By: Layla Heart
One last chance to end the suffering, Sophia and her mates risk it all!
After learning of the existence of her half-sister, Sophia had to rethink her whole life, who she is and wants to be. Leading to her finally taking the antidote against the anti-shifting elixir and connecting with the dragon inside her.
Now Sophia and her hoard are ready for the final step, find the research centre hidden in the mountains, free the missing earth dragons and take out anyone who stands in their way. The plan is as effective as it’s simple.
But when they arrive at the research centre, things don’t exactly go as planned. The handful of guards outside the place are easy enough to take down, but when they’re about to enter the building, they realise they’ve walked right into a trap. A trap meant to catch them and take them out so that the renegade fae can take over the area.
Can they survive, or will this be the end of their journey?
Guarding Their Dragon Mate
2 September 2020
Pages: 116 pages
Available in the Netherlands/Belgium:
As part of a collection
If you don’t want to buy through any of the international stores, this story is also available in the Netherlands and Belgium as part of Fated Hearth (Guarding Their Dragon Mate Collection 2). This features the second three novellas of the series and is available in ebook or paperback.
The research centre doesn’t look like much from the outside, a simple building set into the side of a mountain, nothing interesting about it from here. But if the previous fae king kept it hidden so that even most people in his government didn’t know about it, there has to be much more going on.
The way it’s built against the side of a mountain, it probably has a whole system of tunnels going down into the earth. Almost like the tunnels under the academy, but unlike at the academy, these aren’t used as storage and practice rooms, these tunnels are used for horrid research. Research that the previous fae king prefered others wouldn’t know about.
Gale and I took the guards in front of the building down fairly easily, but once Kieran opened the doors, I felt the immediate alarm from him, Topaz and Lyell.
Oh, hell. What now?
My dragon inside me roars, angry that someone could even think to put my hoard in danger, but I try to calm her down. They’re panicking, but they’re not hurt. We can deal with this without taking heads off, for now.
I sprint to the door, to my men, and Gale follows me closely. When we reach the door, my stomach drops. Hell, no. Fuck.
Topaz, Kieran and Lyell are already backing away from the doors as the tunnel ahead of us is filled with not just guards, but renegade soldiers too.
A trap. This is a fucking trap! Those guards outside were supposed to go down easily. They were there to make us think that it would be easy, that we were going to win, give us a false sense of safety.
The guards and soldiers were waiting for us, they were all waiting for us to come here. They’d planned for this! I’m not even sure how long they’ve been preparing for this, if they knew we were coming this way ever since we left the academy or if they were able to pull this off since my half-sister came to the town… But none of that matters when we’re just the five of us and we’re facing many times that number of people ahead of us…
I quickly try to come up with a new plan, something that would mean we’re not just walking to our own death… Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
We can’t call for backup, as they wouldn’t be here soon enough, it’s over an hour drive from the town. We’re on our own now. Shit.
The soldiers and guards are crowding the hallway. They can’t really fight that easily when they’re that close together. It would be easy to take them all down in one go with fire or something, but burning them is a no-go, we don’t want to accidentally set the whole place on fire. That leaves fighting them with our weapons or using air or water elemental magic.
The soldiers at the front take out their weapons and reveal that their daggers are coated in the same horrid venom the soldiers who attacked us on our way to the dragon town also had on their swords. Oh, crap. Well, it’s not unexpected, but I wish we’d taken some of the powder that we used back in the war to turn the venom into basically a type of useless rock-like substance. Sadly enough, we didn’t think of that before we left… Fuck.
As we’re staring at the group in the tunnels, the guards and soldiers stare back at us, both sides waiting for the other to make the first move, not wanting to go first. Then one of the soldiers drops to the floor, clawing at his throat as he can’t get air into his lungs because Gale is taking it away from him. The soldier hits the ground with a ‘thud’ and that’s the sign for the soldiers and the guards to rush towards us.
Topaz, Kieran and Lyell jump back, out of the doorway, and Topaz pulls up a wall of fire in front of the door, not letting any of the soldiers out. Just because the fire dragon scale armour protects the fae from getting fried when they’re blasted with fire, it’s still really uncomfortable and hot to step through a wall like this, so they’re not likely to rush through it. Though, if there’s someone who’s got enough control over water, they could try to extinguish it, but we’ll deal with that when it happens. For now, it keeps a decent barrier between us.
“There has to be another way in…” Lyell looks back at me. “There’s only one truck out here, but they have to have more of them with his many people. There has to be another way in.”
