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Her Elemental Dragons: Kiss the Sky: Chapter 30

KIRA

When we returned to the carriages Slade made sure to be in a different one than me, and my heart sank even further. Every time I saw him I wanted him to wrap me in his strong arms and hold me close—or push me down and have his way with me. After our kiss the other night those thoughts were stronger than ever, but he’d made it clear he didn’t see me in that way.

My four mates had been chosen by the gods to be mine, and in the process they’d had to give up their former lives to go on this quest with me. Only Auric and Jasin had been happy about that so far, while Reven and Slade had fought against their new roles. Though they’d both accepted their position now, I wasn’t sure if they would ever love me or truly want to be with me.

I had two incredible men who wanted me—wasn’t that enough? Except when I thought of Slade or Reven my chest clenched and I knew it wasn’t. How selfish was I that I wanted all of my mates to love me?

While the sun was setting we arrived in Windholm, a small, dusty town with tumbleweeds rolling through it. Here the pace was a lot slower than in Stormhaven, and the people wore cloaks and scarves to cover their faces to protect against the frequent sandstorms. We were taken to another inn and retreated to our rooms, while Brin sorted out the details in town. And then we waited.

I managed to sleep a little, but woke instantly when Auric touched my arm and said, “It’s time.”

Brin presented me with a stack of clothes. “Put these on.”

I donned a large, sand-colored cloak over my clothes, then pulled the hood low while yanking the scarf up so that only my eyes were visible. The others in our group did the same, and then we slipped from the inn and out into the dark, empty streets. A raging wind was already rolling through the town, and I ducked my head and followed Brin around the side of the inn, where a few people were waiting with camels. None of them gave us a second glance and no one seemed to recognize Auric. Not only did the cloaks protect us from the winds, but they disguised us as well.

I’d never ridden a camel before, but nevertheless was pleased to have my own mount this time. All of the beasts were sitting on the ground, and a man instructed me to throw my leg over the middle of the humps to mount the camel nearest me. The beast began to stand immediately, back legs first, making me fall forward, but I managed to find my balance after a moment.

Our supplies were already tied onto the camels, and then Brin took the lead. “Don’t bother trying to control your camel. Just relax, let your body follow its movements, and try not to upset them. They’re not particularly friendly.”

With that warning she set off, and my camel jerked forward after hers. I had to hold on tight to keep from falling off as the beast’s body rolled with an odd, jerky walk, completely different from the measured gait of a horse. At first my body wanted to fight it, but then I tried to relax my shoulders and follow Brin’s advice, and it became much easier as I swayed with the camel’s movements.

Soon we were riding out of town and down the hard dirt road into the desert at the bottom of the hill. The contrast was sharp and came upon us quickly, and in no time our camels’ hooves were dipping into the sand. The mountains rose up on either side of us, the wind howled loudly, and the barren desert of Sandstorm Valley stretched endlessly before us.

We rode in a line through the sand for hours while the sun rose in the sky and beat down on us. Sweat dripped down my forehead, and I quickly became disoriented as we passed over identical dune after dune. All I saw around us was sand, which the wind kicked up into our eyes.

Brin called for a halt when the sun had neared its peak in the sky. We set up camp with small tents that would protect us from the worst of the sun and heat, and the men subtly used their magic to help us without alerting Brin. Reven refilled all of our water jugs, Jasin roasted a lizard he’d caught and ate it off a stick, and Auric and Slade kept the wind and sand out of our camp.

I wandered down a dune to find some privacy to relieve myself and to have a moment alone with my thoughts. The closer we got to the Air Temple the more apprehensive I became. Was I ready to bond with Auric? Would the Dragons be there waiting? And what was I going to do about Slade and Reven?

As I climbed down the dune, the sand slid under my feet, endlessly changing. Just when I’d think I’d found a firm bit to walk on it would shift and my foot would sink, making me stumble.

“Careful there,” a familiar voice said.

I spun around and came face to face with Enva, the older woman I’d met twice before. She’d always appeared out of nowhere and would disappear just as quickly, leaving me with more questions than answers. I’d once wondered if she was the Spirit Goddess, but she’d claimed she wasn’t. “Enva, what are you doing here?”

Unlike me, she wasn’t dressed for the desert. In fact, she wore the same hooded robe she’d worn the last two times I’d seen her. “Keeping an eye on you. I thought you’d be at the Air Temple by now.”

“Why do you care so much about my fate?” I asked.

She waved my question away. “I care about the fate of the world, as should everyone.”

I plopped down onto the sand, exhausted after hours of riding under the hot sun. My tailbone winced in protest, sore from being on the camel for so long. “While you’re here, maybe you can answer some questions for me.”

She shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not.”

“The Fire God told me the people who raised me weren’t my parents. Do you know who my real mother and father are?”

She pursed her lips. “I do.”

I sat up straighter, my heart beating fast. “Who are they?”

“You’re not ready for that. Next question.”

I sighed, but tried again. “What am I supposed to do about my two mates who aren’t interested in bonding with me?”

“How should I know? I’m not here for relationship advice.”

Gods, she was impossible. “Why are you here?”

“To warn you.”

The wind whipped at my hair, and I tucked it behind my ear. “Warn me about what?”

She leveled her steely gaze at me. “You may have noticed that you can sense Jasin through your bond now, and he can sense you in return.”

“Yes. I assume that will happen with Auric too once we finish at the Air Temple.”

“Indeed. They’ll be bound to you, and through them you’ll receive their magic. But they’ll also be tied to your life force.’

‘What do you mean?” I asked.

‘After you’re mated your connection with them becomes so strong that if one of them dies, you will lose their powers. But if you die, they will die as well.’

Her words shocked me to my core. “All of them?”

“Every one that is bound to you, yes.”

My throat tightened up. “What can I do?”

“Nothing, but it’s not all bad. With each man you bond with you become harder to kill, especially since you take on their resistances. Right now you can’t be harmed by fire, for example.” She tilted her head. “Of course, that means the Black Dragon is nearly impossible to defeat without destroying her mates first. But I think I’ve said enough.”

I jumped to my feet, my boots sliding in the sand. “Wait, I have so many more questions.”

She pulled her hood low as she turned away. “You’ll get your answers soon enough.”

And just like that, she was gone.


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