Turning off the shower, we towelled each other off and I helped Phobos wrap her long hair up in a towelette to dry.
Suddenly Deimos shook her head rapidly, causing droplets of water to fly everywhere from her sopping, short hair.
Exclaiming in annoyance, Phobos tried to flick her on the forehead only for her to dodge out of the way with a challenging giggle and hide behind my back.
Unable to get hold of the agile girl, Phobos glared at her as she poked her head out over my shoulder. They engaged in a staring contest for a moment before devolving into a fit of giggles as I watched on in bemusement.
Exiting the washroom, Deimos ran over to where she had discarded her shift onto the floor and slipped it on.
Phobos walked over to the bed at a more sedate pace and inspected her crumpled nightwear and found it stained with chocolate.
Sighing, she folded it up and deposited it in the bin before joining me at the closet to select another shift. I wore my pyjamas and held the neck of her shift open so she could easily slip into it without disturbing the towel wrapped on her head.
As she went to bed, I walked over to the smokeless torch and removed the muslin cover from it. The white light hurt my eyes after the dim red radiance.
Setting the cover onto it to smother the flame, I plunged the room into darkness only lit by the dim starlight that seeped through the window.
When I reached the bed, I was greeted by two pairs of glowing eyes, one green, one yellow. The Felidae Clan had an eye structure similar to cats, giving them enhanced night vision and their eyes’ characteristic shine at night.
We generally took turns sleeping in the middle as it was the most coveted position. Fortunately, today was my turn and I drifted off surrounded by their soft, warm bodies and lulled by the cadence of their breathing.
Sol rose above the horizon, sending the first of his rays through the gap in the blinds in our bedroom and onto my sleeping face.
My brow furrowed as it interrupted my slumber and dragged me out of my dreamland.
Blinking owlishly against the brightness, my bleary vision slowly cleared.
To my right, Phobos was still sleeping, a few strands of her having worked loose from her towelette and framing her symmetrical face and peaceful expression.
I slowly worked my hand loose from underneath her with my free arm, careful not to wake her…
Wait! Free arm? Wasn’t Deimos pillowing her head on it? Could it be that the lazy little girl had finally broken free of her excessive fondness for sleeping late?
I turned around…
And froze as my gaze met the emerald eyes of an apex predator.
My heart thumped loudly in my chest as Deimos’ Feral form’s breath ruffled my hair. From this distance my view was filled with the sight of her pointed fangs and my mind couldn’t help but conjure the image of her sinking them into my neck.
I swallowed a little saliva to moisten my dry mouth.
The movement made her growl, a guttural rumble that made me feel like my soul would dissociate from my body.
Feral transformation could occur at any point in time after puberty and before full maturity. Due to the variance in bloodlines, that translated differently for different bloodline clans.
The females of my clan generally reached puberty at around the age of fifteen and awakened at around eighteen years of age. A female from the clan who hadn’t awakened by the age of twenty-two wasn’t expected to do so for the rest of her life.
I drew courage from the fact that in the first few hours of Feral transformation, the subject retained a small portion of their consciousness due to it fighting a losing battle against the activated Divinity fragment of Vita.
It was the only reason both Phobos and I were alive instead of becoming her morning snack.
Knowing that any further delay would exacerbate the situation, I sat up slowly in a non-threatening manner with my palms facing towards her to show I had no weapons while I kicked Phobos’s leg under the sheet to wake her.
My sudden movement startled Deimos and she backed up a bit warily, teeth bared threateningly and I finally got a glance of her full Feral form.
A pristine white cheetah with dark brown spots and glowing, emerald eyes.
I could pick out the familiar markings on her forehead that had carried over from her Bestia form. As we stared at each other, I could almost feel the struggle within her. Deimos loved us and wouldn’t harm a hair on our heads while Vita just wanted to watch the world burn.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Phobos getting up, then stiffening halfway when she realized the situation. Using my toe under the blanket, I wrote on her calf: ‘Get help! Quick!’
After a moment’s hesitation, the reply came: ‘Be careful.’
My sensation to her presence slowly reduced as she clad herself in the shadows around her. Light bent away from her form as she invoked the Tier 1 bloodline magic: Shadow Stealth.
Thankfully, Deimos was still locked in her internal struggle and her attention was drawn to me. Otherwise, with her enhanced senses in her Feral form, there was no way she wouldn’t notice a big live person just vanish.
Close beads of sweat covered Phobos’ forehead as she strained herself to use the Tier 2 magic: Shadow Walk prematurely while she was still a Tier 1 mage. Her darkened figure slowly sank into the shadows, seemingly integrating into them.
A shadow near the room’s door started to bulge upwards as her figure materialized from it.
I had to somehow keep Deimos distracted or she would notice her trying to leave. It is a predator’s instinct to attack any prey which shows its back. I didn’t want to take any chances as to whether Deimos would be able to fight off Vita’s will and her predatory instincts at the same time.
So, I did the only thing that popped up in my overly stressed mind; I embraced her, linking my arms around her neck.
Her resulting growl vibrated through my body. It was pitched higher than before and I could feel her muscles bunch and relax as she fought the impulsion to gut me with her claws or sink her fangs into my neck.
The sound of the door latch opening was especially loud in the tense atmosphere of the room and in my embrace, I felt the trend of Deimos’ musculature and predicted her movement.
Just as she snarled and jumped towards Phobos, I swung myself onto her back and passed both of my arms beneath her forelegs and joined my palms behind her head, locking her in a full nelson.
Her pounce interrupted and her forelegs locked, she slammed into the ground face first and a soft white radiance appeared at the point of contact. It was her Barrier, Vita’s divine power given form. Physical trauma was invalid to her until her barrier could be exhausted of its energy.
Exhausting the Barrier was the most popular method to subdue Ferals as they would fall unconscious and revert to their Bestia forms when they were out of divine power.
As I strenuously held down the fiercely struggling feline, I yelled over her caterwauling at Phobos who seemed like she wanted to rush back: “Go. Now! Get help!”
She clenched her teeth with tears in her eyes and dashed down the corridor towards my father’s room at breakneck speeds. Her parting injunction lingered in the air: “Live!”