Alina shook her head as she took a seat on the rock next to the healer.

“I don’t know. I can feel Vasile as well and it shouldn’t be possible. We shouldn’t be able to sense them at all. The only thing I can come up with is that Mona is somehow allowing the contact, but it’s one sided. I can’t reach out to him.”

Sally nodded, “I keep trying to tell him it’s okay, but he’s lost in some horrible terror. I’ve never felt anything like it.”

Alina wrapped an arm around Sally and pulled her close.

“We have to fight the despair that is coming through the bond. Mona’s goal must be to debilitate us with the emotions our mates are feeling. As much, I would like to know what Vasile is going through so that I could help him through it. I am afraid that if I knew I would be of no use to him.”

Jen came into view as she walked around to stand in front of them.

“I talked with Decebel.”

Their heads snapped up, and the other females were on their feet.

“What?” The question came from each of them.

“I was dreaming, but I know it was real. He was calling for me and he answered me when I spoke to him.” Jen’s voice shook with emotion.

“What did he say?” Crina asked cautiously, not really sure if she wanted to know.

Jen shook her head, letting out a shuddering breath. “He was broken. I’ve never heard, such fear and pain. Decebel said that he couldn’t watch it again. He said he was trying to stop him from touching me.”

“They are seeing their worst fears,” Peri told them from where she leaned against a tree staring off into the forest. “You know what your males fear.” She left the statement hanging.

Alina nodded. “The ultimate horror for our males would be for them to have to watch another male touch us, to see us in pain, and to watch us die horrible deaths.”

Jen growled and her eyes narrowed, when she realized what they were saying. “Are you telling me that Decebel is watching me be raped?”

Alina nodded, while gasps echoed across the group.

“And, more than likely, he is probably watching you give birth with horrific out comes.” Peri added.

Alina growled, “Not helping Perizada.”

Peri shrugged, “Anger is motivation. The males of your race are intense. I don’t think we will ever fully grasp just how much they feel for their mates. They will not last long with their sanity intact if they continue to have to watch their greatest fears and insecurities played out like a broken reel. Their wolves will soon take over and they will become feral.”

Elle stepped forward, glaring at Peri. “Why don’t you just tell us it’s hopeless since you’re passing out all the warm fuzzies. Damn Peri, these aren’t just wolves to us anymore. That’s my mate, being tortured. I don’t know him all that well and yes, he scares the hell out of me, but you, telling me that he’s going to lose his freaking mind and be lost to me is not helping.”

“Shut the front door,” Jen laughed. “Elle just put Peri fairy in her place.”

“Not helping Jen,” Sally murmured.

“Psht,” Jen waved Sally off. “When have you ever known me to try to be helpful in situations where chicks are about to break out into a cat fight,” she paused thoughtfully. “Well, in this case it would be a fairy fight, but you get my drift.”

“Would you freaking grow up?” Sally snarled at her best friend, and everyone was taken aback by the uncharacteristic meanness in Sally’s voice.

Jen’s eyes narrowed as she glared at the healer. “Need I remind you that I am your Alpha? I could wipe the floor with your gypsy ass, not to mention I am pregnant and very temperamental. Do not push me Sally.”

“ENOUGH!” Peri’s voice shook the ground around them and their heads all snapped to look at the regal high Fae. Light shone around her. She met the eyes of each woman letting them see the power that rolled through her.

“If you want to crush each other before the battle even begins, then by all means have at it. Don’t come crying to me when Desdemona turns your feral mates loose on this world only to have you join them by their sides, as you rip innocent lives apart.”

The night was silent, as the females considered Peri’s words.

“Just to be clear, would a bitch slap be considered crushing?” Sally smiled, innocently.

Jen rolled her eyes. “I liked you better when you were more likely to sing Lean On Me than Another One Bites the Dust.”

Alina stood up and folded her arms across her chest as she watched Peri’s Fae form receded.

“What are we doing Peri? How long are we going to wander around the forest?”

“I’m not wandering aimlessly, if that’s what you’re worried about. There is a method to my madness.”

“Just as long as you are aware that you are bat crap mad,” Jen muttered.

Peri ignored the jab and continued. “At this point there is only one who can help us and he is going to prove to be difficult to find.”

“Who?” Alina asked.

“King Cypher.” Peri’s voice rang with a tone of dread at the name of the King.

“What exactly is he King of?” Sally asked.

“The Warlocks,” Alina answered, before Peri could.

“Seriously?” Jen snorted. “Warlocks?”

“You all might want to sit down for what I have to tell you.” Peri resumed her place against the tree, and waited for them all to take a seat. Sally and Jen sat down on a fallen limb, while Alina, Crina, Cynthia, and Elle all sat at various spots with their backs leaning against trees. Jacque lay, covered in warm blankets, and aside from her quiet breaths, she was as motionless as death, a few feet away.

“Yes Jen, Warlocks are real and Cypher is their King. He has been their King for a very, very long time. Like all of the supernaturals in the human realm, their magic is waning. He grows weaker by the year and his race is dwindling in numbers. He had yet to find a mate, until recently, and like any of us we are weaker without our mate.”

“So, he’s found one?” Sally asked.

Peri nodded, the look on her face was apprehensive.

“Why do I get the feeling we aren’t going to like who this mate is?” Jen muttered.

“Cypher is not a bad person, but he is in a difficult place. He needs to protect the future of his race and so he made a deal with Desdemona. Cypher is the only being who knows how to open the Veil to the underworld. In exchange for him opening the Veil, Mona promised him a mate. She delivered Lilly Pierce to the King.”