Home > Tegan's Return (The Ultimate Power #2)(17)

Tegan's Return (The Ultimate Power #2)(17)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“I don’t need help from a pathetic witch, now who sent you here?” asks Whitfield, scowling hatefully. He’s bent over her now, with one hand digging into her thin, pale arm.

She turns her head a fraction to look up at him, and I flinch back in surprise when she spits in his face. Whitfield lets go and throws her to the ground. She crawls backward on her hands as he advances on her with bloody murder in his eyes. But he stops just short of her and Eliza provides him with a handkerchief.

“You have two choices,” says Eliza as her father wipes his face. “You can either tell us what you’re doing here and we’ll kill you quickly and painlessly, or you can continue to refuse and we will torture you until you give us the information we want. Quite frankly, it would be much more pleasant for all involved if you were forthcoming.”

“I’m n-not here for any particular reason, I was observing that’s all,” the witch answers with a stutter.

“Observing what?” Whitfield asks casually, he seems to have calmed down now. In my head I’m praying that the witch comes up with a good excuse for being here, because she obviously wasn’t in Crimson tonight to observe. She came to provide me with information about my dad. I try not to think about the fact that this is what has brought about her imminent death. Both Whitfield and his daughter seem intent on killing her.

“Your movements, what you’re planning. We’re at war aren’t we?” she replies.

Bless her quick thinking. Still, Whitfield doesn’t appear to be satisfied, despite the fact that she’s answered him.

“Indeed we are,” says Whitfield. “A war of which you just happen to be the most recent casualty.” Then he slides his hand inside his dark blue designer coat and reveals a beautiful antique knife. Beautifully lethal.

He lifts the knife and then lowers it to the witch’s throat and presses into her skin. I wonder why he doesn’t just use his fangs, then again, the Governor of South Tribane probably doesn’t lower himself to such base behaviour. Air catches in my lungs. I can’t let him kill her, if not for the fact that it would weigh on my conscience for the rest of my life, but also because she has information about Dad.

“Ah, now I know who sent you,” Whitfield whispers in her ear and then presses his knife in, drawing a small drop of blood. How can he know? Only a moment ago he was threatening her for answers, perhaps his ancient mind suddenly realised who she is.

The witch shakes her head. “You’re wrong, I don’t work for anyone. I’m rogue,” she’s begging for her life now, and I can’t just stand here and do nothing.

Against my own better judgement, my body moves. Words leave my lips in a blur, I feel like I’m having an outer body experience. “What’s going on?” I ask, trying to sound dumb and surprised and not like I’ve been spying on them this whole time as I step out into the alley. All eyes dart to me, and my throat tightens like a vice. But then, before the vampires can react to my presence, something else happens.

A white mist seeps from the sewer drains that line the alley at the side of the club. My eyes are drawn to it as it swirls and takes human shape. A moment later two tall men and a woman stand before the vampires. They all look sort of bedraggled, like they’ve been living rough for the past few nights. The woman’s deep brown eyes land on me immediately, and there’s a strange questioning look in them that I can’t quite decipher.

Then strong arms are dragging me back and closing in around me. Ethan. “You shouldn’t be here,” he says to me, in a low, hard voice. It makes me feel like I’m in danger, because there’s no warmth in his words. Perhaps I pissed him off even more than I thought I did last night.

“You will regret this move,” Whitfield declares, speaking to the magical mist folk who have just appeared out of nowhere. He still has his knife pressed to the throat of the witch with the eye patch. One of the men throws a bolt of mist at Whitfield’s hand, perhaps to loosen his grip on the knife, but it doesn’t work. It only functions to increase his anger. And now, it seems that the witch isn’t going to survive this night, because Whitfield slits her throat in one clean and swift movement.

I whimper and try to break free of Ethan’s hold, but he only tightens it and whispers, “Do not interfere.”

