Victoria is now 18. She’s been dating Enzo for a little over a year. Enzo was now 22 so had already proven himself a man. Thatcher was impatient. He loved training with his father but wanted to be able to go out and do stuff. He felt like he was already an adult at 16. Thatcher didn’t want to wait another 5 years to be able to prove himself and be looked at as an adult. He was sulking again so Victoria asked Sophie if she wanted to go with her to pick some frsh blueberries to make Thatcher blueberry muffins since he loved them so much.
“I think that’s a good idea baby. It’ll pass time until Charles,Enzo & Gra get back.” They said bye to Thatcher, they didn’t tell him what they were doing because they wanted it to be a surprise. Thatcher assumed his mother was going to practice with Victoria again. Victoria had chosen to do magic along with Enzo. As they walked along Victoria noticed that her mom kept smiling. “What is it mom?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“I wont tell anybody mom please.”
“Enzo will be so angry at me.”
“He should’ve known not to tell you. You always smile when you know somthing sombody else doesn’t now please tell me and I swear I wont mention it.”
“He wants to marry you. He told me that as soon as you come of age he’s going to ask. Please act surprised and don’t say anything.” Victoria knew Enzo loved her but was still shocked. “Really?” Her mother nodded. Victoria blushed and got excited. That would make her so happy. She loved every second she got with Enzo.
They had to go deep into the woods to find blueberries. They arrived after a long walk and started picking and eating the blueberries. It was taking them a very long time since they ate about as much as they picked. This was the perfect time of year for blueberries so they tasted extra amazing. Sophie laughed “at this rate Thatcher wont have muffins”
“Ok, lets quit eating them” Victoria giggled. She then jerked around. She could hear the sounds of children crying. ‘mom do you hear that?” Sophie listened and took off running twords the sound. It was two little boys tied to a tree. They started to untie them when one screamed “They’re coming back run before they get you too!”
Two large minotaurs broke through the trees, swords drawn. They attacked Sophie and Victoria. The children took off running as Sophie grappled with the larger of the two creatures. It slammed her against a tree and choked her, cutting off her oxygen and her focus. Victoria tried shocking the other one, but her magic only seemed to enrage it. It hit her across the face and she spun, falling. She crawled away, hearing the creature getting closer. It grabbed her by the ankle and she screamed. The creature suddenly let her go as fire washed over its arm. Sophie had managed to loosen the bigger monsters grip and protect her daughter. “Victoria run, now.” She screamed.
“Mom, I can’t.” She threw rocks at the bigger Minotaur as she backed away from the other one.
“Do as your told now. Get Thatcher, find your father and Enzo, now.” Victoria ran as fast as she could, crying because she had to leave her mother. The Minotaur punched Sophie in the stomach and then in the face, knocking her out. It slung her over its shoulder and carried her away. They were catching humans to use as slaves. The women were breeders, the men were put to work in their underground city mining and building.
Victoria ran as fast as she could. It seemed like the village was further away than normal. She caught up to the two little boys and had to slow down for them. She’d find somone to watch them for her until they could figure out where their parents were. When she arrived at the village Kanami was walking home. Victoria stopped her “Please you need to watch these two little boys. Sit in my home with them so you can tell my dad mom needs help when he gets home. I can’t explain but I need to get Thatcher and go after her before she gets seriously hurt.” Kanami didn’t understand but nodded and ran with Victoria to her house.
Victoria flung open the door hoping they were already home but they weren’t. She ran up the stairs “Thatcher, we were trying to save these little boys but these minotaurs attacked us. They’ve got mom. We need to go. Kanami will tell dad & Enzo where we are but I cant sit here and wait.” She was bawling but Thatcher understood her and grabbed his sword. Victoria yelled “thank you Kanami” as she ran out the door.
“What’s your names little ones?”
“are you hungry?”
“very, those monsters wouldn’t feed us. When can we see our mommy?”
“we’ll find her I promise. Right now we need to wait for a man named Charles ok.” The two little boys looked really afraid. “I hope he hurries. They are so mean and could really hurt them.”
“did they hurt you. Is that your blood on your clothing?”
“No it’s my older sisters. She tried to protect us and they killed her.” Kanami got a look of horror on her face. As she cooked for the boys she prayed for Charles to hurry up and get back.
Charles was happy to see the village again. He had missed Sophie and his children. Enzo walked happily next to him, hands clasped behind his head. The boy had grown into a very honorable young man. He often took him out on hunting trips. “I was wondering if I could talk to you?” Enzo suddenly asked.
“About what?” Charles looked at him and Enzo looked away then cleared his throat.
