Fire Destroyer, page 1part #3 of Soul of Ashes Series
Soul of Ashes - Volume 3-6
MAGE OF BLOODSTONE
Also by D.N. Leo
Jaxper didn’t like what had happened. Not one bit. She hated to be trapped. She entrapped people and creatures often, and she didn’t like it when the creatures turned the tables on her. She was certain she’d seen a shapeshifter—a fox to be precise. She knew this kind of creature. It was familiar. It was something Lyla wouldn’t know. So she chased it. The next thing she knew, the fox disappeared, and she was surrounded by a pack of creatures from the multiverse. They looked like wolves, but they weren’t. She knew she couldn’t kill them with her magic, so she built her wall and waited for rescue.
Lyla and Michael had lured the wolves away. She didn’t know where they had led them.
Gale rushed over, still busy with his equipment and gadgets.
“I need to go help Michael and Lyla,” she said. “Can you stay here by yourself?”
Gale shook his head. “I don’t think it’s a good idea. If you could help, why would they have had to draw the wolves away from you?” he asked. “Sit down!”
“No, not you. The cats.”
The two small pumas obeyed, dropping to the ground the little bags they had been carrying and then sitting.
“This is a very good area to get a signal for the gateway. I need to work on it,” Gale said as he turned on his equipment and typed frantically on a keyboard. Symbols flashed on the small screen in front of him, and for a moment, he no longer paid any attention to Jaxper.
She looked up and saw a clear patch of sky. She knew this forest, and it was rare to see the sky from here. That was why Gale had found clear signals here. She didn’t understand much about technology, but that sounded like a probable explanation.
She caught a glimpse of the mountain that her Mountain witch clan called home. Well, mostly. They couldn’t live like normal witches. They weren’t supposed to have a home. They were lost and wandering most of the time because of a spell put on them.
One wouldn’t expect a witch to be normal, but they did have a normal life cycle. Witches lived and died like any other creatures. Any witch, that is, except those in this forest.
Impulsively, she lifted her hands. She threw a series of poisonous thorns in the direction of movement she had seen. Her witch senses were obviously faster than her thought processes. She rushed over, checked the bush, and saw the wriggling bodies of three gigantic pythons. Before they had died, they’d shed their skin and shifted into three small elves.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” She knew the elves lived in a small cave on the other side of the hill and never made contact with humans. What are they doing here? she wondered. She wanted to ask Gale a question, but when she turned to him, he was immersed in his work and wasn’t even aware she had just killed a bunch of were-pythons.
“Never mind,” she muttered. Then she shouted, “Look out!” and charged toward him. A large python snaked down from the tree behind Gale.
The cubs roared, hissed, bared their small teeth, and charged at the snake.
Hearing the commotion, Gale looked up. “Damn it,” he said, “I’m almost there.”
Seeing the cubs’ reaction, he turned around. As soon as he saw the snake, he sprang to his feet and pulled his gun. The bullet didn’t do much damage to the python. It dropped from the tree trunk and flew toward Gale.
Jaxper pushed Gale out of the way and threw her poisonous thorns. While ordinary bullets couldn’t hurt these paranormal creatures, she knew her poison would. The poison was made from the powder of the flowers of darkness and the honey of the bees she raised. It was lethal to paranormal creatures. As expected, the python dropped to the ground, wriggled a bit, and died.
Jaxper looked at her shaky hands.
“Thanks,” Gale said. “Are you okay?”
She looked up at him. Tall and formidable with slightly long dark hair and striking blue eyes. Sinfully handsome in human, paranormal, and, she’d bet, multiversal standards. But she couldn’t explain the sensation that shocked her system when she’d touched his shoulders to pull him out of the way of the python.
“Are you okay?” Gale asked again.
“Yeah, sure.” She brushed away a stray lock of hair on her forehead. “Stop hissing! I’ve killed the snake,” she said to the little pumas. Then she glanced in the direction they were looking, and she saw what was coming. The large shadow of something flew at her. It came so fast it knocked her to the ground on her backside. She almost passed out from the impact. On the ground, looking up, she should see it was a gigantic were-fox that had hit her with his front legs. He bared his teeth but then quickly ignored her and looked at Gale.
It was too late for the fox. Before it had fully turned, Gale had swung a kick at its side, flipping it over Jaxper and sending it rolling away several feet, howling in pain.
“You don’t do that to a lady,” Gale said and darted at the fox, giving it another kick before it regained its footing. It rolled away several feet, and in a flash, it shifted into a human—a man in his thirties. The shifting was too fast for an ordinary shapeshifter. Then, on the front shoulders of the naked man, round holes opened like the lens of a camera. Jaxper could tell Gale had anticipated that. He ducked down just before two laser beams came out of the holes.
“Stupid Xiilok robot,” Gale said. On his way down to the ground, Gale pulled out the knife Michael had given him. He rolled forward, got to his feet, and lunged at the robot.
