He would’ve waited, would’ve done anything he could for the girl he realized had become a woman of courage and strength, but he knew she didn’t want him to see her like this. So he walked forward, cupped her face, and pressed his lips to her forehead. Fight, sweetheart, fight.
As he turned away, he felt the earth shudder under a pulse of raw power and knew that if he looked over his shoulder, he’d see nothing but a column of wild yellow and brilliant red, a woman consumed in flame.
HAVING confirmed that the warehouse the novices had found in the city held the weapons cache, SnowDancer blew the South American camp at midnight.
Stealth planes flew over the city at three a.m.
Pure Psy operatives began to appear along the SnowDancer-DarkRiver perimeter an hour later, pouring out from craft that landed just out of range of the anti-aircraft weapons over changeling territory, most covering the remaining distance on foot, while a front guard stood ready for teleportation.
The intruders were loaded up with so many weapons that had the changelings been relying only on their physical strength, the battle would’ve been over before it began. As it was, Alexei’s sharpshooters, along with those trained by Dorian and Judd, were in prime position to pick off those attackers who were teleported in. And the changelings had extraordinary night vision.
The enemy learned quickly and began to teleport in farther from the perimeter, inside DarkRiver land. But the leopards knew that land like the backs of their hands, and while their people were all in the city tonight, they’d laid out a welcoming mat—a number of the aggressors fell victim to their traps. And this time, there was no question about the enemy combatants’ allegiance. They wore the emblem on their shoulders.
“A black spiderweb.” Matthias’s voice came into Hawke’s earpiece. “That’s Henry Scott’s symbol.”
Not unexpected but it was always nice to have confirmation. “If the enemy hits you with a psychic blow,” he told his people as they prepared to engage, “aim at their heads. If you don’t have a shot, turn around and run like hell until you get out of range.” Changeling shields were strong, but they weren’t impenetrable. “I need live soldiers, not dead heroes.”
A chuckle from the line, his wolves ready for battle.
Then Henry Scott teleported in onto the perimeter, surrounded by an armed guard so thick, it was impossible for anyone to get a shot in. The Councilor held up a hand.
Knowing time and the wind would only help his people pinpoint the locations of the Pure Psy teams, Hawke gave the order to listen.
“This,” Henry said, “is your last chance. Surrender and I will let you walk away.”
Hawke’s wolf wanted to rip out the man’s throat, but it was better to let the bastard talk, find out as much as they could. “Now why,” he said from his position behind a slight rise, “would we want to do that when this is our land?” Their home.
Henry Scott’s voice was ultimately reasonable. “You’ve been caught up in the middle of a political situation you have no hope of understanding. It’s in your best interest to give in.”
“What do you say boys and girls?” Hawke murmured into the mike worked into the collar of the thin black bulletproof vest he wore over a long-sleeved T-shirt of the same color.
The howl started at one end of the line and was carried from soldier to soldier, until it reverberated around the mountain. Hawke’s wolf peeled back its lips. “Go!”
HAVING had a telepathic report from Judd as well as a call from Hawke on the sat phone he’d left her, Sienna had earthed herself and double-checked her power reserves. The chance of an unpredictable spike remained, but since that wouldn’t matter if the people she loved were dying when she could’ve saved them, she took the risk of heading down.
She reached the combat zone just as hostilities began, the hairs on the back of her neck rising at the sound of the wolf howls singing through the air. Tempting as it was to detour, to glimpse the battle, she made her way directly to the spot Hawke had pointed out on the territorial map what felt like months ago. There was a pair of night-vision lenses waiting for her, along with a tiny key on a thin silver chain.
If you want to know what this opens, stay alive.–H.
“Hello, wolf.” Placing the chain around her neck, she slid on the night-vision lenses and began to scan the combat zone.
It was automatic to search for that vivid mane of silver-gold, distinctive even through the color distortion caused by the lenses. But she couldn’t see it anywhere. Her heart stopped beating at the thought that he’d been hit, was down, and then she realized—every single SnowDancer in human form was wearing a knit cap over his or her head.
Yes, of course. The enemy would never know which one was Hawke, giving them no specific target. “Come on,” she said, whispering encouragement though she knew they couldn’t hear her, “we can do it.” That was when she spotted him, though his hair remained covered, his face turned away. Still, she knew the way he moved—a human wolf. Her wolf.
HAWKE saw several of his people fall, knew they’d been hit with a psychic blast. Racing out to the one closest, he pulled the male back out of range with a grip on his bulletproof vest, then went back to retrieve another, a woman. Around him, more SnowDancer soldiers were doing the same, as others fought off the Pure Psy operatives targeting those trying to assist the injured.
There was no doubt that Scott had a massive advantage with his telepaths and telekinetics, but from the looks of things, the Tk unit was beginning to tire from the troop movements—which meant SnowDancer didn’t have to worry about missiles being lobbed at them without warning, though the techs had prepared for that eventuality by placing a number of interception units along the defensive line.