Authors: S. E. Smith
“What are we going to do when the guards come in to bring us our food? Don’t you think they might notice we aren’t alone anymore? What are you going to feed them? And how are you going to keep everything clean?” Carmen asked looking down and wiggling her nose as one of the six-legged creatures started to climb her leg.
“I have it all planned out. I can hide some under the bed and the rest in the bathroom. Or better yet, not let the men in the room! They like the fruit the men have been bringing me and I can litter train them to use the bathroom shower area,” Ariel said looking at her younger sister with pleading eyes. “Please, Carmen. You should have heard how scared that one little creature was before that horrible man killed it,” Ariel said, her eyes shimmering with tears.
Carmen shook her head. “How is it you can kick the ass of any guy you meet but can’t stand to see an animal harmed?” Carmen asked as she pulled the creature into her arms sighing as it snuggled against her.
“They can protect themselves. These poor creatures can’t,” Ariel whispered knowing her sister would help her by the way she was rocking the creature in her arms. “They need me, Carmen.”
“You are such a sucker. You know that, don’t you?” Carmen said softly with a small smile at the familiar words. “That is what I love about you.”
Ariel’s eyes lit up with amusement. “I know but you wouldn’t want me any other way.”
Both of them laughed suddenly as alarms started going off again in the distance. “Hopefully Cara will keep them so busy the man you rescued all these creatures from won’t come looking for them,” Carmen said tilting her head to the side.
The next several days were busy ones for Ariel. Carmen made regular trips around the ship exploring while Ariel spent her time working with the dozens of creatures she had rescued. It was a full-time job taking care of them. She had to bathe them, clean up after them, feed them, and train them. Ariel discovered both species were very intelligent and amazingly affectionate. What surprised her even more was when two of the rabbit creatures had babies. Each one had six tiny versions of themselves. Ariel made a small bed for them in one of the hidden storage panels in the wall. Carmen didn’t say much. She just shook her head and muttered they would soon be sleeping standing up if any more of the creatures started reproducing.
Ariel was just putting the last little one in its new bed when one of the guards tried to enter the room unexpectedly. She screamed and started throwing dishes at him the minute the door opened forcing him back out into the corridor before he could enter. The man flushed and looked at her like she had lost her mind while the other three guards just laughed. This was a new one and he hadn’t learned yet that the ‘strange’ females were suddenly very protective of their tiny living quarters.
“What do you want?” Ariel snarled out tiredly. She had been up all night with one of the little babies who hadn’t been doing well and was exhausted and in a bad mood.
“I…I was told to inform you that we have arrived in orbit around Valdier and you are to be escorted to the transporter room immediately,” the man stuttered out backing away from the hostility in Ariel’s eyes.
Turek looked warily at the human female. Unlike some of the other warriors on board the
who vied for guard duty he had no wish to be given the dubious honor. This was his first time on the
and he had been working in medical when the females beat up three of the warriors. On top of that, at least once a day one of the guards would have to be changed out for some injury or another from the short haired female. All the warriors were placing bets as to which one of them could tame her but so far she was ahead. She did not fight fair – or at least in a way their warriors understood. She struck without warning and used moves none of them had seen before. Turek valued his manhood and other parts of his body too much to chance losing them to such a vicious creature.
“Well, I can’t go. I’m busy,” Ariel snarled out before closing the door in Turek’s stunned face.
Turek stood still outside the closed door wondering what to do. Jarak had ordered him to have the females escorted down to the transporter room. He looked at the other three men standing around the door. They looked at him and shrugged.
“What does she mean, she can’t go? What is she busy doing?” Turek asked puzzled.
One of the guards shrugged his shoulders. “I do not know. They have not let us in the room in almost a week. The only time we see them is when the short hair female comes to fight with us,” the man said looking at the closed door.
“I think they are working on a way to destroy the
,” another guard said. “I have been hearing strange sounds coming from the room since the day they started making us leave their food outside the door.”
“I think they can change into something other than what they look like,” the third guard said in a hushed tone. “Have you seen how much fruit they are eating now? There is no way they can eat that much and be so small.”
“Have any of you informed Jarak of the changes in them or about your suspicions?” Turek asked looking at each guard.
All three shook their heads. “Except for the noises, not letting us in, the increase in food, and the short haired one sending at least one guard a day to medical, we didn’t notice anything unusual,” the first guard said suddenly looking uncomfortable.
The other two flushed. “Maybe we should have said something,” the third guard muttered looking warily at the door as if it suddenly contained something other than two small females.
Turek shook his head in disbelief. Was he the only one who thought it was suspicious? What were these guards even thinking? How could they not be suspicious of what the females could be doing?
“I’ll call for Jarak to come,” Turek said backing up and looking one last time at the door as a series of strange noises filter through it. “I think you might be right. I don’t think the females are what they seem,” he whispered.
Almost an hour later, Jarak stood outside the door to Ariel and Carmen’s living quarters with almost half a dozen armed men. He was furious he had not been told of the females’ strange behaviors sooner. He tried to talk with Kelan, Trelon, and Zoran but all three were distracted with the other females. Perhaps the royal family knew something about the human females that that they didn’t want to share. He knew something was different from the first time he met them. He put down his trepidations to the fact that they were an unknown species. He wondered vaguely if the females had some type of hold over the brothers. He couldn’t imagine it could be bad since both their symbiots and their dragons accepted them but until their scientists had a chance to examine the species they might not know for sure. He would need to talk to Zoltin to see if he saw anything unusual about them.
In the meantime, he needed to get the two females who had caused him almost as many headaches as the tiny one off the
and down onto the planet. He almost dreaded seeing what type of damage they could do down on the surface after seeing what they had done to his warship.
