We dropped off Ben at the truck and continued on our way.
Radioing ahead, I said, “Raven, we should be coming up on the first ridge in a minute. Get ready to take the shields down.”
“Alright,” she replied. “I’ll make sure that they just let y’all through. You know where you’re heading?”
“Yep, there’s a mini compound to the right of Town Hall a bit. We’ll be setting up there. It’s a good place for Octavia’s pack to claim as their own.”
“So, you’re already thinking that Manassas will stay ours?”
“By rights of occupation, yes. Manassas is yours. The Pack Council has no qualms about handing it over to you. Humans are still up for debate.”
“Gotcha,” she said, “Alright, I’ve got you on the feed, just slow down a bit more and you won’t have to come to a stop.”
“Alright. Talk to you soon.”
“I’ll have Clarke, Octavia, and Nate meet you there.”
Sephy slowed the buggy making the transports slow down as well. It was timed perfectly and we rolled through with no problem. The humans stood on either side of the street, looking on in fear. It made me wonder if it didn’t look like we were an invading force. Luckily, they just stood there watching as we rolled by. About two blocks out from the compound one of the mages jumped out of the truck and set up a ward to dissuade humans from coming closer. It kept us from having to hide our powers while the house was set up. We pulled up and the trucks pulled into the compound grounds and everyone jumped out and started to get to work. Sephy and I got out of the buggy and headed over the the small group. Raven, of course, had invited herself along as well.
“What’s all this,” Octavia asked as her arms swept the entire compound.
“Your new pack headquarters,” I replied. “We’ve brought furniture and food. The mages will set up the running water and electricity. They’ll also reinforce the foundations and set up enclosures for outdoor training and indoor training. It’ll be big enough that both weres and mages can practice without having to hide in a small room in the bunker.”
“You’re doing this for us,” Nate asked bewildered.
“Yes,” Sephy replied, “Think of it as a professional curtesy, from one pack leader to another. Like Nyx told Raven, the Council has pretty much said that Manassas is yours. Having your pack house here in town cements that idea.”
“This is very generous of your pack leader, Nyx,” Clarke said stepping closer to me. “I don’t really understand where the generosity is coming from.”
I took a moment to think about what to say and then, “Every pack that has started up here has received the same treatment, Clarke. Most of the packs are along our borders, so it’s important to get everything up and running quickly before the pack starts guarding the borders. That way packs don’t have to worry about setting up homes, farms, livestock, communications and so on. I’ve told you that eventually Octavia will have to register the pack once this is all settled. Of course, we’re assuming that you all will want to stay here, together, and really makes this a community.”
“Does that include the humans,” she asked cautiously.
“I can’t answer that yet. For now, the humans stay here. There’s a good possibility that the humans will have to be spread out to some of the smaller towns that are nearby or to other packs. We want to keep the Coalition out of our territory and keeping such a large population of humans together could eventually draw them out here. None of us want their involvement if we can help it.”
“Well, at least you’re honest,” Clarke said sighing. “So, what happens now?”
“Now,” I replied, “we cure your adults.”
I went back to the buggy and withdrew the batch of serum and the recipe book. Sephy, Octavia, and Nate stayed to supervise the move. I reminded Sephy that only half of the food goes to the house, the rest to the camps food stores. I followed Clarke down to medical and we met up with their healer and Jasper.
“Is that the serum,” the healer asked.
I handed the serum to him and said, “It’s enough to inject about 20 people. I’d start off with the sickest. You won’t see any changes for about 30 minutes or so. When they start showing improvement’s, I’d move on to your leaders. The sooner we can get them on the way back to being healthy, the sooner we can hopefully get us to a peace summit.”
He nodded and got to work and I handed Jasper the recipe book. He started flipping through the pages and I watched as his eyes got bigger and bigger.
He looked up at me in astonishment, “The chemist created all of this?”
I smiled, “Yes. Chemist’s are phenomenal at what they can essentially cook up. Most of what is made is all plant based. So, my suggestion for you, Jasper, is to build yourself a greenhouse. We’ve brought you some seedlings, bulbs, lighting, irrigation for you to get started. I’ve also included a comprehensive book of the flora in this region that provides what each plant is good for.”
“Wow, thanks, Nyx. You’re not so bad,” he replied smiling.
I smiled in return and said, “We all have to start somewhere, Jasper. You’re one of the lucky ones. I had to scrounge around for my plants and create my own recipe book.”
“Wait,” he said, eyeing me suspiciously, “You’re a chemist, too.”
“Yeah, but I’ve dealt in mostly creating various poisons and paralytics, not medicinals. Which I am not sharing with you, even if I could. My recipe book was blown up.”
“That sucks,” he pouted. “Well, at least I get to have some fun.”
“Sure. Sure. Go have fun,” I replied.
“While we wait, Nyx,” Clarke said, “Do you want to see the prisoners?”
“That was next on my agenda,” I replied, “If you could show me the way?”
She smiled and escorted me further into the bunker. We were met with two of Octavia’s pack members and I introduced myself to them. They moved aside and we entered the room. I was greeted warmly and some of them stepped back at getting a whiff of me with a sly grin. I could only smile and shrug.
I searched out Charlie and went over to him. He got up and bowed at me but I shooed him back down and sat beside him.
“None of that, Charlie,” I said as I looked around at everybody. “I’m just here to let y’all know some things.”
“What’s that, Stokripa,” he asked politely.
“We’re setting up a pack house for Octavia and her pack. They’ll now have someplace to stay together as they learn to fight and use their powers. My sister and I will be staying here helping them along with handling Forest Pack business.”
“Does that mean, you’ve rejoined the pack?”
“For the time being and I’m also acting as de Pakstoka’s Second. Gustus has been removed permanently from the position.”
“Good. I’ve never liked the man or his family. Bunch of liars and thieves the lot of them.”
“Well, they won’t be around much longer to continue their reign. They’re being held for treason.”
“I am not surprised.”
I nodded, “Because my sister and I are staying here, you all finally get to go home.”
A loud cheer erupted and I had to wait a while before it died down.
Grinning, I said, “Yes, you really do get to go home. When you do, your job is to rest and recover. I know you probably haven’t been getting enough protein in your diets for awhile and you’re families are missing you terribly. So go home, be with your families and take your time getting back to full strength.”
“Stokripa,” Charlie said bringing my attention back to him, “I would like to stay here, if it is okay? I no longer have a family to go home to.”
“I know, Charlie,” I said, putting an arm around his shoulders, “but I need you to go home. Let your friends help you mourn your loss. Get better. It does get better, brother, but you can’t stay here to avoid everything else.”
He nodded, tears sliding down his face, “I understand, it’s just so hard sometimes. I keep looking for her.”
“I still keep looking for my brother,” I said. “At least you get to mourn her properly.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Stokripa. I did not mean to…”
“I know, Charlie. We all have our crosses to bear. I mourned for him when I stopped mourning for myself.”
He nodded, “I am glad you had that chance, Stokripa. I am also glad that it is your family that is helping the Manassas pack.”
“You honor me, Charlie,” I said, smiling at him. “When they are done setting up the compound, one of us will come back and get ya’ll, okay?”
“Yes, Stokripa. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us.”
“It’s my honor, Charlie. We always look out for one another, no?”
He smiled and hugged me in a moment of familiarity. I got up and made my way back out into the hallway with everybody hugging me.
