Authors: S. E. Smith
There! The faint smell of … Maratts and Grombots?
Mandra shook his head puzzled.
Mmmm! Want to eat her up! Want to lick her, taste her, fuck her!
Mandra’s dragon drooled.
What is wrong with you?! We need to catch her first. See if you can sniff her out. She can’t have gone too far,
Mandra snapped impatiently.
This way! Go this way. Smell so good. Want to taste,
his dragon groaned.
Mandra felt his own body harden at the smell of the female. Damn, but she did smell good enough to eat. Mandra sniffed as he moved slowly back and forth across the corridor trying to pinpoint where the female might have gone. The scent became stronger as he came near a small alcove on the side of the corridor. There was a long window with a seat in it. Mandra moved forward slowly until he was standing just inside of the arched opening. He stopped. Frowning, he raised his head a little to sniff the air again. He heard his dragon’s warning a moment too late. His eyes widened just as the small, glass planter struck him across the side of his head. As if from a distance, he heard the soft echo of words as darkness descended on him.
“Sniff this asshole,” the feminine words, whispered in a husky voice, caressed his mind just before it went blank.
“Mandra, are you alright? Speak to me,” the deep voice seemed to explode inside his head even though he knew the male speaking to him wasn’t talking very loud.
Mandra groaned and raised one of his hands up to his head to clutch at it. He winced when he encountered a huge knot on the side of it. He slowly sat up, opening his eyes to narrow slits against the shafts of light piercing his skull. Leaning forward, he fought the nausea roiling in his stomach at the sudden movement.
“What happened?” He asked in a soft, deadly voice.
“I think it's safe to say your encounter with the ‘delicate, fragile’ female went about as well as mine did,” Creon muttered in a dark voice. “I think Zoran, Trelon, and Kelan need their asses whipped for even thinking those creatures could be fragile.”
Mandra looked up at his brother noticing his left eye was swollen and his lip was busted. He tried to look closer but there was more than one image of his brother. He focused until the images merged and only one of Creon appeared in front of him. He squinted in disbelief. If he wasn’t mistaken, it looked like Creon might also have a bite mark on his ear.
“You look like hell!” Mandra muttered.
Creon croaked out a laugh. “Yes, well…you do not look so great yourself.”
“Help me up,” Mandra said reaching up to grip Creon’s shoulder. “Where is she?” He growled out.
Mate is fierce! I want her. I care for her. She need me to protect her,
Mandra’s dragon whispered in a tender snarl.
Protect, my ass! She needs to have her ass whipped! Do you have any idea how much my head hurts from that little savage?
Mandra snapped out as another wave of pain flashed through him.
And where the hell is my symbiot?
He growled out searching for it.
Ariel moved through the garden looking for a good hiding place. After she knocked the big oaf who was chasing her out, she had climbed out the window. She had to hope Carmen was able to get free of the guy trying to get her. Ariel felt confident her sister could hold her own. Hell, she made Ariel look like a kindergartener in a schoolyard brawl compared to her. Ariel knew judo and kick-boxing but Carmen had learned shit Ariel didn’t even know existed outside the movies.
She sank down under the shade of a thick tree in a far corner of the garden. Leaning her head back, she wondered what she was going to do next. For the first time, fear really began to settle deep inside her. This was the first time she had been separated from all the other women, including her sister, without some plan of action. Ariel leaned forward and buried her face in her knees, wrapping her arms tightly around her legs in an effort to breathe through the fear growing inside her. She stayed like that for a long time before she felt like she could breathe without fear of screaming like a raving lunatic. She was just getting up the nerve, and the strength, to go look for her sister when she felt like she wasn’t alone anymore.
Her head jerked to the left when she heard the sound of a twig snapping. Ariel’s breath caught in her throat as the hugest gold creature she had ever seen moved toward her. She had seen other gold creatures on board the warship, including the one that was always with Trisha, but this one was magnificent in a special way. She wasn’t exactly sure why. There was something about it that called to her. She watched breathlessly as it crouched down like a cat stalking its prey.
