105

She glanced at Xheshmaryú whenever they touched land and knew by the expression on the Nochresi’s face that they wouldn’t get to Ryphqi in time. Knew, too, that there was nowhere in the Worlds that wouldn’t feel the explosion Rhyshladlyn was gathering in N’phier City. The farther from the epicenter, the greater the chance of survival, but even that wasn’t a guarantee. Not with their kè this angry, with this much power at his fingertips and three hundred years spent making a list of who to take that power-backed anger out on.

*We aren’t going to make it in time,* she called and felt Xheshmaryú’s resignation and a breath of happiness that he wasn’t the one who had said it. *Not both of us. And someone needs to warn Thayne.* 

Xheshmaryú glanced at her and nodded. They knew that they could travel the distance between Eyrdo and Ryphqi City and where they were right that moment in no time, but only if they were moving their own weight and nothing else. Rhyshladlyn was the only Dhaoine in the Worlds known to have the ability to blink who wasn’t limited speed-wise whether he was carrying his own weight or more. But, she glanced at Xefras, we have a Dragaen with us who is twice as fast as we are now, resistant to fire and most magickal attacks. If anyone can keep Bayls safe the rest of the way, it’s Xefras. 

*I’ll go to Eyrdo and warn Thayne,* Xheshmaryú pulled to a stop just inside fenced farmland, startling the goats that had been milling near the fence line as he dropped Bayls to her feet, the Sinner huffing at him in annoyance the second she had her balance.

*Go. I’ll tell Xefras and Bayls the change of plan.* They set down their charges and she accepted the Nochresi’s fierce, tight hug and sighed into the fall of his hair where it brushed against his shoulder. *Be safe, brother.*

*Always.* He blinked off without another word.

“Change of plan,” she said, turning to face Bayls and Xefras who were looking at her with nearly identical expressions. That’s… creepy. “Xefras, I need you to take on your true form and get Bayls back to Ryphqi City, or as close as you can manage before my  drops this storm on the Worlds. If you can’t make it, settle down and protect her as best you can.”

“And where’d Xhesh run off to?” Bayls demanded while Xefras simply did as Shadiranamen bid.

“To Eyrdo to warn Thayne and to make sure she had someone with her who could get her swiftly to safety if the need arose.”

Bayls stared at her for several heartbeats before she looked at Xefras who was now crouched on the ground, low enough that the Sinner could easily scramble up onto his back, dark amber eyes watching them expectantly. With a sigh, the Sinner climbed up onto the Dragaen and leveled Shadiranamen with a glare she’d seen Nhulynolyn receive plenty of times to know the next words almost by heart, even if they were a bit modified to reflect the Dhaoine receiving them.

“Don’t get fuckin’ killed because I expect to get a hug from you when everything is settled again.”

She smiled and nodded. “I always try to be the victor in a fight, Bayls Qaeniri.” Her smile widened to show all of her teeth and she fought down the laughter at the way Xefras’ eyes widened and he visibly fought not to flinch away from her. “Now get going. I’ll see you both back in Ryphqi City.”

As she blinked away, putting more speed behind it than she had when she was carrying Xefras, the twisting feeling in her gut told her that something was going to go wrong. She just prayed it had nothing to do with splitting them up.

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