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Hunting Shadows / Legacy of Shadows Book 2

Hunting Shadows / Legacy of Shadows Book 2

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Continue Anna and Obsidian's next adventure now with this special early access release of book 2 of the spinoff series to the popular Gargoyle and Sorceress Tales!
This special early release is only available on Lisa Blackwood's Bookshop. (It won't be coming to all the major until later in May.) So grab it here if you want to start reading it early.
This isn't NOT a preorder. You buy it now and it gets delivered directly to your inbox via Bookfunnel. From there you read it on your favourite device like any normal ebook.


Real Book Description Coming Soon!

But because the author forgot to write a blurb and hates this part of publishing, here's a few things in this book. In no particular order:

Anna and Obsidian having a really bad night.

Two older dogs, one has cancer. But don't worry, this is fantasy with happy endings so Obsidian breaks a few rules and soon there are two new members of the Gargoyle Legion.

How bored wives playing with an ancient evil grimoire accidentally created a new coven of Blood Witches. Oops.

A family reunion with Anna's mother and a badass grandmother she never knew about.

Anna having to introduce Obsidian to her mom under the worst possible situation. 

One of the Avatar's young siblings escapes from the spirit realm to play with mortals.

Lots of battles and a few tender moments.

Blurb writing is tough. LOL.


First Chapter

Chapter 1


She fiddled with the radio, searching for anything that wasn’t a country music channel, but this far north, and with the heavy tree cover to either side, most channels were just static or faded in and out. So far, the only channel she’d found with a strong enough signal was the country one. She’d never bothered to update her ancient truck’s sound system to satellite and now she regretted it.

If she had planned it better, she could have introduced Obsidian to some human pop culture to aid him with his disguise. At least once she got to her parents’ house, they’d have Wi-Fi, and she could use the week leading up to the Mackenzie family reunion to start Obsidian’s Earth 101 lessons. That was the goal, anyway. Otherwise, her family would completely broadside him when she introduced him at the family reunion.

But first she had to find her parents’ freaking house.

“Are you sure you memorized the way?” Anna asked. Her question was more to distract herself from her nerves about her reunion with her mother than any doubt she had in Obsidian’s navigation skills. She hadn’t seen her mother in over two years, thanks to the healing stone sleep, which would have been awkward enough since her mother knew nothing about magic or what had befallen Anna, but she was also bringing Obsidian along. And that was going to be hard to explain on top of everything else.

“Yes.” A soft huff accompanied his words. “I have an excellent memory, but don't worry, we've still got…” His brows furrowed, and she knew he was hunting for the correct word. “We have GPS just in case.”

All she knew about her parents’ new place was that it was over an hour’s drive north of the new base. Her dad had let on that the distance was intentional. He hadn’t wanted any other members of his family anywhere near magic. And that meant her mom lived off base.

But did that mean her parents had to pick a house in the middle of Bumblefuck nowhere?

Anna let out a huff and leaned back in her seat. She had always been good with directions, but she also wanted to get to the house before dark. And Obsidian seemed a little too distracted by her phone to be giving navigation his one hundred percent. Getting lost and driving through thick forests after dark with deer, moose, and bear roaming around was not her idea of a relaxing country drive.

Shortly after they’d left the base, the forest had swiftly grown taller and denser, the thick underbrush blocking out most of the sunlight. Anna couldn't help but feel like they were being watched, as if the forest itself were alive and aware of their presence.

‘Yeah.’ She scolded herself silently. ‘Because that makes sense. Relax. It’s probably just the beginnings of PTSD.’
She forced her gritted teeth to unclench and focused on steering her old truck around another epic patch of potholes. Even when she steered around the worst areas, the truck still bounced over the country roads, the suspension straining to compensate for the rough terrain and utterly crap roads.

“Is this even a road? Or did I turn down a game trail?” She knew it was the road, but hell, someone could have come and graded the gravel once a year at least. Fuck.
But even with complaining about the crap road and navigating the potholes, Anna couldn’t shake the feeling of unease.

She glanced over at Obsidian to distract herself, taking in his handsome human features as he scrolled through her phone.

In human form, Obsidian was a big, burly man, with long black hair done up in a two-strand twist hairstyle. He rarely took on human form, preferring his gargoyle form, but she wouldn’t lie. She enjoyed the novelty of seeing him like this, with his warm brown skin that was a few shades darker than hers. And, damn, she could die happy just admiring the way his muscles rippled beneath his t-shirt.