“Victoria. I’ve already talked to Sophie, but I wanted to make sure I had your blessing before I went any further.”
“After Victoria goes on her journey, her coming of age journey, I want to ask her to marry me. I really love her, I mean really really love her.”
Charles nodded slowly and Enzo got nervous. He could tell Charles was thinking. “I can live with that. Yes, you have my blessing.” He finally said and Enzo breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thank you sir.” They walked into the house and Kanami was suddenly on her feet. Charles saw the two blood covered little boys and his heart leapt into his throat.
“What happened?” He asked.
“Victoria said something happened to Sophie. She got Thatcher and they left about thirty minutes ago.” Kanami said nervously.
“Which way did they go?” Enzo asked.
“Towards the blueberry grove.”
Charles asked “That’s not Sophies blood is it?” The two boys started crying so Kanami answered for them “No, they told me that the monsters Vicotria & Sophie were trying to save them from killed their sister. It’s her blood” Charles put a hand on Gras head “Find their scent on the way so we can follow it past the blueberry grove” They all ran out. Charles heart was thundering and so was Enzos. Gra whined at Charles to let him know she had their scent. They made it to the blueberry grove and then followed Gra.
When Victoria & Thatcher managed to find the minotuars again they didn’t have Sophie. They killed one but were ambushed by multiple when they did. One knocked Thatcher unconscious and drug him away. Victoria was frustrated her magic wasn’t like her mothers yet. All she could do was keep them at bay. There were so many and she could barely think which also made it harder to cast spells. One finally managed to get behind her and hit her across the skull. She felt dizzy but kept her wits about her enough to run to a tree. She didn’t have very much magic left in her but she kept using all she could to keep it away. The other beasts had givin up on her but this one was determined.
It snapped the tree in half and she fell along with it. She had kept them stalled long enough for Charles and Enzo to see her falling in the tree. Enzo darted to get her as Charles killed the minotaur with one swift swipe. Victoria layed there passed out. Enzo checked to see if she was ok. Charles and Gra ran over “is she ok?”
“as far as I can tell.”
“well pick her up and lets keep going” Charles was relieved he atleast had his daughter again but now he had to get his wife and son. he was worried where Thatcher could be since Victoria was alone. Enzos heart was breaking as he looked down at Victoria. He hoped she’d wake up soon. He needed to kiss her. Enzo normally didn’t kiss her in front of her dad but today he was going to put an end to that. Enzo was sure Charles would understand.
“Miss, wake up.” Sophie opened her eyes. Her face and stomach hurt. She looked up at the woman shaking her.
“Where am I?” She asked and sat up slowly. There were other women in the same room, at least ten.
“The Minotaurs brout us here. Some of the women have been here for awhile. We’re what they call breeders.”
“I hope Victoria got my husband. Is anyone here wounded?” All the women said no. She noticed one was pregnant and sitting alone in the corner. She approached her slowly and the woman pulled her knees up and gave her a terrified look. “It’s okay sweety. How far along are you?”
“Six months.” She said, her voice shaking. “Their leader is the father.” She started crying and Sophie wrapped her arms around the woman.
“Hush now, it’s going to be alright. Can I check the baby?” The woman nodded and Sophie rested a hand on her stomach. She could feel the baby’s life force. It seemed healthy. “How many others has this happened too?”
“A few. The women usually die during child birth and the minotaurs raise the babies.” She wrapped her arms protectively around herself, shielding her belly. “They can’t have mine and I don’t want to die. I want to be there for my baby.”
“You will be. When we get out of here you’re coming to stay with me until you give birth. I won’t let anything happen to you or your baby.”
Charles and Enzo followed Grá. Enzo carried Victoria who was still unconscious. It started to get dark and Charles had to tell them to stop. “We can’t, what about Sophie and Thatcher?” Enzo asked.
“Sophie has her magic and Thatcher is tough. We have to rest though and get Victoria awake.” He replied and started gathering wood. “Spark this for me please.” Enzo pointed at the wood and started a fire. “Thank you son.”
Enzo looked at him surprised. Charles noticed and said “well you’re going to marry my daughter aren’t you? I have no doubts she’ll say yes. She’s crazy about you.” Enzo smiled even though he was still worried about Victoria. He held her and started rubbing her cheek “come on Victoria wake up please.” In a few moments her eyes finally opened. Enzo hugged her tightly then kissed her. He reluctantly pulled back after a few seconds. He wanted to kiss her longer but wanted to be respectful to her dad.
“what’re we doing? Where’s mom & Thatcher?” Charles walked over to hug her “we’re resting Victoria we’ll get them in the morning. It was very brave but foolish of you to take off after your mother. You’re still getting the hang of your magic.”
