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Kate O’Hearn to be born in Canada, elevated in brand-new York City, and also has traveled everywhere the united States. She right now resides in England. Kate is the writer of the Pegasus series, the shadow Dragon series, the Titans series, and also the Valkyrie series. Visit her at KateOHearn.com.
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1OLYMPUS was UNLIKE anywhere EMILY had ever before been before. It was a magical fantasyland filled with people and also creatures past imagination. A place where rain didn’t fall but the lush green gardens never wilted. Flowers bloomed constantly, filling the air with their intoxicating fragrances. The waiting itself appeared alive. It was honey sweet and warm and also enveloped girlfriend in a blanket of peace; it to be rich through the sound of singing birds and also filled v insects that never stung. If a bee arrived at you, it was only since it want to be petted.The structures in Olympus were as beautiful and also unique together the floor itself. Many were made of smooth white marble with tall, intricately sculpted pillars getting to high into the clear blue sky. There were open up theaters whereby the Muses danced and sang for the entertainment of all.The broad cobbled streets were lined v statues of the the strongest fighters and heroes. There were no dare or van pumping pollution right into the air. The Olympians to walk or flew where they necessary to go. Periodically they would certainly ride in a chariot drawn by magnificent horses.Then there were the libraries, an ext than Emily can count, comprise the messages from the many civilizations the Olympians visited and guarded. Several of her favorite publications were in the library in ~ Jupiter’s palace, brought in particularly for her.Emily could never have imagined a more perfect place.But life in Olympus, amid all this splendor, Emily was miserable.She missed her father. She spent every waking moment thinking and worrying around him. The was back in her world, a prisoner of the main Research Unit. The CRU to be a secret government company obsessed with recording aliens and anything out of the ordinary to usage as weapons. She had actually been their prisoner for a brief time and also knew exactly how single-minded and cruel castle were. But they still had her father. What were they doing to him? to be they punishing him because of she escape? had they killed him? So numerous fears and unanswered concerns tore at she heart that she can never be totally happy or avoid worrying about him.Even security time with Pegasus didn’t lull the pain. Emily was desperate come get earlier to brand-new York to find her father, but Jupiter wouldn’t let she go. He insisted her location was here among the various other Olympians. And also with the invading warrior race of Nirads tho posing a danger to Olympus, Jupiter couldn’t threat sending any type of of his battle aircraft to Emily’s civilization on a rescue mission. No matter exactly how much she pleaded through the god, he refused to allow her to leave.Emily paused together she walked through the gardens of Jupiter’s palace. She raised her face to the sun and also felt its warmth rays streaming down on her. To be this the very same sun that shone in her world? Was her father enabled to view it? from her very own experience together a sinner in the CRU’s deep underground facility, she questioned it.Emily feel even an ext determined. If Jupiter wouldn’t let her go, she had actually no an option but to operation away and also rescue her father herself. Walking follow me the stream that coursed v Olympus, she observed a team of beautiful water nymphs splashing on the shore. Lock waved and called your strange greeting. Moments later they slipped beneath the surface, and also the water calmed as if they’d never ever been there.Lost in thought, Emily wasn’t paying attention to wherein she was walking and also tripped end a small rock. She cursed and righted herself. On peak of every little thing else, she to be still gaining used come the brand-new gold leg brace the Vulcan, the armorer that Olympus, had actually made because that her. The had constructed it making use of the very same gold together Pegasus’s bridle. A an extremely special gold that was lethal come Nirads. Through one quick touch they to be badly poisoned. Longer contact proved fatal come the ferocious warriors. Through this brace Emily might not only defend herself against the invaders, she can walk and also run when again.But learning to get roughly with the strange an equipment had take away time and effort. Now she could almost move as well as she had prior