The magic threw Edmond off her shoulder, but he swept away on the winds with a maniacal cat laugh that probably had Ellin rethinking that gift of wings. He did, however, have Potilia's attention, and while she brought lightning up to strike him from the sky, the rest of us had our chance to take her by surprise.
I was still thinking, given what happened with Edmond's surprise, that this might not be the best approach, but it wasn't as though we had a chance to discuss a new plan. Panic had taken hold. I could see it in all my companions, including Lord Cayman. Edmond had given us our chance.
So I leapt at her. Ahead of the others. After all, I wasn't going to let her throw lightning at the cat, right?
Maggie and Lord Snow charged from the opposite side, and the snow leopard's growl wasn't any louder than our shouts. I saw her head snap one way and then the other -- precious seconds lost for her.
I hit her first.
I probably should have had a plan of what to do when I got this close, but that would have shown wisdom or something. Instead, I simply screamed and shoved. Not very gentlemanly, or very brave, to be honest. Just touching her was like pushing against a fire and if I hadn't feared for Maggie and Lord Snow, I would have retreated right away.
Instead, Lord Snow leapt in and bit her on the leg. I'm not sure it hurt any worse than being bitten on the ear had been, but she didn't like it any better.
We had, however, broken her concentration. The magic she'd been throwing at us became less frantic. The rest of the group had moved in and were getting her under control, but not for long. With a scream of rage, she leapt from the bridge. I rushed to look over the edge -- and saw her sailing away on magic. She wasn't going to go far, though.
"Fast," Lord Cayman said, grabbing hold of my arm. "The others aren't far away. Let's get them out of here before she returns."
"Here!" he shouted, from above. He swept in and around, then came down toward the bridge, hit it at a run, rolled over his head and sat up. "Need to figure that landing stuff out."
Ellin moved up beside me as we hurried after Lord Cayman. "I could take back --"
"He'd be impossible to live with," I replied. "And his ability to fly did help. It might again."
I tried to sound as though I believed this, but the truth was that we spent so much time in the air these days that I liked the idea of Edmond having a chance to survive the next time someone pushed us off a bridge. Ellin didn't look reassured, but he didn't argue. He probably figured he wasn't going to be the one who lived with the cat -- if any of us lived. I thought that seemed less likely when I looked over the edge of the bridge and saw Potilia standing on the ground, a storm raging close around her. That woman needed some anger management classes.
Maggie caught hold of me and gave me a quick hug. "I am so glad to see you again!"
"Thanks for saving me when I went off the bridge," I said and hugged her in return.
That was all the time we had because the others had arrived and we needed to herd them back to where Lord Cayman would make a door to somewhere else. He shouted orders, and the fae helped direct them, sometimes with magic, to where they needed to go. We did not have time for questions or doubts.
"Your choice is to go or to stay," I shouted when they started to buzz with anxiety again. I saw Lady and her people, and Beth with hers -- she still would not look me in the face, though I saw her eying Edmond and his wings with real worry. "Just do as we say or get out of the way! We don't have time for anything else!"
I don't know why they listened to me. It wasn't as though I'd really helped much so far. I helped Maggie now as we worked to keep everyone in line, while the fae watched behind for trouble and Lord Cayman and Lord Snow moved to the front where a wall of stone blocked the way. That shouldn't be much of an impediment to Lord Cayman, I hoped. We just needed to get moving because I could already feel Portia's magic growing stronger.
The others moved quickly, especially when the light behind us began to flow brightly. I grabbed Edmond out of habit, and he didn't argue, his wings folded tight against his back. I think the landing problem had spooked him.
"How long will it take --" I began. Then I realized the door was open, and people were already going through the magic. A fae went with each large group, and the line moved quickly, though a few looked back, expecting trouble. "Where are they going?"
Maggie lifted a hand and smiled. "Elsewhere. They're heading back to Elsewhere!"
I felt a true surge of hope for the first time since I'd arrived here. Elsewhere had been a problem, but at least I understood it better. Darman would be there, though -- but so would Lord Cayman this time and we would be ready, providing we survived to leave here.
Only a third of the people remained. Most of the fae were gone. It was going to be us against Potilia.
I looked at the wall of lightning coming at us.
Yeah. We were in trouble.
To Be Continued. . . .