The girls continued on, only stopping periodically to drink water or eat the Fae food Peri had provided. It was the same food Elle had given Jacque and her group on the way to the veil. It gave them the energy to walk all that day and into the night. Jen's toes were beginning to feel numb and her legs were so very cold. Jacque's teeth chattered as the forged ahead, determined not to stop. Several times the girls both checked in with their mates. They tried to keep those conversations short and sweet since every time Decebel or Fane used the bond it was not just to ask them if they were okay, but to also remind them how what the girls' thought was a brilliant plan fell under – according to Decebel – reckless, rash, impulsive, and idiotic as defined in the Webster Dictionary. Jen let him know that she would be looking those words up to double check his accuracy. His retort was not something Jen felt necessary to share with Jacque since it involved chains, spanking, and duct tape. If it hadn't been for the tone of voice and other, nicer words Decebel had been using, she might've been inclined to think her mate was kinky.
Midway through the second day after their departure, Jacque let out a huge sigh of relief as a cottage came into view. It was exactly as Peri had described it. Jen and Jacque approached cautiously and jumped back when the front door swung open hard, bouncing against the little house.
"Wow," Rachel let out a gasp as she looked at a completely healthy Jen. "You completed the bonding and Blood Rites?"
Jen nodded with a smile. "Yeah, he's officially tied to me for all time. Poor guy." She motioned to Jacque as she continued. "This is Jacque Lupei, daughter in-law to our Alpha and mate to Fane, son of our Alpha."
Jacque nodded and to her surprise, Rachel and her mate Gavril, who had stood silently beside his mate, both lowered their eyes and exposed their necks to Jacque in a show of submission. Jacque still wasn't sure how to respond to that gesture, so she simply said thank you.
"Okay, so we need you guys to pack up real quick-like and shove off with us." Jen smiled as she spoke.
"Peri has sent for us?" Gavril asked gruffly.
"Yes. She said it's time for you and Sally to meet and begin doing whatever it is you healers do so you can defeat the wicked witch of the east."
Rachel shook her head at Jen in mild amusement – she was beginning to understand the full force of her personality. When Jen had stayed with them, she had been so sick, so weak. The Jen before her now was full of life, spirit, dominance. She was no doubt an Alpha.
When nobody moved, Jacque spoke up. "Um, no offense, but there is a witch who has her little feelers out in the woods looking for us, so we really need to be on our way."
"Don't you think you should rest?" Rachel asked, her healing nature coming out. The girls were obviously exhausted.
"We'll sit while you two pack. But we really don't need to stay here any longer than necessary. Peri said to hightail our butts back once we got you guys." Jen brushed some snow off the ground at the base of a tree and sat, leaning her back against the trunk. She saw Jacque do the same and both girls closed their eyes, not even realizing they had dozed off.
Alina could not remember a time when she had ever seen her mate this angry. She was actually kind of glad that Peri had not broken the binding spell. At one point the snarling, growling, and even howling had been so loud from the five dominant wolves that Crina, Alina, Cynthia, and Peri had gone outside. Alina grinned as she remembered just how well that went over with her mate. Last night she had lain beside him, trying to appease his wolf. Vasile's eyes had been glowing brighter than she had seen them in a long time and his voice guttural – the wolf had been in control. She'd made sure to keep skin-to-skin contact, doing her best to soothe him. Alina knew her mate would never hurt her, but even her touch couldn't placate Vasile or his wolf. Jen and Jacque were in for an earful when they returned and they would be lucky if Alina could keep their punishment mild.
Cynthia looked at Crina, who was sitting across from her on the couch. They tried really hard not to chuckle at the grumbling wolves still stuck on their beds, but it was extremely difficult.
"Do you want to take bets on whether or not Vasile will let their mates tie them up and paddle them like children?" Crina halfway joked.
Cynthia snorted. "Vasile will be lucky if he can stop those two Alphas from chaining their mates to their sides. Jacque and Jen did not grow up in a pack; they have underestimated the protective and possessive nature of dominant and Alpha wolves. This is something that neither of them will be able to flirt their way out of."
Crina nodded in agreement, knowing firsthand how protective wolves were. She wasn't mated, but when she had lived with her parents her father barely let her or her mother out of his sight. It really was ridiculous. Crina had long ago decided that she would never let her mate boss her around or dictate to her. But, as she watched these newly mated pairs in action, she was beginning to think it was a lost cause.
A leopard can't change its spots, after all.
Decebel lay in the bed he should be sharing with Jen and stared up at the ceiling. His chest rumbled with a growl as his wolf reminded him that their mate was out from under their protection and he was beyond angry. Decebel didn't think he had stopped growling since he realized Jennifer was gone two days ago. He had been a constant presence in her mind, making sure she kept their bond open and remembered to check in with him. Now, as he waited to hear from her, he pushed a little to get in and realized that her mind was still. Like she was asleep. She had told him they weren't going to stop to sleep, that Peri had given them some sort of food that kept them energized without feeling the effects of the lack of rest and sleep. So why was she asleep now?
Decebel and Fane had taken to yelling to each other to see how their mates were doing and see if one was being more forthcoming than the other. So far the girls had been sharing the same information.
"I FEEL IT TOO."
"THEY'RE ASLEEP," Decebel confirmed.
Peri came storming into Decebel's room and her eyes were alight with worry.
Decebel nodded, weary of the look on the Fae's face.
"What's wrong Peri, why is that a bad thing?"
"Wake them up now!" she nearly growled at him.
"FANE, WAKE YOUR WOMAN UP." Decebel told his pack mate, then turned his thoughts to Jennifer.