Chapter 3

For being such a short little thing running on tiny little twig legs that girl could really move when she wanted to, Jessie growled indignantly to herself as she hurtled over a trash can laying on its side in the middle of the sidewalk. Somehow the girl had managed to maneuver around it dashing down the sidewalk using some kind of internal GPS to lead her. Landon seemed to be struggling with keeping up with her which in turn made Jessie smirk. It would seem he had spent to many lazy days flirting with girls back home instead of conditioning like Jessie had told him to. Catching up with him she bumped his shoulder purposefully causing him to look over at her his cheeks flustered from exhaustion.

"Think your going to listen when I tell you to go for those runs from now on Brother?" He snorted, set his jaw stubbornly, and set his focus back on the petite girl sprinting a good 10 feet ahead of the two. The blonde woman laughed loudly sending the light bell like sound echoing around them for but a second before the wind rushing past them carried it away.

Ahead of them the girl stopped abruptly and before the two runners in pursuit could register the stop they ran into her. Landon hit her first sending them to the ground in a heap and before Jessie could stop her fast pace she, for the second time that day, tripped over the girl. Like the first time she tripped Jessie rolled to her feet only this time the momentum behind her pace before was still carrying her because she fell back again flat on her back. Taking a few seconds to collect the breath she had lost Jessie laid there with her eyes closed counting her intakes until she sat up groaning. Today was not her day.

"Let go of me you creep, I need to find my brother!" Landon struggled to keep his hold on the little woman flailing in his arms. Normally Jessie would admire the girl for putting up a fight and completely ignoring her brothers charm but something about her voice had struck a chord of familiarity that disturbed Jessie. It was deep for a woman but not in a manly way, it was more like the sensual side of a woman constantly speaking. Low, husky, and so very familiar. Jessie had heard it before nearly everyday of her life growing up back home. Yet this was the first time she had ever seen this woman in her life so how was that possible? Silently she bade the woman to speak again as Jessie's mind began to wonder at the possibilities.

"You cant-stop fighting-I'm not going to hurt you! We have to check your wounds-oww! Quit biting me!" Landon growled loosing his charm the more the girl fought him. In one swift motion the girl pulled her arm he had pinned against his chest out from his grip and elbowed him in the chin with a well placed blow leaving him dazed long enough for her to get out of his grip.

"I'm not hurt you moron Tegin is! That thing took him!" She yelled, kicking Landon in the head for good measure then turned and ran down the ally behind her. There! That was it! All ties were connected in Jessie's confused mind. The reason that girls voice was so familiar was because she had heard it before but not from that girls mouth. Instead it came from her Clan Leaders mouth, the same huskiness and low whisper that Kya Night had. Which could only mean one thing.

"Landon get up that girl is Annika!" Jessie was now after the girl with a renewed vigor. Behind her she heard her sibling struggle to get o his feet.

"Annika! Like Kya's-oh wow! She looks like her!"

Ahead of them the girl titled her head as she ran to catch what Jessie and Landon were yelling about and when she heard her name being thrown around she picked up her speed, "How do you know my name!"

That proved it. Jessie doubled her speed to catch Annika because there was no way she could let her get away. Kya would be furious with Jessie if she found out that she had found her daughter and let her slip through her fingers.

"Wait!" Jessie pleaded as the girl rounded the corner a few paces ahead of her, "I just want to talk to you…where are you?" Annika, once Jessie had rounded the corner, had disappeared. From the ally that she now saw was a dead end. An eleven foot tall wall of concrete and red clay bricks was right in front of her but somehow Annika was not here. Agitated and confused Jessie kicked the wall to make sure it wasn't a trap door. Judging by the throbbing pain making its way up her leg from the solid wall she had kicked so hard, it wasn't. Landon joined her at that moment, looking windblown and red from all the cardio he had done today.

"Jessie what are you doing?" His puzzled look almost made her want to laugh when he looked down at her holding her ankle and hopping around, "And where is Annika?"

Jessie straightened her posture with much effort, choosing to ignore the throbbing in her foot, to glare at the wall. How had she just disappeared? That was not at all possible. This was a solid wall not to mention a very tall solid wall so unless she was a monkey there is no way she climbed it and even if she is Kya's daughter she couldn't have known any magic to help her go through it. As Jessie pondered this she felt light traces touch the top of her head; it almost felt like a very light rain. The blonde warrior looked above her head to see what it was only to find Annika dangling from a fire escape a few feet above her.

"I found her." Landon mused which earned him an open fisted punch on the chest from his sister.

