Book One: The Innocent Heart

By Ben Douglas All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Fantasy

A New Direction

Part 26.1 of 1.9: The adoption…

That following afternoon as the light blue Tricetra receptionist sat in her desk in the reception area of the main building of the Blue Suns Orphanage, the front door opened. The bell rang as she looked up and watched the couple approach. She studied the man and woman. curiously. Both were of the same height, but the man wore glasses. He had a clean cut cropped black hair while the woman had short medium length bob cut brown hair just above her neckline. The couple smiled approaching the desk.

The receptionist inquired with a Russian accent, “My name is Tanya. How can I help?”

The man stayed back allowing his wife respond. The woman smiled placing her hand on the desk and spoke, “My name is Amelia Kagan. This is my husband Peter. We wish to adopt a young girl that we saw posted on the ’net.”

Tanya nodded grasping her hands together and replied, “Da. We would need to go through process first to make sure you the right family for our children. Since it is your first time here, you would have to speak with our headmistress through appointment.”

Amelia shook her head and responded taking out her tablet. She showed her a display explaining, “We already went through all the necessary details. I know this is last minute, but this is what I want. We want a daughter. My husband and I, we just recently married but I-“

Sighing sadly, she looked down and stroked her stomach. Tanya listened to her and studied the little tablet. Peter came up and offered his comforting hand on her shoulder. Amelia smiled and nodded. The woman sniffed feeling sad and responded to the receptionist, “I am barren. I cannot conceive, so I would love to adopt a little girl. Please let me have this.”

Tanya looked at Amelia sad features. It tugged her heartstrings seeing her down. With a nod, she raised her hand over the desk. A holo-book shimmered along with the stylus. She responded taking the stylus and handing it to her, “I apologize. Sign in. I tell her. Have seat. She be with you soon.”

Amelia sniffed and nodded wiping her tears that fell from her tear duct. Taking the pen, she entered her name into the holo-book. Handing the stylus to Peter, she watched him sign the book as Tanya took the comm. and spoke, “An’Pol, a couple is in waiting room. They would like to adopt child. I believe they have reason.”

There was a pause in the communications device as the Tricetra headmistress hesitated for a moment. A sigh was exhaled with a response, “Very well. Have them take a seat and I will be right there.”

“Da,” the receptionist smiled and nodded. Turning to comm. off, Tanya looked up and watched the couple walk away from her. The half Russian and half Tricetra female looked at them with concern especially Amelia. She was crying. Looking down below her desk, she opened one of the drawers and pulled out a tissue box.

Amelia sniffed whimpering a little. She had her back at the desk and hunched over while covering her face with her hands. Peter held her close rubbing her back with concern. He whispered her name, “Are you okay, Mara?”

Amelia stopped her crying all of a sudden as a quiet growl came out. It was brief as her eye peaked through her finger with a glare at her ‘husband’. Moving her hand, she squeezed him on the shoulder a bit painfully as she moved close for a hug. Taking his ear, she whispered venomously, “Stay in cover, Pax or I swear I will kill you.”

Feeling the pinch in his ear, Peter painfully gulped mumbling while keeping her close, “Ow. Sorry Amelia. Don’t worry. We will adopt a girl. Do not be sad.”

Part 26.2 of 2.9: The Xaverius Twins? What are they up to now?

Amelia sobbed crying. Peter kept her close in his embrace. Tanya approached from behind carrying the tissue box. Touching her on the back, she offered the box of tissues and spoke with concern, “Here. I apologize if I made you upset. An’Pol on her way. Have seat?”

Moments later, An’Pol arrived at the reception area. She walked toward the seated couple and spoke to her assistant as they rose to their feet, “Thank you Tanya. I’ll take it from here.”

Tanya bowed her head gracefully joining her hands together and returned to her desk quietly.

The headmistress turned back to the duo parents and spoke to them, “I am An’pol. Mr. and Mrs. Kagan, I did get your papers. Why don’t you follow me to my office? This way.”

