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Alastor & Cyrino 3

Chapter One

Alastor hummed as he walked back from the village below his and Cyrino‚Äôs home, bringing back the food he had bought for dinner. Cyrino‚Äôs most recent job had been tough, having to save the life of a small child. Alastor had hated having to help the families oldest child hold their parents back. He wanted to do something for him. He was so focused on Cyrino, that he nearly ran straight into the demon that had appeared in the road. His heart stuttered and he jumped back. ‚ÄúUm, excuse me.‚ÄĚ He looked the demon over, seeing he closely resembled Cyrino. read more

Neek & Johana

Chapter One

Neek excitedly wrote his best friend back home a letter to let him know he was only an hour away from earth and expected an easy landing. This would be the first time he landed a ship in another planets gravity but he was confident he could do it, he had trained for this after all when he decided to study other planets in the galaxy. He finished his letter then walked it over to a little box and closed it. It was a special box installed on all ships of their species that studied other planets. It was how the information was sent home. Over the course of his study he would send more than letters using that. He’d send samples of the soil, of any fur or scales or truly anything he found interesting and wanted to share.

That box is also how they’d send supplies if and when he needed them so it was important he check it no less than once when he woke up and once when he went to sleep for the night to make sure it didn’t get too full. Neek walked away from the box and made sure his ship would be ready to land. Now he had nothing to do with himself until it was time to land and he almost ached it was so hard to wait. Finally, his first job, he was going to meet other life forms and be able to enlighten his species about them. There was tremendous pride in this job since there was nothing his people valued more than knowledge.

When he was but fifteen minuets from being close enough to have to sit at the controls and guide his ship to land it he transformed into what his species knew the dominant life forms looked like. It was an easy shift for his species. They were known for this amazing ability but that wasn’t the only thing that made his species so great. They didn’t have to learn other languages. When they spoke whatever/whomever they were talking to understood and vise versa. Nobody had to speak their language and they didn’t have to speak anybody elses and so far he hadn’t met another species able to do this.

His species were truly grateful and humbled by these gifts because they made it easy to study other planets without upsetting the population. Most planets they had studied never knew anybody from their planet was there and they tried to keep it that way. They wanted everyone to act as they normally would for a proper study and nothing acts as it normally would if it knows it’s being studied.

Neek gave himself a once over in the mirror to make sure he hadn’t made any mistakes. When he was sure he looked like a human male he sat proudly in the drivers seat and readied himself. Expertly he guided his ship, making sure to cloak and do a quick scan of the ground so no other intelligent life forms who would be upset by him suddenly appearing were present. He followed every step by the book so it came as a near heart stopping surprise for him when he walked out of his ship and saw an incredibly bewildered woman standing there.

“wh….what…what is that ship? It looks…are you an alien or something?” he started to stammer, bewildered himself “You….you can see my ship?”

“should I not be able to?”

“No, it’s cloaked” how hadn’t his sensors seen her. He wondered if she was truly human and boldy asked “are you not a human?”

“wha…what? Of course I am. How is it you drop form the sky in this crazy, admittedly cool looking ship and ask ME if I’m human”

“I’m asking because my scan should have detected you and you should not be able to see my ship”

“well as far as I know I’m human” he felt like he was already blowing his mission but he was intrigued and needed to learn more about this woman. If she was truly a human then they might know less than they think about the human race on earth. “May I scan you miss?”

“scan me?”

“yes, I don’t mean to offend you but the scan will tell me what species you are. The system can’t be fooled”

“do I have to go on your ship?”

“yes”

“then no, I’m not getting abducted”

“abducted?”

“sorry, I guess that’s racist.” he chuckled “I like you, please, I have no plans of abducting you, I’m not even sure what that is. I guess theres no point in trying to fool you so I’ll be honest I am what you’d call an alien. I’m from another planet. I’m here because we value knowledge quite highly and enjoy learning of other worlds. It’s a job where I’m from to travel and live places until it’s properly studied. This is my first mission and I’m the first of my kind to come here. ”

“so you really aren’t planning any funny stuff if I come on board?”

“Just a scan and you may leave at any point” he looked so honest and while she knew she might be putting herself at risk she decided to board his ship. Once inside her mouth dropped open in aw “wow, this is so gorgeous”

“really?”

“yes really, its not stunning to you?”

“My species is rather extravagant in all things. I guess yours isn’t?”

“No, this…oh my god”

“Interesting, I’ll have to write home about your reaction” he enjoyed watching her walk around and was glad she was so comfortable, especially since she not long ago accused him of trying to abduct her. Thinking about it made him ask “what would I have done if I had wanted to abduct you? Is that really bad?” she blushed, feeling even worse about it now “force me to go home with you”

“Oh, never, I mean, I could take you to my home if you wished it but I wouldn’t force you there. I’m not even sure if humans could survive there”

“I really am sorry”

“No need, could I scan you now? I am deathly curious”

“alright, thanks for letting me look around”

“Your curiousness is adorable to be honest. I enjoyed watching you” she blushed again and he asked “why does your face turn red?” it made it worse and he chuckled “human women are adorable, you must tell me how I’m making you do that”

“people don’t blush where you’re from”

“No, so it’s called blushing.”

“:yeah…your…well your embarrassing me”

“Oh no, I’m sorry, I dont know much but I know embarrassing people is rude. Please forgive me, manners are very important where I’m from, my parents and our leader would be furious”

“No no, i think you’re thinking of the mean spirited way, you didn’t do anything wrong by embarrassing me”

“good, you scared me human. May I know your name by the way? I hate to keep calling you human”

“Johana”

“My people call me Neek, now how about that scan” he guided her to a room a little further back in the ship and picked up a handheld device which he typed some things into then allowed it to scan her. He looked as if the wind was knocked out of him and she asked nervously “so…whats wrong with me…why could I see your ship and why couldn’t your scan of the ground see me…I’ve…I’ve always felt weird even though my siblings don;t….” he seemed to be reading now, completely lost in whatever his tablet was telling him “Neek please” she urged, feeling a little scared “Johana…you are more than I could have ever hoped to find here…you are extinct….our people have thought your kind long since vanished from the galaxy…I can see you have mostly humans in your lineage but a few hundred years back in your line was Freg…Freg was the last of his kind after a war between three planets. He went on a trip one day and was never heard from again…he…he must have come to earth and found love…His kind was amazing and my species mourned their loss, a truly interesting and incredibly skilled species. Even as many generations as it’s been you truly can’t do anything your human counterparts can’t do? You should have some sort of ability even if its”

she interrupted him “moving objects with my mind?”

“yes, so you can then?”

“yeah…I just didn’t tell anybody”

“This is fascinating, there are so many things I want to ask you, so many things to do. My leader will be amazed.”

“What things?”

“Sorry, I go ahead of myself, may I test your abilities? I would truly love to see you move things with your mind. I am sure you have many more than just that as well.”

“Sure, here or somewhere else?”

“Here is fine, just give me a moment.” He walked over and picked up a glass vial then set it down on the floor. “There, could you move that?”

“I don’t want to break it if I drop it.”

“It’s quite durable. Most of the things on this ship would only break under massive amounts of force so please don’t hold back.”

She could barely believe this was happening. It actually crossed her mind this might be some elaborate prank and someone was going to rush out with a camera at any moment and laugh at her but she wanted this to be real so badly, she wanted Neek to be real so she’d have someone who could understand her. Possibly being the butt of a joke was worth the chance of being able to be herself around someone. She willed it to move and effortlessly she had it in the air and moving back and forth in the room. He gasped, looking absolutely thrilled “Johana…you, you are the best thing I could have found on this planet. My species truly admired yours. Its an honor to meet you. May I give you some books on your kind so you may know more about where you come from?”

“There’s books about me?”

“Oh yes, the history of your world is quite something. Even it’s fall was something worth recording to make sure nobody ever forgot you lived. We hate whats become of your planet and though I know you’ve never known it to care I want to apologize to you. There was nothing we could do. Freg was gone and the rest of his kind was dead so another species moved in”

“well it wasn’t you guys so you don’t need to apologize”

“The books though, I want you to know about where you came from”

“sure” He looked so over joyed again as he ran out of the room. When he came back he wasn’t carrying anything which confused her until he said “They’ll be sent any moment. Sorry, I just got so excited”

“sent” he nodded “follow me” Neek showed her what he used to send things back home and receive things from them “thats cool”

“yes, it’s one of the most useful things my kind has ever created” When the books arrived he said “Let me carry them to your home for you. They are heavier than they look”

Chapter Two

“Are you saying I’m not strong?”

“Oh, I would never, I apologize.”

“I’m kidding, joking.”

“Oh, I really don’t want to offend you in any way. Please tell me if I do. I’m just so amazed that I might run at the mouth.”

“I don’t mind.”

He smiled. “You really are something, Johana.” He lifted the books. “Please lead me.”

He followed Johana out of his ship, sticking close to her even as he studied his surroundings. He would have to retrieve samples after getting to further know her. They seemed to pale in comparison to his discovery of her and he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to ask her more questions. He wondered if she had even heard of Freg, if her family had ever had a detailed list of their ancestors. He wondered if Freg had died after coming to Earth or if perhaps he still lived out there somewhere. His kind had a very long lifespan if they got the chance to live it.

“How clever” he said as she pulled open her door that had appeared to him to just be ground “thanks, my home is underground”

“is that common for humans?”

“No, its one of the many ways I’m seen as weird but I love it. It’s just like a normal home on the inside”

“I think it’s amazing” she smiled and showed him inside. “you can set the books on my table” she gestured at it and he set them down “Is there a reason you choose to live differently from the other humans?”

“I’ve never felt like I belong anywhere. It’s just more comfortable to be out here by myself. I have friends but I just like being able to separate myself from everyone. I want to say what you’ve told me explains everything but my siblings don’t seem to feel the same way I do”

“Maybe you are just more alien than your siblings. Maybe they got nothing and you got quiet a bit. Any human should not have been able to see my ship and any human should have been picked up by the scan I did.”

“why wouldn’t it be the same?”

“kids don’t tend to inherit all the same traits from their parents and traits as far back in the family as Freg could be long gone by the time it reached your generation. His DNA has been watered down considerably though it is still there. “what else could I be able to do?”

“you should get reading. It will explain everything to you, I promise”

“Okay”

“I’m going to get my ship out of the way so an animal doesn’t hurt itself on it. Am I welcome to come back in when I’m done?”

“yes, I have a guest room. I’ll make sure it’s ready for someone to stay in”

“You are incredibly generous Johana. Thank you, I’ll be right back” Neek walked out and though Johana wanted to sit right down and read she made sure the guest room was ready. She didn’t often have anybody over that stayed for longer than a few hours so she didn’t often worry about it. It looked nice aside from being a bit dusty so she wet a rag and took care of that. She was surprised he still wasn’t back and considered going to check on him but she guessed he had traveled across the galaxy to get here so he could probably take care of himself.

She grabbed the oldest looking of the books, letting her fingers trace the spine and the beautiful designs engraved in the leather of the cover. It was an incredible shade of pastel red and had an emblem she didn’t recognize. “That’s your family crest.” Neek’s voice startled her and she felt a little embarrassed she had not heard him enter. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“It’s okay, I was so engrossed in just looking at the cover I didn’t hear you.”

He smiled as he took a seat next to her. “That’s the beginning of your family history on Freg’s side. It even has lists of people who served in the military, those who were criminals, heroes, when they were born and when they died.”

She gently opened the book and went to the first page, letting her eyes read the beginning of her ancestors. Her eyes widened when she made it to the first name and the date of birth and death beneath it. “This says Amrel died when he was almost two hundred, that has to be an exaggeration.”

“Far from it, they have very long lives.”

“why didn’t we inherit a longer lifespan?”

“I’m not sure. On my way over here I was wondering if maybe he was still alive, hiding somewhere here. If I could find and talk to him a lot of things would be cleared up. For all I know he’s just hiding it. Like, do people in your line tend to vanish once they start getting older?’

“Um, I remember my grandfather traveling a lot before he died. I mean, now that I think about it we never went to his funeral. My father told me it was because there was some mix up in Peru where he was at the time and he was cremated. ”

“Interesting, there really isn’t any reason you and your ancestors shouldn’t have inherited the long lifespan. I don’t think it’s been long enough in the line but this is new to me in general. We don’t know much about humans so maybe it’s all a coincidence with your grandfather and there was actually a mix up. Now that I know he could be here I can make my ship look for him. We have amazing scanners but they have to be set up properly”

“why would they just leave us instead of telling us the truth?”

“I’d hate to guess and make you think something that wasn’t true. Hopefully I can find him here”

“when are you going to start looking?”

“after you’ve read those books. Meeting him will go a lot better if you understand him and where he came from”

“May I ask you another question?”

“anything”

“even though he found love here why wouldn’t he take her home with him? Why would he stay here?”

“As I said a war wiped out all of his kind except for him. Maybe he was scared to take her. Those werent’ the only two planets waring with eachother and this part of the galaxy is far more peaceful. He probably wanted to keep his love safe and going back to his planet would have been lonely anyway since he was the only one left”

“That’s so sad. I can’t imagine losing everyone I’ve ever known, he must be incredibly strong to have continued living.”

“He was and intelligent and he had a big heart.”

“You admire him.”

“I do.”

“If it turns out he is still alive, I would love to search for my grandfather and ask him why he left. He was a good man, he must have had a good reason.”

“If you like, I can offer you assistance.”

“You must be busy. I mean I can’t be the only person you’re interested in.” He cocked his head to the side in question and she blushed. “Not interested in like you know as a person, I mean from a scientific perspective.”

“I made you blush again, how cute.”

He chuckled then continued “I have forever to study this world. My species doesn’t die of old age. We are of course vulnerable to sickness, being stabbed, things of that nature but as long as I keep myself safe here I have eternity to learn all there is to know about this place for my people. You are more than I could have ever hoped to find here Johana. Now that I’ve met you all I care about is learning about you and what became of Freg, I will still study earth and send notes back to my people but you and your family are my main concern. I need to ask you a favor though”

“hm?”

“Do not tell anybody what I am or why I’m here. I want the humans to act normal around me. You can’t properly study things that know they are being studied”

“Thats no problem, I pretty much figured this was not something to talk about with other people. Honestly, nobody would believe me anyway”

“why?”

“Because a lot of people claim to have met aliens and they are considered crazy”

“Interesting, I mean, people could be visiting from other galaxies”

“So how crowded is your planet? I have to ask since my own is pretty crowded and our life expectancy is about one hundred years”

“children aren’t all planned here then” he pulled out a small notebook, writing for a few moments before saying “We only make children if some of us die. Things really would spin out of control otherwise I guess. We’re very peaceful so war doesnt wipe us out, only studiers of worlds, like myself get sick and while we crave knowledge it isn’t a popular job because of all the risks it entails. We don’t tend to die” She wanted to ask how they ensure children only happen if planned but she knew that would probably take an awkward turn.

“thanks for being so open and honest with me” she decided to go with. “you’re welcome, thank you for opening your home. It’ll be nice to have a friend here.”

So, do you have any siblings? Brothers? Sisters?”

“No, it’s just me and it probably will be for awhile.”

“I think if I ever have children, I’d want a couple, maybe more and there’s no way I’d wait hundreds of years. Being so far apart, they wouldn’t ever get to know each other. I don’t think even an alien leader could tell me otherwise.”

He chuckled. “How stubborn, it’s amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever known someone like you. I wonder if Freg was this way, if he carved his own path? I’ve read many stories about him, about his heroism, his intelligence, about his military history, but I wonder if some of who he was as a person rubbed off on you.”

“I hope so. It’s nice knowing I’m not the only freak in the family.”

“Freak?”

“You know, someone that others find strange or weird and tend to avoid or look at like they’re crazy. I don’t have many friends because of how I am.”

Neek reached over and rested his hand on hers. “You are perfect the way you are.”

He chuckled happily when he caused her to turn red again. He wondered if all humans were this adorable. Even if she wasn’t related to Freg he would still want to be around her. It wasn’t long before she was in her bedroom reading and he was in the guest room. He originally intended to go to sleep but he couldn’t and wound up back outside of her home. If he couldn’t sleep and his human companion was down for the night he may aswell take some samples of where he was and send it home. He was surprised how much he was thinking about her as he put small samples in vials and labeled them. Normally his work would consume him but her red face and beautiful voice resonated in his thoughts.

Chapter Three

Johana was surprised at how quiet her home was when she came out to get a drink of water. She didn’t know why she expected him to be up studying everything. She decided to check on him and was even more surprised to find him gone. She checked the time and became worried that he might be out alone at night. The area where she lived had plenty of wildlife and if he wasn’t careful he could very easily walk up on a bear or be stalked by a mountain lion. She grabbed her jacket and went outside, whistling for her crow. The large black bird came swooping out of the night and she held out his arm so he perched there. “Hello boy, I need you to help me with something. You saw the man who came here with me, can you find him?” He cawed and flew off and she followed him, wanting to make sure Neek was okay.

She found him by a pond where he was gathering water samples and humming to himself. Her crow cawed as it dropped down to perch on her shoulder and he turned, giving her a happy smile. “What are you doing up?” He asked.

“You were gone, I didn’t want you getting attacked by something.”

His smile widened. “How sweet of you, but there’s no reason to worry, I have ways of protecting myself if the need arises.”

“Oh, I just thought you might not know about them.”

“I did my research. There are a lot of animals here that are similar to those on other planets.” He closed the vial of water and wrote something on it. “I’ll come back now, I just wanted a few samples.” His eyes moved to the bird on her shoulder. “What a beautiful animal. May I touch him?”

As he asked the crow came right to him which surprised Johana “wow, I’m normally the only one he likes. I didn’t even have to try to coax him over”

“My kind is good with animals. He also can understand me when I talk. I’m actually speaking my own language and when you talk i hear you as if you’re speaking mine. It works like that for my people no matter who or what we’re talking to. I understand the crow and the crow understands me”

“wow”

“I will still misunderstand some things though. If we do not have something, like how I turn you red theres nothing for my mind to compare it to so it wont get translated if that makes sense”

“it does”

“what’re you to Johana?” he asked the crow and it began to speak to him “he is incredibly fond of you Joahana. You are like family to him”

“I’m glad, I care about him a lot. So all animals talk?

“if a species makes vocal noise they talk, it’s just a matter of if you can understand them.”

“I’m envious of your gift Neek”

“You shouldn’t be, you have your own and they make you beautifully unique.” Her blush had him chuckling. “Now that I know what your red cheeks mean, I want to do it all the time.”

“How mean.” She replied in her embarrassment.

“It’s interesting how contradictory you are. Are all humans this way? You say it’s mean, but really you are just shy.”

“Sometimes and then other times it means you’re actually being cruel.”

“Am I being cruel?”

“Not at all, it’s just the way you say things, you really mean it, you’re so honest.”

“But you like it.”

“I do.”

“Good, let’s get you home then, I promise to stay inside until you wake so you won’t worry.”

“Okay” they began walking and she continued talking “I’ve already read pretty far into the first book. I think I’ll make myself get some sleep now but I can’t wait to read more”

“do you have any more questions so far?”

“I think I’ll finish it before I ask. Some of the things that confused me I read a little further and understood so I don’t want to ask you stupid questions”

“gathering knowledge is never stupid. Questions are always welcome. In the long run I’ll probably have far more for you to answer so please, don’t feel like asking me things would be stupid” They made a stop at his ship so he could send what samples he had on him away then went right back inside. “goodnight again Johana, next time I want to leave in the night I’ll tell you. It makes me happy you cared enough to wonder where I was”

“Well, you’re my guest, I feel like you’re somehow my responsibility.”

“You have such brightness in you, Johana, you’re kindness is something to be admired.” He reached out and tucked a little hair behind her ear, letting his fingers gently brush her cheek to feel the heat there. “Sweet dreams, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Sw…sweet dreams, Neek.” She said softly then turned and went back to her room. Her heart was beating so fast she feared it might burst. She had never known anyone like him. No one had been that interested in her and even if it was for research she enjoyed his attention. She pulled off her shoes and jacket then changed into one of her night shirts and flopped down on the bed, burying her face in her pillow.

In the morning when she came out of her room to brew coffee she found him half under her sink “Neek?”

“Johana, good morning” he said as he came out “sorry, I was reading these canisters you have under here”

“My cleaners?”

“Yes, interesting. Why do you humans use such harmful things to clean your homes?”

“I dont know, I guess because my mother did before me and so on”

“Hm” he took his book off the table and began writing. He seemed pretty engrossed in it so she just went ahead and started getting her coffee pot ready. It was half done when he asked “so what is that you’re doing?”

“Making coffee, it’s a drink I really like. A lot of humans drink this actually.”

“whats it made from?”

“special beans”

“oh, we drink many things made from beans on my planets”

“Hopefully you like this. I drink it black normally but I have cream and sugar if you need it. For whatever reason on my period I need cream and sugar” He smiled “intersting”

“Not that I’m into deep conversations about my period but I’ surprised you didn’t ask what that was”

“Oh, well, I hope it doesn’t upset you but I was very curious about the what I now know is a laptop and I started using it. I like you quite a bit so eventually I started using it to learn about human women. It seems this laptop as its called will make learning about humans tremendously easier”

“How long have you been up?”

“we only sleep about four hours’

“wow”

“do you normally sleep nine?”

“yeah but some humans sleep as little as six” the coffee finished and she poured him a cup. “i like this, thank you”

“are you hungry?”

“yes”

“I’ll make you breakfast”

“okay, do you mind if I go check my ship to make sure nothing was sent to me?

“Go right ahead, cooking will take me awhile” Neek hugged her then noticed upon letting go how confused she looked “friends hug, yes?” she smiled back “yeah”

“Please tell me if I ever make you feel uncomfortable.” She nodded and waited until he had left to let out the breath she had been holding. He had such an effect on her and her cheeks were red again. She pulled out the ingredients she would need then got to cooking, thoughts of him constantly distracting her. It was so strange meeting him. It wasn’t unusual for her to take walks in the evening, but there had been a feeling in the air, almost like an echo and now he was here. She believed the universe had wanted them to meet.

Neek was excited to see that he had been sent a couple of more things concerning Freg, one of which was a picture of him. It was the last that had been taken and he wondered if the man had changed or if he still looked the same. He wondered how life on Earth had effected him. The other was a war medal with a note attached saying it was for his descendant, that she was the owner of all things left of him. He smiled, hoping Johana would be happy to see it.

He carried the things he received back home to her, the wonderful smell of pancakes and sausage filling his nose “I’m back Johana” he said pleasantly “hi, what are you carrying?” He held the medal up so she could see it better “This war medal belonged to your ancestor Freg. I’m happy to have something other than my word to give you so that you can see how brave he was”

“when I’m done cooking may I hold it?”

“Yes, in fact I received a message that says everything that belongs to him is now yours so you can do anything you want with his medal” Neek sat down and continued talking “that smells incredibly good Johana. Is that pork and pancakes?”

“yeah, more stuff you learned on my laptop?”

“yes”

She giggled. “And you say I’m cute, just look at you.”

“Me? What did I do?”

“It’s your enthusiasm, it’s actually quite adorable.”

He seemed to think about this. “I’ve never considered it that way. I just can’t help myself, your world is truly fascinating. I can’t wait to see more, to learn more, especially about you.”

She blushed and he grinned. “Oh stop, I can’t help it.”

“But I like it so much, I find myself wanting to say outrageous things just to see them effect you.”

“Such a bad boy.”

“Bad boy?”

“It’s like the cool kid in school who also has this sort of rebellious nature, it tends to attract people. Like oh how mysterious and brooding he is. I was making a joke because you’re the exact opposite.”

“Oh.”

“I think the more time you spend here, the more Earth humor will make sense.”

She served breakfast then picked up the medal “This is pretty cool. I might hang it on one of my walls”

“If you tell me what to do I’ll help”

“alright” she tried to pretend like she wasnt watching and waiting for him to try her food but something told her he knew and was smiling at how adorable he seemed to think she was. “Very good, I like this. I’m already seeing things that kept Freg here” She felt comfortable enough now to enjoy her own food and soon they were done and hanging up Fregs medal. “I don’t know how I’d explain this to family but I just really want it on the wall”

“speaking of family are you ready to board my ship so we can search for Freg? If he’s here my ship will find him”

“yeah, just let me change out of my pajamas” He waited patiently for her to come back out, grinning at her again once she came back. “You always look so happy”

“I have you as a companion, why wouldn’t I be happy?” she blushed again, cursing in her head but she did like the way his face lit up when he made her blush. They boarded his ship and he started typing something into what looked like a large computer. “so this is how you so easily worked my laptop”

“yep, your laptop is incredibly simple”

“we’re behind the times in electronics huh?”

“You are just new in comparison to most planets” she let him continue what he was doing in silence. She didn’t want to bother him and make him change his mind about sticking around her. “there we go. I have to sit at the controls but you may do and look at whatever you wish. Just for your own safety please don’t touch anything. I don’t know enough about your human body to know whats all safe for you on here”

“Okay”

Chapter Four

Johana didn’t even realize they were off the ground until she looked out the window. There was no dip in her stomach like when you would ride an elevator or a plane, the takeoff was much smoother. She watched as the world zoomed by for a few minutes, amazed that she was actually flying on an alien ship. “This is so cool.” The sound of amazement had Neek smiling. Johana wandered away from the window to look through the ship. She had only seen the room where she was scanned before, but now she could actually explore this amazing piece of technology. He had some many wonderful things and she did her best to take it all in. Her favorite room was the nursery and all the different plants he had growing there. She wondered if these were all from samples or if they were from his home world. She wanted dearly to bury her nose in the petals of some of the flowers, but she wasn’t sure if they were toxic or not and decided it would be safer to wait until Neek could actually show her. She made her way from room to room, staying out of his when she found it. She knew he had said she could do what she pleased, but she wanted to give him his privacy.

Johana was happy when she could hear him walking toward her “Enjoying yourself? The ship is fine for now but I will have to check the controls every now and then”

“How will we know if it finds Freg?”

“it will tell me. Was there anything you wanted to touch? Now that I can follow you you don’t have to be so restricted”

“You seem a bit tense”

“I do not like the thought of anything on my ship hurting you which is odd. Not that I like hurting people but normally my need for knowledge would have me excited about you roaming around here so that I could know how the human body reacts to my plants and things like that. I have things from home here so it’s not so..so lonely I guess, I can come aboard here if I need to to have a piece of my home…anyway…I wish I had a different human to touch things before you did…my relationship with you is more than just curiosity. I truly consider you my friend Johana.”

“I don’t have to touch anything but I’d love for you to tell me about some of the stuff on here”

“Anything you wish.”

Johana smiled and he felt his heart stutter. She slipped her hand in his, the warmth of her skin sending a shock through him. “I want to see the flowers.” She said as she pulled him and he followed her to the nursery. “Tell me where you got them.”

“All of them?”

“Yes, I want to know about each one. They must all have stories.”

He chuckled. “I love that about you, your curiosity, it one of my favorite things already.” She blushed and he grinned. “That of course is the other.”

“Um, the flowers.”

“Oh yes, sorry.”

They walked back to where the flowers were and he began talking to her about each and every one. He loved how genuinely interested she seemed in his planet. When he was done talking to her about the flowers he said “I never showed you the picture I received of him. Would you like to see it Johana?”

“sure” he unfolded it from his pocket and handed it to her. “Hm” she said as she stared at it. “Hm?”

“Maybe it’s just family resemblance but I feel like I’ve seen him before”

“Maybe he’s checked on you. I’m sure he cares about you”

“really?”

“I really think the only reason he would have stayed away at all was the inability to explain he was an alien and thats why he didn’t die”

“I wonder if the woman he fell in love with knew”

“Perhaps, Freg was an honest man, but even if he had kept it to himself, she would have noticed a few strange quirks. He probably would have been a lot like me on his first visit here. There is also the matter of his gifts. I am sure he would have effected things around him.”

“You mean the telekinesis?”

“Not just that, but yes. Perhaps he caught something without actually touching it, or saved his children from harm without ever putting a hand on them to do so. He was a soldier and the books say he could do things that others only imagined doing. He was incredibly gifted.”

“I wish he would have stayed. At least I wouldn’t have felt so alone.”

“I’m sure once he sees you, he’ll wish to know you. Who wouldn’t?”

She smiled. “You really are sweet.”

“I’m just incredibly fond of you Johana. Her heart stuttered and she looked away “No, don’t do that. I can’t see you turn red as clearly” He took her hand this time and pulled her into another room of his ship. When he had to go back to his controls Johana sat on the floor beside him “can I ask you a question?”

“always”

“do all aliens look like we do? I mean Freg must have and you do and you two are from different planets”

“Fregs race actually does but this isn’t what I look like” He felt nervous telling her that but just like Freg he was an honest man. “what do you mean”

“You know how I have the neat trick of speaking and being understood in whatever language the being I’m speaking to speaks?”

“yeah”

“well I can also look like any other race I want to….I doubt without it we could so easily study other beings…as i said….nothing acts like it normally does if it knows its being watched”

“that makes sense” she started then asked a bit nervously out of worry it was stepping over some boundary to ask “may I see what you really look like Neek?” Neek stepped away from the controls and walked over to her, offering his hand to help her up. She took it and that same shock of warmth hit him, a warmth he didn’t like the thought of scaring away. “To be honest its a little more than blending in. My race isn’t a very attractive one. I could scare you Johana”

“Nothing scares me”

“I will show you but only if you’re sure you want to see while you’re stuck in this ship with me”

“Neek, I want to see and it wont upset me”

“Then because I care for you I will let you truly know what you’re allowing in your company” She felt bad at how nervous he seemed. She wondered how many species had had a bad reaction to them. “could you close your eyes?”

“of course” she said and closed them. With those beautiful green eyes closed it was easier to make himself shift back into what he really was. It took him a few moments after changing back to actually tell her to open her eyes. He could’ve cried when she didn’t seem afraid in the slightest. She simply said “No wonder you’re such a tall human. You’re pretty big. I’m not even sure how that even works out.” he smiled and she asked “could I touch you?” visually it was hard to tell if he had skin or fur by the way it looked. It seemed like some sort of hybrid of both. “yeah, it’s okay” She felt him and said “Oh my god you’re the softest thing ever!” She hugged him, unable to help herself from rubbing her face against him. He smiled, actually shedding a few tears. This would be the first recording of a pleasant first reaction to a being seeing what they really were.

Seeing him for what he was also explained why this ship was so massive, it had to be if he didn’t make himself smaller as he had when he made himself look human. Still holding him she asked “I want to know what your language sounds like too if that’s okay? Can you turn off whatever translates?”

“really?”

“I just feel so close to you and while we’re getting this personal I want to know what your language sounds like” he mentally turned it off and said something he had been feeling but was only brave enough to speak on when she couldn’t understand “I’m falling in love with you”

“sounds really cool” he flipped the mental switch back so she could understand him. He wanted to change back so her image of him wouldn’t be so seared with this grotesque looking body he was born in but she was still holding him and his desire to look like a human again didn’t outweigh his enjoyment of her being close. It was only a few moments later when the ship said “Freg located”

“I have to land” he said softly and she let him go.

He took the opportunity to change back to his human form and he couldn’t help but catch the look of disappointment on her face. “So, he’s really here?”

“That’s what my scans say.”

“I’m a little nervous, what if he doesn’t like me?”

“That’s impossible, you’re perfect.”

“Oh stop, that’s not true.”

“It is, you’re the most amazing woman in any galaxy on any world and even if he doesn’t like you, you will still have me.”

Chapter Five

She could tell he meant every word of that and it touched her, warming her heart and filling her with butterflies. They soon landed and Neek showed her how to get the ramp to come out “I don’t know why I wouldn’t be able to do this for you but if you are going to travel on my ship you should know how to get off” Johana was a bundle of nerves as she walked off with him. “How will we find him now?” she asked, looking around to find they were in some sort of mountain area. He pulled something out “this will guide me to where the ship found him. He’s close”

They soon found one of the largest houses she had ever seen. It seemed so out of place since nothing else was around here. “He’s in there Johana, are you ready?”

“as ready as I’ll ever be…I wonder why he has such a big home” Neek hoped his hunch was right and that maybe his descendants did live as long as his kind did and that when they got too old he brought them here. He hoped it with all he was because he never wanted Johana to die. He was growing far too attached to her. Neek knocked for her since she was so nervous and soon a woman answered who apparently knew who Johana was “Oh Johana, sweetheart. You’re here” realization dawned on the woman “how..” she trailed off looking at Neek “Hm, you’re from Krawnum right, you are why shes here already”

“Yes, I’m the first to be assigned to earth. I met Johana as soon as I arrived”

“come in, Freg will be so happy” when the woman left her in the living room Johana said “she knew me”

“Like I said, knowing Freg he loves you very much and has probably checked in on you” Freg was soon in the room “Oh Johana, look how beautiful you’ve become”

“How do you all know me. Neek says I’m descended from you but I didn’t realize we had met”

“It’s a long story, normally I’ve been much more involved but…eh…before I continue how close are you to your mother? I don’t want to make you mad”

“Not very, I love her because shes my mom but we don’t hangout much now that I’m an adult. We didn’t even hangout when I was a child if I could help it once she and dad got divorced” Freg sighed “well we all had a bit of a falling out. It all started because against my advisement your father waited to tell her he was of alien lineage until they were trying to have kids since obviously, she was going to find out. Now I will admit that was wrong of him. I told him and told him to tell her. I honestly think it should be talked about before marriage even happens but we can’t go back now. At first she didn’t believe him and actually got your father committed to a mental institution for awhile. It pissed me off and I tried to help by showing her some things but she flew off the handle making all sorts of wild accusations and just to be blunt being crazy in general. I know it can be a hard thing to take in but her reaction was to be a nightmare for awhile”

He sighed “well eventually they reconciled and he denied who he was to get out of the looney bin. They had you three wonderful kids but there was another big falling out when you were four and through her friends at the police department theres actually restraining orders against me and the rest of the people in this house. It broke my heart Johana…especially when I got so hopeful after the divorce that your father would mend the relationship. He didn’t come to me so I decided to go to him. I told him we could forget everything and be a family but he had no interest. He blames me for how things turned out with his wife. It doesnt make sense to me but theres nothing I could do. They worked your laws to prohibit me from your life. I dont know what they were planning on telling you guys when you didnt age so you’d have to ask your parents but…I love you Johana and I hope you aren’t angry. I honestly don’t know how I could have handled things better. Your mother just…”

“shes a bitch” Johana finished. Freg nodded “trying to be polite since she is your mother”

Johana wrapped him in a tight hug. “I’m sorry, if I had known earlier, I would have let both of them have it.”

Freg hugged her back, looking ready to cry with his happiness. “Perhaps some day, your father will come and see us.”

“I’ll make him, there’s no reason for him to be a jerk to you, it’s not okay just because mom freaked out.” She raised her head. “What about grandpa, is he still alive?”

Freg nodded. “He wrote us about a month ago asking how things were going. I couldn’t lie to him, but I told him not to worry about it, that things would work out in their own time.”

“I’m surprised he listened, I remember him being kind of stubborn.”

“He is, but everyone seems to listen to me so he’s held off. Now that you know, I’m sure he’ll come back.” He turned his attention to Neek. “Thank you for bringing her.”

“It’s an honor to meet you, sir, everyone back home will be ecstatic to know you still live and that you have a family.”

“Is Jaen still the leader of your planet?”

“Yes.”

“I’m surprised he hasn’t handed off leadership to his son.”

“After what happened to your planet, he decided not too in case an attack came our way. It’s been a long time, part of me thinks he forgot and his son doesn’t seem to mind.”

“are you excited to have an assignment?”

“Yes and I’m really glad it was here. I have found you still live and honestly I really enjoy Johana’s company. I don’t know if I will ever have a desire to leave this planet now that I know her” he said a bit nervously. “well you two are welcome here anytime and Johana, when you get too old and the humans grow suspicious you can live here or I can figure something else out for you”

“Thank you”

“would you two at least stay for dinner, please? It has been so long since I’ve been able to see you Johana. To be honest I’ve popped up in your life in little ways very discretely but I can actually spend time with you now”

“I’d love to, are you going to stay Neek?’

“Yes” They had dinner and Johana greatly enjoyed getting to know the generations that came before her that were staying there. She didn’t understand at all her father not wanting to be a part of this any longer. That night she was shown a room and Neek started to leave to sleep on his ship. “You don’t have to Neek” Freg said “Oh no, it’s fine, I can get some work done just…could someone make sure to come get me when she wakes up” Freg smiled knowingly “you care about her as more than a friend don’t you Neek”

“it’s obvious?”

“very, you should say something”

“I’ve only known her a few days”

“so?”

“shes seen what I really look like. She had a good reaction but being my friend and dating soemthing that looks like my race does are two very different things. I mean, we barely breed outside our own race for a reason, most others wont have us…I’m sure you remember how big and ugly we are”

“I doubt Johana cares”

“I don’t know…in time…I’m not ready yet”

“alright” He went outside and started writing down notes to send back home to be properly filed. Afterwards he looked at the time and came to the sad realization she’d probably still be sleeping for another six or seven hours. He went ahead and turned in for the night since that would move the time another four hours. Once he was up again he used the time to study and take samples of the mountains they were in. His heart nearly leaped out of his chest with happiness when he heard Johana call his name “good morning Neek” she said, hugging him tightly “good morning Johana”

“what’re you doing?”

“getting work done while you rest. I’m happy to see you’re up now”

“breakfast is being made”

“Then I will happily join” she took him by the hand, that little gesture once again causing great feeling to course through him. They hungout the remainder of the day before they both decided they should be going back to her home. Johana was beside herself with need to reprimand her parents for robbing her of knowing these people. All those years she felt like she didn’t belong and they just let her feel like an outcast. They could have told her at any moment and they kept Freg a secret.

When Neek could let the ship fly on it’s own he said “so we never talked about how I really look”

“what’s there to talk about?’

“Johana”

“I’m serious, I actually like how soft you are” he smiled “really?”

“yeah, you can drop whatever you do to make yourself look human any time around me. I like you no matter what you look like Neek” emotion tore through him but he kept himself from crying. Johana accepted him, she truly accepted him. He took her in his arms and held her close. She didn’t object and it felt so incredible to hold her he kept her in his arms up until he had to land his ship again.

“I was wondering if maybe you wouldn’t mind coming with me to talk to my father.” Johana said when they were finally off the ship.

“If that’s what you want. Where does he live?”

“In town, but we don’t need the ship, I actually have a jeep.”

“Okay.” He hadn’t noticed a vehicle when he arrived and it was soon made apparent when pulled away the tarp that was covering it. The color had helped it blend into the surrounding area. “That was surprising.”

“If I don’t cover it and it rains or snows, it’ll mess up the interior.”

“I see.”

“The ride’s a little bumpy, nothing like how your ship is, I hope that’s okay.”

“Anything is fine when I’m with you.”

Her cheeks reddened, but she smiled instead of ducking her head. “Then stop worrying so much about your appearance, you’re perfect the way you are.” His heart danced in his chest as he climbed in next her and he didn’t even notice the bumps on the road as he thought of how he would tell her how he felt. It was the first time he had been genuinely scared to be honest with someone.

It was a long trip into town so she had to get gas as soon as they arrived but then they were off to her fathers which turned out to not be much farther than the place she stopped to fill up her car. “Hey baby, what’s up? Who is this?”

“can we come in?”

