Kate gently lifted Cassidie and Kate helped get the other girl onto Alex’s back before climbing up as well. Holding onto Cassidie, Kate kept the unconscious girl steady while Alex raced for the howlspital. Checking Cassidie into a room, Alex waited with Kate in the waiting room.

A tall lizard-like doctor walked forward, extending a webbed hand and giving them a fanged smile. “You are here waiting for Mistress Powers, correct?”

“That’s us.” Alex replied.

“She will be fine, but she is not yet awake. We are keeping her asleep to let the wound in her throat fully heal. The damage was minimal due to the extra skin and meat around her esophagus and trachea, but we wish to be certain that she will be alright.”

Alex nodded and stood. “Is she allowed visitors?”

“Yes. But only one at a time.”

The purple wolf nodded and turned to the metamorph. “Kate?”

“Yeah, Allie?” Kate looked up at her friend curiously.

“I need you to stay with Cassi to make sure no one else tries to take a hit at her. I have some unfinished business to take care of.”

“With Jake?” Kate inquired.

“No. He was on our side in the end. However, Brother Jacko needs a bit of a reminder of exactly whose rebellion it is he sold out. Excuse me.”

Kate sighed and shook her head, not bothering to stop her friend. Alex walked calmly through the newly restored city, watching as children played once more and civilians went about their business rather than get bullied and beaten by useless guards. Arriving at City Hall, Alex opened the large oak doors with a hard push and headed inside. Coming to the conference room, the purple wolf heard voices and stepped inside. All of the council members turned to Alex in mild surprise.

“Hello, Alex.” Mrs. Harris said with a polite smile. “We didn’t hear you knock.”

“Because I didn’t.” Alex told her, giving a polite smile as well.

“What can we help you with, Child?” Sister Cassandra queried.

Alex glanced around and asked, “Where is Brother Jacko?”

“The restroom.” Elder William replied.

Alex nodded and leaned against the wall near the doors. “Please, continue. I'll just wait for him.”

The Council nodded and turned back to their discussion on something that had to do with the reservoir. Footsteps moments later caught Alex’s attention and the hybrid turned to the door just as Brother Jacko hurried in. One red paw shot out and clamped around his neck while another delivered a blow to his nose. The lizard-like man shrieked and his hands flew up to cover his now bleeding nose.

“I told you I would get you, didn’t I?” Alex hissed.

“Miss Mendez!” Elder Alexandra exclaimed. “What is the meaning of this?”

“He sold out the rebellion." Alex responded, glaring at the man still trying to stop his nosebleed. "This coward decided to save his own skin instead of the city.”

Mrs. Harris and Bill Gotsvic shared a glance and rushed over. “But what does that have to do with you, Alex?” Bill asked nervously.

“He took a pledge on my best friend and broke it by giving information to Vincent Wolfe. I told you, Jack. I told you that if he didn’t kill you, I would.”

“Young lady,” Mrs. Harris started in a warning tone. “If you kill a member of the Council you will be sent to prison for such actions.”

“I was sent to prison." Alex scoffed. "I was threatened, I was nearly killed… it’s worth it.”

“Allie.” All turned at the voice and found Kate and Cassidie standing in the doorway.

“Cassi?” Alex gasped. “You should be resting!”

“Kate told me what you were coming to do." Cassidie explained. "It’s not worth it, Allie. Put him down.”

“He took a pledge on you and broke it and you want me to let him walk free?”

“No, I want you not to do something you’ll regret. He’s not worth you going to prison.”

Alex took a deep breath and slammed Jacko into the wall, snapping a fist across his jaw. Jacko’s head whipped to the side with the force of the blow, but Alex put him down. “Cassi, you have to get back to the witchdoctor.”

“No.” Cassidie coughed as she passed out against Kate. Alex lifted her up before she could slide to the ground and gave a headshake. “Let’s go, Kate. He knows his place.” Kate nodded, shooting a dubious look back at the slightly off-balance Brother Jacko.

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