“I couldn’t just let them take her. I had to try and help” Charles smiled “I know, you’re just like your mother.” He kissed her on the forehead then layed down “You two shoudl lay down and rest for tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to hold Victoria Enzo. It wont upset me.” Enzo blushed and then layed down holding Victoria close to him. Charles closed his eyes hoping he would be able to sleep. He was consumed with worry about Sophie. The only thing that kept him from running all night was knowing his wife was very skilled. She’d be able to take care of herself until he got there.
Thatcher opened his eyes when someone threw a bucket of ice cold water on him. He glared up at the Minotaur and reached for his sword. It was gone. “Up.” The Minotaur commanded and Thatcher pushed himself to his feet. “Get to work.” He pointed to a set of pick axes and Thatcher shook his head. The Minotaur grabbed him and shoved him. He grabbed the pick axe and attacked the beast. He slammed the sharp end into its chest and it fell down dead. Two other Minotaurs grabbed him and dragged him into a cell, chaining him to a post with his back facing out. They ripped his shirt off and one grabbed a whip soaking in salt water. He beat Thatcher, but he refused to make a single sound.
Sophie stood when the cell door opened. A large male stepped in and grabbed one of the women who started screaming. Sophie electrocuted the Minotaur so he dropped the woman. Sophie jerked the keys off his belt and shoved him back with wind. He grabbed her dress, pulling her out with him. She jerked free, slamming the cell door and locking it. She tossed the keys in with the other women as she was grabbed by more minotaurs. “Just wait, my husband is coming okay. Keep the keys.” She yelled as she was pulled away.
“Take her to the boss.” The Minotaur on the ground commanded.
When they were in a clearing Sophie pressed her hands into the minotaurs back burning him internally. It fell down dropping her. She ran as fast as she could as the other minotuars chased after her. They seemed angry and she hoped she could outrun them. She was out of their fortress and running in the woods. Four minotaurs were close behind. One managed to jump in front of Sophie. It threw a punch but it missed her. Another one grabbed her from behind and she electrocuted it.
It let out a loud cry then grabbed her by the hair slamming her head into the ground knocking her out. It huffed at her angrily wanting to kill her but it knew his boss would like her. They got him all kinds of women but he had a certain type they tried for. That’s why they killed the little boys sister. She wasn’t the bosses type so wasn’t worth all the fuss. The minotaurs went back to their camp and took Sophie to their leader.
Charles couldn’t sleep. He stared up at the cloudy sky, thinking about his wife and son. He hoped he would find them alive. He knew how fierce minotaurs could be. They were very strong and very stubborn. They did not give up easily. Sophie and Thatcher would easily anger them. They both had a very stubborn nature that would provoke anger in a second. He knew Victoria blamed herself for not being a better magician, but she had bravely tried to save her mother and her brother. He closed his eyes, willing sleep to find him before morning.
Thatcher was dragged out of the whip room and forced to grab a pick axe. He glared at the Minotaur that shoved him around. He would kill this one too if his back didn’t hurt so much. He was escorted to a tunnel where they chained his ankle to a bunch of other men and told him to dig. He did as he was told as his mind tried to work out a plan.
Sophie woke with a massive headache. She gripped her head as she sat up and found that her ankle was chained to a fur covered stone slab. She looked around. This room was a lot different than the cell. There was a large chair and a rug made of wolf skin. Torches lined the walls, lighting the room. She gripped the chain and pulled as hard as she could. “You’re awake.” A very deep voice growled. She jumped and looked at the male Minotaur.
“Release me at once.” She snapped.
“Afraid not, you’re mine now.” He seemed to have a better grasp of language than his idiot goons.
“I only belong to one man and that man is not you.” He approached her angrily and she threw a barrier up around her as he swung. His fist smashed against it and he glared at her. She only had so much energy left so she would have to use it sparingly. She lowered the barrier and glared at him.
“You’ll learn, they all do. I can wait until you are tired. I am patient.” He sat down in the large chair and watched her. He had no idea how bad she wanted to sleep, but she forced herself to stay awake. She sat up and pulled her knees to her chest. She prayed Charles would reach her soon.
Another man in the mine noticed Thatchers back “I guess you tried to resist too huh?” When Enzo looked up the man turned slightly to show him his back. “Yeah”
“Dont look so worried. They wont do it as long as you work when you’re told.”
“I’m worried about my mother and sister.”
“Oh no, they got your family too.”
“Yes, I’m nothing like my father. I wanted to protect them and be strong like he is but I guess I’m not.”
