Home > Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(16)

Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(16)
Author: Leia Stone

The sweet old lady soul suddenly dropped to the ground and started screaming bloody murder.

Shit. What’s going on in this place?

The closer we moved to the burning building, the hotter I became.

There, five feet from me, was a tiny barrel cactus half covered in soot and dirt. Finally I could feel her.

‘I’m here,’ I thought, and in that moment she dropped her illusion, changing her form.

In one swift move, I scooped down, and picked her up. The moment the cold steel hit my hand, a wave of love poured through me, chasing the darkness back.

Sera was my light. She was an extension of my soul, the lightest part of me. I could feel that now. Tears pricked my eyes as I clutched her to my chest.

‘I missed you so much,’ I told her.

‘Me too. You smell good, like home.’

A smile curved my lips, but the smirk quickly died when Shea elbowed my rib cage hard.

I spun slowly to see a Snakeroot demon staring at us.

“Earth dwellers,” he hissed in a tiny rat chirpy voice, pointing to us.

They can speak?

I put my finger to my lips, as if the act of asking him to keep it a secret would work. The mob—which I now realized was fighting over food—had grown, and I didn’t want to know what would happen if they knew we were there.

Snakeroot demons loved candy, and I happened to have a pack of mint gum in my pocket. I slowly handed Shea Lincoln’s sword and reached for the gum.

“You want some candy?” I whispered.

Desire flared in his eyes. He looked emaciated, not like the Snakeroot demons I knew on Earth.

With one nod, he crouched as if ready to pounce on me.

I quickly ripped open the flap to the gum and tossed a piece on the floor.

He lunged for it and ate it in one bite, the metallic wrapper included. His nostrils flared as his eyes landed on the packet in my hands.

I tossed another piece as Shea and I started to inch backward toward the alley.

“We gotta start keeping more candy on us,” Shea whispered.

“Agreed.” You never know when you’ll run into a hungry Snakeroot demon.

I kept throwing pieces of gum in front of him, but he was inhaling them like he hadn’t eaten in weeks. And now a few of the other demons in the mob had trickled away and were smelling the air.

Freaking mint. Or human. I didn’t know which it was, but they were totally staring at us, so they’d smelled something off. Why can’t Hell have mint? It should be a normal thing.

“Time to run.” I gulped and chucked the whole packet. Shea handed Lincoln’s sword to me and I pivoted, kicking off the dusty ground into a full-on sprint with my bestie right behind me.

“I’m going to start closing the portal!” she shouted, her hands making wide arcs in the air as purple magic danced about in her palms.

Unfortunately, there was a Castor demon gunning for me, and I knew I wouldn’t make it to the portal in time without a fight.

‘I don’t have much strength left,’ Sera told me.

I’d figured, which was why I’d brought Lincoln’s weapon. It may not have been my own soul weapon, but it was still a big-ass sword, and I was hoping since it was tied to Lincoln’s soul, it would help me.

Just as we reached the mouth of the alley, I spun.

The Castor demon was right on me. With one thrust of his gnarled hands, he shot an energy pulse straight at my gut. I held Lincoln’s sword before me and it deflected some of the blast, but I was still rocked backward.

“Bri!” Lincoln’s strangled voice cut through the space and filtered down the alleyway. He must have had a view of what was going on, but I didn’t have time to focus on him.

Shea was there then, throwing a purple ball of energy at the ugly Castor demon. It crashed into his chest and he faltered, tipping his head back to roar.

I turned when I heard movement behind me. The sound of their comrade in trouble had alerted the mob.

Shit.

‘Run.’ Sera was stating the obvious, but damn, it was good to have her voice back in my head.

Shea hooked me under the armpit and hauled me up just as the Castor demon lunged for me. Castor demons, aside from throwing mini EMP bursts at you, had nearly impenetrable skin—except behind their heels. Don’t ask me how I knew that; long story short, it was Shea’s fault.

“Start closing the portal. I’ll jump through!” I told her.

No way was I going to let this angry mob through to kill my friends and loved ones. The friends who’d helped me get Sera back.

“Fine!” Shea snapped, clearly not happy with my plan.

There was no time to dwell on it.

I shook Lincoln’s sword a little. “Come on. Go blue,” I urged it. I’d seen Lincoln do the blinding blue light thing a million times, and if this sword was an intelligent being, then maybe—

Blue light flared to life along the blade, and I ran to meet the Castor demon head on. Lincoln’s sword was in my left hand, Sera in my right. As I suspected, when I made it within two feet of the demon, he flared out with a burst of energy. With a cry, I held up Lincoln’s sword and it acted as a shield, the blue light breaking apart the energy burst.

I didn’t want to give him time to build another, so I dropped to my knees and slashed out, prison style, with Sera’s short and sharp blade. I made short fast hacks into the back of his right heel, and he went down with a roar. Tucking my head in, I rolled to the side, hitting the wall of the alley to avoid getting smooshed by the demon.

The crowd was on us now, though the other demons were slightly shocked by the Castor demon falling over in a flood of black blood.

“Come on!” Shea yelled.

