Read Clash of the Otherworlds: Book 3, Portal Guardians Online
Authors: Elle Casey
Clash of the Otherworlds
Other Books by Elle Casey
To Derek Emmons.
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© 2012 Elle Casey, all rights reserved, worldwide.
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CHASE AND I HOVERED OVER a blindingly beautiful meadow before coming down for a soft landing next to Beau and Spike.
They were near the edge of a ring of trees that rimmed the grassy area and appeared to be deep in conversation, but they immediately stopped talking to acknowledge our arrival.
Chase put me down on my feet and stepped away.
"Hey," said Spike, a cautious smile exposing a hint of teeth.
"All better now?"
I dropped my backpack to the ground and cleared my throat, trying to move past the awkwardness that was making my throat close up a little.
Back to the old me."
It was like I didn't even know Spike anymore, now that I knew him
The flippant answer he'd probably been expecting from me wouldn't come to my lips.
All of our casual ease with one another was simply gone as I realized the cute, tattooed guy standing before me could be the one other person on earth besides Tony who truly cared for me, no matter what.
That was some powerful shit, and apparently, my body had a mind of its own.
Not only could I not come up with the awesome retort I should have, sweat was beading up under my nose and in my armpits.
I'm going to be running around the Overworld with B.O.
I reached up casually to wipe my lip off, fake coughing to cover my attempts at trying to get my equilibrium back.
"Good," he said.
"I was starting to think our trip was over before it even really started."
"No such luck.
You're stuck dragon-hunting with me."
And Ben-hunting too, but that's a whole other animal I haven't yet decided how to deal with.
I looked over at Beau.
"So, are you our escort now or what?
You said if I could get us here, you'd help us out."
He nodded once, saying nothing - his usual mode of communication.
"Awesome," said Spike.
He rubbed his hands together.
"So where to first?"
He looked from Beau to Chase and then me.
"I need to either find our friends or a dragon," I said.
"They are not in the same place," said Beau.
I looked over at Chase.
"What should we do?"
Chase spoke only to me, Spike not even part of his equation.
"I can't be involved in what you do here.
I have to go.
His wings opened in preparation for flight again, the expression on his face impossible to read.
I shrugged, trying hard to feel okay with it.
He'd made himself clear, and for the first time in my life, I didn't feel like fighting something that wasn't my idea.
It made zero sense to my heart, but at the same time, it just felt right to let him go.
An annoying expression my mom used to say flitted across my memory, something about letting things go to find out if they're truly yours or whatever.
It was frightening to think my mother's wisdom was guiding my life right now.
Shit was bad.
But at least I knew there was an angel out there somewhere who cared about what happened to me.
That was way better than nobody caring at all.
"When will I see you again?" I asked, telling myself that whatever his answer was, I was going to be cool with it.
"I can't say.
Whenever you're finished doing what you need to do in the Here and Now.
Could be a decade or five thousand years, it's out of my hands."
I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.
"Well, dude, it was nice knowing ya," said Spike, holding out his fist.
Chase bumped it with his.
"Take care of her," he said.
"Til my dying day," said Spike.
"Or until she tells me to get the hell away and stay the hell away."
He flashed his crazy-sexy teeth at me, making my heart skip a beat.
"Not gonna happen," I said, risking a smile in return.
My lip trembled a bit, but my heart felt lighter already.
I looked over at my guardian angel, noticing it didn't hurt quite so much this time to see his imposing figure standing there, ready to leave me for the final time.
"See ya, Chase.
Hopefully much later rather than sooner."
And I meant it.
I was no longer eager to end my days in the Here and Now just so I could be with him again.
I had a life to live, fae to take care of, and cuss words to invent - and I was pretty sure that last item was frowned on here.
Chase nodded before opening up his wings the rest of the way and stroking them down once hard, launching himself up into the air where he soon joined the other angels zooming in and out of the clouds above our heads.
"That is some crazy you-know-what," said Spike, watching Chase's form disappear into the distance, getting smaller and smaller with each passing second until we couldn't see him anymore.
You aren't kidding."
I expected to feel empty at his departure, but instead, my heart felt full and light.
Spike looked at me.
"Can you believe we thought he was some dude from Maryland?"
I laughed as the irony hit me.
"Hey, that's funny.
Spike shook his head.
"Do you think that was intentional?
If so, that guy's got a messed up sense of humor."
"These angels are tricky; you can't trust 'em," I said, sparing a glance for our silent escort who was staring off into the trees, probably ignoring me.
Spike looked over at him and raised his eyebrows at me, but said nothing.
"So where to, Beau?" I asked.
He had stopped staring at the trees and now was looking at the sky off in the distance.
"I cannot give you advice.
I am only here to guide you to where you want to go; but I advise you to get out of this area as soon as possible."
Something in his tone made the words even more ominous than they already were.
"Because you aren't supposed to be here."
His eyes were glued to a spot in the sky where a couple of dark specks could be seen amongst the fluffy clouds.
They were getting bigger by the second.
"Soooo ... we're like breaking a rule?
What's that mean?
Are we going to get arrested?
Put in an Overworld prison?"
"Not exactly," he said, distractedly.
Spike and I exchanged looks, and he appeared to be as concerned as I was at this point.
"Jayne?" asked the angel, still looking at the sky.
My heart surged and the sound of my own blood pumping through my veins flooded my ears.
"What?" I said in a strangled voice, praying that I'd mis-heard him.
For the trees.
Beau's wings opened in a rush of wind and sound as he turned his back to us and launched himself into the air.
I had no time to think before Spike had grabbed our backpacks and my hand and began dragging me towards the dark forest.
My brain finally kicked in and sent the signal to my feel to start moving before whatever scares the shit out of an angel came to eat me.
"What is it?" I screeched at Spike as we sprinted for the trees.
"I have no idea," he said breathlessly, "an angel tells me to run, I run."
"Why aren't you going faster?" I asked, wondering why he wasn't using his supersonic incubus speed to get us the hell out of there.
Can't," was all he could manage.
He was huffing and puffing as much as I was.
We made it to the edge of the trees before the first sounds of awfulness hit my ears.
I turned in time to see two angels with huge black wings crashing into Beau in midair.
"Don't yell!" urged Spike desperately, drawing my attention away from them and back to our escape.
"I think we'd better try to get out of here without them seeing us!
I don't think they're friends."
He pulled me deeper into the trees, still running but now slowed by all the fallen branches and hidden dips and lumps under the dead leaves.