The huge golden head looked like a cat too,
Ariel thought watching it in fascination as it approached her.
It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. Around its head were waves of flowing gold, almost like a mane. Ariel was so fixated on the beauty of it she didn’t even notice its long, dagger-like teeth. Her mouth dropped open as she watched the colors changing and flowing over its body like waves of water trapped in a clear glass.
“You are so beautiful!” Ariel whispered in awe. “Oh, you are the cutest big thing I’ve ever seen.”
Ariel turned, moving in slow motion until she was on her hands and knees facing it. The creature stopped abruptly and tilted its head looking at Ariel like it wasn’t sure what she was. When Ariel made a soft purring sound in her throat the creature dropped down onto its belly, its golden ears flickering back and forth as it listened to her. Ariel continued making soft cooing and purring sounds as she crawled slowly closer on her hands and knees until she was just inches from its massive head.
“Can I touch you?” Ariel whispered gently. “You are such a pretty baby, yes you are. You look like a big old putty-cat,” she said as she ran her fingers lightly over its nose and up to what looked like sharply pointed ears.
“Can I keep you?” Ariel asked softly.
The moment Ariel said that, the huge creature pounced on her knocking her over onto her back in the soft purple grass. Ariel giggled as the soft fluid texture shimmered around her, over her until she was almost completely covered by it. She ran her hands up its sides amazed at how soft, yet strong it felt. As her hands moved up, thin gold threads began winding around her wrists and arms. Additional threads formed as the creature’s long mane of gold brushed along her chest and neck.
“What are you doing?” Ariel breathed as she noticed the thin bands forming around her. “You shouldn’t do this. You might need it,” she whispered in concern.
Ariel’s eyes jerked up when she felt a shaft of warmth flood her from the bands. It was as if the creature was trying to communicate with her through them. Ariel looked into the dark golden eyes for a moment before she buried her face against the creature holding it tightly against her.
“I’ll never let anything hurt you. I’ll protect you. I promise,” Ariel muttered against the golden body as wave after wave of warmth filled every part of her, chasing away the fear.
Mandra watched as his brother strode down the corridor. After Creon made sure Mandra was only seeing one of him, he muttered he had a white-haired barbarian to find. Mandra shook his head and grimaced as shafts of pain flared from the movement. Where in the name of the Gods was his symbiot? He had been trying to communicate with it for the past half hour since he first regained consciousness. He needed to find the savage female who did this to him but he needed his head cleared before he found her. Because when he did, he was going to…
Claim her! My female! I want my mate. You claim so I get my mate,
Mandra’s dragon snarled pacing back and forth.
I can’t very well claim her unless our symbiot accepts her. You know that,
Mandra snapped back impatiently.
We cannot know if our symbiot accepts her if we cannot find the damn thing.
It accept. I feel it accept. You open. Feel it. It find her. It claim her,
Mandra’s dragon crowed in glee, bouncing inside him until his head felt like it was bouncing right along with it.
Mandra groaned holding his head.
Maybe he should just go to see the healer. The only reason he had refused to go so far was because he didn’t want the other warriors to know he had been beaten by a small alien female. Not even Creon’s assurance that he was not the only warrior to have met such a fate could persuade him to go. Mandra had only to look at Creon’s own battered face to know the truth behind his words but it still stung his pride. Creon assured him the females had not been whining or crying on the
according to what he had learned so far but had been sending the warriors to medical on a daily basis instead.
Mandra groaned as he stood up, muttering a vivid curse as he clenched his sore jaw. He refused to call that devious little alien female delicate or fragile ever again. Between his chin, his head, and his ego all three were feeling the pain of just how un-delicate and un-fragile she really was. He just wanted to find her so he could wrap his hands around her scrawny little neck and…
kiss her until she melted in his arms,
he thought in frustration. He had to admit, her resourcefulness fired his blood unlike anything he had ever encountered before. It was difficult for him to believe something so small could cause so much damage.
