Before Cypher could answer, they heard an all too familiar thundering sound above them. They each looked up just as one of the beasts they had been discussing flew overhead, its great wings beating the air around it.
Just when they thought they had not been noticed, the beast turned his head down and pierced them with its freaky eyes.
Cyn’s usual composure cracked for a brief moment as her eyes met Lilly’s.
“Did I mention that they have an excellent sense of smell?”
Lilly’s eyes widened. “Um, no, you sure as hell didn’t.”
Cypher grabbed her and smoothly lifted her into his arms, this time cradling her against his chest.
She groaned. “Here we go again.”
Cypher took off at a sprint, his speed increasing with every step. Lilly looked over his shoulder and saw that Cyn was right on his heels. Lilly looked up into the sky, attempting to block out the speed at which Cypher was moving, ignoring the trees blurring past them. She saw the huge draheim and cringed when a roar pierced the sky. How on earth can the people within a 50 mile radius not hear and see the beast, Lilly asked herself. When the beast made a nose dive for them she decided that it was a question that could wait for an answer, provided they lived through this.
Mona stood on the hill, looking out over the Carpathian Mountains. She felt the disturbance in the air. The magic causing her skin to tingle and she had answered its call. She didn’t understand why Peri would conjure a storm, and she was sure it was Perizada based on the purity of the magic. Whatever it was Peri was up to, Mona had taken the wheel. She wouldn’t keep it up for long because she had other matters to deal with, but she felt like it was a good way to let them know that she had not forgotten their little group, wandering lost in the woods. She was surprised to see them out of the Transylvania Alps, but oh, she had definitely not forgotten them and knew just who she would have the demons dispose of first.
She stroked Octavian’s mane and felt his restlessness as he stomped his hooves on the withered grass.
“Ready for a run my old friend?” She asked the large, black steed.
Octavian replied with a snort. Mona continued to hold the storm with her mind as she climbed up onto the horse. She would make them suffer a little longer and before it was all said and done, she might just throw in for fun an ice storm.
She whispered a location to Octavian and with a smooth start he took off in a gallop. For such a large animal, his movements were graceful. Mona let her mind wander from the ride as she thought about her next move in the chess game she had created.
Octavian wasn’t any normal steed. The journey to her destination, which should have taken days, lasted only the afternoon. She climbed down and left Octavian to graze on his own. She let out a breath and finally released the unyielding storm she had stolen from Perizada’s power. She let out a slow breath and shook off her slight weakness that the storm had caused.
The forest around her had grown quiet and her eyes narrowed when her skin tingled with the realization that she was being watched.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” she sung into the air. She began to mutter a spell to reveal the unknown intruder when Ainsel the pixie king stepped from the shadows of the trees.
“What are you doing here Desdemona of the old coven?” His voice was tight with anger as he stared up at her.
Mona smiled at him as she took a seat on a rock across from him. She knew that it would make him more amiable if she didn’t appear so imposing.
“I’ve come to tell you that I’m in need of your services once again.”
The king laughed, and indignation filled his tone. “You think that I would help you, when you did not fulfill the first bargain we had? Are you mad?”
“Well, if you mean mad as in angry, then no. But, if you mean mad as in bat shit crazy, well frankly that’s pretty much a given.” Mona’s eyes gleamed with wickedness.
The king regarded her, taking in her behavior. He wouldn’t call it happy, for he could see that she could never be capable of true happiness. He decided that the closest conclusion that he could come up with was that she was giddy, like a child who had gotten into the cookie jar and not gotten caught.
Mona stared into the king’s eyes as she began to chant.
I call on the magic that attempts to leave this place,
You will answer my call to give aid to this race.
You will gather at the veil and pull it wide,
You will not allow it to falter or to hide.
I call you, I gather you, to do my will,
I shape you and form you for the veil, be still.
No other can release you from my care,
It’s only my desire you’re allowed to bear.
Mona turned to the Pixie King, “Give me your hand.”
Ainsel regarded her warily.
“Oh, for goodness sake man, I’m not going to cut it off. The spell requires your blood, a sacrifice, like any good spell.”
He slowly lifted his hand to her and she snatched it. She reached into her cloak and pulled out a knife, and in one smooth motion ran it across is palm. Mona tipped his hand over and let the blood drip to the forest floor. The air around them grew thick with magic and Ainsel’s eyes widened briefly at the ripple he saw appear as if a seam had been cut into the universe. He hated to give her the satisfaction of seeing his relief, but he couldn’t help the wonder that he knew was painted on his face...
“There,” she said, smugly. “I have opened your veil permanently. I have upheld my end of the deal.”
The king wrestled inside with his anger, but also knew that if he did not help her she could destroy him and his race.
“What is it you need?” He finally asked.
She smiled triumphantly as she began to tell him. “The contact who is supposed to help me open the veil to the underworld has, so far, not delivered. I believe he might be planning to betray me. And, since you were so good at tracking down the dogs for me,” she shrugged nonchalantly. “I figured you could handle this with no problem.”
“Who is this contact?”
Again, Mona strived to look bored and indifferent as she picked inexistent lent from her clothes.
“Cypher,” she had barely gotten the word out when the Pixie King choked.
She looked up to see his eyes were saucers and his breathing had become shallow.
“Y-y-you, want me to capture the warlock king?” He stuttered out.