“Minera leave us alone! He says he doesn’t want to go!”
“come on! The forest is empty save for the creatures that chased everything out. You’re supposed to be men, you’re pathetic little panseys. Oh my mommy says I’m not allowed to go there without my daddy or my big bruder because I’m too much of a faggot, poor excuse for a male demon”
“Leave Onofre alone sister!” Jake growled. “what? it’s true. If he wasn’t such a weakling good for nothing you two would go. I don’t see why your mother didn’t kill you at birth” Jake grabbed his friends arm “don’t listen to that stupid bitch. Come on”
“what did you just call me!?” she yelled like she hadn’t just been insulting them for not going where Onofre was forbidden since those monsters could easily kill him since he had no powers and wasn’t even very fast. She threw a wall up and suddenly punched her little brother then pinned him by his throat ‘no! Stop!” Onofre yelled and tried to help his friend but was soon sent flying and skidding through the grass by Minera. She punched her brother a few more times then put invisible restraints on him that were timed to let him go in five minuets. She ran after Onofre who was still trying to stand straight. His eyes widened and he tried to run but she opened her massive wings, scooped him off the ground and began flying to the forest she had been trying to get them to go to. ‘Minera you fucking bitch! Come back! He’ll die! I’ll kill you myself if they kill him!”
Jake was panicking as he fought the restraints. The Nabilas were horrible, vicious, terrible creatures during mating season. Thats why all the other animals left and weren’t going to come back for another month. All they’d have to do is see Onofre to want to kill him and there was no way he could beat one of them as powerless as he was. “he cant even fly Minera” Jake said through silent tears as he fruitlessly fought to get up.
At home Barbarah was excitedly getting everything decorated so when her husband came back from his mens trip today with Thorn, Abraxas & their sons Acastus & Hagen they would know instantly they were expecting their first girl. She had only just taken a test the day after the men left and had been ready to jump out of her own skin with excitement to tell him. She wished her son Onofre had stayed home today to help her decorate but she could do this on her own while he had fun with his friend.
Her happiness came to a screeching halt the second she heard Jakes panicked pleas “MRS PHEST!MRS PHEST!MRS PHEST!MRS PHEST!MRS PHEST!” she heard over and over, each yell sounding more distressed than the last. He explained to her what was going on and her heart sank. She had a new life growing in her but if she didn’t go now Onofre would die. Mating season was more like slaughter season for every creature that wasn’t an Nabila and her son may as well be a human child.
Minera cackled as she hovered above the forest “please Minera! Please..” he begged, tears now pouring down his cheek “pathetic, males are supposed to be strong. Most demon mothers would have done the right thing and killed you when they discovered you were powerless. Natural selection you worthless little shit” she dropped him and went flying off. He could still hear her laughter as his body fell towards the ground.
It felt like he was plummeting for an eternity and when his body finally hit the ground, he swore for a moment that he was dead. Colors and lights flashed before his eyes and all the air left his body so he felt like he was suffocating. He forced himself to inhale and as the pain radiated through his body, he knew he was alive. He wrapped his arms around his body, not sure if he could move quite yet. He knew he couldn’t stay for too long, but he was afraid something was broken and that if he got up, he would make it worse. He gave himself a mental assessment. He didn’t think his arms and legs were broken, but they definitely ached. He took a breath, wincing at the pain in his ribs. That’s where most of it was centered and he was sure that he had broken at least one rib. He hated Minera and wished he had been strong enough to fight her off. She was the only one who made his feel bad for not being powerful. His parents had not cared, they loved him anyway and his father had taught him many things so he was highly intelligent for his age. He wiped at the tears on his face and slowly sat up, gritting his teeth as more pain shot through his ribs. He had to move, he had to find a safe place before he was spotted by a Nabila and ripped apart.
“I’m sorry, I tried to stop her.” Jake said as Barbarah grabbed her sword.
“It’s not your fault.”
“I should have been stronger.”
“It’s okay Jake, I’ll find him.”
“I should go with you, Savant will hate me if I don’t.”
Barbarah turned to him and rested her hands on his shoulders. “He’s not like that sweetie and I need you to wait here for him and give him directions, okay?”
