Zach (A College Bad Boy Romance)

By: Jane S. White



She peered down at the words and started reading, her heart thudding loudly in her ears.

Suddenly, two girls appeared out of thin air, wearing strange clothes. The one with hair of fire landed alone, closer to the earth realm. The silver haired woman was not so lucky.

The book was describing Aurora and Luna. She read eagerly to discover what else the new text had to say.

Fortunately for her, Scorpio was wandering the forest that day, heading back toward the water realm a declaration of war from Aries. Negotiations had not gone well. He happened to stumble upon the unfortunate encounter just in time. He saw the rogues who were trying to rob the woman of her dignity and swiftly saved her from any further debauchery.

The fire-haired woman was hot on the trail of her sister, and mistook Scorpio for her precious twin's attacker. Scorpio and the fiery woman exchanged a fierce look and harsh words, and, realizing the girl's impression of him, Scorpio humored her and went on his way, leaving his cloak behind to provide the rescued woman with some pride.

Although Luna had tried to convince her that their shared experience had been nothing but a strange dream, Aurora had her doubts. Now they were confirmed, and she had the uncomfortable suspicion that whatever had happened to her twin had something to do with this book. Why hadn't Luna told her it was there? Had it just showed up there magically with no explanation? She was getting more questions than answers, and that made Aurora impatient.

She turned the page, curious to see if anything else had been written. She was shocked to find that it had.

A few months later, the same silver haired woman reappeared. This time into the Fire Realm, where she was once again met with trouble. Several men heard the soft grunt she uttered when she landed, and quickly descended upon her...

Luna! So she had gone into the book again. She hadn't really gone anywhere, at least not in this world. And she was in trouble. She tried to flip ahead to read more of the book, but she was suddenly unable to move. She was overwhelmed by a familiar sensation and she closed her eyes as she felt herself falling through time and space and landing hard on the forest floor.





Chapter 5


“Luna!” Aurora shouted as loudly as she could. It was the first word out of her mouth, and it popped out as soon as she felt herself able to sit up and make noise. She still hadn't gotten her bearings yet and had no clue what was happening around her, but she was too determined to find her sister to care. “Luna, where are you? Let's go home now!”

She got unsteadily to her feet as her eyes began to adjust to the new world. She heard a sound, somewhat familiar, like thunder. The ground rumbled beneath her feet and she found herself staring up into the ferocious face of a Manticore. It's lion's mane bristled as if charged by electricity, and its onyx wings flapped ominously, lifting its body onto its hind legs. The beast was about to charge, whipping its barbed tail back and forth, and Aurora found herself frozen with fear. She tried to will her legs to move, but there was a battle looming on all sides of her.

Where she stood, directly in the middle of the battle, Manticores were swiping down men in shimmering purple-blue armor like they were flies. To the East, angry red Manticores with men on top of them were charging forward toward a group of men riding dazzling blue-green horses. She had never seen anything like these horses, bred large and nearly glowing with the vibrant colors that were streaked throughout their bodies. Both the men and their horses wore the iridescent purple and blue armor, and Aurora noticed familiar emblems scrawled into it. But she didn't have time to figure out what they were. She was paralyzed in terror as a Manticore bared its teeth at her, wiggling its hind end in preparation to strike.

Before the Manticore had a chance to sink its scaly, dragon-like claws into her, she felt herself being lifted and draped over one of the luminous blue-green steeds. A voice, somehow familiar, ordered for the steed to move faster. Aurora, who had been lifted in front of her savior and was nearly pressed against his lap, squirmed to look behind her so that she could see the man behind her rescue.

He was wearing a helmet, and her eyes lingered on a familiar m-shaped mark on his neck. Suddenly she recognized the symbol – it was the glyph for Scorpio in the Zodiac. Suddenly she remembered what the book had said about Luna being saved by Scorpio, and how he'd had the same symbol on his neck. Her mouth fell open when she realized that the man behind her was none other than Scorpio – the handsome but obnoxious man that she had mistaken for her sister's attacker. Now he had saved them both. Hopefully he wouldn't consider the twins in his debt.