I nod. “Go look.”
Lyell darts to one side while Kieran runs to the other side, looking at the building, at the walls, at the walls of the mountain, at the floor. Anywhere the fae could be hiding a door.
Topaz steps back a little as he still uses his magic to keep the flames high. “They’re going to break through soon enough. I won’t be able to hold them for long. They’re just trying to decide which is the better option right now, waiting this out or barging through. Or maybe they’re deciding who to offer up to the flames to use as bridges to pass over. What do you want to do?”
“We can’t take them out the same way Gale and I took the guards out earlier. There are too many of them in there.” I sigh, glancing at Lyell and Kieran, who still don’t seem to have found anything.
“Can we close the doors?” Gale steps forward. “Can we close the doors so that I can take the air out of the hallway? Would be more effective than taking them out one by one.”
Topaz slowly shakes his head. “I don’t think they’ll allow the doors to close anymore right now… An earth dragon or earth elemental witch would come in handy right about now.” He sighs. “I’m afraid this is going to be a tough battle, no matter what we try…”
I spin around, my heart going into overdrive as I find Lapis behind us, together with Onyx and a couple of the rebels, both ones who’d come with us from the academy and some dragon rebels from the town. “No. No, no, no.” I shake my head. “You can’t be here!”
“But we are.” Lapis steps forward, a determined look in her eyes. “You don’t think we’re going to let you do this all on your own, right?”
“How did you even…”
“You don’t think you’re the only one who knows spells, right? And I’m an earth dragon, which makes tracking a lot easier for me.” She steps next to me, her hand on my arm for a moment. “And what does it matter? If we lose, these people are going to try to wipe out the town anyway… Better that we fight here than wait back there…”
“Lapis…” She can’t do this. She can’t put herself in danger like this, especially not her and Onyx at the same time. “What about Jade? What about the other kids?”
“They won’t have a life anyway, if the whole town gets wiped because we lose here. Now…” She looks at the flames in front of the door. “What did you need an earth dragon for?”
“Can you pull up a wall of earth in front of that door? Lock them inside for the time being?” Topaz seems to accept them being here so easily, but I also feel his dread, the same dread as I feel inside. Lapis and Onyx should not be putting themselves in trouble when they’ve got so much to lose!
“Can do.” Lapis closes her eyes, reaching out one hand.
The ground starts to rumble and a couple of soldiers jump through the flames at the same time, probably guessing it’s safer out here than in there. As a wall of earth shoots up from the ground, it launches two of the soldiers into the air, while another three get crushed between the top of the mound of earth and the top of the doorway.
Then Lapis opens her eyes again. “That should keep them busy for a while.”
“Thanks.” It looks ridiculous, the mound in front of the building, but if it keeps them busy, I’m all for it.
Topaz takes out his blade and quickly cuts the throat of one of the dazed soldiers while Gale uses his air magic to get rid of the other one.
Lyell and Kieran come back over to us, their faces sad. They look at the newly arrived group for a moment, but apparently decide it’s no use asking questions, instead turning to me.
“Can’t find any other way in…” Lyell grumbles, shaking his shoulders loose. “There should be, but they’ve hidden them well.”
I look at Onyx. “Any chance you can check?”
Onyx gives me a quick nod and kneels down, sending his magic into the earth to sense our surroundings. Where there might be tunnels or other ways in, what the structure behind the facade looks like. His face goes tense as he stands up again. “This place…”
He nods. “That’s a labyrinth of tunnels inside, I couldn’t really get too much of an overview of it, too tangled. But I did find a couple of ways in.” He points to the far side of the building. “That one is going to be our best bet. It’s a very wide tunnel and leads down to a large space, probably how they get supplies into the building. It will give us more space to fight, a better chance to survive this, even if they’ve got a lot of soldiers stationed there. And it leads directly into the middle of the complex, instead of having to find our way through the maze to get down.”
“Let’s do it.” I nod. “We’ll go in through there. You’re right, if we’ve got space to fight, that will make things a lot easier for us too.”
And I hope that it’s not just another way for the people of the research centre to trap us, but anything is better than going in through the front door at this point. This was always going to be a crazy mission to begin with, this was always going to be hard, but I guess that with Lapis and Onyx and the other rebels here, we might stand at least a chance…
Now we ‘just’ have to get in, find the dragons, and make it back out alive… And hope that as many of us as possible make it out alive… I’m afraid that last part might be the hardest of all.