“Trust me, stay here and wait for him and the others.”
“Okay, but…be careful Mrs Phest. I know you’re tough and I know about all the years you were running from Acastus’s dad and protecting him but I wont be able to shake the guilt if you and Onofre don’t come back. He’s my best friend and..” Barbarah hugged him “shh now, I will be fine and I will bring back my son. With or without my husband getting back in time and aiding me my son will survive and so will I. Nothing can or ever will take any of my babies from me” Her voice had become slowly more serious as she spoke. There was no more time to assure Jake. Barbarah rushed out to find her son before something else did.
As she flew she comforted herself knowing that what he lacked in ability and strength he more than made up for in smarts. She knew he could get by there until she arrived. Her heart might be having a hard time believing that right now but in her mind she knew Savant had prepared their son to live in a world where he was surrounded by powerful creatures. Even his older brothers had made sure to sharpen him in all the ways they could so that it wouldn’t matter so much he couldn’t rely on brute strength or the skills other demons so heavily relied on.
Jake sat on the large couch that stretched across the Phest families beautiful living room. The decorations made it look more adorable than beautiful currently. Pink and purple were everywhere you looked, making it easy to see how happy Barbarah was to have a little girl on the way. After three boys she was due her girl. He knew his friend was excited too and had already started on a new crib for his sister that he wanted to finish with his dad. It was barely anything yet but Jake knew it would be gorgeous by the time it was finished. It was helping ease his nerves to concentrate on the new baby rather than think on what might be happening to his best friend because his sister was such a wench.
Onofre searched the ground as he walked, needing some sort of weapon just in case. He found a stick long enough to be used as a spear and quickly found a rock with a thin enough edge to sharpen it. He might not be strong or even quick, but he had muscle memory on his side. He continued on, his ribs hurting any time he would breathe. He stayed alert, telling himself not to panic and rely on his training. He was exhausted, but knew he couldn’t stay still for too long. Anything could be hunting him and he didn’t want to die. He was sure Jake was blaming himself for what had happened, but it wasn’t like he had chosen his sister. He would make sure to reassure him when they saw each other again.
Barbarah flew low over the forest, her eyes scanning the ground as she yelled for him. She dropped down into the actual forest, weaving her way through the trees. She slowed, dropping down onto a branch. She feared not finding him before sundown, but she prayed he would start a campfire. It would make it easier. She wanted to kill Minera. She took a deep breath, calming herself not only for her son, but for the little one growing inside her.
Savant was laughing as he walked through the front door followed by his sons, Abraxas, and Thorn. He felt the fear in the air and his eyes immediately jumped to Jake who was already on his feet and shaking. “Jake?”
“I…I tried…I’m sorry.” Jake replied, his voice quaking.
Savant moved closer and the boy flinched, but didn’t run. He placed his hand on his shoulder and Jake looked fearfully into his eyes. “It’s alright, just tell me what happened.”
“Minera…sh…she hurt Onofre and…and she left him in the forest. I couldn’t…I couldn’t…”
“Calm down, take a breath.”
Jake listened and then explained exactly what had happened. A dark look passed over Savant’s face. “Hagen, I want you to stay here with Jake, everyone else will come with me.”
“Dad, what’s with all the pink and purple?” Acastus asked and Savant looked around, seeing the new colors for the first time.
“Pregnant, she’s pregnant.” Jake said. “She wanted it to be a surprise, but then…”
He had already been livid with Minera, he was light years passed that now. “How long ago did my wife leave?’
“a few hours sir.” He left without another word, his son and friends close around. Savant’s only relief was that Barbarah didn’t just charge out without leaving somebody to let him know what was happening. He didn’t know how he felt about her going alone and hastily but to not trust her to take care of herself wouldn’t be fair to his mate. She had lived many years without his protection, her ability to take care of herself was no different now. Besides, when one of her children were in danger there was little to no reason in her head. Her protective instincts washed out everything else.
“Does he hate me?” Jake asked as he dropped onto the couch.
“Nah, you’re practically one of us at this point.” Hagen reassured.