Even as a human, he was a massive dude, standing seven feet tall and heavily muscled. Anna had always had a thing for tall, well-muscled men, and Obsidian in human form was no exception.

He didn’t notice her studying him, too engrossed in her phone. Despite being new to technology, Obsidian had taken to her cellphone like a duck to water. She had been relying on the GPS to guide them to their destination, but Obsidian had silenced it shortly after they left, saying he’d memorized the tiny map, that he knew the way and wouldn’t get lost.

It had been such a ‘man’ thing to say that she’d nearly barked out a laugh but hadn’t wanted to insult him, so she had kept quiet. If they ended up getting lost, she’d just turn the GPS back on, she reminded herself. But it wouldn’t hurt to test him, she supposed.

“Do you know where we're turning next?” Anna asked. She was trying to get a sense if he actually knew their current location.

Obsidian looked up from her phone and smiled, flipping the screen back to the map. “I know exactly where we are. We’re here,” he said, pointing to a dot on the screen.

“And your parents’ house is about five kilometers ahead.”

Anna grunted. Know it all. But she grinned at the thought.

Obsidian arched a brow. “What?”

“Gargoyles,” Anna said. Then chuckled at his expression. “Practically perfect in every way. And you’re the worst. Or the best. Certainly, the biggest overachiever that ever walked the three realms.”

Obsidian unleashed a great, rumbling laugh and gave one of her braids a gentle tug. “You seem to forget you’re a gargoyle and my second in command. So that makes you the second biggest overachiever in the three realms.”

“Fine, you win that round.” Their lighthearted banter had done the job, and she relaxed. That earlier unease, whatever the cause, had vanished and she could once again enjoy the peaceful drive along the forested road on this lovely early summer evening. With the windows down, the fresh scent of pine and the sound of birds singing added to the pleasantness of the drive.

It was a damned pleasant way to spend the evening.
Certainly more pleasant than a lot of situations Anna had found herself in over the last few years. As she navigated the winding road, the thick canopy of trees provided a sense of seclusion, making it feel as though she and Obsidian were the only people in the world.

Fuck. She so needed this, needed a vacation before the big family reunion to decompress from everything. Just her and Obsidian and her mom.

Five kilometers later, she turned down a long lane and rolled up on a stone and timber cottage like the picture her dad had sent. Her Rasoren’s map reading and memorizing skills were as accurate and impressive as he’d claimed.

She and Obsidian both leaned out the windows to gawk around, and her eyes were immediately drawn to the charming structure nestled amongst the trees. The front of the cottage was landscaped with a small garden filled with colorful flowers and neatly trimmed hedges.

“Damn. This is a cute little place to retire. No wonder mom wanted it.”

“Earth wouldn’t be such a terrible place to live if it was all as lovely and smelled as nice as this area,” Obsidian said. “It’s certainly nicer than the bases or that loud, smelly city the void demons were going to use to fuel their spell.”
“I’m sure Toronto would take insult at being called smelly. But yeah, all modern cities battle air and noise pollution,” Anna said as she turned onto the long driveaway. “Dad texted me earlier, instructing me to park around the back of the house out of sight, to surprise mom.”

“I read that, too,” Obsidian said. His voice was muffled because his head was still hanging out the window. “His message said your mother was away for the weekend, some kind of spa retreat with friends and that she wouldn't be home until tomorrow morning.”

Anna gave him a playful punch on his big, meaty thigh. “You’re not supposed to read other people's messages.”
He jerked his head back inside the cab and looked somewhat ashamed. “I didn’t mean to snoop. You had a dozen apps all open at once, and I had to scroll through them all to get back to the map.”

“I’m kidding.” She grinned at him. “But look at you learning all that modern Earth lingo already.”

He grunted. “That would be much easier if our Rasoren-Kyrsu link would hurry and reform.”

Anna sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly, his words triggering a throb of longing over their lost bond. “Yeah. I miss that closeness, too.”

But it was a small price to pay, and she was just happy that they were both alive and healthy and had awakened from the healing stone sleep at the same time.

As she followed the long lane around to the back of the stone and timber cottage, Obsidian stuck his head back out and continued to rubber neck. Anna admitted she was almost as bad.