“Don’t be like that. Those things are tough and mean.” A minotaur growled at them to get back to work and quit talking. They concentrated back on their work. Thatcher felt horrible. He knew his dad was going to be really dissapointed in him. “do you think I’ll get to see my mom and sister again?” He whispered to the man that was talking to him. “No, I’ve never seen the women.”
Hours passed and Sophie was still staring at him. The sun was starting to come over the horizon. “You have stamina. That could’ve been channeled into great mating but alass none of you ever go willingly.” She just kept looking at him as defiantly as possible but she was so tired she could barely force her eyes open any longer. She was doing her best not to show it to him. “You are the most beautiful girl they’ve ever brought me. If you just give in now I promise not to be too rough with you. If I have to wait till later I’ll make sure it’s painful.”
“The only man I’d ever be with is my husband Charles”
Charles woke Enzo and Victoria. They gathered their things and he ordered Grá to find Sophie’s scent. The wolf sniffed around for a few minutes before whining and taking off. They followed close, never letting the wolf out of their sight. They came to a cave guarded by two of the ugly beasts. Charles rushed the one on the left while Enzo and Victoria took out the one on the right. He ran the Minotaur through and held up his hand to stop the others. “Minotaur lairs are like mazes, but they have a system so they don’t get lost. You two go right, Grá and I will go left. When they take humans they separate the males and females. Kill anything that gets in your way.” He said.
“Yes sir.” They said in unison and they moved into the cave. The walls were lined with torches so it was easy to see. They hugged each other and then separated.
Sophie felt like crying, but she didn’t. She could tell the Minotaur leader was becoming angry. He glared at her and she glared back. Her eyelids drifted closed and she heard him move and snapped them back open. She thought about Charles and how wonderful he was. She thought about Victoria getting married to one of the most wonderful young men she knew. She thought about how Thatcher constantly tried to impress his father and how proud Charles was of him. She wanted to be with her family, wanted to feel Charles kissing her and making love to her. She hated being in this monsters room where he had raped countless women to impregnate them. He got up and moved angrily across the room. She threw up a barrier and he slammed his fists against it. She wouldn’t be able to hold it for long. She electrified the barrier and he jumped back. “Let me in or we start killing people. I was told there is a young male with eyes like yours. Is he your son?” Sophie’s heart dropped into her stomach. They had Thatcher.
“You let him go.” She was enraged by the fact and it gave her strength. The Minotaur laughed and tried to leave, but she threw up a barrier in front of his door. “You will not harm my son.”
Charles was running taking down every minotaur that got in his way. He had to get to his Sophie and make sure she was safe. He had faith in Victoria and Enzo to get Thatcher. Enzo was extremely gifted in magic and to spite what Victoria thought she was coming along very well. It was hard to master magic. Sophie tried to explain to her many times that it took her awhile to get as good as she was and Enzo only was so good because he was always practicing to impress Victoria. He was just like Charles in that aspect.
When Charles was young he became so good with his sword wanting to impress Sophie. He hoped his son would find somebody to love soon. Charles was keeping these happy thoughts in his head to keep him going. They coudl’ve easily killed his wife by now but he couldn’t allow himself to think of that. Charles hit a dead end and yelled in anger causing a coupl minotuars to come at him. He cut them down just as easily as the others. He hated wasting his energy on them. He was sure their leader would not be an easy kill and he needed his strength.
Thatcher heard what sounded like screaming, dying animals. It dawned on him that his family must have made it to them. “Hey ugly why don’t you come over here and show me what you’re made of?” He yelled at the guard. The Minotaur growled and came at him. He smashed him in the face with the pick axe handle and then swung the pointed end at him, catching him in the throat so he dropped. He grabbed the keys and in cuffed himself and handed them to the man next him as more Minotaurs came rushing in. He attacked them with the pick axe, ducking and dodging as they swung at him. He was soon joined by more men and they overwhelmed the minotaurs. Enzo and Victoria came running around the corner. Victoria ran straight into his arms. “I’m so sorry ai let them have you.” She cried.
“It’s okay sis. I need you to heal my back so I can move better.” He said and she let him go so he could turn around.
“Oh Thatcher.” She laid her hands on his back, letting the warm healing heat wash over him.
The Minotaur leader came at Sophie, hitting her in the face before she had time to divert the barrier. She screamed as he pinned her down and started tearing her clothes off. She caused flames to crawl over his arm and he let go, trying to put it out. “Don’t you dare touch me you beast.” She screamed. He hit her again, knocking her off the other end of the stone slab so she fell on her head. Her vision swam, went dark for a moment. He had her by her hair and was hauling her off the floor. “No, let me go.” She slammed her elbow into his nose and he dropped her. He kicked her over and over until she couldn’t move. She was sure he had broken something.
