Excalibur ~ World from Ashes

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Chapter 7

Sex with Tristan was… amazing. He knew every sweet spot; he knew exactly how to touch me, how to make me cry out, how to make me beg, and how to bring me to the most exotic climax I had ever experienced before. Never before in my life had I experienced something so sensual, so pleasurable, so… Hot. It was almost like pure bliss, a perfect paradise.

Which didn’t last long enough.

The following day, we were going to be getting ready to go on another mission around the territory that was held by Fukkatsu. A perimeter check to make sure that Titan or the other large gang known as Hades wasn’t anywhere nearby or planning to attack our area. It was going to be Jace, Zak, Tristan and myself on this particular run. I was both excited and nervous. Excited because Tristan was joining us this time, and nervous because I knew that every time we went out, we encountered Titan. It was growing on everyone, I could tell.

“Titan knows our every move,” Jace was saying. He was leaning against the far wall in Tristan’s study, his arms crossed over his chest and one leg up against the wall as he watched Tristan carefully.

I was seated in the chair across from Tristan’s desk where he was leaning on the dark mahogany wood. Zak stood near the door, hands hooked through his belt, resting on his thighs as he watched us.

“I know.”

“Yet you still insist on coming with us, on one of the more dangerous patrols. I really have to wonder sometimes if you’re sane, Tristan.”

Tristan smirked as he glanced over to Jace who only rolled his eyes and sighed, shifting his body against the wall. I looked between the two of them, biting my lower lip. It had been a little over a month since I’d joined them. To be exact, it was going to be a month and two weeks the next day.

“I would feel better coming with you so I can see things for myself. Besides, I can’t always stay here and do paperwork. If I do, then I’ll go crazy.”

Zak gave a soft laugh at that and made a shrugging gesture at Jace, “He’s right you know.”

Jace rolled his eyes, “Whatever, you’re going to do what you want anyway, aren’t you?”

Tristan smiled, “Haven’t you learned anything yet?”

Jace sighed, “Fine. So, do we have any idea as to who it is that’s leaking this information out to Titan?”

My throat grew dry as I sat there. It wasn’t that I was nervous or guilty, I was just worried. Worried that even though for the past month I had done everything they’d asked me to, that they would still suspect me. Of course, on the other hand I was expecting it too. Honestly if someone were to infiltrate Fukkatsu, they would have to act like me. Wiggle their way in and be trusted by everyone. The timing, though, couldn’t have been more ironic.

“I have a few ideas,” Tristan answered as he leaned against the table.

Zak moved to sit down next to me, leaning forward on his legs, “Whoever it is would have to have been with us for a long while. Learning everything about us, how we move and how we operate. Probably someone who is higher up in the ranks, like Jace and I.”

Tristan nodded slowly. It definitely made sense. Learning everything about the group, taking your time to earn the trust of everyone around you… It was bound to take a really long time. Which also meant that it could be any number of people in the group. What I was curious about, though was that Zak had said that there were more in higher rank like he and Jace were. I lifted an eyebrow at them as I leaned on the side of the chair.

“Ranks?” I asked softly.

Tristan’s hazel gaze landed on me and I had to fight to keep from blushing under that intense look. It brought back the very fresh memory of the day before. He had watched me with those same eyes as he brought me to climax. I shifted in the seat as I looked up at him briefly before I had to look away. He’s doing that on purpose… I thought with a frown. He was really enjoying teasing me.

“Yes. Just like a ladder. A nice tiered system. I have those that are on the very bottom, the men who simply take orders and carry them out for me. They are split up into small groups. I have hunters, gatherers, patrols, and reconnaissance to go gather supplies that we cannot get, like medicines.

“Each group usually consists of about five or so men, and one leader. Each leader reports to a higher ranking leader that is in charge of directing who goes where, team changes, patrols and gathering information about where other supply area’s are. These men and women then pass that information to the six others that are directly under me. Jace and Zak are two of those. I like to call them my right hand men.”

“So, it goes you on the top, the six right hand men, the following task leaders, and then the group leaders. Then down at the bottom you have the men who carry out those orders to the letter,” I said, trying to put it in perspective.

Tristan nodded, “That’s right. It’s a fairly simple set up.”

“Works though,” Zak commented lightly.

“Yes. Yes it does. My father’s ingenious, I should say. Well, are we ready? We have a border to patrol.”

***

The hummer rolled down the main street of the city. Strapped to my thigh was my hand gun, a knife against the back of my left hip, opposite of the gun. I sat in the backseat right behind Zak who was driving. It had kind of become ‘my spot’ in the car. Next to me was Tristan, Jace in the passenger seat. Ever since my rescue from the streets weeks ago, I hadn’t been in the hummer with Tristan. This was the first time that the four of us were together in the car. I was feeling a little nostalgic.

“Streets look pretty quiet,” Zak said softly, his heavy accent making it a little hard to make out his words this time because he’d spoken so quietly.

I looked out the window, my eyes narrowing a bit as I searched the streets. Zak was right, it was looking pretty dead. I had been expecting Titan to have shown up to attack, but it didn’t look like they were around this time. I was relieved, but at the same time a bit nervous as well. Something didn’t sit right with me as I stared out into the empty streets. Trash and litter blew about as we drove by, tossing up old papers, magazines and dirt. Glass was shattered all around the sidewalks, cans and broken bottles were crushed up against the sides of the buildings. Concrete lay in rubble in most places as the buildings had suffered from explosions due to the fighting gangs around.

