Cynthia made her way to the closet as she spoke. “She needs dry clothes on and since you aren’t able to do that, I will help you. I also need to check on her and the baby.”

Cynthia moved efficiently, gathering dry clothes for Jen. When she came out of the closet, she stopped short, face to face with a large wolf. He growled at her and stepped around her to the closet. She realized that he was going to phase, presumably, so they could communicate. Cynthia waited until he emerged, dressed. She was not about to approach his mate without him in the room. When Decebel walked around her, fully clothed, she followed him to the bed.

“Be very careful,” he told her, with a suppressed growl.

She slowly undressed Jen and Decebel was thoughtful enough to get towels for Cynthia to dry her off before putting the dry clothes on. Jen groaned with every motion and cringed when Cynthia touched her.

“I’m so sorry, Jen. I’m not trying to hurt you,” Cynthia told her, gently. She raised Jen’s shirt and pressed her ear to her stomach. This was yet another advantage to wolf hearing. She didn’t require any special equipment to hear the heartbeat of the baby. She listened closely as she closed her eyes and tuned everything else out. Then she heard it, the steady, fast little heartbeat. She smiled gently and felt a tear slip down her cheek, for there was no sweeter sound than a healthy heartbeat of a baby safe in the womb.

“The baby is alright?” Decebel asked, stiffly.

“Yes, her heartbeat is strong. I will need to get an ultrasound very soon.”

Cynthia looked up at Decebel and saw that his glowing, amber eyes were on Jen. Cynthia decided then that the only way she would ever take a mate is if he looked at her the way Decebel was looking at his mate. She left quietly, not wanting to disturb them any longer.

Cynthia made her way from room to room until all of the females were in dry clothes. All of the males had phased back into their human form and growled at her freely, though she didn’t take offense. Vasile was actually the worst and that surprised her, because he was never out of control; it was never a good thing for a wolf of his power to be out of control.

“Where is Perizada,” Vasile snarled.

Cynthia tried to keep the fear down so that Vasile did not see her as easy prey. She kept her eyes on the floor and her tone very neutral.

“I don’t know Alpha. She left just after all of the mated pairs retired to their rooms.”

Vasile paced the room restlessly, never getting more than a couple feet away from the bed where Alina lay.

“She picked a fine time to leave,” he snapped.

“Alpha, if I might say, I don’t imagine Peri would ever abandon those in her care. Perhaps she is trying to figure out a way to break the curse on the females,” Cynthia explained.

Vasile didn’t acknowledge that Cynthia had spoken.

“How are the others doing? How is my son?”

“They are coping. It was a very smart idea to keep the other wolves far away.”

Vasile turned back to his mate when she made an especially painful noise. Cynthia winced and wished for the hundredth time that she could do something more to help.

“Thank you Cynthia for your help; I know this isn’t easy for you. Please let me know the minute Peri is back.”

And just like that, she was dismissed.


Peri stood before the council in the great meeting hall. The walls were tall, and white polished stone. The ceilings were so high that it was hard to know if there really was a ceiling at all. The floor beneath her feet gleamed under the soft glow of the Fae lights that floated throughout the room. She felt a strong sense of dèjá vu as she stared at the other members of the council. It didn’t seem that long ago that she had stood before them, petitioning for their help. Once again, just like on that occasion, they were feeding her a load of crap.

“We have told you, Perizada, that we have played our part. We did what the Great Luna asked of us. We called the packs.” Alston’s tone was dry and bored, and it made Peri want to slap him.

“Do you honestly believe that is all she intended for you to do? All hell is about to be loosened upon their world and you think that all you are required to do is use a rock to call on the wolves?” Peri’s voice rose with every word.

“Don’t you think you are being a little dramatic?” Lorelle asked.

Peri’s eyes snapped over to her and they narrowed. “You would know of dramatics wouldn’t you Lorelle?”

“Come now, Peri, let’s not let family feuds cause any more problems. Since you seem to think the sky is falling it would be wise not to add to your predicament.” Alston brushed his long hair back from his face and stood from his seat. “I think this meeting is over. We have told you what we have done, the part we have played. Now Peri, since you have always been the ambassador to the wolves, it’s your job to take it from here.”

Peri’s mouth dropped open at the audacity of the highest member of their council. She was hoping that at any moment the Great Luna would drop a bolt of lightning on his head.

“Okay listen up ass hat,” Peri’s voice boomed throughout the meeting hall. “I realize that you may not believe this, but your crap stinks too, just like the rest of us. You aren’t any better than the next person in line, human or supernatural. Pretty soon, all of the races will need each other’s support—even the Fae.

"I’m telling you now, if you keep this up, all of you are going to end up standing alone covered in ashes, bruised faces, singed air, bloodshot eyes, looking from left to right saying, “what happened, where’d my eyebrows go?” And, you know what my answer is going to be? They went down the toilet bitch, along with the rest of the world. So how about for just a tiny blink in your completely undeserving long lives, you think about someone other than yourselves and step up to help? Can you try that for me?”

The six council members stood with their mouths agape, staring at Peri as if she’d grown a third arm. Finally, Lorelle cleared her throat and schooled her face. “And if we don’t?”

Peri smirked at the one and only sister she had. “Then I will save Mona the trouble of having to fry your butts. I’ll take you out myself.”

Alston snorted. “Be realistic, Peri. You don’t have the power to challenge us. Not unless you possessed all of the Fae stones.”

Peri pulled both hands from the pockets in her robes and held them out, fists clenched and palms upward, to the Fae arrayed before her. She slowly unclenched her fists, revealing the five Fae stones, two in her left hand, and three in her right. The Fae stones, which only appeared in times of greatest need, lay ominously in her outstretched hands.