The Guardians of Rhea

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Chapter Twenty-Three

Sara barely clung to life. Leon knelt beside her, “Sara, can you hear me?” he asked, with no response, “Open her mouth,” he told Nedim.

Nedim pinched Sara’s nose and squeezed her cheeks as Leon held his bloody wrist over her mouth for several drops of blood to fall in.

“Eww!” Janah cried.

Leon clasped Sara’s mouth, forcing her to drink the blood.

It took a second for Sara’s eyes to shoot wide open. She quickly stood up, looking around, “What happened?” she asked, poking at where the now-healed wound was.

“I had to give you some of my blood,” Leon said before rolling over on his side.

“What?!” Sara asked.

“There was no other way,” Caycee said, kneeling by Leon. She pulled a blood marble from her pocket, “Here, take this. I can’t believe you didn’t bring any.”

After eating the blood marble, Leon instantly regenerated a new hand, “Thanks,” he said standing up.

“Your blood healed me?” Sara asked.

“Yeah,” Leon answered, “You’ll also have my abilities for a short while.”

Sara’s eyes briefly turned completely black as she tested her Vesuvian powers. Looking down, she gasped with the realization Kamala had passed, “Oh, no.” she said.

“I take it you weren’t successful,” Lilith said, walking towards the group with Arloff close behind her.

Gillan stood, angry with tears in his eyes, “In case you can’t tell – we just got our asses kicked!”

“Are you game to try again?” Lilith asked.

“Not right now,” Leon answered, “We aren’t prepared, and with the losses we took I don’t think some of the group wants to go back.”

“What do you mean? Arloff is just fine, and the friends you lost are heading this way right now,” Lilith pointed, “See?”

Leon spotted Darek, Kamala, and Doradus, “Yeah, but they’re dead.”

“So,” Lilith said, “They can still fight.”

“Not like before!” Leon mentioned.

Lilith sighed, “What now then?” she asked, standing nearly nose-to-nose with Leon.

“We go back to Rhea,” Leon said, “Sara has to go back. I can’t risk losing her.”

“Why? You love her?” Lilith asked.

Leon suddenly flinched in disbelief, “She has to report back to her leaders.”

Lilith looked suspiciously at Leon, “Fine.”

“Well, this sucks,” Doradus mildly complained.

Hurok held his friend’s shoulder, “Be proud. You fought bravely and died fighting, the way all Fenrir should.”

“Could be worse,” Darek said, “Least now we’re immortal.”

Kamala crossed her arms, “Well I don’t see it that way,” she said, tears welling in her eyes upon seeing her lifeless body, “I have a family back home. My husband is going to be furious!”

“Kamala, I am so sorry.” said Sara.

Gillan took hold of Kamala’s hand, “Don’t worry, they’ll understand. We all knew this could happen.”

Kamala hugged Gillan tightly.

“Looks like everyone’s here.” Leon said.

Darek waved, “Oy! Thanks for gettin’ my back, Leon!”

Several of the people around laughed.

“Sorry, bud.” Leon said.

Darek playfully hit Leon’s arm, “You know I’m kiddin’.”

Leon noticed Kamala was depressed, “I know it’s a stupid question, but are you going to be alright?” he asked.

“I’ll be fine,” Kamala said, fighting back tears. Leon shook hands with her and nodded.

Stig suddenly came through the portal, “I did it!”

“It will be safe in our city,” Arloff said to Leon, “The fighting has stopped.”

“The Fenrir are still there,” Stig said, “However, they won’t attack. That’s the best I could do.”

“Even if they attack, they’ll answer to me.” Hurok said.

Sara asked, “Why not open a portal near Vesuvia, or another city?”

“Because I don’t know what’s on the other side,” Lilith answered, “Usually that’s not a problem, but since you’re not dead I wouldn’t recommend it.”

“I see.” Sara said.

“Leon,” Lilith called, “I can hold out for some time, but don’t keep me waiting.”

“Speaking of time, what time is it in Rhea?” Caycee asked.

Stig shrugged, “The sun was just setting when I left.”

Leon looked to Sara, “Ready?”

Everyone, alive, passed through the portal to the Promethean capital. Several Fenrir and Prometheans were just cleaning or hanging around.

“Janah and I will go back to Hegira.” Nedim said, “My people will likely send emissaries to help organize some counterattack. Farewell.”

“See you later,” Leon said, “Gillan, you coming?”

“No,” Gillan answered, “My people need to know what happened as well. I just hate having to go alone.”

“I’ll go with you,” Caycee said, “I’ve never seen Khothu before.”

Gillan was relieved, “Thanks.”

“I am going to gather the packs,” Hurok said, “The Fenrir will help fight the Pelasgians.”

“Sounds good. If you can, send someone to Vesuvia to let them know,” Leon said, then turning to Sara, “It’ll be easier if we go straight to New Haven from here.”

Sara held her hand out, “Lead the way.”

In the Shadow Realm, the Myrmidons gathered in a half-ruined building with only a large chair in the middle. Eris flew in from an opening in the roof.

Cesni looked angrily to Ivee, “You’re in big trouble.”

“Shut up!” Ivee said, pushing Cesni away.

“Stop!” Marduk ordered.

Vela turned to the doorway, “He’s here.”

Nibiru stepped in, standing there for a moment before instantly grabbing Ivee by the neck and lifting her off the ground, “Let me remind you that being a Myrmidon means following my command without question. Next time I will rip you apart!” he said, tossing Ivee aside.

The Myrmidons cowered, lowering their heads in disgrace, except for Eris.

“My lovely, Eris.” Nibiru said, gently caressing her cheek with his hand, “It seems our Rhean friends may be on to you. We must be more careful.”

Nibiru sat in the chair, resting his head on one hand, contemplating what had happened.

Marduk rushed to the chair and knelt, “Nibiru, I beg you, even you said Leon isn’t the warrior he once was-”

Nibiru interrupted, “You seem to forget that you’ve only fought Leon as a team. I need Leon to join us, and like all of you, he must join willingly. His power will make us stronger.”

Marduk backed away, “Yes, of course.”

“In time, my friend. All in due time,” Nibiru said, his laughter echoing through the building.

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