After two long weeks, the day that we have all been waiting for is here. As I finish the reports of the day on my computer, my leg bounces with anticipation of what is to come. A smile graces my face as I try to picture what my mate will look like. I wonder if she will be tiny like Maximus mate Emily. I imagine that since I am even large than him the anatomy of putting our bodies together would be quite difficult. As I have the thought the laughter of my dragon rings out in my head.

You honestly think that you would have a problem with the size of our mate. At this point you would be happy with anyone who didn have male parts. And the best part of all of this … you don even know how the parts work.

”You know you could learn to be a bit more supportive. This is going to be your mate too. Do you even know what you want in a mate ” I ask him.

His golden face appears in my mind and I can see his pensive expression clearly. I remove my fingers from the keys of the keyboard and lean my bare back against my office chair. Something tells me that what he is about to say will be profound. Just as my dragon can be silly when the time warrants it and I need true answers, he always provides.

Xander, the way a mate looks doesn matter. A person is still a person no matter the color. They are still deserving of love, even if they have never had it. When we see our mate, we may be attracted to her. That is a given but I do not believe that it will be the first thing that we feel. This is the other half of our soul. I have given it much thought. The only thing that I want from a mate is to feel completed. I want someone who no longer makes us feel alone.

His face disappears once more as I ponder his words. I know the way that a person looks is superficial and doesn really matter. I feel that with my own odd physical attributes that I have no reason to talk. Having a mate that is attractive would be a nice point. A heavy sigh leaves my lips as I realize that my dragon is right.

He definitely know what we need more than I do. It would be nice to talk to someone about more than just what goes on in the clan. Having a conversation with our parents is always satisfying but it still lacks something. We still go home at night to be alone and we wake up alone. We speak more to each other than anyone else. We have even gone full days in complete silence. It has definitely gotten old.

”You are right, we will love our mate. No matter who she is ” I tell him with conviction.

The doorbell rings just as I was about to put my fingers back to the keyboard. Rising in a hurry from my desk I walk to the couch and quickly toss my robe over my shoulders. Just as the door opens I turn my back to it securing the tie so that I am fully covered.

”What can I do for you today Maximus ” I ask him as I turn to face him.

”Its almost time to go. Are you ready to tell me what this meeting is about now? ” he ask.

Maximus has my beta certainly has the right to know what this meeting is about. However, with the newfound powers he has after marking his mate I have been skeptical to tell him. The last two weeks have been very interesting as he learns to control what we are calling the mind link. We have all heard things between him and his mate that we would rather not know.

”I guess since I am now out of time, I have no choice but to tell you. The meeting we have is with the government regarding mates ” I say with a heavy sigh. Knowing him and his temperature I am going to have to make this a slow delivery in order to keep my office and home intact.

”Why would you need to meet with the government about our mates. They have been marked and can no longer be removed now that they also have our DNA ” he says in a rush.

Gesturing with my hand I lead him to take a seat at my desk. ”When I say that it is regarding our mates, I do not mean the ones that are already marked. I am speaking about the ones that will be coming in the future ” I tell him as I meet his gaze while taking my seat.

”Did they find a way to stop them from being removed if they are identified as our mate ” he says as he finally takes a seat relaxing into the chair.

Just spit it out already. I can feel his dragon becoming restless and I don feel like tolerating the rotten child today.

”Not quite. I have figured out a way to have humans brought to us so that we can find our mates ” I tell him.

”And the government agreed? Why would they do that? They don care about us ” he states.

I nod my head knowing that he is right. I take a deep breath before I begin to tell him the truth of the matter. I know that this is something that he won find appealing but I hope that he would at least hear me out.

”I had to make a deal with them in order to get this much ” I begin. Internally I am kicking myself for not having this conversation sooner. We are set to meet the men in less than thirty minutes and I don need hot headed Maximus attending. I would rather have my cool headed beta there.

”What kind of deal? ” he grits out between his teeth. From the sound of his anger I can already tell that he has an idea.

