The deeper we went into the tunnels the darker it felt like it got and the harder it was to breathe. Ryan’s hand was on the hilt of his hidden sword. Ant’s was too. I found it odd that these two big bad warriors favored melee weapons to their guns, I knew they had. They didn’t hide them. It made me wonder how Ryan’s sword was hidden from view. He wasn’t a shadow vampire. Did his mistress keep it hidden for him? I’d have to ask later when I wasn’t on high alert.
I could smell the power of death as we drew closer to our destination. I had several patterns woven in front of me and around us in general. The generic air weave that I could use to send as a net or condense into a shield. A fireball hung in the aether ready to be flung with a quick gesture.
Vincent behind us was just as tense. He had a gun at his side, but it remained in its holster as every one else’s did. His fists clenched at his side and then opened as he stretched his fingers before balling them back up.
Isabel looked calm and cool and almost bored. But I could see the light in her eyes. Whatever spells she had were at her beck and call. Ged was beside us and there was a low grumble in his gut. The power of the bear and the scent of damp forest cave wafted from him and it was setting me on edge. Maybe bringing him wasn’t such a good idea. I fought back bad memories that came with the smell. Memories of my mother, memories I’d rather not have right now.
I focused on the bonds around me. There were so many some were strong and others were not, but I felt them all. I tugged on Sage’s and felt a small spark of electricity as it echoed back. It brought a smile to my face. Whatever I had done, Sage had felt it. I took a deep breath and shifted my thoughts elsewhere, dwelling on my blue eyed boys or the girl in my life was not going to help me here, no matter how comforting it was to know they were connected.
Ryan was laughing. I looked at him and he grinned at me, “You look happier than you have in days.”
I shrugged. “I’m doing something I love.”
Vincent laughed but it wasn’t funny, he was worried. “Yeah, you can’t feel the death all around us.”
“I can.” I said. “I like a little danger.”
Isabel sighed. “That’s why they don’t want you doing this.”
I nodded. “I know. But this is all I know.” I sighed. She was right. They were right. But this was right too. I had to find a good meeting point. I had to…
The power around us grew thicker and the conversation died out just as we heard a rock skitter across the floor in front of us. Then another behind us. We were surrounded.
We stopped in the middle of the tunnel and formed a circle with our backs to each other. We were working seamlessly as a team with very little instruction. Light flared all around us. There was very little time between the moment I saw the first fireball coming at us and when the second one from the other side came at us. The first one had my companions on the ground taking cover and scattering to the edges of the tunnel. It wizzed passed my head towards the other fireball. The second one splattered against the tunnel wall twenty feet behind us. We were caught in the crossfire of some territorial dispute. Or not…
There was vampire magic in front of us. Ant was inching forward and so was Ryan. “Nate’s here.” They whispered together. Nate was the Elemental vampire master. He had sided with Valence. But the magic behind us was not vampire. It was Venatori. They had used me. Used me to find the vampire nest to kill them all.
Several more fireballs flew from both sides. None of them actually coming near me. I felt the heat as they passed. Ant’s hand was grabbing at my jacket and he was trying to pull me down. “Elemental magic is just as dangerous as Dragon’s fire.”
I knew that. I smiled down at him and pressed my arms out to the sides and two walls of air formed around us. The next fireball crashed against it. It was followed by another and another. Both sides trying to brute force their way through. “Find a way out.” I said. We couldn’t stay in the middle of this war. We were trapped between the walls of the tunnel and the opposing forces.
Ant sighed took Isabel and Ged’s hands. “I can get us out of here.”
I nodded and I held the walls of air as Ant took us slowly from the tunnels. Vincent and Ryan were left with me. The fireballs didn’t stop, in fact their intensity and speed increased from the vampire side. The Venatori side remained the same. They only had one Magnus. And he was growing tired. There were multiple vampires.
Ryan frowned, “It’s getting warm in here.”
Ant came back and looked at me and looked at Ryan. “Ryan, I can’t take him while he’s doing his thing. I already tried. You and Vin need to come with me. You die, Mother dies.”
Ryan sighed. “Fine.” He patted my arm. “See ya on the other side.”
I nodded. I wasn’t worried at least I tried not to let him see it. The shields were starting to fail, which was why it was getting warmer. I could erect another wall of air, but I was expending energy. I would get tired sooner or later.
Ant took Ryan and Vincent away. I was left alone in the tunnel. With the Venatori throwing fireballs at me. And Vampires throwing them. But it wasn’t jsut fireballs anymore. They had figured out how to weaken it faster. The vampires were throwing everything they had it – fire, water, air, and earth. Everything. I could see the patterns eroding with his blast. I put most of my energy at the front, but it wasn’t enough I was growing tired. They knew it. The barrage came harder and faster.
I don’t know what happened first. It all happened so fast. A barrage of elements came at me and the shield fell. But the barrage kept coming. Air, earth, water and fire and I felt the first lick of fire across my skin. I couldn’t even scream as the element found a source and the magic bound. That same moment I was flung across the tunnel into the wall. My temple slammed into the wall and the rest was black…