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    astone2292
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Love in the Shadows - 32. Chapter 32: Confounding Confrontation

Mmmm. Oh...Oh Gods. I slept...I slept like a baby. He sleepily opened his eyes, but quickly closed them. I haven’t slept that good in years! Kaplan rustled his head on the pillow and ran his hand under it and felt the crisp and coolness of the underside. Don’t know where this pillow came from, but I’m glad it’s here.

The Beta’s eyes shot open. Pillow? He mobilized his brain to note the differences from when he fell asleep and his current surroundings. Pillow, blanket, bed. Bed! Shooting his body upward, he collected his environment. I’m...I’m in a-

“Well, good morning, Mr. Alvey.” The whispered suave voice echoed in Kaplan’s eardrums. Cy...Cyrus? Turning, Kaplan’s brown eyes met the tan set belonging to Cyrus. Blinking wildly, Kaplan couldn’t help but notice that the Alpha was shirtless, with his tattooed arms bent back to hold his head on the pillow. He...He’s...He’s shirtless! Wild thoughts ran through the shifter’s mind in an attempt to recollect what in the world happened last night. “Relax, my friend. We didn’t do anything crazy.”

A wave of relief swept over the Beta’s mind. Oh...Oh thank the Gods! “Alpha Vonder…” Cyrus raised a singular eyebrow, as to protest being referred to by his title. “I mean...Cyrus. What...what happened? Why...am I in your bed?”

A light giggle was kept behind pursed lips as the panda rolled to his side with one hand on his blanketed hip and the other holding his head. “You were falling asleep. My bear wanted to comfort you, so I held you as you fell asleep on the couch.” Closing his eyelids, he rolled his eyes as he reeled in his panda’s rushed need to be closer to the smaller man. “When you fell asleep, the want was still there, and I was ready for bed. So...in order to hold you, and go to sleep at the same time, I had to bring you here.”

Kaplan kept his gaze on the smug Alpha, but his eyes wanted to venture. Traveling from the tan eyes to the black tattoo on the left arm. What intricacies! Lines swirling and connecting to and from one another. “Kaplan?” Lifting his head back up to meet Cyrus’ eyes, a wave of guilt washed over him. Oh no! I was looking at him...like that! His panda must- “Come here. If you wish to look at my arms, then come closer.”

Once more, the Beta blinked rapidly as he comprehended the Alpha’s offer. He felt the need to comply, but he held some reserved concern for the shifter’s bear. “Is...does your panda want that, sir?”

“Yes. He is fine with you touching my arms. And none of those formalities, please.” Cyrus watched as the shirtless wolf grew a curious face, and slowly climbed back into bed. “Kaplan. You do know you can relax, right? You are my boyfriend, after all.”

B...Boyfriend? “I see the look on your face. Yes, boyfriend.” Laying his left hand on Kaplan’s, Cyrus smiled sincerely. “I know that I told you that our relationship would take its time, and it has been going much faster than we anticipated. My bear has settled on touching you without getting too intimate. I only hope that it is okay with you.”

A smile came on the hesitant wolf’s face and nodded. “Okay. I...I think I can handle being your...boyfriend.”

Cyrus let a genuine smile come to his lips. “That makes me very happy, Kaplan.” The tan eyes looked over his newly instated love interest. “May I?” Getting another nod from the Beta, Cyrus scooted his body closer and raised his finger to lace Kaplan’s light arm hair around the much smaller wrist. “Your skin is so soft...and gentle.” Catching the brown eyes staring at his own arms and the tattoo that laid on his skin, a chuckle left the Alpha’s lips. “You’re interested in my art?”

“Yeah. It’s...so detailed.” Kaplan lifted his own finger and lightly traced some of the intersecting lines of the black ink. His eyes darted between the arm he was touching and the arm that rested on the bed. “Are...are they the same tattoo?” Earning an affirmative hum, Kaplan kept staring at the artwork. “Why the difference in ink color?”

“For every action, there is a positive reward and a negative one. A lesson I learned a long time ago, and a lesson that reappears in my life constantly.”

Kaplan’s face scrunched slightly. So, he’s had his fair share of challenges in life. Something an Alpha always faces. But… “So. What are the rewards for seeking me?”

Intrigued at the interesting question, Cyrus leaned up further from his position in bed. “What do you mean?”

“Well, wanting me to be your boyfriend?”

“Ah. I think the positives are fairly obvious. You are an honest soul, to whom I'm glad to have at my side.”

The answer created a smile on the Alpha’s face. “And the negative?” And the smile faded just as quick as it was made.

“Well, my friend...I’m afraid with you being at my side...that means you will get to know the real me. The side of me that I keep very well hidden.”

The Beta’s face soured, but kept a thin smile. “All due respect, Cyrus. I wouldn’t mind getting to know the real you.”

Cyrus closed his eyes and let out a long and deep breath. “Be cautious, little wolf.” His eyelids opened slightly, letting his emerald irises seep through. “You never know what darkness lies beneath a person.”

Kaplan felt the power of the panda seep through, but couldn’t help but feel some irritation with Cyrus’ statement. “As true as that is, I can’t help but see you as you saw me when we first met.” The green irises rose up to stare at the wolf. “You knew the darkness that I carried. And you took that away. It may have happened before you met me...but you helped me let go of my fears.” Feeling the intense gaze on his body, forcing himself to move took a lot of willpower. But he trembled his hand to grasp Cyrus’. “I would like the opportunity to help you with yours, Cyrus.”

