Samantha placed the last monitor on the fingertip of her patient before tucking her in. She was amazed at the transformation after just a few hours. Sure, the girl was still little more than skin and bones right now, but her face was no longer as drawn. She had a bit of pink to her skin, which was once again elastic to the touch. She was sleeping soundly – restfully – instead of not sleeping at all or as she had been when she first came to the clinic – very fitfully.

When the doctor finally walked out of the room to speak to Sebastian, she asked, “What did you do for her? That’s from just…just feeding?”  She was shocked at the difference and even more surprised, when she looked up to see Devon and Senias walking down the hallway. “I…I don’t have the results back,” she whispered. Had he told them? Had something happened to make him certain of who this was?

“Just let me know when you hear something. Until then we’ll set up a feeding schedule with my source and when she’s recovered we’ll decide what to do. No need to add to her stress right now right?” Sebastian watched the others head their way.  How long could he keep this quiet?

Sam nodded. She turned and placed a card on the door that said “Quarantined” in several languages. That would keep people from even wanting to go in.  Then, she stepped to Sebastian’s side when the others made their way to him.

“And what did ya find?” Devon went straight to the point with the vampire with none of the usual pleasantries.

“Hello to you too Mr. Weylyn.” The vamp could be a royal prick when he wanted to be or when he felt that he was being insulted. “Perhaps I’d be more inclined to tell you what I found if you remembered your manners and actually gave me all of the details instead of the half ass ones provided so far.”

“Bastian, things are serious,” Senias warned his Councilor.  “We just brought in several witnesses or fugitives if you want the truth – from Eriksson. Dev called Zenlial to be a non-biased mind reader for the bunch. They’ll need Sam to also be there for the interviews and to get their registration started.”

There was a brow lifted at this new information and it was the only reason he wasn’t going further with his little rant. Instead he glanced towards the lovely Dr. Keene at his side. He knew she would want to be there for the registration of the others.

Sam looked to Sebastian and hopped on her toes once before making her way hurriedly downstairs. She needed to be sure things were going as needed for this. Registration interviews were tedious and for witnesses? She wanted to personally see to dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

“There are definite ties to the Eriksson coven being looked into, but besides Avery’s testimony, I would need corroborating evidence or many more witnesses to the situation going on behind closed doors. He was a slave on the other side, where it’s allowed. Things get sticky and that coven knows it. All of you know it, too, or at the very least, Gabriel Kennedy knows this and he has probably told you all more than once. Otherwise, my hands are tied. I don’t want to take this before the Council, and have them win double jeopardy.  There is at least one other connection that I’m looking into.” Sebastian gave what he could for now and waited.

“The wolves in there are running from their chains within that coven. I’m sure they’ll testify, because otherwise, they’re all loose ends,” Senias said gruffly.

So far, Sebastian had the main set of lupine lycan available. If Rebecca could get well enough to testify, she might make a better impression. If Cody testified, there might be even more support shown. Unfortunately, he wasn’t sure about the last two. And they hadn’t found the last brother, either. What was special about Eva’s children was that they were living examples of illegal experimentation. But whereas these lycan had nothing to lose, Avery was worried about retribution should the case not be won.

“I believe that if, and that is a very big if, these lycan can give me sufficient testimony I can support opening the site of the coven for further investigation. I can justify it to the Council when it becomes necessary.” Looking to Devon, the Coven Master was tempted to let him know about Rebecca, but he resisted knowing how damaging it could be if the results proved otherwise. “When can I speak with these witnesses?”

The fang was up to something, Devon would bet on it. His gaze narrowed as he looked from Sebastian to Sen and then back. It would tell his dragon brother that something was off, but he couldn’t put a finger on it. “Come with Doc. After she does her stuff with em, we’ll have a sit down and you can talk with em.”

Senias crossed an arm over his chest and held his other elbow so that his fingers could touch his chin. Yeah. Something was off, but he wasn’t going to call Sebastian on it openly. He was smarter than that.

“Then Dev, maybe go and make sure they’re okay and let us know when to talk to them?” the dragon asked. His brow raised when the lycan looked to him and maybe had the thought to argue.  “Maybe get some coffee. We’re gonna be here a little while.”

To say that Devon wasn’t pleased was putting it lightly, but with a huff Devon turned and left to get the others ready for the visit. He also needed to talk to them and prepare them for what was coming.

