Home > Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(15)

Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(15)
Author: Leia Stone

I nodded in response to her question, and she started to move her hands in an intricate pattern. Purple shafts of light shot out, wrapping around the crystal.

“This should restore that. You might be able to speak to her again, if she’s close by,” the Light Mage declared.

I nearly wept at her words. I knew everyone there had a soul weapon, and they were all bound to it, so they should know how I felt, but I also didn’t think anyone had a connection quite like Sera and I did.

The purple light intensified, and Nora looked at my necklace. “That thing reeks of magic. You’ll need to take it off, or it’ll interfere with my spell.”

“Sure.” I started to unclasp it, but Lincoln thrust a hand out to stop me.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he added softly.

“Why not?” I pressed him.

His hand pushed through his hair. “Because…”

“Your light energy has the upper hand right now,” Noah said what Lincoln clearly couldn’t. “If you take it off, you might allow your… dark gifts to emerge even stronger, and push the light back even further,”

“What!” I shouted.

“Guys, this spell has a time stamp!” Nora growled, holding the purple crystal out to me. It was glowing and swirling, and in that moment, I couldn’t even process what the boys had said.

My glare cut into Lincoln and he winced. “Last night, Noah scanned you and discovered that, so… I don’t know if it’s worth it, Bri.”

Screw that. Sera was family just as much as Shea or my mom was.

Reaching up, I unclipped the necklace. “She’s worth it. I’d do the same for you,” I informed him curtly.

His face fell as I set the necklace into his hand.

The moment my fingers released the chain, I felt a surge of energy buzz up along my spine and wrap around my heart, pinching it in a viselike grip. I gasped, short of breath for a moment.

Lincoln stepped closer, pressing in on me. “Oh God, what’s wrong?”

I glared at him, then slowly turned to stare at all of them. “I’m going to kill you all.” Venom dripped from my voice.

One by one, their faces dropped. Noah actually took a step back.

I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Laughter burst out of me and I keeled forward, holding my stomach.

“Something’s not right with her,” Nora told the room.

Lincoln’s chest fell as he sighed in relief. “That wasn’t funny.”

Shea snickered. “It kind of was.”

“Are we doing this or not?” Nora snapped, holding the glowing crystal in her hand.

I nodded. Whatever weirdness I’d felt when I took the necklace off was gone now.

I was getting Sera no matter what.

“I’m fine. I feel fine. It’s all good. Let’s do this.” I tried to push reassurance into my voice, but Lincoln’s face still held concern.

Shea started to work on the portal as Nora took two paces toward me. “This might hurt a bit,” she declared and then slammed the crystal onto my chest, right over my tattoo.

Pain flared to life where the crystal touched me, and then a massive headache rocked my world. My hands flew to my skull as I moaned.

“Why?” I grunted.

Nora released the crystal, the purple magic had left the rock, and was now dancing around my body in whirls. “It’s reconnecting your bond, which was somewhat severed when your weapon was tossed into another realm,” she informed me.

Lincoln’s hand came up to rub my back, and I tried to work through the ice pick that was stabbing my brain.

I was just about to ask how long it would last when the pain lessened, and I heard something.

‘Bri!’

Joy ripped through my body as I nearly cried in relief. ‘Sera! I’m here!’ I told her.

“The portal is almost ready,” Shea stated.

“I’m talking to her!” I shouted.

A few raised their eyebrows, but I didn’t care if I looked crazy. I was freaking talking to Sera! I hadn’t realized how lonely I was for her companionship, until I heard her voice in my head.

‘It’s bad down here. Everything smells awful,’ Sera lamented.

Laughter bubbled up in chest, and now I was really getting some crazy looks, even from Lincoln.

‘You don’t have a nose,’ I reminded her.

Shea had started to open the portal. As she did, I saw a desolate landscape come into view.

Oh God.

I’d never peered into Hell. I mean, the one time Shea opened the portal in the training room, it was in the floor and I’d been too focused on the demons crawling out to notice anything. Then when Lucifer came through, he’d done so within a building, so I’d only seen a wall. The Succubus had opened one in the sky and all I’d seen was smoke, but this… this was my first view of Hell in all its horrific nature.

‘Where are you?’ I breathed as my eyes swept over the hordes of demons that passed before us. We seemed to be in some alleyway between two crumbling buildings, and the stench of sulfur and oil was nauseating.

‘I’m a cactus,’ she exclaimed.

My brow burrowed. ‘Excuse me?’

Was she drunk? Was it possible for her to get drunk? She could smell, so probably.

Maybe I was drunk.

‘I’ve been using all my power to morph myself into a cactus, so one of these cesspools doesn’t pick me up and sell me.’

My eyes widened. ‘You can do that?’

‘Hurry, I can’t hold it much longer. I’d nearly given up hope.’

