Burning Skies Page 32

He narrowed his gaze and determined exactly what he would do if his conjecture proved correct. He didn’t give a fuck about the mortal-with-wings or Greaves’s plans for world domination. He would fold to the location on the grid and if Havily Morgan was present, as he believed she was, then Leto could keep on fighting whatever warrior was there and he’d take care of the women. Hell, if he could get to both of them, well, that would be a cherry on top of this sundae.

He imprinted the coordinates into his brain, thought the thought, and the vibration began.

* * *

Havily couldn’t get Parisa calmed down enough to retract her wings. Her own heart rate had kicked up in response, which wasn’t helping.

She had ushered the mortal into the hallway, away from the courtyard and the battle of the two warriors, who had been clanging swords for the past few minutes. But they could still see and hear what was going on through the glass doors and windows. The whole time, she had talked quietly to Parisa and rubbed her arms and tried to get her to focus on her need to draw in her wings, but the woman couldn’t.

Not that Havily blamed her. First, two unknown beings had showed up in her patio, then a third arrived—General Leto—in full leather-kilt-and-harness battle gear and started fighting Marcus with a sword. Of course, the weird thing was that Parisa knew them all, even Leto. Nor did the mortal-with-wings seem at all surprised by the presence of swords and subsequent fighting.

Leto’s appearance, however, had reminded Havily that she needed to get Parisa to Second Earth, to Warrior Medichi’s protected villa, right now. The enemy knew their location and Leto had even shouted a warning that more would follow.

The rest she could deal with, as in why Parisa knew who she was and what potential significance there might be to the woman having royle wings. Wow, royle wings.

Okay … focus.

But until Parisa drew her wings in, she would be unable to have Jeannie fold them through the dimension. Wings were just too fragile to make the trip.

“Please try again,” Havily said. She even took Parisa’s hand this time and squeezed.

However, instead of making an effort, Parisa’s eyes widened as her gaze shifted to the courtyard and she gasped. Havily turned and couldn’t hold back a shriek of her own. There, beyond the warring men, was Crace, the death vampire who had attacked her in her town house, the monster who had taken her blood and wrecked her throat. He wore only a black leather kilt and battle sandals. He looked eerily pale—as he should, given his nature—and his dark hair hung uncombed almost to his shoulders. He was more monster now than High Administrator.

“Is he the one who drank from you?” Parisa cried.

Havily just looked at her. “You know about that?”

“I saw Warrior Medichi talking to you and comforting you.”

Havily nodded. “Yes, he is the one, and he is really dangerous. Parisa. We have to get out of here. Now.”

“I don’t know what to do!” Parisa cried. She shook now, head to foot. “I just can’t seem to make the wings retreat.”

“You have to stop looking and listening. Warrior Marcus will take care of General Leto and Crace.” But Parisa was wild-eyed, which was completely understandable. “Calm yourself down. Think of other things.”

Havily started shoving Parisa in the direction of the south-facing rooms, but Crace caught sight of them. His gaze, now lowered, was not in any way directed toward Parisa, but was fixed on Havily. She shuddered, for in that moment she understood his intent—and it had nothing to do with the woman in front of her.

Havily took a deep breath and turned toward Parisa. She took both her hands and looked into her eyes. “Okay,” she murmured. “Let’s try something else. Do you have a boyfriend, someone you can focus on?”

“Oh. Yes, I do. I … I have someone.”

“Good. Then focus on him. Think of being with him, of speaking with him, of having his arms around you. Pretend they’re around you right now.”

Crace lifted an arm. Oh, shit, he was dematerializing, which meant he would be next to them both in three … two …

Creator help us!

Parisa seemed to fall into the image with her entire being, and before Havily blinked Parisa’s wings flew back through her wing-locks. The moment they did, Havily thought the thought, with Crace only a few yards away and reaching for the mortal. She couldn’t take her far, not in this situation, so she landed in Parisa’s backyard, right next to the pool. She drew her phone from her pocket and made a swift call to Central.

“Pick up, pick up, pick up,” she muttered, hopping from one foot to the next still holding Parisa’s hand. The trouble was, Crace would be able to follow them since the act of folding left behind a pathway of light, a trace, which any powerful ascender could follow. And yes, Crace had enough power, which meant she had only a few seconds to get this done.

“Jeannie here.”

