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Her Elemental Dragons: Embrace the Dark: Chapter 19


In the morning we decided not to rush back to the city, and instead to take some time to practice our magic and give Parin space to learn to fly. As the Earth Dragon, flying would be most difficult for him, at least according to my father, Slade. Their deep connection to the ground made it harder for them to embrace the sky.

After a hearty breakfast, we headed outside into the freezing air, trudging through the snow on the mountain, and then began to practice our magic. I reached for the earth and made it shake, then loosened some stones and raised them in the air. I now had all four of the main elements in my control. This was when I should have been able to ask the Life Goddess for her blessing, except I’d been given a fifth mate. My own dragon form would have to wait a little longer, unfortunately.

Erroh clapped Parin on the back. ‘Come on, big brother. For once I can teach you a thing or two.’

Parin grunted and then shifted into his dragon form. He was the largest of all my dragons, with a stout body and dark hunter green scales that looked almost black, until the sun hit them.

Zain, Carth, and Erroh shifted too, my four dragons all spreading their wings before me. I couldn’t help but smile, even as I felt a pang of jealousy. More than that though, I felt a strong love and deep affection for them. I could sense through the bond how happy they were and how close they felt to each other too. Even Parin—he was truly one of them now.

With the help of my other mates, Parin managed to lift off the ground, though it wasn’t easy at first. His aunt and her priests whooped and cheered as his wings stretched above us and he flew circles around the Earth Temple.

Now I only had one more mate to bond with…but he would be a challenge.


As we approached Soulspire a few days later, the smoke was the first sign that something was wrong. “Hurry!” I yelled to Erroh, whose back I rode. As the Air Dragon he was the fastest, even while carrying me, and he zoomed ahead of the others. Zain and Carth were just behind us, with Parin at the rear.

Thick plumes of smoke shot up from various parts of the city. We flew toward the nearest one, and saw it was a hotel specializing in hosting elementals, now on fire. The Unseen had attacked again. Except this time there were dead humans in the street too, including some of the Silver Guard. Carth let out a roar and sprayed water on the flames, dousing the building, but it was too late. The battle here was already over.

We flew across the city, over other places the Unseen had attacked, and a pattern emerged—every place had been one that catered to elementals. I spotted my fathers helping out at the various spots, and it was a relief to see they were safe. There was no sign of my mother, however. My dads would never be out there if she was injured though, so she was probably busy dealing with the aftermath of the attack elsewhere.

When we came to a spot near Varek’s bar, we spotted him outside a café that had crumbled down like an earthquake had demolished it. He was speaking to one of the Silver Guard and pointing, but he turned toward us as we landed.

“What happened?” I asked.

Varek’s face was grim, and I noticed exhaustion in his eyes. “The Unseen attacked locations around the city where the elementals were known to gather. There were so many of the cultists, the elementals and the Silver Guard didn’t stand a chance. Your parents and I came out here to help, but by then it was too late. Many elementals and guards were already dead. Some elementals were kidnapped.”

“How could they have done this?” Zain asked.

“I thought we’d weakened them a lot,” Erroh added.

Varek shook his head and looked away. “Their numbers have grown considerably.”

“Where is my mother?” I asked.

“She’s set up an infirmary in the palace and is healing people there.”

I nodded, since it was exactly what I’d expect. “I should go do that too. The rest of you, please see how you can help my fathers throughout the city.”

“Wait,” Varek said, raising a hand to stop us.

“What is it?” Parin asked.

Varek’s jaw clenched. “Nothing. We can speak on it later.”

“You know something, don’t you?” Carth asked.

I took a step toward Varek. “You’ve kept a secret too long. It’s time you told us.”

“I think I know who the Unseen’s leader is and how she has Death Magic.” He drew in a sharp breath. “It’s my twin sister, Wrill.”

“You’re twins?” I asked.

He nodded. “Born only minutes apart. I believe when the Death Goddess gave me her power, she bestowed it upon my twin too.”

“She can’t have two champions!” Zain said.

Varek shrugged. “I don’t think the Death Goddess cares about playing by the rules. If it’s true, then Wrill has all the same powers I do, but with no duty to become Sora’s mate.”

“Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” Parin asked. “We could have prevented all this.”

“I didn’t believe it at first. I also knew if I told you before I was sure, you’d rush in and do something rash. I wanted to be certain.”

“And you’re certain now?” Erroh asked.

“Fairly. I’ve been trying to find Wrill for the last few days so I could talk to her, but she’s gone into hiding.”

“And you put her in charge of the Quickblades,” I said, as the true horror of Wrill as the Unseen’s leader settled in.

Varek’s frown deepened. “Unfortunately, yes. Hence the bolstered numbers today. She’s using them for her cause.”

I sighed. “We’ll discuss this later. For now we need to deal with the aftermath of these attacks and get the city back in order.”

