Legends of Amacia Return of the Beowulf

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Summary

After the successful mutation reversal and integration of Hanna back into Hannibal at the end of Volume 7, Hannibal awakes two days later in confusion caused by another nightmare of Leila. When the confusion lifts, he decides to resolve the issue with his unremembered promise to Leila. However, several other problems arise to divert his attention from Leila. Once awake, Hannibal reintroduces himself to his friends and family, particularly to the little girl Rachel he rescued from the Black Fortress. But while he’s getting reacquainted with everyone, he receives word from the draken Aeolus that more people from Cushar are under siege in their refuge fortress, Hreidmar’s Bastion by the Emperor’s Seventh Division. Seeing the desperate condition of Corso’s remaining people, Hannibal orders a rescue mission to Hreidmar’s Bastion where he finds more than just a people about to be annihilated. He discovers Hreidmar’s Bastion houses Cushar’s entire history, including a peculiar, legendary 1st Age helmet called Grimm’s Mask. The Mask, like Grimm’s Bane, has a will of its own and untold, dangerous power. Hannibal is forced to confront the Mask while trying to rescue the people of Cushar in the Bastion from the Emperor’s forces. Will he succeed in taming the Mask and rescuing the remnant of Cushar from Hreidmar’s Bastion or will his attempt end in disaster. Read on to find out.

Genre:
Scifi / Fantasy
Author:
Robert_Downing
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
41
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1: Dream of the Crystal Stonehenge

Hannibal Smith lay deep asleep in his bed two days after his rebirth from the womb of the Nano Chamber controlled by the cyborg Josephine. Since his mutation into Hanna several months earlier in the Black Fortress at the hand of Josephine while she remained under the Emperor’s control, Hannibal was forced to live as a woman, going so far as to adopt a female persona in the form of Hanna to keep from going insane. However, he adapted very well and learned much as the woman Hanna about women and life itself, but he yearned to be restored to his true form. After weeks of planning in the Red Tower with the descendants of the Caverias line, Hanna launched a daring rescue into the Black Fortress using the Tower’s portal machinery and a small army that volunteered for the raid into the heart of the Emperor’s domain. The plan was simple: free Selina and all the prisoners inside the Black Fortress, including Josephine since she was the one who performed Hanna’s initial mutation. However, Hanna didn’t just free Josephine from the Emperor’s programmed control of her, but also physically removed the 1st Age cyborg from her mechanized hell. With all the prisoners free, Hanna and her team retreated to the Red Tower beyond the Emperor’s reach.

Soon after the raid, Hanna learned Josephine’s cybernetics were compatible with the Red Tower’s ancient machinery. It provided a means for Hanna to reverse the genetic mutation that made her a woman. After several weeks of preparations, Hanna willingly stepped into one of the pods of the Nano Chamber so Josephine could restore her back to her original male form as Hannibal. For five days, she remained in stasis in the machine, eventually being reborn as the man Hannibal in more than one way. Not only did Josephine reverse the genetic level mutation that turned Hannibal into the woman Hanna, Hannibal and Hanna merged, becoming a completed soul by the end of the procedure. Hannibal and Hanna discovered they were the male and female components of the same soul shortly after her mutation. They made peace with one another and merged into a single soul as Josephine reversed what the Emperor had her do to Hannibal in the Black Fortress. Now, two days after Hannibal and Hanna were reborn literally as a completed soul and being in one body, Hannibal slept peacefully into the morning in his quarters wearing a pair of sweat pants. As he slept, a bizarre dream intruded on his rest, stirring him to remembrance.

Once again, Hannibal found himself in the crystal Stonehenge atop a lofty mountain with Hanna standing beside him. He had on only sweat pants while Hanna wore her sexy knee-length black nightie. His eyebrow rose as he first saw a strange ground fog surrounding the crystal circle that didn’t come into it. Then he noticed Hanna standing at his side, clinging to his arm. “What are we doing here, Hannibal?” she asked in a worried tone. “This is the same place we dreamed of that monster that looked like you and Selina smashed together.”

“I don’t know,” Hannibal replied softly, searching the circle intensely knowing something was amiss. “But you’re right about this being the nightmare circle.” When it registered that Hanna was actually present, he gazed at her with a puzzled look asking, “What are you doing here, Hanna? I thought we merged when Josephine reversed our mutation. I didn’t expect to see you here like this.”