Clarke smiled at me when I finally made my escape and I smiled at her sheepishly.
“You certainly have a way with everyone, not just women,” she said as we headed back to medical.
“What you saw back there is the result of generations of work the Allistars have done for the pack,” I replied.
“Has your family always been the Second?”
I nodded, “And the Devereuxs have always been de Pakstoka.”
“I don’t really know. When I used to ask Mother about it, she always said that we were chosen specifically for those roles. That our families complimented each other in a way that promoted balance.”
“Will it be the same for our pack?”
“That’s up to Octavia and Nate. Some of the packs here use strength to determine who becomes Pakstoka. Some are elected. Or some are chosen as the successor of the current Pakstoka.”
“Everyday there is so much that I realize that we need to learn. I almost feel like we never will,” she said shaking her head.
I brought her into a side hug and said, “That’s why we’re helping. It’s a lot to learn. It’s hard for us to understand exactly how hard this is for you and your people, Clarke. We grew up in this world and you’ve been thrown into the deep end without knowing how to swim.”
She chuckled as she wrapped an arm around my waist, “We don’t even know how to do that either.”
“Then we’ll show you how to do that, too.”
We walked into the healer’s office, arm in arm, and found him monitoring brain scans. Clarke let go and walked over to him and I followed more slowly as I took the scans in.
“How’s it working, Jackson,” she asked the healer, Jackson.
“It’s working just like the three she showed us,” he answered and turned to me. “Are your humans still recovering?”
“Sure. Would you like to see for yourself,” I replied walking up to a monitor with a keyboard attached.
I typed in the command Ben had taught me and brought up a live feed of their brain scans. All three were doing exceptionally well and I was relieved that it was really working.
“I have my friend Scarlett taking care of them. When we’re all settled I have a line set up so that the two of you can keep in contact. She’s a healer that works exclusively on humans.”
“Thank you, Nyx,” he replied and then turned back to Clarke, “We’ve just injected the serum into the Council Members, Clarke. Your mom got the first injection.”
“Thank you, Jackson,” she said, tears glistening. “That means a lot to me.”
He squeezed her shoulder and I immediately regretted that this hadn’t happened sooner.
“I’m sorry, Clarke,” I said apologetically, “I didn’t know.”
She wiped at her face and giving me a weak smile, replied, “Thank you and I wouldn’t expect you to know.”
She smiled more genuinely and hugged me. I hugged her tighter and kissed the top of her head.
“Wanna go check and see how the compound is coming? You’ll get to see how we use our powers,” I asked her wanting to cheer her up.
Her smile widened and she nodded enthusiastically, “You have no idea. Let’s go.”
We waved goodbye and we were on our way.
When we entered the front gate, the place was abuzz with activity. When Octavia saw us, she came running and skidded to a halt in front of us, making me laugh.
She bent over to catch her breath and gasped out, “Clarke, you would not believe what is happening in there. You have got to check it out.”
She grabbed Clarke’s hand and ran off with her. I jogged to keep up as Octavia dragged Clarke from room to room. They stared wide eyed and open mouthed at all the magecraft that was going around them. Crumbling walls were being rebuilt and reinforced. Molding was run up the walls and ceilings. Chandeliers were hung. Floors were remade. Furniture was being moved by hands and minds. I’d never seen this myself, so I was as much awed as they were. We eventually made our way to the back area and it was very much indeed big enough to do a lot more then train. I smiled as a very wrong thought occurred to me and I shook my head to drag my mind away from going there, but it was tough, very, very tough. We found Sephy and Nate in deep conversation. As we neared, I heard Sephy mention something about accepting transfers.
“Sis, that doesn’t seem right. The process to accepting transfers is a lot more detailed than that.”
She looked over at me and said, “Maybe for accepting membership into the Forest Pack, but for the smaller packs, it’s more simpler. Usually, transfers are coming from other packs within the territory, not outside. Since they’re coming from other packs, the need for background information has already been checked and verified for the smaller pack. The focus turns to the personal reasons as to why they’re seeking transfer into the pack. Whether it’s a criminal act that removed them or like in our case, a need for a fresh start and away from the politics of the capital.”
I nodded in understanding, “Whereas, we look on their background information, behavior, reasons for seeking entrance, what powers they have and how strong they are, and the recommendation of the receiving pack leader’s review of the person.”
Nate looked at us in confusion and said, “So, there are differences a Second has to contend with based on the size of the pack.”
I nodded as I took a seat on the ground, “Most definitely. I haven’t been trained to work with smaller packs, Sephy has. She’s right that there’s a lot more politics involved, which means I have to coordinate a lot between security, housing, family disputes and so on. I’m literally the one you come to if you want to lodge a complaint, apply for a change in career, applying for a transfer. I’m the first stop before it goes to de Pakstoka, who then decides if it requires bringing in the Council to make a decision. Lexa and I had it down to a science and rarely needed to call for a Council meeting. We were that intuned with one another, but we had an advantage. Our families have been working together ever since the Forest Pack established itself.”
“Which means that Octavia and I will encounter a lot of bumps in the road until we find our rhythm.”
“Yes,” Sephy replied. “According to Indra and mother, new packs have it the most difficult because it’s usually made up of pack members from different packs. Packs that sometimes operate differently. It’s about establishing an operation that works best for yours.”
“The Manassas pack is the smallest pack here in the territory,” I said. “I recommend that once it’s been registered with the Coalition you ask de Pakstoka for families that are willing to transfer and members searching for a fresh start. Each pack has to perform a census every two years with the capital, who in turn sends the information to the Coalition, including any that have left the territory completely.”
“Why would we ask for transfers?”
“It’s to help ease the burden of your pack members,” Sephy explained. “In a small pack, each member often find themselves performing a lot of different duties. Taking in transfers lessens the burden. To give an example, when the chemist had to be executed, we needed an earth mage strong enough to finish the cure. Now to understand something else, someone who is not part of the pack or not under the permanent employ of the pack cannot do such duties because of pack secrets. We don’t want information to move beyond the territory. And because Nyx was not a pack member and not under permanent employment, Lexa needed her to come back to the pack in order to finish the cure. It’s also the same thing with her being Second now. The former Second and his family were arrested for treason, no other family has the training or the want to take up Second, Nyx was the obvious choice again. The Allistars have always served as Second, so she already had the training.”
“Damn, this is some complicated shit,” Nate said, shaking his head.
“Unfortunately, it’s nothing compared to what Octavia has to learn,” I said looking over at her.
She looked forlorn as she said, “But, I don’t have someone to teach me.”
“Another reason why Nyx is here. She can help with that too. Like she said, her and Lexa have gotten their jobs down to a science. She knows as much about leading a pack as she does about the inner workings. Sometimes, according to mother, it was hard to tell exactly which one was de Pakstoka because they worked that well together.”
She immediately looked relieved and shot me a grateful smile. I looked back to the house and saw several men carrying trays over to us.
When they neared, the lead guy said, “Stokripa, we figured you would be hungry by now and the house is still being worked on, so we brought you your meal.”
“Thank you,” I replied as I stood up and took the tray from him.
Nate and Sephy also took a tray and we sat them on the ground. They bowed and left. We uncovered the trays and found fresh meat, vegetables, fruit and several beverages.
“Oh my god, I have been craving fresh meat so bad lately,” Octavia said as she speared the largest one.
