By the time the nocturnal Chirs buzzed happily in the shadows, Alluna had cried herself weak. The unicorn slowed to a brisk canter, then a lazy lope, until he stopped completely. She kept hearing steady thunder and realized it was the reaper’s wings overhead. He landed gently on the swaying grass, his toes touching first, and strode somewhere off to her right.
Alluna closed her eyes, unable to move; her sorrow was so overwhelming. The unicorn let out a soft bleat, turning its head to look at her.
A moment later, Eriel was lifting her off the unicorn’s back. She snuggled against him, eyes closed. He walked on and the soft glow of light permeated her eyelids.
She didn’t care where he carried her. She had no wish to see anything but the person responsible for the aching hurt inside her empty heart.
Eriel ascended steps. Up and up he climbed, each footfall making the wood beneath his feet squeak and groan. Laughing and giggling reached her ears.
“Oh, look at the pretty angel.”
“And who’s the pretty lady he carries?”
“She looks like a princess.”
“Is she an enchanted princess, Mama?”
“Hush, now. Be off with ya’. Off to bed, children an’ don’t be nosin’ round,” the whispered voice of an elderly woman scolded.
A door squeaked open and Alluna released Eriel as her body sank into soft bedding. He tucked a blanket around her and kissed her forehead.
“Should I prepare a meal for the lady?”
“Um. No. I think not. Poor dear has cried herself into a frazzle. Let’s let her sleep.” A light clicked off and Eriel’s seductive voice reached her ears again. “You can feed me
if you like, lovely woman.”
“Oh,” the female gasped, and then a decidedly girlish giggle resounded just before the door squeaked closed again.
Alluna burrowed deeper into the pillow and bedding, letting sleep claim her bereft soul. She dreamed of golden winged angels… and cuffs, and nipple clamps… oh my.
His bed dipped to one side. Alluna. With a start, he sat up. She wasn’t in his bed. It wasn’t a nightmare; it was real.
He snarled at Natanael, who sported a lime-green Mohawk with black streaks falling in his face.
“Well, good morning to you, too,” he pouted.
“Fuck, you’re going to be worse them Rem, aren’t you?”
Natanael pursed his lips. “Maybe.”
Zak scrubbed his face and got out of his bed. The sheets still had her all over them and the memory of having fucked for three days straight had him falling to his knees in agony.
“Is he going to be alright?”
Zak looked up, eyes wide. Abdiel stood in the entrance to his bedroom. Dark shadows looming behind the frosted glass partition of the sitting room assured him that there were at least a dozen or so reapers milling about there, too.
“What the fuck's going on? What are you doing here?”
Abdiel gave him a half smile. “I renounced my calling.” He looked behind him. “We all want to join the Alpha Angels.”
“Ask him about the orgies,” someone called out excitedly from his sitting room.
Abdiel flushed, scowled, and then made a zipping gesture with his hand to whoever had asked the inappropriate question. He turned wide, innocent eyes back to Zak.
“Oh god. You’re all worse than Remi,” Zak grumbled, rising to his feet.
Staggering into his hygiene room, he zapped his clothes off and stepped under the comforting rays of the hygiene unit.
He heard them whispering amongst themselves, but he didn’t care. He wondered about Alluna. Where was she exactly? Was she scared? Was she thinking of him? Dev. Please. Link me to her. I need to feel her.
He felt his commander’s presence wrap around him stronger. Zak, if I do that they’ll deny you permission to land on the planet. Fuck them. Let’s just get her and be done with it. She’s pregnant with my… Daughters.
Devon finished for him. Three of them, Zak. Triplets. I want her back.
He clenched his fists and breathed through his lips, trying to keep his rage on a low boil. She will be back. Trust me. Seth is dealing with all the red tape right now. He’s going with you, as well as Remi and Rowie. Rem and Row? Jaz is wreaking havoc with Rowie. He doesn’t understand what he’s doing. I need to get her away from him to see if I can somehow communicate with him and get him to stop accelerating the twins growth.
Zak frowned and wondered about his own babies. Would Devon’s son also make Alluna swell prematurely? Her beautiful skin would rip carrying three. He didn’t want to see her suffer. She won’t. I’ll get Jaz to understand. Jaz? It’s what Remi is already calling him. What about you? I mean, with the baby, you won’t be able to accompany us on this mission.
Devon laughed without humor. The Arborians were explicit in their orders that I not step upon their planet. What the fuck? Why? They see me as a demon, Zak. Shit—
Zak’s anger notched up again. It doesn’t matter. Like you said, I’ve got my newborn and wife to tend to, and Ashriel. Ashriel?
Shock rolled through him. When had Ashriel come aboard Alpha 7? The new reapers brought him. He’s unconscious and in really bad shape. I’m sending Annie ahead of you to get her away from all this for a while. She’s beside herself with guilt.
Zak ran a hand through his hair. He knew what happened wasn’t her fault. He sighed. Remi was a thoughtless screwball. His eyes slid to the partition of his bedroom and met the curious stares of a bunch of reapers.
He scowled and snapped, “OUT,” stabbing his finger in the general direction of the door.
They pouted sullenly and shrank away from the doorway.
Zak stared, bewildered. They acted like… children, these reapers—death angels—he’d always been so nervous around. People always fear what they don’t know or understand, Zachariel.
Devon whispered in his mind.
Zak could apply that to so many things. The reapers, his reluctance to shift….
He needed to train—harder. Needed to get over his fears and become a stronger angel… for his Luna, and his daughters.Chapter Seventeen
Zak strode down the corridor of the twelfth level of Alpha 7. Devon had assigned this level to the reapers. The design of this level was wider, ceilings higher. Wingspan,
he reminded himself.
He knew the first twelve levels had once belonged to the Seraphs that guarded Edenia, or Eden—as those that dwelled on Earth had called it once. All the planets had been verdant and teeming with life until….
“Until Lucifer and his fallen angels meddled with the minds of the Divine One’s children and they destroyed it all with their pithy fights for power and wealth.”
Zak looked at Devon. The black of his hair was such a sharp contrast to the almost glowing white of his skin and the soft white lighting brought out bluish highlights in the satiny fall.
“How’s Angel and the babe?”
