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Chapter 4

Far away from the purple-eyed worker in Voodoo and Witchcraft, a group of people—not an overly large group, perhaps thirty or forty—was meeting in a large clearing in the Werewolf Forest. In the center of the clearing was a rock, towering over these below. Standing on the large boulder was a man with one blood red eye and one electric blue eye. The moonlight threw his face into sharp detail and illuminated the scar running down the left side of his face, a forbidden story of what he had to do to gain control of these people.

“Come, my siblings,” he called in his deep voice. “It is almost time; I could sense it as soon as the shop door opened. The Keeper's power is ripe and it is only a matter of time before she discovers the book. Our change will be powerful and quick, and it may take a moment to reorient ourselves to our true forms.

"Right now, we must prepare ourselves to attack. Thanks to the Council's reluctance to tell the girl of her heritage, she has no idea the power she possesses. We have to get the book before the Keeper realizes its power and discovers a spell that could stop us. Are there any suggestions for extraction and destruction?” The scarred man glanced around the clearing and spotted a raised hand.

“Yes, Marcus?” he asked of the brown-haired youth.

“Our true forms will be accessible once the book is released, correct?” the man called Marcus inquired, earning a nod from the scarred man. “Well, why not ambush her in that form? She would be uninformed due to the Council and she would be helpless because she wouldn’t know the extent of her power. We could snatch the book easily and she wouldn’t have a clue what was going on. Then, we would only need to attack her if she pursued us, right?”

The scarred man tapped his chin thoughtfully and smiled. “Very clever thinking, Marcus,” he murmured, more to himself than the crowd. “Yes,” he said louder. “Clever, indeed. Marcus, I’ll leave your reward to my Beta and heir.”

A young man stepped out of the shadows. With his tanned skin, dark brown hair and expressive hazel eyes, the boy looked nothing like the scarred man. Nonetheless, the scarred man threw an arm around the boy’s shoulders and squeezed lightly.

“My son, Jake, will be second-in-command,” he said proudly. Jake waved to the crowd and many of them waved back enthusiastically.

“Marcus,” Jake called in a smooth deep voice. “You will be head of any attack parties or kidnappings that are sent after this girl. Due to her lack of knowledge, she won’t stand a chance against your team.”

Marcus beamed and replied, “Thanks, Jake. And thank you, Vincent.”

Vincent nodded as he took his arm off of Jake. “Now, everyone,” he addressed the crowd. “Once the change occurs, we will need to leave immediately to be certain the council does not have time to get to the Keeper. However, I need to tell you about the Keeper's heritage and why it could be harmful-.”

Suddenly, a ripple rent the air and shocked everyone with its tangibility; it was like a physical pulse through their bodies. Gasps and screams were heard throughout the group as the people began changing before each other’s eyes. Sprouting tails, fur, and fangs, no one but the alpha on the rock was prepared for what was going on. Soon, the clearing was filled with numerously sized wolves of various colors. They milled around excitedly for a moment, getting accustomed to their new forms before the large white wolf on the high rock howled for attention.

Now is our chance! he called. We must get to the Keeper before the council!

All of the wolves turned and began running out into the forestry. Many took another few moments to become adjusted to their new legs, but soon caught up with their comrades. All of the wolves hurried in the direction of the city, all of them ready to face the Keeper.

Cassidie awoke with a groan. The last thing she remembered was the little book clearing the shelf and then she was blasted backward. Now, Bill Gotsvic and a large gray wolf gazed down at her worriedly. Large gray... was he an animal tamer now?

“Mistress, are you alright?” Bill said softly. Cassidie couldn’t help but notice how sharp his teeth had become, and the pallor of his skin gave him the look of death. Guess that potion didn't help any. “You have to go. They are coming. You must get the book to safety.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” Cassidie shook her head to clear it, slowly sitting up and glancing around. “Who’s coming? What book? And… did... you just call me Mistress?

“The Pack, the sacred spell book, and yes, I just called you Mistress,” Bill answered in one breath.

Cassidie stood and realized that she was holding something. Looking down, she noticed the small book in her hands and glanced back up. A golden-eyed Mrs. Harris stood next to Bill with the exact same look of urgency on her face.

