C19 Isabelle - Bait
Isabelle’s heart leaped into her throat at the demon's presence—an eight foot tall black beast with rows of jagged teeth and glowing red eyes. What was the creature going to do to her...to Kohl? Its black claws clicked as it clapped its paws together. Leathery wings were small on its back and she doubted the monster could fly. Kohl stepped in between them, blocking the demon from her view.
“I congratulate you on escaping the tower, but your freedom is short-lived. My legion has you flanked. Surrender now and no harm will come to the human.”
Kohl’s tail flopped against the ground in front of her, sending up dirt and shards of grass. “I know Tryns’ vows are as worthless as weed-seeds. All that comes from it is misery and remorse.”
The demon grinned and its three rows of jagged teeth showed. Along the trees and bushes, hundreds of Tryns crawled forward resembling nightmares of monsters and devils. Isabelle swallowed. Her feet frozen. Terror squeezed her body and soul.
“Move out of the way, Renjerian scum,” the demon said. “Give us the girl and you can live another day.”
Kohl shook his massive dragon head. “Why? You wanted me to get to my father and conquer the last of us. What could a mere human do for you?”
The Tryns’ eyebrows rose. “So you've not told him the secret you carry.”
Was he talking about the baby? Nausea burned through her gut at the demon's smirk.
“Let's just say she has a precious commodity that your father would give anything for...including sacrificing his youngest son.”
What was the demon talking about? Was Kohl the youngest son and what would his father want more than the return of his child?
“Lies.” Kohl stomped forward. “Call off your vermin before I roast the lot of you.”
The demon laughed and it sounded like numerous victims screaming. “Attack the dragon, but leave the maiden untouched.”
Countless black demons shot forward.
No! Isabelle grabbed Kohl's tail and yanked with all her strength. She couldn't let Kohl fight all these monsters to protect her. Not when she hadn’t had a chance to tell him about the baby. If she did keep it, which knowing Kohl was a dragon alien made her wonder if she'd even survive the birth. Could she look their child in the eyes and admit she ran instead of trying to save Kohl?
“C’mon,” Isabelle tugged harder. “Can't you teleport or something?” Isn't that what the demon had done?
He snorted. “Not without a lightning storm.”
More of the small demons crept closer with their mouths full of snapping teeth. In seconds, they would be within biting distance.
Kohl’s tail pushed her back and he set fire with his breath at the arc of demons swarming them. Flames licked at the trees and grass like a huge ferocious beast with a never-ending hunger. The heat of the fire consuming everything in its path and heating the air around her. At any time, Kohl could turn her to ash. She stepped backward as fear clutched her chest.
“I can't make fire again for a while.” Kohl caught his breath, glancing at the barrier between them and the enemy. “It’s too draining and any more and the flames will seal us in too. I'll hold them off. Go toward the east...to the silver mountains.”
“Not without you.” She shook her head. “Are you able to shift back? We can get out of here easier without your mass knocking down trees at every other step.”
Besides needing to tell him about their baby, she really wanted his company. Find out more about getting to know him better. Discover what kind of man…alien he was and what sort of a father he’d be. And she needed him to navigate through this bizarre planet of blue grass and yellow trees.
Even if he stayed and fought the demons, he’d only buy her a little time. Soon he would be overcome...even killed. The monsters would catch up to her quickly since she didn't know the terrain. How far was this mountain? She couldn't see anything over the soaring treetops except patches of purplish-blue sky here and there. What if it took her several days to reach the safe zone? What would she eat or drink? She had no idea what was poisonous here or not.
“Please, Kohl, or however you pronounce your name, come with me.” She paced. Her gut telling her to run. How long would the fire barricade last? “Show me the way. Together we can make it out of here.”
When he wiped his tail and knocked a bold demon who leaped from a nearby tree, she grasped Kohl’s arm.
“Please, we need to leave now before we both die.”
His dragon eyes narrowed, but he nodded.
He tucked his wings against his back. The membranes disappearing. Then his scales shimmered and vanished while his body twisted. He now stood before her naked.
“Let's go,” he said and grabbed her hand. Sweat coated his body and she felt him tremble through their connection. Transforming must take a toll on him.
Following his lead, she tore through the forest after him. She glanced behind her. The fire sputtered in spots. Dozens of demons trudged forward. But her guess was that more dashed to get ahead of the fire and them.
Branches and vines snatched her hair and scratched her legs but she raced after Kohl. His hand never leaving hers. How dense was this stupid forest? Glancing behind her, spots of black short fur or leather wings peeked out behind a cluster of trees and bushes. So many. They weren't going to make it. Her heart hammered in her chest. She and Kohl were going to die on this planet and no one back on Earth would know what had happened to them. Her sisters would be heartbroken. Julia would fret that she could've done more to help.
A vine snagged her foot and her ankle twisted. She cartwheeled her arms forward to stop her fall.
Kohl's hands grasped her and hauled her to his chest. Her breath froze as she stared into his bright turquoise eyes. “You okay? Can you walk?”
A full second passed before her brain registered what he was saying.
She took a step and jagged pain stole her breath. “Ah, no. I turned my ankle I think.” Even without putting pressure on her foot, her injury throbbed.
He smiled and her heart sped up. “Then I'll have to carry you.”
“But you're injured.” Blood ran in rivets down his chest and back. She honestly didn't know how it was he was still standing.
“I’ve been in worse shape.” He lifted her into his arms and marched ahead.
She squirmed against his hold.
“Of course,” he winked down at her as though they didn't have a horde of demons chasing them, “this would be a lot easier if you didn't move around so much.”
“Sorry.” She shifted into a better position and forced herself still. Noticing the bite marks on his body, she shivered. “Those bites look infected.”
“Poison...venom Dena called it, is toxic.”
Isabelle shoved a hand against his shoulder. “Then what are you doing carrying me? We need to get you to a hospital. Is Dena your doctor?”
“No, she's a vet on Earth.”
“You see a veterinarian instead of a doctor?” Was that because he was a dragon? Or half or shifter? Could anyone else change into a human? “Why not see a physician here? Wouldn't they be better able to treat you?”
His mouth firmed in a thin line. “All our doctors are dead. After the Tryns took out our weapons, the physicians were targeted next.”
Thunder boomed overhead and Isabelle jumped. Looking over Kohl's shoulder, the demons had vanished. Why? Unease sank into her middle. She turned back to let Kohl know the demons were gone when a branch shot out of nowhere and careened Kohl on the side of his face, barely missing her. He toppled backward, but kept his grip on her cushioning her from the fall.
The demon from the spaceship strolled into view. “Did you think it would be that easy to escape me?” He laughed as Kohl and Isabelle untangled from each other and stood.
When her foot hit the ground, she bit back a curse. Her ankle was sprained...possibly broken. Kohl rose, but blood covered the lesion on his cheek.
“Thank you for giving the directions to your family's hideout to the human.” The demon whacked the thick branch against its three-fingered palm. “But with her as bait, I no longer need you.”