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|Out Of The Dark(Grey Wolves #4) by Quinn Loftis|
The four continued on a non-existent path, Cynthia leading, Decebel, Sally, and Costin bringing up the rear. So it had been for the past week. As they walked and the day dragged on, Sally began to feel like they were being watched. She paused as they topped another long hill.
"Is it just me or does it feel like the trees have eyes?" she asked wearily.
"No, I've been feeling like we are being watched as well." Decebel's voice was raspy with pain.
Costin took a protective step in front of Sally as they each peered into the darkening forest. The sun began to set and the temperature continued to drop. Finally, after standing there for several moments feeling like they were in a standoff, Sally yelled, "Show yourself! We know you're there!"
They each let out a breath they didn't realize they had been holding. Then a voice came from up ahead.
"You have to be one of the bravest, mouthiest healers I have met in some time."
Decebel stepped forward, placing himself in front of their group. Costin stepped up beside him, blocking both Sally and Cynthia.
Sally rolled her eyes, looking at Cynthia.
Cynthia smiled. "Alpha males," she murmured, and winked as if that were explanation enough – which it was.
As they all looked straight ahead in the direction the voice had originated from, they saw a soft glow emerge from the trees. There was a flash of light, which caused them all to turn their heads and cover their eyes. Then, just like that, it was gone. In its place stood a beautiful woman. She looked to be in her mid-twenties, but the weary look in her eyes said she was much older and had seen more than her share of heartache. She was tall and slender, with waist-length white hair that shimmered with her movements, as if little lights were attached along each strand. Her lips were ruby red and her high cheeks had a natural blush to them. Sally noticed that she did indeed have pointed ears, although not so prominent as to stand out. Her most striking feature were her eyes. They were a pale peridot green with a very soft glow.
This was Perizada.
"I will admit that the bright light is a little ostentatious and not necessary, but I figured it's your first time to meet a Fae, might as well go all out."
Nobody said anything as they stared at one of the eerily beautiful Fae.
"Perizada?" Sally wanted to confirm.
"The only." The fairy smiled sweetly.
"Excellent," Sally murmured with a wicked smile as she started toward the woman. "So bloody nice of you to finally grace us with your presence,” she growled as she continued forward.
Costin grabbed her around the waist, pulling her back against his chest. "Easy," he whispered in her ear.
"While you have been taking your sweet damn time reveling yourself to us, our friends are in trouble. Decebel is on the verge of keeling over and who knows what's happening to Jen! So please do tell. What has been so freaking important that you have taken a week, A BLOODY WEEK, TO CONTACT US!" Sally was panting and continuing to pull against Costin's hold.
Perizada stepped closer, her eyes running over each of them, then back to Sally. "Are you sure you're a healer? You're awfully temperamental."
"AHHH!" Sally screamed against Costin's hold. "You haven't seen temperamental until you've seen Jen. I'm a peach compared to her. Where the hell have you been! Why did you take so long? Don't you get it? Decebel is -" Sally stuttered and pointed at the weakened Beta, "and Jen is, is, well -"
"Jen is dying," the Fae said matter of factly.
Sally gasped and would have collapsed had Costin not been holding her.
Decebel's knees buckled as he howled a sound so painful that Sally thought her heart would tear from her chest.
"You don't know that! You don't know what you're talking about!" Sally couldn't believe the way she was acting, but it just all hit at once. She was cold, tired, and scared. And now this Perizada stood there, speaking so casually about the demise of her best friend. It was just too much.
"SILENCE!" Perizada yelled and the air around her seemed to shimmer and crackle. "You know nothing about which you speak, healer. I am Perizada, ambassador to the supernatural world from Farie. I was here before you were even a thought in your mother's mind and I will be here when your bones are dust buried layers beneath the earth. You do not have the privilege of questioning me." Perizada's eyes were glowing and her hair whipped behind her by an unnatural breeze. "I will answer you not because I have to, but because I respect you as the current healer to the wolves. I have been leading a very nasty witch on a fruitless chase. She was getting close to discovering Rachel and Gavril's location and that cannot happen, must not happen. I could not risk coming to you until I had sufficiently squelched her plan. That is where I have been. You must not be so narrow-minded to believe your friends are the only lives worthy of rescue."
"Watch it, Fae," Decebel growled, managing to sound menacing even from his broken position on the cold, snow-covered ground.
"I meant no offense, wolf."
"Are you going to take us to Jen now?" Sally asked, her anger now being replaced by fear and worry for her friend.
"No, I will have to have Gavril bring her to us. I cannot have you and Rachel in the same place. Your combined magic would draw the witch like a moth to a flame." Peri turned to Decebel. She walked over and leaned down in front of him.
"I owe you an apology Beta. I did not realize the bond between you and Jennifer was so strong. It has been long since I have interacted with the wolves and I had forgotten the fragility of a new bond."
"I don't remember her. How can our bond be strong if a witch's spell was able to erase my mate from my mind?" Decebel's voice was tight with anger.
"You have not shared blood. Listen, she has not been erased. Your wolf knows her or else you would not feel the pain you are feeling. Your fates are intertwined even without completing the Blood Rites. I haven't seen a bond like this in a long time." Peri laid her hand on Decebel, offering the little comfort through touch that she could.
"Come." She stood, motioning for them to follow. "We have a long journey to Farie, we mustn't tarry."
"Did you say Farie?" Cynthia sputtered.
"Where else can I keep your presence safe from others?" the Fae asked in a condescending tone.