Back on Earth the Grey clan's warriors were sizing up the damage after the attack. Some were tending their wounds or others helped them before taking the injured to the East River clan's hideout. But Shawn, Mick, Sid, Stacey and Chris – the latter two peeking in from the door – were at Paul's room.
Shawn's weapon was still on the floor where he'd dropped it, while he was sitting in an armchair, stroking his grey hair back. The vibe in the trashed room was far from its usual calmness and the scents of the toppled over orchids were barely noticed by the pissed demons looking around.
Mick couldn't even stand in one place. He kept pacing all across the room and snorting or growling over and over from the mess he passed by. They all held the memory of the late shaman leader sacred. This outraged them beyond words.
Still, first the nervous Sid was the one who got himself more or less together to speak up. "Shawn... You have that list of the spell books Paul kept here, right? Maybe we can find out their next move if we know what they took," he said carful and low.
The addressed man sighed and rubbed his eyes like waking himself from a bad dream. From this attack on that room brought back all his buried emotions and hurt over how they had lost their beloved leader in a similar attack. "Someone should go and sneak into the Bloodstone castle. And I'll look now," he sighed again and stood up walking to the bookcase. Gently stroking the shelf, like greeting an old friend.
"I can take Craig and V-man with me to do some investigation," Chris offered. "Might ask you for a few tips of moving around undetected at the Bloodstones. I have a feeling they had something to do with this..." he added after looking at Stacey.
"Sure, I can help. I also want to report that the filth a.k.a. Robb is still in the dungeons. It seems they didn't know about him being held there or just didn't care," the black-haired Earth demon looked at the others in the room too, keeping an eye on her husband in case she needed to calm him.
"Good idea. My intuitions tell me the same. Somehow those fuckers are behind this," Shawn glimpsed at Chris.
Mick finally stood still and frowning watched what Shawn would figure out from the books. Folding his big arms in front of his broad chest, he was the embodiment of pent up rage.
"Teleportation spell book. Paul's father brought it from some other dimension. It is not even written on our Earth language. There is a myth... That once all the creatures like us could travel between those places. But the race who had the knowledge died out and no one has the power anymore. Only small portals can be opened for a short time. That's how witches kidnap children," Shawn hummed to himself. Why would they want a book no one can even read....?
Everyone's frown deepened at what Shawn was saying. The spouses even glimpsed at each other and finally Stacey entered the messed up room to walk next to the big beast.
"If they took it then perhaps they'd found someone who can read it?" That was Sid again, clearly trying hard after 'his' two fiascos from earlier. Not that anyone would blame him for the disappearances of the leaders and the kids.
"It'd make sense. And it would be also more bad news for us," Stacey sighed, exchanging a worried look with Mick.
"We'll try to keep an eye out for that book and everything and everyone that could be connected to it," Chris said rubbing his chin, already planning ahead. "How did they get past the protective spells in the first place? You keep renewing them, right?" he looked at Shawn a bit confused.
"Corey is not here," Shawn simply added and he dropped himself back in the armchair with another painful sigh and slowly rubbed his forehead.
"Corey has special powers. And with Jim their merged forces are different and much stronger," Mick continued it to explain. "It's all a well-built up plan. They probably have been plotting it for years. Studied us and how we work. That also would lead to the Bloodstones. They took out the two leaders who had the most power together. All the magic Corey’s been keeping up is weaker now that he’s gone."
"Stacey. Get the 'filth' ready so we will be able to transport him quickly when we need it. We might use that ace up in our sleeves if all starts to go downhill," Shawn mumbled and thought that maybe it was already downhill and just picking up more speed as all their fate goes lower...
Chris simply nodded to the remaining two leaders' reply to his question. It all made sense. No wonder the smaller attempts in the last ten or so years were futile when it came to trying to break through the barrier around the building.
