Hades had lost track of how long they had been in this metal contraption Ascondia referred to as a car, between the ache in his side and bruising of his ribs he was finding it hard to focus. The gun had gone off at point blank range against his lower abdomen the very thing he had been afraid of in this encounter. He was, however, grateful it had been him and not Jade.
The car turned off the road and onto a dirt road, the bump causing him growl this time the pain all too clear, as Ascondia looked round to them “Is he OK? Hades what the fuck happened out there,”
“I told you, he got lucky,” Hades bit back
“How is he even conscious right now, you know he got shot, right? I’ve seen guys try to hide gunshots a thousand times before and there is no way Luke missed,” There was a tone of fear in her voice in that moment as they finally came to a halt, the wooden cabin just ahead, it was run down and even from the outside looked dirty. Hades sighed softly, much like Jade he wished in that moment he was home.
Jade looked to him now, as Ascondia’s words were more than clear. She smacked Hadess hands away from the cradle of his abdomen. Eyes widening at the sight of his clothing saturated in blood, then up to him. “Damn, you…” Was all she said. “Hurry, we have to get him inside I can’t focus in this metal box on wheels.” Jade left her side of the car, reaching to the strange handle and pulling to open the door, leaning down to gather his arm in a gentle pull to drape over her shoulder. Then urged Ascondia to do the same, in order to lead him to the cabin. Jade was frightened she didn’t know how to mend a sound from such a strange weapon.
Hades was still on his feet though took the help, as instinct made him search the area on their way in, Hope turned off the engine and climbed out before joining them, it was dingy within though Hope lit one of the gasoline lamps to spread out some light “The generator is out so we have no power until that’s fixed,”
Hades nodded as he sank onto a couch with a groan, Ascondia looked at him before she looked at Jade, there was a part of her that knew this would be the outcome “He’ll be OK, you know I wouldn’t have put him at risk if I wasn’t sure of that,”
Hope was quickly pulling things out of a cupboard tossing bottles to Ascondia “Water from the well, I have a camping stove here we can boil it before she uses it, though it would just make more sense to take him to a hospital, Connie what is going on, how does someone survive a gunshot wound like that,”
“Happens all the time, but we can’t take him to a hospital, he isn’t exactly,” She breathed in thought looking to Hades as if help he simply shrugged and began working the blood soaked shirt out of his way.
“I’ll be fine, just have to stem the bleeding,” He smiled weakly
“Bullet has to come out first,” Ascondia replied blankly before gathering the bottle and exiting the cabin.
Jade sat beside him, assisting on pulling off his shirt, looking to Hope and requesting a bottle of liquor. When this was presented Jade washed her hands in the beverage and then offered Hades the bottle. Now with her hands cleaned, Jade began to inspect the skin and the depth of the wound with a fingertip, then up to him. “It’s…deep…” She muttered, accepting a towel from Hope. “I need something to grasp the item and pull out with a bowl, plus a needle and thick thread to stitch him…this isn’t going to be easy, beloved. It’s near an organ…next time, we do this together. Two eyes are better than one…Don’t you dare think I’m going to hear your lip, you are going to be a father and we ARE going to be married. Got that?” Her eyes began to glow that yellow but kept out of Hope’s view to not frighten her.
Hades smiled softly as he watched her before he spoke “Don’t waste time stitching, hot knife, I can’t afford to be thinking about stitches if we go after Kara,” He breathed softly
“How is he even conscious,” Hope stated softly before she handed Jade a towel and pair of long nose pliers “I’m sorry but we’re not exactly an ER here, gotta make do with what we have, I’m gonna go make sure Connie is OK,” she was quickly gone
“I think I’m making her nervous, though I suppose people don’t tend to walk around after they get shot here, seems demon side is still intact, just not as frontal as he would be at home, I’m Ok I promise I just needed her to get her act together so we could leave, though I have probably complicated our job more than we need,” Hades let his hand slide over hers gently “Just pull the bullet and then seal it few hours of rest and I’ll be good,”
Jade watched as Hope left the room, then looked up to Hades as his hand was set on her own. Those yellow eyes fixed on him while Jade sighed softly. “You are in no position to tell me what to do.” She growled to him, exposing her incisors, then snagged the bottle of liquor from him to wash off the pliers, giving him back the bottle. “No, you are right. Stitches aren’t needed, because, I will be healing you to speed up the process. This is going to hurt, take a swig or two.” Jade stated while looking at the wound and working the pliers within the open wound, working around for a few moments then wiggling the bullet free. Each movement she made was calculated and expert. Once the bullet was free, she pressed the towel hard upon the wound. “Keep the pressure, while I do my work,” Jade said softly.