Wolf...kind.

He is, isn't he? He knows next to nothing of me, but is ready to learn more.

You are being quiet, my bear. Speak your mind.

...Not yet.

There's the hesitant bear that I know. And I agree. I'd like this to be a drawn out relationship. Blinking a few times to revert his eyes back to tan, Cyrus stared at the man before him. "Kaplan...do you mean that?"

A meek smile crawled on the wolf's face. "Yes. You've been kind to me, and rid Alpha Ren from my life." Circling his finger in the warm palm, Kaplan looked at the sincere face of his now boyfriend. "I owe it to both you and myself to serve you. You've given me a lot of happiness and hope. And now, it's my turn to do the same for you."

"Spoken...like a genuine man." His bear knocked on his mind, renewing his interest in holding the Beta. "Come. Lay with me. But do keep your pants on. We can get to that in several weeks or so." Cyrus laid down his head on the pillow and outstretched his arm, inviting Kaplan in. The wolf smiled and inched himself closer to the Alpha and hesitantly rested his head on Cyrus' smooth bicep, restarting his finger tracing.

***

The sun peeked through the curtains and window blinds as Mason darted to disturb his eyelids' rest. Ah...no! Sun, go away! It's too early! "Hey, big guy." Hearing Vincent's voice tempted his eyes to open, but Mason's wolf had plans to keep them shut tight.

"Uh-uh. Nope...goin' back to sleep." Mason rolled over away from his mate, earning a light giggle from Vincent.

But for Vincent, the giggles were short lived. As he watched the human tank roll, the hazel eyes darted below the covers. An urge came across the mage as he became more and more obsessed with the meaty globes on his mate. Did...did Mason's ass just get...bigger?

No think so. But...I want. The thought of having sex with Mason in that way never crossed Vincent's mind before.

I...um...is that...even possible?

Yes. Human silly. He mate.

Yeah. But he's an Alpha. Isn't doing that...like, a extreme form of submission or something?

A grumble echoed from the wolf's thoughts. Yes. But, is mate! He Alpha, but so we. Only fair.

I see your point, but we don't know if Mace is ready for that. "Pup? Starin' at something?" Dragged from his thoughts, Vincent's cheeks turned beet-red as he was caught ogling.

"I...uh...yeah, kinda."

A mumbled laugh came from the other side of the bed and Mason slowly turned back over, wrapping himself in the blanket. "And just what were you staring at?" The Alpha playfully watched his mate fumble for words, causing another chuckle to leave his chest. "It's alright, Vinnie. I've had this moment on my mind for a while now. With your wolf being an Alpha, and us only completing half of our bond, I knew that you'd be wanting that sooner or later."

Taken aback by the blunt knowledge Mason kept, Vincent tried to bring forth his thoughts, but found himself speechless. Mason cupped Vincent by the chin and gazed. "I'm still mulling it over with my wolf. He's being a little...overprotective of his dignity. He understands your needs, but I just need a little bit more time, baby. Is that okay?"

Vincent nodded. "Absolutely, Mace. I was just staring, but, yeah. You waited on me, so it makes sense for me to do the same." Giving his big man a smile, Vincent pumped his feeling of pure love towards Mason's end of the bond.

Mason's eyes flashed gold and leaned in to kiss his man. "You are just the best, my mate. I love you." He leaned back in and peppered Vincent with several kisses.

Giggling from the onslaught of affection, the mage returned a few of them, but playfully pushed Mason as he swung his legs to the side of the bed. "Come on. Up and at it. Help me cook breakfast."

The thought of getting out of bed struck Mason like a falling piano. "No! Don't do this to me, baby. Can we just order something?"

"And what's gonna happen to all that food in the pantry? Is my big, bad wolf afraid of cooking breakfast?"

Being referred to as a fairy tale bad boy, Mason couldn't help but laugh maniacally. Giving his mate a sultry stare, he flashed his eyes. "Speaking of big and bad, your hybrid gave me a run for my money this morning. Do you remember any of that?"

Holy fuck, I did? "I remember being a wolf, but I blacked out when the instinct took over. Didn't get to see anything until I was sitting next to you. I…" A wave of guilt seeped over the mage's mind. "I didn't hurt you, did I?"

Shaking his head, Mason squashed his mate's guilt-trip before it began. "Nah. Cyrus neither. You gave me a good few scratches, but nothing a shift couldn't heal. See?" Mason pointed at his chest where the first claw marks would have been, but there was only unscarred skin and hair. "You didn't harm me, but you scared us when you were using shadow magic. That was a pretty rough scrap you gave us."

"I...I used shadow magic? As a hybrid?" Earning a nod from the Alpha, Vincent realized his prowess as a fighter. I...I'm pretty versatile now. Maybe…

No! Not ready!

No...you're right, bud. I still need to work on my training. And we need to talk to Mace or Lei on figuring out how being a wolf works, not to mention the hybrid state.

Yes. Need do. Maybe today?

Don't see why not. We don't have any plans., as far as I know. "Hey, Mace? Can you help me on how to be a better wolf?" When Mason cocked his head to the side, Vincent explained. "How to be a better hunter, to fight as a wolf. Anything, really."

