Chapter IX: Issues
Celia guided him out. Leinheart was having trouble processing the news. He still had a hard time believing he was a royal.
"I'm truly sorry for throwing all of this on you like this, but you must understand our position here," the dragoness stated.
"It's no trouble. I just need time to process, is all. I'll do everything in my power to help you." Celia smiled at his gesture.
"I'm glad to have you here. Ever since you left, I've always worried you would become something I wouldn't like."
"What would that be?" Leinheart asked.
"The Heirarch's definition of a real soldier. A heartless killer who follows orders without question. It's good to know that after all this time, you never lost touch with your heart." They both stopped in their tracks upon seeing some sort of commotion ahead. It was Shadow, and some other wolf, a male, apparently. He had dark brown fur and yellow eyes, with very dark, neck length hair. One of his ears appeared torn, like a bite mark. They appeared to be in some kind of argument. The brown wolf grabbed her arm. She tried to jerk back.
"Let go of me!" she demanded. She suddenly slapped him, and forced him to let go. He gave a look of disgust, and reacted with a hard slap back. She was knocked down, and held her face. This angered Leinheart, and he immediately approached.
"Lein?" Celia noticed his reaction,"Don't do anything rash." Shadow was picked up by the other wolf by the hair.
"You bitch. It's about time I taught you your place." He was suddenly grabbed by the throat and slammed into the tree. He was looking Leinheart in the eye. The dragon was not happy with him, and was applying constant pressure. The wolf was choking.
"You will do no such thing. I don't know who you are, but in case you didn't know, the pup is with me, and is under my protection. If you ever lay a hand on her like that again, the next feeling you have will be your skull throbbing in the dirt. Do you understand?" The wolf nodded. He fell back when the dragon let go, and tried to crawl away. He had a look of fear on his face. When he got a good distance, he stood up and ran. Leinheart looked down at Shadow, and helped her up. Her nose and mouth were bleeding."You're hurt."
"Don't worry. I'm use to it," she bluntly stated as she tried to cover the wounds.
"Use to it? You mean he's done this before? Who is he anyway?"
"Vyn," she answered,"He was in my tribe. He's the chief's son."
"I thought everyone in your tribe was gone."
"So did I, but perhaps some of them escaped."
"Why didn't you ever tell me about him?"
"I didn't think it mattered. I just wanted to forget about him," she confessed. "I was hoping I would never see him again." He wanted to ask her more about it, but was interrupted when Celia came forth.
"Are you two okay?" she asked.
"We're fine now," her nephew answered.
"So who's your friend?"
"This is Shadow. She was captured and brought to Valleshire. I got to her before someone else could. It's probably the only reason she's here today." He looked at the pup and continued,"This is my Aunt Celia, the dragoness I told you about that night."
"It's always a pleasure to meet one of Lein's friends," Celia added,"Any friend of his is always welcome." She noticed the blood seeping through the wolf's hand, and dripping from her chin. "That other wolf hurt you bad, didn't he? Why don't you come to my tent? I'll send someone to fix you up." Shadow agreed. The dragoness escorted her to her tent. Leinheart followed.
She left them alone. Shadow sat on the hammock. Leinheart stood at her side leaning against the side of the tent. He just stared at her. His expression made her a bit nervous, but she knew the look wasn't because of her.
"What went on between you?" he finally asked.
"Me and Vyn? I guess he's under the impression that he owns me. It's no surprise. His father always did give him everything he wanted. I was suppose to be his mate when I turned eighteen."
"It was arranged?"
"Yes. Truthfully, a lot of the other females were jealous about it, but they didn't know him like I did. I didn't agree with him too often, and was punished for it." She looked at Lein. His expression hardly changed."Please, it means nothing now. Don't make it a bigger deal than it is."
"But it is a big deal," he immediately stated,"He did you wrong." She was shocked by his sudden reaction. Yet somehow she seemed calm about the situation."You seem so content about all of this."
"I am now," she added,"because of you. I'm not afraid of him anymore, because I know you'll protect me, no matter what." His expression finally changed. He was calmer now. He leaned his head back against the tent.
"In my tribal days, this kind of behavior wouldn't be tolerated. My aunt always taught me to treat women with respect." He pulled a blue flower from one of the plants hanging above, held it in his hand and stared at it."Women are like flowers. They are beautiful, delicate, and should be treated with care." He stood up off the tent and approached her. He took a string of her hair and tied it around the short stem under the flower bulb. He released his grip and looked her in the eye with a hand under her chin."That's what you are to me. A beautiful, delicate flower." His words touched her heart in a way, and made her blush and smile.