Willow heard their bitter exchange as if through a haze. She had been so ashamed of her behaviour, of Lycan’s cold response to her. She had truly alienated herself from him. It was all right for Meena, she had thought. Her mentor was not turned against her by her own actions. Then she had remembered what she had been acting for. Her conscience had been battling all throughout her stay in that claustrophobic little cell, between duty and friendship. Her need to save her friend against her feelings for Lycan. The powerful, wise, strong guide against the dying human girl with a promise of a power. And then, this. She knew Meena wasn’t picking a verbal fight with an Eternal for the sake of it. She was trying to show Willow what Lycan truly was. He was not the man she admired, she could see that now. How could she not, after these words fired like bullets from his mouth?

And the last comments were enough.

Her head snapped up, and a growl escaped her teeth. The vampire warrior heard that and grabbed for the gun at his hip. Why did the creature have a mortal-designed weapon when he had so many others in his arsenal?

Lycan was looking at her with distaste.

“Can’t you control yourself anymore? More beast than girl, and a not very promising one at that. You let your heart rule you rather than your head.”

“That’s being human,” she spat, shaking now from the anger of her realisation and her blindness preceding it, “the only animal in this room is you.”

Lycan didn’t speak, his eyes were closed - he was trembling slightly, his hands freely curling into fists at his sides. He was trying to stop the rage from transforming him.

She exchanged a sideways glance with Meena, who used the index finger of her right hand to drum three times on the edge of the hardwood chair. That was the signal. She looked at the guard, then flicked her thumb a little so it was pointing towards herself.

Willow tilted her head slightly in an almost imperceptible nod. Then she splayed her hand on her lap, tucking her thumb and little finger under the others. Three seconds.

Three, two, one.

They wasted no time. Meena shifted instantly into a nightingale and whizzed over Lycan’s head. He felt the breeze of her passing and opened his eyes, just in time to see Willow collide with him.

She was so angry at him that she felt no pain at all. She let the anger course through her like fire-hot fluid pumping through her veins and arteries. Then she changed. She had to repress the urge to howl. The last thing she needed was to alert anyone.

Lycan was pinned under her wolf body, glaring with malevolence at her, trying to reach up and get a grip on her throat because he was unable to transform in such a limited space. She couldn’t afford to give him any advantage. As an Eternal he was much more powerful than her. It was lucky that she had been able to catch him off guard.

She bared her teeth in a snarl. She didn’t want to kill him, in fact she couldn’t. Aside from the fact that it was probably an impossibility, she would be condemned to death for it. She just had to incapacitate him, and how to do that?

His fist swung out and connected with her skull. She yelped and he rolled and she hit the floor as he came up, shaking. Then his skin seemed to ripple and he began to change. She took her chance, as he was caught vulnerably in the moment of phasing, and leapt. She knocked him back, using her weight to snap his head back. His eyes rolled up before he could even gasp in pain and he fell backwards. She stayed in wolf form for a minute, weighing down his chest, just to be sure. Then she leapt off nimbly and phased back into her self. Thankfully her clothes had not been caught in between the transforming. Her rage had made it so smooth that they had no time to be destroyed.

She looked up and saw Meena leaning against the door frame. She had her arms crossed and she was stood on the vampire warrior’s chest. He was half in and half out the door, knocked out cold and trussed up with his own reinforced magic whip. She wondered why vampires needed such things when they could just tear someone’s head off with their claws and strength. This one seemed to have been a little out of practice.

“Took your time,” she said teasingly, and then her face split into a rebellious grin of victory. “Let’s get out of here.”

The End

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