THERON II

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FOUR.

LINA

Theron rips his hand from mine, taking any and all comfort away from my needy soul. The shock of such an action has my head spinning in bewilderment and stunning rejection, a dull pain that pulses within my already traumatized heart.

He clutches his head, his face pinched in pure agony. Fear twists my stomach, as his gut-wrenching cries echo throughout the silent auditorium. He falls to his knees and I can do nothing but watch in horror and fascination, praying to my goddess that I am not losing him again.

Down, down, down he shrinks, his clothes pulling away from his massive frame. I gasp as his bones contract and his muscles drawback, spasming and rippling underneath the skin until finally, he has transformed to the body I first fell in love with.

The loose collar of his shirt reveals the tattoo that once sat where my mark should be is gone, replaced by the only thing that needs to rightfully be there: a scar molded by the imprint of my teeth; A sign to all others that Theron is mine.

His breathing comes in quick, deep pants as he regains cognizance and composure.

My breath hitches when his head snaps up—gorgeous brown eyes back once more and locked on Mavina. My heart lurches as I now know exactly what has happened.

Theron is back... and he is pissed.

Needless to say, those eyes do not stay brown for long. Rage and fury roll off him in violent waves, his gaze drenched in a deadly black pigment—a silent vow that blood is to be shed on this day.

Swiftly he sprints towards Mavina. Letting loose a vicious snarl, his lycan bursts forth in mid-stride. Thick, dark maroon hair explodes from his skin, covering his muscular torso in a frightening harbinger of foreshadowing. His legs flex as he leaps forward, radiating power and ferocious strength and leaving deep claw marks ingrained in the wooden stage.

Mavina throws her hands up, intent on shooting Theron with the magical bullets that come from her palms but Theron is fast.

Too fast.

He dodges every strike, her assault hitting the stage, the curtains, the walls—everything but Theron.

Remembering Theon and knowing there is nothing I can do to assist Theron further, I abandon the scene around me and pray Mavina doesn’t land a direct hit while I am preoccupied.

Theon is strapped to an altar in the middle of the stage. Deep gorges line the stone around him, waiting patiently to catch his blood and distribute it in the basin at the front. I dare not think too long on the sacrificial dagger that lay on a stand beside him.

Theon exhales in relief, “Mom.” I caress his cheeks, trying hard to accept this new, adult version of my son, “Oh, my baby.” Beads of sweat pepper his forehead, stress, and anxiety flushing his cheeks and widening his large brown Theron eyes.

He is every bit the spitting image of his father and no one should be able to question his lineage. It’s a bit annoying to know that I carried him in my womb for nine fucking months and split my shit in half during birth only for his genes to reject any and every part of my DNA. Seems like a lot of work all for him to end up looking more like his father than me.

“The straps are spelled, I can’t bust them,” he informs me. The rawness of his skin underneath the binding assures me that he has tried relentlessly to free himself. This makes me question if my strength alone will be enough. Noticing the bulk of Theon’s muscular body, he should be every ounce as strong as Theron, if not more. If he cannot escape these restraints himself, the possibility of me achieving that is bleak... but I’m going to try anyway.

Lycan nails shoot from my finger beds and immediately start slashing and tearing at the bindings—to no avail. Every tiny fray caused by my claws is quickly patched up and reattached as if it has a mind of its own.

There is no use.

Theron is too distracted avoiding Mavina to help me. He’s dashing through the audience, skipping and pouncing over empty seats and using the frozen witches as shields against Mavina’s magic. She launches everything she has at him and all she ends up doing is obliterating her loyal followers who are unable to move out of the way.

I glance at Evie, who is too busy holding back the crowd of witches. Her face is contorted in pain and desperation—she will not be able to restrain them for much longer... but I need her magic.

“Evie, help” I cry, the despair in my tone is agonizingly thick, “I can’t—I can’t remove the straps!”

Theron’s voice booms through my head, “I’m coming!” Obviously, he is done playing around with the High Witch. Rounding the stage, his big ass paws thunder towards a wide-eyed Mavina. She sends her hand up and outwards but not quick enough.

In one fail swoop, his deadly canines latch on to her left arm and rip it clean off. A scream pierces the tense atmosphere as the force of Theron’s bite pulls her to the ground in withering agony. Blood gushes from her wound, splattering on the floor and she slips and slides on it trying miserably to right herself.

Theron tosses the appendage from his mouth and spins around. He lunges forward for the kill as Mavina throws her good arm up and lands a magical blow to his huge chest.

He yelps, the potency of her witchery sending him flying backward. His body is enveloped by the hanging stage curtain, which wrenches itself from the hooks by the weight suddenly forced upon it. It crumples to the floor, the large lump underneath laying still and motionless.

And now a frantic sense of urgency overwhelms me and I cannot afford to linger on the question of whether Theron is immortal once more. As much as the idea of losing him yearns to devour me, Theon needs me.

I tug and pull—shred and tear at the straps shackling my son but it is useless. I eye Mavina as she snatches up the dagger beside Theon. How she can ignore her leaching injury is both equally shocking and dismaying.

“EVIE!” I shriek the last bit of breath held within my lungs as Mavina brings the knife high above her head. Its the recognition that my son is going to die that brings about suffocating grief to my soul; it is the understanding that I am helpless to save him that sends my world crashing down around me and its the realization that he is going to die and there is nothing I can do about it that freezes me, preventing any further cognitive movement from me.

The air around me surges with electricity, the immense amount slowing down the action in the room. Evie is suddenly beside me, her mouth chanting something indiscernible to the tethers binding Theon. They bust, exploding in suspended animation and retracting in on themselves. Mavina’s knife is still heading downwards, an unrestricted path to Theon’s carotid artery—the fastest way to drain him out.

But it is Theron who steals my breath and sends my heart into an erratic thrumming chorus.

Theron, who is alive, raising his massive head from behind Mavina’s shoulder.

Theron, whose jaws are open, eagerly awaiting blood, bone, and muscle to quench their salivating need for vengeance...

Time snaps back into its rightful place, no longer playing in slow motion and now everything is happening too fast.

Evie’s magic sends Theon flying off the alter and into my arms. He collides with me, knocking us down with his new, colossal body.

Mavina’s dagger jabs empty stone, sending small sparks into the altar just as Theron’s lips pull back.

A hungry snarl is whispered into her ear and her face pales, instantly understanding this is the end of her reign.

Theron’s teeth chomp down, his jaws wrapping around her neck. I hear the canines jab into her skin, the blood that spurts from around the puncture wounds. I hear the snapping of her esophagus, the muscular tube pinging like popping cartilage. Her spine breaks, shattered, and completely severed by lycan teeth.

And Theron is done.

Satisfied growls and satiated whimpers interrupt every heaving breath as he watches Mavina’s head falls to the floor with a disgusting splat. Her body crumples, landing in nothing more than an undignified heap on the ground, her headless neck oozes blood rushing it outwards and flooding the stage... there’s irony in there somewhere, I am sure.

The audience murmurs, now free of Evie’s magic. Shocked whispers and astonished gasps effectively kill the silence left in the wake of chaos. A sense of acceptance and respect seems to wash over them and in turn, they bow humbling at their new High Witch.

Evie has now been metaphorically crowned.

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