Reclaimed by Jaymin Eve
Although… Torin had said he knew about Shadow’s weakness. They’d used an incapacitating powder on him. A powder Dannie had lost her life to produce, and maybe that meant I could learn some important information before I stole their useless lives from them.
Shadow’s eyes softened. It happened so rarely, but I’d seen it a time or two before. I refused to let it get to me as I would have yesterday. Before I’d found out about his betrayal.
“Mera, listen to me. Dannie is—”
The moment he said her name, my flaming fury surged up, and I embraced it full bodily. With no regard for personal safety or consequences of my actions, I catapulted myself out of his hold. A feat I’d never achieved before, but I was too far gone to even understand the significance of that.
Tilting my head back, my howling scream was deafening, and around us, the already knocked-down wolves cried out. Between Shadow and me, we were breaking these shifters, which was barely the tip of what I was going to do to them.
I let the fire and my wolf rise, and like an inferno hit with a ton of fuel, there was nothing that could have stemmed my pain. My eyes were closed, but I felt the connection to the Shadow Realm. I’d touched it enough times now that when I figured out how to open my link, I could follow the path.
To my vengeance.
Today I needed to assuage the pain in the only way I knew how.
Come to me…
I called them, every shadow creature I could reach, and… whatever else decided to tag along. My arms rose like I could embrace the darkness in this manner, and it was akin to the time I’d touched the spell blocking the doorway to the realm. I opened myself up to a shadowy entity, and it came right home.
My power spun webs around me, and when I finished releasing this new energy that had taken hold of me, my eyes shot open.
It took me a moment to understand what I was seeing.
To understand what I’d just done.
What have I done?
There was no fire now. It had been replaced by a literal wall of smoky darkness, and the sight of that was almost enough to shock me back into my right mind. In my fury I’d called a dark entity filled with synapsing lights, like those I’d often seen in Inky, Shadow’s companion.
Speaking of, Shadow was the only being to remain in my line of sight. His flames a visible light in the otherwise endless darkness, as he attempted to break through whatever the fuck I’d done. For the first time, a new emotion bisected the relentless pain and anger inside me.
I tried to backpedal and close the connection I’d carelessly thrown wide open. But it was like stopping a flood with a paper towel. There wasn’t a hope in hell of me reversing what I’d put into place; it was already moving of its own volition.
Despite my current hatred for him, I had to turn to Shadow, hoping he held some answers. From what I could tell, I was truly about to end the world—or multiple worlds—with my selfish actions, and that was not okay. If Dannie knew what I’d set forth tonight in her name, she’d have kicked my ass until I couldn’t sit down for a year. This was not what she would have wanted.
Shadow’s power finally penetrated through the dark wall, and I hurried toward him while keeping a close eye on the synapsing smoke raging like a tropical storm around me.
“Shadow!” I screamed, throwing myself into the darkness. To my surprise, it didn’t block me as it was blocking him, and I fell through like it had no substance at all, right into his arms.
He hauled me up, holding on almost desperately. “What do I do?” I sobbed. “I didn’t mean to bring about the apocalypse.”
As he held me closer than ever, I could have sworn he breathed me in as if he’d never expected to hold me like this again. It was over so fast, though, that maybe I’d misread the moment.
“Sunshine,” he snapped, sounding like his typical asshole of a being, “you have called the mists from the Shadow Realm. You need to send them back before they bring with them every creature that has ever existed in my world.”
I choked down my fear and worry. “I don’t know how to! I’m useless, Shadow. Fucking useless. I couldn’t save my friend. I couldn’t stop the creatures. I couldn’t open the door.”
He shook me, and as my head snapped back, it actually helped to clear my thoughts. Still a bastard move, though.
“Listen to me,” he rumbled, and there was so much command in his voice, I had no choice but to obey. “You’re the least useless being I’ve ever met. The way you adapted to the Solaris System, making friends, helping and learning, is nothing short of admirable. You went to the top of my never to be underestimated list, and I promise, that’s a small list.”
His eyes were just red swirls of lava now, the gold faded out completely. And I could see the truth deep inside them. He meant every word he was saying, and I had no choice but to embrace his confidence in me.
I could do this. I had called them. I knew the pathway, and there had to be a way to return the mists.
“Let your pain go,” he said softly, pulling me even closer. “I promise that it’s not what you think about Dannie. You don’t know everything, and I ask that you wait to hear me out before you try to kill me again.”
The pain—gods, the pain was so intense as he said her name that I wished for death. Just for a brief moment so I could escape the stabbing force of knowing that she had been tortured and murdered because of me. All along, my anger had really been with myself, and while Shadow’s words should have given me hope, I was too far gone for that.
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