Lotus Moon

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Chapter 2

Iona knew first. It was as if she had a sixth sense about the son she raised. Something went very wrong with the Wolfoni clan mission. Not all of them were in danger yet... but if they didn’t intervene soon, they would be. The Wolfoni clan was on a mission to find and capture and extremely dangerous Oni named Ahmose Pen-Nekhebet. Ahmose Pen-Nekhebet was once considered Iona’s friend and a clansman that she fought side by side with.

If Iona hadn’t seen just how twisted he’d become with her own eyes she would have never believed it. She couldn’t help but wonder how he’d become so sick and twisted in such a short period of time. She could recall with clarity the last time she’d seen him. It was the year the Wolfoni clan was born.

Iona and several other members of her Oni clan were dispatched on a mission for their druid master to Wolf Moon werewolf pack. When they got there, they found more than a dozen infants that were genetically altered. It seems a druid with lofty dreams thought stealing Oni Warrior blood and injecting pregnant werewolves was a good idea.

The druid seemed to think it was a method that could be used to create Berserker Warriors. Of course, it didn’t work, but the druid in charge was shrewd and very clever. He used science and magic to birth an entirely new race of beings. New indentured servants.

The Wolfoni clan was designed to be unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. Perfect, indestructible warriors. Weapons at the druids disposal. See, every Oni becomes an indentured servant the moment they turned eighteen and nothing they or anyone else did could change that. There were laws of magic in place. Laws that were impossible to change. How long would they be a slave? How was their master chosen? Why was every Oni clan made up of exactly thirteen Oni? How did the fates always ensure that a new Oni turned eighteen the moment one died or was set free? What set them free? Most Oni never find those answers and those that do don’t share it. Instead, Oni just learn to accept it.

The Wolfoni clan like ever other Oni before them accepted the facts. They were at heart, after all, Oni Warriors... yet also so much more. They were also werewolves or in the least, they all had wolves inside of them.

The druids however despite being so intelligent still got caught. It was the alpha of the Wolf Moon pack that took a contract with Iona’s druid master to put an end to the experiment. Iona and her clan were ordered to kill all the druids and all of the altered children. Iona just couldn’t do it so instead she spirited them away to keep them safe with people she trusted with her life. Ahmose Pen-Nekhebet was one of them. She trusted him to raise one of the genetically altered children as his own. And for a time he did. He loved Kauri as his own and trained her in the fine arts of being an Oni.

It was because of Kauri however that they learned somewhere along the way he became mentally unstable. He started to hate anything that wasn’t pure. Any kind of mixed blood disgusted him. The day Kauri displayed her werewolf side, he joined a group of criminals and launched a modern day gladiator game where they forced teenagers to fight each other to the death. The first chance he got, he cast Kauri into the gladiator arena and disowned her. Even before that however something changed. He kept strange friends and even stranger allies. He was an Oni that crossed the line and was obviously even now continuing to cross it.

But Iona wasn’t the only one that knew something was wrong. Elise too knew something happened and that it was bad. Real bad… She also knew both of her brothers were in danger. Mortal danger. And that wasn’t an easy thing since Oni were notoriously hard to kill but Oni-werewolves seemed to be immortal. At least before that day.

Only three things can kill an Oni. First, and the best known method is completely tearing off their heads from their shoulders. This is easier said than done because there are very few living creatures that are stronger than the Oni warrior.

The second method is to remove their heart and completely destroy it. Most of the time, enemies stab at their hearts and leave them for dead. They misunderstand and think they have killed them. Sometimes they know they should remove their heart, but them just as stupidly they don’t know to destroy it. Anyway, even a small piece left intact can be regenerated and allow them to fully recover. Oni can even push back in their damaged heart and regenerate damaged.

The last way and the deadliest way of killing Oni warrior is the consumption of Banshee blood. It’s a secret that Oni warrior never share outside their own race. If anyone knew how deadly Banshee blood was to them they could use it to their advantage. It was their best-kept secret. Their Achilles heel. Well, that and the fact that most Oni were unable to move at all during the daytime. They are locked inside in an almost comatose form.

The Wolfoni clan is different. Some of them had a light sensitivity, some don’t. Most of them could phase through solid matter. They believe as they continue to age, they will all be able to summon their Ninjatō swords, armour, and develop martial arts. All of them were so much more than the druid could have ever dreamed. They might even be immune to the traditional ways an Oni dies but without testing it, they won’t really know. They were exceptional and amazing. Every single one of them that is but one.

Elise had such dread inside of her that she couldn’t even begin to voice it. Thankfully, she didn’t have too. Iona took charge and organised a rescue mission in seconds flat. Then again, she was the kind of woman that could accomplish that.