“Of course” they walked into his living room “I’m going to cut to the chase. This is Neek, I met him as soon as he arrived on earth. You heard right, arrived on earth, hes an alien. He figured out pretty quick that I’m not human and he has taken me to see Freg and the rest of the family. Dad…I am so angry at you for keeping them from me. You know how weird I felt, how I felt I didn’t belong. You let me feel like a freak instead of fessing up about our family. That really hurts dad but whats worse is you pushing them away because moms a bitch. I’m sorry and no those were not Fregs words so dont get even more angry with him but mom is a selfish bitch and shes the one who wrecked our family, not Freg. You need to make up with him dad and you need to tell him you’re sorry”

Chapter Six

“Johana, you don’t understand.”

“Stop treating me like a child. I was so alone as a kid, you should have told me I wasn’t some sort of freak.”

“I just wanted to protect you.”

“Why because mom was horrible and had you committed? Because you couldn’t just stand up to her and tell her you weren’t going to be pushed around and bullied into lying? I’m your daughter and Freg is family. Mom tried to make us into something we aren’t because she’s selfish. I’m not a freak and neither are you, so stop being a jerk to the people who love you and apologize.”

Johana could see her reprimanding had hurt him. She had never raised her voice to him or shown him disappointment and the look he was giving her was heartbreaking. “I’m sorry.”

“Daddy, please, for me, tell Freg you didn’t mean it and have the restraining order dropped. You even had grandpa ready to come home and tell you off so please.”

He tilted his head down in shame “I’m sorry Johana…okay…I’ll go see Freg and the family and apologize…I’m sorry for how all this hurt you…I didn’t think about how it would affect you I guess. Your mother just made me feel like what we were was bad…”

“I can’t stand her”

“she’s your mother”

“all she thinks about is herself. I’m not even sure if she loves us” he sighed and pulled her in for a hug “well I love you and I’m happy you’ve met this Neek. Where are you from?”

“Krawnum”

“ahhh, so you’re here for knowledge”

“yes, earth is my very first assignment”

“welcome, it’s an interesting place, thats for sure”

“I can take you to Freg if you’d like”

“No, I have my ways of getting there so it’s okay”

“I love you dad” Johana interjected. “I love you too pumpkin”

“we’ll go ahead and go but you better call me tomorrow”

“I’ll do better and come over to see you” Neek and Johana started back home in her car. Once they were home he said “you got so upset. I could hold you again to bring you comfort”

“Thats really sweet, thank you. I’d like that. You could let yourself be in your true form if you want. You’re so soft that way” he got an uncomfortable look on his face and she sighed “theres nothing wrong with the way you actually look Neek, at least not to me”

“okay but I cant be me in your house. I’m too big”

“I didn’t even think about that. Okay, well anytime you want to be you we can hangout in your ship” he smiled and followed her into the living room where she turned on a movie and they cuddled up to eachother.

Half way through the movie Johana started to doze off and found herself blinking in hopes she would stay awake. She was enjoying being with Neek and still had so much to think about with her family and herself. She wasn’t the freak anymore, but part of a whole that loved her. “Hey, you should get to bed.” Neek said and she shook her head. “Why not?”

“Because I want to stay with you.”

He felt his heart beat quicken. “Really?”

“Yeah, so can we go on your ship? You can be you and I can sleep next to you.”

“I think someone is half asleep.”

“I know what I’m saying, so please? You’re so warm and soft.”

“Okay, if that’s truly what you want.”

“It is, I know you’re a good guy so I’m not worried.”

“Alright.” He stood and gently lifted her, enjoying the way she snuggled up to him. He took her out and onto his ship and found her something comfortable to wear. He felt so nervous as he waited for her to change.

“You still haven’t changed.” She said when she came out the bathroom and got under the covers. “Come on and no secretly changing back while I’m sleeping.”

He swallowed, still not understanding how shed want to be so near him when there was nothing to hide what he really looked like. He had read so many recordings of horrible reactions. He had been warned so many times not to scare creatures of other planets by revealing what he looked like and here the most beautiful creature he had ever seen wanted him near her and she wanted him to look like himself. He morphed back into what he truly looked like and changed into something more comfortable before getting in bed with her, feeling a little afraid she’d come to her senses and run away, back into the safety of her home.

She cuddled right up to him and said in an absolutely content voice “Oh my gosh, it’s ridiculous how soft and warm you are” his lip trembled softly as he wrapped his arms around her “goodnight Johana”

“Goodnigth Neek” she shifted a little against him and was soon sound asleep. “I’m so happy I came here and found a treasure like you Johana: he whispered as a few tears fell into her hair. He followed her into sleep, basking in how incredible it felt to cuddle with someone.

The next morning she woke feeling completely refreshed and let out a contented sigh. Neek was sound asleep and she slowly propped herself up so she could look at him. She didn’t understand why he thought he was ugly when it was the exact opposite. She let her fingers slide over his cheek and down across his chin. He let out a little groan and she felt herself blush when he opened his eyes. “Johana? Are you alright?”

“F…fine.”

He looked confused. “Is it me? Should I turn back?”

“No.” She said loudly, feeling embarrassed to the point that she buried her face in her hands to hide how red her face was.

“Johana, what’s wrong?”

“I was just watching you and I wanted to touch you so I did. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Touch me?”

“Just your face.”

He gently pulled the covers away from her face and tipped her head back. Her entire face was adorably red. “But why?”

“I just..well…I think you’re handsome, both ways.” He didn’t see how but he was incredibly touched. He asked a question before his mind could catch up and stop him, he had just wanted to do it so badly “may I kiss you Johana” her red face got even darker and he smiled “yes” she answered so he slowly moved in to kiss her. All thoughts ceased the second their lips met. It was his first kiss though he’d be embarrassed to admit that to her. Back on his planet he had been so preoccupied with becoming a traveler he hadnt had a second thought when it came to relationships.

When they stopped he hugged her again “Johana” she thought he was an adorable kisser. He was so cautious and awkward and she wondered if it was because he was in his natural form or if maybe she was his first kiss. Not like she had kissed that many men but he was still precious to her. He had such an amazing heart. ‘I love you Johana” that kiss had given him the confidence to tell her how he felt. “I love you too”

“May I keep you?”

“Keep me?”

“I want you to be with me always”

“I’d like that a lot. I think I’ll talk to Freg and see if we can build a house you can fit in. Maybe we can live closer to him”

“You truly like me this way it seems”

“I can definitly get used to how soft you are, especially at night. Thats the best sleep I’ve probably ever gotten. You kept me so warm too” he chuckled happily “your father is coming today but I’ll take us back to Freg when he leaves.”

“I just want to stay here all day.”

“I know, but we shouldn’t be rude right?”

She smiled as she pressed another kiss against his lips then got up, stretching. He found himself wanting to pull her back, to keep her close and touch her. She looked over her shoulder, smiling. “Come on then.”

“Oh, yes, sorry.” He felt so awkward in that moment and her giggling only made it worse. He now knew what embarrassment felt like and he had never been so thankful he couldn’t blush. He took a quick shower while she waited and came out of the bathroom dressed and in his human form.

“So handsome.” She said as she straightened the collar on his shirt. “And I mean both faces.”

“Thank you, Johana. Would you like to bathe here or at your place.”

“My clothes are at my place.”

“Oh, right.”

“Don’t worry, I’m sure Freg can help us into a situation where we can stay in the same house where you can also fit” When they were back at her place he started studying her world through her laptop while she showered. She hadn’t even gotten out yet when her father knocked on the door “she’s showering”

“You’re staying here?”

“yes” he smiled “Freg said you were interested in her”

“yes sir, I actually asked her to be mine last night and she said yes”

“That’s good to hear. I know from my father what good souls your people have in general. I’d honestly prefer you over most human boys” Neek was happy her father approved. “while we wait could I ask you some things about her?”

“shoot”

“shoot?”

“sorry, I mean go ahead”

“what does she like? I want to give her something or possibly even make her something”

“Now that is something I’d gladly help with Neek” Her father filled Neeks head with ideas right up until she came out “Hey dad”

“I went to him last night and we worked it all out. I stayed there until this morning”

“good”

“are we cool now baby?”

“Of course we are” she hugged him and he said “You and Neek have any plans today?”

“I want to see if Freg will help me build a house that Neek can stay in as himself instead of masquerading as a human” He smiled “well then lets get to it. I’ll come too, I stayed away so long I kind of want to go back his way anyway” The three of them returned to Freg who was happy to construct them a home up where he lived “and this is even more discreet Neek so you don’t have to worry about being discovered here. I’d hate for someone to somehow stumble on your ship”

“Thank you Freg” They started doing what they needed to do that day and in the meantime they lived at Fregs. Both Johana and her father had so much to catch up on with them and Johana loved learning about Fregs planet. The books had been an amazing gift from Neek but hearing it straight from a man she was related to was exciting. The day their house was fully constructed and ready to live in Neek still couldn’t believe Johana actually wanted to be with him and that she was so accepting of what he really looked like she had wanted this house so he could be himself. Neek knew he still had a job to do here on earth but she was now his top priority. Neek vowed to himself that he was going to make her the happiest woman that ever existed.

~ The End

Ryoko & Donat

Chapter One

It was Aras turn to watch as the brothers slept so he was the one Ryoko was striding angrily towords. He almsot couldn’t believe his eyes for a moment “Ryoko?” she sighed angrily once she was standing before him “Hello Aras, don’t worry my anger is not at you. Truly I;m grateful to you. Thank you for not leaving me in the dark. For having enough faith in my abilities to know you could tell me…for…” he didn’t know if she wanted to scream or cry, maybe it was both “anyway, I’ll stop talking. I’m bitter so I could ramble for hours and this is too grave of a situation for that. I knwo at first I said fuck Donat and a couple other nasty things but I…well….I have never stopped loving him. I hate him but I love him and I don’t know if you understand how sick it makes me inside. I couldn’t just keep living my life knowing what he was up against so I got to work gathering valuable information for you guys. Weakness’s what not…you know…that stuff I could have done from day one if given the chance…if given a choice in my own damn life”

Aras pulled her into a hug. He knew he might get stabbed but he didn’t care. He didn’t want to imagine her pain and he still loved her like a sister. “I’m sorry Ryoko, it was the truth when I told you he’s been hurting since he left you” She gently pushed Aras away after letting him hug her a few moments “I really don’t care. Screw him hurting. We didn’t have to break up. Thats what he wanted and decided for us without talking to me about it. He obviously never loved me the way I thought he did and I wont hear you defend him”

Aras nodded “I also still stick by he was a moron Ryoko. You deserved honesty from him”

“Damn right I did”

“This information, what is it?”

“I know their whole schedule for the next two months so we can plan on an oppotune time to strike against them and yes we. I’m helping weather he wants it or not. I don’t even care if he’s found another girlfriend and shes here with him I’m helping because I love him and I couldn’t live with myself if he died and I had done nothing to help him in this situation. I will help and then he’ll never see me again. I’m going to move to another world, one where I’ll be sure I never cross Donat again. One of my friends is going to help me get set up there”

“I understand Ryoko. I’m glad you’re here. We could have probably gotten much further into ending this or even have been done with it by now if he would have let you help”

“I’m glad you have a brain Aras”

“Ryoko, I swear he loved you” she rolled her eyes and pointed to a tree “I’ll be sleeping there. “wake me when they wake so I can explain everything I know”

“rest well”

“Aras…seriously…thank you. i really liked you and missed you when Donat left me. You and your other siblings are the brothers I never had”

“we feel the same about you, though replace brothers with sister” She gave a sad, worn down smile. It ached him to see in her face all the pain she had been in. Before all this she had been such a happy spirit. It almost made him want to cry to see her so far from what she had been. Ryoko climbed in the tree and saw a glimpse of the sleeping Donat. He looked so peaceful, so fine without her. She sighed, feeling like an idiot. Nobody had fooled her until Donat and she would never let it happen again.

Donat jerked awake the moment the sun touched the horizon. It was out of habit and he sat up, blinking the sleep from his eyes. He knew something was off when he saw the look on Aras’s face. Something had happened. His immediate thought was of Ryoko. If something had happened to her even after all he had done, he would hate himself even more than he already did.

“Aras.” He said. “Are you alright, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Aras pointed to the tree Ryoko was in and Donat stood up, his eyes wide and mouth open. “sit down Donat”

“why is she here?” he whispered urgently. “remember last year when I took a small break from this to visit the grave of my wife and child. I did honestly go but after I tracked her down and did what you should have done. I told Ryoko the truth about why you left her. She is a strong and smart woman Donat. She is an aide to us and even if she wasn’t I think almost sixty two years of a relationship gave her a right to actually know why you left her so suddenly. Donat you ripped apart her heart. When I was told where she was I found her just sitting by a lake bawling her eyes out. I know you’ve missed her and you did what you did out of love but be understanding because she is angry and hurt. I wouldn’t go over there and bother her. She’s going to talk to us anyway when shes up about all she’s figured out. Just from what she told me last night she has very valuable information. She has their entire schedule for two months.”

Donat just stared at her, his beautiful Ryoko resting in the tree. His bottom lip trembled as his heart twisted. He suddenly felt Aras rest a hand on his shoulder “I hope you’re not mad at me brother but I think you’ll come to accept I did the right thing in telling her. These are dangerous men but Ryoko, she’s a dangerous woman. A dangerous woman who will always love you”

Ryoko woke to the smell of food and soft chatter. She sat up, stretching and looked over at the men who were sitting around the fire eating. Her eyes were instantly drawn to Donat and he must have felt her gaze because he glanced at her. She quickly looked away and climbed down, her heart beating furiously in her chest. After all this time, he still had the same effect on her. She did and didn’t want to speak to him, but she knew this had to be done. Aras gave her a nervous smile as he held out a bowl with eggs and ham.

“Good morning.” He said. “You should eat, you’ll need the energy.”

“Thank you.”

Ryoko quickly ate her food then said ” I got here really late last night so I figured it would be best to give you my information In the morning. Are you all up to speed on Aras telling me what’s going on a few months back?” Hideki looked a bit nervously at Donat “well everyone knew but Donat that he was going to tell you. We all thought from the start you should know Ryoko”

“Yeah so please don’t hit us” another one of his brothers added. “I was just wanting to see if I needed to catch anybody up. Anyways, all this time I’ve been doing what I do best, gathering information.” She started going on and on, giving them every bit of information she knew no matter how small so they could plan as strategically as possible. “Damn Ryoko, you never stop surprising me” Hideki said in aw.

“Just doing my job.”

“And you’ve always been good at it, we’re glad to have you aboard.” Aras added.

Ryoko glanced at Donat who was steadily watching her. “I’m happy to hear it. We can move anytime.”

“Well we know we can’t hit them head on, that would be too obvious.” Hideki said. “What do you think Donat?”

He cleared his throat, needed a moment to decide what to say. Having Ryoko around made him nervous. He missed her so much and felt bad over breaking up with her but he had no idea how he should even begin with her now that she was back in his life. He pushed those thoughts to the side for a moment, now he really needed to get this problem he had unintentionally caused himself. Now Ryoko could get hurt and he’d rather die a long torturous death than have her harmed. “I think the best time to try and attack is when he gets his liquor delivery to his mansion. He gets some delivered twice a month without fail right Ryoko?”

“To that location yeah”

“we could steal the trucks so we can get by his guards. If this has really gone on for years I doubt they pay much mind to the trucks.”

“Seems logical but we are pretty far from the mansion that gets those deliveries and if we don;t make it by next shipment the other is long off. That gives them a lot of time to find us instead of us finding them”

“True, I mean, you” he shuffled nervously talking to her which made him feel even weirder. Until he was a complete dumb ass nobody made him more comfortable than Ryoko. “You and I have pulled off some serious hustle when we’ve needed to Ryoko. No time crunch has ever been too much for you and I”

‘well good to know you remember something of my skill. I’ll go for this plan if you think your brothers can keep up with us”

‘we can, our brothers life is in danger. We’ll force our bodies along if we need to Ryoko”

“Well lets get going boys.I know a good way we can take from here.”

The path was old and looked like it hadn’t been used in quite some time. The ground was muddy and their boots stuck in it every couple of steps, but the roundabout route kept them from being detected. Donat watched Ryoko as they walked, wanting to talk to her, to apologize, to say anything at all. He forced himself forward where she lead his brothers and she didn’t even bother to look at him. “Ryoko?”

“What is it?” Her voice was cold.

“Could we talk?”

“Unless it has something to do with this mission, then no.”

Donat looked at his feet. “No it doesn’t, sorry for bothering you.”

He dropped back behind his brothers and Ryoko took a deep breath. She didn’t know why he was bothering to try now in the middle of all this. She didn’t think he had the right to look sad, but he did and she had been somewhere between hitting him and hugging him. It wasn’t fair the feeling she still had for him, the way her heart betrayed her the moment she was faced with him again.

They followed Ryoko without complaint when she didn’t bother to stop for lunch. Donat had expected it but his brothers weren’t used to doing that. Either way they didn’t complain and diligently followed her. They had just turned on to an even rougher looking path than they started on and Ryoko warned “Donat and I have been this way before so he is aware but this area is loaded with snakes. There’s other creatures too but you only need to worry about the snakes. Please be careful, we don’t have the time for one of us to get bitten”

“we’ll be careful”

“Where we will come out is plentiful with fruit. I promise we’re going to eat in max two hours. I know how hard it is on you to be hungry Hideki.” She sounded honestly apologetic in the end and it made Aras laugh while Hideki said with crossed arms “I haven’t whined once”

“But you do look like you’re near death. You’ve been pitiful ever since you noticed she wasn’t going to stop earlier” Donat pointed out and Hideki glared at his brother. Ryoko half smiled, she had missed this so much. It was hard not only losing Donat but loseing the men she felt were her brothers. She cleared her head and focused back on the mission. She would be leaving this world after she helped Donat and that meant never seeing them again either. “Just keep in mind we’ll be walking and eating”

“No problem”

Chapter Two

Hideki was so happy when they made it to the fruit, that he didn’t thank Ryoko until he had a mouthful of it. It made her laugh and he blushed in embarrassment. They all took a couple of minutes to gather some and then they were off again. “Where does this path end?” Aras asked.

“Before the first checkpoint. The trucks have to hit three of them so we’ll ambush them before they get to the first one.”

“Three? Are you sure they won’t notice?” Hideki asked after he swallowed.

“They won’t notice, I promise. All they need is to recognize the trucks, not the drivers.”

“You and I can take point in the first truck, Hideki and Aras can follow in the second. Less questions will be asked if we take the lead.” Donat said. He was trying to be business like in his approach with her, but even he could hear the depression in his voice. “If you don’t mind that is.”

“Sounds like a good plan.”

Donat felt a little hopeful. They’d be in a car alone and maybe he could use that time to get her to hear his apology. He didn’t deserve her forgiveness but regardless she deserved an apology from him. They discussed his two other brothers just going home once they obtained the trucks. If they bothered to check the backs they knew two extra men hiding would alert them. Ryoko assured them that this would be the end, she’d make sure of it no matter what she had to do. Bartosz, worried if he’d see her again and now knowing his time with her was very limited he went ahead and asked “What’re you doing after this Ryoko? You know…just because you aren’t with our brother doesn’t mean you can’t see us”

“well, I was planning on moving to another world. One of my friends is going to help me get set up there. I can come back and visit though. I promise I will if you guys do really want to see me still”

“Please do, make sure I know where you end up living please”

“I will” Emeryk joined the conversation and Donats heart sunk. She was planning on moving to another world and the thought about destroyed him as they walked along.

The trail took a sudden slope downward and and they all managed to stay on their feet as they slid to the bottom, coming to a stop in some thick underbrush. “They should come right here.” Ryoko said as she gestured for them to duck down.

“Are you sure you want us leaving?” Emeryk asked. “We can still find a way to get us in.”

“If you want to help, then follow the trucks on foot, maybe take out the middle check point. You can wear their uniforms to blend in. It’ll make our escape easier if we have you monitoring things from there.”

“Understood.”

“How do you want to play this?” Donat asked.

“I’ll just run out there and pretend like they hit me with the truck, they’ll be confused.”

“Just be careful, they may not stop in time.”

“I’m not a dainty flower Donat. I’ll be fine” He sighed “Ryoko, I know you’re not and I know you’re angry and I’m not saying you don’t have a right to be but I can’t help but worry about you in situations like these”

“how did you manage to date me for so long with what I do for a living? I piss plenty of people off. Not this level of bad people but still.” He groaned “I worried all the time”

“but I always came back and in one piece ”

“I know but you’re my world Ryoko”

“don’t you say that. You left me”

“Ryoko I’

“save it Donat. We need to lay low and be quiet.. I don’t want to fight about this in front of your brothers anyway and they can’t really leave us right now. I’m sure they feel awkward already”

“It’s fine Ryoko, please, talk it out as much as you two want.” Aras said and Donat responded “No, she’s right, we need to be concentrating..” He looked so heartbroken again which also had her wanting to both punch him and kiss his sadness away. It was so much easier to hate him before spending time with him again.

The sound of the trucks soon broke the silence and Ryoko prepared herself. “They’re getting close, just turned the corner.” Hideki whispered. Ryoko shifted her feet a little. “Now.”

She jumped out and the lead truck slammed on his brakes, the tires sliding in the mud as he came to a stop an inch from her. The men inside did just what she knew they would, the exited, looking bewildered and concerned.

The five brothers waited until they were consumed in seeing if Ryoko was okay to take them by surprise. While killing them would ensure the men wouldn’t inform anybody about what happened none of the brothers killed unless it was absolutely necessary. They knocked them out cold and stole their clothing before dragging them into the underbrush. Emeryk chanted a spell to keep them sleeping long enough for this stunt to work then they all loaded into the delivery trucks. “are you okay?” Donat asked as soon as they started moving “It didn’t hit me”

“can we talk more about us?”

“after this check point coming up I guess. It seems to be unavoidable.” Her tone was angry and still held that pain that was twisting his heart. He would feel bad no matter what she was sad about but it was him that hurt her and it had been weighing on his soul since the day he broke up with her. At the first check point one of the inspectors said “First time I’ve seen a female in these trucks”

“I told them to hire me or I’d kill them.” The inspector laughed “You have spunk, I’m sure this guy doesn’t mind riding with a hottie anyway. Either way I’m going to need some verification you’re supposed to be on this delivery, you two sir. I don’t know you either” They took these guys out just like the others, hid their bodies and had Emeryk make sure they stayed asleep.

“I was surprised they asked.” Donat said as they drove away.

“Hopefully they won’t make a fuss over us at the others.”

“I doubt it, we’ve made it through one, they probably won’t question us again.” He sighed then turned to her. “Ryoko, I’m sorry for hurting you.”

“How can you even begin to say that?” Her voice was already shaking.

“Because it’s the truth. Hurting you, I didn’t want to, but I knew if these monsters got a hold of you, it wouldn’t just be you dying, it would mean they would rape and torture you and it would be my fault. I wasn’t going to let them take you because of me.”

“You mean you had so little faith in me you would have rather seen me broken and hurt by you.”

“I know what you can do Ryoko, but these men, they’re not like others. They show no hesitation, no mercy. It was hard for me to…”

She wasn’t sure how she managed to hold the steering wheel and slap him, but she did it. She was shaking and angry and wanted to hit him again. He waited, giving her time to decide, but she couldn’t do it. She clenched the steering wheel, her eyes focusing ahead again. “It was hard for you? What about me, what about the tears I shed over you, what about the sick twisting in my stomach and the rage? What about that? What about the years we spent together just thrown away because you wouldn’t trust me?” She felt herself choke up and she quickly wiped at the tears filling her eyes.

“I’m sorry, so sorry for everything, sorry for betraying everything that we were. I need you to know that you are and will always be the love of my life, that no matter what, there will be no other. I’ll live with this shame forever.”

Ryoko wanted to say so many thing but couldn’t speak. She was gripped by her heartbreak and anger. She was less angry but it was still there. She managed to dry it up and look normal through the next checkpoints but Donat knew her too well not to still see the inner turmoil. Ryoko suddenly stopped just a few miles out from the house “Donat” she said with a long pause falling after. He just looked at her, waiting patiently for whatever she had to say to him. After a shakey inhale and exhale she said “I love you..I…I have hated so much that I still love you but it won’t go away. I love you and I’ve missed you so much” silence fell again as she struggled to talk. Donat continued to say nothing, knowing she was just struggling to speak.

“I…before we go in here I just need you to know incase I do die that I don’t want you to be alone forever…thats…thats ridiculous…. I don’t want to die thinking you’d do that to yourself. You’re a man of your word Donat. I know if you tell me you’ll be alone forever you’ll be alone forever…don’t do that…”

“Without you, I will always be alone, don’t you know that? I could never give my heart to another woman.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I do because if you die, then I die.” Feeling brave, he took her hand. “I love you, Ryoko, forever. Even if I never see your face again, I will love you and only you.” He let her go, not wanting to linger too long in case she pulled away. “We should go before they get suspicious.”

“Donat.”

“You know me, once I make up my mind, it’s hard to make me change it.”

It was a bitter laugh but she laughed “you know…that was one of my favorite things about you when we were together”

“Ryoko…if you’ll ever have me again. I’m yours. I don’t deserve you but that does nothing to quell my need for you. I have missed you every moment of every day since I broke up with you.”

“No more of this Donat. I came here to kill these men so they wont kill you”

“Thank you” They were welcomed in the gate and pulled up to where she knew the cars were supposed to park. This was it, they were here. Dead in the middle of the worst group of people this world hosted. She was determined not to fail, they all were. The place was heavily guarded so they started bringing the stuff in like they were supposed to, getting some of them inside and the ones that would start outside spread out. Emeryk would stay outside. He was the only one with powerful magic and his magic would be the best at taking out more targets at once. They knew they would be overwhelmed if they didn’t take care of all the men outside first.

Bartosz and Hideki were the ones who started attacking from the inside while the other two brothers and Ryoko began their fight outside. “Eeryk began chanting and moving his hands and arms in fast, definitive movements. Instantly nature began bending to his will adn he was taking out man by man while simultaneously protecting his family from bullets. Ryoko knew that he had even said a protective spell on Batosz and Hideki before they entered to keep them safe while they fought.

Chapter Three

Donat wanted their leader and that was what he focused on as he cut through the enemy. Some of them recognized him and didn’t hesitate to attack him. He wanted to check that Ryoko was okay, but he made himself go forward. She had wanted him to trust her, so he would. He knew she wasn’t weak. Ryoko’s daggers blocked and slashed as her body twisted away from enraged men. She could tell that they had skill and that they fought to kill, not to disarm. She could also tell that they were far more interested in her than was appropriate and that if she did fail to block an attack and survived, she would be shown no mercy. She wondered how many victims they had had, if any of them were still on the premises and if they would be willing escape.

When they had defeated everyone outside they went inside to help Bartosz and Hideki who were to all their relief still fighting and looking relatively unharmed. Hideki had a shoulder wound but from what they could see it wasn’t that bad. Ryoko was surprised that even with all the magic Emeryk had used outside his spells had lost none of their power and he didn’t look the least bit tired. His magic was amazing before but it had seemed to grow even more in these little over three years. As Ryoko took out another man she looked around for Donat and couldn’t find him in the room with her. She wondered if he had been forced away or if he was actually trusting her to take care of herself.

She didn’t have much time to ponder it before she was fighting again. Aras came running past the room she ended up in “you okay Ryoko?” he yelled “Yeah” she answered and he took off. Donat had now found the boss and was staring him down “You have the nerve to come here?”

“You’ve been trying to kill me”

“You cost me millions”

“I saved a womans life. I didn’t take millions from you I took a human being and let her go home”

“You know we killed her anyhow right?”

“it’s part of why I’m here to kill you. You and your men, you’re sick assholes”

“I won’t be the one dieing today Donat Bryga and even if you DO win today, we’re just supposing. I have sons under me in different locations. Even if they don’t care about the money you lost me they’ll care you killed me, a price will still be on your head”

“I’m sure Ryoko has a plan to handle that when this is over”

“Ryoko?”

“she’s none of your concern unless she enters this room, then she might gut you before I can” He laughed “a woman, gut me?’ Donat took his laughing fit as an opportunity to attack. He knew it wasn’t fair fighting but this man didn’t deserve a fair fight.

Another man fell before Ryoko and she was off again, her eyes still searching for Donat. “Where is Donat?” She asked Hideki when she came upon him.

“He ran ahead, probably looking for their leader. Be careful, he’s more dangerous than these guys.”

Ryoko trusted Donat, but he didn’t have to face the leader alone. He had made it a point to let her know how dangerous these men were. The sound of clashing blades hit her ears as she drew closer to the room where Donat was fighting against a man who was probably much tougher than the ones she had helped dispatch. The door was open and she rushed in, sliding to a stop. Both of them were covered in blood, their clothes torn. Donat had been stabbed in the side while the gang leader was bleeding from his thigh.

She caught the attention of the leader who licked his lips lustfully despite whatever pain he was in “Is that your Ryoko” Donat took another cheap shot while he was distracted by her. “You fucker!” the man cursed and Donat spat angrily “don’t you fucking lick your lips at her!”

“What, she’s not yours, she can’t be. In all our clashes I’ve never seen her”

“We used to be together dick head” Ryoko retorted, getting ready to help Donat fight. “why are you here then if you two aren’t dating now”

“None of your business” she yelled as she ran to attack him. She wanted to end this quickly before Donat lost too much blood.Donats adrenaline was pumping even harder now that Ryoko was in the room. There was no way in hell he’d let this monster spill any of Ryoko’s blood.

She was fast, but he was faster and he interceded, blocking a blow from the leader’s blade. He shoved him back, giving him a look of death. “I don’t care how mad it makes you Ryoko, but I’m not letting you fight him. Not because I don’t trust your skill, but because I know his.”

“Donat.”

“I love you Ryoko, really and truly love you and I would rather die than let him harm a single hair on your head.”

Ryoko felt that old fluttering in her chest and choked up. “I…I can’t lose you.”

“You won’t, I promise. Just be ready to haul me out of here once he’s dead.”

“Oh how cute, you think you two are going to get out of here. Wrong, I won’t even kill you, I’ll just make you watch while I torture her.”

Donat fought ferociously, he had more to lose now than he had in the past four years, now Ryoko was at risk. It made him smarter and faster as he would attack and defend. The match before her was hard to watch, there was far too much blood.

Donat finally landed a blow in the perfect place on the leaders neck. Blood spewed everywhere, even all over Ryoko. Ryoko didn’t give a damn, she barely even noticed. All she cared about right now was if Donat was okay. She ran to him and screamed for his brothers.

They came running and Ryoko gave him a brief kiss on the lips ” don’t you dare die! Live and I’ll kiss you again”

“I love you too.” He managed a little half smile as his legs gave out and she helped him lay down. “Damn I’m tired.”

“You’re going to be okay.”

“I know, I’ve got you, that’s better than okay.” His brothers came running in, all of them covered in blood.

“We have to get him out of here.” Aras said as he and Hideki pulled him up.

“He’s bleeding out, we’ll take one of the trucks.” Hideki replied.

“I’ll drive, Hideki can ride up front with me just in case.” Bartosz said.

“We have to stop his bleeding.” Ryoko’s heart felt like it was being twisted.

“We will as soon as we’re on the road.” Eeryk said. “I’ll close his wounds as quickly as possible.”

They got him to the truck as quickly as they could manage. Once driving away from that horrible mans mansion Emeryk tended the wounds as Ryoko held one of Donats hands between hers. Donat struggled to keep his eyes open. The only reason he was honestly able to hold on at all was that Ryoko was there. She was there and it seemed like he might have a chance with her again if he just held on and thats all he needed to cling to his life. “Emeryk” Ryoko said through her tears “I’m trying Ryoko, his body is so weak it’s not responding well to my healing magic. Bartosz cursed at the uneven rode. It was undoubtedly making Donat hurt worse and the jerking movement couldn’t be helping his condition. By the time they arrived in a civilized area Emeryk had managed to stop the bleeding but Donat was still in rough shape and now passed out.

As drenched as they all were in blood the inn keeper was afraid of the men. They didn’t know if they could get a room or not until he recognized Ryoko. “Ryoko?”

“Hey Tyson, please, we need a room and a medical professional”

“Yes, right away” he gave them keys then promised Ryoko he’d be right back. The brothers carried Donat to the room they had been given and laid him on a bed. Ryoko snuggled up to him, tears streaming down again. “who is the keeper of this Inn Ryoko?”

“I’ve done two jobs for him. The last one I took a considerably smaller payment than normal. I felt for his situation. I tried to do it for free but he insisted on paying me something”

“so we can trust him?”

“I’m sure we can. I am aware this isn’t fully over and we have to be weary. He’s a good man, he’s really gone to get a medical professional” The brothers just watched them with heavy hearts, glad to soon hear the frantic pounding of the owner. He and who they assumed was here to take care of Donat came in.

“How much blood has he lost?”

“Who are you?” Aras asked.

“Kaiden, now answer me.”

“We don’t know.” Ryoko answered. “He was bleeding pretty bad on the way here, Emeryk barely managed to close his wounds.”

“We’ll just say almost all of it then.” Kaiden opened the bag he had brought with him and pulled out a tube with needles on either end. “If we don’t give him blood then he will die.” He rolled up his sleeve and stuck a needle in his own arm then did the same to Donat.

“Wait, isn’t that dangerous? You could make him sick or kill him.” Bartosz said in protest.

“Not for me, it’s one of my gifts.” He opened the tube and his blood started flowing toward Donat.

“What do you mean?” Hideki asked worriedly.

“My blood always matches that of my patient no matter who they are or where they come from.” He raised his eyes, looking at Emeryk. “You know magic right?” Emeryk nodded. “Good, he’s going to have a fever. I’m guessing you know how to mix up something that will keep it under control. He’ll need help drinking it, he’ll be weak for a few days.”

“Thank you Kaiden” Ryoko said emotionally. When the medic left the room the inn owner asked ” did you all want to stay in one room? I still owe Ryoko a lot. Another would be free of charge”

” We’d only stay in another room if a room right by this one was available” Aras answered. ” Only the one to the left is open”

“Then leave Ryoko and Donat to themselves and us four will share the second room. Ryoko, be sure to scream at the top of your lungs if anything happens. We cleared that mansion out but still, be on alert” Bartosz said. ” I think I should stay and help Ryoko keep an eye on Donat.” Emeryk interjected.

” He’s right guys, I know you were trying to give us privacy but Emeryk knows more than me when it comes to stuff like this” Ryoko answered.

Everyone said goodnight and Emeryk made himself a bed on the floor. Ryoko was too worried to sleep so she stayed awake, running her fingers through Donat’s hair and talking softly to him. “He’ll pull through, try to rest.” Emeryk said.

“I’m terrified of losing him.”

“He feels the same and he does hate he hurt you, it’s all he’s thought about.” He then chuckled. “Though if I were you, I’d milk that sorry as far as I could.”

“Emeryk, he’s sick.”

“I know, but I have to poke fun at him, it’s my job as his brother. Get some sleep okay, I’m right here.”

“Thank you.” She snuggled as close to Donat as she could.”I love you, you fool, I really do, so wake up soon.”

He woke around three am, the slight movement waking Ryoko. “Donat?” she asked in concern and he answered “Where are my brothers?”

“Emeryk is on the floor and your other brothers are in the room beside us”

“I was hoping we were alone”

“I’m just here to give you medicine. Don’t mind me”

“How’re you feeling?” Ryoko immediately asked. He gave her a warm smile “I couldn’t feel better…..you stayed in here with me”

“well if you lived I did promise to kiss you again”

“No sex guys!” Emeryk said louder than he intended. Donat laughed. It sounded so weak it didn’t give her the normal joy it had always stirred in her before now.l

“You know, I will get up and toss you out.”

Emeryk rolled his eyes. “You’re about as threatening as a box full of kittens.”

“They have…claws and teeth.”

“Stop arguing with your brother, you need rest.”

“Can you help him set up?”

Ryoko gently lifted him into a setting position while Emerk mixed up a potion for pain and fever. He helped his brother drink it then Ryoko laid him back down. “The others alright?”

“Yeah, not a scratch that I saw.”

“Good and you?”

“I’m fine.”

“Can I have that kiss now? I think that asshole gave me a sedative.”

“Damn right I did, you need sleep.” Emeryk said as he settled back down.

Chapter Four

“yeah” Ryoko answered and moved in to kiss him. She felt a slight tremble in his lips as he began to kiss her which tugged at her heart. He really had missed her as much as his brothers claimed. Emotion almost had her crying as their lips moved against eachothers and he began to hold her to him. They weren’t married so she didn’t know what he was feeling but she could tell anyway that he was kissing her like he might not get another chance. She could feel his sadness, could feel how sorry he was and how much it hurt him to think she might never fully forgive him and take him back. “damn it” he said sadly as he finally parted their lips “what?” Ryoko asked “I..ha..hate you Emeryk” he had barely managed to get the words out before he was sleeping again.

“I can’t believe he stayed awake as long as he did. I knew it would take quite a bit of sedative to get him down but damn, he really hung in there” Emeryk said to Ryoko in a sleepy voice.

Ryoko gave a small smile and kissed Donat’s cheek before settling into bed. She watched him until her eyes grew too heavy to keep open and she fell asleep. It was ten in the morning when she was woke by knocking on her door and she sat up, her hand going to her dagger. Emeryk was in a crouching position, ready to cast spells. “Who is it?” She called.

“Aras.”

She breathed a sigh of relief. “Come in.” The door pushed open and Aras stepped in then closed it. He had a tray with food and drinks on it.

“I brought you breakfast. Man he’s out cold.”

“I might have sedated him.” Emeryk said as he helped his brother with the food. He handed Ryoko a plate of pancakes and a cup of coffee then took his own.

“He woke up?”

“Yeah, you know how he is, stubborn as an ox.”

“He made sure we were all okay.” Ryoko sighed. “I wish we could clean him up, all that dry blood, it looks awful.”

“When he wakes again, I’ll help you get him in the tub.” Emeryk said. “How is everyone else?”

“Good, worried as am I. If he ever does something like that again, I’ll strangle him.”

Ryoko ate her breakfast then Emeryk convinced her to take a shower. She knew she looked pretty bad herself with all that dry blood on her so it wasn’t very hard to get her in there. “so they kissed a pretty long time” Emeryk commented when he heard the shower start ‘They’ll get back together. They love eachother too much not to. They were a pretty enviable couple those sixty plus years. ” Aras answered. Aras collected their dirty dishes then left the room again. They ended up having to stay a few more days for Donat to be back to his normal self but once he was completely better they gathered in Ryoko’s room to discuss their next move. Ryoko and Donat sat close together though they still weren’t a couple again. Things were rekindling but it was still hard for Ryoko to start that fire again. It had hurt too much when he extinguished it the first time.

“So we need to take out his youngest son first. From the intel I gathered he doesn’t want to do the work he does. His fther didn’t give him a choice. It was family business or death. Now I know everybody always has a choice but imagine growing up with an evil dad THAT powerful. He wants to be a good man and I really think we can sway him to turn on his family.” Ryoko said and it was clear fast Donat didn’t like the plan. “Ryoko, that’s too much of a risk.”

“Donat, we’ve never killed anybody unless we had to. We don’t have to kill the youngest son. I won’t kill him unless we can’t persuade him.” He sighed “and I bet you want to be the one to talk to him”

“I know more about what he’s been through. I need to be the one to talk to him”

“we will surround her Donat. You know none of us would let Ryoko get hurt. We all love her” Bartosz said causing Donat to run his fingers through his hair in frustration “okay but if he tries to harm you it’s over” Donat said, looking over at Ryoko. “I know I he wants to be good Donat. He hates the life his father has forced him to lead.” Donat nodded “well lets check out and get this part done.”

