|Автор произведения||Amy Blankenship|
|Жанр||Современная зарубежная литература|
|Издательство||Современная зарубежная литература|
The Guardian Heart Crystal Series Book 8
Copyright Â© 2010 Amy Blankenship
English Edition Published by Amy Blankenship
Second Edition Published by TekTime
All rights reserved.
Chapter 1 âSacrificeâ
The guardian brothers gathered around the remains of the maiden statue. Even wounded and bloody, they were still a sight to behold. Their translucent wings spanned out behind them like the angels of legend, but the deadly weapons theyâd just used to beat back the rain of demons told of their true nature. The guardians were more dangerous and lethal than the demons could ever hope to be.
They are the protectors of The Heart of Timeâ¦ the time portal that is the link between the demon world and all the human ones. Time and space separate the worlds so no one can cross without the use of the sacred portal. The guardians had never expected to turn their power against what theyâd been born to protect.
The winds of change had started three years ago when the maiden statue suddenly began to glow, revealing the fact that the human priestess had been reborn on the other side of The Heart of Time. Hyakuhei, once the most powerful guardian, now lord of the demons, had attacked, sending his demonic minions into a frenzy as they tried to get to the portalâ¦ trying to get to the priestess on the other side.
The guardians knew why Hyakuhei had attacked with such passionate fury, but the dark guardianâs reason didnât matterâ¦ they couldnât allow it. Their intense war raged for three long years, never stopping, weakening both sides of the conflictâ¦ until today. Hyakuhei had released the most cunning of the demons, banding them together with the weaker ones to fight with a vengeance.
Sending the army of evil to overrun the guardians in sheer number, Hyakuhei had spread his dark shadowy wings, calling forth his ultimate power to destabilize the barrier and escape into the human realm. Itâd happened so fast that the guardians didnât even know how many demons had slipped through the barrier with him and the only way to stop more from following had been to destroy The Heart of Time.
Now the guardians were at a crossroads. Hyakuhei and the demons would be free to stalk the priestess within the human realm, because with the time portal destroyedâ¦ the guardians couldnât reach her.
âWe shouldnât have done that,â Toya growled, glaring at the pile of rubble from where he knelt on the ground. Loss of blood had sapped his energy but not his anger. Heâd sent all the power he could through the time portal an instant behind Hyakuhei. He only hoped he had wounded the demon lord in the process. âHyakuhei will hunt her!â
âSheâs just a baby. Three years old and powerless against them.â The sadness in Kamui's voice was thick as his eyes glittered with tears. He tried to wipe the evidence away but only succeeded in leaving a smear of blood across his cheek. âWhat if the demons find her before he does?â
âShe wonât stand a chance against them.â Kotaro closed his ice blue eyes in denial. âShe doesnât have anyone there that can protect her from demonsâ¦ or from Hyakuhei.â
Shinbeâs amethyst wings vanished as he wrapped his arm around the gash across his ribs. He would heal, but it would do no good. âWe may have stopped the rest of the demons from entering her worldâ¦ but in truth, we have lost it all if he claims her.â
Kyou was the only one still standing at his full height, but only because he chose to ignore his own wounds in light of the dilemma that they were now facing. âIt is not over.â His voice was devoid of the anguish that plagued his brothers.
âWhat are you talking about?â Toya hissed as he stumbled to his feet. âThe time portalâs destroyed. We canât save her.â His silver wings vanished in a flurry of feathers, making way for his anger.
âThere is a wayâ¦ but the price is high,â Kyou informed them.
âThere is no price too high,â Kamui spoke what the others were thinking. His hands were now fisted at his sides and his eyes determined.
Kyouâs long silver hair fluttered in the breeze as he turned his golden eyes to lock them with Kamui's. âWould you die for her?â
âIf it would save her and her world,â was Kamui's instant reply as he took a step forward. âThen it would be but a small sacrifice.â
âJust tell us what we have to do,â Toya demanded. âOur lives already belong to herâ¦ If it takes blood then we will bleed.â
Kyou looked from one guardian to the next seeing they were all in agreement. âIf we die in this realm, then we will appear in hersâ¦ but there is a cost for such an act. Our powers as guardians will be cut in half, and our wings are the price of payment because they will be the power that carries us across time and space.â
âWill we be together?â Shinbe had the forethought to ask.
âWe are brothers and that will never change. We will not be rebornâ¦ but slip through the veil of time as we are. To the mortals, we will appear only around the ages of seventeen to nineteen, but our immortality will keep us from aging. The power of the descent will give us a life as if we have always been there among themâ¦ near her. The priestess is innocent in the realm of humansâ¦ she will have no power until she comes of age.â
Shinbe tightened his grip on his staff as he looked out at the bloody battlefield that surrounded them. âWeâve been attacked by powerful demons many times, and yet we live. Just how does a guardian go about getting himself killed?â
The faintest hint of a smile possessed Kyouâs lips as he answered. âIt takes a guardian to kill a guardian.â
âIf we are going to do this, then we might as well make it a test of strength,â Kotaro insisted trying to push away the horror of killing one's brother.
Shinbe nodded, understanding what Kotaro was trying to do. âWe have always wondered who among us is the strongest.â
Kamui's glittering eyes turned black and the ebony color quickly spread out across his wings as if eating the stardust that glittered there in multi-hued flecks. The instant Kamui came into his true power; it became a fight to the death.
Within moments, Toya was the last one standing. He dropped to his knees from the pain of what heâd just done, and what he yet had to do. No one had thought about the truest sacrifice that was to be made.
âTo be with you,â his voice was only a whisper as he kept the rest of his thoughts deep within him. Taking his twin daggers in a tight grip, he plunged them into his own heart. The last of his power activated the sacred daggers as the ice quickly spread out from his heartâ¦ followed by the flames.
Chapter 2 âA Voice from the Pastâ
15 years laterâ¦
Kyoko paused in front of the office door not wanting to go in. Sheâd been at the all girlsâ boarding school as far back as she could remember and being called to Mrs. Crapâs office had never been a good thing. It gave the words âOh Crapâ a new meaning.
âCome in Hogo.â Even muted from the other room, the female voice seemed harsh and unyielding, the kind that basically grated on peopleâs nerves.
Kyoko flinched wondering how the hell the old lady even knew she was standing there. She took a second to glance around her, looking for the secret spy camera she had never found then shrugged and opened the door.
Seeing that the head mistress was not alone in the office, Kyoko shifted from one foot to the other wondering what sheâd done to get in trouble this time. Since the school was in the middle of nowhere and there were no males allowed on the premises, sheâd never been in the