Charles finally made it inside. He could hear Sophie screaming. She was trying to get up. Her face was bleeding badly and she knew she was to be pretty bruised with broken ribs. She could barely fight back any longer. He picked her up laying her back on the stone. He grabbed her arms pinning them down. she had to keep fighting. She couldn’t let this beast take her. She used everything she had in her to electrocute him.
“You can not have me!” she screamed surging more into him. He roared just as Charles burst through the door. He looked over at Charles. “Is this the amazing Charles you keep speaking of?” he said mockingly. Charles was so angry at the site of his wife bloody and naked. He lost all thought and attacked the minotaur. Sophie was relieved to see her husband. She finally allowed herself to close her eyes. She had used so much magic and had taken such a beating.
The Minotaur leader was fast for such a big beast. He dodged Charles’s swing and grabbed his axe. They circled each other like wolves. Charles put himself between Sophie and her attacker. The Minotaur attacked, swinging his axe. Charles blocked and shoved him back, slashing so he cut the monster’s chest open. The Minotaur roared swinging his axe and kicking out at Charles. He wasn’t going to let him close to Sophie again. He batted the axe aside and the Minotaur took the opportunity to gore him in the stomach with his horns. Charles grunted and pushed him away. Blood pured from his wounds, but he refused to go down. Grá came flying into the room, her teeth snapping at the monster as she growled. She was far to small and fast to be caught.
Thatcher, Victoria, and Enzo ran through the maze of tunnels. The other men followed them, unwilling to leave their saviors behind to fight off the minotaurs. They found the cell where the women were being held, killing the guards in the hall who were trying to break down the door. One of the women approached the bars and handed Thatcher the keys. She was pregnant and looked terrified. He unlocked the door and let them out. “Get them out of here.” Thatcher ordered the men.
“We can’t leave you all here.” One of them replied.
“Ys you can. Get them out.”
“The guards took one of us to their leader.” The pregnant woman said. “You can get to him from here if you go back the way you came and take the second tunnel on the right then turn left and go straight.”
“It must be mother.” Victoria said.
“Alright, get out of here and kill anything that tries to stop you understand.” The men grabbed the women, carrying those who were not fast enough or who were too tired.
They took off as fast as they could to get to Sophie. They were sure atleast Charles had made it to her by now. The made it to a building and heard loud fighting going on upstairs. They bounded up and threw open the door. Victoria screamed at the sight of her mother & father. Enzo grabbed Victorias hand. Their power was greater when they used it together. They were so connected they didn’t have to speak to use the same spells. They sent a large burst of fire into the minotaur. It screamed and fell on the ground.
Charles, Thatcher and Gra jumped on it slashing until they were sure it was dead. Charles was exhausted and still pouring blood. Thatcher ran over to heal him. He did enough to stop the bleeding. He knew he should save his magic just incase. Victoria was doing her best to heal her mother at the same time. She cried trying to repair her mothers broken ribs. She finally got one done and her mother woke up screaming in pain. Charles came over and cut the chain off of her. His shirt was bloody but she needed to be covered so he took his shirt off and put it on his wife then lifted her into his arms.
Sophie shivered as Charles carried her through the maze of tunnels. She was in shock. She clung to her husband, afraid that if she let go something would take her away. She started crying when they came out into the night. “Hush now baby, everything’s alright.” Charles whispered and kissed her forehead. They stopped to take a break once they were far enough away. Enzo and Victoria healed them until they were exhausted and they had to sit down or risk passing out. Thatcher just sat staring into the woods, waiting for something to happen. “Thatcher.” Charles said, making him jump.
“Yes sir?” He looked into his father’s eyes, waiting.
“I’m very proud of you. Today you have proven yourself a man despite your age.” He had to swallow the lump forming his throat at his father’s words.
“We should get going.” Enzo said and they all stood, Charles refusing to let go of Sophie. When they got home he was going to take some time off to be with her. This night would take awhile to chase away. He could tell she was still in shock, traumatized even. He kissed her softly as they walked and whispered how much he loved her.
They didn’t stop again until they reached their village. Charles had forgotten about the little boys. Tomorrow they’d still need to figure out where they came from and take them home. When they could see their home Charles said “Enzo, you may stay the night if you want. There’s no need to wake up your parents by coming home this late.” Enzos eyes lit up. He had been very sad because he didn’t want to go home and leave Victoria. He had been so afraid when Kanami told them what was going on.