"Of course! We can do that. I just need to stop at the farm before three to get caught up on business there. You wanna come?"

Vincent hadn't been to Mason's farm, and the thought of going excited the mage. "Yeah, sounds fun. But you know what that means, right?" Mason gave another side bob of the head as Vincent grew a wicked and evil smile. The mage grabbed the bottom corner of the blanket and began pulling, marching towards the door. "Time to get up!"

Mason's eyes glowed amber as his jaw dropped and body felt the chill of the room. His warmth yanked from his life, the Alpha was devastated by the dastardly move made. "Oh, come on! I just needed five more minutes." The Alpha was able to grab the corner near his feet at the last possible moment. "Alright, alright! I'm getting up...but you owe me."

"Oh, I owe you? For getting out of bed like a responsible person? Guess someone's cooking their own food."

Woah, woah, woah! "Okay, now hold on! I'm coming, baby." Mason scurried out of bed and grabbed his mate before Vincent made it to the door, picking him up. "Let's cook breakfast. I'll even handle the bacon for ya."

Setting the man down, the two put some loungewear on and made their way into the kitchen. Dave was still passed out on the couch, so the couple silently walked by. Opening the fridge and pantry, the couple divided the work evenly: Mason took charge of all the meats, while Vincent worked on making scrambled eggs, biscuits, and hashbrowns.

When the food was almost done, Vincent was about to go knock on the guest bedroom door, but Mason held him up. "Just talk in your normal voice. They'll hear it. But you'll need to get Dave up."

Oh. I forget about these things! "Cyrus, Kaplan. Breakfast is almost ready."

Fine-tuning his ears' hearing, Vincent heard a light giggle, followed by a familiar deep voice. "We will be right out."

Turning back to his mate, Vincent smirked and used his lightest of whispers. "So? Those two?"

Mason could barely hold back his chuckles. "Right? Could have sworn Kap said he was straight. But good for them if it works out."

"If? You don't have faith?"

"I do. Dinbe has been working his magic around Owensville lately." Giving each other a smirk, Vincent stood on his toes and landed a kiss. He then left Mason in charge of finishing breakfast to wake Dave. As the mage stepped into the living room, he saw that the Beta has already sat up and folded his blanket off to the side.

Scratching his head with his eyes rolled in the back of their sockets, Dave could smell the bacon getting crispy in the skillet. "Yeah, I'm up, Vin. I'll be there in a sec." Satisfied with the answer, Vincent turned back to the kitchen and began grabbing plates and utensils to set out on the small dining table. Dave sleepily shuffled in with the blanket and pillow under his arm, aiming to put his borrowed goods back where they belong. Not but a few moments later, Cyrus led his boyfriend in by the hand, with the bear wearing a robe and Kaplan boldly remained shirtless.

Vincent did his best to silence his oncoming smile. "Need a shirt, Kap? I probably got one that would fit you."

The wolf's face lit up at the offer. "That would be great, Vin! I couldn't find my shirt before coming out here." Earning tiny unkempt chuckles from both Dave and Mason, Kaplan's face grew bright red, much to the delight of Cyrus. Vincent happily cornered the island and aimed for his dresser drawer that held his t-shirts with Kaplan right behind the mage.

Dave could wait no longer. "So, Cy? Kaplan, huh?"

Placing his hands in the robe's pockets, Cyrus let a giggle seep out. "He is a brilliant and loyal soul. And an intelligent one at that. It isn't often that my panda craves to be near someone like this, so I must make the best of it."

Curling an eyebrow upward, Mason grew curious. "You mean, as a mate?"

"A potential. In all truth and honesty, I haven't found anyone close enough to even be considered my mate. And being even further in this honesty, Kaplan has come the closest. We haven't even kissed, and that won't happen for a while."

Both Mason and Dave nodded, and the room fell to silence as Vincent and Kaplan returned with the Beta wearing a slightly small yellow v-neck. Cyrus landed eyes on the light fabric and flashed his eyes, causing a blush to land on Kaplan's cheeks. "Looks a little...tight, wouldn't you say?"

Shoving his hands in his pant pockets, Kaplan nodded. "Yeah, but the fabric is really stretchy and breathable. Thanks again, Vincent."

"Anytime. So, what's everyone's plans for the day?" Vincent walked over to Mason and took his place in the Alpha's lap.

Kaplan spoke up as he tugged on the shirt to position it lower. "Our flight back is later this evening, so we have until the afternoon."

The panda nodded at the statement. “Yes. There are some upcoming meetings that Tierney needs me to accompany him for pack familiarization.”

Although Mason was disappointed in the short stay, he brightened up at the news of his new friend being introduced further into the New York pack. “I meant to ask. How’s it going with getting accustomed to NYSP?”

“It is going much better than I anticipated! Tierney kept the pack under very incredible organization, and after meeting all of the Betas, almost all of them and I agreed for them to stay on the new council. Only one has decided to move on to bigger and better things.”

“That’s quite impressive.” Mason and Cyrus kept up the conversation about dynamics with the Alpha wolf getting several pointers on larger pack organization, should he ever think about expanding his territory. The shifters shoveled down their food and began with their own separate day plans. Cyrus and Kaplan said their goodbyes, offering for Mason and Vincent to come back by Lei’s before they left for New York. Dave went to go grab a cup of coffee from Beansies and see Stacy at work. After putting away the dishes, Mason gave Vincent a loving stare. “Ready to go see the farm?”

