Home > Tegan's Return (The Ultimate Power #2)(18)

Tegan's Return (The Ultimate Power #2)(18)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“Bastards,” he wheezes. Whitfield’s cold gaze cuts into him, as though reprimanding him for allowing himself to be overpowered by a warlock. Then those caramel eyes land on me. Chills seize me, but they’ve got nothing to do with the temperature. A few seconds pass.

Finally he says, “You’re all wet.” Absolute silence fills the space, before every single one of the vampires bursts out laughing, including Ethan. Jesus.

“I believe I just made a double entendre,” Whitfield declares happily, dabbing at his eyes like an elderly man who just cracked a joke. “My dear, you smell even better when you’re soaked,” he laughs again, and I’d slap him if he wasn’t practically the king of the vampires.

Ethan appears highly amused. “You haven’t smelled her when she sleeps,” he adds with a grin. “It’s truly something.”

“Perhaps you’d be willing to rent her out for a night,” Whitfield replies.

Ethan glances at me then, and I know he’s still pissed with me for walking off on him last night, even if he did just save me from drowning. I feel like he’s about to say yes, that he would be willing, but then he answers, “You know I never liked to share, Jeremy.”

“No, a pity that,” says the ancient vampire, before straightening up.

I get a weird popping feeling in the pit of my stomach, and somehow I sense it’s my magic coming to life inside me, urging me to use it. I wonder what would happen if I hit Whitfield with some of those flitting sparks I managed to create outside Rita’s house last night. He wouldn’t be so forthcoming with the double entendres then I’m sure. I actively hold myself back though. No point in ruining all my hard work cosying up to the vampires in order to get to Rebecca. Not that I’ve been doing such a stellar job of it anyway. And now I only have two and a half days left to get to her.

My gaze shifts to the lake just a second before the water rises up out of nowhere like a tidal wave. It twirls in loops and comes down on us with an almighty thump. Ethan lets out a loud curse in what I presume is Romanian. Eliza squeals in anger. Whitfield is unsettlingly silent and unmoving. I shake the water from my hair.

Over on the other side of the lake stand the witch and the warlocks. Before I can look twice, Ethan and Whitfield have sped to them. The three appear shocked that the vampires had gotten to them so fast. Perhaps they haven’t had a lot of experience with vampire speed. Silly. They really should have left when they had the chance.

Right now I wish one of those strange moments would hit me like last night, when I’d used magic without even knowing what I was doing. That way maybe I could stop this battle from continuing. Nothing happens though, and Whitfield seizes the witch by her long hair, pulling her head back and exposing her neck. One of the warlocks raises his hand to throw a spell, but Ethan grabs a hold of his arm and snaps it. The warlock drops to the ground in agony.

The other lunges at Ethan, throwing a dart of light at him, but he dodges it, kicks the man in the chest, puts both hands on either side of his head and snaps his neck. Lovely. It disturbs me how I’m getting used to seeing people killed right in front of me. Maybe it’s some sort of survival mechanism, because I can feel myself withdrawing my emotions from the situation so that I don’t break down into tears.

Whitfield sinks his fangs deep into the witch’s neck now, and only seconds pass before she goes limp in his arms. Perhaps killing in the traditional vampire way is not so beneath him after all. He’s looking directly at Ethan, and there’s no mistaking the grin on his face as he drinks from the witch. Oh God. I can’t let him kill her, she might have information about Dad. I start to run toward them, my legs moving slower than normal in my soaking wet dress and boots.

“Get back here!” Eliza demands, but I ignore her.

The warlock whose arm Ethan broke pulls on some shrubs with his good arm, trying to raise himself to his feet. Ethan laughs cruelly and kicks him back down.

“Broke your casting arm, did I?” Ethan asks, satisfaction in his voice that I don’t like one bit. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully accept his dark half, and it’s been rising to the surface all too often. Thankfully I’ll be returning to Manchester soon, once Rebecca’s home and safe, then I can escape Ethan and try to forget the mixed emotions he provokes in me.

“You’ve no clue what you’ve done bloodsucker,” the warlock spits.