As Devon left them, Sebastian waited patiently for Senias to dig because that was what he was so very good at these days. If he didn’t know the man so well he’d think that Kennedy was the reason.

“He’s letting it get to him on a personal level this time. You know that.” Senias was almost apologetic. “Eva’s pregnant and they just found one of their pups. And all roads lead back to Eriksson.”

“No!” the sound of one of the lycan from the emergency room area of the clinic was sharp and followed by a growl.

“Hmm and it seems the others aren’t pleased at the idea of speaking to me.” Sebastian crossed his arms before him and took a deep breath, “I’ll congratulate him on the litter, but I’m not sure what else you’d like me to do to make this easier on him. I am offering to help am I not?” His mind reached out to make sure Samantha was alright as he moved towards the hall leading to the emergency triage area.

Sam was agitated, wanting the others away from her patients. She was about to let them all have it. By the time Sebastian with Senias behind him got to the area, they could see that Sam was pushing fluids into two of the lycan, while the other was arguing with Devon. At the doorway into the area from the outside, stood Zenlial, quietly holding her light jacket over her arms in front of her.

“No. I appreciate you helpin’ us, and I’d be forever indebted to you for taking in my pups, but we won’t testify. And we can prove to you we’re telling the truth, but I have to say, I don’t want none of it used against Coven Eriksson. Please, don’t start an investigation. Just let us get out of it. We get cleaned up and healed here and we’ll go up into the mountains. There’s word of a pulled pack up there on the trail. We won’t even be in your fur, Devon. Just… no…”

Casually moving to stand beside Samantha, Sebastian put himself between the other lycan and her while she treated the two that apparently needed it. Lifting one hand up, he looked over his nails as he let the defensive lycan feel the power that he was giving off. They’d been ruled by vampires for a long time, in some cases their entire lives, so the sensation would be familiar to them.

“Now that we are calm somewhat, we can discuss this matter properly.” Sebastian’s eyes were glowing that rich amber while he spoke.

There was a deep dangerous rumble from the Weylyn Alpha as his own eyes sparkled like golden colored gems, “Stop it! Don’t do that to them!”

When the fang ignored him, a big hand closed around Sebastian’s throat and he was pushed against a wall and lifted at least a foot off the ground. “They’ve hand fangs do enough of that to them. I won’t have them go through more!” He squeezed and for a human it would have cut off air supply, but with the vampire it didn’t accomplish such a reaction.

“Devon!” Samantha dropped her pad and moved to stand beside the big lycan. “He’s not hurting them!”

“Let.. go..” Sebastian wrapped a hand around the lycans wrist and his other wrapped around the mans forearm. ~ Control your dog before I lose my patience and really hurt him. ~ Eva would hate him more and Sen may never forgive him, but he’d only suffer and tolerate so much from the feral before his own monster emerged and none of them would like that.

“Brother! Stop this! You wanted to know what they know, did you not? Sebastian was just…”

Devon snarled at Sen as he kept the fang pinned, “He wants to control them just like the Erikssons did and they don’t need that. They don’t deserve it!”

“He wasn’t controlling them! Their brain waves would be different if he were! He was trying to calm them down! He was protecting me and the staff! Devon, please, stop!” Sam’s eyes were bleary with concern. She didn’t want to have to tranq the Alpha, but she had the hypo in her hand in the pocket of her coat. Her hand was on Devon’s bicep and she was asking him, but not begging him. “Please stop.”

Sebastian’s fangs were out and yet he wasn’t snarling he just stayed calm and still while Senias and Samantha tried dealing with the enraged lycan. But if the feral didn’t let go soon he’d find his wrist and forearm snapped in two places and Sebastian wouldn’t be the least bit remorseful.

“They have good reason not to report it. And if you all would just let Dr. Keene and her staff continue their treatment, I would be happy to tell you why!” Zenlial called from the door. The elf then turned from the chaos and walked to the conference room down the hall, as if there wasn’t a thing wrong with the world.

To appease the lycan, Sebastian pulled back his power leaving them to flutter around in their own panic and uncertainty. “All to themselves again, now put me down and remove your paw from my throat.” It was the last time he’d ask.

“What? What just happened?” The father of the other two seemed the one most worried and anxious. One of his pups was about to reach for the IV and Sam hopped over there really quick.