Devon’s lips kicked up, the luminescence of his blue eyes intensifying. “They’re both doing well, thank you. Angel’s ability to provide our son with sustenance has her almost dumbfound.” Devon chuckled with a shake of his head. “So much thought to training as a warrior and she didn’t even look into all the changes her body would go through after giving birth. You should have seen her face when I put a screaming, hungry Jazriel to her breast for the first time to feed.”
Devon’s words brought back his hunger for Alluna. He’d fed from her breasts… fed her from his body, too.
“Are you okay?”
Zak’s eyes snapped back open. He took his fist away from his stomach and straightened, feeling his face grow hot. “I’m.…”
“He’s not okay,” Remien stated popping in next to them with a flash of red-gold fire. He fingered the hoops piercing his lower lip, studying Zak intently. “When Golds impregnate their mates, the female begins to produce first milk. First milk is intended to addict the male to her taste, and increase his need to be with her and keep her covered with his scent.”
Zak grimaced. “Where the hell do you come up with all this stuff?”
“Google.” Remi grinned.
Devon chuckled and they resumed walking. Throwing an arm around Remi’s shoulders, he asked, “And what else have you investigated about Golds?”
“The female is fed her dragon’s…” Remi cleared his throat and slid his green-gold gaze to Zak, “ her dragon’s semen for three days. The fluids contain chemicals that prep her body to carry the baby dragons for the next twenty-four months.”
“What the fuck?” Zak’s roar echoed in the corridor.
A few reapers appeared in the doorways to the various rooms on that level.
Zak ignored them and tried to contain his roiling emotions. He forced himself to release the front of Remi’s black uniform shirt, and took a step back.
One of Remi’s tawny brows rose. “Zak, when we breed, our genes are dominant. Our babies will always be dragon. Just be glad the girls aren’t dragon, too.”
When Zak gave him a perplexed glare, Remi rolled his eyes and explained. “A dragoness would lay a clutch of eggs after nine months and guess who’d have to sit on it for the remaining fifteen months?”
Zak spun, spearing his hands through his hair. “Two years? Alluna is going to be pregnant for two years?” He spun back to Remi. “And Row let you get her pregnant knowing that?”
Remi gave him a sheepish grin. “Well I didn’t exactly tell her, besides, getting her pregnant just…” he shrugged his shoulders, “happened. Anyway, she isn’t really going to be carrying for twenty-four months. Jaz accelerated her up way past that. Quinn is checking her now to figure out how far along she is.” Remi pouted. “There’s a side effect I’m not too happy with. She’s become very irritable and snippy with me.”
Devon sighed and signaled them to follow him. “Maybe the upcoming mission will get her out of her funk, Rem. Angel got that way, too, toward the end.”
Remi’s knees buckled and Zak gripped him in alarm, as well as Devon.
The red weredragon’s face looked pale.
“Fuck,” Zak cursed. “What the hell is wrong now?”
“God,” Remi croaked. “I’m really going to be a father. I thought I’d have two years to get used to the idea. Holy shit.”
He’s legs wobbled again, and Devon bit his lips to keep from laughing.
Zak snorted, “Oh, for fuck’s sake, stupid. Pull it together.”
Remi shook his mop of crimson and got his legs braced under himself to wiggle out of their hold. “I’m good,” he growled with determination. A grin suddenly stretched across his face, molars glinting as he adjusted his crotch. “Yup. Daddy’s equipment works just fine.”
Zak rolled his eyes.
Clearing his throat, Remi asked, “Where are we going, by the way?”
“I wanted to see Ash,” Zak said.
Remi winced, a look of guilt reddening his cheeks. “I tried to heal him, but my healing powers have absolutely no effect on him.” He hung his head. “I don’t understand why.”
“He’s counteracting your powers, Remi.”
Zak looked over his shoulder. Natanael followed with a big group of reapers behind them.
Zak slowed and gawked. More were coming out of their rooms. “Geez. How many of you went AWOL
“Three hundred,” Devon answered.
Zak’s brows shot to his hairline. There were three hundred reapers living on Alpha 7, including one of their most powerful high priests.
“Ex high priest,” Natanael said as though reading his mind. “Ashriel was cast out for losing his virginity.”
Zak frowned and turned to Devon. “Having all of us in my head all these years wasn’t too bad, but I really think my sanity will be extremely compromised with three hundred reapers in my head, too, Dev.”
Devon swallowed. “We’ll think of something. Let’s see how Ash is doing this morning and then we’ll go about reopening the old mess hall.”
Zak winced. Their meals were going to be interesting from now on, to say the least.
Pain was the first thing that plowed into her; not an actual ache in her body, but a deep, gut-twisting grief that instantly had her tears flowing. Her dreams evaporated like smoke on a windy day. She squeezed her eyes tighter, hoping to retain the memory of sapphire eyes and full lips bracketed by dimples. She remembered a braid… thick and gold that hung down a wide, muscular back to the middle of his tight ass.
“Zak,” she whispered.
“Oh, you’re good.”
She gasped and opened her eyes. Bright grey eyes looked at her from within a thick fringe of black lashes.
Eriel propped his head up on one hand. His hair was a river of sable between their bodies. “You’re remembering him.” He grinned wide. “He’s fucking hot. I’m so jealous he fucked you. He wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.”
Alluna sat up and gasped when the thick quilt covering them pooled to her waist to reveal that Eriel was completely naked beneath the covers.
“You slept with me like that?”
His wings tightened against his back just before he rolled over and stretched lazily. Every muscle and sinew rippled, and his cock looked as if it were stuck on his belly from how rigid it was. Alluna gaped at the long, thick, rose-hued member with its set of heavy balls underneath.
Instinct had her planting her feet against his side and shoving him off the bed. He fell with a swish of black feathers and sable hair to the floor.
“Ow,” he wailed. “Oh, my wings. Oh, how it hurts.”
Alluna forgot her tears and grief as alarm shot through her. Oh, she’d never forgive herself if she truly hurt the pretty angel. Peering over the edge of the bed, she eyed him lying on his side with his wings limp behind him. He had real tears rolling down his cheeks and his chest heaved with heartfelt sobs.
“Oh gods,” she gasped, stepping gingerly over him. “I’m so sorry. Does it really hurt that bad?”