The sound of rustling leaves brought Onofre up short. He froze, his head cocked to the side as he listened. He scented, smelling an animal. He swallowed as he slowly moved his body inch by inch until he was facing where the noise came from. He brought the spear up as he slowly backed away. There was more rustling and his heart nearly exploded when the male Nabila stepped out. He held his breath, waiting since it hadn’t seen him yet. It was probably following a female and he had just happened to cross its path. It sniffed then looked right at him.
He stayed still, doing his best not to panic. There was a small chance it only looked like the animal saw him. They were as rabid as they were strong so chances were it wouldn’t just be looking at his if the creature knew he was there. HIs hands tightened on the spear, ready to do just as he was taught. If he kept his head he might even be able to kill it in one blow. He knew how since his father had made sure to teach him how he could kill everything that was a threat and near them. Keeping calm turned out to be wise. The Nabila was too focused on finding a female to see what was right in front of it and moved on.
Onofre waited long after it had moved on, making sure not to draw attention to himself. When he felt there was absolutely no way it was still close enough to spot him he decided to go ahead and start finding a place to rest for the evening. Looking for a way out in the darkness would serve little more than to deplete his energy, energy he might need if the next Nabila was more observant.
Barbarah had no plans on stopping. She was so newly pregnant it wasn’t a huge drain on her energy and she had two kids to get out of the woods and safely back in their home. Sounds flooded the night air as Nabilas found mates and fought eachother for the best ones. Barbarah realized with wide eyes she had underestimated the Nabila’s and had been too low. Nabilas were creatures that never quit growing as long as they lived so some were massive just due to how long they had been alive. They were as immortal as demons so there was no end to how big they could be. Before she could see it coming one big enough to snatch her out of her low flight bit down on her wing and slammed her into the ground.
Not missing a beat she was up and ready to fight it. Adrenaline instantly rushed through her veins so she didn’t even feel the small portion of her left wing that was missing and sliding down the throat of the large monster in front of her. It was too huge for a quick kill but she dispatched it and hurried, others had heard the Nabilas death cry and all that heard would be coming to rid the woods of the threat they felt was there.
The sounds coming from the woods as Savant, Acastus, Thorn and Abraxas jumped from tree to tree brought them to a halt. Savant titled his head, listening. “What was that?” Abraxas asked.
“A hunting cry, they’ve found something.” Savant answered as he dropped to the ground. “It must be Barbarah.” He let his other form take over, closing his eyes as his body reformed.
“Whoa.” Abraxas said.
“I am much faster in this form and my sense of smell is stronger.” He inhaled the night air then pointed. She went that way. He was gone, moving lightening quick through the forest. Acastus and Abraxas chased after him, watching his back as he tracked Barbarah. Acastus knew if anything got in their way, his father would destroy it in an instant.
Onofre built a fire just outside the mouth of the cave he had found. He was in less pain that he had been, but still ached a bit. He felt blessed to be born with his father’s blood running through his veins. Any damage done healed fast. He went into the cave and curled up on the ground, his spear clutched in in his hand. He hoped the Nabila would leave him alone, at least until morning.
“Minera, where is your brother?” Her mother asked in an accusatory tone “fuck off” she spat back. “Minera”
“How should I know?”
“because he didn’t tell us he wasn’t coming home this evening and it wouldn’t be the first time you did something to him”
“I didn’t do a damn thing.”
“Do not make me ask you again”
“he’s out with that freak he calls his best friend mom”
“why didn’t he tell us”
“because he isn’t a fucking baby. You dont question him when I dont come home do you?”
“No but you never tell us if you’re coming back or not”
“Well fuck you and dad. Get out of my room!” Her mother slammed the door as she left and Minera sat down on her bed. She felt a slight twinge of guilt but not enough guilt to tell her parents what she had done. She didn’t know if they’d care but she was honestly feeling a bit of regret for putting Onofre in such danger. She wished he wasn’t nice to her. No matter what she did to Onofre he always smiled at her, it was infuriating. She was sure after this that would be over. At this point he had to hate her.
