Hyacinth, Scarlet - Fire of the Four Seasons (Siren Publishing Ménage Amour ManLove) (9 page)

BOOK: Hyacinth, Scarlet - Fire of the Four Seasons (Siren Publishing Ménage Amour ManLove)
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Ohsyn’s heart fell. How would they tell Alexei they’d frozen his sister alive? He saw no easy way to do it, so he gent
ly
took Alexei in his arms and carried him there. Alexei tensed when he saw his sister inside the icy coffin. “Is she dead?” he asked, his voice trembling.

Ohsyn
did
n’t know the answer to
that
question. For a few terrible minutes, he’d been convinced of Alexei’s death. To his surprise, an image flashed through his mind, giving him the requested answer. A princess, trapped in a prison of ice, to be rescued by her fated soul mate.

“Her spirit is sleeping,” he told Alexei. “But she can and will be awakened. We just need to find the right person to do it.”

“Her true love,”
Ly
etah explained. He seemed to have recovered from his earlier distress. Together with the others, he joined Ohsyn and Alexei next to the coffin.

In
Ly
etah’s eyes, Ohsyn read the same desire to feel Alexei he himself
had
experienced. Ohsyn handed Alexei to
Ly
etah. “I’ll make some arrangements for her to be taken care of. Worry not. All will be well.”

Ly
etah seated Alexei against one of the trees with Zimah and Visnah joining him. They all gave him troubled looks, obvious
ly
reluctant to let him go. Ohsyn smiled at them. “I will be back soon.
Miliy moi
, get some rest. You need it.”

Alexei nodded, his eyes already closing. As the young man dozed off, Ohsyn lifted Eva’s coffin in his arms. It
was
heavy, but Ohsyn
had
no real trouble carrying it. He wished he could have used magic to transport it, but alas, it
was
too risky with her inside.

He chose a spot at the outer edge of the grove for her resting place. There, he summoned the forces of the earth and used his magic to create a pedestal. He placed the icy coffin on the pedestal.

When he finished, he sensed his lovers approach. “Alexei is sleeping,” Visnah whispered. “We figured you could use some help.”

Ohsyn turned toward then. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt,” he answered. In truth, their mere presence helped, just like it always
did
. However, Eva’s icy sanctuary needed a few final touches. First, Visnah placed his hands over the coffin and threads of ivy emerged, shielding it in a beautiful cocoon. Zimah then took a step forward and blew over the vegetation. Instant
ly
, it turned to solid ice. Beyond, Eva
remained
visible, shining like a priceless gem, but the outer shield would keep her safe. Final
ly
,
Ly
etah joined them as well. He placed the sleeping Alexei down and, together, they created a circle around Eva. Their joined magic swirled around them, beautiful and intense, making Eva’s sanctuary impervious to all forces. On
ly
true love could break through now.

With the spell in place, one task remained. They needed to tell Elga and Igor of their children’s fate. None of them looked forward to it.

“Let’s take Alexei home,” Zimah said at last. “We’ll see what we can do about the rest later.”

It
did
n’t surprise Ohsyn when Zimah’s reference of home turned out to be their world. Now, Alexei would no longer be able to fit in with the humans. Ohsyn wondered how Alexei would take the news when he woke. He on
ly
hoped Alexei would agree to stay with them.

Chapter Six

Alexei opened his eyes to an unfamiliar room. He blinked to clear the dizziness and focus his vision. The chamber held a surreal quality Alexei
had
encountered a few times before in the past days. Airy, yet hot, it
was
decorated in light, sunny colors, the distinct
ly
masculine furniture complemented by the tall windows
that
let in cheerful rays from outside. He
did
n’t have to think too much to realize he’d somehow ended up in his four men’s home.

Memories flashed through his mind at the thought—Eva’s new idea, the wolf attack, his men’s appearance, and the fire consuming him whole. After one point, he on
ly
recalled shifting s
had
ows, a blaze within him and outside him, a peculiar, unexplainable sensation of turning into something else. The pain slow
ly
dwindled until at last, Alexei awoke on a still burning pyre with the sudden knowledge of what his lovers
had
been forced to do to save him. Even if he hadn’t actually been awake through it, he strangely understood
Ly
etah
had
been forced to push Alexei into the fire.

And then Alexei remembered Eva’s icy coffin. He couldn’t help but fear for her, but in his heart, he knew all would be well. There were so many things in heaven and earth
that
he still
did
n’t understand, but for whatever reason, the Goddess protected him and Eva. Alexei hoped his men would at least be able to answer some of his questions.

A warm presence materialized at his side. “You’re awake,”
Ly
etah said. “How do you feel?”

Alexei smiled at the other man. He knew the entire experience
had
been hardest on
Ly
etah. Alexei couldn’t even fathom how
Ly
etah found the courage to do what was needed. He took his lover’s hand and squeezed it. “Never better,” he answered, even if some fatigue still lingered. “What about you?”

Ly
etah gave him a surprised look
that
soon turned into bemusement. “It’s so like you to worry about others when you’ve just bare
ly
avoided death.”
Ly
etah’s expression changed, and he seemed to close off. “Sorry about
that
,” he finished. “I shouldn’t have mentioned it.”

Alexei shook his head. “It’s all right. I think you suffered more than me.”

And tru
ly
, he
did
n’t have a doubt it
had
been so. Half the time, Alexei
remained
out of it while his men
had
been forced to acknowledge the imminence of his demise. Death
was
always hardest on those left behind.

Ly
etah lay next to him on the bed, his warmth familiar for Alexei. As he
did
so, Zimah, Visnah, and Ohsyn appeared as well. With his lovers there, Alexei allowed himself to ask the questions weighing on his mind.

“Where are we?”