"Already on it," the female nodded seriously then after a gentle and calming touch on Mick's tattooed forearm she headed for the door. "Walk with me, Chris. After I dealt with that bastard, I'll brief you about the Bloodstone property," she said and they both disappeared on the corridor, leaving the burdened leaders and the quiet and kinda uncertain Sid behind.
"If you want to, I can clean up and put the room in order," the red-haired warrior offered so he could do something and feel less useless even if he couldn't help otherwise.
"Thanks, Sid. I'll call the East Rivers about the attack. We should warn them and check if all is well over there," Mick murmured quickly while looking at Shawn.
The grey man cursed under his breath and stood, taking his weapon from Sid who already picked it up for him. That last thought of his about things going downhill echoing in his mind. For a moment he felt like he was maybe getting too old for this shit.
"And you are sure this will work?" the demon elder at the Bloodstone headquarters asked the witch twins.
"Yes. We are sure. Our mother made a mistake when she left that red child alive. Before she died she had told us about what power he holds and that it should be stopped. This book holds the details about the portals his power could open. Even if he finds a way back, which we doubt, with this we can rip that power from him," one of the sisters said holding up the old book meaningfully. "Our mother had left a note how to read this."
"Very well. We don't want any more of those animals to rule over our noble kind," the elder nodded with a serious look on his face. "Our way of life and businesses must be back as it's always been. The filthy beasts must be punished and wiped out forever."
"Yes, Milord. With this knowledge our kind won't just rule this world but all of the existing ones," the other sister added with an all-knowing smile.
Meanwhile the mated pair, Jay and the Jukai trio were getting ready to leave the high shaman's nest. Jim and Corey were unusually silent as they packed their little stuff together, their blue and red energies still swirling around them and every time they got close enough, the swirls reached out for each other to transform into that lilac shimmering.
Jim looked up when he felt Maynard's calm dark eyes on them, a small smile playing in the corner of his lips. The shaman seemed content about the turn of events and what went down in the cave. Jim didn't know yet how to feel about that.
"Here, you'll need sustenance," Aaron, the albino trainee stepped to them with small packs of food and fresh water, handing one to each demon.
"Thanks. It's kind of you," Jim murmured absently, his mind still not really focused on his surroundings.
Corey thanked the pack too and looked at his mate. The past knowledge that got revealed to them was all what he’d heard before. Still it was much more.
All his adult life Paul and his father were trying to teach him how to use his powers. And he always felt like a huge disappointment for not being that 'powerful skilled fucking shaman from the legends' like his kind should be. This... prophecy in which he and Jim will bring back the balance and a new era... It was too much pressure.
Still the magic they were shown felt familiar and like his own being's part. At the end the ritual that opened more chakras and allowed their powers to merge and be controlled more was still making the short beast dizzy. They will need to practice how they can use that in action. Without mating...
It was such a huge power. He was told about it, and even been hiding his real hair color and himself and his skills for many years. But it was much more than what he had imagined from the stories. Though, it seemed he had a bit easier way to accept it than Jim, Corey thought as he looked at his mate on their way to a narrow hilltop. The tall demon was closed up and lost in his own thoughts.
There were two things that were occupying Jim's mind as they were climbing a bit slower after the Jukai trio, Jay protecting the mated pair's ass. One was that Jim and Corey had learned in the cave a bit more about Jim's origins. So far they only knew that he was a half-breed born to an Earth demon father and a full-blooded beast mother. That's why Jim was able to mate with the red beast in the first place.
Now it became clear that his mother came from another dimension. Not Jukai, but an unknown one. Hence the blue-colored energies. It also meant that it wasn't a coincidence – not that they would believe in them – that Pauly was so similar to Jim. Not just in color but in personality too. Apparently, he was born in that other dimension too.
The other thing was how the ritual affected Jim's body. Its bigger size didn't matter when it came to the freed power. Obviously it was more compatible with Corey since it was more his power, but through their bond Jim's being was flooded with it too. And it seemed to be too huge for his physical body, making him dizzier and more messed up than Corey. Not that he'd say anything or complain about it as he was trying to fight off the negative side-effects and gain control over himself.
