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Rising in the Shadows - 15. Chapter 15: Disturbing Decree

“Miss Elaine! Lei!” Seeing his parents-by-bond surprised Vincent! I was not expecting them! He stepped backwards to allow the couple to enter.

Elaine stooped ever so slightly to give her fellow mage an endearing hug, “Mason gave us a call not too long ago. He’s up to date on everything, but we thought we could offer a hand.” Straightening herself, her eyes naturally rested on the human girl, as the group entered the living room from the kitchen. She is trying her best to appear calm, “Dave, may I be of some assistance? While I don’t doubt your ability, I think having another lady around might help out Miss…” Bobbing her head to the side, Elaine offered a genuine smile as she encouraged the young lady to introduce herself.

She’s the librarian! She comes in for coffee all the time. The librarian was a welcome presence for Stacy, “I’m Stacy Boswick, ma’am.”

“Ah-ah! There will be no ma’am-ing me. I’m Elaine Wilson, Mason’s mother, and I’m practically Dave’s and Vincent’s as well.” Tactfully, Elaine sat next to Stacy, providing a sincere smile, “We heard something awful happened this evening and we’re just here to help out. I see the boys have it pretty well covered, but a mother’s instincts are never wrong. Are you okay, would you like some water?”

As Stacy smiled and nodded, Dave closed his eyes in shame. Elaine and Stacy wandered to the kitchen, leaving the men alone in the living room. Bending forward, the Beta rested his elbows on his knees in disappointment as he whispered, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. How could I be such an ass?” His statements garnered the males’ attention, “I didn’t even ask if she was okay, you know, personally.”

Feeling his former Beta’s dismay, Lei stepped forward, “I can’t say I’ve had to explain to a personal friend or loved one about the supernatural, but I see how it would be challenging. Dave, it’s alright! Between us, that young girl has an extensive support system, she’ll get to know us all and soon enough, it will become normal for her.”

Dave looked up to the mustached Alpha and tried to accept Lei’s reasoning. I get what he’s saying and all, but...how does this work? “Lei, how...how do I fix this? I feel like I’ve wronged her. By all means, there was no way in hell I would have revealed our kind’s existence this early. With that Alpha’s ignorance, how...how can I even approach her again? She probably thinks I’m a monster!”

“You really don’t know her, do you?” Vincent looked at his boss with crossed arms and concerned eyes, “Stacy may seem a little ditzy, but I’ve seen her handle a lot of crap. She doesn’t let anything get her down and I doubt this will change that. Just...give her some space, but let her know you’re still here.”

Lei’s head dipped to the side as he watched his son-in-bond. His stature is different! He’s more stoic and firm in his posture. Having an Alpha wolf in his head is affecting him. Returning to the conversation, Lei couldn’t help but laugh, “I’m not so sure, son. No doubt we are offering the young girl support, but if I were her, I’m not sure I would take it. I suggest a more assertive route from Dave. Be persistent, but not overbearing.”

Vincent, hearing Lei’s explanation, wanted to throw his own out of the window. That makes so much more sense! If no one steps up for support, then Stacy will grow distant.

Caleb propped his feet on the couch while texting, “Don’t forget to listen. If Tasha taught me anything in our relationship, it’s the importance of listening.” Looking up from his phone, the lion stressed another point, “And don’t keep asking if she’s okay. She’s obviously not, so repetition won’t help you.”

Hearing his friends give sound advice, the Beta chuffed to himself. I’m supposed to be the one giving advice around here. He directed his attention to the kitchen and listened to Elaine and Stacy’s conversation.

In the kitchen, Elaine knew the human was unfamiliar with her. Taking a seat at the small dining table, the frost mage kept her tone as calm and sincere as possible, “So Miss Boswick, what all have the boys told you.”

Nervous with the middle-aged woman, Stacy’s words stammered, “D-Dave told me about the shape...shapeshifters and Vincent went into a room and came out...a wolf.”

Okay, so they’ve shown the basics, “How does this make you feel?”

Taking a seat next to the librarian, Stacy tried to collect her words, “I guess I’m just shocked. I’ve watched movies and read all sorts of make-believe stories growing up, but to...to actually see it all being real is a lot!”