Mandra grimaced as he bit back another curse. These females his brother Zoran found were nothing like he thought. Mandra moved down the corridor toward a side exit. It led into the garden where the window the female obviously escaped through opened into. He needed to find her. He also needed to talk with his brothers. He thought they were bringing back delicate females who were weak and needy. He had never encountered a species of females who fought like a warrior three-times their size. Valdier, Sarafin, and even Curizan females were raised to be gentle and attentive to the needs of the males. It was the male’s place to provide protection and care. None learned how to fight. There was no need.
Mandra felt his dragon finally calm down enough so he could reach out again to his symbiot. He let his senses connect with the tiny gold that pierced his right ear. It was the only bit of symbiot on him and not large enough to heal him. It was able to communicate with its mother symbiot, though.
Mandra was stunned when he felt the connection, as small as it was, to his symbiot. Never before had he felt the amount of warmth or peace coming from it as he felt now. Each Valdier warrior is taken when he is an infant to the hive, the birth place of all symbiots. The Valdier warrior and his dragon have a symbiotic relationship with the gold creatures that last a lifetime. Each imprint on the other and each are interdependent for their survival. If the Valdier warrior dies, so does his dragon and vice versa. While the warrior’s symbiot will survive, it returns to the hive where it is absorbed back into the Queen. Eventually, it will reform and imprint on a new warrior. It is the warrior and his dragon’s essence that give the symbiot its energy and life while it is away from the hive. The Valdier people believe the symbiot is the actual blood of the Gods and Goddesses who ruled Valdier long ago. The Book of Knowledge says it was the Gods’ way of helping the Valdier to continue to survive.
But, deep inside each Valdier warrior is a constant hunger that grows as he gets older. It eats at him and his dragon. The Gods and Goddesses, in an effort to ensure that their gift was not abused, made it so only the true mate of a warrior could satisfy this hunger. A true mate that was accepted by the three parts of the warrior: the man, the dragon, and his symbiot. Only when a true mate sated the hunger could a warrior’s seed be strong enough to grow inside her.
The gods seemed to understand there needs to be hope elsewhere and on rare occasions a match could be made between two mates who were not true mates. This was the case of Mandra’s parents. They joined together in a union to bring the clans together to form a united front when their world was at war. His mother’s family was thought to be a direct descendant of the gods and goddesses. Mandra did not doubt it for his mother seemed to be able to communicate with any symbiot. As far as he knew none of his brothers or he had inherited her gift to be able to communicate with other symbiots. His parents found love between their two-legged form while his father’s dragon and symbiot accepted the union as being necessary for the survival of their species since the combining of the two largest clans on the planet made them stronger as a whole.
The problem of finding a true mate for most of the males came with the decline of females being born during and after the Great Wars. This decline forced the warriors to learn patience and acceptance of others as they sought ways to find possible mates among other species after the war ended. It was the hope they could find a species that could be accepted by their dragons and symbiot that kept them going. All warriors wished to find the fulfillment known only to those chosen to be lucky enough to find the one female accepted by all three parts. Mandra had waited hundreds of years, search almost as many worlds and never found one until now.
Mandra moved down the steps leading into the garden wincing as the bright light hit his eyes. He followed the faint images he was receiving from his symbiot. He recognized the huge tree as being one he played in often as a child. It had seemed impossibly large even then. Now, as he moved silently down the path he wondered what he would find. The female scared of his symbiot and of being found? Would she beg his forgiveness for daring to strike him? Would she quiver in fear of what could happen to any species who dared to attack a Valdier warrior much less one of royal blood? It would be interesting to see how she reacted to being face to face with him! Mandra could think of a hundred ways to have her begging for his forgiveness before he took her as his mate. She would learn that he was the warrior and the one who would protect her. A devious smile curved his lips. Perhaps the female should see just what a Valdier warrior could do! He wondered just how fierce she would be when confronted by his dragon form. If that didn’t scare her, nothing would!