Dragon marked:(supernatural prison) Chapter 15: #15

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Braxton captured my hand. "You will never lose me," he murmured, reading the agony on my face. "A hundred dragon females could exist – you're my number one. Best friends for life, I haven't forgotten my promise."

His words and soothing power wrapped around me, calming the wolf and the demon inside. I knew one day the Compass brothers would settle down, find true loves or mates, but we were way too young now. I was not prepared to give them up yet. They were my pack and I loved each and every one of their crazy asses. I knew my fear that the women in their lives would not accept our friendship was justified. Like I said, possessiveness is common in supernatural groups. I'd never expect the boys to choose me over their loves. I shook off my melancholy, no point creating worries for what tomorrow would bring.

I stumbled across to my shell-shocked sister and sank in next to her. Even though I said I wouldn't be nice again, I decided to give her one more chance for some Jessa comfort. My arm dropped over her shoulders, and this time instead of flinching away she grabbed my tank and pulled me closer. She buried her head into my shoulder. I widened my eyes as I stared at the top of her head.

"I'm thinking we need to speak with Dad," I said, running a single stroke of my hand over her silky hair. She smelled flowery, like her shampoo or lotion was scented. But it was very light, and had none of the chemical undertones I always smelled in commercial products.

I heard grumbles and muttering amongst the quads. I knew they wouldn't be happy if a dragon shifter had been hidden from the community. But what had Dad actually known of Mischa?

"Did you find anything in the forest?" I asked as I held Mischa. I could feel her calming under my touch.

The Compasses started moving around the room, dropping off weapons and their packs. Except for Braxton of course, he was his own weapon and took nothing with him.

Tyson growled. "They have the prison hidden from every one of my spells. Jake couldn't even get a read from the trees on the prison or fey kill. Whoever did the original security on Vanguard did a goddamned thorough job."

Mischa's head flew up. "You're looking for the prison? Why?"

Jacob kicked off his boots before answering. "We're to be the next council leaders. In just under three years. At this stage, according to our studies, we should be starting our initiation and training, learning of all the aspects of leading the High Council of America."

"But we aren't learning a damn thing," Maximus bit out, staring into the fire. "Kristoff – the leader of the magic users – assured us that we will know everything in time. But he's generally shown himself to be a liar, so his word doesn't mean shit."

"Yep," I added. "A few months ago we decided to do our own exploring and investigating, to stop blindly accepting everything the council spews at us." I needed her to be aware of what she'd been thrown into. "I don't know what Lienda was like, but while Dad … Jonathon … is a brilliant father, he's also a cagey and powerful man."

Braxton spoke from where he leaned against the far wall. "He would never hurt Jessa, but sometimes he thinks he's protecting her for her own good by withholding information."

And it was no secret that I told the Compasses everything. We did not lie to each other; it was part of the pact we'd made many years ago.

"I might be mistaken," Mischa started to say, her words slow and drawn out. "But I was under the impression, from some of the things that Mom said, that the prison was underground. Her brother was imprisoned a long time ago. She used to tell me about the weird bunker he was in. Of course I never knew he was a supernatural when she spoke of him, but now I've put the information together … well, I'm pretty sure of what she was telling me."

I think every one of us froze into a statue at her words. Had she just handed us the breakthrough we'd been looking for? Information on the prison was so scarce. It wasn't that supernaturals didn't gossip – they were like the housewives we'd read about in human studies – it was more that there just wasn't information out there. Only a select group knew anything about Vanguard and they were all spelled to keep these secrets. And had she said Lienda had a brother?

I furrowed my brow. "We have an uncle in the prison?"

She shook her head. "I'm not sure what happened. Mom wouldn't really go into details, but … I think he died."

I sucked in a deep breath. I wasn't sure how to feel about that – probably better not to think about it right now. I'd lock that away in my emotional safe box, where I put all the things I didn't want to deal with. We needed to focus on the prison.

"No wonder the trees didn't reveal anything to me," Jacob growled. "I should have been asking the earth. Or the roots. That's where the essence of disturbance would lie."

I shook my head. "The prison's been there so long it has become one with its environment. I don't believe we'll find it that way."

"What made you think it was hidden in the forest?" Mischa asked.

Braxton answered lazily. "The reason Stratford exists is as a gateway community to protect Vanguard. We all know it's in the forest, and we had it on reasonably good authority that it was hidden within an invisible dimension near the back of the east quadrant."

A friend of theirs claimed to have been there. He was the one giving out the information.
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