”Each month they will bring five women and five men to stay in our clan for a week. They will travel to all five clans to see if they are the mates of anyone with interspecies DNA ” I tell him evenly.

”What did you promise them in return Xander? Please don tell me you were stupid enough to use our blood. ” He says accusingly as he rises from his chair.

This is definitely going well. Maybe you should slow down a bit.

”They will get nothing unless a mate is found and a bond completed. I was careful ” I tell him as I rise meeting his challenge. I can feel my eyes change as my dragon pushes forward making himself known. The way he is acting is insubordinate and will not be tolerated.

”Careful. You call that being careful? You have just put a target on the back of every dragon in the world. They will come after us with everything they have ” he yells as his dragon comes all the way forward. ”How will our children ever be safe now? ” His dragon Martell growls.

”You dare think that we don know how this could end? You believe us to be such a selfish leader that I would take no precautions against the threat we could face? I do not do any of this lightly. We all deserve to have what you have found ” My dragon tells him. Our aura burst through the room and we watch as Maximus fights the will to submit to it.

His shoulder shake and his body swells as he fights the command. ”You are so desperate for a mate that you are putting us all in danger. You are putting my mate in danger. My unborn child in danger ” He says as he grasp the back of his chair to stay standing.

I push my aura out even more forcing him to kneel. ”They will not get near our mates or our young. Patrols have been increased across all boarders for all species. They are not allowed onto our lands with a heavy amount of guards. All blood given to them has to come from me for the transactions. They are not permitted to take it from anyone else ” I scream.

”You are a part of my people. I take care of my people with every breath that I take. We have lived and worked for twelve years so that you all could thrive. If you think I made this deal lightly then you are wrong. ” I yell as I remove my command now that he has submitted.

He needs to know the truth. It is the only way that he will understand and stay with us.

His breathing is heavy and his dragon has now retreated. The scent of his anger is still strong in the air but mine has now dissipated. ”You are right Maximus. I am desperate for a mate but not for the reasons you believe. While you were in heat with your mate, I have continued to question Igneous father. The news that I have found has been disturbing to say the least. ” I say as I take my seat once more.

”Due to experiments in the facilities we now know what happens to dragons without their mate. If a dragon were to lose his mate, even before meeting them, they turn feral. If the bond is rejected and not nurtured, they turn feral. Apparently in some cases they become so feral, that nothing quenches it except the blood of their own ” I say unable to meet his gaze.

A tense silence fills the air. Unable to stand it I decide to continue. ” I am the strongest of out kind. Out of the other hundreds of dragons here, there is no other with my strength, my power, or my unique coloring. If I were to lose my mate before finding her, I would be unstoppable in harming my own people. People that I care about. I have to find her ” I tell him as I finally meet his gaze.

”So be it ” he says rising from his chair. For a moment I am shocked that he gave in so easily. I knew that he would find understanding but I had expected more of a fight. He must see the shock on my face because he gives me his signature smirk. ”What? You do know that I can be reasonable right? ”

”Well. No. I didn know that you could be reasonable. Actually I don think that I have ever seen you be reasonable in your entire life ” I tell him with a chuckle.

He is the most unreasonable of us all. If he can behave this rationally then we really need to find a way to thank his mate.

I happen to be in agreement with my dragon on this one. ”You have nothing else to add or to discuss? ” I can help but ask.

”No Xander. I can see that you did think this through. The way you made the deal will be beneficial for others to find their happiness. Feeling what I feel for Emily I wouldn want to get in the way of someone else finding it. Especially you who has the power of love. That has to be difficult enough to have control over something that everyone wants but you still don have. Just make sure you keep your head with it and don let them screw us over ” he says as he rises from his chair.

Holy shit. Did he actually just say something that was stupid or to ruin the mood. We are definitely thanking his mate. Mom should make her something.