Eriel bowed his head and nodded, with his shiny hair covering his face. “Yes,” he sobbed. He rolled onto his belly and gave her an imploring look over his shoulder. “The feathers have become all entangled. I can’t bear the agony. Please run your fingers through them to make it feel better.” His eyes swam in moisture and his lip quivered, making her breath catch with anguish.
Oh, the poor little thing. He lowered his face onto his folded arms to muffle his whimpering. Her eyes ran down his naked length. Muscle knotted his back and his shoulders and arms bulged with them. He really wasn’t so little. His body was gorgeous, muscular, yet graceful. She suddenly felt shy about touching him.
Alluna hesitated until he let out another gulping sob onto his folded arms. His whole body shuddered.
“Oooow, it h-huurts,” he cried in a little squeaky voice that made Alluna pout.
Slowly, she reached down and touched one wing. Her fingers sank into heavenly softness.
“Oh,” she gasped, not expecting his wings to feel so good beneath her fingers.
Eriel groaned when she stroked, unfurling his wings a bit more. She’d never felt anything as luxurious, she was sure. His black wings spread wider when she used both hands to pet the ruffled feathers. They rose as if to meet her touch and he moved, rolling his hips against the furry blue rug that surrounded the white sleigh bed. He moaned again, his breath starting to come in pants.
“Eriel, have ya no shame?”
Alluna jumped with a start to look at the owner of that gruff voice. Her gaze turned to the little double paned window six paces from the foot of the bed. The blond male from the day before floated there. No. Not floated. A massive pair of gold dragon’s wings flapped vigorously behind him. His arms were crossed over his chest, and he scowled at Eriel.
Alluna felt her cheeks grow hot, and she snatched her hands away from the reaper's wings when the weredragon narrowed his eyes at her.
“He hurt his wings,” she blurted, and then scowled when one golden brow shot up dubiously.
“Is that so, missy? I guess ya don’t realize reapers can pulverize just about anything with those black beauties. The only thing that hurts on that randy bastard is between his legs. Stroking his sensitive wings is almost as good as jacking him off.”
Alluna gasped, and gaped at the sullen reaper looking at her over his shoulder.
When she narrowed her eyes at him, he only grinned sheepishly. “I feel much better now. Thank you, Alluna.”
She snorted and, before she could stop herself, lifted her hand and brought it down on his rump three times. “That’s not funny,” she yelled.
Now her palm stung, and his ass was properly pinkened.
“Nice,” Zakeel the weredragon snorted. “And now ya’ve made him cum.”
Eriel’s eyes were closed as he shuddered. When he opened his eyes to look at her again, they glowed with adoration.
Alluna sprang away from him. She wrinkled her nose. “I am not cleaning that up.”
The weredragon chuckled.
A soft knock at the door drew their attention. She darted to the door, nervous that someone might come in and misconstrue the scene within. Carefully blocking Eriel, she opened the door a crack.
A young boy just going into puberty stood there with a grin on his face. He had a mop of unruly copper curls and big brown eyes. Behind him stood a handful of other children of varying ages and species. One was completely orange from head to toe, with big golden eyes.
“Morning, my lady. I’m Niggit. Mama sent me to fetch you for breakfast. Have you seen the black-winged angel-man?”
Alluna almost snorted. Oh, she’d seen a bit too much of that sneaky angel, actually.
Behind her, he chuckled, making her eyes widen when the boy’s brows rose slowly. The other children whispered and giggled behind him.
Alluna grinned, feeling heat creep up from her breasts to the roots of her tangled hair. “If I see him, I’ll be sure to tell him your gracious mama has prepared us breakfast.”
She stepped back and shut the door in the boy’s curious face. When she turned, Eriel was perched on the windowsill with the blue rug tucked under his arm. He winked at her and dropped out of the window.
Alluna rushed to peer out, hearing the sound of thunder rolling. It was only Eriel’s wings beating so fast they were a black blur behind his back. He zipped away behind the tree line, and she was left regarding the weredragon. Again, the feeling she knew him from before struck her. He came closer until his hands braced the window frame, and sniffed at her. Alluna backed away. He looked like someone she might have known, but… his body was different from how she remembered. This male was not massive in build. The Zak she remembered was built like a starfreighter.
Alluna blinked. Starfreighter. How did she even know what that was? This was so confusing.
She backed away from the window when Zakreel started to climb in.
“I cannot believe…” He sniffed at her again. “Ya smell like kin. But yer not a weredragon. Ya’ve mated a Gold?”
Alluna shrank away from him. His wings pulled into his skin, disappearing completely. He wore woven, fawn-colored leather pants and soft sewn boots. His chest was bare except for the two thick braids that hung to his waist. A golden necklace hung around his neck, as well, with a dragon pendant. He narrowed his eyes at her.
“Has one of my sons bedded ya, lass?”
Alluna stared at the pendant with a frown, her hand going up to her own throat. She wore a similar necklace. Mama.
With a gasp, she yanked the necklace off him.
“What the devil,” he exclaimed rubbing his neck. “What was that? What did ya do?”
“Where did you get this?”
He looked at her hand, and she immediately realized he couldn’t see the necklace she held.
“Get what? What are ya talkin’ about?”
Alluna tried to lift her necklace off, but found she couldn’t. It was as if it weighed a ton. It didn’t matter. She needed to dispose of the one Zakreel had worn in a moving body of water to finish breaking the spell Mama obviously had on him.
A low groan from the other side of the bed had them both turning.
“I was wondering what that bastard did with little Luke,” the weredragon muttered. Little Luke?
Alluna watched him saunter over to the other side of the sleigh bed and crouch. “Ouch. Look at the size of that knot on yer head, lad.” Zakreel leaned forward and pulled the red-winged devil into a sitting position, making Alluna gasp.
He’d been there the whole time, too?
Zakreel examined him. The blond devil looked disorientated. The weredragon shook his head. “Aw, lad. Why did ya have to go and do this?” Zakreel’s hand smoothed over one wing.
The devil flinched and snarled. “Don’t touch me.”
Zakreel’s eyes narrowed. “Aye. They abused ya like yer da, didn’t they?”
Lucien looked up. “What do you know of my father?”
