Genre = Paranormal, Science Fiction, Action and Adventure, Romance

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LENGTH: 62,566 words / 278 pages

Bad Panther is about to become Dad Panther…

Dr. Sugar Jennings, host of a Protector Blade, is about to become the mother of twins. Axel of Rodu, her alien panther mate and next in line for the Lyran throne, is already in Dad Panther mode and freaking out.

When the fourth and final blade surfaces and sends out a distress call, Sugar has no choice but to lead the existing blades on a rescue mission. The Creator Blade and its reluctant host are on the run.

Don’t miss the action, adventure, and fun in the next installment of the Alien Guardians of Earth.

Read Chapter 1

In the Alien Guardians of Earth library of artifacts…

“You’ve been staring at that metal serving platter for months now, Dr. Jennings. Don’t you know what it says yet?”

Sugar arched an eyebrow as she lifted her head. “It’s not a serving platter, Junior. It’s a manuscript of some sort and I’m learning the alien language on it. Don’t you have something better to do than hang around in the library and annoy me?”

Lake frowned as he plopped down in the chair on the other side Sugar’s desk. “No. I’m tired of fighting the cats. My skills and strength outpaced theirs the second month I was here. Now I’m always worried about hurting one of them. It hardly seems worth my time to work out with anyone in the palace outside of Axel.”

Sugar grunted as she lifted her gaze once more. “Go visit Gina then.”

Lake shook his head. “Gina won’t talk to me.”

“Because you always start a fight and make fun of her work. You’re lucky she doesn’t kick your ass every time you come around. From what I witnessed before, I’m pretty sure your blade would let her. Getting on Gina’s good side wouldn’t be a problem if you stopped playing the same games with her that you do with all women.”

Lake shrugged as he frowned. “I didn’t say Gina was a problem. My problem is that I don’t have any problems which is why I’m bored. I don’t handle being bored well.”

Sugar’s irritated sigh filled the library. “You’re not two years old, Lake. Be grateful we have no huge battles to fight. Go find something productive to do with your time before I kick your ass myself.”

“Don’t you ever feel like a prisoner here? If we weren’t confined to this place twenty-four-seven, maybe I could find something to keep me busy.”

“For pity’s sake, ask Axel what he needs to be done. Prince Axel of Rodu likes putting people to work which is why I hide out in here doing my own thing. He takes after his mother too much.”

Lake laughed dryly at the suggestions. “Bloody hell no. It’s bad enough the cat prince thinks he’s my personal trainer. And before you suggest going to the original Rodu, all he wants to do is read. Rodu’s worse than you, but can you believe he reads sociology books? I used to skip those classes in college. He says he enjoys looking at the ‘big picture’ of each age—whatever that means.”

Sugar found Rodu’s study habits interesting so she didn’t respond to Lake’s whining. Her energy was needed for other things. For several months now, she had been studying the metal plates Nyomi and her elite guards had retrieved from the Temple of the Moon cave at Machu Picchu. She and Rodu had gone to retrieve the now annoying host of the new Protector Blade. When they’d found him, Lake had been in a secret room full of alien artifacts and ancient Peruvian treasures.

“The man is over a thousand years old, Junior. He means he wants to understand how the world has changed since he got trapped inside a pyramid. Just the last century has been full of incredible leaps in technology and social thinking…”

Lake held up a hand. “Please—not another lecture about the alien impact on our history.”

“Well, it’s true, not that anyone knows it but us,” Sugar said, giving her best professor glare.

Unable to activate the portal she and Rodu had used to enter the hidden space in the Temple of the Moon cave, Nyomi’s people had instead carved out one of the ‘fake’ doorways, then used some of Gina’s tools to seal the damaged rock face back afterward. They’d purposely left a few fissures behind which would weaken and split over eventually. This would let the remainder of the valuable objects get into proper Peruvian hands.

“Have you ever wondered how much of human history was really just a series of situations the aliens set up to happen?”

Sugar lifted a shoulder. “It has crossed my mind, but I don’t let myself dwell.”

Being both an archaeologist and a historian, of course, Sugar saw a disturbing alien-directed pattern to Earth’s greatest archeological discoveries. She preferred not to think about their involvement, but every now and again she kept smacking into proof they’d been around practically as long as humans had.

When Lake groaned again, his male complaining made her chuckle. There was no more human and imperfect creature on this planet than a young male who was bored out of his mind.

“Will you at least talk out loud or something? There’s no music or TV here. I’m going mad from the silence alone.”