“I understand that. I went through the same when I was in college and met my Leidolf. Back then, I knew other beings existed in the world, but I couldn’t imagine actually running into one, let alone falling for him.” Her words immediately caught Stacy’s attention, focusing her undivided attention on Elaine. Her reaction intrigued Elaine. Well, now! I’m guessing she feels pretty strong about Dave if that’s her response. “The most important statement I can make for you is that you can’t judge someone, or something, without information. Being a librarian taught me that a long time ago. A book summary or someone’s review can paint an image, but once you read the book, you have the raw information and you can choose what to do with it.

“Let's use shapeshifters as an example. The shapeshifter species gets roped into the werewolf community, and some are okay with it. Werewolves can’t control their changing, while shapeshifters can. This gives shapeshifters a mental grip on their ability to control their animal instinct while werewolves are forced to give in. Now that we know this information, what can we deduce about the group in the living room?”

Earning an inquisitive yet gentle stare from the librarian, Stacy was able to understand where the conversation was going, “That they...Dave and Vincent, are more human than animal?”

“Correct dear, shapeshifters have been kissed by humanity and its ways. While the animal’s spirit is still within us, it can be seen as us possessing two minds. One human, and one animal, working cohesively in life’s endeavors. Does that make sense?”

“I think...yeah, that makes everything a lot clearer.” Stacy started to smile as she looked through the doorway into the living room. They’re just as human as I am, plus a little extra. “But Mrs. Wilson...how do the shapeshifters make the world go gray?”

The question stumped Elaine. Go gray? “I’m confused, what are you speaking of?”

“Well, when we were in Mesker Park City, Vincent came out of nowhere and made my eyesight lose all of its color.” Remembering the sight of a colorless world sent a shiver down Stacy’s spine.

“Oh! I don’t think they’ve talked to you about another group within the supernatural world. If I may?” Elaine brought up her hands, resting her elbows on the table. Once she saw Stacy’s eyes glued to her, the frost mage focused on her magic. She created an image in her mind, and put effort into recreating the object in her hands.

Stacy sat in awe as she saw a light blue glow come from the librarian’s hands! What...is going on? It got so cold all of a sudden! Her attention was caught as small particles moved slowly from Elaine’s hands and in between two fingers. The human’s breath caught as an almost clear crystal-like material formed a small curved rod in the glowing grasp. A couple of protruding shapes appeared along the rod, as Stacy continued to watch the rod come to a blossoming head. It’s...it’s a flower! Thinking of it, the crystal material grew and formed a detailed head.

Completing her creation, Elaine silently admired her work. I believe this might be one of my best yet! Twirling the ice sculpture in her fingers, she extended her arm to Stacy, offering the rose, “Take it. Be careful, it’s rather cold.”

The moment Stacy shakily took the stem, she gasped. She ignored the mild discomfort as her eyes landed on the petals. Intricately designed, Stacy was speechless when she noticed the small details. I can see the tiny wrinkles of the petals! “M-Mrs. Wilson...how did you do this?”

Elaine’s smile grew and she leaned forward, speaking one of her favorite words, “Magic, my dear. I used magic.” The mage was delighted by the sudden gasp and widening movement of Stacy’s smile, “Magic is very real as well. You are holding some of my ice magic, just as Vincent used some of his shadow magic on you earlier.”

Ice and shadow? Blown away, Stacy was ready to ask a million questions about the subject, “How does it all work? What can be done with magic?”

“Easy does it, Miss Boswick. I’ll explain everything to you but it may take a while. For now, I think we should go back to the others. We don’t want our men thinking we’re ignoring them, do we?”

Stacy uttered a giggle, but her mind retracted to a topic she had been revisiting several times. Dave...kept this from me. I don’t really blame him, but would he have ever told me?

“Stacy,” A cold hand pressed to her knee as she looked back up to the librarian, “You’re nervous, and I can not blame you. Some of the people who you hold dearest were hiding a portion of their lives from you. It is for a good reason. The world does not know of the supernatural, and we aren’t sure when the common people of humankind will be ready for such news. Speaking from the beliefs of the higher magical community, there would be a desperate collection of magical beings, shapeshifters, vampires, werewolves, and who knows what else. It would spark a new wave of racism and civil rights movements. We keep all of this a secret from humankind in fear, for both them and ourselves. Many people would deem it unfair that Lady Aliz or Lord Yir would bless some people but not all. The most important thing that we ask of you is, regardless of where your life takes you, that our secret remains with you.”