Barbarah slowed, needing to take a breath and assess the damage done to her. Her wing was a mess and it hurt if she tried moving it. She wondered if Savant would be able to fix it. She let her hand slide over her abdomen and mentally apologized to her unborn child. “We have to save your brother okay, then I promise I’ll rest for you.”
Savant felt he was getting closer to his wife. She was moving slower now and he began to worry. Nabila came from the woods around him, sharp teeth and claws trying for vital areas. He gave them little thought, moving so fast the creatures went down in a hail of blood and guts. His son, Abraxas and even Thorn were in awe. “I’ll never get over people like you and my father doing things like that.” Abraxas said as they continued on.
“Your father is the most powerful of us, he is someone to be admired and I do what I must to survive.”
Jake paced and then sat down, felt anxious and was back up again. He needed to be out there looking for Onofre. “Jake if you wear a hole in the rug my mother might not be happy about it.”
“Sorry, I just feel so useless. I’m supposed to be strong.”
“Why, because you’re a man?” Hagen asked and Jake nodded. “Have you seen my father around my mother?”
“Absolute mush and there isn’t a thing he can do about it. Now I know most demons would see this as a weakness, but to me it’s the most important thing in the world. Sometimes being strong means not being forceful. Now sit and trust them to bring Onofre back. I’m sure they’ll have a thing or two to say to your sister as well.”
“Your family is too kind to really do anything to my sister so she wont care.”
“If Onofre doesn’t come home in one peace or mother is too badly hurt my father wont be as kind as you see him normally, hell my brother Acastus and I wont be as kind as normal. For her sake my youngest brother and my mom better come back relatively unscathed.”
“I wish my family was more like yours”
“Demons dont realize how hard they make their own lives being ass’s all the time. Even if they’d get over killing their offspring because they aren’t strong. It’s barbaric and disgusting. I’d like to think we’re better than mere animals but even today we kill our young if they aren’t perfect just as they would do”
“Yeah….Minera has that attitude because of mom and dad…”
“Just because your parents think a certain way doesnt mean you have to. I mean, look at you. You don’t think Onofre should have been killed at birth”
“Maybe I should just leave.”
“You could, you’re old enough.”
“I have nowhere to go, I’d be alone.”
Hagen rolled his eyes. “Just come here, we have the room and I’m sure mom and dad wouldn’t mind. Besides, you’ll learn a lot more here than anywhere else, my father loves teaching.”
“I’ll think about it and ask when Onofre and your mother are safely home.”
Barbarah was cornered. the large Nabila circled her, not letting her get past it in any direction. If she had had her wings, she would have flown as high as she could, but she was wounded and had no choice but to stand her ground. When it lunged at her, she slashed and jumped back, the sting of her blade only enraging it further. It didn’t even notice the blood running from its wounds. She backed away, trying to keep some distance between her and its claws. She felt a sudden presence approaching behind her and before she could turn around something leaped over her head and punched the pouncing Nabila in the head, sending it tumbling. It took her a moment to realize it was Savant.
“Mom we found you.” Acastus said as he hugged her.
Relief rushed through her as she hugged her son back. Now she knew without the slightest doubt everything would be okay. When Acastus let go so his father could hug her Barbarah almost giggled when Savant first looked her over “we’re okay” she said in a soft, reassuring voice. He pulled her into him, one hand resting on the back of her head while his other arm wrapped tightly around her body. He let her go “we need to hurry and find Onofre now. You don’t need to be on the ground, can you not fly?” she showed him her wing. He groaned angrily “these stupid creatures” If he was willing to trust anybody but himself to get his family home he might have sent her back with Acastus, Thorn or Abraxas but he didn’t want Barbarah out of his sight again, not here.
He looked over at his son “I don’t want her exerting herself anymore. Carry her until I can check on the baby and mend her wing. If we are moving your mother isn’t to doing it herself” Barbarah pulled her wings in tight despite how much it stung to do so and let her son pick her up. Almost the very same moment they were off again. Savant was even more worried for his son now that he had seen his wifes wing. She was not some damsel he had to worry about and had gotten herself wounded, so much worse could befall Onfre if he didn’t get to him soon.
