He shook her so hard that her teeth clattered.
“Okay!” she cried, looking at the weapon he pressed against her stomach. The thing was so sharp that the lightest pressure would get it across her dress, and under her skin.
She couldn’t get stabbed. She couldn’t miscarry Terra’s twin.
She dragged her skirt up her thighs, barely able to see through her tears. She could feel Wo’ton’s erection behind her. It was on the softer side– nothing compared to how hard Vrox got, but felt as dangerous as the dagger he pointed to her stomach.
He thrust his hips forward, pushing against her rump. “Faster!”
Kira gagged. This was diabolical. Rape was one thing, but doing it in front of Ezron was another. Wo’ton’s sanity had been tossed down the same portal that took Ezron’s women.
She blinked hard to clear her vision. She needed to find Vrox and go to her happy place. He was the light at the end of this dark, cruel tunnel.
Her skirt reached mid-thigh. Most of the men looked away out of respect, others were probably shocked into place. The higher her skirt climbed, the more harassed she felt by the wind and lingering gazes. Vrox was vibrating with rage. He looked like he was an exhale away from exploding.
She had to survive this– for her moon, Terra; Her sun, Vrox; Her planet, Ezron.
She reached for her thigh and skimmed her fingers over her skin.
Wo’ton gasped when she grabbed his wrist and executed one of the self-defense maneuvers Vrox taught her. It took one second, one breath, one stab, for him to roar.
Hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman, you son of a bitch.
She shoved a bleeding Wo’ton down, but he regained his balance and reached for her. A ball of purple flew into the skirmish. Wo’ton cried when Vee went at war with his face. Vee scratched at his eyes, and Wo’ton finally fell down the steps. Before he could crack his head open, a sea of men reached him.
When Kira felt a hand at her back, she turned to fight some more.
“It is me. It is just me.”
She dropped her dagger and threw her arms around Ni’ev.
He hugged her back. “I am so sorry, Kira. He should have never gotten past us.”
She squeezed him tighter because she knew he would never forgive himself for getting bested by Wo’ton. She didn’t blame him or Rokan for this, though. No one had expected Wo’ton to walk in, abuse their trust, and kidnap her out of the room.
“Let’s get out of here,” she whispered.
She turned around and scanned the chaos. There was a line of men protecting her by blocking anyone from approaching. A screaming Wo’ton was getting restrained.
Vrox submerged from the mess. He jogged up the steps and crashed into her like a wave in a raging ocean. Her knees gave up on her weight, and she sank into him.
“Terra?” she asked. “Where’s Terra?”
“Safe. She’s safe. Ak is, too.”
She sobbed. Her cheek was against his rough scales, but he felt like an enormous safety blanket.
“He poisoned our baby.” She raised a hand to wipe her face and then realized that it was bloody.
“I will fix this. I will fix it all. Do not worry about anything. You must get some rest now.” He kissed her head. “It is over.”
“No.” She pulled back. “I’m not sleeping. I need Terra, and I need to talk to Layla.”
“Kira…” he drew out warningly.
She tipped her head back, offering fire.
Vrox’s expression melted with defeat. He kissed her and rubbed her back as if checking for injuries.
“I want to slaughter Wo’ton,” he snarled, breath hot against her neck.
“We can’t. We have to question him.”
“I know, but… Mothers, Kira. Why did it have to be him? He was like…”
“Like a second father to you. I know, baby. I’m sorry.” She rubbed his chest, where she could feel his heart stammering.
“Commander, High Mother… Corzon wishes to speak.”
“Fine,” Kira answered. “But first, I want my daughter.”
“Kyros!” Vrox called out.
Kyros and the small army that surrounded him walked up the steps. He walked out and offered Terra. Kira grabbed her and immediately checked for injuries. The baby was silent, as if confused by all the chaos.
“Corzon will have to wait,” Vrox said as he stroked Terra’s hair. “I need to find out what poison he used. Kira, can you stay indoors?” When he saw that she was about to argue, he added, “please. I cannot focus knowing that you are in danger. Please listen this one time.”
She nodded, although he could see her reluctance. With Terra between them, he kissed her forehead.
“Go. Ni’ev and Kyros will be right behind you. Make sure the females are alright.”
Vrox smiled. “Go. The worst is over. Nothing will tear us apart now.”
She nodded and walked upstairs. Her still-bloody hands clutched Terra. Although Vrox’s brothers followed her, she still feared someone would take her away again.
Nebula was peeking out of the room while Draekon guarded from the outside.
“I’m sorry!” Nebula burst. “I tried to get Terra from that crazy asshole…”
“It’s not your fault.” Kira grabbed her hand and squeezed it. “Thank you for trying.”
“It is my fault,” Draekon interjected. “I should have…”
“Enough of this blaming nonsense. Wo’ton took us all by surprise. We have bigger things to do than try to fix the past, guys.” She walked into the room, and headed straight for Layla who was cowering in a corner and chewing her nails.
“I’ve been patient with you,” Kira started. “I’ve been kind.” She shifted her hands to make sure Layla could see the blood on her hands. “And I nearly lost my baby today. Start talking. You owe me that much. Was it Wo’ton that threatened you? Is that why you told me to be careful of who I let close? What ties do you have to him?”
Layla’s hands shifted from Kira’s hands to Terra. She nodded. “He snuck me into the pyramid and put me in the wall. I had to do what he said…”
“Why did you touch my stomach while I was pregnant with Terra?”
Layla burst out crying. “I’m sorry! He told me that he would kill Xulor if I didn’t do it!”
“He said…” she licked her lips. “He said I had to stab your belly. I couldn’t, though! I couldn’t do it! I went back into the walls and I ran from him,” she cried.
Nebula and Lamara gasped, and Kira recoiled backward.
Layla kept rambling apologies. Kira raised a hand. “Stop. Just… hush for a second.” She sank to the floor. She held Terra with one arm and rubbed her temple with the other. A headache was booming, and she didn’t know how much more she could take.
She was so tired of the surprises. The more questions she asked, the darker Ezron got. She missed the early days, where innocence ruled, and life was only about surviving and loving Vrox.