“We need to talk about our next move.” Logan’s voice cut through the silence, low and full of authority. He and Conner had caught up to us, their eyes were dark with rage and their faces hard set in determination. I could feel the anger radiating off them as they stood there, no doubt eager to do something to avenge Kai.
I watched as Sion stared at the two of them. The creases of his lips pulled down as his brows knitted together. He let out a heavy sigh and ran a hand through his hair. I knew what he was thinking, and I didn’t blame him. I could feel the tension in the air, thick as molasses. We all knew that things were about to get ugly and we were terrified of losing more people. However, the moment his eyes flickered down at me, I could tell he had decided. I set my jaw, already anticipating I wouldn’t like what he was about to say.
“The plan is for you guys to stay with Clover and protect her.”
Yep… that was exactly what I thought he was about to say. But I didn’t even get a second to respond to that when another voice interrupted from the side.
“That is our job,” Demetri said with Odell by his side. “Your officers should stick by your side. We will stay near Clover.” Well… at least that makes more sense. I listened as Sion sighed loudly.
“We are wasting time. You planning to rally the troops? No, right? It will take too long and that bit.ch will slip away from us. Whether you think you need us or not, we are coming.” Conner said with a low growl.
“It isn’t that I don’t want you to come with me – I plan to take down the fire demon and can’t risk losing any of you,” Sion pursed his lips, his face falling into an expression of worry. I smiled and gently leaned into him.
“That is the way we all feel. We aren’t losing anyone else.” Demetri promised as he looked at me.
“I would also feel better if Conner and Logan were with you,” I said as I looked up at Sion.
Sion’s expression softened as he looked down at me. “Are you sure, love?” he asked, his voice gentle.
I nodded again, giving him a reassuring smile. “I’m sure. I’ll be safe with Demetri and Odell.”
Sion leaned down and gave me a quick kiss on the forehead. “Okay. If at any moment you need my help—”
I snorted, my head thrown back arrogantly, and lightly pushed Sion’s shoulder. “Against Sinister Snyde? Hardly. You just let me know if you need my help.” Logan snickered quietly in his throat, trying to muffle his laughter. Sion’s eyes lit up in amusement as he squeezed me tighter against him.
With a small smile playing on his lips, Sion leaned his head down against mine. “I’ll need your help later.” He promised me as his lips gently kissed the tip of my nose. “Alright then,” Sion said as he straightened up. “She fled in the direction of the Chance pack… let’s see if she was foolish enough to stick around.”
Logan and Conner both nodded in agreement, their expressions still hard and determined. “We take down the doctor and we take down that fire demon, no matter what it takes,” Conner said, his voice low and fierce.
Sion led the charge as we made our way through the dense forest, each of us keeping our wits about us as we moved stealthily towards our destination. The mood was tense as we walked, we were all lost in our thoughts. I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins, my heart pounding with each step we took. My veins simmered beneath my skin like molten lava, each step bringing me closer to the end of whatever lay in wait for us. I desperately hoped that it would be a resolution but I knew better than to get too confident. We were on the brink, the unknown looming before us like a beast ready to consume. Soon enough we’d see what fate held in store.
I felt Sion’s body tense as the Chance pack came into sight. The last time we were here felt like a lifetime ago. So much has changed. I looked up at his conflicted hazel eyes. This was his home, and he was about to reclaim it. The soft gray light of early morning broke through the trees as if welcoming our return.
We made our way closer to the pack, our pace slowing down as we approached the outskirts. Sion gave us a quick glance, a signal to be ready, before he led the way towards the pack’s territory. We moved in a tight group, our steps silent as we navigated through the dense foliage.
Sion’s eyes scoured over the land as his nose took in gentle whiffs of the breeze. I could smell the doctor’s scent. She was close. There was another scent though… one of sulfur and smoke. The amber glow of Sion’s eyes alerted me that his beast was on edge.
It only took us seconds, but it felt like an eternity, before we reached the main entrance. We crept quietly, keeping our footsteps light and measured. We stopped abruptly as a gust of cold air filled our lungs – it was Dr. Snyde, but not from within the building – her scent was leaving! The trail was heading away from the pack. So… she decided to run after all.
No words were spoken. Instinctively, we all sprinted in that direction. Our hearts raced as we dashed towards the scent. Our breaths were hot and labored, as if a noose w as tightening around each of us. We could feel an invisible force pushing us, urging us forward faster and faster. So many emotions were racing through me. I kept thinking about Kai, fighting for his life. And I couldn’t help but think about Denny and Jude. How I would never see them again. These thoughts fueled my growing anger. Like a raging tempest, it was bashing against my insides demanding to be released.
Confusion washed over me as we dashed through the forest. The trees blazed with a yellow light from thin cracks in the canopy. The air was cold at first, then hot and humid, before turning unbelievably cold. Confusion grew until it was nearly impossible to breathe. It felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach, my muscles seizing up, making me doubt my own instincts in a heartbeat. I shuddered violently despite Sion’s grip around my waist.