A heavy weight gently pressed itself against Stacy’s heart. It was then she understood the reason Dave and Vincent kept their secret so close. They didn’t want people to know. They...couldn’t let them know. Thinking of the two men, she looked to the living room doorway, “I understand, Mrs. Wilson. My lips are sealed, but I would like to learn more about magic.”

An eager mind is a blessed one. “Well, I have some free time in the late-afternoons after my shifts at the library. I’d be happy to teach you the history of magic and all the components of the known affinities. The only catch is, if you want to know more about Vincent’s shadow affinity, you’ll have to talk with him. Not much is written about it, and I only know of thr-two...people with the affinity.” I dare not speak of Gregoro! She doesn’t need to know of Vincent’s past, at least from my lips. I’ll let that be a task for him to deal with.

Stacy dropped her jaw at the news of Vincent’s rare power. Holy shit! “So, Vin is like a magical discovery, right?”

“Yes and no. He’s the only shadow mage that has come forward, wishing to let others know about the magic. To this day, there are only rumors and whispers of what the magic can do. I’ve seen it in a few sparring matches, but he just found a teacher to help him master it.”

Blinking several times, Stacy tried to understand the librarian’s statement, “You’re saying this is kind of like a martial arts movie? Vin has a power, doesn’t know how to use it, so he needs to learn to control it?”

Elaine bellowed in an unkempt laughter. Well, that is certainly one way of putting it! “Oh, I needed that! Yes, dear, that’s a very good example. Vincent has made leaps and bounds recently. I’ve said it once, but I’ll let you know. That boy is one of the most gifted mages I’ve ever seen.”

Darting her head towards the living room, Stacy took Elaine’s statement to heart. Vin is one of the best? I mean, I would think controlling the shadows would seem pretty cool. I guess I’ll have to talk with him some more. But I think I need to talk with Dave first. We need to discuss some things.

Walking back in the living room, Dave was the first one to see Stacy holding her icy rose. She looks a lot better, and I can smell that she’s calmed down a lot! Silently thanking Elaine with a head nod, he approached his girl, “Everything okay?”

After hesitating, Stacy decided she needed someone and latched her arms around Dave’s waist, “Yeah, I’m still trying to believe all of this is real, but I’m good.” She rested her head just under Dave’s pectoral and savored the feeling of being hugged. “We need to talk about this.”

Dave’s heart fell onto a cushioned pad in his stomach. He was prepared for this conversation, but it still hit him with a palpable force. “Of course, now or later?”

Given the option, Stacy was unsure. She wanted to rip off what remained of the proverbial bandage in order to begin healing, but she also wished for comfort. With a shaky sigh, she whispered, “Now is fine, but I need to be in your arms.”

Withholding his growl, he walked his girlfriend out of the front door and landed on the porch swing. He heard some whispers inside but deemed them unimportant, “So I’m guessing this isn’t about our ruined movie plans?”

A giggle came from her mouth and nestled her head against his side, “Nope. I just wanted to get you away from everyone.” Keeping her head where it laid, she stared at the man’s large boots as they gently pushed the couple in the swing, “I know this all just happened suddenly and I haven’t given it a lot of time to settle, but I think I’m okay with all of this.”

“R-really?” Her statement caused Dave to look down at the blonde ponytail, “Are-are you sure?”

“Yeah. Mrs. Wilson explained it pretty well. There’s a wolf inside you, but for the most part, your human side is the one I’ll see a lot of. I think I can handle that.” Stacy kicked up her legs and folded them in on the swing, letting Dave be the only object grounding her, “All I ask is that we keep dating. I don’t know a whole lot, but I can’t make a decision as fast as Vincent can, it’s been less than two months and it looks like him and Mason are practically married.”

Dave chuckled and wrapped his arm around Stacy’s waist, “I completely understand. Those two are a whole other story, but I can get behind a long relationship.” The couple sat and talked for several minutes before the four other shifters trickled out of the house, “Are y’all going somewhere?”

