The New King – Chapter 38 – Hidden Monsters

Photo credit: Moha’ Al-Bastaki / Foter.com / CC BY-NC
 
 
 

They stood silently facing each other.  Layla showed no fear of the guard who stood before her, his sword drawn and gleaming by his side.  She inclined her head as an acknowledgement.  He did the same.  With exaggerated flourish, he pulled his sword high and saluted the princess.  Holding the sword across his palms, he dropped to one knee and bowed his head.

“My sword is yours now, Princess.”

“I have no need of your sword, Sir.  My father’s poisonous reign is over.  Our clan requires a new King.” 

She glanced around at the faces watching her.  She caught Jill’s eye and smiled.  Finally, Layla looked toward her uncle, who managed to wrap a cloth around his bleeding shoulder.  They exchanged a meaningful look before she turned back to the pack.    

“As heir to the throne I must confess that I cannot remain here.  It’s a complicated and weighty decision but I must leave this realm.   However, as my first and final official decree, I appoint Veelka as King.”

Jill watched as Veelka approached his niece.  He looked lousy after his battle with The Grey but moved with as much dignity as he could muster.  Jill watched the eyes of the other wolves around them and saw relief everywhere she looked.  As Veelka ascended to the throne, many of the guards helped to remove the dead bodies from the throne room before they could become bloated.  Others took positions beside Veelka as personal guards.

“It might be a little early to say but I think the war will be averted.  Veelka will have a lot to smooth out with the jackals but no one wants more bloodshed,” Tom whispered.

Jill gasped as she remembered something horrible.

“What’s wrong?”  Tom asked.

“Robbie!”

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No More Fear – Chapter 37 – Hidden Monsters

dark-red-drop

Photo credit: DennisHolzberg / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Tears streamed from her eyes and splashed on the cold stone floor.  Jill blinked hard to focus on her father’s face.  He stood mere yards away but he wouldn’t be able to stop the blade poised at her throat.

“Ulvarg, please!  I’m the one you want.”  Tom removed his fighting staff and slid it across the floor past his king.  He removed a long dagger and small knife and slid them across the floor as well.  “I’m unarmed, Ulvarg.  Please, take your vengeance out on me, not her.”

“My vengeance requires more than your life, Tomas.  I wanted you to suffer and know agony before your death.  You do not deserve the quick end of a slit throat.  I vowed if you returned, I would smash your will to live until you begged for death.  And even then, I would not bring your end until I grow tired of your screams.”

“Do with me as you will, my King, but I beg you to let her go.  She will never be a threat to you,” Tom said.  He moved closer, his palms out in a submissive manner.

“A war is brewing at my borders because of you, Tomas.  I have no time to punish you as you deserve.  But before I kill you, you will know agony and a grief so powerful, it will suffice.”

Jill watched her father’s face.  She saw hope withdraw from his eyes before he met her gaze.  He mouthed, “I love you” as if saying his goodbyes.  A weird sensation spread through her mind.  A need to protect rather than be protected.  Her heart no longer slammed against her chest like a base drum.  A calmness stilled it and she gave him a small smile.

The blade pressed hard against her skin before she felt the King stiffen.  His grip loosened on her hair and the sword fell from his hand, clanging against the floor.  Jill twisted away and looked back to see a long blade protruding from the King’s chest.  All semblance of sanity faded from his features.  They twisted into an ugly display and finally froze as his body pitched forward.  Jill scrambled away as the King fell unseeing to the ground.    She stared at the body like someone had pulled a cruel prank on them until she looked back and saw Layla standing behind where the King once stood.  Blood trickled from a small gash in her forehead and her hands shook slightly.  She seemed shocked at her own actions.

Tom pulled Jill from the ground and held her so tight it actually hurt but she would never complain.  It felt good.  Guards appeared as if waiting for the stand off to end and rushed into the throne room.  They filed in and stared dumbstruck at their dead King.  Tom pushed Jill and Layla behind him but Layla step out and stood to meet the guards.  Her face no longer registering confusion but confidence.

The closest guard pulled his sword from its sheath and Layla walked out to meet him.

 

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Ok, I’m misty eyed! Very Nice

Eatocracy

Last Sunday was just an average morning for Anna Kaye MacLean. Her sister, 7-year-old Arianna, had slept over at her house the night before and seemed to have woken up in a good mood — which is not always a given for a child with autism.