Grinning, Sugar looked over her notes for something Lake might find intriguing. “There’s really nothing in my notes you’d appreciate.”

“Try me,” Lake ordered. “I’m desperate.”

Sugar chuckled. “Okay. There are symbols on here that look like musical notes and graphics that look like giant buttons. These markings could be a form of writing like braille or they could be some sort of graphical map. I haven’t been able to decide which is more likely to be the case.”

Lake rose and walked around the desk to peer over her shoulder. “They look like Egyptian hieroglyphics to me. You should ask Rodu. He could probably tell you for certain.”

Sugar looked up and rolled her eyes. “Rodu and I studied these together when we were saving you. We had six whole hours to kill while your blade healed your body enough to travel. During his original life, Rodu was a scribe who could read and write in multiple languages. None of these symbols are Egyptian.”

“Oh,” Lake said, tilting his head. “It also looks a bit like a computer circuit board. Maybe you should ask Gina if it could be that.”

“Anything to get Gina to talk to you, eh?” Sugar concluded with a smirk. Then she did a double-take as her gaze returned to the metal plate. She turned it sideways and suddenly saw the same thing Lake had. “Huh… it does kind of look like a circuit board. Maybe I will ask Gina about it.”

Lake lightly smacked her shoulder. “See? I can be useful when you take the time to talk to me.”

Rolling her eyes over Lake’s happy claim, Sugar gave in as gracefully as she could. “Alright, Junior. You’ve convinced me. Let’s go see if Gina has time to check this out.”

* * *

Fairly certain from all the kicking going on inside her that she was pregnant with two future football players, Sugar rubbed her protruding middle as she walked into Gina’s lab with a fidgeting Lake on her heels. The man was in his early twenties, but with his restless energy and tendency for mischief, Lake acted more like a rebellious teenager.

“Greetings, Gina of Rodu. How do you fair today?” Sugar asked in greeting.

“I fair well, Sugar of Earth, and you are looking well. As my brother declares to anyone willing to listen to him speak of his mate, gestation does indeed suit you.”

“Thanks,” Sugar said with a giggle. Axel was more excited about the babies than she was. She patted her belly and felt twin kicks of acknowledgment.

“Did your human shadow talk you into coming along with him to annoy me?” Gina asked as she looked back at her work.

“Hey now… the human shadow has a name,” Lake protested, his mouth lifting in a lopsided grin. “And for your information, Princess Too Busy To Be Friendly, Professor Sugar Jennings has important business to discuss with you. I’m only keeping Sugar company because I had nothing better to do.”

Gina glanced at the metal plate in Sugar’s hands. “I am neither a historian nor an archeologist. What help can I provide with your research?”

Sugar held up the metal plate and turned it sideways. “I was trying to decipher the symbol language on this when Lake noticed the whole thing looked a bit like a computer circuit board. What do you think?”

Gina walked over and peered at the tablet. “At first glance, I would say it is either a message for a reader of the same language… or possibly it could be a graphical map.”

“Those were my thoughts as well,” Sugar confirmed with a nod.

Gina stepped closer while Sugar held it out more. “However, I see what Lake means. May I inspect it more closely?”

“You actually agree with me?” Lake asked in surprise.

Ignoring Lake’s reaction, Sugar handed the metal plate to Gina and watched as she walked to a table with it. Her half-alien sister-in-law pulled a device down over the plate and looked at the readout on a nearby monitor.

To Sugar, the machine Gina used looked like something belonging in a hospital surgery room. Speaking commands in Lyran, Gina soon was directing lights to scan over the plate. The light scanning went on for several long minutes then finally stopped.

Eventually, Gina turned back to them. “I ran the full light spectrum. The metal is not light activated. It could possibly be activated by sound. Are you familiar with the thirteen crystal skulls found on Earth?”

Sugar shrugged. “Only as a myth. Let me guess—they’re real and they’re alien.”

Gina lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “The crystalline material they were made from is from Earth, but the storage technology is not. Each contains vast records from human history around the planet which is why they are shaped like human skulls. My father refuses to hear the stories on them because they explain the creation of his original people—among other things. Mother has seven of the skulls. The other six are scattered around the world. Gathering them up is on her to-do list but has not yet been done.”

“Do you want us to go get the other skulls for you?” Lake asked.

Gina glared. “No. The Elite Guards will get them when their queen declares it is time to do so. Most of them are in private hands and quite safe since Earthlings consider their value to be mythical.”