I laughed and said, “That’s natural. Wolves are carnivorous, which makes it important for us to ingest a healthy dose of meat. And since humans are omnivores, we also need the rest of the food groups. We’re a healthy bunch, but we still crave the sweets.”
I looked over at Clarke and asked, “How do you like your steaks cooked?”
“Um, medium well, I think,” she asked unclear of herself.
I took a steak and using my fire, cooked it perfectly to medium well and handed it to her on a plate. She smiled her thanks and took a bite of it. Her eyes closed in pleasure eliciting chuckles all around.
“This is pure heaven,” she said around a mouthful. “There are definitely perks to having a fire mage around.”
“Oh, yeah,” Sephy said with a grin. “Definitely have one around on those cold winter nights.”
I made a face and seared my meat the way I liked it causing Sephy to make a face.
“Ugh, I don’t understand why, Sis. Why do you have to ruin a perfectly good steak,” she moaned.
“Oh do not start with me, Persephone,” I replied. “I got enough of that last night.”
“Is that what started that ruckus?!”
I blushed and hid my face, “Um, yeah?”
She laughed, “Why am I not surprised.”
“Why? What happened last night,” Clarke asked genuinely curious and making me blush harder.
Sobering up, Sephy said, “Last night, Lexa, Dani, and Scarlett got on about how she has a habit of ruining meat like steak and fish. They ended up nearly destroying the kitchen and the downstairs before it turned to something else. No one could sleep last night. It’s why she smells.”
“I don’t smell anything,” Clarke asked confused.
Sephy laughed, “You wouldn’t. You’re a mage. Weres on the other hand can. All three of them marked her with their scent. It’s strong enough, that’ll it take days to get rid of it.”
“Wait, you mean,” Octavia said with wide eyes.
“Yes. They apparently wanted to make her last night in the capital very memorable and hard to forget.”
I peeked over at Clarke and saw that she was close to regret, so I glared at Sephy.
Sis, you need to explain better. Look at Clarke.
Sephy looked at Clarke and realized she’d made a mistake in telling the story and quickly jumped to explain, “You have to remember that Forest Pack has a high sex drive as a whole. We tend to have multiple partners and orgies. Nyx was always popular with the girls. Don’t know what it is about her, but it is what it is. So, when she rejoined the pack and declined Lexa’s offer to reclaim, it’s become a free for all in regards to gaining Nyx’s attention. Until she decides to either claim or be claimed, she’s going to be pursued.”
“And the marking,” Octavia asked.
“That’s the hardest part for non-pack members and mages to work through. Marking is a very intimate act. it’s just short of claiming. It’s like when a dog pees on a tree, it’s establishing the tree as theirs. It does’t mean that other dogs won’t pee on the same tree, but it establishes a bit of dominance. In our case, it’s like calling dibs. They’re telling other pack members that if she ever decides that she’s open to being claimed, they have first crack at her. So, Dani and Scarlett have called dibs and Lexa did it just because. It doesn’t mean that she can’t sleep with other women, it’s just a reminder to Nyx that there are women that wouldn’t mind spending the rest of their lives with. It also doesn’t mean that Nyx has to choose only them, she could decide to claim someone else, even a non-pack member or a mage.”
Clarke looked up at Sephy with a hint of hope and Sephy just smiled.
“Damn, even your sex is complicated,” Nate said whistling.
Sephy laughed, “There are a great many things about the Forest Pack that are complicated. We just learn to roll with it.”
“Hey, wait a minute,” Octavia broke through, “Does that mean my pack will end up acting like the Forest Pack?”
Sephy looked at me and I shrugged, “We have no clue. We don’t even know why we have such a sex drive. Or why the Allistars and Devereuxs work so well together or chosen to become the leaders of the pack. It’s just the way it is. Now, in respects to you, we don’t know why suddenly Apex appeared out of your people. We theorize that the radiation slowly seeped into the bunker that it ended up taking nearly 60 years to show the evolution or mutations that are on the ground. I don’t think it necessarily means that you’ll become like the rest of the pack, though.”
“Is the urge controllable,” Octavia asked.
“Yes and no,” I replied. “We can control it up to a point. The urge to have sex on a regular basis doesn’t really start until we become sexually active. Once we become active, I think the most someone has gone without sex is like a month. The average is about every two or three weeks, but many of us have sex nearly every other day or daily. It depends on the person.”
“What happens if you go without it for too long?”
“We slowly descend into madness, or at least that’s what the stories tell us.”
“That is harsh,” Nate said. “Just because you decide not to have sex. What the hell happened to you guys?”
I shrugged, “Wish we knew.”
“Excuse me,” Clarke said, standing up. “I need to go check on my mom.”
Everyone looked up at her with confusion and I felt really bad about the situation. When she was halfway across the lawn, I got up and went after her.
“Hey,” I said when I neared and grabbed her arm.
She stopped and looked at me and I could see the hurt in your eyes.
“I’m sorry about all that,” I said softly. “Sometimes I start to ramble.”
“It’s alright,” she said as she started walking away again.
I joined her and looked over at her, “No, it’s not alright. We’re a blunt people, Clarke, and speaking with y’all, we tend to forget that this is all new to you. Look, I admit that I’ve slept with Lexa, Dani, and Scarlett lately. I’m not going to deny it. They’re familiar to me and I have been with them frequently. It really is something that I have limited control over.”
She turned to walk away, but I stopped her and pulled us into an alcove out of the way, “Clarke, look at me please.”
She did and I hesitantly cupped her face, “It doesn’t mean that I care for you any less. If I admit it, honestly to myself, I care about you more. That one night wasn’t enough for me. There is something truly wonderful about you that just draws me in and I want to drown in it. I want you, Clarke. I’ve wanted you since that night.”
Tears sprang in her eyes and she whispered, “I’ve wanted you, too, Nyx. I just never seem to have a chance to say it.”
I smiled, “Now’s your chance, Clarke. I’m really not going anywhere anytime soon. I’m yours if you’ll have me.”
She nodded and I leaned down to kiss her. She snaked her arms around my neck and pulled me down to her, deepening it. I put everything I’ve been wanting to say into our kiss. When we broke, she laid her head on my chest and I just held onto her.
“It was just so hard to hear, Nyx,” she said quietly. “That three women marked you and that you let it happen.”
I chuckled lightly, “I wish I could’ve prevented it, trust me, but they pretty much left me no choice. But, I’m here with you. I choose to be with you. You are all I need right now.”
“Thank you, but I really do want to check on my mom.”
I laughed, “Then we shall check on your mom, hmm?”
She looked up at me in surprise, “You’re coming with me?”
“Unless, you don’t want me to?”
“No, no. It’s just, I know you don’t like humans.”
“She is the mother of a gorgeous, loving, kind, woman who I’m hopelessly attracted to. Don’t you think the two of us should meet?”
She shook her head and smiled, “I would love to introduce you to my mom.”
“Then,” I said stepping back and holding out my arm, “Will you do me the honor of escorting you to your mother?”
She laughed and took my arm. I tucked her hand in close and we went to see her mother. We checked in with Jackson and took a peek at her scan. There was some improvement, but I could tell that there was a ways to go. When we entered the ward, Clarke guided me to the middle of the beds and went to a woman with long dirty blonde hair and a normally thin frame, but she looked like nothing more then a skeleton with skin. I cringed at seeing the damage the neurotoxin had done. I stayed standing as Clarke sat beside her on the bed. I laid a comforting hand on her shoulder and she looked up at me in gratitude.
