“Shit,” Violet mumbled as she watched the crazy doctor bitch leave the room.
Keel looked ready to lose his mind in the cage he was trapped in, and Spot was glaring murder at the two males standing by his cage.
Tutos, the big, ugly fucker that was about to start pounding her into ground meat, grinned nastily at her. He cracked his knuckles, his eyes dancing in a cruel light.
“Hey, big guy,” Violet said, trying to twist her arms free of the restraints, “Why don’t we talk about this, huh? Maybe go grab a coffee or a light lunch. You can tell me all about what it’s like working for crazy pants doctor lady. What do you say?”
His reply was a hard, meaty fist to the jaw. Violet’s head snapped to the side, pain exploding in her mouth. Blood pooled on her tongue, her vision swimming and her ears ringing.
Keel roared again, his bars rattling hard.
It took her a few minutes to get back to herself. Fuck, but that hurt!
She turned her head to the side, spitting out the mouthful of blood. She watched it splatter on the pristine white blood, before looking back up at the guards.
The two males standing by Spot chuckled, coming closer to watch their buddy beat the crap out of a helpless, tiny woman.
“Ouch,” she growled, turning to face him again. There was no getting out of this situation, so all she could do was take it like the warrior she was training to become. The doctor had told him not to kill her, so at least she had that going for her.
Tutos grinned at his buddies, looking proud of himself.
“Hey, Tutos,” Violet said, meeting the big guy’s eyes, “You hit like a girl.”
His smile fell, his eyes narrowing. Another hit slammed into her face, this one harder than the first.
She’d braced herself for it, but it still left her dizzy and near tears with pain.
“Stop!” Keel roared, his voice filled with helpless torment, but the males ignored him.
Tutos landed three more hits to her face. Violet’s left eye was completely swollen closed, and she could feel two of her back teeth were loose. There was blood flowing freely in her mouth, dripping from her broken nose and a deep, stinging cut on her cheek.
Tutos stepped back, admiring his handy work.
Violet lifted her head, looking past the males through her partial swollen good eye, then grinned wide.
“What are you so happy about?” One of the other guards asked.
Violet spat out more blood, then nodded. “Well… Let me tell you what is going to happen. First,” She lifted her head and looked at the two guards behind Tutos, “The two of you are going to explode. Then, feather fists over here is going to get to his knees. After that, I’m going to get out of this chair. Next, my little baby Spinner is going to get out. And finally... that sexy as fuck male warrior will be let out of his cages, where Keel is then going to proceed to beat the ever loving holy hell out of you. How does that sound?”
They all chuckled, shaking their heads. “How do you imagine that happening, little girl?” Tutos asked.
“Oh, it’s real simple, like… You see…” She spat out another mouthful of blood, “I have the most awesome brothers-in-law ever!”
With that, from behind the three males, the faint shimmer of grey she’d seen dancing in the air began to grow into a thick black fog. It swirled and boiled like a dark, deadly cloud. A moment later, Korom stood with a hand on Bor’s shoulder, with Lorzarian and Tark beside them.
Before anyone could even think, Korom and Lorzarain misted, and a second later, the two males beside Tutos erupted into a cloud of bloody mist, lumpy chunks of organs, and white bones all over the floor.
Tutos stumbled back, his eyes wide when he saw Bor marching forward, a look of righteous fury on the king’s face.
Before Bor could get his hands on the male, Tutos fell to his knees, his head bowed.
Tark ran over to Keel’s cage, a thick prying bar in his hands. It only took a second for him to get Keel’s and Spot’s cages open.
Keel ran to Violet, his hands shaking as he gently reached for her battered face.
“Violet?” He croaked, his eyes watering and his voice breaking.
“Hey, handsome. Wanna get me out of this chair. I feel a headache coming on.”
Keel tore open the restraints holding her and carefully took her into his arms. He carried her away from where Tutos was on his knees, quietly begging for the king to spare his life.
She was placed on a medical bed on the opposite side of the room. Tark came over, studying her face. A low, dangerous growl rose from his chest as he took in her bloody, swollen face.
“Lorzarain will take you to Oris at the Keep. You need medical attention immediately.”
Violet nodded, not planning on arguing with him about that at all. She felt like absolute shit. Her whole body hurt, her face was throbbing and she was pretty sure she’d swallowed one of her teeth.
“Sounds like a plan,” She turned to Keel, cupping his face. “I’m okay. I’ll be fine. Do me a favor, hot stuff?”
Keel nodded, meeting her eyes.
“Kill that son of a bitch slowly.”
Keels grinned, his razor sharp teeth glinting as his eyes glowed with a near insane thrill at her request.
“Anything for you, my little mate. I will come to you as soon as I can.”
“I’ll be alright. I know you need this. Come see me when my face is all fixed, so I can kiss the hell out of you.”
Keel smiled, “I will.” He reached out and ever so gently brushed his fingers over her cheek. It hurt, but she didn’t say anything.
He stepped back and Lorzarain came over to her. He tilted his head to the side and frowned. “I would not want to be that male,” He mumbled, slipping his arms under her knees and lifting her to his chest.
Violet put her arms around his neck, her eyes locked with Keels.
“I love you,” She said to him.
Keel smiled, “And I you. I will see you soon.”
With that, Lorzarians cold, dark smoke blocked out her vision. A moment later, it cleared and she was in Oris’s medical suite at the Keep.