Lei latched his hand on Elaine’s, “We’re heading back home, and these two are heading to the airport to pick up Mason. He’s on his way, thanks to Tierney. I know you two are getting caught up with each other, but Dave, it’s best to get your head in the game. There’s no doubt an EC ambassador will be coming in the next few days.” He caught the amazed look from the human and smirked, “Please forgive me, miss. I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Leidolf Wilson, Mace’s father. You’ve probably heard he’s in charge around here, but just know my door’s always open. I taught Mason everything he knows when he took over for me.”

Woah, hold up! This guy was head honcho? Leaning up, Stacy stood and offered her hand, “It’s nice to meet you, sir, I’ll keep that in mind.” As the giant hand landed on hers, Stacy was floored with how gentle his grip was. This guy is huge! How is his grip so light?

Sending a pestered glance at Vincent, Lei’s smirk turned into a heartfelt smile, “What is with you humans and calling me ‘sir?’ I will never understand your need for formalities.”

Vincent and Stacy couldn’t stop themselves from laughing. The middle-aged couple took off towards the faded blue pick-up truck as Caleb leaned against the door, “You about ready, Little B? By the time we get there, Mace’ll be ready to go.”

The shadow mage nodded and turned to Dave and Stacy, “I can leave the door unlocked if you guys want to hang out here for a while. We’ll only be gone for an hour.” Dave nodded and decided they would stay, allowing Vincent and Caleb to make their way to the airport.

The drive was relaxing for the both of them. It had been quite some time since the childhood friends had the chance to bond. “So G-man, how did you and Tasha find your way here to Kentucky?”

That’s right, I never got the chance to talk to Vin about all this! “Well, it’s not the happiest of stories. I was still in Maryland for the longest time, up until a year after high school. I traveled around for a bit and found myself in Arizona for a while. That’s where I found her.” The lion’s eyes squinted with lust, “I had to have her, but there were some pretty big obstacles in the way. That area of the country is crawling with exotic shifters like lions, leopards, and even a few elephants.”

Vincent’s attention was captured by his friend’s story. Wow! I’ll need to go and check out Arizona then. If I see an elephant shifter, I’ll probably shit myself! He returned to Caleb’s story without further thought.

Caleb tightened his grip on the steering wheel, “It wasn’t a big deal, but Tasha’s family were very apprehensive about me courting her. They didn’t want some...fleabag, ruining their daughter.”

“Caleb, you can’t be serious.” Vincent’s words were nearly silent as the mage’s heart broke for his friend.

“I’m afraid not. We dated in secrecy. The first few dates were a little rough. Tasha’s leopardess has a very strong personality, and was not forgiving of any mistake. I had to be perfect for her, it took three long months, but her leopardess finally allowed me to kiss her.”

What? Three...months? For a kiss? Stupefied by the incredible patience Caleb possessed, Vincent's jaw was hanging, waiting on the edge of his seat for more details.

“After six months, her family found out about our relationship and immediately petitioned the governing Alpha to exile me. He didn’t see a reason until Tasha’s parents and grandparents were willing to throw buckets of cash towards the pack. That’s when Tash snapped.” The grip on the wheel loosened and the lion relaxed back in his seat, “That moment will forever be emblazoned in my mind. She gave up all rights within her family’s hierarchy and will, to be with me. I practically begged her to let me go, but...well, you know her.

“We traveled around for a while before hearing about Alpha Wilson’s territory being open for outsiders of all sorts. Tasha, Lowe, and I were living in a hotel room for the longest time. When we petitioned for sanctuary, Mason worked with the realtors to get us a house on a proper payment plan within a day’s time.” Caleb fought back his tears as he drove and glanced at Vincent, “Your mate saved our lives, Little B. Because of that, I’m going to hold this office with pride, nothing will happen to this pack.”

Vincent stared at the intense lion. He’s dedicated to this pack...to Mace. He and Tasha were given a home when they needed one the most! Feeling his wolf prod his consciousness, Vincent spoke mentally, You feeling the same way, bud?

Yes! Pride! Mate is good, lion is good. They make pack strong!

You’re right. I can’t help but feel so proud of Mace’s decision to bring Caleb in and make him the Enforcer. “Caleb, I know you will be one of the best Enforcers this pack has ever seen. Just know you’re not alone in this, okay? You were right to call me earlier, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but...I’m just glad it’s over.”

