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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 38)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(38) by Samantha Young
  • Red hair blew across her vision and Ari gulped, tasting blood. Anabeth’s fuzzy face appeared over her, worried and glazed… like she was hypnotized or something. Vaguely Ari wished this wouldn’t keep happening; that she could finally stumble into one of these situations and be in a position to use her power before she got hurt. But life was never that easy.

    “It wasn’t supposed to be you,” Anabeth whimpered. “No.”

    Ari coughed, feeling the darkness creep ever faster. She was losing time. She still needed to save Jai. “I c-co-” she choked on the blood. “I command you to leave Jai unharmed,” she whispered and the blackness finally won.

    The magic in the swords pinning him down was strong and Jai was weak. That was no ordinary emerald in Anabeth’s hand. That was Mount Qaf emerald. Someone had betrayed them.

    He could see Ari lying on the ground from where she’d taken the hit that was supposed to have gotten him. A hit that would have killed him. That may be killing her now. Through the pain Jai growled weakly as he tried to move, to get to her. To protect her as Anabeth strode towards her with trembling limbs.

    “It wasn’t supposed to be you,” Anabeth whispered. “No.”

    Ari was shuddering hard now and Jai bit back another yelp of pain as he tried to lift his left arm. “I c-co-” she stopped as a horrible coughing fit took over. Jai felt panic grip his chest. “I command you to leave Jai unharmed,” Ari’s hoarse words whispered towards his disbelieving ears and he froze as her whole body grew still.

    “No!” he yelled, fear killing him more than the physical pain. “No! Ari!”

    Anabeth stumbled back, looking at him with her own fear printed in her eyes. “What do I do now?”

    And before Jai could beg her to let him go so he could save Ari, Anabeth fled into the Peripatos. As the last hiss of her flames died out Jai lay there in the sickening silence and damned Ari all to hell for putting his life before her own. Fury and impotence roared through him and all his magic exploded into his telepathy.

    RED, GET HERE NOW! ARI IS DYING!

    The message was barely sent and The Red King was running out of the Peripatos towards Ari, his red hair blowing behind him like a flag in battle. “What happened?” he roared, his face mottled with rage as he dropped to his knees beside Ari’s body.

    Jai held back the tears that were threatening to spill as he tried to get a better look at her. “One of The Guild,” he managed as Red put his hand over Ari’s wound and then checked her pulse. “She tricked us with the help of an Utukku. The Utukku was sent here to lure me out. Someone did this. Someone from Mount Qaf. She had Mount Qaf emerald.”

    The Red King’s eyes flashed at the news as he carefully picked Ari’s limp body up into his strong arms. He strode towards Jai, eyeing the swords. “You’re right. This is powerful magic.” He placed a free hand around first the right sword and it turned to ash, the weight of it easing from Jai. In its place he felt warm blood soak his clothes from the now open wound. Red did the same with the other and Jai struggled into a sitting position, his whole upper body sensitive with hurt. In truth, Jai could be paralyzed right then and he wouldn’t care. His eyes and heart were with Ari.

    “Will she be OK?” he whispered hoarsely, struggling to his feet and stumbling.

    The Red King caught him without letting go of Ari. His features were tight. “I need to get you both to my healer. I’ve called him to a safe house. We cannot trust The Guild just yet.”

    The thought of using the Peripatos nearly buckled Jai’s knees. Sweat and blood rolled down his body as he turned to look at Brett’s unconscious figure. “The hunter. He had nothing to do with this. I think it,” he stopped, taking a deep breath, “it was just Anabeth.”

    “I’ll come back for the hunter,” The Red King promised. “But we can’t tarry any longer. Every minute counts.” And with that he disappeared into the flames taking Ari with him. Jai didn’t even think to focus on where he was going or if he’d get there in his current weakened state. His only thought was to follow the girl who had come to mean so much to him.

    The girl who had saved his life.

    24 - There are no excuses, only choices

    He could have set fire to Mount Qaf with his rage, blazing a trail from one end of the never to the next. Instead Red let the fury turn cold within, the calm taking him to the one person who surely had the answer.

    Azazil stared back at him impassively, his long strong fingers tapping on the arm of his black marble throne. Today he wore no robes. Black silk trousers billowed around his legs, his feet bare. A gold torque inset with emeralds and rubies hung down across his collar bones. Matching armlets encircled each huge bicep and ruby earrings dangled from his ears. Azazil was in the mood to play Sultan today. “What exactly do you want of me?”