She closed her eyes as Hades felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end, electricity was in the room. Any remaining from the lines to the electric were utilized. He then saw the form of the kitsune aura present itself around her, then her hand was placed against his skin. That is when he felt the stinging pain of his ribs, adjusting and being pulled together followed by the punch of pain to his abdomen. Then the burning itch extending from within him outwards, the very fibres of his flesh, veins and beginning to meld and heal. Just as it was about to reach the surface, there was a light bulb that blew.
Everything happened very slowly, as the aura of her kitsune faded and Jade fell back with her eyes closed. Hand holding the pliers released causing the bloody bullet to fall from the grasp and Jade had fainted. She was still barely breathing now, as the dark threads spilled around her head with the exposure of her sea gifted collar.
Hades was on the ground beside her the moment she fell back, his hand catching the back of her head, he scooped her up to lay her where he was, throwing his jacket beneath her to avoid laying her in his blood.
“Well this is going to be awkward to explain,” Ascondia chuckled as she now stood with Hope looking as if she’d seen a ghost “Glad you’re OK though, I know we can’t do this without you,”
“Getting shot sucks, you know that right?” Hades bit back with a smirk and she nodded before closing the door and pushing Hope to sit down opposite Hades.
“OK, so you’re not going to buy the she’s a nurse deal now, so listen carefully. All those myths and legends are usually based on some kind of fact, based on some story of some encounter from another time,” Ascondia sighed softly as she made her way to sit beside Jade resting her hand on her forehead “She’s warm, but hopefully in saving your ass, the worst is over now, let her rest, we’ll be safe here,”
“So what’s the plan now, moving through the city isn’t going to be easy while they are looking for me,” Hades replied
“They won’t be, Hope is going to make those reports vanish, and once we have Kara, if she chooses she can come with us, don’t start Hades,” Ascondia held her hand at him before he had a chance to argue “She can’t stay here Luke will end up killing her, and she’s already seen too much, also apparently I can’t use my memory magicks here anymore or just on her unsure which, so our options are limited. So here’s the deal you’re right he’s not normal he’s half human part demon, and a sprinkle of vampire and by vampire yes I mean the bite your neck and drink your blood kind, though not quite what you think, they’re as alive as you or I, and can be shot, and hurt and killed just easily, no silver or garlic,”
“You know how this sounds?” Hope stated as she stared now at the three opposite her and what about her blowing out bulbs?”
“She’s Kitsune, a fox of sorts with more power than even I’m sure of, she is harmless to you and is here with her husband to be, she had to tap into a lot of power to access that level of power here our natural powers get dulled in this realm,”
“Our …” Hope stated “As in? You aren’t?”
“Human?” Ascondia chuckled softly “God no, I’m an angel and I mean that in the literal sense, big feathered wings and all, though I lost my wings when I was young because I made some wrong choices, got kicked out of what you would deem as heaven and fell into my home The Everlands which over the centuries has had limited contact here hence the myths and legends, it’s a lot I know but Hope we’re on borrowed time chasing down a fugitive from our own realm and this girl is ten shades to wind of bat shit crazy. She kills without concern, and I suspect is hiding somewhere I need to know if there’s anything logged recently that doesn’t quite make sense, that’s why we came to you, I need to take her back and I need your help to do it,”
Jade remained still, while her breathing grew more and more steady, head laying on Hade’s lap with the dark halo of her hair pooling in and over his legs. She appeared content, while in her slumbering state beads of sweat glistened on her forehead now, displaying the fever that had taken her from absorbing the power in that moment. Stunning and beautiful, even in this moment. She had sped up the healing within Hades, even now, he continued to feel the throbbing remnants of her focused mend. Meaning in just an hour, he would be as good as new, no scar only the bullet on the floor.