The back yard was even more beautiful than the front, with a neatly tended garden and a small pond filled with lily pads and what looked like large, brightly colored fish? Koi?

“I’d put money on those fish being koi. Mom always wanted some.”

“Do they taste good?” Obsidian asked. She didn’t miss how his sharp hunter’s gaze locked on the pond.

“Hell no! No eating mom’s pet fish.”

“Pet fish?” He looked startled by the idea.

“Yep. Humans like to collect all kinds of things. Mom likes fish. But poor things didn’t use to last more than a month. She’d kill them with kindness. Maybe she’s finally figured out how not to kill every fish that crosses her path?”
Anna wondered what else had changed in the two and a half years she’d been gone.

But even not knowing how to apologize for being gone for over two years with not-so-much as a single text message, Anna couldn't wait to see the look on her mom’s face when she walked through the door and spotted her daughter in the house.

She parked her truck and got out, her eyes drawn to the empty fire pit and the neatly stacked wood pile. She could imagine the cozy evenings they would spend together, roasting marshmallows and telling stories by the warmth of the flames.

The rest of the landscaping around the sides and back of the house was even more elaborate than the front, with winding paths and colorful flowers that seemed to go on forever. Overall, the stone and timber cottage was a perfect retreat.

“Wait one fucking minute,” Anna muttered to herself.
“Since when am I into gardens and nature and shit?”

Ahead of her, Obsidian stopped and glanced over his shoulder at her, one brow raised in question.

“I mean, I like nature just fine, but I never equated it with pleasure and relaxation. Oh my god, I’m turning into my mom.”

Obsidian cleared his throat, a smile lurking on his lips. “I think it’s more likely your gargoyle nature is awakening. We are creatures of the woods and forest, born of trees.” He shrugged. “It only makes sense that you now find comfort in the same things.”

Anna perked up at his words. She wouldn’t mind having her gargoyle form back. It had many benefits. It freaking well would have come in handy during the battle with the void demons, but better late than never, she supposed.

Chapter 2


As soon as they were within twenty feet of the backdoor, Anna heard the dogs barking from inside. She wasn’t surprised that the dogs hadn’t barked as soon as she’d pulled in. Her dad had said Brandy was almost completely deaf now. And Brandy had been the barker and surveillance system. Henry, in contrast, was the type of beagle who would just sit back and watch a burglar go about their business. But apparently Henry’s ears were as sharp as ever, and she heard him bark with more excitement. He must have recognized her voice or spotted her through a window.

From inside the house, she could hear paws scrambling on the flooring.

Anna turned to Obsidian. "Sounds like we have dogs inbound."

Obsidian chuckled and nodded. "I can tell. I’m looking forward to meeting these dogs."

“They may not like how we smell,” she warned him, the thought only now occurring to her.

As they approached the back door, Anna could hear the dogs racing down a set of stairs, the nearest open window carrying the sound of their toenails on the hard surface. Within moments, they were down the stairs and across the kitchen floor.

Anna laughed as she watched Brandy and Henry jostle for position at the doggie door. Despite Brandy's size, Henry always beat her to the punch, using his speed and agility to dart through the door ahead of her. Sometimes the beagle would go right under the lab’s belly and between her two front feet.

This time was no different, and Anna watched with amusement as Henry shot between Brandy’s front legs and out of the doggie door like a bullet, barking happily as he ran towards them. Brandy followed much more slowly and stiffly, a slight limp with each step, but her tail wagged just like it used to. The limp wasn’t surprising considering what Anna’s dad had told her last night, but seeing the evidence firsthand tightened her throat and brought wetness to her eyes.

"Hey guys!" Anna called out, crouching down to greet the dogs.

Henry skidded to a stop in front of her, panting and wagging his tail. Brandy, on the other hand, always the protector, trotted up to Obsidian to check him out where he was standing a few feet away. After giving him a good sniff over, she looked at Anna and Henry and then purposely leaned against Obsidian’s leg, seeking attention.

Anna chuckled and stood up, shaking her head.

“Those two are always competing,” she said, turning to Obsidian. “Guess we didn’t have to worry about them not liking the smell of gargoyles.”

Obsidian reached down to scratch Brandy behind the ears and then gave her a good pet. "Oh, you’re such a lovely girl, aren’t you?"

Having sniffed over Obsidian and decided he was a good sort, Brandy limped over to Anna next, tail wagging and a happy doggie smile on her face even if it took her a little longer to cross the short distance.