“I have no idea,” Hanna answered, putting her arm around Hannibal, cuddling close as she shivered fearfully. “I’m scared, Hannibal. I haven’t been this scared since that dream where we beat the monster here by merging and hitting it with the Inferno strike.”

Hannibal put his arm around Hanna, pulling her close in a protective manner. “Don’t worry,” he cooed in her ear. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you. I feel like we’re still one, but it’s really strange seeing you here like this wearing our favorite nightie. I’m not sure this is real.”

“You think we may be dreaming again?” Hanna asked, looking Hannibal in the eye. “Because I remember that nightmare being just like this except you were wearing that weird platinum armor.”

“So do I,” Hannibal admitted. “We may very well be dreaming. It’s the only way I can think of where we can be standing here together like this as two distinct people. It’s very strange and something doesn’t feel right. This feels too real. It feels like the dreams I had of Enoch and Kida initially. Remember those?”

“I do,” Hanna stated. “But if this is some form of psychic contact, who’s doing it? Oh, do you feel that, Hannibal? Something is out there.”

“I sure do,” Hannibal replied, looking around urgently with Hanna, keeping her very close. “Someone’s definitely watching us, but I can’t tell if they’re friend or foe. Who’s out there? Show yourselves. We know you’re there.”

A ghostly moan echoed from all directions as the wind stirred. “My blood has turned to ice, Hannibal,” Hanna whimpered. “What’s happening?”

“I’m not sure,” Hannibal replied in a concerned tone. “The last time I heard a moan like that, the ghosts of Leila Karac and Beowulf appeared to me and Selina at Skull Pass.”

“I remember,” Hanna agreed, “Do you think it’s them?”

“I wish I knew,” Hannibal stated. “But I think we’re about to find out. My heart is pounding like a jackhammer now. Come out, who or whatever you are! Show yourselves!”

“We’re right here, milord,” a familiar feminine voice whispered in their ears from behind.

Hannibal and Hanna whirled around, seeing the armored ghosts of Leila Karac and Beowulf Caverias standing ten feet away. A shriek escaped both Hannibal and Hanna as they jumped back in fright, nearly falling down. The pair of ghosts looked on, smiling with amusement as Hannibal and Hanna recovered from the fright. “Geeze, you guys, don’t sneak up on us like that,” Hannibal chided. “You scared the shit out of both of us.”

“The clock is ticking,” the ghost Beowulf warned, ignoring Hannibal’s scold. “Time is running out. It’s time you two to remember your promise to Leila. She cannot wait much longer now that FATE is stirring. You must free her before the Emperor completely wakes FATE with his mining of its tech.”

“Awaken to your destiny, my friends,” the ghost Leila said emphatically. “Remember your promise. Free me; please free my soul from this oblivion. The longer you wait, the weaker I become. Soon, I will cease to exist and FATE will claim my soul. You promised to wake me. Please, wake me and free me from my eternal prison. You promised. Don’t let the Darkness claim me again! Please!”

“I wish I could,” Hannibal replied, tears welling up in his eyes as his heart rent. “But I can’t remember anything of this promise I made. I don’t even know where to look. Are you sure I’m the right guy?”

“Yes,” the ghost Beowulf declared bluntly. “I was there when you made the promise and we sealed Leila in the machine in Caveria at Ezra’s Tower. You must remember. You have to.”

“How?” Hanna asked, just as flustered at not remembering the promise. “Hannibal and I remember nothing. All we have is a vague familiarity about you and those horrid nightmares where we saw you fall, Leila. We’re not even sure it was real.”

“It was real, my daughter, all of it,” an elderly voice called out from behind Hannibal and Hanna. “And you must not doubt their words. Your soul burns within you at their words. It was real.”

Hannibal and Hanna turned, seeing the armored ghost of Ragnar Caverias standing behind them with the Bane slung over his shoulder. Their eyes grew wide as both of them recognized the ghost from the images they saw in the Archive. “Ragnar Caverias,” Hannibal cried in great surprise. “What on earth are you doing here?”

