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Book 16: Forgotten

By:Evangeline Anderson

Brides of the Kindred





Book 16: Forgotten





Evangeline Anderson





Prologue





“You fool! You’ve taken the wrong female!”

Y winced as his Master bellowed inside his head. Master Two might be nothing but a chip implanted just under Y’s left ear, but he ruled Y with an iron fist, despite his lack of a physical body.

“I took the one that sniffed the blossoms, Master, just as you requested,” he pointed out.

“But look at her—this is not the Khalla at all—it’s the mate of that damn tracker.”

“I can see that.” Y strove to keep his voice level. It would be wrong to raise his voice to the Master…no matter how much he might want to.

On the cold steel floor of the Scourge Fathership, the naked girl with the long, coppery curls moaned and stirred. She had been taken by a molecular transfer beam, a Scourge invention Y had traveled to the abandoned ship to get. It had been set to take whoever inhaled the fragrance of the Dream Blooms, exactly as Master Two had ordered. Y didn’t see how it was his fault the wrong female had been taken.

But so it had happened. This female—Kate, Y thought she was called—had apparently unwittingly sprung the trap set for Emily, the new Khalla back on Rageron. Indeed, she still had one of the deep blue blossoms clutched in one hand.

Y wondered how it had come through the transfer beam with her—it was his understanding that only living things were transportable. But maybe the freshly cut flower still had enough vitality to make it through the transfer…or maybe it was the spell the old hag from the Wulven home planet had placed on the blossoms that allowed it to come, clutched in Kate’s small fist. She looked so innocent and vulnerable, lying unconscious on the hard metal floor that Y felt his heart twist with pity. He immediately tried to suppress the emotion—doubtless his Master would see it as nothing but weakness.

“She’s here now,” he said, stolidly. “What shall we do with her? Do you want me to kill her?” He hoped not—he did not enjoy violence, especially towards females. But the Master was not to be denied and anyway, death would be a kinder fate than any of the horrible, twisted tortures the soulless bastard that lived in Y’s brain might devise.

“I would kill her myself, if I had a body!” Master Two hissed, his mental voice filled with frustration. “But no…let me think.”

There was a long silence—so long that Y wondered if the Master had gone to sleep. He did that at times—became inactive during a recharging period. Y had come to look forward to such periods of inactivity—they were the only rest he got from the relentless dictator that lived in his skull.

On the cold floor, Kate stirred again and moaned softly.

“Master,” Y sub-vocalized in case she could hear him. “She is waking.”

“Hush, you fool! Ah—I have it now. We must send her back.”

“You mean back to Rageron? And try to take the Khalla instead?” Y asked doubtfully. “That won’t be easy—they’ll know she was the true target. Doubtless they’ve taken her someplace shielded.”

“No, you idiot! Not back to Rageron—back home. Her home.”

“I don’t understand. Do you mean her home world of Earth?” Y shook his head in confusion. “But why?”

“Two reasons,” Two hissed in his head. “First because we must send her somewhere—we cannot take her with us. Her mate is a Wulven Kindred and they are absolutely deadly in their fur-form—we cannot risk it. Second, because home is the last place the Kindred will expect her to be. They’ll search the entire universe before they think to look back on Earth—which is just how we want it.”

“We do? But why? Are you hoping to distract them in some way?” Y asked.

“Finally, you’re learning! Yes—a distraction. That’s exactly what this girl will be. And while the Kindred are busy hunting for her, they won’t even give a thought to what we might be up to.”

“What do mean?” Y asked. “I thought your entire plan hinged on forcing the Khalla to forget and fear her mate and then transporting her here to the Father Ship for execution, after letting him see that she no longer knew him.”

It was another one of his Master’s convoluted plans which he didn’t agree with. Why take the time and trouble to bewitch the flowers in order to make the Khalla react in horror and aversion to the Beast Kindred assassin who had claimed her? Why not just snatch her away and execute her?

But his Master had declared that he wanted the assassin to suffer. He had refused to carry out the contract Two had placed on the Khalla’s head and Master Two wanted his last memory of his bride to be a painful one.