“Stand ready with your weapons on stun. We cannot kill them but if they have changed into another form and attack I want you to be ready,” Jarak ordered, looking at the gold symbiots of the men standing nearby to help should they need them. “I want you to be ready for anything.”
The men positioned themselves in the narrow corridor. Jarak pulled his weapon and nodded to one of the men to open the door. He started forward only to jerk to a stop in disbelief, the hand holding his weapon fell to his side as he looked around the tiny living space.
“What the…?” Jarak asked as his eyes widened in amazement.
The room was crawling with Maratts and Grombots. Both were considered a rare, delicious delicacy to Valdier dragons. Just the sight of them had his mouth watering. His eyes swung to where the female called Ariel was sitting on the narrow bed rocking one of the creatures in her arms, surrounded by a dozen more. There were creatures hopping out of the bathroom and on every available surface. A Grombot was wrapped around her shoulders, peeking through her wild tangle of hair. His eyes moved to the short haired female who was feeding pieces of fruit to a couple of the creatures on the small table.
“Go away!” Ariel snapped out in fear. “You get your greedy little eyes off my babies!”
Jarak didn’t think these females could confuse him any more than they already had but he was wrong. Now, the long haired female was claiming one of their most sought after delicacies as her babies. He closed his eyes and fought back a groan which came out more as a growl from his dragon. The damn thing wanted to gorge itself on the tasty creatures.
Not now, control yourself,
Jarak muttered to his dragon desperately.
I want to eat! Taste good. Want now!
His dragon fought back, drooling.
Ariel and Carmen’s eyes widened as they heard a rumbling of growls fill the corridor starting with the head of security. All the creatures in their room started bolting for cover. Ariel looked frantically at Carmen who was shooing the creatures into the bathroom as fast as she could. Ariel handed Carmen the one in her arms.
“Protect them,” Ariel whispered to her sister while she picked up one of the towels and began twirling it around until it was twisted.
Carmen nodded and finished getting the last ones into the bathroom. “I will.”
“Where did you…? How did you…?” Jarak stammered out through a partially shifted face.
He was having a hard time controlling his dragon. It wanted to chase after its favorite snack. He stumbled when several of the men behind him pushed forward as their dragons fought to get to the creatures as well. He was about to lose control of the situation if he did not get his men and the females out of the room as soon as possible. Then, he was going to find out how the damn things got on-board the
and string the warrior up by his balls!
Jarak’s train of thought was brought back to the situation at hand when he felt a sharp sting on the tip of his nose. “Get back…you…you monster! You are not going to harm a single hair on any of these poor, sweet creatures, do you hear me?” Ariel growled out snapping the rolled up towel painfully at Jarak who was being pushed into the room.
“Get back!” Jarak growled out to the men behind him as he fought to get away from the snapping towel. “Blast you, get back!” He yelped as Ariel popped him on the tip of his nose again.
The men fell backwards into the corridor fighting for control of their dragons. Ariel moved forward snapping the towel with the ease of an experienced warrior wielding a sword. She snapped at any of the men who were close enough to reach. She had learned this little trick from Trisha and they often had towel fights growing up.
Jarak put his hands up in surrender. “Little human, I do not know where you got the…” Jarak paused, trying to think of the best way to handle the situation. “…Maratts and Grombots from but I will not harm them if you put down your…drying cloth,” Jarak said in resignation.
Ariel stopped snapping the towel long enough to look at Jarak warily. “Do you swear? On your life?” Ariel added with a dark scowl.
Jarak nodded his head in despair. He really couldn’t wait to get rid of the females. He was more than ready for a nice pirate ship or rebel Curizan warship to attack them. At least he knew how to handle those threats. These females continued to confuse him and drive him insane. He hoped the royal family knew what they were doing.
“I promise,” Jarak responded. “The commander has requested that you and your sister be brought to the transporter room. We are in orbit around Valdier. The other females will be there as well.”
Ariel lowered her towel slowly. “Okay,” Ariel said reluctantly. “But, I want your word that you will transport all these animals down with me to the planet.”
Jarak looked at Carmen who was standing in the doorway trying to keep the Maratts and Grombots from escaping. Shaking his head, he replied firmly. “I will need to place them in cages first,” he held up his hand when Ariel started to protest. “So they can safely be transported to you. I will have them delivered to your living quarters at the palace,” Jarak said as he fought back a grin at the payback the royal family was about to face.
It would serve them right for finding the irritating but fascinating females in the first place. He would need to visit the palace to see how things worked out. He might also be interested in finding a mate for himself. He had to admit, his life had never been so interesting or exciting as it had since the females were brought aboard.
Ariel looked at Carmen who stood in the doorway to the bathroom. Carmen shrugged her shoulders letting Ariel know it was her decision. Ariel looked back at Jarak who was blocking the doorway leading into their living quarters. An occasional soft growl was still coming from the corridor behind him.
“You promise?” Ariel whispered.
Jarak took one look at the huge, dark brown eyes looking at him with her heart shining in them and knew he was doomed. What was it about these damn females that tore a hardened warrior up and made him weak? Was this what Zoran, Trelon, and Kelan felt when their mates looked at them? Jarak studied the deceptively delicate female in front of him and knew at that moment he would do everything he could to make her happy.
“I swear on my honor as a Valdier warrior, my lady,” Jarak said quietly.
Jarak was stunned when Ariel flew across the room and hugged him tightly to her. “Oh, thank you,” she whispered against his chest before rising up on her toes to give him a light kiss on his cheek.
Jarak touched his cheek as Ariel pulled away with a huge smile on her face. Jarak groaned inwardly. He might be the next warrior in medical because he was seriously thinking of trying to see if this little warrior was his mate. He half thought about calling to his symbiot to see if it would accept her. His dragon seemed to love her as it was pushing to rub up against her. Either that or she smelled like the Maratts and Grombots.