Zakeel gave him a sad smile. “Yer da…” He cleared his throat and blinked suddenly bright eyes. “I was one of his followers. Remuel and I were supposed to take care of yer brother and ya, but we were persecuted day and night. We couldn’t keep ya safe. Reapers were after us: demons, Greis, Master Guardians. The Seraphian Master Guardians promised us they’d raise ya safe an' sound, but we needed to make it look as though ya both disappeared. Remuel and I left ya both in an orphanage, under government protection. There was so much red tape to get through, to get ya out it was the only way. They’d planned on snatching ya both—“
“Well they didn’t,” Lucien snapped, his eyes glowing brighter. “They abandoned me
“Don’t call me 'son.'
I am not your son!”
Zakreel scowled at him. “I wiped yer ass and changed yer diapers enough.” His gaze softened. “I’m sorry about what happened to ya. We tried to find ya, I swear. Drakken got himself caught and sentenced to prison for treason. Remuel, Seshmel and I were fugitives and had to resort to whoring ourselves out just to be able to eat.” Zakreel straightened, squaring his shoulders.
“We never found a trace of ya. The Seraphian Guardians made us leave the solar system to divert attention away from were Devon might possibly be. By the time they realized where he was, he’d already grown and was too powerful to destroy.”
“Where the hell have all of you been all this time?”
Zakreel frowned. “I’m not sure. Last I remember, I was working at Heaven’s Pearly Gates. Remuel was coming to get me because we’d found out yer brother and ya were together again on Alpha 7 and we wanted to go see ya.” Zakreel raised luminous eyes to Lucien. “I don’t remember anything else.”
“That was more than three hundred years ago,” Lucien told him, and the weredragon paled.
“I’ve been gone a long time, eh?”
Soft knocking sounded at the door again.
Alluna darted to open it, now more afraid of someone catching sight of the golden weredragon and blond devil in the room. She had a feeling Lucien was as stark naked as Eriel had been behind the bed.
She opened the door to a woman with graying hair at her temples and a softly rounded body. She smiled, her blue eyes twinkling with kindness. “Morning, m’lady. I brought you fresh clothes. There’s a bath house out back if you’d like to freshen up before breakfast.”
Alluna accepted the bundle of clothing and smiled nervously. The woman seemed intent on peering around her. “Oh, yes. Thank you. That would be lovely.” Alluna stepped out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Two little girls bounced out from behind the woman.
“I wanna brush her hair,” they both exclaimed in unison. One had shaggy red hair and pointed ears with violet eyes that almost took up all of her pixie-like face; the other was grey-skinned with thick coils of hair hanging to her shoulders and big black almond-shaped eyes. Alluna instantly recognized the child as a Grei alien and gaped.
Her moment of distraction cost her, not realizing when the woman slipped into the room.
Alluna swung around in dismay and held her breath as the lady went about tidying the rumpled bed. Zakreel and Lucien were nowhere to be seen. Even the window had been discretely closed
She breathed a sigh of relief and let the two grinning girls lead her to a winding staircase.
The hallway walls looked a bit dingy with age, the yellow paint scuffed and chipped in a few places. Pictures lined the walls, hundreds of smiling faces of children of all colors and breeds. This woman couldn’t have possibly given birth to all these children. Every level they descended in the multi-layered dwelling, more and more of them emerged from rooms and followed her down the steps. Giggling and exclamations over the new visitors made her ears buzz. Her hand slid over the polished wooden banister as she hugged the clothing the lady had given her. Alluna didn’t even know her name, but she’d ask at breakfast.
There were more children on the lowest level of the dwelling. On the first floor, the house widened out into a long parlor to the right side of the stairwell, and the left was an enormous bright kitchen with the longest table Alluna had ever seen. There were already other children there eating. One blue-skinned boy had a face full of porridge and a furry girl with lots of colorful beads hanging from her long ears munched on what looked like wiggly worms. Alluna bit her lip and tried not to gag. She hoped they wouldn’t give her worms to eat.
The two little girls led her out through a back door. A stone pathway led to a giant duck-shaped building. It looked like a child’s toy with its peeling, yellow-painted body, big black eyes, and orange beak.
“This is the bath house?”
The children giggled. Inside the building were shower stalls running up and down either side of the duck’s body. They took her clothing for her and led her into one of the stalls. After pulling the curtain closed, Alluna undressed and stood beneath the steaming water. Making use of a large cake of soap, she lathered her hair and body and rinsed off. She winced when she touched her breasts. They felt tender and heavy; she noticed with alarm that her nipples looked much darker too.
The vision of a mouth latched onto her, suckling, made her gasp.
“Are you okay, pretty lady?” one of the little girls asked.
“Y-yes,” Alluna blurted. “I’m fine. And my name is Alluna.”
“Hello, Alluna. I’m Spice.” A pale arm poked through the side of the curtain with a fluffy towel.
Alluna accepted it gratefully from what she guessed was a little Elfin girl.
“And I’m Cinder,” the Grei added.
After drying herself, Alluna accepted the bundle of clothes from Cinder.
The dress they’d given her was a pale peach, with a dark brown corset that laced up the front ending just below her breasts. It pushed them up to almost spill from the rounded neckline. Alluna frowned at them. Why were they getting so big?
She felt a flutter in her belly and stepped out, suddenly ravenous. Spice held up a toothbrush and Cinder a little pot of paste.
Alluna brushed her teeth and allowed the girls to brush the tangles from her damp hair. They braided her black tresses into two ropes and twisted it around her head like a crown. When done, Alluna had a waterfall of colorful ribbons streaming down her back. She was impressed with their handiwork and thanked them with pecks on their cheeks.
Cinder and Spice skipped ahead of her, back to the house. Alluna stood immobile for a few seconds, taking in the extraordinary structure before her. The house was shaped like a giant boot. Her mouth hung open.
“My da, bless his old soul, was the town shoe-maker. He had an army of Elves that helped him make and fix shoes.”
Alluna lowered her eyes from staring at the ten-story boot to gape at the woman…. who lived in a shoe with hundreds of children.
“My name is Lenore Goose.”
Zak watched Anniel brush Ashriel’s long, dark hair into a high ponytail, and then draped the long sable tail over his pillow to keep it off his back. She knelt on the bed that was about fifteen feet wide. Wingspan.