Hades stayed with her head in his lap his hand working gently through her hair as he watched Hope try to process the information dropped on her by her former best friend.
“So twelve years ago, when everyone thought you’d been taken, and after your daughter disappeared? Where have you been?” Hope stated her mind racing over what she was being told now.
“I had to go home, and my daughter is fine, after the fire I had no choice but to send her home ahead of me she was becoming dangerous, it was the best place for her, please is there anything you can do to help us track Kara?” Ascondia replied softly. Hope sat now looking at Ascondia, the bruising on her face had subsided a little as she thought on her words.
While everyone was intent in conversation, Jade’s eyes had opened, silently watching everyone. As Hope paused to consider Ascondia’s words, Jade felt her stomach cramp, this broke her silence now, as a whimper escaped her lips and she curled over with her hands over her abdomen. But when Hades made the concerned move, she simply held a hand up to stop him. “Just a reflection of your pain…I’m fine now. Just really tired. Please, Hope…this Kara is far more dangerous than Luke. Unstable and doesn’t belong here. She will cause more damage than good. We need your help to find her.”
“I can’t exactly walk into the precinct looking like this, but I can make a few calls, at least throw them off with Luke, and see if anything weird … er has happened the last few days,” Hope replied her head already thudding inside her own skull.
“Just be quick Hope, we’re on borrowed time with her, lives are at risk,” Ascondia replied now.
Jade looked to Hope while considering her. “Ascondia, boil some water for tea. She needs something to relax.” She adjusted a slight offering her a small cloth bag. After Ascondia was busy, she looked up to Hades, lifting a hand to caress his cheek. “Better now?”
“Sore, but I’m OK,” Hades replied softly “But I’m not concerned about me, how are you?”
Ascondia took the bag and made her way to the small camping stove, a flicker of the flame as she ignited it before placing a pan upon it. Quietly she poured the water into the pan and watched as it began to heat up.
“I’ll be fine. Just took a little out of me. I’m not used to the electrical charge of this realm. Seems it is more powerful then I realized. As long as you are safe and feel better, I’m good.” Jade smiled up at him taking his hands in hers to kiss his palm.
He took her hand and brought it to his lips in a soft kiss “Good, and yea the electricity is a little temperamental here, in our realm we can control it, here it tends to do as it wants, no more tapping into it again unless you need to,”
Hope had disappeared into the back bedroom and could be heard pacing and talking in a lowered tone, Ascondia was keeping herself close just in case Hope decided they were worth more betraying than helping.
She adjusted to sit up, eyeing him. “No more doing stupid shit, without me. You know we are stronger together.” Though, Jade leaned against him while watching Ascondia silently with Hope pacing in the other room. “Is she trustworthy? That man may have scrambled her noggin,”
“With my life,” Ascondia replied with a soft smile “But it’s been 12 years, mostly she has been asking questions, doing her job. She hasn’t told on us yet, which means she is considering my offer, which also means it was real bad,”
Hades drew her closer “Wasn’t planning to get shot,”
Ascondia raised a brow in thought then returned her attention to the door,
“OK maybe I knew he might be armed, it’s why it had to me,”
Jade adjusted to slip into his lap, learning her cheek against his chest, leaving a hand within his. “It’s why it had to be you? What do you mean?” She sided watching Ascondia from her lean.
“I knew I could take the bullet, I also knew you’d keep my dumb ass alive,” He smiled kissing her neck gently, “I knew you’d have my back,”
“He knew you’d talk him out of it and we needed the distraction,” Ascondia watched them for a moment before moving away from the door as Hope re-emerged.
