Cursed By Destiny Page 85

I broke out of Bren’s hold, yelling over Shayna’s cries. “You’re telling me they’re injured and they’re still being sent to fight?”

“There’s no choice, Celia. We’ve been fighting Ihuaivulu for the last twenty hours since Aric hit him with the stone. All we’ve managed to do is keep him at the volcano. Alliance members from all over Central and South America have joined us, but we’re still no match for him. You have to get here—you’re our last hope.”

What sounded like a large screeching bat echoed through the phone with enough force to send it spinning off the table. I covered my ears and screamed for Taran, but the line went dead.

The silence that filled the air threatened to choke me. Tears streamed down Shayna’s face and her eyes pleaded with me to tell her she’d misheard—that Taran was safe and our mates hadn’t been harmed. I knew this because I wanted to hear it, too. I wanted it all to be some horrible dream. But it wasn’t. Her love and mine were in pain, and our sister was in danger. They suffered alone and there was nothing we could do . . . for now.

Shayna’s face blanched. “What if they die, Celia?”

I refused to spill any tears at Shayna’s words. Aric couldn’t die and neither could Koda or Taran. Aric and I were supposed to get married and spend our lives together. No, I would not cry. Crying meant I already believed them dead and that my time with Aric was over.

I stormed into the bathroom to splash cold water on my face. Tye followed me. “Are you all right?”

I stared at my pale skin in the mirror, gripping the sides of the sink before I smashed my reflection to bits. “No,” I answered. “No, I’m not.”

• • •

The last few minutes were the longest of our trip; even Ying-Ying couldn’t keep still. We were anxious, infuriated, and ready to fight. The moment our plane rolled to a stop, we sprinted toward the helicopter with Tye leading the way. No one was there to greet us; only a note taped to the window with coordinates to Chaitén anticipated our arrival.

What we found in Chaitén was devastation befitting a world war. A thick cloud of gray ash resembling fallen snow covered the entire town and coated the air like a fog. Tye ascended up the mountain where all the vegetation lay completely destroyed. Rows and rows of demolished and still burning trees rested on top of one another like discarded Lincoln Logs, casting light onto the charred remains of dead weres and the darker clumps of ash that had once been vampires. Some trees stubbornly remained erect, like giant black candles continuing to smoke.

The terrible batlike screech drew our attention toward the volcano, where fire shot into the heavens from several different directions.

“I really hope that’s just the volcano erupting,” Bren said.

“If only,” Tye muttered. “Shit, and supposedly he’s weaker now.”

Tye continued upward. Remnants of motorcycles and helicopters littered the area like a metal graveyard amid a burning world. Only one patch of hidden forest remained untouched: the Alliance base camp. We’d arrived.

I didn’t see our wolves or Taran, but several members tending to the injured stood and pointed frantically toward the volcano.

Tye adjusted his transmitter and gave me a tight smile. “Looks like we’re on. Anyone who’s not ready needs to get off now.” He hovered above the camp while I scooted into the back and opened the door.

I motioned toward the exit and then to Chang and Ying-Ying to make them understand. “This is your chance to save yourselves. We’re going after Ihuaivulu now.” They smiled kindly, yet stayed put. I clasped my hand over my eyes and tried to snuff my welling tears. Chang and Ying-Ying had been my teachers and tormentors, but they’d also become my friends. All my life I’d carried the weight of protecting my sisters on my shoulders. Now I carried theirs as well. I dropped my hand and clenched my fists. “This is not your fight. You should go.” They stood together and maneuvered around the seats. But instead of jumping, they bowed.

Chang patted my shoulder. “Proud,” he said.

Ying-Ying nodded. “You good girl.”

They returned to their seats and tightened their belts. I shut the door as Tye took us to the skies. My gaze took in the determined faces of those I loved.

Bren and Danny comforted Emme and Shayna. I wanted to tell them they didn’t have to do this, that I would gladly die for them instead. I also thought to inspire them somehow. They had, after all, jumped on board the Team Celia train. Without hesitating and without so much as a glance back, they’d followed me into danger. They’d trusted me to lead them and yet I couldn’t form the words to tell them what their actions meant to me.

“I . . .”

Danny’s eyes glistened. “We love you, too, Celia.”

I leaned my palms against the door and dropped my head. God, please keep them safe. Don’t take them yet. The world is a better place with them here.

Tye took a sharp right turn—hard enough for me to clutch the seat—and spoke into his mouthpiece. “I want to stay as far away from Ihuaivulu as possible. Emme, when we get near him, use your force to launch the stone.” She nodded and reached into her pack to retrieve the stone. I joined him in the front and wiped my sweaty palms against my tank top. He smiled and flashed his dimple. “Don’t worry, dovie. We’re going to make it. Our cubs are destined to rid the world of evil. That means we get to stick around to conceive them.”

I shook my head and sighed. Tye was in for a rude awakening, regardless of whether we made it or not.

The terrible bat screech bellowed with enough power to shake the helicopter. All hell broke loose at the summit. Weres thundered over the ground, attempting to herd what could only be described as, well, a seven-headed fire-breathing dragon. Oh, my God. Ihuaivulu’s immense form trumped most three-story buildings and his long lizard necks made him seem larger yet. Red flames funneled from some of his mouths while the others swallowed the guerrilla-looking vamps shooting at it.

Ihuaivulu whipped his tail and struck the rider of a dirt bike. The rider flew and slammed into the side of the large hill, his broken body unmoving. I screamed when I realized it was Misha . . . and that Ihuaivulu was closing in fast.

The two Geminis and Liam arrived in wolf form and tried to intercept the winged demon. If the wolves were afraid, they masked their fear well. They fought with ferocity and rabid fury, nipping and ramming Ihuaivulu in an attempt to distract him and get him to chase them. But it was no use.

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