Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 

     

    astone2292
  • Author
  • 3,655 Words
  • 1,928 Views
  • 13 Comments

Love in the Shadows - 16. Chapter 16: Literary Lacerations

Twenty-one years ago. A time where Mason was more concerned with playing in the woods than leading a shifter pack. A time before Vincent lost his parents. Cellular phones are still in the process of being popularized and Bill Clinton is in the impeachment process. The Owensville County Pack holds as one of the more respected small packs in the Southeastern region of the United States, and is currently being led by Police Chief and Alpha Leidolf Wilson.

***

“Have a great day at work, my love.” Leidolf walked up to his mate and gave her a deep and sensual kiss.

“I will, and you do the same. If you would like, we can go and have lunch together.” Elaine placed her hands on the Alpha’s chest, and looked into her man’s deep brown eyes.

Lei smiled as he looked at his beautiful mate. “Of course, dear. Just name a time and place.”

“JD’s at one?”

“Sounds perfect. I’ll swing by and pick you up then. And I won’t forget to take Mace to the daycare!” With another kiss goodbye, Elaine fished her keys out of her jacket pocket and entered the February cold. Starting her sedan, she made her way into town and headed for the library. On the way to work, she stopped at the little coffee shop on Main Street. I know there’s free coffee in the library, but...that’s break room coffee. I need a cup of the real stuff.

With coffee in hand, she got back on the road. A few turns later and Elaine arrived at her job. I will never get tired of seeing this place. She looked up and took a moment to admire the old building before entering. The frost mage let her high heels clack on the linoleum floor before transitioning to the burgundy carpet that covered the library.

Reaching the break room in the rear of the building, she opened her locker and placed her purse inside. Noticing her coffee was nearly empty, she got a refill from the half full coffee pot and closed the locker. Making her way up to the receptionist desk, she whispered to passing visitors, welcoming them.

“Good morning, ladies. Anything exciting going on?” Elaine set her coffee down and draped her jacket over her usual computer chair.

“Mornin’, Elaine! Nothing new today. We have some books that need to go back to their homes, but other than that, nothing major planned.” Sipping her coffee again, Elaine turned and nodded to her fellow librarian.

The third librarian behind the desk smiled at Elaine and subtly leaned her head to the side, as to keep the human receptionist ignorant from the shifter’s sign of submission. Oh, really now? I suppose Cindy needs another reminder that she doesn’t need to give that gesture when Jen’s around. Pulling out her chair, Elaine retrieved her date stamp from her desk drawer to begin her day.

***

My, my. A wondrous work of architecture. Just a hint of every key European theme for cathedrals. Most interesting. I just can not believe I’ve wandered this country, and have not heard of this gem. Rumor this library holds great knowledge. I simply can not wait to see if the expectations meet reality.

The Italian man in his early thirties sat on a bench outside of the library, admiring its architectural beauty. He sat for a moment more and got up. Time to see if it has anything of interest. Stefan slowly walked up the stone staircase and eyed the double doors with his steel-gray irises.

***

A couple hours into her shift, the frost mage had her cart down the nonfiction section. She found the proper home for the book she held in her hand, and slid it into place. Just a few more and I'll get ready to call Lei for lunch.

Elaine passed by a man browsing the mythical portion of nonfiction but her wolf began howling in her mind. Something is off with this guy. It's warmer, so he's a fire mage. But his aura seems...dark. He seems slightly familiar. She inched closer to get a better look at him. Trenchcoat, shiny leather shoes, gray eyes. Got his face committed to memory just in case. "Finding everything you need, sir?"

The man turned his blonde-haired head to look at the librarian. "Why, yes. I am. You have a wide selection of the books I typically enjoy. If I may, do you have any ancient tomes? Perhaps scrolls?"

Elaine batted her eyes in curiosity. "We have a few, but they vary in subject. The library doesn't usually allow guests to read them, but what subjects were you interested in?"

Stefan drooped his eyes and curled a thin smile. "Magic, my dear. I love reading anything on magical studies. I can tell you are quite a gifted frost mage."