“Mom,” Clarke said gently, “Mom, it’s me, Clarke.”
The woman stirred at Clarke’s voice and she turned to face us. I wanted to recoil when I saw the blank stare of the blind. I accidentally squeezed Clarke’s shoulder in anger and she hissed in pain. I immediately let go and whispered ‘sorry.’ She nodded and stroked her mom’s face.
“Clarke, is it really you,” she whispered, voice sounding cracked.
“Yeah, Mom. It’s me. How are you feeling?”
“Strangely, a little better.”
“That’s real good, Mom. You even sound better.”
“The people whose territory we live in, found a cure. We’ve given it to you.”
“And it works?”
“Yes, Mom. They’ve already treated three of their own who had been exposed. One of them is doing real well. He’ll be completely cured in a month, we figure.”
“Thank god. We’ve lost so many, Clarke. So many…”
“I know, but we’re not going to lose any more, I promise.”
“Good, good. Tell me how everything is going?”
“We’re letting the prisoners go today. We traded them for the cure. Their people won’t be bothering us like that anymore. They’ve made overtures to end this peacefully.”
“You’ve done so well, Clarke. I’m proud of you. Your father would be proud of you too.”
“Thank you, Mom. I’m trying.”
“You’re taking care of yourself, though, right? It wouldn’t do well for you to get sick too.”
“I’m taking care of myself. My friends are making sure of it,” she laughed lightly.
Clarke jumped slightly at the mention of his name and I remembered that they’d locked him up.
“He’s, he’s doing okay, Mom. So is everyone else.”
“You two need to look after each other. You’re stronger together.”
“Yes, Mom, I know.”
I leaned down and whispered, “I can help Bellamy, Clarke.”
She nodded and her Mom snapped her head in my direction and asked, “Clarke, is someone with you?”
“Yes, Mom. Her name is Nyx. She’s here to oversee the cure and help us understand what’s going on. She’s one of the leaders of the people who own this land.”
I leaned down and laid a hand on hers. Without planning on it, my healing kicked in and sent a wave of power into her. She gasped and gripped my own. I didn’t try to pull away until I felt the power withdraw back inside.
“Sorry about that,” I apologized and I looked at her face and saw that her eyes had gotten clearer.
“What was that,” she whispered.
“Um, something that seems to have helped. How’s your eyesight?”
“I can see light now,” she said astonished. “I’ve haven’t seen light in months.”
“I know, ma’am, and I’m really sorry about that. My people don’t like it when there’s a sudden large group of people show up in the middle of our territory. The gas that was launched into your camp was a neurotoxin that attacks certain areas of the brain. It’s meant to hinder, but we never anticipated that it could do this. On behalf of my leader, I sincerely apologize.”
“Thank you, young lady,” she said sincerely. “Clarke called you Nyx. The Greek primordial Goddess of Night.”
I smiled, “Yes, ma’am. My parents had a thing about naming their children after the Greek Pantheon. My sister’s name is Persephone and my brother’s was Nereus.”
“Nereus,” Clarke mouthed to me, but I could only shrug.
“Was,” her mom asked me.
“Yes, ma’am. He was killed eight years ago.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Time never really eases the pain, does it?”
“No, ma’am. Some days are easier than others. But you must be getting tired. We’ve kept you up long enough.”
“How thoughtful of you, Nyx. Take care of my daughter, will you?”
I smiled and said, “I will. You have my word.”
She smiled at me and closed her eyes. We waited a moment longer and then quietly left. When we left the ward, Clarke pulled me off to the side and kissed me. I returned the kiss, pulling her in.
When we stopped, I asked, “What was that for?”
“For whatever it was you did in there.”
“I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a conscious effort on my part. As soon as I touched her, my healing power went straight into her. I just held on until it tapered off.”
“Do powers do that? Just randomly turn on?”
“Not that I’m aware of. But, I’ve never studied the history of our powers. So, it could be possible.”
“Whatever. Thank you for being there with me and doing that.”
“Clarke,” I said, tilting her chin so that she could look at me, “You don’t have to keep thanking me.”
“I know, but I want to.”
“Alright, if it makes you happy.”
“It does. You said that you could help me with Bellamy?”
“I can, but it’s up to you if you want to do it. I have enough telepathic ability that I can manipulate his mind and make him more agreeable to accepting that there are people with powers, so that he won’t freak out again and try to tell everyone.”
“Yeah, it’s not a word I like to use, but that is what I’d be doing. I’d be taking these last few weeks that you’ve had him in the psych ward and make it seem like he really did have a mental breakdown because he got overwhelmed. And turn his mind to be weirded out by the powers, but not enough to betray his friends and sister.”
“Would there be any side affects?”
“No, what I put in there will seem absolutely real, like it really happened. It’s why when I think about what happened eight years ago, I still see Ice Pack killing my people even after finding out my mind was manipulated into seeing it.”
“It seems so invasive, intimate, and personal. I don’t know.”
“It is all of those things, I’m not going to lie, but it would mean that you got your friend back. He’d still be the same person before he freaked the fuck out. He’ll just be more understanding and open.”
“Can I talk to Octavia about this?”
“Most definitely. He is her brother. She should most assuredly have a say in this. I’m just offering an alternative to keeping him locked up.”
“Okay, let’s head back to the compound.”
“Sure, they should actually be almost done by now.”
When we got back, we were just in time to watch them start packing everything up. Sephy came up and took us to the head of the moving crew.
“How’re we doing,” I asked the man.
“It’s done. All that’s left is to set up the wards. We’ll do the initial set up and key the five of you into the ward and you can add everyone else as they get here.”
“Sounds good,” I replied. “When everyone’s out, we’ll do it.”
Fifteen minutes later, everyone was cleared out and the five of us were standing at the front gates with the mages that would set up the ward.
“Why so many mages,” Clarke asked.
“We’re setting up different layers of wards to prevent the possible ways someone might try to break through. The most common powers are the elements, earth, air, fire, and water. Then the next layer will be for the second most common and then the third and forth. The fifth layer is meant to repel several powers at once. To lock and unlock the wards, is like using a biometric scanner, but instead of reading handprints, it reads our specific signatures. Which in turn gives us access. Each person with a power gives off a different signature, like a fingerprint,” I explained.
“It’s ready for you,” one of the mages called out.
I nodded and brought Clarke up with me. I held her hand until I felt the slight push back that meant that we were touching the ward.
I took my hand away and said, “Okay, you just need to repeat these words; Ai meika, de klika.”
She did and her eyes widened at the feeling and she took her hand away and looked at it. I stepped up and did the same thing, then Octavia, Nate, and lastly Sephy. Once that was done, the mages finished the ward and Nate and Sephy left to get the prisoners.
“So, what exactly did we just say,” Octavia asked curiously.
“My hand, the key,” I supplied the translation. “All you have to do now is place your hand on the ward, that slight push, and it will unlock for you. The words are what sets it up.”
“So, how do we key in other people; the pack and mages?”
“Nearly exactly the same, but this time one of us has to touch the ward with the person who we’re keying in.”
“That’s incredible,” Clarke said. “So, we can place these wards anywhere.”
“Yes. Anywhere you want to keep people out of, like the Council Room or areas that you want to restrict to only certain people.”