Caleb looked at his friend. All those years ago, I couldn’t imagine I would be in charge of protecting him and his mate. He breathed in deep and let a haggard sigh loose from his lips. And I failed him. “I know that Alpha injured you.”

Vincent swallowed hard. His eyes darted to his left shoulder, feeling the ever so slight tenderness of the healed wound. “It...it’s no big deal.” The moment the lie left his lips, the mage recalled the chilling pain the Alpha’s claws caused him. Who am I kidding? That was terrible. I’ve never felt anything like it.

“Vincent,” Caleb’s voice trailed into a whisper, “I know there was nothing I could have done at that moment, but I’ve been feeling terrible. My job is to protect the Alpha and all that belongs to him...and I wasn’t able to do that.”

“No!” Vincent felt his throat utter the word. He knew his wolf had come to the forefront of his body. Enforcer wrong! “Caleb, you strong Enforcer. You do job by call me. If no do, then Dave get hurt. You do job good.”

Being told of his successful performance by Vincent’s wolf brought a somber smile, “I...I get that Little B, but...you still got hurt.”

“That happen when fight. You no hurt when fight? I broke arm in New York when fight Dirk.”

Caleb furrowed his brow. Well, he’s not wrong. “I don’t really have anything to say against that.”

“Good, then you do good job.” A wicked grin curled on Vincent’s maw. Caleb do good.

You handled that very well, bud! I understand that Caleb’s upset with the fact we got hurt, but you were just as right. It’s natural to get hurt when in a fight.

Yes. Sometime human side don’t think right. Mentally laughing with himself, the wolf relaxed in his seat and let his human side retake control. “Sorry G-man, I’m sure Mace would agree with me on this. The important thing to remember is that it all turned out okay. I think Stacy is taking everything pretty well.”

“I’ll agree with you on that, she’s got a good head on her shoulders, plus Dave’s there to answer any questions.” With conversation becoming more positive, Caleb and Vincent were almost disappointed when they arrived at the airport. The mage’s disappointment was short lived as Vincent knew he would be seeing his mate soon.

Waiting in the parking lot, Caleb leaned his butt against the side of his car while Vincent elected to remain in his seat, meditating to refill his bracelet. I haven't used it much but I'd like to keep it topped off. In addition, he and his wolf conversed about their confrontations with the Alpha in Mesker Park and with themselves. They agreed that sharing a body is a challenge, but both determined that it would be fair for them to take over when the other saw fit. You can sense danger and react to it much quicker than I can.

You think and say word better.

Oh, come on. You're getting better at speaking! Give yourself some credit, bud.

I know, but you good. You know more of world too.

You'll get the hang of it. Next time we're reading a book, I can help you understand what it's saying.

Yes! That good. The mage sat in peace until Caleb knocked on the windshield. Looking up, he saw the lion point outward towards the airport entrance. Mate here? Vincent searched within himself and found his bond between him and Mason. Pushing a sense of love towards it, it was quickly met by a responding torrential wave of the same emotion. Mate here! In a rush, Vincent opened the door and stood. He immediately looked forward and his neck hairs stood at attention. Mason!

His mate was walking towards the vehicle with a black backpack slung over his shoulder. Without a moment's thought, Vincent took off. Being away from his man's arms felt like an eternity. He watched as Mason sauntered across the half-filled parking lot. In a moment of perfect timing, Vincent jumped and landed in Mason’s arms. The two shifters poured every ounce of love into the bond they shared.

Mason passionately kissed Vincent’s lips and gripped the back of his mate’s head with one hand. As he parted his lips to solidify the kiss, the bigger Alpha inhaled Vincent’s natural creek lily scent, along with the blend of his pine and cinnamon. A familiar scent blended with his mate’s and forced his eyes to burn bright. I...I smell blood. My...my mate’s blood! Ending the kiss he stared in Vincent’s hazel eyes intensely, “You...were hurt!” His words whispered softly as he struggled to remain calm. He was injured in the fight!

Vincent, still in Mason’s arms, embraced his Alpha and rested his chin on Mason’s neck, “It wasn’t bad. I partially shifted and it’s healed. But it’s done and he’s gone. Now put your eyes away and kiss me again.” His request was quickly met and the two connected once more.

