“Hear me great wolves, children of the Great Luna, I’m here to help. Remember our history, remember who I am; Perizada of the Fae, friend of the wolves, teacher of the healers. Hear the truth in my words as I tell you how you can help your mates.”

One by one the males turned, taking up defensive positions in front of their vulnerable mates. Peri could see the feral rage that boiled just under the surface of each male. It might not be as hard as she thought seeing as how they were on the verge of allowing their wolves to take over any way.

“Vasile, who am I?” Peri asked the Alpha.

Vasile’s eyes glowed a radiant blue and his body shook with the need to fight, to kill something. He narrowed his eyes as he stared at the Fae. He knew that he should trust her, that he had trusted her many times before, but his mate was totally defenseless, unable to protect herself in any way. Trust was not a male’s first instinct when his mate was in danger.

“Vasile,” she said his name again, firmer, and with more authority this time.

“You are Perizada,” Vasile finally answered, “friend of the wolves, friend of my mate.”

“Yes,” Peri agreed with loyalty that rang true in her voice. “You need to phase, Vasile. Your wolf will be able to touch your mate. Your wolf will be able to carry her to safety. I will be your voice. I will be your guard. Trust me, as you have so many times over the centuries, trust me.”

Peri waited and just when she thought she hadn’t reached him, suddenly Vasile phased, his clothes shredding as he shed him human skin and took his wolf form. He turned abruptly and nudged his mate carefully with his muzzle, when there was no shock of pain he laid down and buried his face against her neck. Tears streamed down Alina’s face as her mind raged against her with lies. Instinctively, she reached for Vasile’s fur. She clutched it and pulled herself over and onto his back. She wrapped her arms around his great neck and wept into his pelt.

As soon as the other males realized that Vasile’s wolf was able to touch Alina, they all began to phase until, where each man had been, now stood, great, snarling wolves.

“Well, now I feel so much better,” Peri said sarcastically, as she began to drop her High Fae form. “Snarling wolves are so much more reassuring than raging males.”

“Well, at least in this form they are useful,” Cynthia, pointed out.

“True enough.”

They watched as, one by one, the wolves coaxed their females onto their backs. Peri noticed that coaxing the cooperation of the females took some dominant commanding from the males.

Adam stood up but did not leave Crina’s side. “Peri, what about my mate? How am I to carry her?” Anger radiated from the male Fae, and beneath the anger, anguish threatened to take over.

Making a split second decision, Peri glanced at Cynthia. “Cynthia will phase and carry Crina.” Adam would hate the idea of another caring for his mate, but better a female than another male.

Adam glared at Cynthia, a silent challenge to take great care of his mate or there would be hell to pay. Cynthia gave a slight nod just before she phased. Adam paced next to her as Peri helped Crina crawl on to Cynthia’s back and he stayed as close to the wolf as he could without touching his mate.

Peri turned to Drake. “You should phase, but stay at the back. I wouldn’t put it past any of these males, who are bordering on psychotic at the moment I might add, to attempt to take you out in a misguided attempt to keep their female safe.” Drake nodded and turned to walk back, far away from the group.

Peri took a roundabout way to get to Vasile so that she would be in his line of sight. She didn’t want him to think she was sneaking up on him. For one brief moment she really wanted to hit a wolf, any wolf would do, upside its head, because of all the precautions she was having to take to keep from becoming wolf kibble. It was highly annoying.

“Lead the way Alpha. And, if you don’t mind, be quick about it and try not to kill anyone.”

Vasile lifted his lips in a wolf like smile.

Peri lifted a single brow. “Okay, don’t ever do that again.”

She waved out a hand, encouraging him to take the lead.

Vasile let out a loud howl that cut through the silence that had taken over with the witches curse. He took off in a burst of speed only capable by one of his race. The howls from the other males began echoing across the landscape as, one by one, they followed after Vasile. Peri ran parallel to the pack, watching for any danger they might not notice in their single-minded journey to get their mates to safety.

Decebel ran with an urgency that he had never felt before. He pushed his legs to a speed that he never knew he was capable of, all the while keeping his gait as smooth as possible, dodging fallen limbs and holes in the ground that might cause him to stumble and loose his precious cargo. The more distance that they put between themselves and the location where their mates had fallen, the clearer the air felt. His fur rippled as the wind blew through it and his eyes watered. His ears were erect, constantly twitching, listening for any sound that did not belong. His wolf felt desperate to get their mate to their territory, to get out from the open space where any attack was possible. He pushed and pushed never taking his eyes from the path in front of him, all the while remaining aware of the wolves that ran with him and the Fae that stayed just outside of the pack. He was desperate to feel his mate, to open their bond. But he was too afraid that she would become hysterical and let go of him, so he resisted, going against his very nature.

Costin took a small amount of peace at the weight he felt on his back, knowing that he was taking her to safety. It wasn’t much, but it would have to be enough or he was going to lose his mind and his wolf was going to go feral. He didn’t reach into her mind, but he wrapped his love around her so that she would feel his warmth. He didn’t want her to think she was alone in her suffering, that he had abandoned her. He stretched out his stride, racing across the forest floor, more worried about speed rather than stealth. He tried to occupy his mind with ways in which to help her once the spell was broken, and it would be broken. He himself had struggled with the things he had witnessed in the In-Between. Those images had eaten away at him like a disease and threatened to create a chasm between him and Sally that he didn’t know if he could repair. Now, his own battle with the memories paled in comparison to what Sally would go through once the curtain of lies was separated and reality was once again restored. For the brief time he had been in her mind, he had felt her disgust and embarrassment. He had seen in her mind how dirty and defiled she felt, and it was ripping him to pieces. Something that, though wasn’t real, felt like it was taking the innocence she so fiercely protected; an innocence for which he had been beyond grateful for. He knew that Sally wouldn’t be able to look past the curse and see that she was still whole, physically and mentally. Whatever it took, he would move heaven and hell to bring healing to the brokenness that the witch’s evil had caused.

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