“Wow, thank you so much, Nyx. This is all incredible,” Octavia said and gave me a hug.
“You’re welcome. We want to give you as much as a foothold in this place as possible. This is just the first step. Um, Clarke, I see the prisoners making their way here, why don’t you have that chat with Octavia about what we discussed.”
“Now? But,” she said.
“Hey, that way it’ll give you both something to really think about. Then just let me know what you decide,” I said before I took off towards my pack members.
Meeting up with them, we walked up to the waiting transports. They hurried their steps, but I noticed three or four lagging behind and I dropped back to them.
“What’s going on, Charlie,” I asked.
“Well, you see the four of us have been talking and I know you said we all need to go home to rest and recover, but we’d honestly like to stay,” he replied.
“Are we talking temporary or permanently?”
The looked at one another and Charlie replied, “Permanently. We’d like to transfer to the Manassas Pack. Octavia is a good pack leader, but she still has a lot to learn. We know that you and your sister are here to help, but eventually you will leave. We’d like to make sure that she has someone with more experience helping her through this.”
“That’s kind of you,” I replied thinking. “Right now, I can’t let you stay here even temporarily any longer then you have. But, I think once the dust has settled, de Pakstoka would accept the transfer requests. We want this place to thrive and one way is to bring pack members from other packs here, but we have to be selective in doing so. The four of you have lived here, you’re comfortable with Octavia and she’s comfortable around you. You’ll probably be a tremendous asset to her, but like I said nothing can be done until this is all over. Okay?”
“Yes, ,” Charlie said inclining his head. “We’ll go home, but I can bet you that as soon as we receive the all clear, our applications will be in your hand immediately.”
I chuckled, “Fair enough, Charlie. Fair enough. Stay safe, my friends.”
I watched as they boarded and drove out of sight before I turned to face what was going to become my home for the foreseeable future.
“Hey, Sis,” Sephy said, drawing my attention. “It’d be a good time to claim our rooms, don’t you think?”
“Only if Nate and Octavia have already. You know they get first dibs.”
She laughed and grabbed my hand pulling me inside, “They’re already in there picking their rooms. So, come on.”
I rolled my eyes as we entered and jogged up the steps. I found a room to my liking on the third floor with a balcony overlooking the back. I ran back downstairs and grabbed my stuff and was unpacking when Clarke and Octavia found me.
I looked up from my bag and straightened when I saw their faces, “You’ve made a decision already.”
“Yes,” Octavia said as she sat on the end of my bed. “Can you explain to me exactly what it is you’re going to be doing?”
“Okay, I’ll try,” I said as I sat at the head and they turned to look at me. “There’s a part in our brains that stores our memories, long term and short term. Long term is like remembering the first time you sat down and had a family meal. Short term is more like remembering something you did ten minutes ago to say a month or so. That would be the area of the brain I’d be working on. Now, I can’t remove the memories completely, but I can manipulate how they’re viewed. Give him a different reason to believe why he’s there and not because he tried to run away from you. Then there’s the bit of behavioral manipulation that takes place in another part of the brain. I can modify it enough that makes him more open to the idea that Apex aren’t the freaks he fears, instead he’ll be more likely to accept you for you, powers and all.”
“Will it hurt?”
“No, I didn’t feel a thing when it was done to me. It was automatic, like flipping a switch. And what I give him won’t be anywhere near the image that bitch gave me nor the bloodthirsty compulsion. I’m giving him alternative facts to explain why he’s been in the psych ward. It’s a possibility that he may even have already been feeling the strain of all the pressure that was laid on all of you.”
“How long will it take?”
“I’m not a really strong telepath, so it’ll take me a little bit longer, but it will move faster if I already have a narrative laid out in my mind. You just tell me what it is you want him to remember instead and I’ll lay it there. I should mention that it’d probably be a good idea to have him sedated during this, if you want me to do this. Less likely of either one of us getting hurt.”
They nodded and I waited as they thought about it.
“I want my brother back, Nyx,” Octavia said sadly. “This hasn’t been the same without him. I want to share this with him and I want him to be a part of it.”
I nodded and said, “I understand that feeling. I won’t say I understand what it’s like to have a human for a brother, because it such a rare occurrence that no one really knows how those families deal with it.”
“So, this isn’t the first time that there’s been an Apex and human born in the same family,” Clarke asked.
“No, it’s not. Just extremely rare.”
“Okay,” Octavia said looking at me determinedly. “Do it, tonight. Like right now.”
“Alright,” I said and got up. “Lead the way, ladies.”
They took me to another section of the medical wing and I waited as they quietly talked with the staff. Two of them went into the room that apparently Bellamy had been staying in. There was a bit of a struggle and then the staff left the room. They nodded and we entered. I kneeled down and gently removed the straight jacket and rubbed his arms to give them more circulation. I sat down cross-legged and laid his head in my lap and they sat on either side of him.
“Okay, so what am I telling him,” I asked gently.
They looked at each other and then Clarke said, “Tell him that after the two wolves visited we all got into a heated argument about the wolves that we were holding. That Octavia and I argued again to just let the prisoners go. That since it was obvious that the wolves were important to your people and that after the visit it seemed more important to be lenient. That if we let them go, your leader wouldn’t send any more people to try and hurt us. He argued that if we let them go after the death of one of the wolves, there was no way that you wouldn’t retaliate since the wolves were obviously revered. The rest of the Council agreed with me and Octavia which he couldn’t stand and just freaked out, throwing things around, threatening us to the point that we had to restrain him and bring him down here because we thought he was endangering us and himself.”
“Okay, that’s good. I suspect that this wasn’t a new argument that you’ve had?”
“Got it,” I said as I laid my hands on either side of his head and closed my eyes.
I prayed to Mother Earth to guide and give me strength as I delved into his mind and searched for the specific memory that started it all. From there, I unthreaded and rethreaded the narrative from his point of view until i came to the point where the staff members came into this room. I felt it click into place and scanned over it to make sure it was believable.
Next, I pulled myself to his behavior and created neural pathways that built heavily on his love of his sister and his need to protect her. In doing so, protecting his friends who were all part of their council. I slowly interjected that each had powers, showing him that it was as natural as breathing, but it was a sudden appearance when they surfaced and began interacting with the prisoners. I let him feel how freaked out he was when he saw Nate shoot fire from his hand and how Octavia put it out with her water. I then opened up a pathway that showed him yeah he was freaked out that they had powers and that he was disappointed in himself that he didn’t, but his love for his sister and his friends, that were now his family, overrode that fear. He was working on accepting the difference between himself and them, but knew that he was still needed, still useful. That they needed him to stay grounded. When that was in place, I thanked Mother Earth and backed slowly out of his mind, making sure that I left nothing of myself behind.
I opened my eyes slowly, to let them adjust to the light and breathed deeply and slowly as I came back fully to myself.
“It’s done,” I said softly as I stroked his head.
“Did it work,” Octavia asked.
“I believe so, yes, but really we won’t know until he wakes up. Have the staff put him in a bed and lightly restrain his ankles and wrists. That way if he jars awake, he won’t hurt anyone or himself.”
“You’ve done this before, haven’t you,” Clarke asked.
“Yes, but only in highly traumatic experiences, like kidnappings, abuse cases, something that could prevent someone from moving forward. Or the more mundane ‘I was never here’ move.”
Octavia smiled and said, “So, you only use your powers for good.”
