Mixed Blessings Ch. 06bydeathlynx©
Mixed Blessings Ch. 6
This is the sixth chapter in a series. Although it can be read on it’s own, parts of the story may make more sense when read in order. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy.
Of all things, Alicia pondered for what seemed like the millionth time, it had been the underwear that clued Laslie in. He had returned to the motel, excited about the prospect of buying an appropriate weapon. He had rambled on about meeting some dealer the next day when he stopped, sat on the bed and looked intently between her legs then at her breasts. He saw the color of her bra, through the shirt, mismatched with the panties and knew something was wrong.
He’d tried to make everything better, but she couldn’t help but flinch at his slightest touch for the next few hours. Not once had he shut his feelings away from her. But of course his guilty conscience was obvious, even without her empathy. She knew his sincerity when he explained that he’d though she was enjoying herself, even having an orgasm. It hadn’t been until he had proposed they develop a ‘safe word’ and he promised to never again move things so quickly that she couldn’t even speak. She finally forced herself not to flinch as he held her close.
Afterwards she had strictly forbidden anything remotely resembling that position. With that the damn had burst, and the two had their first true fight. Alicia blushed as she realized that the scene, nearly a week before, hadn’t truly been a fight. It had been a massacre. She had vented all of the pain, all of the frustration and fears that had been building up. Laslie cowered in a chair and apologized. Even Alicia knew he wasn’t responsible for a good portion of it, but he was very much guilty, if not of everything, and neither questioned her right to attack him.
Once more, the two were on the road. For nearly a week they had been driving non-stop. The first day after the exodus, and the incidents in two different motel rooms, Laslie had found the dealer. Now the miniature, sickle-like, kama rested between Laslie and the door. It was a spirit blade, which he assured Alicia meant that when he broke his spiritual form away from his body it would appear in that world unlike any standard weapon.
Laslie had sent out spirits to a number of other Sidhe who he thought might have leads on other artifacts. A few had gotten back to him but only one had any useful information so far. Now they were in Minnesota somewhere. Laslie had gone out, alone once more, to the Stronghome to meet with his friend. When he got back, he was even more excited than when he had found the spirit blade. She still hadn’t gotten the full story for him.
“So, we’re heading for a cave on the outskirts of a town?”
Laslie looked over and grinned. “Yup.” Alicia glared at him when it was clear he didn’t intend on supplying her any more information. She could barely sense his glee at lording the information over her. She didn’t even think he was trying to shield from her, it just seemed to come more and more naturally to him. Even feeding had been more difficult when they made love. She hadn’t brought it up, for fear it would cause another fight. Besides she wasn’t entirely certain it didn’t have something to do with her, a response to what had happened. Although she had been able to continue to read him afterwards. Maybe it was a delayed reaction.
“So you care to let me in on the big secret? Like what the hell is going to be in the cave?” Alicia wasn’t very good at hiding her feelings. Dhase had difficulties with that since they often spent a great deal of kind among other empaths. Why lie when everyone around you will know?
Laslie’s grin turned sheepish. “I won’t tell you what we’re looking for exactly, but I will say that a Lycanthrope currently has it. I figure we go in, take care of the Lycan and get the artifact. Kill two birds with one stone.”
Alicia shuddered. “I hope you won’t need me for that. I can’t stand killing. Most of my kind don’t. After all, we feel what they feel so it hurts even being nearby.”
Laslie glanced at her with an unfathomable expression. His aura was shut down as well, which made it impossible to read him. “Not many warriors among the vamps? So how did they ever hit stalemate in the war with Sidhe?”
Alicia cringed slightly at the reference to Dhase as ‘vampires.’ She admitted they were the basis for the myths, but they shared very little in common with the image that had developed around her kind. “There are always those willing to do what must be done to protect their people, like it or not.” She locked her attention on her hands. “As I understand it, most of them gave in to apathy fairly quickly after the war.”
She caught a hint of confusion and curiosity at the last statement. Alicia sighed. She had thought not to tell Laslie about that. She didn’t want him to worry what might happen to her if she lived centuries in happiness, by his side, and he finally died of old age. She knew it would lead to apathy, but she was content with that. She had lived for millennia, if she got a few last centuries of heaven with someone she loved this dearly, then she would, in essence, die happy.