Amelia sniffed blowing her nose with the tissues feeling sad. Peter kept his arms around her and huddled her close while replying to An’Pol, “Thank you. We wish to adopt a young girl to giv-“

He was interrupted by Amelia’s swift elbow strike to his ribs as they moved across the room. Peter hissed painfully. He pushed against the bridge of his glasses to a better position. Out of earshot, Amelia hissed a warning as she glared at him with a whisper, “Pax, I swear your slowness and stupidity will give us away. She already knows we are adopting a girl. Let me do the talking and you just be silent.”

An’pol missed that moment when she took a slight detour toward the desk. Placing her hand on the desk, she got Tanya’s attention and spoke, “Get Ashlyn and bring her to my office. Have her wait outside for my word, but don’t tell her anything. I will talk to her.”

“Da,” Tanya responded toggling the comm. An’pol exhaled following the couple and led them toward her office.

Back in the dorm rooms, Ashlyn sat on her bed. She was still in a catatonic state. The only movement from her was her breathing and blinking. A comm sounded in her room from the terminal. It was Tanya as she spoke, “Ashlyn, An’pol wants you down her office and wait outside. She explain.”

The part of Ash didn’t want to get up. She wanted to stay in this state. However, the other part got her up to respond to her comm. Obeying her, the reluctant beast walked in a steady pace out of the room. Opening the door, she noticed Cameron waiting outside. Seeing her, Cam inquired, “Ash? You okay?”

Ash ignored him and closed the door behind her. She resumed her steady pace across the hallway. Cam ran after her and grabbed her fourteen inch bicep. Her fists were closed as she flexed her muscles and her long, curled dark hair was overshadowing her face. She stopped her pace as Cam inquired, “Where are you going? Please talk to me, Ash. I’m concerned.”

The beast remained silent staring at him with her dark eyes through the strands of her unkempt hair. They were emotionless and cold. Taking her hand, she pried Cameron’s hand off her arm and walked toward the end of the hall. Cam stood watching her. Ash paused for a moment to turn behind her and stared at him. She offered a nod and glanced once waving him forward. Turning away, she ignored him and walked toward An’Pol’s office.

Part 26.3 of 3.9: The Interview with the Kagans

An’pol looked at them seated across from her. She was at her desk with her chair pushed in and her back straight sitting up. The headmistress was tall. Compared to the parents seated she remained taller than they were. Her natural light navy colored body was slim and well shaped. With her natural light blue eyes, An’pol noted several things in her observations of them and their slight movement. Compared to most humans, Tricetra could detect signs if people were in subterfuge or lying.

Peter Kagan wore his glasses. He was the one with the crop cut short dark hair and clean clothes with a vest on. His physical form showed him in shape and average in lean muscular strength. His arm laid on his wife’s shoulder as he kept her close to his chest with his other hand on her cheek consoling her. His expression was of concern and it was genuine. He cared about her.

Amelia’s hair was a brown short bob. It was cut to the medium length hair lined up with her square jaw. She was leaning against Peter with her tissues up her eyes drying off a tear. Compared with Peter’s concerned facial expression, Amelia was sadder and more genuine. Her physical form was similar to Peter. As Amelia was wearing a casual dress, her arms were visible and muscular. Her physical strength rivaled Peter’s own making by comparison.

An’pol exhaled a sigh pushing a tissue box toward Amelia closer and leaned forward placing her arms on the table. Grasping her hands, she spoke, “Mrs. Kagan, I sympathize with you. Being unable to produce children is truly heartbreaking. Please, accept my condolences.”

Amelia sniffed. She nodded accepting the box and took a new tissue. Dabbing it on her eyes, she responded with sadness in her tone, “Thank you, Ms. Trilani.”

“An’Pol,” she replied holding her open palm up and offered her smile, “Please, call me An’Pol. We are family here. Before I let you see Ashlyn, I have to make sure you are right for her. She is my family and I won’t just let her go with another family until I get everything I need. I got your background info and I also see that you completed the online questionnaire on the ’Net. I just need to confirm a few things with you if that’s okay.”