Whitfield drops her slack body to the ground and advances on the three, but the woman makes a hand gesture that knocks him back. There are tears streaming down her face, she’s got long dark brown hair that begins to fizzle with electricity. It’s as though the magic is a manifestation of her grief at seeing her friend killed. She raises her palm at Whitfield, and his bodyguards are now by his side. She talks swiftly, and her words sound like somebody’s put them on fast forward on an old video player, they don’t make one bit of sense.

A stream of white light bursts from her open palm, and Whitfield seems to think better of getting any closer to her now. He nods to his bodyguards, who then swiftly escort him back to his town car, with Eliza in tow. Ethan picks me up without any effort at all and slides me inside the car with him.

A moment later we’re speeding away from the club. Ethan has me on his lap in the back of the car, it’s a bit of a tight squeeze and I’m not entirely comfortable being so close to Whitfield and his daughter, who by the way, clearly despises me. I twist around to look out the back window and find that the three are right on our tail, gliding through the air like ghosts.

“Who are they?” I ask Ethan in a quiet voice, a determined silence permeates the car, and I feel everyone’s attention flick to me when I speak. It makes me wish I had kept my mouth shut.

“That is none of your concern,” says Ethan, and he’s still using that horribly cold tone with me, like he suddenly hates me or something.

The car speeds through the night time city streets, but then we come to a road that’s blocked with traffic. I turn around again, the two warlocks and the witch are still coming at us, getting dangerously close now that the car has stopped. For a moment, I wonder if the people on the street can see them fly through the air, but then I remember what Finn told me about glamour.

“What should I do, sir?” asks the driver/bodyguard worriedly.

A small sigh escapes Whitfield. “Use the footpath,” he instructs. The driver nods and pulls the car up onto the path, causing pedestrians to dive out of the way. Lots of cars out on the road honk their horns at us, but we’re going too fast for me to pay much attention to them. My heart is in my throat as I consider the fact that the vampires could probably walk away relatively unharmed should we get into an accident. I, on the other hand, would not be quite so lucky.

Then there’s a loud bang on the roof of the car. It seems we’ve been caught up with. I look to the side to see the woman with the long brown hair peering in the window right at me as she glides along rapidly. She looks confused as to why I’m in the car with the vampires. Perhaps she can sense my magic and thinks that I’m a witch like her.

I give her a small shrug but I don’t think she notices, because now she is saying something and running her hand over the glass of the window. It begins to sparkle and glitter, and then the hard glass fizzles away as though it has been melted. Cold air gushes in the now non-existent window.

“Why don’t you stand and fight vampire?” says the witch, directing her question at Whitfield.

“I am doing you a service, little witch,” Whitfield replies calmly. “If we were to fight you would not come out of it well - or alive.”

“Care to test that theory?” A male voice chimes in from above, one of the warlocks is currently standing on the roof of the car. I wonder how he’s managing not to slip off at the speed we’re going.

“If you do not refrain from your pursuit I will murder every person you ever loved while they sleep in their beds,” says Whitfield, and judging from the hate in his words, I don’t doubt him. At the moment my hair is getting blown into my face since the car is doing well near 100 miles an hour and we’re currently minus a window.

The witch laughs, but I can see the grief in her eyes. “Too late for that bloodsucker, that was my sister’s throat you slit back there. And I’m sure you know just how ruthless an enemy can be when they’ve got nothing left to lose.” A lone tear falls down her angry face, but the wind blows it away.

It makes me feel so completely horrible, because I’m thinking that I’m definitely on the wrong side of this fight. Not that I had much choice in the matter, since Ethan practically threw me into the car. I may not be a witch myself, but the magic in me has me feeling a connection to the three people pursuing Whitfield’s shiny black car.

We’ve left the city now, and are currently on the motorway leading to various suburban destinations. I wonder what would happen if one of the other drivers on the road happened to see past the glamour shielding the witch and the two warlocks. A collision would surely ensue. The witch grabs a hold of the side of the glassless window, and Eliza’s fangs extend along with a gut curdling hiss that slithers past them.

“Get your hands off the vehicle,” she warns.