“This is our home,” Ohsyn answered. “But I suppose we should begin at the top.”

“We are earth spirits, Alexei,” Visnah said. “We watch over the land wherever we are needed. In spring, we bring renewed life. In summer, heat to make the crops thrive. In autumn, bountiful harvests. In winter, we grant the earth peace to sleep and rest for the year to come. And this—where we are now—is the spirit realm. Our world.”

Alexei opened his mouth and closed it back again. What
did
one say to such a thing? He’d expected something odd, but for some reason, it still surprised him.

It occurred to him then
that
he himself
had
done something otherworld
ly
. He recalled summoning the weird flame
that
burned him so severe
ly
. What
did
it
mean? “What about me?” he asked. “What am I?”

“You are, well, you were human,”
Ly
etah answered hesitant
ly
, “but both you and your sister were special.”

“Let me tell you a little story so
that
you’ll understand better,” Zimah said. “Once upon a time, there were four earth spirits. For convenience’s sake, we’ll call them Zimah, Visnah,
Ly
etah, and Ohsyn. One winter night, these spirits went out to do their job when they ran into a human couple, a man and woman we will refer to as Igor and Elga.”

Alexei’s mind whirled as Zimah spoke. He knew this
was
no story, but reality, as it
had
been twenty-five years back, before his birth. He and Eva
had
been unexpected children, appearing at an age when women rare
ly
gave birth, a fact
that
many considered a miracle in the village.

Zimah spoke of the snow angel, of how through magic Alexei and Eva had been conceived. His voice became lower when he mentioned the cool heart of the ice child shadowing the warmth of the human family, and the spirits wanting to help the fire child.

“So, when chance came, the spirits approached the fire child,” Zimah went on. “On
ly
, they
did
not realize they would begin to feel affection for this young man.” He gave Alexei an unreadable look. “I think you know what happened after
that
.”

Alexei nodded. Now it all made sense, his vulnerability to the cold, Eva’s fear of the heat, their mother’s aloofness, and the voice of the fire. But he also acknowledged the undertone of
Ly
etah’s words. He’d been a special human, but no longer. “So now what am I?”

“The Goddess tells us you are now a fire elemental,” Ohsyn answered, “also a spirit, but born out of fire and with the ability to materialize in the real world.”

Alexei stared at Ohsyn. He wondered if he should rep
ly
. A fire elemental? What
did
Alexei know about such things? He’d used the fire inside him on
ly
once, and
it
had
n’t ended well.

Obvious
ly
guessing his misgivings, Visnah piped in, “Don’t worry. It will be different than before. Last time, the flame hurt you because your mortal body couldn’t contain such power.
Your
mortality
was
purged in the grove.”

So
that
had
been the purpose of the pyre. “What about Eva?”

“She remains in her sanctuary,” Zimah answered. “The ice embedded with our magic prevents her spirit from slipping away. In her case, she needs someone to complete her, to ful
ly
warm her heart. A part of the chill is gone because of her connection with you, but it’s not enough. She will sleep there until her fated one will find her. But, of course, we will work to help him.”

“There’s one more thing,” Visnah added. “We still haven’t notified your parents of your and Eva’s situation. If you have thoughts or preferences…”

Alexei would have liked never to have to go through this, but he thanked the Goddess. She
had
saved them. Still, he would need his men’s support. “I’d prefer it if you came with me.”

Ohsyn scratched his head. “Well, actual
ly,
we’d been thinking something along the line of us going alone.”

Alexei arched a brow. “You know as well as I do
that
doesn’t make any sense. Now, help me up. They’re probab
ly
worried about us by now.”

Ly
etah got to his feet and took Alexei in his arms. Alexei sighed. “You can put me down, you know. I’m not going to fall. I’m a… what
did
you say? Fire elemental, right?”

“I suppose,”
Ly
etah murmured. He set Alexei on the floor and, together, they made their way out of the room. As his men directed him left, Alexei snuck peeks around him. He realized he must’ve been in
Ly
etah’s room, since he spotted chambers
that
must’ve belonged to the other three men.

A curiosity niggled at his brain, and he couldn’t help but ask, “Why do you have separate rooms?”

Visnah laughed. “Well, we weren’t always lovers. In the beginning, we couldn’t stand each other. Especial
ly
Zimah and
Ly
etah, you should have seen how they fought.”

“We weren’t
that
bad,” Zimah muttered.

Visnah wrapped an arm around Alexei’s waist and whispered conspiratorial
ly
, “Yes, they were.”

“Now, we keep the rooms most
ly
for climate purposes. Like you and Eva, we have different preferences in
that
regard,” Ohsyn explained. “But we do have a common room with a big bed. We’ll show it to you later.”

Alexei’s face heated at the innuendo in Ohsyn’s voice, and his cock hardened. He shook himself and struggled to focus on his task. Remembering where they were headed served to cool his ardor complete
ly
.

As it turned out, his men led him out of a door made out of sheer light. They emerged at the other side in the grove, between the standing stones. “This place holds a portal between the worlds,” Visnah said.

Alexei bit his lip as he considered the new information. Another dilemma appeared in his mind. “How are we going to get to the house?”

Visnah chuckled. “Even earth spirits need means of transportation.” He whistled and out of the blue, a green horse materialized next to Visnah. Threads of leaves and flowers entwined with its mane, and wherever it stepped, green grass sprouted. “This is a spirit horse, each of them bred for the specific purpose of taking us where we need to go.”

The others followed Visnah’s example, and more equines appeared, all of them modeled after their owner. Unfortunate
ly
, Alexei
did
n’t have one, so
Ly
etah pulled him up on his bronze stallion.

BOOK: Hyacinth, Scarlet - Fire of the Four Seasons (Siren Publishing Ménage Amour ManLove)
9.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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