“Apathy is exactly what it sounds like. A Dhase stops caring about anything. When that happens, they forget how to feed. Or maybe it’s more like they don’t care to feed. That part’s kind of hard to explain. Regardless, the slowly use up their energy and die of starvation. Aside from astral combat, as we’ve learned, it’s the only way I know of for a Dhase to die. Oh, one of us could drain the other to death but that is a very seldom occurrence. As I said, we don’t much like killing.”
Laslie nodded in understanding. “That makes sense. Well, in this case you don’t have to worry. ‘Killing two birds with one stone’ is merely an expression in this case. How much do you know about Lycans?”
Alicia shrugged. “Not much, I’m afraid. I’ve never actually run into one, but I know the lore. They’re supposed to share pretty much all aspects of both human and animal traits. Including the combined strength and ferocity of both. They also have incredibly heightened senses, so sneaking up on it just won’t be possible.”
Laslie nodded again. “Well, you have it right and wrong. More than likely you have actually run into one just not realized it. A Lycanthrope is actually nothing more than a mortal possessed by an animal nature spirit. They cannot transform as they do in the movies, nor do they have exceptional strength or speed. Well, as compared to either of us that is. Think of a human hopped up on PCP or something similar.”
“You’re right, they do have exceptional senses. Some of that comes as a ‘gift’ from the animal possessing them, and some of it is because they have a direct connection to the Astral that even the Sidhe can no longer match. That’s the real problem facing us. This thing is going to be attacking simultaneously in the physical and spiritual worlds. At least that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Alicia was captivated. She knew a great deal about the Sidhe, having studied them for most of her life, but many of the other ‘monsters’ remained a mystery to her. “So we are hoping that it will engage you in astral combat while I restrain its body.
“That’s the plan. You see, because it’s nothing more than a possession, if you can drive of or damage the spirit that is holding the person they are free. Under normal circumstances it requires a team of four Sidhe warriors to handle. In fact, they have a couple of teams out at almost all times looking for them in order to cure them. One holds them while two battle the spirit. The fourth acts as backup.”
“So you are counting on the fact that the two of us are equal to four Sidhe warriors?”
Laslie laughed. Alicia found it very disconcerting to hear that light hearted sound and not sense the same bubbling off of him. “Well, to be honest, I know you are strong enough to physically best any four Sidhe you com across. Holding the thing’s body should provide no challenge for you. For myself? I should be able to handle an insane nature spirit, particularly with this.” He patted the handle of the kama lovingly. “The fourth one usually isn’t needed unless things go horribly wrong. In truth, the fourth is either a fresh student learning the ropes, or a master in case the student is building skills.”
“So you’re not going to tell me what the artifact is, are you?”
Again he laughed, this time it seemed much more ominous. “No time. Here we are.”
Indeed, there they were. They were in the middle of nowhere and there was a very dark cave before them. Alicia blessed her night vision as it lit up the cave to almost manageable levels. It was still dark, deep in the cave, but she could see enough to move freely, without fear of tripping on a stalagmite. She smiled as she thought of the caves she hid in as a child.
Warfare was rife between the various tribes and she had been unable to fight for what she continued to believe was too many years. Once she had fought, she did so with a vengeance. That was the way of her people. Even when pregnant, she took up spear to defend her village. Not for the first time, Alicia wondered what had become of her children. She and Vasili had watched them, even her grandchildren, grow. Unfortunately it came time to move on and she lost track. Now, there could be thousands of decedents, or her heritage could have died out after a hundred years. She would never know.
Alicia tried to pantomime a question to Laslie but he laughed. “Don’t bother. If it’s here, it already knows we are. We might as well talk normally. Just so long as you don’t reveal the trap we have laid we’ll be fine.” His hand flashed to cover his mouth while he parodied horrified embarrassment. “Did I just reveal our plan?”