Whitfield drops the witch to the ground and wipes the blood from his mouth. “Oh yes, and what would that be?” he asks, and the warlock turns his attention from Ethan.

“We were going to warn you, but you went and killed Zara’s sister, now I hope they are successful in bringing him back.”

“Bringing who back?” Whitfield seems midway between bored and intrigued. I guess being six hundred years old means you’re always sort of bored with the world.

My heart hammers in my chest. What were they going to warn the vampires about? And is it connected to the one eyed witch offering me information as to the whereabouts of my dad?

The warlock raises his head and spits on Whitfield’s leather shoe. “I have absolutely no intention of helping you now. You think you’ve won this war, but you have no idea what they’re planning.”

“I really am beginning to tire of you sewer rats spitting on me,” says Whitfield, a bubble of anger seeming to rise in him. He lifts his leg and kicks the warlock in the ribs. I actually hear them crack. A whoosh of air leaves the warlock’s mouth and then blood spills out. Whitfield’s kick was intended to kill rather than simply to injure, and there’s no doubt the warlock is now very close to his end. I never considered it possible to die from a kick to the ribs, but I guess vampire strength can break a lot more than ribs once contact is made.

I eye the witch named Zara, now lying weakly on the grass. This is my chance to get to her. I slowly walk around Ethan, Whitfield, and the dying warlock. Their attentions are fixed on him as the life leaves his body. I quickly kneel down by her and press my fingers to the side of her neck that’s not bitten. Her pulse is there but it’s very faint. Her eyes spring open then and she looks at me intensely.

“I feel…dizzy,” she says, in a small voice.

“You’ve lost a lot of blood,” I tell her, knowing exactly how she feels. My blood got taken from me recently too, only I’m not sure whether or not it was a vampire who did it.

“What are you doing Tegan?” Ethan asks suddenly. Crap, I thought he might be too preoccupied with the warlock to notice me.

“She’s dying,” I answer feebly. “I need to do something to save her.”

“Humans, so compassionate,” says Whitfield, as though he can’t understand the emotion at all. Well, I suppose life isn’t so precious when you know you can live for a thousand years.

The witch pulls me to her, her arms are weak but I bend down to her anyway. “Your dad, they’re using him for the ritual,” she whispers, because her life is falling from her quickly now, and she doesn’t have the strength to put proper sound into her voice.

My heart pounds. “Who’s using him?” I ask, but she’s already gone. Her stark brown eyes have no life in them, and there’s something quite humbling about holding a dead woman in my arms. I thought I would be horrified, but instead I just feel sad. Then panic builds up as what she’s said sinks in. Someone’s using my dad for a ritual? What the hell?

“What did she say?” Whitfield asks, coming to stand before me, his cold eyes gazing down at the witch I’m holding onto. Slowly I let go of her, lowering her body back down to the grass.

“Nothing, she was just asking me to help her. I don’t think she knew she was dying,” I lie.

Whitfield assesses me closely, then finally says, “Very well,” he turns and calls to his bodyguards, telling them to get rid of the bodies and phone for transportation back to the city. I half expect Ethan to come and put his arms around me, since I’ve just watched a woman die. But he doesn’t, he leaves me sitting on the grass and walks over to join the rest of the vampires at the other side of the lake.

Silently, I say goodbye to the witch. I’ve never necessarily believed in the afterlife, but when you see death happen right in front of you, you begin to hope that there is one. It kind of puts your mortality into perspective. Of course, this is not the first time I’ve been close to a dead body. A memory of Matthew flashes through my mind, but it’s gone just as quickly. I’m sure it won’t be the last either. Not with the way things have been going for me recently.

I stand up and go over to Ethan, he doesn’t seem to acknowledge my presence. Great. I need him to warm up to me, for Rebecca’s sake if nothing else. I put my hand on his arm, he glances down at me and he looks almost wistful for a second. Then the emotion leaves his face and I can’t read him at all.

“Lucas is coming to bring Tegan and I home,” he tells Whitfield, who nods and looks contemplative for a moment.

