There was a collective gasp amongst my women as they realized what that was likely to mean for Tracy's family.
"We should go and check on them." Calidia volunteered.
"What about the haven?" Karen asked.
"I can go with her." Calidia replied. "My core has been restored and I have more experience with the space ability than husband does."
I shook my head. "I will go too, I still can't make the haven, but I can go along and keep an eye out." I replied.
"I can go too!" Grace volunteered.
I shook my head. "No, we only have three of us that can use the space ability. You should stay here in case something happens."
Grace frowned obviously unhappy about the situation. "Then who will watch after you?"
"I can take Mary and Dena." I replied after a moment thought. "Nala can stay and help you, Megan, and Karen hold down the fort." I replied.
Grace didn't seem pleased, then again Megan and Karen didn't either but they didn't voice out there complaints. "Fine, hurry up. I want you back safe and unharmed, as soon as possible." Megan told me grumpily.
It only took a few minutes to grab Dena and Mary. Nala was a bit irritated to be excluded but relented when I explained she was needed to guard our home and family.
Once I returned with Dena and Mary in tow Calidia was focused on creating a space tunnel that let out near Tracy's grandparent's house. Supposedly it was where the family had gathered together.
I wrapped my arms around Tracy as we waited. Tracy stiffened for a moment then relaxed into my embrace. I didn't intend to be nothing more than a support and a calming influence, but with her in my arms I was tempted to take advantage of her a bit. I resisted the urge and waited impatiently.
Finally the space tunnel was formed and the five of us hurried through.
'Be safe.' Megan and Karen sent once I was gone making me smile for a second only to have it disappear as I took in our surroundings.
While Tracy's family lived in South Carolina they lived farther inland. Her grandparents owned a large farm just south of Lake Moultrie. Though Tracy warned me that there was a national forest just to the east of them which given the happenings I had witnessed in the small park earlier, worried me.
The place we ended up was in the middle of a fallow field. Mary immediately smiled happily and started to gather samples of all the plants she could.
I pulled out my phone to check the GPS and see where we were only to find there was no signal. I looked over at Tracy who was looking around to get her bearings. I thought about mentioning the lack of signal but decided not too, no reason to get her hopes up. We would know soon enough.
Once she figured out where we were she led the way to her grandparents house. We weren't nearly as close as I would have liked. The walk to the house took us half and hour and I was on edge the entire time. Something about the place felt wrong. I knew this area was out in the country, but even if there weren't a lot of twisted, where were the beasts and plants? Mary and Dena strolled beside us like there was nothing to worry about.
"Are you scaring off the other beasts?" I asked the pair.
Dena nodded. "Nala, Mary, and I had significant increases in our ability with the mana wave, we could easily be a match for the kings of the zoo." she told me.
"Even if they also got a strong boost?" I asked her.
Dena shrugged, "maybe?" she replied.
We would never know, I couldn't believe the zoo remained unscathed from the blast. Maybe some survived but I doubted it, besides with that dragon there I had no intention of returning.
I kept walking and enjoyed the sight of Mary frolicking around us in happy mode as she grabbed samples of every new plant we encountered. As she wasn't one to smile much it was a pleasure to see. To my surprise a few plants tried to resist her but failed when she displayed a strength I had no idea she was capable of. That combined with her exaggerated figure made it hard for me to take my eyes off her despite the reason for this visit.
When we neared the farmhouse I concentrated on our surroundings more while Dena slowed her pace looking around warily. Mary even stopped gathering her plants as she stared around as if sensing something.
The farm had three houses, one twice as large as the other two, and a enormous barn. A chicken coup sat next to the barn but there were no animals anywhere in sight.
When we were only a hundred feet away from the farms barn several figures emerged from the larger house and the barn. As if planned we found seven human men of various ages ranging from a teenager to an old man with pure white hair, standing between us and the rest of the farm with harsh suspicious gazes.
"Daddy!" Tracy screamed happily and raced forward in the the arms of and older man with salt and pepper hair who didn't resemble his daughter at all.
Realizing who she was the family relaxed as the older man opened his arms to embrace his daughter.
I waited with a small smile happy that Tracy wasn't alone. Not that she would be with me around. We watched quietly along with the other girls as the family reunited.
