Time has come

Over a week had passed since linde had been taken. They found out a a couple of days after she was taken that the land slid didn't happen because it had been caused by the greiving mother who opened the damn out of revenge. But since they had confronted and comforted her she no longer felt the need for it. They heard all this from the wolf that linde had been playing with before the mother had showed up that night. He had heard her plans to do so. Mikahil was in the study with malentino going over the areas they had not covered yet when gregori showed up and to their surprised he had a small boy in his arms, instantly Mikhail saw the resemblance he had to linde.

"Anya found this boy yesterday," said Gregori. "I examined him. Many things resembled Linde, however, he seems to be Carpathian. Savannah didn't even remember feeding him this rising, yet I found his bite mark on her."

This upset Mikhail. He didn't know why, but it did.

"Can you wake him?" he asked.

Gregori shook his head " like linde he rest by roots, he has not been awakened yet. From what I can tell his need for feeding calls anyone near by but he is not awake when he does it, if he was a grown man I'm sure he would not stop until he hurt whoever he called"

"We need to talk to him somehow," Mikhail said, pacing. "Find out how he got to where he was, who he is, and how he is related to our Linde."

Raven entered the room "Mikhail you talk about him like he is a threat....look at him, he is clearly a victim like linde was" she said going to stroke his hair but Gregori stopped her by gently grabbing her wrist " this boy has more dark magic then even i" he said in a serious tone

"His effect on men and women is vastly different," Mikhail said, seeming calm, but Raven could feel his jealousy rising. "And he doesn't feel like a child. To other males, he seems to come off as a threat, especially if our women are nearby to come care for him."

Raven moved away " so what he's a predator...we all are Mikhail " Raven said in a upset tone " can no one see he is just a child who like linde has suffered alone for God knows how long" she said frowning " instead of treating him like a treat maybe treat him like you did linde and he will wake up on his own, I wouldn't want to wake up around a bunch of hostile males" she said folding her arms

"It isn't males I'm worried about," said Mikhail. "They see the child in front of them, and won't attack, but they also feel his age and the darkness around them. I'm more worried about the women." He opened the door and every female on the ranch was there, even Solange, trying to get in to comfort the boy. "This reaction isn't normal." He turned to the women. "You all need to leave until we find out more. If he turns out to be harmless, we will see about giving everyone supervised visits."

"Supervised?" asked Solange. "Why?"

"Because he will cloud your minds and feed from you without your knowledge. That can be dangerous, especially for those currently pregnant or already weak."

"So, if we come with another woman..."

"No, it will have to be your lifemate or another trusted male. One that can protect you. If he is able to cloud your minds, no matter how strong your mental barriers, it is a problem."

All the females looked upset at this " so what if he needs to feed, Savannah is fine and he fed from her , he needs a mother, you boys were fighting over who got linde so why can't we do the same over him" said Solange

Mikhail halted at that. He hadn't even noticed it. The men had practically obsessed over Linde, just as the women were doing with this unknown boy. He scratched the back of his head.

"This brings us to a dead end," he said. "Gregori, we have to find Linde, but we also need to know who the boy is." He looked back at the women. "If that is true, perhaps one of the women should try talking to him. Since I had talked to Linde and became the closest to her through our... many conversations, Raven," he clenched his fists, "will you attempt to speak to him."

The woman seemed jealous but remained quiet as Raven went back over to the boy, she held out her arms and waited, when gregori got a nod from Mikhail he handed the boy over to her. The moment he was in her arms Mikhail could see she melted " hey there little one....can you open your eyes for me" she said speaking softly. Everyone almost seemed to hold their breath. Minutes passed and nothing until suddenly his hand twitched. Dark magic filled the area making the air seem heavy and polluted. Slowly his eyes opened " hey there " Raven said with a smile his eyes were gold mixed with a blood red brown "what's your name?" Raven asked softly. He didn't answer, he just looked at her and Mikhail saw her shoulders drop like she was getting sleepy, he saw her eye lids start to drupe like she was tired

Mikhail couldn't hold back the growl. He wanted to rip the boy from her arms to keep him from feeding off of her. He knew that's what was going to happen. He stood behind Raven, looking intimidating. It was as if he were the devil himself in that moment.

