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4/4/2017 11:37:37 PM

REEF MOB, Ch. 71: In the Company of Wolves

If you missed the last chapter of REEF MOB, you can find it [url=]here[/url], or if you need to find a previous chapter, you can find them all in the [url=]Table of Contents[/url]. Please give a bump or leave a comment if you enjoy this and any other chapter! ***  “What’s wrong?” Djoz asks. I don’t take my eyes off the dark room as I see the shapes of the Wolves approach me curiously. “[i]Why…[/i]” “Because there are many sides in this war,” he replies, an edge growing in his voice. “And there are those of us on all sides who cannot abide what the Queen’s done.” “[i]What do you mean?[/i]” “First the Wolves and then the Guardians!” another Raptor shouts angrily, and the collected pilots seethe. “It’s obscene! A slap in the face to all Awoken!” “You know how the Raptors formed?” Djoz asks as I keep my eyes on the Wolves. “Seren put us together to help ferry relief supplies from the Tower to the Reef when the Queen refused to call them for aid. She would risk our safety to protect the City, but not call on them for help. Until she had personally suffered, that is.” Djoz spits on the ground violently. “After all this time, after her continued obstinance, it’s [i]the Wolves[/i] that broke her – the Wolves she welcomed into the Reef, the Wolves she was arrogant enough to think she could tame!!” I finally turn from the Wolves as Djoz seethes wrathfully. “They say that through the Tech Witches, the Queen can hear the voices of her people, that she could hear our suffering the entire time – but it wasn’t until she personally lost something that she was motivated to act. That’s not what a leader does – that’s what an aristocrat does.” The Wolves step out of their dark room and tower over me as I unconsciously take a few steps back. From behind me, Djoz continues his soliloquy unfazed. “I fought during the Wars, proudly went to battle for what I believed to be my Queen. But now her betrayal must be met in kind.” The Wolves in front look at me curiously, but step aside as thundering footsteps approach. “The Queen has no right to rule. Her duty is to protect the Awoken, to protect her people! She has failed in that duty – and will reap a whirlwind in response.” From out of the darkness, a familiar Wolf approaches, staring me down haughtily, his eyes narrowing as he seems to recognize me. I feel a cold shiver run through me as I fight to keep my face calm, to not show my emotions, but despite my efforts I feel my knees begin to tremble as I behold a face I never thought I’d see again. [i]Virixias, the Kell of Wolves.[/i] “The enemies of the Queen must unite. We must fight the true enemy, who’s kept her intentions hidden all along. Only Seren – ” “[i]What about Seren?[/i]” I ask angrily, wheeling on Djoz and interrupting his monologue, forgetting about Virixias for the moment. “[i]She killed one of your own! She’s betrayed you just as much as the Queen did![/i]” Djoz laughs suddenly. “Shirin volunteered,” he answers, and I feel my blood run cold. “Seren needed a willing sacrifice to convince the remnants of House Scar that they needed to ally with us. Through them, we could cement our alliance with the House of Talons, just as we’ve cemented our alliance with the House of Wolves through you.” “[i]Or you’ve doomed the Reef to an even greater war![/i]” I shout, my blood turning from cold to hot in an instant. “[i]When the Guardians capture Skolas, you won’t be able to stop – [/i]“ “Dra Ge plays a very important part in our plans,” Djoz replies calmly. It takes a moment of the phrase to register, but as soon as it does I feel the shivers return. “[i]Dra Ge?[/i]” Djoz smiles widely. “You didn’t think that only the Fallen believed in him, did you?” I turn to Virixias, to see his reaction, and to my horror, I see him bowing his head reverently along with the Raptors. [i]What is happening?![/i] I think desperately. [i]The Mob and the Wolves, allied under the banner of Dra Ge? “You accuse the Queen of working with Wolves, yet you do the same?