“Then why tell us about the rest of them if we can’t go after them?” Lake complained.

Ignoring Lake’s complaining, Gina turned to Sugar. “The skulls respond to sound frequencies just as the blades you carry do.”

“Fascinating,” Sugar replied—and she meant it. “Can you test that theory without harming the metal plate?”

“Certainly, but…” she glanced at Lake. “I’m not sure what effect intense sound might have on the beings you carry within you. They sentient blades may want to take you over to protect themselves.”

“We’ll risk it,” Lake said.

We?” Sugar repeated in surprise, smirking at Lake’s willingness to risk her well-being as well. “I have more than just myself to worry about it these days, Junior.”

Sugar patted her belly as she stared at him.

Lake winced. “Oh, right. You’re growing baby panthers inside you. Sorry—I forgot.”

“Let me check something.” Sugar held up a hand and closed her eyes.


Yes, Sugar.

Is it safe for Gina to test the metal plate we’ve been studying with sound?

Potential result to hosts is incalculable.

Sugar opened one eye and peered at Gina. “What does potential result incalculable mean in Geek speak?”

Gina glared. “It means the blade does not know what will happen.”

Sugar opened both eyes. “Then it’s a risk just like Lake said.”

“That would be my interpretation of your blade’s comment.”

Lake snorted. “You should know better than most, Gina. You talk more like a computer than any of the blades do.”

“Your harsh words are wasted on my ears. Being Lyran, I do not find that offensive.”

Lake crossed his arms to keep from walking to her. When Gina went into full geek mode around him, he always got turned on.

“Junior—hush,” Sugar ordered sternly, shaking her head when Lake huffed. “Remember our discussion?”

Lake held up a hand in defeat and Sugar blew out a frustrated breath. What did the man want from Gina? If he expected the two-hundred-year-old intelligent alien female to change who she was for his disrespectful human ass, Lake might as well turn his annoying attention in another direction.

Sugar turned her focus back to how much she really wanted to know what was on that plate. “Let’s test it. The blades aren’t going to hurt us. Just don’t get scared if they show up.”

“I won’t,” Gina said firmly, putting her attention back on the device she used for analysis. She programmed in the three exact vibrational sound frequencies she had discovered in her father, Sugar, and Lake. “The test will begin shortly.”

At the first tone, Lake made a face. He waved away her concern when Gina looked alarmed. “Hurts a bit, but not too badly. Keep going.”

“It’s working,” Gina said, pointing to the table.

Sugar gasped when the metal plate started to expand and contract with movement in response to the frequency. She nodded and Gina added the next frequency to the sound.

“Ouch,” Sugar said, rubbing the children who were now jumping around madly inside her. “It’s like an orchestra but all the instruments are out of tune. The kids and I both hate it.”

But as they watched, the metal plate twisted and molded until it had taken a pyramidal shape. Gina moved to the third frequency and the structure began to vibrate so fast the pyramid wavered from view at times.

“Is that all it does?” Lake asked.

“Unless it requires a fourth frequency to completely activate it. I used those of your blades, we do not know the frequency of the fourth one yet,” Gina said.

Creator blade frequency is 110 Hz on Earth scale.

“Try adding 110 Hz,” Sugar suggested, not mentioning the source of her information.

“Of course,” Gina said, rapidly coding it in. “There are many stone temples, caves, and pyramids on Earth tuned to that frequency. Lyrans have searched for reasons, but no one knows why or how they came to be that way. What is known is that frequency affects the human body and mind in a way that creates a higher consciousness. It’s considered sacred in many Earth cultures.”

Sugar winced as she watched. “Does this sort of communication device exist in other places than Earth?”

“Yes. From its shape-shifting abilities, I’m guessing the plate is a morphological holograph. Many planets went to this kind of storage after their organic sources were exhausted,” Gina said, adding the 110 Hz frequency.

In the first second of the sound becoming audible, the device began a rapid rotation on the table and levitated several inches into the air. Light was generated by the spinning and then formed into a shape above the metal.

“Look, it’s changing into a female,” Lake said, pointing. “See her breasts?”

Gina lifted a hand in Lake’s direction as she looked at Sugar. “Do you see why I detest him?”

“Lake has a one-track mind. Earth males his age are all like that,” Sugar said with a head shake. “It modifies over time. I promise.”

