Heart of a Beast

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Chapter 14 - Tiberius (Part 2)

“Are we buying anything aside from a cure for the lycan?” Darnell asked as he climbed out the back door.

“His name is Tiberius,” Crystal mumbled, a hint of irritation flickering under her tone as she climbed out after him.

“Right, that’s it. I knew it started with a T but couldn’t remember what Alpha Jackson said.” The vampire slayer waited for Tiberius to climb out before he asked, “Mind if I call you Tee for short?”

Standing to his full height of eight feet and two inches, he looked down at the six-foot-four human who asked to call him by the same nickname only his family members used. Whether it was easier or not for him to remember, Tee was too intimate on the tongue of a stranger.

Lips curled back, he growled lowly, to which Darnell held up his hands in mock surrender.

“Aight, I hear ya. Don’t get your panties in a twist if I forget it.”

Huffing, Tiberius pulled the hood of his cloak over his head, grateful that it was large enough to conceal his face so that only his muzzle poked out.

He held his arm out for his mate, which she latched onto without any coaxing, drawing a smile to his lips.

Stay close to me, Beautiful, and everything will be fine.

They turned and Darnell led the way through the yellow glow of the torch-lit lot, flanked closely by Alpha Jackson with Beta Justin following behind Tiberius and Crystal.

Walking up to the iron doors, the guards tapped the concrete floor with their staffs before pointing the glowing ends at them and stopping them in their tracks. Swirling balls of yellow fire encased in small crystal balls held in gnarled metal claws illuminated their faces as the guards glanced up at Tiberius without tilting their heads up. The torchlight flickered across their breastplates with silver carved in a swirl of intricate designs and the pair of silver ram horns curling out from the helmets on their heads. Thick black leather pads covered their thighs, shoulders, and wrists and only their faces, necks, and hands were exposed.

“Who wishes to enter the Market?” the guard on the left asked, turning his gaze onto Darnell as Alpha stepped next to him.

“I, Darnell of the Bloodsmith Slayers, wish to enter as a guide for werewolves of the Lancaster Pack and their lycan ally,” the slayer said.

“What is the purpose of your visit?” the guard asked, turning his attention to Alpha while the other guard stared up at Tiberius. A mixture of disdain and caution tainted the scent of the guards.

“Potions and lotions to treat vampire bites on werewolves,” Alpha said, his voice carrying with it all the power and pride of an alpha.

“And the lycan? He should enter in his human form. He will only stir unease among the vendors and their clients.”

Alpha raised his chin a half-inch. “His business is his own.”

The guard on the left raised his gaze up, his eyes narrowing. “Mind your business and there will be no trouble.”

Tiberius nodded his head in understanding.

The doors opened on their own and the guards stepped aside.

Crystal shivered as they stepped forward and pulled the hood of her cloak over her head.

The Market occupied a huge cavern, the ceiling too high and dark to see. Light flickered within glass-encased lampposts every few yards in the middle of the aisles between stalls. Some stalls were enclosed in carpets or tapestries for privacy, while some were open with tables displaying an assortment of goods for sale.

Various smells invaded his nostrils, making him snort and sneeze a few times while the noise of chattering voices hushed at the sight of him. Dozens of eyes pierced through him as Crystal’s grip on his arm tightened.

He wanted their eyes on him and not her. He could handle the stares, but he wanted her to be left alone.

Magic fluttered and swirled above the stalls like fireflies and small whimsical birds in twirling balls of light as they strolled along the aisle of stalls.

There were weapons of various metals, baked goods that smelled too heavenly to be real, and when they came upon an enclosed stall that sold lotions and potions for vampire bites, Tiberius had to enter on all fours as he was too tall on two feet.

Lamps hung in the four corners of the covered stall, casting the space in a warm golden light that shone off the flaming red hair, tied back in a long braid, of the olive-toned witch in flowing black clothes.

“Darnell, my sweet,” she greeted, giving the slayer a peck on the cheek. “How have you been? You brought some friends, I see.”

Unusual copper-colored eyes glanced around the room before stopping on Tiberius and quirking a brow in intrigue.

“Hello again, my tiger lily,” the slayer greeted with a mischievousness that warranted a playful smack on the arm from the witch. “You remember Alpha Jackson and Beta Justin of the Lancaster Pack?”

“Yes, of course. In need of more ointments and tinctures already?” she asked, nodding her head respectfully to the alpha and beta while stealing glances at Tiberius and Crystal, whose hand dug into the thick fur around Tiberius’ neck.

“Not really, but it doesn’t hurt to have more on hand,” Alpha Jackson replied.

“They do expire within a year.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that.”

She turned, her floor-length black skirt flourishing around behind her, and went behind a table covered with a rich purple cloth. Removing a wand from a long narrow pocket in her skirt, she pointed it at something under the table before bending down and pulling out a small wooden chest. Setting it on top of the table, she opened it and withdrew an eight-ounce glass bottle and a small cylindrical lotion container and set them on the table.

“We were also wondering if you might know something about undoing a spell cast by another witch,” Justin said as she closed the lid of the chest.

Her hands froze for a moment before she closed the latch on the chest. “That would depend on the spell, the complexity, and who cast it.”

“How so?”

“Well,” she said, placing her hand on the table and glancing at Tiberius before turning her gaze back to Justin. “There are many different types of spells and varying levels of complexity. The more complex the spell, the harder it is to undo.”

“So, it can be done?”

“Perhaps. You’d have to elaborate.”

Justin gestured to Crystal and Tiberius at the other end of the tent. “My sister and her mate are unable to shift. Tiberius has informed us that he was cursed by—”

“Cursed?” she interrupted. “Curses are much different than spells.”

“How so?”

“They cannot be undone by another spell. Due to the malicious intent behind them, more often than not, they stay with the being until they die.” Her coppery eyes regarded Tiberius, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. “Tell me more about this curse.”

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