The Grey God (Chapter Five, page 2 of 18)

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"So, you only have respect for me if you're interested in me?"

"I'll stop now. For the record, I don't have your gifted tongue and wish I did. Metaphorically."

She shook her head and walked away.

Darian didn't know when he'd lost his ability to speak clear sentences, but the idea Jenn scrambled his mind made him want to laugh. And run away. He wasn't sure which instinct was stronger.

Half a moment before she stepped through the portal, she triggered a magic alert that reverberated through him.

"Jenn-" he shouted then dived forward. He snagged her wrist as she dropped into the invisible portal to the immortal world.

Jenn dangled into the other world. Darian glimpsed an orchard with flowering trees and emerald grass as he ducked his head through the portal. He knew that orchard, and an ache grew at his core. It was not the time for memories, not when Jenn was caught between the two worlds.

"You found it," he said, bracing himself to haul her up. He lifted her back through the portal and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her to solid ground again.

"Wow. It's not quite what I remember," she said, leaning away from him to peer at the ground. The portal was camouflaged by sand and shrubs.

"It's like heaven," he agreed quietly, regret in his voice.

"I don't remember it that way. I was young when the Schism occurred. I remember nothing but blood and death." Jenn pushed his arm away and stepped to the side to avoid the portal.

Darian blinked his memories away before squatting. The portal was invisible, unless someone fell through it.

"What're you thinking?" she asked.

"I know where they are, but I don't know how to close them."

"You need sensors of some sort. I think positioning Guardians here would get too many of them killed."

"I can't be in two places at once."

"We've got all kinds of clandestine technology. This will be easy to set up. If nothing else, we can bury motion sensors a few feet away, if you think the Others will sense anything close to the portal."

"The first time I meet them here, they're going to know it's not a secret," Darian said with a shrug. "I don't care what they know."

"Don't get too cocky, Darian. You killed one. What if they bring a dozen?"

"They won't kill me. Might knock me on my ass for a bit."

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