Jade lifted her head offering Hope a smile while waiting for the tea. “What is the update, Hope?”
“Girl kicked the ever living crap out of 4 guys who tried to have their way with her, two of them are badly beaten, one got his spine shattered and the other,” She grimaced darkly “Got his head crushed,”
Ascondia sighed darkly as she heard the news “And do they know where she is?” She was now looking out over the lake.
“Not yet, but a friend will call if they have anything else, I also told them I was taking a few days after Luke attacked me and some nice guy put him on his ass, it won’t hold but it buys time” Hope sighed as sank down on the couch opposite them now.
Jade listened silently, looking to Hope, but kissed Hades on the cheek. Rising slowly but steadily to kneel before Hope. “It’s hard. You are strong. You don’t need to be alone in this. Believe me, I….know. See I was forced to until the slave caravan was stopped. I was meant to serve…every twisted fantasy with any man. It was not a good life. It wasn’t a life, circumstances…may be different, between me and you. Even world. But I found my rock, you will find yours. You feel like…you can’t hide. Perhaps, hiding is…not the answer. A new life. A new home…Ascondia. A little help here.”
“She is trying to tell you we have your back, I had to leave to go home, I want to help you, but I can’t until we bring in Kara,” She smiled to Jade “He’s already taken a bullet to get you out, she let her fiancée get shot to help you,” Ascondia paused “OK let is probably bending the narrative, still we have already put time into saving you now I need your help,”
“I have no more, all we can do is wait unless you know how to track her,” Hope replied softly
“Well…let’s think about it like this. Start from the first attack? Maybe there is some kind of money or tavern type trail? I don’t know how those things work here.” Jade said, returning to Hades side.
“That’s the problem, this was a single attack, four men and her, they didn’t come out of it so well, they are tracking her movements via cameras through the city but it’s taking time, Connie the world has changed a lot since you left. We will find her but how do you stop her? How do you stop someone who can take out 4 guys?” There was a panic in Hope now that she was having a hard time dealing with everything she had seen.
Ascondia smiled and pointed to Hades and Jade “That’s how, in our realm he is a bounty hunter, or he was before he became a family man, but we did just stop a war, tangle with dragons, giant spiders, Unicorns,” She smiled “Yup those are real too, I know how it sounds, but how do you think I was able to tell you all those stories at our slumber parties? I didn’t make most of them up, they were real events, I just need you to trust me, just like always,”
“I thought you were dead, but it’s a lot Connie even for me, but then I have nothing left here, my dad was killed a few years ago, mom died last year, I guess starting again wouldn’t be so bad, I’m going to see if I can get that generator running, it’s going to get cold out here tonight and we will need to stay put for tonight,” She smiled softly and made her way out of the house.
“She OK?” Hades repeated quietly as he watched Ascondia now beginning to prepare the tea.
“A lot to take in, humans aren’t built to be exposed to our world so fast, look at their history and what happens when they are, she just needs to deal and we keep our eyes on her, she will lead us to Kara that we can count on,” Ascondia replied
Jade rose still a little weak to help Hades with the tea, one it was done, she poured it into four mugs and offered them to Ascondia and Hope. “What is…these cameras?”
Ascondia chuckled softly pulling her cell phone for a moment before the loud click she spun the screen to show Jade the picture she had taken of Jade “Kinda like memories, but so people can watch or see,”
“You don’t have technology in your world?” Hope looked almost disturbed by Ascondias implication now.
“We lead a far simpler life, more like your medieval period only less violence and more magick,” Hades shrugged in reply “Which is about when I was born here,” he added with a shake of his head.
Jade blinked at the way Ascondia held the phone and a click was heard. Curious, she learned forward to pet at the picture, within faintly was an orange glare. “Hm. Not very good at it. I don’t know it seems like…weird. Do people have privacy? I mean if what you say is true about moving pictures like this one…”
“We have video too,” Ascondia smiled and again aimed the camera at Jade for a few minutes before showing her the replay “Privacy in this world, kinda hard, hell some even record things just for fun, some for memory, some for revenge, the human realm is strange that’s for sure,”
“Really no phones, no video, what do you people do for fun,” Hope replied now wondering what she was getting herself into.