Caught up in Henry’s exuberant greeting, Anna hadn’t seen the full change in poor Brandy. Once seventy pounds of pure muscle, the lab was now thin and bony, her once glossy coat dull. As Anna had already noted, she moved slower than before, her hind legs stiff and unsteady. But when she reached Anna, she wiggled in happiness and wagged her tail so hard her entire back end wagged, too.

As she petted Brandy, Anna tried to hide the wave of sadness that rose within her.

Damnit. Fuck cancer all to hell.

Tears welled up in her eyes, and she wiped them away before Obsidian could see them. She would not break down in front of her Rasoren. He’d lost his mother and some dear friends in the war with the Lady of Battles. She wasn’t going to breakdown into a blubbering mess just because life was being a fucker again.

She bent down to give Brandy a hug instead.
"Hey girl, did you miss me?" Anna asked, scratching behind Brandy's ears.

Henry barked for attention; his tail wagging so hard it was almost a blur.

“You already had your hug and scratches, Greedy Guts.” But she reached out and gave him another hug, too.
She didn’t miss how Brandy shoved her head under Obsidian’s hand, looking for equal petting, and Anna’s big, soft-hearted Rasoren obliged with a goofy grin on his face.

“Come on,” Anna said. “I'll make us something to eat, and you and the dogs can get to know each other over food.”
The dogs perked up even more at the mention of food, and they watched as Anna pulled out the keys her dad had given her and unlocked the back door. She held the door open for the dogs first. Once Brandy had limped inside, Obsidian placed a hand on Anna’s shoulder and gave her a gentle squeeze.

“It will be alright, my Kyrsu.”

She nodded, her throat tightening, knowing what he meant. He’d be there to give her solace when it was time to have Brandy euthanized. As they entered the house, he was a solid, protective shadow at her back.

Now that they were in the dark kitchen, Anna had to fight back the urge to shout ‘anyone there’ because entering this empty and unfamiliar house was making that earlier unease stir in her gut again.

“Get your shit together, Anna,” she muttered under her breath, too low for even Obsidian to hear. Briefly, she wondered if she might actually be flirting with PTSD. She’d been through enough shit. The ‘medical’ leave she’d been granted as a cover story might be more truth than lie.

The feeling of unease persisted as she walked farther into the kitchen. She was unfamiliar with the house’s layout, and the growing darkness as the sun sank below the horizon only heightened her sense of disorientation. Who the fuck designs a house without putting a light switch next to the back door?

Brandy and Henry kept pace with her as she made her way deeper into the large kitchen, their soft footsteps and wagging tails telling her they were perfectly at ease in the growing darkness.

Obsidian also seemed perfectly fine with the dark interior. Apparently, he had perfect night vision even in his human form, and he moved through the room like it was freaking daylight.

Anna grumbled to herself, feeling a twinge of jealousy as she remembered her own perfect night vision when she’d been a gargoyle. It was a gift that she had taken for granted, and one she missed bitterly now that it was gone.

“Find the light switch for me,” Anna said in a grumbling tone. After a quick search, Obsidian found the light switches, and the room was suddenly flooded with light. Anna blinked, taking in her surroundings. It was a large kitchen, with curtain covered windows that looked out into the backyard.

“I’m going to scout around. See if I can find the guest room and stow our gear.” Anna hoisted their packs. “You might as well stay here and round up something for us to eat.”

Her father had told her they had to let her apartment go when he was reassigned to the new army base. When they moved, they had taken all of Anna's stuff with them, putting her bedroom furniture in the guest room and the rest into storage. That smacked of her mom’s involvement.

Obsidian looked over his shoulder and into the room leading off the kitchen, but he only nodded. He’d likely already scanned the house for threats using his heightened gargoyle senses. If he’d thought there was any kind of danger, Anna knew he wouldn’t be letting her out of his sight. That went two ways.

But this was her parents’ house, for fuck’s sake. They weren’t likely to run across any kind of danger here more severe than a stubbed toe. Though, she reflected, a stubbed toe was a real possibility if this house’s designer didn’t know where a freaking light switch was supposed to be situated.

Anna stepped into the living room, but easily found the light switch along the wall by the door. Right where a proper light switch should be.