"Do you have any idea what Kya will do to us if Annika falls off that thing block head!" Before Landon could even come with a stupid remark Jessie sprinted for the wall; using it as a spring board she jumped off it with one foot and caught the bottom of the ladder leading to the multistory fire escape that looked to be about 100 years old. Using her upper body strength Jessie pulled herself up onto the bottom story. Rust bit into the palms of her hands and raked her ribcage as she pulled her body up and over the grated metal leaving little cuts and scrapes all over her body. Jessie paid them no mind as she hurried up the steps, carefully avoiding the rusted ones just in case her foot went through the corroded metal.

"Help!" Annika screamed above her as one of her hands slipped loose leaving her dangling there by one hand.

"Geeze girl…" Jessie shook her head agitated as she hurried up the stairs. This thing was a death trap. How did that tiny thing get up here in the first place? She didn't seem the athletic type to jump the good 4 feet needed to grab the bottom story of the fire escape below. Jessie shook her, dismissing it seeing as it wasn't really an important thought at this point in time.

Glancing up at Annika Jessie judged how much longer it would take to reach her. Just a couple more steps.

"Hang on kid, almost there!"

"Hurry….!" Jessie pushed herself up the last flight up steps to the same level Annika was suspended from. Quickly Jessie saw how Annika had tumbled over. As Jessie had feared running up this rusted death trap, the metal had given out under Annika's feet causing her to pitch over the edge of the wrought guardrail. Still confused as to why the girl would come up here in the first place, Jessie got down on her knees and reached down to clamp her hand over Annika's thin but surprisingly muscular bicep.

"Grab my arm." Jessie demanded it of the girl rather than asked. The woman wasn't know to be gentle. Annika grabbed Jessie's bicep with a little whimper of fright for the few seconds she was suspended in mid air. A warm buzz ran up Jessie's arm from where Annika's hand was gripping Jessie's arm. Almost like a current of hot water was channeling through her muscles. The lady warrior just stared wide eyed at the girl as she felt Annika's magic seep into Jessie's body. The kind of magic Jessie was feeling was something she had only felt once before and that was when Kya had been channeling her magic through Jessie. It wasn't searing but certainly not cold and it moved fast in thick tendrils until it reached Jessie's spine where it gripped tightly and settled into place, seeping into Jessie's nerves. The magic was now part of her.

"Hey! Pull me up!" Annika screeched, clawing at Jessie's arm with her free hand. Coming back to reality and buzzing with Annika's magic Jessie pulled Annika up in one swift movement. The smaller girl landed just a few inches away from Jessie in a heap, breathing hard from the fear of nearly dying. Jessie inspected her with the curiosity of a child who had just found a kitten on the side of the road. She was pretty sure Annika hadn't meant to channel her magic, in fact Jessie was positive she didn't even know magic existed so there was no way Annika could have known she just broke a serious rule. You never channel with another magic user unless they have permission or its is critically important because once you do you are linked for the rest of ever. Both mentally and magically until one or both of the magic users die. Jessie was already starting feel the effects of it as Annika's current emotional status overwhelmed Jessie's senses. Distraught. Fear. Worry. Dread. Anger. Maternal protectiveness for her missing brother.

"Could you maybe slow down on the feelings! Your giving me a headache!" Jessie clapped her hands over her ears and doubled over trying to deal with the onslaught.

"What are you talking about you freak!" Annika began scooting away from Jessie until the older woman reached out and clamped a hand over Annika's wrist, "Hey! Le' me go!"

"Do you want to fall off again or did you forget I already saved your life once! Gods my head…you're an overly emotional teenager you know that!" Jessie closed her eyes tightly as she reached out to Annika to calm both their emotions. Thinking calming thoughts Jessie managed to flatten out both of what they were feeling until they were at peace on both ends.

Annika pulled her hand away from Jessie's touch like she was a snake, "How'd you do that just now!"

Jessie huffed with a set glare, glancing down at her brother who had managed to pull himself up onto the fire escape and was working his way up to them.

Annika growled in frustration, "You know what? I don't know why you people are stalking me but I don't have time for this I need to find Tegin…I can barely feel him anymore."

"Lead the way Princess." Landon's voice sounded behind Jessie. The older woman sighed, pinching her nose. She didn't want to go deal with the Goblin that was sure to be with Annika's brother but she didn't have much of a choice because Kya would want both of her children alive preferably. As much as she wanted to protest, grabbing the little one and running back to the Clan with her, she didn't have a say in this. Landon was, for once, right.

"You don't understand someone-no something took Tegin!" Annika visibly shuddered as she remembered what it had looked like. Through their new link Jessie saw what Annika had and her suspicions were confirmed.

"We know," Jessie helped Annika to her feet, careful to avoid the particularly rusted parts of the metal grating, "but we can kill it. Just take us to Tegin and we'll handle the rest."