Ashriel no longer had wings. What he had were two bloodied, broken, featherless appendages that extended from his back out to the side of his body. They looked like giant arms, and he now saw how they were able to fold them to fit so neatly behind their backs without looping over their heads like the old pictures of angels back on Earth. The appendages folded into three sections, almost like an upper and lower arm plus a wrist joint. Chunks of flesh were missing on what was left of his wings and his skin looked ashen.
“Is Quinn keeping him under sedation?” Zak asked.
“Yes, but he was unconscious when they brought him in anyway.”
“He’s in a healing sleep,” Natanael said.
Zak looked up and could see the memory of pain in the reaper’s eyes.
“I remember how I became fallen,” Natanael sighed. “I went for a stroll in the village and accepted the invitation of two off-worlders to accompany them in a few drinks.” Natanael shrugged. “I’d never had alcohol before, and got stupidly inebriated. Before I was aware of what was happening, they took me to their hotel room, stripped me bare and… fucked me raw.” He shook his head at the memory. “It took me half a year to recuperate from my depluming.”
Anniel broke down in tears. “This is all my fault,” she wept bitterly. “I did this to him: I raped Ashriel.”
Remi shook his head. “No, Annie. He wanted you.”
Anniel glared at Remi with an enraged snarl, making him wince. “Don’t you dare speak to me,” she spat and teleported out of the room.
Remi’s pain washed over Zak, making him clutch at his chest. That, mixed with his own agony over not having Alluna almost made him feel suicidal. God, how was he going to survive this?
“Stop it,” Devon snarled, his eyes flashing. “Both of you. I’ll deal with Annie later. You need to get your mind focused for the mission.” He stepped up to Zak. “And you better brush up on your courting skills if you want your female back. Forget your Dominant tendencies for once—“
“Don’t tell me how to get my female back!” Zak snarled back at him, feeling his hackles rise.
A few dark veins appeared at Devon’s temples but he stepped back. “I won’t forgive you if you fuck this up, Zak.”
Zak swallowed his shock at his commander’s words. “Don’t worry. I won’t forgive myself, either. A might possessive aren’t you, Dev? She’s mine.”
Devon raised one brow. “Yes, Zachariel. And you’re
Remi cleared his throat next to Zak, shoving his hands into the pockets of his uniform.
“Well, at least I know I’m not the only one he obsesses over,” the red weredragon murmured.
Zak felt momentarily stunned. “And the reapers?” he prodded.
Devon lips twitched into a small smile. His eyes went over the group of reapers standing in Ashriel’s quarters before settling on the unconscious reaper, also. “All mine, too.”
Zak wasn’t sure what to make of Devon’s words, but right now, there were bigger things to worry about than his commander’s unusual possessive streak toward all of them.
The image of their conference room flashed in their collective minds, and without a second thought, Zak teleported himself there. They agreed to let Natanael and Abdiel link to their reaper brothers and represent them in the conference room.
Zak was aware of Seth approaching the space station in his Viper, but couldn’t really gauge his emotions.
Devon sat at the head of the table and thrummed his fingers on the shiny black table, obviously telecommunicating with Seth. “How soon can you be ready to leave?” The question was directed at Zak and Remi.
They looked at each other briefly.
Zak clenched his fists on the table as he leaned forward and grated, “I’m ready to go right now.”
Devon’s eyes turned to Remi.
Remi shrugged. “Row and I are good to go whenever you decide.”
Devon nodded. “Good. Seth is in charge. Don’t bother to gather clothing because he’s already taken care of that, as well as weaponry.”
“Weapons?” Zak’s brows rose.
“Absolutely no power usage is allowed on the surface of that planet by any of us.” Seth appeared next to Zak. Both he and Remi gawked at him.
Remi began to snicker.
Seth looked like he’d just stepped back in time to Earth’s barbaric era. He wore woven leather pants and hand-sewn boots. A wicked looking scabbard was strapped to his hip, and two belts looped over his chest holding a bow and a quiver of arrows against his back. He’d braided his white-blond hair back into a single tail that draped over his right shoulder.
Remi’s snickering turned into guffaws, and surprisingly enough, Seth grinned evilly at him.
“I’m glad you find my attire so amusing. You’re going to find yours all the more hysterical."
Remi sobered quickly.
“They’re only allowing one weredragon, one weretigri, one werewolf, and they had no objection to two elves. A mated pair.”
Remi scowled. “Elf? You suck, Seth.”
Seth only grinned wider. “The hygiene unit can make the necessary adjustments on your ears. Just be thankful I didn’t suggest a couple of Faeries. You would’ve looked cute with gossamer wings.”
Zak nodded. “What about you, Annie and me?”
“Annie is going in shifted, in her wolf form. She’ll try to find and befriend Alluna, and ultimately lure her to us, or you to her, whatever we can accomplish. Luna isn’t with her father. They have no idea where she can be, but I sensed her on the planet surface.”
“How can they not know where she is? I thought they were so eager to return her to the King.”
Seth pursed his lips. “I don’t trust Dresh, frankly. The inhabitants of that planet are at each other’s throats, ready to start war and those Master Guardians seem to be encouraging it. King Lumar, Luna’s father, is blaming the southern region of mages for his daughter abduction. The Fae princess Uuna has no recollection whatsoever of having had a child, and denies everything. I guess until she sees Alluna, no one will ever be sure.”
“What does Lumar say?” Devon asked.
“He says he has only mated with one female. The northern males imprint on one female. It’s virtually impossible for them to re-mate afterwards. Sometimes after a mate dies, or if the male is abandoned long enough he might imprint again, but they’re usually very reluctant to expose themselves to that kind of hurt again.”
“Poor bastards. I’d freakin’ die if I had to settle for just one lover for the rest of my two thousand years of life," Natanael snorted.
“What about us? Aren’t any of us going on this mission?” Abdiel asked.
Devon shook his head. “I’m going to remain linked to them, and we’re all going to remain alert. I want groups of one hundred reapers to prepare to alternate between shifts of keeping watch with me, training, and sleeping. If anything happens, I want to be ready with one hundred well-trained and rested reapers to go in.”
“If anything happens?” Zak narrowed his eyes in confusion.
“There’s a group of mages I’d told you about once. They’re planning on bring out my father’s other
. We can’t let that happen… even if it means having to permanently close the portal Davariel opened over three hundred years ago.”
