And So It Begins...

Antony sat in his study, looking at a few emails. Pleas from his human workers, a few hunters from the various strongholds, and general spam. None of it held his interest.

"Perhaps I should go for a walk," he mused aloud.

He turned off the computer and walked from his house. He found himself at the hospital. He hadn't realized he had used his inhuman speed to get there, but he was drawn to something inside.

He wasn't hungry that much he knew, over the years he had learned to trust his instincts, and they told him to go here. He instantly knew there was a lycan someone where in the hospital, he could smell it

Antony walked in, following the scent. The closer he got, the more he learned. Female... an alpha... strong... with a human... also female... sorrow... He learned all of that before he stood outside the room.

"Mom, hold on," said a young girl. "Stasia, can't you do something? Find a better doctor? Anything?"

"i cant make any promises Beth but ill see what i can do, ill get their asses moving" said another females voice that felt like silk on his skin. Suddenly the door busted open and he had to move to avoid it "hey we need help in here and I'm counting ever second for the malpractice suite I'm going to file if my friends mother dies because of you lot!" yelled a fit gorgeous woman with black an blue hair. He had yet to see her face but her body alone was enough to arouse any man. With long firm legs and a femininely waist and slender yet fit arms she looked healthy and fit with the female curves any man would want to hold on too.

Colors burst into being, emotions assaulted him. He had to lean against the wall to keep from falling from the new sensations. A new scent filled the air as she walked through the hall. Not a lycan, but a guardian! And she was his. He stood tall as she neared him. Mine, played like the devil's refrain in his head, his eyes claiming her. When a male nurse neared her, Antony let out a growl, causing her to snap to attention and turn towards him.

Dark brown eyes that had flecks of gold met his with a glare "this is a hospital not a zoo quite growling and move out of the way so they can get to the room" She said in a serious and stern tone

He stared at her for a moment, taking in the sight of her, before he said, "A bit of respect is in order on both sides, I think. I am Antony Dubrinsky." He saw recognition in her eyes, and he smiled. "I believe you are in my territory, Miss Alpha, and without a proper introduction or forewarning."

She looked at him like he was crazy "first off a hospital is n ones territory even if your name is on the building and second i dont know what you mean by ms alpha and i dont have time for crazy talk" she said and turned to go back to the room

He took her wrist, stopping her. He waited until she looked at him. "You know that Dubrinsky is a Carpathian name, and the line of the prince. I also know you have heard of my name, the name of the prince of the Carpathians. You were not born in my territory, not with the Guardian pack at the border between lycans and Carpathians. So, tell me, Miss Alpha, what is your name or should I find a much more appropriate name for you?"

She glared, her wrist twitched in his grip letting him know she was holding back from trying to escape his grip "I have done nothing towards your kind and we will not be here for long, please let go of my wrist" She said in a strained tone like she was holding emotion from her voice

He pulled her closer to him, his free hand cupping her cheek as he said, "Your friend's mother will be moved to my home and receive private care from our healers if you so wish it, cisitri. She will have a chance to live if she comes. The human doctors, though skilled in the barbaric human practices, will be unable to save her."

He knew he shouldn't offer it. If was stupid. He never jumped to decisions like this. But he felt how much she cared for the humans in the other room. He would not have her suffer if he could make it right for a few years more.

She growled. No one had growled a warning at him like that in decades, no one that lived "release me" she said in a demanding tone "i know you only by name you have no right to touch me so intimately"

"Of course I should touch you like this," he said with a chuckle. "You are my lifemate. And I am the prince of the Carpathians."

"excuse me?" she said in a shocked tone and broke his grip and took a step back from him

"I said you are my lifemate," he said in a patient tone. "And I am the prince. Now, get your friend and her mother's things together. We will be traveling to my home and I would like my second to be the one to look over the elderly woman before dawn."