Still it manifested in some paleness and dark circles under his eyes as he was trying harder to pull himself together, catching his breath while leaning against a tree with a hand.
Of course, no bravery was big enough to hide those effects from the bond with Corey. The beast walked next to his mate and gently caressed his back.
The much more vivid and rich-colored red power reached out and wrapped around the tall demon soothingly to calm the awakened stronger blue force in him.
"I am with you babe. Work with me to help on this. Set it free a bit. We need to practice anyway," Corey said as he pressed a soft kiss on the long back.
Turning his head to look down at Corey, Jim took a few deep breaths, sensing that the other demons have stopped too. He could also feel their worry and maybe curiosity too. The "is he okay?" question was on everyone's mind, but Jim focused on Corey's words and that familiar yet still new... and denser power that wrapped itself around Jim. It felt warmer and tinglier too.
Of course his blue one reacted immediately, wanting to come out more to the coaxing. "I hope it won't draw in any enemy, but I can try..." the taller demon said, his eyes starting to glow more as he lowered his mental shield some more.
His power seemed to have waited just for that and started rushing out of him as if it wanted to overpower the red one. Jim held on to the tree trunk a bit tighter, gasping for air as he tried not to panic.
"It's okay, babe. Look at me. I can handle it more. See?" Corey whispered to him with another sweet kiss on Jim's back. And yes. The red power wrapped the blue one around and merged into a strong lilac shade. As soon as it managed to unite, Jim seemed to breathe easier too.
"Try to move it with me. As a shield. Like those dudes use their powers as weapons," Corey said working together with Jim through a mind link.
As air started flowing into his lungs again, Jim synced his breathing to Corey's calm one, taking deep breaths as he let their powers keep merging, creating more of the lilac smog that started to cover the ground, stretching further and further away from them.
"Okay,” the tall man slid his other hand onto Corey's that was around his middle and closed his eyes for a moment to use the mind link and visualize a wall from the fog with Corey through which the others couldn't see trough. With the red beast's help it was much easier and faster than Jim thought it would be.
The lilac smog-like energy moved at their will, some of it swirling and forming a wall around them, leaving only the two of them in the circle.
"Much more like it," Corey purred and pulled his mate down by his nape for a deep passionate kiss in the safety of their own power’s wall.
"Let's move now. As we saw our ancestors doing it," Corey said with a smile after the kiss. Moving the lilac fog from the solid wall mode to more fluid again, they stretched it far ahead of the others, near the hilltop, and squeezing Jim's hand focused on appearing there. Which worked. And the mates stood there above the Jukai demons and Jay, who with mouths wide open were staring surprised at the grinning mates.
That kiss probably helped as much as Corey's other ways to share the huge amount of their new power. Then they did what would've been impossible before the cave, leaving everyone's jaw on the floor – including the Jukai trio too.
"Oh we're gonna have so much fun with this," Jim finally chuckled, feeling a bit better as his long fingers were still laced together with his mate's. "I just hope when we mate, it won't actually make things explode around us," he giggled at the end, feeling their power pulling back a bit.
"I think we can control now that explosion too. But let's try something..." Corey said looking around and winking at the other demons. He made their united power kind of 'hop' over to a nearby pile of branches and explode there. "This will be useful too, I think."
Jim hummed, already seeing and feeling what Corey wanted to do and assisting him in silence, he grinned wide after the explosion. "You are abso-fucking-lutely right, love. This is so... awesome," he said now in awe instead of feeling miserable.
As the mates were trying out their enhanced or rather freed power, the Jukai demons (joined by the amazed Jay) were watching them a little calmer now that they more or less pulled themselves together. It wasn't often that they could see something like this.