I smiled in return, “I try, but sometimes I’m not able to. It’s the job of an Enforcer. Sometimes you have to do bad in order to do the good things.”
She shook her head, “Just when I think I’ve got you all figured out, you say or do something that just completely wipes everything away.”
“Yep, that’s me in a nutshell. I cannot be adequately defined and categorized. Keeps people on their toes, but come on, let’s get the staff and get this guy into a real bed,” I said as I stood up and stretched.
I helped both of them up and then the three of us made sure that he was well taken of and threatened within an inch of their lives to let Octavia know immediately when he woke up.
I swung an arm around Octavia’s shoulder and an arm around Clarke’s waist as we all trooped back to the compound. We found everyone gathered in the large dining room, a feast laid out. I pushed Octavia to the head of the table, Nate to her right and an open spot on her left that I sat Clarke in. I sat next to Clarke and Sephy sat opposite me. We all waited expectantly as Octavia looked at us wide-eyed.
You need to say something, Octavia. A prayer of thanks or some such, I spoke to her.
Her head snapped in my direction when she heard my voice, but nodded subtly.
She took a deep breath, letting it out slowly, she said, “This is a big change for all of us. Thanks to the Forest Pack, we now have a place to call our own. A place where we will be safe. A place to grow and learn. A home. Our home. And we welcome Nyx and Persephone Allistar to our home and our table. Welcome.”
“Thank you, Pakstoka,” I said as I inclined my head. “This is truly a momentous occasion. The first of many I hope.”
“I think that’s all I got,” she joked. “Let’s dig in.”
We passed the platters around as we grabbed what we wanted to eat. The mages’ meat was already cooked, so I couldn’t show off again. When the food was passed, Sephy and I bowed our head briefly in thanks to Mother Earth and started tucking the food away. Everyone enjoyed themselves and were comparing who had the better room. They also began to discuss among themselves what they were looking forward to learning. I smiled as I heard the discussions around me. I’d comment or answer a question when something was addressed to me. All in all it was a good family dinner. A first for them.
When we were done, several of the pack members took up the dishes and platters and took them into the kitchen to be cleaned. The rest of the pack that weren’t part of the inner circle left to get acquainted with their new home, leaving four werewolves and five mages at the table.
“This place is unbelievable,” Raven said as she looked around the dining room.
“What you’re looking at is what this place looked like before the apocalypse. The mansion is more opulent by far, but this place has a more homier feel to it,” I said thoughtfully as I took in everything.
“It does feel like a home,” Octavia said bemusedly. “Who’d ever think we’d be living in such a place. Bell and I were hoping for a two bedroom house that we could call our own. Now, we have this huge ass place.”
“And who would’ve ever thought that our little Octavia would be a werewolf pack leader,” Jasper said, saluting her with his glass.
“Not me, for sure,” she laughed. “But really, Nyx, Sephy, thank you for this.”
Sephy laughed, “You’re welcome, but I bet you will change your tune when we start training you guys. The pack takes their training very seriously and we usually come away with bruises, knots, scratches, torn clothing, singed hair and many other things.”
“She’s right, Octavia,” I said. “We train hard, because when we do have to fight it really is a life or death situation. Our biggest threat will always be to our northern border, the Ice Pack. I’m not going to go into details, because I don’t want you worrying about it now. For now, we concentrate on developing everyone’s powers and learning how to fight. We won’t begin until the day after tomorrow, because I want y’all to get comfortable with this place, get settled. A night won’t do that.”
“Thank god,” Octavia said, relieved. “I was thinking you’d want to jump right in on the training. I was dreading the notion of waking up early and getting the crap kicked out of me.”
I laughed, “No, I’m not that cruel.”
Before anyone could say anything else, the communicator on my hip beeped. I looked at it and stood up, “Excuse me, but I’ve got to take this.”
Octavia nodded and I headed out of the room and into a quiet sitting room before I answered.
“Pakstoka,” I said, concern creasing my brow, “Is everything alright?”
She laughed, “Everything’s fine, Nyx. Not everything we talk about is trouble.”
“Sorry. I guess it’s habit. So, did the pack members arrive safely?”
“They did and we sent them straight to medical to get them checked out. They’re thin, but healthy. Family members have been arriving since this afternoon, getting them and taking them home. Friends of Charlie’s came and got him. They’re going to make sure that he’s not left alone.”
“Good. I’m glad. We’ve got the compound set up for the Manassas Pack and they’re already settling in. The cure is working and the people are getting better.”
“That’s good to hear as well. Scarlett says that our humans are all out of the woods and are on the way to a full recovery. Have there been any issues with the humans there?”
“With the healthy ones? No. We set up a ward to keep them from coming this way while we worked on the compound. Today has been an easy day for everyone here.”
“The Council is still arguing about what they’re willing to give the humans when we finally get to the peace summit.”
“It’s not about what we’re willing to give. This is a matter of how do we keep everyone safe. We have the 22 Apex, an unknown number of adults that may or may not become Apex, and the 100 humans. What can we do to keep these people safe? We’ve already begun doing that by establishing a pack house here. It’s protected enough that the pack and mages will stay safe if anything bad happens. The adults are beginning to get better. Once the leaders become healthy enough…”
“Then we can begin explaining and making overtures of keeping everyone safe, Apex and humans alike,” she answered for me.
I smiled, “That’s it. These kids need help, real help. They need to be taught how to farm, how to raise livestock, get livestock, how to build homes, irrigation. I think we should really consider providing that tutelage, Lex. Teach them how to survive so that when it does come time for the peace summit, they have a chance to make this place a home.”
“Then that’s what I’ll bring up to the Council. What are we willing to provide them while their leaders to get better. Continue to drain our resources to keep them fed, or teach them how to feed themselves. I like that, Nyx. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. It’s what I’m here for.”
“God, I have missed you, Nyx.”
“I’ve missed you too, Lex.”
“I don’t want to ever lose you like that again.”
“I know, sweetheart. I know. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Do you promise?”
“I promise,” I said solemnly. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Good. Let me know how everything goes.”
“I will, Lexa. I’ll make it a habit to report to you nightly, okay?”
“Okay,” she said and I could hear her sniffle.
“Lexa, sweetheart, everything’s going to be okay. There’s no need for you to start crying.”
“I don’t know what’s come over me, Nyx. I feel like I did when I watched you leave for the northern border. Like I’ll never see you again.”
“Lex, this isn’t like going to war. This is a peace mission. The only fighting I’m expecting is in the training arena. Look, find Dani. Find Scarlett. Talk with them about how you feel. Let them comfort you. All you have to do is let them in.”
“Okay,” she whispered. “I love you.”
“I love you too. Go find them and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Mm-hm, good night.”
I sat down heavily on a chair, leaned back and closed my eyes. It was so weird hearing her like that. So unsure. My heart ached that I couldn’t give her what she needed right now. The only thing I could do was send her to Dani and Scarlett. They would help her, because I knew they felt it too. None of them wanted to lose me and I didn’t want to lose them.
I heard footsteps come in and up to me.
“Is everything okay,” Clarke asked quietly.
I opened my eyes and saw her leaning against the arm of the chair.
“Yeah. It’s Lexa. She’s been thinking more about the past. About what happened between the two of us. She’s beating herself up for listening to the wrong people. It has her worried about me, now that I’m back and we’ve made up. She’s afraid of losing me again.”