Struggling over my words I could hardly think of a thing to say. Finally getting my tongue untied I decide to just settle on saying ”Thank You. ” He nods with a jerk of his head and we both rise to leave the office. We quickly exit my cabin and make our way to the entrance of our clan where our meeting is set to start in just a few moments.

When we reach the guard post at the edge of our territory, things are still quiet. The shock face of Demetrius meets my gaze as he raises his eyebrows quizzically in my direction. I sigh heavily at him and he quickly schools his expression. I understand his confusion because after all I do hardly make it out of the office these days. I realize that as their alpha I will be needing to find ways to make more appearances to my people so that the shock factor dies down.

”Good morning. In a just a few moment I will be receiving some guest. They will be accompanying me through the perimeter and coming to my office. I have requested ten guards to be present at all times, where are they? ” I ask not beating around the bush.

”We have it all handled alpha. The guards are already hidden and posted around the area. I figured that would be better than having them out in the open and revealing to our guest just how heavily secured they are ” he explains. I feel as Maximus stiffens beside me at hearing that one of his guards made a decision. From the tension I feel in the air I am guessing that he forgot to inform his superior.

”You would do well to remember your place and who is in charge of our formations ” he says to Demetrius in a warning tone. The guard takes a step away from us at the underlying threat in his voice as he bows his head in submission.

”Yes, beta. My apologies. You will be notified next time and we will follow your directions ” he says quickly. I turn to look at Maximus to see his signature smirk on his face. I sigh in relief knowing that he is just toying with the man. He walks past me and places a hand on his shoulder and I watch the mans body still completely.

”Now why don we lighten up there buddy. I happen to think that you have done a wonderful job. Since I had no idea of this meeting until a bit ago I will let go of your decision making without informing me go. In the future I would advise you to let me know of such changes if you really want to be considered for the position we talked about ” he reminds the man.

And the asshole is back….

Demetrius shoulders instantly tense again after relaxing under his praise. I shake my head with a chuckle at his antics. As we wait the air goes quiet and in nervousness I start to rock on my heels. My heart pounds in my chest and I can feel my palms grow sweaty as the time of their arrival nears.

”Relax Xander. You will know immediately if she is there. Besides if you are too nervous to make a fool of yourself then this is going to be a boring morning ” Maximus say through the link.

”I am not here to be your entertainment. You are here in official capacity. If you can handle the task then I am sure I can find someone else who can ” I say taunting him.

A rough growl leaves his chest as I close the link. Before he can say something back we both turn in the directions of the tires we now here. I frown at the sound of them. ”That doesn sound like small vehicles. Everyone hold your position, something bigger than we thought is coming ” he says as he widens his stance.

I widen mines too as my dragon pushes forward prepared for a fight. When it comes to the government we can never be too sure of what will happen next. Time ticks slowly as we wait for the vehicles to come into view. A black sedan rounds the corner and I see that we have two people occupying the seats. I recognize Mr. Slater in the passenger but not the cop who drives him.

Following closely a white bus comes into view followed by another black sedan. Shifting on my feet I watch as they pull up to the gate to wait while Mr. Slater quickly exits his vehicle. He walks up to us alone leaving the cop in the car. The scent of his fear is potent even from this far away. Maximus bears his teeth in the cops direction and I almost chuckle as he cowers more in his seat.

Throwing a look in my betas direction, I plead for him to stop. Mr. Slater reaches us and offers his hand in greeting to first me and then Maximus. ”As per our contract I have delivered the ten people that you requested, where do you want them? ” he ask as if he is in a rush.

”You may allow them to disembark form the vehicles and make their way inside the gates. I am uninclined to let your entourage through. The scent of their fear is too strong in the air and scared people do stupid things ” I say just wanting to get this over with.

He is up to something

”Remember that you have ensured that none of them will come to harm during the week that they stay here. No one can be forced to stay here and if they want to stay they will have to voice it themselves ” He turns to wave at the driver of the bus and I watch as he disappears from his seat. ”Now as a final reminder, you are to uphold your end of the deal or we will be forced to take back ours. Despite a bond being made ” he says with a strange glint in his eyes.

