I watched as Shiva turned to glare at the gnome. She then tapped her chin and a smirk rose on her face. “You do it, Stilts.”
“Me?!” I watched as Stilts pointed at himself with his mouth open.
“Yes, you will do it. Then I had nothing to do with this. I didn’t say a word. Nothing at all.” I watched as Shiva suddenly nodded her head, tapping her fingers together. “In fact, I am going to leave… yes.. you know what to do…” She turned to look at me and nodded. “I will see you again, Clover.
Instantly she vanished as the gnome began to grumble unpleasant words under his breath.
“I don’t work for her! When did I sign up for this? Bullies! That’s what the deities are… bullies. Selfish, self-absorbed bullies. Ta ta ta ta ta ta…” Stilts hopped around as he held his hand that was beginning to freeze. With a low growl, he scowled and folded his arms over his chest. I watched as he began to walk away. “Well?” He called, glancing over his shoulder. “Are you coming?”
“Where?” I asked and he shrugged. “It is nice weather for a journey.” He looked into my eyes and there was something unreadable there. Something that was almost hopeful. I nodded my head and looked at the others. They were already stepping closer and ready to follow our little companion.
Conner came to my side, and I looked up at him. “Let’s go for a walk, Luna.”
We followed the gnome in the darkness. I know I shouldn’t feel this flickering flame of hope inside of me, but I did. I glanced around at the others who had all remained silent. No one was ready to talk. Instead, we all followed Stilts to wherever he may be leading us.
We walked quietly in the dark. Conner held me close to his side guiding me in the dark. My wolf vision was faint, and l also still had wounds on my body from earlier. I would figure things out with Sheena later.
Shiva did not come out and say Sion was dead, so that had to mean something right? Or was the gnome leading us to his body so we could at the very least put him to rest?
My body felt weak. Maybe it was the mental exhaustion from worrying about Sion? Or it could be from using that overwhelming power earlier. I was still shocked over it. They didn’t just move on my command but were thrown out of the way. Was this part of my powers to0? Was it just a strange combustion of my powers or did I also have Telekinesis…
I reached up subconsciously and rubbed the mark on my neck. Sion’s mark had felt dull and empty. There was nothing to it. The small mark he had left me was beginning to fade. I pressed into it with my fingers, desperate to feel it. This time when I pushed on it, my fingers began to buzz for a split second before it vanished. My eyes widened as I looked ahead. I was no longer hopeful that Sion was alive, because now I knew that he was.
Something was wrong with our connection though. Sion… I’m coming.
I woke up in a dark, empty void. Nothing. It was an empty black space that stretched for, eternity.
“Am I dead?” I muttered to myself quietly.
“Yes.” A deep bass voice answered into the void. “But you don’t have to be.”
“I’ll do anything just send me back!” I pleaded as I turned in the dark searching for something.
“Yes.” I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t care… it didn’t matter what the cost was, as long as I could go back to Clover. In the dark, I saw a speck of light and I ran towards it. The light grew brighter and brighter.
And then I felt like I was being lifted and pulled out of the emptiness.
I began coughing wildly, throwing up water. My whole body ached as I leaned my head on the grass. Grass? I blinked, trying to figure out where I was. I was no longer in the dark. How was I alive? Who brought me back?
I could hear the sound of someone vomiting and I sat up more, my eyes searching for the sound.
Near the river’s edge was a woman with long black hair. She was frantically rinsing her mouth and spitting the contents out.
“So gross. So gross. Yuck, I have wet mutt my l!ps now. I’m going to throw up again. So repulsive.” The woman then turned and glared at me as if I had done something to her.
“What happened? Did you save me?” l asked as she shuddered, shaking her hands.
“l smell so gross! Yes, I saved you. Then you weren’t breathing, so I had to force air into your mouth and BLEH.” The woman retched and puked onto the ground as she shook her head. “l can’t even think about it without getting sick.”