For three weeks she’s been draining her magic to appear as a cactus?

I needed to focus before one of the passing demons noticed us. I couldn’t see any cacti nearby, but I figured Michael’s retrieval spell would still work.

Taking a deep breath, I felt for Sera’s energy, but nothing happened.

‘I can’t feel you,’ I told her with panic.

‘I don’t think that will work here.’

“Can you do the retrieval spell?” I asked the Light Mage, who seemed lost in concentration.

Nora growled and shook her head. “It’s not working. Her energy is different. You’re going to have to call her to you.”

Dammit. Could it be because she was a cactus? But if she dropped her illusion and was suddenly a shiny dagger on the ground, the demons might pick her up.

I closed my eyes and tried again, pulling at my Celestial magic, which felt a thousand miles away right then.

Then realization hit me in the gut. My Sera retrieval was a Celestial light gift, and when I’d taken off my necklace, it had forced the darkness to rear up.

‘I… can’t feel you. I can’t call to you,’ I explained.

‘Do you see the burning building?’ she asked.

My eyes flicked to the sky. Off to the left about thirty feet was a smoke stack. ‘I think so.’

‘There’s a street fight going on right now. The demons fight here all the time. I’m right in front of the burning building. If you’re quick, you can sneak in and grab me. They shouldn’t notice you.’

Go in? Did my infinity weapon just suggest I step into Hell and get her?

She’s totally drunk.

That thought had never crossed my mind, that I would enter and get her, not to mention Lincoln would never allow it. It bothered me that I couldn’t see Sera. What if this was Lucifer’s trick, and her voice in my head wasn’t real?

‘How did I feel about Lincoln when I first met him?’ I asked her.

I could almost sense a smile in her, if that were possible. ‘You hated his guts, and you stole his fruit, yet you secretly wanted to see him naked.’

I burst out laughing, and now Lincoln was really looking at me with concern.

“I need your sword.” I peered at my lover. “She needs to feel another soul weapon so she can guide herself to that,” I lied.

If I died, he’d never forgive me. I knew from history class that he couldn’t follow me in, but I was pretty sure I’d be able to walk through that hole, and I was also pretty sure my best friend wasn’t going to let me go in alone. Even now, Shea was watching me like a hawk.

He pulled his sword without hesitation and handed it to me.

I wrapped my fingers around the cold steel and gave him a weak smile.

Forgive me.

Chapter Twelve

I knew if I walked slowly toward the opening, Lincoln might grab me, so I lunged, darting so quickly that I heard the room take a collective gasp. The moment I crossed into the dark realm, a weight pushed on my skin, and for a moment it became more difficult to breathe.

Spinning, I noticed that just as I anticipated, Shea was right behind me.

“Get back here!” Lincoln whisper-screamed, eyes wide as saucers as he gaped at me from the living room where he stood.

Shea was panting, sweat beading on her forehead.

“This is the only way. I’ll be right back. She’s not far,” I assured him.

“No!” Lincoln hissed. He reached one hand into the portal, then recoiled so quickly you’d have thought he was burned. A strangled yelp fled his throat, and I stepped closer to him.

“Are you okay?” It was weird to see an opening into another world.

He held up his arm to reveal a horrible bruise. Some parts of his skin were torn and bleeding.

Oh God.

We needed to be quick.

“I’ll be right back!” I promised.

Nora took off her cloak, and chucked it through the portal at my feet. “You’re an idiot,” she stated.

Okay, not really a necessary comment, but whatever.

Pulling the cloak from the dusty ground, I quickly swung it over my shoulders, hiding Lincoln’s sword underneath and pulling the hood over my head.

“If you’re not back here in three minutes, I’m coming in,” Lincoln declared.

Considering what it did to his arm, that would probably kill him.

‘We’re coming,’ I told Sera.

I didn’t waste time, only nodded and grabbed Shea’s hand with my free one as we both started to power-walk down the alley.

“She’s disguised as a cactus and is in front of the building that’s on fire. There’s a street fight, so we should be able to slip in and out.” I caught Shea up to speed.

As we neared the end of the alley, we both stopped dead.

Holy mother of Hell.

The scene before me was a total culture shock. I couldn’t even process my own thoughts about it.

Other than the demons milling about and fighting off to the right like Sera said they were, there were souls. Spectral humanlike creatures walking around and wincing fearfully every time a demon neared them. One of them was a sweet-looking old lady.

What the…?

Shea snapped out of it before I did, and jerked my hand to the left, where a dilapidated building was on fire. I took quick strides in the direction of the flaming structure. What I’d seen so far shook me to my core, but I had to stay focused. The roads weren’t paved, but I was shocked to see that we seemed to be in some sort of city. The demons were fighting in front of what looked like a store, where someone was handing out food baskets from an open window.

   
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