It was the smell of sniffing that woke Onofre and he froze as he slowly opened his eyes. His breath caught in his lungs when he saw the smaller Nabila sniffing around on the other side of his fire. It obviously had not seen or smelled him yet, its senses confused by the burning wood so he just waited. He gripped tighter to his spear, ready to stab the thing and run. It came around the fire, its nose to the ground and when it caught a whiff of him, it raised its head and growled. Onofre struck, his spear driving into the creatures face so it yowled and slammed against the cave wall. He was up, running as fast as he could from the enraged beast. He glanced over his shoulder and could see it exiting the cave, it’s eyes finding him.
“Did you hear that?” Savant asked as he came to a very abrupt stop, his head cocking to the side.
“What?” Barbarah replied, worried.
“An animal screaming.”
“An animal or Onofre?” Acastus was just as worried as his mother.
“An animal, Nabila.” He took off running again, moving off the path they had been taking. He let his senses flare out even more, searching for his son’s scent on any leaf or stick they passed.
Soon he knew his son was close by and he went even faster. Finally he came into view with a Nabila on his trail. Savant took care of it just as quickly as he took care of the one chansing his mate. Barbarah pushed out of her other sons arms and went to hug her baby. He was twelve now but still a baby in her eyes. She hugged him and held back her tears “Oh Onofre, I was so worried”
“I’m sorry mom” Savant now stood at their side “I’m happy I have the two of you safe but we will all talk at the house. I want you all out of this place and your mother in bed so I can check the baby then she can rest” Onofre nodded and Barbarah went back to Acastus as Savant picked up his son and kissed his cheek. They took the quickest route out and began the journey home. If Savant wasn’t so worried about his pregnant wife he may have let them rest outside the woods but there wasn’t anyway he’d be able to relax until his family was at home where he could properly check them.
Jake and Hagen were on their feet the moment the door opened. Onofre was glad to see his friend was okay and hugged him once his father let him down. “I am so sorry, Onofre.” Jake said, his voice cracking.
“It’s alright, I’m okay.”
“I want to check you myself.” Savant said and Onofre turned back to his father. Savant checked his son’s bones, making sure nothing was broken. He could see at least one of his ribs had been, but it had healed nicely. Other than that he was fine.
“See, I’m fine.”
“I’m very proud of you.”
“All that training paid off.”
“See baby brother, you’re not as weak as you think.” Hagen said as he tussled Onofre’s hair.
“Why don’t you go and get cleaned up son while I heal your mother.” He turned his eyes on Thorn and Abraxas. “Thank you.”
“It was nothing.” Abraxas said with a smile. “Do you need us for anything else?”
“I can see you and Thorn are ready to get home to your families, please go and tell them we would like to visit soon.” Both Thorn and Abraxas said their goodbyes then Savant turned to his oldest boys. “Bring me Minera and be sure to inform her parents why you have come for her.”
“What are you going to do?” Jake asked.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to kill her. Please go with Onofre and keep him company.”
Savants attention was now on Barbarah “and you are going to our room with our new little one. I need to make sure you two are alright aswell. After I’ve dealt with Minera I’ll work on mending your wing.” He took her in his arms and carried her to their room. He first listened to the babies heartbeat and she could see the instant relief “she is still alive. Her heartbeat is strong.” he kissed her stomach “you will however have to deal with me wanting to listen to her often for awhile” Barbarah gave a small giggle “I know and it makes you amazing”
“does anything hurt?” he asked as he checked for broken bones. “My wing but don’t feel rushed. It only hurts a lot when I have them tucked in tight so I’ll just leave them loose.”
“Want me to make you something for pain? It’ll be a bit before I can fix them”
“It’s really not that bad”
“You already know I can make it safe for the baby”
“I know, I just dont want you to waste your time with something I don’t need. Just let me nap”
“Okay but let me know when you’re up again so I can make you something good to eat” She sat up and gave him a soft kiss “I will, water would be nice for now and a book so I can unwind. I was last reading the one on the rocking chair” He retrieved what she needed then turned off their light before waiting for his boys to collect Minera.
“Where are you taking my daughter?” Minera’s mother asked as Hagen and Acastus hauled her out of the house.
