Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 17

DISCLAIMER: This is rough draft material. Don't be surprised if you fall into plot holes, trip over inconsistencies, and get hit in the head with direction changes. I've done my best to read through several times before posting, though, to make sure most spelling and grammar errors are corrected. Any constructive comments are welcome for when I revise this novel. Thank you for reading!

All current and previous chapters for Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession can also be found on Wattpad. And for an easy to access list of all chapters that have been posted to Born to Write, please visit the Table of Contents.

A new chapter is planned to be posted to Wattpad every Friday, and that chapter will then be posted on Born to Write on the Wednesday after.

Chapter 16

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Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 17

Bishop slipped the phone from under his pillow and rested it on the open book where Damian and Sid couldn't see it. They were too wrapped up in the computer and whispering between each other to notice anyhow. He was sure they plotted to make sure he wouldn't come with. The woman might not be a Guardian yet, but she had that air about her.

Well, he'd just have to be one step ahead of them. The book was in his hands now, and he'd make sure it stayed that way. Insurance. They probably had others, but Sid seemed intent on holding onto this one--she wouldn't leave it behind.

It amazed him that they couldn't read the words in this book. The Guardians seemed to have fallen far from the days they had walked the ground of Turss last. He'd help to make sure they fell farther, though.

True, the first half of the book was completely out of reach to him. He had peeked at it as he walked back to the cabin. Likely the text that had gotten them here. He'd piece it all together once they crossed into Nect.

Sid tapped on the computer screen.

Bishop wondered how she'd react if he turned it on. That one, she piqued his curiosity. He hadn't sensed any magic coming from her since she had struggled to keep her grip on the chain. Maybe she didn't even realize what she had inside of her.

The power of the All-Seeing Eye--the one to spawn the Ancients who built the gates. Sadly, the latter were long dead and the former blinded to the tumult of Turss. At least, it seemed that way, since not a lash was fluttered in their direction to help end the war.

It would be amazing if Obsidian truly had the blood of the Ancients flowing through her veins, albeit diluted. Power like that could create great things. And cause horrible destruction.

She turned away from prodding the computer and smiled at him. "Finding what we need?"

Bishop returned the smile. "Oh, yes. It's all quite clear."

He swiped the phone to unlock it once she had returned to her conversation with Damian, then typed in a message: "Portal opened. Two young Guardians came through. Going back with them." Quickly, he hit send. His hand shook as he typed in the next bit. "Prepare a blink and wait for my return at the gate."

Bishop hesitated, his finger hovering over the phone. Finally, he tapped send again, hoping he had chosen the right path.

Sid wouldn't be part of plotting to kill a man. That's what it was--true they didn't know for sure what would happen if lost inside the gate when it closed, but how could it be anything other than death? "I won't do it."

"You have no choice." There was an edge to Damian's voice that she'd never heard before. He'd been so patient with her, even if a little cold. Now though, the words sounded like a demand and a threat rolled into one.

Everything she had thought about him, she never imagined he was a man willing to end someone else's life with such little care. "You're a rotten person."

He drew back. "I'm only . . . I don't have to explain myself to you."

"Problem?" Bishop asked. "Lovers' spat maybe?"

Sid whirled on him. "I assure you there's nothing like that between us. Never."

Damian did her the favor of keeping his mouth shut for once.

"OK, then. Not only are you demanding, but defensive too."

Her heart took up its pounding again. If it kept this up, she'd die of a heart attack in no time. She shouldn't have been so agitated over Bishop's suggestion. It wasn't like she'd considered Damian in such a light, even if she had felt amazingly safe in his arms when he had saved her from the shift or that he had grounded her mind when she had lost it and opened the gate.

But she felt the insane need to make sure Bishop understood that she wasn't interested in Damian.

All these years she had been so focused on finding a way to open her portal, to becoming a Guardian, to reading the text of the book that was no longer in her possession, that she'd avoided the distraction of boys, of falling in love. Now she was stuck in a room with two of them and clearly the maddening thud of her heart thought she had waited too long to explore any such desires.

Stupid heart.

"Shouldn't you be figuring out how to open the gate instead of nosing into our business?" Damian crossed his arms over his chest. "If you want a better chance to survive, to not get caught by the other Guardians in Nect, we need to be quick. Dawn isn't far away."

Bishop tilted his head and his eyebrows drew together. "But night only began a few hours ago."