Her eyes took in the sights. A large screen TV sat at one end of the room, while a cozy fireplace took up residence at the other. Bookshelves lined the walls, filled with an array of magazines about hairstyles, fashion, and even hunting. An aquarium bubbled away in one corner, its light illuminating bright tropical fish.

“You have my condolences,” she told the hopeful fish as they danced at the surface of the tank, begging for food.

“Fine. Hold on.”

After sprinkling a little food into the tank, Anna walked over to the wall, where she saw pictures of herself, all five of her brothers, and her parents displayed proudly. It was a reminder of the close-knit family she was lucky to be a part of. However rough the first few days of the family reunion might prove to be, they’d all get over it and go back to the way things had been.

She hoped.

As she stood there taking it all in, Henry jumped up on an old, dog-fur covered chair and curled up. Brandy tried to do the same, but she didn’t seem to have the strength in her hind end to power herself up onto the couch. Anna’s heart hurt to see the lab’s aborted attempt.

“I’ll help you up later, promise,” she said and patted Brandy’s head, earning herself a happy wag. “No point settling in for a long nap just yet. Got recon to do first.”
Anna couldn't help but smile as Brandy’s tail thumped harder.

Once again turning her attention to the pictures on the wall, she couldn't help but notice the minor changes in her brothers. Four of her five brothers were in the military, so there were the expected pictures of them in uniform but there were also pictures with babies she hadn't even seen with her own eyes, although her dad had updated her on everything that had happened over the last two and a half years.

She couldn't help but feel like a stranger now, as if she had missed out on so much while she had slept away the time in her healing stone sleep. Leaving the pictures behind, Anna walked into her mother's home hair salon room, taking in the sights of the space. The room was filled with the familiar smells of hair products.

A shelf along the back wall was stocked with an array of colorful hair dyes, hair extensions, and a variety of other hair paraphernalia. In the corner, a desk sat cluttered with papers and a large appointment book. On more than one occasion, she’d lovingly called both her parents dinosaurs for their love of paper calendars and appointment books. It looked like at least that hadn’t changed.

Overall, the room had a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and Anna could almost feel her mother here.

It was…

It was nice. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed her mom. With all that had gone on in her crazy life, she barely had time to think, let alone miss her family. And to her, it hadn’t been years since she’d last seen them.

Well, that was over now, and Anna planned to make up for lost time with her family.

Exiting the hair salon, Anna found a set of stairs leading up to the darkened second floor. She started up, Brandy and Henry following close behind. Though Brandy was much slower than Henry, taking her time as she climbed each step. Anna waited for her.

At the top of the stairs, Anna found a long hallway with several rooms branching off to each side. She peeked into the first room, which was an office filled with a desk, computer, and various office supplies.

Next, she came across an enormous bathroom.

Further down the hallway, Anna found a spacious master bedroom, complete with a king-sized bed and a walk-in closet. It had to be her parents’ room. Though from what her dad had said, her mother had been so angry with him over Anna’s disappearance and him not being able to tell her anything, that he’d spent more nights sleeping on the couch than the bed.

Hopefully, her mom would forgive him now that Anna was back, but she would not hold her breath. Nobody could hold a grudge like Nadine.

Anna moved on to the next door and found the guest room, stocked with a queen-sized bed covered with a familiar dark blue comforter, a shelving unit filled with a lot of her old stuff, and a long dresser of dark wood. Even the dresser was covered in many of the knickknacks she’d collected.

She grinned suddenly. It seemed that her parents had tried to fit half her belongings in this one room, and almost every surface was covered by her stuff. Her father wasn’t kidding when he said they brought everything with them when they moved and put the larger furniture in storage. It looked like they’d left no stone unturned.


As embarrassing as the thought was, she really hoped it was her mother or one of her female cousins who’d packed up her vibrator. Anyone but her dad or brothers.

Anna stomped farther into the bedroom only to have Henry, in all his beagle glory, race past her and jump up on the bed, where he cuddled with one of Anna's stuffed animals from when she was a kid. She couldn't help but smile at the sight of him snuggled up with her childhood toy.

Looking at the old stuffed animal on her bed, she couldn't help but feel a wave of nostalgia wash over her. It was a tattered and worn stuffed lion, with patches sewn haphazardly over its threadbare fur. One eye was missing, and its once-fluffy tail was now nothing more than a few strands of string.