After determining that Arianna’s mood was stable enough for a day of fun activities outside the home, MacLean and her husband decided to take Arianna out to lunch, with a bonus visit to the Easter Bunny afterward. They decided to eat lunch at the Chili’s Bar and Grill in Midvale, Utah, where a beautiful thing happened — and went viral.

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Deadly Encounter – Chapter 36 – Hidden Monsters

“This should be interesting, young human,” Ulvarg whispered into Jill’s ear.  She could do nothing but watch the events unfold before her.

Veelka zeroed in on The Grey and Layla.  He said nothing but advanced upon them.  The Grey moved back, smiling as if reeling Veelka in like prey.  Layla continued to struggle for release.  She squirmed and kicked until she connected with a soft spot.  The Grey’s face contorted in rage.  He whirled and launched her into the wall near the throne.   She crumbled to the ground and didn’t move.

Veelka hesitated slightly, watching Layla’s still form before he turned back, shifted in an instant and dove into The Grey.  They fell together, teeth gnashing, claws scratching.  Jill pressed her palms to her ears to subdue the horrendous sounds.  She knew this would be a fight to the death.  Remembering her own attack, and The Grey’s vicious fangs piercing her skin, her heart sank as she watched.  The Grey shifted and quickly pinned Veelka against a far wall.  He bit hard into Veelka’s shoulder, ripping fur and flesh with his canines.

Veelka snapped his jaws, keeping The Grey from his neck.  Their growls and snarls echoed through the high halls of the throne room.  No one else moved as they watched the fierce battle.  The Grey threw a smug look Jill’s way, his teeth gleaming and dripping of warm blood, a look of triumph in his wicked eyes before he snarled and dipped his head for a fatal strike.

Veelka pushed off from the wall just as The Grey moved to bite.  It was just enough to send The Grey forward and off balance.  He slid over Veelka, who scrambled to gain his footing first.  Not missing a beat, Veelka sank his fangs into The Grey’s flanks, jerking his head quickly and snapping bones.  The Grey through his head up and howled in agony.  Spinning around, Veelka’s teeth found purchase in The Grey’s exposed neck.  His bite snapped hard and crushed bones, severed tendons and tore through veins.  Blood erupted from the wound coating both of them but Veelka didn’t let go.  He shook his head and ground his teeth until all life drained from The Grey’s eyes.

Jill felt the King shake with rage as his grip tighten.  He shoved her down to her knees and wrenched her head back.  His blade rose to her exposed neck.

 

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Show Down – Chapter 35 – Hidden Monsters

It had been a simple plan designed to save lives and stop the impending war.  Jill hadn’t thought it reckless at the time but now, they were in serious trouble.

She and Layla stood before the Wolf King, his features a mixture of hatred and satisfaction. 
“We found them in the swarm room releasing the wasps,” The Grey said.
“And where is the young jackal?” Ulvarg asked.
“He received fatal injuries from the swarm.  I sent him to the cells so his mother could watch him die,” The Grey said.
“A fitting death indeed,” Ulvarg said.  “And you bring me a traitor, Grey.  One that has been hidden from me, my own daughter.”  He turned to Layla and frowned.  “This will be the last time you bring shame to your family, Laylianna.”
“My King, let me deal with her.  Once mated, I will make sure dramatic improvements are made to her loyalty.  That is, if I have your blessing.”  The Grey ran a heavy hand down the back of Layla’s neck, wrenching her head back by the hair.
“Then she is yours, Grey.  Perhaps she will show a higher regard for your authority.”
The Grey smiled and jerked Layla toward the door.  She fought him and clamped her teeth down on his hand.  The Grey howled in pain before he back handed her.  She fell to the polished stone floor, her bleeding lip making a slick spot where she fell.  The Grey snatched her up ready to inflict more blows.  He demonstrated a real passion for causing pain.
“Father!  You can’t do this to me!” Layla cried.
Jill fought also.  She needed to get free.  She needed to help her friend.  She kicked hard at the guard behind her and slammed her head back connecting with his nose.  He flinched and she broke free but Ulvarg grabbed a handful of her hair and jerked her back.  He pulled a sword from the guard’s sheath and held it to her neck.  Jill froze.  They needed a miracle and fast.
The door to the King’s throne room opened and everyone stopped.  Veelka came through, his eyes like stone and behind him stood Tomas.