After facing Daath’s guardian snake, and then Lucino, after everything it took to save Jeslyn, nothing should surprise me, but it did. Fangs from the spider’s mouth worked back and forth. Webbing shot out from the spider, and I had just enough time to shield my face with my arm.
Numbing cold ran across my skin, making it feel like solid ice. I dropped to the ground and the dagger tip caught on one of the strands, dissipating it.
“Avikar!” Raven screamed.
Cael fought one of Lucy’s comrades while more ice spiders descended around us. Lucy fought off three of them. We had to get to Cael and get out of this pass.
However, we weren’t going anywhere with the biggest spider coming after us.
“Flank it,” I finally said to Raven while spinning the dagger in my hand. “You go left, on three.”
She nodded, her front foot adjusting into position.
“One… two… three.”
On three, we separated, dashing to each side. Not knowing which way to go, the spider turned toward me, and I was ready.
I dodged the spider’s attack and swung at its leg. The spider zipped to the left, dodging my hit. Raven had an open shot on its flank. Her blade swept in a vertical arc, stabbing between its body and legs.
Her blade shattered into frozen shards of metal.
The spider spun around, Raven staring at her blade in disbelief, and clamped on her shoulder.
Raven screamed as the spider’s dagger-like maw dug into her.
“No!” I launched myself on top of the insect’s body. It released Raven and shook frantically, trying to dislodge me. I punched the spider’s eye with my free hand. Ichor covered my skin. My hand went numb as I dug it into the empty socket. The numbness turned to fire.
Raven lay on the ground, unconscious, and if the bite was poisonous, she could already be dead.
Raven could be dead.
Rage filled me. My hands burned, but I punched harder, stabbed again, and again, until the spider fell onto the ground and stopped moving. I slid off its body and ran to Raven.
Blood dripped out of the two large holes in her fur. “Raven?” I put my ear to her lips. She was still breathing.
With his opponent on the ground, Cael ran to us while the remaining spiders attacked Lucy and her men.
Lucy danced around the spiders, none of them scoring a hit. A strange fire surrounded her arms, singeing the beasts whenever they came too close. In that moment, I could’ve sworn she looked at me and licked her lips, acting as if this was a game.
“She’s still breathing,” I said as Cael bent beside Raven. “But we need to get out of here.”
Cael slid his arm under her body. “We’re close to the end of the pass. We can make it as long as those spiders and our guests continue fighting each other.”
I lifted Cael’s pack onto my back. The weight of both our packs crushed against me. Cael slung Raven over his shoulder. “Keep that bow ready and cover our backs.” Cael started running.
I notched my bow. I took one last look at the carnage behind me. One of the armored men had fallen, and another looked seriously injured. If we were going to escape, now was the time.
aven lay on the ground, unconscious and burning with fever. We took off her furs to clean the wounds. The skin around the spider bites was already blotched red and purple.
Please, be okay.
“Let me see your hands.” Cael reached out and I showed him my blue hands.
He spoke in a weird language, one I’d never heard before, and his hand glowed.
A light surrounded my hand and heat spread from my palm up my arm. “What did you do?” I rubbed it and the cold began to leave my skin, my natural tan color returning.
“I said a prayer.”
“Is there water here?” I stood and gazed around the dark cavern.
Cael pointed past me. “Back there is a small pool. There’s a bowl on the shelf.”
We were in a cave just beyond the pass, hidden behind a frozen waterfall. Cael said divine power protected the cave and only one of The