Home > The Fate of Ten (Lorien Legacies #6)(8)

The Fate of Ten (Lorien Legacies #6)(8)
Pittacus Lore

Marina glances back at the temple. “Should we leave it this way? Without protection?”

“What’s left to protect?” Adam asks.

“There’s still at least some of the, uh, the Entity left in there,” Marina replies. “Even now, I think the Sanctuary is still a way to . . . I don’t know, exactly. Get in touch with Lorien?”

“We don’t have a choice,” I reply. “The others will need us.”

“Wait a second,” Adam says, looking around. “Where’s Dust?”

With everything that happened inside the Sanctuary, I completely forgot about the Chimæra we left outside the temple to stand guard. There’s no sign of the wolf anywhere.

“Could he have gone into the jungle looking for that Mog woman?” Marina asks.

“Phiri Dun-Ra,” Adam replies, naming the trueborn that survived our initial assault. “He wouldn’t just go off on his own like that.”

“Maybe the Sanctuary’s light show scared him off,” I suggest.

Adam frowns, then cups both his hands around his mouth. “Dust! Come on, Dust!”

He and Marina fan out, searching for any sign of the Chimæra. I climb onto our Skimmer to get a better look at the surrounding area. From up here, something catches my eye. A gray shape squirming out from beneath a rotten log at the edge of the jungle.

“What’s that?” I yell, pointing the writhing form out to Adam. He races over, Marina right behind him. A moment later, Adam carries the small shape over to me, his face twisted with concern.

“It’s Dust,” Adam says. “I mean, I think it is.”

Adam holds a gray bird in his hands. It’s alive but its body is stiff and twisted, like it suffered from an electric shock and never recovered from the spasms. His wings jut out at odd angles and his beak is frozen half-open. Even though this is nothing like the powerful wolf we left behind just a short time ago, there’s a quality that I immediately recognize. It’s Dust, for sure. Bad as he looks, his black bird eyes dart around frantically. He’s alive, and his mind is working, but his body isn’t responding.

“What the hell happened to him?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” Adam says, and for a moment I think I see tears in his eyes. He steadies himself. “He looks . . . he looks like the other Chimæra did right after I rescued them from Plum Island. They were experimented on.”

“It’s okay, Dust, you’re okay,” Marina whispers. She gently smooths down the feathers on his head, trying to calm him. She uses her Legacy to heal most of the scratches that cover him, but it doesn’t release Dust from the paralysis.

“We can’t do anything more for him here,” I say. I feel bad, but we need to keep moving. “If that Mog did this to him, she’s long gone. Let’s just get back to the others. Maybe they’ll have ideas about what to do.”

Adam brings Dust on board the Skimmer and wraps him in a blanket. He tries to make the paralyzed Chimæra as comfortable as possible before he sits down behind the ship’s controls.

I want to get in touch with John, find out how things are going outside the Mexican jungle. I retrieve the satellite phone from my pack and settle into the seat next to Adam. While he begins powering up the ship, I call John.

The phone rings endlessly. After about a minute, Marina leans forward to look at me.

“How worried should we be that he’s not answering?” she asks.

“The normal amount of worried,” I reply. I can’t help but glance down at my ankle. No new scars—as if I wouldn’t have felt the searing pain. “At least we know they’re still alive.”

“Something’s not right,” Adam says.

“We don’t know that,” I reply quickly. “Just because they can’t answer right this second doesn’t mean—”

“No. I mean with the ship.”

When I take the phone away from my ear, I can hear the strange stuttering noise the Skimmer’s engine is making. The lights on the console in front of me flicker erratically.

“I thought you knew how to work this thing,” I say.

Adam scowls, then angrily flips down switches on the dashboard, powering the ship off. Beneath us, the engine rattles and clangs, like something’s not catching.

“I do know how to work this thing, Six,” he says. “It’s not me.”

“Sorry,” I reply, watching as he waits for the engine to settle before powering the ship up again. The engine—Mogadorian technology that should be deathly silent—once again burps and spasms. “Maybe we should try something besides turning it off and on again.”

“First Dust, and now this. It doesn’t make sense,” Adam grumbles. “The electronics are still working. Well, everything except for the automated diagnostic, which is exactly what would tell us what’s wrong with the engine.”

I reach over and hit the button that opens up the cockpit. The glass dome parts above our heads.

“Let’s go have a look,” I say, standing up from my seat.

We all climb back out of the Skimmer. Adam jumps down to inspect the ship’s underside, but I remain atop the hood, next to the cockpit. I find myself gazing at the Sanctuary, the ancient limestone structure casting a long shadow thanks to the setting sun. Marina stands next to me, silently taking in the view.

“Do you think we’re going to win?” I ask her, the question just popping out. I’m not even sure I want an answer.

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