Alicia couldn’t help but laugh at his antics. This was a stressful situation and it wouldn’t help them if they panicked. “I think the plan needed a little work anyway. I still say we just stand here and call it out.” She turned to face deeper in the cave. “Heeeeere doggie, doggie, doggie, doggie! Cummere boy! Cummon! Come get the chew toy we brought you!”
Laslie was clutching his sides in pain, laughing at her. Alicia didn’t expect the tactic to work. At least she didn’t expect it to draw out the Lycanthrope, but it certainly had its desired effect. Laslie was so honestly amused that his shielding began to crack. The warmth of his company spilled across her body like a familiar blanket.
She began to turn to him when she caught the hint of motion. Her eyes flew wide as she saw the man run towards her. He was tall and well built, but what truly surprised Alicia was the business suit he wore. It did not fit the setting, just as the wild, angry, look in his eyes didn’t. What frustrated Alicia the most, however, was the speed which Laslie’s shields snapped back into place.
It only took Laslie a moment to compose himself once the Lycan appeared. Alicia was already in motion to capture it as planned. That wasn’t what concerned Laslie however. He saw the other figure in motion. The Dhase would be completely unaware of the second threat however. Everything happened to quickly to be certain, but he was fairly sure a Sidhe warrior had waited in ambush for them. Where there was one there might be more.
Cautiously he launched himself from his body. He felt the brief tug at his spirit, when he left the spirit blade securely in the physical realm. He was trusted Alicia to keep his body free from harm while he protected her from any and all spiritual threats. As his senses tuned to the newest combatant he knew it was a Sidhe. Laslie could only hope a lone warrior in ambush or they were in dire straights indeed.
Laslie closed in and more details came clear. The woman, for the warrior was female, was headed for the Lycan rather than Alicia. His mind quickly reeled up to combat speed. He noticed the sheer amount of lovely flesh on both of the women and grinned as the primal portion of his brain began to feed delightful suggestions to him. In a moment, he was up to speed. He chased the naked Sidhe who chased Alicia.
No, not naked! Laslie suddenly saw the thin green tendrils that wrapped around her body. Talianna had found them once more. He was going to be too late to prevent her first attack. The situation was very bad. Laslie knew the two of them could take either opponent individually, however Talianna and a Lycan were far more than they could handle. The best he could hope for was a very messy three way combat, in which the Lycan threatened the Sidhe as much as himself or Alicia.
A quick glance ahead confused Laslie. His step faltered for a second while he tried to understand what had happened. He glanced at Alicia, she wore the strange, hide, skirt-loincloth that must have been her hunting attire two thousand years before. Talianna wore the Elemental Armor that revealed every inch of skin that was socially acceptable. His gaze couldn’t help but linger on the firm, round butt. None of the leaves bothered to cover that. He wasn’t surprised. Sidhe fashion did borrow from the mortals, and many string bikinis hid themselves within. Excessive? Certainly! But no longer socially taboo.
His mind snapped back to the confusion. The man who attacked them, from deeper in the cave, hadn’t changed in the slightest. At the speed which Laslie and the women were all moving he seemed little more than a statue. Even that was unexpected. Laslie should be staring at a wolf, or bear, or some other animal spirit. That was the nature of Lycanthropes. The mythology of werewolves transforming into animals came from a time when many humans could still see into the spiritual realm. That spirit should be present. More to the point, it should have attacked at the same speeds that the others moved at.
Alicia slipped behind the man. Something slowly began to bulge from the supposed Lycan’s chest. A very thin, long, black stick burst free. No, it wasn’t a stick. The length was covered in coarse black hairs. As the joint followed, the nature of the owner of the leg became clear and Laslie almost screamed in terror. He had heard stories but had never seen one before, and even the legends did not speak of one this size!
Alicia’s arms wrapped around the man’s waist and locked his arms tight against his body. Laslie knew that the corporeal world was no longer a threat, but he now faced two very dangerous opponents in astral combat. Talianna reached the arachnid Lycanthrope. She slapped something onto the thing’s chest, just above the protruding leg, and turned towards Laslie.
