Cursed By Destiny Page 87

The wolves watched me closely, but didn’t move. Taran leaned in close to whisper. “Ihuaivulu’s power was too great. They’re slowly healing their infections and pain, but the scarring . . . appears to be permanent.”

Shayna’s heart-wrenching sob made me jump. She staggered past me to fall kneeling before Koda. “Oh, my God, no. Puppy, no!” Her screams pounded my chest like vengeful blows. She reached out to him, but pulled back. Her eyes swept over his burns, unsure whether to touch him.

Koda pulled her onto his lap, subjecting himself to obviously excruciating pain. Yet he didn’t care. He just wanted to hold his mate. Shayna kissed his lips and cheeks, weeping hysterically. He tried his best to comfort her, but it was no use. She hurt as much as he did.

Aric’s ruined face met mine, yet I couldn’t bring myself to go to him. My hands balled into fists and tears leaked from my eyes. I trembled with the force of my rage—livid for the pain he’d endured and for how he would continue to suffer.

I wanted to scream from the injustice. Aric had honorably protected the earth, and this was his reward? Fuck. YOU!

My tigress eyes replaced my own and hatred filled my rampant heart, scorching the edges of my soul and demanding I destroy anything in my path. My beast roared inside me, clawing and biting at my rib cage. Kill, she demanded. Kill!

Taran gripped my wrist. “Celia . . . Celia, are you all right? Jesus. Celia, just breathe, honey. Just breathe . . . Oh, God. Honey, please calm down . . . I swear we’re going to get through this . . .”

My own personal hell raged inside me. I didn’t know how to control it, or whether I wanted to. And then the ground quaked, hard enough to shove my tigress aside and pull my human side forward.

Ihuaivulu, that wretched son of a bitch, was nearing.

Misha stormed into the tent and spun me, grasping my shoulders tight. I tried to toss him, but he held strong and thrust his face in mine. “Now is not the time for mourning, Celia. Bren is back with Emme and the stone.” He shook me hard when I tried to break free. “Listen to me! We have the power to finish this. Do it. Now.”

My mind struggled through the vile fog twisting and distorting my thoughts. The stone. The stone is back. I bit down hard on my lip until it bled and snapped me out of my misery.

I tore away from the tent, pumping my legs as fast as they’d carry me. Aric called to me. My God, his pained and garbled voice held no hint of his once deep and confident timbre. It was all I could do not to race back to him. I wanted to take him in my arms and never let him go. But Misha was right. I had to put an end to the Tribe once and for all.

The steps of those chasing me quickened, but failed to reach me. I focused on Tye, who stood at the edge of a cliff, waving the stone—the very weapon I needed.

“Time to go eagle!” he yelled before he jumped.

I exploded into my new form and dove for him. He cringed and swore as my talons once again dug into his shoulders. I flapped my powerful appendages and aimed for Ihuaivulu, who sped toward us with outstretched wings, hell-bent on murder. Time to say good night, you evil bastard.

I soared above Ihuaivulu with hopes Tye could just drop the stone on him. It would have worked had the creature not taken flight. Damn it to hell. I supposed it was too much to hope his wings were just decorative.

I dipped right, left, and down, trying to avoid the multitude of snapping jaws and sprays of fire. No way could I outfly him. So I had to fly smart. I nosedived into the outside of the volcano and shifted us through. I was almost out of air by the time we flew out the other side. Beneath me, the earth rumbled from the force of Ihuaivulu slamming into the volcano.

“Celia, I lost the stone!”

“Screeech?”

“It didn’t shift with us. It has to be on the other side. Go back. Go back!”

I tilted my wings and circled around. My heart leapt into my throat when I saw what was happening at the farthermost edge of the Alliance camp. Shayna darted around the splintered chunks of ruined trees, converting the pieces into long silver spikes. The vamps and weres—including Aric and Koda, who grunted in anguish—impaled Ihuaivulu’s tough skin and shredded his wings to worthless bits. He roared and tried to fly, only to collapse on the ash-coated ground.

My eagle eyes scanned the ground below and fixed upon the discarded stone. I dove toward it, ready to snag it when Ihuaivulu struck Tye with his tail. The blow propelled us into a distant tree. My sisters’ screams were barely audible over the crumbling bark and crash of the falling timber.

We landed hard atop the smoldering trunk and flopped onto the heated soil. I lost my eagle form and couldn’t reclaim it. I changed into tigress and lurched in time to avoid being fricasseed by Ihuaivulu. Heat from his flames scorched the earth, turning the mountain into his personal hell. My lungs contracted with the need for air. I couldn’t breathe and began to suffocate, yet I compelled my body to plow through the battered terrain, willing my paws to ignore the mounting heat.

Tye’s lion form jetted full speed for the stone. His white fur made him almost invisible against the ash, but it was only a matter of time before Ihuaivulu’s remaining heads spotted him.

I needed to distract Ihuaivulu. So instead of running away from him, I charged right at him. My sisters and friends yelled at me to turn back. I ignored them and kept my head in the game. If it was my time to go, so be it—but Ihuaivulu was coming with me.

I jumped and darted away from his flames faster than my tigress had ever moved before, seeing the streams of fire as merely larger versions of lightning bolts thrown from an overzealous martial arts master. My strategy worked, and so did my high-velocity dodges that managed to manipulate Ihuaivulu into burning his own tail. He roared and stumbled in pain, allowing me to launch myself onto one of his remaining snouts.

My back claws fastened onto his nose, my front claws gouged his eyes, my jaws broke through the thick scales and into bone. Warm liquid squirted against my claws and mouth, and his furious screams pained my ears, but I continued to unleash my wrath—for Aric, for Koda, for everyone who’d stood against him.

The last thing I saw was the second head rushing at me right before a deafening explosion fired me into the air. I landed as a human on a mountain of ash, choking and gasping next to Tye’s naked form. We sputtered and coughed as dust settled around us while an outburst of excited cheers echoed through the valley. Tye kipped up and hauled me to my feet. “Motherfucker!”

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