3 - Reluctant


Ashton and I had spent the rest of the day planning how it was exactly we were going to leave the veil of the fae. The gate was rarely opened for people to leave unless you were a trader or invited in. It left us little opportunity to sneak out. We would have to find a way to run out when the guards switched patrols either on the night shift or in the early morning hours.

We woke up early the next day to get everything started. Our target was inside of the fae market which was a hassle to get through the more the sun went up.

The first thing we had to take care of was getting these damn silver bangles off my wrists. With them on I couldn't fight to my fullest ability. Having them on for four years meant I'd never shifted into my wolf ever. Last night should've been my first shift but instead I'm sat here at a scrap shop with silver burns that stained my wrists.

Contrary to what Ashton for some reason believed, Mira Fairlite was in fact not at all happy to see me. "Oh, come on. We just need help this one time and we will leave you alone after. Super duper pinky promise," Ashton was trying this best to woo the lightning fae over. Her pale yellow eyes were starting to glow the more he was talking as if ready to strike him at any moment.

"I don't think I could get lucky enough to never see either of you ever again," Mira spat, trying her best to sound threatening. She locked her eyes onto mine," and you!" A growl slipped through her lips as she tried again to seem threatening but it was more on the adorable side.

I bit my lip to hold back the laugh that was building up. I'd seen pups with more of a threatening growl. Ashton elbowed me hard and I coughed," what would I have to do to get you to help uh- me?"

Mira simmered on her anger a bit longer before pointing hard up to the dingy board nailed to the side of where she stood. In big white letters it read "scrap for scrap. trade-ins and cash welcome". "You'll need a damn good piece of scrap or something unique to make be budge," her hand lowered and her eyes stared at the silver bangles. "You know what will happen if the elders catch me with that? Banishment. What about when they find out I helped you two escape? Death!"

"Give her the goods," Ashton whisper yelled at me.

I pulled off my backpack and grabbed the leather wrap I had put our bargaining chips in. Mira moved her hands back when I lay the wrap down, opening it to show a solid silver dagger, a jar of dragon's breath, and a golden necklace that had a purple jewel in the center. "Shit!" Was her first reaction. The small fae made her way from behind the counter and quickly closed the curtain on her shop's front.

"Where the hell did you get that?!" She pressed and pointed to the silver dagger. She grabbed the jar of dragon's breath, holding it up to a light to make sure it was real. When she was done, she picked up the necklace and began studying it beneath a magnifying glass.

"His mother," Ashton leaned forward as if he could understand what she was searching for on the jewelry.

"My dad actually," I crossed my arms over my chest I watched her. Silver in this herd was strictly forbidden outside of the army personnel. The frollick had orders to remain away from surrounding wolf packs and didn't want to seem like a threat. Most people were peaceful and they wanted to keep it that way.

Mira looked up from the necklace," your dad was a wolf, yeah?" I nodded and she continued," seems like he was in some pretty deep stuff to get this. Do you have any idea what it is?" She pushed the magnifying glass in a way that Ashton and I could see what it was she was looking at. On the back of the necklace a paw print with fire wrapped around it had been carved in along with the initials 'GK' below it.

"No. Should I?" I peeled my eyes away from the engraving and up to her.

Mira frowned, pushing the magnifying glass away from us all," it's the mark of a hellhound. Whoever this G.K. is either knew high magick or somebody who did in order to make this. It's a teleportation necklace. To where? No clue. Probably to whoever made this."

I felt myself pale at her words. Hellhound. It was a word that I hadn't heard since the day my father died. Something he'd kept a secret from me. The one that my mother had to reveal and she rejected me the second time for. Why the hell did my dad even know a second hound?

"Mordecai?" Ashton nudged me again and I sighed. Mira was now giving me a curious look. She closed her small hand around the necklace and tucked it into her pocket.

"I'll help you," Mira spoke up and left us both surprised. I was about to thank her before a devious smile made its way onto her face. "Only if you take me with you."

"What?!" Ashton was the one to yell this time. Mira and I shushed him quickly. We couldn't be caught with these items or even discussing something like a hellhound. I couldn't risk that part of my life getting exposed. I knew when she removed these bracelets I had an unknown amount of time before my first shift now that it had been delayed. It's why I never had Ashton in my original plan. There was just no telling how he would react to seeing my wolf. I didn't even know what I would look like.

"No deal," I spoke firmly.

"Do you want your silver removed or not?" Mira's smile only grew wider as she picked up the dagger. "I could just poke you with this until you agree."

I shuddered at the thought. A very deeply suppressed part of me hated the thought of being touched with even more of the metal. "Tell me why I should take you with me?" I hitched a thumb in Ashton's direction," his silver tongue is going to get us far. What have you got to offer?"

Mira hummed to herself momentarily. She placed the dagger back down before walking away to retrieve an old wooden box. Dust kicked up in the old shop as it landed with a loud bang. She fiddled with the lock, more dust kicking up when the box finally opened. Ashton and I stared inside in amazement. Weaponry of all kinds sat piled inside," I have a way to defend us that doesn't involve you turning into a giant beast, oh and yanno. Money. Unlike you two I actually have a job."