Let him know that she feared and loathed him at the last. It is a fitting punishment, he had said. And so the whole elaborate scheme had been carried out exactly as he had ordered…only to fail at the last minute. It made Y wonder if there had been something wrong with his Master’s mind when he recorded the personality chip which was currently embedded under Y’s ear. He vaguely remembered seeing the corpse of his Master when he first awoke back on Z4, the Dark Kindred home world. It seemed to him there had been dark spots on Master Two’s brain…areas of stinking, oozing rot which would not seem to be conducive to logical reasoning…

“I have been so focused on the Seeing that B’Rugh did for me—so focused on the future of the Kindred race,” Master Two said, interrupting his treasonous thoughts. “But why settle for destroying their future when I can destroy their present?”

“And how do you plan to do that, Master?” Y asked, careful to keep his voice level and respectful rather that doubtful.

“Have you not noticed, Y, all the lovely toys the Scourge left lying around when they died?” His Master’s voice sounded greedy. “This molecular transfer beam is only one of them. Think of everything else they left! The flesh tanks…the sniffer kennels…there are so many tools here, just waiting for the right set of hands to pick them up.”

My hands, you mean, Y thought resentfully but did not say aloud. Since the Master rode inside his head but had no direct access to his body, he was forced to do any physical labor involved in Master Two’s schemes.

“I see,” he said. “So you wish to explore the Father Ship further?”

“Not the Father Ship, no. I think we have found everything we need here. But what of Zlicth?”

“The Scourge home world?” Y shook his head. “But I thought that was a dead world—poisoned beyond repair.”

“Fool—we don’t wish to herd cattle or grow crops! I’m just interested in seeing what other toys the AllFather might have left lying around. I want to know his secrets…to see through his eyes.”

“You’re seeing through my eyes already,” Y pointed out.

“Yes, and what good does it do me? I need eyes of my own…hands…a body.” Master Two cackled gleefully inside his head. “I think our friend the AllFather can help me there.”

“How?” Y asked, honestly mystified.

“You’ll see, my dear Y. For now, just send the girl you erroneously took back to Earth.”

“Which part of Earth?”

“I don’t know—nor do I care. Use a set of the Earth coordinates programmed into the molecular transfer beam if you like. There should be several to pick from—I know the Scourge stole females from there regularly.”

“Very well.” Y obeyed as he always did, although he was becoming increasingly resentful. He punched in the coordinate log and picked a likely one before pointing the needle-like nose of the matter transference beam at the girl who was now moving and moaning regularly. Then he pressed the transfer control.

As she disappeared in a blinding flash of light, Y reflected that at least Two hadn’t made him kill or torture her. But he wondered how she would manage back on Earth with no memory of her mate or idea of where she was or how she had gotten there.

“Transfer complete,” he said.

“Very good.” Master Two sounded at least marginally pleased. “Now let’s get back to our own ship and set a course for Zlicth at once. I want to see those wonderful toys…”

Y turned at once, leaving the control room of the Father Ship without a second glance. He was glad to be getting away from the huge, haunted-feeling ship. He only wished their destination wasn’t more of the same. What could Master Two be planning?

Neither he nor his ever vigilant Master noticed the crumpled blue Dream Blossom flower left lying on the floor where Kate had been.





Chapter One

Six Months Later…





“So how’s work?” Mimi asked as she forked into her steaming pile of noodles from Sarku Japanese Bistro—one of the many fast food joints in the International Mall food court.

“Not bad.” Kate took a sip of her Jamba Juice Veggie Vitality smoothie. “Same old, same old mostly. I had a woman come in wanting to return an ankle bracelet she said she’d only bought a week ago.”

“And?” Mimi raised one skinny eyebrow. Everything about Mimi was skinny from her eyebrows to her elbows to her long, graceful neck. She was built like a giraffe which meant she and Kate looked funny together, especially standing side by side. Kate didn’t mind though—at 4’9 she was used to being the shortest kid on the block. Still, sometimes the extreme height difference between herself and her friend bothered her. Not because she thought people were looking and laughing but because it seemed to bring back memories. Memories of someone even taller than Mimi…

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