Chapter Three: The Elders
“Elders.” Dustin said, and all the Shifters knelt, except Daryl.
“Alpha.” The Elders said with a bow to Daryl.
“Elders.” Daryl said with a slight bow to the six men.
The other Shifters stood when the head Elder motioned with his hand for them to stand.
“We are happy to see you have found your mates.” Another of the Elders said as he nodded to the Human and Shifter Fated Mates.
“Why are you here?” Gerald asked as he studied the six elders.
There are twelve in total, but only six have the power to travel as Tate and Bridget do. Though, only one of them is actually a Vampire.
“We have come to see for ourselves what is going on here. If what Tate had told us is true, then we may send you all on a mission to take the others out.” One of the Elders said with a nod around the room.
One of the other Elders walked over to the unconscious crowd and chuckled as he looked at Pearl. “Your doing?”
Pearl grinned. “Yep.”
The man nodded, a proud look in his eyes.
Okay. Pearl’s family looked between her and the Elder, wondering what that was all about.
“You.” One of the Elders closest to Gerald and Josiah said as he pointed at Josiah.
Josiah took a step back as he looked at Gerald.
Gerald moved to take his mate into his arms, then turned to the Elder. “He was controlled by that bitch.” He snarled as he pointed at Lydiahna.
Lydiahna snorts. “He’d have been treated better if he’d just fucked me.”
Everyone looked at her, how stupid is she? She’d just admitted to being a part of this underground ring, led by Dark Witches and Wizards.
“I told you, you don’t do anything for me.” Josiah said.
Gerald chuckled as he held his mate close.
Lydiahna looked at Josiah, then the large Shifter holding him protectively and burst into laughter.
“What’s so funny?” Gerald snarled.
Lydiahna shook her head. “I see now why I hadn’t done anything for him. I should have seen this. You know, I have plenty of male friends who would have loved your type.” She said with a grin.
Gerald snarled and leaped at her. Josiah grabbed his wrist and held him from attacking the Vampire.
“Take your damn trance off my mate, before I rip off your head and shove it up your ass!”
Lydiahna looked from Gerald to Josiah then shook her head. “Mate, huh? So, you’re the one I’ve been smelling. I could get a lot of money for an unclaimed mate.”
“Fucking Bitch!” Gerald growled as he tried to get to the Vampire again.
Josiah pushed the hood off his head then pulled Gerald, who according to him and his family, is his mate. When Gerald turned to him, he looked into the large man’s eyes.
He could see in his mate’s eyes how angry he is that he was treated as such, for so long, and he never knew Josiah existed. He pulled the man to him and kissed him.
Gerald moaned against Josiah’s lips and felt his temper simmer on the back burner. He can get used to this. He pulled his head up, then cupped his mate’s face with his hand.
“Once this is over, you’re all mine.” He said with a hungry growl.
Josiah smiled. “Looking forward to it.”
“Can anyone tell us what exactly goes on here?” One of the Elders asked, bringing Gerald and Josiah out of their Fated Mate trance.
“I can do better than that.” Josiah said as he looked at the Elders. “I can show you.”
Dylan handed the Dark Witch over to Rolando, then followed the others.
Josiah felt his mate close to him as he led the others into the room, where they keep the waiting fighters.
The women sucked in a shocked breath and the men growled.
There were at least twenty cages with Shifters laying in different arrays of injuries. Some almost healed, some fresh, and some, ready to fight again.
“This is where they keep us.” Josiah said as he walked up to the cage he has spent the past ten years in. “This here is my home.” He said as he laid his hand on the cage. “The keys are on that wall there.”
“Elders!” One of the Shifters hollered when he saw them.
“Let them out.” One of the Elders commanded. “Take them to the nearest hospital that caters to Shifters and tell them to send the bill to us.”
“Yes, sir.” Dustin said as he and his brothers started unlocking cage doors.
Raj called the nearest hospital and told them to send several ambulances, and what to expect.
Once the men were out of the cages, the ones who were fully healed, helped the injured men to the parking lot, to wait for the ambulances.
They walked back to the fighting cage and looked around at the still unconscious men and women.
“Why is the cage torn open?” One of the Elders asked.
“That was me.” Gerald said. “I had done it to get to my mate. The man he was supposed to fight tried to fuck him instead.”
The Elders chuckled.
“He is in heat.” One of them said.
Gerald nodded. “That is why I want to get out of here sir, so I can claim my mate before something happens. There have been other Fated Mates who have been compromised.”
“Right.” An Elder said with a nod.
“How can I be in heat?” Josiah whispered to his mate.
Gerald turned to him. “I do not know, Mafilio. The Goddesses have an odd sense of humor.”
Gerald smiled at him. He was so cute when he was annoyed. And so sexy it has taken everything he has to not just throw him down on this floor and fuck him, Elders be damned.
“Are you angry with me?” Josiah asked as he watched Gerald.
Gerald shook his head as he smiled at his mate. “No Mafilio. I was just thinking about tossing you on the floor and fucking you here in front of the Elders, then remembered that that wouldn’t be a good idea.”
Josiah felt his cock harden and swallowed. Okay, it’s going to be hard to deny this man anything. He doesn’t want to let him claim him until he gets some answers. He has no clue what a Fated Mate is or how he’s in heat.
