In a sign of unity, they linked arms and strode to Phaedra's room. She picked up the crystal, and walking onto the balcony, Phaedra held the clear orb toward the sun. "Take us to Jokul, wherever he might be." Phaedra began to chant as the crystal seemed to take on a life of its own.
Splinters of sunlight hit the glass ball. The glow surrounding the crystal flowed into and around the girls. The world turned and spun. All the colors of the rainbow wrapped them in a protective tunnel.
Margo closed her eyes against the blinding light, clinging to Phaedra as they hurtled through space. She felt the difference. Time was not changing, only their destination.
In a matter of seconds, they were set down on a ledge of ice. Laughter echoed through the hallway then thunderous booms. Margo motioned to Phaedra to follow her. With caution, they walked toward the sounds. The building they were in shook and the ice columns around them swayed as if they might fall.
"What is it?" Margo felt nausea roll in her stomach. For a moment, she closed her eyes, hoping to understand what was happening and how to deal with it. She tried to remain composed, knowing the ability to think and react in a rational manner would serve her well.
A young girl cowered in a corner, a collar around her neck. Tears flowed down her cheeks. She turned from them when she saw them, her body trembling.
Phaedra knelt beside her. "Are you Jokul's slave?"
The girl looked up, terror clearly written in her eyes and nodded, "yes."
"Where are they? Where is Jokul? And what is he doing?" Margo's impatience grew exponentially. Fear spiraled, yet she forced control of her emotions and tried to remember everything she'd learned.
"Down that hall. He has killed. The big cats didn't have a chance. He is keeping one alive just to torment him." The girl's shaking hand rose from her lap and pointed.
"You'll be fine." Phaedra cupped the girl's cheek with her hand. "I promise. When this is finished, I will come back for you."
The girl didn't say anything. Instead she stared back with a vacant and torn gaze as if she didn't believe Phaedra.
"Jokul will not survive this day. I promise you. You will be set free." At her sides, Margo clenched and unclenched her fists. She meant to do this and suddenly she was no longer terrified of Jokul, his ice or his threats. With each passing second, her courage and confidence grew.
Several heartbeats later, Margo stepped inside the room where the slave girl sent her. The sight caught her breath. Carr's siblings and cousin were frozen ice statues. Relief that Carr wasn't frozen swept through her. Yet fear for him immobilized her for a moment. She watched him leap into the air, avoiding an ice bolt Jokul shot at him.
So consumed with their fight, neither male noticed their entrance to the room. Time was apparently on her side. Before anyone knew she was there, she shot fire at the three guards, their bodies aflame. The inferno lit the room. Then she turned her attention to the demon. Focusing on Jokul's back, she raised her hand, sending fire his way. Seeming to feel the searing heat, he whirled.
Rage lit his face then a smile. "You have come back to me but it is too late." He sent a torpedo of ice her way. Unflinching, she met it with fire. For a second, confusion creased his brows. She saw determination and rage in his face and a moment of confusion.
"You cannot defeat me." More powerful than ever, he sent another wave of ice towards her.
She met ice with fire. "No, Jokul, I'm not an innocent young girl who has no idea how to use her powers. Phaedra has taught me well. Did you think I would always be weak and in your control?"
Rivulets of water from the melting ice ran across the floor. Carr let out a mighty roar and leapt toward Jokul, bringing him down. They rolled on the floor, Jokul caught between Carr's claws.
At the close proximity, Jokul was able to slather Carr in a coat of frost. He broke free, scrambling to his feet and sending a small coating of frost to entomb Carr.
Margo could not risk Carr's life. Yet she remained ready for the battle, waiting for the right moment. Jokul left his mark on Carr once more. Then he rose, his frown growing.
"I will end you, Jokul," Margo said. "There is no other way." Her arms extended, her hands pointing to Jokul, she was poised on the brink of no return. She recalled the spoken words of caution. If she ended his life, there would be repercussions felt around the world. But if she did not, her life as well as the McKenna's would be threatened.
"You're very certain." Jokul's laughter encased her soul and terrified her. Once again, he sent a stream of ice, and once more she melted it with her fire. "You're no longer the weak little girl who fled my care."
"I told you it was so. I am strong, stronger than you because I have love for these people. You have only hatred to guide you." Her heartbeat slowed and assertive energy surged through her.
Phaedra remained behind Margo. "You must finish this. His strength is great. You must strike now before he regains his energy field. You cannot outlast him and you have the others to think of."
Margo tipped her head slightly, noticing how Carr had thrown off the cloak of frost and was stretching his muscles. While she kept her focus on Jokul, Carr looked at her and nodded.
She heard Carr's words in her mind. You have no choice. He means to kill all of us if he survives.