to her leg to be permanently damaged by the Nirads in new York.She walked towards Jupiter’s maze, a huge labyrinth constructed in the center of a garden and consisting of tall environment-friendly bushes grown in complicated patterns. It took a the majority of practice to navigate it, but Emily and also her friend had discovered that the maze to be the perfect ar to hold private conversations.Emily discovered her method through the labyrinth, whereby Pegasus was waiting for her alongside the pedestal in ~ the center. The splendid winged stallion constantly stole her breath. Standing quiet in the dark the the trees, the glowed brilliant white. His head to be high and proud, and also his coat shiny and well groomed. Over there wasn’t a feather out of place on his neatly folded wings.When Pegasus observed her, the whinnied excitedly and nodded his head.Beside the winged steed stood Emily’s ideal friend from new York, Joel. Joel’s roman inn features, black color hair, and also warm brown eyes always reminded her of the classic Italian paints she’d checked out in the arts museum. He to be no much longer the violent, angry boy she had an initial met. Security time in Olympus had actually softened his outer shell of rage and hurt as result of the loss of his family. Now he let others check out that he had a deeply caring heart and also a all set laugh. Joel spent his days working v Vulcan in the Olympus armory. He had even helped design the brace top top Emily’s leg.Emily looked around. “Where’s Paelen?”“He’ll be below in a couple of minutes. He had something to choose up.” Joel got to for her elbow. “Em, you’re absolutely sure you want to carry out this?”“What choice have ns got?” Emily answered. “Joel, all i think around is saving my dad. There’s nothing else I deserve to do. Us wouldn’t have to sneak approximately like this if Jupiter would certainly help!” She threw her hands increase in frustration. Together she lugged them down, excellent flames flashed from she fingertips, hit the sheet of her an excellent foot, and also scorched the ground roughly it. Emily howled and hopped in pain.“Emily, patience down!” Joel warned. “You understand it gets worse as soon as you’re upset.”“Nuts!” she cried. “Being the fire of Olympus is one thing. But constantly setting myself top top fire is another!”“You’ve got to calm down,” Joel insisted. “Remember what Vesta teach you. Friend can regulate the fire if you continue to be calm.”“That’s easier said than done,” Emily complained together she sat down and also rubbed her singed foot. Ever because she emerged from the holy place of the Flame, she was finding out powers she couldn’t control. Powers that continually set things alight.Joel sat down beside her. “We’ll gain your dad the end of there. Ns promise. However you can’t assist him if friend can’t regulate the Flame.”“Joel’s right.” Paelen arised from the trees behind them. In contrast to Joel, that was tiny and wiry, and he was able to obtain into the tiniest of spaces. Paelen had actually a infamous habit of gaining into trouble, yet with his crooked grin and dark, sparkling eyes, he constantly found a method to do Emily smile. “And if i were you, ns would reduced your voices. Half the maze have the right to hear your conversation.” He sat down beside Emily and also gave she a playful shove. “Set you yourself on fire again ns see.”“No, i tripped,” Emily answered, shoving that back.Paelen smiled his crooked smile. “Of course you did; i m sorry is why her sandal is charcoal and still smoldering.”In the moment they’d spent in Olympus, Emily had actually really get an impression to like Paelen. In between him and also Joel, she couldn’t have actually asked for much better friends. Paelen was likewise one that the couple of Olympians who construed what they’d been through as prisoners of the CRU top top Governors Island.“Speaking the sandals”—Emily changed the subject—“you didn’t steal Mercury’s again, did you?” She i found it the winged sandals ~ above his feet.