Okay, this type of reaction was weird. Why save my life if l was this repulsive to her? I glanced around, not recognizing the area. I needed to get to Clover. “How far away are we from the mines?” I didn’t recognize her scent, but she must be an aquatic creature of sorts to have had the ability to rescue me. She wiped her mouth and grimaced as she stood to her feet.
“I don’t know. I just dragged you to the opening as fast as I could. This is wherever the magical vortex spit us out… How do you expect me to think right now?” She spat out at me as she started spitting on the ground. “God, it’s never going to leave my mouth.”
“I’m, sorry?” I felt like I had to apologize to her for saving my life. It was clearly a disgusting inconvenience for her. “Why did you save me?”
“Because you are the marked one.” I watched as she laid down in the grass trying to rub it over her body. What did the marked one mean?
She stopped what she was doing to point at my face. “The star! The mark! Do you not even know your own mark?”
“This?” I pointed up at the side of my face. “The mating mark from my mate?”
I listened as she scoffed and shook her head.
“Id.iot. That is a celestial mark… a blessing from the deities. You are with a blessed mate… you know… a celestial maiden. Someone chosen by the gods because of their importance.”
“I heard she had received blessings from the goddesses-” I started to say, and she clicked her tongue, snapping her eyes up to mind in irritation.
“This is why canine shifters annoy me. They don’t pay attention to things that they should. The deities leave things in this world to help keep it safe. In a time of great tragedy there are things that will be here to help protect the world from total destruction. There are bridges, doorways, keys, weapons, and champions.” She shrugged and shook her head. “You have also been blessed. I mean drowning people is sort of my thing… but your mark called me to save you. I was commanded to rescue you.”
“Commanded, by who?” I asked, and she looked at me as if I was an id.iot.
“That doesn’t concern you.” She clicked her tongue, shaking her head. I reached up and touched the mark on my face.
It was more than a mate mark it was also a type of blessing. I looked at the woman in front of me. I couldn’t tell exactly what she was, but I think she was some type of fairy.
“Are you a fairy?” l asked and the woman sighed in exasperation. I didn’t realize it was offensive question, but I guess it was.
“l am a high dark fairy you mongrel. A kelpie. And my poor body has been tainted by your filth! Ugh.. I smell so bad.”
I stood up, taking in my surroundings. I looked over at the kelpie and nodded my head in appreciation. “Thank you for saving me. I need to get back to someone so if you could point me in the right direction.”
“It’s Epona. And I didn’t agree to help any more than I already have. You are lucky you are alive. Stay out of the water, pup. You are no water dog.”
The woman then jumped into the river, vanishing without telling me where I was. I mean, I was grateful to be alive. I just didn’t know where I was, and I had to get to Clover. The sun was just starting to rise, so it was morning… but what morning? I had no idea how long I had been here or where here was. Yeah, I could figure it out, but I just wanted to run towards Clover.
According to Epona, the magical vortex just spat us out. I could be anywhere. Who knows where the random hole opened. The wind began to blow tossing the leaves around me. On the breeze, I could hear a faint whistling sound that was growing louder. From the shadows a man dressed in all black with a long dark trench coat walked towards me. His hands were in his pockets, and he wore a black cowboy looking hat. His face was hidden in the shadow the hat made as he continued to whistle.
“Nice day for a swim, eh?” The man lifted his head and grinned at me. It was the same bass sounding voice from the black void I was in. His eyes were covered by dark sunglasses, so I couldn’t see his eyes. Something about him made my body tense up. I didn’t know who he was, but my beast could sense he was dangerous. I took a small step away from him, not wanting him to get too close.
“Wise. Those are great qualities to have young Alpha Sion.”
Okay, that got my attention. How did he know my name? And if this was the man who saved me, he had to have qreat power. I narrowed my eyes at him as I prepared to shift if I needed to defend myself. I didn’t know what he wanted of me.
“Now, that is no way to act. Especially not to your savior. Who do you think ordered the kelpie to save you?”
I tightened my hands at my side, feeling the deathly aura emitted from this man. I rolled my shoulders back and stood confidently in front of him.
