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Skyborn (Dragons & Druids #1)
Author:Leia Stone

Skyborn (Dragons & Druids #1)

Leia Stone



To the magic within each of us.





Guide





Skyborn - Dragon shifters.

Earthbound - Druids.

Sorcerer – Witches diluted with human DNA, but purebloods still exist, although it’s rare.


Animal Shifters - various human/animal shifters of all different Earth-type animals.

Faery- Land of the Fae that is long dead and forgotten.





1





MY FEET POUNDED the ground as I ran down the secluded street that housed the cabin I had been hiding out in. I thought this plan would have lasted longer, but only two days and the hunters had found me. Dammit! As the rage and fear mixed within me, I could sense my skin tightening, the pearlescent scales forming along my arms. No! It had been two weeks since I’d fallen off of the ledge while hiking the Grand Canyon and ignited some freak power that had shifted my body into a dragon.

Yes, a dragon.

I didn’t know how to control it. I didn’t know how it happened, or if I was living with a really bad case of schizophrenia. I just knew that ever since that day I had been running for my life from these hunters who kept trying to kill me. I didn’t fancy dying at the tender age of twenty-one, so I just kept running. The whizzing sound of bullets snapped around me, only serving to make me go faster.

Screw it.

I let the shift come. It was probably the only way I could get out of here alive at this point anyway. Trying to keep my dragon down in a time like this was painful. Not that I had much control over her at all.

Hah! “My” dragon. Sloane, you’ve lost your damn mind.

“Get her!” one of the men growled behind me, and that’s when I allowed the burning heat along my spine to ignite.

I screamed as my limbs ripped with a searing agony and my bones broke, snapping and tearing; the pain nearly made me pass out. Sweat glistened on my skin as a splitting sensation exploded along my shoulder blades sprouting wings out of my back. Bones rearranged, skin moved, muscle bulked, and in less than forty-five seconds I was an eight-foot-tall dragon with red pearlescent scales that matched my flaming red human hair.

One of the hunters yelled and I looked back just in time to see a black falcon dive from the skies and take a chunk out of one of his ears. Yes! I’d always liked birds—maybe he recognized me as one of his high-flying friends and had decided to help. Either way, he bought me some time. Using my back talons, I leapt up off of the snow-packed ground and took flight. I was a mere two feet off the ground when I felt the slice of a harpoon tear into my wing, piercing the leathery flesh.

A shriek tore from my lungs as the sharp hot pain dug into the rubbery hide of my dragon wing. I frantically flapped, trying to rip free of the harpoon, but with a yank I was pulled hard back to the ground. My body slammed into a bed of pine needles with such force that I heard one of my ribs snap. Dammit.

The hunters had me; there was no getting away this time. As I lay there panting in pain, rage built up inside me. How dare these bastards try to hunt me like a deer! I was a person— Kind of—but I didn’t ask for this freak thing to happen, and how the hell did they even keep finding me? I just wanted to be left alone, but they were always one step behind me, as if they could smell or sense me. I was living a nightmare and I just wanted it to stop.

At these thoughts, a low, deep, pressure built in my belly. One of the black-clad hunters pulled a sharp blade from his thigh holster. He had short-cropped, sandy-blond hair, standing over six feet tall with a muscular build akin to a linebacker; he looked at me with such hate in his eyes. I didn’t understand it. What did I do to deserve such malice? The blade in his hands glowed with a red fire-like hue, and something deep in my gut told me that if that thing cut me, I was done for. As two more of the hunters stalked towards me from each side, the heaviness building in my stomach turned so hot I thought I might melt.

“Get her other wing!” one of the other hunters called in a gravelly voice.

Oh. Hell. No. I would not go out like this, like a freaking animal that posed a risk to society. I had done nothing wrong! I hadn’t hurt anyone! I just wanted to be left alone to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. There was no way I was letting this group of douchebags take me out.

The pressure that had been building in my belly started moving up to my chest, and then to my throat. Pain laced around my esophagus. The burning pressure threatening to suffocate me if I didn’t release it, I opened my mouth and let all of the heaviness that had been building out in one big yell. Except no sound came out, only a bright red streak of fire.

Holy shit!

Warm hot liquid shot out of my dragon’s mouth, spraying down the two men advancing on me. Their bodies were doused in hot flames and chaos erupted. They dropped into the snow and started rolling away from me as I fell backward in shock. The force of my fall pulled on the rope that held the harpoon in my wing, making me flinch in pain as the rope pulled taut. I could smell burning flesh and saw that the hunter who had been holding the glowing knife had dropped it when he stumbled back, ablaze, to throw himself into the snow.

Thank God for small favors.

That knife belonged in a really weird kitchen, not in me.

With no time to waste, I yanked hard on my right wing, tearing the harpoon out of the hunter’s hands. The man holding my harpoon let go, stumbling backward, no doubt in fear that I would spray him with fire next. I wouldn’t be able to fly now, not with a broken wing and busted ribs—but holy shit I could breathe fire! Little did these jerks know, I had no idea how to replicate that, or if it could be done back to back, but it seemed like the odds had turned in my favor.

Best to keep that information to myself and let them think I was a fire-breathing badass.

Turning, I planned to continue running, when one of the hunters stepped in front of my path with a huge rock in his hands. His hair was half burned and his face was red and shiny with fresh blisters, but the hatred in his eyes were what had me nervous.

Oops, I pissed him off.

I barely moved my head out of the way in time, and the rock he held crashed down on my injured wing. I let out a shriek that must have been heard for miles. The neighbors would no doubt be coming out of their cabins to find out what sounded like ten cats being tortured. Dragon screeches were a unique sound.

Mother Fricker…

Pain exploded in my shoulder and I realized I had no idea how to fight in this dragon body. Not that I was a prizefighter in my human form, but I could certainly knee these bastards in the balls. As a dragon, I didn’t have arms to punch, didn’t have legs to kick. I only had four clawed stumps that didn’t work as well as arms and legs. I had fire that wasn’t working right now and a busted wing. I was screwed. If this was some really long paranoid delusion, now would be the time for it to stop.

As the hunter advanced on me, my thoughts went dark. Maybe I should just let them kill me, or take me, or drain me, or whatever it was they were trying to do. I was sick of running. My great idea for graduation was to hike the Grand Canyon by myself for five days and this is where it had got me—on the run, and ten minutes from being dead. Ever since the Grand Canyon, I hadn’t slept more than two hours a night without jerking awake from nightmares or paranoia that they were coming for me. I hadn’t eaten much, and didn’t have proper clothes because mine kept tearing when I transformed; I had to steal them when I shifted back.