“Fuck.” This had been her mother’s way of keeping Anna’s memory alive when she didn’t know what had happened to her. Her poor mother. “I will not cry.”
As she sat on the bed and stroked the lion's worn fur, Anna couldn't help but marvel at how much her life had changed.

“And now I’m a fucking demigoddess. Never wanted to be a princess, but totally didn’t see this coming.”

She gave Henry a good head scratch and then had to dole out one to Brandy before she heaved her and Obsidian’s packs on her bed and then headed back down to the kitchen. Once her mother returned, they’d have to find different sleeping arrangements, since Obsidian wasn’t pretending to be her boyfriend as part of their cover story. He was just ‘someone’ she worked with. But until then, Anna was going to enjoy one more night cuddling with her Rasoren.

“Come on,” she called to the dogs as she left the room again.

When she started down the stairs, her canine shadows followed, Henry racing down and toward the kitchen. His nose must have told him there was food incoming.

Brandy, acting nothing like the Battle Sausage she remembered, took the stairs even more slowly than she’d come up.

“Oh, my poor sweet girl. I’m so sorry.” Anna felt her throat tightening up again and muttered as if she could make it fact. “Not gonna cry. Not gonna cry. Not gonna cry.”

Chapter 3


He watched as Anna returned to the kitchen after having found wherever they’d be sleeping tonight. He had just finished making sandwiches, stacked high with slices of some meat, an orange cheese that had a slight bite to it, and a strange mix of leafy greens he’d found in the cold storage unit. Apparently, Anna’s father knew about a gargoyle’s mighty appetite and had stocked the kitchen before he’d left.

"Here you go," he said, offering Anna a plate and a cold can of the sweet, fizzy drink humans liked. "I wasn’t sure what else you’d like on them, and I didn’t know what half the bottles in the cold storage were for."

“It’s called a fridge, remember?”

“Sorry. I won’t make slips like that in the future when I’m with your human family.”

“I know. Don’t worry about it.” Anna thanked him and took her plate but placed it on the counter again. “I’ll eat in a minute. Just need to feed the dogs first. Brandy and Henry get anxious if they don't get their dinner first.”

Obsidian nodded and walked over to the cupboard. “I found these cans with a picture of a dog on them earlier,” he said, pointing to a shelf at the top of the cupboard. “I wasn't sure if they were for the dogs or not, but I figured they likely were.”

"Yep, those are dogfood." She opened the cans and scooped some into two bowls. “Mmm…Mmm.”

Obsidian got a sniff and then jerked his head back, wrinkling his nose. “The poor beasts.”

He watched as Anna prepared the dogs' dinner, adding to Brandy’s bowl a shiny pouch of powder that had a medicinal scent to it. Brandy only picked at her food before laying down with a pained whine. Anna gave her some more medication from a white tube and then turned to Obsidian, tears glistening in her eyes.

"I'm going to go shower," she said, her voice shaking with emotion.

Even without the Rasoren-Kyrsu link, Obsidian could sense Anna’s deep pain caused by Brandy’s nearing death. As the new Lord of the Underworld his powers allowed him to sense how much longer a soul had in the mortal realm, and he knew that Brandy only had a few weeks left at most. But those would be long, painful weeks, and Obsidian could see the pain and sadness in Anna's eyes as she resolved to end her pet’s pain much sooner than that.

"I'll keep an eye on the dogs," he offered, trying to comfort her.

Anna nodded and gave the dogs a gentle pat on the head.

“Stay,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

As she crossed in front of him on the way to the livingroom, Obsidian saw the tears, which had been glistening in her eyes a moment ago, were now flowing freely down her cheeks. She was trying to hold it together for the sake of the dogs or him.

Obsidian knew that Anna was strong enough to deal with her emotions on her own.

But they were also Rasoren and Kyrsu.

Neither of them had to deal with painful emotions alone anymore. That was the entire point of their bond. Two halves forged together to make a stronger whole. He would comfort Anna shortly. However, he and the two old dogs had something they needed to discuss first, before he comforted his beloved Kyrsu.

Once he heard Anna’s steps on the stairs, Obsidian kneeled beside Brandy and Henry. The two dogs nuzzled against him. He rubbed their ears in return.

“We need to have a talk, the three of us,” he said. He pitched his voice low, so Anna wouldn’t hear. “You see, I am Anna’s gargoyle partner, and I have promised to protect her from anything that would harm her, anything at all that is within my power to prevent.”

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