As we approached the camp we ducked behind some trees. I peeked around the corner and my heart sank. There were four men dressed in a black uniform with a crest in the shape of a four-pointed star across their chest. I recognized the crest as belonging to the vampire kingdom Amia. It was the same four-pointed star that was on the vampire I ran into when I was only eleven-years-old.
Two of the vampires were holding their swords to Maya and Zackary’s neck. They were standing in front of Micheal and Zagan. Micheal had one of his arms wrapped around Zagan and the other holding his bow.
“What do you want from us!” Micheal was yelling at the vampires.
“We just want you to answer a few questions for us,” The vampire at the front of the group said with a wicked smile. “Then we’ll let your precious children go...maybe.”
The vampires all exchanged amused looks and Micheal turned pale. My grip tightened on my daggers and I felt Logan tense next to me.
“What do you want to know!?” Micheal shouted to them.
“Well, aren’t you bossy,” The vampire holding Zackary said. “Maybe you will change your tone if I did something like this.”
The vampire holding Zackary brought his sword closer to his neck and a thin red line spilled down his neck. Zackary let out a scream and the vampires laughed.
“Now boy,” The head vampire said. “Tell us. Have you seen a young girl with black hair and green eyes around here anywhere? Our prince is rather interested in her for some odd reason and we are to find her and bring her back to him.”
Logan and I exchanged a confused glance. He couldn’t be talking about me, could he?
“I have seen many girls matching that description!” Micheal yelled back. “You are going to need to be more specific!”
“Very well little pet,” The head vampire said with a sick smile. “This girl would be about sixteen or seventeen today and would have had a run-in with our kind about five years ago. It was in an abandoned building with a scout in Master David’s group.”
I felt the color drain out of my face. They were definitely talking about me. Logan must have seen me pale because he mouthed to me, you okay?
I shook my head at him and returned my gaze to the kids. Micheal was yelling something but I was not listening.
I took a deep breath and did what I had to do. I stood up, ignoring Logan’s attacks to grab my arm, and walked into view of the vampires. I did my best to ignore the pain in my hurt ankle.
“Oh, and who’s this little cutie?” The head vampire said turning to face me.
“I believe you were looking for me,” I said in the most confident voice I could muster.
“This little girl is the EM our prince is looking for?” The vampire holding Maya said.
“Ella!” Maya called out to me.
“Quiet you!” The head vampire snapped at Maya and turned his attention back to me.”How do we know she’s really the one we’re looking for and that she’s not just trying to save those pathetic children?”
“She matches the description .” One of the vampires said to their leader.
“I suppose she does, I guess we can-” The head vampire was cut off by a flying dagger that struck him in the shoulder. I turned around already knowing who I would see.
Logan had come out from behind the tree and threw a dagger I was unaware he had. Once the dagger connected with the vampire’s shoulder he made a satisfied smirk.
“You little pest!” The vampire yelled as he pulled the dagger out of his shoulder. “Grab the girl, kill the rest!”
The vampires holding Maya and Zackary were drawing their swords back to finish off the kids but I was faster. I threw both of my daggers at the vampires and one connected with a vampire’s head and the other connected with the vampire’s sword hand. The one holding Zackary dropped dead and the one holding Maya dropped their sword.
Zackary saw this as an opportunity to save his sister and took out his dagger. Zackary plunged his dagger into the vampire’s upper thigh and the vampire let out a curse. He let go of Maya and grabbed Zackary by the neck. The vampire lifted Zackary off the ground and he screamed. Maya darted over to me and was begging me to help her brother. I looked around for anything I could use as a weapon because I threw my only two daggers.
“Here, take mine!” Maya yelled, handing me her small dagger.
I grabbed the dagger out of her small hands and charged at the vampire holding Zackary. I almost tripped a few times because of my injured ankle. I brought up Maya’s dagger and swiped out at the vampire but he swung around at the last moment and grabbed my wrist. He still had his hold on Zackary and I could see the corners of his mouth start to go purple.
“Oh no, EM. You shouldn’t be trying to save this pathetic young boy.” The vampire said. “Come now, be a good girl and drop the dagger.”
I did drop the dagger but not as the vampire probably wanted. I managed to maneuver my wrist and get some momentum. I threw the dagger aiming for the arm holding Zackary but instead hit him in the side of the chest.
The vampire growled and released his hold on my wrist to pull out the dagger. “You little bi-” He was cut off by an arrow hitting him directly in the heart. He fell to the ground and I looked over to see Micheal already drawing another arrow.
Zackary was on the ground gasping for air. I raced over to him and scooped him up in my arms. I ran to where Maya and Zagan were hiding under some shrubbery and set Zackary down next to them. I retrieved my daggers from the vampire’s bodies and turned to face the rest of the group. Micheal was firing another arrow at the vampires and Logan was in the middle of a sword battle with the leader.