Then he says, “Ethan, you will bring the girl to our celebration this week.”

“Of course,” Ethan replies. What celebration is this I wonder? It could be a party, or perhaps some kind of blood sacrifice. Marvellous.

A second later headlights turn into the gravel path beside the lake, and two cars stop just short of us. Ethan leads me into one of them and Whitfield, Eliza and the bodyguards slip into the other. Inside the car Lucas grins in his overhead mirror, eyeing Ethan who is sitting next to me in the back.

“Eventful evening was it?” he asks with amusement.

I slump back in my seat and let out an exhausted sigh.

Chapter Twelve

I’ll Say a Word for Sickness, She is my Favourite Mistress

There’s silence inside the car, and I can’t help turning to Ethan and asking, “What was Whitfield talking about you bringing me to a celebration?”

Ethan doesn’t look at me when he answers, “We’re close now to persuading Governor Pamphrock to step down and pass leadership of the entire city over to Jeremy. It will only be a few more days before he gives in. Jeremy is holding a soirée at his home to celebrate the victory.”

I’m so caught up in the mention of it being held at Jeremy’s house that I almost miss the reason for the party. Finn never mentioned Pamphrock was planning on giving in to the vampires. Suspicion sits at the pit of my stomach. I wonder how Whitfield plans on securing this victory, and if he’s set about using unethical means for doing it. Of course, I have to agree to go, this ‘soirée’ as Ethan put it is the perfect opportunity for me to get inside Whitfield’s mansion.

“Sounds like it’s going to be great fun,” I reply sarcastically, unable to help myself. Visions of vampires mingling and drinking wineglasses full of blood fill my head.

“I had planned on asking you, but that was before you decided to disobey me last night,” says Ethan, his voice hard.

My hackles rise right up at this. “Disobey? Are you for real?”

Ethan moves swiftly, he pulls me close to him by the wrist and leans over me. He lets his eyes trail up and down my damp clothing before he breathes, “We really should get you out of that wet dress.”

Instinctively, I glance up to see Lucas grinning widely in the driver’s seat. “You two really need to sort your shit out,” he says, flicking his golden eyes to Ethan.

Ethan ignores the statement, then says, “Bring us to the house Lucas, and when you return to the club inform Delilah that she will need to close up for the night. I’ll be otherwise engaged.”

“Might be a bit of a problem there boss,” says Lucas. “Your sister went home a few hours ago, I think she might be losing the plot.”

“She’s been under a lot of stress lately,” Ethan replies, with a hint of dejection. Then he leans forward in his seat, his expression questioning. “What did you do to set her off Lucas?”

Lucas feigns innocence. “Me?” he asks, placing one hand dramatically to his heart. “I was nothing but pleasant to her.”

Ethan just keeps staring at him, stony faced.

“Fine, fine,” Lucas gives in. “I might have asked her if it was her time of the month. She’s been wearing a scowl on that face of hers for the last few weeks. I’m tired of looking at it. She slapped me across the cheek, kneed me in the balls and stormed out of the club.”

I can’t help but to sputter a laugh, I can imagine the look on Lucas’ face.

“You know she’s not coping well with the restrictions I have put on her.” Ethan reprimands. “She’ll get her freedom back as soon as Whitfield takes control of the city. Until then, go easy on her.”

“I’ll try.”

“This also means you’ll have to perform Delilah’s duties at the club tonight,” Ethan tells him.

“Not a problem.”

I start to get nervous as I think about what Ethan has planned for us when we get to his house. I don’t have much of a choice but to go there, I can hardly get them to drop me off at Finn’s place. Lucas pulls into Ethan’s driveway, but I remain seated in the car. Ethan takes my hand to lead me out, but I pull it away.

“I’ll make my own way home from the club,” I tell him, planning on staying in the car with Lucas. I may not like Ethan’s sidekick very much, but right now I can’t bring myself to think past the fact that Ethan snapped that warlock’s neck like it was nothing. Of course, this is a prime opportunity for me to get a little closer to him, but I’m deciding to run away like the little coward that I am. Oh well. I’ll never make a very good spy.

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