Gina turned to glare at Lake. “The female with breasts is a Pleiadian from what humans call the Sirius constellation. Pleiadians, in appearance and genetics, are the most physically similar species to Earth humans. General consensus among Lyrans is that the Pleiadians chose the final genetic code for humanity.”

The holographic female began to talk. Sugar felt uncomfortable with every word the image spoke, but she had no idea why. Lake looked ready to throw up. She doubted Junior knew what was wrong either.

“Do you know what’s she saying?” Sugar asked.

Gina shook her head. “I don’t speak Pleiadian but I recognize it. My translator isn’t programmed for their language because it’s so complex. I might be able to clone a translator and convince it to learn Pleiadian but it would take a lot of time.”

“There are plenty of ancient alien theories about Earth origins coming out of Pleiades constellation of stars and planets.”

“Pleiadians are one of the original species who evolved in our universe. They are quite forthcoming with information to all who seek it so no one bothers with their language or history. They hold the highest four seats on the council who assigned the Lyrans to Earth as guardians.”

Sugar’s whole body relaxed as Gina extracted the frequencies in reverse order. Soon the artifact was simply a flat, metal plate once more. “I wonder how many things we found in that cave are sound activated.”

“That is a reasonable thing to wonder. Why would the Pleiadians store holographic messages among Aztec gold and had them guarded by the priests of those people? There was another set of metal plates found in an underground cave near the Amazon river which turned out to Pleiadian. Perhaps there are Pleiadian artifacts all over Earth.”

Sugar’s mind starting chewing on another theory. “What if Athena the Ancient was Pleiadian? What if some of the plates are the stories of the blades and their creation?”

Gina stopped and stared in shock. “It could be possible. Earth only recently learned about the power of sound. For Lyrans, sound has long been an efficient and effective way to apply security to valuable content. This metal has been programmed to be a metal plate with symbols. The holographic energy projecting the Pleiadian is its truer form. The blades you carry seem to function in much the same way. They have their own form when not merged with a host.”

Sugar nodded. “I have at least fifty more of those plates. If you can get your translator to work, I’ll be able to read what’s on them.”

Lake rubbed his mid-section, relieved as the pain continue to pass away without further nausea. “It’s probably another origin story about a group of people who aren’t around anymore. I’ve never understood how anyone could love history so much.”

Sugar turned to glare at him. “If I hadn’t studied all I could find about the sentient blades, I wouldn’t have had any idea about what had happened to me—or to you. That would have been bad because my blade has had to work very hard to keep me alive. History teaches us about the present by showing us what the past contained.”

Gina shrugged to cover up her true feelings. She needed to discuss it with her mother before she revealed it to the blade hosts. “As grievous as I find it to do so, I must agree with Lake on this matter.”

“Wait… you’re agreeing with me again?” Lake asked in surprise.

“I’m having a strange day,” Gina said through gritted teeth.

Laughing at both of them, Sugar pointed at the metal plate. “Is it safe to leave the metal plate with you?”

“No. Mother prefers we keep all artifacts safely put away unless they are being used for study. Take the metal plate back to the library with you,” Gina ordered. “I’ll come to get it when I have time to work on it.”

Lake narrowed his eyes as he studied Gina. “Did anyone ever point out to you how bossy you are?”

“Yes. Command has always been expected of me. I am a Lyran princess and second in line for my mother’s throne. It is not a weakness that I have a keen grasp on the need to follow rules which were made for the good of all.”

Sugar chuckled and turned to Lake who lifted a hand and walked out of the lab.

“He rejects all my truths. I do not understand him,” Gina said softly.

“Lake doesn’t understand himself. Like most males, he’s grasping for answers instead of asking questions and listening,” Sugar replied, patting Axel’s confused sister on the shoulder before she trailed after her fellow blade host.

Read Chapter 2

In Cambodia, at the Angkor Wat temple complex…

“I sure wish you could see this, Hank. It’s every bit as awesome as you thought it would be,” Reva whispered, hoping her husband’s spirit would hear her wherever he was.

Hank’s death seven months ago from a massive stroke had come as a total shock. Then a month ago she’d gotten an email on his old account and discovered her wonderfully thoughtful husband had booked this trip to celebrate what would have been their twenty-eighth anniversary.

Reva stared at the hundreds of Apsaras carved on the stone walls. The smiling females were dancing in a ceremony the Hindus called Churning of the Ocean of Milk. The enormous carving depicted gods and goddesses rubbing a snake to get the animal to give up the elixir of life. The scene looked very sexual in nature to her. Hank would have laughed when she told him her thoughts which made her miss him even more. This trip just wasn’t the same without him.