“To break the seal on your memories, my son,” the ghost Ragnar declared bluntly. “It’s time for you two to remember and embrace your destiny.” Before either Hannibal or Hanna could blink, the ghost Ragnar snapped his fingers and two slender daggers appeared...one in each hand. He rushed them, plunging the daggers into their foreheads up to the hilt. A blank, glassy-eyed look came over both Hannibal and Hanna’s faces. “Remember, my son and daughter,” the ghost Ragnar insisted urgently. “Leila is in eternal peril. You must free her as you promised before it’s too late. Honor your word and free her from her everlasting stasis.”

Hannibal and Hanna felt the daggers slip like a laser into their minds, breaking a hole in the wall around their missing memories. “Do not be afraid. These are telepathic daggers. They will not harm you and are part of the Bane,” the ghost Ragnar explained as he pulled the daggers from their minds. “They have created an access point to your missing memories. Start unraveling the mystery and remember your promise to Leila.”

As the telepathic daggers vanished like puffs of smoke in the ghost Ragnar’s hands, Hannibal and Hanna came out of the strike with a puzzled look as pieces of the promise to Leila started leaking into their conscious minds. “I remember,” Hannibal breathed, suddenly looking to the ghost Leila. “At least I think I remember something now.” He touched his forehead and found it sound with no wound. “How did you do that?” he asked with great surprise.

“The Bane is more than just a physical weapon used to kill the monsters of the most Ancient Darkness,” the ghost Ragnar stated. “It’s capable of piercing minds too. The two daggers I used are part of the short hook on the Bane opposite of the main blade. I used them to punch a hole in the wall around your missing time and memories. But you must be careful not to open the breech too much without the necessary backup. It could do you irreparable damage if the pit in your mind is opened uncontrollably. The result would be far worse than what you have endured by your careless contact with the Teacher of Tiamat. Reinforce the gate I made in your mind so you can meter out the memories at a controllable pace. You will soon see the truth and your destiny.”

“I can remember, Hannibal,” Hanna declared. “We dreamed of Leila at Ezra’s watchtower in the Dune Sea. I see a strange mausoleum deep underground on a lake. Don’t you?”

“Yes, I do,” Hannibal replied, looking Hanna in the eye. “It’s fuzzy, but I think I remember a lake and a strange building sitting in the middle of it. Is that where you’re imprisoned, Leila?”

“I also remember her saying to be careful because her resting place lies in a nest of alien horrors,” Hanna added. “Just as she said it, one of those god-awful giant spiders jumped on us and the ground gave way.”

“It did,” Hannibal agreed. “Then that giant saber cat pounced on us and we woke up.”

“Right,” Hanna answered. “But what does it mean?”

“I’m sure we’ll find out,” Hannibal stated, turning back to the ghost Ragnar as he stood next to the ghosts of Leila and Beowulf. “I still don’t remember the promise, but I will find you, Leila...and soon. That’s a promise.”

A relieved look crossed the ghost Leila’s face. “Thank you, milord,” she replied. “But you mustn’t dawdle. Time is running out. FATE is stirring, energizing the Darkness.”

“We won’t waste any time,” Hanna insisted. “I feel you have some major role to play in what’s coming. I can sense it.”

“That she does,” the ghost Ragnar stated. “I am very happy that you and Hannibal were able to make peace with one another and become the completed soul as I did. You two must work together as a team. Only together as a completed soul will you be able to unleash the power within you and control the Bane.”

“You will need that cooperation to control the Hellion as well,” the ghost Beowulf said soberly. “Just as it chose me when Grandfather Caverias found it, the Hellion chose you. Only use it in great need for if you use it too often, the weapon will drain and consume you.”

“So Hellion did choose me,” Hannibal replied. “Did the Bane and Ryu-Fudo’s gauntlets do the same? I heard the call for both of them with the Bane being the loudest call.”

“They did,” the ghost Ragnar declared. “The Bane chose you, as it did me. However, Ryu-Fudo’s gauntlets called to you because of you are the Last Caverias. It reacted to your blood and connection to the Caverias line through Cleo. But it doesn’t have a true will as the Bane and Hellion do since Gordo constructed them.”

“I see,” Hannibal murmured. “I did notice my blood burning when they called to me. It was different from the call I felt from the Bane and Hellion. How did you come to possess the Bane, Ragnar?”