Amelia nodded sniffing. Wiping her nose with the tissue, she responded, “Thank you again, An’Pol and please, call me Amelia. What is it that you want to know?”

“Amelia,” An’pol responded with a smile and looked over the tablet, “It says down there that you are twenty six years of age. You were born in the colony bordering the outskirts of Saturn on one of the moon, Titan. The entire moon and its borders including the other moons and the gas depot are owned by the Kagan Industries. Is that correct?”

Amelia nodded as An’Pol resumed, “Thank you. What are your plans for after adopting Ashlyn? Will you be a good mother to her?”

Part 26.4 of 4.9: A few questions for the Kagans

Amelia paused in thought and became sad. She wiped her tear duct dry. Peter offered his comfort grasping her hand. Amelia smiled at him. Peter kissed her on the cheek and whispered, “It is okay, Amelia. We can do this.”

The young woman exhaled a shaky breath replying, “An’Pol, of course I will take care of her as if she was my own. I realize she must be sixteen and I have only recently married my husband, but we have for so long wished for a daughter of our own. It does not matter the age. It is what is in our hearts that we hold. Love. Ashlyn may be too old for adoption, but I want to give her a home. A permanent home surrounded by family and by love. We can give her that. I want to give her that. Please.”

An’Pol listened to her speak. She was moved by her words. It was real and genuine. Opening her mouth, she attempted to speak when a knock interrupted her. Closing her mouth, she watched with pity as Amelia sobbed taking another tissue to dry her face. Peter held her closer to his body in a hug. She embraced him as he kissed her crown. He said nothing while holding her tight. Getting up from her chair, An’Pol leaned against the top of the desk and pointed her forefinger up, “One moment, Amelia while I go see who that is.”

Meanwhile on the other side of the door, Ash withdrew her fist. Finishing her knocking, she took a few steps back and wrapped her arms behind her back. Looking behind her, she noticed Cameron lurking. Taking her forefinger, she beckoned him forward before turning to face him.

Taking his cue, Cameron came out of hiding and rushed toward her. He spoke, “Ash, what’s going on? Why are we here?”

The beast stared at him with her cold, dark eyes. Ash took his hand and moved forward as she placed her other hand on his cheek responding, “Cam, everything will be alright. You will be safe here. Promise me something. Promise you will not come after me?”

Cam looked at her eyes and slowly shook his head not quite understanding what she was on about. He was confused. The door opened as An’Pol appeared. Seeing both Cam and Ash waiting on her, she responded closing the door, “Cameron, I am glad you are here. That makes things easier. Ashlyn.”

Kneeling before them to their eye level, she replied, “A family is here. They want to adopt you, Ashlyn. I know this is last minute, but I want to ask. Do you want to go through with this? You already have a home, here.”

Cameron gasped looking at both of them. He didn’t want Ash to leave. Looking at Ash, he hoped she would say no. After a brief pause, Ash nodded. Cam’s heart sank as he backed away from them. His head was down feeling sad. An’Pol smiled with sadness and replied, “Okay Ashlyn. Wait here. That goes the same with you, Cameron. Wait for me.” She touched Cameron’s chin softly.

Ash stared at her blankly as An’Pol stood and opened the door. She walked through and closed it. Ash turned to Cameron and touched his chin. He averted her eyes. Ash gave him a hug embrace. The boy reluctantly returned it. Ash pushed him back responding, “Don’t be sad. This isn’t the end. Trust me. You will be safe here as long as you don’t look for me.”

She kissed him on the cheek. Cameron gasped as she let go. He backed away from her. Tears formed around Cam’s eyes. He felt betrayed. Moving his mouth, the boy tried to say something, but words failed him. Turning, he ran from her. Cam whimpered as he drove to control his emotions.

Ash watched him go. Her dark eyes remained cold and distant. The beast couldn’t care less as she turned back to watch the door for any movement. She returned to her previous position and stood with her feet spaced and hands behind her back.

Part 26.5 of 5.9: And so it begins…

The door closed behind An’Pol as the Kagans looked up to see her. An’Pol responded with a smile, “So, you ready to see her? Ashlyn is waiting outside.”