Crossing her arms in defense, Elaine stood her ground but pressed the man for more. "And you are of the fire affinity. We have some books and tomes on magical affinities. Could you be a little more specific on which ones you would be interested in seeing?"

"I'm currently researching mythical affinities that are not quite common amongst the mage community. There's mounds of information on the everyday affinities, but not enough on the ones that aren't spoken of."

"We have several tomes on the clairvoyance affinity, but fewer on telepathy. I'd be happy to show you those."

The man shook his head. "I'm afraid I have books on those. My interest lies more in the rarer powers."

What is this guy going after? The only affinities rarer than telepathy that I know of is shadow and whatever whispers I’ve heard of the divine affinity. Either way, this library doesn’t have anything on them. “I apologize, sir, but we only have books on the major three and minor two affinities. Anything other than those, you would have...to…”

A cold shiver went down Elaine’s spine as her memory kicked in. The electronic mail message from Yale...oh Gods! The Dean sent the newsletter, and there was a warning for a European man researching the shadow affinity! He assaulted several people when they wouldn’t give him what he wanted just off of campus!

I need to comply. And get everyone out of here. There’s no telling-

“I see your mind spinning, ma’am. Are you under an assumption that I’m up to something?”

Elaine tried to keep herself structured. I know you are. And I’ll stop you if I must. “I wouldn’t think of it. But on a further thought, I believe I may have a file that you may be interested in. It’s behind the-”

“I do not care for excuses and stalling phrases. My interest lies with you now. What do you intend to do? I imagine you know about my little adventure in Connecticut, or am I making an incorrect judgement by saying you went to Yale?”

He’s clever. With her heart pounding like a hammer to an anvil, Elaine gave the man a stare down. “I think it is best if you leave.”

Stefan squinted his eyes and put his hands in his pockets. “And I believe there is still something here I need. Until I obtain it, I think I will stay.”

“Okay, then. What is it you want? I’d rather not have a duel here and risk innocent lives.”

An elegant chortle left the fire mage’s mouth. “Smart lady. I need all information this library has on the shadow and divine affinities. Forgive me, but I didn’t trust your earlier remarks of not having any research on them. This library is massive, and it seems rather unlikely that a Yale graduate wouldn’t have some sort of documentation on the mythical affinities.”

“We don’t have anything here, and I’m the assistant-leading librarian. I know almost every book title in this building. Your mission to find research here is null. You can still turn around and walk out of here.”

Stefan furrowed his brow in anger. “And do what, exactly? Scurry away, while you call the authorities? I don’t believe so.” Elaine noticed the subtle motion of his hands turning in his pockets and widened her eyes.

She flung her arms up from her chest to form a wall of ice just as small fireballs came from the man’s pants pockets. Too close! Spinning down low to the ground, Elaine conjured a large shield on her left arm and a rapier in her right. Keeping the shield close to her chest, she eyed her attacker. I still need to get everyone out of here. Surely Cindy heard the blast.

Speaking in a normal speaking tone, she hoped that her fellow shifter would hear. "Cindy. Evacuate the building. That is an order. Keep everyone away from the nonfiction section, and do not pull the fire alarm." Never straying her eyes from the fire mage, Elaine heard an audible confirmation from her coworker. Good. Now I can focus on this fight.

"So you're a shifter as well? And to be giving orders, I'd say you're of a lady in power. I'm honored. It has been a while since I had a proper duel."

Elaine flicked her rapier away, seeing it would be useless against a fire mage. "And this will be your last. You will die by my hand." Shooting her free hand out, a shard of ice flew at Stefan's head.

The fire mage blew fire from his mouth and melted the incoming missile. "Now, now. We haven't even introduced each other yet. My lady, what is your name?"

Tossing another shard at the man, Elaine scoffed. "What does it matter to you?"

Once again, Stefan melted the ice, but with a flaming hand this time. "I'm a curious man. Allow me to introduce myself first then. I am Stefan Gregoro."

Narrowing her eyes, Elaine tried to figure out this man's game. Is he stalling for time? Are there more mages to come? Or is he just being that cocky? Either way, I need to find a way to close this gap and land a hit. "I'll play your game. I'm Elaine Wilson. And you are correct. I'm the Mated Alpha of the local shifter pack here."