“It was a gift from the Elder Gods,” the ghost Ragnar answered. “That’s all I’m allowed to say at this time. You must discover the secrets of the Bane as I did, by studying and wielding it in battle. The Bane is alive and will reveal its secrets to you in due time if it deems you worthy. But be warned now. You mustn’t use it out of malice for dark purposes. If you do, it will turn against you to keep you from using it for evil. Its sole purpose is to keep the balance between the Light and Darkness. If you use it to upset that balance, the Bane will become your bane, possibly destroying you to keep the balance of the multiverse. Remember that before you strike with it.”

“Whoa,” Hanna breathed. “I didn’t know that. Maybe we shouldn’t even use it, Hannibal?”

“No,” Hannibal answered thoughtfully. “We’ll use it, Hanna, but we should be very careful how and when we use it. We know nothing about the Bane, nor what it’s capable of. It’s my thought to use it only in great need against the greatest threats. Am I wrong in thinking this, Ragnar?”

The ghost Ragnar smiled. “You’re on the right path, my son,” he stated. “Using the Bane frivolously will only bring about sorrow and pain. Only pull it in great need, just as Beowulf told you to use the Hellion. Both are weapons of untold power that can destroy you if you do not respect them and their wills.”

“I see,” Hannibal murmured. “I truly appreciate the instruction. I found out how dangerous the Bane and Hellion are during our training session against the drones. I’m just happy my Rage didn’t get out of control. How did you learn to control it, Ragnar?”

The ghost Ragnar smile wryly. “You already know, my son and daughter,” he answered cryptically. “Follow your instincts and the answers you search for will appear when you need them the most. Now, go; prepare and remember your promise not just to Leila, but also to Sukar the Yeti. Find this place and heal the breech between the Caverias and the Yetis.”

“You mean this place is real?” Hanna asked.

“It is,” the ghost Beowulf replied. “Heal the breech I was unable to heal before I was lost. Do it before it’s too late. Go, my brother and sister. Fly before the Darkness swallows us all. Look there. They’re already gathering, heeding the call of the Emperor and FATE.” The ghost Beowulf pointed outside the crystal Stonehenge through two of the giant crystals with a third crystal monolith lying atop it. Hannibal and Hanna saw a battlefield strewn with the ancient dead that suddenly stood up. They watched as the skeletal remains became countless Old Ones, Xenos, Jagara, and demons as the mists outside the circle gave them muscle and sinews. Then to the horror of Hannibal and Hanna, a horde of Grimm creatures clawed their way up from the ground like zombies escaping their graves. “Lo,” the ghost Beowulf warned. “Even the Grimm are stirring, feeling their master close at hand. The abominations rise to finish what the Dark Gods started in my time. Beware and be ready, brother and sister. Time is short.”

Seeing the dread on Hannibal and Hanna’s faces, the Ghost Ragnar approached and touched them both on the shoulder. “Do not be afraid,” he instructed. “You see the Horde for what it is. This is why we were made, my son and daughter; but we’re not alone in this fight. Look above you. The Armies of the Almighty already gather.”

Everyone looked up, seeing heaven opened and countless war angels poised for war with Michael, Gabriel, and Caverias standing ready. Even the countless souls of the righteous dead stood ready to make war with the Hordes of the Darkness. Hannibal and Hanna gasped in amazement. “See, you’re not alone,” the ghost Ragnar replied. “Even the hosts of Heaven are at your command as the Last Caverias. See your destiny, my son and daughter. Embrace it as you and Hanna embraced each other to become the completed soul. We stand ready to assist when you need us. All we need is for you to lead us. Accept your destiny as I did, as Beowulf and Leila did. We need you.”

A blinding light suddenly filled the crystal circle, blotting out everything Hannibal and Hanna saw. A deep, booming voice called from the light, driving Hannibal and Hanna to their knees as they clung to one another. “It is time,” the voice declared. “Choose your destiny, my son and daughter.”

“Whatever you will, Lord,” Hannibal cried out, clinging to Hanna protecting her with his very presence. “You saved us, healed us, and made us whole. If you wish for us to be your sword, then we will obey though we despise the act of war and shedding of blood. Just show us how to be what you want us to be.”

“Yes,” Hanna agreed, “Show us, please. We need you, Lord.”

The light became very warm and pleasant, even loving. “And so I shall, my precious little ones,” the light declared, “You do me great honor and have become a delight to me. You finally learned what is important. I grant you my grace and peace as I show you the way. No longer will you grope in the Darkness. Now, wake and remember. I have work for you to do.”

