Dark Tempest by Annette Marie

Dark Tempest by Annette Marie

Author:Annette Marie [Marie, Annette]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fiction, Fantasy
ISBN: 9781988153100
Publisher: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Published: 2017-01-06T07:00:00+00:00

Chapter 13

Emi lay in the grass on her side, her head cushioned on one arm. The broad leaves filling the branches above her rustled softly in the breeze, and beyond them, glittering stars dusted the dark sky. She fought the weight of her eyelids, refusing to close them.

Shiro lay beside her, moonlight and shadows dancing across his face. His chest rose in a faint, slow rhythm that hadn’t changed as night crept closer and closer to dawn.

Yumei sat against the tree trunk behind Emi, his arms folded and his head bowed. He’d fallen asleep a couple hours ago. The healing powers of the petals had caused them both terrible fatigue, but the Tengu had waited with her as the hours had dragged on before succumbing to his exhaustion. Emi still clung stubbornly to consciousness despite her desperate need for sleep.

She’d given Shiro his healing petal, slipping it into his mouth before taking her own and touching it to her tongue for a count of three. Its sweetness had bloomed across her tongue and spread throughout her body in a wave of warmth. Over the next hour, the pain in her ribs had faded away, as had all her other tiny aches and pains, including the regular ones of day-to-day life. She’d never felt so whole, so strong, so alive.

Though an hour had passed, then another, then another, Shiro hadn’t stirred. His breathing hadn’t strengthened at all. His eyes, when she pulled up his eyelids, were dull … blank … lifeless. The “few hours” that Uzume had indicated had come and gone. He hadn’t woken.

He will sleep forever.

Anguish built, crushing her lungs. The petal hadn’t saved him. It hadn’t been enough.

She lightly traced the red symbol on his cheek. Her fingertips slid down his jaw to his chin, then traced the column of his throat until they found the pulse in his neck. It fluttered ever so slowly against her fingers, his skin so cool. Alive, but out of reach. Alive, but gone.

Beyond the glade, the mountains were dark silhouettes against the starry sky. Hovering just above the summits, the moon gradually sank toward the horizon.

With one hand still resting on his throat, she opened her other. Cupped in her palm was the white petal she’d briefly touched to her tongue. It shimmered as though emitting its own moonlight. Once the moon above sank below the mountains, the petal would die.

She slid her hand down to Shiro’s shoulder and squeezed it tight. Uzume had said it would destroy him, but Emi hadn’t had a chance to explain Shiro’s circumstances—his bound power, his unknown identity. Uzume had called him a “mere” kitsune, but he was more than that. What if a second petal could revive him when the first had failed?

Or maybe the petal would destroy him entirely—destroy any possibility that he would revive from the spirit realm.

Her gaze flicked to the moon again. He will sleep forever. Before she could second-guess herself, she took the petal between two fingers and pushed it between his lips.


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