“Thank you so much.” Thatcher opened the door for Charles and Enzo since they were each carrying their wife or future wife. Charles walked up the stairs to their room not taking his eyes off Sophie. She looked so heartbreaking. He sat her on the bed and took off the shirt he gave her. He layed her down and tucked her in then got under the blanket himself. He pulled her into his arms and stroked her face “You’re so amazing Sophie. You held off that beast such a long time. You should be proud of our son. I’m actually going to talk to the elders tomorrow after we figure out where to take those boys and explain to them what happened. I think our son deserves to be seen as a man already.”
He was relieved when he saw a smile. His wife was a good woman but he wished she wasn’t so adventurous and helpful. Things like this wouldn’t happen if she didn’t have such a sweet loving heart but that’s part of what he fell in love with. Her face almost immediately went back to sad. Hoping to make her smile again he said “I think I’ll also talk to them about Victoria.She fought hard and well. I think she should be considered a grown woman too. I think that would also make Enzo really happy. He talked to me today about his plans to marry Victoria.” She wrapped her arms around Charles again saying “I love you so much.”
Sophie woke crying and screaming. Charles was there to comfort her. He kissed her, his hands moving over her to chase the fear and darkness away. He made love to her slowly, watching her eyes light up with each gasp. When they finished he rolled onto his back and held her close. “I love you so much, Sophie.” He said softly.
“I love you too. I knew you would come for us. I was so scared, but I knew. Poor Thatcher, he’ll have scars and so will you. I didn’t think our children would come after me on their own.” She felt liked crying again, but she held back the tears.
“Children will protect their mother, they will fight for her. Just like she will fight for them, die for them. It’s a very strong bond. They will always come after you no matter what. They have your stubbornness.”
“How terrifying it is to be a parent.” She smiled up at him and he was glad to see it. They lay together until the sun came up then got out if bed and washed the smell of blood and beast from their skin. They could hear the kids downstairs and smell food. Even after all they had done they had rose early to make breakfast for their two biggest heroes. They sat down and ate together. Sophie and Charles made sure their children and Enzo knew how proud they were.
“Today we have to find those boys parents. I’m sure they are scared and want to go home.” Charles said as he finished eating.
“Kanami took them to her house. I’m sure they are up by now.”
Charles continued “Sophie and I will go. You all should stay here ok?” They wanted to go but they just nodded. Enzo thought to himself that atleast he could get some alone time with Victoria that way. He wanted to hold her and kiss her but felt too awkward doing it in front of Charles. He was nice but it was still very intimidating to be with his daughter. Thatcher was still glowing with happiness after his dad told him he was proud and thought he was a man last night.
Sophie and Charles got ready and then hugged their children goodbye. They held hands as they walked to Kanamis. She opened the door then almost knocked Sophie over with a hug “I’m so glad you’re safe!”
“How’re the boys?”
“they seem ok. They keep talking about going home.” Sophie and Charles walked in. Sophie sat down where the boys were playing and said “If we get a horse and buggy could you guide us to where your parents live? “Yeah, we could ride almost all the way there. We’ve actually been to this village once before with our parents. There’s a road that goes almost all the way there and then you just have to go through some woods for about thirty minutes.”
“Ok, we’ll ride until that point and then we’ll find a nice spot for our horse to wait until we drop you off and come back.”
“You’re taking us home now!? yay!” They jumped up and hugged Sophie. “Thank you so much for everything!”
“It’s not a problem” Charles was glad Sophie was doing so much better this morning. He was glad he was able to comfort and save his wife. Her happiness meant everything to him. “we’ll be right back once we’re ready to go. How long will it take us?”
“Only a few hours” The boys said cheerfully. They left to get Spirit ready. They went home to grab some apples and sugar cubes for their horse. Sophie fed her some and talked to her for a little bit before attaching her to the buggy. Sophie always made sure she was comfortable and happy before leaving. They got the boys and set out on their way. Sophie loved their excited chatter in the back. She looked at Charles “don’t you remember when our children were that small.”
“Yeah, now they are all big and Enzos going to marry our Victoria.”
“yeah, I’m glad he found us when he was little. He really is such a good guy and he treats our Victoria with respect. He loves her with all his heart and she loves him”
“I was serious last night. I’m going to talk to the elders and tell them about what happened. I think they deserve to be adults. They handled worse than what people go through to become an adult.”
“I agree, she said with a smile.”
The ride to the woods was pretty uneventful. They passed a couple of people on the road delivering goods to their village. They tied Spirit to a tree and each of them lifted a child onto their shoulders. They walked through the woods, the boys talking excitedly about their mom and dad. Sophie’s heart went out to these small children and their family. They had lost their sister, their parents had lost a daughter. She hoped returning their boys would give them some semblance of peace. They broke through the woods and took another road to a small village on the other side of the forest. They spotted some of the men and women from the mine and guessed they must have come from here or had stopped to rest. Healers were helping them and people were bringing them food, water, and clean clothes. The oys squealed and one of the healers looked up. They put the boys down and they ran to the woman who dropped to her knees and embraced her children.