The light went out and Hannibal woke with a start, sitting up in his bed eyes wide open panting. Sweat glistened on his brow as he remembered the bizarre dream, trembling. “Ugh,” he moaned, slouching while covering his eyes with his hand. “What a strange dream. I’m shaking all over. Did the Lord really speak to me? Did I really see and speak to Leila, Beowulf, and Ragnar? It felt so real.”

“What felt so real?” Selina called out as she rolled out of the bathroom in her wheelchair. The moment she saw Hannibal, she knew something strange had befallen him. Quickly rolling to him, she asked, “What’s wrong, Hannibal? Did you have a bad dream again?”

“You didn’t see it?” Hannibal asked looking at her as she stopped beside the bed. He noticed Selina’s single-piece pretzel halter-top swimsuit with high-cut legs low-cut chest. The skin-tight leopard-print swimsuit showed off her assets very well as she looked on with concern.

“No,” Selina replied. “I didn’t even know you were dreaming. It concerns me that I didn’t see it.”

A smile broke out across Hannibal’s face as he gazed at Selina in her swimsuit. “I am so lucky,” he declared. “You’re absolutely radiant this morning, princess. Are you fixing to go to do your swim therapy?”

“Why thank you, my prince,” Selina purred, smiling warmly. “And yes, I’m fixing to go down to the therapy pool for my daily session. Would you care to join me?”

“Of course I would,” Hannibal chimed, “but what can I wear? I don’t have any swim trunks, only Hanna’s hot swimsuits. Maybe I should wear one of those?”

Selina chuckled. “No,” she answered. “That wouldn’t be appropriate. Besides, momma made an entire wardrobe for you while you were having the mutation reversed. There are some swim trunks over there in the third dresser. We have you covered.”

“I should have figured that Electra would be on top of my wardrobe,” Hannibal stated, getting off the bed. “She’s always watched out for me, though I am going to miss tooling around as Hanna in those hot swimsuits.”

“Go get dressed,” Selina chided affectionately, slapping Hannibal playfully on the butt as he walked by. “I’m late as it is.”

“Okay, princess,” Hannibal replied warmly. “I’ll be ready in a minute.” Going to the dresser containing his male clothes, he quickly found the swim trunks and a t-shirt.

Selina watched him closely as he changed. “You are a bit more buff than before,” she admitted. “And you’re much more confident too. I like it.”

“I feel more confident and in control,” Hannibal replied, pulling the t-shirt over his head after putting on the shorts. “I’m finally a peace with who I am.” At that point, he noticed his long hair because he had to pull it out from beneath the t-shirt. Going to the mirror, he saw his hair hanging down to the middle of his back and a five-o’clock shadow on his face. “What’s going on?” he asked, “Why do I have long hair like Hanna and where’s my beard?”

“Because the reversal didn’t affect them,” Selina stated. “You and Hanna have the same hair. All you need is a haircut. And your beard is already starting to return. Just give it time. The beard will come back and you’ll be back to normal.”

Hannibal looked at his face closely in the mirror, suddenly noticing his eyes. “Then can you tell me why my eyes look almost like yours and have a distinct silvery tint to them?” he demanded, suddenly noticing his ears having a slight taper to them. “And what about my ears; they look a lot like Andrew and Hunter’s ears. Something happened. What was it?”

“Calm down, Hannibal,” Selina cooed, rolling herself over to Hannibal. “What you see is what came out of the Nano Chamber. Josephine seems to think you may have influenced the reversal while in stasis. She said she detected a separate influence on the machine that originated in you, steering your reversal to what you see now, and it wasn’t the Emperor or the Dark Powers. When you were born again from the Nano Chamber, you were literally a new person. It’s not just your eyes and ears. Your entire build has changed slightly, becoming much more muscular and potent than you were before. This is apparently what you wanted to become.”

“Wait a minute,” Hannibal replied. “You say I influenced the process while I was in stasis, getting the machine to make me like this?”

“In a way, yes,” Selina insisted. “If it wasn’t you, it had to have been the Lord. Maybe it was the Lord getting you to finalize your true form as a completed soul. You may not notice it, but what I see now has a remarkable similarity to your male avatar with the platinum armor in the nightmare about the FATE monstrosity that tried to kill you.”