“we’ll check out, you and Ryoko make sure we didn’t forget to pack anything” The brothers left leaving Ryoko and Donat alone in their room. She took his hand “Donat, let me talk to him okay. Don’t get paranoid and ruin everything when I try. I’ll be okay” He surprised her when he tugged her into a hug “I just can’t see you hurt Ryoko. Your safety is everything…I love you so much..I’m sorry about how I went about protecting you at first, I really am but I can’t take it back….I will do my best to be patient when we face the youngest son but be patient with me too…I’m only the way I m because of how much I adore you. Nothing is more precious than your life”

She hugged him back. Most of her anger had died out, especially after seeing him so close to death. It reminded her of how much her heart needed him. “I forgive you Donat..I do…I just” He kissed her head “will you kiss me again…I need it,…please” She couldn’t resist the desperation in his voice and let him kiss her. The kiss was passionate and she lost herself in it. The brothers came back while they were still kissing but just waited outside the door, knowing one of them would sense their presence and come out when they were back to reality. They were both breathless when they stopped. That same electricity and amazing sensation had rushed through them just like they were them again, like if he had kissed her the day before the break up. They were and would always be soulmates and Ryoko threw away what was left of her inhibition.

“Donat…prove to me you trust me…let me talk to him without you intervening and I’ll be with you again” His eyes almost instantly grew damp “damn it woman”

“Is that a yes?”

“Of course…I just need you back Ryoko” She hugged him again “all I need is for you to let me do this”

“My brothers are waiting and now I’m in even more of a hurry” she nodded, smiling up at him before walking out of the room. They bought a few horses and hurried on their way. Cars weren’t a common form of transportation so they’d need horses for a few of the ways they’d need to go to get there. They ate and rested only when the horses needed rest up until they were mere hours from the youngest sons mansion. They stopped and took a long break, all resting up and eating well so they’d be on the top of their game.

“So we’ll take out the guards, we know they can’t be reasoned with.” Hideki said. “Aras and I will head around back while you four go through the front door.”

“I’ll make sure to put protective spells on all of us.” Emeryk added.

“Ryoko and I will go straight for the son, Emeryk, Bartosz, you stay right behind us at all times.” He sighed. “And don’t hurt the son.” His brothers nodded. “Ryoko, please stay by my side. I know you want to talk to him, but just don’t run off.”

“I won’t, I promise.”

“Thank you, I’m trying, I really am.”

“I know baby, just trust me.”

He held her face with his left hand and stroked her cheek, admiring her for just a moment before they all finished getting ready and completed their journey to the mansion. Donats heart pounded as they put their plan to action. He hoped Ryoko was right about this son, that he could be saved and Ryoko wouldn’t end up hurt by him. Almost all the brothers sustained injury here but none were bad enough to worry over. When Ryoko and Donat broke into the sons room he was ready, sword drawn but there was something about his stance. It was protective, like he was more interested in keeping the collared girl on his bed safe than anything else. Ryoko knew at least one of the rumors was true. The girl on the bed was a present to Jedreck about five years back but he wasn’t abusing her like his father thought, he just made it look like he did. From the information she gathered any bruising or marks were all just make up and that collar she wore that attached to the chain on his bed she could remove herself.

“Jedrick, please, I just want to talk”

“Yeah fucking right. My fathers been trying to kill that man”

“But not you, I’m Ryoko, do you know what I do for a living”

“You are an intel person. I think my dad tried to hire you once”

“Yeah, I am…I know about everything. When I was gathering information to help Donat I learned you aren’t like the rest of your family… Minka…stand up…I know you can” She looked at Jedrick, obviously not sure what to do” he seemed to relax but he still held tight to his sword “go ahead Minka” she took her collar off and stood just behind Jedrick. Donat was wide eyed, doing his best not to let his mouth gape. “I know you’re good and we don’t want to kill you. We want to save you Jedrick”

“My father”

“he’s dead”

“But my brothers, it wasn’t just him making me live this way”

“we’re taking care of them next. Please, put your sword in its’ sheath. We want you and Minka to come with us and start real life once we get rid of your family” A long silence hung and he looked at Minka “do you want to trust them?”

“I think it’s worth a try” He nodded “we’ll come if you promise me that no matter what happens you’ll keep Minka safe and make sure she actually gets to have a life…she’s been stuck here with me for five years and it’s not fair to her…make sure she ends up free and happy” They all ran out, leaving dead bodies scattered through the house. Minka felt like hurling as she ran with Jedrick. They rode the horses as far as they could push them before resting again, all the brothers shocked that Ryoko had been correct about the son. As they enjoyed their dinner Ryoko asked Minka “are you cold? I can give you some of my clothes to wear”

“Thank you”

“we’ll go bathe and change together after we eat” She looked at Jedrick who frowned “don’t ask me, you’re free Minka. You know I never wanted to make you stay with me. I’m sorry you had to for so long. Please, don’t ask me to do anything any more…just be happy. It’s the only thing I ask of you” She hugged him and he held her in return.After they ate she walked off with Ryoko who was carrying two changes of clothes. As they bathed Ryoko saw for herself the make up wash off and reveal perfect, unharmed skin. She smiled at Ryoko “yeah, he’s never hurt me or forced me into anything…The only time I was ever beaten was by his father or brothers and he always apologized for days after. He has a good heart and I’m glad you saw that”

“I couldn’t figure out who applies the make up”

“Me in the mirror. I used to do womens make up and teach them tricks for a living”

“You’re good”

“Thank you..I guess that’s what I’ll end up doing again for money”

Chapter Five

“And Jedrick, he wants you free, we can find you a place.”

“Not without him, I know he feels upset and that I should live my own life, but he’s so kind and gentle.”

“You love him.”

She gave a soft laugh. “Why wouldn’t I? He had so many chances to abuse me, but he didn’t and he made sure I was well fed and protected. He’s the one who doesn’t know how he feels.”

“You could talk to him.” Ryoko said as they stepped out of the water and dried.

“I’m afraid he’d think he had done something to force me. He’s not like his brothers, he’s got such a big heart and pretending to be like them weighs heavily on him. I just want him to be happy, to smile and not be scared of his siblings.”

“He won’t have to be forever, I promise both of you will be free.”

“I know you mean it, you have that look about you.”

They dressed and hurried back to the men. Minka caught Jedricks attention right away just as Ryoko caught Donat’s. They both smiled at them, taking their seats at their sides. That night Donat waited for everyone to fall asleep before asking Ryoko “so we’re together now? I trusted you and didn’t interfere”

“Of course we are honey. I missed you so much. I didn’t think I’d ever stop crying the day you left me” He pulled her into a crushingly tight hug “I’ll never be that stupid again Ryoko. I promise” They talked happily, exchanging little touches and affectionate kisses. Neither were able to sleep at all. Towards the end of the night, when they could tell the sun would be returning soon Ryoko whispered to Donat “Minka loves Jedrick by the way. We were talking about him as we bathed”

“really?”

“yeah, he’s never treated her as his possession.”

“does he know?”

“she doesn’t know how to tell him and make him understand she really does love him. That it isn’t something he forced her into”

“so she thinks he feels the same”

“Yeah, I mean I can see that and I’ve just met them”

“yeah” When the sun was up they gathered eggs for everyone and began cooking so they could make their way to the next son. When they were a day away Aras asked “are you and Minka coming Jedrick? I have a friend near here, you could wait with her until we’ve taken down this brother. We’ll come back before we head on to the one after”

Maybe I should go.” Jedrick said, but sounded unsure.

“Come with me, I would be afraid without you.” Minka said as she took his hand. “You make me feel so much safer.” It was partially the truth. She also didn’t want him seeing his brother killed. She knew he understood his brothers were evil, but she didn’t want him seeing something like that, it was still his brother.

“Alright, if you need me.”

“I do.”

“I’ll return soon, wait for me.” Aras said as he lead them away.

“Do you think they’ll talk?” Hideki asked when they were out of earshot.

“You noticed too then?” Donat said.

“We all did, he’s clearly attached, as is she.” Emeryk replied.

“I doubt it, but if they haven’t by the time we’ve found all of his brothers, maybe I’ll have a talk with him.” Donat said. “He should be with the woman he loves.”

When Aras returned they went straight for the next mansion and cleared it out. It was at the final one the plans didn’t play out as they had hoped. This son had had enough time to catch word someone took out his father so he had been ready with more men and traps for them.It ended up being the most gory, bloody scene Ryoko, Donat and his brothers had ever been a part of but in the end they killed the final son and drug themselves out of the mansion. Bartosz was by far in the worse shape but they all needed serious medical attention and Emeryk was pretty beat up and bloodied himself. They stole a car out of necessity and drove to the only town they could using it.

They found another Inn and got a couple rooms before having a medic sent for them.In their rough state they hadn’t been able to go back to collect Jedrick and Minka where they had been hidden for the final attack but the first person that could travel would go get them as soon as it was possible. It ended up being Emeryk who was first healed and able to travel again. He got back in the car they stole and drove off to collect them and bring them to this Inn.

It took nearly two weeks but they finally all healed, checked out and set on their way home. Ryoko knew the first thing she would need to do when arriving home was let her friend know she wasn’t going to move now but she wanted her friend to set up Jedrick and Minka in the new world she was previously going to move to. Here Jedrick would always be a mob bosses son. If they took her home in the the new world he and Minka would have a real shot at a normal life together.

“Jedrick, may I speak to you alone.” Donat said once they were home.

“Sure.” He looked to Minka, not wanting to leave her alone even now.

“Go on, I’ll get her settled into the guest room.” Ryoko said and he nodded.

Jedrick followed Donat out back where they stood in silence for a moment. He was nervous, not knowing if he had done something wrong or if he was going to be chased off. “You should tell Minka how you feel.” Donat finally said.

“What do you mean?” Jedrick replied, looking down.

“You know what I mean. It’s in the way you look at her and talk to her.” He faced Jedrick. “Why haven’t you told her you love her?”

Jedrick sighed. “She was supposed to be my slave, my…my toy and if I say something, she might think I’m trying to force something on her. I just want her free and happy, with me, she might not feel that way.”

She loves you too. Everyone sees it Jedrick. From my understanding you’ve never hurt her or so much as demanded a thing from her in the years she was your slave. She fell in love with you just as you fell in love with her. My girlfriend tells me if you just tell her your feelings you could be together.”

“Did Minka say somthing when the girls were alone?”

“Yes” Relief seemed to wash over Jedrick “thank you for letting me know…I really do love her so much”

“go on, don’t waste another second. Ryoko would apparently also like to talk to you two about the house she was going to move in to in another world very similar to ours. Her friend was going to help her get started there. If you two are interested in having a completely blank slate she will talk to her friend about you two taking her place”

“Thank you so much. I’ll talk to Minka first before I answer. I want her to be happy. If she’d like to stay here we’ll make it work here” Donat nodded and the men went inside. Since Donats brothers lived within an hour of Ryoko they all went home, expressing to Ryoko again how happy they were she was back with their brother. She had an extra long and tight hug for Aras “thank you for telling me”

“He needed you Ryoko, he’ll always need you. I was looking out for my kid brother” Ryoko smiled up at him and he smiled back before turning to leave. That night Donat asked “Can I move in with you again?”

“of course you can. Everything is back to how it was. I’m not going to penalize you Donat. You showed you can trust me when you let me talk to Jedrick”

“I just didn’t want to assume anything…I know I hurt you really bad”

“Just promise me you’ll never do something that dumb again Donat”

“I could never. Now that I know how painful life truly is without you I don’t think I could even if I desired to”

“Good”

“Do you think they’ll take your spot in that other world, Jedrick and Minka?”

“Whatever they do will work out. He;s a good man and it may take awhile but we can clear his name here if he stays. I’m pretty respected in most areas so I can help him with that” He kissed her head “so sweet”

“shut up” He cuddled up to her, feeling blessed to be able to do this again. He knew he didn’t deserve her forgiveness but he was grateful she had given it to him. He loved Ryoko to the point of madness and he planned on spending the coming years making the past four up to her.

~ The End

Nolan & Roady 2

Chapter One

Nolan could tell that Roady was still insecure in their relationship, especially after a couple of his old lovers had showed up at the house. One of them had pushed her way in even after Roady had asked her to leave and had made a scene in front of Roady. They had traded words and she had thrown herself at him. She had managed to get a kiss in before Nolan had wrestled her away and out the front door. Roady had hardly spoken about the incident, but Nolan could tell it had upset him. He wanted to make it up to him, so he had booked a trip to England for them and had even gone so far as to buy a small cottage there so they could be alone. He was excited about the trip and hoped Roady would be willing to go. He left his study and headed downstairs, knowing where his wolf would be. He found him out back sitting on the edge of the pool, his legs dangling in the water. Nolan paused for a moment, just admiring him. Roady was the very definition of sexy with bright hazel eyes and blonde hair that had grown long enough to frame his sun bronzed face. Muscles rippled beneath his skin as he laid back on the ground and Nolan inhaled sharply, wanting to touch him.

“You going to stand there staring or come over here.” Roady said, opening his eyes and slightly tipping his head back to look at Nolan.

Nolan took a deep breath then crossed over to his wolf and dropped down next to him. “I want to ask you something.”

“Okay.”

Nolan raked his fingers through his hair. “I booked a trip to England and wanted to know if you’d go with me.”

Roady sat up and looked into Nolan’s eyes, studying him. “Alright.”

Nolan sighed. “If you don’t want to go I can cancel our flight.”

“I want some time away from here anyway.”

Nolan reached out and stroked Roady’s cheek. “Are you ever going to talk to me and tell me what’s wrong?”

“I just needed time to think.”

“Are you going to leave me?” Nolan was afraid of the answer.

“Why would I do that?” He looked genuinely confused. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” He leaned in and gave Roady a gentle kiss, still worried his past promiscuity would further damage their relationship.

“what happened with that woman wasn’t your fault Nolan. I was there for the whole thing. You were trying to get her to leave. I know how much you used to sleep around. It’s not like you’ve just met me. I had a front row seat to the revolving door. I began dating you knowing everything so stop worrying please. I love you and all those men and women could come knocking at the door and I wouldn’t leave you. It did hurt to see her kiss you but I’m okay, we’re okay” Roady got up and hugged Nolan who firmly pressed Roady into him. “I care about us too much to not worry”

“We’re fine, really. I got jealous and if she had been a man I would have broken something.” He rubbed his nose against Nolan’s neck, causing goosebumps to cover his skin. “I do feel like punishing you a little though, it’s your fault after all.”

“Oh and how would you go about doing that?”

He felt Roady smile against his neck and the wolf suddenly gripped his shirt and tossed him into the swimming pool. When he came up Roady was laughing hard enough he had tears in his eyes. “Your face, the look you had was priceless.”

“That wasn’t very nice.”

“You have to admit you deserve it just a little.”

“Alright, but I’m paying you back once we have no one to interrupt us.”

Roady just laughed a bit more. When he could stop he wiped away the tears once more so he could see clearly. Roady was glad to see his mate smiling. He just wanted his mate at ease and not to worry. Leaving Nolan was never going to happen no matter what they went through. Nolan might leave him one day if or when he got tired of monogamy and wanted his old life back but one thing Roady got from his parents was mating for life. They stuck by eachother no matter what and he would stick by Nolan. Roady quickly pulled his mind away from that. He was fine but if he dwelled on the possibility of monogamy not being possible in the long run for Nolan he would be upset.

Roady took Nolans hand and they went inside so they both could pack for their trip.

“Nolan, no, we’ll be too tired to get up in the morning.” Roady shoved at him as he tried making dinner that night.

“Just once.”

“Yeah sure, I actually believe that.” He put a palm against Nolan’s chest and pushed. “I’m going to burn our food.”

Nolan hugged him tightly and ran his nose over his ear, making Roady shiver. “Please?”

“You’re being unfair.” He looked over his shoulder. “After dinner, but you have to let me sleep afterwards. I’m excited about this trip.”

“Alright, I promise…maybe.”

“Be good.” Nolan chuckled and rested his chin on Roady’s shoulder, letting him finish cooking. He wanted to do everything in his power to show Roady he was the most important person in the world.

Nolan struggled to behave as let Roady finish cooking and set the table. Roadys every movement teased him but he love Roady more than he desired his body so headed his request to wait until they had eaten. Roady was going to clear the table when Nolan lifted him “I will do it after we make love okay? I swear.”

“You? Clean up the table? Really?” Nolan gave Roady a hungry kiss “To bed you now I would clean the whole place from top to bottom” His voice was already husky with need. It made Roadys heart stutter. Nolan took Roady to their room, dropped him on their bed and began tugging his and Roadys clothes off. Roady could tell this would be one of Nolans more passionate nights.

Nolan got so lost in Roady that he couldn’t bring himself to stop even when the wolf begged him too. He knew he would get an earful in the morning, but he couldn’t help but indulge. His demon lust consumed him and Roady’s wolf responded in kind, wanting his mate even if it exhausted him to the point he couldn’t move. “No…Nolan, I can’t…no more.”

“One more time, please?”

There was a desperation to his voice Roady had only remembered hearing when Nolan had hunted him down. He was still worried about what had happened between him and that woman, about Roady seeing the woman practically attack him. “I love you.”

“Me too, so much Roady.”

Later when Roady was sleeping, Nolan couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a jerk. He cleaned the kitchen, as he thought about his sweet wolf and how lost he would be without him. He felt so bothered by Roady witnessing his ex lovers desperate attempts at getting in his pants. He would die if Roady left him and he wanted him to understand that. When he was sure everything was picked up and wiped down, he headed to bed, pausing for a moment to watch Roady sleeping peacefully. He brushed his hair out of his face and pressed a gentle kiss to his lips, careful not to wake him. “Sweet dreams.”

Chapter Two

In the morning Roady was still in a deep sleep. It made Nolan feel bad all over again. He put their bags in the car then picked up Roady and set him in the front seat, buckling him up then locking the house before driving them to the airport. They were taking Nolans private jet so it was as simple as getting there and going to his craft. He was carrying the still dead asleep Roady in his arms. He didn’t need to be awake anyway until they arrived and this way they were still getting there despite his selfishness last night.

They hadn’t been in the air long when Roady woke with a grown, surprised to find himself in Nolans jet. He looked at his mate and Nolan took his hand “sorry, I just carried you here since you were so tired from me”

“It’s okay, at least we didn’t leave late right?” Nolan kissed Roadys cheek. Roady could feel so much love in it. It made him rest his head on Nolans shoulder. Nolan kissed his head and told him again “i love you so much my wolf”

“Mmmhmm, you made that abundantly clear. I think I’ll sleep forever.”

“I’ll try to take it easy next time.”

Roady huffed out a laugh. “Liar, you’re insatiable, I’m not going to be able to walk anymore.”

“I am sorry.”

He nibbled at Nolan’s neck, making him let out a little moan. “You’re so easy.”

“Watch it, you don’t want to scar the pilots.”

“I feel pretty safe actually.” He snuggled closer.

“It’s kind of cute when you get all cuddly.”

Roady huffed. “I’m not cute, I’m a wolf.”

“That just makes you even cuter. You have all that fluff.”

“Don’t make me toss you out the door, I will do it you know.”

“Oh I’m terrified.”

Roady laughed and snuggled into his mate a little more. hen they landed a car was already waiting to take them to the Luxury Suite Roland had reserved. Once in the room Nolan wrapped his arms around Roady from behind. “You like it?”

“It’s amazing” Nolan kissed his shoulder “good, lets take advantage of the Jacuzzi” Nolan began undressing, needing the warm water and bubbles to release some of his tension. Roady stripped too and Nolan got the water ready for them. They slipped in, Nolan pulling his mate right back up against him. Roady smiled happily then said “I’ve been with you a long time so nothing really surprises me about you besides this cuddliness. I’ve never seen you cuddly before” Nolan kissed him again “I’ve never loved anyone like I love you Roady”

“Hmmm, really?”

“Absolutely, you’re my first love.”

Roady blushed, not really knowing what to say in his surprise. He felt a growl rise in his throat at being embarrassed and Nolan chuckled, rubbing their noses together. “Cut it out.”

“Seeing you all flustered over me makes me incredibly happy.”

Roady glared at him. “You say that now, but wait until I snap my teeth at someone.”

“You think I don’t get jealous? I see the way people fawn over you.”

“They don’t.”

“Sure they do. Women are always asking for your help, wanting you to fix this and that. When we go out men and women are always eyeing you, looking for a way in.”

“I’m pretty sure I’ve made it clear even from a distance that I’m not interested. I only love you, I only want you.”

Nolan stroked his cheek. “I know, you’ve always been loyal.”

“Well, wolves mate for life you know. We’re serious about it, there will only ever be you for me.” He left the fear of one day being left unspoken. This trip was about being happy and he was excited to explore a new place with Nolan.

When they got out Roady orered room service because they were both starving. It came quickly considered all the food they ordered. Roady being a wolf and Nolan being a demon they had big appetites. The way they made love only made it worse. “well we still have lots of day left. Lets just walk around for starters” Nolans said as he ate the last bite of his food. Roady got up and began to dress, Nolan quickly doing the same.

“This way, do you smell that?” Roady said as he walked down the street, his nose working in overdrive.

“Slow down.” Nolan said as he laced his fingers through Roady’s so he wouldn’t lose him. The wolf was excited about this new place and had locked onto a scent he couldn’t pass up. “At least tell me what has you so interested.”

“It’s musty and old.”

“What?”

“Paper, I smell paper and leather.”

Nolan chuckled. “Alright, at least slow down and walk beside me.”

Roady blushed, reeling the animal back so he was keeping pace with Nolan instead of the other way around. “Sorry.”

“So what do you smell?”

“Old books and coffee, really good coffee.” Nolan laughed and Roady glared at him. “Stop or I’ll bite you.”

“I’m convinced you have some sort of biting fetish.”

“All wolves like biting, don’t go thinking I’m weird. Maybe try learning about wolves and mating.”

“So you’re all flesh hungry freaks then?” He winked and Roady sputtered trying to find a come back. When he didn’t find one, he looked away, glaring ahead as he let his nose pull him. Nolan couldn’t help teasing him.

Roady soon was excited again as they arrived at Foyle’s. They went inside, Roady eagerly looking down the isles of books. The only thing that stopped Roady was finding a book that caught his eye. He plucked it off the shelf and began reading the back. Nolan said in a laughter filled voice “I’ll get us some coffee. You just come sit with me when you’re ready” Nolans voice drew Roadys attention away from the book, he just sounded so completely happy, happier than he had ever heard him before and they werent really doing much.

Chapter Three

Nolan ordered something new for both of them and hoped Roady liked it. All the years they had spent together had been Roady taking care of his needs. He knew his favorite foods, his favorite drinks, even his favorite color. Nolan himself had only recently started learning new things about the wolf who had followed him around so loyally all those years. he was just sitting down when Roady came over and took the spot next to him. “Here.” He held out the cup of coffee and Roady brought it to his nose, sniffing.

“Oh, hazelnut and caramel, it smells so good. Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome. I hope you like it.”

Roady tipped his head to the side, making Nolan smile at the almost canine display. “Why wouldn’t I?”

“I just hope you do.” He cleared his throat and looked at the book in Roady’s hand. “So, any good?”

“Could I read the first chapter to you?”

He smiled. “Of course, anything you want.”

Roady took a small drink of his coffee then opened the beautifully bound book. It was rare nowadays to see a book with such a beautiful made cover. It looked like it had to be hand done. It just didn’t seem possible to mass produce a book like that. Soon Roady’s voice took him away from examining the cover. He gave a relaxed sigh and sat back, just enjoying his coffee and the wonderful sounding voice Roady had. When the first chapter was over Roady said “I really like it and it’s a series. It has five books and is ongoing”

“Well before we leave this shop grab them and I’ll buy them”

“But they aren’t cheap. I could probably find cheaper copies.” Nolan shook his head and surpressed a laugh “My wolf, I have the money to spend and I want you to have them. Just think of it as a thank you for everything you’ve been doing for me over the years. Please don’t fight with me”

“Thank you.” Roady never knew what to do when Nolan spoiled him and he seemed to be doing a lot of it on this trip. “You should get something too.”

“I’ll just listen to you read from now on.”

Roady blushed as he took another sip of coffee then went to get the other books. Nolan just smiled at him as he followed him to the counter and paid for them. He took the bag before Roady could grab it then walked hand in hand out the door. He could feel them being stared at so he pulled Roady closer. “You really like to stir the pot don’t you?” Roady said.

“Just staking my claim.”

“They were probably looking at you.”

Nolan snorted. “You’re clearly the better looking of us.”

“Oh shut up.”

Nolan gave his cheek a quick kiss. “Where to next? I’ll follow you and your nose anywhere.”

“You don’t have to keep apologizing, I’m not mad at you.”

Nolan sighed. “I know, but I want you to know you can have anything you want, whether it be books or this body, it’s all yours, I’m all yours.” He kissed him again. “Plus, I love seeing you smile.”

Roady led Nolan around the beautiful town until dusk. As most days ended Nolan unleashed his near endless sexual appetite on Roady who made love to him until he simply couldn’t any more. In the morning when Roady woke Nolan asked “want to go to the National Gallery?” Roady excitedly got up even tough he was sore, “Of course”

“I’ll order food then we can shower” Nolan ordered a quick breakfast then went into the bathroom with Roady. When they got out room service had left it on the table in their room as requested. They ate, dressed and were quickly out of there to enjoy another amazing day.

Roady really liked the gallery. He could smell the age of the paintings and could see how cared for they were. Nolan walked along side him, admiring him and Roady gave him a quizzical look. “You aren’t looking at anything.”

“I’m looking at my everything.”

They both felt other patrons glance at him and Roady quickly turned and walked a little ways away. He didn’t know when he had turned into such an easily embarrassed sap. He was usually the alpha, the one in charge, but the more time he spent with Nolan, the more docile he was becoming. While the wolf was content, he was left feeling a bit confused. He had the sudden urge to run, to breathe in the English wilds and clear his head. Nolan wrapped him in a hug from behind and his body immediately relaxed into him.

“Why do you look so serious my wolf?”

“I want to go out and run after this.”

“What’s wrong?”

He let out something between a whine and a growl. “I just need to run and think.”

Nolan sighed. “Roady, you can’t just leave me every time something irritates you or scares you. We’re mates, so talk to me please.” He brushed his nose against Roady’s ear and the wolf perked up its ears. “Tell me.”

“You’re not playing fair.” He whined again. “I’m just feeling a bit…well…insecure and confused.”

“About?”

“Do we have to do this here?”

“Yes because you’ll try to change the subject if we leave so spill it.”

He growled and Nolan kissed his cheek. “Damn it, well for starters I feel like I’ve changed so fast from when we first got together. I’ve become such a complacent, submissive puppy.” Nolan started laughing and Roady tried to wiggle out of his arms, but he held tight. “I really hate you.”

“You saying that’s kind of stupid, I mean I’m practically a slave to you. I come to you don’t I?”

“Well yeah.”

“Okay, now to the next issue. What has you so worried?”

Roadys face showed the conflicting emotions. Nolan pushed a little “please Roady, talk to me”

“I don’t want to hurt you by saying it out loud. Especially when you’ve taken me on such a nice vacation” Nolan gently stroked Roadys cheek ‘I love you so much wolf. Relationships can’t always be about sweetness. Sometimes you have to talk about hard things, hurtful things. If we don’t talk about it it will always bother you and that means I risk loseing you. I’d rather have my feelings hurt and us talk about it than have it fester inside of you” Talking about things had never been Roadys strong suit. He was the quiet type but Nolan was right. He couldn’t look Nolan in the eye as he said, he couldn’t look at all the hurt it would probably cause so he looked more at his shoulder than his face “I want to be mated to you forever but I worry monogamy might not be something you can do forever.” he decided Nolan deserved to be looked in the eye as he said the rest so he forced himself “don’t think I think you’ll cheat on me. I Just think you might end up leaving me to sleep around again one day”

Nolan frowned, but instead of pain there was guilt and shame. “Roady I…I can never say sorry enough. I wish I could go back and see how much you loved me. I was such a useless moron.”

“Nolan, don’t say that.”

“It’s true, I had you right there the whole time and I couldn’t even look past my own needs to see the wonderful, loving man who had always been by my side.” He nodded. “We’re fixing this right now.”

“What?”

He pulled a very confused Roady out of the gallery, this time using his own nose to find a jewelry store. He pulled him inside and the woman behind the counter put down her magazine. “Which one do you want?”

“Wait, what’s happening?”

“We’re getting rings and then when we get home we’re getting married.”

“You don’t have to wear…”

Nolan grabbed his face and kissed him, making the woman behind the counter blush. “I want everyone to know that I belong to you so choose. I want forever with you, all eternity. Just think of it like when you mark me to show other wolves, this is just another bite that says I’m taken. If this doesn’t work then I’ll do anything else, I’ll give you anything, I’ll beg you on hands and knees to believe me, to trust me, but right now this is what I’ve got.”

Roadys heart trembled and he tugged Nolan into a crushing hug. If Nolan hadn’t been a demon Roady may have broken somthing he was holding so tight. When Roady could let go they picked rings adn put them on eachother even though they hadn’t had the ceremony yet. It didn’t matter, Nolan wanting to do this meant more than words could say to Roady. Once outside the store Nolan said “I’d love to see you in a tux again. You havent worn one in awhile. Why don’t we go ahead and try some on here. We can buy us each a new one if you see something you like”

Roady had no objections and they quickly found a place called Hackett. They were measured and a few of the staff members helped them pick tux’s that suited them. Roadys wolf was panting when he saw Nolan. ‘You look damn sexy yourself” Nolan said, reading the look in his eyes. “I’ll take both of these” Nolan said as he took Roadys hands in his “I feel so lucky Roady…I really do”

“I’m sorry for doubting you.”

“Don’t be, I understand. I hate myself for all the pain I’ve caused, but just know I would die without you. The day you ran away, was the day I realized how broken I’d be without you there. Our home would be so empty without you.”

When their tuxes were paid for and packed up, Nolan insisted on carrying them. Roady tried arguing, but Nolan just waved him off and took his hand. They ate lunch at a place called Notes, the name making Roady laugh. He didn’t know why he found it so peculiar since they weren’t in America, but it got him smiling and that was all that mattered to Nolan. While they ate he sent a text to Blaise and Lorenzo, wanting to include them in the wedding. His phone rang almost the second after it was sent and while Blaise was congratulating him, Lorenzo wanted to hear it from Roady. Nolan chuckled and handed the phone over and Roady had to quickly chew and swallow his food.

He explained that Nolan wasn’t lying, looking a bit flustered. He then promised to call when they went home then hung up and slid the phone back to Nolan. “Not funny, Lorenzo thought you were genuinely making it up.”

“Sorry, it looks like you’re not the only one I have to prove something to.” He reached across the table and took Roady’s hand. “I really, really love you more than anything in every world.”

“Shut up.” He mumbled under his breath as he glanced at the other patrons, but inside he was extremely excited.

They had an amazing trip together and began planning their wedding as soon as they got home. Their friends were all incredibly happy for them though it took the wedding day actually coming for some to believe Nolan was getting married. It was such a beautiful ceremony and they were going to have more pictures than they probably needed since Nolan had hired two photographers. He just wanted to be sure they got plenty of pictures. Their wedding night was filled with passion, tears and two happily beating hearts. Roady now felt secure in their relationship and Nolan was happy a man like Roady would actually marry him.

~ The End

Nigel & Vina

Nigel was just traveling the worlds now that Chthon had Ruth and a happy family that only seemed to get larger everytime he came back to visit his dear old friend. Nigel was having a great time exploring all there was to see and meeting new people. A friend he met in Piticimer told him of a world called Qwerxi. The more Peter described the landscape and people he met from there the more Nigel wanted to make that the next place he visited. He decided he would make his way to the portal that could get him there tomorrow. Peter told him it was only half a day away. After this journey he would make another trip back to the castle to see how Ruth and Chthon were doing.

Vina Arroyo ran through the fields of flowers just enjoying the sweet smell of the aroma washing over her in the wind. She laughed and spun around until she was laying flat on her back. She giggled a little more then took a deep breath in and out as she smiled at the sky. Her closest friend Prima flew just above her and laughed “you never grow tired of running in these mountains do you?”

“I could never.”

“Good, you are the only other being I’ve ever liked being around…well…since I lost Katrina” Vina frowned as her friend landed and sat beside her. Vina grabbed her hand “I’m sorry”

“Do not be, you are not the demon who killed her.”

“I still feel bad, I feel ashamed for my race. That demon killed your sister to be hateful because she was an angel…..I’m ashamed anyone of my species would do such a thing….demons do so many horrible things” Prima grabbed her friends chin “and their crimes aren’t for you to carry the burden of. The only demon I hate is the demon who killed my sister. I will never forget that demons face. I dont care how many hundreds of years it’s been. He is the monster, not you”

“You should let go of your hate Prima. It only burdens you. You are only letting him make you suffer more” prima sighed “I will miss you when I go to Katrinas grave tomorrow. You know¬†you’re welcome to spend the weekend with me there.”

“I think thats a private time. Just be with your sister and while you’re there just think about this. She wouldn’t want you to spend your life isolated and angry. I’m alone because I like it, I love these hills and just doing what I want when I want but you, you say you like just being here with me but you were once very social and were always in town or doing somthing with many people. The life of the hills isn’t for you”

“You are for me. I love you like you were also my sister Vina”

“and I you, I just hope to see you make more friends and go enjoy the town life as you once did. You weren’t meant for these mountains. This is all I’ve known, my parents abandoned me here when I was six because they got tired of being parents. You belong in towns and in the skys surrounded by people like you once loved. You shut yourself off, granted its how we became friends since you came to this mountain but I really think it’s time you got back to the life you once lived.”

“I love you Vina”

 

“I love you too Prima”

Nigel stepped through the other side of the portal and into the fresh spring time air. It smelled of wild flowers, sweet and warm. He inhaled deeply and smiled with closed eyes. This place radiated peace. He opened his eyes and made his way through the field of flowers, admiring the many different colors and the beautiful butterflies that took flight the moment he stepped too close. He finally stepped out of the field and onto a dirt road. It had been made from years of people just like him walking and riding back and forth. It was just as natural as the world around him.

He stepped into the field on the other side of the road, allowing his hands to skim the top of the flowers. He let out a light hearted laugh as he allowed himself to get lost in this place. Vina sat up when she heard footsteps approaching and rolled put of the way of the stranger who was not paying attention to where he was going. The sudden movement startled him and in the blink of an eye he had a dagger in his hand and had shifted into a defensive stance. His eyes were dark and menacing for a moment until he realized he was not looking at a threat, but a woman. He blinked and the glint in his eyes vanished.

“I must apologize.” He said as he slid his dagger back into the sheath at his thigh.

“You almost stepped on me.” She replied with a smile.

“I’m so sorry, I was lost in how amazing this place is. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

“You must be new here.”

He gave an embarrassed smile and rubbed his neck. “Is it that obvious?”

“Yes.” She held out her hand. “I’m Vina.”

He took her hand in his and felt a jolt run through him. She had not shocked him, he knew what that felt like, but His body had given a small jerk in spite of that fact. “Uh, I’m Nigel. Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you. This is a beautiful world. You’ll enjoy it here. Especially these gorgeous mountains.” Her every syllable sounded like a music note in his ears. Her tone was both soothing and uplifting. “Do you live around here?”

“Yep, I’ve lived in these mountains pretty much my whole life. My parents just left me here when I was small. I love this place and will never leave. I’m grateful that if they were going to abandon me anywhere that it was here” Nigel gave a small frown “I’m sorry”

“Don’t be, this is a truly magical place. I don’t long for them or anything.”

“That’s good. Since you’ve always lived here could you give me a tour? I’m sure you know where the most gorgeous places are.”

“I’d be happy too. Where do you come from?”

“Barense”

“I’ve never heard of that place but I’ve made few friends in my life to talk with. The only person thats ever stayed is Prima”

“The only thing that world is known for is the great Chthon”

“Chthon?” She asked with a head tilt that made a smile flash across Nigels face. “He’s a very powerful and good demon. He’s like a brother to me. I’ve become very close to him and his family”

“That’s nice, Prima is like my sister.”

“where is she?”

“Not to be rude but I feel it’s personal. If you’re here when she gets back she can tell you if she wishes to share. It took her a long time to talk to me about it. I’m normally not good at knowing what’s socially normal to do and not but I’m guessing since it took so long for her to tell me it’s not something I should discuss with you. That being said, if I offend you or do something out of line I’m sorry. I just don’t have social skills since I was alone so long before Prima found me. You’re very handsome and seem nice so I want you to stay awhile” Nigel smiled “it’s hard to make me uncomfortable. I’m glad you think I’m handsome because you are a very gorgeous woman Vina”

She smiled “well lets take that tour”

She hooked her arm through his and pulled him through the beautiful field, giving him some history about the mountains. He was so lost in her voice and her smell that he hardly saw the world around him. It seemed to diminish in her presence, her beauty far out shining everything around them. His heart thundered loudly in his chest and he knew she could hear it. He felt nervous and embarrassed at his reaction to her. He wished Chthon was there to help him make sense of his feelings.

“Are there any villages close by?” He asked, trying to calm himself.

“Yes and they are all built into the mountain side and trees. It’s like they are part of the natural environment.”

“That’s amazing. Dangerous animals?”

“Most of the creatures around here only attack when provoked. You should see the dragonlings, they are so beautiful.”

“Perhaps we could go tomorrow.”

Vina smiled, wanting very much to spend more time with him. She had felt that jolt of electricity move through them when they touched. It had been exhilarating. It was the feeling she got when she danced in the rain or played in the beautiful fields of flowers. It was as if they were destined to be part of each other’s lives, connected by invisible threads. “Would you like to stay out here with me tonight? We could look at the stars and try to spot constellations.”

“I’d like that very much. I love sleeping outside. I didn’t do it often until I began exploring worlds but I’ve really enjoyed it.” Vina smiled “So you’ve just been exploring?”

“Yeah, I stayed in one place a really long time because of Chthon. I like to go somewhere new every now and then. I got a little behind on my traveling so now I’m just doing a lot of it. Not sure when I’ll go back to Chthons castle but I will eventually I guess. His castle feels like my home.” Vinas heart seemed to tremble in an odd beat when he talked of going back. She didn’t like the thought of him being anywhere but in these mountains. He noticed her expression change and asked ‘what’s wrong?”

“I don’t like the thought of you leaving.” She answered honestly, uninhibited by normal social nervousness at saying what was on her mind. Nigel gave a wide, exuberantly happy smile “If or when I do leave I will come back to see you, that you can count on. You could even come home with me if you wanted to see Barense. I’d love to give you a tour of my own and let you meet Chthon along with his family” Not much scared Vina but the thought of being anywhere but this mountain did. She had never left, not once in her lifetime. All she ever heard was horror stories from Prima about the world. She had been to the nearest village but according to Vina any other humans but the ones in this world would try to kill, hurt or even force themselves on her. He could hear her scared heartbeat, it was a sound he recognized well from when he was a horrible demon and fed off people fear “woah, what’s wrong? Why does coming with me scare you?” He asked in a concerned tone.

“Prima tells me how dangerous other worlds are. I’ve never left this mountain aside from visiting the village here. If somthing attacks me here its on my turf. I know these mountains better than anyone so I have the advantage but if I leave, whatever demons, humans or monsters I find I will be on their turf. It’s frightening to think of leaving”

“I know Barense like the back of my hand. I would never let anything dangerous get anywhere near you Vina. It would be good to see other worlds. I know you’d have fun, especially getting to know my friend Chthon and his family. I’ve never seen anywhere as pretty as your world but I think you’d still enjoy the sights” Her heart rate stayed fast “Could I hug you to help you relax Vina? We don’t have to talk about this any longer. I plan to keep visiting you for awhile so it’s not even a real question yet. If you don’t want to come to my world that’s fine with me” Vina hugged him “people ask for hugs? Prima and I just hug without asking”

“Typicly but it’s nice to know I don’t need to ask”

“No, I like you a lot and your arms feel good around me. Why do I panic you so much?”