The woman greeted them with a hug, tears streaming down her face. “Thank you so much. I thought I lost my boys too.” Her husband came running and lifted his boys into his arms.
“We are very sorry about your daughter.” Sophie said and they smiled sadly. “Your sons said she fought bravely.”
“She was always like that, so full of life and fight. We know she didn’t go down easy. Thank ou for returning our children.”
Charles went off to help feed people. Sme of the women were intimidated by him, but he put on his warmest smile and handed them food. Sophie spotted the pregnant woman and sat next to her. “How are you feeling?” She asked.
“Scared. I had such a horrible nightmare last night. One of the men had to shake me really hard to wake me. He said I was screaming and kicking. I scratched him really bad, but he said it was okay.” She tried for a smile, but it barely touched her lips.
“I had one too so you’re not alone.” She grabbed the woman’s hand and gave it a squeeze.
“At least you have a husband. Oh I’m Star by the way. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself before.”
“I’m Sophie, my husband is Charles. I have two children named Victoria and Thatcher and a wolf named Grá. If you come and stay with us you’ll get to meet them.”
“I didn’t think you were serious about that, but I would like it very much.”
“Good. You can leave with us today.”
Star hugged Sophie “Oh thank you! Thank you so much! I’ll help you with anything I can to earn my keep.”
“You will do no such thing until you have that baby.” Sophie looked at her serious and she began to cry as she hugged Sophie. “Are you sure your husband will be ok with this?” Charles had come up behind them “I’m ok with anything that makes my wife happy.” Charles felt bad for the woman. She didn’t look very old and had to go through being raped and now pregnant with that monsters baby. They continued to help until Sophie began to worry about the horse. They hugged the boys and their family again and set off twords home.
Every noise seemed to scare Star. Sophie grabbed her hand. “My husband and I wont let anything happen to you.”
“you’re so brave. I was so amazed by you when you stood up to those minotaurs. None of us had the courage to but when they came to take another woman to their boss you showed no fear.” They soon were at their horse again and set off. The woman fell asleep in the buggy. Sophie layed her head on Charlies shoulder.
At home Enzo and Victoria had gone down by the lake. She was wrapped tightly in Enzos arms “You have no idea how much I love you Victoria.”
“No, because my love is so much greater than yours so I can’t imagine loving you any less” She said grinning. He kissed her for about the millionth time since they got back. Thatcher had gone to get another sword made for him. He was really disappointed he lost the first one. His dad had made it himself. When the man was done he walked home with it over his shoulder. He was planning on just going back to sleep.
Thatcher jumped up when he heard the buggy pull up. He went out to help unhitch the horse, but froze when he saw the pregnant girl from the mine trying to get out of the back. He practically ran to help her down. She smiled warmly and he felt his heart beating fast. “Hello, I’m Thatcher.” He managed to say.
“I’m Star.” She blushed and looked away. She didn’t look much older than him. It broke his heart she had had to go through so much.
“That’s a beautiful name.” Charles coughed to cover up his laughter and Thatcher blushed furiously.
“She’ll be staying with us for awhile.” Charles said.
“You can have my room. I’ll sleep in the attic.”
“That’s very sweet of you honey.” Sophie said with a smile. “Why don’t you show her around and help her get settled.” Thatcher just nodded and offered his arm to her. She took it and he led her inside.
“Well, I need to talk to the elders. Do you need anything while I’m out?” Charles pulled Sophie close.
“No, just get back soon. I need you home.” She felt like she sounded selfish. He had things to do, important things.
“I love you and stop looking so sad. I know what you’re thinking and it’s not true. I love being home. This is my sanctuary.” He grabbed her face and kissed her, his thumbs brushing her cheeks. “I’ll be back soon, I promise.”
He walked off smiling. He loved his Sophie so much and couldn’t wait to get back to her. Even when problems arose he felt like he was living in a dream. He was especially happy over Thatchers reaction to Star. He hoped something good would develop between his son and Star. He had neevr seen his son react that way twords a girl. Everything was perfect and he was going to take plenty of time to just enjoy his family. If the elders felt the same way he did and made his two children adults he looked forward to his daughters joy when Enzo proposed.
He made it to the house of the eldest woman in the village. Sitting beside her was another one of the elders. “Welcome Charles, I’m glad to see you back. Kanami told us what happend. Is your family alright?”
