I saw them change before my eyes. Thev’rar and Ta’sha. They grew in size, their tusks lengthened and sharpened, and they were so strong that nothing could hurt them. I saw them tear all the alien pirates apart. Blood covered the floor and the walls, and even the treasure that was piled up in the middle of the cavern. It was a bloodbath.
“Hey, little human. Are you okay?” Ta’sha had gotten up, and she was standing right behind me.
I turned around and pointed the dagger at her. My hand was shaking.
“Don’t,” I whispered.
She raised her hands. “I’m not going to hurt you. Angie, is it? My brother said you’re his mate. I would never, ever hurt you, Angie.”
“I don’t believe you! I don’t know you, and I don’t trust you! Stay back.”
I could feel tears starting to form, and I did my best to keep them at bay. I was scared like I’d never been in my life, and tears would’ve made me look even weaker. Thev’rar had already seen me cry a few times, and he’d expressed his opinion about my spilling water out of my eyes. Orcs didn’t cry, I had to remember.
“Angelica.” His voice was gentle and careful.
I stepped to the side, so I could have them both in my line of vision. The Nakkoni had dragged his brother’s body away, and he was now busy stuffing more jewelry and coins into his bags. It was back to business, apparently.
“I am so sorry, Angelica,” Thev’rar continued. “I can explain what happened. I’m sorry you had to see it... see me and my sister like that. But we had to do it. We were outnumbered. It was the only way.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know what I saw.”
“It’s something we Zokunians can do. We each have a beast inside us, and we can release it to win any battle, any fight. We don’t do it often. It takes a huge toll on us, and I will have to sleep for days to fully recover. I’m in a great amount of pain right now, even if you can’t tell.”
I bit the inside of my cheek. He did look like he was in pain, but what did I know? Beast? I didn’t want to have anything to do with no beast.
It was just dawning on me now that I had no idea who the green-skinned alien before me was. Thev’rar Sturmblut. Prince of some faraway kingdom. When I first met him, he wanted to be a priest. Now he claimed I was his mate, and he didn’t want to be a priest anymore. His devotion to his god didn’t seem to run very deep. What was I to understand from that?
“Angie, please... What can I do to make this better?”
“I don’t think there’s anything you can do.”
I heard Ta’sha starting to rummage through the pirate’s treasure, as well. She was looking at vases, statues, and pulling paintings out to see them into the light of the torches. The Nakkoni said something in protest, but she snarled at him, and he backed away. They were interested in different things, anyway, and there was plenty for both of them. She wanted the alien art, and he wanted everything else.
“You are my mate. My fated mate. I know that now.”
I glanced back at Thev’rar. I could barely look him in the eyes now, knowing what he’d done just a few minutes before.
“I can’t live without you, Angie. I need you by my side.”
“I can’t...” My voice sounded choked. “I can’t be with you.”
He ran a hand through his dark hair, his lips pursing and his brows furrowing. That made me take another step back. I was making him mad, but I couldn’t do what he said.
“If you would just listen to me, let me explain... Come with me to Zorran. Let me show you my world.”
“No! God, no! I can’t.” The last thing I wanted was to be surrounded by more aliens like him, more aliens who could go berserk. “Thev’rar, you have to let me go.”
He paled. The color drained from his face, and for the first time, he was almost as white as I was.
“Don’t say that,” he murmured.
A tear slipped down my cheek, and I wiped it quickly, before he could see it. I hated that I had to do this. I’d really thought he was someone I could spend more time with. Maybe someone I could spend my life with. He’d protected me like no one had ever done it before. He’d treated me like I was special, and I’d fallen for it. He’d been more gentle and caring than any man I’d ever been with on Earth.
But this side of him... I didn’t think I could live with it. Thank God the cavern was large and there was plenty of air to breathe, otherwise I would’ve fainted from the smell of blood.