“Hm?”

“Your heart, it’s been so fast” Nigel blushed “I’m not sure myself Vina. Maybe we’ll figure it out. I’m not afriad of you or anything. You’re far too adorable and sweet to be scary” Vina pushed away from him a little but not so much that his arms weren’t around her “Hey, I can be scary. I’ve had to fight things off before. I’m strong when I need to be” Nigel smiled “Sorry, I didn’t mean to insinuate anything.”

“Insinuate? I’m sorry, my vocabulary is limited since I was alone before Prima. She sits down and teaches me new words somtimes..but…I don’t know that one…I’m sorry” Vina said deeply blushing and looking ashamed. Nigel gave her a tighter hug “don’t be embarrassed. it makes sense you wouldn’t have a wide vocabulary. It means I didn’t mean to suggest you were weak. Insinuate is suggest” She pushed her head into his trapezius “thank you for teaching me. I just get embarrassed when it isn’t Prima. One of the few visitors I had treated me like I was an idiot.”

“You are far from an idiot. I have some books in my bag that my friend let me borrow. If you like I could teach you to read.”

“I would love that, I mean I can read a little, but I don’t have any books.” She frowned up at him. “Do you promise not to get angry with me if I don’t understand?”

“I promise, I am not easily frustrated. That means angered, irritated, upset.” She gave him a happy smile. “How about we have lunch and then I start teaching you.”

“There are blackberry and strawberry bushes and then there are apple trees or I could catch us something.”

“Fruit will be fine, lead the way.” Nigel enjoyed her company, happy that she had been the first person to greet him. When they got to the fruit he helped her gather a good amount before they sat down under a tree and ate. “There is something I have to tell you before we continue our friendship.”

“Is something wrong?”

“I have a dark past Vina, really dark and I’m not proud of it. I just think we should start this relationship off honestly. You deserve to know about the man you’ll be spending time with. So if you have any questions about me then feel free to ask.”

She wiped some juice off her face. “Did you ever rape anyone?”

“No, I might have been a monster, but rape was never something I wanted to do. I promise I won’t hurt you, but if you come to not trust me then I will leave.”

“Well, you are nice now and it says a lot you would just come out and tell me that. Thank you for being honest. Have you truly changed? You don’t do any more bad things?”

“Not at all. I’m greatly ashamed of the monster I used to be. I changed hundreds of years ago into the man I am now. I haven’t done a single bad deed since becoming Chthons friend. I just had to tell you. I’m not sure why but I felt compelled to let you know. It’s not normally somthing I share because I’m so ashamed but I felt that I needed to be open with you.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever want you to leave Nigel. You make me feel good in an odd sort of way. You give me feelings I haven’t experienced before.” Nigel smiled “you’re doing the same to me. Any other questions?”

“What made you change?”

“I came from typical demon parents and grew up in immense violence. Chthon showed me that I didn’t have to be bad. That I could make better choices. He showed me how much happier life could be doing good things instead of living a life of hate. I will always be indebted to him for saving me from the life I was living.”

“I’m glad he made you good. I really like who you are right now”

“This is who I will always be. Any more questions?”

“How old are you?”

“I’m not even sure any longer. I quit keeping track. Best guess is around six hundred. I’m sorry i don’t know precisely”

“That’s fine, I don’t know how old I am either. When you live by yourself time doesn’t matter. I only noticed time starting to move when Prima came along. She leaves me somtimes but she always comes back.”

“I couldn’t imagine anyone ever leaving you once they found you” Nigel said sweetly with a smile. Vina blushed, she began to wonder how he kept making her face warm.

They finished eating, throwing away their apple cores. Nigel could tell Vina was excited about reading and he flipped his bag open, pulling out a book of fables. She scooted closer and he flipped it open. She looked at all the words, her eyes moving over the pages. She had never seen so many before and it was a little overwhelming. “I can already tell I’m going to drive you crazy.” She said with a frown.

“Nonsense, this will be fun.”

He read to her slowly, running his finger along the pages and defining the words she didn’t understand. He let her try reading a couple of pages, waiting until she asked for his help before pronouncing a word. He loved her smile. It was beautiful and sweet, lighting up her face and filling him with warmth. He could spend all of eternity teaching her things, showing her many different worlds. He would do anything to see that joyous smile.

“This is a good story, Prima would like it.”

“You will have to introduce her to me the next time she visits.”

“I will if she’ll let me.”

They read until the sun started to go down and Vina wanted to take him to her favorite spot. He put the book away and stood with her, letting her take his hand and guide him through the field. They came to a clearing of grass ringed in the beautiful flowers. There was a beautiful, crystal clear spring of water with clovers around it. “This is my place, where I sleep. I don’t show a lot of people this place.”

“It’s very beautiful. Would you like me to catch us some food? I could cook for you.”

“Okay, you get the food and I’ll make a fire.”

He smiled again, not really needing a reason to around Vina. She just filled him with such happiness his facial muscles could do nothing else but move his mouth into a smile. He ran off, not knowing the monsters of this world but he was sure he could easily defeat them. He hadn’t met much in his life that was actually hard to fight. When Vina couldn’t see Nigel any longer she gathered what she would need for her fire. Once everything was in a pile she just held her hand above it producing flames. Vina sat with her head on her knees, enjoying the dancing flames. Her mind was on Nigel. Everything about him was consuming her. Vina began to play his voice in her head. She loved that sound. It was even more beautiful than birds music which used to be her favorite thing to listen to. She loved learning how to read. She couldn’t believe how patient and sweet he was while teaching her. He corrected her so kindly and explained things without making her feel dumb or bad about herself.

It was how Prima taught her but somehow even sweeter. Vina wondered why Prima had never brought books so that she could read too. Vina guessed it may be not to overwhelm her. The book had seemed like so much but with Nigel it fun. She wanted to learn more from him tomorrow if he was interested in teaching again. Nigel could tell Vina was lost in her head as he came back. He approached slowly so he wouldn’t startle her. She lifted her head when he was almost to the fire. “welcome back, I can’t believe you caught one of those fish. They are fast”

“I recognized them from Barense. They are fast but worth the effort. i really like them” Nigel got to work gutting the fish and preparing it to cook. “want help?” Vina asked. “No thank you” Since he didn’t want her help Vina sat her head back on her knees and watched him. Nigel could feel Vinas eyes on him. It made his heart both warm and speed up.

She sighed and he smiled as he placed the fish on a flat rock and sat it almost in the fire. He took the guts, head and tail away from her spot, not wanting to give wild animals anymore of a reason to come sniffing around. He tossed them back in the water then washed his hands and knife before heading back to Vina. He sat down next to her and she smiled sweetly at him. “You know if you keep looking at me like that my heart might explode.” He said with a smile of his own.

“Is that a bad thing?”

“No, it’s a good thing. It’s a nice feeling.”

“If I ever do something abnormal please tell me. I don’t want to upset you or weird you out.”

He stroked his knuckles over her cheek, enjoying how soft she was. “I doubt there is anything abnormal about you. You’re perfect the way you are.”

“Thank you.”

He stopped touching her before he kissed her, moving closer to the fire and picking up the rock. He sat it in front of them and gestured for her to eat. She picked up a piece of fish and moaned in delight. The sound gave him goosebumps. “Good?”

“Delicious, thank you so much.” They finished the fish and drank some water from the spring. “Time for stars.” She said softly. Nigel manipulated the water in the spring, dousing the fire in it so it went out and they could see every bright glowing light over head.

Vina laid down in the soft grass and Nigel joined her. He laid so his head was right beside Vinas and his body was going the opposite direction. She began to point and talk about all the stars. He hung on every word of her stories. For the stars that seemed to make pictures she had made up her own stories. Some of them made Nigel laugh while others kept him hooked. “and that’s why the crab and Banlu ended up in the sky” Was the end to her final story. “So what is a Banlu?” Vina giggled ‘why didn’t you ask before I started the story?”

“I didn’t want you to stop talking for even a second. It would have taken me too long to ask” Vinas face felt hot again “I don’t want to get sick” she said in a semi sad voice. She had come to assume her face was getting so warm due to getting ill since that was the only time her head felt hot. “you feel bad?”

“No, my face keeps getting warm” Nigel laughed, he had noticed a few times he made her blush “you aren’t getting sick. I am making you blush. Is the warm feeling bad to you?”

“No, I kind of like it” He looked at her with adoring eyes “I’m glad you do. I’m very drawn to you and feel things that I’m not sure how to describe myself. You are an amazing woman Vina and I’m glad I almost stepped on you. Emphases on almost, I would feel terrible for hurting you”

“It wouldn’t have been that bad. I’m made of tougher stuff than I appear to be. Anyways, a Banlu is big and gray with a long nose. It has flowers growing all over its body and has eyes that change colors. They are pretty. Somtimes a few will walk these mountains”

“Hopefully I’ll see one”

“I know where a heard lives if you’d like me to take you to them”

“wonderful, where would you like me to sleep? it’s late”

“Sleep with me like Prima does. I mean, if you want to”

“How does she sleep with you?”

“She lays down and I lay my head on her stomach. Somtimes she sleeps on her side with an arm and wing around me but you don’t have wings. You could just lay on your side and hold me though, just however you want”

He pulled her into his arms and her head down onto his chest. “Is this okay?” He asked.

“Yes, I really love the sound of your heart. It’s beautiful. I can say that right?”

“If I didn’t like it I would tell you.” Vina smiled and rubbed her cheek against his chest, making his heart skip a beat.

“Goodnight Nigel, I had so much fun today.”

“Goodnight beautiful.” She smiled as she drifted off. Nigel ran his fingers up and down her arm, savoring her sweet smell and warmth. He had never seen anyone as beautiful as she was and she had such a big heart. The more time he spent with her, the more he wanted to always be with her. He was enamored, entranced, his heart and soul yearned for more. He wondered if this is how Chthon had felt the day he found Ruth, if his heart had raced and his breath had stuck in his lungs. He ran his fingers over her cheek and tipped her head slowly back so he could look at her face.

“Oh Vina, I think I may be in love with you.” He said softly before kissing her forehead and laying his head down. The thought that he had fallen for her so fast kept him awake so he just stared at the star filled sky.

Nigel wondered just how young Vina was when she was left here. She was old enough to remember her parents just left her so she had to atleast be five. It was a sad thought. He hadn’t been a major part of any of his childrens lives except maybe Wexsel when he became too much for his mother but he could never imagine just abandoning them somewhere. He wasn’t very involved because the mothers were happy on their on. Two of his children had the same mother. Having sex with her was fun but never meant anything. His oldest son, Wexsels mom was a one time thing. They didn’t even talk again until she realized she was pregnant and thought he’d like to know. Still, when he saw her it was only about seeing Wexsel. They hadn’t had sex again since the night he impregnated her. He wondered what Vina would think about him having children. She wouldn’t have to see their mothers since all his children were grown but he was still concerned. He would tell her about his children tomorrow. Nigel knew she was sweet enough it wouldn’t necessarily be a problem but he worried she might not understand that those women weren’t special to him like she was since she had never been involved with people aside from whoever Prima was. He wanted Vina to know that she made him feel like no other and hoped he could make her understand that demons frequently just hook up with eachother. He wondered how much she knew about sex in general. The thought made him blush and he changed what he was thinking about.

Nigel began to think of how peaceful this world must be for demons to leave such a small little girl out in the mountains and she not die. She had made it through her adult life without much trouble or any male demons trying to capture her. In any other world a child would have very little chance of surviving on their own. It was especially astounding to him a female made it. He knew too well how cruel male demons were and how they saw women as nothing more than toys. Vina was beautiful so she would catch any male demons eyes. He was grateful no other demon from his world or another had entered and found her like he had.

Then again he hadn’t seen Vina fight so maybe she had encountered a bad demon and could just defend herself. He knew better than to judge a demon by what he or she looked like. Just because Vina was adorable didn’t mean she couldn’t rip someones throat out if she needed to to defened herself.

The next morning Vina woke and smiled up at Nigel who had stayed awake all night watching her sleep. He had become so lost in her that he had not noticed the passing of time. “Good morning beautiful.” He said and ran his fingers lovingly over her cheek.

“How was your night?” She asked as she propped her chin on his chest.

“It was amazing, peaceful.”

“Good, would you like me to make you breakfast?”

“If you really want to.”

Vina got up excitedly and took off across the field. He wanted to follow her and make sure she was safe, but he Knew she was a free spirit and feared it would look like he didn’t trust in her abilities. Instead he got a fire going and waited for her. When she came back she had four eggs and some berries cradled in her skirt. She dropped down to her knees and sat the flat rock in the fire, letting it heat up. They snacked on the berries until the rock was hot. She then took it out of the fire and cracked the eggs onto it, letting them fry.

“I hope eggs are okay.” She said as they cooked near the fire.

“The smell amazing.” She smiled happily and he felt that already familiar tugging in his heart.

“Do you still want to see the dragonlings and Banlu? I can take you after breakfast.”

“I would really love that. I have really enjoyed our time together and want to see everything with you.”¬†They ate the eggs then drank some water before getting up. Vina grabbed his hand and pulled him through the flowers. They were heading toward one of the many mountains that surrounded the valley. “After the dragonlings can you show me a place to bathe?”

“There are hot springs where the dragonlings are, we can bathe there.” When they made it to the cave Vina whistled and then waited. Nigel was about to ask what she was doing when a large red head pushed out of the cave. It was a large dragon and she turned one large green eye to them. “Hello Trian may we come in and see the babies and bathe?” The dragon chuffed and moved back into the cave. The stepped in as the large beast was setting fire to a large pile of wood to provide them with light. Three small dragon babies came chirping over and rubbed against their legs. They played with them awhile, petting them and watching as they tried to use their fire. Nigel enjoyed Vina’s laughter, smiling at how happy she looked. “Ready for a bath?” She asked.

“Yes, thank you.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him a little deeper into the cave where the hot springs were. The minute the got there she pulled off her clothes, surprising him. She dove into the water and he just stood there, his face red.

“Come on, it feels amazing.”

Nigel started to strip. He could barely breath and his face seemed to deepen its red. Vinas body was so perfect. Seeing her without clothes was by far the most breath taking thing he had ever laid eyes upon. He got in the water slowly, wondering what she thought of him, if she was as blown away by what she saw. Vina was blushing too, she didn’t understand what she was feeling or what she was desiring. All she knew was she wanted to feel him, to push her lips into his. She was almost as red as Nigel when she wondered if what she wanted was to make love. Prima had told her about sharing passion with the person you love. Maybe love is what she had been feeling since yesterday. It was the only way to describe this new feeling Nigel gave her. She loved him and now desired expressing that love physically. She knew nothing of the mechanics though, Prima had not gone on in that much detail. She’d probably just make a fool of herself if she attempted anything.

Nigel got as close as he dared. Being in the water with her was the biggest test of will he ever faced. What he wouldn’t give to taste her skin, to kiss her, to slide himself in and make her moan like she did yesterday. The memory triggering goosebumps. She noticed his breath getting heavier and how he seemed to avoid looking at her. She moved closer and touched his shoulder “Ni” she didn’t even finish his name when he jumped away. She frowned, the movement hurting her feelings. “this is bad isn’t it? You aren’t comfortable because I did somthing wrong. I’m sorry. You bathe and I’ll go sit with the dragons.” Her voice getting sadder with every word. Vina went to climb¬†out but NIgel grabbed her

“No, you’re ok. It’s just hard to be with you like this. You are gorgeous and I’m having trouble not feeling you or kissing you. Last night..well last night I realized I love you Vina. I have never loved a woman before other than the love you feel for family. This is new to me so it took the day to figure out what my feelings were. Normally you don’t just get naked around people but I know you didn’t know that. Your body is greater than any work of art I’ve ever seen, more beautiful than the worlds are vast. You are sexy, incredibly sexy, almost irresistibly sexy. If I were any less of a man I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands at bay Vina. Don’t be sad, I was just concentrating so hard on being good you startled me. Your touch on my arm felt so good I wanted to get away before I upset you. Look what you’ve done to me” Nigel said pointing down. Vina saw the flesh between his legs was outstretched.

“I’m causing that?”

“Yes, thats also why i was concentrating. I didn’t want to rise.”

“You’d put that in me?”

“Yeah” he said in a nearing husky tone. Nigel saw that he was correct in thinking she hadn’t been with a man before. “I must love you too. You gave me new feelings aswell. Now that I’ve seen you naked I’ve been wanting to touch and kiss you. I’ve never made love before though. I’d probably just make a fool of myself if we tried. I don’t want to embarrass myself with you. I’m sure you’ve made love with lots of girls….you’re really handsome and you travel”

“I’ve had sex Vina but I’ve never made love. I have never loved a woman before meeting you. I promise you that. All sex has just been meaningless beyond getting pleasure from it. If you let me have you, it would mean so much more than sex. It would be a physical expression of my complete adoration. I would like you to be my mate if you know what that is Vina.”

“I’m not sure I can be brave enough to leave. You’ll want me to go home with you. Mates stay together. i want to always be with you but I doubt you want to stay in Qwerxi.”

“I’ll be wherever it means I’m with you Vina. I would like you to try leaving so I can introduce you to the ones I consider family. If you find you don’t like it in Barense I will bring you back here and we’ll stay here forever or until you feel you can leave again. If you love Barense we can live in Chthons castle among my friends and family. Everything is whatever you want Vina. I love you and want you as my mate no matter what that means. I just don’t want to face a day where you aren’t with me” Vina was moved, her heart stuttering in her chest. “Lets be mates then because I can’t imagine you not being with me. I’d be so sad if you left my side Nigel. I’ll go to Barense with you. I know I can leave this world if you’re doing it with me. Prima will be back tomorrow. I can’t leave without telling her bye. We can enjoy our first day as mates, tell my friend bye tomorrow then go to this Barense where i can meet your friends.”

Nigel wanted to be sure before he did anything so he asked “Can I make love to you? If you aren’t ready it’s ok.”

“what would I do?” Nigel smiled “whatever you want. If you want to bite me, bite me. If you want to feel an area of my body just do it. If you want to just wrap around me and hold tight as I move in and out of you that’s good too. Do whatever you want. I want to let you know somthing before I make love to you though. Since you’ve never had a man inside you it will hurt a bit when I’m in there this time. I hate it and wish it didn’t have to hurt but it will. The first time is the only time it hurts. After this you will only feel good.”

“Ok” Vina answered nervously. Nigel leaned against the edge of the hot spring “come to me Vina. I want you to start. Do with me what you want. I might go a little crazy if I let myself start.” Vina swam over to Nigel. She had been wondering what the flesh between his legs felt like when it was up like this so she put one hand on his chest while wrapping the other tightly around him. Just that was enough to make Nigel moan and his shaft throb. He didn’t do anything though. Her hands began to move all over his body. “I love how you feel Nigel”

“May I touch you too?” He asked breathlessly.

“Yes, make me feel this good.” He tangled his fingers in her hair and kissed her, her sweet lips only increasing his hunger for her. He lifted her out of the water, pulling himself out after her and pushing her back onto the ground. He licked and bit at her neck, making her moan. His lips trailed kisses down to her breasts where he gently bit her nipples as his hands flowed over her. His lips followed his hands lower and he pushed her legs slowly apart, kissed her inner thighs before covering her with his mouth. She cried out, her back arching off the ground as his tongue thrashed over and in her.

“Nigel I can’t take anymore.” Vina whimpered and he kissed his way slowly back up her.

“Wrap your legs around me.” He ordered softly and she shakily did as he asked. He kissed her lips, his mouth moving tenderly against hers as he quickly impaled her. She felt tears sting her eyes, his lips muffling her cry of pain. “It’s okay baby.” He whispered, giving her a moment to process what was happening to her. “I’m going to move now, I promise to be gentle.”

“Okay.” He moved in and out of her slowly, pushing as deep as he could. He felt her tighten around his shaft, quiver around him in the most delicious way. Her nails scratched down his back and he kissed her as he spilled himself in her. He pressed his forehead against hers as they gasped for air. She started crying and he hugged her to him, hoping he had not hurt her.

“Tell me what’s wrong.” He said softly.

“Nothing, that was just so amazing.” He breathed a sigh of relief and lifted her off the ground and down into the water.

“I love you Vina.”

“I love you too.” She rested her head on his chest as he held onto her with one arm while the other was draped over the edge of the hotspring. He smiled when he realized she had fallen asleep. He would give her a few minutes before waking her.

When he decided to wake Vina Nigel kissed her again. His lips moving even slower than before. Vina woke kissing back then smiling “Sorry”

“Don’t be, want to go see the Banlu?”

‘sure, I’ll show you the way.” They climbed out and put clothes back on. Nigel took Vinas hand when she was fully clothed. She held back tightly as they walked out and she guided him to where the heard lived. “they look so funny” Nigel commented “You shouldn’t say that right here. They can hear you. Don’t hurt their feelings” Nigel worried she was upset “I’m so sorry Vina, I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t know they could understand. Please forgive me”

“It’s ok, want to ride one?” she said with a bright smile. “sure” Nigel said then placed a kiss on her hand. Vina began running. Nigel laughed when she just jerked him along. She stopped in front of one whose flowers were pink, yellow, blue and deep blue. “Could we ride you please Mel Mel?” The Banlus head went up and down “lets get on. Pick me up and I’ll push us.”

“Push us?”

“Pick me up and I’ll show you” He cradled her then she held her hand flat above the ground. Wind suddenly pushed them up and they landed safely on the Banlus back. Nigel smiled “That’s cool”

“It’s not as cool as flying but I can push myself pretty far. I love when Prima takes me in the sky. Angel wings are so amazing”

“Primas an angel? It’s odd for Angels to befriend demons”

“I’m her only demon friend”

“ah, who couldn’t be friends with you afterall?”

He enjoyed her joyous laughter as the Banlu took them around. the sweet scent of its flowers wafting around them. She seemed so much a part of nature, a true child of the earth. She gave him a bigger appreciation for the world that grew around them. He tightened his hold on her and kissed her shoulder. He knew he would be lost if he ever lost her, that his heart and soul would be crushed. He now understood what Chthon had gone through, the pain and sorrow, the wanting to die just to be with the person who had stolen your heart and made it their own.

“Never leave me.” He whispered in her ear.

“I promise.” She said back and tilted her head back for a kiss. He moved his lips gently against hers, loving her more and more as time passed.

The Banlu became tired and came to a stop. Nigel held tightly to Vina as he slid off its back and landed safely on his feet. He rubbed his hand over the beautiful, but strange creature. “Thank you Mel Mel.” He said, making her smile. He took her hand in his and they just walked together, enjoying being in each others company.

“Tell me about your world.” She said.

“Well it’s more dangerous than this place, but it has such a rugged beauty to it. Green forests, mountains, beautiful wildlife. Chthon’s castle is gorgeous. He built it himself and his family, well I guess my family too, are all so amazing. They would love you.”

“Even though I’m awkward?”

“Of course. We have this friend named Aurel, he married Chthon’s granddaughter. Aurel lived alone for a long time so he’s just as awkward socially. He’s learning though and we all love him very much.”

“I’m glad, I’m excited to meet them. Well, nervous but excited. What;s it like to pass into another world?”

“Barely noticeable. I will hold you the whole time we pass through. I’m not sure of a direct route from here to there so we’ll have to pass twice through portals. I hope it doesn’t scare you.”

“I’m sure with you holding me it wont” He kissed her again. Over dinner Nigel spoke “I want to tell you about somthing else”

“what is it?’

“I have three children. Two share the same mother while my oldest has another. It was only sex with them. In truth I haven’t been a huge part of my kids lives though I do see them from time to time. In Wexsels later years I had him a lot because his mother couldn’t handle him but I never loved their mothers, I never wanted anything from them than sex. I love my children very much but not them. You are so special to me, my one and only love. I hope you understand that with them it was only sex and that with you it’s different because I love you” Vina nodded “Ok, will I meet your kids too?”

Nigel smiled, relieved it wasn’t somthing that bothered Vina. “Of course you can meet my children but Brody will require traveling to another world. We’ll find them after you’ve hungout with Chthon and his family to your hearts content.”

“sounds fun, do you think they’ll be upset your with someone who isn’t their mothers?” Nigel chuckled “Not atall, they know I dont love their mothers and don’t mind it atall. Anna will just be happy I have a mate. She is always on me about being alone” Vina smilled happily “I’m so glad.”

“Good, you dont have to worry about those girls I used to sleep with. If I dont look for them they dont look for me. We’ll only see them if one of my children invites us both to somthing”

“I’m not worried Nigel. If you say you don’t love them and you only love me I believe you”

“You have no idea how happy that makes me.” He leaned in and gave her a kiss on the cheek and she quickly swallowed her food and grabbed his shirt, keeping him there so she could kiss his lips. He smiled and rubbed his nose against hers. “Everything you do is so adorable.”

“And everything you say is so sweet.” She let him go and they finished eating before settling down for the night. She held herself close to him, one leg draped over his thighs, an arm over his chest and her head pillowed just above his heart. He kissed the top of her head and listened as her breathing slowed and heart beat a steady calm rhythm as she fell into a deep sleep.

He was a little nervous about meeting her friend tomorrow. He did not have a good reputation with angels. He had killed plenty in his past, innocent men and women who had done nothing more than cross his path. He felt such regret for his actions and had tried hard to atone for his sins. Vina forgave him so easily, trusted him with everything that she was even though he didn’t deserve it. He sighed and closed his eyes, allowing the warmth of the woman next to him to wash away his worries and carry him into sleep.

Vina woke before Nigel when the sun rose. She smiled down at him, admiring his handsome face. He looked a little troubled in his sleep and she hoped she had done nothing wrong. Even though he reassured her constantly that he loved her the way she was, she still worried. She kissed his cheek and ran off to pick berries and apples for breakfast. She hummed to herself as she loaded the fruit into her skirt. A small breeze hit her back and she turned, smiling excited when she saw Prima standing there.

“You’re back, I’m so happy. How was the journey?”

“Uneventful. You look and smell different. What’s going on?”

“I met someone, a stranger. He’s so amazing and sweet. I love him Prima, I really love him and he loves me. You have to meet him.”

“Where is he?”

“Sleeping, here help me carry this fruit back.”

Prima took the fruit and worried as they walked. She knew Vina would trust anyone since she hadn’t been around others enough to know they would lie to your face. She took everything everyone said at face value, not doubting for a second they were telling the truth since she herself spoke nothing but the truth. If it was someone bad she would make sure they didn’t hurt her sister. Prima had promised herself to never fail Vina as she had Tallow. Vina had come to mean too much to let some demon, man or creature cause her harm.

When Nigel came into view she dropped her fruit, Primas heart going into overdrive she grabbed Vinas arm to keep her from walking closer “Prima? What’s wrong?” Prima was trying to speak but a mixture of terror and anger was swelling too much inside to allow her too. Vina asked again, this time her voice drenched in concern and confusion “what’s wrong Prima?” Prima swallowed and drew her blade so it would be at the ready if he woke and attacked “Has he hurt you?”

“No, Nigel would never hurt me”

“Nigel is a liar and a horrible, vicious demon. He’s the one who killed Tallow! He ripped her to shreds and she did nothing to him! He killed her without mercy or care. He is not nice and has been deceiving you. Whatever his reason is for staying here with you it isn’t love. He’s after somthing, has he come onto you? Did he try to force you into sex Vina?” Vina was having trouble processing what Prima was saying. She knew Prima wouldn’t be mistaken about the identity of her sisters killer, it was an image that had been forever engraved in Primas mind. It was a face Prima saw in her nightmares when she’d lose her sister all over again then cling to her as if she were a liferaft in a storm.

Nigel was woke by the raised voice. His heart slammed in his chest when he realized Vina was gone and he came quickly to his feet, his eyes jumping to the woman who had ahold of Vina’s arm. He blinked, confused. He knew that face, but the eyes were different somehow. “It can’t be.” He said.

“You bastard, you sick bastard.” Prima yelled and attacked him. Nigel jumped back, staying just out of reach of her sword.

“Prima stop.” Vina yelled, but her friend was far to angry to hear her.

Nigel wanted to get the angel away from Vina if he was going to fight her. He didn’t want his love to see him hurt her friend. He turned and ran, leading the enraged angel away from Vina. He held his hand out, the black whip materializing out of thin air. He turned and flicked it at her as he grabbed a black blade in his other hand and blocked her slashing.

“Who are you?” He asked as he shoved her back.

“You killed my sister and now you’re trying to fool Vina, sweet innocent Vina. Not again demon.”

That face, he had seen one just like it on a beautiful and innocent young woman long ago. They shared the same face, but their eyes were different colors. He felt his heart wrench in his chest. This could very well be the end of him and Vina. No doubt she would choose Prima over him. He would not blame her. He blocked Prima again and snapped the whip out, catching her ankle and pulling her foot out from under her.

“I’m sorry.” He said.

“Liar.” She screamed and jumped back to her feet, her sword catching him across the chest. He gritted his teeth against the pain.

Vina ran as fast as she could, finally catching up with the two people she loved the most. Prima was going at Nigel like a rabid dog while he defended himself, unwilling to hurt Prima unless it was needed. “Prima stop.” She yelled. Her voice distracted Nigel for a split second and Prima stabbed him. She was so angry that her aim was off so she caught him in his side instead of his stomach. “Stop.” Vina yelled again and ran between them. Prima pulled back, shaking in anger.

“Get ¬†out of the way Vina, he needs to be put down.”

“No, please I love him.”

“He’s lying to you, he’s a monster.”

“No he’s not please just…” Nigel grabbed her hand, making her look at him as he sat on his knees in the grass.

“Just let her have me Vina. She’s right, I’m a monster so just let her have her revenge.” He said softly.

“But I love you.”

“I know, I love you too so much and I always will, but this is what is right.” He pulled her out of the way and placed his hands on the ground, exposing his neck. “Go ahead angel, end me if you must and find peace in my death.” Prima raised her sword, her fingers tightening on the hilt. She wanted him dead, but she couldn’t do it. No matter how hard she tried her arms would not move. She felt tears slide down her face and collapsed on the ground, dropping her sword and crying.

Vina knew as a fellow demon Nigel was in no danger from his wound so she ran to Prima. Nigel fished a potion from his pocket and drank it to help himself close up faster. Vina knelt and wrapped her arms around Prima who sat up to hold Vina. Nigel watched Prima shake with her tears and hold Vina tightly. He wanted to go over but he knew it was best to stay where he stood. Even though Vina had come between them, begging for his life while proclaiming her love he still worried where they stood. Just because she loved him and didn’t want him dead didn’t mean she was still his mate. The thought made his heart give another painful wrench. He needed Vina, she was now what made his heart beat and she may never kiss him again. There could possibly be no more nights of cuddling under the stars because of how heartless he once was.

Vinas hair was covered in tears when Prima let her go so she coudl wipe at her face “You love him Vina?”

“Yes, he’s different now. He told me he used to be bad and he feels a lot of guilt over it. He wishes he could undo it but he knows he can’t. His friend Chthon helped him become good. He’s been so sweet to me Prima. He hasn’t hurt me atall.” Prima took a deep inhale then exhale “this is just going to be hard for me. I can tell he’s different by the gentle way he spoke to you just then and how he was just willing to pass up his life. He moved you so I could kill him. The Nigel I met would have never done such a thing. The old Nigel may have picked you up to use as a shield. I will need time to be ok with him Vina but…if you want to be with him I would like to talk to him for a second” Prima said knowing Nigel could hear from where he stood.

Nigel cautiously moved forward as Prima stood. Vina stood at her friends side as they grasped hands. Prima had a sorrowful tone but her words came out clear “Vina is the only sister I have left. She is the world to me and she better be to you. You are to treat her how she deserves to be treated you understand? If she ever comes back to me with a broken heart that you caused your life wont be spared a second time. Vina deserves to be treated as a goddess and I expect that to happen Nigel.”

“If I ever break her heart I will willingly give myself to you for punishment. I won’t run or hide or beg for my life. I love her more than anything and I will do whatever it takes to keep her happy.” He replied, looking directly into her eyes so she could see how serious he was.

“Alright then I will not come between you two. I am still very full of anger and sorrow, but for Vina I will try.”

“I will do what I must to earn your trust.”

“Just take care of Vina.” He nodded and held out his hand to Vina she smiled warmly and took it, allowing him to pull her close.

“Careful, I don’t want you to get blood on you.” He said softly.

“Perhaps we should go back to the hot springs and let you get clean. Will you be okay Prima or would you like me to stay?” Vina said.

“It’s okay, go with him. I think I need some space to process what just happened. Nigel, I can’t say I’m sorry for stabbing you.” Prima replied.

“I don’t expect you to, I understand and I deserved it.”

“It did help.” Nigel actually laughed which surprised both Prima and Vina.

“Glad you were able to release your frustration and anger on me.” Prima gave a small smile as Vina lead Nigel back to the dragon cave. The mother dragon cave them permission to enter and he pulled his clothes off and slid into the water. “She could have killed me if she had been calm.” He said as Vina pulled her clothes of and dropped down next to him.

“You could have fought harder against her.”

“I could not bring myself to harm someone you love.”

Nigel wrapped his arms around Vina “wash and clean your wound Nigel” Nigel took in Vinas scent before replying “My heart was so heavy with fear you’d leave me.I’m so glad you still want me”

“It helped that you were alreayd honest and told me you did bad things in your past. To be honest, it’s good I met you without Prima. I may have cheered your exicution rather than tried to stop it. Then I would have missed out on knowing what love is” Nigel kissed Vina. This kiss was hard and desperate for her love. She gently pushed Nigel back after a few seconds. “wash your skin” He nodded then kissed her head. He rubbed the hot water on him “My bag sweetheart, theres a change of clothes for me in teh satchel. It’s the last change I have so it’s good my next stop is home.”

“I wonder how Prima will feel about me leaving.”

“If it upsets her and she wants you to stay I will stay. That is of course as long as you want me here” Vina kissed his chest “You know I do. I’ll talk to Vina when we walk back.”

“I’ll let you speak with her alone. I will stay by your side until we are almost there. I’ll stop and let you run ahead to speak with her.”

“Ok, you sure you wont mind if she’s not ready for me to leave yet? Prima really is like my sister. I would have a hard time enjoying myself if I knew she was in my world, sad and alone”

“Of course it is my beautiful, sweet Vina. I want you to be happy and have fun when we leave. I have no time table for going home. I am just excited to introduce you to my family. I want them to meet my mate.” Vina smiled “I love when you call me your mate, especially since you say it like having me is the greatest thing to ever happen. Your voice changes when you say it”

“It’s because I mean it, every word.” He kissed her again, his fingers sliding into her hair so she couldn’t get away. “You are such a temptation my love.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“Very good, it means I need to make love to you again. You make me hungry for you.” He kissed her again, his lips moving down her chin to her neck. “You taste incredibly sweet.” She wrapped her legs around his waist, blushing when she felt how hard he was.

“Please do it again.” She said breathlessly. “Please, I need you too.”

He chuckled and lifted them both out of the water and laying back so she was on top of him. She swallowed nervously, unsure of what he wanted. He grabbed her hips and pulled her down onto his waiting erection. He moaned at how tight she was as he lifted and lowered her then slid his hands up to cup her breasts when he got her in a steady rhythm. She moaned loudly, unable to contain the noise. It only seemed to excite Nigel further and he flexed his hips so he drove up into her as she came down. He rolled her beneath him, driving into her harder and faster, unable to contain his lust for her.

“I love you.” She whispered over and over again as they released together.

He kissed her softly. “Sorry, I got excited.”

“Good, I like you excited.” He smiled and kissed her again. “You need to talk to Prima.” He pulled her into the water and they rinsed off before getting out and drying and dressing.

They walked back to see Prima laying down, just looking up at the sky. Nigel stopped as he said he would. “I love you so much Vina. Talk to your friend and tell me what you wish to do”

“alright” He kissed her one last time before she walked off. “Prima?” Prima got into a sitting position “yes Vina?”

“We’ve always been honest with eachother and I know you’ll tell me your honest feelings now. Nigel wants me to meet his friends and family. I very much want to go and see new worlds. I want to learn of his. I guess what I’m asking is, is that alright with you. Will you be fine with me leaving for awhile? I wont have fun if I know you’re here upset” Prima smiled and cupped Vinas cheek “My sweet Vina, my adopted baby sister. I love you and I want you to go out there an experience life. Have fun with Nigel. I still can’t say I’m comfortable with him but in time I know I can be. I honestly think a good bit of time alone will do me some good in the way of healing now that I’ve gotten my rage out on him for what he did. Then, I’m going to do what you’ve been begging me to do. I’m going to meet up with my fellow angels and hangout, I’m going to travel as I used to and intertwine myself back with humanity. Go be happy with Nigel but promise me you’ll come back. Even if it’s years from now. Where precisely are you going again so I know how to find you?”

“Barense, Chthons castle”

“Ok, you’ll always be my sister Vina. I’m glad you have a mate now. Even though you have always been happy in these hills it always worried me that you may be alone forever.”

“You’re one to talk Prima” Her smile almost cracked into a laugh “yeah” Prima pulled Vina into a tight hug “goodbye little sister. Be safe and promise me you’ll be happy”

“I promise, I love you too big sister” They let go and looked at eachother. It was a silent goodbye. Vina stood “we can see eachother sooner of course but if life gets the better of us and we get busy I want us to promise to meet back on this hill in three years”

“It’s a promise but I’ll probably be at Chthons castle within months. It’s been you and me for so many years, well over 100. Wish I would have kept track so I knew a real number. Life will be odd without your laughter and your enthusiasm.” They stood a few more moments before Vina walked bakc to Nigel “she’s ok with me going. She may just pop by Chthons castle to see me if I dont return for awhile”

“He’ll welcome her with open arms. Want to ride on my back and I’ll run us to the portal?”

“I want to run too. Lets hold hands and run together. My favorite thing to do is run”

“alright” Nigel took her hand and they ran together. Prima just watched them go “I love you Vina” she said again even though she knew Vina couldn’t hear the words. Prima laid back down to run through all her memories with Vina before taking off to do as she told Vina she would. She smiled as she thought “You better take care of her Nigel. I’m serious when I say you’ll pay if you ever hurt her”

~ The End ~

Nali & Reece 2

 

Nali stared at the letter in her hand, her eyes wide with shock and disbelief. The name signed at the bottom belonged to her father. “This is impossible.” She whispered as tears burned behind her eyes. “Someone must be playing a sick joke.”

“What is it?” Reece asked and took the letter from her.

“It says it’s from my father, but he’s dead. I watched him die.”

“The date on it is two weeks old. It says he’s in Shigara. That’s a desert city.”

“No, impossible.” Reece wrapped his arms around her and she cried into his shirt. He wondered who would do something like this to her. He read the letter again and again, trying to see any deceit in it.

“Are you sure this is your father’s signature?” He asked and she nodded. “Maybe it’s a trap, more demons or hunters trying to get their hands on you.”

“I have to find out who sent this and why. If they are demons or demon hunters then they will come here when I don’t show up and I don’t want to risk the people in the village getting hurt because of me.”

“If you go then so do I. I may be new at all this demon stuff, but I’m good enough to watch your back.”

“How far is it from here?”

“By horse it will take us a week, by foot two weeks. I’m sure we can get horses and supplies from the village. They’re still trying to make everything up to you so they’ll probably just hand them right over.”

Nali took the letter from him and ran her fingers over the beautifully penned signature. She had seen it so many times when she was little that there was no way she was being fooled. No one wrote their name like her father. Even the rest of the letters on the page looked so delicate. This had to be some sort of trap. She finally sat the page down and let Reece pick her up and cradle her on the bed. “We’ll go to the village tomorrow morning and ask for what we need. Try not to let this letter get to you. We’ll find out what’s going on and take care of it.” He kissed her cheek and wiped the tears off her face.

