“I have been tracking Desdemona’s actions. Unbeknownst to her, of course,” Peri added. “If what I believe she is doing is indeed true, then we are in for a battle like this world has never seen. From what my resources have discovered, it seems that she is seeking out a warlock, the only warlock known to be able to open the veil that separates this world from the In Between.”
“The who be what?” Jen asked.
Peri cocked her head and raised an eyebrow.
Jen raised her hands in surrender. “Shutting up now. Please proceed.”
“Thank you, Jen.” Peri turned to address Vasile and Alina. “Vasile, you have heard of the In-Between, correct?”
Vasile nodded. “It is a place I prayed none of us would ever have to visit.”
Peri looked at the wolves around the table and slowly began to walk around them as she spoke.
“The In-Between is a sanctuary, but not a sanctuary in the sense you are thinking. This sanctuary is for the evil, the ones who have allowed the darkness to consume them. Those who stumble upon it unknowingly or are put there and are pure of heart, to them it is anything but a sanctuary. It is a place that draws on their biggest fears and magnifies them, twists them, and submerges those beings into them. Most do not leave with their mind intact.”
“Bloody hell,” Jen whispered under her breath.
“That’s a good term for it, actually, Jen,” Peri told her. “It is hell that will strip the ones undeserving of such treatment until their bodies are bloody and worn. My hope is that we can stop Desdemona before it comes to us taking a visit to that horrid place. It would behoove us to find the warlock before she does.”
Fane interrupted, “Who exactly is this warlock? What makes him so special that he is the only one who knows how to do this?”
“He is the king of the warlocks,” Peri said tersely.
“Oh, snap,” Sally muttered.
“Seriously, this just keeps getting better and better,” Jen added, shaking her head. “Let me guess, next you are going to tell us that the lord of the vampires has taken over any and all forms of blood transfusions and is requiring the general population to stand in front of stores like snack machines, allowing blood suckers to put quarters in their pockets to satisfy the little afternoon munchies. Oh, and King Kong has come out of hiding because the blonde he stole is 85 and he wants a newer, younger love slave. Also, the Federation for Worldwide Domination by the Trolls of America – FFWDBTTOA for short, just an FYI – have been inspired by the intelligence that the Harry Potter trolls portrayed and now want to implement a plan to infiltrate the banks because surely they can count as well as good ‘ol J.K. Rowling’s little creations.”
“Why hasn't someone installed an off switch on that one?” Peri pointed at Jen.
Decebel slipped his hand underneath Jen's long, blonde hair and wrapped it around her neck, giving it a light squeeze. “You okay?”
“You know how I get in tense situations. The sarcasm filter seems to malfunction and it just comes spewing out. I should carry an emesis basin for times like this.”
Her response made him chuckle out loud, which garnered him a glare from Perizada. Decebel cleared his throat and schooled his face.
Jen nodded to Peri. “Okay, I think it’s all out now. Wait -” Jen held up a finger. “No, no, never mind. I’m good.”
Jacque and Sally were trying to cover their laughter, as were Crina and Cynthia. Sorin even had to swallow back a chuckle.
“I have been visiting supernaturals all over,” Peri went on, “trying to see if any can give us any information. Unfortunately, many are very hesitant to aide us because of the fear of Desdemona finding out and unleashing her wrath on them.”
“Who have you spoken to so far?” Decebel asked.
“I have been able to speak with the warlock leaders in several different countries. I have spoken to members of the magi, and the troll that mans the bridge above the veil to the In-Between.”
“Okay, when exactly were you going to share with us part-humans that there were such creatures in this world?” Jen asked, crossing her arms across her chest and glaring at her mate.
“Yeah, what she said.” Jacque glared at Fane. When Sally didn’t pipe in, Jacque shot her a pointed glare.
“Oh, um, yeah.” She looked up at Costin. “What they said.”
“Yesterday, but I got busy,” Decebel teased. Jen growled at him but grinned when he winked at her.
Fane, from the screen and Costin, in the room, responded in unison. “What he said.”
The girls all rolled their eyes.
“What do you recommend that we do?” Vasile’s voice came from the screen, interrupting their verbal sparring.
“I would like to meet with your pack, and Decebel’s. Tomorrow night.”
Vasile nodded. “We will come there.”
“I will have rooms prepared, Vasile, for you and yours to stay in,” Decebel told him.
Jen grinned and looked at Sally and leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “Hells to the yeah. We get to plan a mission – the old crew together again.”
Sally laughed and quickly covered her mouth. She rolled her eyes, amused at her friend's need to use military lingo.
The meeting finished and Decebel dismissed the room. Now alone, he turned to look at his mate, who stood grinning at him.
“You scare me sometimes, Jennifer.”
She frowned at him. “Why is that?”
“Your pension for getting into trouble is worrisome, and the fact that you relish the idea is quite frustrating.”
Jen patted his back, attempting to placate him. “Oh, come on, big guy. Surely by now you know that I can kick some major ass.”
“What I know is that you need your butt put in its place more often than not.” He pulled her into his arms and kissed her soundly on the lips.
Jen pulled back and raised an eyebrow. “Really? And you’re just the wolf to put me in my place?”
“Since your place is at my side, then yes, I am the perfect one to put you there.” He grinned wolfishly. “You are welcome to try to fight me on this.”
“Oh, hell no. I know what that means to you, you pervert.”
Decebel let out a booming laugh. “Oh, my sweet Jennifer, life would be so boring without you.”
“How about you remember that the next time you want to put me in my place?” she retorted.