The witch grins, clearly happy to have pissed Eliza off. The driver pulls abruptly away from the motorway and circles a roundabout that leads to an empty, dark country road. All I can hear now is the roar of the engine and the rustle of leaves from the trees on either side of the road. Eliza and Whitfield’s attentions are focused on the witch, who is now reciting some sort of incantation. Whitfield slides closer to the window and grabs the witch’s chin with his claw like hand. Rapidly he pulls it back as it sizzles and burns. The witch laughs.

“Your little spells will not protect you for long,” he threatens.

Eliza screams in outrage. Clearly she doesn’t like witches hurting her precious father.

I turn a little to face Ethan. “You should have left me at the club,” I tell him through a clenched jaw. I’m not at all happy to be caught up in this fight.

“Don’t be stupid Tegan, the magic wielders would have taken you hostage.”

I’m about to disagree, because the one eyed witch had obviously planned on helping me find Dad. A brick settles itself in the pit of my stomach as I realise that’s not going to be happening now. But then I think of the woman holding onto the car window, she said the dead witch was her sister. Hope seizes me. Perhaps she knows something about Dad too. I have to figure out a way to make sure that Whitfield doesn’t kill her in this stupid dual they have going on.

I’m suddenly hyper aware of Ethan’s arms folded tightly around my waist. “I hate you right now,” I tell him, unsure of where my anger springs from. I hate how he can make me forget what he is when he touches me. Then I remember that I’m supposed to be trying to get back into his good books and regret what I’ve said. I’m no good at acting.

“I can work with hate,” he answers with a challenge, his eyes hard.

“I don’t doubt that,” I whisper, and abruptly the car swerves and I hear the sound of metal bending and crunching. One of the warlocks has torn the driver’s side door right off. God, I’ll have to get Rita to teach me how to do that sort of spell. Ripping metal from metal must surely come in handy at some point in a person’s life.

The warlock pulls the vampire driver out of the car and throws him onto the road. Oh crap. The car slides off the road and rams through several trees and bushes. Everything happens so quickly that I barely have time to register what’s going on before I hear the sound of the car crashing into water. Liquid spills in through the missing window and door and begins to rapidly fill the car. It’s only now that I realise we’ve sped off the road, through a ditch, and crashed into some kind of a lake or river.

My entire body is drowning and I can barely keep my head above the water in the sinking vehicle. I glance about to see that Whitfield, Eliza and his remaining bodyguard have already gotten out. Liquid fills my nose, causing my sinuses to burn and my throat to spasm frantically. Hands slip around my shoulders as I struggle to breathe, and then I feel myself being pulled upwards.

I hold firmly onto Ethan as he drags me out the window and up to the surface. His arms circle me as we breach the suffocating water and I gasp for air. His dark blond hair looks almost black since it’s soaking wet. It hangs over his face. Now he’s putting his hands on either of my cheeks and peering at me as if to check if I’m all right. I can’t speak because I’m still in shock. It seems like mere seconds have passed since we were secure in the car back out on the road.

Ethan nods ever so slightly, as though deciding that I’ll survive. Then he begins swimming backwards with one arm, the other around my waist, pulling me along with him. It’s only now that I have the opportunity to look around and see that the car had actually crashed into a small lake. Ethan helps me up onto the grass and moss, and the cold air hits me, especially now that my clothes are soaked through. I stand up on wobbly legs. My coat feels like it weighs a tonne, so I shrug out of it.

My black dress is completely stuck to me, it clings tightly to my body as water drips down my legs. Oh well. At least I haven’t drowned. There’s a groaning noise as Whitfield’s town car disappears under the water. What a waste of money that was, although I’m sure the Governor isn’t strapped for cash to replace it.

Speaking of Whitfield, he’s currently leaning against the bark of a tall tree. Eliza is fussing over him to make sure he’s not injured. His bodyguard is standing off to the side, scanning the area to see where their enemies have gone. The other bodyguard who’d been driving the car and got thrown out runs up to us now, there’s a gash on his forehead that’s already healing.

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