"We entered the portal only a couple of hours before dawn in Nect." Sid pulled out the chair at the desk and sat. "Unless . . . what if time passes differently there than it does here?"

"Then we all may be doomed," Damian said. "If time moves more quickly there while it drags here, we'll be missed. There's no telling what time, or even what day, it will be when we cross back."

"But if it's the other way around, and it passes more slowly in Nect, we may be able to get back before most of the House wakes." Sid had to hope that was the case. She didn't want to disappear, not like the one person had in her neighboring county back home.

"No way of knowing." Damian grabbed the back of Sid's chair. "Make haste."

Bishop turned pages more quickly. "Alright, alright."

Sid looked up at Damian. "Perhaps they won't miss us at all. Are you required to check in with anyone daily?"

"No."

"What about your parents?"

Damian barked a laugh. "No worries there." Then he looked away, studying the ice box that had started making noise again.

His mother must not have hugged him enough as a child--that must have been why he was willing to entertain ending someone's life. Sid had to find the reasoning behind his actions or she'd lose her mind. Again.

"Here we are," Bishop said. "I think I have all of the required materials. Good thing, too, because it would take at least a week to have someone deliver anything." He tucked the book under his arm and headed for the small kitchen, then rummaged through a cabinet. "Yes. This." He pulled out a strange looking lamp. There was no spot for oil, but it had one of the bulbs similar to what was above their head inside of it.

"What is it?" This world was amazing, and Sid wanted to take everything in during the short time she was here. Part of her even wanted to stay, to explore all the differences between Turss and Nect, and to see what that computer could do.

"Just a lantern." Bishop flicked a switch and it lit up, then turned it off again. "Good. I don't have to replace the batteries." He handed the lantern over to Damian who held it up in front of him as if it were going to burn him.

Sid pulled out the knife and hair pins from her pocket. "Will these be helpful?"

"Ah, the pins, yes. Did you have to write in the dirt as well?"

She nodded. This side didn't seem to need any blood to ignite the magic. Probably a good thing--her arm still hurt where she had cut herself.

Bishop pulled open a drawer and pulled out some fine strings. "Unicorn hair. We're in luck I enjoy gardening. These little things help the flowers flourish."

"Unicorn?" Not only did they have strange humming ice boxes in this world, but creatures she'd only ever heard of in fairy tales as well.

"Your Nect is an odd place if it doesn't have lightbulbs or unicorns." He shoved the hairs in his trouser pocket. "That should be all we need to open the portal. Just let me get a backpack of supplies together before we leave."

As Bishop filled his bag, he made sure to keep the book near him. Sid could have tried to grab it, but she had a feeling he wouldn't let her. So instead, she watched his movements, his arm muscles tensing as he reached up to grab something in his wardrobe. With all the time he claimed he had, he must have stayed fit. It surely wasn't magic that made him able to carry her across the chain with ease.

The chain.

She'd soon have to cross it again. Oh, how she'd rather just sit here and continue watching Bishop instead.

Damian kicked the leg of her chair.

She peered up at him and pursed her lips.

"Sorry."

Doubtful.

"Ready for an adventure." Bishop's grin nearly took over his whole face.

"Are you so nonchalant about risking your own life?" Damian asked.

"Hardly. But when you've been cooped up in this cabin and the general vicinity around it for a few years, you'd be itching to escape it too, no matter the risk."

"Whatever." Damian exited the cabin, lantern held safely away from his body.

Bishop made to follow.

"Wait." Sid had to warn him, even if it meant betraying Damian. Even if the thought of that betrayal stung the corners of her eyes. It shouldn't--what he planned to do was wrong. But she couldn't explain her own reaction.

"Scared of falling from the chain?"

She stood. "No." Well, she was, but that wasn't why she was stalling. Now she was tempted to say nothing since he felt the need to poke at her insecurities. That would be petty, though. "When we go through the portal, hold on tight. Don't let go for anything."

A bemused look skittered across his face, and he leaned in toward her. "I promise. I won't let go of you."

Obsidian felt the heat of his body, and a heat mirroring it blossomed deep inside of her. It took all of her will to stop herself from making some unseemly sound. His reply tumbled around in her mind, which only made the warmth heighten.

This had to stop. She stepped back. "Good. I wouldn't want you to get lost." Then she drifted out of the door with as much decorum as she could muster.

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Chapter 18

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