33. Behind the veil

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A/n
Lol, I'm sorry if the pace and action has slowed but you'll all get your action soon. These are very important parts. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this! Have fun reading and don't forget to hit that little orange star and let me know what you think!
Much Love
-A
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Mark sat still without uttering a word as Athena and Michael held their breaths waiting for him to react. Both of them felt that it was the hardest thing they had ever done in their lives, so much so that, the moment Mark moved, Athena and Michael involuntarily flinched. He slowly pinched the bridge of his long nose and sighed, squeezing his eyes together.

"And you don't know if she is alive?" He finally asked.

"We are looking into it. Ryder said that they had found a little girl of ten and since the village was found almost empty, I suspect she might know something." Athena replied, hesitant and still worried about his calm demeanour. But his eyes showed what he really felt. There was a storm brewing in him and she was afraid of what would happen if he did not stop bottling his true feelings.

"Can I see her when she comes?" he whispered, looking at her with hopeful eyes, knowing she couldn't say no to that.

Pursing her lips, she considered his request for a minute. "Fine. But I will also be with you as you question her." He nodded his consent as he got up silently and walked out of the hall.

Athena quickly reached out with her mind to the line that connect her to Dreynor.

'Dreynor?'

'Yes pup?' He replied, looking at her from across the room, his eyes mirroring the same worry she felt as they watched Mark walk out.

'Be with him. Do not let him spend time with his thoughts, else he might do something that we will all regret. Also, please take good care of him.' Athena never begged, but this was her brother and she would do anything for him just as she knew he would. Michael sighed as he and Athena watched Dreynor following Mark out of the hall.

"The way he reacted, it was unsettling." Michael commented, his voice laced with worry.

Athena didn't reply as she sent a silent prayer that they soon got answers.

***

It was the middle of the night when Ryder shook her awake. "Athena!" He whisper shouted. "You need to come down right now. The girl from the village. You have to see her. Maybe she will talk more if she has seen you around."

And that got her on high alert. Sitting up on her bed, her hand reached out for her sword, tying it onto her belt as she rushed into the adjoining room to wash her face. Athena was soon out of her room and running behind Ryder to the little room beside the entrance where they held all newcomers for interrogation. Ryder walked in quick, but Athena waited outside, waiting for the door to almost close to peek in to see the girl.

She is tiny!

Inside, the girl sat on a chair, shivering and covered in blankets.Her fear and hunger could be sniffed out by even the weakest wolf. She asked the guard outside the room to quickly fetch some water and food for the girl as she felt that she had seen the girl before.

Maybe in the market when we used to go to get supplies.

She straightened out her clothes and slowly walked in. The girl didn't see her come in at first as she was busy looking at Ryder, trying to anticipate his movement, but soon her eyes caught something moving in the shadows and she looked to see Athena walk out of them.

Plastering a kind smile on her face, Athena began by asking,"Little one, what is..."

The little girl began screaming at the top of her lungs, pointing to Athena in utter fear. Athena, shocked by the girl's reaction, froze in place even though her screams hurt her ears and head. Ryder quickly pulled Athena out with him and began demanding as to why the little girl screamed when she saw her.

"I don't know." Athena replied as she sat down, her mind still numb seeing the girl's fear. She looked at the guard standing next to her with a pitcher filled with water. Taking a hold of it, she downed the contents like there was no tomorrow and wiped her mouth to clean up all the water that spilled over.

"Get the Dragon King and Mark. I don't care what you have to do to bring them here, just do it and tell them that I am calling them. Go. Now." Her hoarse voice resounded around them as the guard took off to do the needful.

"She reacted as if you were the one that burnt down the village or hurt her." Ryder commented, placing his hand on her shoulder and crouching down to meet her eyes.

"Knowing the mad king, he may have made it look like I did so his empire won't hate him but instead us. He is clever." she whispered, bringing her knees to her chest and resting her head on them.

"But how does he know what you look like? You haven't ever seen him yet."

"I don't know, Ryder!" She said forcefully, clutching at her hair trying hard not to focus on the bursts of pain that shot through her head as the screams echoed in her ears.

Ryder moved to hug her, which did little to make Athena feel better. Mark and Dreynor joined them sooner than she thought they would and she made a mental note to ask the guard how he did it. Ryder quickly told them what happened and Athena watched as their faces morphed from shock to puzzlement. Mark almost stormed into the room to give the girl a piece of his mind, but Dreynor held him down, telling him it wouldn't be beneficial to anyone if he did that. After all of them manage to calm him down, Mark and Dreynor went in to talk to the girl.

They didn't come out for a while and every passing second only made Athena feel more jumpy even though she was running her hands through Ryder's fur, who had quickly changed into a wolf after feeling her turmoil over their connection knowing that that helped her with all the raging emotions. As they waited, they noticed that the shadows moved to a particular point in front of them, forming the shape of two men. Ryder was on all fours in an instant and Athena had her hand on the pommel of her sword as she quickly got up.

"Will you both just calm down?" A familiar voice floated through the shadows as a two pairs of red eyes glowered at them.

"We can never be too careful, Nebulas." Athena replied as she relaxed and Ryder sat down beside her again as she watched Nebulas and Matthew step out of the darkness, the shadows disappearing around him. "Why are you here right now?"

"Oh, just passing by. I heard that a certain dragon royalty has taken residence in your library ignoring the fact that he has one for himself in his kingdom." Athena gave him a small smile on hearing this and gave a quick nod to Matthew, acknowledging his presence.

"Why are you really here, Nebulas?" Athena asked again, knowing full well that that wasn't why he had really come.

"Information. Matthew has something to tell you. Also, I felt your emotions and I want to know how and why."

Dread filled Athena as she imagined how everything could be ruined if she told him the truth. But before either of them could reply, Mark and Dreynor walked out of the room, both of them a little pale.

"She insists that she saw you as the fires burnt the village." Mark said, ignoring the Fairies but Dreynor quickly nudged him, asking him to keep quiet and honour the fairies' presence.

Mark finally looked at the Fairies beside him, blanching when he saw their red eyes, and she knew why. He saw James in them. He quickly hid it under a mask of nothingness as Dreynor introduced him to them. After that was over, Nebulas was the first to break the thick tension surrounding them.

"Keep talking Youngling, we are also here because of that child."

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