“Our father wishes to speak to her.” Hagen answered.
“She dared to leave my brother in the middle of the woods knowing full well he cannot defend himself as the rest of us.” Acastus added.
“If he had died then we would be here for her head I am sure.”
They pulled Minera outside. “Wouldn’t it have been better for you family?” Minera said as they took to the sky with her clutched in their grasp. “He’s weak.”
“You would do well to hold your tongue Minera, our father is not pleased.” Acastus said.
“And you know your parents wouldn’t dare oppose him. You are at his mercy.”
Onofre felt much better now that he was clean and had eaten something. Jake still looked depressed as he sat on Onofre’s bedroom floor and Onofre wished he would stop blaming himself for Minera’s actions. “Hey, want me to teach you how to make a healing potion that tastes like bubblegum?” He tried.
“I’m surprised you still want to hang out with me.”
Onofre slapped him in the back of the head and Jake looked up at him, confused. “We’re best friends Jake, you don’t give up best friends.”
Onofre gave him a huge smile and got up to get everything they needed. When Acastus and Hagen came home with Minera their father met them in the living room. His whole demeanor was nothing like she had seen before, he was seething and her flight or fight response was begging her to run. Savant took her by the throat from her sons and she was instantly pinned to the floor with Savant over her. It happened so fast it should have hurt on the hard surface but somehow it didn’t, it just terrified her. His sons sat down, honestly surprised he was containing his anger so well. He leaned in close, causing her fear to peak. He hadn’t really done anything to her but his eyes told her he wanted to.
“You will take heed of my warning girl if you know whats best for you. This is the last time the fact that your female will spare you my anger. You’ve teased my son since the day he became friends with Jake and I wont have it anymore. You” his voice had become dramatically darker when he said you and he had to pause trying to control himself. He was near shaking with how livid he was with Minera. When his temper was controlled enough he continued “You not only put my son in danger, you put my wife and the child she’s pregnant with at risk. I don’t want to hear you didn’t know she was pregnant because I honestly couldn’t give a shit. If I would have lost one of them you would have lost your life.”
He had to be quite for a time again to keep himself under control. When he spoke again Savant said “If you weren’t a woman I would teach you a lesson you wouldn’t forget right now but I wouldn’t want to set a poor example for my boys. If you so much as give Onofre a wrong look I will remove your wings so that they can never be one with you again and I dont care if you believe I can do that. You’ll see anyway I’m sure since you can’t seem to help but be horrible. I don’t want you anywhere near my family ever again so when we let you go, go as fast as you can because not only will you lose the ability to fly I’ll teach you the lesson I’d teach any man and beat you within an inch of your life.
Savant stood, still holding Minera by the throat and walked to the front door, promptly throwing her out and slamming it shut. The chill coming off their father was intense but Hagen got up and spoke to him anyway. “Jake wants to stay dad. Can he? I mean permanently”
“Of course, he’s a good boy. Doesn’t need to be around that family of his. Tell him he can stay in Onofres room and we’ll work on a room of his own after we get one ready for the baby” Hagen walked off and Savant went to lay with his wife to get calm before he started what he needed to to heal her wing. Savant ended up falling asleep, cursing in the morning. He was glad his mate had slept all night or he would have really felt bad. Savant ran out of the room, not noticing the delicious smells filling their home. Onofre and Jake were up cooking together as they often did when they had sleepovers. Jake hadn’t known how to cook when they first met but it was one of the many things Onofre had taught him .
When breakfast was ready Savant was still working so they just brought a plate to him while Acastus took one to their mother. “Has your mother eaten?” Savant asked as Onofre set his plate down “Acastus is taking her food now”
“Tell him to make sure she eats. She can go back to resting after”
“You are a good man. Don’t ever hold yourself accountable for your family” Jake smiled “yes sir” with that Savant was focused on work again and the boys left to give Acastus, Savants message. Before the day was over Savant had fixed his wifes wing, checked their daughter about a dozen more time and was finally able to relax. Minera was a bitch but there wasn’t anyway she was dumb enough to ever try to harm his son again.
~ The End