“Yeah!” Vincent was pumped to see Mason at work for the first time.

“Cool. Let’s get dressed. We probably won’t stay long. I just need to make sure everything is squared away and running smoothly.”

Oh! He’s more of a supervisor! “Okay, sounds good to me.” The two got dressed in casual clothes and hopped in Mason’s truck. Heading further out of town, Vincent kept his eyes peeled out of the windows and windshield. As a large field of corn came into view, the mage caught a smile peeking out of the corner of Mason’s mouth. “We’re here, aren’t we?”

“Yep!” After another minute of driving, Mason turned into a gravel driveway with a large wood-burned sign in bold letters, ‘Wilson Farm.’ After making the turn, Vincent saw the plantation, littered with several large warehouse-looking buildings, and a similar house to Mason’s. Vincent had seen the silos over the cornfield, but as they got closer, he realized how humongous they were! “Come on, pup. Let me show ya around. Some of the guys have been wanting to meet you. And just a heads up, everyone here is aware of the supernatural, so you don’t have to worry about spilling any beans.”

The mage nodded and smiled at the news. That’s pretty cool! I couldn’t imagine learning my boss was a big Alpha wolf. “I’m down for meeting some people. Are any of them pack?”

“A few of them. There are four wolf shifters and about seven or so humans. The wolves are all pack, but that’s about it. I’ve offered Neil, but he’s more of a loner, and none of the other humans have worked for me long enough.”

“Is that common for you to offer a normal human into the pack like that? I understood offering me since I’m your mate and a mage.”

Mason smirked at his mate’s question. “Yeah. Neil’s a good guy. He’s given some damn good advice on some pack-related decisions, and has helped out when some of the members needed a helping hand. For the most part, we almost consider him pack.” Nodding once more, Vincent smiled and began looking forward to meeting such a kind person. Mason parked the truck in front of the house and opened his door. Vincent did the same and as he walked toward his mate, he saw a few guys making their way over. Not meaning to, he inhaled sharply.

Woah! I didn’t...what?

What? What do?

I...sniffed, and I smell a...gamey scent on two of the three dudes walking up!

Instinct?

Maybe? But yeah. Two of them are wolves, without a doubt. Mason caught the confused look his mate was giving off and decided to break up the mental thoughts by grabbing his hand. “You just realized that the two on the right are wolves, didn’t you?”

Shocked at his mate’s telepathic abilities, Vincent spun his head to meet Mason’s gaze. “Yeah. How...did you know?”

“I may be used to it, but I remember handling my Alpha instincts for the first time. You get used to sniffing out your surroundings and new people. Your instincts will do that for you automatically. It’s really helpful at times, especially if you don’t see someone behind you.”

The trio of men gathered in front of Mason and Vincent with smiles. The two that Vincent identified as wolves quickly bared their necks to both Alphas, while the human offered handshakes. “Neil. Trent, Ryan. This is Vincent. Vinnie, these are the three in charge when I’m not around.” Vincent happily shook all three men’s hands while he took more sharp nasal inhalations. Instincts again? Am I...remembering their scents?

Yes. Good idea. In case we smell later.

Okay, but this is starting to get real weird. I think that Ryan guy needs a shower.

Ha! They farmer. All sweat and messy. “It’s good to meet you, guys! I think...yeah, I remember you at the meeting.”

Trent, a fairly regular looking man with trimmed blonde hair and brown eyes, standing at a crisp six feet tall, gave a grin. “Yep. Ryan was there too, but he likes to stick around in the back. But yeah, it’s an honor to meet you, Vincent! Your dance was crazy, man! I felt like a kid when you let loose all those little stars!”

A coughing chuckle came from the shorter shifter. Sporting a near-bald buzz cut and tan skin, Ryan crossed his arms as he gazed at his friend. “Yeah, I saw you grabbing at them like you were back in diapers or something. Yeah, bud, that magic was kick-ass! Neil, you should have been there. Vincent’s got some magic.”

Neil offered a thin smile as he gauged the small man. Standing just a few inches taller than Vincent, the human kept a stoic stance, despite his height disadvantage. His black hair was incredibly shaggy, but looked well maintained, along with his stubbled five-o’clock shadow beard. The mage was surprised at how built the human appeared. Jeez, this guy must love the gym or something. “Magic, huh? I’ve seen a little bit, but from these two blabbermouths, you must be something else, Vincent.”

Mason pulled Vincent into his side, feeling a sense of pride for his mate. “Well, maybe Vinnie could show you something. Would that be okay, my mate?”

“Yeah, of course.” Vincent flipped through his mental playbook and settled on using his clairvoyancy magic. “Do you like roller coasters?”

The two wolves got all jumpy as they immediately understood where the conversation was going. “Aww, here we go!” Trent held his fists tight, waiting in excitement.

Looking at his coworker, Neil raised a single eyebrow but returned his attention back to the mage. “Yeah, they’re alright. Why do you ask?”