My mates agreed with me, and we split up to do our duty. My heart was heavy as I returned to the palace and found the infirmary. Tears sprang to my eyes when I saw the number of injured humans and elementals in the room. This was my fault. I should have made Varek tell me his suspicions instead of giving him space. I should have dealt with the cultists before going to the Earth Temple. I should have done a better job of being the protector of the four Realms.

I hadn’t been the Ascendant for very long, and already I’d failed miserably.


I healed alongside my mother all through the afternoon and into the night. At some point I passed out in a chair in the corner, planning to only take a five minute nap, and I woke when someone picked me up. My eyes cracked open and I was startled to find myself in Varek’s strong arms, cradled against his hard chest. He didn’t look at me as he carried me through the palace, and he ignored my sleepy protests that I was fine and could continue healing.

Finally he set me down in my bed. “You need to rest.”

I tried to hide a yawn. “You can’t tell me what to do.”

He spread his arms wide. “By all means, get up and walk out this door. I won’t stop you.”

I couldn’t do it. Exhaustion had turned my limbs to heavy weights, and the thought of moving them seemed impossible.

I didn’t know if I responded or not. I’d like to think I replied with some clever quip, but it was more likely I fell asleep immediately. Next thing I knew, it was morning, and one of the servants was quietly bringing me some food and water. I devoured both, needing sustenance after using so much energy to heal people. I wanted to get back to the patients immediately, although by the time I’d fallen asleep, everyone who was injured had already been attended to by myself or my mom.

After a quick bath, I received a summons from my parents, and met them in their living room again. All five of them looked weary. It was strange to see, as I’d always viewed them as unstoppable and indestructible. Now I was beginning to understand the pressure they’d been under my entire life.

Mom looked especially tired and was eating fruit from a tray when I entered. She patted the spot on the couch beside her. ‘I’m sorry to summon you like this, Sora, but it’s important.’

I sat beside her and stole some of the fruit from her tray. “What is it?”

‘I think you should go to the Death Temple with all haste and complete your bonding.”

If my mouth hadn’t been full of melon, my jaw would’ve dropped. I hadn’t expected her to encourage me to mate with Varek.

I swallowed. ‘Are you sure?”

‘I do. Your fathers and I are not happy about the Death Goddess involving herself, but you’ve decided to accept him as your mate, and there’s nothing we can do at this point unless we wish to start a war against the Realm of the Dead.’

I settled back against her pillows. “No, we don’t want that. We have enough problems at the moment.”

“I saw Varek carry you to your room last night,’ Jasin said. ‘I appreciate that he seems to care for you, but you must be cautious. There was a reason I never could find proof about his criminal enterprises, and it’s not that he was innocent.’

“I know. I am. But he’s given up all of that.” I hesitated, but then decided not to tell them about Wrill. Not until we had more information. “He’s helping us uncover the source of the Unseen’s powers and we should know more soon.”

“It’s very disturbing that the Death Goddess is helping them,” Auric said, rubbing his chin. “Especially since the other Gods have abandoned us.”

“There must be an explanation for their absence,” Slade said.

Mom stared out the window in thought. “Perhaps they’ve taken a step back from the world, entrusting us to handle things ourselves.”

“They should at least give us their blessing.” My head dropped. “I would have liked to meet them.”

Mom wrapped her arm around me and gave me a squeeze. “I’m sorry. Perhaps they will come to you once all of the bonding is complete and the Life Goddess gives you her blessing. Even more reason for you to go to the Death Temple immediately.”

Reven crossed his arms and spoke from his spot against the wall. “If she isn’t ready, we shouldn’t push her. Let Sora choose her own path.”

I gave him a grateful smile. “Thanks, Dad. I think I’m ready, but I don’t want to leave the city yet. There could be more attacks at any moment, and it’s my duty to protect the people.”

“We will be here to defend the city,” Jasin said. “Don’t worry about that.”

Auric reached over and patted my hand. “You’ll be able to help the people even more once you have your dragon form.”

“I’m with Reven, there is no reason to rush this,” Slade said. “Sora, go whenever you are ready. If it’s tomorrow, fine. If it’s a year from now, so be it.”

“We only want whatever is best for you, of course,” Kira said. “And we believe in you.”

“I want to do my part to help the people,” I said. “I’ll speak with Varek and see if we’re ready. If not, we will continue our training and help defend the city.”

All of my parents seem satisfied with that answer, and I went to the infirmary to check on the patients still there. Most of them had recovered, and the rest I did some more healing on. When I was finished, I returned to my rooms and collapsed.

A tingle down my spine woke me sometime later, when night had fallen. The room was pitch black, except for a tiny sliver of moonlight, and silent except for the lightest footfall. I sat up quickly, just in time to dodge a blade made of ice. Above me, I saw a smooth black mask.

The leader of the Unseen had come to kill me.


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