Oris was standing to the side, waiting with a female nurse at his side.
Lorzarian placed her on the medical bed and stepped back.
“Thank you, Lorzarain.”
He gave her a small bow, then faded away into mist.
Oris rushed to her side, a look of worry and anger on his usually calm face.
“Hey Doc,” She said, trying to smile. Pain burst in her lip, making her groan.
“Easy, Violet,” Oris’s concerned, somehow fatherly voice said, “you have some severe wounds on your face. Let me heal them before you try to speak again.” He ran a gentle hand over her hair, a pained look in his eyes, before turning to the nurse and barking orders.
Violet nodded and lay back on the bed. She closed her eyes and let Oris and the nurse do what they needed to.
She must have dozed off for a while, because when she came around again, the pain in her face had faded to a tingle. Her eyes were no longer swollen, and her cut was closed and not hurting anymore.
Opening her eyes, she found the medical suite was crowded with people.
First, she saw Lilly, Rose, and Tulip all standing by her bedside, chatting quietly to each other. Behind them, Oris and Lika stood with Sumara, Freyna and Paru. On the other side of the room were Mayla, Bor, Korom, Tark, and Rana.
Smiling, she scanned the crowd for Keel. It was hard to see with everyone in the way, but when she couldn’t find him, she sat up.
Lilly noticed she was awake first. “Oh, God, Violet! Thank God you’re awake.”
Violet smiled at her oldest sister, “Hey everyone.”
“Are you alright, sweet girl?” Sumara asked, coming to her side.
“Vi, you scared the shit out of us!” Rose snapped.
“Thank the Great God!” Mayla’s voice called.
Violet smiled. Everyone was talking at once, and she could barely understand what they were saying.
“I’m Fine!” She called over all the voices. Everyone began to quiet down and Violet nodded. As much as she loved her family, having them all here and talking to her at once was starting to give her a headache again.
Then someone caught her eye. Movement by the door to the medical suite made her sit up straighter.
Keel stood in the entrance, his hands and face splattered with blood, eyes glinting in residual anger, and he still had on the animal skin clothes Arak had given him.
Without a word, and ignoring the protests of everyone around her, Violet jumped off the bed and pushed her way past everyone. She threw her arms around Keel’s neck, a quiet sob escaping.
Keel wrapped his arms around her, lifting her off her feet. Violet wrapped her legs around his waist, thankful beyond imagination that they had both gotten out of there in one piece.
After a moment, he put her down on her feet and cupped her cheeks, examining her face closely. A low rumble emanated from his chest as he gently ran one finger over the still healing cut on her cheek.
“I’m okay,” She whispered, “It will heal.”
“I never… Never want to feel like that again. Watching you get hurt, unable to do anything to help you… It killed something inside me. Will you ever forgive me?”
She frowned, “Forgive you? For what?”
“I never should have let you go into that building. I should have demanded you stay at the village while-”
“Stop.” She placed a hand on his cheek, “You and I both know you wouldn’t have been able to stop me. It may still be hard for you to understand this, but I am a warrior, just like you. And sometimes, a warrior gets their asses handed to them. But they learn, they get stronger and better, and they never let it stop them. That was Commander Korom’s first lesson.”
Keel sighed. “I remember it well. Seeing you like that… It will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
“What about Spot? Where is he?”
“He is with the best animal healer on all of Toria. Healer Toxem is a good friend to Oris and a trusted ally to the king. He is taking very good care of Spot.”
“Will he be okay?”
“Yes. Toxem believes he will. It will take time for him to heal, but he will survive.”
“Thank you, Keel. Thank you for risking your life so many times with me. I’ll so make it up to you, I promise.”
He raised one brow, grinning down at her. “Oh? And how do you plan to do that?”
She blushed, “Well…”
That was when Violet realized how quiet it was. The room was full of people, yet she could have heard a pin drop.
Smiling, she turned around, only to find thirteen curious faces watching them, each with small smiles on their faces and an expectant look in their eyes.
Blushing, she turned back to Keel and met his amused gaze.
Keel rolled his eyes and before she could say anything, he wrapped one arm around her lower back, the other hand gripped her hair at the nape gently, before he pulled her into his big body, and placed a hard, hot kiss to her lips.
A cheer erupted in the room, making Violet break the kiss to laugh. She wrapped her arms around Keel and turned to face the others.
“I win!” Sumara announced, lifting her chin in the air.
Bor, and Paru groaned, their shoulders slumping.
“Won what?” Violet asked.
“There was a bet going as to when you two would finally get together. Looks like Lady Sumara called it.”
Violet’s mouth fell open, but to be honest, she couldn’t be too mad at them. She’d done the exact same thing with Rose and Tark.
“What did she win?” Violet asked, looking over at Bor.
He rolled his eyes, “We must all attend mothers Annual Winter Solstice celebrations at her country home in three month’s time.” He turned to her, “Mother, you know I hate formal parties like that. Can we not-”
“No,” Sumara stated with a firm voice, “Each and every one of you will be in attendance, no excuses. Oh, and extend an invite to the Logan male. I like him. He’s one of the good ones.”
Bor sighed dramatically, but nodded.
It sounded like she and Keel had missed a lot over the short time they spent in the Jungle. No doubt she would hear all about it from her sisters… but not tonight.
Turning, she looked up at Keel and whispered, “Take me to your room, hot stuff… we have unfinished business.”