"no" it was one word with a lot of seriousness behind it "they are unaware of our world and i am going to keep it that way and as far as you being my lifemate that has yet to be seen, it takes more than a claim to be a mate, you have no right instantly try to control my life, i dont know you and though you may be prince i am not of your people i do not have to bow to you, i have not broken any of your rules so there is no reason for any conflict, now if you will excuse me i am busy, we can meet later when i am alone"

"The woman is dying," he said. "My people can save her. You know it. We also know how to be secretive about what we are, just as the lycans do. I also want to take you to a safe place so we can discuss this. Is that so terrible? Aiding those you care for and giving us privacy?"

"as much as it pains me my friends mother time has come, humans live the life they are meant to, it is what's natural, i will not mess with that balance, what is natural to our kind is not natural for them, now like i said i will come to you when i am not busy"

"Is this what she wants?" Antony asked. "What if it is only a few more hours, just enough to say her goodbyes? I believe I have enough healing skills to ease her passage. She suffers needlessly."

"I need you to go...i cant think with you around my wolf will not be quiet and i need to be here for my friend" She said in a serious tone "do not take this as submission but your growl got my attention and now your smell and touch have only made it worse, things are different for your kind and mine and the last thing i need right now is to transform in the middle of a hospital"

"I will be here, cisitri," he said. "I can not leave you. You need me just as your friend needs you. I will wait in the hallway."

He felt her anger like lava in his blood "typical Carpathian male, always doing things your way no matter how anyone else feels, i had hoped my mate was lycan..." she said and went into the room and slammed the door

He stood there and waited. Meanwhile, in the room, Bethany looked at Anastasia and said, "What's that all about. Mom is fading fast and you are-"

Ana closed her eyes and sighed heavily. she waited until she knew her eyes were back to normal before opening them "im sorry i was just trying to get there asses moving " she said "and i got heated, how is she?"

"She isn't breathing good," said Bethany. "I keep getting images of me holding a baby but mom is nowhere in sight. Her body is shutting down. She will drown because of the water build-up in her lungs and they won't try to remove it! It's not her time, Stasia! She shouldn't die like this!"

"beth...we cant tell when someones time is, that being said talk to her and ill go back and get someone ok" she said and when she nodded hse left the room again and sighed, she wasnt surprised to find him still there. With a serios look on her face she went up to him , comfort, not prolonging, stop her pain but let her die naturally, at least then she will be able to say goodbye" She said "please" she added at the end

Erik hunted. There was nothing left for him beyond that. He could heal nearly as well as his beloved grandfather and mother, but what was the point. Time stretched endlessly before him. Honor and guarding the prince, that was all that was left to him and it was not enough to hold him.

Nightly, he sat on the wall of the nearby animal reserve and veterinary clinic. Off to the side of it was the local zoo. He liked watching the animals in the reserve more than the zoo. Despite the limited room, they were free. Why then, did he feel like he was caged to an indecisive prince? Why did he feel trapped in his duty and forced to act as a second prince rather than his guard? He never found the answer for it, but that didn't stop the envy he felt in watching the animals run free. What little he could feel, his emotions were fading, his color already gone. Soon he knew the numbness that would follow.

Suddenly a cold chill went up his spine, his instincts told him there were ghouls near by, when he scanned the area he could tell it was coming from the other side of the zoo where the clinic was. He jumped off of the ten-foot wall and walked around the corner before saying, "Someone has disturbed me, and I don't like when that happens."

He saw a large wolf turn from staring at the vet clinic, it bared its fangs at him a turned to face him

"Still playing the dog," Erik said, recognizing the handiwork. "Face the justice you desire, unclean one, or I shall force you to show yourself and be done with this tedious work."