“Just want to see if you’d like to go for a ride.” With a curt grin, Neil nodded slightly. Vincent stepped up to the slightly taller man and pressed his finger on the man’s temple, letting the human’s irises go lavender. Snapping a finger, a pink sight ward appeared in Vincent’s hand and the mage sent it out on a slow elevating ride. Low whispers of wonder escaped the man’s lips as Vincent guided the ward high above the farm, giving the human a bird’s eye view.

Then shot the cloud downward and blasted it into the cornfields, blowing past stalk after stalk at a blinding speed. A big grin grew on Neil’s face as he was being taken for a trip. “Oh man! This is cool as Hell!” From the words of reaction, Vincent smirked and let the cloud take off into the sky once more, and forced a u-turn back towards the group.

Landing the cloud back in front of Neil, Vincent waved, forcing the cloud to dissipate and reverting the human's eyes back to their dark brown irises. After regaining his foothold and vision, Neil kept a grin as he fingered his front belt loops. "That...well, that was pretty awesome! Never experienced anything like that. What kind of magic is that?"

Vincent smiled hard from the compliment. "Clairvoyancy. I can mess around with vision, whether it be someone else's or my own. I can also conjure ice and manipulate shadows."

"Woah! So you can do a lot. But what do you mean by manipulate shadows?"

Mason looked around and noticed that there wasn't a lot of shadows around for his mate to work with. "We can head to the shade under the tree, Vinnie."

Shaking his head, Vincent signaled he didn't need extra shade, much to Mason's confusion. "I'm good, big guy." Taking a step forward, the mage centered his emotions in his core, letting his own shadow grow darker in tint. There we go.

Focusing anger into the shadow, he pushed the shadow to the side, connecting to Mason's. Pushing just a little more, Vincent slipped into the shadows and watched Neil's eyes go wide. The mage quickly traversed to the other side of Mason where his shadow laid. Popping back into the colorful world, Neil's head did a double-take, and Mason almost mimicked the action. "Vinnie? When were you going to tell me you didn't need shade to travel in daylight?"

Vincent thought the fatherly tone hilarious and wrapped himself in the bigger man's arms. "I can't. I just used my own shadow and stretched it over to yours." Looking at the confused trio, the mage could only give a light laugh.

But Neil had a scrunched look on his face. "So...you can walk in the shadows of objects? And that means anything, right?"

"Yep. Shadows and nighttime."

"And you can't walk in the light when you disappear, or whatever?" Watching the small guy shake his head, Neil felt that Vincent wasn't thinking hard enough. "Mind if I throw a thought your way?"

"Sure."

Mason smirked and held his mate. "Better listen up, pup. Neil really knows how to think. Inside the box, outside, and even in different dimensions." Earning a playful elbow to his hip, the Alpha wolf kept a giggle under his breath. Whatcha thinkin', Neil?

The human knelt down and picked up some loose gravel. "I don't see why you couldn't walk in the shadows." He placed the stones back down and motioned for Vincent to kneel as well. "See? I placed this pebble over this one and this one. And what gets created when something blocks the sun?"

A shadow! Holy shit!

What? What human say?

Hang on, bud. I think we need to play around with some different shadows. Ones that I didn't even think of!

Which one?

The ones that are too tiny to notice! Vincent looked around in our scholarly excitement. "Neil. You are a fucking genius!" Standing once again, Vincent dropped into his shadow and whispered to himself. "Okay. So the light is on me, so I can stay in my own shadow. But…" Focusing on the tiniest shadows under the loose gravel rocks, his feet began to feel like the slimy roots of a swamp tree. Looking, from his ankles downward, his feet turned black and seeped into the crevices under the pebbles.

Tiny rock make shadow. Can...can move?

Let's try it! As Vincent lifted a leg to take his first step, his foot re-materialized, snapping the shadow strands. Nope.

Try lean.

You mean leaning?

Human speak is hard. Yes. Taking his wolf's input into effect, Vincent leaned his body forward and began moving at a surprisingly fast pace. Fast! Travel in sun!

I know! This is crazy! He lifted himself from the shadows twenty yards from the group, and the shifters immediately directed their attention towards Vincent. Once he noticed everyone’s head turned, Neil rotated his body and spotted the mage. Running back to the group, Vincent was grinning ear to ear at Neil. “Neil! You helped me understand more about my shadow magic! You're a freaking lifesaver!”

Neil crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow. “You mean...you don’t know how to use your magic?”

“Well, I do. But I don’t know everything about it. It’s kind of a pretty rare affinity, and there’s not a lot of knowledge about it, let alone an instruction manual.”

“I see. I mean, glad I could help.” The human kept his cool and smiled at Vincent, but directed his attention back towards Mason. “So, boss. Whatcha here for? Everything’s pretty much running smoothly.”

Mason smiled. "Just checking in. And I wanted to show Vinnie around."

"Alright, then. Well, everything's been pretty well handled. Got a few rounds to make, and we can start harvesting probably next week. All the buyers have been lined up and they're ready for their shipments. And we'll have some stowed away for you and the Wilson's like always."

Grinning at the thought of some buttered corn on the cob, Mason nodded in affirmation. "Good to hear. Make sure all the equipment is ready to go for next week then. Doing a good job, guys!" Mason shook hands with the trio and let them get back to work. "Alright, pup. Just need to handle a bit of paperwork in the office. Did you want to come with, or wander around?"

