They were falling. Their backs hit the steep hill and they slid, clothes being pulled by anything in their path, cuts appearing across their faces as branches slapped them. They slid, and slid some more, finally coming to an abrupt halt at the feet of a dirt-covered healer and Alpha.
"Get up, we have to keep running." Gavril pulled Jen to her feet while Rachel helped Jacque up. Once on their feet, Gavril turned and began running again. Jen and Jacque didn't bother looking back up to see if the boars had decided to take flight. They took off running, going faster than they ever had before.
"How did she find us so quickly?" Gavril asked his mate as they ran. He was looking for an opening in the mountain, a place they could squeeze into and take cover.
"I don't know. I thought my cloak was still holding."
Gavril once again began hearing the telltale sound of flapping wings. He picked up speed, motioning with his arm for the others to do the same. Finally, as they rounded a sharp curve around the side of cliff, there was the break Gavril had been looking for – an opening that looked like a vertical cut in the mountain. It would be a tight squeeze, but that was better than being out in the open.
"Quickly, into the opening." Gavril stopped to point the girls in the direction of the opening.
Jen squeezed in, followed by Jacque, Rachel, and finally Gavril. It wasn't very deep but it went far back enough that Gavril was able to back away from the opening. They watched the shadows of the birds in the moonlight as they flew over and past them. They all let out a collective breath.
"That won't be the end of it," Gavril told them.
Rachel grabbed some twigs and leaves off the rocky bottom of the opening, piling them together. She placed her hands over them and with a whispered word, a fire jumped up from the pile.
"Wicked." Jen smiled.
"The fire will help deter animals," she explained.
Jacque and Jen sat down, both still trying to catch their breath.
"So what exactly was that?" Jen asked in between breaths.
"She's found us," Rachel answered solemnly. "She's using the animals against us. She will use the weather as well. She is very powerful."
"Okay, so what are we going to do?" Jacque asked rather calmly.
"We need Peri. I cannot fight her."
"Okay, well Jacque and I will talk with our men and get Peri the fairy here."
Rachel's lips quirked up on one side, "Does she know you call her Peri the fairy?"
Jen winked at her, "You know it."
"Jennifer." The relief in his voice made Jen's stomach do funny things. She tried to ignore that and focus on what was important, like staying alive.
"We need Peri to come and save our butts."
"What? Why? What's happened? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, but we were just chased by some crazy birds and then some BAWB." Jen pronounced her acronym for the boar as “bob”, and grinned when Decebel asked what the hell a bob was.
"Big ass wild boar. Jacque's words. That's not important, what's important is the witch has our location on her radar and we need Peri to bring the rain."
"I really wish you would talk in English and not TV military lingo."
"Fine. The witch found us. Tell Peri to get her butt here and do her thing. Better?"
"It doesn't sound near as cool," Jen grumbled.
"And cool is definitely what we are worried about since your life is at stake," Decebel snapped back at her.
“Just go tell that fairy.”
Jen waited for Decebel's response, assuming he was talking with Peri and the other wolves.
"We're on our way."
"WHAT? No, Decebel. You can't fight her."
"Baby, you doubt my mad fighting skills, I'm hurt," he teased. Peri must have unbound him if he was teasing. “Be there soon.”
This was not what Jen was trying to accomplish. She didn't want Decebel out here, vulnerable to the witch and her evil schemes.
"Relax, love. I'm bringing the rain with me." And just like that he was gone. He didn't close off their bond, but he made it clear he wasn't going to discuss this any further.
Jen looked over at Jacque's sour face.
"Let me guess, Fane's on his way?" Jen asked dryly.
"What is with them! Why can't they just listen to us? All we ask is to tell Peri to come and instead they hear, 'come save me, my furry hero'. I mean, seriously."
"I'm with you. But they are about as cooperative as we are. You know what that means?"
"That they will never listen to a dang thing we say," Jacque answered
"Right you are, my red-headed sidekick. Right you are."
"Peri will not let the wolves leave unless she has a plan," Gavril told them. He stared out of the opening into the dark night.
"Well I hope it's a good one because Fane and Decebel are walking right into the witch's path. They should bring flowers and chocolates since they are throwing themselves at her feet," Jen growled.
A sudden flash of light blinded the four, then again when the darkness returned just as suddenly.
Jacque, Rachel, and Jen all stood up and watched a tall guy who appeared to be in his mid-twenties walk into the small cave. He had shaggy, sandy brown hair and steel colored eyes. Next to him was a girl they quickly recognized as Elle.
Elle smiled at Jacque and Jen, and greeted Rachel with a hug, as if she were an old friend. The guy took Rachel's hand and, with Gavril growling, leaned down and kissed it. He glanced up at Jen and Jacque and winked.
Jacque rolled her eyes. "There's trouble."
Jen nodded in agreement. "With a capital F H."
"Trouble starts with T, Jen."
"Yes, but freaking hot starts with F H."
Jacque snorted. "Man, your mate is gonna have his hands full."
"Did your eyes get gouged out when you bonded with Fane?" Jen asked, turning to look at Jacque.
"No." Jacque smiled.
"Well, neither did mine. I'm not undressing the guy with my eyes, I'm just appreciating the eye candy he brings into the world."
"Hello, ladies. I'm Adam." He grasped Jen's hand, leaned down, and just as he did with Rachel's, he kissed it. Jen tried not to blush but, crap, she was female and he was hot.