The ghoul snarled but just when they were about to attack each other the door to the clinic opened. A older man with grey hair stepped out "alright sweetie ill see you tomorrow, lock the door after me" he said and shut the door, The door locked behind him but erik got a quick scent of who had shut the door. A sweet smell like lilies and grass filled his nose

He stiffened. That sent. It drew his attention when he had a battle. He waved his hand and the man halted. He put a hasty barrier around the human and the door. The last thing he wanted was the woman attached to the scent to walk out in the middle of the battle. He growled. His woman. She held that intriguing and mouthwatering scent.

With a growl the ghoul disappeared as mist, leaving only the dazed old man nd the scent of the women with Erik. He sent the man on his way before going to the door. He knocked on it. The cold metal rang in the night "what did you forget this ti..." the female voice that was like music to him stopped in mid sentence. He could hear her heart start to race and with his senses so high and on alert he felt a warmth reach him. A sensation that was rare but one he had experienced before from a Carpathian empath had met when he was a young boy. She was human so it was a different feel but with its rarity it was distinguishable. He could hear her soft footsteps as she backed away from the door slowly

"I am Erik Daratrazanoff," he said. He longed to feel her skin and smooth over her hair. It belonged to him. She belonged to him. "What is your name, ma petite?" She didnt answer and he could tell she was moving further from the door, his instincts told him she was frightened. If she was a strong empath like he thought she was then being in high alert like he was would make him feel like a predator and she was his prey

"A wolf was out here and I had to fend him off," he said, standing up. "It got away, but is very dangerous. I would like to take you someplace safe this night."

"Me and my colleagues are safe where we are at, now unless you have the right to be here i suggest you leave because this is private property" she said in a uneven tone. He knew she was lying about there being other people in there with her "if not i will have to sound the alarm and alert security"

"They won't come in time," he said, sensing not only the ghoul returning but at least three and one a master. "Your friend has not had time to leave the parking lot and is in danger as well. I can get you out safely. Now, listen carefully, ma petite. Lock the doors and play music as loud as you can. Don't go near any of the animals if you can help it. Not until I can come inside and make sure they are safe. The wolf is coming back and with not very nice people. You need to open the door so your friend can come back inside. I'm sending him to you now."

He could feel her confusion but he was suddenly slammed with her fear and knew she felt the master, he heard her started cry and something metal hit the floor inside you are outnumbered hunter said a dark voice in his head, he wasnt in his mind but he could fell him pushing against his shields

Come out and face me, unclean one, Erik ordered. Since it is justice you seek, I shall oblige you. He faced the wolf-ghouls saying, "Your master has sent you to face justice in his stead. He has given you up so that he may escape."

you have come into my territory , you have started this fight i must now finish it,

No, you invaded the territory of the prince, who has passed his sentence upon you, Erik said as engaged the lesser enemies before him. I sense your need to end your existence. I can do no other than deliver the justice you seek.

i feel nothing as you know so i have no need of what you speak, you are alone here, this is my territory, how many innocents are you willing to sacrifice hunter?

I need not sacrifice anyone, said Erik as he incinerated the first wolf and began working on the wolf clawing his back. The humans here are safe, Armond. Face me and your fate.

are they safe? he said back in a dark tone as Erik began to hear the animals inside the clinic start to make a lot of noise and their cages raddle and the sound of metal.

The wolf was burning as Erik punched through the chest of the second vampire. I will allow nothing else.

Just as it turned to dust and erik found himself alone, the door to the clinic flew open and he saw her, it was like time slowed, she looked scared and was looking back into the clinic, her bright red hair reminded him of sunsets, it had gold and strawberry blonde locked dancing as she ran. her skin was smooth and pale and freckles covered random parts of her body. She was wearing a white dress with white sneakers and a necklace with a purple stone on it wrapped in metal. She ran straight into his chest and the soft yelp that left her mouth echoed his ear. She was soft and warm as her full chest and feminine curves slammed into him. He took hold of her and put her behind him, pushing her away from the stalking animals. They felt the predator in him, but with their numbers, they were sure they could take the one promised them. The voice driving them to attack said so. Erik didn't want to destroy the creatures, but if they harmed his woman, he had no choice "Ma petite," he said, taking her hand, "someone is controlling them. We must get you to safety so I can hunt the one hurting these creatures."