Well that's an easy choice. "I hate paperwork as much as you, big guy. I think I'll check the place out. I'm guessing the office is in the house?" Mason nodded and leaned in to peck his mate on the head and set off for the house. Vincent slowly turned in a circle, trying to decide where to start on his adventure around the farm.

He set his sights on the silo and had the perfect starting point in mind. Walking over to the massive metal pylon, he circled the structure until he stood in its shade. Here we go! The mage entered the massive shadow and launched himself towards the top. Seeing how the rounded top provided a light barrier, he exercised his own shadow, letting it reach the peak. Leaping to the top of the silo and satisfied with his positioning, Vincent left the shadows and stood tall.

The view was impeccable. Being taller than any of the warehouses, barns, or other buildings, Vincent could see the bright greens and specks of yellows across the fields surrounding the plantation. From his height, he could see a large tractor-like piece of machinery traversing a field, several of the field hands chatting in the bed of a white pick-up truck, and a wide open sky with a rising mid-morning sun.

Feeling a breeze flow through his long hair, Vincent felt one with the air flowing around him. A sense of tranquility floated through his soul. Gods...it feels so great to be up here.

Feel nice. But...can go down now?

Ha! Scared of heights?

I am wolf, no bird. Like feet on ground.

Alright, can do, bud. Vincent turned back around to face the silo's towering shadow along the ground and took a deep breath. But his wolf began growling frantically. What's up?

You...you not do!

Oh, quit being a scaredy cat! We can dive in the shadows.

After a low and uttered growl, the wolf relented his hesitation and trusted the human. Okay, but no do a lot.

I gotcha. But I think you're gonna like it. Gauging his jump, Vincent bent his legs and took a leap of faith. Just from his first millisecond of being airborne, the mage already had his emotions prepared to land in the shadows properly. His wolf howled in pure horror as Vincent felt his hair being blown back by the rushing gravity. His heart began pounding from the adrenaline rush of falling from such a height. Just as the mage's feet were to touch the ground, he felt his wolf howling in a mixture of fright and excitement.

Landing into the shadows, Vincent's body turned ethereal as if he were to begin running at his blinding pace. He and his wolf let out a collective howl of pure ecstacy. See? That was so much fun!

Yes! Now do agai-

Vincent's heart skipped a beat and he immediately clutched his chest. Wha...what was that?

...behind us. Being watched.

Well, yeah. We just jumped off a silo. I think everyone would be staring.

No. Bad watch.

Staying in the shadows, Vincent scanned the front of the house. Then turned to the warehouse. He then pivoted on his heels to look back at the silo.

And found the bald monk standing face-to-face with the mage.

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.

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Who is the bald monk? And is he really bad, like Vincent wolf sensed or just unknown? Is he a danger to Vincent, or will he be his shadow affinity teacher? Questions, questions😁

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Great chapter, a least Vinnie is back to his old self, interesting that Neil knew so much about the shadows , the balls monk is going to take over and hopefully teach or else he is really bad news

 

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11 minutes ago, mikedup said:

Great chapter, a least Vinnie is back to his old self, interesting that Neil knew so much about the shadows , the balls monk is going to take over and hopefully teach or else he is really bad news

 

Well, I wouldn't say back to his old self. He is now trying to get used to his animal instincts doing actions for him without his say so. And I think Neil is just a thinker. He is kinda like the human Beta to the farm.

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Again and again your gift keeps growing....   This was such a good, easy going, good feeling chapter.  I love the developments between Cy and Kap...such a sweet budding romance.  The interactions between Mason and Vincent are just nothing but pure love (perhaps based on you guys:heart:).  You can feel the love in everything they do.  You make the most mundane, everyday activities so exciting.  I love how you integrate the "humans" in the story too.  I loved how you had Vincent "sniff" out the 2 wolves and the human...👃 Introducing yet another "power" the wolves posses.  Having Neil come up with another "way" to use the shadow affinity was brilliant!  This chapter was so peaceful...so relaxing!  I love how the last chapter was action packed and filled with power and tense moments, then this chapter just flowed so easily from that.  It's like the adrenaline rush was over and now we are back to "real" life and the slow pace of country life!  The whole chapter was like a peaceful flowing river and then you hit the rapids as Vincent comes down from the silo to face the monk!  Ending it with a bit of mystery by having the monk appear...nice little mini cliffhanger!!!! Another stunning addition to one hell of a great story!!!!  Keep on shining my friend!!!!  💎💎💎

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18 minutes ago, Patch1 said:

Again and again your gift keeps growing....   This was such a good, easy going, good feeling chapter.  I love the developments between Cy and Kap...such a sweet budding romance.  The interactions between Mason and Vincent are just nothing but pure love (perhaps based on you guys:heart:).  You can feel the love in everything they do.  You make the most mundane, everyday activities so exciting.  I love how you integrate the "humans" in the story too.  I loved how you had Vincent "sniff" out the 2 wolves and the human...👃 Introducing yet another "power" the wolves posses.  Having Neil come up with another "way" to use the shadow affinity was brilliant!  This chapter was so peaceful...so relaxing!  I love how the last chapter was action packed and filled with power and tense moments, then this chapter just flowed so easily from that.  It's like the adrenaline rush was over and now we are back to "real" life and the slow pace of country life!  The whole chapter was like a peaceful flowing river and then you hit the rapids as Vincent comes down from the silo to face the monk!  Ending it with a bit of mystery by having the monk appear...nice little mini cliffhanger!!!! Another stunning addition to one hell of a great story!!!!  Keep on shining my friend!!!!  💎💎💎

Always love your comments, Patch. I felt it was time to slow things down a bit and touch up on some dusty plot points. I'm struggling to think about how I want this book to end, as the more I think about it, the more sense it would be for Stefan's fight to be in Book 2 (maybe even a book 3!) This story is getting long...