The Italian's face lit with a sense of tamed joy. "Ahh! An Alpha's mate! How exciting! I've been fascinated by lycan lore for quite some time, but I have yet to spend quality time in the presence of a shifter, let alone one of power. I only wish we could have had a nice talk before we got to this point."

"We don't have to continue this fight. You can just walk out of here and this can all be forgotten."

Stefan clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "That is where you are wrong, I'm afraid. I do know that lycans can carry a serious grudge, especially if you attack the mate of an Alpha. I believe this makes me a wanted man, and I'm not one for leaving a witness." He shot his palm up and launched two consecutive fireballs at Elaine.

Prepared for the strike, she raised her hand and created a cone of frost to extinguish the flames. Realizing she wasn't going to win the long range battle, Elaine flicked her right wrist to draw a dagger and sprinted at Stefan. Even getting up close, I need to be careful.

She started to swing, but as she closed the gap, the frost mage noticed his movements to prepare for the attack. Guess again! Launching herself, she charged with her shield, aiming for his midsection and landed a blow. That'll just knock the wind out of him. I need to land another hit!

Stefan doubled over as he realized he was tricked. So devious! Now I'm starting to get a little mad. Seeing how the lady was about to go for a strike with the dagger, Stefan grabbed her wrist as she went to plunge the weapon in him. "That wasn't very nice, now was it?"

Don't care! Elaine channeled her frost in her lungs and blew thick snow into the man's face, blinding him. Dropping down, she spun her body around, putting her momentum into her leg, sweeping the mage off his feet.

Landing on his side, Stefan turned to his back to find his opponent. I need to get back on my feet! Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his way back up. Hoped to keep this a secret from the lady, but she seems formidable. Just as Elaine conjured a spear to stab the man, Stefan moved his hand into the nearby bookshelf.

And he seeped into the shadows of the bookshelf. Elaine’s heart fell to her stomach as she stared at the wisps of darkness where the man was lying. Oh...Gods. Don’t tell me. He is a shadow mage? She gripped her spear in a defensive stance and circled herself. Elaine began listening with her sensitive ears. He has to come out at some point.

A fireball came flying behind her, but she wasn’t the target. The ball of magic landed on the bookcase several feet away, starting a massive fire. You, son of a bitch! Another whizzed past her head and started a second fire. Elaine scanned ferociously around her. I can’t see where they are coming from. On top of the mage, I now have to minimize the damage. I can only hope that Cindy has called Lei or 911.

“Come out and fight me, coward!”

Stefan reappeared a couple yards in front of her from around the corner of the shelf, and Elaine understood his intent. He needed more shadows, so he created light. Damn, he has gotten the upper hand! I need to get out into the open. The lobby! She gripped her spear and treaded carefully towards her destination. Scanning the room for more fireballs or shadow wisps, she turned every corner with trepidation.

As she made it out of the nonfiction department and into the wide open lobby, she called for her opponent. “Come on, Gregoro! You said no witnesses, and here I am! Still breathing!”

“That, you are.” Whipping her head around to the reception desk, Stefan sat on the edge, dangling his feet like a slow marionette. “Quite impressive. Fast conjurations, increased reaction times. You just might be my greatest threat yet.”

Elaine never left her gaze. “I’d say the same, but I don’t feel like paying you respect. As a scholar, how can you justify burning texts of knowledge?”

“Because I either knew what was in those books, or I have no need for them. I merely wanted information on the shadow affinity and that wasn’t here. So I have no need for this place.”

Bile churned in Elaine’s stomach. “You sick...sick bastard! How dare you! Willing to burn a building down because it just...didn’t have what you wanted? People could have died today. You’re absolutely heartless!”

Squinting his eyes, Stefan hopped off of the desk and flung a fireball at the frost mage in anger. “How dare you, you insolent dog!” His voice palpated through the empty library. “I will be insulted by no one! I have power that others merely whisper of. This power that runs through my veins is meant to be used, and I will use them as I see fit!” Stefan swung his arm horizontally, sending a wave of flames flying.