“Jeannie,” she cried. “I’ve got the mortal. Send us to the villa now!” She screamed the words because Crace had materialized ten feet away from them. He smiled as he ran, but the next moment she stood with Parisa in Medichi’s foyer.

She shook all over but she punched her phone. “Jeannie, we made it, but is there any chance Crace can follow us?”

“No chance in hell. Her Supremeness misted the villa. The mist will block the trace.”

Havily finally released Parisa’s hand. “Thank you. Thank you so much.” She put her hands over her face and let a few tears leak out of her eyes. She had so much adrenaline in her system that she couldn’t stop the tears or the shaking.

“Are you okay?” Parisa asked.

Havily felt the mortal’s hand on her shoulder.

At that, she pulled herself together, because it was absolutely the most absurd thing in the world for a mortal human, who had just been dematerialized … twice … and brought to an unknown house in a different dimension to be consoling Havily.

“I’m sorry,” she said, giving her head a shake. “But Crace is a monster and he would have hurt us both. I’m sorry I lost it. I’ll try to do better.”

Parisa nodded. She was looking white-faced and she was still completely naked. “So, what just happened? How did we get here?” She turned in a circle. She murmured, “I know this place.”

“I called our Central Command, which has the ability to do jumps between dimensions. We call it folding, otherwise known as dematerialization. You are now officially in the Second Dimension. How do you feel? Any dizziness? Nausea?” Sometimes mortals didn’t have a good reaction to Second Earth and had to be sequestered on Mortal Earth until the rite of ascension drew to a close.

Parisa, however, just shrugged. “Actually, this feels really wonderful, almost like … home. And I’m smelling … sage. A lot of sage.”

“Herbs from the kitchen, maybe.” She was distracted as she thought of Crace—and of Marcus possibly battling both Crace and Leto alone. She wasn’t sure what she needed to do next, but she still had her link to Medichi. She used it now.

How strange to feel the tendrils that reached out for the powerful warrior. When she felt the connection touch him, she sent, Marcus needs help. Leto and Crace attacking at the following location. She then streamed the image of the house through the link, which in terms of ascenders locating a place worked as well as coordinates laid out on Central’s grid.

On my way, came back to her in a rush of sensation, of power, of determination. He was in full warrior mode, which was to be expected since at this hour, nearing ten o’clock, he had been battling death vampires for at least two hours.

“Thank God,” she murmured. She could only trust that Medichi would arrive in time to support Marcus against the two powerful vampires.

She glanced at Parisa, still nude.

Well, this was one problem she could solve right away. She might not be able to retrieve Parisa’s clothes, but she could bring some of her own to the villa.

She moved to the large central table and brought an assortment of pants and shirts, even underwear from her dresser and closet, folding the pieces one after the other onto the table. “I think you should be able to wear some of these. We look to be about the same size.”

The woman stared down at the pile. “How clever,” she said. There was something of the intrigued scientist in her voice.

“You know, for someone who has just been introduced to a new dimension, you’re taking all of this really well.”

Parisa grabbed a black silk thong and stepped into it. “I don’t know about that. I think I must be in shock. Yes, probably shock.” She made use of one of Havily’s bras, but her breasts overflowed the top. The woman had to be at least a double D. She quickly dove into a pair of jeans and a purple sequined tank top meant more for clubbing than fleeing from the Commander’s henchmen, but the combination looked good on her.

Parisa blinked at her from a pair of beautiful amethyst eyes, the same color that she had witnessed on her wings. A faint smile drifted over her lips. “On the other hand, from the visions I’ve had, I’ve already seen a great deal of this world already and I know the men. I know Warrior Marcus from before, as I said, and Warrior Medichi, of course.” She blushed as she said his name. “I know that something happened to Warrior Luken and that both he and Warrior Medichi are worried about his back, about his wings, I think.”

Havily nodded, then told her about the attack on Luken at the Superstitions.

“Oh, God.” Parisa started, a whole-body jerk, and her fingers flew to her lips. “I once tried to pluck a feather. I couldn’t believe the streaks of pain that followed. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to be burned. But he looked perfectly well when I saw him in my … vision … in the hospital. How did he survive?”

“The ascended world is a world of near-immortality. Only the most brutal of events can take the life of an ascender. In all other situations, we heal miraculously.”

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