A few minutes after the door closed behind the harpy, I figured it was time to stumble down the tunnel to the portal, but Chaos was in a hurry. He picked me up and strode swiftly through the inky darkness like he was using sonar to guide him. And you know that door that gave me so much trouble? Well, that wasn’t an issue either. He put his shoulder against it and a few seconds later we were standing in the snow in front of the mine, breathing in the brisk winter air and feeling free for the first time in ages.
It was exciting but terrifying too. And after Chaos put me on my feet, I found my shoulders creeping slowly toward my ears. I was half afraid that I’d see Vilschka shooting toward us like the world’s ugliest guided missile.
Chaos pushed my coat at me. “Put this on,” he muttered in a low voice.
“How’s it look?” I asked.
“No talking,” he reminded me as I reached for the coat and checked it out. One of the sleeves was wet, the suede ruined, but the rest of it was dry and would probably help keep me warm. “Remember your promise,” he whispered.
Pressing my lips together, I nodded as I shrugged into the coat and searched the night sky for any sight of the harpy. But the heavens looked clear, sparkling with about a billion stars and making me feel hopeful about our chances. Beside me, I heard a rustling sound and turned to face Chaos just in time to see something black rise behind him, blocking out my view of the big dipper. For a minute, I thought Vilschka was behind him and almost screamed. But remembering my promise, I clamped my hand over my mouth and smothered my shriek of terror. Then before I could finish reacting, Chaos picked me up and we started gliding away, hovering a few inches above the snow.
Yeah, you heard me right. We were gliding. And hovering. And flying!
My first impulse was to shout out in total shock but Chaos had told me to keep my mouth shut and by now I’d been conditioned—like brainwashed—to follow his commands. So I swallowed my rebellious squawk. But the guy had wings! I’m not kidding. He had huge, black freaking wings. Just like the harpy. The vest that he always wore opened up into wings. And when they were closed, they wrapped around his body just like Vilschka’s, only shorter. I couldn’t believe it. He was a freaking harpy. Just like that monster.