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Stitched(Rylee Adamson #8.5)(13) by Shannon Mayer

“So you said.” She spun and drove the tip of her blade toward my middle. I sidestepped and came slammed my own blade hard on the flat of her sword, forcing it down far enough that I could get a boot on the flat of the blade and slam it to the ground. She surprised me, going with it so that she didn’t lose her grip and was able to jerk the sword out from under me. “But there are only a few things my venom is good for besides killing.”

I really did not want to tell her the reason, and I hoped to hell she wouldn’t be able to guess. But by the way her eyes suddenly widened, and how she relaxed her fighting stance, I had a sinking feeling she’d figured it out.

“The Wolf knocked you up?” Her mouth dropped open. “He left you with child, and without protection?”

I lowered my blade, and tightened my lips. “You giving me your venom or not?”

She grinned. “You know, I think I will.”

Finally, something was going right. She shifted back into her full spider form, eight legs splayed out in the tight space we’d been fighting in, golden orbs unblinking. “Give my regards to the Wolf.”

Oh, fucking hell. She lunged at me, mouth open wide and I dove to the right, just managing to avoid her fangs. “Run, little girl, run so your blood is hot and sweet when I take it from you!” She screeched behind me, and as much as I didn’t want to do what she wanted, standing still would do me no fucking good.

I hung onto her threads, keeping a bead on her both for me and Blaz. Above us, he let out a roar and the trees sagged under his weight. Branches fell around me, several clattering at my feet. “A little close, lizard!”

I can’t get to you, you have to lead her to the beach.

There was no way Spider was going to come into the open. Unless I could piss her off enough that rage would blind her.

“Spider, you fucking douche, I’m going to find a can of bug spray and shove it up your ass while you sleep!” I fought with the branches and then they slid away from me. Peta was beside me once more, her eyes filled with worry. I put a hand on her back and we ran through the jungle, leaping downed logs as the skittering of an oversized arachnid behind us and an enraged dragon above us filled the air.

“Blaz, back off!” I yelled, hearing the ocean and the wash of waves on the sand. “I want to face her on my own.”

You will do no such thing, you idiot!

It was a struggle for me to talk mind to mind with him but I forced it. Just go high enough that she can’t see you, drop when you can. I tried to show him with pictures what I wanted him to do and he gave me a mental nod.

Be careful, Rylee. She isn’t like the other Guardians.

I didn’t for one second think she was like the other Guardians. Even they had said she was a bitch and some of them had been possessed by demons.

We burst onto the white sand, the bright light reflecting off the water a stark contrast to the dim shadows of the jungle. I spun and fell on my ass. Scooting back as fast as I could.

Even so, Spider didn’t hesitate. “Oh, poor little Tracker. No Guardian to keep you safe and already you’re going to die.”

“Bite me, bitch!” I screamed at her, letting my anger stay on the surface, letting her see that and not the pain of her mentioning Liam.

“I’m not so stupid as you, Tracker, I won’t be letting your dragon get his claws on me.”

The sound of something wet sluicing through the air was the only warning I had. Peta though, apparently had more sense. She grabbed the back of my shirt, jerking me out of the way as a white web landed in the sand where I’d been just a moment before. I pushed myself to my feet. “Thanks.”

We backed away from the jungle and I pulled my crossbow from the sand where I’d left it. Sighting down it, I aimed for the glowing eye I could see still. Spider didn’t seem worried. Too cocky, just like before, and that was about to cost her. I breathed out and squeezed the trigger.

The golden orb burst as the bolt buried deep into it. Spider flailed back, screaming. A flock of birds flew into the air from the jungle as she screeched, her pain like fingernails on a chalkboard. I grabbed the flask and ran toward her.

“Blaz, hurry!”

Sure, as soon as I get far enough away that I can’t hurry, you call for me! I hate your plans, Rylee.

Peta was at my side and she let out a noise that could only be a whimper of fear. Yeah, I wasn’t too keen on this idea, either, but like all plans, this one had to change on the fly.

Spider rolled onto her back, all eight legs spazzing, knocking into trees and sending small animals scurrying. I loaded my crossbow and took aim on her other eye. Breathing out, I squeezed the trigger and the bolt flew true a second time.

Behind me, Blaz thumped onto the sand, the reverberation sliding up my legs. “Grab her.”

Thought she outsmarted us.

I didn’t say anything because the truth was, it was a fucking fluke we were able to get this far without getting our asses handed to us. Or at least, my ass handed to me, Blaz would be fine regardless.

Blaz reached into the shelter of the jungle and grabbed a single back leg, then dragged Spider into the sun. She flailed and spun, but without her eyes, she couldn’t get close enough to drive her fangs home.

With a rumbling laugh, Blaz pinned her onto her back, her fangs easily accessible. Swallowing hard, I strode forward, silver flask in hand. Spider flung her head back and forth, her ruined eyes leaking blood and a clear fluid—a gag rocked me and I had to stop to gather myself.

You’re getting sensitive to gore. You can thank Liam for that.

Gritting my teeth, I pulled my shit together. “Yeah, I figured that out.”

Spider turned her head toward my voice. “You bitch, I’ll kill you for this. I don’t care if you are to save the world from the demons, I will kill you.”

“Get in line.” I approached her carefully, and grabbed some of the wiry hairs sticking out of the top of her head. They vibrated under my fingers as I yanked her head back, forcing her fangs to expose and pull them away from the little grabbers around them.

Grabbers?

“I don’t know what the fuck these things are called.” I pointed at the thick feelers near her mouth.

Blaz laughed, Peta snorted, and Spider tried to grab me with one of said “grabbers.” I jammed the silver flask onto the end of the fang closest to me. The steady drip of fluid hitting the bottom of the empty flask eased some of the fear in me. Not much, but a little.