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Chapter 148 - Pools of Morenth - Raine's POV

Adrenaline ran through my system at a frenzied pace when Tavian's dragon heaved his massive body from the ground and took to the air, his wings unfurling with beauty and grace. Once again, Talon was wrapped around me, holding me tightly in place and protecting me with his body, as we rode on the back of the Dragon.

Anxiety wound through me. The pain of the mate bond was still shockingly strong, and by now, according to Felaern, we were very close to Cage. Shouldn't the pain have lessened some? I tried not to think about the reasons why it hadn't. But doubt crept into my mind. Was it possible Felaern had gotten it wrong? What if Cage wasn't really here? Or worse, what if we found him, but he wasn't alive?

A crippling sense of dread crashed over me. I pushed the thoughts from my mind. I couldn't break down, not now. No matter what we found, I needed to stay strong to endure the challenge ahead of us. Talon must have sensed my anxiety, because his thumbs gently massaged the back of my hands, and he murmured soothing words in my ear. The irony wasn't lost on me, how far we had come. Between the two of us, I was the broken and weak one now, and he was my strength.

I always knew he would be.

Within a few minutes, several bodies of water came into view. They were different shapes, sizes and colors. Unlike normal lakes, their water's did not rest peacefully. Instead, they churned in swirling patterns. I was struck by their beauty but an innate sense of danger washed over me. I shuddered. Talon's arms tightened around me.

Tavian lowered himself to the ground as we approached, landing just on the outskirts of the Pools. Talon helped me from his back and we joined Felaern, who stood with his spine straight and head erect, every sense on high alert.

I looked around. The one thing I didn't see was Cage. Nor was there any type of dwelling he could be staying in. Dread rolled through me once more. I whispered, "Where is he?"

Felaern ignored me. Instead, he turned to Tavian. "What magic possesses these waters?"

"All is not known. I am simply here to observe while you remain in our Realm. I cannot help you with your task."

I turned to him, my anger and frustration seeping out, as I spat, "Can't or won't?"

He met my gaze without flinching. "In this instance, I cannot assist you. Meddling with these waters is dangerous, as your witch can probably already sense. If you do so, you do it at your own peril."

I bit my lip to keep from spewing hateful words at him. It was just a waste of time. Obviously, he would be of no help.

Felaern strode forward, navigating the land in between the swirling waters.  We followed silently. The first body of water was porcelain white.  Felaern dropped to one knee in the grass, and dipped his fingers into the liquid, causing the surface to ripple. The ripple spread, seeming to peel back the top layer, revealing strange flowers beneath the deep water. The flowers swayed, almost as if they were in a choreographed dance in the moonlight. I stared, mesmerized, at their beauty.

Felaern straightened to his feet. His brow was furrowed in concentration. He continued walking for several minutes until we came upon the next Pool.  Once again he stopped. I struggled to understand what he was doing, but didn't interrupt his deliberation. What was he looking for? Were they portals? 

This Pool was the complete opposite of the previous one. Where that one was bright and otherworldly beautiful, this one was dark and menacing. The water was crimson and black, churning angrily. Felaern knelt down on one knee next to it.  Rather than dip his fingers, he held both arms out, his hands suspended in the air, his palms facing the water.

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