"I didn't think that they'd figure out this fast how to actually use it. And doing it on their own? I think I can say it’s good that we are on their side," Matt murmured.
The long-haired Jukai Corey nodded. Feeling a bit proud of the fact that some of the ancient power was freed and in use again. "They are very good. Even have a special power in our terms too. The prophecy seems to be fulfilling itself," he also added starting to walk up to the mates.
"If anyone's interested, my tattoo isn't itching that much anymore," Jay blurted into the silence, making Paolo frown and give him one of his best brooding faces (in which he was very good with his high cheekbones and all).
Matt glimpsed at the young guardian amused and even chuckled a bit. "Good. It means your powers are awakening and getting stronger too."
"Come on, my drummer boy! You'll be an even more powerful guardian to us!" Corey laughed too as he stepped to the edge of the cliff and looked around.
Below a seemingly endless sea and swirling smog, and if he looked a bit farther he could make out the shapes of those other lands. Not like islands in the ocean. More like separated pieces of ground floating a few inches over the water. Just like they saw during that séance.
The Jukai shaman stood next to the red one with the same name, thinking about how it turned out that they are both connected to that dimension. Patting the red beast's shoulder, the long-haired fetched a whistle from his pocket and blew it. Sounds like the songs of the whales came from the small item, and very soon real whales replied to it.
As they all were standing on the cliff, suddenly a big shadow fell upon them. A whale passing over their heads. It was amazing in every possible way. Especially as it maneuvered to the cliff with its tail resting on the ground.
"Come, my friends. She will take us to your kids," Matt looked at the ones from Earth.
It was Jim's turn to leave his mouth open as the whale got into position then exchanging a quite exciting look with his mate and the grinning Jay, he squeezed Corey's hand. Their power was still out, but not as much as while they were practicing with it. Yet they didn't try to close it inside as much as before, their beast features showing somewhat as they let the excess power swirl around them as they walked onto the whale along the tail and spine until they were on its back. There they followed the example of the Jukai demons and sat down cross-legged, ready for the strangest ride in their life.
On Earth the small group of spies from the Gray clan moved across the city in one of the hidden underground tunnels. Stacey even made a map for them not to get lost when they get into Bloodstone territory. Chris, V-man and Craig were still shocked from the latest attack. And wanted revenge and answers to how they could keep their clan and loved ones safe.
If it was true that the Bloodstone clan was behind all of this, that means war between the Earth demons and the beast clan. And the smaller clans on both sides. And that would be long and bloody with a lot of deaths.
As they were sneaking closer to the castle in the tunnels, the three demons had some time to chat too. And what else would be on the table than the real amount of power their red beast leader held? So far only a small circle knew about the true extent of that power, but now the cat was out of the bag as Chris briefed the other two about that and why they were going on this solo mission. Namely to gather information and if luck was going to be on their side, steal that book back. But it was Shawn's strict orders that they could do the latter only if the opportunity to do it undetected presented itself. Sneaking around the Bloodstone castle and getting busted could become a cause to a war just as much.
They double checked the map and agreed on their roles in this mission before they crawled out of the small opening of the hidden path right inside the Bloodstone castle’s basement.
Using all their beastly skills, they sensed a small gathering on a nearby hall. As a well-organized and trained group, they moved without a sound, signaling each other and looking out not to bump into enemies.
Chris soon felt the scent of those exact witch twins and an old Earthly demon. What luck! They got them, probably with the book too.
They figured that they could get closer fast from the next room's balcony, and they were soon under the half-open window of the room in which the witches have been explaining their plans with the book for the elder. And none of it sounded good...
Especially the parts about the genocide of beasts and what the elder added about already bringing in more demon allies from the north. And how they will try to isolate the bigger and smaller camps and clans of the beasts and mixed breeds before a major raid to swipe them all out. The Lord present in the room and a few of his followers were going to take back the lead over the demons once again. And most of that plan was already done and in motion...