Home > Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy #1)(17)

Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy #1)(17)
Author: K.F. Breene

“How else would we get out? Go right.”

“Another way, presumably. Why didn’t you do up the walls?”

“When leaving, we usually travel at much faster speeds, so there would be little point in decorating the areas inhabited by new vampires.”

“Welcome to vampirism. Sorry about the lodgings.” I trudged up the steeper incline, feeling the burn in my thighs. “This is the worst.”

“You are out of shape and lacking muscle tone.”

“Don’t hold back for my sake. Let the truth bombs roll.” Magic fizzled around me, running along the walls and stretching across the floor. I slowed, closing my eyes to cut out one of my senses. That made it easier to use the magical sense. “I imagine you know what this magic is?”

“Yes. You’ve sensed it late. I am losing hope in your abilities.”

His attitude was really starting to get on my nerves.

Without another thought, I ripped out my sword, pushed magic through it, and sliced along the wall. The dirt—or magical mud—parted like canvas, revealing wriggling worms within. The magic coating the wall snapped like a cord before blinking out. The fizzle from a moment before dulled until it was a memory.

“How do you like me now?” I said with a little swagger.

A strange sound reverberated up the halls. I tilted my head, not able to place the weird sort of thrushing. Blood pumped through my veins. My fight reflex thundered, making me grip the handle of my sword tighter and mentally notice the weight of the gun on my side. Yet another sense, probably passed down from my father’s side, told me of danger rushing my way.

“I tripped an alarm,” I muttered as Darius stepped gracefully to the side. “With friends like you…”

A blur of movement came at me, a middle-level or greater vamp, judging by the speed. I launched forward, closing the distance, sword already slashing. It ripped open the chest cavity. The creature—because it was in monster form—screamed in a bloodcurdling way and flung itself to the side.

Another blur came right up behind it, claws out but in human form. Jaw extended, showing the teeth, able to rip through flesh like its claws could. I tugged out my gun and shot the creature in the face. Its head whipped back and its body followed, showing me the bottoms of its feet.

As I continued to run past it, I stabbed down into its stomach. It squealed and clutched at the offending spot.

Another vampire, slower, ran along the wall. In creature form but slightly jerkier than the others, it had its hands out like a ghoul. I started to chuckle—I couldn’t help it. The thing looked like a prancing monster.

I stowed my gun, bent low, and swiped. My blade tore through a protective spell and then the creature’s leg.

“Oh shit!” I grimaced. “I didn’t mean to sever the thing; I just meant to give you a deep cut. Sorry about that.”

Scratching sounded behind me. I whirled and slashed, reopening the quickly closing gash in the first vamp. My strike barely missed its heart. It clutched at its middle and staggered backward, its creature face a mask of shock, its lips forming an O around its ghastly fangs.

“Enough!” Darius shouted.

Movement slowed then stopped further down the hallway. I could barely see shapes lurking there. The three wounded vampires around me picked themselves up. One hopped, staring down at its severed limb.

“Seriously, I’m really sorry about that,” I muttered. “I hope you can put it back on…”

“She left you three alive on purpose,” Darius said in disgust. He sauntered away from the wall and continued upward. “Come up with a better defensive strategy. This one was truly lacking.”

“Good job, Reagan,” I mumbled, knowing he could hear. “By the way, thanks for not killing my minions. Oh, no problem, Darius. I do what I can.”

He ignored me.

As we left the carnage behind, Darius took over leading. Clearly I’d passed the last test, though I had a feeling the attack hadn’t been planned. I could’ve gotten around that spell without disabling it. I wondered if he knew that.

“We may be confronting rogue vampires during this investigation,” Darius said as the tunnel walls pushed in on us. “They should be killed as quickly as possible. You seem familiar with the easier ways to kill us—cut off the head, or destroy the heart. You do not need to use wood or metal for these things, as you clearly know. Sunlight is the easiest, of course. The older we get, the longer we can stay out in direct sunlight, but even someone my age can only last a half-hour before disintegration. I can remain in indirect sunlight for a few hours, I believe. Maybe longer—I haven’t tested that in decades. It is horribly painful.

