Chapter 47: Fiery
Hayden sped up, dashing through the trees with Cory on his back. She steadied herself, keeping her hands as still as possible as her Alpha raced through the chilly forest. The air got colder and colder as they got closer and closer to their destination. She positioned her arrow and pictured her father, conjuring up images of his smiling laughing face, the way his eyes crinkled when he grinned, the way he tossed his head back and laughed out loud. Her mother had been a kinder gentler soul when her father had been alive. She remembered the fear that gripped her heart that night she realised the beasts had taken her father away. She let that fear burst into rage and then she let that rage burn through her, fiery hot. She let the arrow fly. It hit the ground just a foot from the stealthy Stormbringer.
“You missed,” said Sprout, seemingly disappointed.
“No, I didn’t,
Chapter 48: The Swamplands Three! Yelled Hayden in their minds. Move out! Full speed ahead! The two massive wolves and the gargantuan tiger stole out of the tent, one by one, through the narrow exit, as quickly as possible. Cory clung to Hayden’s thick furry neck as hard as she could. She could see Sprout holding onto Titan’s Beta wolf for dear life on her left. On her right, she saw Blaython keeping up with them, flying across the meadow. Behind her, she could hear the grating high-pitched growls, snarls, calls and wails. The noises they made were so unnerving. She shut her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, readying herself for action. They’re following us, said Hayden in her mind, his voice strained with effort even over mind-link. He must have been using practically all of his energy to run as fast as possible. She needed to slow down
Chapter 49: The Marshlands Cory’s dress was soaked and it did not held that the wolf she was riding had drenched fur. The air was so cold in the marshlands she felt like her damp dress would freeze. Her teeth were chattering. She tried desperately to combat this as the sound could alert the Stormbringers. Her barrier was still protecting them from the trickles of hail. The hail storm was mercifully subsiding. Do you think you could make the inside of the barrier warmer? Wondered Hayden. Titan, Blaython and I are okay but you and Sprout don’t look so good. Cory looked over at her tiniest friend who was shivering so violently, it was hard for him to get a firm grip on the fur on Titan’s back. Maybe you can use the Bow? Wondered Titan. It is a Fire Weapon after all. The arrow that formed that huge chasm never came back to me like the others d
Chapter 50: Under the Frozen Lake Cory could hear and feel the rumbling of the Stormbringer stampede. The snow-covered bank was trembling along with the lake’s icy surface. Titan had shattered a section of the ice about seven feet in diameter but it was quickly closing up. The ice was reforming at an alarming speed. “Blaython GO!” Commanded Hayden, giving the huge tiger a nudge. It made no sense being quiet anymore. The Stormbringers were well aware of their presence now. The thunder of their huge paws striking the ground was growing louder and louder whilst the ground shook more and more violently. Blaython leapt through the hole landing on an icy platform about ten feet down from the surface. Cory could see a staircase that led from the icy platform further downwards into the depths of the lair within the lake. “Titan!” Prompted Hayden. “You go next Alpha! In case I have to strike the ice again!
Chapter 51: Exit Point Cory was stunned. She was fixed to the spot, afraid it was some kind of trap. “Do you know this man?” Asked Titan. Hayden struggled to sit up as the wounds on his back slowly began to heal. The fabric of his shirt remained blood-stained and shredded. The twin beasts were still knocked out mere inches from Cory’s barrier after their collision with it. With two beasts out cold and one beast having undergone a spectacular transformation, there were four beasts left: two skulking as they withdrew into the passageway from whence they came and two more circling the barrier protecting Hayden. Cory was worried the beasts would attack her father who seemed disoriented. He stumbled towards her, his hands pressing against the barrier that she was in. Don’t let him in yet! Instructed Hayden. Titan, I need you to cut the collars off of those
Chapter 52: Sorceress in the Swamplands “She’s gaining on us!” Cried Sprout from his perch on Titan’s shoulder. It took all of Cory’s focus to keep them airborne whilst maintaining the protective sphere around them. She dared to look over her shoulder at Anestra whose levitation was effortless. The Sorceress seemed to soar through the air, cutting through wispy clouds as effortlessly as a bird in flight. Cory knew she could not keep this up but she needed to get them a safe distance from the den of Stormbringers below. Another ball of lightning hit the sphere housing them. Everyone felt the impact of it. They tumbled about within the bubble but thankfully the sphere remained intact and none of them went plummeting down to the earth. “You should shoot her with an arrow!” Cried Sprout. “She can only do so much at once!” Yelled Hayden. “We have to try somethi
Chapter 53: Happy Homecoming The cheers were deafening. Cory kept her arms securely around Hayden’s waist as she tried to make herself as small and insignificant as possible. She was seated behind the Alpha Prince on his steed, Blaython, and she found the heat of thousands of gazes unbearable. An astounding number of people had come out to line the streets of Merdenor to welcome home the victors. Everyone was whispering about the girl being brought home by the Alpha Prince, the girl who had saved the kingdom and stolen his heart, the girl who belonged to him, the “property” of the Alpha Prince. She could hear snatches of their conversations as she passed by. Property was a generous term. Some were rudely calling her his “plaything.” “What is it?” Asked Hayden, looking over his shoulder at her. He winced just from having to turn at the waist to glance backwards. “Be carefu
Chapter 54: The Alpha Prince’s Princess They were not outside amidst the splendid array of food and ale already adorning tables at which no one was seated. She checked the hallway she had come from, struggling to open the heavy doors alone. The ladies were not in there either. She forced her way back outside, making some of her dark curls tumble out of their elegant bun in the process. She left them like that. She could go back to her room or she could investigate. She undid her hair. It was easier to think without all her curls piled atop her head. “Letting loose already?” Joked her father.“Father!” Squeaked Cory. “You frightened me!” Her father was dressed for the banquet too and that put her at ease. “I heard nobles tend to be fashionably late,” he said, holding out his hand to her. She took his hand and he led her to a magnificent fountain near the middle of the courtyard. “Night widows!” She exc