Adalyn spent the next several hours explaining the situation to her new clan. She was glad to have Chloe, Cooper and Iona to help answer the more specific questions on how the deal would work with Obvert. The truth was, they all knew to some extent exactly what needed to be done. They also knew if they didn’t make a deal, when the turned eighteen they would become a slave to some druid or Kitsune anyway. They were all young though and none of them really understood what it meant to be an indentured servant but every one of them except Adalyn heard enough from their parents while growing up to have a sense of what it meant.
To heal Oliver they would need to make a deal with one of the most powerful druid any of them knew. He was fair and never lied but he was also not a very kind or gentle master. Their lives would be hell for many years to come. Adalyn didn’t give a shit. Her life was already hell. Every time she looked at Oliver’s lifeless body she knew she would do anything to have him back. She wanted to feel bad for the others, but the truth is she wanted Oliver healed more than she cared about their pain. Besides, Chloe said they would come up with an airtight agreement. One that would ensure he would help them in their cause. One that would make their suffering worth it. That meant, he would use his magic to heal Oliver and the Moon Wolf pack while he helped them eliminate Elizabeth. They also need to make sure that he would always allow them to prioritize their cause above his own needs when the two conflicted.
For that, he would get a young Oni clan that he could use for his bidding until the fates determined they all earned their freedom. A relatively good bargain on his part and one he would never refuse. He would however twist the terms if possible to benefit him. That was the reason the grownups in the room had to ensure they cut an airtight contract with him. Chloe walk everyone through the process of making a deal and living with Obvert as a master.
“We need to be very specific and very careful. We must leave out no detail. Nothing he can twist to his benefit. I made a deal with him and in my emotional state I failed to consider all angles. See, all I asked was that he healed my sweat human promised mate Yonni of cancer. In return I promised that once Yonni passed away, I would be his indentured servant until the fates decided to set me free again.
Obvert agreed and immediately healed Yonni from cancer. We had two blissfully perfect days together before Yonni was killed in a car accident and I was forced to Obvert’s side. He never even let me give Yonni a proper funeral. Years later, I learned it was Obvert that set the car in motion that ran Yonni down in the first place.”
Adalyn felt her insides clench as Chloe continued to talk about the atrocities she lived through at Obvert’s hands. At one point, Adalyn heard sobbing and realized that she and the others in the room had all started to weep. They wept for her pain and suffering. No one should ever be asked to sacrifice and bear so much anguish and torture for the sake of love, but as fellow Oni they all understood that any of them would have done the same if it meant a chance at being with their promised mate. The elders wept for their own years of servitude and suffering. Then they wept for what the Wolfoni clan would endure.
Adalyn would gladly walk through the fires of hell and back again for a chance to heal Oliver. She would give anything to spend an eternity with him but was if fair to ask that of the rest of her clan?
“Yes” she heard her clan say like a cacophony in her mind
“So what… You have our attention. Let’s lay out the deal. We all know we will suffer as slaves anyway. Why not save our clansmen’s promised mate, her pack and kill an evil darach in the process. After all, that’s what Oni are meant to do. We are warriors and this is a fight that seems worthy of us. Besides, I am pretty sure this is what we were born to do anyway.” Logan stated out loud for everyone including their parents to hear.
Logan’s words impacted everyone in the room on such a visceral level. Now that everyone truly understood the path that was ahead of them, Adalyn felt like she needed to ask if they would uphold their oath. She wiped the tears from her eyes, stood up, smoothed her skirt, cleared her throat and said
“Before today, I hadn’t truly understood what would be needed or expected of us. Now that Chloe has laid the truth in our lap, I will forgive any of you who choose not to take the oath with me.”
The next few weeks flew by in a flurry of activity as the Wolfoni clan got to know each other and their Oni warrior skills. As was the case in any clan some of them started pairing off as training partners. Some of course were more natural than others given who they were raised with. Dylan and Christine; Braxton and Sienna; Sebastian and Logan; leaving Adalyn with Imogen. Though Adalyn did her best to avoid Imogen as much as possible. She preferred Sienna and Logan’s company.
Today she skipped training and instead spent the morning in Oliver’s joking around with Sienna. The clock chimed and Adalyn knew it was time for Sienna to head out. Sienna laughed at the last joke then moved in and gave Adalyn a hug. Adalyn squeezed her back tightly before they pulled apart. Sienna looked at her strangely and Adalyn could tell she was trying to decide if she wanted to tell her something. Adalyn could almost feel her concern and hesitation in the air. Then, she heard her swallow hard before she said
“Christine and I are going on exercises with my da. Braxton, Sebastian and Dylan are all in the gym with Cooper doing weapons training. Why don’t you go running with Imogen? She could use a partner. It’s not exactly safe out there alone. I know you think Imogen is odd but there is a lot more to her than meets the eye. You know she didn’t have a loving childhood like the rest of us. Maude never even let her call her mum. She was forced to call her master. It’s made her different than us but she is still one of us. Anyhow…” her voice trailed off before she continued
“It’s not my place to tell you more about her but you are kind of our leader… well you and Logan… and if neither of you bond with her none of us will either...”
Sienna paused, and looked her in the eye before continuing
“The way everyone avoids her is kind of sad… don’t you think?”
Adalyn wanted to deny her accusation but she couldn’t. Sienna was right. The Wolfoni clan didn’t treat Imogen the same way it treated everyone else. The seven of them did everything together. They ate, drank, even sat in with Oliver but they never included Imogen. In fact, they literally threw her to the wolves. Instead of living with the rest of them in the pack house she was sent to live with the orphan werewolves. Adalyn would need to figure out why that was and why even the adults allowed it to happen.
Adalyn watched Sienna head down the hall as she pondered her words. There was something about Imogen that made Chloe uncomfortable. Something she feared would also affect somehow affect her. Adalyn wasn’t sure what it was but she was going to let things unfold in their own time. Right now she had her hands full of problems and mysteries. She needed to concentrate on one thing at a time or she would lose herself in the chaos.
Adalyn hadn’t made it more than three steps down the stairs when Logan ambushed her. Adalyn knew it was Logan because in all the training exercises no one but Logan ever got the drop on her. Adalyn laughed and quickly switched their positions so he would be trapped under her. Then to her surprise he flipped her off of him and headed down the steps. The moment he was at the bottom he looked up and smiled brightly then said in a voice filled with challenge and amusement.
“You’re off your game Adalyn. Maybe I should be clan leader after all.”
Adalyn recognised what he was doing. Thoughts of Imogen out running on her own left her mind. Instead she bought into Logan’s was a playful challenge. Something Adalyn and Logan did thousands of times since they started their training. They would battle in both or human and animal forms. Legal moves only, nothing dirty or below the belt, no teeth, no armour and no Ninjatō sword. It was a test of will and strength since the last man or woman standing was the winner.
Adalyn smiled broadly and shouted
The next several hours went by in a flurry of activity. The war games alone went on far longer than Adalyn expected and to her surprise Sienna was the victor.