“Me? Of course not,” Paelen said in mock horror. “You know I’m no much longer a thief. Mercury just gave them come me. The is having actually another set made because that himself.” Paelen paused and also frowned. “He claimed the sandals like to continue to be with me. I perform not understand what the means, but I’m not going come say no to together a helpful gift.” that petted the small wings ~ above the sandals. “These flying sandals saved our stays in her world and also helped united state escape the CRU. Over there is no informing what rather they have the right to do.” he leaned closer to Emily and also eagerly rubbed his hand together. “So, tell me. When do us leave for brand-new York?”Pegasus stepped forward and also started come nicker.Paelen nodded and also translated for the others. “Pegasus heard Jupiter, Mars, and Hercules talking. They are going on an exploration to watch if they can uncover how the Nirads gotten in Olympus in such huge numbers without being seen. Till they know and also can secure the route, we room still in danger. Pegasus argues if we are going to walk to brand-new York to rescue your father, we should leave when they’re gone.”Emily rose and also kissed the stallion on his soft muzzle. “Thank you, Pegasus. That’s a an excellent idea.” She turned to Joel and also Paelen. “It’s settled, then. The moment Jupiter leaves, we’re out of here!”• • •Quietly they disputed their plans together they strolled v the maze. Emily rested she hand on Pegasus’s neck together he walked beside her.“We’ll need some human being clothes,” Joel mused aloud. “We can’t arrive back in new York dressed prefer this.”“What is wrong through these?” Paelen looked under at his tunic. “I have always dressed this way.”“You’re kidding, right?” Joel smirked. “Paelen, we look prefer rejects from a gladiator movie! Look in ~ me—I’m wearing a dress!”“It’s a tunic,” Emily repair him, “and ns think it suits you.” She looked down at her own beautiful gown do from fine white embroidered silk through an complex braided yellow belt at her waist. The product ended over the golden brace on her damaged left leg, leaving the exposed. Emily had never feeling embarrassed revealing the deep, upset scars indigenous the Nirad wounds while she was on Olympus. The Olympians concerned them together a argorial of honor. She had actually earned lock in the organization of Olympus, and also she had learned to it is in proud that them. However as she gazed under at she leg now, she realized the the deep scars and leg brace wouldn’t be perceived as positive in she world.“Joel’s right,” she agreed. “I can’t go ago there favor this either. We’ve got to hide this brace.”Pegasus began to neigh, and also Paelen translated. “If anyone should shot to steal the from you, Pegasus would defend you, as would certainly Joel and also I.” A happy twinkle returned to his eyes. “Of course, should that fail, you might always collection yourself on fire again. That would surely fear off any type of attackers!”“Thanks, Paelen,” Emily teased together she shoved that lightly. Climate she patted Pegasus on the neck. “And give thanks to you, Pegs. Yet I quiet think us will require to uncover other clothing.”“Other garments for what?”Emily looked up in ~ the owner that the brand-new voice. In spite of all the time they’d invested in Olympus, she tho couldn’t obtain over the vision of Cupid. Seeing Pegasus’s wings had actually been strange at the beginning. But somehow they suited him. She couldn’t imagine him there is no them. Yet looking at a teenager with colorful, pheasantlike feathered wing on his ago was something else.Cupid traction in his wings and landed nicely in the maze prior to them. “So, where space you going that you need brand-new clothing?” the asked.“None of her business,” Joel shooting back. “Didn’t her mother ever teach you any type of manners? It’s not polite to hear in on other people’s conversation.”“Of course,” Cupid said. “But she likewise taught me that when humans and also Olympians mix, there is always trouble. And what do I see prior to my curious eyes? human beings mixing v Olympians.”Cupid smiled radiantly in ~ Emily, and also it set her love fluttering. She had a devastating crush on him, and also he knew it. He to be the many beautiful Olympian she had ever before met, with fine features, light sandy blond hair hair, sapphire blue eyes that sparkled, and skin like refined marble. Though Cupid was an extremely old, the looked no more than sixteen or seventeen.Emily stole a glance at Joel and saw his temper starting to flare. The means Cupid pronounced words “humans” was always meant as an insult. “Get the end of here, Cupid,” Joel warned. “This is a personal conversation, and also you are not welcome.”“Is this true?” Cupid said slyly come Emily. “Do you yes, really wish me come go?”The strongness of his stare preserved the indigenous from developing on she lips. Everything around him to be trouble. Joel had actually told her some of the myths concerning Cupid. She knew that, like a coward, he had actually fled the area once the Nirads first attacked and had continued to be away till the danger had gone. Yet despite all this, she couldn’t phone call him come go.Before the moment came to be awkward, Pegasus stepped forward and also snorted loudly.