Bursting from the ground, and yanking Lincoln’s heavy-ass sword up in front of me, I took off running.

The portal was about a three-foot circle now, beyond it was Lincoln’s pissed-off face, and a pile of cushions—to ease my landing, I guessed.

Those blue eyes were livid. Oops. For two people in love, I sure made him mad a lot.

Hot acid hit the back of my calf and I faltered, pain flaring to life just below my knee. My all-out run turned to a frantic limp.

The blood drained from Lincoln’s face and he pulled a gun. “Jump!” he shouted, raising the weapon.

Oh God. What’s behind me?

Having your boyfriend point a gun at you—even if it wasn’t directly at you—was not cool, but I leapt off the crusted ground with my good leg, tucking the weapons into my body in a way that wouldn’t gore me when I landed.

As I sailed through the space, Lincoln popped off multiple shots, shooting over my head and into the hole. I hit the pile of cushions with a crash, the wind still knocked out of me as I let the weapons fall away from my body.

Loud yells and grunts rose up behind me, and I rolled off the pile of pillows to see the shrinking portal and the group of angry demons beyond it. My freaking calf muscle was on fire, but I knew better then to complain—if I did, Lincoln would probably shoot me.

One more stream of acid shot through the opening, and we all scrambled out of the way to dodge it. Then, the portal closed.

Slowly, every single person turned to look in my direction.

I held up Sera. “Got it.” I gave a nervous laugh.

Lincoln slowly stalked toward me, jaw clenched, eyes on me like a predator, and I knew in that moment that he was pissed as all hell. He leaned down to me and my heart thumped, but instead of helping me up, he reached for his blade and stood, sliding it into his sheath.

“Heal her leg,” he barked at Noah, then spun on his heel and left the room.

‘He’s mad at you. Like really mad at you.’ Sera’s voice, however annoying sometimes, was a welcome sound in my head. Just not right then.

‘Your knowledge of human emotions astounds me,’ I informed her.

‘Ew, sarcasm,’ Sera hissed.

Noah reached down and did help me up. “Let’s see what we’re dealing with.”

I looked at Shea, sweat still beading on her forehead, and reached for her hand. “You okay?”

She nodded, holding her stomach. “Just feel a bit ill. That place… it was hard to be there.”

“Yeah,” I lied. But it hadn’t been hard. It had felt a bit… heavy, but once I got used to it, I was fine.

Oh God, what’s wrong with me?

Chapter Thirteen

Lincoln ignored me on the bus ride back into Angel City, and it had me feeling like shit. I had to go in there or I never would have gotten Sera back. Yes, it was reckless, but it had all worked out in the end.

Finally, as the bus approached the school, Lincoln walked to the back row, where I was sitting alone, and slid next to me. Shea had intentionally left it open in hopes that he would.

He sat rigid, face forward. “How’s your leg?” he asked.

My heart melted a little at his concern. “Burns a lot, but at least it’s not bleeding anymore. Noah said it’ll scar.”

Lincoln nodded curtly, finally turning to look at me. “You sleeping over?”

It was a weekend. I always slept over on weekends. I had my Sunday family thing with Mikey and my mom the following day, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t sleep over.

“You’re pissed at me, so why do you want me to sleep over?” I hit him with the obvious truth.

He smirked a little. “Because I also love you, and I’m concerned about your leg—and your sanity—so I want to keep an eye on you. I’ll be sleeping on the couch.”

“Oh.” That hurt. Not the sanity part, because he said stuff like that all the time—that was actually our way of flirting, verbal jabs—but the part about sleeping on the couch hurt.

Still, I couldn’t say no. I needed to repair this between us. He was everything to me.

“Yeah. I’ll sleep over.” My voice was barely a whisper, but it was enough to be heard as he nodded again.

After the bus pulled up to the school, Lincoln thanked them all, and declared the mission a success. But I could see behind that fake glassy smile. He was so pissed, and I was surprised he hadn’t exploded on me yet.

I sensed a verbal ass-kicking when we got back to his place.

Sure enough, the moment he closed the door behind us, he spun on me. “Just tell me why. Why do you always put yourself in these life-threatening situations? Are you suicidal?”

That hurt. As someone who’d had dark thoughts every once in a while, I knew you didn’t just scream, “Are you suicidal?” in someone’s face.

“No. I love my life. I love you. But I love my family too. Shea was worth the risk. Mikey is worth the risk. My mother will be worth the risk. Sera—”

“Sera is a fucking knife!” He cut me off with a strangled yell.

‘I resent that,’ Sera said from my hip. I tried to ignore her.

“Yeah, she is to you, but she’s special to me. I love her, and I know that sounds crazy, but I also need her to free my mom. I’m powerful, but I’m not that powerful. I need her to protect my family. I made a risky call and I’m sorry. I didn’t grow up in Beverly Hills, with golden sunrays filtering through the breakfast window every morning, as we sat around and talked about angels. I’m from the hood, Lincoln!” I screamed, my hands shaking. “In the hood, we learn to survive at all costs. We take risks because they present themselves every day, and in my life? Family. Comes. First.”

   
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