Chapter XV: Searching for Secrets (9/12)Mature

'Wait, what? Leaving? You can't leave -,'

She slammed shut her suitcase with a look of accusation, her hand on her hip. 'Why not? Just because I'm the principal's ward? I have an obligation to stay and risk my life?' She shook her head, returning to her packing. 'No, I won't do it. If I didn't know any better, I'd say Bosrold wants to use me for bait to catch the kidnappers, and I won't be used like that, by him of all people.'

'But you - you can't just leave,' Will repeated. 'I - I won't let you.' He felt like his statement was hollow, he recalled what Bosrold had called Anala, a Level 'T' Shifter. He didn't know what it meant exactly, but regardless, he didn't imagine he had a chance against her in any magickal way.

'Ha,' she smiled, 'that's a joke.'

Will couldn't help but feel irritated that she wasn't taking him seriously. When she walked across the room to reach her wardrobe, he stood in the doorway. She smiled again, like he was a child doing something funny. 'Come on, Will. Move aside.'

'No,' he said coldly, 'I'm not letting you go.'

'Will, I'm serious,' she said, quickly becoming annoyed as she tried to duck under his arms, to no avail. She grunted in frustration, 'let me through.'

'No,'

'I'm warning you,' for a moment he could have sworn her eyes changed, turning orange and narrowing darkly, whilst her hair shimmered brighter red, 'get out of my way.' Her voice sounded dangerous, but Will stood his ground. 'I won't let you stop me!' She curled her upper lip, and Will saw the glint of pointed canines before she launched at him. Her hands curled like claws, her polished nails blackening, and for a moment she looked monstrous. Her eyes turned brown, her pupils turning to slits, but despite the twirling fear in his gut, Will reacted to her attack. He pushed forward as she collided with him, and to his surprise, he overpowered her. He realised that, whether Anala was a Shifter or not, or whether she was older than him, she was smaller than him, and apparently weaker.

They landed on the floor together, Will had restrained her wrists and held them near her head, his legs either side of hers. The brunt of the fall seemed to have snapped her into her original form, her hair began to darken, the brown in her eyes receding and turning green, her pupils becoming wide with surprise. He stared down at her determined, feeling her chest moving gently against his.

She smiled mischievously. 'You like being on top, do you?' Her finger curled and grazed his hand seductively, 'interesting.'

Recoiling, Will quickly moved off of her, though he kept his gaze firmly fixated on her. 'Don't do that,' he chided.

'Oh come on, Will,' she said, sitting up and giggling, her normal self again. 'Lighten up. There's no shame in it,' she pushed her chest out provocatively and shook her hair off her shoulder, 'I am a very beautiful woman.'

'Lighten up?' he said, 'you just tried to rip my throat out! There's nothing light about that.'

'Yes, well,' she lifted her nose airily, 'you provoked me. I can't be responsible for how my magick reacts to that. Just ask Uncle, he'll tell you.'

'Here's an idea, you ask him because you're staying here,' he countered. 'You can't leave, Anala. Trust me, if not, there's a winged deer in the White forest who's probably still very happy with himself.' She raised an eyebrow like contemplating his insanity. 'My point is, you're safer here than you will be anywhere else -,'

She snorted condescendingly. 'This isn't about being safe, Will. This is about being free! Do you have any idea what it's like to have all of these dreams about seeing the world, going places, but you can't, because the man who took you in wants you at his side at all times, and even when you submit to that idea, and try to be close to him, he's too busy with meetings or bills or something more important!' Anala looked at him with fear, she knew how vulnerable she was and it scared her. 'That's what my life is like, and it's all his fault!'

Will was silent in thought, he was lost for what to say. How could he lecture her when he had known her for so little time? Yet, he knew one thing for certain. 'You love him, Anala,' he said, his tone void of doubt. 'I've seen it. You wouldn't let me say a bad word against him back in Vincula, you travelled so far to be with him, you don't do that for somebody that you're convinced has ruined your life.' He hesitated, but continued, sounding sterner. 'But if you want to leave him all alone, then go ahead. You know it'll break his heart, but who cares? He's nothing special, he hasn't done anything for you -,'

'You're wrong...' she said, her voice barely audible. She looked conflicted, her once-strong exterior stripped away to a weak, raw integument. 'He's - he's done more for me than anybody...' she said meekly.

'Tell me,' he said, turning to face her. She looked at him curiously, her eyes wide and making her seem different, younger. 'Tell me what he did for you.' Will hoped his strategy would work, and that he would be able to stop her as the peryton had done for him.

'He...he gave me my life back.'

The End

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