“You guys had a really tight relationship,” she said thoughtfully.
“You could say that. Our mother’s used to joke that when they were pregnant with us, that we were each other’s half. That together, we were the most powerful leader in the entire Coalition. Unstoppable. Unbeatable. And for awhile we were. Then it all changed in one night.”
“And now that you’re back, it appears to be falling back in place.”
“It would appear so.”
“She’s afraid to lose that again.”
“You’re even more special then I thought, Nyx.”
“Why do you say that?”
She sat on my lap and wrapped an arm around my neck and said, “There’s something about you that just tells me that with you, I’ll always be safe. That no matter what happens or where our paths take us, when you’re here, I’ll be safe.”
She looked at me and smiled and said, “There’s no maybe about it, Nyx. I’m safe with you.”
With that she pulled me into a kiss and making me wrap my arms tight against her. The kiss turned into more and eventually, I led her to my room.
The night had turned into so much more then I could have imagined and I was glad when I woke up with her in my arms and knowing that I wasn’t going to leave her like last time.
I was drowsily tracing my fingers along her body when she finally awoke. I smiled at her and kissed her.
She smiled and said, “Morning.”
“It is indeed morning, love. How did you sleep?”
“Better then I have since we left the bunker.”
“That long, huh?”
She rolled us until she was on top of me and kissed me again more thoroughly. I ran my nails along her back making her gasp in pleasure. I chuckled as I grasped her hips and held her tight as her lips traveled south making me gasp in return.
It was another two, three hours before we headed downstairs. Breakfast was pretty much eat what you want, so I made eggs, pancakes and bacon. I handed Clarke a plate and taking one for myself, sat down at the breakfast nook. I poured some coffee and took a sip at it’s delicious flavor. She added cream and sugar to hers and we ate in companionable silence. Octavia came in around the time we were finishing up and told us that Bellamy was awake and asking for them.
“Do you want to come with us,” Clarke asked me.
“I’ll come if you want me there, but isn’t this really a matter between the three of you? I’m a stranger to him,” I replied.
“No, I want you to come,” Octavia said. “Let him see that you’re not some sociopathic killer.”
Clarke smiled, remembering something, “He did think it was highly suspicious that you had a luxurious hotel room with women’s clothing and allowed us to stay after one night of sex. He was bound and determined to believe that you had some ulterior motive that would wind up with us dead.”
I laughed and stood up, “Well, then hopefully I’ll be able to put him at ease then. I may be a killer. I don’t think I’m a sociopath and I am not going to kill you in your sleep. Too messy.”
They laughed and we went down to the psych ward. When we reached his room, I hung back as the girls entered. He was so happy to see them. I watched to make sure that what I had done yesterday was holding and was happy when he apologized for freaking out when Nate and Octavia used their powers for the first time.
“I’m so sorry, Octavia,” he said, tears streaming down his face. “I shouldn’t have reacted that way. It just really freaked me out.”
“It’s okay, big brother. It freaked us all out, too. But we’re getting a handle on it. All of us are, but we’re not using them in front of anybody else. We’re being careful not to frighten anyone.”
“That’s good. That’s smart,” he said, nodding his head.
“Clarke,” he asked, “do all of you have powers?”
“The ones on our Council do, but there have been a few others as well,” she answered carefully.
“How is it possible?”
“We don’t know, Bell. We haven’t been able to figure it out. We may never figure it out.”
He nodded, “Maybe it’s for the best. Where is everyone?”
“Um, we’re not sure actually. Monty and Raven are probably in their lab working on something. Jasper is probably doing the same. Monroe and Harper are in lockup because of the girl.”
“Girl, what girl,” he asked wide-eyed.
“Remember the wolf-not wolf that was killed,” Octavia asked gently.
“Yeah, yeah. I remember. She was a werewolf, right?”
“That’s right. Because Harper and Monroe were involved, we had to arrest them and lock them up with the others.”
“Okay. How are the adults doing? Did we lose anymore?”
“We did,” Clarke said sadly, “but we finally got a cure.”
“That’s great. How?”
“We got a line of communication opened up with the leader of the territory. She was willing to find a cure for us since it was their canister that caused it. They didn’t know that it would react like that to people without powers or those over the age of 30.”
“She didn’t ask for anything in return,” he asked warily.
“Just the return of her people. They went home yesterday when they gave us the cure.”
“No. They’re actually helping us, Bell,” Octavia said. “They really don’t want anything bad to happen, it’s just that when we suddenly appeared out of the bunker we scared them.”
He nodded as he looked around the room, thinking and that’s when he finally saw me.
He narrowed his eyes and asked, “Who are you?”
“Bellamy, this is Nyx Allistar,” Clarke said inviting me closer.
I stepped closer, but stopped at the edge of his bed.
He looked at Clarke and said, “The Enforcer? The one who let us stay in her hotel room?”
“Is it safe to have her here?”
I chuckled and said, “It’s safe. I’m actually de Pakstoka’s Second. I’m the one who finished the cure and brought it here.”
“The Garrison Commander made it seem like you weren’t allowed here, so how are you here?”
“It’s a long and complicated story, Bellamy. She did hire me on as an Enforcer and brought me here to end the situation, but something happened and it’s just easier to say that she brought me back into the pack and made me her Second again.”
“And you’re here because…”
“Because I’m the liaison between our people. I’m here to help train those that have powers so that they don’t accidentally hurt their own people. I’m also here to speak with your leaders once they are able to. de Pakstoka wishes to have a peace summit in order to figure out what to do about this situation. Outside this shield, the largest groups of humans is no larger then ten. Here, you have over a 100.”
“And the people like you, don’t like people like me.”
“I’m afraid so. Yes, we think of humans as less than desirables and we treat them bad. I’m not denying it. Some have even gone as far as owning them as slaves. We tell ourselves, it’s because we want to protect them, but it’s really about making sure they know that we’re the dominant species. Because of that whole mindset, having such a large population of humans in one place is risky and dangerous. Something we don’t want to escalate, so that’s why we’ve kept this all under wraps. We want to come up with a solution that will keep everyone safe and relatively happy.”
“So, you don’t want to kill all the humans?”
“God, no! That’s just reprehensible. Neither de Pakstoka or I would stand for it.”
“Why did you have all those women’s clothing in your hotel room?”
“Because I sleep around a lot,” I answered automatically.
“Was Clarke just a one night fling for you?”
“That was my intent when I went to the bar that night, but no, it’s a not a one night thing for me.”
He nodded, “Good.”
Clarke’s communicator beeped and we could hear Jackson’s voice come through, “Clarke, you and Nyx need to get over here now.”
“Why? What’s going on? Did something bad happen,” she replied worriedly.
“No, not bad. It’s actually good. Really good. Just get here.”
“Okay, we’re right down the hall, we’ll be there soon.”
“Sorry, Bellamy, but we’ve go to go.”
“Don’t worry,” Octavia said. “I’ll have the doctors check on him and see if he’s ready to leave.”
Clarke nodded and we ran to Jackson’s lab. We burst into the lab expecting to find just Jackson, but we found Clarke’s mom waiting with him.
I skidded to a stop just inside the door as Clarke rushed to her mother and hugged her tight. What I saw in front of me shouldn’t have been possible. There was no way, that someone as close to death as she had been should have recovered this much over night.
“Jackson,” I asked as I edged over to him. “What happened?”
