Cursed By Destiny Page 81

Her deadly voice brought me chills, yet also fueled my rage. It also fueled the rage of my friends. We attacked as one. I launched myself on the snake and dug my fangs into the back of its head. It shrieked as I raked and stabbed its cold skin. It flung me like a rag doll until, collapsing with a hard thump, I released it. Shayna had delivered the final blow by piercing its brain with one of her swords.

She dripped with sweat and panted with exhaustion, but hell, so did the rest of us. We’d fought long and hard. Everyone was breathless. Well, except for Ying-Ying.

I thought only the Tribe witch remained. But I was wrong. A final weresnake rose from the earth in front of Ying-Ying, who continued her meditative state. My claws dug into the earth, kicking up soil as I sprinted toward her. My speed was fast, yet not fast enough. It struck. There was a sickening crunch and then it was over.

Ying-Ying didn’t need me. The decapitated snake head joined the rest surrounding her. I was confused by what happened until I saw her happily munching away. She smiled at me with full cheeks. Danny and Shayna hurled behind me. Bren and I gagged when an eyeball popped out of her mouth, but we managed to keep it together. Chang laughed happily and pumped his fist, as if Ying-Ying had told a funny.

Tye changed back to human. I quickly averted my eyes from his naked body. Every were I’d ever met—no matter what kind—was always hung like a damn bear. Tye, it seemed, was no exception. He laughed and came to face me. “Don’t worry, dovie. We haven’t time for anything else . . . At least not at the moment.”

I kept my lids rammed shut, until Emme called to me. She pointed to the witch’s limp form. “I think she invaded that other snake’s soul. She must have died when Shayna killed it,” she whispered.

Bren growled in human form. “Doesn’t matter. We would have killed her anyway.” The threat against my life had angered him. Hell, it angered me, too, and reinforced that the Tribe wanted me dead.

Even though we’d fought a tough battle, the witch’s words had a more profound effect. Shayna stroked my back. “I don’t like how all these dark critters seem to know you, Ceel.”

Yeah? Well, me neither.

Emme hurried to my side. She didn’t say anything, but the scent of her fear smacked me in the nose. I rubbed my head against her to comfort her and almost knocked her frail form down. Tye caught her against his naked body. It was dark, and Emme probably couldn’t see much, but she knew Tye wasn’t wearing so much as a fig leaf. Her cheeks could have started a wildfire and she quickly scurried back to me.

Tye smirked, pleased with his ability to make the Wird girls turn red. “Come on,” he said. “We need to keep moving.” He paused to look at me. “Don’t worry, Celia. I won’t let those ass**les kill either of us.”

• • •

We ran all night in our beast forms, carrying our two-legged friends on our backs. Tye led the way to the crater. The terrain was littered with sharp stones, debris, and enough dust to coat our throats. I used Aric’s image to propel me forward, and ignored Tye when he attempted to communicate through his thoughts. He believed himself my destiny, and the Tribe’s latest target. My heart told me he was wrong.

As dawn broke through the horizon, a sign alerted us that only five kilometers remained until we reached the crater. We changed back to human, unsure who we’d stumble upon.

Tanzania was beautiful; I only wished I could have enjoyed it more. The light blue sky held no clouds, just a bright sun that beat against our backs. Bren carried Emme most of the way; her lack of athleticism hindered her especially given the rough terrain. Shayna struggled to keep up the pace, and so did Danny. But their werewolf essence gave them enough of a boost to follow close behind.

We hiked along a dirt road and passed a lake filled with flamingos. They took flight when we approached, frightened of the predators they sensed within us. A couple of hippos peered at us from the water, just as natural here as ducks back home. We even caught a beautiful lioness and three cubs crossing the path before us. Everyone oohed and aahed except for Tye. He played it cool, but the sparkle in his grin exposed his love of the land.

“I wish Koda were here,” Shayna whispered to me. She smiled as she said it, but sadness and worry dulled her eyes. I knew how she felt. As much as I tried not to, my fear for Aric and the others preoccupied my thoughts.

Maybe Aric and I could come back here on our honeymoon.

Bloodcurdling screams halted my steps and thoughts. I bolted to a small gravel path and froze.

Demon offspring attacked a band of Tanzanians. They flew through the air and swept down to grab the villagers. The women cowered over their young as the men fought bravely to spear their attackers. I didn’t think about the consequences of our discovery; I just acted. I changed and sprinted toward them.

I flung myself at a demon attempting to rape a screeching young girl and rammed my claws through its chest. His innards spilled and slithered away like mucus-covered snakes, only to shrivel in the scorching sun. The girl screamed in horror and her mother threw herself on top of her. Blood oozed from the multiple cuts on the woman’s skin, yet it didn’t stop her from trying to protect her daughter.

Another demon targeted the same family. I sliced through its neck before it reached them. The mother’s and daughter’s blood must have aroused the creatures. Six smaller demon children closed in, thick black saliva dripping from their long yellow fangs and greedy mouths. I positioned myself between them and unleashed a ferocious growl. No way would I let these ass**les harm this family.

They jumped on me at once, raking their claws against my skin. I flipped over, slamming them repeatedly into the earth, then tore their heads off one at a time.

Demon parts pelted my fur as my mighty weres shredded body parts like bloody Triscuits. A few of the villagers glanced from what remained of their attackers, then back to us. Their faces slowly changed and their eyes widened. They knew we were trying to save them. Hope gave them strength. They picked up their spears and fought back with pure ferocity.

A group of young children watched in awe as Shayna transformed an abandoned shield into a razor-edged disc. She flung it like a Frisbee, decapitating a demon with ease and digging it into the chest of another.

Bren and Tye leapt on top of the demons that were attempting to fly away with children and tore off their wings. The demons fell writhing to the ground, meeting their ends when the natives stabbed them to death with their spears.

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