The tear stained Amelia gasped as her eyes went wide with shock and spoke, “Oh god. Yes!” She hastily grabbed the tissue box and wiped her face. She didn’t want Ashlyn to see her looking pathetic. Peter stood up and responded, “Yes, we would like to see her.”

An’Pol nodded twisting the handle and opened the door. Peter turned to Amelia and took her hand as he helped her to her feet. Amelia sniffed wiping her eyes and responded as Peter gave her another kiss on the cheek, “Thank you, Peter. Let’s go.”

As An’Pol walked through the doorway seeing Ash, she noticed Cam was gone. She muttered, “Oh Cameron, where did you go off to?”

Ash stared at her. She noticed the Kagans entering from behind her. The beast sniffed once and snarled baring her fangs. The scent was old and almost recognizable. While An’Pol was distracted, Ash uttered a few words toward the couple that she recognized, “Pax and Mara?”

Amelia smiled as Peter raised his forefinger toward his mouth as if to quiet her. He touched the bridge of his glasses to push it back into place and moved his sister forward toward Ash. Amelia spoke as she cooed toward Ash, “Ashlyn?”

Ash stood there unmoving as she stared at them waiting for their next move. An’Pol paid attention to them as she watched Amelia approach Ash to give her a hug. Close to her ear, she spoke softly, “Keep the ruse up, love. Make it look real. Sell it.”

Ashlyn obeyed her accepting the embrace by hugging. An’Pol couldn’t help but feel emotions stirring and tugging her heartstrings as she watched them. Peter kept his watch on both of them as Amelia pushed Ash back and stroked her dark hair. Moving the strand from her eyes, she responded, “Ashlyn, I promise you. I will raise you as if you were my own daughter. You will like our family, I’m sure.”

Peter smiled. He approached and placed his hand on Ash’s shoulder. She looked at him with a blank stare silently. An’Pol spoke getting their attention, “I am sure you are ready to go. Ash’s things will be waiting outside for you. Amelia, I want to make an appointment to visit you in two months to see how things are going. It’s part of this process so I can make sure Ashlyn is comfortable with you.”

Amelia nodded. She responded touching her chest, “Of course, An’Pol. We shall expect your prompt visit! We look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Peter nodded approaching An’Pol and shook her hand. Taking Amelia by the hand, they walked out of the room with Amelia’s arm around Ash’s shoulder. From the corner of Ash’s left eye, she noticed Cameron watching her from the corner of the hallway. He was listening. She turned away from him as the couple led her across the hallway. An’Pol noticed Cameron hiding. She offered her sad expression holding her hand out.

Cameron stared at her. With tears forming around his ducts, he turned away and walked out of her sight. An’Pol exhaled a sigh and turned her attention to the three people before her. She walked them out in order to make sure they’ve signed out and that Ash was comfortable with the whole thing.

Part 26.6 of 6.9: Mission Accomplished…

Fifteen minutes passed. The car rolled down the mountains from the Blue Suns Orphanage. Snow filled the landscape turning the mountain drive into a frozen winterland. Pax was driving with his glasses on while Amara was seated beside him. They smiled and grinned. Ash sat behind the seat in the middle. Moving forward, she curiously waited to see who would break the silence.

Looking at them both, Ash remembered Pax and Amara from the Underground. They were all from the same team, the Strykers. She sparred with the Xaverius twins frequently and occasionally fought in matches with them, but the twins mostly preferred their own tag team fight against others. The beast enjoyed watching them in pit matches.

Pax exhaled a breath and shouted taking his glasses off. Tossing it, he exclaimed pounding his open hand against the wheel, “Haha! We did it, sister! We fooled them!”

Amara removed her casual dress as she brushed her short bob cut hair with her fingers. She smirked tossing the dress aside revealing her sport crop top. Taking her camo baggy pants, she placed it on responding, “Yes we did, Pax. Although, I thought it was a bit too easy.”