Ashton scoffed at her remark," your life is set here Mira-"

"You think I want to sit around for the rest of my life selling scrap with my parents? Gaia no! Maybe your dad's secret friend will set me up with something better than this run down place," Mira slammed the box shut and I coughed at all the dust that came out with it.

It took minutes more before I could even speak. My voice came out raspy," fuck fine. Just don't bring any shit along with you that's going to choke me to death. We're going to be sneaking out of the border when the sun falls. Travel light because none of us know what's outside of the gate and weight will just slow you down."

The only time I'd gotten a brief glimpse of the outer area of this herd was the day Silver Paw's dying Gamma brought me here on my father's orders. He'd been shoved through a portal by the Beta and died soon after arriving. Fourteen-year-old me had been too freaked out to take in much of the surroundings. I only remember that it looked like a swamp in the middle of nowhere. Whether it was a magick guise or not I wasn't sure.

"Bad shit," Mira grimaced. "My parents left once to sell scrap to a different herd but almost everybody in the caravan party died. Said they got attacked by a giant streaker."

"Streaker?" Ashton paled, hugging his arms around himself. He flicked his gaze over to me. "I hope your wolf is something amazing. Because we'll need a miracle if we get caught by a streaker."

Streakers were rumored to be gigantic beasts with long teeth and breath so horrid it could knock you out. They got their name because of the long streaks of fluorescent light that decorated their sides. The streak of light coming off them when they zoomed past you to go in for the kill was all anybody saw before their death. Very few fae ever lived to tell the tale.

"I won't know until she removes the bracelets," I motioned towards my wrists that were both very raw at this point. It wouldn't surprise me if by tonight they were bleeding.

"Tonight," Mira nodded. "I'll bring the equipment to remove it. Don't want you wolfing out on accident before we get the chance to leave."

Ashton and I stayed long enough to talk Mira through the plan we'd made on how to get out. She helped us tweak our plan and hurried us out when another customer stepped inside. I let out a long sigh of relief by the time we left.

Finally it felt like I could get out of this place I'd never wanted to be in to begin with.

"Only bring one jacket," I laughed at Ashton as he was trying to shove as much as possible into his small backpack.

"What if my other one gets wet?" he looked like a lost child tossing out all his clothes to reevaluate them again. I sighed and helped him pick through his clothing to help him get what was actually necessary out of the space we had.

"You won't need to worry about what will and won't get wet when you have creatures three times our size trying to make you a midday snack," I tossed him one long sleeve and one short sleeve, along with a pair of pants and a jacket. "When we find a town we'll worry about getting other clothing."

Ashton apparently was in the arguing mood as he kept sorting through the clothing I'd recommended him for other pieces he 'liked more' in his small wardrobe. I nearly choked him out by the time the sun set and we were sneaking out of the orphanage to go and see Mira.

The hallways were completely deserted. The call for lights out had happened an hour before. All the earth fae that were in charge of the building would be tucked into bed by now. Really the only thing we had to worry about was if the cameras picked up our little escape. Right now I couldn't give a shit less though. I needed to leave. Spending another day in this place would seal my fate forever with the fae.

I lead the way towards the border, sticking to the shadows to stay out of sight of any passersby. Not many here were known for staying out late to drink or party in general. The streets were almost eerily quiet to a point it made me worry more than if they had actually been full. A deep darkness had set over the place and nothing moved. Cold wind blowing through the village.

Something here wasn't right.

Ashton clung to me when we slipped past the last buildings that lingered in the small town. Mira's small figure was crouched down behind a ration cart, her arms waving to motion us over. If it was daytime she would be flagging the entire frollick down. I cursed under my breath and dragged Ashton by the arm over to me.

"Took you long enough!" she yelled in a whisper at us. Her small hand darted into her pocket and produced three purple potion bottles. "Prolonged invisibility. Snagged these from one of the elf traders that came through last month. Didn't think I'd get to use them." She gave us all one and we turned to watch the guards that were supposed to be patrolling the large golden arch that served as the gate into our realm.

Only the guards weren't moving. In fact they looked frozen. Two were standing stoically on either side of the gate and one had its leg posed up as if to take the step any second. Some of the darkness that had been more prominent tonight pooled up and formed a figure.

"What the fuck is that?!" Ashton cowered behind me as we all watched a creature form within the darkness. Three pairs of bones shaped like wings hung from its back. I was too far away to get a good look at what face was present. Whatever it was it was dark. Very very dark. The figure twitched in place, turning until its eyes locked onto mine. My heart rate picked up and a chill ran down my spine. It felt like my entire mind had been sucked into hyper focus.

"Come," a voice rasped around us and Mira shrieked loudly.

I was the first to get up and do as told. It was like the creature was compelling me forward. Ashton and Mira were hot on my trail yelling loudly as they caught up. The creature stepped outside of the gate and into the deep swampy area that I had seen when I first arrived in this goddess forsaken place.

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