Side Story Three
Two Years Ago
The Trap Fourteen
It didn’t take Darya long to catch up with Julie; he only had to follow the trail of rage dripping off her as she stormed towards the Core gate. But why was she heading there?
“Where do you think you’re going?” He grabbed her hand just as she entered the clearing around it.
She scowled at him and yanked her arm free. “To rescue Marama. It’s hurting her to shut me up.”
“What is?” He turned to stare at the Core Gate. “You can’t mean…”
“I can and I do,” she replied. “But it’s stopping me jumping to her so this is my only option. You should go back and wait for the others to attack you to rescue those three – they will, you know.”
“I don’t know why you think it’s the Core who is hurting your heart friend – that is who Marama is, right? But whoever is hurting her, you’ll get both of you killed running in half-cocked.”
“Yes, she is.” She stopped and shook her head angrily. “Damn it! I only just rescued her from Gerian and now this happens! How dare it hurt her like this? This is not her fault at all.”
Darya sighed and put an arm around her shoulders. “The dragon you were working for hurt her?”
She shook her head. “He just had her in some sort of stasis, but that’s bad enough. I know he’s not the one hurting her this time.” She scowled in the direction of the tower. “It is.”
Darya’s frown deepened. “Why are you so sure that the Core is involved?” he asked. She gave him a long look but didn’t reply. Darya shook his head. “It could be the dragon trying to trick you, you know?”
“No, I’d know if it were him,” she said certainly. She looked at the tower again, “But you’re right. I can’t take it on alone.” Tears welled up in her eyes as her rage turned to misery. “I have to save her somehow!”
“And you can’t jump to her?” he asked. “Where did you leave her before you came here?”
“A few miles away. She said she knew the way home â€“ I wanted to escort her but she thought it wouldn’t be safe for me.”
“That was probably wise of her,” he conceded. “There are a lot of people who would kill you on sight, and her if they knew your connection to her. Your actions haven’t exactly endeared you to us.”
“No,” she sighed heavily.
“But we can yell about that later. Let’s go and save Marama from whoever is attacking her.” He offered Julie his hand. “If we push together we should be able to get past the barrier that’s blocking you from teleporting.”
She gave him a strained smile and took his hand. “Thanks!”
It did feel like it was the Core blocking her from reaching Marama. They pushed against it again and again and eventually it gave. As they leapt through to where a Hercian Bird lay unconscious in a clearing, Darya heard something scream with rage inside his head and realised it really was the Core.