She didn't have much time to study him before he pushed her down against the horse's neck so that he could navigate the battlefield without anything to inhibit his sight. His striking purple eyes were fixed forward, and he forced the horse to gallop with all of its might to make it out of the front lines of the battle with Aurora. They dodged a Manticore’s claws, then another. One even reached its snarling lion's mouth out to them, barely missing Aurora's bare leg.

“Heeya!” Scorpio bellowed, snapping the reins of his steed and moving them forward at a speed that left Aurora feeling dizzy and afraid. She clung to the horse's mane, not wanting Scorpio to know she was afraid, but bewildered enough to stay quiet for once. Scorpio weaved his way through the soldiers, only coming to a full stop once they were far away from the battle. Everybody else was consumed by the loud battle, so when they were finally in a quiet place, it felt too quiet to Aurora and, as was her custom, she felt compelled to fill the silence with the sound of her own voice.

“What the hell is going on?” she exclaimed, toppling off the horse and getting shakily to her feet.

Scorpio pursed his lips at her, tolerant but impatient. He pulled his helmet off to look at her. His dark hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail, and his handsome face was littered with dark stubble. His purple eyes pierced through her and he simply said, “War.”

“What kind of war? I don't understand. No, never mind. I don't care about that. Have you seen my sister? She's been missing for at least a day now, and that's not like her. I know she's here somewhere.”

“Your sister...” Scorpio said thoughtfully.

“Yes! You know her. You gave her your cape before. Even the book knew that.”

“The book...?”

Scorpio suddenly narrowed his eyes and heaved a heavy sigh.

“I'm afraid you'll have to come with me,” he said.

“What? No way! I have to find Luna!”

“Trust me, you're safer with me than you are out in these lands.”

“Did you just hear a word I said? I said I'm looking for my sister. If you know where she is, you need to take me to her.”

“Unfortunately I can't help you with that,” Scorpio said with another heavy sigh.

“What do you mean you can't help me with that? If you know where she is, tell me!”

“I mean we're in the middle of a warzone and I don't know where she is! What I do know is that we are in danger. We have to go now, there isn't much time.”

Scorpio grabbed Aurora like he had during the battle and slung her over his horse, on her belly. She waved her fists, trying to smack him and get off the horse, but she wasn't able to safely dismount and glowered, bent over on the steed, on her stomach like a parcel. She kicked and screamed for him to let her down as he wasted no time and began to ride forward.

“Let me go, I have to find Luna!”

He simply gave her a bemused smile.

“You'll be killed if I set you down now. Besides, I like the view from here,” he said with a wink, his eyes roaming her long legs and up to her ass, where her tight denim shorts were riding up and her t-shirt was threatening to fall over her head and expose her breasts. Her flushed face contorted with fury.

“You bastard! Put me down!”

“If you could behave yourself you could sit up here like a lady,” he said with a dismissive shrug, and kept his grip securely on the small of her back as they rode quickly through the forest until they approached the extravagant silver gates of the Water Realm.

“Jerk!” Aurora cried, still flailing.

She was still at it as they rode over a beautiful jewel encrusted bridge. It was made of aquamarine colored glass, and the horse's hooves made a pleasant tinkling sound as it galloped across. Aurora was tempted to stop her squirming and allow herself to overlook the vast expanse of glittering water, but instead she gave another powerful struggle, causing Scorpio to huff.

“What an honorable entrance,” he murmured as Aurora shrieked and slapped at him, her ass wiggling in the air as surprised and confused residents of the Water Realm stopped what they were doing to stare at them.

“What are you looking at?” Aurora barked. “Someone tell this scumbag to put me down so I can look for Luna! My sister is missing!”

The citizens glanced nervously from Aurora to Scorpio to each other, but didn't dare to budge. Scorpio was one of the most honorable and important men they knew, and if he had a woman draped over his horse like that, there had to be a reason. Still, he seemed to be enjoying himself at the lady's expense. They were relieved when the pair rode out of sight and toward the unbreachable fortress where the Guardians lived, leaving them free to go about their business and whisper amongst themselves about what might possibly be going on.





Chapter 6


Scorpio stopped his horse at the entrance of the Water Castle and looked down at his cargo, still bristling with fury.

“You may want to cooperate from this point on,” Scorpio said with his eyebrow raised. “And listen to what my comrades have to say. Believe it or not, if anybody has the power to help you, it's us.”