[/i]” “The enemy of my enemy is my friend, no?” My blood runs cold – [i]They’re crazy! They’ve lost their minds![/i] – I instinctively try to run, but the Raptors are waiting for it – their weapons are pointed at me faster than I can blink, and behind me the Wolves growl and draw their own weapons threateningly. “Whoa, where you goin’?” Djoz asks, almost playfully. “We can’t let a valuable bargaining chip like you slip away, now can we?” “[i]You’re already allied with Wolves,[/i]” I hiss angrily. “[i]Why keep – [/i]“ But it hits me before I can even say the words. [i]I am Solis, daughter of Hatiks, Kell of Kings.[/i] Djoz grins at my comprehension. “Only House left we don’t have ties to,” he says, gesturing me back into position with his rifle. “[i]My father wouldn’t take me back,[/i]” I tell him. “[i]What makes you think he’d bargain with you for me?[/i]” “Because not even shaming your House would make him mad enough to want to watch you tortured to death,” Djoz replies calmly. “Which is exactly the ultimatum he’ll be brought once we’ve secured the Reef. Thanks to you and the Mob, we’ll be able to do what no Fallen was ever able to do: unite the Houses.” “[i]And then what?[/i]” I ask angrily. “[i]You repeat the Queen’s mistakes? Houses will never be ruled by Awoken.[/i]” “They will if the right leader’s in charge,” Djoz responds as the Wolves fan out behind me. He catches Virixias’ eye and asks him: “Tell her.” I turn to Virixias as he glares me down. * [i]Wolves will serve Dra Ge,[/i] * he says gravely and I feel my heart drop out. * [i]You would serve the Rabid?[/i] * I ask angrily, clenching my fists, the metal joints in my new hands squealing. * [i]Dra Ge was prophesied to unite our people,[/i] * Virixias responds. * [i]Which it seems Skolas has done. That makes him Dra Ge.[/i] * I can’t believe what I’m hearing – this isn’t happening, it’s not possible. [i]The Mob and the Eliksni united under Dra Ge against the Queen?[/i] “What do you care anyway?” Djoz asks, agitated as he sees me conflicted. “What loyalty would you owe the Queen?” “[i]None,[/i]” I answer in a growl. “[i]I’m just…..tired of fighting.[/i]” Virixias laughs. * [i]The only Eliksni tired of fighting are dead Eliksni. * * Says a dead Eliksni,[/i] * I retort quickly. Virixias and I bristle at each other, but Djoz intervenes. “Don’t forget who she is.” Virixias regains his composure and haughtily turns back to his Wolves as I eye Djoz disdainfully. “[i]So what now?[/i]” I ask angrily. “[i]You’ve told me everything, but I know you can’t kill me.[/i]” “No, I can’t,” Djoz agrees. “That’s for another to decide. For now, you’ll go back to your workshop. You can even take your servitor with you – “ But Djoz halts as the sound of crunching metal suddenly squeals behind us – we spin around to see Virixias seizing Teliks-12 and slamming it repeatedly against the bulkhead, shattering its frame. With a roar I leap forward to stop him, but the Wolves around him seize me. “[i]Don’t worry about her,[/i]” Virixias growls menacingly to Djoz. “[i]She will be kept in our company. Being away from her kind has left her…ill-mannered.[/i]” Djoz blithely shrugs. “Whatever, she’s your problem, then. Just don’t do anything you wouldn’t want to explain to Dra Ge.” Virixias rises up to his full height, head scraping the ceiling as he towers over Djoz, who looks back fearlessly. “And don’t forget where you’d be without us.” Virixias snarls, but shrinks back down. I scoff as I struggle against the Wolves holding me. “[i]Looks like being in the service of the Awoken has left you….docile, Virixias.[/i]” He snarls again as he wheels around, seizing me by the throat. “[i]And having no allies has left you vulnerable. Remember that before I finish what Dra Ge started.[/i]” And with that he seizes my newly-fashioned mechanical arms and tears them from my body. Hissing with rage and injustice, I snarl brutishly at Virixias, who snickers at me wickedly. * [i]Take her inside,[/i] * he orders as the Raptors shrug and depart. * [i]It seems you must be taught again what it means to be a Wolf.[/i] *

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