“Trouble?” Cupid recurring as that turned and also feigned innocence come the stallion. “I to be not bring about trouble. I simply wanted come speak through the Flame.”“Her name is Emily,” Paelen said defensively. He relocated to stand in prior of Emily come block she from Cupid. “Do not call her Flame.”“And ns told you come leave,” Joel added, taking position alongside Paelen and also crossing his arms end his chest.“Or what?” Cupid challenged. “What will you execute to me, human?”Once again Pegasus snorted, and also he pounded the ground v a golden hoof. There to be no mistaking the warning. Emily saw are afraid rise in Cupid’s eyes. Even Paelen take it a careful step back from the stallion.“There is no require to shed your temper, Pegasus.” Cupid hosted up his hands in surrender. “I chandelier go.”His wings opened as he prepared to fly. But prior to leaving, Cupid plucked a vivid feather indigenous his appropriate wing and placed it in Emily’s hair. “Something to put under her pillow come remember me by,” he said as the jumped into the air and flapped his huge wings. “See you later, Flame!”Pegasus reared ~ above his hind legs, opened up his own large wings, and also shrieked right into the skies after him.As Cupid escaped, that turned and waved ago at her, laughing together he went.“I came this close to hitting him!” Joel said, balling his hands into fists.“Me too,” Paelen said.Pegasus gently nudged Emily and also nickered softly.“You have to stay far from Cupid,” Paelen explained. “Pegasus claims he is trouble. Even an ext than—What?” Paelen turned sharply to the stallion. “Me? Pegasus, how deserve to you compare Cupid come me? We space nothing alike. I may have actually been a thief, but Cupid is a troublemaking coward, and I resent being compared to him. And also what around you?” Paelen turned come Emily. He pulled the feather from she hair and tossed it to the ground. “You should have told him come go. Cupid would certainly think naught of handing you end to the Nirads if that meant saving his own skin and feathers. Stay away indigenous him!”Emily watched in complete confusion together Paelen stormed off right into the maze and also disappeared. Paelen had actually never shown any kind of trace of rage or elevated his voice to her before. “What did ns do?”Joel looked at she in surprise. “You yes, really don’t know?”When she shook she head, the said, “Never mind. We’ve gained bigger things to issue about. Girlfriend must discover to control those powers of yours prior to we leave. You’ve gained your maintain session v Vesta. Store it and learn as lot as you can.”As Joel to walk away, Emily turned come Pegasus and also shook her head. “You understand something, Pegs? The older i get, the much more confused i get. Can you you re welcome tell me what simply happened here?”Pegasus gently nudged her and led her earlier toward Jupiter’s royal residence to discover Vesta.• • •Emily invested a lengthy afternoon back in the temple of the flame struggling come learn just how to master her powers. Vesta tried come teach her, however every time Emily summoned the powers, they came to be uncontrollable.Vesta patiently explained how come pull ago the Flame, to manage it. However every time Emily tried, she failed, and also flames shoot wildly from her hands and around the temple.“I can’t carry out it,” Emily complained, defeated.“Child, you have to focus,” Vesta scolded. “I can see her mind is elsewhere. If you space not careful, you will lose regulate of her powers totally and pains yourself as you did previously today.”Emily’s eye shot over to wherein Pegasus stood at the enntrance gate of the temple. He lower his head guiltily.“Thanks, Pegs,” she muttered.“Do not blame Pegasus for telling me what happened,” Vesta said. “He cares about you and also does not wish to watch you harmed.” Vesta rested she hands top top Emily’s shoulders. “Emily, you must understand. You space the Living flame of Olympus. Your strength feeds the Flame right here in this temple, and it keeps united state alive. Countless generations ago, i took the love of the flame to her world and also hid the in a child. It has actually passed from girl to girl throughout the ages until it finally reached you. You were born v this power. Ns am i m really sorry that us have had to summon the from in ~ you to conserve Olympus. But the minute you sacrificed you yourself in this temple you changed. Emily, you lug the strength of the sun deep in ~ you. If you do not harness this powers soon, you may do yourself and also everyone roughly you a great harm.”Emily looked under at her melted sandal. She currently knew exactly how dangerous her powers were. She had actually accidentally melted up enough items in her quarters to prove it. That was reaching the allude where she was running out of an enig hiding locations for the singed victim of her powers.