Earthbound (Dragons and Druids Book 2)

By: Leia Stone


Dedication





To my littles. Who share me with these stories. Mommy loves you.





Chapter 1





We got to Isaacs’s land when it was still pitch black out, but that didn’t stop Keegan from exiting the bus with Cooper’s lifeless form in his arms. Logan dug the hole in front of the biggest, most beautiful redwood tree I’d ever seen, and lowered Cooper into it. Then we all stood there silently. Sophie and Nadine clung to each other weeping, whereas I just felt … numb. It was my fault Cooper was dead. My fault for running away, and leading the druids right to me and my pack. But there was no time right now to properly mourn. We had a million things to deal with after our run-in with Steven and his evil master Ardan.

I sat across from the mysterious druid, Isaac. A good druid apparently. Logan was on my right and Keegan on my left. We sat there, silently watching the roaring fire dance between us, sending its orange embers up to the sky before turning to black ash. Eva and Danny were working double-time to heal the injured pack members, while we had a meeting with Isaac about what the hell was going on. Tattoos had sprung up on my arm and he’d said I was chosen by the Earth or something, that I was now his druid apprentice. But none of that mattered to me as much as when he’d said there were more skyborn. Dozens of them. We’d all gotten on his bus and driven two hours north, deep into the redwood forest. The trees here were bigger than most houses. It was magical and beautiful but I couldn’t enjoy it. Not right now.

“You must be mistaken,” Logan told Isaac. “I’ve searched for decades for more of my kind. There are none left.” I’d told my mate on the bus what Isaac had said and he’d immediately shaken his head, saying it was impossible.

“Oh?” Isaac raised an eyebrow. “I assure you, son, I am not mistaken. I’ve seen them. They hide, they wait, but they are alive.” He’d been injured in our fight with the druids, but the blood on his shoulder had crusted and stopped flowing. I assumed druids had healing capabilities as well.

I could feel my heart beating in my ears. More skyborn, that would really take the pressure off of Logan and I to keep the whole of humanity alive.

I could hear Logan’s teeth grinding beside me. He didn’t like the druid—he didn’t like any druids for that matter. Except me. He was sort of obligated to like me since I was his mate, and I was half druid. The mate thing was new so we were taking it slow, but I could tell a part of Logan wanted to believe the good druid. I could feel it through our bond. Hope.

Keegan shifted his weight and glanced over at Isaac, beyond the fire. “How are you … how is it possible that you’re a druid and don’t live off of dragon magic?”

Logan nodded. “Yeah. Why should we trust you?”

I flinched. That was harsh, but they were right to be concerned, although something deep inside of me had instantly trusted this man, way back to when I’d dreamed about him meditating under the waterfall. I was sticking with my motto that meditating druids didn’t kill dragons.

Isaac chuckled, the firelight making his already copper eyes glow brighter. “Gentlemen, long ago the druid line did not gain power from the barbaric practice of siphoning from others. They gained power from their greatest teacher, Mother Earth. I study the ways of the old druids. Earth magic.”

Earth Magic. Those two words thrilled me for some reason. I felt excitement churn in my belly. Logan gave me a wary side glance. Probably feeling my excitement through the mate bond.

“And you’re saying that Sloane is now … one of you?” Logan looked uncomfortable at that admission, Isaac burst into deep laughter.

“One of me? As if that’s a bad thing?” Isaac said, still wearing a smirk. I had to admit Isaac’s personality was a bit … unpredictable. One moment he would be staring at you seriously and the next laughing his head off. I hadn’t decided yet if it was unsettling or refreshing.

Logan sighed. “Look, the only experience I’ve ever had of druids is of them trying to cut my head off, so excuse me for not being excited that my mate suddenly has druid marks, and is your … what? Apprentice?”

Ouch. He didn’t want me to be a druid, I knew that, but there was no denying what I was. Suddenly I felt exposed; the marks on my shoulder felt like a brand. Like something evil.

Isaac stood and paced in front of the fire. “Let me enlighten you, son.” Logan visibly flinched at the good druid’s term of endearment for him. “I saved your life back there. Ardan cannot be defeated by you or I alone. We’ve both tried and failed.”

Logan looked shocked. How did he know that Logan had once lost an arm trying to defeat the evil leader of the druid race?

“I do nothing.” Isaac continued. “The Earth does everything through me. She brought Sloane to me, she initiated Sloane, and she will help me train her. Together we can kill Ardan and the skyborn can come out of hiding. The human race can be safe again. You can be safe again.”

No one spoke for a full minute. The snapping of the fire was the only sound. He spoke of the Earth as if it were a real person. A she. Maybe he was crazy. It would explain some things. But it wouldn’t explain the marks I got after purple magic exploded out of my skin and knocked everyone over.

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