“Cassidie,” Mrs. Harris said, or growled. “You have to get to City Hall. It’s very urgent, so please come with us.”

Cassidie nodded and gripped the book tighter as Mrs. Harris changed into a wolf right in front of her. Cassidie gaped in shock, blinking to be certain that had actually just happened. Slowly closing her mouth, the blonde mentally shook herself and decided to ask questions at City Hall.

The trio hurried from the building and Mrs. Harris immediately took off for City Hall. Cassidie rolled her eyes in irritation, knowing that with City Hall so close, a car would have been useless, but it still was quite a distance to sprint. As she and Bill hurried after the large, gray wolf, Cassidie was surprised not to hear Bill panting even a little bit. She herself was beginning to feel winded within the first few blocks of running.

As they ran, Cassidie heard Bill ask, “Why hasn’t she changed form yet? She looks exactly the same.”

The wolf that was Mrs. Harris growled in response and Cassidie's mind, the part that wasn't stuck in a state of shock at everything happening, deciphered it quickly. Perhaps the child needs to feel threatened to trigger her true form.

I... understand wolves. Cassidie wondered just how much more bizarre this day was going to become.

Bill urged her faster as they neared City Hall. Rushing inside, Mrs. Harris changed back into a humanoid and bolted the door. Following Bill to a huge room with a large red circle in the middle of the floor, Cassidie found it filled with creatures that she’d only seen in horror movies. The startled Goth took a step back in shock before rounding on Bill and Mrs. Harris.

“What is going on?” she demanded, the outside of her irises turning red. The two glanced up at the rest of the council before looking back at Cassidie, who was getting paler by the minute.

“She’s almost ready?” Bill whispered to Mrs. Harris. The wolf-like woman nodded in response, not taking her golden eyes from Cassidie.

Cassidie’s keen ears caught the whisper and she gritted her elongating teeth. “Almost ready for what?” she growled, watching her fingernails grow into talons before her eyes. "What's happening to me?"

“Cassidie,” a sea monster covered in scales and fur stepped forward. “You perform witchcraft, correct?”

Cassidie stared at them, wondering what that could possibly have to do with anything. “Yes, but what's going-?”

“Are you not a practicing swordswoman?” a mummy not too far away added.

I'm turning into some kind of cat and they're asking about my hobbies? “Yes, but I'm not very skilled with-.”

“Haven't you built your own crossbow, though?” a large, furry Bigfoot inquired.

“I had help from-." Cassidie grimaced as her skin tugged, her ears repositioning up to the top of her head while her jaw stretched.

“Then yes, she is almost ready,” confirmed the sea monster with fur.

Cassidie began to growl—a low, vicious sound that reverberated off the walls of the room—and, almost as if on cue, she shrieked, “Ready for what? Talk to me!

There was a bright flash of light and all around shielded their eyes as Cassidie felt the trickle of something wet sliding down her body. The young Goth looked down and found that she was covered in fluffy, thick, white fur. Rushing to the nearest window, Cassidie saw herself in the reflection.

She had large, purple paws and black fur on her chest and stomach. A fluffy, black cat’s tail swung behind her, the fur standing on end in accordance with her emotions. And her eyes... They were a cool, deep purple with a red outline to them; a cool night sky with the promise of impending dawn.

Turning to the City Council, Cassidie asked softly, “What is going on?”

Mrs. Harris slowly walked up to her. “Cassidie,” the whiskered woman began in a calming tone. “You are a vampire and werewolf hybrid… and the heir to the world's throne. You rule over everything and everyone.”

Cassidie looked down at her large paws and hesitantly nodded, sensing that her boss wasn’t finished. Mrs. Harris took a deep breath. “And you are the chosen Keeper of the Book. You are the one the council will call on to protect everyone from troubles that are too big for the authorities to handle.

"It is of the utmost importance that you have to keep that book safe. No matter what happens, it cannot fall into evil hands or Goddess only knows what will happen. Order could turn to chaos, water could turn to fire, or the world could even end. You have to keep it safe. Understand?”

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