His eyes met mikhails and the little boy bared his fangs but suddenly stopped, his eyes went wide in shock and he suddenly looked sad, tears filled his eyes and pain filled his expression. Raven turned into a daze, the action not hers but his need , so the boy was now in front of Mikhail. He inhaled like he was trying to smell something, desperately searching for a smell. Raven lifted him like she was trying to give him to Mikhail

Mikhail stiffened and said, "You don't have to control my lifemate's mind. Release her. If she must, she can be a bridge of communication."

The boy seemed almost desperate yet he was unable to move himself. He tried, his hand shaking as he tried to move it but couldn't. Raven pushed him into mikhails arms and once he had him , Mikhail could see she had her own mind again "what..." She said in a confused tone touching her head. Gregori put her behind him " give him to me its too dangerous..." The boy sniffed Mikhail and growled. He looked hurt and angry, gregori took a stepped forward like he was going to rip him out of his arms but Raven stopped him " don't! " She said getting in between them "look I can't explain it but he is not a threat...but he will be if you act harsh towards him"

Mikhail said, "If what you said is true, and he is Carpathian, he is part of my responsibility as prince. That doesn't mean I like the idea of him clouding Raven's mind to feed when she would have offered freely." He looked at the boy. "It seems he was not raised within our community and has not learned our ways."

Raven turned quickly and suddenly grabbed him from mikhails arms " no ...he did not do that little one, calm yourself" she said as the boy bared his fangs at Mikhail "what did you do Mikhail...to Linde" she asked in a desperate tone as she hugged the boy to her chest

"She offered freely so that we had a connection," said Mikhail. "So that I could find her when the time came."

Raven looked upset by this " you fed from a child we know nothing about? And your calling us careless for wanting to help this poor boy" she said in a upset tone " how could you do something so stupid Mikhail"

"She reminded me of Savannah," he said. "All I saw was Savannah as a little girl, telling me to hand her over to the Sange rau to save myself. It crushed me to have her say that, to just give her to them. Besides, I'd do the same for this boy, even though I have my reservations about him. You know I would, because he is a child."

"They are not your kids Mikhail! You are a prince first and a father second!" She said in a angry tone "you made a horrible decision as prince by taking such a risk just because she was a kid, do I need to remind you she is a kid made by Xavier!" She said and gregori made everyone leave except him just in case the boy attacked " how could you be so careless!"

"Can you honestly say that you would have done differently if it were you and the boy?" he asked gently. "If he were begging you to just hand him over to the enemy, that you wouldn't have tried to build a connection with him so you could find him? Remember how you cried so hard because I couldn't? Would you have acted differently?"

She took a deep breath and sighed " I...." She said again " I'm scared Mikhail....I'm scared that it was a trap and now something bad will happen to you and...this boy he is just so upset that he smells her on you and..."

He looked at the boy and said, "She's your lifemate."

The boys heart beat sped up and a low growl came from him. Raven looked confused and pulled the boy away so they could see his face. He had blood red tears dripping from his eyes yet he looked angry. His eyes met mikhails and he knew that look. He was right, this was a male trying to get to his lifemate. He looked at Mikhail with such hate for just smelling like her, such hate on such a little boys face

Mikhail smiled, though it seemed a little forced, and said, "I understand. We will find her and it will get easier. She will make it easier. I have a feeling you know where she is. I've had a hard time finding her this past week, even with my connection. I will give aid where I can."

The boy looked uncomfortable and so did Raven "he needs...blood..lots of it" she said in a confused tone "he needs to be able to call them"

"He can feed from me," Mikhail said as he looked up, earning a growl from Gregori. "My blood is powerful enough, and it has a connection to Linde that he may be able to tap into. Perhaps that is why she allowed me to do so." He looked at the boy again. "Perhaps she knew that I couldn't do it, but you could."

