Jo fires his captured bird like a bolt past the tumbling dragon, pulls a wide fast arc below Cass, and catches her with a couple of hundred feet to spare. Cinder’s wings unfold, she gives a startled roar and nearly flattens a farmhouse.

Cass has her arms around his neck for a second, and then there is an awkward moment.

“Oh,” she says. “Hey.”


For a second there is nothing but the whoosh of wind and the swish of the bird’s wings.

“Thanks for saving -”

“No problem!”

Whoosh. Swish.

“Hey, so maybe we should land?”

“Oh. Right. Hold on.”


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