“NO! You need this! Your dad said it was okay. It’s just rehydrating. Remember? You all said you’d trust me. Seriously! Do not make me find another vein. It will hurt like hell.” Sam was not even playing with these guys.

“They’re not gonna force us to testify, are they? They’re not opening a case are they?” one of the other lycan asked. He was so damn drained, though that he didn’t even try to move.

“No! No…this is ongoing…I assure you. I’m treating you, because it’s my job and my vow to do so. Has nothing to do with what anyone else wants.” Sam cut a glare over to all of the others.

As the other lycan responded to the power withdrawl, Devon drop the fang and moved towards them. “Go ahead Doc, I got no problem with ya treatin’ em.”

“You know what?” Samantha turned, her icy glare onto the big Alpha. Her voice was calm when she said it and her steps toward him steady.

Senias muttered under his breath, “Now you’ve done it, brother.” The dragon moved to follow Zenlial and Sebastian. Devon was a married man. He ought to have known what those three words meant when they came from an pissed off woman. Hell, Gabriel even used the phrase now and again and Sen knew it meant he’d overstepped.   

“You can go and meet up with the others. I don’t need anyone to tell me when I can and can’t treat my patients and how I can and can’t treat my patients. They will receive the best of care and it’s not on your terms or his terms, Mr. Weylyn.” She motioned as if to shoo him from the room.

A brow raised towards the Doctor and it seemed like even she had forgotten what she was dealing with. “I’m Alpha, Dr. Keen and everything to do with my Pack is on my terms. If I leave this clinic they will go with me because they are part of my Pack while recovering. Don’t force my hand Doc or this will be the last of my Pack you treat in this clinic or out of it.” Even his own mate knew how far to push things with him and knew how to pick her battles. He turned and moved to follow the others as he looked to the eldest lycan and rumbled in the old tongue to him.

Samantha did not blink, nor did she back down. She watched as the big lycan moved away.

“Where were these lycan found and what brought them into this area?” Sebastian asked as he relaxed in the chair at the conference room table. He wanted to help but if they were reluctant to testify then what was left to him. “You said you’d explain?” His gaze moved to the elf.

“I’m waiting on Devon,” Zenlial whispered. After all, he had been the one to call her in.

When Devon stepped into the room he was all but pleased. First the fang and then the Doc. He was too wired with Eva’s pregnancy making him even edgier. His temper was short right now and he knew it was just the defensive side.

The elf got up when he walked in and walked around the table to her friend. She held her hand up, palm facing him. “Please?”

Taking Zenlial’s hand actually had him calming just as Eva’s touch would have if she were present. He took a deep breath and relaxed a little, “I’m alright Zeni, let’s get this settled so we can get some answers.” Devon moved with her to the table and took a seat at it beside Senias.

“As you were saying?” Sebastian prompted her seeing something between that just felt odd.

Zenlial placed her fingers together once she had Devon back on track. She walked around her seat instead of sitting in it. She was thinking about what she saw.  

“They won’t report anything and they don’t want you to open another investigation into the coven they come from, because … well, everytime Crimson investigates, the coven lord orders any evidence of wrongdoing to the other side or, they simply kill people to be sure they can’t be caught. This means ripping families apart and possibly even losing them completely. That man in there is only 80 years old and his sons are half that. He’s lost his mate and other pups because of this. He spent years planning the get away for them, earning the trust of the coven masters he dealt with… and he’d gladly let them remain free and turn himself back in to keep an investigation from happening.” Zen walked, her face contemplative and sad in her slow pacing. She waited for any questions.

“That’s what happened to Eva,” Senias whispered under his breath. It had to be. But they kept her kids? Wouldn’t they be proof? Or had they put them somewhere away from the coven? “Where do they hide the ones they keep?”

Devon tensed up at mention of his mate and he used a great deal of self control to keep himself in line. He closed his eyes and just listened to Zeni’s voice as she answered.

“I can look further once they relax,” Zen offered. Her countenance was passive on the request. “I believe this means we all need to be very calm and very careful in this. From what I saw, the last culling took place but a few months past. Apparently there was some investigation? I don’t remember it, though. If there was, it did not originate within the Council.”   

“Yes it did Zenlial.” Sebastian looked up at her and took a deep breath, “The Coven extermination due to genetic tampering and his attempts on my Coven’s life. The Council ruled in my Coven’s favor and we were allowed to tear down the Eriksson Coven. We spared the slaves and the lycan as best we could. I even found homes for those that we found during the operation.” This was the raid that Rebecca had gotten free during. “Without testimony I will not have enough to get a ruling against the Coven again.”

