Feel the Burn Page 105

Without a word, she shoved the dragon off her blade and over the stone banister to the floor below.

“We move. Now,” she ordered, walking away from Aidan and going down the hall to wake up the others.

Forcing himself to get to his feet, Aidan moved to the banister and looked over. There was blood where his brother had landed, but . . .

Aidan scanned the floor and saw his brother, still in his human form, stumbling toward the front doors. Ainmire had his hand over his chest, and there was a trail of blood behind him.

But, by all rights, Aidan’s brother should be dead. A dragon in human form, impaled directly in the heart, does not survive. But giving his soul—and eyes—up to his new god, must have changed everything about him.

For Ainmire was not only surviving . . . he was on the move.

“Out!” Aidan yelled, running down the halls of his kin, and banging on the doors. “Everyone, out!”

His mother yanked her door open. She probably never slept in these rooms, but tonight she’d wanted to be as close to the Rebel King as she could manage.

“What?” she barked at him. “What’s happening?”

“We need to go.”

“Go? Go where?”

“In.” He grabbed her arm, yanking her out of her room. Aidan pointed toward the cave entrance that began at the back of the hall. “Go.”

By now, his two eldest sisters and other brother were out in the hall.

“Go,” he ordered. “To the caves.”

“What for?” Cinnie demanded. “You’re home five minutes, and already you’re annoying the hells out of me.”

Caswyn and Uther, already dressed and ready for battle—they probably had gone to bed clothed and with weapons, if they went to bed at all—stalked toward him.

“Take my mother and sisters,” he commanded.

“And your brother?”

Aidan rolled his eyes. “Who cares?” he asked as he moved off in the opposite direction.

“I care!” Harkin complained. “I care very much!”

Aidan saw Brannie coming toward him. “I have to find my sister Orla.”

Brannie pushed her door open. “Come on.”

He leaned into the room and saw his sister crawl out from under Brannie’s bed.

“What—?”

“I was going to sneak her out with us when we were done. Figured she could stay at Devenallt Mountain.”

“It looks like that will be happening anyway.”

He kissed Orla’s forehead before pushing her toward the others.

Brannie began to follow but he caught her arm, held it. “Thank you. For looking out for her.”

“It’s the little sister club,” she replied, giving him a wink. “I’m a founding member.”

Aidan released her and watched the Rebel King stride up to him. He was no longer Gaius, dragon searching out and eliminating the rogue elements of his kin. Now he appeared kingly and very royal. A dragon ready for anything.

“What’s happening?” the king asked. A cold but prepared Kachka Shestakova stood by his side.

“My brother Ainmire . . . we’ve been betrayed, King Gaius.”

“How badly?”

Aidan glanced at his mother, brother, and sisters as they made their way down the stairs. “His eyes are gone. Torn out of his head since the feast.”

“So,” he said simply, “very badly.”

“I fear he’s not alone. I fear he’s—”

Aidan froze. He knew that sound. He’d been in enough battles over the years. Enough attacks. Seen them. Caused them. Been blindsided by them.

“Down!” he commanded, staying by the king and Kachka, instinctively knowing that Brannie would watch out for Orla.

Everyone dropped as the first boulder rammed into the front of Stone Castle.

“What is that?” Gormlaith screamed.

“We’re under attack! Everyone go!” Aidan jumped up and motioned for them all to head down the stairs.

As they moved, more boulders hit the front of the castle and Aidan could hear the cries of soldiers coming from outside.

Then it stopped and Aidan turned to see his eyeless brother standing in front of the open doors. The hand pressed over Ainmire’s chest was covered in a massive amount of blood, but still he lived.

Zoya stopped by Aidan’s side, saw what he was looking at.

“Nina Chechneva! The doors!” she ordered.

The witch spun around, lifted her arms, and brought her hands together. The massive stone doors shut in Ainmire’s face, closing him out.

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