Mona stood out on the ledge of the mountain her home was situated on. She knew someone, or many someone's, were moving through the forest. However, she couldn't get a lock on them. Using her will to move through the air, she continued to search for whoever they were. Still nothing. In frustration, she opened her eyes and glared at the vast forests before her. She decided it was time to scry. It wasn't something she usually liked because it could be somewhat tricky to decipher what the meaning of what she would see could be. It didn't always mean something obvious. But, desperate times.

Mona entered her home and turned left, entering a room full of cages, all holding different animals. She opened one of the bottom cages and reached in, grabbing a rabbit by the scruff. Without a thought she twisted the rabbit's neck with a sickening crunch. She took the now-dead animal to her table and slit its throat, allowing its blood to flow into a shallow, large basin. Once the blood was drained, she tossed the small body into a basket underneath the table.

She picked up her scrying stones and held them in her hands to warm them. Then she chanted:

"Stones of mystery, stones of fate,

Peer through the veil to this date.

I take a life to give you blood,

Pour out the truth like a flood."

Over and over she chanted this as she threw the stones into the blood-filled basin. As the last hit the still-warm fluid, she opened her eyes to see the outcome. Her eyes narrowed and a sinister smile crossed her lips.

"Now, isn't that interesting?" An evil laugh shook free from her chest. "I do love it when things get interesting," she muttered to herself.

Chapter 17

12 days post-curse

Jacque stumbled as she and the others climbed a considerably steep hill. Fane wrapped an arm around her waist, catching her before she face-planted into the snow.

"Thank goodness for wolf reflexes," she murmured.

Fane winked at her and gave her quick peck on the cheek. "I'll always catch you, Jacquelyn."

He released her and they continued up the hill, following Elle, with Alina, Sorin, and Vasile pulling up the rear.

"At the risk of sounding very much like a five year old, are we there yet?" Jacque grumbled.

Elle looked back at her, then the others, and realized that they were seriously dragging. Jacque more than others because she wasn't fully Canis lupis. Elle had been pushing them hard, and in twenty four hours she'd only let them stop twice and they were brief pauses. She looked ahead and narrowed her eyes. Fae eye sight was beyond anything humans could understand.

"It will be another day and half a night before we are there, and that's if we don't stop."

"We have to stop to sleep at least for a couple of hours," Vasile spoke up from behind them.

"No offense, Alpha, but lingering is not wise." Elle looked into the small pouch that was attached to her hip. She only ever used it as a last resort, but it was necessary at this point. She pulled out small wafers and handed them to Jacque.

"Pass three to each person. Let them dissolve in your mouth," Elle explained.

Jacque turned to do as she was instructed, then quickly turned back to Elle. "What exactly is this?"

"Its energy," Elle said simply.

"Well, that clears it right up," Jacque chirped. "You're just as vague as the fur balls."

Elle cocked her head to the side. "Fur balls?"

Jacque snorted a chuckle. "Sorry, bad habit. I meant werewolves."

Elle looked behind Jacque to Fane. "You are the prince of your people and she calls you a fur ball."

"Believe it or not, she's called me worse," Fane told her. shaking his head.

Elle shook her own head in disbelief, muttering, "Humans are so weird." She started walking again and said over her shoulder, "You should begin to feel the effects of those in a few moments."

The group continued on and true to Elle's word they began to feel the effects of the Fae food.  As Jacque's energy from the strange wafers peaked, she turned to look at Fane with a wicked grin.

"What's going on in that head of yours, Luna?"

"I was just thinking about what Jen would suggest those wafers be used for." Jacque laughed out loud when Fane raised his eyebrows at her.

"Who says Jen's the only one who would think of such a thing?" His voice was filled with unrepentant desire, even amidst all the turmoil they were enduring.

Jacque's response was a snicker and an eye roll at her mate who, werewolf or not, was still very male.

14 days post-curse

Decebel didn't understand why he was nervous about giving Jennifer more of his blood. Admittedly, it was a very intimate experience, but under the circumstances he felt like all he should feel was the desire to make sure she healed. In truth, even with her only conscious in brief stints, he was falling for her, and he desperately wanted her to still have the feelings Sally said she'd had for him.

He placed a hand under her neck and lifted gently to prop her up. Then he bit into his other arm deep enough to make sure the blood flowed freely. He placed the wound over her lips, pushing gently at her bottom lip to open her mouth. He held his breath as he waited to see if she would respond on her own. After several seconds, much to his relief, Jennifer's lips latched onto his arm and she began taking what he offered. Decebel closed his eyes, thanking the great Luna that Jennifer was finally strong enough to drink without coaxing. He tried not to think about how much it pleased him that she seemed to crave his blood, that she recognized him as hers. For a mate, that was a very potent thing.

When he began to pull his arm away he smiled at the disappointed noise that came from her.

"You would suck me dry if I let you."

As Decebel wrapped the towel he had laid on his lap around his bleeding arm, his head snapped up at the sound of a raspy voice.

"I'm not a damn vampire flea bag."

Decebel couldn't stop the wide grin that stretched across his face as he looked down into Jen's blue eyes. Although they had a haze over them, they still held mysteries that he longed to uncover.

He gently brushed her hair away from her face and ran the back of his hand against her cheek.

"You may not be a blood sucker, but admit it, baby, you like my blood," Decebel teased her. The words seemed natural, almost second nature.

Jen rolled her eyes. "I truly want to be grossed out by it, but you taste good. I can't decide if that makes me a sicko or you a freak."