Zak gaped at Devon now. “That portal still exists?”
“B-but if you close it.…” Natanael began.
“Davariel will never be able to get out,” Abdiel finished. His eyes were wide, earnest. “I know him. He’s got to be trying to escape—if anything, trying to get Luci out. That’s what he’d do.”
Zak gaped at them before turning to Devon. “That’s crazy. It’s been over three hundred years.”
Devon’s eyes reflected pain. “Time runs different in parallel realms. Our universe runs faster than Heaven or Hell. What might seem like minutes to Davariel is decades for us.” Devon walked to the glass wall to one side of the room, the reflection over the vast black of outer space showing how his eyes grew brighter. He waved his hand over a section of the glass and an oval of swirling mist appeared.
Zak took a step back, as well as Seth and Remi.
The mists turned into a tornado-like swirl, making a loud deafening noise. For a moment, Zak feared they’d all be sucked into the deep purple vortex, but soon realized that it wasn’t real, just an image Devon projected.
“I don’t doubt that someday he might make it out, but if someone tried to pull out his other
from the realm of dark reflections, then either way, my father and mother will be lost forever.”
Zak felt a bit confused with all this talk of different realms, but he trusted his commander’s judgment. He knew it had to be hard for him to make a decision that would ultimately lock his parents forever in an alternate reality with no hope of ever escaping.
Moments later, Zak changed into the clothing Seth had brought. The woven pants that seemed to be the thing to wear in the northern region of Arboria were more comfortable than they looked; they were light and cool. The boots were made of some kind of thick fiber, and sewn with heavy stitches. Their soles were padded with ribbed rubber that gave good traction. He mused he’d be able to climb rocky surfaces without much trouble.
“I swear to God, if Rowie didn’t look so cute with these pointy ears, I’d beat Seth into a pulp for making me look like this,” Remi grumbled, popping in next to Zak with his usual flare.
Zak took one look at him and had to bite his cheeks to keep from laughing.
Remi wore a tan-colored outfit, complete with too-snug pants and pointy brown ankle boots. But, what had Zak finally breaking down into ripples of laughter were the two pointy ears peeping naughtily through Remien’s shock of red hair.
Remi scowled at him. “Yeah, keep laughing, Goliath. Seth said I can still use my fire. I may just decide to light your funny ass.”
Zak snorted. “Dragons are fireproof, numb-nuts.”
Remi gave him a wry grin. “Nice to see you finally admitting you’re a dragon.”
Zak took a deep breath, his mirth dying, and shrugged. “Let’s get moving. I’m anxious to get my girl back.”
Alluna shared a table with about fifty children. There were too many to be seated all at once and ate in shifts of fifty. The older children prepared meals for the younger ones, and the younger ones cleaned up. Everyone had chores for most of the day and then they were allowed to play and relax in the later hours.
As Alluna nibbled on a loaf of bread with googooberry jam, she watched the little ones chatter and laugh. It was such a big family. How wonderful it would have been to grow up here. Her thoughts went back to Mama as she watched Mama Goose interact with her children.
The woman was always smiling and loving with them… even when they misbehaved.
She stared wide-eyed at the two little lizard boys throwing food at each other in an argument over who got to sit next to Eriel.
Mama Goose straightened from popping another tray of muffins into the oven and frowned at the boys. “Now-now, boys. Is that any way to act in front of our guests?” The lizard boys looked guiltily from Mama Goose to Eriel. “Perhaps Nograt can sit by the angel during breakfast, and Fograt during lunch?” The woman smiled expectantly.
As the boys nodded with a sheepish grin on their snouts, a pretty, red-haired girl with big blue eyes sauntered in. She wore her hair in two long braids over a red hooded cape. Her dark blue dress was a bit short in Alluna’s opinion, and it instantly grabbed Eriel’s attention.
Alluna scowled and gave him a swift kick under the table.
He gasped and turned wide eyes to her. She glared at him, hoping he’d get the hint to stop leering at the young girl who obviously didn’t realize that such a pretty, young female shouldn’t go around dressed so provocatively. She didn’t look any older than maybe fifteen sun orbits.
Eriel pouted, but lowered his gaze to his bowl of oats and cream.
The young girl looked displeased that the reaper stopped ogling her, and cast Alluna a cold glare.
Tossing her braids back, she grabbed a basket from within one of the cupboards. “I’m going to see my granma today, Mama Goose.”
“Be sure to take Niggit with you, sweetling.”
The girl turned with a huff and stomped her foot. “I am not a child! I want to be able to talk with Granma without Niggit sticking his nose in our conversation.”
Mama Goose poured a wide-eyed Eriel more tea. “Right now it’s too dangerous for you to go out there on your own. Niggit can help cut Granma some wood for the upcoming winter while you talk,” the woman replied, unfazed by the girl’s show of temper.
The girl growled in frustration and sat at the head of the table. Her hand flew out and snatched an apple from the red-haired boy that had knocked at Alluna’s door that morning. Her cold blue eyes bore haughtily into Niggit’s sad brown ones. With a disdainful sniff and a toss of her braids, she bit into the apple and munched away, rolling her eyes.
Alluna pouted. What an awful child. Eventually, the girl’s gaze fell upon Eriel and she smiled, licking her lips in a sensuous display. Eriel turned scarlet and looked nervously at Alluna.
Alluna frowned at him, hoping he wouldn’t pay attention to the little tease.
“We have a problem,” Seth sighed, sitting next to Rowie. Rowie sat across from Remi, her eyes closed in bliss as Remi gave her a foot rub. Zak held her other foot, diligently working on her instep.
Poor girl had grown so big overnight it was no wonder she was in a foul mood with all the extra weight she now carried around on her tiny figure.
“Let me guess,” Remi drawled. “You’ve grown tired of boinking women and now want to do Zak and me. The answer is no.”
Zak shook his head, trying not to snicker.
Seth growled, clenching his fists.
“Oh, Remi, stop teasing him,” Rowie scolded, eyes still closed.
“What is it, Seth?” Zak prompted with a sigh.
Seth took a deep breath and looked at Zak. “People are going to recognize you three, being rock stars and all.” One brow rose.
“But I thought this planet was a tech-restricted planet,” Zak said, scratching his chin.
