Cursed By Destiny Page 71

He leaned forward, frowning slightly. “No. Only that I may not be able to protect you from what’s coming.”

Emme gasped. I tried to smile reassuringly. “Isn’t this the reason you’ve trained me? So I wouldn’t need protection?”

Misha regarded me closely. “Not the only reason,” he answered quietly.

The moment we arrived, Misha grabbed our hands and led us swiftly into the main building and into a large meeting area. The grand open space reminded me of a supersized family room. A large bookshelf comprised one wall, stuffed with old leather-bound novels, while the opposite was made almost entirely of glass with magnificent views of the setting sun. A few plush red couches wrapped around a large granite fireplace. But no one sat. Everyone was on their feet and tension thickening the air would likely keep them that way.

My sisters and the wolves were already present along with Tye and the Elders. Their presence didn’t surprise me. Uri’s did. I was also shocked to see Bren and Danny. Anara refused to recognize them as Aric’s Warriors and never allowed them to attend any meetings. God, what’s happened?

Aric glared at Misha when he caught him holding my hand. I released Misha’s hand as subtly as possible. Misha smiled at Aric, gave him a wink, and then wrapped his arm around my shoulders. I elbowed him. “Don’t antagonize him, Misha.”

Taran and Shayna slipped next to us. Their beautiful faces creased with fear and worry. “You’re not going to like this shit,” Taran muttered.

Martin acknowledged us with a slight tilt of his head and spoke. “Thank you all for joining us. We have unfortunate news that we need to act upon. The depletion of their numbers has forced the Tribe to take more desperate measures. In an effort to destroy us, the most formidable among the Tribe have sought to raise Ihuaivulu.” I didn’t know who or what Ihuaivulu was, but judging by the grim faces of Uri and the Elders, the news was worse than I could have imagined. Martin gestured to Aric. “Please ask your Warrior to explain.”

Aric looked to Danny and motioned him forward with a jerk of his head. “You’re on, Dan.”

Danny remained where he stood, trembling. We waited, but he wouldn’t speak or move. Aric nodded encouragingly. Still nothing happened. Bren gave Danny what he’d probably intended to be a soft nudge. Unfortunately, it sent him flying forward. He stumbled and slid across the polished wood floor and just barely missed barreling into Anara.

Koda grabbed him by the collar and lifted him to his feet before any of us could blink. Danny was nothing short of a hot, frazzled mess. Sweat dripped down his shivering form as if he were fighting the flu. If so, the flu was winning. He cleared his throat a few times before finally speaking. “A Chaitén volcano recently erupted after being dormant for a millennium. I found it suspicious considering this same volcano is said to house Ihuaivulu—a seven-headed fire-breathing demon.” He paused to wipe his hands against his slacks. “I brought my concerns to Aric. He thought it was worth investigating and encouraged the Alliance to send spies to Patagonia—”

“Where the hell is that?” Bren muttered. I was glad he asked. Geography and I were mortal enemies.

Danny regained his confidence—academic matters had that effect on him. He smiled. “Patagonia is a region that encompasses Chile and Argentina—that’s where Chaitén is located. Our spies discovered the Tribe found scriptures to raise the demon.” He stopped smiling then. “That’s why the volcano erupted. They’ve awakened Ihuaivulu.”

My mouth went dry. They awoke a seven-headed fire-breathing demon? Was he kidding?

Misha stiffened next to me. “Can we halt the demon’s rise?”

Danny shook his head. “We’re too late. Ihuaivulu has already broken through the first part of the mountain.

Bren held out his hand. “Wait—did you say he broke through a mountain?” Danny nodded. “How big is this ass**le?”

Danny scratched at his moppy curls. “I’m not sure. Maybe the size of an average office building?”

My heart skipped a beat, then a few more. Seven-headed demons would do that to a gal. “So he could be bigger?” I asked.

Danny nodded and Taran swore up a storm. Around us, the pack of wolves growled. Aric stepped forward. “How do we kill Ihuaivulu?”

“He can’t be killed, Aric.”

Emme moved next to me and took my hand. She was scared—rightfully so. Some scary monster that couldn’t die had just been roused from sleep. I squeezed her hand tight. “What can we do then?” I asked, hoping there was something.

“There are two ancient rocks called the Sacred Stones of Mughal. They both need to hit Ihuaivulu at least once.”

Gemini rubbed his goatee. “Do they need to hit at the same time or in the same area?”

“No, but the second must hit him within twenty-four hours after the first. The first stone is only meant to weaken Ihuaivulu. The second will force him back into a dormant state for at least the next millennium.”

“Do we know where to find Mughal’s stones?” Bren asked. He chuckled slightly when he thought about what he’d just said. That earned him a smile from Makawee and a dirty glare from Anara.

“The Tribesmen who performed the awakening are guarding one in Chaitén, believing they can control the demon with it.” He shook his head. “But they can’t. No one can.”

“Where’s the other stone, Dan?” Aric asked.

“It’s at the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. They have to be stored far apart—on separate continents—otherwise they blow up like atom bombs if they’re not used for their purpose. The Tribe is trying to locate the one in Tanzania to keep it from us. But the map that describes its location is written in ancient Mapudungan and difficult to translate. According to what the spies uncovered, I believe they have the wrong location. It gives us time to find the second stone.”

I grinned at Danny. I couldn’t even repeat the name of the language he mentioned. But I knew he could, and a lot more. “You know where the second stone is.”

Danny’s obsession with ancient magic, myths, and languages was paying off. He raised his chin in all research-geek glory. “Yes, Celia. I know exactly where it is.”

Makawee tilted her head, bowing respectfully. “Well done, young Daniel.”

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