Having broken through the trees, we burst into an open field where the smell of sulfur would soon overpower every other scent that could be perceived around us. Despite the sun hiding behind the clouds, the sky was a pale yellow, an eerie combination of yellow and golden. There was something off about all of this that made me feel uneasy.
Scanning the area, there was no sign of the doctor. Her scent was lost in the bitter stench of sulfur. It was thick, so thick that it shocked me. It was as if someone had poured a can of yellow paint on the ground and the more we walked through it, the deeper the sulfur seeped into our flesh.
Seconds passed, Sion’s body stood tense and rigid in the clearing. My heart pounded against my chest. I could feel Sion tensing and relaxing as he struggled to control his animal side. His amber eyes gazed towards the horizon, shimmering with an intensity that pierced me to the core. A low growl escaped his lips, a warning to anyone who wanted to start this fight that he didn’t plan on backing down. There was no turning back now.
The wind blew in our faces, covering my skin with a thin layer of sulfur that felt like dry ice. There was no sign of the doctor, but we all knew she was near. We knew it by the way the air was suddenly charged with tension.
“This is disgusting. I can taste it in my mouth.” Logan grimaced and smacked his lips together. “It’s like I am swallowing fart.”
“Shut up Logan!” Odell hissed as Logan smirked at her.
“Want to come over and make me?” I looked over at Logan in exasperation. Did every moment have to turn into something like this with him?
“Shh… they are near.” Sion’s voice instantly silences Logan. I looked up and tried to look around. My eyes were stinging from the sulfur. My nose was burning… all of my senses were messed up. Which was their plan… they knew we were coming. They were trying to get the jump on us.
It was hard to see as we slowly walked ahead. I noticed the ground began to look different. The grass was blackened and charred, as if it had been set on fire. The trees were bare, as if they had been stripped of their leaves by some unknown force. It was as if we had stumbled into an entirely different world.
An orange glow suddenly caught all of our attention. Near the far side of the field a monstrous creature came into view. The ground below the creature turned into boiling lava. It bellowed loudly in the air and flames erupted from its mouth. It looked like a monstrous wolf only one made of lava and fire. Its hair crackled and sparked around its head as if it were ablaze. The glint of gold in its mouth was dazzlingly bright in comparison to the rest of its body. The tips of its fur emitted embers that burned bright orange, fading out into red and yellow at the extremities. A burst of flame arched out from around the beast. Promising to devour anything in its path.
“That is the one…” I heard Conner whisper and I glanced up to look at Sion. His eyes flashed to amber and were fixated on the fire demon.
A menacing chuckle echoed through the air from the opposite side of the field. We swiveled our heads toward the sound, squinting through the thick haze to make out several figures emerging from the shadows. My heart seized in my chest as I recognized Taylor and Hazel, but then my eyes landed on her: Breanna Snyde. The conniving bit.ch who tortured Kai’s wolf, Aces, and usurped control of the Chance pack. The same woman I had vowed to kill. This was it. The moment I had been planning for had finally arrived.
A cold realization struck me like a bolt of lightning. I shuddered at the thought and looked away from them, my eyes drawn to the demon at the far end of the field. With a sinking heart, I realized that our worst fear was coming true–they wanted to pull us apart.
“They want to separate us.” I whispered and Sion’s eyes immediately met with mine. I could see his worry as his golden eyes flickered back to amber.
“They want to make it easier for themselves,” Sion growled lowly. I nodded, my heart beating faster with determination. We had come too far to let them win now. Not to mention we still had an ace up our sleeves.
“You haven’t fought as Anubis.” I smiled up at Sion. “They won’t be expecting a death god.” His eyes didn’t change, however. He was still looking at me heavy in contemplation. Which meant he was worried about me. “Looks like we can’t fight this one together. We are going to have to believe in each other.”
Sion’s eyes softened at my words, and he leaned down to press a gentle kiss to my forehead. “I believe in you, Clover,” he murmured. “But promise me you’ll be careful.”
“I will,” I whispered, pressing a quick kiss to his lips before stepping away from him. His eyes locked onto mine, an unspoken understanding passing between us. You can’t send your two strongest in the same direction. We had to split up.
It was time to end this. It was time to start our lives with this as a memory.
“I love you, Sion,” I said as his eyes changed to yellow.
“I love you… with my everything.” He smiled at me as he took a step backwards. I watched him as he turned around, heading towards the fire demon.
“We will keep him safe.” Conner said as he and Logan trotted after him. I watched them for a second longer before I turned and walked in the opposite direction. Demetri and Odell were with me in an instant, their eyes burning with determination. We marched towards the three women, our fierce resolve resounding in the air.
They might have brought demons… but we were the ones who would be bringing them hell.