Author’s Note: Action sequences have never been my strong suit. I did try, and I doubt that I did much justice to the kinds of things they can do with the elements, but here goes…
“I think I can make out four cars, and they’re blocking the road. At least Cress always insists on us driving an SUV even if the gas mileage sucks,” Terra said, frowning as she let the curtain fall back into place. “I can barricade them, but with this much water around us and the kind of vehicles they have, it won’t last for long.”
“Do it,” Moira ordered. She sounded a lot more confident than she felt. Damn Cress for always making this look easy. She had thought she was ready for it, but now she wasn’t sure. “We’ll deal with them breaking out of it after it happens. There’s still a few things we can do on the road if we have to. Enya, you’re still driving. Sherwin, we’re going to need an air shield.”
“Done,” he said, looking at the storm. “We have any idea if there’s more than a water elemental out there? That is one hell of a storm.”
Moira turned around, swallowing as she did. Rogues had stopped scaring them years ago, but this one was worse than most. That one had terrorized Cress when he was younger, had sent an army after them, kept sending them. That man had Stone, didn’t he?
Still, the most unsettling part of the whole thing was that he didn’t seem afraid to come up against all of them, that he thought he could take them all on. What made him so damn confident?
“Go,” Cress whispered, his voice strained and almost impossible to hear. “I can’t hold off what he’s doing forever. Get in the car.”
The rogue’s lips curved into a smile. “Yes, you have learned, haven’t you? Still, even you know you have limits.”
“Oh, hell, no wonder it’s so damn cold in here. He’s trying to freeze us.”
“Get in the car,” Moira told her brother, shoving him toward the door. He had to keep up the air shield in case any of the others had been outside of the barricade Terra had created, and the longer they stayed, the more of a chance they gave Cress to falter. He didn’t have the strength to hold off a water elemental that powerful for long.
“One thing you overlooked,” Occie said, her voice cold. She put her hand on her brother and closed her eyes, funneling her energy into his. The ice spread over the man across the room, turning him into an ice sculpture. “My brother’s not the only one who can handle water.”
Cress managed a smile before he stumbled, held up by his sister and Enya. “That won’t hold him for long.”
“It bought us time. Come on,” Moira said, taking hold of him so that Enya could get to the car first. She needed to be behind the wheel. “Drive down to the road. Terra will do her best to even it out for us.”
“Is it me or is that storm getting worse?”
“Just because he’s frozen doesn’t mean he can’t think,” Cress said. “Occie, can you do anything about that?”
“I might be able to shift it out of our path so that Enya can see better. You just rest. You should have grabbed me sooner—none of us would have allowed you to sacrifice yourself even if you blame yourself for us leaving Stone behind and who knows what else.”
Moira pulled herself into the passenger seat, having a bad feeling about what she’d have to do to keep the other cars from reaching them. The barricade wasn’t going to hold for much longer. She’d seen part of it crumbling even as Enya drove away.
Too much water. The whole place would go to mud soon enough. Even if Stone was here, they couldn’t have held off the mudslide for long. She felt Sherwin’s hand on her shoulder even as the car bumped them all, lurching back onto the pavement. She looked back at him and then the road.
The first SUV was closing in on them. Great. “That was fast.”
“Sorry. I was fighting against what that rogue was doing, and the barricade wasn’t good enough—”
“I’m not blaming you,” Moira said, closing her eyes and letting her abilities mingle with Sherwin’s, gusting the air up under one of the other vehicles and knocking it on its side, taking it out of commission. She leaned back against her chair. “Okay, not sure I have another of those in me.”
“Me, either,” Sherwin grunted. “I hate doing that. It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have the memories.”
Unless they had that memory on purpose. Moira shifted in her seat, looking at Cress. How much more was there to his theory? What else hadn’t he told them about what his parents had done or given him? Was there more to him sending Enya away than Moira had thought? She’d always had her suspicions, but she’d just assumed that Cress was playing favorites. Maybe it was more than that.
Terra slumped back against her seat. “I didn’t want to break the road, but those potholes might not be enough to stop them.”
Enya looked in the rear view mirror. “You call those potholes?”
Terra grinned. “I do.”
Moira laughed. Sometimes, this could almost pass for fun. “Keep driving ’til we’re out of the storm, Enya. We’ll know we’re safe to make a plan after that.”