“If you two are going to do that in the car, I can always get a rental.”

Vincent craned his head and saw Tierney walking with a carry-on bag in his hands. I almost forgot that Ty and Dirk were coming! Being let down from Mason’s arms, Vincent met Tierney halfway while Mason kept his arm around the smaller man, “Ty! What made you want to come?”

Tierney joined the Alpha duo and set his bag down, “With the whole situation, I thought it would be smart to help out. That, and I have some business to take care of with your pack’s realty office in preparation for my retirement. Dirk’s here as well, but he’s taking his sweet time in the restroom.”

“Situation?” Looking between the two, Vincent grew even more confused. What’s going on? Did I miss something? I took care of the Alpha, so there shouldn’t be an issue.

“It’s a finicky problem. The Alpha you took down, Kordell Griffith, was in the process of claiming the territory Dave was attacked in. I hope you still have my copy of the Council bylaws because I’ll need to look at some of the finer lines in territory claiming sections. I’ve never encountered or heard of this kind of circumstance.”

Right, I only glanced at that section. “So...it was his land?”

“Yes and no.” Mason grabbed his mate’s hand with the intention of never letting go. Pushing past his fears of losing Vincent, he explained, “The territory claim was under review and the EC hadn’t gotten to it yet. It remains undetermined if the land was rightfully his. We’ll know more when they send an ambassador in a few days.”

Vincent’s heart sank. Oh, they’re sending someone from the shapeshifting government? This must be a big deal! “They’re sending someone because that Alpha attacked Dave?”

Tierney shook his head, “Partially. I imagine it’s because of that, combined with the human’s exposure. This shouldn’t be too big of a problem and it’ll be sorted out pretty quickly.” Turning, the New Yorker saw his enforcer jogging towards the group. About time, he was in there for a while!

Meeting up with the three Alphas, Dirk smiled. Man, it feels great being back here! I can smell the woods’ scent already. “Ready to go, Alpha?” Nodding, Tierney waved his hand, offering Mason and Vincent to lead the way. Arriving at Caleb’s sedan, the lion bared his neck to Tierney before accepting the lycan’s and ursus’ handshakes individually. Before stepping in the car, Dirk raised an issue, “So, how are all of us going to fit in this thing?” No doubt we can fit, but it’ll be a tight squeeze.

The shadow mage grinned, “Oh, we’ll fit! If anything, I can sit in Mace’s lap if you need more room.” Vincent opened one of the rear doors and sat in the middle. As Mason climbed in, the smaller man curled beside him. Gods, I missed being in his arms! Tierney rightfully took the passenger seat as Dirk clambered in the remaining space in the back. The bear’s massive thigh brushed against Vincent, but the mage didn’t mind, “You look so comfy, Dirk.”

“Oh, ha ha!” Smothering himself close to the door, the bear did his best to give the Mated Alpha room. I hope Caleb is a speedy driver!

Thankfully, the lion was a hasty chauffeur and the group arrived at Mason’s home. Pouring out of the vehicle, the shifters took note of the shiny black sedan. “You guys recognize that car?” Dirk was given an unsure shrug by Vincent and a shaken head from Mason. Led by the couple, the group approached the front door.

As Mason stepped inside, he smelled the overbearing scent of anxiety-related pheromones. What’s going on? He quickly saw Dave and Stacy, but focused on his Beta’s pale facial color, “Dave? You…” His attention was quickly drawn away to the lanky, older man in his recliner. The lycan instantly understood his Beta’s loss of color as his wolf had to fight to regain composure. There...there’s no way.

“Alpha Wilson, I presume?” The familiar man stood as the other four shifters entered the room, “Alpha Scott, this is a pleasant surprise, I assumed I would be seeing the other Alpha Wilson.”

Vincent remained clueless as to who the suited man was. I smell Mace’s nervousness. This...can’t be good. Looking over the stranger, he saw some graying hairs on the receding hairline. With a silent sniff, Vincent determined the man before his mate was a Beta lycan. He’s a little shorter than Dave, but I can tell he is extremely confident in who he is.

“C-Councilman Bylus!” Mason swallowed as he stepped forward and offered the man his hand, “I apologize for not being here when you arrived, but welcome to my home.” His hand was met by the suit’s handshake and Mason bared his neck.