Elaine braced both arms together and made a human sized shield to protect herself, but didn’t see the fireball that came behind it. Getting her hand up in time, she coated it with a layer of ice. As the flames touched her ice, Elaine knew she didn’t get enough magic on her hand. The ice disintegrated, making the fire smaller, but she pulled her arm away with a scream. Gods! That’s at least second degree. She covered her hand in ice to numb the pain and flung her arms repeatedly, launching shard after shard of ice at the man.

Dodging the sharp magic, Stefan kept his feet and body moving. He misstepped and got a shard to his hip. So cold! Is this what it feels like to be injured? I must give it to her, she’s the first to wound me. He took cover behind the reception desk as the shards continued to come, and lifted his clothes to examine the would. That is pretty deep. Well...this is going to hurt like hell. Placing a hand above the shard, he pushed his magic into his palm, and let the ice melt. All the way to the skin, and pushed through the searing pain.

Gritting his teeth, rolled his eyes to the back of his head as he cauterized the bleeding wound. He took half a second to catch his breath and threw a fireball to his right, setting more of the library ablaze and creating a distraction.

Elaine wasn’t fooled by the toss of the man’s magic. I’m not an idiot, and this isn’t my first fight. She flicked her good hand to form a throwing dagger and her bad hand to bring a shield to her forearm. Twirling the dagger in her hands, she looped her index finger into the hole, prepared to throw or shove into the man’s body. Pulling the knife behind her head ready to let fly, she stepped around the desk and found more shadow wisps along the floor.

He’s lurking again. She circled her stance and scanned the area for more dark smoke. I will find you…

The front door of the library blew wide open and Elaine was about to let her dagger loose, but dropped her arm down when she smelled her mate, along with two more pack shifters. “Lei! Shadow and fire mage. Watch for smoke, it’s how he moves!” Leidolf came in with his Glock drawn and scoped the library foyer carefully, but nodded to his mate’s warning.

Terik, Rin. What have you brought to my lands? As the Alpha prayed to the Gods silently, he passed the nonfiction section, now ablaze with smoke rising throughout the top floor of the building. Reaching for his walkie-talkie, he let it be known that the fire department was needed. Elaine joined him at his side with her dagger and shield still equipped. Her mate noticed the scent of burnt flesh and eyeballed the frozen hand. “Are you okay?”

“Fine. I’ll be better when we find this asshole.” She made her voice louder for her next statement. “Get out here, Stefan! I wasn’t finished with you yet!”

Lei kept his gun focused on clearing the building, but couldn’t help but notice the anger emanating from his mate. Whoever this Stefan guy is sure pissed her off! But not as much as me. It’ll be hard as Hell for me not to put a bullet into his head. Attacking my mate, in my territory! I’ll be damned if he doesn’t end up in a body bag.

The Alpha couple cleared the building and all its nooks, not being able to spot any new fires or dark wisps. Lei couldn’t hold his focused stance any longer and embraced his mate. “My darling, you did great.”

Elaine dug her nose into her man’s chest. “You’ll need to thank Cindy. She got everyone out. I merely stalled him until you arrived.”

“Your hand. Are you hurt?”

She lifted her frozen hand and melted the ice. “Second, maybe third degree burns. I numbed the pain, but I’ll need a doctor.”

“We will go. Now.” He held Elaine by the waist and walked with her to the door. She looked to the burning tomes and let the anger build. Walking away from her mate, she let her magic flow to her hands, creating a glowing blue aura. “Elaine? Sweetheart, what are you doing?”

Elaine watched the fires burn the knowledge away from the world, and she let out every bit of her magic. She poured a torrential amount of snow from her hands, dousing the flames that threatened the library. There’s some flames across the library, but this is the main threat. She aimed at the base of the fire, cutting off the highest concentration of heat. When the fire was all but smoldering ashes, she walked across the floor and quenched the fire that was meant to be a distraction. I will not allow any more knowledge to escape this world.

Her breathing became ragged as her body became frail. Used a bit too much just now. But it was worth it. She felt her mate coming up from behind and wrapped his arms around her. “You are truly a sight. I only wish I could have been here earlier.”