I sent a mental message to Karen and Megan informing them that it wasn't the worst case scenario.
"So who are these folks? The older man asked Tracy.
"That is Daryl, Calidia, Dena, and Mary. They are my friends who helped me through everything." Tracy replied.
Her father nodded his eyes narrowing as he stared at me. "So you are the Bonder." He stated.
I frowned but nodded. I had no idea where they knew that term from but I wasn't going to hide it from Tracy's family. She might be the least likely among my girls to chose to reestablish the bond but that didn't mean I had given up on her.
Tracy's father looked me over with a hostile gaze.
"Daryl, something is coming." Dena told me looking to the east. "Its strong." she warned.
I turned my gaze to the east but didn't see anything besides trees and fields something that might have been wheat or grass before the last mana wave. "Beast or twisted?" I asked.
"Beast." Dena replied.
"I thank you for returning my granddaughter to me, but you are not welcome here." The oldest man spoke out.
I ignored him. There was no way I was about to leave if something that could worry Dena was on the way.
"Pappy!" Tracy objected angrily. "They saved me! Took me in and cared for me when I needed it the most!"
"Not out of charity or even kindness." the old man responded. "You are lucky he hasn't forced himself on you yet. His kind are even worse than those abominations!"
I could feel what Dena had sensed as it approached. It was stronger than the Lion Beast King from the zoo, and there was more than one.
I drew on my elemental abilities and formed the black lightning letting it flicker around my arms. It was a warning to the beasts that were approaching. Feeling my power I sensed that they had slowed their approach.
"Daryl?" Tracy called out to me worriedly.
I glanced back in her direction to see the fearful expression on the face of the seven men while Tracy looked confused.
"Dena sensed something coming. I would prefer to scare it off than fight it here so close to your family's home." I told her.
I could see the skeptical look on the faces of the seven men, but a loud angry howl confirmed what I had said.
Tracy's father paled and started cursing. "Should have killed it when we had the chance Ben." he said looking to the youngest in the group.
A moment later of flood of people emerged from the houses and barn stern determined looks on their faces.
I stared at them in surprise, how did so many of them survive the mana wave, did none of them become twisted?
"It the youngest one." Calidia told me.
"What?" I asked.
"I am not sure how strong he is, but he feels a bit stronger than you were when me met. He probably had the ability to cure those who were becoming twisted." she told me.
I glanced over at the youngest male who Tracy's father had called Ben. I wasn't as good at sensing other's power without touching them so he seemed like any other teenager to me, and despite the power Calidia claimed he had, he seemed just as scared as everyone else.
Tracy greeted everyone excitedly without a care for the tense atmosphere.
"Girl now isn't the time." her father scolded.
"Its fine, Daryl and the others can take care of it." Tracy replied making me smile happily at her confidence in me.
Before her family could refute her five giant wolves the size of horses with red fur appeared from behind the trees. I had no idea how they had been able to hide, the tree cover wasn't that thick.
I raised my arm to send a warning shot at the lead wold which was twice the size of the other wolves with an odd metallic gleam to its red fur.
"Wait master." Dena called out.
"What?" I asked looking to her as everyone else looked at me with scathing looks.
"Can I try and catch a few? Two seem to be bitches." Dena asked.
"Dena! I will tell Megan!" Tracy shouted angrily.
"They will be Nala's subordinates!" Dena yelled back.
I groaned then nodded. "Fine, but the moment it seems like they might hurt anyone I will step in and finish it." I told her.
Dena gave me a excited grin then shifted to her beast form. She didn't look like an over sized elephant anymore. Now she truly looked like a monster. She was at least forty feet tall and twice as long, her tusks were thicker and longer than I would expect for her size and had a dangerous looking edge along the edge like it was razor sharp, and her skin had tightened and hardened to resemble silver armor. I was glad she was on my side. I doubted I could fight her without having to kill her.
Before I knew it Mary walked over to me then shifted into her plant form and wrapped herself around me like an armor. 'Megan said you can not be hurt.' Mary whispered in my mind.
Looking back at Tracy and her family, Tracy didn't seem to mind, but her family seemed even more worried than before. Their gazes made me think they viewed me no differently than the wolves. I didn't care, but I was curious to know if Dena and Mary had changed this much, what had Nala become?
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