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A wonderful chapter, filled with many delights.  I am so glad that Cyrus and Kaplan have found each other.  I can't wait to maybe see them in New York dealing with issues there; plus, isn't Vincent suppose to visit New York?  

Love how Mason and Vincent interact and how their wolves interact with them.  The thought of Mason going under Vincent caught me really off guard, but sort of hot.  

I love how Vincent is able to take ideas from so many people and put them into practice with his abilities.  But I do think he needs much more practice and needs to integrate his wolf and even the hybrid into this fighting style before going after Stefan.  

The bald monk is starting to turn up in unexpected places, still haven't decided about him yet. 

Can't wait to see what you do next with this story.

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Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...

The above was in relation to the cliff hanger. Just in case that wasn't obvious.

I had actually forgotten all about the Bald Monk. I am assuming he will be Vin's Shadow Mentor. If he wanted to harm Vin then he has had multiple opportunities to do so by now. I was going to say, but what has he been waiting for? Then realised, maybe it was for Vin's Turning Day or his gaining of his VinH form?

I like Neil. He didn't have any preconceived ideas so everything/anything is possible.

After reading the last chapter, I was hoping this chapter would address the New York visit or the circular fur pattern. But no. We get a third thing to wonder about. Exciting hey!

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4 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Always love your comments, Patch. I felt it was time to slow things down a bit and touch up on some dusty plot points. I'm struggling to think about how I want this book to end, as the more I think about it, the more sense it would be for Stefan's fight to be in Book 2 (maybe even a book 3!) This story is getting long...

Whatever you do...I am in it for the long haul!!  I just love it!!!  It keeps me occupied...especially the days that I don't feel my best!  I get to retreat into the amazing realm that Love in the Shadows has become! :heart::heart::heart:

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Awww, our Beta, Kaplan, has himself a teddy bear....ok, Panda Bear. Growing up in the ole days when a teddy bear was very common, and the favored ones would let out a little roar 🦁 when bent forward, my brother had the panda version but I don’t recall the giggles! 😝 Hmmm, the Panda seems much more comfortable and moving at a faster pace than ever expected. It may be the Panda will even out pace Kaplan, but it’s a nice growth in relations that just leaves observers smiling.

Growth in relationships can be even better when it’s the topsy turvy world of two newly acquainted wolves, Alpha Wolves; oh yeah, I was checking that fine Alpha Asxx....what did you say Mace, my Pack Alpha? As Mace recalls he did get a few “scratches” from his newly turned Alpha Mate; thank goodness for a support group...of Alphas, to survive the night! 😝 Vinsy, man, I love ya but you’re killing me....it’s me, your Mate, please stop 🛑! 😂 

Now that the Alpha Mates are bond building, post turning, Vinsy is enjoying farm orientation; learning new farming skills of turning the soil to grow granular shadows; yes, SHADOWS! While chairing the Council of Vinnies in human form, VinsyM decides the reluctant Wolf pup needs flying lessons..., though hesitant and howling in horror when tossed from the roof, the thrill leaves VinsyW begging for more as VinsyM demonstrates his soil turning, granular shadow harvesting techniques for landing.

So the ever endearing, Skydiving, Granular Shadow Speedster, Alpha Mage Mate 🧙is a constant source of love and hope for the human innocence, youthful purity, and accountability of the Shadow Mages; hmmm 🤔 now where and why do I see that unknown Shadow Monk, does he come in self-interest, an Order, or as a servant to his master?
 

Another great chapter @astone2292! If you must torture us with more exciting, magical, mystical, chapters of these lovable characters; know that I willing accept the challenge to endure through such torture and pledge to do so in it’s  entirety!

Edited by Philippe
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Oh, boy...this is a lot of comments. Let's-a-go! 

9 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

A wonderful chapter, filled with many delights.  I am so glad that Cyrus and Kaplan have found each other.  I can't wait to maybe see them in New York dealing with issues there; plus, isn't Vincent suppose to visit New York?  

Love how Mason and Vincent interact and how their wolves interact with them.  The thought of Mason going under Vincent caught me really off guard, but sort of hot.  

I love how Vincent is able to take ideas from so many people and put them into practice with his abilities.  But I do think he needs much more practice and needs to integrate his wolf and even the hybrid into this fighting style before going after Stefan.  

The bald monk is starting to turn up in unexpected places, still haven't decided about him yet. 

Can't wait to see what you do next with this story.

Vincent and Mason are heading to New York very shortly! Which means the duel between Vincent and Tierney is coming fast!

And with both of our heroes titled Alpha wolves, I'm sure we are bound to see some flipping on the bed...

We are so, so, so far away from the fight with Stefan! Like...maybe a year or two in story-time. 

As always, so happy to see your comments, centex! 

8 hours ago, Buz said:

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...

The above was in relation to the cliff hanger. Just in case that wasn't obvious.