Gale’s movements were surprisingly fast. For a moment, Jaxper thought her vision was blurry, but when she looked at the pumas and saw them clearly, she realized Gale was blurred because of the speed at which he moved.
The were-fox man was stunned by Gale’s speed. He hadn’t anticipated Gale’s movement the way Gale had expected his shifting. Gale stabbed his knife into the middle of the man’s chest.
Jaxper wondered why he hadn’t aimed for the heart or the head, where instant death would be guaranteed, but then she saw the chest of the man open like the door of a small cabinet, revealing wires and robotic parts inside. Gale had opened the robot’s chest like one would pry open a locker. As he plunged the knife in, something sparked, and its body totally stopped.
Gale peeled off a tag on a wire next to the robot’s mechanical heart and looked at the text on it. “105x,” he read. “You’re a primitive model. A disgrace to the technology of the multiverse.” Then he pulled some small square discs from the ribcage area. “Let’s see what data you’re capable of storing.” He flicked through a couple of discs and stopped at the third one. “Gale Brody? Why am I in your databank?”
Suddenly the head of the robot explode
Gale staggered back several steps. He looked up to the sky and muttered, “Trouble.”
Jaxper approached. “Trouble is my middle name. What’s up?”
“It transmitted the information here to whatever hired it. This robot isn’t as primitive as I thought. It has two switches.”
“Makes perfect sense to me.” Jaxper rolled her eyes. “Nobody was hunting you guys from the multiverse. So this is breaking news to them!”
Gale’s computer let out a joyful ping. “We’ve got the gateway!” He said and walked toward his computer. But before he got there, a beam of light shot down from the sky. A giant fifty-foot tall column of light reached from the ground upward through the trees.
“Is that your gateway?” Jaxper asked.
“No, that’s a disaster.”
“Get away from the holocast!” Michael shouted in Gale and Jaxper’s direction. But Lyla knew he was yelling at Jaxper specifically. She was an Earth creature and had never traveled to the multiverse before, and entering a holocast or a gateway was like a death sentence.
Lyla was running beside Michael. She could barely keep up with him. He moved as if he hadn’t just recovered from an extreme loss of energy.
Jaxper pointed at the giant light beam. “Is that thing a holocast?”
Gale turned and saw Michael and Lyla running toward them. “Yes,” he said and pulled Jaxper away. “It won’t harm me, but it will kill you if you pass through the light.”
Lyla rushed over. “Stay behind us, Jaxper.” Then her eyes landed on Gale. He looked different. His blue eyes had darkened several shades. She knew something had changed inside him, and she didn’t like what she was thinking.
“I need to work on the computer. We’re really close to getting the gateway open.” Gale returned to his computer. Lyla gestured, asking Jaxper keep an eye on Gale. Jaxper nodded.
“Show yourself, coward,” Michael said, looking at the empty light beam.
Lyla approached, but Michael pushed her behind him. The faint image of a human shape flickered and then solidified in the middle of the light beam.
“Do you recognize him?” Michael asked.
The man, now in a more solid form, smiled. “But I know you well, Lyla.”
He looked human. Maybe in his late thirties. But Lyla was sure he wasn’t human at all.
“You can’t step out of that holocast, either because you can’t handle Earth’s environment or you’re afraid of us,” Michael said.
“I don’t fear anything.”
“That’s Kan. He’s the top-caliber contractor of multiverse mercenaries in Xiilok. I recognize the signals,” Lyla said.
Kan chuckled. “You’re a smart cookie, Lyla.”
She hurled a fireball at him. The fire hit the wall of light and bounced back. She ducked to avoid the ricochet.
“Smart, but vicious. You have no patience, Lyla, and that’s not good for a leader. I thought your father would have taught you that.”
A pretentious smile spread across Kan’s face, making Lyla want to hurl another fireball at him. But she knew now that her fire couldn’t penetrate his holocast wall. Even if it could, she didn’t think Kan was there in the flesh, and in that case, she couldn’t hurt him.
The holocast was the most common channel of communication used in the multiverse. It beamed hologram images of the communicators across dimensions without the individuals having to physically travel. However, they had the option to travel with it, and in such cases, the holocast turned into a gateway or portal through which the individual could exit the beam and join the outside environment. Traveling the other way, though, wasn’t as smooth. If uninvited or unauthorized, the outsider could not penetrate a holocast or gateway channel without being hurt.
Lyla wasn’t surprised when her fireball bounced. But still, for some strange reason, she just wanted to continue hurling fire at Kan.
“Well, Michael, to be honest, I’m only interested in Lyla, but last time, in Xiilok, you interrupted my plan. So this time I’ll get you both, just to be sure.”
“Are you inviting us into your holocast?” Michael smiled.