Hannibal looked closely and gasped. “You’re right,” he admitted. “I do look like that feline version of me in the nightmare, but it’s not quite complete. So, Jo thinks I put my two cents in on how I’m supposed to look at the end of the reversal?”

“She thinks so,” Selina stated. “She swears you were helping to guide the nano-machines as they restructured you into your present form. The fact you woke from stasis prematurely without her having shut down the stasis process speaks volumes. You have just started to discover who you truly are as the Beowulf. Jo says only someone of extraordinary mental power could ever override the machine’s stasis process, much less control how you looked at the end of that process.”

“Hmpt,” Hannibal grunted, raising an eyebrow as he looked down at Selina. “That’s very curious.” He looked back into the mirror at his reflection. “But still, I do recognize myself even if I do look a bit different,” he murmured. “It’s not like it was when Jo mutated me the first time. I had to start over from scratch to learn how to live. God, I’m glad I don’t have to do that again. And even better, things are starting to make sense now. It’s as if the Lord removed the blinders over my eyes and heart. I can see clearly now. I know who I am; what I am; and what I need to do, though I don’t much like it. And the power that’s festering inside me still scares me, though I know I need it. I still say no one except the Lord should ever wield the power that I sense growing inside me. Only He can safely use it.”

Selina reached out, grasping Hannibal’s hand. “And that’s why He gave you this power,” she purred. “He knew your heart and saw you’d reluctantly use that power. I’m sure when the power He’s instilled into you is no longer needed, He’ll lift that burden from you. But until then, you must embrace your power, and destiny. Jo suggested that you might be a guardian of humanity that is only now starting to awaken. That’s why you’ve been the target of the Darkness all your life. They fear what you may become: a guardian of Light with the power to stymie their works. I think Jo may be correct. Your mental powers now are far beyond anything I could ever hope to achieve. It’s as if something has awakened in you. You are now as far above me telepathically as I was above you when we first met. You hide things from me without even trying now and I don’t have the strength to block any probe you may use, not that I would. Your sleeper is awakening, and I believe that sleeper is a guardian of humanity.”

A deep sigh escaped Hannibal’s lips as he squatted down beside Selina, holding her hand with both of his hands. “You see the truth of things, princess,” he said softly. “And you’re right, as always. Whether I’m a guardian or not I’m not sure, but it seems that’s the direction the Lord is taking me. If that’s what he wants me to be, then I shall be a guardian. What I do know is time is running out. The forces of the Darkness are gathering for the final conflict. I saw it in the dream. It still troubles me.”

“Then share it with me, my prince,” Selina insisted. “We are a team, and I cannot help you bear this burden if you keep me out. Share it with me.”

“Okay,” Hannibal conceded, suddenly kneeling down and laying his head in Selina’s lap. “The crystal circle on the mountain where the FATE monstrosity tried to kill us appeared again in my dreams.” With that, he recounted both verbally and telepathically the bizarre dream of Leila, Beowulf, Ragnar, and the Horde of the Darkness.

Selina gasped in astonishment at the dream, touching him on the top of the head as he knelt with his head in her lap. “My word,” she breathed as Hannibal finished sharing the dream. “That’s truly bizarre. You and Hanna manifested separately too. How is that possible?”

“I don’t know,” Hannibal answered, not looking up as Selina stroked his hair. “But it happened. I think it may have been a psychic dream of some kind. Whatever it was, the point was clear. I must find Leila and soon. Every time I see her, whether it’s in a dream or vision, she’s always calling for me to remember the promise I made to save her. I have to find her before FATE fully wakes.”

“Then you will find her,” Selina cooed in Hannibal’s ear. “It seems to me that this dream is more than just a hook to draw you out. It’s a distress call much like the one you heard from Rachel. You need to investigate it and I think Ezra’s watchtower is a very good place to start. Leila keeps beckoning you to come to the tower in the dreams and visions.”

“That she does,” Hannibal agreed, suddenly standing up. “And each time I’ve been there, I’ve had the feeling I was missing something very important. Maybe Leila is what I’ve been missing.”

“Could be,” Selina admitted. “You’ve become much more sensitive to such things now than I’ve ever seen. It would be folly not to follow through on it. You’re getting a telepathic distress call from this Leila, even though I cannot see how she could still be alive. It’s just like what you experienced with Rachel. You’ll not find peace until you answer this call.”