What...in the actual fuck? Both of Vincent’s minds were thinking the same concept, albeit his wolf’s providing a more animalistic version of the thought. Mace...is bearing his neck to this guy? Did I miss something when I read about lycan classifications? There’s no way an Alpha would submit to a Beta!

Not know. I not like! A firm hand pressed on his shoulder, forcing Vincent to look up to Tierney’s brooding face. Tierney know?

Tierney lowered himself to Vincent’s ear and whispered, “That is Councilman Vernon Bylus. He’s a member of the Executive Council, I recommend you bear your neck when Mace introduces you.”

Withholding his gasp, Vincent grasped why his mate became so tense. Holy shit! That...that’s an Executive Council member? How-how did he get here so fast? He must have arrived just after Caleb and I left!

Bylus subtly turned his attention towards Vincent, “Alpha Wilson, I assume this is your mate?” The older lycan’s voice was bland, yet commanded the room’s attention.

“Yes, sir, please, feel free to call me Mason. This is my mate, Vincent Bolton.”

The councilman walked towards Vincent and smiled, “Mason, I believe the description you gave us lacks an important detail.” Extending his hand, Bylus’ smile widened, “Alpha...Bolton, I’m Councilman Vernon Bylus, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Swallowing, Vincent met the hand with his own and bared his neck, exposing Mason’s mark, “It-it’s an honor to meet you, sir.” As the shake ended, the mage’s curiosity got the better of him, “I don’t mean to be rude in any way, but what brings a councilman here?”

“I believe you know why, Alpha Bolton. May I call you Vincent?” Earning a nod from the turned human, Bylus took a seat on the opposing couch facing Dave and Stacy. He scanned over the human and the other shifters, “Not to seem rude, but could we have the room?” Baring his neck, Dave ushered Stacy away to the backyard. Vincent gave his friend a smile, trying to tell her that everything will be fine. She gave the faintest of smiles as the four left. The sound of the back door closing brought a serious undertone to the room, “Gentlemen, you all are rather surprised to see me here, and I do not blame you. This kind of scenario hasn’t been seen in quite some time, and as the oldest member of the Council, it was agreed that I should come and handle this issue immediately.

“From what Beta Triggs told me, he and the girl went to Mesker Park City, what was thought to him as unclaimed territory, and he was assaulted by Alpha Griffith and his personal council. We have Griffith’s request for claim, but have not reviewed it. This, sadly, is not a scenario in our updated bylaws. Therefore, we must adhere to the pre-laws, as it is the most current guidelines for such an event. The territory was, on a technicality, unclaimed by proper communication channels. Griffith’s request is merely that, a request. It does not fully act as a solid claim.”

Bylus looked at Vincent and exhaled softly from his nose, “You are a turned human, correct?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That is quite alright, but I assume that you are unaware of our laws and standards?”

Vincent shook his head, “No, I’ve read the majority of the EC’s full bylaws and standards, but I’m not familiar with the pre-laws you speak of.”

With a grin and chuckle, the councilman kept his gaze sharply on the small Alpha, “Very interesting. Other than Alpha Scott and a few others, I rarely see such an intelligent Alpha. I would almost hazard a guess and say you were an academic before meeting your mate?”

“Still am,” The mage appreciated the words spoken by the lycan, “I still have a lot to learn about lycan culture and the race’s history, but I’m constantly reading when I’m not learning more about my magic.”

“Your shadow magic, correct?” Receiving another nod from Vincent, Bylus decided to table his interests, “I would like to hear more about that, but we have pressing matters to discuss. I recognize your wolf as still learning of the world around us, but this is a trying situation. The earlier confrontation between you and Alpha Griffith sparked an emergency meeting of the EC. Nothing like this has happened since the laws were updated many decades ago. This was a battle between two Alphas on requested, yet unclaimed territory, and the Executive Council sees the victor.”

Mason’s mouth dropped as he covered his eyes. Tierney’s brows furrowed as he laid his hand on Vincent’s shoulder. Looking around him, the mage tried to discern what was said. Why are they upset? What’s going on?

Human...human not think.

Think? About what? Hearing his wolf’s lowered and saddened tone truly confused Vincent.