Pax scoffed replying, “Who cares? As long as we get paid to deliver Ash to Tyler, they can sit around with their heads up their asses trying to figure out what we did. We’ll be gone by then.”

As Amara finished zipping up her pants, she placed her military steel toed boots on and placed her foot up on the chair. Tying her boots tightly with her muscular strength, she responded sharply, “Don’t be so sure, Pax. Not everyone is as stupid as that blue blooded bitch. We’ll be seeing her again in a couple months, so I expect you to keep up the ruse and let me do the talking.”

Amara exhaled running her hand across her hair. Taking the styling hair gel, she applied it on her hair turning it into a spiky fohawk. She looked androgynous as she was a tomboy who preferred to look exactly like her brother. Her looks were modeled due to their exact size and strength to appear twins to Pax. Taking her other hand, she rubbed against her upper arm muscle. Several flakes of Second Skin fell off to reveal her own hidden tattoo. Blowing on it, the fighter smirked admiring her tattoo.

Flexing her arm, she touched her raised fifteen inches bicep and squeezed it feeling the toughness. Behind her as Ash spoke one word grabbing her attention, “Mara.”

Amara smiled turning to her. Taking her hand, she rubbed the top of it with her thumb and inquired, “So, where have you been all those months, love? The Stryker team missed you, Ty most of all.”

Ash shrugged letting her touch her hand. She moved closer as Amara shifted her weight on her seat and spoke, “Tyler has your place within the team held. He still loves you. There were days when he gave up, and he’s been losing battles. Basically, he was being a jerk to the team especially Mack, so I had to calm him. You coming back will bring his spirits back up, I’m sure, and we’ll fight again, side by side. We still have your back, you know. Pax and I.”

Part 26.7 of 7.9: Going home into the arms of a Tiarus

Ash nodded and stared with her dark eyes. Something was nagging on the back of her mind, so she asked, “Who are the Kagans?”

Amara smiled with affection for Ash. Giving her a family history lesson, she explained, “The Kagans is a major family and one of the biggest trading partners within the Terrian Alliance. They owe several gas planets beyond the asteroid belt including Saturn and Uranus as well as several star systems beyond this solar system. They are also a part of my father’s trading agreement. One of my brothers, Zachariah, had a family who was part of the Kagan family. His mother was named Ariel. She died long ago when he was five, so he was adopted by my father Xerxes. So, technically, he’s my half brother, love.”

Ash nodded at that bit of information. Before she could respond, Pax announced as they rode across the gravel and stopped before the gate, “We have arrived at the Tiarus estate!”

Amara smirked with a retort, “I see that, Pax. Do you have to shout that out all the time?”

Pax shrugged as they disembarked the vehicle. He responded nonchalantly, “Yes Mara.”

Amara scoffed making a playful eye roll. Getting out of the car, a fresh cold breath escaped her mouth as she rubbed her muscles to get warm. It was cold outside. Around the car and near the gate was snow. Rushing around the car, she responded to Ash watching her exit, “Come with me!”

Ash stood as Amara gave her a hug. She embraced her. That made Amara happy when she felt the added strength from her. Pax closed the door as he lay back against the door frame. He crossed his arms and kept a lookout beyond the closed gate looking for someone. Amara unlocked her embrace with Ash and turned to the car. Touching the top, she pushed herself up as she placed her boot on the handle of the door propelling herself to the top of the car.

Moving around, she sat down and tapped the roof of the car for Ash. Ash grabbed Amara’s offered hand and hoisted her up onto the roof of the car with a grunt. Keeping her strong hand on Amara’s grip, Ash propelled herself to the top of the car and sat down with her legs hanging down. Amara crossed her legs on the roof and wrapped her arm around Ash keeping her close tightly. They watched the gate. From a distance, a truck approached. They heard it as the wheel ran against the gravel and frozen dirt but from a distance. The gate opened by command.

Keeping Ash close huddled up with her hand on Ash’s thick bicep, Amara kissed her on her forehead and spoke, “Love, talk to me. What’s going on with you?”

