Read Crais Online

Authors: Jaymin Eve

Crais (19 page)

His chuckle was the last thing I heard as he pulled me close.
The golden glow surrounded us, tightening its loving embrace.

Chapter 1
3

 

 

“Tell me everything
. Don’t leave one word out.”

Talina
and Lucy had just cornered me in the cinema room. Lucy had knocked me to the ground and was sitting on me firing questions. I managed to lift my head and look between them. Lucy’s eye didn’t look too bad today but it would have been a decent shiner without the help of the gel pack.

“Seriously?
Why would you want to know about my sex life?” I didn’t bother to struggle. I knew my friend and she was far more determined than I was.

Lucy’s brow furrowed. “Uh,
because we’re girls, you’re our best friend and ...” She paused, glancing at Talina.

“Because we have no choice but to live vicariously through you
,” Talina added.

I sighed. “You’re not going to give this up
, are you?”

They shook their heads.

“Alright, I’ll dish, just get your ass off me.”

Lucy’s
slight weight lifted and I dragged myself over to the couch. Rubbing my burning eyes, I leaned my head back. I was strangely tired, but at the same time invigorated. Brace and I had stayed all night at the snow cabin, and it had been sort of magical. The brilliance of the night sky had kept me mesmerized, along with my mate, so I hadn’t had much sleep. I’d only been back at the house for ten minutes before this ambush occurred.

On the couch
Lucy and Talina crowded in on either side of me. Looking at their eager faces I had to smile at these crazies I called friends. I spoke quickly, trying to find the words to describe the best night of my life. I might have left a few of the moments out, the ones I really wanted to keep private.

“That’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.” Lucy sighed. “He built you a dream home.”

“He said he loved you.” Talina sighed as well. “I wish I knew what happened to Ladre.”

She
didn’t mention him a lot, but I knew he was often in her thoughts.

“We
’ll find out one day, Talli.” I gave her a hug.

“At least you don’t have to worry about the love of your life turning into a traitorous bastard who will be
sliced and diced into ten pieces the next time I see him.” Lucy stared at her nails; they were bright orange.

First World had
this machine which tinted your nails, skin or hair. Lucy loved hers and almost every day had different colored nails.

“I want to see this cabin, Abbs. We need to have a sleepover under the stars.
After you wash the sheets, of course.” She wrinkled her nose.

Shaking my head, I elbowed her in the side.
“What you both need is a new love interest.” I changed the subject.

I wanted
to see them happy and just because I was off the market didn’t mean they couldn’t branch out and have some fun.

“Well
–” Lucy started.

But before she could
finish we were interrupted.

Josian s
trode through the doorway. “I’ve been looking for you three. We have things to discuss. Everyone’s in the sitting room.”

He waved us out the door, bringing up th
e rear so we couldn’t escape. I skipped every second step on the way downstairs and managed not to fall. As I walked into the room, I noticed the Reds were missing. They must already be off informing everyone of the Walker gathering.

I sat on the long couch, Talina and Lucy squishing in next to me. Brace was against the wall, Lucas beside him. They were having a discussion, but
Brace caught my eye, locking me in his gaze. The slightest smile crossed his lips and, before I could stop myself, images flooded my mind and the blush spread like a sunrise across my face.

“Two guesses what Abby’s thinking about right now.” Lucy smirked at Talina.

“Can you blame her? He’s hotter than hot, and from what she said ... I’d probably still have him tied to my bed.”

Lucy snorted. “Oh
, yeah: handcuffs, whips and –”

“Stop
,” I whispered in mortification. “I’m going to kill you two if you don’t shut up now.”

Red is your color, gorgeous.

I glared at him.

And
, for the record, I think I’d be the one tying you to the bed for the rest of our days.

“Oh
, eff me,” I said out loud.

Lucy snorted again. “Yeah
, that’s what we’re talking about.”

I couldn’t help
it as my laughter erupted.

“Just so you both know
: Brace can hear every word you’re saying.” Maybe that would shut them up.

But i
nstead of being embarrassed like normal people they both laughed harder.

“Tell him that I have some restraints if he wants to borrow them.” Lucy winked at the two men across from us.

I wasn’t even going to ask her why she had cuffs.

“Why did I have a daughter
? Honestly, I’m not sure I can handle the stress.” Josian muttered his favorite lament as he walked in the room with Lallielle.

Quarn was the last to enter, giving me a wink as he sat in the single
seat. I was happy to see him again. He’d had to be at the castle for the last few weeks, helping with security.

Josian and Lallielle sat on the floor.

“Alright, I have some new information.” Josian got right into it. “The planning for the Walker gathering is underway. We’ve decided on one First-World month from now. We will hold it at that same field as the last battle. It’s large and isolated enough to house everyone. We’re inviting all clans, even the Abernaths.”

“What?” Brace stood straight. “You do not want Que anywhere near this if you
’re trying to gather information to stop him.”

“I understand
, but there must be members of your clan who don’t agree with your father’s actions. The Doreens have orders not to approach any Abernaths. I’m leaving it up to you to discreetly get word around.”

Brace’s
expression was troubled, but he gave a slow nod. “I have a few trusted friends. I’ll pass the information on.”

Josian
also gave a slight head dip. “That’s the best we can do.”

“Has there been new activity now that there are three Seventine released?” I had to ask
. My guilt wouldn’t let me ignore it any longer.