“If you’re in heat, it must be milder for a male then a female.” One of the women said as she smiled at him. “When I was in heat, I licked glass as I tried to get to my mate.”
Everyone laughed as they shook their heads.
Josiah smiled at her, then looked around at all the others. If this is his mate’s family, that means it will also be his, and so far, they’re pretty cool.
“Okay.” One of the elders said. “We have decided to let you all do whatever it will take to stop the Dark Witches and Wizards. Even if it means killing a Supernatural who is involved.”
“That means you, sweetheart.” Tate said as he shook Lydiahna’s arm.
The Vampire snarled. “You can’t kill me, I’m one of you.”
“You stopped being one of us the minute you aligned yourself with the Dark Ones.” Pearl said as she took a step towards the Vampire.
Lydiahna spit at Pearl. “And who do you think you are? You’re half-human!”
Pearl’s family looked at her with wide eyes. Her face turned a bright red.
“Oh, did she not tell you?” The Vampire squealed. “How interest…”
“Enough!” One of the Elders hollered, cutting her off as he snapped his fingers at the same time.
The Vampire exploded, leaving a sticky mess on the floor and covering Tate, Pearl, and the Elder who had snapped his fingers.
“What the fuck?!” The Kraftman brothers hollered as they jumped back.
“She has been sentenced to death.” The elder said as he wiped off his robe, where the Vampire’s blood had splattered.
“Daddy.” Pearl mumbled softly, then froze. She looked around, hoping no one had heard her. But everyone was looking at her, and yes, they had heard her. “Shit.” She grumbled.
“See, this is why we don’t go to the same parties.” The Elder who’d just killed Lydiahna said with a smile. “Now, since the cat is out of the bag, tell me daughter, which one of these gentlemen is your mate?”
Pearl smiled. “Dylan.” She said as she took hold of her mate’s arm and pulled him over to meet her father. “Daddy, this is my mate, Dylan Kraftman.”
“Sir.” Dylan said with a bow.
“Nonsense.” The Elder said as he held his hand out to Dylan. “You’re family, call me Kristoph.”
Dylan smiled as he shook the Elder’s hand.
“A Cougar.” Kristoph said with a smirk as he looked at his daughter. “Well, you always were a cat lover.”
Pearl’s cheeks turned a bright red as the others chuckled.
“Well, that should free your mate.” Tate said as he swiped the blood from his arm, then looked over at Gerald.
Gerald pulled his eyes away from Pearl and her father and looked at his mate. “Are you okay, Mafilio?”
Josiah nodded. “I no longer feel I need to kill him.” He said as he pointed to the man still out cold on the floor.
“It’s time for us to go.” The Elders said as they looked at Kristoph.
“Of course.” Kristoph said as he leaned forward and kissed his daughter’s cheek, then looked at his new son. “Take care of our girl. And make sure you report every place you take out.”
“Yes, sir.” Dylan said with a nod as he pulled Pearl to his side.
“What do we do with this one?” Rolando asked as he shook the arm of the Dark Witch.
“We’ll take her for questioning. Maybe we can get some useful information from her.” Kristoph said.
“No!” The Dark Witch screamed.
Kristoph snapped his fingers and the Dark Witch disappeared. He then looked to his daughter and winked.
Once the Elders were gone, everyone bombarded Pearl with questions.
The only one she heard was Dylan’s and the hurt in his voice. She looked at her mate. “I couldn’t tell you, love. I was forbidden to tell anyone. If you guys weren’t family, he would have erased all of your memories.”
“Why can’t you tell anyone?” Shar asked.
“And why do you have a different last name?” Dustin pointed out.
Pearl sighed. “My mother gave me her maiden name when I was born, because of who my father is, no one can ever know who I am, or they will kidnap or kill me, to get to my father.”
“Or both.” Dylan said, fully understanding, but still hurt that she couldn’t trust him.
Pearl placed her hand against her mate’s cheek. “I trust you, my love. With all my heart. But it is not up to me, it is my father’s will. He put a spell on me when I was a child, because I had told someone who my father was, just so I’d be envied, and someone bad, had found out and tried to kill me. After that, I could no longer say his name, or mention my father at all.”
“How were you able to just now?” Dylan asked, confused.
She smiled. “I can call him daddy when he’s around. That was a slip-up, and if we didn’t trust all of you, he’d have wiped your memories of the incident, rather than shake your hand and tell you to call him by his first name.”
Daryl nodded. “I understand.”
“Do you?” She asked as she looked at him skeptically.
Dylan nodded. “I do. And I hope he comes to visit us, now that we know.”
Pearl smiled. “So, do I. I don’t get to see him, near enough.”
“What do we do with all these people?” Dustin asked as he looked around.
“Let them wake up on their own.” Pearl said. “Only the fighter will remember what happened tonight.”
“Your father?” Dylan asked as he looked at her.
She nodded. “He added to my spell when he realized I’d cast it.”
“Blood bond.” Drezden said.
Everyone looked at him. He’d been so quiet since they had gotten here.
“Uh, guys, before these Shifters start waking, or before we head out into the world, I’d like to claim my mate.” Gerald said as he took hold of Josiah’s hand.
“Of course.” Daryl said as he looked around. “Is there a place you can do it here?”