    Ari would live. Red’s healer had saved her and being of royal Jinn blood, his niece was strong. Jai was recovering quickly from his own wounds but if Jai had taken the hit meant for him, Red didn’t believe the guardian would have survived the attack. Ari had saved the young man’s life. After receiving an earful from ‘Ms. Maggie’ whose own guilt at having been elsewhere during the fight fired her annoyance at Red, the Jinn King had left Ari to sleep off the rest of her injuries within the protection of The Roe Guild who had been cleared of any involvement. They were devastated that one of their own could have done this. The Hollis brothers were in shock that their sister had been approached by another Jinn behind their backs and enlisted to do such evil. Anabeth was still missing, but she had now become a target of her own Guild. The hunter he’d saved after promising Jai, had been returned to the main Guild in New Jersey, recovering nicely from his knife wound. Yes, everything had been patched up… except who had corrupted Anabeth in the first place.

    “You must know who attacked Ari, Father?”

    “I do.” Azazil shrugged, his eyes telling Red to back off.

    And normally The Red King would listen to a silent command from his father but an overwhelming feeling had begun to take over him since he’d become involved in his niece’s plight, and it was becoming hard to stop it. “Who was it? Was it White?”

    “If I said yes, what would you do? Would you rush out of here and beat him to a bloody pulp?”

    Red shifted uncomfortably, not keen on the snide tone in Azazil’s voice.

    “It wasn’t your brother.” Azazil waved him off, the jewels upon his fingers glittering in the obscenely blinding light of the grand hall. A familiar hum of energy pulsed at Red’s back as Azazil cocooned them in privacy. His father hated anyone inside his head and used telepathy very rarely. The Sultan’s gaze narrowed on his son. “It was Asmodeus. He beguiled the girl, Anabeth, and gave her the emerald. She has been dealt with for her incompetence and will not be found by her Guild.”

    It was difficult to shock a Jinn King but that did. Red shook his head in confusion. “Why? Asmodeus, I mean.”

    “My Lieutenant decided it would be fun to join the party. His words not mine.” Azazil’s jaw clenched with emotion before he wiped it out of existence. “Do not concern yourself, son. I have dealt with Asmodeus and I have received his promise not to interfere in these matters again.”

    As far as Red was aware, Azazil never exacted a promise from Asmodeus. He cajoled or manipulated or just cleaned up his mess. Red was glad he had done so this time, however. Ari’s enemies were powerful enough without adding Asmodeus to the mix. “Thank you. That will certainly make my job easier.”

    The light around them dimmed, almost as if a raincloud had blown over them. Azazil’s eyes narrowed and The Red King tried to hide his unease. “My question is… why did Asmodeus believe killing Jai would create such chaos for Ari?”

    Because they love one another.

    Red shrugged, the guilt clawing at his insides as he lied smoothly, “Jai is a powerful protector for Ari. Taking him out would have made the game easier for The White King and Dalí.”

    Azazil grinned but it was a malicious, cutting knife of a smile. “You’re making this so much more intriguing, son.”

    Red straightened his spine, waiting for his father to pass judgment on him for lying. His heart pounded hard in his chest for the first time in a long time.

    The Sultan sighed and eased back on his throne, boredom replacing his feral expression. “You are not to tell anyone of Asmodeus’ involvement. That is a command. Now… you may go.”

    Not needing to be told twice, Red took measured steps into the Peripatos while his heart demanded he run.

    Jai sat on the opposite twin bed watching Ari sleep. She’d been in and out of consciousness for about thirty-six hours, but Red’s healer, a surprisingly young male Jinn, had worked wonders on him and Ari. He didn’t know about Ari but Jai felt almost 100% again. The Guild was packing up. He could hear the sounds of movement and the cadence of high and low voices rumbling through the walls as they prepared to leave for Ohio. Not surprisingly they were a subdued bunch right now, feeling uneasy and guilty over Anabeth’s betrayal. Jai didn’t blame them. He blamed the son-of-a-bitch whose betrayal came from Mount Qaf.

    The fury that was tinged with panic burned through Jai and he dropped his gaze, glad that Fallon had finally managed to talk Charlie into leaving Ari’s bedside. Ari’s near death experience had really shaken the kid up. Jai could only hope it had shaken him up enough to get his head out of his ass along with all those talismans he had been obsessing over lately. Unable to keep from looking at Ari, from reassuring himself that she was alive, Jai glanced back up, relief tingling in his scalp when he saw how much color had returned to Ari’s cheeks.

    She’d jumped in front of a Jinn version of a bazooka to save him.

    Jai still couldn’t get his head around it.

    How was he supposed to act when she woke up? What was he supposed to say?

    The tremble of his cellphone in his lap jolted his gaze away from her and Jai answered the call, glad to hear a familiar voice. “Trey.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire