Loyalties questioned…worlds shaken…nothing is what it seems. LA will have to look beyond her own perceptions to see what’s before her very eyes. Or risk losing everything.
When the barriers between worlds are threatened, LA and her friends are sent into the terrifying realm of Underworld on a super-secret mission to discover who’s behind the breaches. LA believes she’s going to battle against one of her own…an aunt who’s rumored to want multi-dimensional domination.
What she finds once she gets there is nothing like what she expects.
Intrigues swirl. Loyalties change in the blink of an eye. And loss beyond anything she can imagine waits just over the next horizon. Someone is pulling the strings of it all and LA is fighting against the clock to discover who it is.
Can LA get to the bottom of the mystery and save the worlds? Or will she lose what she loves…one friend or family member at a time…and face the crushing end of all she holds dear?
A white-hot blast of pure energy sizzled through the air, so close the tips of my ears burned from the heat. The smell of burning hair and flop sweat filled the air.
Unfortunately, both smells emanated from me.
I tried to see through the haze of smoke to where Deg was huddled. He crouched behind an enormous tree that was newly scored by energy bolts, yellow smoke rising off its wounds and leaving behind a sulfurous stench that burned the eyes and throat.
He straightened, his arm coming up and fingers splayed to emit a golden flash of quelling magic. It would hopefully lock the red-eyed monster across from us into place but leave it alive.
Leaving it alive was imperative. We had to find out what it was and where it had come from.
He turned to me, frowning. That was when I realized my mistake. We’d been practicing communicating through mental channels but I kept reverting to good old shrieking through the din. It was my comfort zone.
Sorry, I told him through our mental pathway. I’m going to try to get around behind it.
He nodded, stepping sideways to send dual sprays of spitting silver energy into the air to obscure my movement.
I crouched down and ran, not daring to look toward the line of trees hiding the enormous creature with skin like a rhino and teeth and claws that could sever a limb with a single swipe.
The thing wasn’t fooled by Deg’s cover for long. As I threw myself behind a large rock, an oily stream of dirty-gray energy sent pieces of the rock into the air and scraped across my calf, dragging a scream from my throat as it burrowed under the skin. The energy hissed happily while it chewed on my flesh.
“Abortee.” I murmured as I slapped quelling magic over the wound, extinguishing the evil energy before it could really take hold.
I crawled to my knees and risked a quick glance over the rock.
The thing wasn’t where it had been when I’d moved. Panic flared. Deg?
I’m moving to you.
Where’d it go?
What do you mean? It’s behind that tree line.
No, it’s not…. A wave of rancid air swept over me. I stilled, my fingers flaring with the energy throbbing just beneath my skin.
The atmosphere was sizzling hot, dense with the putrid stench of sulfur. I felt something at my back and, when the low rumble started I didn’t need to turn around to know what was there.
“Deg, run!” I whipped around and threw everything I had into the small mountain with the pulsing red eyes. My energy hit the thing and spun, creating a whirlwind of power that seemed unable to breach the monster’s protective bubble.
A second strand of magic hit the whirlwind, twining with mine to double the strength.
The creature before me opened its massive jaws. Nasty curved teeth as long as my fingers gleamed in the backlight of our power. The thing looked like it was laughing at us.
That just made me mad.
I screamed as I gave the whirling energy more juice. Slowly the magic made inroads, burning off his dirty-gray magic and sending black sparks that stunk of death into the air.
My knees started to buckle. Flame burst near my cheek and I realized my hair was on fire.
I tried not to panic as agony sizzled over my head and skated down to my shoulders.
The stench of burning hair made my stomach twist with disgust.
My knees hit the ground and the flames slipped down my arms, riding the air above me by such an infinitesimal distance I could feel the heat but wasn’t getting burned. I wondered if Deg was experiencing the same phenomena but didn’t dare risk a look.
I was quickly losing power. I knew within seconds I’d be flat on my face, helpless against the thing standing before me.
The magical battle had filled the air near the monster with a snowy haze, obscuring everything around it. The haze shimmered as if it were alive. Pulsing toward the monster and then away. I blinked as a small, pale face with pretty blue eyes appeared in its midst and thought I was losing my mind. It looked like a little girl. She wore a shimmering white gown and something that looked like wings danced above her narrow shoulders. Her placid expression seeped into me, calming the frantic beating of my heart.
My magic stuttered and I had to force myself to concentrate or risk losing it.
Smiling calmly, the figure in the mist lifted her small hands, her gaze locked on mine. The haze bulged outward around the monster and, after a heartbeat of hesitation, wrapped around him and sucked him away, leaving behind only an outraged bellow.