“I’m not sure exactly,” he said, happily. “I came in after lunch to check on everybody and there Abby was, just sitting up and looking around.”
“Her brain scan?”
“Look for yourself,” he said and brought it up on screen.
The neurotoxin had been completely eradicated and where you would see powers, hers was glowing a bright and steady yellow. I looked at her in amazement.
“This should have happened two months from now, not overnight,” I said in wonder.
“That’s what your simulation projected. But something happened yesterday and we caught it on the scan. Look.”
He scrolled back the scans until he came to the footage he wanted to show me. He hit play and there was a sudden burst of light that lit the brain completely up. After a minute or two it slowly went away. There was a mild improvement that shouldn’t have happened that soon after receiving the serum and as he moved forward, the spread withdrew at an alarming rate until we came to the most current scan.
I stepped back in shock as it dawned on me. That quick unconscious use of my healing power had ignited the serum, accelerating it to an unimaginable speed.
I looked around, finding a scalpel, I grabbed it and then grabbed Jackson’s hand, “Sorry, Jackson,” and sliced his palm open.
“What the fuck,” he cried out trying to snatch his hand away, but I held firm.
I covered his hand with mine and called my healing up and was washed with relief when it responded. When I took my hand away, his palm was completely healed.
“What was that for,” Clarke demanded.
“I had to make sure,” I said. “I’m sorry, Jackson, but I had to be sure.”
“Be sure of what?”
“Remember when I touched your mother’s hand yesterday. I told you that my healing just decided, on it’s own, to go into her and we saw her eyes clear up enough to see light.”
“Yeah, I remember,” she said confused.
“Well, Jackson just showed me what happened on her brain scan when it happened. For whatever reason, my power decided to accelerate the cure and this is the result. I freaked and for a moment. I thought I lost the power. That’s why I sliced Jackson’s palm open.”
“Because, Abby is a healer,” Jackson said in awe.
“Yes. I’d bet my life on it.”
“I really don’t know,” I said as I leaned against his desk.
“And Mom, you’re feeling okay, right,” Clarke asked her eyes going everywhere over her mom’s face.
“I feel perfectly fine,” she replied. “Actually, I feel great.”
“I wonder if it can be done again,” Jackson wondered aloud.
“What you think, if I touch someone else, it’ll happen again,” I asked incredulously.
He shrugged, “Maybe.”
“I’m not sure I want try on a maybe answer, Jackson.”
“It couldn’t hurt to try,” her mom said, “The worst that could happen is nothing will happen.”
“No, it’s not. The worst that could happen is that I could be drained dry and may not be able to stop until it kills me.”
She looked at me in surprise and said, “Oh.”
But then a niggling thought entered my head, “But then again, I could be wrong. The other council members were stricken too, right?”
“Yeah, Jaha and Kane,” Jackson answered.
“Take me to one of them,” I said, as I felt a pull that I didn’t recognize.
“Um, okay. Who?”
“Kane,” her mom said. “Take her to Kane.”
“Okay,” he said and grabbed a portable brain scanner and off we went, all four of us.
Kane looked like her mom had yesterday.
“You ready,” Jackson asked.
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” I responded and placed my hand on his.
The same thing happened again. My healing was pulled into him and I glanced at the brain scan. It flared bright and as I felt the pull lessen, so did the light until I could remove my hand. We crowded around the scan and watched as the toxin receded and heard Kane stir. We looked down in amazement when he opened his eyes.
They searched our faces and then focused on Clarke’s mom, “Abby,” he whispered.
Abby let out a cry of joy and sat by Kane. We watched her as her hand trembled as it stroked his face.
I stepped back and away from everyone as I tried to comprehend what had just happened.
Clarke saw me back up and quickly came over to me, “Are you okay?”
“I, I don’t know,” I said dumbfounded. “I don’t even feel a drain on my power. It’s like I was just a conduit or something.”
“Has this ever happened before?”
“No! Never! What the fuck?!”
“Hey, calm down, Nyx,” she said as she hugged me.
Confusion seemed to engulf me and I closed my eyes and focused on Clarke holding me. Soothing me. I calmed and took some deep breaths.
“Better,” she asked as she felt me calm down.
“A bit,” I said. “It just doesn’t make any sense. None. I don’t know what just happened.”
“What made you change your mind and want to try again?”
“I just had this niggling feeling that I needed to try again and something pushed me towards your leaders.”
“Do you have that feeling anymore?”
I looked into myself and did indeed feel like I needed to do it again.
“Yes,” I whispered.
She looked over at the bed and called out, “Jackson, can you take us to Jaha.”
“Um, sure,” he said and started walking.
Clarke held onto me as we walked over to another bed. Jackson set up the scanner and with an even deeper breath, I touched the man’s hand. There was that sudden burst of power and then it receded. I nearly collapsed and Clarke quickly sat me in a chair. I leaned down with my head between my legs and fought off the sudden dizzy spell.
Clarke kneeled down beside me and asked, “Are you okay? This didn’t happen before.”
“I got real dizzy when it receded this time. I don’t think I can do it again. Three shots, that’s all I had.”
“Why do you think it happened?”
“Something want’s your leaders up and running again. Quickly.”
“Maybe, you should lie down?”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right,” I looked up at Jackson and said, “Did Kane or Jaha show any powers?”
“Kane did,” Jackson said. “He’s a werewolf and a wind mage.”
“Holy shit,” I said as it suddenly came all together. “A council made up of the three types of groups here in this camp.”
“The perfect trio of leaders,” Clarke whispered.
“The solution we’ve been looking for, but why?”
“Mother Earth provided,” I whispered.
“Mother Earth used me as a conduit to heal your three leaders, giving them the powers that are needed to helping solve this situation.”
“Can she do that?”
“She saved my life when I tried to kill myself. She helped Gaia speak to the pack members who were prisoners and your pack. She may have done even more, but I’m not sure.”
“What else could she have done?”
“I think she saved my life twice more. I nearly died when I was at the Ice Pack compound that I was contracted to destroy by the very same werewolf that got me to kill my people. Then I was attacked the first day I arrived here. The healer was surprised that I was still alive and semiconscious because I had already lost a lot of blood. This can’t all be a coincidence, can it?”
We heard someone come up and I looked up to see Abby approaching.
“Nyx, are you alright,” she asked.
“Heh, I think alright is a subjective word, right now,” I said as I continued to work through my dizziness. “I think I’ve just been subjected to being chosen by Mother Earth.”
I moaned as a wave of dizziness swept over me and Clarke explained, “Mother Earth is revered by the people. Apex, they call themselves, ourselves, worship her and She is a very active Goddess. Nyx believes the Mother Earth is using her for a greater purpose. It’s why the three of you received the rapid healing.”
“Mother Earth is real? I thought she was just a myth. A story to explain how the earth formed.”
“She’s real,” I said as the wave passed. “As real as wereanimals and mages. We were all once considered myth. Now, we’re the reality and in charge of the world.”
“Mom, we’ll explain later, I’ve got to get Nyx to a bed,” Clarke said as she helped me stand up.
I leaned heavy against her, sweating and now fighting nausea.
“Of course, I’m sorry.”
“Jackson should remove them to a separate area,” I said weakly.
“I’ll tell him. Do you want to lay down here or in your room?”
“I don’t think I can make it to my room.”
“Okay, let’s get you to a bed then.”