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Sora frowned as she watched Aiden hesitate. Eric set him free … completely. His spiritual network is a mass of conflicted emotion, and then he drops that bomb on him…
Aiden’s glanced at Bathin as he cracked his neck, moving toward Githa as she struggled to all fours. “I won’t kill you, Githa. I still have a lot planned for you; oh, the things I’ve imagined.” He glanced toward them as if an afterthought. “There’s nothing you could do to harm me, wolf.”
“Fine, Eric. I don’t know what you have planned, but…”
He cut off as Eric hugged him. “I couldn’t have felt regret and pain like this without you, brother … I’m no longer numb. Thank you.”
Aiden nodded, emotions conflicted as he held out his hand and a dull feather appeared. “That’s all I can give.” He whispered hurriedly.
Nodding, Eric said, “Sora, push your influence on Kari to leave with you. With all the energy we’ve been exposed to, and with how weakened she is, it’ll work for a short while. Fen will know where you can seek refuge. Run.” Dropped it in his mouth as Bathin neared Githa, swallowing.
Bathin paused as Eric seemed to radiate an evil aura. “What … how?”
Eric’s savage grin that she hated returned. “Blame the Herald of Sakura … I just needed a small bridge to channel the smallest portion of her power that wouldn’t consume me.”
Sora winced as more of her energy fed into Wendy and the others. She turned to them, “Jump on Jian’s back, Fen, don’t let them fall!” Fen had been trembling for some time but sprang into action as Sora added a bit of her aura to her; helping the humans onto Jian. Her vision turned to Eyia and Jin that nodded that they were ready. Aiden glowed and turned into a large shining bird, his radiance strengthening the group.
Eric took a step toward Bathin; he seemed weary. “Your teleportation won’t work on me. Sora, straight two hallways, right, through the elevator, up the ramp, and through the large doors. I disabled the exit fail-safes; Diane and the Vice-President are a little busy with something else right now.”
Bathin seethed through his teeth. “Impressive, so the Herald is involved. You can’t kill me channeling only that much power, though I assume that’s all you can handle. You could run, I wouldn’t chase…” Eric vanished from Sora’s sight with Bathin as a wall exploded to their left, quakes shaking the earth they stood on.
Jin took a deep breath as she rose to her feet. “I don’t like that wolf, but I can respect his sacrifice.”
Eyia didn’t look so forgiving. “He deserves a coward’s death.” Her cold eyes shifted to Kari as she began to wake.
Sora sighed shortly as her vision moved from Kari to Eyia. “I promised that I’d take her with us and forgive her … it might take some time, but I don’t hate her like I did. Honestly … I kind of feel bad for her.”
“Can we please leave?” Mary asked from atop Jian as he rose.
“That would be wise,” Eyia agreed.
Nodding, Sora moved to Kari as her eyes opened and she looked around. “Eric—coward…”
Sora looked into her delirious eyes and forced her influence through a weak wall. “Kari, we’re in danger. We need to run. Follow me.”
Kari’s building rage turn to confusion. “Danger?” She looked around. “I don’t want to run … I want to fight.”
Sora shook her head. “No, Kari. We need to run and then we can fight after.”
“Oh—is that what we’re doing?” She nodded slowly. “Okay, where are we going?”
“You just have to follow us. Alright?”
Kari nodded as she rose. “Okay.” I hope she doesn’t try to kill me when she realizes I’ve taken her away from Eric and he’s likely going to die…
Examining their small group, she said, “Let’s go.” They dashed toward the large steel door she’d entered; Jin, Aiden, and Eyia flew, Eyia’s armor around her again with a cloak of raven feathers. She scooped up Githa as she passed; she meowed dully, not fighting Sora’s grip. The steel panel was cut in several clean pieces and partially melted. They ran around it, and Sora caught sight of several guards in the hallway, spirits smothered.
She noticed quite a few hallways destroyed and impassable, but they followed Eric’s instructions to the elevator without incident; Eyia pressed her hand against the metal and the whole thing frosted before shattering into shards. Sora led the way, jumping up the support beams inside as Jin, Eyia, and Aiden flew after her. Jian shrunk to fit through the opening, Fen helping Wendy and the others from falling off as he launched up after them with Kari taking the rear, scanning for danger. Sora saw thick metal sheets that could be used to block the elevator shaft, remembering Eric’s statement that he’d disabled the fail-safes.
Making it to the top, Eyia quickly broke the doors, and they flooded out. Jian took the lead, clearing their way of any obstacle; man or metal. Smashing his body against the final doors Eric had mentioned, they ran into a supply warehouse. Sora could smell the greenery beyond with a thudding heart. No more confinement!
The group rushed for the doors past stunned workers who obviously had no idea what was happening. They broke past the warehouse’s closed metal doors and raced into the forest, out of their captors’ grasp.
Once cleared, Sora ran beside Jian. “Eric said you’d know a safe place, Fen.”
Fen looked a little unsure as she prevented Wendy from falling as they made a sharp turn. “I just—I don’t think everyone else could enter … it’s why I didn’t go. Only Vulpes are allowed—there’s a barrier.”
Sora looked back at Kari as she kept alert, scanning for an attack. Eric wouldn’t suggest a place Kari couldn’t enter. There has to be something there. “We have to go there then. Er—he’s been right so far.” She caught herself, glancing back at Kari. “What is it?”
Fen seemed concerned as she rubbed Jian’s back. “The Vulpes dimension—open to all Vulpes, but Kitsune. I don’t know if I can even enter now.”
Sora swallowed. “It’s our best bet!”
Synopsis: The online game <