“You always know what to say. Maybe we can get Sincerity to come along. She’s never really been out of this region.”

“You know Hylden will want to come too. He stays attached to her like some sort of parasite. I don’t know if my sister even likes him like that. She has an amazing poker face.” He shifted her onto the bed and lay down next to her.

“A trip would be a good way to find out.”

Reece went to sleep but Nali laid awake wondering if this could really be true. If it was true why had he allowed her to live alone and sad for so many years. How could he leave her alone this long if he hadn’t died. Eventually she decided to let Reeces safe embrace lull her to sleep. Whatever it was she could handle it with him at her side. If it was her father she’d be upset he didn’t see her for so long but she’d be overwhelmed with joy to have him back in her life. She hoped he atleast had a good explanation if it were true he was living. Her eyes opened begrudgingly the next morning when she felt Reece move. “Lets have a nice breakfast before we leave. I will cook this morning, you just worry about preparing for the journey Nali.”

She placed a loving kiss on Reeces cheek. “Thanks sweetheart, I’m ready though. As long as I have you I am ready for what this journey brings” He smiled then went into the kitchen to cook. Nali looked through her clothes and decided on her most comfortable pants and a loose fitting shirt. She set out somthing for Reece to wear. He never really cared and appreciated when she did that so he wouldn’t have to pick somthing. She walked into the kitchen once she had a few changes of clothes packed in a bag for each of them.

She set it down by the table then hugged Reece from behind. She could feel happiness rush through him “go sit down before grease splatters on your arm and burns you”

“Alright” Nali said before kissing his back and releasing him to sit down in her chair. Reece brought the food over then poured them each some orange juice before eating with Nali. “Once again amazing Reece” He smiled “anything to make this journey easier. Don’t be ashamed to be sad or worried Nali. Don’t be ashamed to be angry if you find out your dad has been alive too”

“I’m sure he’ll have a good explanation”

“I hope so, I’d hate to think he just left you alone all these years for no reason.”

They finished eating and she quickly cleaned the dishes. They made sure all the windows were locked before leaving. They walked hand in hand to the village, her heart racing the whole time. She didn’t know what she would say or do if her father was alive. She had missed him with all her heart, had mourned for him and her mother for so long. Even now she had so many conflicting emotions. She didn’t know if she wanted it to be a lie or not. When they made it to the village they went to see Sincerity first.

“We wanted to invite you to accompany us to Shigara. Nali received a letter, supposedly from her father. It would be best if she had all the support she can get.” Reece’s explained.

“I would love to, being in a new land would be great.” She replied with an excited smile.

“Pack and meet us at the stables. We’re taking horses. You should ask Hylden to join us.” Nali said and Sincerity smiled and nodded.

They headed over to the stables and asked for three horses after explaining what was going on. The owner handed them over immediately and Nali promised that they would keep the horses from getting injured as best as they could. Reece helped her tie their bags to the third horse and they waited patiently for Sincerity and Hylden. When they arrived they tied their things to the third horse also. Reece lifted Nali onto the back of one of the stallions and then climbed on behind her. Hylden did the same with Sincerity who started shaking from being so far off the ground.

“Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall and if we somehow manage to I won’t let you get hurt.” Hylden said warmly.

“Thank you.” Sincerity replied, giving him her best smile.

Reece grabbed the reigns of the pack horse and tied them to his saddle before kicking his horse into motion. He had not been to the desert in years and was sure it was going to be hot. He had made sure to pack extra water in case they got lost. He knew that there were usually markers in the sand to indicate where you should go, but if a storm blew through they could be easily buried.

Sincerity trusted Hylden but was still a little nervous on the horse. He could tell and released the reigns from his right hand so he could wrap an arm around her. This was a very good horse and he’d have no problem guiding her with one hand. “Do you feel any more secure now? You know I wouldn’t let anything happen to you Sincerity”

“Thank you, I’m sorry”

“Don’t be sorry” Hylden said. He was tempted to kiss her head but resisted like always. He couldn’t read what she thought of him anymore then Reece or Nali could. Plus he had told the village when he saw her go to Nalis. He deeply regretted it and wished he could change his actions but at the time he thought Nali wasn’t safe. The horses trotted along the peaceful path. Nali stayed up so long last night she kept nearly falling asleep. Eventually Reece giggled “I don’t care if you sleep Nali.” She smiled “I may not sleep tonight if I sleep now. My mind is so busy with what we’ll find.”

“Do you want it to be your dad Nali?” Sincerity asked “I think I do. I have a lot of conflicting emotions. I just hope if he’s alive he has good reason for making me live alone for so long. I was so miserable and alone before you came into my life Sincerity. To top it off I found Reece because of you. I will owe you forever my dear friend.”

“You don’t owe me anything Nali. It’s been amazing having you as a friend. I’m glad the villagers didn’t kill you and now I can openly be your friend. It’s especially nice seeing you and Reece so happy.” Hyldens heart sank. He hated when any part of all that came into conversation. ¬†Nali smiled brightly and said “I hope you’ll find someone who makes you as happy as I am with Reece.” Sincerity just smiled and gave the first hint she ever had to any of them “Maybe I have, who knows” Hyldens heart sped up. She could honestly mean anyone but he could still hope she was referring to him.

Nali stared up at the clear sky, watching a flock of birds fly by. She inhaled the air, taking in the sweet smell of flowers that had been sitting in the sun for a long time. The peace of the world washed over, giving her a brief reprieve from her troubled thoughts. “This is your smell.” Reece said softly, his voice so full of love and adoration that it made her heart sing. “I can get lost in this smell forever.”

“You should stop talking like that. We’re on a horse for one and Sincerity and Hylden are here.” She whispered and tipped her head back to smile up at him.

“I can work around the horse, but I guess we should wait until we make it to the next village.”

He ran his fingers over her cheek and grabbed her chin and kissed her, managing to keep the horse on a straight path. He pulled back and smiled lovingly down at her, holding her gaze for one more minute before turning his attention back to the road. She still couldn’t believe how overwhelming her feelings for him were. He made her world so much better. They came to a stop around lunch time, jumping down from the horses and tying them up. They ate and drank quickly, wanting to make it to the next village before night fall. Night time brought predators and monsters that were extremely dangerous.

They couldn’t go to fast because Sincerity was afraid of falling off. It made Hylden laugh and she turned to glare at him. He snapped his mouth shut, fighting the smile that was tugging at his lips. “Sorry,” he said through his amusement then cleared his throat, “really, I’m so sorry.”

“No you’re not.” Sincerity replied and crossed her arms, looking away from him.

“You should stop being mad at me. I’m sorry for laughing, you’re just so adorable when you get scared. You’ve been like this since you were a little girl.”

“You’re one to talk Hylden. You used to be afraid of dragonflies.” Hylden blushed and everyone started laughing. He had never told anyone but Sincerity that embarrassing little detail.

They barely beat the moon to the village. By the time the horses were housed and they had a place to sleep for the evening the sun was gone. At first the people they would be staying with thought Hylden and Sincerity were a couple too but when Sincerity explained they weren’t, the couple that offered their home gave her a separate room from Hylden. Their children had long since moved out so they had plenty of space to do it. Hylden couldn’t help but feel sad Sincerity had corrected the couple so quickly. It was as if the thought of them together was horrible and she didn’t want someone to think it for a second. Nali and Reece were so wrapped in eachother they didn’t notice how sad Hylden got. They all went to their rooms after having the nice meal their hosts prepared for them.

As soon as Nalis and Reeces door was shut Reece was tugging at Nalis clothes. She laughed and whispered “atleast wait until everybody is sleeping”

“I don’t know how much longer I can resist you. You’re too sexy for either of our own goods” Nali laughed again, loving how he made her feel. He gave her so much strength and made her feel so beautiful. Nali was glad he wanted to be a demon and stay with her forever. She was grateful she wasn’t able to talk him out of it when he first asked to be one. As soon as the house became soundless Nali and Reece stripped off their clothes. They kissed while Reece rubbed Nali until she was wet enough for him to take her. Reece lifted her up until she wrapped her legs around him. He was hard and throbbing as he entered her depths of warmth.

They finished as quickly and quietly as they could then laid down together. Reece let out a content sigh “You are the only woman for me. Meeting you is what explained to me why it never worked with anybody else. I was meant for you.”

“Meeting you was the greatest blessing I could have ever received Reece.” Nali kissed his chest “I love you madly”

“I love you madlier.”

“Don’t start that”

“You just don’t want me to because you know I’ll win”

“We love each other equally, lets leave it at that”

“We shouldn’t lie, lying’s wrong” Nali punched his shoulder making Reece laugh then kiss her head “Fine, just dont beat me up”

Sincerity opened her bedroom window and stuck her head out. It was a beautiful night, the moon turning everything silver. She couldn’t wait until they made it to the desert. She heard the window next to her open and Hylden leaned out. “Oh hello.” She said, making him jump and hit his head on the window. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay.” He replied and rubbed the back of his head. “I’m going to have a lump.”

“You’re not tired either huh?”

“No, but sometimes I just can’t sleep.”

“So have you ever been to the desert?” She asked excitedly.

“Yeah, once about three or four years ago. There was a problem with wolves attacking traders on the road and I traveled with one of the caravans to protect it.”

“What was it like?”

“Hot, dusty, but really beautiful. It’s a different type of wilderness.”

She smiled, trying to imagine what it might look and feel like. “Well we should both get some rest. I’ll see you in the morning Hylden.”

“Goodnight Sincerity, I…I’m really glad you asked me to come with you.”

“Me too.” She disappeared back inside, closing her window and going to bed. Hylden waited for another moment before going back inside himself.

Reece stretched as he woke. He smiled down at Nali and kissed her awake. She wrapped her arms around his neck, giving a soft giggle. He wanted so badly to get lost in her warmth again, but knew they needed to get up and eat then be on their way. He wanted to get this over with so she wouldn’t be so stressed anymore. He hoped her father was alive so he could slug the man for not coming forth sooner. She didn’t deserve to mourn someone who wasn’t even dead. They got up and pulled their clothes on, stepping out of the room and breathing in the smell of muffins. Their hosts had made them blueberry muffins with cream cheese on the side. They sat down with Sincerity and Hylden, thanking them before eating their fill.

When they were done they thanked their hosts one more time before grabbing their belongings to walk to where their horses were kept. On the way Sincerity asked “how’s your head Hylden?” He smiled “It’s fine, didn’t hurt that badly to begin with.”

“Good, I felt bad”

“I enjoyed talking to you for the brief moment. As a warrior I shouldn’t be so jumpy anyway”

“Being a warrior doesn’t mean you have to be fearless, just that you have to face fears others don’t have to” Hylden smiled again. They soon reached the horses and put their stuff back on their carrier horse Melanie. Once she was loaded down Hylden helped Sincerity get on their horse while Reece helped Nali. Hylden was happy to be able to hold Sincerity again. Sincerity being afraid gave him reason to have his arm around her and keep her pressed into him. The sky was beautiful and clear as they set out on the road. Nali hoped it would stay clear and not rain on them. She could smell the rain coming but wanted to keep going instead of stay. Rain never hurt anybody anyway. Hopefully they could find a cave to take shelter in if it got too heavy.

Reece should have been able to smell it coming but he wasn’t used to having his demon senses yet. He hadn’t embraced everything he could now do. Nali knew it would probably take years for him to fully embrace what he now was. The thought occurred to Nali that her father would be meeting her husband. She found herself hoping he would approve. If he didn’t it wouldn’t matter but it would be wonderful if they all got along well. Maybe her dad would be willing to move near her so he could play with their children when they had some.

Her worried thoughts soon vanished as she let her imagination grow wild about her future children with Reece. He was going to be such a fun dad. She could see him playing with them in the woods around their home. She could also see herself reading to them at night. So many amazing things she couldn’t wait for. She’d love her father to be a part of it all. She comforted herself again with saying in her mind “he has to have a good reason if he’s still alive”

They came to the top of a hill and stopped so Nali and Sincerity could look at the view. Both women gasped at how beautiful it was. Nali had travelled to many places, but she had never been able to stop and enjoy the world around her. They started down the hill, leaving that perfect scene behind. She would remember it for all time. “How far until the next village?” Sincerity asked.

“Two days.” Hylden answered.

“We could ride through the night and all through tomorrow, eat on the go. It would cut a couple of hours off of our travel time.” Reece said as he guided his horse around a bush.

“If you think it would be worth it, I agree.” Nali smiled up at him.

“Hylden and I can easily stay awake. We’re farm boys, we used to stay up and watch sheep so predators couldn’t get to them.”

Nali crossed one leg in front of her and rested her head against Reece’s shoulder. After the second village they would cross over into the desert. The heat would be nothing for her and Reece, but the horse, Sincerity and Hylden would surely suffer. She was really glad they had extra water. They would have to make sure to wear their lightest clothing and wrap their heads with wet cloth to keep cool. She would buy some scarves and show everyone how to do it. She wondered how her father had managed to live after what had been done to him. She had seen their bodies after the other demons had left. Both of her parents had been tortured and drained. In her terror she had not taken the time to see if they were still alive. She couldn’t help but wonder why her father had not immediately come for her. She suddenly felt very sad again and before she knew it she was crying.

“Do you want us to stop?” Reece asked as he hugged her tighter.

“No, I’ll be alright. Just keep going.” She turned in the saddle so she was facing him and buried her face in his shirt. He ran his hand up and down her back, giving her kisses on the cheek and telling her how much he loved her. Right at that moment he truly hated her father and if it was him who had sent that letter, he wished the man had stayed dead. He was breaking his daughters heart with all the uncertainty.

Nali cried until she fell asleep against Reece. He sighed sadly and Sincerity was frowning as she looked over at her friend. “She’ll be fine Sincerity. I don’t think my heart can take a sad look on your face too” Reece said in a very despondent tone. She turned her head to look in front of her. She let go of her weight to lay fully against Hylden “is this ok?” He smiled down at her “Of course it is. You can stay like that the whole way if you want.” She smiled back turning his heart to mush. He ripped his eyes away from hers before he lead the horse off the road. A smile at that moment threatened to appear from Reece but his sadness and angry outweighed it so he kept a stern face as he looked at the path.

Reece hoped Nali would stay asleep until tomorrow. It was a bit early in the day to hope for but he hoped all the same. Nali closed her eyes to just enjoy the animal sounds around her. The mixture of riding on the horse and the beautiful music of nature had her very relaxed. She wasn’t even nervous any longer about being so high. She knew regardless Hylden wouldn’t let her fall off or get hurt so worrying was pointless. This was an amazing journey. She wanted to take another one with them when all of them could be happy. She hated seeing Nali so upset.

Instead of having her hands resting on the horse she grabbed Hyldens arm. Sincerities eyes were still shut and listening to the sounds flowing into her ears. He blushed as he struggled not to lean down and kiss her. She looked so beautiful and her holding his arm was sending tingles through him. A light drizzle started to come down making both girls sit up. A sad pang hit Hyldens heart and Reece asked “want to find shelter or keep going?”

“Keep going, it wont do more than drizzle.”

“How do you know?” Hylden asked, genuienly curious. “I can smell it. Reece should be able to aswell but he hasn’t embraced his new sense of smell.”

“That must be pretty cool”

“It comes in handy.” she then looked at Sincerity. “Remeber all those times we ran to the meadow when I knew it was going to rain so we could twirl around and enjoy the flowers.”

“Of course, sorry I haven tbeen coming very much lately.”

“It’s fine” Nali said with a smile

The terrain became more rocky, the trees growing sparser. Instead of forest there were now large open plains as they entered the high desert. It was surprising how the world worked, how they could be passing the rain forest one minute and be riding past spikey shrubs the next. Both Nali and Sincerity looked behind them. There home was back there and if you kept going until you couldn’t walk anymore you come to the city of Menthe where there was a large port. Neither of them had crossed the ocean, but hoped one day they would. They faced forward, Sincerity marveling at this new world. When they finally became hungry and thirsty Reece pulled the pack horse close so Nali could pull food and water out for everyone. The women fed the men and helped them drink, getting partially soaked in the process. They leaned forward in the saddles, feeding the horses. They decided they would stop and water them after the sun went down.

Nali pulled the letter from her father out and read it again. He had been such an amazing father, had lied to a bunch of demons to save her life. She hoped his sacrifice would be enough for her to forgive him. She wondered how he looked now. Even though her kind never aged she knew the years may not have been kind to him. She knew the feeling. If it had not been for Reece and Sincerity she would have never known love and kindness again. The letter was short, saying only:

Nali,

I am sorry for writing this, but I have missed you with all my heart. I want to see you so please come to me. If you don’t I will understand. Forgive me.

Love,

Walker Chesia

Even in the letter he sounded tired and broken. She hugged the letter to her chest and imagined he could feel it. She found herself hating him less and less as they got closer and closer to their destination. “I want to hurt him.” Reece said coldly.

“I know you do. Am I going to have to get Hylden to hold you back once we get there?” She replied as she folded the letter and put it away.

“Probably because if he doesn’t I might break your father’s nose for making you cry.”

Night descended on them and they stopped and watered the horses. They stretched their legs, loosening cramped muscles and then climbed back in the saddle. Sincerity gripped Hylden’s hand when she heard rustling nearby. The moon glinted off the eyes of some creature and covered her mouth so she wouldn’t scream. “Don’t worry, it’s just a skunk. He won’t hurt us if we don’t try and hurt him.” Hylden said softly, giving her a reassuring squeeze.

“I’ve never been outside at night like this.” She replied, leaning as close to him as possible.

“I promise to protect you from anything. I will give my life for yours. Try to relax, you’re tense and shaking.”

 

 

“I will try, I really hate I’m not as brave as you, Nali and Reece.” Reece smiled “well you are not a warrior or a demon and this is your first time out Sincerity. If you let Hylden take you out sometimes you will get braver.” Sincerity looked up at Hylden “would you want to do that?”

“As often as you want” Hylden was grateful Reece suggested it. Hylden actually thought Sincerity was adorable when she acted like this. To him she was adorable and beautiful when she did anything though. He couldn’t get enough of the feeling he got being so close to her. Especially now that she was leaning against him. Hylden hoped she would just fall asleep like this. About an hour later he got his wish. Her eyes closed and she fell asleep deeply. He made her feel safe and warm as she laid against him. Sincerity could count on him for anything and knew she could sleep without worry.

Hylden couldn’t help but glance down at Sincerity and smile. Reece spoke in a whispered tone “so why do you just follow my sister around instead of asking her out? It’s obvious you have it really bad for her.” Hylden blushed “she’s right here Reece” Hylden whispered back “Precisely Hylden, ask the woman out.”

“I would if she gave me any sign she liked me. I can’t read her atall. I could ask her out and make a fool of myself.”

“Isn’t she worth the risk?” He looked at Sincerity again “she really is”

“be a man and ask her out or I just may talk to her myself.” Hylden gave Reece a death glare. Reece almost let out a laugh but held it since Nali was sleeping too. “I’ll try, I have before but my words fail me and I just say something stupid. You wouldn’t believe the shit that comes out of my mouth when I’ve tried. I just wish she’d give me any indication if she liked me or not.”

“The fact that she keeps your company all the time doesn’t tell you anything? She could’ve told you to go away and stop being a parasite attached to her back” That made Hylden give Reece another mean glare. “I’m serious, if you think about it while she’s sleeping I’m sure you’ll see on your own how she feels. I’m sure you’ve missed somthing along the way”

Reece just rolled his eyes when he didn’t say anything else. Hylden was far to worried about being rejected to see that Sincerity loved his company. He rested his chin on top of Nali’s head as the horses walked down the empty road. He stayed alert for any signs of danger. He was surprised nothing had found them delicious enough to eat yet. Maybe the night time creatures could smell that he and Nali were different and didn’t want to risk death. The drizzling became a little heavier and he pulled two blankets off the pack horse and handed one to Hylden before covering Nali’s head and body. It was to dark to find a cave to sleep in so they would just have to hope it would stop soon.

The rain tapered off then stopped as the sun began to rise. Both Reece and Hylden had soaked hair and blue lips. Nali opened her eyes and pushed the blanket off her head. She looked up at Reece and felt a little sad when she saw how wet and cold he was. She grabbed the blanket and wrapped it around both of them, holding it closed around them. “You should have woke me.” She said with a frown.

“You were sleeping and I’m okay. It’s just a little water.” Sincerity jerked awake at their voices and jerked the blanket down. She looked around, a little confused at first and then remembering they were on the road. She frowned at Hylden and wrapped him up the same way Nali had Reece.

“You men need to stop being stupid.” Sincerity said.

“Like your brother said, it’s just water.” Hylden replied.

“Your lips are blue. What are you going to do if you get sick? Same with you Reece. How irresponsible of both of you.”

“I agree with you a hundred percent.” Nali said, sounding irritated. Reece and Hylden exchanged glances, knowing they were really in trouble.

“Look, I’m sorry okay.” Reece said, tipping Nali’s head back so she had to look at him.

“Me too. Next time we’ll wake you.” Hylden gave Sincerity a squeeze.

Nali sighed. “I guess we can forgive you this time. Right Sincerity?”

“I guess we have no choice. They’re making puppy dog eyes.” The girls laughed and the men smiled, glad that they were happy now. Reece looked at Hylden and nodded his head toward Sincerity. Hylden shook his head and Reece glared.

“Hey sis I have something important to tell you about Hylden.”

“Shut up Reece.”

“Either you do it or I do it.”

“Damn it, why do you have to be so pushy.”

“Because you’re being a chicken. Open your mouth and tell her. You have my blessing.”

Sincerity looked at Hylden with those bright and gorgeous eyes making it even harder for him. He had to say it himself, he couldn’t have Reece doing it. He took a deep breath “I love you Sincerity. I have for years and I want to be more than your friend if you’ll have me.” Atleast he said all that he meant this time. He meant to say like you so it wouldn’t come on so strong but his deep and honest love for her made him tell the truth. Sincerity smiled then gave him a quick kiss on the lips making Hylden blush more than he ever had. “here I thought you’d never say anything. I love you too Hylden. I’ve adored every day I’ve spent with you over the years. You’re a sweet and caring man. You bring happiness to every day you spend with me. I’m glad you finally confessed how you feel. Thanks for making him Reece.”

“No problem, you two aren’t going to live forever like us so he needed to come to his senses.” Hylden was still blushing and almost felt like crying due to the swelling emotions inside of him. Sincerity actually loved him too and her lips touched his. He wasn’t going to count that as their first kiss. Once he had the chance he planned on giving Sincerity a real kiss. He prayed it took her breath away like that quick kiss had taken his and filled his stomach with butterfly wings.

“Thank you Reece” he said still breathless. “you’re welcome. You better make her happy and take care of her like you have been doing all these years.” He smiled then kissed Sincerities head. “I love you” he said softly wanting to hear her return the words again. “I love you too Hylden, always” He may have cried if another man wasn’t at his side to see it.

The sun beat down on them, making Sincerity and Hylden sweat like crazy. They ate some fruit for lunch to help keep them cool and sipped at the water. They couldn’t be live it was already getting hot and wished for the rain to return. They were relieved when the sun finally started to go down and the air cooled around them. Reece pointed out the next village and they made it just as the sun was almost completely gone. They took their horses to the stable and were happy when they found an inn. They got two rooms and went straight up after a quick dinner. Reece yawned, exhausted after staying up all night. He pulled off his boots and flopped down on the bed.

“A mattress feels amazing after sitting up right for so long.” He said, his eyes drifting closed. Nali giggled and he snapped them back open then grabbed her and pulled her on top of him. She smiled and rested her head on his chest. “Sorry, I’m way to tired for anything but holding you.”

“You don’t have to apologize. I understand.” She kissed his chest and then let herself get lost in the sound of his soft breathing and steady heart beat.

Hylden noticed Sincerity looked really nervous. She played with her hair, twirling it around her fingers and looked at the floor. “You can have the bed and I’ll sleep b the floor.” He said and she looked up at him, embarrassed.

“I’m sorry.” She replied in a whisper.

He grabbed her hand and pulled her into him, giving her a tight hug. “I don’t want to do something that makes you uncomfortable.” He tangled his fingers in her hair and pulled her head back, letting his lips move softly over hers. “I love kissing you, I could do it forever.”

“I want you to sleep with me in the bed, I like it when you hold me.”

“Thank you.” He lifted her into bed, pulling off both of their boots and then laying down next to her. He pulled her into his arms and she pillowed her head on his chest.

“How long until we reach sand?” She asked tiredly.

“A day and a half. It’s going to get more dangerous. There are a lot of venomous creatures in the desert, some of them innocent looking. I’m sure we’ll be watering the horses quite and bit so don’t touch anything when you’re on the ground and keep your eyes open.” She sighed softly and he looked down at her. She was already asleep and he didn’t even know if she had heard anything he said. He smiled and shook his head then closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. He would have to remember to tell her in the morning.

When morning came Hylden woke and looked happily down at Sincerity again. He placed his hand under her chin to tilt her head for a kiss. She smiled against his lips then kissed him back. “what a wonderful way to wake up” she said softly. “I hope you’ll give me many opportunities to wake you like that” he said slightly shy. Sincerity laughed. “what?” he asked confused “seeing you being shy is just funny. You’re such a tough guy”

“With you as my weakness.” She smiled and kissed him again. He relished the lip contact until she pulled back “we need to change our clothes and shower. Do you want to go first?”

“No, you go ahead.”

“I’ll be quick.” Sincerity said then grabbed a change of clothes before heading into the bathroom. Hylden sat up, he would’ve loved to just take a shower with her but he knew Sincerity would have to move slow. He didn’t mind atall. Getting to even sleep with and kiss Sincerity was bliss enough for him. She was an amazing woman and he couldn’t believe she was finally his. He just hoped he didn’t lose himself at any point and make her uncomfortable. He would try hard to make sure he moved slow enough for her. Sincerity only took as long as she needed to wash herself before she dried and pulled her clothes on. When she came out Hylden walked over and kissed her head before entering the bathroom.

Sincerity sat on the bed to wait for him. He also just took enough time to wash himself then got out. He wanted to be by Sincerities side again. Once he was dressed he dried the floor then gathered their dirty clothes to put back in their bag. When everything was gathered he kissed her again. She smiled when he pulled back. “I’m sorry, am I kissing you too much? I’ve just waited so long to feel your lips against mine. I can’t get enough of it.”

“No, I think it’s really sweet. Thank you for being such a gentleman last night and also not trying to pressure me into showering with you this morning.”

“Like I said Sincerity, I don’t want to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. If I do anything atall you don’t want just tell me and I’ll stop instantly. How fast we go is up to you.” Hylden hugged her then they put their shoes on to meet Reece and Nali. They were downstairs at the breakfast bar. The four ate then walked into town to buy the scarves Nali wanted to help them stay cool.

“Just stay still Hylden you big baby.” Nali said as she touched the soaked scarf to his head and he jerked away from the cold.

“Why are we doing this again?” He asked as he crossed his arms and frowned.

“So you two don’t get to hot.”

Nali wrapped the scarf around his head, making it into a turban. She did the same with Sincerity, making sure her hair was completely tucked underneath the thin breathable cloth. They retrieved their horses and started off again. “How come you and Reece aren’t wearing one?” Hylden asked.

“We don’t feel the heat like you do. See, we’re not even sweating.” Nali answered with a smile.

“So not fair.” She and Reece laughed as they rode across the rocky ground. The sun beat down on them, making sweat soak through Hylden and Sincerity’s clothes. The dust being kicked up from the horse’s hooves stuck to them, making them itchy. Hylden had forgotten about how hot it could be. Sincerity partially untied the front of her shirt, catching his instant attention.

“I can feel you staring.” She said and his eyes flew forward.

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay, it’s just so hot I had to.”

Reece felt his lips twitch and coughed to cover up the laughter that threatened to break loose. Hylden glared at him and he couldn’t hold back anymore. He laughed so hard there were tears in his eyes. “I can’t believe my sister can make you turn that red. It’s priceless.”

“Shut up, it’s just the heat.”

“Right, I believe you.”

Nali smiled at them teasing each other. It was so cute and funny. She had not pegged Hylden for the shy type. He followed Sincerity around boldly, making sure the rest of the world knew he wanted her. His posture and attitude had always intimidated the other young men. Now he reminded her of a shy little boy who just gave a flower to his first crush. They stopped in the afternoon and watered the horses then ate, drank and moved on. They would arrive at the sandy, rolling hills of what seemed like never ending desert tomorrow afternoon and then from there they would make their way to her father. The sound of a hawk fell on her ears and she looked to the sky. It was circling not far from them. It had found an easy meal, probably an animal carcass. If that was the case it meant that a predator still lingered close by.

She looked at Reece to see if he heard it aswell. “I’m paying attention.” he said reading her face. “Paying attention for what?” Hylden asked. “There’s a hawk not far from us which means a predator isn’t far. If somthing comes you just worry about my sister. I’ve gained a lot of strength, agility and speed from Nali. Plus we heal faster so it’s best if you only think of protecting Sincerity while we take care of it. Sincerity knows you’re strong so you have nothing to prove.” Sincerity giggled and Hylden was red again. “definitely the heat” Reece teased again. The two would probably be wrestling at this point if it weren’t so hot and they didn’t have a destination to get to.

The sun beat down on them so mercilessly Sincerity would’ve gotten down to her underwear if she wasn’t riding with Hylden. Sincerity thought it was sweet that Hylden was still holding her even though it would be a little bit cooler if they weren’t against eachother so tightly. She knew he could tell she wasn’t afraid so there was no point in saying anything. He was holding her because he wanted to. Sincerity knew he had wanted her for years but she was surprised just how thrilled he seemed to be with her and how loving he was. She had seen his soft side quite a few times but not like this. Most men would’ve been asses about her nervousness at the hotel but he didn’t care in the slightest.

Soon they heard the cry of desert leopards. They all looked to see five coming. “remember what I said Hylden!” Reece cried before getting off the horse with Nali. Sincerity worried for her brother. Desert leopards were string and fast. She just had to believe Nali and Reece were faster. She held onto the fact they had killed that horrific demon that captured her. If they could beat him and all those other demons in his home she should have confidence they can beat five desert leopards. The horses were calm being used to being near dangers. They trusted the people with them to keep them safe. The horses had seen much worse in their lifetimes.

Nali and Reece fought back to bag, pulling swords out of the air and slashing at the hungry beasts. They mirrored each others movements. A cat sprung at both of them and they grabbed they animals by their throats, throwing them to the side. They only had to kill two, the smell of blood and death sending the other three running. Their swords vanished and they climbed back onto their horse like nothing had happened. Hylden and Sincerity were both surprised by how amazing they were. Neither of them had ever seen two people fight with such agility and grace.

“That was so cool.” Sincerity said with a big smile.

“Thank you.” They replied in unison.

The sun started to fall, making the air grow cool. Nali pulled the blankets out and handed one to Sincerity. “It feels so amazing right now though.” Sincerity said, confused.

“It’s going to get really cold.” Hylden took the blanket and draped it over his shoulders. Sincerity grabbed the edges and pulled it closed around both of them.

“Are your scarves dry?” Reece asked.

“Pretty much.”

“Good, we don’t want either of you to get sick.” They were going to ride through the night again to take as much time off of their journey as possible. Reece could tell that Nali was becoming more anxious even though she seemed so outwardly calm. He could feel it vibrating through her like an earthquake. He kissed the top of her head and then her cheek. She turned her head and he found her mouth with his. He tugged at her bottom lip and she opened up to him, giving a soft moan as their tongues moved around each other. He pulled back before he started touching her and couldn’t stop. She smiled knowingly up at him before leaning her head back on his shoulder and staring up at the star filled sky.

Sincerity was doing the same. She couldn’t stop admiring how gorgeous the stars were. Occasionally Hylden let himself look down into her stunning star filled eyes. The stars made them sparkle even more and he was dieing to kiss her. He hated he couldn’t at this moment. Having Sincerity so close was incredibly distracting. He relied on Reece so he wouldn’t wander off while captivated by her. The night was calm and uneventful so it didn’t take the girls long to fall asleep. “I bet you aren’t mad at me now huh?” Reece said making Hylden smile “No I’m not, thank you”

“It was really for my sister. You better keep her happy”

“I will” They rode the rest of the night in silence so they wouldn’t wake Nali and Sincerity. Neither of them stirred until the sun was climbing high again. They stopped so Reece could water and feed the horses while Nali re-wet Sincerity’s and Hyldens wrappings. They were almost there and still had plenty of water. They would refill before starting back home after seeing Nalis dad if this wasn’t a demented joke or a trap. Nalis heart wouldn’t stop pounding painfully. They had cut so much time off the trip they would arrive tonight or in the morning if they didn’t run into any more trouble. Once everything was done they ate a light meal and drank what they needed before getting back on the horses. Nali was impressed by how well the two animals were doing. She could tell they were hot but they didn’t seem like they were miserable. She guessed they must have come out here many times.

Sincerity hated how fast it was becoming hot again. She didn’t entertain self pity though. Hylden had to deal with the heat of yesterday, stay awake all night and now had to deal with heat again. She atleast had gotten to sleep for some of this journey twice while Reece and Hylden just kept going. She wanted to ask how close they were but figured it would be annoying. They would get there when they got there. Asking the men again wouldn’t make their destination arrive any faster.

Nali jerked awake, startling Reece. She had an odd feeling in her chest, a tugging sensation. They were getting closer. “Are you okay?” Reece asked.

“I feel strange.” She answered, pressing her hand to her chest.

“Strange how?”

“Like I’m getting close to something important.”

“We should be arriving soon. We’ll get some rest before we look for your father.”

She nodded and leaned back into him. She was unable to fall back asleep. The horses struggled up a hill of sand, their hooves sinking down before finding purchase. They stopped at the top and she could see the lights of the city burning in the distance. Shigara was a bigger desert city with its own guard house and patrol. Nali and Reece knew that Sincerity would find the way people dressed here fascinating. They even used different weapons and did not fear demons the way others in the world did. To the desert people there were good and bad demons. Even their god was an old demon that lived in a cave a few miles from the city. Nali had visited him during her travels and found him to be quite amusing and wishing he was not worshipped. He told her the biggest upside to being looked at like a god was all the free food. If they had time and he was still around, she would take them to meet him.

They started down the hill, the horses almost slipping as the sand moved out from under their hooves. Nali was really nervous now. She gripped tightly to the blanket, her heart hammering quickly in her chest. “Everything’s going to be okay sweety.” Reece held her tightly t him and kissed her cheek. “Whether it be your father or an elaborate trap put together by some demon hunter that heard of you, it’s going to be okay.”

 

The first thing Reece planned on doing if Nali confirmed the man that sent that was her father was punching him in the face before Hylden could hold him back. No matter how good of a reason he had it still wouldn’t make up for putting Nali through such misery. The calm, strong and brave woman he married was almost a little girl afraid of the dark right now. She had faced down and defeated many demons but when it came to finding her dad after so long she was a rattling kitten. They finally made it to Shiagra while night still covered the desert sky. They jumped down off the horses and lead them to a stable Nali remembered. Nali took the wrappings off Hylden and Sincerity before both men grabbed their things.

Nali handed Sincerity a hair brush since her hair was a bit messy from being covered so long. She quickly brushed out her hair and gave it back to Sincerity. They were going to check into a hotel for the night then find Nalis dad in the morning. A small part of Nali wanted to search now but she knew how tired the men must be. Most of the strain of the journey was on them. They found a nice one then went to their rooms. When Nali and Reece got to theirs Nali couldn’t help but cry again. “I’m so sorry Reece” she spoke through her tears “for what Nali?”

“For crying so much” he rubbed her head and back “don’t sbe sorry, it’s your father who should be sorry. He’s so selfish and thoughtless.”

“Can we shower?”

“I think it will do us both some good.” Reece responded in the warmest tone he could manage through his anger. Hylden had the same idea when he got to the room with Sincerity. “I definitely want a shower before I lay down. This dirt all over me is so itchy. Would you like to shower first?”

“No thank you, you go ahead. The journey was harder for you.”

“Not really, I’ma ¬†warrior”

“Just go Hylden” she stood and kissed his cheek “You’re very sweet but I want you to go first.” He nodded then reluctantly went into the bathroom with a change of clothes. Sincerity stood staring at the door. She wished she was brave enough to walk in behind him so they could shower together but her shyness was preventing her. She was nervous to find out what he thought of her naked. No man except that vile, wicked demon had seen her nude form. Sincerity took a few steps towards the bathroom door and froze again. She blushed thinking about Hylden in the water. She changed her mind and sat in the chair by the window. This wasn’t the time to be trying stuff like that anyway. Nali was going through somthing really horrible right now.

When he came out she grabbed what she was going to sleep in then went quickly into the bathroom. He guessed she was in a hurry to get the sand off of her body. Hylden felt a million times better now. Especially since he could see Sinceritys face again. It was hard to work all the sand out of her hair so this shower was much longer than her last. Once every grain of sand was off of her she got out and dried before putting her pajamas on. She hadn’t realized just how uncomfortable she was until all that junk was off of her and down the drain.

“Better?” Hylden asked when she came back out.

“Loads better.” She flopped down on the bed and laid back, staring up at the ceiling. “How in the world did you not go crazy with all that sand on you?”

“I have massive amounts of self control. You should know that.”

“So much that you wouldn’t even tell me how much you loved me. You really wanted to give me a chance at finding happiness didn’t you?”

He sat down next to her and smiled warmly. “I didn’t want you to be with anyone else, but if you had decided to marry someone that wasn’t me I would have supported you all the way. You deserve only the best, not even I am good enough for you.”

“Oh shut up.” She reached up and grabbed a hand full of his hair then pulled him down to kiss him. He smiled against her lips, making her feel happy. He pulled back and moved her up on the bed so he could lay with her. They fell asleep facing each other, her forehead pressed against his chest and his arm draped protectively over her.

Reece dried Nali and carried her to bed. She looked so exhausted even though she had been able to sleep. He rolled her onto her stomach and rubbed his hands over her back, massaging out the knots. Sitting in a saddle for so long was very uncomfortable. “I’m a little saddle sore.” She said softly and he ran his hands over her bottom. “Ow, maybe more than a little.”

“Sorry baby, we’ll take more breaks on the way home.” He kissed her shoulder then pulled her into his arms.

Even though she was sore Nali managed to sleep peacefully in the loving embrace of her husband. Both couples slept in that morning. It had been a long hard journey but eventually Nali jerked awake. “lets get ready Reece” he wanted to ask for more time but in the current situation that would be selfish. Nali needed to get to the bottom of that letter as fast as possible. They both got dressed and checked the breakfast area for Sincerity and Hylden. Nali laughed “I bet they slept in too. I’ll order us somthing if you go wake them.”

“Ok, just get me what you get” she nodded and Reece ran to Sincerity’s and Hyldens room. He banged loudly until they both stirred then realized the time. Hylden yelled “so sorry, we’ll meet you downstairs soon”

“Don’t worry we slept late too. Go and meet us where they serve breakfast when you’re ready.” That being said Reece hurried back to his wife. He didn’t want her alone any longer than she had to be. Sincerity changed her clothes in the bathroom then Hylden did the same before they walked out of the room. Sincerity smiled when Hylden grabbed her hand as they walked to meet Reece and Nali for breakfast. He kept her hand until they sat down with Reece and Nali. They ordered aswell and were surprised how fast it all came out. Once the four were full Nali got nervous again. Now the journey was over and it was time to find who wrote the letter.

Reece could feel it and hugged her “are you ready Nali?”

“as ready as I can be. I guess the best place to start is the return address on the envelope.”

