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.
She caught movement off to her right. A man walked along the chain toward them, as if he strode on perfectly flat, stable ground. He reached them and knelt next to Damian, who jolted, almost tumbling head first into the abyss.
The man stretched a hand down to her. "Grab it."
Sid didn't have time to consider who this person might be, what his intentions were. Take his offered help, or die. She definitely didn't want to die--at least not until she finally opened the gate back home.
She strained to swing her loose arm up to him and his hand enveloped hers, a strong grip.
He nodded, then rested his other palm on the chain, muttering something unintelligible under his breath. And then he stroked the link he knelt on as if it were a pet.
The chain stilled, and if it were truly a cat, Sid would have expected it to purr. No purring, though, just that throb in it, like a heartbeat.
Turning to Damian, the man said, "Help me pull her up."
Between the two of them, they dragged Sid back onto the link--the stranger clearly pulling more of the weight. She clung to the metal, or creature, whatever it was, unwilling to let go.
"Careful now," the man said. "Don't injure the chain. I can calm it, but we don't want it to get started again. Let's hurry to the other side."
Oh, how Sid wanted to be on firm ground, not suspended over an unquestionable below. But she couldn't move. "I can't." And Damian was stuck behind her.
The man sighed. "Fine then." He scooped her up like she weighed nothing and glided across the remaining length of chain, depositing her in the tall grasses on the other side.
Damian crawled his way across and to her, placing a hand on her back. "Are you all right?"
She nodded. But she wasn't really. Her fingers and shoulders throbbed from hanging off of the chain so long, and her heart thudded in her chest as if it wanted to compete with the thing she just crossed.
"I'd expect a couple of Guardians to know how to surpass the chain." The man sounded annoyed.
Sid looked up at him, tempted to glare, but that would be rude to someone who just saved her life. He almost seemed as surly as Damian first had when they met.
Then the stranger grinned. And she had thought a smile lit up Damian's face. This man, it changed his sour mood to joy instantly and accentuated his deep brown hair tumbling to his shoulders, brought a shine to the eyes that nearly matched his hair.
Where Damian's features were light, this man's were dark. Even his skin looked as if it had been out in the sun often, soaking up the rays and turning his skin a light brown.
"I'm Bishop, by the way. What brings the Guardians to Turss after so many centuries?"
What, indeed. Some foolish woman who allowed the magic to take control of her, that's what. Surely she couldn't tell him that.
"A mistake," Damian said, standing. He didn't offer a smile in return, and his lips almost curved in a scowl--he needed to work on his manners. At least he didn't directly blame her. Small favors. "And we need to get back before we're missed."
"Then why did you bother crossing the chain?" Bishop's smile vanished when addressing Damian.
Great, not only was she stuck in an unknown world--Turss was what Bishop had called it--unable to get back, but now she had to deal with two men who clearly didn't like each other. Who needed love at first sight when you had hate at first sight?
Not to mention, she didn't want to cross that damned chain again if she could help it. And now she really didn't want Bishop carrying her back across it. Her face flooded with heat from the sudden embarrassment. How could she allow herself to be treated like a helpless child?
Damian looked back across the chain, the gate now hidden by the mist. "We don't know how to get back."
Bishop laughed and scooped up the book at their feet. "You have this, don't you? Got you here, I assume."
Sid sighed--it was time for her to stop letting Damian deal with this mess she got them into. "We weren't prepared. Something surprised us, forcing us through the portal. We didn't intend to step through. And the script in the part of the book that likely tells us how to get back is unreadable."
"She speaks." The corner of Bishop's mouth twitched.
How she wanted to see that wonderful smile again. Foolish thoughts. The last thing she needed to be thinking about was some stranger's handsome face. Especially one who rescued her as if she were some damsel in distress.
Rescued or not, now he was being mean. Sid pushed herself up from the ground, her legs still trembling. "Excuse me if it took some time for me to catch my breath from nearly falling to my death." She snatched the book out of his hands and paged to the section she assumed would detail this world and the way back, shoving it into his face. "If we could read this, we'd happily be on our way and out of your hair." She felt the urge to run her fingers through said hair. Ugh.
"Is that all?" Bishop plucked the open book out of her hands. "Well, I can read this. Shocked you Guardians can't." He laughed, an intoxicating sound.
Sid's heart, having calmed down some from her near death experience, hammered harder. This man had her completely flustered. Perhaps it was just her recent experiences that had her head thinking stupid things. Yes, that was it--they'd passed through a portal, traversed a living chain, and nearly died. That had to be it.
She sucked in a breath. "Then tell us what it says."
"Wow." Bishop slammed the book shut. "Demanding, isn't she?"
"Welcome to my world," Damian said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Scratch that--she'd rather them hate each other, especially if agreeing on something meant they were ganging up on her.
"You enter Turss, where no Guardian has crossed into for centuries." Bishop's face grew darker with each word. "Send a bunch of magic tumbling toward my cabin, disturb the chain connecting the island to the gate, make me rescue your hides from falling to your deaths, don't even offer me your names after I offer you mine, and then demand I tell you what this text says." He barred his teeth, ever so slightly. "I guess the histories weren't far off the mark about the Guardians."
Sid squeaked. She'd gone from thankful he saved her life to completely rude in the matter of seconds.
And when she was about to apologize, Damian beat her to it. "We're sorry," he said. "This is Obsidian. And I'm Damian."
"Sid," she muttered.
Damian rose that eyebrow at her briefly, then returned to talking to Bishop. "Clearly we're a bit shaken at the events that recently unfolded. We'd appreciate your help in getting us back home. Honestly, we never meant to be a bother. We weren't even sure we'd find anybody on this side when crossing over."
Bishop studied both of them for a few minutes. "Eh, a Guardian willing to admit his lack of knowledge. I'll tell you, I didn't expect that." He looked at the book, tracing the script on the cover which now said Nect. "Nexus."
"What? No. It says Nect," Sid said.
"To you maybe. But here, this is the word for Nexus, the script above the portal you just came through."
Interesting. She guessed it made sense, though. All of the gates leading to many different worlds in Nect. He'd probably look at the script above the gate on the other side and say it said Turss instead of Turmoil.
"OK, I'll help you. But on one condition." Now that grin she had hoped to see again looked a bit sinister. "You take me back with you."
Sid glanced at Damian. He'd never agree to that, but they had no choice. The Council would surely know of their mistake if they brought someone back with them. "You risk your life if you come with us," she said. Not to mention her own and Damian's.
"I'll take that chance."