Tears threatened to start flowing but then Reva remembered another theory—one of Hank’s silly ancient alien ideas—one which said the snake represented the Milky Way. The thousand years of the churning would have been the time it took for the celestial beings Earthlings called gods to make the earth a planet that could sustain the human life they planned to create on it.

Rolling her eyes over the idea of aliens, Reva tried to pull her imagination back from the edge. “If you nixed the aliens, this could be where they got the Garden of Eden story. All that’s missing from these carvings is the apple.”

Science dated Angkor Wat to the 12th century. Reva found it hard to believe that the jungle had encroached so hard on the stone structures and all but swallowed parts of the temple complex in so few millennia. She stooped and retrieved a leaf shed by one of the massive trees. Being an avid botanist, among other things, she felt the utmost reverence for a tree she easily would have estimated as being over twenty thousand years old. More than one of the massive roots were larger than the structures they hid.

Following the brochure she carried, Reva moved into an area referred to as the Hall of Echoes. Discovering she was alone, she went to the location indicated and put a hand over her heart before whispering, “I still miss you, Hank.”

Her heart ached as the words were multiplied and repeated many times before fading off. How did anyone ever move on from losing their soul mate? She and Hank had not been able to have children. Her parents were now gone. Because of Hank’s allergies, they hadn’t even had pets. All they’d had over the years was each other. Losing Hank had redefined the word alone for her.


Startled, Reva jerked to full awareness as she heard her name echoing back through the hall. It couldn’t be Hank trying to reach beyond death to talk to her once more. Not that she believed in that sort of thing anyway, but the voice calling her name was definitely female.


Her whipped from side-to-side but she refused to freak completely out. Grief had made her a bit absent-minded, but that was all. She moved through most days on auto-pilot, but this trip had been a reality check to remind her that life really was still going on around her.


“Not listening to you,” she told the voice saying her name. This was crazy. No one was in the space but her. It was a trick of sound.

When Hank was alive, he was always reading about this kind of woo-woo stuff. She, on the other hand, was always reading about plants and the downside of genetic manipulation of food sources. They couldn’t have been more different but it had made for a rich and wonderful relationship.

“The tour guide is male,” Reva said aloud to reassure herself. “I haven’t introduced myself to any of the others the tour because I didn’t want to explain about Hank and the reason I’m here.”

She walked quickly back down the hall the way she’d come. When she didn’t see any other people, Reva realized she must have taken a wrong turn somewhere.

Her head swiveled when she heard a crackling noise that sounded like rocks grinding against each other. She gasped in shock when one of the wall depictions turned its stone head toward her.

She squealed and swore as twin beams of light burst from the statue’s eyes and hit a spot on the temple floor three feet from where she stood. Something swirled within the light and a visage of a robed woman appeared there. The woman turned in her direction as if seeing her very clearly.

A frisson of dread traveled up Reva’s spine but her feet refused to obey her order to run.

“Greetings, Reva Hunter.”

“What?” Reva asked, putting a hand over her heart. “How do you know who I am?”

“All is known about you.”

“What’s happening here? Who are you? Is someone recording this?” Reva demanded, searching for a hidden camera.

The woman lifted both hands in entreaty. “At the beginning of human time, I was an entity named Athena. Now I serve as the life source of the sentient blade known as the Creator. You have been chosen to host me. Do you accept my request for us to merge?”

The urge to escape grew but her feet only moved mere inches across the floor. It was like some strange energy had hold of her and wouldn’t turn loose.

“I… I… I…” Reva stopped trying to get away and turned her head. She could hear several people talking excitedly from the Hall of Echoes. Their angry, harsh words were being multiplied by the acoustics there. What filtered to her were garbled commands in a language she didn’t speak.

“Decide quickly, Reva Hunter. Those coming seek to possess the blade. This will not be allowed to happen. Their lives will be forfeit if they try.”

“What’s that got to do with me… me… me?” Stammering harder, Reva swallowed hard and felt her heart banging a frightened beat against her rib cage. She looked back at the woman in the image. “You’ve got the wrong person. I’m old and afraid.”

“The blade will keep you safe,” the woman promised.

“How do you know? You’re a statue come to life,” Reva exclaimed looking back up at the rock wall and the massive stone head that had loosened itself from it.

“No, Reva Hunter. I am not a statue. I am the fourth and final sentient blade. With your help, I can awake and serve the Earth.”