Laslie understood her intent instantly as the legs disappeared back into its host’s body. Further, he realized the inconsistency. They had not, somehow, mistaken their prey. The artifact worked perfectly, kept the beast’s spiritual seeming as that of a man. The amulet would allow Alicia to blend in among the mortals, harder for the Sidhe to track and spot. Its power had also slowed the arachnid spirit’s release. Now, Talianna had sealed it within the body. That would give her the combined advantage of not having to worry over a three-way battle and keeping Alicia struggling with the physical form.
“Tell her.” Laslie shook his head. Talianna was speaking wholly within the spiritual realm. Alicia could not hear her. “If you don’t, you run the risk of battling the both of us, or that the arachnid will turn and attack her while you are busy with me. You have more to lose than I do.” Laslie stared at the Sidhe woman. It was a devious plan but ingenious.
“Alicia. Whatever you do, don’t knock him out.” Laslie had to concentrate in order to use his mouth without returning to his body. Alicia looked at Laslie’s body in confusion, unable to see his astral body. “Talianna’s here. She has sealed the spirit in the body. If you knock him out, it will be free. Most likely it will turn on you and I’ll be too busy getting rid of Talianna to help. You must just hold him. I know you can.” Alicia nodded that she understood and shifted her body into a far more comfortable position.
“Quite cocky aren’t you? Are you so sure you can ‘get rid of me’ so easily?” Talianna had begun to circle. In part that let her dictate the terrain of the battle, but mostly it separated her from the Lycan, should it get loose either of the Dhase or her binding.
“How quickly you forget the last time we fought. You lost.”
“You never attacked me. You held me briefly but that was all. And I had only a dagger.” As she spoke, she held out her right hand, palm open. Quickly, energy built within her arm, shot to her hand and grew outward. Now she held a full sword.
Laslie grinned and simply charged. Talianna’s confusion was apparent and understandable. Any advantage of skill Laslie might have, a debatable topic in any regard, should have been completely offset by her weapon. By all rights, he should have chosen a defensive, conservative, stance, not an aggressively offensive one.
Her confusion subsided long before he approached within her reach. Talianna swung a devastating attack directly at his mid-section. With his forward momentum, Laslie couldn’t possibly dodge backward. If he leapt over the attack he would be bound by the trajectory and very predictable. That left him with only one option, a state of affairs he didn’t like, as it was frequently the intent of the attacker.
Laslie dove forward, to Talianna’s left, as he led the attack. He felt the powerful attack cut the air above him. It glided along his back as the woman desperately tried to compensate for the speed of his decision. He finished the dive with a roll to his right and sprung up beyond her reach, even as she pulled the sword back into a more cautious position.
Her grip was the only cautious tactic as she had already begun to charge after him. Laslie only had time for a moment’s pause before he was forced to bend to dodge a quick thrust at his shoulder. Talianna was infuriated with him. Not only had he questioned her ability, he provoked a powerful attack and managed to cleanly dodge it. Now he virtually danced aside as she continued to jab rapid, but weak, attacks at him.
Laslie couldn’t help but grin as she stabbed first at one side, then the other. Occasionally she switched in an exceptionally high or low attack, or even a quick slash. Every one he ducked or sidestepped. He concentrated his attention on her body, sought the telltale indications as to where her next attack would aim. Unfortunately, he found it far more difficult to spot than he ever had before. As her lithe body twisted and strained with each attack, the leaves continued to shift. The three, mainly cosmetically placed, leaves incessantly slipped aside as his attention diverted elsewhere. Perhaps there was more to her choice in armor than engaging the lust of Hunter.
He found his concentration dragged, over and over, in a circular loop by the frustrating leaves. He knew the sword flashed closer to success with each attempt but he could no longer seem to drag his eyes away. Where Alicia held a simple beauty, Talianna exemplified the exotic eroticism of the Sidhe. Her combat style, at least astrally, only seemed to amplify her natural attributes.
Laslie knew he needed to balance the fight somehow. He was confident, now, that his skill surpassed hers, but the various factors in this combat would allow for either to be victorious. He could not accept that. She had to lose. He had to win. After he was done with her, he would need as much energy as possible in order to defeat the arachnid spirit. Then the artifact would be his.