Bylus coughed and produced a manila envelope from a black leather satchel at his feet. He rose and crossed the room to stand in front of the smaller man, “Alpha Vincent Bolton, as Councilman of the Executive Lycan and Shapeshifting Government, it is my duty to award you the title of the contested territory.”

Copyright © 2021 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

1 minute ago, wenmale64 said:

I saw this coming. I just have no idea of the issues as we have no point of reference. As everyone seems scared, concerned, sad, etc. there must be some hidden information in the rule book none of us has access to. I will not even try to speculate on how this is going to resolve going forward. The only thing I am sure of it that NOTHING is going to be able to split Mason and Vincent. With that said I am fairly sure that Lei, Elaine, Dave, Caleb, Ty, DIrk and many others will step forward to make the rules conform to the specifics. Add a few powerful mages into this equation and you, most likely, have a force that even the EQ will submit variance to.....  Great work!!

Do we think Vincent can handle territory of his own? 

Woah, making the EC submit? I think that's a little much, but our heroes will sort out their new mess.

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13 minutes ago, astone2292 said:

It's Mesker Park City, the metropolitan area north of Owensville. With his circle of friends, Vincent has enough support to sink a battleship.

So it's more populated than Mace's territory?

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Hmm, could Vin offer the territory to Ty I mean, I know Ty wanted to retire, but he could still be semi retired since it's not as big as NY. 

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Posted (edited)

To me, it makes the most sense. I don't feel that Vincent would be anywhere near comfortable enough to have his own territory, not to mention the possibility of being separated from Mason. Ty's experienced, and something tells me that  he might welcome the chance to head the smaller area, even if it's only temporary till he finds someone suitable. Plus, he'd still be able to support Mason and Vince when needed. I mean it sounded to me like Ty was just tired of running one of the largest packs in the country. I mean, there is the lady at the dinner, but they can easily work something out for their relationship since it's not that far between Owensville and the city. 

Edited by Ajbt2001
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8 minutes ago, Ajbt2001 said:

To me, it makes the most sense. I don't feel that Vincent would be anywhere near comfortable enough to have his own territory, not to mention the possibility of being separated from Mason. Ty's experienced, and something tells me that  he might welcome the chance to head the smaller area, even if it's only temporary till he finds someone suitable. Plus, he'd still be able to support Mason and Vince when needed. I mean it sounded to me like Ty was just tired of running one of the largest packs in the country. I mean, there is the lady at the dinner, but they can easily work something out for their relationship since it's not that far between Owensville and the city. 

It does make a lot of sense, and it would be the easy answer if Ty would be interested... :gikkle:

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I also just had the thought of Mason and Vinnie going to the city, and Ty running Owensville. He wouldn't be much of a departure from Mason's way of doing things. But, I also liked the idea of a merging of the two territories centexhairysub suggested. 

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1 minute ago, Ajbt2001 said:

I also just had the thought of Mason and Vinnie going to the city, and Ty running Owensville. He wouldn't be much of a departure from Mason's way of doing things. But, I also liked the idea of a merging of the two territories centexhairysub suggested. 

A novel idea, but I doubt the couple would want to leave Owensville. A solution will appear in a few chapters time.

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Posted (edited)

6 minutes ago, astone2292 said:

A novel idea, but I doubt the couple would want to leave Owensville. A solution will appear in a few chapters time.

Yeah, it was a long shot, but hell if a triple affinity mage Alpha and fall in love with another Alpha and become a beloved member of a pack, then anything is possible. LOL 

Edited by Ajbt2001
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34 minutes ago, Ajbt2001 said:

Yeah, it was a long shot, but hell if a triple affinity mage Alpha and fall in love with another Alpha and become a beloved member of a pack, then anything is possible. LOL 

This is true;  anything can happen, especially in a paranormal/fantasy story. Everything's been coming at our cast hot and heavy, so I think it's best to take some time to let things cool down a bit. 


2 minutes ago, Dr. John NYC said:

As I often heard growing up: no good deed goes unpunished. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the punishment is not too onerous. Great chapter, @astone2292 — & I hope we get to see more of Stacy’s development as a human who now knows about the supernatural world. Hold onto her, Dave!

Dave's got no choice! He's the best one to keep tabs on Stacy in case she goes blabbing! Not saying she would, but one of the supernatural community could never be too careful. 

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