I had actually forgotten all about the Bald Monk. I am assuming he will be Vin's Shadow Mentor. If he wanted to harm Vin then he has had multiple opportunities to do so by now. I was going to say, but what has he been waiting for? Then realised, maybe it was for Vin's Turning Day or his gaining of his VinH form?

I like Neil. He didn't have any preconceived ideas so everything/anything is possible.

After reading the last chapter, I was hoping this chapter would address the New York visit or the circular fur pattern. But no. We get a third thing to wonder about. Exciting hey!

Buz! So happy to see your comments again! And I know how strong your love/hate relationship is with cliffhangers. 

I think everyone forgot about the monk! It was such an obscure point of interest, and was quickly forgotten. Too bad I had a trap card! Ha! Yu-Gi-Oh references!

Neil's alright. Maybe we'll see more of him later. Who knows?

New York is coming soon, and that circular pattern's meaning will unfold in due time. Can't wait to get off work and start hammering away on #33.

5 hours ago, wb22860 said:

Thanks for the chapter, :heart: it

No problem! I think it's been a pretty productive way to battle boredom! :D

22 minutes ago, Philippe said:

Awww, our Beta, Kaplan, has himself a teddy bear....ok, Panda Bear. Growing up in the ole days when a teddy bear was very common, and the favored ones would let out a little roar 🦁 when bent forward, my brother had the panda version but I don’t recall the giggles! 😝 Hmmm, the Panda seems much more comfortable and moving at a faster pave than ever expected. It may be the Panda will even out pace Kaplan, but it’s a nice growth in relations that just leaves observers smiling.

Growth in relationships can be even better when it’s the topsy turvy world of two newly acquainted wolves, Alpha Wolves; oh yeah, I was checking that fine Alpha Asxx....what did you say Mace, my Pack Alpha? As Mace recalls he did get a few “scratches” from his newly turned Alpha Mate; thank goodness for a support group...of Alphas, to survive the night! 😝 Vinsy, man, I love ya but you’re killing me....it’s me, your Mate, please stop 🛑! 😂 

Now that the Alpha Mates are bond building, post turning, Vinsy is enjoying farm orientation; learning new farming skills of turning the soil to grow granular shadows; yes, SHADOWS! While chairing the Council of Vinnies in human form, VinsyM decides the reluctant Wolf pup needs flying lessons..., though hesitant and howling in horror when tossed from the roof, the thrill leaves VinsyW begging for more as VinsyM demonstrates his soil turning, granular shadow harvesting techniques.

So the ever endearing, Skydiving, Granular Shadow Speedster, Alpha Mage Mate 🧙is a constant source of love and hope for the human innocence, youthful purity, and accountability of the Shadow Mages; hmmm 🤔 now where and why do I see that unknown Shadow Monk, does he come in self-interest, an Order, or as a servant to his master?
 

Another great chapter @astone2292! If you must torture was with more exciting, magical, mystical, chapters of these lovable characters; know that I willing accept the challenge to endure through such torture and pledge to do so in it’s  entirety!

Low-key...I want a big stuffed panda bear for Valentine's Day. Just from writing this book. Kaplan and Cyrus are learning new things about themselves in their own little way. 

I figured Vincent should enjoy his time on the farm...at least while he can.

And I'm glad y'all seem okay with whatever I choose to do in regards to story length, closing this book and opening a new one, or anything else that may happen. 

Thank y'all for the support and loving comments! 

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On 1/13/2021 at 9:10 AM, Sweetlion said:

Who is the bald monk? And is he really bad, like Vincent wolf sensed or just unknown? Is he a danger to Vincent, or will he be his shadow affinity teacher? Questions, questions😁

I was thinking the same thing on who is the bald monk. He keeps lurking around. What does he want? Is he an associate of Stefan? Or something else?

I like Neil. He seems very knowledgeable!

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hello,

.  I have just finished a marathon read of all 32 chapters.  I haven't commented on any of them yet.  Honestly, they were so good I just rolled from one to the other.  

YOu have built complex yet believable and loveable characters and I find that Gorgeous.  I love each and every one of them.  Even the bad guys.

My heart was truly broken when I realized I was at the end of the chapters.  Please continue to produce such great writing.  Oh by the way.  I have noticed you are having grammer issues. If you need somebody to iron out the links I'd be more than happy to help.

on a personal note... Congratulations on your marriage.

 

Robert

 

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2 hours ago, Timejun said:

hello,

.  I have just finished a marathon read of all 32 chapters.  I haven't commented on any of them yet.  Honestly, they were so good I just rolled from one to the other.  

YOu have built complex yet believable and loveable characters and I find that Gorgeous.  I love each and every one of them.  Even the bad guys.

My heart was truly broken when I realized I was at the end of the chapters.  Please continue to produce such great writing.  Oh by the way.  I have noticed you are having grammer issues. If you need somebody to iron out the links I'd be more than happy to help.

on a personal note... Congratulations on your marriage.

 

Robert

 

I just love hearing this! I love that you enjoyed it so much, you had no time to stop for gas, grab a soda, use the gas station bathroom, and comment! 

I do have some grammar issues, along with an occasional punctuation blotch. I wouldn't mind the help. Send me a message and we can work something out! 

And thank you! I'll make sure to show Noah this comment when he gets out of his drunken stupor. 

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