“Usually each other in wild sex parties,” Ascondia smiled before shaking her head softly “Our lives are simpler, well most, I am Queen so little hard for me to relax, his brother has a whole realm to watch over and twins, my daughter is apparently a mercenary for hire so life is never dull I promise you that,”
“His brother? Isn’t he the father of your daughter? It’s a lot to process Connie, I think I’m going to go lay down, there’s nothing to do now but wait, unless you can somehow fix my face,” Hope sighed softly as she walked past Ascondia she placed her hand on her shoulder “You coming?”
Ascondia placed her hand over Hopes for a moment before she nodded “I just need a minute,”
Jade moved over to Hope. “I can try. Your face wounds are not as life threatening as Hades. That is…if you’d allow me to. It will sting initially as I speed the body’s natural healing process.” She offered the woman a small smile.
Hope looked confused but nodded now, as she halted in her approach toward the bedroom “OK, I guess,”
“Did you get that generator working Hope?” Ascondia asked as she moved toward her
“Y.. Yea it just needs fuel and I couldn’t see straight, just pour it in the tank and hit the green button, should fire straight up,” Hope replied
“I got it,” Hades replied and headed off out of the door, a few minutes later and the generator was heard coughing and spluttering before the last bulb flickered to life, the cabin now becoming a little brighter.
Jade glanced to Ascondia as Hades left. “We should do so in the bedroom, she will want to sleep.” She then moved past Hope into the bedroom, while settling in the edge of the bed and instructing her to lay down. Jade waited and then when Hope was in position, she moved to settle at her side. “I need to know if there is any more injury on you.”
Hades made his way back inside as Jade was taking Hope to the bedroom, he had already scouted to ensure there were no surprises “Any chance you can throw up something to alert us of unwelcome guests?” His words to Ascondia
“I can but it won’t be able to tell the difference between animal and person, power isn’t as accurate as I’d want and to be honest I’m saving as much of my energy as I can to deal with Kara and take us home,” Ascondia replied
“Give us ten metres in all direction, if it’s closer than that then there’s good chance it isn’t dinner,” Ascondia nodded and made her way to window as Hades now leant in the doorway of the bedroom watching Jade.
“No just bumps and bruises, he was always careful enough not to break bones, otherwise he’d have the rest of my squad to deal with, guess I should have told them sooner this is the first time he ever really made a mess where it could be seen, he..” She started
“Don’t say he was a good man, before or he wasn’t like this until, he is what he is, you can’t change that and one day it’s going to get you killed,” Hades stated darkly, Hope looked to Jade and fell silent.
Jade glanced over her shoulder to Hades, inhaling deeply. She shifted her hands to place very gently against Hope’s face. “Take a deep breath. Trust me.” She said to Hope, add her eyes began to grow yellow and those canines appeared. In the next moment, Hope felt the sting at her face as the damage done began to mend itself and lower the inflammation, until it returned normal upon Hope’s face. The swelling going down, while the woman’s beauty was revealed and Jade lowered her hands with a soft smile. “I’ve been where you are…get out now, while you have this support.”
“Thank you, so much” Hope threw her arms around Jade sobbing deeply. Hades smiled softly as he watched her for a moment, as Hope lay back down she was asleep within a few minutes. Ascondia slipped past Hades and crawled in bed beside her
“I’ll keep an eye on her, thank you Jade,”
Jade was taken by surprise by the embrace from Hope, even more so by the tears. She simply held the woman, before guiding her down to watch her. When Ascondia returned, Jade simply nodded while rising from the bed and leaving the room to settle on the couch.
Hades drew and blanket over her then settled to sit on the floor beside resting his head against her, it wasn’t long before he too was asleep.