“Now would be a good time to try out your little trick Anabella!” Logan shouted to me.
I slung my backpack off my shoulder and tore it until I came across the journal. I started frantically thumbing through pages for any hint of what to do. I turned to a random page and read the writing out loud.
“’Ventus audi animi mei et mitte auxilium vocat.’” It was the same page from the first time I used this book, five years ago. Last time a gust of wind came from nowhere and separated me from the vampire that was threatening me. However, this time was different.
This time the sky overhead turned dark and heavy winds blew in from every direction around us. It lifted me and the rest of my group off our feet. The vampires looked around astonished. They were staying perfectly still while my group was being lifted higher and higher into the sky.
Everyone was screaming as we were flown over the tops and over rivers. We were in the air for no more than a couple of minutes but we must have flown over a hundred miles.
When the wind finally stopped it dropped us out of the sky and down info a creak. I fell into the freezing cold water first followed by five more splashes.
I managed to grab Maya and Zackary and was able to pull them to shore before blacking out.
When I opened my eyes I was laying on my back on top of a large rock. Maya and Zackary were leaning over top of me and I heard Logan and Micheal talking somewhere in the distance. When I tried to stand up a sharp pain shot thru the side of my body. I let out a grown and fell back down.
“Don’t do that!” Maya snapped at me. “Your ankle has gotten a lot worse!” She turned to where Micheal and Logan were talking. “Ellas awake!”
No sooner than she yelled that I was awake Logan and Micheal were next to me as well. Micheal had a completely confused look in his eyes and Logan looked concerned.
“So,” Micheal said. “What exactly are you?”
“Micheal!” Logan snapped at Micheal. “Not now! We’ve got bigger problems to deal with.” Logan turned to the kids. “Why don’t you three go play together. The grown-ups need to talk.”
The children all nodded and walked back down to the creak. I noticed Maya was deliberately keeping her distance from Zagan. I tried to sit up again but Logan stopped me.
“Don’t try and get up,” Logan warned. “Your ankle is worse than it was a few hours ago. Micheal wrapped it up as well as he could but you need as much rest as you can get”
I looked down at my ankle and noticed it was wrapped up in an old white shirt and there was fresh blood seeping through the cloth. I let out a curse. If there were vampires in these woods the last thing you wanted to do was bleed. Micheal must have noticed my concerned look because he cut in before I could say anything.
“Don’t worry. We have been here for half a day while you were unconscious and no vampires have come bursting out of the forest yet.”
“Great, so there on their way,” I said, not liking the sound of fighting a flock of vampires at the moment.
“Drop the sarcasm.” Logan piped in. “Micheal and I have been taking turns on watch since we got here.”
“Speaking of which, how did we get here Ella?” Micheal asked, turning back on me with questioning eyes.
“Oh, that’s a good question,” I said with sarcasm returning to my voice. “I read a story out of a mysterious book and the next thing I know is being lifted off my feet and flung through the air before crashing into an ice-cold creek. Does that answer your question?”
“Now I have even more questions,” Micheal said in a half-joking half-serious tone.
“Micheal, cut it out,” Logan said and turned his attention back to me. “I need you to answer my question. Do you know why those vampires were after you, or why they called you EM?”
“I’m just as confused as you are,” I said, looking back and forth between Logan and Micheals gaze.
“Well, that’s a shame,” Logan said looking at me with unapologetic eyes. “If you don’t know why those vampires were after you, then you’re too much of a risk to have around my group.”
“Logan!” Micheal snapped, turning to face him. “You can’t be saying what I think you’re saying!”
“Unfortunately I am,” Logan said, turning back to me with a blank expression. “With those vampires after you, you’re too much of a risk to have around us. You saw what almost happened to Maya and Zackary.”
“You can’t do this Logan!” Micheal said angrily. “Maya will be crushed! You saw how close Maya has become to Ella!”
“My job is to keep her alive,” Logan said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Not happy. And keeping Ella around is too much of a risk.”
“So you’re just going to abandon her to the vampires! With her hurt leg, she will stand no chance alone!”
“Micheal, it’s fine.” I cut in through gritted teeth. “Just drop it, I’ll leave.”
I couldn’t believe it, after everything I risked for this group they were just going to throw me aside like garbage. I stood up, ignoring the throbbing pain in my ankle and picked up my bag.
“Ella-” Micheal started but I cut him off.
“Just don’t Micheal,” I said and made my way down the rock. I was limping pretty badly but didn’t stop, even for a second.
I turned and took one last glance at the children playing in the water. Maya was sitting off to the side watching Zackary and Zagan play.
Without giving myself a moment to regret not saying good-bye, I turned in the direction of the woods and limped away from the others.