“You’re right,” Hannibal stated. “This is similar to Rachel’s call, only it’s far more potent than Rachel’s distress call. By the way, where is Rachel?”

“Momma took her to see Althea and the others this morning,” Selina stated. “Then they’re coming to the pool. Arabella, Dr. Drew, Elle, and Emma thought it would be good for her to start using the pool. She may already be down there.”

Hannibal donned his sandals and returned to the bed pushing Selina in her wheelchair. Sitting down looking Selina in the eye, he asked, “Did she have any trouble while I was having the procedure done?”

“No,” Selina replied. “Emma stayed with us while you were in the machine to help with Rachel. She’s become very attached to Emma. It may be her empathic spirit that Rachel is attracted to.”

“I don’t doubt that,” Hannibal said with a smile. “Emma is very special and has a way with kids. I’m glad.” He looked at Selina with a sultry look as he stood up. For a moment, they merely stared at each other, and then Hannibal leaned down, kissing Selina passionately on the lips with one of his special kisses, putting his hands on her cheeks as he kissed her. Selina instantly responded with her own special kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck, pulling him close. A minute later, they stopped kissing and touched foreheads. “I’ve wanted to do that since I was mutated, princess,” Hannibal whispered. “I love you so much it hurts.”

“And I love you too, my prince,” Selina purred, pulling Hannibal down into a warm embrace. “You’re finally back. I missed you so very much.”

“So did I,” Hannibal replied warmly, “You have always been my better half, even when I was Hanna. Thank you for showing me the way.”

“You’re welcome,” Selina chimed. “Just don’t get lost again, okay? It was a bitch finding you.”

Hannibal chuckled, kissing her on the cheek as he accepted the tease. “Yes, ma’am,” he answered. “I promise. Now, let’s go to the pool.”

“Right,” Selina purred as Hannibal stood up straight and positioned behind her chair. “Let’s go, but first, let me get my skirt.”

“Sure,” Hannibal stated. “Which one do you want?”

“The leopard skirt that matches my swimsuit,” Selina stated. “It’s laying over there on my dresser.”

“I got it,” Hannibal replied, quickly retrieving the skirt and handing it to Selina. “Here you are.”

Selina took the skirt and laid it in her lap, covering her legs. “You might want to tie your hair back so it doesn’t get in the way,” she suggested, seeing Hannibal pushing his hair out of his eyes.

“Good call,” Hannibal chimed, going to Hanna’s dresser and grabbing one of her elastic hairbands. In seconds, he’d tied his long hair back into a single long ponytail using the hairband. “There, that should do it,” he said pleasantly, turning back to Selina. “I’m glad I still remember how to do that.”

“You’ll never forget that,” Selina stated, “It’s ingrained in you now, though you should definitely get a haircut as soon as possible. That long hair looks just a bit weird on you.”

“I plan to,” Hannibal stated. “The long hair just isn’t me, and it may get in the way.”

“That’s what I thought too,” Selina agreed. “Now let’s get going. Emma and Elle are probably wondering what’s taking so long.”

“Right,” Hannibal replied. “Let’s get moving. I could use a swim.” With that, they left their quarters heading for the pool.

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clinemax: Top notch story! Love Everly - she is strong will, independent and smart. And Gabriel is also strong and very understanding and by no means is he weak! Just because he wants a mate to be equal to him does not make him weak, it makes him STRONG and forward thinking. A true Alpha.

Rebeca Brown: I 💘 love the story line. I can't stop reading it.The only minor issue is some gamer or seems like missing words to complete the sentence. As an example, about being late for school it's phrased 'we are getting late' instead of we're going to be late. Now if the author isn't American English as t...

Amanda: This is amazing! So raw and intense and I really want more. I love the slow burn between the two main characters.

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kathyrak11: This book is so exciting. I never wanted to put it down.

Shivani: I really like the story. I like your writingstyle a lott. The plot was great too! It was refreshing, different and new. I would loved a bigger story tho. Maybe a bigger plot line, I wished to see the parts as to how they’d be after it, like the relationship if they didn’t separate or like their l...

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alissesheerin: I am intrigued to find out what happens, there is so much to this story

shrmariyagurgaon: Sweet till now

Brenda Pugh: It was good reading material and amazingly informative

jasmyn: Thoroughly enjoyed the combination of reality and fiction as well as the depiction of the characters’ personalities and their thought processes.

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