Amara’s body was warm even against the cold. Ash grunted shrugging her shoulders. She had a lot on her mind, but elected to not say anything. Instead, she responded wrapping her own arm around Amara as her legs dangled over the edge of the car, “Nothing. Just some thoughts.”

“Share,” Amara inquired wanting her to say something. However, she was disappointed when Ash remained silent. She watched the truck approach them quickly.

Pax stayed his position guarding the two girls while watching the car approach. Taking the sunglasses from his vest pocket, he placed it on. The car stopped a few feet from the gate as a nineteen year old young man came out. His hair was a shaved dark haired fohawk. Closing the door, he cleared his throat and approached the gate.

Part 26.8 of 8.9: The handoff

With his chest puffed, arms out and shoulders hunched, Tyler passed the open gate and approached the car with Ash and the Xaverius twins. He stopped and turned sharply as Pax stood uncrossing his arms. Pax wore his clean clothes and a vest on. He spoke, “Hey Tiarus. Mission accomplished.”

Tyler scowled at him. Compared to Pax, Tyler had a more defined muscle mass. They were the same physical shape and size, but Tyler’s body was ripped for a nineteen year old. He scoffed approaching him and responded with a rude tone, “Nice clothes Pax. You should wear it more. It brings the color out not that it actually does anything.”

He smirked and ignored him just as Pax changed his expression to disgust growling at him. Tyler approached both Amara and Ash as they jumped off the top of the car. Amara responded as Ty took Ash’s hand, “We got her for you. Where’s the money?”

Grasping Tyler’s hand, Ash growled lightly touching his defined pecs before grabbing his thick upper arm and rested against his shoulder. The beast’s mouth was slightly open as she purred quietly. Tyler responded offering his hand to calm Amara down, “It’s been done, Mara. The money was transferred to both yours and your brother’s account. The full amount. I trust everything went well.”

Pax replied leaning against the car and touched his sunglasses, “Of course, Tiarus. No complications. Just one thing though. We are expected to see An’Pol again with Ash.”

Tyler stared at him and inquired, “And? Is this a problem?”

Amara noticed that Tyler didn’t care. She responded quickly getting his attention, “It will be taken care of, Tyler. You will be updated. As a precaution, we will have to borrow Ash for a couple days when that day comes. She will be kept fooled.”

“Good,” Tyler replied without caring for what she planned to do. He spat pointing his finger, “Don’t screw this up. I don’t want to face the wrath of my father. You may go. Come Ash. Let us leave.”

Ash kept her hand on Tyler’s allowing him to lead her toward his truck while she kept her head on his broad shoulders. The gate closed as they passed the threshold. Pax watched them leave and growled muttering angrily, “You may-, who does he think-“

Pax hissed in pain as Amara smacked him on the arm. He protested when she berated him, “He is our employer. We do not back talk them especially if they are responsible for our payments. What are you trying to do, Pax? Get us in trouble? Make us look incompetent? You know what? Don’t answer.”

Pax scowled at his sister watching her walk around the car. Entering the front passenger seat, she slammed the door shut. He mimicked his sister’s tone and rolled his eyes. Adjusting his sunglasses, he entered the car. Starting it up, he backed the car before turning it around driving away from the Tiarus’s gated property.

Meanwhile, as Tyler finished taking Ash back to the car, he stopped and faced her. Tyler smiled touching her waist and moved her close. Ash studied his features. She knew he was hiding something. The only reason she had to leave was to figure it out. Gripping his hand, Ash pulled her close to his body touched his defined chest. His body felt warm to the touch. The beast purred giving him a kiss.

Keeping his hand on her waist, Tyler raised his other hand and ran his fingers through her dark curled hair as they embraced with a long kiss. Grabbing her on the waist, he lifted her onto the front of his truck. Tyler inquired, “Before, during the dance, why didn’t you let me kiss or dance with me?”

Part 26.9 of 9.9: Ash’s reluctant choice between Cam and Ty.

Ash stared at him with her dark eyes. She cocked her head and snarled lightly baring her fangs before responding softly, “I was confused. Torn between you and Cam.”