Lyla knew Michael was trying to either lure Kan out or get them an invitation to enter. But Lyla’s instinct was telling her that to survive the multiverse and rise to his position in Xiilok, Kan wasn’t a creature Michael could easily trick.
“Get ready,” Gale muttered under his breath, but loud enough for Michael and Lyla to hear. That could only mean he was going to open the gateway back to the Daimon Gate at any moment. It was the one and only chance to get out of the situation, now that they were under attack. The Daimon Gate was a safe haven.
Lyla didn’t want to turn toward Gale to acknowledge him. She cursed silently. The ability to inject thoughts as messages into others’ minds was a skill her mother had. But not Lyla. She felt useless.
Michael looked at her. He said nothing, but she knew he wanted to say he had also heard Gale. They stepped slowly backward toward Gale.
“Why are you leaving Earth so soon, Lyla?” Kan smiled. “I won’t make contact with you, but I’ll have to make arrangements for that. It may be rude of me to talk to you via the holocast wall, but I won’t invite you in until you’re incapacitated.”
They heard a roar and then the rumbling noise of an army of paranormal creatures heading their way. Michael and Lyla turned and saw an enormous pack of were-wolves and were-foxes creeping stealthily toward them.
Michael pulled Lyla behind him. “Where are you with the gateway, Gale?” Michael asked.
“Coming!” Gale said without looking up.
Jaxper, who was standing next to Gale, made a move toward Michael and Lyla.
“Stay here!” Gale said without breaking his concentration.
“Stay, my ass!” Jaxper left him, galloping toward Michael and Lyla.
Kan smiled from inside the protective light of the holocast, enjoying the commotion outside.
The first group of wolves charged.
Michael blasted them with his newfound power, burning them from the inside out. Their bodies exploded into ashes and bones, which rained down to the ground. Michael breathed heavily from the exertion, and blood trickled from his nose.
Lyla pushed him aside. As the second group of wolves charged, she hurled fire at them. Unlike Michael, her fireballs didn’t suck the energy out of her. She could throw fire over and over again, willing the energy from the natural environment around her to fuel it.
“Fire summoner!” said Kan.
He didn’t say it out loud, but for some reason unknown to Lyla, she could hear him as if he’d whispered it directly into her ear.
Lyle kept throwing fire, and the wolves kept coming. They were burned one by one, but it was like firing a single bullet at a time with a handgun. Soon they would be outnumbered by paranormal creatures.
Another pack emerged on her side. She didn’t have a free arm to fire at them.
Suddenly, she saw them shattered into ashes, and she knew Michael had blasted at them. She looked back and could see blood trickling out of his ears now.
“We’re nearly there!” Gale shouted.
Lyla saw a crack in the sky and then light shooting down to the ground a few hundred feet away. While it was a promising sign, she was afraid they might not even make the short distance to the gateway.
A gigantic light beam streamed down to the ground from above.
“The gateway,” Lyla said.
Michael turned and saw it, too. “Let’s go,” he said and grabbed her arm, pushing her toward it.
The wolves attacking them were stunned for a few seconds by the scene of the opening gateway. But then they charged again. Michael again pushed Lyla in the direction of the light. He turned and blasted another heat wave at the pack. This attempt sent him to the ground, spitting out blood.
He scrambled up as the next pa
“Don’t! Keep running, Lyla!” Michael shouted at her.
She knew Michael didn’t have many blasts left in him.
Gale stood up from his computer, showing that he was done with the gateway opening. He looked toward the commotion and then at Kan inside the holocast.
Kan paced back and forth, agitated at seeing the opening of the gateway.
More wolves came.
Female cries echoed in the air from the deep forest. Then, from out of the darkness, a troop of women in long blue dresses appeared. They attacked from behind the wolf pack. After several blows of blindingly bright light, many wolves at the back were killed or injured. They howled in pain.
A woman in blue approached Jaxper. Jaxper nodded in acknowledgment. “Witch of the Lake, thank you for answering my call,” Jaxper said.
“We owe your mother a favor. Let’s call it even. Do you need us to hold off these wolves?”
Jaxper nodded. “Yes, please. Thank you.” She rushed toward Michael. She grabbed his arms and pushed him toward the gateway as he had Lyla.
“Go, all of you. I’ll take care of this,” Jaxper said.
They heard a roar from the holocast. Kan stepped out through his protective light screen. His eyes were red with anger. He pulled out a weapon that looked something like a machine gun and blasted it at Jaxper.
Gale grabbed Jaxper from behind, swinging her backward and out of the range of fire. The residual impact and the heatwave from the shot pushed Gale backward and burned his left forearm.
D. N. LEO SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Heart of Siren (Merworld Book 1)Curse of Soulmate--The Complete SeriesSecond Life in Death--Complete SeriesShade of DarknessElusive Beings--A Shade of Mind--Book 3Imperfect Divine--A Shade of Mind--Book 4Soul Dealers - Shadow Justice - Book 1Totem of Aries
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