“The last, least common way to kill a vampire is hellfire. Only a few magical beings can create that kind of fire naturally, and few mages have enough power and know-how to create it magically. A certain type of fae is one of those natural beings, from royal lineage, which is why I have always kept my distance from that group. We have allied ourselves with most of the other wielders of hellfire so that we may watch them closely.”

“Why not have the fae in alliance so you can watch them?” I asked as we reached a door.

Darius barely twitched his fingers before the lock magically disengaged.

Being predators of humans, vampires assumed a lot of heightened traits, like vision, hearing, and strength. Basically, they were the lions of the cat world. Part of being predators had to do with sneaking up on their prey. Since humans slept inside locked dwellings, somewhere along the line, vampires had developed the magic to circumvent any padlock or deadbolt. Needing to invite a vampire inside your house was pure myth.

The door swung open by itself. He stepped back and swept his hand toward the exit. “Please. After you.”

A girl could get used to this. I glided through like an idiot, pretending I was a princess. The night embraced me softly. I breathed in a wonderfully sweet smell drifting on the breeze.

“The elves have a firm hold on the fae.” Darius stepped out beside me and closed the door. “They are out of our reach. As far as I know, however, fae cannot see in the darkness.”

“I’m not fae.”

He’d probably figured that already. “Unlucky,” he said. “They are privileged within the Realm.”

“Why unlucky? If I were fae, you wouldn’t be my friend. Then who would you ambush with rock-men and mostly hidden underground spells?”

He sniffed. I had no idea what that meant.

“I thought I was down there for longer.” I checked my watch. It said nine o’clock, the same time I’d entered the Realm.

“We live in eternal night. It is our natural habitat, after all.” He gently touched the small of my back while holding out his other hand, ready to escort me like a guy out of a Jane Austen book. “Please.”

“What era are you from?”

“You can hardly expect me to reveal my past if you are unwilling to reveal yours.”

“I did expect that, yes.” I patted my weapons and tuned into my surroundings. The lightheartedness of the moment dried up as the great wide world of the Realm stretched out before us. We took up a path that led parallel to a long string of mountains, blocking the northern way.

“You can move faster than a human when fighting. Is that also true of walking?” Darius asked, his stride perfectly matching mine. He was only hinting at rushing me. Very polite.

“Not really, for reasons I don’t understand. It seems like battle is the only time I can increase my speed to non-human proportions.”

“And your strength?”

“Strong like a bull.” I made a fist and flexed my bicep. “Always.”

“Your sword?”

“Is lovely, don’t you think?” The height of the grass around us increased as we walked, hiding boulders and pitfalls. We stayed to a solid dirt track that slowly rose above the surrounding area, big enough for three people to walk abreast—or one normal person and one wide-shouldered Darius.

“It is magical?” he asked.

“Of course. Normal swords can’t cut through spells.”

“Normal magical swords can’t cut through spells either, unless a counteractive spell is fed to the blade before each interaction. You did not use a counteractive spell, and there is no way you could’ve guessed what to pre-load it with.”

Hot Series
» Vampire Academy Series read online
» Crossfire Series read online
» Fifty Shades trilogy read online
» Kate Daniels Series read online
» Black Dagger Brotherhood Series read online
» Cassandra Palmer Series read online
» Rosemary Beach Series read online
» Sea Breeze Series read online
» Too Far Series read online
» Shatter Me Series read online
» Thoughtless Series read online
» Marriage to a Billionaire Series read online
Most Popular
» Drawn into Love (Fluke My Life #4)
» Nightchaser (Endeavor #1)
» Right Where I Want You
» Tangled Like Us (Like Us #4)
» Be the Girl
» Playing for Keeps (Heartbreaker Bay #7)
» If I Only Knew
» Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2)
» 99 Percent Mine
» Free (Chaos #6)
» Work in Progress (Red Lipstick Coalition #3
» Moonlight Scandals (de Vincent #3)