I know it’s been a while since I posted the last part of this story, but just to recap, Nephthys is awake, Roran, a traitor to the demons, has joined the party, and Caddie has been discovered to have gone missing the day before she, Artemis, and Winter were due to set out to find Jason’s party. Pretty much all the recent important stuff.

“Come on!” There was a blue blur as Winter streaked ahead, followed by a black one as Artemis hared through the tall grass behind her.

“Be careful!” Jason yelled after them as he cut his way through the branches. “You don’t know what’s up there.”

Arion followed the older boy through the trees, pushing aside leaves and fallen branches to make a clear path. Above, Nephthys let out a whoop of exhilaration as she shifted into an eagle and vaulted forward off a branch with a chirp, disappearing into the early morning shadows that crept up around them.

“I think if Nephthys is following them, they’d be better protected than we are now,” Dee commented dryly from behind Arion. “All three of them contain some amount of magic.”

“Yeah, well, we have, uh…” Jason paused for a moment. “We have sticks.” He stooped over and picked up a branch he had cut down, waving it in the air for emphasis.

There was the sound of undisguised laughter from both Dee and Amarantha behind them. “Not like we have any skill with those sticks.”

“True,” Jason acknowledged, dropping the stick in the bushes to his right.

Arion, feeling a little bored, swerved around Jason and put on a burst of speed, ready to catch up with Nephthys and the others. Racing down the path, he cleared a fallen tree easily and into the clearing ahead, skidding to a halt as he came into the sunlight.

Something pulled him back into the shadows.