He knew she didnt understand what was happening but he also could tell she felt his emotions and she trusted that "ok" she said squeezing his hand

Emily looked out the window as they put their bags down. They would spend a few nights in this town before hiking through the woods. Somehow, both she and her best friend, Megan, had managed to win some money through the lottery and planned a trip to Romania, the first step in visiting every country from their favorite book series.

But both of them had a different reason for starting with Romania. They both felt a draw as soon as they landed. Emily and Megan knew they had to go into the forest. Emily had to find a cave, to know it was real and not just a series of dreams. She had to find the important person she left behind when the cave fell around them. Her compulsion was strong. Staying in the nice little inn for even one night seems too long to her. Her son came up to her and held her hand, showing that he saw her anxiety.

"We still need to get supplies," she said more to herself. "I want to get looking now."

"cant you wait for your mom to get here so she can watch eli and i can go with you? i want to see the city to you know" Megan said unpacking her clothes onto the bed "she shouldn't be long she is only eating down stairs" she added

"She guilted us both into sightseeing before our hike," Emily pointed out. "If she had her way, this whole trip would be the way she wants it rather than letting us have a few days to ourselves. I tried to tell her that we wouldn't be very long, but you saw how stubborn she got." She sat on the couch. "If I had my way, my family wouldn't be here. She let Hilary, Peyton, and Freddy go off on their own. Why am I treated like an incompetent mother and child?!"

its called bidding your time until we can play hooky " Megan said with a smile "speak of the devil" she added when her mother walked in

"We should get some rest now," her mother said. "If we take some sleeping pills, we can get over the jetlag faster and see a lot more tomorrow." She looked at Eli. "We will have to find something to give the boys. I didn't see anything at the airport." She turned to Emily. "Go down and see if there is anything in the general store across the street."

"Fine," Emily said, walking from the room as she thought, You were just downstairs. Why didn't you do it after you ate?

She heard the door open and shut behind her and saw megan following her "ok so now is our chance to play hooky " she said with a smirk

"You'd think that," said Emily. "But you don't know my mother. Besides, we want to be in the forest for a few days," she looked at the sky, "and not suddenly in the middle of the night." Her breathing came out in gasps. "I want to hurry and get this over with. The sooner we get out of the dark, the better. Night in the city is worse than when out camping. Way worse."

"how would you know we have never been here" she replied

"I like to camp," said Emily. "Forests are filled with life. Cities may have more people in them, but they feel almost lifeless to me."

"its called being a introvert " Megan said with a chuckle "come on im starving, lets go eat at that little cafe next door"

"Okay, but you know it's more than that," said Emily. "I see pulses coming off of the trees if I really look. There is nothing like that in the city. Even the trees feel dead."

"emily how many times have i told you such talk is dangerous if we are not alone" she said as a couple walked by them "come on lets eat and relax" she said linking her arm through hers

"I don't mind being looked at like a freak," Emily said with a chuckle. "I've been seen that way all my life, even when I pretended to be normal. But a meal sounds good. Let's go. I'm starving!"

"its not about being a freak its about cruel people" She said in a serious tone "i dont want to have to beat someone up on this trip" she said as they entered the cafe

"That fight at the airport was not my fault," Emily said instantly. "That woman at the kiosk shouldn't have been rude about Eli's disability. It took everything in me to hold you back."

"would have been over a lot quicker if you hadn't tried to stop me" she said in a sarcastic yet playful tone

"Yes, because coming up with bail money in a foreign country is so easy," Emily joked. "Now, can we eat and plan our escape after the sightseeing tomorrow? I'm hungry and-"

She and Megan looked outside the window. A wolf howled and it sent shivers down their spines. It wasn't the call that bothered them. It was the feel of it. And the closeness.

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