“And now,” Tyler wondered.

Ash paused as she bowed her head toward his neck. She sniffed his aroma responding with a hiss, “Now, I am not, Ty. I want you for myself. You’re stronger than him both physically and mentally.”

With the lie dipped within her words, the beast kissed his neck causing Tyler to moan softly. He responded believing her, “Good. Cam wasn’t good enough. He was always a wim-ahhh” he hissed in pain as she bit into his neck slightly.

Ash snarled not liking Cameron’s name being used the wrong way. She had no choice. Tyler gasped in pain as he moved back and felt blood on his neck. Inspecting his blood, he inquired with a raised eyebrow, “Did you just give me a love bite?”

The beast growled seductively grabbing his jacket and pulled him closer. She whispered sniffing his blood and licked her fangs, “My beast is hungry. I crave more. Take me home back to the underground. I must have blood.”

Tyler nodded taking her hands and kissed them and backed speaking, “Of course. One moment. I have something for you in the truck.”

Ash let go and snarled licking her fangs. She watched Tyler open the door and take out a holo-tablet. She remained seated on the warm part of the engine. Her body was getting warmer against the cold outside. He activated the tablet as a holo image appeared. It was a three dimensional representation of a crouching half woman, half beast. It was big, muscular with dark tanned complexion and red glowing eyes.

A fabric covering covered its bosom. Its back was arched and its shoulder traps were thick on its strong, broad shoulders. The back of its spinal cord had sharp bony plates sticking out on each vertebra. Dual horns protruded from its temples on the sides of its crown. The dark Mohawk was long and curled. The nose was slanted beast-like. A large septum ring piercing was attached. Fangs were visible and bigger as it protruded from the upper and lower slightly elongated jaw. Within the snarling opened mouth, the rest of the incisors were sharp. On the beast’s hands and feet were sharp claws.

Ash’s eyes were focused on that image as she brushed her dark hair aside and took the tablet. She inquired curiously, “Who is this?”

The image was alive as she breathed and snarled with hatred and malice. Tyler responded, “This is you. Well, not in a sense of you. It’s your doppelganger. See, after you left six months ago after killing the Pit Champion, it left a power vacuum. The belt you forfeited was up for grabs. So many fighters piled up one after another. Some fought to the death for it while some gave up trying to get it. It took about a month. The Underground was busy with fighters signing up for the fights. In all of that confusion, this beast appears. No one knows its name. It calls herself simply the Beast. It took your name and your style of fighting. The beast basically took over what you left behind.”

Ash’s expression turned to anger as she glowered at the image feeling hot anger. Tyler replied, “I was angry, so I confronted it. I demanded it to stop this because it took your image. It became angry and attacked me. I fought it and eventually I realized that the beast was the real deal. I backed out and it rampaged until it got to the top. It killed and maimed many fighters. It’s the new terror of the Underground. No one can beat it. This beast seems to have some kind of power behind it as this beast’s intimidation and terrifying strength puts it straight to the top.”

Ash snarled responding, “Give me the match. It will die.”

Tyler placed his hand on her shoulder and replied, “I agree. However, at the moment, it’s way too strong for your current strength. I doubt you even kept your strength up that much so we will have to get you up to pace to its level because it will kill you even before the match starts. Trust me.”

Ash scowled at Tyler with a growl. Her dark eyes flashed red slightly as she put aside the tablet and grabbed him on the chest. Tyler grabbed her wrist in protest as she snapped, “I need to see it. Now!

“Ash,” Tyler responded as he took her hand and touched her waist to get close to her, “We will in a minute, but right now we need to head home. You need your rest and I need to prepare a few things.”

The beast growled and nodded. Tyler kissed her before lifting her body off the car. His arm flexed as he held her waist close. Ash wrapped her arms around Tyler allowing him touch her. Her legs bent resting against his hips. It was a sacrifice she must make to get closer to Tyler and get the answer she was looking for. Keeping close to Tyler, she kissed him on the mouth and hugged his body while he carried her around the truck to her seat.

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