”That is not a part of the deal. Everyone who you selected should have been willing to be here. They will also be free to leave if they choose to do so ” I remind him through my teeth.

”They are all willing. But since they are the property of the state, if you do not comply then I will be forced to take actions. You can be the one to decide if you think that it is worth the risk.

”property of the state? ” Maximus ask as he steps toward our government liaison.

”Oh dear, did I forget to mention exactly where I found our group of volunteers ” he says with an evil smile.

My head jerks toward the bus as I finally hear the doors open. I am quickly taken aback by what I see and a vicious growl leaves my chest at the people that he has brought. ”What is the meaning of this? ” I shout.

”Well, we double checked that little agreement that we made. There were no specifications made for what type of humans would be provided. Here we have five females and five men all vying for a chance of freedom. They all volunteered and we have many more lined up ” he says as if he is delivering the weather.

My hand shoots out toward Maximus as he takes a threatening step forward. ”You can be serious. You expect us to be comfortable allowing these kinds of people onto our lands. Do you people have no heart? ” he shouts.

I frown as I look at the ten people now standing in an orderly line outside of the bus. Each one is dressed in the most atrocious shade of orange for a jump suit that I have ever seen. They are all shackled to one another from their hands to their feet. They
e head lift to the skies as they take a look around their surroundings.

My dragon stirs in my chest as I contemplate this new turn of events. I tune into the feeling expecting to feel his malice at how we were set up but instead the feeling I receive is hopeful. His eyes once more take over my vision and the auras of each person brought appears. We examine the colors closely as Maximus and the government liaison continue arguing.

Indeed there are some of these prisoners whose auras showed completely black. They are so far gone and evil that there will be no more saving them. However upon closer inspection some of them still have color. One in particular doesn have any black at all. For a moment, my gaze is drawn to the pure beauty of the aura and I find myself taking and involuntary step forward when a hand on my arm stops me. looking at Maximus I realize that he and the liaison seem to be waiting for an answer to something.

Let them all stay.

”Why though? ” I ask my dragon.

You will know soon enough. Trust the feeling that we are getting.

Never one to deny my beast I turn toward the government liaison with my best smile. ”Thank you for upholding your end of the deal. We will reconvene in seven days and those that do not find their mates can leave with you once more back to where they came from ” I tell him a bit distracted as I look in the direction of the aura that has caught my attention.

”Xander, I don think that you are thinking this through. We can let a bunch of criminals just walk through our clans and pretend that everything is going to be okay! ” Maximus says through the link.

”Trust me brother. Something tells me that we will come out better in the end for this. Let them think they have won ” I tell him as I cut the link.

Mr. Slater smirks in my direction but rapidly waves the prisoners forward. As they start to trot as fast as they can being connected to each other one of the guards catches my attention as he speaks to one of the females. What I hear has me snarling in his direction. My aura pushes out causing him to fall to his knees along with several of the prisoners.

”You would do well to remember that for the next week that they are our property. I do not think that your superiors would take to kindly to finding out that you have been threatening to sexually harm someone in your charge ” I say as I stare him down with the full weight of my aura.

A pained groan leaves his throat under the strain of it as I look at him in disgust. No man should harm a female no matter their station in life. If he were in my stead he would be punished for this type of behavior brutally.

”Tell him to **ing stop. I didn say shit to the little bitch ” he yells as he talks to the liaison.

”Watch your mouth you piece of scum ” I bellow at him as I finally release my aura. His body falls flat to the floor as he huffs for breath. Turning to address Mr. Slater I look at him for the scum he is. ”You may leave the prisoners with us. You and your men can take your leave ” I command him.

As he sees the beast in my eyes he quickly takes a step away from me. I know that I can be a truly frightening sight when I allow my anger to show through. Before I can berate him more or speak a voice fills the air that has me pausing as if the entire world has stopped.

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