“do you know where that is here?”

“No but I’m sure the man behind the front counter will know.” They got up after they paid and went over to the man. Nali asked him if he knew the adress and he gave her directions. She thanked him then they walked out. Reece pulled Nali against him and hung his arm over her shoulders. He hoped it would help her. Hylden took Sinceritys hand back in his and gave her a smile. She smiled back but they didn’t speak. They left the air open for Nali or Reece to say what they needed to if they needed to speak.

“I’m scared.” Nali said, her voice shaking.

“I’m right here baby. Just take a breath.” Reece replied and kissed her cheek.

She smiled and they walked the rest of the way in silence. When they made it to the address they just stood outside. Nali stared at the front door and swallowed. She had to know if he was on the other side. She raised a shaking hand and knocked. She heard footsteps on the other side of the door and the knob turned. It swung open and she gasped, staring wide eyed at the man in front of her. He looked just as shocked. “Daddy.” She whispered.

“Nali? Is it really…” Reece hit him so hard the other man was knocked back into the house and onto the ground.

“Reece, please stop.” She grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to kill him. I just wanted to give him what he deserved.”

She managed to get him back and then ran into the house as her father was picking himself up off the floor. His cheek was red and she knew it would soon be bruising. “Daddy, you’re really here. Wh…why aren’t you dead?” She said angrily. He sat down and rubbed his face.

“Who is that guy?” He asked and she slapped him.

“Don’t change the subject damn it. You’re supposed to be dead. Why now? Why send for me now?”

“I deserve all the hate you have Nali.”

“You’re damn straight you do.”

“I had a good reason you know. It’s no excuse, but it’s a reason. I did it to protect you. I couldn’t protect your mother, but I could always protect you. When I married your mother, I signed away my life and hers. She knew that, but when we had you I wanted to do everything in my power to keep you safe. After they attacked and I didn’t die, I decided to stay away to keep them from finding you.” He buried his face in his hands.

“Do you have any idea what I went through without you to guide me? I was hated by everyone, no one understood me, no one cared for the longest time.” She screamed and he started crying.

“I am so sorry, I was wrong. I should have tracked you down, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep you safe. I failed once and I didn’t want to fail again. I loved your mother and ai love you. I was stupid, a coward.”

“Oh daddy please don’t cry.” She wrapped her arms around him. He sounded like his heart had been torn out.

Reece felt Walker didn’t deserve Nalis sympathy. A father should never leave his daughters side no matter what. There was nothing in the world that would rip him from his children when he had some with Nali. Sincerity and Hylden stood there not knowing what to say. Sincerity eventually spoke “this really seems like a family issue. Maybe we should go back to the hotel.”

“Before you go, dad this is Sincerity and her boyfriend. She’s my best friend. She was my very first friend after years of being all alone with nobody to love me or care about me. She’s a really amazing woman and I was blessed to cross paths with her.”

“It’s nice to meet you two.” he said wiping at his still tear filled eyes. “Nice to meet you sir. I look forward to a nicer meeting later. I can already see how much Nali wants to forgive you. If she does you better never leave her again unless she wants it. Nali was so miserable and alone when I came into her life. You have no idea what she went through because you abandoned her.” Walker hung his head “I’ve regretted it for a long time but by the time I did it had been so long I feared I’d upset her too much suddenly telling her I was alive. I just got selfish and had to see the little girl I’ve thought about every day.” Walker turned his head to Nali “I’ve never stopped loving you or thinking about you. I’m so very sorry”

Sincerity and Hylden walked out to get back in their hotel room so Nali and Reece¬†could sort things out between them and Walker. “Can I carry you back?” Hylden asked “Please do” He lifted her up and carried her back to their room. Sincerity and Walker just hugged while Reece stood there. He broke from the hug “Can I get you two anything?”

“We’re fine dad, we ate right before coming over. We arrived last night and are staying in a hotel.”

“You two could stay with me.” Nali sighed “I want to forgive you dad. I love you so much but I don’t know if staying with you is a good idea. Let me think about it today while we spend time together”

“I understand Nali. Can I know about this young man now?”

“He’s my husband Reece. He was human but became half demon so he could be with me forever. I love him so much and we’ve had a very happy marriage so far. He’s Sinceritys brother.”

“It’s nice to meet you even though I knwo it’s not nice to meet me. I can only imagine how angry you are at me since you love Nali. Only a man who loved her would’ve struck me that hard. You’re impressive for once being human. I hope you’ll soften to me eventually as I try to make ammends.”

“I don’t take abandonment lightly, but for Nali I will try. Just know if you ever make her cry again, I will kill you and there will be no force in this world that can stop me.” He held his father in laws gaze for some time, letting him know that he meant business.

“I understand.” Walker replied. It took Nali putting her hand in front of his face to make him break eye contact. She could see that her father was not afraid of Reece even a little.

“So what happened after you and mom were attacked?” She asked as she pulled a chair over and sat down next to him.

“The demons had done me a lot of damage. If. Had not been able to get to the potions we had stored away, I would have bled out. I have scars from the deeper wounds they inflicted. It took me a long time to get back to normal, to be able to actually walk. I looked for you at first, but after a year I decided that it was probably best I left you alone. I knew you could take care of yourself because you are strong like your mother. I moved around for a bit, never staying in the same place for to long then I came here. The people here don’t attack things like you, me, and your husband on sight.”

“How long have you been here?”

“Four years. I help out where I’m needed.”

“How exciting. My life sounds terrible compared to yours. I was hung by the villagers that Reece grew up with. He saved me of course and I forgave them. They still feel awful even though I wish they wouldn’t.” She cleared her throat then smiled. “Why don’t we go somewhere outside.”

“We can do whatever you want. I just want you smiling. I figure if you smile then maybe this husband of yours will stop giving me dirty looks.” They both looked at Reece. “If you keep frowning you’re face might get stuck that way.” Nali’s laugh lit up the room and chased away the tension. “Where would you like to go angel?”

“There is an oasis not far from here that I used to visit. The fresh air will do us all some good. This room is to small for all the emotion flowing off of us. It feels suffocating.” She stood and held out her hand to her father. He smiled and took it. She then grabbed Reece’s hand with her other one and pulled them both out of the house.

They walked as they exchanged stories of what they had been through in their lives until they made it to the oasis. “I’m not trying to be pushy Nali but you and Reece would have a much nicer life living here. There’s really not a better place for demons. You would never have to be afraid.”

“I have that where i am too dad. The villagers are nice to me now and love me very much. If I was here Reece would have to be apart from his family.”

“Family who has never abandon me” Reece said in a slightly angry tone. Nali sighed “I love you and want to visit you but we’re going to take this relationship slow. Maybe and it’s a big maybe, maybe in the future we could move here. I’m sure Sincerity would love to have a reason to visit a place like this. For now I’m not sure if we want to pick up and move. I do want to stay here and get to know you for awhile. I’ll see how long Hylden and Sincerity can stay. I don’t want them traveling back alone”

“I understand, thank you for giving me a chance.”

“You’ll always be my dad and I’ll always love you no matter what happens. Thanks for reconnecting with me”

“I wrote as soon as I figured out where you were. At first I considered going to your home but I felt I would be forcing myself on you that way. Writing you gave you the option to not see me atall if you didn’t want to. Do you think Sincerity and Hylden would hangout with us tomorrow? I want to get to know your best friend and her boyfriend. How long have they been together?”

“He’s been crushing on her for years but they just got together on this trip because Reece forced him to tell her how he felt” Walker laughed “Humans can’t afford to waist time.”

“Yeah” Nali said sadly “why are you sad?”

“I just hate when I think of the fact Sincerity is mortal. She’s going to die one day and I wont have my best friend any longer. Somtimes I’m even tempted to see if she wanted to be a demon but with how much hatred there is for them I feel its selfish. Besides she knows from Reece I could make her one so if she wanted that she’d ask me.” Walker tried to make the conversation happier “when are you two having children?”

“Hopefully soon” Nali said with a smile. “You’ll make a good mother.”

“You’ll make a good grandpa and Reece is going to be absolutely amaizng as a father. I already know it”

They sat by the crystal blue pond, Reece listening the Nali talk happily with her father. He didn’t want to say something even worse than he had. He wished he had her capacity for forgiveness. She was sitting there smiling and laughing with a man who had broken her heart. He played with the sand, picking it up and letting it slip through his fingers. “He must have been very brave to walk into a den of demons.” Walker said and it took Reece a moment to realize they had been talking about him.

“Uh, not really brave. I was terrified actually, but they had Sincerity so I did what I had to do.” Reece replied.

“It’s healthy to be afraid sometimes.”

“That’s true. Without fear we would not have self preservation and we would probably all die.”

“This husband of yours has a good head on his shoulders. I’m glad you found him and I’m very proud of you.” Walker hugged her and she kissed his cheek. “I hope someday you can completely forgive my selfishness. I should have thought of your feelings instead of my fears. I’m glad he punched me.”

Reece didn’t know what to say to that. It definitely took some of his anger away. You couldn’t be mad at a man who admitted being hit in the face was a good thing. Even worse, the man wasn’t afraid of him. Now he knew where Nali got it from, her courage, her honesty, her need to protect those around her even if it meant being hurt. She had allowed herself to be hanged to protect him and Serenity while her father had given up his life with her to protect her. They were just alike. He could now see how life must have been from Walker’s point of view. Not seeing his daughter must have been agony.

“If we moved to the desert we could always build a house next to this pond.” He said and both Nali and her father looked at him a little shocked. “What? I’m just saying, you know, if we do. It’s a nice place. Stop looking at me like that.”

Nali grabbed his face and pressed her forehead against his. “Hmm no fever. Have you been eating mushrooms or something?”

“No, why?”

“Just a moment ago you were growling at my father and now you’re wanting to move here.”

“I said if so calm down before you burst a blood vessel.” He replied.

“This conversation is not over Reece.”

“I know.” He smiled and kissed her then pulled back and continued to play in the sand, just listening to them talk.

Sincerity was laying against Hyldans chest as they talked. Sincerity giggled at a joke he made about somthing that happened a couple weeks ago. He smiled then kissed her head. Hyldan loved that sound, especially when he caused it. Suddenly Sincerity moved and turned herself around. She looked into his eyes and said “I love you Hyldan” He smiled back. His eyes telling her how completely overjoyed it made him to hear those words come out of her mouth. She leaned in and kissed him. Hyldan lost all control and slipped his tongue in her mouth even though he knew it would be even harder to fight off getting excited by her. She slipped hers in his and soon he had her rolled under him. Sincerity moved her hands under his shirt. She had always wanted to feel his torso.

The was the last straw and he couldn’t keep himself from getting hard. He pulled away “we have to stop”

“why?” She then noticed he was hard and smiled. She knew Hyldan loved her and would think she was beautiful because she was herself but still felt nervous. “Sincerity” Hyldan said reading her face. “Yeah?” she said in a tone that told him even more of the war inside her head of what to do. “I’m not in a hurry. I only wanted to stop because I may go further than you want if I keep kissing you this excited. If you don’t want me like that yet we can wait. I’ll wait as long as you want me to. I’m not upset.”

“I do want you. I’m just scared” He gave her a kiss on the head “I promise to be gentle Sincerity if you really want me. If we start and you get upset I can stop.”

“That’ll be horrible for you though”

“It’ll be fine Sincerity. We can if you want and i wont be upset if you ask me to stop. There seriously isn’t any pressure though. I’d love to explore your body now but I want you to be ready for me to.”

“I want to make love to you Hyldan”

“Now or later?”

“Now”

“are you sure sweetheart? I’ll be really upset if I find out later you felt rushed for whatever reason”

“I promise I want this.” She started to pull her shirt off but then found herself unable to do her pants and she wanted to cover herself until she saw how Hyldan was looking at her. They were worshipping her already. She could see he thought she was beautiful. “will you help me with my pants. I’m so nervous”He gently put his hand on her shoulder and slowly moved her so she laid on the bed “I have to ask again. Are you really sure Sincerity? Please don’t do this just for me”

“I am, I love the way you’re looking at me and I know it’ll be amazing.” He took off his clothes then undid her pants so he could slide them off of her. He then took off her panties and bra. His mouth was actually gapping open in aw of her “You are so damn beautiful Sincerity. You have no reason to be shy about your body.” Sincerity was blushing “you look really handsome too” she said shyly. He smiled then began to kiss in a straight line up her stomach. He kissed up until he was at her neck and began to lick and kiss the sides. His hand slid inbetween her legs and he rubbed her. Sincerity began to moan his name exciting him even more.

He kissed her lips then said “I love you” before going down and kissing along the inside of her legs. He licked up each one then began to lick her slow and sensuously. Powerful orgasms ripped through Sincerity until he got above her. “You sure baby” he said huskily with how badly he wanted her. “Yes, I love you so much”

“It’ll hurt a little at first since you’re a virgin but i promise it wont be long”

“Ok” With that Hyldan thrust into her quickly and as hard as he could. Sincerities nails dug into him as briefly pained expression crossed her face “You ok?” Sincerity couldn’t believe he was still even asking with how much he obviously wanted her. It was so moving and made her know how much he loved her. He took on a ¬†steady rythm as he whispered in her ear how amazing she was and how happy he felt to be with her. Another orgasm moved through her as he finished. He laid at her side then pulled her close so she could hear his heart.

“We should be getting back.” Nali said as she stood and stretched. “I’m starving.” Reece and Walker stood and she hooked her arms with theirs and they walked away from the beautiful oasis. She really loved this place and hoped her father would come here often after they left.

“I could cook for you and your friends if you want.” Walker said with a pleading look.

“I would really love that. You always made good food when I was little.”

They walked back to the inn and Nali ran in and knocked on Hylden and Sincerity’s door. She heard them scrambling and could guess what they were doing. The door was pulled open by a shirtless and blushing Hylden. “Yes?” He said and she burst out laughing. He glared at her and she nearly fell down. “Come on Nali, give me a break.”

“Okay sorry, just give me a minute.” She coughed and took a deep breath, stopping her laughing, but unable to get her amused smile to go away. “My dad is cooking for us tonight. Please come over.”

“We would love to.” Sincerity said as she came out of the bathroom. She leaned against the doorframe while they finished dressing and pulled on their boots. They followed Nali outside and then they all walked to Walker’s house.

“I’ll help your dad cook. You three go and relax.” Reece said. He caught the blush on Hylden’s face and opened his mouth to ask what was wrong, but Nali pressed her fingers to his lips.

“I’ve already embarrassed him enough to last a life time. He won’t say anything to you because she’s your sister and he doesn’t want to make you angry.” She whispered in his ear.

“You mean they…” His eyes widened. “ah no shut up. I don’t want to hear it. I’ll mind my own business.”

Reece turned a right crimson and hurried off into the kitchen. Nali started laughing again, this time falling on the floor and gripping her stomach. She had never seen so many embarrassed people. She finally laughed until she couldn’t breathe and stopped, picking herself up off the floor and setting down at the table with Sincerity and Hylden. “So, are you two okay?” She asked.

“Yeah, I’m a little…well…” Sincerity blushed and covered her face.

“Sore?” Nali finished and Sincerity nodded. “That’s normal. Don’t be so shy. It’s me you’re talking to, not Reece. You can tell me anything.”

“I know, thanks. How are you and Reece doing with getting pregnant? I know you want children.”

“I don’t really know. I haven’t had any symptoms so I don’t really know if I’m pregnant or not. I probably won’t know until I’m huge with the way I pay attention. I’ll just think I’ve gone and got fat.”

 

“If you’re getting fat you’re pregnant with how active you are.”

“How active do you two plan on being?” Nali asked giggling. “Nali” Sincerity said seriously as Hyldans heart rate soared again. “I’ll stop, I’m so sorry. You’re just so sweet and timid. I can’t believe you let him go all the way with you. I thought you might make him lust longer. If he pressured you your brother will kill him for you.” Sincerity shook her head “No he didn’t. I wanted to” Nali decided to leave her friend alone. Especially since she was sure Reece could hear. Before long the meal was ready and they all sat at the table. “Better than I remember. Probably because my husband helped. Thanks dad for offering.”

“Thank you for coming and bringing your friends. So Sincerity, what made you brave enough to befriend my daughter?”

“I could see right away she was a good person. Being a demon doesn’t automatically make you bad.”

“That’s true, thanks for being there for her when I failed to be. How’d you meet your boyfriend?”

“We’ve grown up together. I’ve always known him. He’s in my first memories.”

“That’s really sweet”

“Yeah” Sincerity said with a smile. They had light chatter and made jokes over dinner until the evening was winding down. After Nali helped Walker clear the table Nali pulled Reece to the side and whispered “I really want to stay here Reece. You seem more comfortable now. Can we stay the night with my dad?”

“I think that’s a great idea. Ask him if the offer is still open. If it is I’ll walk Hyldan and Sincerity back then grab our stuff before I check out. We can stay here until we go back home.” Nali kissed Reece then asked her father. Walker almost began to cry again “really baby?”

“Really, Reece is going to check out of the hotel then bring our stuff over.” Walker hugged Nali and then Reece before he walked out the door with Sincerity and Hyldan. Hyldan felt awkward walking beside Reece. He had pushed them together but Hyldan was sure the fact he made love to Sincerity was probably uncomfortable for Reece. When they got to the hotel Reece hugged Sincerity then shook Hyldans hand before going to his and Nalis room to gather their stuff before checking out. Reece was quick about it then checked out before heading back to Walkers house. He was actually starting to like Walker a lot. He was glad Nali got him to give her father a chance.

“You don’t think your brother’s mad do you?” Hylden asked as they pulled off their boots.

“If he was mad you would have received the same treatment Walker did. You know my brother isn’t one to mince words. He’ll tell you exactly what’s on his mind.” Sincerity answered with a loving smile.

“I guess that’s true. I wonder if this feeling of not knowing what to do will go away.”

“You two have always been friends, like brothers. I think it’s natural for you to feel nervous around him since you had sex with me.”

“Hey, it wasn’t just sex Sincerity. I love you very much.” He tangled his fingers in her hair and pulled her close. His lips moved over hers, his tongue slipping into her mouth to taste her. He pulled back and she blinked up at him. “I love everything about you. The way you feel, the way you taste, the sounds you make. I’ll never stop loving you.”

“You are really amazing.”

“I know, I’m just glad you know now too.”

Reece cuddled with Nali in the guest room of Walker’s house. He was happy for her, happy that everything had worked out. “When do you want to go home?” Nali asked as she propped her head up in her hand.

“I don’t care. We can stay for as long as you wish. You should spend as much time with your father as you can.” He brushed her hair behind her ear. She sighed and he brushed his fingers over her cheek. “Is there something wrong?” He asked.

“I wonder if I’m pregnant.”

“We’ll have a baby Nali, I promise. I want one too, or two or four. Is there a way to find out?”

“We’ll ask my father in the morning. He’s older than me and probably knows some old ritual or something.”

“I hope so. I don’t like when you look sad. I want to give you everything.”

“I love you Reece.”

“I love you too, now get some sleep.”

They both allowed themselves to relax. Nali drifted off first and Reece just lay there enjoying her warmth. He kissed the top of her head and rubbed her arm. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. He dreamed he was surrounded by children, all of them beautiful and smiling. Nali looked so happy as she played on the floor with them. He wanted her to always be that happy. Her smile was so bright and full of love. He was going to do that for her.

An amazing smell woke Nali who woke Reece when she moved. They changed their clothes then exited their room to follow that delicious scent. “Morning you two!” Her father said cheerfully. “Good morning. Need help?” Nali asked “No, you two just sit down. breakfast is almost ready.”

“It smells so good” Reece said making Walker and Nali smile “I hope you enjoy eating it then.” Reece grabbed Nalis hand and held it until breakfast was ready. Her father had made chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and hashbrowns. Reece loved it all but he especially enjoyed the hashbrowns. Walker watched them enjoy it happily. He was glad they spent the night and enjoyed his food so much. Especially his little girl. He missed her so terribly and here she was, finally back in his life. Walker was glad she found a husband and was licing near a village that wouldn’t hurt her but he clung to hope she’d move here to be around him. He’d love to be able to see her anytime and then spend time with his grandkids when they came along.

When they were all done eating Nali and Reece insisted on doing the dishes since he cooked by himself. Nali washed while Reece dried and put away. Walker thought it was cute seeing them do the dishes together. Walker grabbed a rag “I’ll atleast clean the counters and table”

“I guess” Nali responded and Walker smiled before quickly cleaning off everything. Once all was done they went into the living room. They got comfortable on the couch then Walker asked “what would you two like to do today?” Nali cleared her throat then asked “Well, I was wondering if you had any way to see if I’m pregnant or not. Reece and I want children really badly and are wondering if I’m pregnant yet.” Walker smiled “I do, follow me into my study sweetheart” Reece and Nali stood excitedly and followed Walker through his house.

When they reached the door of his study he pushed it open with Nali and Reece close behind. They were filled with eagerness and excitement. Nali noticed this was a precise replica of the study they had in the home she was a child in. Walker saw in her eyes she noticed the room “It took a long time but I made sure this room was precisely like the study when I had you. I used to bring you in here and tell you stories. Sometimes I sit in here and just recall those memories. I cherish all the memories I have with you so much Nali. Thank you for coming.” Nali hugged her dad “I love you. I’ve cherished my childhood memories too”

“Now, where is that book?” They watched as he moved around his study, searching the shelves and piles of books on the floor. “Ah ha, found it.” He pulled a leather bound book off of his desk. “Probably should have been the first place I looked.” He flipped it open, slowly turning the pages. “Here it is, yes simple enough.”

“What do you have I have to do?” Nali asked, but her dad had drifted off into his own world. He moved around the room, grabbing a vial of some green liquid and a container of powder and a knife.

“Reece go get me a cup of water.” He ordered as he sat everything on his desk.

“Uh okay.” Reece went into the kitchen and filled a cup then brought it back. Walker sat it on his desk then poured some of the green liquid into it. He took a little bit of the powder and sprinkled it in then picked up the knife.

“Come here Nali.” She moved closer and he grabbed her hand, pricking her finger and dripping some of her blood in the cup. He let her go and mixed it all together. “Okay, drink this.”

“Will it hurt the baby if I’m pregnant?” She asked and he shook his head. She took the cup from him and downed the contents. It was incredibly bitter.

“Now we need to go outside.”

“Why?”

“Come on, outside.” They followed him out. The minute her feet touched sand, she felt sick to her stomach. She moved away from the door and threw up. “That’s why.”

“You knew she was going to throw up?” Reece asked as he rubbed her back.

“I knew there was a possibility. That little concoction induces vomiting in pregnant women.” They both froze and then looked at her dad who had a big smile on his face.

“You did just say pregnant right?” Nali asked and wiped her mouth.

“Yes, but I don’t know how far along, but if you’re anything like your mother you’ll probably get quite the belly. Of course you were almost ten pounds.”

“I’m really pregnant. This is so amazing. I have the worst taste in my mouth.”

“I’m sorry baby girl. Lets get you some water and something to fill you back up after all that puking.” Walker said and they followed him back inside.

Once Nali had eaten somthing she needed to tell her best friend. Reece and Nali ran excitedly to the hotel and up to their room. They knocked and much to Reeces relief they had only been cuddling so had clothes on. Nali shoved past Hylden and hugged Sincerity who was standing behind him. “I’m pregnant!” Nali said excitedly. “Congratulations!” Sincerity said as she hugged back. “That’s wonderful” Hyldan added with Reece just standing there glowing with happiness. Hyldan and Reece even hugged. “Why don’t you two come spend the rest of the day with us? We’ve had plenty of alone time with my dad. You two get ready and meet us over there.”

“Ok, we wont be long” Sincerity said smiling ecstatically for her friend. Reece picked Nali up and left. “I’m so happy for them. Nalis always loved kids” Hyldan smiled then asked “would you like to shower with me before we go?”

“sure” They quickly washed then dressed before going to spend the rest of their day with Nali, Reece and Walker. Hyldan entertained thoughts of when he and Sincerity had a baby. That was far off but he couldn’t wait. He wondered how soon she’d be willing to marry him. Walker greeted both Sincerity and Hyldan with a tight hug “welcome back you two.”

“Thanks” The day was filled with laughter and excited talk about the baby. Sincerity had never seen Nali so happy. At the end of the day they decided they would all visit the demon the Shigara people thought of as their god tomorrow and spend the day with him. Nali wanted him to know of her baby and for him to meet Reece along with her best friend Sincerity. Nali could barely sleep from the wonderful news and excitement about tomorrow. Reece still had a huge smile plastered on his face. His heart was pounding in joy seeing Nali so happy. “I’m going to give you lots of children Nali” Reece said softly. “I want to have a lot”

“we’ll keep having them until you tell me you have enough”

“I dont think you want to commit to that” nali said giggling “I know I do” He said kissing her head.

The next morning Nali was out of bed so fast that Reece didn’t even get a chance to kiss her. She was excited about seeing her demon friend. Reece just smile and quickly pulled his clothes on. “We’ll have to take the horses.” She said and he grabbed her arm and pulled her into him before she could leave the room.

“I want a kiss.” He said and she smiled as she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down to press her lips against his. He sighed happily and she giggled, grabbing his hand and pulling him outside. They made their way to the stables and saddled up their horse. He let Nali guide the horse since she knew where they were going. She headed out into the open desert. “We didn’t eat breakfast.” He said as they rode over the dunes.

“Don’t worry about it, Aurel will know I’m on my way.” She replied.

“How?”

“We’re bonded. That means we’ve shared blood. Kind of like me and you, but without the sexual relationship. It acts as some kind of homing beacon.”

“That’s probably how you knew we were getting close to your father.”

“I never thought of that. I was so overwhelmed, I thought it was just my mind playing tricks on me. Anyway, he’ll have food ready.”

“Aurel is a very unique name.” He was trying to get to know this strange man she obviously cared about. Anyone who was important to her was important to him.

“It means golden and you’ll see why it’s so fitting when you see him.” They climbed a steep hill and then went quickly down the other side. His eyes widened at the strange plants growing around the mouth of a cave. They were not from around here.

“What are those?”

“Aurel grows them. I don’t remember the names, but they are from a far off land.” They got off the horse and she tied it off then grabbed Reece’s hand and led him inside. The interior was lit up. Hundreds of crystals were imbedded in the walls and the light from the candles reflected off of them, making it like day inside. Sitting at a table in the center of the room was a man that looked not much older than Reece. He had the most striking blonde hair and amber eyes. “Aurel.” Nali said happily and ran to the man as he stood. She jumped into his arms and he gave her a tight hug.

“I’m pregnant! This man behind me is my husband Reece” Aurel let go of Nali and walked over to shake Reeces hand “Nice to meet you. I’m glad she found a man to make her happy and give her children”

“Nice to meet you too. I can see my wife likes you a great deal” Aurel smiled “well I like her a great deal too. Come eat with me.” Nali and Reece both sat down at his table and ate the food he had prepared for Nali coming. As they ate Aurel asked “please bring me up to speed on your life Nali. I don’t want you to skimp on the details.” Nali swallowed and began to explain “I made a really good friend Named Sincerity and she ended up getting kidnapped by a demon. He tortured the poor girl sadly. I met her brother Reece while I was hunting for her to save her. We fell in love on the way and got married soon after. Nothing too notable between then and now besides my dad sending me a letter. We’ve reconnected and I’m actually considering moving near here to get to know him. I also want my child to know him.”

“I’d be very pleased if you lived here Nali.”

“I think we’re still decided. Regardless I want to escort Sincerity and her boyfriend Hyldan home when they are prepared to leave. Hyldan is strong but I’d feel better if I got them safely home.”

“still as kind as I remember you.” He turned his attention to Reece “How are you enjoying being a demon? Obviously you were human before”

“I’m still getting used to it but I’m glad Nali could make me this way so I could be with her forever.” Aurel smiled “You better keep that attitude, Nali is a treasure” Reece really liked Aurel. He seemed very nice and genuine. They then went back to eating. Once they were done Aurel started telling them about how his life had been since he last saw Nali. He actually had some pretty interesting stories to tell so they both listened intently.Nali regretted that in her haste she forgot to bring Sincerity and Hyldan. She really wanted her best friend to meet Aurel but she could always bring her another day. She even entertained the thought of Sincerity moving here aswell with Hyldan so they wouldn’t have to separate.

Sincerity would be a hard friend to move away from. She felt selfish yet again. Sincerity may have had sex with Hyldan but she wasn’t sure if she’d be ready to move in with him or leave her village. She knew Hyldan would be happy to do whatever would make Sincerity happy so she decided to ask her friend later if she had any plans of moving in with him in the near future. If she said no she wouldn’t ask her friend to come here aswell. If yes there wasn’t harm in asking.

“You know I’m planning a trip back home soon to collect more plants. You and your husband should join me. You might like crossing the ocean.” Aurel said as he took a sip of tea from his cup.

“How long would we be over there?” Nali had always wanted to cross the ocean see what was hidden on the other side.

“A couple of months. I have much I wish to do. I need to visit my family and collect a few hard to get things. I’m sure you’ll want time to think about it. I have pass through your village to get to the port anyway so just take your time.”

“If Nali wants to go then the answer is yes. I don’t really do anything all day but hunt and maybe go into the village every now and then to help out.” Reece said.

“Really?” Nali said excitedly.

“I wouldn’t mind doing some exploring in a new land. We have an extra room you are welcome to stay in so we can all leave together.”

“Oh Reece you’re the best.”

“It’s settled then. I plan on leaving next month, maybe you can bring your father and your friends.” Aurel smiled.

“I bet they’d be just as happy to go as us.” She hugged Aurel. “Thank you for inviting us.”

“An adventure would be nothing without friends.”

They sat and visited for quite some time. He took them outside and showed them all the plants he had grown. He told them the names of each one, making their heads swim with all the hard to pronounce words. He just smiled at them, knowing that they probably wouldn’t remember everything, but enjoying the company. They ate lunch and then dinner together, laughing and talking about baby names. She scribbled down their address for him and sat it where he would see it. Nali hugged Aurel again when it was time to go and he gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Just write to us when you are heading our way.” She said as they climbed onto their horse.

“I will, please stay safe you two.”

They headed back to Shigara, going to Walker’s since it was closer. Nali pushed the door slowly and quietly open and they went to the guest room. Reece tugged her into his arms, his mouth moving hungrily over hers. She smiled and pulled back to look at him. “Someone’s hungry.” She laughed.

“Always, so try to be as quiet as you can.” He pulled their clothes off, his hands sliding over her and making her skin grow hot. He lifted her and pressed her against the wall, sliding slowly into her so she gasped. He took his time with her, really taking her in. She bit his shoulder to keep from crying out as an orgasm rocketed through her. He finished quickly and carried her to bed, moving to lay beside her. She rested her head on his chest and he wrapped his arms tightly around her.

“I love you Nali.”

“And I love you Reece.”

They spent about another week with Walker but then Hyldan had to go back because he had some commitments he had made months before coming. He tried to tell Nali and Reece to stay but they absolutely insisted they needed to escort them home. This would be their last evening Shigara. Hyldan had to leave at sunrise in the morning to make sure he was back on time. Sincerity and Hyldan had dinner at Walkers again so they could all laugh and talk about how much fun the trip had been. Nali explained to her father that their final decision as to if they were moving here or not would come after their journey with Aurel. Walker understood and was happy they would even consider.

When Hyldan and Sincerity got back to their room Hyldan could tell Sincerity was sad. “I’m sorry I need to go home Sincerity. Please don’t frown, you’re making me feel terrible”

“It’s not you Hyldan. I love that you’re a man of your word and aren’t going to blow the other villagers off that you said you’d help. It makes me sad that Nali might leave where she lives. She’s my best friend and I’d hate to see her go. It’s selfish of me but I don’t want her to leave. I’m glad we finally got together. I’ll need you when she leaves me.” Hyldan cradled Sincerity then sat on the bed. He took both their shoes off then said “We could move here too. That is when you decide you want to live with me. It’s been so amazing living with you here. I know it’s a vacation type thing so it isn’t like home but I’ve loved it so much. I’ve dreamed of one day living with you. When you’re ready for us to live together we can move here if Nali decides to. I’ll follow you anywhere.”

“Would you be happy?”

“I’m happy where you are happy” Sincerity smiled and pulled Hyldan into a kiss “You’re so amazing.”

“You are too.” Sincerity couldn’t deny she enjoyed this too. It was wonderful being in Hyldans arms every night. Making love with him felt incredible too. She loved every sensation and contact between them.Sincerity blushed then spoek nervously “I could…”

“Hm?’

“Well, I could just go ahead and move into your house when we get home”

“are you serious?” He said in a jubilant tone. “Yes, This was the perfect time to ask me out really. If I hadn’t spent all this time living with you in this hotel room we probably wouldn’t have made all the progress we have since I’m so shy. I hope it’s not annoying to you.”

“It’s cute Sincerity. I don’t mind taking my time with things but if you want to move in with me please do. It would make me so happy.”

“Then I guess it’s settled. We’ll talk further on following Nali and Reece later. They aren’t even deciding what they will do yet”

They left the next morning and Nali cried. Reece comforted her and promised the would return. They rode away, taking their time instead of pushing themselves and the horses to exhaustion. When they arrived at the village they returned the horses as promised and Reece lifted Nali into his arms and carried her home. They were both dusty and quickly undressed and stepped into the hot spring behind their house. Nali relaxed against him, allowing her muscles to be loosened by the hot water.

“I had such a good time with my father. I’m so glad he’s alive.” Nali said softly, sounding sleepy.

“You’re just like him you know? You have the same attitude, the same capacity for forgiveness, the same strength. It’s amazing.” He replied and kissed the top of her head.

“I hope our child is like that. I want him or her to be able to forgive, to be able to face their fears even though they are terrified. I hope all of our children have your dedication to the ones they love.”

“I’m sure they will be.”

Nali felt herself starting to fall asleep and said she was ready to get out. Reece got out first and then lifted her up. He dried them both and took her inside, laying with her on their bed and holding her tight. “I can’t wait for our trip. We’re going to have so much fun and I’ll get to be on a ship.”

“I’m sure Aurel will make sure we see everything.” He massaged her back and she gave a soft moan. He laughed under his breath, loving the sounds she made. They were all so beautiful and wonderful. Her body went limp and her breathing evened out. He kissed the top of her head and allowed himself to drift off.

Hylden took Sincerity to his house, wanting to her close to him. He couldn’t wait to see some of the looks of disappointment on the other young men’s faces when they realized she was now his. He didn’t know why he found the idea so amusing, but he did and it made him smile. “Promise you’ll stay with me forever.” Sincerity said softly as she drifted off.

“I promise, nothing will pull us apart dearest love. I will stay forever by your side. You are my everything Sincerity, the love of my life.” He replied in a whisper.

“Good, that’s really good.” Her voice faded away and she fell asleep. He would spend the rest of his life making her this happy.

 

 

Hyldan gave Sincerity a long kiss on the cheek before falling asleep with her. When Sincerity woke in the morning he was wrapped around her making it impossible to move even slightly without waking him. She loved how safe and cared for she felt in his embrace. Sincerity kissed Hyldan and he woke with a smile “Good morning my beautiful princess”

“Good morning handsome. Let me make you breakfast”

“Thank you, afterwards I need to meet with some of the other warriors and get to work. I’ll be back this evening.”

“Ok”

“will you be here when I get back?” Sincerity giggled “sure, I’ll make sure I’m here for dinner”

“Good, thank you” Hyldan planned on going to his mothers house before he met the men. Sincerity and Hyldan ate together then he gave her a long kiss before leaving “You’re my everything Sincerity”

“and you’re mine” Sincerity was sad to part with him. She had grown accustomed to him always being with her. Hyldan knocked on his mothers door “welcome back son” she said happily and hugged him “Hey mom, I want to talk to you about Sincerity.”

“What about her?”

“I finally asked her to be with me and she said yes. She has moved in with me and well..I wondered if you would go ahead and give me the ring thats been passed down in our family so I can ask her to be mine forever when I get the courage and feel she’s ready for me to ask.” His mothers lips jerked into a wide smile and hugged Hyldan “I’m so happy! Of course! I just wish your dad was around to see this.” She took off her ring and handed it to him “I’m so happy thigns finally worked out between you two.”

“Reece had to force me to ask” he admited shamefully. His mother laughed “Your father was afraid to ask me and we had so many wonderful years together. I wish you and Sincerity the same happiness.” He kissed his mothers head “Thanks” he put the ring in his pocket then found the men he needed for the job he promised to do. Sincerity had allowed him to make love to her and now lived with him. He hoped marriage wouldn’t be pushing things too far. He decided to wait until it was absolutely clear she was ready to commit her life to him.

“It’s time to get up.” Reece whispered and Nali pulled the blanket over her head. “Come on baby, it’s nearly noon.”

“What?” She threw the blanket back as she sat up. “Why did you let me sleep in so late? Did you eat? Has anyone come by?”

“Calm down.” He laughed as she jumped out of bed and pulled on clothes. “Everything’s fine. I cooked myself something and no one came by. Besides you’re pregnant so you deserve to rest.”

“Oh no, don’t you start with that. You are going to drive me crazy, I just know it.”

“I thought I already drove you crazy.” He pulled her into his arms and rubbed his nose against hers. Her heart sped up and she blushed. “See, you like when I drive you crazy.”

“You never play fair. I want to go and see Sincerity today. I have to make sure they are able to come with us on our trip. I also have some important things to ask her.”

“Like immortality and moving to Shigara?”

“I didn’t even say we would be moving there.”

“Yes you did, with your eyes. We can build a house in the oasis so you can be close to your father and Aurel. I can see how much it means to you even if you won’t say a definite yes. You want to live there, so lets live there.”

“I need to talk to Sincerity first and see what she wants to do. I don’t want to leave her behind.”

“Okay sweety, lets go then.”

He laced his fingers through hers and they walked at a leisurely pace to the village. They were immediately stopped and asked questions the moment they set foot in the village. They told everyone about their pregnancy. Reece knew that before they left there would be people offering to make them things for the baby. It was a tradition in the village to throw a party for the expecting couple and then after the baby was born there would be a naming ceremony where Reece, as the father would name the child. He would continue talking about baby names with Nali later. He wanted to suggest that if it was a girl, they name her after Nali’s mother and if it was a boy they name him after his grandfather and maybe give him Aurel’s name as the middle name. He really like Aurel and would be honored to have his child bear the man’s name. Aurel had helped Nali when she was still young and it was the best way Reece could think to thank him.

“What are you thinking about love?” Nali asked with a sweet smile.

“I’ll tell you later when it’s just us.” He answered and kissed her cheek.

Nali almost went to Sinceritys home but then remembered her saying on the way back she was moving in with Hyldan. They went to Hyldans door and knocked loudly. Sincerity answered with a smile “Hey Nali and Reece!” she saids cheerfully. Nali hugged her then Reece did the same. They walked into the living room and took a seat. “I want to start with the not so big conversation before we go into the serious stuff. Is that good with you Sincerity?” Sincerity was nervous as to what Nali had to talk about. “Ok” was all she coudl think to say. “On the not so serious note Reece and I are taking a trip with my friend Aurel next month and we were hoping you and Hyldan would go with us. It’s a very long trip but it will be amazing. I promise you’ll be blown away by the sights.”

“That sounds fun, I’d love to go if Hyldan wants to go. I’ll ask him when he gets home”

“He says yes or I’ll slug him” Reece said winking at his sister who laughed as Nali punched him in the arm. He kissed his wife “I was only teasing”

“You better have been.” Nali turned back to Sincerity “Now on the serious stuff.”

