Robin works for the conclave, and it’s not always easy, especially when the job involves fighting griffins. Just his luck that he’s wounded by one—and that he’s found unconscious by a werewolf.
Werewolves and vampires don’t get along. Kieran was raised to think that, but when he finds a bleeding vampire in the forest, he can’t abandon him, even though his alpha father will blow up when he finds out.
When Robin wakes up, he doesn’t know what to think of Kieran, but the man is correct that Robin is in bad shape and nowhere near able to walk on his own. It means hiding out in Kieran’s house with Kieran and his cats, and while Robin is initially wary, he can’t deny Kieran is a good person, werewolf or not.
But Robin has a job to go back to, and Kieran is supposed to take his father’s place as their pack’s alpha one day. Werewolves and vampires only mix to kill each other, so Robin and Kieran can’t possibly work as a couple—or can they?
Robin didn’t like griffins. No animal should be time so pretty, so strange looking, and so dangerous all at the same time.
“I still think we should let the pack deal with this,” Renata muttered.
Robin had to stop himself from smiling. No one from his team wanted to be here, especially after the welcome they’d gotten from the local pack. The alpha had been clear—he didn’t need their help, and he didn’t want anything to do with vampires. If they as much as stepped foot into pack territory, he would make sure they died as painfully as possible. The problem was that Oren didn’t decide what their team did, even though he was the team leader. He took his orders from the conclave, and they’d decided to send their team to take care of the griffins that had been terrorizing and attacking the town.
The werewolf alpha either hadn’t been able to do anything to stop them, or he hadn’t wanted to. Robin wasn’t entirely sure which one it was, and he didn’t care. What he did care about was that he and his team were left dealing with a pack of griffins, and those animals were no joke. They couldn’t be, not when they had the body of a lion and the head of a giant eagle. Robin wasn’t looking forward to meeting them, even with his team watching his back.
“Renata,” Oren warned.
Renata huffed. “What? I only said what everyone here has been thinking. This is their problem. They should be the ones dealing with it.”
“And they’re not, which is where we intervene. Do you want the griffins to kill more people?”
“Of course not. I just don’t want to die, either.”
“It’s only a few griffins,” Baxter said.
He sounded happy, but then, he always did. Robin found that strange.
“Exactly. Griffins, plural. That means it’s a pack, which means they’re going to eat us,” Renata continued.
“Can the two of you stop it?” Oren snapped.
Baxter mimed locking his lips and throwing away the key. Oren rolled his eyes, but there was a tiny smile on his lips.
He waited until they all gathered in front of him at the edge of the forest. “As you know, we have to be extremely careful as we search for the griffins, and I mean that—no goofing around. There’s a werewolf pack close by, and the alpha was clear that we can’t as much as step a foot in their territory. They won’t hesitate to retaliate if we do, and I don’t want to lose any of you.”
“But it’s okay to lose one of us to the griffins?” Renata muttered.
Oren glared at her.
She glared back.
Oren sighed and continued, “I know no one here is eager to deal with the griffins or the werewolves. I’m not, either, but the griffins have been attacking the towns nearby, and something needs to be done. Since the pack doesn’t want to be involved, it comes to us.”
“Have they attacked any vampires?” Gladys asked.
She’d been quiet until now, but then, she often was.
“Not that we know of, but there’s a possibility it’ll happen. We all know griffins.”
Robin shuddered. They did know griffins. It wasn’t the first time they’d faced a pack of them, although he wished they had more help. Having only their team go against the griffins felt like it wasn’t enough, and he wasn’t looking forward to the outcome.
Usually, when they were sent on a mission, they managed to find help in the area, or at the very least, support. This time, the only supernatural creatures around were the werewolves, and there was no way they’d do anything to help.
“Be careful of their beaks, their wings, oh, and of course, their claws,” Baxter said.
Oren pinched the bridge of his nose. “All of that. Try not to get separated from your partner.”
“Wouldn’t it be faster if we searched the forest on our own?”
Oren looked at Baxter like he was an idiot. “It would be, but it also would be easier for the griffins to pick us off one by one. Do you want that to happen?”
Baxter’s eyes went wide, and he shook his head. “Right. Stay with your buddy. I want Robin.”
Oren sighed. “Take whoever you want. I don’t care. Just make sure you stay in groups of two, and if anything happens, call. You can’t face the pack on your own. There are too many of them.”
Robin didn’t like the sound of that, but this was their job, and they would do it.
He partnered with Baxter, and they walked away from the group. The forest was silent, apart from the normal noises that came with a forest. The birds were singing, and it felt too peaceful to be home to a pack of bloodthirsty griffins.
“Do griffins often attack humans?” Baxter asked. He kept looking around as if he expected the griffins to swoop down and eat him.
Baxter hadn’t been with the team long, only a few decades. From what Robin could remember, the last time they’d had to deal with griffins was more than fifty years ago. They were incredibly dangerous, but also rare. That was why people usually tried not to kill them, but it wasn’t easy when the griffins were trying to kill you.
“Sometimes,” Robin told him.
Baxter nodded as if it made complete sense. “And what do humans think about that?”
“More often than not, they believe they were attacked by wild beasts, like a bear or big cat.”
“Well, griffins certainly have the body of a big cat,” Baxter said with a grimace.
“They do, and they’re going to hear us arrive from miles away if we don’t stay silent.”
Baxter’s eyes widened, and he nodded. Robin knew it wouldn’t last long, but as they walked through the forest, the silence settled around them.