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We climbed the ruined stairs, Kai with far less caution than Taewoon and me. I tested each step carefully as we ascended. Sunlight filtered through the remains of what looked an awful damn lot like a cathedral rose window from churches in our world.
“Dude walks through here like he doesn’t know collapsing buildings kill people.” Tae nudged my arm. “Must be real damn confident about your ability to bring him back from the dead again.”
“He should be more worried about my willingness,” I muttered.
Tae snorted, a tiny flicker of flame escaping his nose. I clapped my hand against his jaw and pushed his face away.
“Yah. Don’t set me on fire, little brother.”
“Sorry, Noona.” He pressed against my hand, all scaly yet adorable apology.
Kai reached the first landing, scowling at a giant marble statue off to one side. I recognized the effigy immediately.
“This is Athana’s place?”
“It was,” Kai said. “Before Oldwell fell, this was her greatest shrine. People made pilgrimages from all over Greylea.”
“What happened here?”
“I guess you don’t know the stories.” Kai turned toward us. “This is the outskirts of the real horror. The closer you get to the capital—”
“Trying to scare off my new priest, Kai?”
Athana emerged from the statue, every inch of the marble’s fifteen foot height. With each step, she contracted, until she stood eye to eye with us. The last thing I expected was Kai’s subtle shift, positioning himself between me and Athana. Defensively. Protectively, even.
“Interesting.” She smiled at me. “You inspire impressive loyalty. He let the last one take two arrows to the chest.”
“Now who’s using scare tactics?” Kai bristled and shifted closer to me. “We both know ‘the last one’ had a death wish long before she met me.”
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