HellCat: Guardian Of The Gate
The lot of us had been on the flight to Italy for what seemed like ages. I knew it was only my need to protect my still-vulnerable mate knawin’ at my insides, but Jasper was still quick to point that shit out.
“Jesus, Pete. You have me wanting to hide Ali in the deepest, darkest cave I can find. Sit your ass down. No one on this plane would harm a hair on Bella’s head, and there’s no use worrying about the Volturi. She has Hades on her side, for Christ’s sake… and probably his, too, since she’s working to keep the bad guys down.”
I shook my head… He just didn’t get it. “The last handler died, though. Permanently dead, Jasper… like the never comin’ back, not fixable type of dead.”
Jasper smirked at back at me, “The last handler didn’t have us, Pete. She didn’t have a mate or family to help her. Bella has two of the fiercest fucking fighters by her side; one with empathy, the other not only her mate, but also a damn know-it-all. Then she also has a seer, mind reader, and doctor on her side, along with Skylar and all of her hellhounds. Slow down and take a damn breath, brother.”
I let out a huff of air, but still needed to check on my currently sleepin’ mate before I could calm. She’d fallen asleep about 30 minutes before we landed in New York to refuel, so I carried her into the private bedroom, hopin’ she’d get some uninterrupted rest.
I walked back to the bedroom, then quietly opened the door just enough to peek in. Bella was sleepin’ peacefully on her side, one hand under her cheek, the other around Skylar, who had moved to lay right up against Bella’s chest.
Sky, who lifted her head only long enough to see it was me openin’ the door, laid her head back down, her eyes watchin’ me as her tail twitched slightly. I shook my head while whisperin’, “Not time yet. We still have a few hours ‘til we land. Help her sleep ‘til then. She needs it, and that bed ain’t big enough for the 3 of us.”
Sky moved so her head was nestled against my mate’s chest, her tail curlin’ more snugly around both Bella’s hip and curled legs, then I heard a soft purr radiatin’ from Skylar. In reaction, Bella relaxed more, a content sigh slippin’ from her even as her breathin’ deepened a bit more.
As I silently closed the door after a nod to Skylar, I couldn’t help but relax just a bit, knowin’ that the hellhound queen would fight to the death to protect my special little mate. Jasper, the smart-ass fucker, was right. My HellCat had somethin’ the last handler didn’t have… a large support system, and a mate who’d raze the entire earth to ash in her name, if need be.
I must have fallen asleep at some point during the flight, because when I woke, it was to a steady but soft purring that didn’t sound like my Peter. My eyes blinked open sleepily to see Sky’s head against my chest. She was laying with me, curled around me protectively, yet purring contentedly. I smiled as I patted her head, whispering in German, “Well, hello, my beautiful Sky. I suppose Peter carried me here? Thanks for the cuddle, by the way.”
Sky cuddled just slightly closer in response, then nodded before turning her head toward the only full-sized door in the room. I took that to mean that my mate was out in the main area, so I nodded while patting her neck, “I should change before heading out there, because we’ll be landing soon. It’s odd, but I can sense where we are. Is that part of being a Guardian?”
Crimson eyes looked into mine as I felt an agreement from Skylar through our bond. I smiled at her, then patted her neck once more before kissing the top of her head, “Time to get moving, then, because we’ll be landing in about 35 minutes or so.”
Sky moved only enough to let me up. When I was off the bed and moving around, she turned herself on the bed to keep an eye on me before laying back down with a languid stretch. I chuckled as I went about finding what Alice packed for me, “Yeah, that bed is pretty comfy, isn’t it?”
I found what I wanted pretty quickly, since Alice packed well. I dressed in a white, silver, and black halter bustier with chain detail, as well as black leather skinny pants with slanted zippers. To top off the ensemble, I grabbed a pair of black biker boots with a white skull design on the shin guard, the chunky heel made to look like plates of stacked metal.
After dusting a charcoal shimmer and wine shadow on my eyes, then applying a deep wine lip stain, I found a set of 6 diamond skull hair sticks. I grabbed those and my anti-frizz lotion, then nodded to Sky, “Ready?”
She stretched, licked my free hand, then hopped off the bed when I opened the door. Peter was to me the instant Skylar and I stopped in the main room, hugging me to him while nuzzling my neck, “Rest well, Hellcat?”
I nodded, “Yes. You and Jasper need to change, though. We’ll be landing around 10 minutes or so from now, I think. It’s hard to describe, but Sky says it’s part of being a Guardian… being able to pinpoint my location.”
Peter nodded, kissed my lips lightly, then offered, “Ya should make sure Carlisle knows while I go change, and you’re right. We’ll be landin’ soon.” He added without looking away from me, “Jasper, let’s go. Time to look the part of that Major in ya.”
Alice made quick work of a half up hairstyle for me while the boys changed, and noted seriously when she was done, “If all else fails, your hair sticks can be used as weapons. The ends are just as sharp as the blade of your sword. Feel where the skull heads are in your hair, so you can get to them easily if needed.”
I did, then soon Captain was helping to strap all of my harnesses and holsters on. We were departing the plane as soon as I was sufficiently geared up, making our way through the Italian countryside in a large SUV.
We were around 10 minutes outside of Volterra when Carlisle spoke up from the third row seat of our SUV. “Bella, if you want to be inside of the castle before they know you are there, there is an old, unused set of secret tunnels nearby. Just take the next overgrown path to the right. They may no longer be passable, but it’s worth a shot.”
I thought for only a second before saying to Captain, “Do it. The deeper inside the castle we are before they see us, the better our position is. If all else fails, I can have Sky and the Hellhounds teleport us in.”
Unfortunately, the walls had long ago collapsed only a few hundred feet into the tunnels, making that plan useless. “Thank you for trying, Carlisle, but it looks like we aren’t taking this route. Back to the entrance, everyone.”
When we reached the wooded area right outside the tunnel again, I patted Skylar’s neck while saying in German, “Call everyone. It’s time.”
Only seconds later, my Hellhound Queen sat tall, her red eyes glowing ominously as the deep blackish red scales of her hide seemed to vibrate slightly. Plume after plume of black smoke began rising around us, until one and then another turned from smoke to solid hound form.
Once the last of the smoke dissipated, and all of Skylar’s charges were accounted for, I said in German, “Do what you need to, but make sure none of us are left behind. I want us all teleporting to the throne room of the castle safely and together.”
With a nod from Sky, as well as a short growl, I saw the hellhounds pairing off. They stood with each Cullen between two hounds. Emmett, the lucky one, getting three. As Sky wrapped her tail around my right thigh, I saw each hound mimicking the movement, wrapping their tails around the thigh closest to them. The third of Emmett’s stood in front of him, his tail wrapping around one of Em’s meaty wrists.
I looked over to Captain, noting that Mystic had her tail wrapped around his thigh, and he was patting her head. Skylar gave me a serious nod once all the hounds were settled, so I ordered as I pulled Soul Reaver from its sheath on my back, “To the throne room.”
With the rising of black smoke all around me, I heard a whooshing of air before I knew I was no longer in the wooded area outside the tunnels.