“What’s to stop them from killing or evacuating the new ones they’ve gotten? Obviously, they still are hiding their slaves somewhere. These three are proof of that.” Senias pointed out.

“If they are not given the information beforehand that there will be a raid. Obviously, there has been a mole in Crimson or the Council that is letting the Coven know before any raid occurs. We need to be sure that does not happen again. Or more will suffer.” Zenlial placed a slender hand upon the back of the chair she would have been sitting in had the need been there. Her mind was a thousand miles away, though.

“We only need five out of seven votes from the Council, so my suggestion is we pick Councilors that we know aren’t moles and have a private hearing. Don’t put it on record until after the order is carried out whatever it may be.” Sebastian offered this up to show them that he was indeed trying to help them.

“They killed children last time. Children and their guardians. Several fought to protect the children, but they’re not taught how to shift, so that they can remain as docile and easy to manipulate as possible. One shifted and took out several coven members before escaping. These three watched it happen. They used the distraction to their advantage.”  Zenlial was staring at her fingers as they held the back of the chair. “They call them… Faeceus… it’s vampire for shit.”

~ She’s Eva’s daughter. Eva and an unknown male. There are markers that match Avery. Familial matches are in my office. ~ Samantha let Sebastian know. ~ I’m afraid she’s still asleep. She’s too weak to ask questions of. ~  

“Well then we will need to pull out all stops to prevent such from occuring again. We could gas the lair prior to raiding it. If we sedate the majority of it then it should be less deaths caused.” Sebastian knew the next question they’d ask would be how and he had an answer that he rarely shared. ~ I’m not telling him yet. Let her recover and regain her strength and then I will tell them. ~

~ You know him better than me. I’ll acquiesce to your decision on this. But once she understands her situation, the call is hers. Please play your cards right on this. ~ Samantha went back to her work.

“We’d need to get in. We’d need to know where they’re keeping people. We’d need to know their secret places. Were you able to get any of that from those three?” Senias asked the elven Councilor.

“I can add it to the list of things to search for next time I’m near them.” Zenlial replied. Her voice caught, and she cleared her throat.

“What is on ya mind Zeni?” Unlike the other two Devon had been watching her and taking in every tiny move on odd breath that she took. Something was on her mind and she was holding back on speaking it.

“Section five. Article 30. Anyone having knowledge of a crime that has been committed against the Council or the leadership of Crimson that places the governing body at risk and therefore the lives of the many at risk, shall be immediately brought to plea before the Council on the charges of treason.”  Zenlial’s eyes were still on her fingers.

Treason was a very serious charge, usually ending in either pardon or death.

“The father. He was someone who cleaned up for them. He worked around death. He cleaned up after it. He has images of my sister in his head. I’m afraid I’m torn by this news and I should not be. I should be relieved that my search is over. And yet I feel sadness in my heart and shame.” Zenlial sighed.

“We’ll talk to him about all of this and see what he has to say.” Sebastian’s brow lifted as he watched Devon stand up and go to the elf. He was surprised even more as the furball hugged her and rumbled to her. ~ Oh shit.. How long before we have a crazed pregnant lycan here? I thought you had him under control. ~

~ I highly doubt Eva would mind. They became fast friends at the portal that day. It was really … odd… He’s just comforting her. ~ Senias spoke aloud. “If this is so, our goal is to find verifiable proof and when that happens, the Coven will actually be dissolved, am I correct?”

Zenlial placed her face against Devon’s chest. Her pain was deep and for many reasons. Being able to hide against someone she trusted allowed her to be able to cry. She was nearly silent as she did so.

“You are correct, and at that time nothing will save them.” Sebastian replied while still watching the oddity that was Devon and Zenlial. A lycan and an elf close enough to hug and comfort one another.

“It’s alright, we’ll find the proof ya need to get the job done and the only thing I want is to be apart of the team that goes in to decimate them.” Devon held his friend and rubbed her back soothingly.

Sebastian traded looks with Senias. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. If something happened to you, your mate wouldn’t forgive me.”

“Let me worry about my mate and you just get the order approved by the Council.” Devon was getting damned tired of others trying to “keep him safe” like he was some wet behind the ears pup that needed babying!