Iona wasn’t just a mother, she is also a Master Oni that has lived more years than even she can remember. She’s also already free. Not for the first time, however. She earned her freedom and her Taoist tattoo more than once, the last time was less than twenty years ago. Some say Iona has a real streak of adventure and purposefully indentured herself when she’s felt the means justified the ends. For that very reason, she is still more than capable of launching a successful mission.

One moment they were all sitting around the Blue Moon Wolf pack passing time and the next they were teleporting into danger. Every Oni present grabbed a wolf and teleported in as close as they could to the danger zone. Elise didn’t know how she knew but she just did. Maybe it was Emelie’s Banshee’s cry or maybe it’s something in their family link. Either way, the moment they all arrived at the scene she was overwhelmed by the stench of death. The Oni and Logan the alpha of the Blue moon pack and one of the genetically altered Oni-werewolf mixes took off on foot, They were moving fast. Way faster then the werewolves could follow. Still, the werewolves had their noses and they all knew the general direction.

By the time Elise arrived at the scene all hell had already broken lost. There were three bodies on the ground. All of them bleeding. Two of them were her brothers. One of them was Iona’s genetically altered son Dylan. From the smell, he appeared closest to death. He was lying on the ground amongst the weeds with a large dagger protruding from his heart. Dylan’s sister Christine screamed when she spotted him and dropped to her knees beside him. Blood was pouring from his wound and she could hear his heart struggling to beat with the knife still embedded inside it.

Ernest and Elijah were laid out carefully shoulder to shoulder on the ground. While she worried for Dylan, Elise instinctively moved closer to her eldest brother Ernest. She checked his vitals and felt pretty good about his chances of recovery. Then she moved over to Elijah. While he seemed to be covered in blood and was unconscious she was pretty sure his injuries were superficial. Most of the blood probably belonged to someone else. She tried to be thorough in her examination but kept being distracted by everyone chaotically talking at once.

“Why did they attack each other?”

“What went wrong?”

“Ahmose Pen-Nekhebet must have tricked them somehow.”

“Like a magical illusion. Something that made them think they were enemies.”

“Oh god, it’s so bad. There is no way we can save Dylan.”

“How about the others? Can they be saved?”

“Both of them will be fine. We need to concentrate on saving Dylan!”

On and on the conversation went. Bottom line, it appeared they attacked each other. They fought hard, and they fought to win. The wounds however even Dylan’s weren’t deadly for an Oni. So that meant, the real question was why? Why did Elise feel like her brothers were still in mortal danger and how did Ahmose Pen-Nekhebet them to turn on each other? Though the second part didn’t surprise her. She’d known even before they left that this mission was going to go sideways. Elise counselled her brothers before leaving on this mission that it was dangerous to go so close Ahmose Pen-Nekhebet base without finding a way to bring down the dampening field.

Most thought she was a run of the mill werewolf. They acted like she was less than the rest of them. Oh, she was definitely the only one born without Oni warrior genetics but that didn’t mean she wasn’t special. No. Elise had the gift of second sight. A gut instinct that her brothers and the other Wolfson seemed to lack. She knew things without knowing why. This was just more proof. Proof that everyone including her brothers would just continue to deny.

So like them, despite the fact that the sense of dread grew inside of her, she forced a smile on her face and helped as the others started to gather her brothers and Dylan into their arms and carry them back to a location they could teleport. If only. If only she had fought back. If only she pressed her fear onto them. Maybe it would have come out differently. But it hadn’t instead it was no real surprise to Elise when Chloe walked out and gave her the back news.

“It was Banshee blood. The poison on the blade was Banshee blood. I had a feeling it was, when Dylan recovered so quickly. I am so sorry. I did everything I could.”

Tears flowed down Chloe’s face. She brushed them away with the back of her hand before her eyes roamed around thepacked room. Every Wolfoni but Dylan and some of their promised mates were in the room. Finally her eyes connected with Elise’s who was sitting on the other side of the room.

“We did everything we could. I am so sorry but Ernest didn’t make it. We’re still trying to drain Elijah of the poison. It’s going to be a few more hours before we know.”

Then without another word, she turned and walked back through the door she came through. Elise started to sob hysterically. Sebastian her promised mate moved closer to her and tried to pull her into his embrace. She shrugged him off and instead moved across the room and sat next to Emelie. Then she looked directly into Emelie’s eyes as if she silently begging Emelie not to let loose with another Banshee cry again. Emelie reached out and gathered Elise’s hands in her own and said in a soft voice

“It’s going to be okay Elise. I just know it.”

Several more tears slipped down Elise’s face and Emelie knew her own were slipping down her face as well. They hugged for a while before Sebastian came over and nudged Emelie out of the way.

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