He saw that male who from him, he was definitely carpathian. Him saying he could do something for her that he couldn't pleased him. Slowly Raven handed the boy to him. When Mikhail rested his head near his neck he felt him but in without hesitation. It hurt, almost like his fangs were hot and burning him. He now understood why the boy had blocked the feeding from the females. It was so it didn't hurt. For such a small boy he took enough like he was a wounded grown hunter. He felt him start to move in his arms and by the time he closed the wounds the roots had fallen off of him and he was shakingly sitting up on his own. He look Mikhail in his eye and put his finger to his chest "they were going to bring her to me until one of you interfered and took me" he wrote

Mikhail relayed the message and Gregori said, "Anya. She found you and gave you to me to assess." He growled. "We could have kept Linde here and you would have been reunited."

Mikhail held up his hand and said, "Do you know where she is now?"

His eyes closed and beneath his eyelids Mikhail could see his eyes moving like he was searching for something. Slowly they opened " alone...she is alone..." He wrote " they are dead" he continued "useless half breeds" he wrote with a growl "take me outside"

Mikhail took him as he said, "You know, that is showing who raised you. Carpathians accept people who have honor. It strikes me as odd that you chose Sange rau, who are of the dark, over those who would help you willingly. Manolito and MaryAnn, they are Hän ku pesäk kaikak, or Guardians of all. They would have gladly helped bring you and your lifemate together and offer aid. Any Carpathian would as well."

"Your souless brethren are easy to control, and you know nothing of me or her and even more less about who actually has honor" he wrote sniffing the air outside " we didn't need you or your people while we were stuck in the earth and we don't need you now" he wrote with a upset look on his face. He moved so Mikhail placed him on the ground. He sat there and dug his hands into the dirtl. He tilteeXd his head like he was listening. Dark magic filled the air and the wind grew cold around them.bit looked like snake were moving in the ground and heading towards the forest. Blood sweat started to cover his little body and he looked like he was straining.

"So, you know that by using those soulless beings and your dark magic, you are hurting your lifemate?" he asked.

He didn't answer, he just kept doing what he was doing. After a few minutes he let out a breath and collapsed onto the ground and was breathing heavy. His eyes were closed and he looked pale " healer" he wrote in the dirt "I need a female healer"

"Why female?" Mikhail asked.

"I...can't hurt females" he wrote

Mikhail nodded and called for Zach to bring Amera. They appeared. After so long, she still clung to Zach like a lifeline. Her healing was slow, but the last year had been good to her. She looked at her lifemate, who had yet to claim her, and got a nod. She went to the boy.

Amera's hands shook. She was afraid. She knew she had to help this boy, but...

"What if I can't?" she asked, looking up at Zach. "I still can't bear... touching people. I haven't been able to stand healing anyone. I don't want to make a mistake."

Kiam, can you and Amora come here, Mikhail asked as Zach tried to encourage Amera. We have great need of her. Her knowledge of herbs will aid an injured child.

In a few moments, Kiam carried Amora in with a basket of herbs.

Amora was sent down gently by kiam next to the boy, Mikhail instantly saw the interest in the boy as he looked at Amora "earth child, I need deathroot" he wrote and Amora looked disturbed at that, he continued to write herbs in the dirt and the more he did the more she looked disturb " these herbs...they are all posions, yet together they make up the complete opposite of the healing mixture I would have used, each herb is the counterpart of the healing herbs, for example I would use this herb to treat deathroot posioning " she said holding up a herb from her basket

Amera looked at the woman as Mikhail asked, "What does this mean?"

Amera said in a small voice, "How can he be healed with poison?"

Amora shook her head "I don't know...but " she said and waved her hand over the ground, different herbs grew in one patch . She covered her mouth and nose with her shirt " I'll need gloves to handle them, and don't breath them in" she said

Kiam gave Amora a mask and some gloves. Amera used her ability to keep the scent from going beyond the patch that grew. Zach saw how effortless it was for her now, but there was such fear in her eyes. She looked to him to know she was doing right. He nodded. She refused to make decisions and trust what she knew. She didn't do what she had to without getting his okay first. She should be making those choices on her own, but she would not. She didn't want to repeat the same mistakes that drove a wedge between her and Andor again, or to hurt him. The fear of making a choice, of doing things on her own kept him from claiming her. He didn't want someone to blindly follow orders to avoid the mistakes she might make. He wanted her, mistakes and all. Avoiding making her own decisions was the biggest mistake she was making. He didn't know how much longer he could keep from claiming her.

