“I want to see where he kicked you. I’ll try not to hurt you,” he said, his voice deep and dark as a cavern. Brushing aside her hands, he gently probed her ribs as she hissed. He grunted and closed his eyes, and a green glow flowed into her belly, easing the pain. Astonished, she flinched when he did the same for her throat. It wasn’t completely healed, but she could talk now. “How did you do that?” she rasped.
He sat back on his heels and closed his eyes as if pained, or gathering strength. After a moment he drew a breath and glanced at her as if taking stock. Slowly, as if greatly fatigued, he stripped the shirt from the man with the broken neck and gave it to her. “I can’t make you clothes. His pants are soiled.”
She saw that urine had stained the man’s crotch and nodded, quickly buttoning the short-sleeved shirt. She was tall for a woman at 5”10, but the shirt covered the essentials, thank God. “Thanks.” She looked around. “Um, I need to get home.” The mud on her body was drying, itching madly as it flaked off. She desperately needed a shower and food; she was starving.
He nodded. “Lead the way. We want to leave before anyone else finds us.”
She shifted uncomfortably. “Ah, I don’t feel comfortable bringing strangers home.”
He snorted. “I saved your life. Is that nothing to you?”
“Technically, I saved you first. We’re even.”
He didn’t look impressed. “How do you think I found you? That jewelry is linked to me, and it’s a good thing or you’d be dead. I could simply follow you, but I don’t want to bother with subterfuge. We both need rest; I won’t be able to fight off another attack. Can you?”
He had a point, and it wasn’t as if she could stop him from following. Momentarily defeated, she started walking. “Who are you? Where are your friends?”
“I am Earth, but you may call me Tremor. Water took Raze to find fire. He was too weak to draw the lava to the cave.”
“What are they?”
“Water and Fire elementals.”
He wasn’t much for long conversation, was he? “Do you know who the women who tried to drown me were?” When he looked at her sharply, she summarized her attempted murder.
He drew a breath. “The Fates. You say they were happy at our release? They must have sent you.” His gaze lingered on her bracelet and earrings.
“I’d never seen them before. It’s my birthday today and I got the jewelry in the mail. I thought it was a gift,” she said bitterly.
He digested that. “Felicitations on your birthday.”Cara snorted. “Yeah, it’s been a blast so far.”