Josian shook his head. “Actually, everything has been quiet. As far as we can tell
via the Walker networks there have been no new lost tethers on any of the worlds. It’s as if they’ve gone to ground somewhere.”

“If I was
the key to releasing the third Seventine, then are the rest going to just stroll out no problem now?” I needed to know if I had greatly accelerated the time-line to the final battle, I still had four half-Walkers to collect.

Lucy
snapped into soothsayer mode. “From what I can gather,” she glared around the room, “and let me tell you this seeing-the-future thing is not easy, but I know a few things. Firstly, without Abby they could never have freed the third. Her blood is from the ancients. This was a safety mechanism woven in by the originals when they first contained the Seventine.”

Damn, I was such a fri
gging moron.


Second, it’s not going to be easy to release the rest of the Seventine. In fact, each subsequent release will require even larger influxes of energy.”

“So we have time to stop them still.”
I breathed a few sighs.

“There’
s always time and hope, until we’re all dead.” Lucy smiled brightly. “And then we might be the undead, so it’s a never-ending cycle.”


Wow, how have we done without your insights before now,” I drawled at her. “Not to mention that unwavering optimism.”

“Have you seen Francesca
in your visions?” Lallielle interrupted us, her voice shaky. “I’ve heard that since you’re so rare you can keep tabs on each other.”

Lucy’s lips thinned into fine lines as she hesitated.
“I’ve seen glimpses of her, Lalli, and it doesn’t seem as if she’s being forced to stay away. Her location is murky, but ... she’s not unhappy.” Lucy’s expression turned sympathetic. “I could be wrong. It seems as if the more I allow these images in, the more that flood through me. I’m still not very good at getting the fine details.”

“You’
re doing a wonderful job. It takes years to become proficient at this gift,” Lallielle said, trying not to look upset, although I could see her forehead wrinkling as she turned to stare out the window.

Lucy’s face fell
at Lallielle’s distress. I reached out and gripped her hand.

“So what do we do for the month until this reunion?” I
said, wondering if I’d have enough time to go to the next planet.

“I don’t
want you leave First World for a while,” Josian said. “I need you here to help me with the setup. It’s going to take quite a lot of maneuvering to make sure we don’t end up with clan wars.”

Did I
look confused? I certainly felt confused.

“The clans are very
competitive. To prevent daily battles we must set up separate territories for each.” Brace smiled. “Then we have just one central gathering point that acts as neutral ground.”

I groaned. “You Neanderthals are going to spend most of the time in a p
eeing contest, aren’t you?”

Josian roared with laughter. “I’ll have you know, Aribella, we were around long before the Neanderthals.”

“Even better,” I muttered.

“Shit.” Lucy jumped to her feet.

Everyone stared at her as she paced.


Josian is correct: Abby, Fury and Talina are important. Without your presence no one is going to take this seriously. You have to be included in all parts of the entire gathering.” She looked a little stunned. “And I have to say that if even a tenth of the things I’m seeing are true then ... Walker’s are ... they’re damn crazy,” she finished before sitting back down and holding her head in tented fingers.

I wondered what she’d seen.

“It’s true.” Brace raised his eyebrows. “Everyone is going to be a little stupid trying to meet these mythical half-Walkers.”

“Speaking of
mythical pains-in-the-butt, where’s Fury?” Lucy asked, without lifting her face. “Shouldn’t she be here?”

I’d forgotten about the prickly Crais half-Walker
. No wonder it was so peaceful in the room.

“She went for a walk, something about needing to clear her head
,” Lallielle told us.

“And if she comes back with a personality transplant then double score for us
,” I said.

Lucy snorted, lifting her hand in the air for a high
-five.

“I wouldn’t dream too big, super Abby.
While I have returned as less of a dragoona, don’t expect me to start passing out hugs.”

Fury’s voice filled the room
. She’d just walked into the entrance. Dune wasn’t in his usual place, attached to her hand.

“Looks like you lost an appendage
,” I noted.

Sh
e actually gave me a half-smile. It looked forced but was a vast improvement on her normal scowl.

“Dune is waiting for me ou
tside. We’re going swimming.”

Lucy lifted her head then. “
Who are you and what have you done with Fury?”

Fury shrugged. “Let’s just say I saw a different side of super Abby and her faithful side-kick Lucy
yesterday. We have more in common than I thought and I ...” She paused to consider her words. “I guess I’ve decided to be less difficult. It sounds as if we have quite a battle ahead of us and if I know anything it’s the strength of a united front.”

I exchanged a quick glance with Lucy.
Her expression of surprise must be mirroring my own. Personally I would believe Fury’s shift in personality when I had a little more evidence of its permanence.

“Great to hear
,” Josian boomed, smiling broadly. “Grantham will be here in a few days. We are going to discuss the Walker convention. He’s excited to meet the half from his clan.”

Fury nodded once. “I’l
l see you back here tonight then.” She left the room.

“I wonder what the
hell she saw in my dream power.” I shook my head.

“Clearly something more life
-changing than the time Sarah Morrison pantsed you in front of everyone,” Lucy piped up.

I groaned.
Oh, no. She hadn’t seen that, had she? “Damn. Why is it always the moments I want to forget?”

“What’
s pantsed?” Brace and Lucas asked together.

I lunged to cover Lucy’s mouth
, but I wasn’t fast enough.

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