What once might have been a busy metropolis was nothing more than a ghost town, scavenged only by those that were crazy enough to stick around. I supposed we were a set of those crazy people that decided to stay and try to make something out of a destroyed town. The war had devastated the world; depleted resources, tanked economies and the casualties were horrifying. The last world war was fought on all fronts. Every continent had some kind of battle on their own soil, and it showed in the various places, some worse than others.

Since then, it had literally been every man for themselves. Some people banded together, formed small groups to get by. Others fled to ‘safer’ places, and whoever was left worked to try to rebuild the economy, rebuild the military and put back into power a president of sorts. I wasn’t sure how well that was going, but at that moment, it really didn’t matter. What mattered was how I was going to survive. No, it was a little more than just that. I wanted to see where Fukkatsu was going to go, what their goals were and I wanted to see what Tristan’s ideal’s were. What he wanted, and if I could… Help him to see those goals come true.

I was in the midst of my thoughts when Zak slammed on the brakes. Flying forward, I nearly smacked my head into the back of the seat if Tristan hadn’t moved fast enough. His arm came across my chest, latching onto my left shoulder and dragging him back against the seat to keep from giving myself whiplash or worse, breaking my neck. Once the car came to a complete stop, I moved to try to see what had forced Zak to do that. Right in front of us were three shiny black cars.

My heart lurched into my throat, eyes growing wide as I stared out through the windshield at the sporty Mazda with Alik leaning on the hood. He had a wicked little grin on his face as he eyed Zak and Jace in the front seat. As I leaned into the middle of the back seat, he caught sight of my movement and I froze. My hand dropped to the gun on my thigh, squeezing the handle as I started to pull it free. Tristan’s hand fell over mine and I glanced up to him. He shook his head at me. I watched him, confused. Why? Alik was right there and he was probably going to open fire on us at any second… if I got the jump on him then-

“Don’t,” Tristan said softly, his voice taking on that commanding tone again, “Not yet.”

“But, Tristan…”

He shook his head again, “Just don’t. He hasn’t drawn any weapons on us.”

“Not yet,” Jace hissed from the front seat, his hand on the dash that he’d probably used to brace himself when Zak hit the brakes.

“What do you think he wants? He’s just sitting there,” Zak asked, turning to look at Tristan, his hand hovering over the gear shift on the side of the wheel.

Tristan leaned forward, looking out the windshield as well. After a long while of just sitting there, Tristan opened the door and I nearly reached out to grab him, to pull him back into the safety of the car. My breath hitched at the back of my throat as I watched Tristan step out, just beyond the door. Without thinking, I pushed my own door opened and stepped out as well, my hand on the holster of my gun.

“Valkyrie!” Jace hissed as I left the car.

I paid him no attention though and went around the back of the car to stand next to Tristan. As I came up beside him, Alik had moved from the hood of his vehicle and was standing there with his arms crossed over his chest, eyeing Tristan with disdain. I watched with bated breath.

“Well, if it isn’t Tristan Ukomota. Head of Fukkatsu. Didn’t think I’d be seeing you anytime soon again.”

“Honestly, I didn’t want to see you again either, Alik, once is one too many times,” Tristan replied with a smirk.

Alik’s sneering smile faltered just a bit before he recovered, his gaze fell on me then and I narrowed my eyes, my fingers tightening around my weapon. I’m not sure what held me back; maybe it was Tristan standing there that kept me from drawing the weapon and shooting Alik where he stood. I could do it now; I had gotten to be a fairly good shot. I knew I wouldn’t miss. Oh, how I wanted so badly to put a bullet through that assholes chest.

“I’m declaring war on you, Ukomota. I’m taking what’s mine back.”

“This place isn’t ‘yours’ Alik. It never was. And haven’t you already ‘declared war’ on me? You keep attacking my men, my borders.”

“Wasn’t yours either, and I suppose your right. I guess I just felt the need to officially announce it to you.”

Tristan ground his teeth; I could hear it from where I stood next to him. I had never seen that before and it startled me slightly. Seeing Tristan anything but smirking and joking around was strange. I looked up at him for a moment before I turned back to Alik.

Alik’s gaze settled on me, his green eyes flicking up and down my frame. It made me feel sick the way he looked at me, like he was trying to undress me with his eyes. A disgusted shiver passed through my body, a cold chill that wasn’t pleasant at all. To think I had fallen in love with him at one time… What the hell was I thinking? I glowered at him in return.

What he said next though, had my heart lodged in my throat and my stomach twisted up in a knot so tight that I thought it would never go away. I had nearly collapsed right there as Alik’s venomous words poisoned the air. The blood drained away from my face, my nerves went completely numb as I stood there, dumbfounded in shock.

“Hey babe, great work,” he said and gave me a wink.

I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. Tristan gripped my arm so hard I was sure it would bruise. I was thrown back into the hummer, Tristan following me. He slammed the door shut and ordered Zak to drive back to the manor. As he threw the vehicle in reverse, I watched Alik as he grinned at me, his green eyes flashing wickedly. The fucker even waved at me. Jace turned, his eyes narrowed at me.

The end of a silver barrel was shoved in my face and I fell back against the seat with a gasp. Tristan wouldn’t look at me. Jace was pissed off beyond belief and Zak was silent, not even looking in the rearview mirror as we drove back to the manor. What the hell just happened? Why did Alik say that? No… I knew why he’d said that. He said it to put me in this exact situation. He had said that to make my life a living hell. To destroy me and the sanctuary that I’d found finally. I shook uncontrollably as we drove in utter silence. It was the longest ride of my life.

I died in that car.

My heart shattered.

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