“I’m ready” Sincerity said preparing herself for anything. “I want to move so I can be near my father and my friend Aruel. I can’t do that though if you don’t come with me. I can’t leave you behind. I thought of you as my sister long before I married your brother. I love you and you’re my family. Would you consider going?” Sincerity paused obviously thinking and moved by Nalis words. Sincerity stood making Nali stand too. They embraced eachother tightly. Sincerity still remained quite then said “I think that would be wonderful. That was such an interesting place and I could get used to the heat after awhile I’m sure. Again only if Hyldan would agree. I really love him Nali. I’ve only just started my relationship with him and I don’t want to kill it with such distance.”

“I understand Sincerity. When will he be home so we can talk to him too?”

“He said he wouldn’t be back until this evening”

“wow, working that hard when he just got back?” Nali said then Reece spoke “When Hyldan says he’ll do somthing he means it. You can always trust that mans word. He said he’d help some men today and he is because he said he would” Nali spoke again “I have another big thing I want to ask you Sincerity. I know you’ll want to consult with Hyldan on this too but I have to ask and if you dont want to I understand fully.”

“yes Nali?”

“Well, like I said you are a sister to me and I would hate not to have you in my life. As a mortal you’ll die one day Sincerity. If you’d be willing…..I could make you and Hyldan into demons like I made Reece. The heat of the dessert wouldn’t bother you if you moved and we could all be together forever. We could truly be best friends forever. You’d never have to leave your brother or Hyldan. You’d get to see your children and their children grow up. Time would be irrelevant to you. It does hurt when I first transform you but it wont last too long and Reece and I will be there to help you and Hyldan.”

“That’s one I will really have to talk to him about. We were both there when Reece went through the change and I was terrified. If he says yes then I’ll do it. I can do anything if he’s there.” She felt like such a coward. In truth she really wanted to stay with Nali and her brother for as long as possible.

“We understand Sincerity, just take your time to mull it over. It’s a very big commitment.” Reece said and patted her on the back.

“I feel like such a coward.”

“Oh honey you’re not a coward.” Nali hugged her. “We won’t let anything happen to you or Hylden.”

“Reece’s change was just so violent. I shouldn’t have stayed to watch.”

“You just wanted to help and you did.”

Sincerity sighed and sat down at the kitchen table. “I wish I was bra like you, Nali.”

“You are brave. You became my friend when everyone else was scared of me, you were tortured by a demon and didn’t give up no matter what he did. You are so brave Sincerity.” Nali sat down next to her and grabbed her hand.

“Thank you for saying that. I guess I sell myself short sometimes.” She smiled happily at them. “Let’s make something delicious together.”

“Food sounds amazing right now. I’ve been so hungry since we got back from Shigara.” Reece said and started going through Hylden’s pantry. “This man has nothing. I’m glad you’re moving in with him, this place needs a woman on ot or he might starve.”

“We could go to my house and cook muffins then maybe you two can help me move some of my stuff over here.”

“We would be happy to.”

They left Hylden’s house and walked across the town center to get Sincerity’s. Both Nali and Reece just now realized that Hylden’s house was situated so he could see Sincerity’s. He must have watched out his window every day, waiting for her to come out so he could spend time with her. Reece had known from the moment his sister was born that Hylden had wanted to always watch out for her. Anytime Reece had been busy, Hylden had stayed close to make sure no one hurt Sincerity. Reece owed him for his unwavering dedication. Hylden was a true friend.

Sincerity and Nali talked while they baked muffins. Reece loved seeing how happy they were around eachother. His sister and wife were always happy but together they just seemed more so. He really hoped Sincerity decided to become a demon and live forever with them. He didn’t know if he or Nali could handle one day going to her funeral. They both loved her so much. He wouldn’t pressure his sister though. It was too big of a choice to pressure her into. Once they were done the three scarfed them down quickly. “Lets make more.” Sincerity said seeing her brother was still hungry. Nali laughed and helped her make another batch for the oven. Once they had eaten those aswell They went into Sinceritys room and grabbed all her clothing. Reece picked up the dresser by himself while Nali and Sincerity handled the clothes in her closet.

They walked back over to Hyldans where Reece set Sinceritys dresser beside Hyldans. Nali and Sincerity were happy to see Hyldan didn’t use his closet for anything but shoes and dress shirts so there was plenty of room for her dresses. After that they moved all the food she had into his house then finally her shoes. They decided after that to just relax until Hyldan got home. She didn’t really need anything else and they knew Hyldan would run grab her anything if she wanted it later.

They passed the time talking until Hyldan got home. Sincerity got up and hugged him then placed a loving kiss on his cheek filling him with warmth from his happiness. He looked forward to always being greeted like that. He was so happy to finally be coming home to Sincerity. He had wanted to be with her for so long it was hard to contain how happy he was to finally be able to call her his and not stress about other men trying to be with her. He saw every time a man came to her door and each time his heart sank thinking sombody else might get the honor of being with her.

“You ahve food now” Reece said smiling then Nali added “yeah we moved Sincerities clothes and her food since you had nothing.” Hyldan laughed “Thank you” then he looked at Sincerity “is there anything else you need you can think of I should go get?”

“Nope” she said with a smile then he kissed her head. Nali stood “Sincerity and I will cook dinner. You just sit.” Hyldan sat by Reece as the girls disappeared into the kitchen. When they were out of ear shot Reece said “I noticed somthing when we walked from your home to Sincerities”

“what?” Hyldan asked already guessing. “You can see Sincerities house from yours. I bet you always were by her side wherever she went because you watched for her to leave. Hyldan blushed even though he knew what Reece noticed from the second he said anything. Reece laughed “I knew it, thanks for taking such good care of her. You’re a good friend and I know you’ll be a good husband to her. I can see how much you love my sister”

“I’m glad because my heart belongs to Sincerity. I love her very very deeply”

When dinner was ready they all sat down at the table. Sincerity looked a little nervous and Hylden grabbed her hand. “What’s wrong?” He asked.

“Nali and Reece have some things to talk to you about. They already talked to me, but I wanted your input so I didn’t answer.” Hylden turned his attention to Nali and Reece, wondering what they could have asked that would make Sincerity so distressed.

“Well first, we wanted to know if you two would like to come with us and Aurel on our trip next month. We’ll be crossing the ocean and be gone for some time. If you have any prior commitments we don’t want to get in the way of them.” Nali said and took a bite of food.

“I don’t have anything to scheduled so sure, I would like that.”

“Now to the serious stuff. Sincerity and I have always been like sisters. I want to stay close to her. Reece and ai have been entertaining the idea of moving to Shigara to live near my father. We wanted to know if you two would like to move with us.”

“Do you want to go Sincerity?” Hylden asked.

“Yes, I would like to be able to see Nali and Reece whenever I want.”

“That settles that then. Anything else?”

Nali nodded and held his gaze. “Both you and Sincerity are our friends, even though you and I had a rough start I have grown to care for you. As you know Reece and I will never grow old and will only die if someone kills us. Because I am selfish I want to make you like us. You already know how painful the change and if you say no then I will push the matter no further.”

“I don’t think that’s selfish Nali. Sincerity was your first human friend and I understand you wanted to be close to her forever. If she wishes to go through with it then I will gladly do it. Her happiness is all that matters. Is this what you want Sincerity?”

“Yes of course. Even though I know it will hurt! I also know that you will be there to hold me through it all. I want to be a part of this family forever. I don’t want to think of Nali’s and Reece’s sorrow at losing either of us. Mostly, I want eternity with you.”

Hyldan smiled then kissed her softly. “I’m looking forward to having a much longer life with you. You didn’t really have to wait for me Sincerity. I will always want whatever makes you happy. Your happiness and well being is what makes me happy.” Sincerity smiled “I would never want to make any life decision without you. I want to be with you forever so I’m not going to change my life in any way unless I talk to you. I would think you’d talk to me too before making a life choice.” Hyldans smile stretched as big as it could go. “I definitely would Sincerity” he said softly. That told him he could ask Sincerity to marry him. Her own words were that she wanted to be with him forever. Nali and Reece smiled too as they felt the strong wave of love pass between them.

“when would you two like to go through changing? Reece will be able to read it while I share blood with you two.” Hyldan spoke “I’d rather you just do Sincerity tonight so I can really be there for her while she suffers through changing. Once she is alright you can do me”

“That’s a good idea. We will change you after dinner if you are ready Sincerity”

“I am” They finished eating and then went to Nali and Reeces. Hyldan ended up picking Sinceirty up to hold her before he had to go through the pain of watching her cry and tremble in pain. He hoped he could refrain from crying. He knew every second would wrench his heart. They arrived then Reece pulled out the book and a dagger. Hyldan situated Sincerity in his lap while Nali sat down in front of them and took Sincerities hand. Reece handed his wife the dagger “you sure you’re ready Sincerity?”

“Yes, I really want this” Nali positioned their hands the way they needed to be then Reece stabbed the dagger through. Sincerity took a sharp inhale but didn’t move as Reece began reading. Hyldan kissed her cheek and held her close. Sincerity felt heat starting to move up her arm and grip her body. Sincerity now couldn’t help but scream as intense pain moved through her. Hyldan held her tighter. Her screams wrenching his heart and stomach. When she stopped screaming and crying she passed out just like Reece had. Once she was out Hyldan cried. Nali and Reece hugged him “she did better than me. I threw up” Reece said in his own way of trying to comfort him.

Nali grabbed a blue vial and healed her hand and Sincerties. “Take her home Hyldan.” Nali grabbed a basket and filled it with Vials for Sincerity when she woke up since she still wouldn’t feel well. “Give her as many as she wants. She should wake tomorrow”

“I will” he said standing with Sincerity and grabbing the basket. Hyldan ran back home then walked straight to their room. He took Sinceritys shoes off then laid her in bed. He pulled her close then wrapped his body around hers. He began to sob heavily, heavier than he knew he could. Listening to her was even harder than he had anticipated it being. He also wanted to get it all out before she woke up and needed him for comfort. Sincerity woke early in the morning with her whole body feeling like she had been trampled by elephants. “Hyldan” she said in a weak and pitiful voice. He lifted himself quickkly “do you need somthing for the pain”

“Yes please”

“I feel bad for hurting Sincerity.” Nali said as she made put together a blueberry pie and slipped it in the oven.

“She won’t blame you and neither will Hylden. They both knew what would happen.” Reece replied and wrapped his arms around her from behind.

“I know, I still feel horrible. I felt the same when I did it to you.”

“Everything is going to be alright. Your pie should make her right as rain.”

When the pie was done Nali let it cool before putting it into a really pretty basket. She placed a piece of cloth on top of it then put some apples and a jar of her homemade jam on top. She hoped they liked everything. She grabbed Reece’s hand and they made their way to the village, going straight to Hylden’s house. Reece tapped lightly on the door and Hylden pulled it open. He smiled at them and moved aside so they could come in.

“I made you two something.” Nali handed him the basket and he sat it on the counter. “Can I see Sincerity?”

“If she’s awake go ahead.” Hylden replied and Nali took off for his room. Sincerity smiled when she walked in and tried to push herself up. Nali helped her into a sitting position and put pillows behind her.

“How are you feeling?”

“Terrible, like death. The potions are helping though.”

“I’m so sorry I hurt you.” Nali said as she hugged her.

“You don’t have to apologize. I’m happy.”

Hylden took the jar of jam and the apples and put them in the pantry. He could smell something delicious underneath and really wanted to see what it was. He pulled back the cloth and smiled. “She didn’t have to make this for us.”

“She feels bad for hurting my sister. I told her not to worry, but she wanted to make you guys something special.”

“Sincerity is going to love this. She hasn’t eaten yet so I’ll cut her a piece.” He grabbed a plate and a knife and cut a nice sized piece off. He found a fork and then he and Reece went into the bedroom. “Look at what Nali made for us.” He sat down on the other side of Sincerity and showed her the pie.

“That looks and smells so good.” Sincerity said. “I don’t think I’ll be able to hold the fork without shaking.” Hylden cut a small piece off and held it up to her mouth. She took a bite and let out a very satisfied sound. “So amazing Nali. You’ll have to tell me the secret to your pies.”

“It’s just lots and lost of love.”

Sincerity smiled and Hyldan continued to feed her. He was talking and acting like he was alright but his eyes still said he was hurting from Sincerities crying. Nali figured he would feel better once Sincerity felt better. “now that you’ve eaten that I thought it would be a good idea if you two came and sat in the hot spring behind our house. It helped Reece a lot after his change.”

“I love sitting in there regardless so sure” Hyldan stood then scooped Sincerity off the bed. “I want to carry you there. You don’t need to walk” Sincerity kissed his cheek “You’re so sweet” They walked to Nali and Reeces house then stripped down before getting in their hot spring behind their home. Hyldan had only let her out of his arms long enough to strip. When he sat down in the water he sat her on his lap and wrapped his hands around her stomach. She sighed contentedly as the hot water relaxed all her aching muscles. She laid back against Hyldan making him smile “so you feel a lot better?”

“Way better, thanks for suggesting this Nali” Nali smiled “anything to help you. An hour or two in here and she should feel perfect. Will you be ready then?”

“As soon as I know she feels good.” he turned his attention to Sincerity “don’t tell me you feel alright until you really do.”

“I wont” Eventually all Sincerities pain left her body “I’m good now Hyldan”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, lets get dressed again” They all dried off then went inside to pull their clothes back on. “You ready Hyldan?”

“Yep”

“alright, you’ll have to sleep here. Reece will be able to move you on our bed. Reece and I will sleep in our guest room so you and Sincerity can share our bed.”

“Ok” They went and sat where they had performed the ceremony for Sincerity. When Nali took Hyldans hand Sincerity hugged him. Reece opened the book and began. They did everything just as they had before until Hyldan felt the same heat traveling up his arm and into his body. He grunted and clenched his teeth before letting out one really loud yell. Nali and Reece were surprised how long he kept consiousness before passing out just as Reece and Sincerity had. Reece having added strength from now being a demon put Hyldan on the bed effortlessly. Sincerity crawled in after Hyldan and laid with her head on his chest. Nali felt like crying. Hurting people she cared about twice in two days was almost unbareable.

Reece picked her up and took her into the guest room so she could cry it out with him to hold her. He sat on the bed and kept telling her all the positive things. That they would all grow old together now and that they’d all be strong and she wouldn’t have to worry over Sincerity getting hurt. He went on and on until she quit crying “I love you Reece”

“I love you too Nali. This is a wonderful thing. They had a few hours of pain to give them an eternity to live” Reece kissed Nali then just stared into her eyes. He could get lost in their beauty. Nali eventually broke the eye contact. “I need to make sure Sincerity knows where the vials are. I know she knows but I need to double check” Reece allowed her to get up and talk to Sincerity. Sincerity assured Nali she knew where they were and they hugged eachother. “Thank you Nali for doing this for us. I know it was hard on you aswell”

“I’m glad you wanted to. I’m so happy you’ll always be in my life now”

“Me too Nali. You are the best friend I’ve ever had or ever will have and now we will see all the changes of the world together, we can explore everything and have countless years of happiness and its all thanks to you. Meeting you was such a huge blessing Nali. I will always love you like you’re my sister.”

“I feel the same Sincerity. You brought the first rays of happiness into my life once it was thrown into nothing but darkness and sorrow. Hyldan is lucky to be with you.”

“I think I’m pretty lucky too” Sincerity said glancing at Hyldan. “goodnight Sincerity”

“Goodnight Nali” Hyldan woke around three am groaning “god, you didn’t make it look this bad.” Sincerity grabbed a vial and gave it to him “Thank you, please kiss me. I don’t think I can move to do it” She smiled then kissed him. He put a hand on her cheek until she parted their lips. A few hours passed of Sincerity lightly rubbing Hyldans body to help him relax between Vials then they decided to relax in the hot springs “are you sure you can make it over there”

“I can now thansk to these vials and you being so wonderful”

“You took care of me too” He smiled then slowly got up and took his clothes off. Sincerity followed him into the water. She sat beside him “Please get in my lap baby. I want to hold you. The closer you are the better I feel” Sincerity positioned herself in his lap then laid her head on his shoulder. “I need to ask you somthing Sincerity and I can’t wait any longer. If you give me the answer I desperatly want to hear I doubt I’ll even be in pain any longer. If not I might aswell fall to pieces while I’m already down”

“what is it?”

“I’ve loved you for years, I know I’ve told you that multiple times but I really deeply have Sincerity. I want to spend my eternity I’ve been blessed with as your husband if you will agree to settle for me. No man could ever be what you deserve but I really hope you’ll agree to be mine.” Tears tumbled down Sinceritys cheeks. “Yes Hyldan! I’m so glad you asked.” She gave him multiple kisses on the lips and inbetween each one she softly said yes again.

~ The End ~

Nali & Reece

 

A half demon, half human women named Nali built herself a home deep within the woods near a small village. Because of her human blood demons thought she was repulsive and disgusting. Because of her demon blood humans feared her and tried to kill her every time they saw her. Since her parents were murdered by a hoard of demons she had been all alone. Her parents died but had managed to hide their daughter. They heard the demons were coming and knew they couldn’t all hide or escape. Her father claimed to have eaten Nali when they asked where she was.

Because he was a demon the hoard believed her fathers lies and just slaughtered the two. Nali was hiding in a closet. It took everything she had not to scream and cry as she listened to her parents die. Nali made one friend a few years ago. A woman names Sincerity. Nali felt that name suited her. She was the only living thing that didn’t try to kill Nali on sight. They had become friends but only saw eachother once every week or two. If the village found out Sincerity made friends with a half demon they would hang her. Mainly because everything bad that happened within the village they blamed on Nali. Even if the weather was bad it was Nalis fault

Nali was begining to wonder if the one friend she had in this world turned her back. Nali hadn’t seen Sincerity around in almost two months. Nali hoped it was just Sincerity not wanting to see her. She’d hate to think her sweet friend got hung because the villagers found out. This morning Nali left her home to collect berries when she heard villagers running through the woods. She climbed a tree to let them pass. She listened to their conversation hoping the men would speak of Sincerity.

“That half demon is dead!” One man said with rage “Yes she is. Sinceritys been missing for almost two months and we know good and damn well that filthy half demon has her. We should’ve killed her off years ago!” Nalis heart stopped. If she had been gone that long that meant Sinceritys been lost since the last time she came to visit. This deep in the woods there were many demons, vampires and other horrific monsters that could’ve snatched her before she made it safely home.¬†Nali took deep breaths trying to settle herself. As soon as the villagers were gone Nali took off to save Sincerity. Nali only hoped it wasn’t too late.

Nali moved quickly through the woods, finding the path that her friend always took home. She used what the humans called demon vision. It gave her the ability to see the echoes of things even after they were gone. Her pupils enlarged and her irises turned a deep crimson. She saw Sencerity walking down the trail, carrying the basket that she used to deliver food to Nali with. She was humming happily after their visit. A twig snapped and Sincerity stopped walking. She looked around then started walking again. There were more snapping sounds and she turned, looking behind her.

“What do you want?” She asked. She backed up and a demon came into view. “Leave me alone.” She screamed and the demon pounced on her. It slammed her head against the ground over and over until she was unconscious and then lifted her. There was a whistle and the demon took off with Sincerity. Nali gasped, her vision going back to normal. She knew the general direction that the demon had gone. She ran back to her house and shoved a bunch of food in a bag along with a canteen full of water. She ran quickly back to where the demon had taken her friend and moved quickly through the woods. She ran until the sun began to fall and her legs could no longer carry her. She made a camp fire and sat down, catching her breath. She pulled a small bag of blueberries out of her pack and ate them. She grabbed the canteen and took a sip of water then put the cap back on and put it away. Her eyelids became heavy and slowly drifted closed.

“Are you alright?” A voice said and her eyes snapped open. There was someone standing over her. She came off the ground, landing on the person’s chest. She growled, her hands going around the stranger’s throat.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa calm down holy shit.” She pulled back and looked at the stranger’s face. He looked really shocked and was holding his hands palm up so she knew he wasn’t a threat. “My name is Reece, I thought you were unconscious, like knocked out unconscious, not sleeping unconscious.”

She got off of him “do you know what I am?”

“Your ears make it obvious. I wont hurt you though. Just dont tell anyone I didn’t try. I need to find my sister right now. I’m so worried and so are our parents. They blame you but I’ve seen you a¬†couple times. I’ve seen you help wounded creatures and do other kind things. You don’t seem bad so I know it wasn’t you. I would be hiding better though. All the village is after your blood”

“You’re Sinceritys brother?” She paused afraid. “You know my sister?” Nali didn’t know what to say. He was willing to let her live but how could she know he wouldn’t rat out his sister. She had to say somthing and decided since he’d spare her he of course wouldn’t let them hang Sincerity. “She’s my only friend. The only one I’ve ever had. A demon has taken her and I’m tracking it now.” Nali studied his face. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking “here I thought she had a secret boyfriend she’d sneak off to see. She’s been seeing you?” Nali nodded

“You wont tell on her will you?”

“Of course not.” He said a bit appalled at the suggestion. “I’m glad a half demon is on our side then. Can I join you in your hunt for her?” Nali smiled “Yes” Nali was still a little afraid. Her only comfort was the stories Sincerity told about Reece. She knew he was a nice man. Nali kept following the scent of Sincerity. It was very faint but her father had been an amazing and powerful demon. Most of his strengths and heightened senses she inherited from him.

Sincerity woke with a headache. She was gagged and her ankles were tied to her wrists so her back arched painfully if she tried pulling on the rope. She looked around, terrified. She remembered being attacked by a demon on the road between Nali’s house and her village. She was now in a cold, dimly lit cell. The door opened and a demon stepped in, moving close to her. It ran its fingers over her face, breathing heavily as it examined her. She jerked her face away and it grabbed her chin, tipping her head back as far as it would go.

“Jargo, bad boy. Get out.” A male voice said and the demon slipped silently out of the cell. A very human looking man crossed the room and squatted down so she could see him better. He slipped the gag off.

“Please let me go.” She begged.

“You’re such a pretty little thing. I can see why she likes you. That half spawn.” He said. “You’re the only way we can get her. She’s an abomination. It’s even worse that she would choose to be with a human.”

“You look human.”

“This is just an illusion. How do you think Nali’s father was able to blend in and get a human woman to fall in love with him?”

Sincerity started crying, slipping down her cheeks. “Please leave her alone. She hasn’t done anything wrong.”

“Her being alive is wrong.” He tangled his fingers in her hair and jerked it back. “We’ll all have a little fun before I kill both of you.” She cried harder and he leaned forward, licking the tears off her face. “Your despair tastes delicious.” He kissed her, shoving his tongue in her mouth. She jerked away, spitting in his face. “I love fighters.” He stood and left her, closing and locking the cell door.

Sincerity just sat there and cried. She was full of fear and anger. She couldn’t stand how humans and demons treated Nali for something she couldn’t help. Nali was nice and fun. People would love her if they wouldn’t hate her simply for being a half breed. As afraid as Sincerity was she hope Nali couldn’t find her. She didn’t want her best friend caught in a trap. Sincerity knew she’d die no matter if she came or not so she hoped to be the only one to die.

The demon Marbas sat in a chair savouring the tears and spit of Sincerity as he listened to her cry. It all gave him immense pleasure. Nothing made him happier than causing misery. He would get the fun of messing with Sincerity until Nali came and then he’d kill that disgusting creature. Half breeds shouldn’t be able to share the same air as everyone else. He’d have to clean his home after he killed her. He didn’t want her revolting blood stinking up his home.

“I gave you my name but you didn’t give me yours?”

“I’m Nali, sorry. I was just scared last night.”

“Why?”

“Because everybody tries to kill me when they meet me and I feared fro Sincerity. I’d hate if she ever got hung for giving me friendship.”

“I wont let that happen don’t worry. Not a soul will know I swear”

“Thank you, I guess her stories about you are true.”

“She talks about me?”

“Frequently, she looks up to you”

Nali shook her head. No one should ever look up to her or admire her. She was a being caught between two worlds, belonging to neither and always hunted. She was nothing but bad luck for those close to her. She cared for Sincerity more than anything and it would kill her if anything happened her. She would blame herself for the rest of her life. “You should go home before something happens to you too Reece. Sincerity would never forgive me if something horrible happened to you because you decided to follow me.” Nali said as she hopped over a fallen tree.

“I’m no coward. I’ve been looking for her for days while those idiots were busy trying to track you down. They care more about stringing you up than what happened to my sister.” He said angrily and she looked away.

“I’m sorry, I should have made her leave me alone.” He grabbed her arm and turned her around.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. I don’t blame you, I blame the villagers and whoever took her.”

“A demon took her. I saw it. He carried her this way. I don’t know why and I don’t really care why, all I want is for her to be safe.” She felt tears in her eyes and he pulled her into his arms.

“It’s not your fault. She knew the risks with coming to see you and I know the risks that come with helping you.” He pulled back and smiled then brushed her hair behind her ears. She smiled back. “There you go, you’re way to pretty to be crying.”

“Thank you.” She kissed his cheek and they continued on their way. She used her demon vision again, seeing something dart twenty feet to her right. It was the demon with Sencerity thrown over his shoulder. He was walking next to what looked like a human man. She shook her head, no he was not human. She inhaled the air, picking up his scent. He was a demon, very powerful. She ran after them and he suddenly turned and looked right at her. She froze. This was just an echo, he shouldn’t have been able to see her.

“Can’t make it that easy.” He said and waved his hand. Their images shimmered then vanished. She blinked her eyes. He had known about her gifts. Her vision went back to normal and she growled in frustration.

“whats wrong?”

“The demon who has her is very powerful. He knew about my gift and somehow knew I was using it just now. He made it to I can’t track her that way. Her scent is so faint any kind of disturbance will make me lose it now.” Nali clenched her fists. “I’ll just follow the scent and pray nothing has disturbed it. It’s a lot to hope for with how long she’s been missing but hope is all we have.” Nali could see the worry on Reeces face.

They kept running and running. Nali wondered where this man lived that was far away. Her mind was torturing her with thoughts of how he could possibly be hurting her or worse. He could be raping her. Sincerity was a virgin. How was she going to live with herself if Sincerity lost her virginity to a horrible demon. Nali could see Reece getting exhausted “we can stop if you need it Reece.”

“No we wont stop. I’ll be fine” Nali nodded. She had the strength to carry him if he ran himself into passing out. They ran on until the sun was going down again. Nali sighed “This demon must live very far away. This can’t have been random. He targeted her and it was probably my fault.”

“I told you this is not your fault. Don’t cry again please. It makes this harder for me to see you cry.” Nali looked at Reece and gave him the best smile she could force on her face. “Lets make camp and continue in the morning.”

“I’ll gather some twigs to make a fire.”

“Are you sure Reece? As a demon I have more stamina than you do as a human.”

“I’ll be alright, just sit there.” Reece disappeared into the woods returning with more than enough to keep the fire warm. He started a small one then Nali pulled out some berries to share with him. “Thanks Nali”

“No problem”

They ate and then settled as close to the fire as they dared. A cold wind whipped through the trees, sending goosebumps crawling over their skin. “Hey Reece.”

“Yeah, what’s up?” He said sleepily.

“Do you mind if we cuddle. This wind is really getting to me.”

“Come on over.” She crawled around the fire and lay with her back facing him. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her in close. “You smell like summer.”

“What does that mean?”

“You know when flowers set all day in the sun and the air takes on a sweet smell? That’s what summer smells like. It’s very calming.”

She blushed, glad he couldn’t see her face. “Thank you, I guess.” He gave a small laugh and then fell asleep. She lay staring at the fire for the longest time. His warmth seeped into her making her drowsy. She laced her fingers through his, holding him to her. She finally closed her eyes and allowed herself to drift off.

Sincerity woke to the sound of her cell door opening. The same demon from before came in and untied her legs. He lifted her to her feet and forced her out of the cell. Her heart beat fearfully on her chest. He took her up some steps and down a hall to another room. He untied her wrists then pulled them in front of her and tied them again. He pulled them a over her head and put the loose end of the rope through a loop on the ceiling. He hauled her off the ground and then tied the rope off.

“What are you doing?” She asked as the demon circled her. He ripped her dress off and then pulled her hair from its braid.

“The master will be here soon. Try and be on your best behavior.” He said in a gravely voice. He left the room, locking the door behind him.

Sincerities heart was beating painfully fast. She had heard so many stories about how cruel demons could be. Everything she heard ran through her mind and she wondered if she would be beaten, raped or just tortured in unthinkable ways. She tried not to shake in her fear. She knew he’d only enjoy what he did more if she showed how afraid she was.

Marbas was going to make her wait there for a long time. Part of the torture was to let her torture herself with the possibilities of what he could do. He smiled feeling her fear. He stood beside the door just basking in everything Sincerity felt. His mind was still obsessing over Nali though. It would bring him much more pleasure to do this to her.

Reece woke first and smiled happily when he felt Nalis hand in his. If his sister wasn’t in danger he would’ve laid there enjoying being close to her. Nali was very beautiful and seemed to have such a good heart. He was surprised a half demon coudl be so nice. Everything he heard about them was horrible but Nali wasn’t like any of the stories. Reece took his hand from hers then shook her awake.

Nali jerked awake and looked up at Reece. He was smiling warmly down at her and it made her cheeks turns a very bright shade of red. No one had ever looked at her like that. She cleared her throat and got to her feet. She straightened out her clothes and rummaged through her bag while he put the fire out. She tossed him some jerky and they ate as they walked. She was barely able to pick up Sincerity’s scent, but at least it was still there. The wind had not carried it completely away. She had to walk slow to make sure she didn’t lose it which frustrated her more.

Reece worried about his sister, but he tried not to let it show. Nali was already angry and upset enough for both of them. The sadness on her face was enough to break his heart. He reached over and took her hand in his, giving it a reassuring squeeze. She looked at him for a brief moment, a small smile flitting across her lips. He kept himself close to her in case something happened. If they were attacked by demons he wasn’t willing to let her be carried away too.

“So, my sister is your only friend?” He asked.

“Yes, well and I guess you are my friend too. She was the first kind human I met. She didn’t run away or try to kill me. It was nice having someone to talk to.” She answered, keeping her eyes on the path ahead.

“I’m glad the stories were wrong and that you’re not some crazed killer.”

“My father was a demon and a good man. We’re not all evil. I’m glad you decided to help me and didn’t kill me the minute you saw me sleeping. It was also very sweet of you to keep me warm last night. I’ve never slept with another person before, it was nice having someone close.”

“I’ll sleep with you anytime.” Her eyes jumped to his face and he turned red. “I didn’t mean…I meant cuddling, not the other thing. I’m sorry.” She smiled and went back to paying attention to where they were going. He looked so embarrassed. “I’ll just stop talking.” He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling like an idiot.

“Don’t be so embarrassed. I knew what you meant.” Nali felt happiness dancing through her heart for a brief moment but then worry over Sincerity sank back in darkening it. The two emotions swirling with each other made Nali a bit nauseous. ¬†She was really enjoying the company of Sinceritys brother though. She hoped after they saved Sincerity he’d start to visit too. She thought she may be getting ahead of herself and should just concentrate on Sinceritys scent.

“That’s good, I just like you. As a friend I mean. I” Reece stopped talking before an even larger shoe got inserted into his mouth. They walked in silence, Nali had all her concentration on Sincerities scent. It was getting harder and harder to follow. She guessed animals had been running through. Nali was getting a bad headache she was concentrating so hard.¬†Nali actually had to pause a moment it was getting so bad. She reached into her bag and gulped down a small vile she had.

“what was that?” Reece asked, he could tell she was in pain and felt worried. “Her scent is so faint from all the animal traffic it’s taking a lot of concentration to be able to follow it. My head is pounding but that vile will stop the throbbing in my head in a few moments. I’m so sorry I have to stop until it works.”

“Don’t be sorry Nali.” The second the medicine in the vial took affect she walked. Reece loked over at her with sad eyes. He found himself overly worried for just meeting this woman. “stop looking at me like that. I’m fine now. I have a few more of those too if I need it”

“sorry” Reece said looking ahead.

 

 

Sincerity tried wiggling her wrists free, but they were tied so tightly that the rope pinched her. The door opened and Marbas stepped in, his eyes moving over her. He had the most perverse look on his face, one that said he done horrible things to many women and would particularly love watching her squirm. He groped her, his hands moving over her breasts. She wanted to throw up. She kicked at him and he slapped her hard. She yelped and he slapped her again.

“Lets have some fun.” He said.

He moved behind her and she heard him pick something up. She wished she could see what he was doing. He smacked something against her back, making her scream in pain. He hit her again and again until she was crying. She screamed until her voice was hoarse. Her back felt hot and stung. He walked back around to her front and showed her the riding crop. He ran it over her chest and down her abdomen then brushed lower. She kicked him in the chest and he smacked her in the face with the crop. It didn’t break the skin, but a huge welt formed on her cheek. She cried until her stomach was in knots. “Just kill me and get it over with.” She said weakly.

“Not yet.”

Nali tried to keep her attention on Sincerity’s scent, but found herself glancing at Reece. He looked so sad and was staring at his boots. “Are you alright?” She asked.

“Just worried about my sister and you. I’m trying not to let myself imagine what is being done to her and you straining yourself. I can see it on your face. Her scent is fading isn’t it?” He answered.

“Yes it is, but I’m holding onto it. I’m not going to let them kill her I promise.” She took his hand, holding to it tightly. “I’m glad you came with me. I hate being alone honestly.”

He moved closer to her and kissed her cheek. She blushed and he smiled happily. “Sorry, I had to. You looked like you needed a kiss.” She smiled back at him, happy to have someone else she could count on.

Nali cursed when night came upon them again “No god dammit! How far did this sick psycho come to get that sweet girl. My sweet sweet friend.” Nali sat on the ground holding her knees as she cried hard into them. Reece instantly got behind Nali and held her close “we’ll get to her Nali.” is all Reece said before simply continuing to shush her. Her tears and frustration made him want to cry too. Suddenly Nali stood up and wiped her face. “we’re continuing. I can still smell in the dark. Sincerity risked her life to be my friend. I was so lonely and sad before she came along. Once she met me she visited me every week except once where it was two weeks because coming was too risky. We’re going to continue walking. I wont leave her with that awful demon one more second than needed”

Reece saw protesting would do no good. She was firm in the fact they’d keep going. He wanted to hurry and get his sister back too. He took her hand. “Just hold tight to me so we don’t get separated.”

“Ok” Nalis voice sounded close to tears again but she held it back. They walked until Nali got excited “Reece, the smell is suddenly more intense! That means she isn’t too much further! She cant be more than a few hours away. Maybe even as close as a half hour! Lets walk faster!” Reece was happy to hear they were close and to also hear that happiness in Nalis voice. They were almost in a run as Nali followed the scent. The two only still going because of their adrenaline.

They crested a hill and slowed to a stop. The large building had been carved out of the mountain side. It was a shocking sight to see. There were torches on either side of the entrance along with two demon guards. They were on all fours, looking like deformed dogs. She let her anger wash over her, consume her. She dropped her pack as her demon vision took over. She held out her hands, pulling a sword from the air. It glowed a bright blue, electricity seeming to arc over it. She screamed her battle cry and rushed down the hill, startling the two demons.

Reece stared in shock at the transformation. It both terrified and astounded him. He pulled his dagger from his boot and followed her as fast as he could. Both demons rushed her, but he intercepted one, kicking it in the chest and sending it falling backwards. It roared at him as it got to its feet, swiped at him with clawed hands. He was to fast, ducking and slashing deep cuts along its chest and arms. Blood covered its skin, weakening. He drove his dagger into its chest, ripping through muscle and bone to its beating heart. Nali slashed at the one in front of her. It jumped this way and that, landing a punch to her jaw. She screamed angrily, her now crimson eyes boiling with rage. She slashed upward, catching the demon across the chest. Electricity arced and burnt a hole in its chest. It convulsed then went limp.

She started kicking the dead beast and he had to grab her and pull her back. She struggled against him, trying to get back to the demon. “Nali, please calm down.” He said, but her focus was solely on the monster in front of her. He grabbed a hand full of her hair and tipped her head back, kissing her softly. Her struggles slowed then stopped all together. He pulled back and she blushed.

“Sorry, did I mention I have anger issues when it comes to other demons. They remind me of the ones who destroyed my childhood.” She said softly.

“It’s okay, it gave me an excuse to kiss you. Now, lets find my sister.”

“an excuse to kiss me?”¬†Nali thought but didn’t speak on the matter further. They ran in and were greeted by more demons. There were much more in the entrance. They fought and killed them quickly. Nali managed to keep a cool head. The longer she spent fighting these the longer Sincerity was subjected to whatever that demon was doing. Reece found himself to be a bit sad Nali kept control that time. They ran through the building fighting demons as they came. Nali slowing only as long as she needed to then following the scent of Nali and her blood.

There was alot of it and it had Nalis heart gripping tightly. She loved this girl like the sister she never got to have because demons were angry her father loved a human and worse had an abomination with her. The only creature though less of than what Nali was were half angel, half demons. Nali would hate to know what their life was like in this cruel world.

Finally Nali figured out which room Sincerity was in. The smell of blood was so powerful Nali almost cried worried if Sincerity was alive. She tried to push open the door but it was bolted. She threw herself against it as hard as she could. Reece tried to help. Margus smiled and walked away from Sincerity. Nali was here and now the real fun could begin. Before he opened the door he said tauntingly. “Of course the disgusting half breed would bring a human male to help her”

He slipped the bolt as Nali slammed against it again. She and Reece nearly fell when it flew open. They gasped when they saw Sincerity hanging from the ceiling, blood covering every inch of her. She whispered something that they didn’t quite catch. Margus stepped out from behind the door, grabbing Reece and throwing him against the far wall. Nali turned, caught off guard. He hit her in the face, busting her lip. Her vision swam and she found herself face down on the floor. The demon gripped her ankles and pulled her out of the room. She gripped the doorframe and he stomped on her fingers so she let go. He slammed the door and locked it as Reece slammed against it, screaming for him to let her go. He turned to his sister, anger and sadness coursing through him. He untied the rope and lowered her slowly to the floor. She was crying her eyes out and laying in the fetal position. He untied her wrists and pulled his shirt off, helping her into it.

“What did he do to you?” He asked sadly as he pulled her into his arms.

“Everything.” She could barely talk. “The more I fought, the more he hurt me.”

“Did he rape you?” She shook her head. “Thank god.” He stood back up, slamming against the door. The demon might not have had time to rape his sister, but he would have time to do it to Nali. He would hurt her worse that Sincerity because she was fearless. He pulled out his dagger and worked it between the door and doorframe. He had to get to Nali. He couldn’t let anything happen to her. He had found himself enjoying being with her. He wanted to cuddle with her on cold nights and kiss her some more. His dagger broke and he screamed in frustration. There had to be a way out.

Margus dragged Nali to his room. He grabbed a hand full of her hair and threw her on his bed. She was suddenly on all fours, growling at him like an angry wolf. She jumped at him and he grabbed her, throwing her against the wall. She struggled to her feet and he grabbed her by her throat, lifting her off the ground. She kicked at him, clawed at his hand. “You’re going to be hard to break. That’s okay, I like a challenge.” He said, his tongue sliding over her cheek. He kissed her and she bit him, drawing blood. He glared at her, punching her in the stomach. He threw her back on the bed, shackling her wrists and ankles.

“I’m going to kill you.” She screamed. “I’m going to fucking kill you.”

Margus just laughed. “It’ll be very hard to kill me chained to my bed like that. That human man is too weak to help you and that girl will probably bleed to death before anything happens. I made sure she was bleeding as slowly as possible so I could torture her longer but never the less she will bleed to death.” His tone sounded menacing and thrilled. “You only wanted me. Please just let them go.”