“Don’t forget to talk to the lycan before you leave. And check for the things on your list, Lady Councilor. And then, I think we all need to call it a day. Night. Whatever the hell it is. I’ll continue to look into the vampires.” Senias got up and walked to the door. He was waiting on Sebastian.

“Uh yes what he said.” Sebastian stepped out to join Senias in the hall to walk back to the emergency area.

Once they were alone, Zenlial took a step back and moved her hands to try and find her kerchief that she always kept with her. She needed to gather herself.

“I’m sorry I didn’t begin with that. I had… I had so much running through my mind, Devon.  But, if Minlial’s death does nothing else, perhaps – if we find proof – this horrible coven can be completely eliminated once and for all.”  

Reaching for his own kerchief, Devon offered it and watched her, “What else is eating at ya lil bit?”

“No. it’s not just… “ Zen looked down, ashamed. “I had come to suspect she was already dead. I had accepted that. Seeing what I saw in his head? It was awful. But, not a surprise. My reaction? I’m ashamed of it.”

“Well if you already suspected it what are ya ashamed of darlin’ ?” Devon was abit confused and it was showing.

“The first thing I thought of was Wulf and my children. I’m the Elven Councilor, Devon. I can’t hand that duty back over to Minlial. I can’t go back.”

 

“Why can’t ya?” Devon asked and then lifted a brow, “Wait ya want to go back for Wulf too? Does he feel the same Zeni?” the Alpha felt very protective of this little elf and it showed in moments like this.

“Of course I do. He said he can’t come over here. But that he was going to be who he really was and when I was done here, to come back to him. My children will have been helping him. I told them. If he passes  their scrutiny, and I have faith he would, I planned to go back to him. Why would you think he doesn’t feel the same?”

“I just want to make sure he is good for you and knowing his history makes me question that.”

“Devon, you told me stories about how wild you were. And yet, when you met Eva, you had eyes for no others. Why would you think Rory any different?” She swallowed. “But my duty will yet extend again. Until there is another who could take my place; until there is some other way…” she shook her head. “Minlial loved this world and everything about it. She would have loved taking her seat back.”

“I adore you and your family, Devon. But this world? This world of ours has changed so very much… and my family is back in the other world…all of it… including him.”   

“You called him Rory.. in that case why don’t we start looking for you a replacement.” Devon grinned, “Zenlial, I no longer find you as worthy to be Councilor due to your relationship with a lycan.. Once all of this is over we will find your suitable replacement. Until such is found you will retain your chair and status.” It was his solution to her problem.

“Wh..what?” she was confused and continued to wipe her eyes with the cloth.

Devon actually chuckled at the look she gave him, “Come on Zeni think it over a minute, I know you’ll sort out what I said without be drawing a picture.” His canines showed with his grin.

A small smirk could be seen as she considered his words and what they meant. He was right. The elves would never allow one of their kind who had an elicit affair with a lycan to be their Councilor!  

“Only after things are set right and proper here,” Zenlial took his hand. “I promise. I want to be able to boost the votes needed. Once things are set right, I can return there to him, and to my children. And my heart’s telling me that things aren’t right … not yet.”  

“Only when you are ready I promise.” Devon winked at her.

“Now, if I could only go back and actually have that elicit affair….so there would be some truth to it.” she winked at her friend. Devon had a knack for making her feel better and seeing the things she overlooked.  She hoped she had been able to do the same for him.

That really made the big lycan laugh as he led her out of the conference room, “You’re a dream darlin’ but I like my balls where they are and that’s sure fire way to change ‘em.” He couldn’t help but arrange himself at just the idea of Eva removing them for such a betrayal.

“Go home to check on Eva. I’ll take care of your trio here. I need to look into their minds, anyway. You know, you have my word that no harm will come to them. They were malnourished and exhausted, from what I could tell. I doubt the doctor would let them go home without an overnight stay, anyway.” Zenlial offered. “Now that we have a plan of action, you can relax just a bit, don’t you think?”

“Yer right darlin, thank ya for watchin’ over ‘em for me. Don’t let ‘em get into too much trouble and give me a call if ya need me.” He was thankful and really wanted to get back and check on his mate. That said he kissed Zenlial’s cheek and turned to leave the clinic.

Zen waited until Devon had left the clinic to then looked over to the triage area. She took a deep breath and made her way back down the hall.

~  Rachel Diane Adams and Dawn McClellan © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2019