“I’m sorry,” she lastly said. “I’ll shot harder.”Turning back to the plinth, she looked into the brightly burning flames. They were fed by her and also were the only things in Olympus she powers couldn’t damage.“All right,” Vesta claimed patiently. “Look right into the flames. I desire you to emphasis on what you intended to do. Visualize you yourself doing it. Then concentrate and also carefully release the power within yourself.”Emily lifted both her hands and also concentrated. She imagined that she to be a giant blowtorch turning on the gases. She felt prickles start in she stomach and also flow up her spine and flood under her raised arms towards her hands. “Come on, Em,” she muttered come herself. “You deserve to do it.”Suddenly a wide, wild currently of fire shot the end of she fingertips.“Very good. Now concentrate,” Vesta instructed. “Control the stream, Emily. Do it tighter.”Emily held her breath together the raging flames shot out of she hands. Concentrating together Vesta taught her, she pulled ago and refined them till they became a small beam that red light. However the tighter she traction back, the an ext intense the became.The beam of light shot with the flames in the plinth and throughout the holy place until it hit the much wall. That did no stop. It melted a small hole best through the thick white marble and also continued out into the sky over Olympus.“Cut if turn off now, Emily,” Vesta warned. “Just think ‘stop’!”In she head, Emily imagined shutting off the gases to the blowtorch. But nothing happened. She mentally turned all the dials and flicked all the switches that regulated her powers. Yet once again, the beam would certainly not stop.“Cut it off, Emily,” Vesta cried. “You should make it follow you!”Emily do the efforts again and also again, but nothing happened. As her scare increased, so did the strongness of the laserlike Flame. It pulsated together it tore v the skies end Olympus.“I CAN’T protect against IT!”A sudden punch from behind sent out her tumbling forward, and she dropped to the floor. Through her concentration broken, the red beam stopped. She panted heavily and also studied her hands. No burns, blemishes, or pain. She looked up, and what she observed made she suck in she breath. Pegasus’s totality face and neck were burned bright red. Worst of all, his soft white muzzle was black and also blistering. It to be Pegasus who had knocked her over and stopped the flames. Yet when he touched her, her power had singed his beautiful skin.“Pegasus!” Emily ran over to him. “I’m so sorry. Ns swear i didn’t median to do it!”She feeling sick together she inspected his wounds. She had actually done this to him. “Please, pardon me!” without thinking, Emily reached forward and gently stroked his melted face. At her touch the skin started to heal. Shortly Pegasus was fully restored.“I can’t do this, Pegs.” Emily sobbed as she stepped away from him. “I just can’t. Ns hurt you. What if I’d eliminated you? I’m simply too dangerous to be around.”Emily dashed the end of the temple. Tears increased to she eyes together she ran down the tall steps. She cringed together she replayed what happened and, worse still, what might have happened.At the base of the steps, she looked up and saw Pegasus and also Vesta emerging from the temple.“Emily, stop!” Vesta called.Emily turned and ran furthermore away. She couldn’t confront Pegasus again, discovering she had practically killed him. She ran past other Olympians top top the street, ignoring their curious stares and concerned queries. She had actually to obtain away. Away from Pegasus and also anyone else she powers might hurt. She was simply too dangerous to be permitted in public.Emily finally ran right into the open up amphitheater. The Muses weren’t performing that day, therefore the hundreds of seats satellite empty and also alone. The perfect location for someone dangerous. She ran under the steps, towards the facility stage, and threw it s her to the ground. It was over. She life was over. There would certainly be no trip back to brand-new York, no rescue of she father.All there was now was pain.Sobs escaped her as she ultimately realized every the points she’d lost. She wished she’d never emerged from the flames in ~ the temple. Olympus and also Pegasus would have been far better off there is no her.Tears blinded Emily as she looked about in misery at the beautiful marble theater encircling her. She wiped lock furiously away. As she flicked the tears off she fingers, there was a blinding flash and a devastating explosion.Her world went black.