“There are lots of other species immigrating on a daily basis. Besides, sections of the planet aren’t following the tech restriction codes. The northern region is almost primitive, but they’ve recently accepted steam driven gadgets from the eastern population,” Seth explained. “The Southern regions are mostly populated by mages, but those that don’t practice magic are using modern technology, like droids and transports.”
“Aren’t there three main continents on this planet?” Remi asked, working on Rowie’s toes now and making her moan in bliss.
“Yeah. The main continent, called Zul, is where the native Arborians live. Farther up the planet is where the Fae population has colonized, and off in the eastern ocean is a smaller group of volcanic islands that have become home to dragonkind.”
Remi stopped rubbing Rowie’s toes. “Are we splitting up when we land on the surface?”
“It’s the only way to find Luna. Anniel is already on surface in shifted form. We’re hoping the weres might have an idea where Luna is, and help us locate her. She’ll be able to communicate with us once we’re on the surface.” Seth’s sky-blue eyes narrowed, regarding each before settling on Remi with a sneer. “Under no circumstances are we to use powers. The Arborian Master Guardians are already locked on each of us and the slightest increase in telekinetic power they feel—“
“And what the hell will they do to us?” Remi snapped. “They can’t do shit to any of us.”
“Look, asshole,” Seth grated. “More than half of the galaxy blames us for the war. We may be strong, but I doubt we can take on the entire legion of Master Guardians were they all to unite to wipe our asses out. Think
for once in your stupid life. You’re going to have children, God help us. Think of the life they would have to live… on the run forever.”
Zak winced, thinking of Alluna and his daughters. He ran a frustrated hand through his hair before he remembered he’d braided it. A few golden waves spilled loose into his face.
Remi pulled Rowie into his lap and spread one hand over her bulging belly with a sigh.
“He’s right, baby,” Rowie said, placing her hand over his as her other stroked his shaggy mane.
“How many beings would recognize us?” Zak asked, knowing that being recognized would bring down a horde of media on their heads, as well as fanatics trying to raid the planet for a piece of them.
“I’m not really sure. I just got back from Arboria’s immigration station getting all of our paperwork settled—“
“Paperwork?” Zak’s brow rose. They really were a backwards planet if they still used paper.
“Yes. While I was waiting, I saw a family there, and their young son had a t-shirt with Remi and Rowie on it.”
Remi grinned. “Was it the one of us kissing on stage, or the one of us fucking in Liara and Marinia’s room?”
“Remi!” Rowie elbowed him in the gut with an exasperated expression.
Remi grunted and then laughed, nipping her neck playfully.
“Stop,” she whined, pushing half-heartedly at his chest. Already a grin was growing on her flushed face when Remi growled lustily.
Zak frowned, looking at the cuddling couple. A twinge of envy stabbed his gut. How he wished he had Alluna sitting on his lap like that. Or kneeling between my feet, her sweet head on my lap. I’d stroke her hair…
“How attached are you to your hair and eye color?” Seth said, intruding on his thoughts.
Zak’s eyes widened. His hair and eyes?
Remi snorted. “What you’re thinking won’t work on us, Seth. Rowie maybe, but not on Zak and me.”
“Why not?” Seth asked.
“Trying to change a weredragon’s color is like trying to change our breed. I’m a Red and Zak is a Gold, pure and simple. Natanael tried to color one strand of my hair and I got so sick I thought I was going to die.”
Rowie gasped. “What? When did this happen? Why didn’t you tell me anything?”
“It was no big deal, baby. It happened this morning.” Remi tugged out a shorter piece of hair from the nape of his neck. “The piece he tried to color fell off. It was only a few inches from this strand.”
Rowie grasped the short piece with a scowl. “You are never to do anything to yourself without asking me first. Do you understand?”
Remi snickered until she yanked his hair harder. “Alright-alright.” He kissed her scowling face. “Whatever my mistress desires. Don’t get riled, baby. I don’t like seeing you upset. That’s why I hadn’t said anything. I’m sorry.” He leaned over her belly to kiss her lips, but she winced, gripping her belly with two hands. Remi’s hand opened over her belly as he leaned down to it. “Hey, you two. Stop kicking Mama’s kidneys every time she gets excited for Daddy. You’re screwing up our sex life.”
Zak watched, amused, as Rowie swatted Remi, aghast. “Don’t say that to them.”
Remi frowned. “But it’s the truth.”
“They’re going to think you don’t love them.”
Remi grinned caressing her squirming belly. “Oh, they know Daddy loves them. They just like seeing Daddy horny and frustrated, but I plan on getting even when they’re big enough to get laid.” All movement in Rowie’s belly ceased and Remi’s grin grew broader. “Thought that would grab your attention,” he snorted.
“Shit,” Seth gaped. “They understand you already?”
Remi chest literally puffed out. “Of course. These are Red dragon babies.”
Zak rolled his eyes. “Getting back to our problem. We obviously can’t change our hair and eyes, so what can we do now?”
“Wait,” Remi interrupted again. “I didn’t say we couldn’t change our eyes.”
Zak shook his head. “Just changing our eye color won’t make us look much different.”
“But it’s a start. Would you be willing to cut your hair?”
Rowie gasped and almost shot out of Remi’s lap. “Remi is not cutting his h—“
“Easy, baby,” he scolded her softly. His gaze leveled on Seth again. “If we go short, when we shift into dragon form our horns will be shorn. I’m pretty sure my dragon side will go insane without horns.”
Zak frowned. It all clicked inside his head as he remembered how he’d break out in a nervous sweat whenever he went for a haircut. His father had hated that he never cut it shorter than waist length, and he knew that when he was a child he had freaked out so badly they never pressed the issue.
Seth scratched his chin, deep in thought. He suddenly leaned forward, staring at Zak. “Most people shy away from Seraphs. How do you feel about wings?”
Zak mouth fell open. “Wings? That’s how you plan on hiding me? I’m six-foot-seven—“
“Built like a starfreighter,” Remi added.
“Two hundred and sixty pounds,” Zak continued ignoring Remi’s chuckle. “You put a pair of fluffy white wings on me and you might as well sell tickets.”
Seth grinned. “I didn’t say the wings were going to be white.”
“Fuck, you’re evil, Seth,” Remi laughed.