“It’ll torture you more to know they are here and that your friend wont survive. She doesn’t deserve to live being friend with such a revolting creature. You are pleasing to the eye but have no worth. You were born an abomination. I’m going to have my fun with you then treat you to a very slow, agonizing death. I’ll be honored by other demons for ridding the earth of such a creature and making sure you paid for not taking yourself off the earth to spare the rest of us your presence. I bet you that girl was only your friend honestly because she feared you. She probably thought you’d leave her village alone if you had a friend. Just like everybody else you’ve met she never liked you, hated you even.”

“Thats not true! She’s really my friend”

“Tell yourself that all you want but it’s not true. Not a soul could ever like or love an abomination like yourself” Margus enjoyed the questioning look on Nalis face. She was trying to hold it back but now the thought did nag at her if Sincerity really wanted to be her friend. Maybe she had just been fooling herself into thinking somebody other than her parents could care for her.

“Sincerity I need your help.” Reece said as he pulled his sister to her feet.

“I’m to weak.” She said softly. He shook her.

“Nali is in trouble. So you have to help. I know you’re hurt and you’re tired, but you have to wake up and help me. I have to make sure she survives, so please.”¬†She glared at him and he smiled. “There are other demons in here besides the ones we killed. I need you to call one of them here.”

“Okay.” He hid against the wall and Sincerity cleared her throat. “Hey where’s that sleaze bag who tied me up. Not man enough to deal with me on your own.” They waited a few minutes and the door was pushed open. “Oh there he is, the masters favorite little pet. Are you done licking his boots already?” She snapped.

He entered the room, a look of rage on his face. “You watch your mouth you little bitch. We are all powerful. Not even your friends could defeat us.”

“I heard they killed a lot of you before they got to me.” He grabbed her by her throat and Reece struck, burying his dagger in the demon’s back. It screamed, trying to bat him away, but he stayed behind it. He pulled his dagger out again and stabbed it a second time. The demon stumbled and collapsed and Reece jerked his dagger free. He spit on the demon’s corpse then grabbed his sister, lifting her off the ground and carrying her quickly down the hall. He was sure the master demon had turned right.

Marbus ripped Nali’s clothes off, sliding his hands over her. She struggled against her bonds, screaming and spitting at him. He grabbed her face, making her look at him. “I will break you.” He said.

“Don’t count on it.” She spit in his face and he laughed at her. He crawled onto the bed, on his hands and knees above her. He licked his way from her belly button to her shoulder. He bit her hard, drawing blood, but she made no sound. She latched onto his face with her teeth and he screamed. He jerked back, losing skin. She spit it at him and he hit her in the face then in the stomach so she gasped for air. “Now you’ll be physically hideous.” She said with a laugh. He smacked her again.

“Just hold on Nali, I’m coming.” Reece said aloud.

“You like her don’t you?” Sincerity said, her voice a whisper.

“Yes I do. I loved what little time I had with her even though it was spent looking for you. She’s beautiful and intelligent. You should have introduced us sooner.” He was trying not to panic as he thought about her being hurt. “She makes me smile and she has the softest lips.” Sincerity laughed softly and he realized how foolish he sounded. He had no real hope of winning over a powerful half demon. She was far to perfect for him, but he was going to save her and spend the rest of his life protecting her from idiots.

Nali kept fighting Margus in every way she possibly could. “I wanted you to look good when I fucked you but apparently you need me to beat you first!” Margus went between punching Nalis face and stomach. He was relentless and lost in a rage caused by her fighting him so hard. Chained down to a bed and she still dared to fight. His face would never look the same and he was a very vain demon. Nali didn’t make a sound or cry. She wouldn’t give him that pleasure which only pissed him off more.

Margus got up to fetch his riding crop from the closet. He had them in rooms all over his home. “Maybe this will make you give me those delightful screams and pleas for your life.” Nali was still looking at him defiantly. No matter what she wasn’t going to beg for anything but sparing Sincerity and Reece. Margus walked slowly over then raised the whip to beat her when Reece came through the door with Sincerity. Margus was honestly shocked they were out.

“Wow, a human making it this far? How’d you escape that room boy?” Reece didn’t answer. He was too busy looking at Nali laying shackled to the bed with bruises covering her body and blood slowly moving down her chest from the deep bite he had given her. He turned his angry gaze to Margus and gently set his sister down before drawing his dagger back out. Margus actually laughed “You think a pathetic human can beat a demon such as myself?”

“The only pathetic one here is you demon. Only a coward ties a woman down and gets off on her screams.” Reece smiled when he saw Margus’s eyes overflowing with rage. No one talked to him like that and lived. He growled and attacked Reece, swinging the riding crop at him. Reece dodged to the left, slashing out at the demon and catching him across the arm. He was suddenly hit in the face with the riding crop, the sting shocking him. Margus reached for him and he back pedaled. “What kind of demon can’t get his hands on a pathetic human?” Reece taunted.

Margus growled throwing down the crop and coming at him in a blind rage. He swung hard and fast, screaming in frustration when he didn’t so much as brush the human. Reece grinned as he slashed the demon’s chest open. He finally ran out of room and backed into the wall. Margus grabbed him by his throat and Reece stabbed him in the arm so the demon dropped him to rip the dagger free. “You stupid boy.” Margus backhanded him, his head slamming against the wall with a loud thud.

Sincerity ran over to Nali, pulling at the shackles. “The keys are hanging on the wall above that chest.” Nali said and Sincerity hurried over and grabbed them. She was shaking so hard she almost didn’t get the key in the lock. She managed to free one arm and quickly worked on her other limbs. Nali was on hands and feet the minute she was free, crouching like a wild cat. She pounced on Margus’s back, her arm wrapping around his throat and her legs around his waist. She chocked him and he grabbed a hand full of her hair trying to pull her off. Reece took the opportunity to kick the demon in the knee so it collapsed out from under him. He wrestled the dagger out of his hands and drove it onto his solar plexus and up into his heart.

Margus had a look of shock on his face as he died by the hands of a half demon and human male. Nali quickly ran back to Sincerity who laid on the floor. Nali picked her up cursing the fact she left her bag outside. “I have things in my bag that will help you.” Sincerity made a noise like she was going to respond but no words came. Nali started to run for the exit while Reece followed as closely as possible. He kept darting his eyes around the halls and rooms to watch for other demons.

The night air was cold on Nalis skin since she was naked. It gave her goosbumps there was such a chill but she ran as fast as she could. She set Sincerity down when they reached her bag and pulled out two things for her to drink. “They dont taste good but you must drink.” Nali poured one after the other down Sinceritys throat. Sincerity gagged at the rotten taste but started to feel almost instantly better. Nali then pulled out a small container of bluish green cream and rubbed it on some of Sinceritys deeper cuts.

“Now we just need to sit for a few moments and your wounds will close. The other potion I gave you to help your body create more blood faster. Now that the most important things are at work how much pain do you feel so I can give you somthing for it.”

“I’m just numb at this point”

“Let me give you somthing anyway. Once you get more blood and my potion cease their work you’ll feel all the pain you did before.” Nali rummaged in her bag and poured another liquid into her mouth. “I’m glad that one tasted better” Nali smiled “Yeah, I have to take that a lot so I’ve worked harder on trying to improve the taste.”

“It’s a shame you have need to keep potions like that on hand. You’re too good of a person for this world to treat you so cruelly.”

“Don’t worry about that Sincerity. Just worry about getting better please.” Sinceritys cuts began to close so Nali knew she could move with her now. “Lets go Reece. I don’t want us to sleep this close to that monsters home.” Reece nodded. They walked a ways then Nali put the sleeping Sincerity down “I’m so glad the poor thing fell asleep.” Reece found himself blushing at Nalis nudity. He noticed she had goosebumps from the cold and felt bad for her. “I’ll get a fire going”

“Thank you” Nali said and looked at him. The eye contact only making him embarrassment worse as he ran off to get what he needed to keep a fire going. As Nali waited fro Reece to return she looked sadly down at her dear friend. The thought of her not really being her friend was gone. She knew Sincerity really cared for her but Nali decided she wouldn’t let this friendship go further. She couldn’t let another demon take Sincerity and hurt her because they were friends. She hoped Sincerity wouldn’t make it too hard to break the bond they shared.

 

Reece came back with an arm full of wood and quickly started a fire. Nali looked so heartbroken as she looked down at his sister. He walked around to her and sat down next to her, pulling her into his arms. She started crying and he rubbed her back. “It’s okay, we’re safe now.” He said and tipped her head back, cupping her cheek and brushing her tears away with his thumb.

“I can’t be your friend anymore. When we get back you have to stay away from me or this will happen again.” She tried looking away from him, but he wouldn’t let her. He brushed his fingers through her hair.

“No, I’m not leaving you.”

“Don’t be an idiot Reece, you could…” He kissed her softly, his hands framing her face. She pulled back, blushing and feeling angry and confused. “Why, why would you do that?”

“Because I want you. I want to hold you at night and protect you from both monsters and men.” She shook her head.

“You can’t do that, not for me. Please don’t fall in love with me.”

“It’s to late.” He grabbed her hand and pressed it to his chest. Her fingers brushed his bare skin, giving him goosebumps. “The heart wants, what the heart wants. I’m not leaving you alone. Even if you beat me to a bloody pulp, I’m staying with you. You don’t have to love me back, even though I wish it. I just want to see you smile.”

“I hate you.” Tears slipped down her cheeks to drip off her chin.

“No you don’t.” He kissed her again then lay back, pulling her down with him so she could pillow her head on his chest. “I’m not letting anything hurt you again. I’ll always keep you safe.” Nali was moved by the love in his voice. It wrapped itself around her heart so tight that nothing could get rid of it. Her eyelids grew heavy and she slowly drifted off to the sound of his heart beating in her ear.

Reece felt Nalis body go limp and he smiled. He decided to stay awake until the flames were gone so they wouldn’t wake up on fire. He just laid there enjoying the skin to skin contact with Nali as he ran his hands up and down her back. When the fire was gone he gave her a gentle hug then lightly fell asleep. He was worried about both his sister and Nali being outside naked. Atleast his sister had something covering her but Nali was fully exposed. Some pervert might walk by and try to take advantage of the situation and these two girls had been through enough.

He was glad only half falling asleep finally had a use. He was beginning to wonder if that training was even truly needed. Reece was glad when the suns rays woke him. Both Nali and Sincerity lay undisturbed. “Nali, we should get going.” He whispered. Nali opened her eyes and couldn’t help but smile. He was looking at her so sweetly. The kindest look she had ever seen. She got off of him and grabbed her bag again before picking up Sincerity. “I hope she sleeps most the way home. One of the potions put her to sleep to help heal her body. It wont release her from sleep until she’s mostly healed.”

“That’s good.” Nali had never been more grateful to the sun. Reece had kept her very warm while she slept but now she counted on the suns rays to warm her nude body all the way home. “Why don’t you let me carry my sister?”

“The extra effort it takes to carry her also makes me warmer. It’s fine, I’m half demon so you don’t need to treat me like other girls. I can handle myself very well”

“I know you can. It’s just only fair I carry her too but if it’s helping you not be cold then I wont ask again. Let me know if you want me to carry her though”

“I will”

Getting home seemed to take forever. She was so exhausted that she barely managed to make it through her front door. Reece took Sincerity from her and Nali flopped down on her bed. “I’m going to sneak her into the village since it’s still night. I’ll be back when she’s safely in bed.” He said.

“Just be careful.” She replied and he hurried out her door. She stared up at her ceiling for a few moments then forced herself out of bed so she could bathe. There was a hot spring behind her house. She grabbed a towel and went outside. She stepped into the bubbling water, sighing with relief as the heat loosened cramped muscles. She closed her eyes, leaning her head back on the rim of the spring.

Reece returned as quickly as possible, running even though he was tired. He pushed open Nali’s front door and stepped inside. He didn’t see her inside, but he caught a glimpse of her out the back window. He went out back and she jerked awake, looking up at him. “Would you like me to wait inside?” He asked nervously.

“No, please come in.” She said, her voice shaking a little. He tugged off his boots then his pants and slid into the water. He stood there unsure what to do or say. She took his hands in hers and pulled him closer. She ran them up his arms to his chest then down to his abdomen. He gripped the edge of the hot spring, one hand on either side of her. Her hand slipped beneath the water, her fingers playing over him. She kissed her way down his chest, her teeth biting gently. Her head slid under the water and her mouth enveloped him. He moaned, the tight suction of her mouth driving him crazy. He tangled his fingers in her hair and hauled her back up, his mouth finding hers in a hungry kiss. “Make love to me.” She whispered against his lips.

He lifted her, her legs going around his hips. He pushed himself slowly into her, making her cry out in ecstasy. “You’re so tight Nali.” He gasped and thrust into her harder. His words made her blush a deep red. They kissed and touched each other as he made love to her slowly, their loud moans filling the night. They finished together and he held her tightly against him for a moment. He kissed her forehead then untangled their bodies, rinsing her off and then himself. He got out of the hot spring and lifted her out, drying both of them then carrying her inside. He lay her down gently on her bed and crawled in after her. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. “I love you Nali.”

“I know you do, thank you for that. I love you too.”

They both slept hard and soundly. Birds chirping woke Nali. She smiled at Reece then kissed his cheek before getting up to make them breakfast. She got everything out to make loaded scrambled eggs then quickly got to work in hopes Reece could wake up to a nice breakfast. She felt sore from last night but loved it. She hoped he would be making her sore many more nights. Nali found herself wondering if he’d stay here with her or go home and only visit every once in awhile like Sincerity. She’d love to have him always in her home. Nobody in the village found this home yet so they wouldn’t be able to check and see him there.

When breakfast was on the two plates Nali checked on Reece. He was still sound asleep. She grabbed a set of bra and panties sliding them on then a dress. She didn’t want to be indecent if Sincerity came back today. Her wounds should hardly exist¬†any more. Sincerity then found herself wondering how Sincerity was going to explain what happened. She hoped Sincerity could find a way to tell them her story without anybody finding out she was friends with Nali.

Nali woke Reece up with a kiss on the lips. He smiled against hers then sat up. “Morning beautiful”

“I made us breakfast.” He got up and sat at her table. He took a bite and his eyes widened slightly “this is the best eggs I’ve ever had.” Nali laughed “don’t need to exaggerate”

“No, you’re an amazing cook. Thank you for this and for letting me make love to you last night”

“I wanted it very much too.” Nali said looking away. “I hope this isn’t too forward of me Nali but may I stay here with you? I’m older than my sister. She is still a child but I’m a man in my village so if I leave they wont question it. Hell I’d come even if they would question it. Could I please live with you. If you don’t want that it’s alright but I needed to ask.”

“I’m so glad you asked. Please stay.” Nali said in a broken voice. Reece realized she was going to cry. he quickly went over to Nali and hugged her. “why are you crying”

“I just didn’t think anybody would ever love me. I’ve been alone so long.” Reece kissed her cheek and wiped her tears. “well now you have me for as long as I live.” Reece said smiling. Nali wished Reece was immortal like she was. She didn’t mind though. She’d just enjoy all the amazing years she could have with him. He looked very young so had many to give her. “how old are you?” Nali asked wanting to know about how much time she would have with him. “twenty four, how old are you?” Nali laughed “you wouldn’t want to know. I was just curious”

“I do want to know.”

“A hundred and fourteen. Even a half demon is immortal. If we have children they wont have enough demon to be immortal like me but halflings are immortal.” Then it really set in for Reece how long Nali had been alone moving from house to house when the villagers would find her. Sincerity had only been sneaking out a few years so all those years before that she was alone all the time except when people would attempt to kill her. Reece hugged her tightly “I love you so much Nali”

“I wish there was some way I could keep you forever.” She said sadly, wrapping him in a tight hug.

“Don’t be sad. I could always hunt down a vampire and ask him to change me at stake point.” He smiled and she laughed at the image in her head. Reece hovering over a vampire who was laying on the ground begging for his life. Vampires never begged.

“I would pay to see that.”

“You best fork up some money then because it’s happening.”

Sincerity washed herself down, making sure there wasn’t a drop of blood left on her skin. She pulled on a dress with long sleeves and a high collar. She left her hair down and looked at herself in the mirror. The only visible bruise was the one on her cheek where she had been hit with the riding crop. She pulled on her knee high boots, took a deep breath, and stepped out into the small village. Many stopped and looked at her, bewildered that she was safe in her home.

“Sincerity, when did you get back?” A young man asked.

“Just last night.” She answered truthfully.

“Where were you, what happened to your face?”

“I took a trip to a village over. On the way back I was attacked by bandits. They got a good shot in, but I managed to escape losing only my basket.”

“We’ve been so worried, have you told Reece yet. He’s been looking for you like mad. We were worried a demon had taken you.” A woman said.

She tried not to let the images of Margus touching her get to her. She had to stay calm for Nali’s sake. Her half demon friend and Reece had sacrificed much to save her. She couldn’t let them know about what happened. Maybe some day they would learn to trust people like Nali. “I haven’t seen Reece. I should go find him.”

“Let me go with you, just in case.” A man named Hylden said.

“No, no I’ll be fine. There are not many dangers so close to home. Please just stay here.” They seemed even more bewildered by her strange reaction. She hurried away, wanting to make sure her brother and best friend were okay.

Hylden decided to follow anyway. He stealthily followed Sincerity in the trees as she walked below. He was very careful to not make a sound especially when he noticed she wasn’t looking for her brother but going deep within the woods. After a very long walk she came upon a little house and knocked. Hylden watched intently then saw Nali answer the door. Hylden couldn’t believe his eyes. Sincerity was seeing the very dangerous and evil demon their village feared.

He ran back to the village as soon as the door was closed to tell the other men where Nalis newest home was so they could finally kill her. He’d try to make the village go easy on Sincerity. He still loved her and knew she had only been decieved by a wicked demon. ¬†When he arrived at the village he went to the leader of the warriors and explained the situation to him.

Gareth grew angry and told Hyldan to round up the other warriors and have them meet at the entrance to the woods. Hyldan nodded and got to work gathering the men. They would bring every warrior to ensure Nali wouldn’t escape again. It didn’t take long for all the men to arrive once the word started spreading and they soon were able to head back into the woods.

“I’m so glad you’re feeling better.” Nali said as she hugged Sincerity.

“I just have a few bruises here and there. The one on my face raised some questions, but I think I managed to fool them.” Sincerity said with a big smile. “You look happy. What did you two get up to last night?” Reece cleared his throat and a blush stole up Nali’s neck and into her face. “Oh,” she said covering her mouth, “I see.”

“Reece has decided to stay here with me. I hope that’s okay.”

“He’s an adult so of course it’s okay.”

“We have some breakfast left over sis, why don’t you have a bite.” Reece said as she sat down at the table.

“That would be lovely.” Nali scooped the rest of the food onto a plate and handed it to her. They sat and chatted as she ate. Nali was so happy to have her friend alive and well. She had feared the worst when she saw how many wounds she had and how traumatized she had been. Nali opened the window and froze. The scent of man came to her on the breeze. There were a lot of them.

“We have to get out of here.” Nali said and they both looked at her. “They’re coming for me.” All the men surrounded the house and she bolted both the doors. She knew they must have followed Sincerity.

“Come out demon spawn.” Gareth yelled.

“Come out with that traitor.” Hylden screamed.

Reece looked out the window at the angry men. He was furious at how judgmental they were. “Why don’t you all go home and leave her alone.” He yelled back.

“Reece? You too?”

Nali pulled the rug back and pulled open a trap door in the floor. “You two get down there now.” She ordered.

“We’re not leaving you Nali.” Sincerity said.

“Yes you are, now go.” She forced Sincerity onto the dark hole. “Reece, you too.” He shook his head and she pulled him into a kiss then shoved him hard into the hole. She slammed the door and bolted it shut. Reece slammed against it angrily. Nali opened the front door and stepped out. “If you want me then take me. I will not fight, I will not harm you. Just leave Reece and Sincerity out of this.” She held her wrists out, staring at them all and waiting to be shackled.

Two men walked up swiftly and put the shackles on her seeming to be as rough as they could. They each grabbed an arm to walk her back to the village where they’d gather everyone so they could see the demon that had plagued them for generations be slain. The men would deal with Sincerity and Reece after her death. Nali walked along hanging her head. She was so close to a happy life and now it was going to end. She was atleast grateful she got to fall in love. Even briefly before she was put to death by the humans who hated her so since they learned of her existence.

She regretted trying to help that man when she first moved into these woods. His leg was badly wounded and she came to offer aid but instead he drew his sword curing her and trying to hurt her. That man went home and told the village an evil halfling lived in the woods. Ever since then it’s been nothing but people trying to kill her. She thought this might be best though. What kind of life would Reece have had with her. He would’ve had to run every so many years like she did when people or demons discovered her. It wasn’t a very fun life and she knew Reece would probably hate it.

They made it back to the village and the men started yelling “We’ve finally caught the evil beast! Our homes will be plagued no longer!” People cheered and spit at her. Some even threw food in her face. Nali just kept hanging her head trying to tune out the hateful words and somtimes painful hits if it were an apple they were throwing. They even had small children throwing things at her and cursing.

Reece slammed against the door, the screws finally beginning to give, he hit it again and again, finally knocking it open. He climbed out and pulled Sincerity up after him. They ran hand in hand from the house, racing through the woods. His heart beat out a fearful rhythm, his mind racing with thoughts of what they might be doing to his Nali. Sincerity was having trouble keeping up. “Just go on ahead.” She said and he let go of her hand, quickening his pace.

They walked her up to the gallows and she felt tears slip down her face. They pulled her up the steps to the noose and slipped it around her neck. She closed her eyes as they tightened it, holding onto an image of Reece’s face. Someone pulled the lever and the trap door opened beneath her. For a brief moment she was falling through space and then brought to an abrupt halt. The rope cut off her airway instantly and she began to suffocate.

Reece broke through the woods and ran to the town center. He was horrified when he saw Nali hanging by her neck. He pulled out his dagger, taking aim at the rope and throwing it. The rope spilt and she fell to the ground. He rushed to her side, pulling the rope from around her neck. She lay limp, a rope burn at her throat, her face pale and lips blue. He shook her. “Please wake up.” He pleaded. She wasn’t breathing. He lay her flat, tipping her head back and pulling her mouth open. He covered her mouth with his, blowing air into her lungs. “Please, please wake up.” He blew more air into her lungs. She gasped and then coughed. He lifted her and carried her out from under the gallows. “You should all be ashamed.” He said angrily.

Sincerity came running toward them, placing herself between them and the mob of shocked onlookers. “She has been nothing but nice. She has never hurt a soul. Ruben, did she not try to help you?” She pointed at a man in his forties. “What did you do? You attacked her and spread panic. You’re all a bunch of selfish idiots. Do you want to know what happened to me. I was kidnapped by an evil demon because he wanted her. She could have left me for dead, she could have let him rape me, but you know what she did? She came for me, she risked life and limb to pull me out of that hell hole.”

The crowd stood speechless. Some of the villagers had shame on their face while others looked conflicted. Reece wasn’t interested in staying around to see what they said. He started to walk off to Nalis home to put her in her own bed where he’d guard her and make sure nothing further happened to her. Sincerity just stood there staring down the crowd of people. She was so angry. She had never known such anger. She spoke again “Nali has a big and good heart. She can’t control the weather or if your crops do well. She cant help if dragons or demons attack the town. She is giving and warm. You all are the monsters not Nali!”

Even more faces showed their shame in what they did to a girl who they honestly couldn’t think of a thing she truly did but defend herself. Ruben walked up and stood beside Sincerity. “I’ll tell you people this much. She did try and help me but I was too focused on the fact she had demon blood to accept the help and I attacked her. I was foolish, I ask you people this, Name one time Nali did anything. Just tell me one thing she ever did to us to make us treat her so?” There was murmurs among the crowd and nobody could say a word.

The eldest of the elders stepped forward. “we owe this halfling a great apology. A bigger one than we can give. We should all feel great shame. Especially us elders who are supposed to guide you young down the right path. We need to arrange somthing for her to show how sorry we are and begin to apologize.” Sincerity had an idea. She walked over to the elder and whispered “my brother Reece loves Nali. Could we put together a wedding for them tomorrow? I’m sure that would mean the world to Nali.” The elder smiled “what a wonderful idea. It’ll show her well how we accept her now.” She cleared her throat and spoke so everyone could hear. “as our first step in apology I need everyones help in getting a wedding together for Nali and Reece. Quickly all so we can have things arranged tomorrow morning.”

 

 

Nali had never been so scared in her life. She had been dead for about a minute before Reece had revived her. She clung to him as he carried her into her house and lay her gently on the bed. She curled up in a ball and he lay down behind her, wrapping an arm around her waist. He kissed the back of her neck. “Please say something.” He whispered.

“Sorry, my throat hurts.” She said hoarsely. She turned in his arms and ran her fingers over his cheek. “I was so afraid I’d never see you again.”

He pressed a finger against her lips. “If your throat hurts don’t talk. I can speak for both of us.” He kissed her, his fingers tangling in her hair. “I thought I had lost you. I had just fallen madly in love with you and there you were dangling from a rope. I would have followed you into that darkness.”

“It wasn’t dark. It was warm and bright. I wanted to float away, but I heard your voice and it pulled me back.” She suddenly frowned. “I must look horrible. I’m covered in fruit and vegetable juice.”

“You look beautiful, but if you like we can go bathe.” She nodded and he got up, grabbing a towel and then lifting her. He carried her out back and lowered her to feet. He quickly undressed her and then himself. He stepped down into the water then helped her in. He washed her and massaged her, taking his time to make sure all of her muscles were loose. He sat down on the small stone lip beneath the water and pulled her into his lap. She leaned back, resting her head on his shoulder.

“Thank you for loving me.” She whispered, turning her head and kissing him.

“Thank you for letting me.” He smiled warmly at her and they sat there a little longer, just relaxing and trying to forget the last couple of days. An hour later the sound of someone calling their names caught their attention. It was Sincerity. They got out, drying hurriedly and slipping in the back door to pull on clean clothes. Nali opened the front door, letting her friend in.

“You must come back to the village tomorrow and wear your prettiest dress.” Sincerity said. “Here brother I brought you something clean to wear tomorrow.”

“Why?” Reece asked, still feeling angry at the villagers.

“It’s a surprise, just trust me.”

“Alright, we’ll be there.”

Reece felt uneasy about taking Nali back there but he would protect her from anything. He also knew Sincerity wouldn’t have come to ask them if she thought Nali would get hurt. Reece hugged Nali then said “let me make you some lunch. You should eat my love.”

“I can help.”

“No please just lay down for me.” Nali smiled and went over to the bed and settled in. Reece examined her kitchen to find everything before he started. He took inventory as to what she had in the fridge and cabinets then decided just to chop her up a bunch of the fruit she had. The coolness of fruit might help her throat a bit. He chopped it all into very small bites since Nalis throat was bothering her. When he was satisfied there was plenty in there he brought the bowl to the bed and asked her to sit up. She went to grab the fork from him and he shook his head “I want to feed you please”

Nali started to laugh but quickly stopped since it was painful. She nodded and Reece fed her until she put a hand up asking him to stop. “well you ate a decent amount. It will do.” Nali smiled as he went to put the bowl in the fridge. He came back and cuddled with Nali. “I love you so much and I’m happy I met you. I’m serious about trying to find some way to make myself immortal. I want to live with you until the end of time Nali. I’ll search for any way. I’ll do anything it takes.” Nali saw how serious his face looked. She knew a way he could do it without chasing down a vampire who may just kill him. She went to get up and he pulled her down. She held up a finger and gave him a pleading look. He let go and she walked out of the room.

Nali came back with a book and opened it to the correct page. It was about a ritual they could do where she’d place her hand on Reeces while sombody said the chant in the book. They would stab a dagger through and her blood would mix with his. It would be very painful for Reece. It could even fail if the person reading from the book didn’t pronounce even a single word right. It stated as much in the book. “Maybe Sincerity could do it for us.”

“She’s been through enough gruesomeness Reece” Nali forced out. She was still very hoarse. “well someones doing it because I’m going to be with you forever and thats that” Nali smiled and hugged Reece. “You sure you really want to do that? I would love to have you forever but that’s so painful and what if you get tired of me. You wont be a full demon so will be hated as I have been hated. You sure you want that?”

“Absolutely Nali, Absolutely”

She put the book away and cuddled with him on the bed. She didn’t like the idea of hurting him. Forcing someone to be something they were not born to be was very dangerous. It would take all his strength and trust. It was enough to drive a man mad. Being stabbed also wouldn’t feel good, having a hole in ones hand was a very unappealing thought.

“Stop frowning Nali.” He said and kissed her nose.

“I’m sorry. I don’t want you to resent me later. It’s going to feel like you’re being torn apart.”

“I’m not afraid. We’ll do it after whatever surprise is waiting for us.”

She relaxed against him, her fingers moving over his chest. She loved him with all her heart and soul. She was happy to have someone who was willing to share her hopes and dreams with, to hold her when she was scared and feeling vulnerable. He was such a miracle to her. She tipped her head back and he kissed her, his tongue dueling with hers and making her heart go into overdrive. He moved so he was between her legs, pushing her dress up. He pulled her panties off and pushed his pants down. He pressed his forehead against hers as he thrust into her. She cried out, her nails sliding over his back drawing blood. He moved in her hard and fast, going as deep as he could. He moaned, pinning her hands above her head. She whispered his name, repeating it over and over. He kissed her as she orgasmed, capturing her cry of pleasure. He finished, moaning loudly into her mouth.

He rolled onto his back and pulled her into his arms. He rained feather light kisses over her face, whispering how much he loved and needed her. He finally stood and pulled his pants off then her dress and bra, wanting to be skin to skin. He lay back down and she rested her head on his chest. She fell asleep and he lay there staring down at her beautiful face. He couldn’t wait to spend forever with her.

Morning came and they both got up. “I’ll do breakfast while you go ahead and pick a dress ok?”

“Thanks Reece” Nali said then kissed him. Reece held Nalis face in his hands for a moment to hold her in the kiss. He let go and Nali went to her closet. She debated between three dresses she had but finally settled on her white summer dress. Nali found a bra and panty set that was the same color as the dress and put them on before slipping into it. She then found her white butterfly clip which was the whole reason she picked that dress. She really liked the clip and it looked especially good when she was wearing one of her white dresses. Nalis mothers favorite color had been white so Nali incorporated that color in most of her outfits.

Nali brushed her hair then put the clip in her hair. She then searched until she found her white sandals to go with it. Now she was ready so she walked into the kichen. Reece smiled at her “You’re so beautiful.”

“Thank you, my mothers favorite color was white so I wear it frequently.”

“It looks good on you. Come and eat breakfast. They ate quickly together then Reece put on the clothes Sincerity brought him. He decided while they were in town he’d bring as much of his things back as possible. When he was done getting ready they both walked out the door holding hands. “are you nervous about what the surprise is?”

“A little”

“Well I wont let them hurt you so don’t worry about that”

“I’m not, Sincerity would never draw me into a trap nor you” The woods were peaceful this morning. All you could hear were birds singing and animals playing. They enjoyed taking in everything as they made their way into the village. When they reached the village Sincerity was waiting with a big grin. She grabbed Nalis hand while their dad grabbed Reeces. “she can’t be alone in this village” Reece said worried “she wont be hurt. I promise son. I need you to come with me to wait on Nali.” Reece sighed and felt tense not being able to see Nali any longer.

“Sincerity, what’s going on?” Nali asked nervously.

“Don’t look so scared. We’ve decorated the whole village just for you. Lily Ann even used fairy lights to light the place once it’s dark.” Sincerity smiled. “You look so beautiful.”

Gareth and Hylden walked up to them and Sincerity smiled as Nali took a step back. These two had been the instigators of the mob. Gareth offered her his arm and she looked at Sincerity who nodded encouragingly. She grabbed his arm and Sincerity did the same with Hylden. “Are you ready Miss Nali?” Gareth asked as they started walking.

“Ready for what?” They walked to the town center. The gallows had been removed and replaced by posts with white cloth wrapped around them. White and pale blue lilies covered everything. A long white piece of cloth with pale blue and pink designs had been rolled out and standing at the end of it under a trellis coverd in flowers and ivy was Reece, his father, and a preacher.

“Ready to get married dear.” Gareth answered and she swallowed. A woman played on an old piano that had been carried outside. Even though Gareth had given her grief, she hugged him, making him laugh. They walked slowly down the isle, Reece smiling the whole time. He looked so happy. Gareth handed her off and she took Reece’s hands, her legs feeling a little wobbly. The whole village had their eyes on her and it made her feel a little scared. Reece squeezed her hands and she took a deep breath before she passed out. The preacher, whose name was Jesse, spoke about love and devotion. He also spoke about kindness and the value of understanding. A look of shamed passed over the faces of the villagers.

He then talked about Reece and Nali and how they had stayed together even though death had threatened to tear them apart. He talked about their courage and how everyone could learn from their example. He spoke in what she was sure was Latin. She didn’t understand it, but Reece and the other villagers obviously did and were all grinning. “Reece the ring.” Jesse said and Reece’s father handed it to him. It was a little silver band with a dragon etched around it. He slipped it on her finger. “I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride.” Reece’s dad nudged him in the back when he just stood there staring and smiling. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her, lingering a little to long so the young women giggled.

He pulled back smiling at his wife. Everybody congratulated and hugged the two. Nali felt a bit overwhelmed by it all. Everybody was being nice but having so many people surrounding her was making her very nervous. Groups had never been a good thing in her life. Reece noticed she seemed stress and whispered in her ear “do we need to go love”

“I dont want to be rude.” Reece picked her up “we’ll see you all another time.” He then yelled for Gareth who came running “follow me so I can talk to you about somthing in private.”

“alright” When they were away from the crowd Reece said “As a half demon Nali wont die unless murdered. I want to live forever with her and there’s a ritual we can do to make that happen. I need you to come tonight to help us with it. I think you owe that to Nali”

“Of course I will. As soon as all the village is in their homes I will come to you two.”

“Thank you” Reece said then started to walk home with Nali. “Reece that’s so soon. You should wait maybe a month or so before you decide. Please, I dont want you to regret it. I don’t mind only having you for as long as you humans live. You don’t have to become an abomination like me.”

“You are not an abomination. You are beautiful, sweet and absolutely amazing. Theres no doubt in my heart or mind I want this. I don’t have to think about it. Now just relax while I take you to my favorite stream. There’s so many pretty flowers beside it and will be the perfect place for you to just relax from the stress. I knwo being around crowds must be hard even though they were nice. Nali nodded feeling ashmed. Reece saw it on her face “there’s nothing for YOU to be ashamed of. You have every right to be afraid of those monsters. I will never look at any of them the same. I’m surprised you lasted as long as you did Nali.”

“I love you”

“I love you too which is why I can’t wait for tonight” Nali started to relax as Reece carried her to the stream he was talking about. The landscape was gorgeous. So many different colors and flowers. There were some small bunnies and deer running through them. He sat with her by the water then gave her another long kiss. Now that nobody was watching it was an even longer one. Her lips were the sweetest thing in the world to him.

They lay there until the sun started to go down, listening to the calming sound of the stream. Reece lifted her in his arms and they walked slowly through the woods. Fireflys swarmed around them, their dancing lights making Nali stare in wonder. She reached for them, one landing on her finger tips before flying away. They lit up the woods there were so many. It was like orange stars moved lazily around them. She rested her head against his chest, sighing happily. When they made it back to the house, Gareth and Sincerity were both waiting for them along with Hylden. He seemed to be attached to Sincerity at the hip. Sincerity didn’t seem to notice the longing look on his face.

“Thank you for coming.” Reece said with a smile.

“We can never do enough to earn Nali’s forgiveness.” Gareth replied and opened the front door for the little house so Reece could carry her inside. He sat her at the kitchen table and retrieved the book, flipping to the page they needed and handing it to Gareth.

“This is a pretty complicated spell, one wrong move and you could die.” Gareth said and he read and re-read the page.

“Yes, I’m sure. Nali has already tried to talk me out of it.” Reece said and sat down next to Nali.

“We need a dagger.” Reece pulled his out and handed it to him. “Okay, put your hand on top of hers.”

“Don’t curl your fingers under, you could lose one.” Nali said and he made sure his palm was flat against the back of her hand. He cleared his throat and started reading, his Latin flawless. He raised the dagger and drove it through their hands. Neither flinched, but they both gritted their teeth against the pain. Gareth kept reading as their blood mixed and he pulled the dagger out. Reece felt heat moving up his arm and into his chest. It felt like someone was pushing a hot poker through his chest. He screamed and fell to the floor. Nali pulled him into her arms as every muscle in his body tightened. His stomach knotted and he turned on his side, throwing up. Sweat soaked through his shirt and made his hair stick to his forehead. He cried and screamed until the pain ebbed, leaving his muscles cramped and him unconscious. Nali cried and pointed to a set of vials on her spice rack. “Can you hand me the blue one please.” She said through her tears. Sincerity shook herself out of her horror and grabbed the vial, handing it to her friend. Nali poured some on her hand then on Reece’s, the clear liquid closing the wounds. Gareth and Hylden lifted Reece off the floor and into bed as Sincerity helped clean up the blood and puke.

“We’re going to leave you two alone now,” Gareth said, “but if you need anything please come and get us.”

“i will” Nali said then Sincerity hugged her. “I’m going to start visiting much more frequently now.”

“I’m glad to hear it” Sincerity walked out with the two men then Nali crawled in bed with her husband. She took off his clothes knowing he would be out as if he was in a coma atleast until morning. Maybe even dinner. She undressed and laid partially on him. She ran her fingers across his body crying again. It seemed everything went well but seeing him in that much pain was excruciating¬†.She cried herself to sleep and woke around eleven the next day. She frowned again since he was stlill sleeping. She listened to his heart beating an even rhythm so she was sure he’d be alright. Nali checked to make sure she had plenty of vials that would help him with pain.

She only had six which would be plenty but she would rather be absolutely sure. She’d never witnessed this before. She only heard stories so Nali went out to gather a few things she didn’t keep on hand to create more. About an hour later she walked back in. Reece was still out cold. She went into the kitchen and began making more tonic for pain. She finished it then put it in clean vials. She got back into bed holding Reece close. He grabbed Nalis hand when she ran it across his chest. “reece!” she exclaimed “My muscles.”

“One second sweetheart” she jumped out of bed and grabbed a few of her bottles. She handed him one “drink please.” He shakily grabbed it then downed the contents quickly. She handed him another and he did the same. A little bit later he sighed in relief. “thank you baby”

“You hungry?”

“I dont have an appetite atall. Just keep rubbing me please” Nali laid back down and gently ran her fingers across him again. A little while later he wrapped his arms around her. “Thank you for doing that with me so I can always be by your side. I really do get forever with you now.” Nali kissed him. “Nali I haven’t cleaned my mouth from puking”

“I love you so I dont care Reece. Can I make you something to eat?”

“Please” Nali got up and prepared a sandwich for each of them then cut up some carrots. Reece sat up slowly and ate with Nali on their bed. When he was done he held out his arms “come please” She did and he wrapped his arms around her. “Tomorrow I promise to start being a good husband. We just get married and I’m not doing a thing but laying in bed asking you to do things.”

“You’re a perfect husband. You went through hell last night just so you could live forever.” he smiled “would you give me another one of those drinks?” She grabbed one and handed it to him. He kissed her “I love you with all my heart Nali. Never have I felt so strongly for a woman. I’m lucky that I get forever with you and any demon or human who can’t see what a treasure you are, are the ones losing out. The world was blessed when your parents brought you into it Nali. I will love you until the end of time.”

Nali pressed her lips against his again “you’re so sweet” her voice broke and he pulled her close as she cried tears of happiness. They spent the rest of the day talking and cuddling in their bed just enjoying being with one another.

 

~ The End ~