Leaning her head back, she allowed her body to melt in the Alpha’s body. “But he’s gone. If I would have pushed harder, I could have done more damage to him.”

“But he could have done more damage to you. And the innocent lives around you. You played the right move, my love. Other than your hand, no one was harmed, and everyone walked away.”

Elaine spun around and planted a steamy kiss on her man. “Thank you, Lei. Now, we need to get to the doctor. I can put more ice on my hand, but my wound needs to be treated.”

Lei nodded and ushered his warrior out of the smoky building. As they made it to the Alpha’s blue 1987 Dodge Ram truck, Elaine slowed her pace. “Leidolf.” She watched as her mate stopped and turned back to face her. “We are going to catch this guy, right?”

The Alpha let his eyes flash an illuminating tan color. “I swear, my mate. If he thinks he can waltz into my territory and attack abruptly, he has another thing coming. Before this is all over...that bastard’s blood will drip from my claws.”

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 36
  • Love 25
  • Wow 4
  • Sad 1
  • Angry 2

Story Discussion Topic

  1. The Lounge

    A general discussion forum
    No politics, solicitation, or commercial postings will be allowed.

    148.2k
    posts

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

Great chapter, you would think that Stefano would know not to return to that area.  I am surprised that even with Vincent causing him issues that he would dare to return to the same area and face someone that at least fought him to a draw; plus as the mate of an Alpha shifter, you now have the pack gunning for you, so to speak.

So well written and the pacing was just first rate.

  • Like 2
  • Love 2
Link to comment
15 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Great chapter, you would think that Stefano would know not to return to that area.  I am surprised that even with Vincent causing him issues that he would dare to return to the same area and face someone that at least fought him to a draw; plus as the mate of an Alpha shifter, you now have the pack gunning for you, so to speak.

So well written and the pacing was just first rate.

Oh, Stefan has no cares other than his own, at least during this time period. He knows this made him a wanted man, but...he doesn't care. Thank you so much for your comment! I'm still rereading your comment from last chapter since it still gives me goosebumps!!

 

16 hours ago, Patch1 said:

I am so running out of adjectives to describe your work!!!  I love the glimpse into the past and finding out the history between Elaine and Stefano (the king of all asses)... You are a master of working the written word so your readers can "see" the setting and the action. I can almost see the beauty of the library (before Stefano basically destroyed it), smell the fireballs burning the books, feel the cold of the frost shield and the snow breath, see the use of the ice to cover the burned hand.  The list goes on...and on... You just keep spinning this tale in all directions.  In most stories the flashbacks seem a little out of place...they sometimes mess with the continuity of the story.  NOT this time...the flashback fits seamlessly into your story. Perfect timing as Vincent recovers from his dance.  Again man, I love this story!  I love knowing the history....  Keep spinning your magnificent tale!!!  You are the 👑!!!    :heart:

I'm also super against mistimed flashback chapters, but I couldn't have placed it better within this story. Several more flashbacks are soon to come, but I'm going to wait until more opportune pivoting moments. And debating if a certain one deserves to be a potential sequel...

Edited by astone2292
  • Like 4
  • Love 1
Link to comment

WOW! Elaine is amazing! She held her own to that crazed shadow mage with fire affinity! I am proud of her. You are a very talented author who keeps his readers wanting more every chapter!

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
33 minutes ago, Story Reader said:

WOW! Elaine is amazing! She held her own to that crazed shadow mage with fire affinity! I am proud of her. You are a very talented author who keeps his readers wanting more every chapter!

Elaine is that mage! You just don't wanna mess with her. And that was her 21 years ago, imagine what other tricks she learned!

And thank you! I really try my best, and I'm glad that I've made an addictive story.

  • Like 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment

And you answered my curiousity about Elaine's battle with Stefan. I knew pitting ice against fire would be tough. Stefan wanted knowledge about the divine affinity too and this means he might have it. What powers come with it?

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
23 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

Stefan wanted knowledge about the divine affinity too and this means he might have it. What powers come with it?

*shrugs shoulders*

  • Like 1
Link to comment
8 hours ago, astone2292 said:

*shrugs shoulders*

What an odd power :P

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..