Chapter Seventeen (part one)

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Approaching the gigantic door, I noticed the huge, damp footprints left by previous visitors on the stone steps. The nearby forest floor was still damp from the rain that morning, but who or what would have come from that direction? Cautiously, I rang the bell, and after only a short pause, the hinges groaned open.

Muffled voices sounded behind me, as I entered the hallway, and I stole a quick glance over my shoulder in time to witness the next visitors approaching. A whole assortment of beasts and monsters gracefully ascended the steps, like animals into the ark. I stepped aside and held the door open in welcome, as lions, vampires, trolls, and unicorns paraded past me. But I couldn’t see an end to the procession, so I abandoned my post and entered the meeting room.

The huge hall of stone arches was filled with row upon row of white linen covered, rectangular tables, each decorated with an elaborate flower arrangement, and a pungent aroma infused the air.

Instinct led me to a table in the middle, and I sat down on the high backed, wooden chair expectantly.

The next morning, I awoke to a tickly sensation on my ankle, and I peered curiously under the covers to discover a mound of blonde hair hovering over my feet. The tickle turned into feather soft kisses, and strokes of a spongy nose tip. My stomach began to knot, and my eyes re-closed, as my head sank back into the pillow, enjoying the sensation. Caresses continued upwards and onto the soft skin of my inner thighs, creeping further towards the centre, as Sebastian’s ardour intensified and his encircling tongued teased and tasted me until my body shuddered. I reached down to draw his face level with mine.

“Wow.” I panted. “That was like…the best alarm call ever.”

Sebastian beamed. “I aim to please.” He rolled onto his back and sighed.

“Are you okay?”

“Sure. Just thinking about today.”

I was fully awake now, and the previous night’s conversation, during our journey home, came flooding back. It had been very illuminating and explained, somewhat, Sebastian’s recent disappearances to the city. I had listened intently and tried to absorb all the information he’d related. I recounted the conversation in my head.

“In another realm a dark force has grown strong that threatens every one of us. These creatures have plundered their earth until it lays barren, and now they seek a more fruitful land to conquer. Our world is such a land, and they threaten to strike here, eradicating anyone who opposes them,” Sebastian had begun. “Everybody’s tail is twitching, and we have been gathering our forces, meeting with the heads of great families all over the world. Aside from humans, werewolves have the largest population and form the strongest opposition. Our sources inform us that we are their first target. Their aim is to eradicate as many of us as possible, paving the way for an easier victory.”

I remembered, I broke my stare into the headlight beams ahead and turned to study his face. Frown lines had formed on his forehead. He continued, “Unbeknown to his father, Tyron Reith has been enlisted to lead the battle for supremacy here. He has already instigated proceedings.”

“How?” I’d asked.

“There’s a disease, a plague, and it’s spreading. I can’t pretend that we know what we’re dealing with, we don’t, but we believe it originates from a virus created by Reith Technologies. To begin with, it was restricted to the occupants of the tunnels, but it’s started to leak out. It’s spreading through our community, and the deaths have started. We believe the intention is to eradicate us all. We cannot let that happen. It would leave the humans unprotected and the world ripe for takeover.” At that point, Sebastian had hit the steering wheel in anger. “We’re doing everything we can, but so far, our scientists have failed to find a cure. Father can’t get away from work at the moment, so he’s asked me to travel to the Alician realm to seek an audience with Mathanway, in the hope that she may be able to conjure a magical cure to eradicate this scourge.”

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