“Yes they are and I have important things to talk to you about if you’ll hear me.”
“we always have time to listen to you Charles. This village could never pay back the debt we owe you for everything you’ve done for it.” He talked to them in detail about all the events then ended with “They showed great skill and bravery. What they went through was harder than any test a person has gone through to prove themselves an adult. I think they deserved to be observed as adults with your blessing.” They whispered to eachother then nodded “We agree with you fully. We will make an announcement to the village and tell them of your childrens bravery.”
“Thank you Charles, you go now and take care of that family of yours. Enjoy them for awhile. We forbid you to take on any jobs for atleast a month.” Charles smiled and got up to leave. He started running. Charles wanted to get back to Sophie so badly and to tell his children. He walked in the door and Sophie greeted him with a hug “where’s our children?” Thatcher is upstairs talking to Star. Enzo and Victoria are out somewhere. They should come home soon. I bet they are getting hungry. What did the elders say?”
“They agreed they are adults now” Sophie looked excited.
By the time Victoria and Enzo came home it was dinner time. Sophie made a large pot of fish stew. Thatcher and Star came downstairs. She was laughing and he was grinning. He blushed when he saw his family looking at him. “Dinner smells good.” He said.
“Have a seat you two, your father has something exciting to tell everyone.” Sophie said as she filled bowls and sat them on the table. Everyone settled down and all eyes turned to Charles.
“Today I went and talked to the elders. We all agreed that it would be appropriate that both Victoria and Thatcher be given the title of adult. They will be announcing it to the village and then planning a celebration to usher you into adulthood.” He explained and oth his children just sat there staring at him.
“Really daddy?” Victoria asked excitedly.
“Yes really angel. Thatcher say something.”
“I don’t know what to say, I’m in shock. Happy shock.” Everyone laughed and Charles hugged his son. “Thanks dad.”
“You deserve it all we need to do ow is work on that sword arm.” He teased and Thatcher blushed again. For all his stubbornness he was equally as shy and easily embarrassed.
Everyone ate, conversing happily. After dinner Enzo grabbed Victoria and pulled her outside. “I have to ask you something important and I know that after everything that happened maybe I should wait, but I’m afraid if I wait too long it will never happen.” He said nervously. He reached into his shirt for the little silver ring he always wore. It had been his grandmother’s and his mother had given to him when he came of age. He pulled the necklace off and slipped the ring of the leather cord. “I’m supposed to give this to the girl I love the most. What I’m asking is if you’ll marry me. It would make me the happiest man in the world.” She squealed with delight and threw her arms around his neck.
“Of course I will. I love you.” He slipped the little ring on her finger and hugged her.
Charles and Sophie grinned while Thatcher sat there with a bewildered look on his face. He opened his mouth and Sophie pressed a finger against her lips to silence him. They heard screaming and Charles rose instinctively to his feet. Sophie pulled him back down. Enzo and Victoria came back inside. He was smiling and she was bouncing around excitedly. She showed them the ring and they all got up, giving them hugs and congratulations.
“Looks like we have a wedding to plan.” Sophie kissed her daughter on the cheek and squeezed her. “It’s about time.”
Victoria was beaming with happiness. Enzo kept looking at her grinning. He was a little worried about asking her and was glad she said yes and was so excited about it. “You have such a sweet family Sophie. Thanks for inviting me to stay” Star said smiling. “We already love having you here. I think Thatcher does the most.” Sophie said smiling. It made Thatcher and Star blush.
The next day the elders gathered everybody and announced it. Everyone got busy getting things together for a huge celebration. Sophie taught Star how to cook some things. Around lunch time everything was ready and the whole village came and celebrated congratulating Victoria and Thatcher. They got especially excited when they found out Enzo proposed to Victoria. It didn’t shock a soul. One of the elders told Charles “Enzo wanting to marry your daughter was just as obvious as when you wanted to marry Sophie.” He grinned. ‘Enzo will make a great husband for her.”
They celebrated for hours. Charles decided to leave early with a few other men to start building Victorias and Enzos home. Once they were married they’d need their own place. It was a busy and wonderful day. The celebration didn’t end until sunset came upon them. That night Sophie curled up into Charlies arms and said “I’m so lucky to have you. You’re always there for me and protect me from any danger.I would’ve been a fool to turn you down when you asked to marry me.”
“I was the fool to not ask you to be mine sooner. You bring such happiness to my life. I couldn’t imagine how my life would be if you said no. I’m the most happy when we are here in this bed and I can hold you.” They fell asleep wrapped in eachothers arms looking forward to the days ahead.