“I can’t help you. I just lost my husband. I’m only here because this is a trip he planned for our anniversary. I’m sorry I came now—trust me.” Reva stopped and swallowed. That had been too rude. “What I mean is that I can’t do what you want.”

“Life is about making choices—this is the education for human will. Your decision will be honored,” the woman said, bowing her resigned head. “I cannot return to hiding in the stone. May I ask that you at least transport me to the others?”

“Others?” Reva asked in a squeak.

“The other sentient blades are awake. They await my arrival. The world needs us.”

Reva saw bands of green metal rising out of the stone. It looked like liquid as it came to the surface. She didn’t know what to think about her hallucination much less what to do to snap out of it.

“This doesn’t make any sense,” Reva whispered.

“I understand your confusion. Please take me to the others. The Protectors will know what to do.”

“Protectors?” Reva asked.

Words got stuck on their way out of her mouth when the liquid green metal from the statue suddenly sprung free of the rock and attacked her. Her hands went to her throat and felt a metal choker forming there. Her mind screamed that she was living one of the alien invasion scenes from the crazy Sci-Fi movies Hank had made her watch with him.

The rest of the liquid metal sprung from the rock and wrapped around her wrists. The gleaming changed from green to gold and caught her eyes. She pulled her wrists away from her throat and stared at them. The metal vibrated lightly. As she watched, it turned itself into a close-fitting cuff bracelet on each arm.

“Thank you for saving me, Reva Hunter. No harm will come to you.”

“Harm from what?” Reva asked, but soon realized she was talking to air.

The image of the woman faded rapidly into nothing but dots, and as it did, the eye beams retracted until the stone statues eyes went flat. Defying all logic she knew, and the laws of science, the statue’s face turned back to the side and resumed its normal stony silhouette.

Before she could step forward and lift her hand to feel the rock wall, several Cambodian men in military gear instantly appeared in the room’s doorway. They first spoke to her in their own language. One of them finally spoke in English and asked if she had seen anyone strange coming or going in the last few minutes.

“No,” Reva answered, numbly shaking her head. She was in a strange country and alone. No way was she telling the guys with guns that the statue on the wall came alive and spoke to her. “What’s happening? Am I in any danger?”

“No danger,” the man said abruptly before quickly disappearing along with the others with him.

Reva touched the metal at her throat and at her wrists. It vibrated gently in return to her touch. There were symbols on the metal around her wrists. Was the band around her throat decorated with them as well? She had no mirror to check. The symbols on the bracelets looked a little like Egyptian hieroglyphics to her.

The language is the language of my original people. It is Pleiadian, a voice announced in her head.

“Pleiadian? Like from the constellation Pleiades?” Reva whispered the question in shock.

Affirmative, the voice in her head answered.

Reva stared at the rock wall before her gaze returned to her wrists. What was it the woman had asked her to do? She couldn’t remember.

Be brave, Reva Hunter. Take me out of the sacred temple. I will ask the Protectors to collect me.

Reva adjusted the small hanging purse she’d brought along and turned to walk out of the room. The exit from the Hall of Echoes was clear. How had she missed it before? Her first instinct was to blame the voice in her head. What was this thing doing to her?

Hosts are sacred. Reva Hunter is a sacred human.

Reva wondered if the voice in her head would go away if she left Cambodia. She was sure ready to find out.

She walked quickly back to the tour bus and saw that several of her fellow travelers were already seated on it. She looked around and saw the temples now swarmed with armed men looking for something—or someone.

Reva climbed onto the bus and found a seat. She discreetly slipped the passport and some money from her purse, tucking both into hidden pockets she’d sewn onto the underside of the camisole she was wearing under her shirt. At the time she’d sewn the pockets there, she’d felt crazy for giving into fear and taking such a strange precaution. Now she was grateful. She felt like if she had to run to save her life she could.

“Crazy. Crazy. Crazy,” Reva chanted to herself quietly.

She leaned back in her seat and stared out the bus window which had been lowered to let the heat escape. What would happen if those armed men figured out she’d removed a valuable artifact from the temple? Technically, she was a breaking a law in a foreign country to go along with this madness.

I am worthy of rescue and you are worthy of wielding my power. Your refusal does not alter the truth of those statements. I ask only what is possible for you to do.

Her gut agreed with that defense so Reva nodded slightly but didn’t speak aloud.

Instead, she started praying which seemed a lot better use of time than talking to herself.

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