“You did… why? And kelpies belong to the fairy kingdom so why would she listen to you?” I didn’t feel like he meant me any harm, but my beast was restless in this man’s presence. He may have brought me back to life but I didn’t trust him.
“They belong to the fairy kingdom of course but kelpies are dark fairies. They can belong to the blessed and the unblessed. We tend to get along because of the games they like to play.” The man’s voice was like ice. Cold and collected. This man was here for a reason, and I wanted to know who he was and what he wanted.
“The games they like to play?”
“Yes, games that interest me like drowning creatures.” I watched as the man’s l!ps curled up.
The man stepped closer, but l held my ground, staring at the stranger. “How do you know me? You know my name… what is yours?”
“Of course, I know your name. A piece of my powers has been granted to you in that little mark.” The man lifted his hand from his pocket, pointing at my face. So, this man was implying he was a deity… but I thought only the goddesses blessed Clover? “t was her mother’s last demand before I took her life, guiding it to her next destination.” Wait a minute… was he saying he was death? The one in charge of collecting the souls of the dead. “l am the one who allowed you to live. You died.. I could have collected your soul… but I held it…”
“Because you want something,” I stated plainly and watched as he shifted to face me fully.
“His large frame body held eerily still as his hidden eyes stared at me… me.”
“I figured that is why you decided to save.”
“I’m not so kindhearted that I brought you back just so you can live. There is more to it. You died with my powers inside of you. Powers that were exchanged by the mate mark. You now live with enhanced power. A power you only have now because I made sure you lived.”
I could see where this was going. He wanted me to use these powers on something. And I honestly, I owed him. I was alive and would get to see Clover again because of him. Whatever he needed of me I was ready. It is what l agreed to.. anything.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Good, it is better if you just accept your fate because it can’t be changed.”
Okay, that I didn’t like the sound of. I thought he just wanted me to do something.. now it sounded like I was being given a new role.
“Now wait… I have a pack. I am the Alpha of the Chance pack and I have a mate who–“
“None of that has changed but you have. You are no longer a lycan… you are now a lupine. The first of your kind, larger, stronger… more advanced in every way. You will create a new species that will be a champion in the future. For you to receive such a gift, there is a price. One that will be your burden.”
l am no longer a lycan? I didn’t feel any different. I narrowed my eyes at the man in front of me and, in a low growl, I asked him, “Who are you?!”
“l am Reapus, the death phantom. And you… are no longer just Alpha Sion. You are a lost soul collector. Someone who can put tainted spirits to rest. You are now the death lupine… Anubis. Anubis… you can choose again.”
“Hold up. I’m a soul collector? Anubis?”
This was very overwhelming, but as he spoke, I felt a power growing inside of me. “And choose what exactly?”
“When you died, the bond that you had with your mate cracked. You can choose to mend it or you can choose a new fate. You can choose a new mate.”
I scoffed at the death phantom. Reapus, was a death god, the one most referred to as the Grim Reaper. He guided willing souls on their way.
The souls that refused could become tainted vengeful spirits. He never came back for them. This was now what he was tasking me with, to collect the lost souls of the world. Honestly… I didn’t care.
As long as it meant I could be with Clover I would do anything.
He was telling me I could choose a new mate.
He didn’t understand. Not even death could sever our bond. So, it put a c0ck in it.. I would reclaim her again. I would rechoose her over and over. Through every lifetime. She was the only one for me.
“Choosing her will mean your descendants will shoulder a heavy burden. It will be up to them to.”
“There is no other choice. There never was a choice. It’s her. Always… only.. forever.. it is her. Alive and beyond death… I choose her. Whatever that will mean for the future.. I am confident any descendant of mine will find a way.” I met his eyes confidently as a smile crept across his l!ps. He nodded his head and stuffed his hand back into his pocket. He nodded his head in the distance and I followed with my eyes. I now noticed a small child leaning against a tree. The child’s gray body was curled up in a ball, silently lying there.
“It is now time for you to learn how to do your job. Shift, Anubis!”