"I'm here if you need me," Kiam said.

Amora began to harvest the herbs and slowly mix them together in the grinder "mix them with blood" the boy wrote in the dirt when she was done mixing them "yours" she said looking at Amora. She looked at kiam "can you do it for me" she asked holding out her gloves hand to him

Kiam looked at Mikhail. He nodded. Kiam then said, "Okay. Just... if it gets to be too much tell me and I will give you aid. I follow your lead here."

She nodded and he ungloved her hand and made sure she didn't feel it when he cut her palm over the herbs. When they were submerged he licked her hand to close the wound and he felt her flintch. Her mind went straight back to Drago, licking her body as he examined her. She went stiff and tears formed in her eyes and she put her head down as disgust filled her "please....stop" she said in a uneven tone

"It's okay," he said gently. "You have nothing to be afraid of."

He held her to him, trying to get her out of view of everyone to give her some privacy in her vulnerable moment, but it only seemed to make it worse. He had no choice. He made her look at him before biting into her. What should have been intimate was a way of bringing Amora back.

Amera covered her mouth. She can't choose to not see what happened to her. I've been hiding behind what I did as an excuse. I'm so sorry, Zach. I can't keep having you choose for me just because of my mistakes. I've been such a stone around your neck instead of moving past my mistakes and being your partner.

I've been telling you that for over a year amera Zach said in a stressed tone.

Amora slowly relaxed in his arms. She let out a son before slowly wrapping her arms around his neck and curling up in his lap. She hid her face in his shoulder and tried to ignore the world around her and just focus on him and his bite "please take me away from here.." she said in a shaking tone.

He closed the wound and said, "They have the mixture they need. It's okay."

As they went to leave, Amera went to Amora, making sure to keep Kiam between them and said as a soothing aroma enveloped Amora, "If you need to talk, I'm here. And thank you."

"For what?" Kiam asked.

"You lifemate helped me," Amera said as Zach encircled her in his arms. "She showed me that, to finish healing and to move forward, I can't give up part of myself." She looked up at Zach. "My lifemate deserves all of me, even if that is such a small thing in comparison for what he has done for me." She looked back at Amora. "It will be okay. There is life ahead of you, full of love and wonder. It will make what happened to you seem dim. I know it doesn't seem that way right now, with it still so fresh, but look at your man. He is your hope and the dreams you never knew you had. You showed me that today, and I can never repay that gift. If you want, I can come see to your wounds later. You were extremely stressed and it may cause problems."

"We will think about it," said Kiam and the two left.

Amera turned to the boy, pulling gloves onto her own hands, "Now, I don't know how to use this, so I will need help." She got down and smiled. "You will help, right?"

He growled at her and wrote "feed it to me"

"Someone's hangry," she said with a chuckle as she produced a spoon. "Alright, but go slow."

She began to feed him. She didn't do anything cute with it, but she did smile a lot.

When it was gone. He groaned and started to move, first it was slow, his finger, then hands, then his arms. Slowly he got on all fours, when amera went to help him he growled and bared his fangs before she could touch him. Finally he stood up. He ripped the remaining roots from his body and the wounds healed quickly. He then turned to them all, his face emotionless " Her name is Yanalina not linde " he said in a hoarse tone. His voice was cold to the men but to the woman it was like a soft breeze on their skin on a hot night.

"It's a pretty name," Amera said. "Do you need help finding her?"

His eyes met Amera and she felt a warmth fill her. He tilted his head "your too broken to help me" he said in a cold tone and that warmth left her so quickly she shivered as she felt cold. The little boy looked at Mikhail "she is on her way, u suggest you take down the wards in the property and take your people inside"

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