Eriel had flown away, saying he needed to find Zakreel and Lucien. Alluna decided to help with chores and assisted Niggit collecting kindling for the kitchen stove and ovens.
“Was your family killed by raids too?” Niggit asked.
Alluna pondered the thought. She didn’t know about any family other than Mama. And this aching void inside of me. Did I have family… ever?
“I can’t seem to remember,” she finally answered.
Niggit nodded. “My family immigrated here from Maroogsh. I was very small, but I think our planet was struck with old debris from alien battleships from the big war. A virus broke out from the contaminated debris, and the dead were getting back up and attacking the living.” Niggit’s shudder echoed Alluna’s as she imagined the horror of such a thing.
“How awful,” she said sincerely.
“Yeah. But when we got here, our little town was run over by these strange creatures with glowing red eyes. They killed almost everyone before the wolves came in.”
“Wolves?” Alluna stared fascinated at the boy.
Niggit nodded. “My mum and da hid me beneath the floor boards of our cabin. I remember peering out through a crack under the porch, and saw when they ran into the village and started tearing up the ugly red-eyed monsters. They didn’t reach my cabin in time, though, and Mum and Da were killed.”
“Oh, I’m so very sorry, Niggit.”
The boy shrugged. “It was a very long time ago. The wolves found me and took me out of my hiding place along with a few other children… including Red.”
“Red?” Alluna frowned.
Niggit motioned with his chin toward the forest.
Alluna followed his narrowed gaze. The young girl from that morning strolled with her red cape flapping in the breeze into the forest. In her hand, she held the large basket she’d taken from the cupboard.
“She’s up to no good, that one.”
Alluna blinked at him. “What do you mean?”
Niggit scowled, his lips tightening in anger. “She’s cruel. She blames the wolves for her family being killed. There’s this young omega pup she’s been teasing. He won’t go near her, but she’s trying to get him to… to do naughty things with her.”
Alluna’s jaw dropped. “B-but if she hates wolves… why would she.…?”
Niggit shook his head. “I think she wants to hurt him. He’s docile enough for her to hurt him, and I don’t want to begin to imagine what horrid tortures she has in mind for that pup.”
Alluna shot to her feet. “That’s awful. A puppy? How could she hurt a cute little puppy?”
Niggit grimaced. “Well, he’s usually in human form and is about a year or so younger than us, but he’s a big boy really. Most werewolves tend to be bigger than the average humanoid.”
Alluna looked to where the girl had disappeared. “Shouldn’t we try to stop her?”
Niggit looked uncomfortable, and Alluna realized he was scared. “She won’t do anything to us, Niggit. We really need to stop her. What if she lures him to her this time? We need to stop her and tell Mama Goose about this.”
Not waiting for his answer, Alluna gripped his hand and headed into the forest.
“She usually heads to the river,” Niggit whispered, taking the lead now.
“What does she do there?”
Niggit scowled. “You don’t want to know.”
Alluna bit her lip, but followed him quietly through the woods.
The trees weren’t very thick here. They looked like saplings with their silvery trunks no thicker than one of her legs and their bright yellow-green leaves. Clouds covered most of the sky, giving a soft white glow to the daylight while birds twittered merrily around them. Up ahead, Alluna heard the rush of water as the scent of it began to fill her nostrils.
The foliage around the river grew denser, the trees looking older and larger. Niggit reached back, gripping her arm in a signal to stop. He turned, his brown eyes wide as he put a finger over his lips. He then jerked his thumb over his shoulder and crouched behind a bush.
Alluna moved in next to him, and peered through the leaves of their hiding place.
Fifteen paces away, Red spread out a blanket and then proceeded to reach under her short dress. She’d changed into a white blouse with a pale rose corset and another very short pleated grey skirt. Alluna saw the black leather garters that held up her lacy white stockings and the scrap of satin pink panties she slid down her legs.
Alluna’s jaw dropped. When the girl bent over, her ass to the river, she caught sight of another male on the other side. He was tall, as Niggit had said. Muscles bulged on his young… naked and aroused body. Oh no.
The young werewolf’s face was flushed, his mouth hanging open as he stared in obvious fascination at the naughty girl.
When he took a step toward the river, Alluna rushed out shouting, “No. Stop.”
The boy jumped in fright and then disappeared in a flash.
Red reared up quickly, rage in her eyes as she stared daggers at Alluna.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Alluna demanded of her.
The girl’s expression turned innocent. “What are you talking about?”
Niggit stepped up next to Alluna, wringing his fingers.
“You were flashing that were.
Shame on you.”
Red gasped in feigned horror. “I was going to go for my afternoon swim. I didn’t know there was a dirty little werewolf there.”
“That’s not true,” Niggit blurted. “I’ve seen you strip yourself bare and touch yourself so that he can watch.”
Red’s eyes narrowed. “Hmmm. So you watch me masturbate too, Niggit? Does it get you hard? Does it make you cum?”
“Stop it,” Alluna gasped. “You’re too young to be teasing boys that way.”
The girl sneered at her. “Young? Just how old do you think we are, stupid? Niggit and I are well over a hundred sun orbits. As for that were, he’s about ninety, so obviously not that much of a pup, eh. Besides, you should talk. You reek of dragon, you’re obviously pregnant from the scent I smell coming off you, and last night you slept with a reaper and a devil. Slut. At least I’m still a virgin,” Red spat.
Alluna reared back. Pregnant? She was pregnant?
Red gathered her belongings and stomped away.
Alluna crumpled to her knees.
“A-are you okay?” Niggit asked timidly.
Alluna opened her mouth, wanting to answer, but her throat failed to function.
The ache in her chest bloomed tighter. Her lover had deflowered her, gotten her pregnant, and then obviously abandoned her. She wrapped her arms around her middle, feeling her eyes well. Did he not love her? How could she love someone whose face and name she could not remember? Did he erase her memories of him so she wouldn’t demand anything from him? Anger stirred along with grief.
If that’s the way the bastard that had left her, abandoned and pregnant, wanted things to be… then so be it.
“I’m fine,” she got out through clenched teeth, wanting with everything she had inside to hate the father of her poor baby. Instead, she doubled over and sobbed at the loss.
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with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/supernatural/the-witch-and-the-dragon-part-10.aspx">The Witch and the Dragon Part 10</a>