Aurora stopped squirming for a moment.

“Laying like this is giving me a headache.”

“Do you think you can stop shouting long enough to meet my friends?” Scorpio asked her, his strong hand still pressed firmly on her back. “People don't generally answer well to shrieks, you know. You're about to meet very respectable people, you should present yourself that way.”

Aurora pursed her lips, shooting daggers at Scorpio, but nodded.

“Good.”

Scorpio hopped off the horse and gingerly helped Aurora to her feet. One of the Guardians was already present, standing in the shadows and chuckling to himself.

“Oh, Pisces. This is Luna,” Scorpio said, unsurprised by the man appearing out of nowhere. Pisces approached soundlessly to face the two, his silky white pants making his graceful movements appear as if he were gliding.

“Aurora, actually,” she corrected, her fiery eyes blazing angrily into his.

“Sorry,” Scorpio apologized thinly. “You were screaming 'Luna' so much that it must have been seared into my brain.”

“My pleasure,” Pisces said in a silky voice, his long fingers taking Aurora's in his own. He brought her hand to his full, warm lips, and Aurora studied him. Pisces was tall and lean, his bare chest exposed by a shimmering satin robe that matched the teal streaks in his long white hair. It cascaded down his shoulders in waves that reached the middle of his back, and Aurora found herself impressed. Most men couldn't pull off a look like that, but when they did they were movie stars. And it was true; Pisces seemed larger than life, and his face was brimming with a gentle kindness that brought all of his features into a stunningly complete package.

“Let's get inside,” Scorpio said, handing the reins of his horse to a woman in a long flowing gown that had appeared beside them. She bowed slightly at Scorpio and Pisces before leading the horse away.

“I'm going to miss him,” Aurora mumbled. “He's the only one I liked.”

Scorpio gave her a warning look and she defiantly jutted her chin up at him, moving from between the two men to walk beside Pisces. Scorpio rolled his eyes but said nothing.

“Have you seen my sister?” Aurora asked, craning her neck to look up into Pisces' gentle face. He made her feel comfortable, as if she were talking to an older brother. “She came here recently and now she's missing.”

“I'm so sorry to hear about your loss,” Pisces said, turning his shimmering eyes upward. Aurora couldn't pinpoint any one color in them, and found herself dazzled as she tried to decide whether they were gold, green, or blue. “Please, tell me more about your sister.”

For the first time since Luna had gone missing, Aurora felt placated. Somebody had acknowledged her sadness. Some of her anger melted away and Aurora looked miserably at the floor. Scorpio glanced at her, a brief look of guilt flickering across his face.

“She looks just like me, but less, uh, outgoing I guess. She's beautiful and kind and responsible. Oh, her hair is white-blonde. She wears these nerdy glasses all the time even though she can see just as well as I can. Have you seen her?”

“Nerdy...?” Pisces asked, puzzled. But he shook the curiosity away. “I'm sorry, I'm unable to recollect anybody of that description.

He looked to his left and into Scorpio's purple eyes.

“How are things on the field?” he asked.

“We're still holding our own but there have been some unexpected challenges...”

“What sort of challenges?” Pisces asked, his tall, graceful frame growing rigid.

“Let's discuss that privately, with Taurus.”

“I see.”

They walked down a long marble hallway, lined with beautiful tapestries and decorated with natural relics from, what Aurora assumed, the vast ocean surrounding the Water Realm. In its depths they'd found colorful glass, fashioned into the windows lining the bright hallway and beautiful pieces of coral, bigger and more lovely than anything Aurora had ever seen from the oceans at home. It made her wonder what else might lie in the expansive water's depths. There were many undiscovered sea creatures from her world. What might be hiding in this one?

The thought made her shiver, and Pisces turned perceptively to her.

“Are you cold, child?” he asked, fixing his uncanny eyes on her.

She shook her head, considering how strange it was for this man to refer to her as a child. He looked the same age as she was. His face was very youthful and handsome, but she had to admit that there was something about him that seemed much older. She couldn't tell whether it was his white hair or his demeanor, but his vibrant, youthful appearance was streaked with a harsh maturity that reminded her of Luna. The thought of her sister made her immediately anxious.

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