I stayed awake that whole night making preparation to send more scouts into Asylo Forest. I haven’t eaten or slept in over twenty-four hours but I managed to set up five different patrol groups. Each one consisted of at least twenty vampires and ten humans. I figured the humans would be a good source of food for the vampires and they can help look for the girl.
In each team, I assigned one noble vampire as head of the group. They were to lead the group in the forest and report back to me at the first sign of the EM.
I was in the middle of setting up the sixth patrol group when there was a knock at my office doors.
“Come in,” I called out to the person on the other side.
When the doors swung open a young human maid stepped inside. She was wearing a made uniform that consisted of a white dress that extended down to her knees with a light gray apron tied around her waist. Her blond hair was pulled back and she wore a traditional maid’s headpiece.
“Your majesty,” The maid did a small curtsy and I had to struggle to hear her. I was too focused on the blood flowing in her veins and the hunger that tore through me. “I bring you a message from Master David and his team of scouts.”
“Very well, what’s the message.” The hunger was strong and I had to force myself to stay focused.
“Master David says that he and his team are at Asylo forest and are searching for the EM.”
“Very well, is that all?” I asked the maid.
“Yes sir,” The maid did a curtsy and was about to leave when I called for her to wait.
“Come over here a moment,” I said while getting up out of my desk and walking to the front of it. I leaned back on my ebony-colored wooden desk and the maid stepped forward.
“What is it, your majesty?”
Before she had time to react, I reached out and pulled her towards me. I heard her intake a sharp breath before my fangs buried themselves in her neck. The sweet coppery taste of her blood was filling my mouth and flowing down my throat. She slumped against me and I pulled my fangs from her neck.
I lowered her to the floor and called for one of the guards at the door to take care of her. Once the guard carried the maid out of my office I returned to my desk and resumed my paperwork.
It was early in the morning and the sun had just come up when Logan woke everyone and told us to start packing. We had two tents which Logan and Micheal ended up carrying. I offered to carry the tent for Micheal because of his hurt leg but he just laughed and said my leg looked worse than his.
It had been two days since I twisted my ankle and it has only gotten worse since then. The pain has gotten so bad I had to grit my teeth to stop from groaning out in pain. My leg needs rest but if I don’t keep moving I will be breaking every scavenger number one rule. Never stay in one place for more than two days. Class X vampires can track your scent if you stay still for too long.
We stumbled across a creek and decided to take a break to eat lunch and refill our water bottles. I was sitting on a rock that was about twenty feet off the ground. I elevated my injured leg with my dad’s old ebony backpack and I was eating stale crackers for lunch. I had the journal open across my lap and I was flipping through pages trying in vain to make sense of anything.
I heard a scream from down below me followed by a large splash. I looked down from my rock to see that Maya had just pushed her brother into the creak, then proceeded to jump in herself.
I don’t know why they decided now was a good time to go for a swim, considering it was mid-December. I was about to return to my reading when I heard a voice behind me.
“Aren’t those two just adorable.” I turned around and to my surprise discovered Michael standing behind me. Michael had short dirty blond hair and clear blue eyes. He was about 6’4 and had small muscles on his arms. He wasn’t bad looking, but he wasn’t gorgeous either.
“Maya and Zackary?” I was a little startled. I have been traveling with this group for a little over a day now and Michael and I haven’t spoken much. “They’re great kids, I’m sure they have a good life ahead of them.”
We sat in silence for a moment, unsure of what to say to each other. We were watching the kids playing in the water when Michael broke the silence.
“Maya seems to like you a lot,” Michael said, still watching the kids.
“What gives you that idea?” I asked, turning to face him.
“When you passed out yesterday after the attack,” Michael answered, turning to face me. “Logan carried you into a tent and Maya rushed in with you freaking out. She thought you had died. Logan and I had to tell her about fifty times that you were still alive before she calmed down.” He turned his gaze back to the kids. “She refused to leave your side and even ended up falling asleep next to you.”
“Heh, she was a clingy little thing,” I said with a laugh. “I woke up with her wrapped around me like a pretzel.”
Michael let out a chuckle. “She used to do the same thing to Sara before...the incident.” He broke off. “They were very close. Maya and Sara used to do each other’s hair, play dress up, and do other girly things together. They were the only two girls in the group and they just sorta clicked. You might want to watch out or she might do the same thing with you.”
“Well, she’s out of luck there. I’m not really the ‘dress up’ kind of girl.” It was true. I was always more into swords and adventuring than clothes and hair. My dad used to say I was just like him and mom.
“I figured as much,” Michael said. “The way you talk to Logan, I’ve never seen anyone get under his skin as much as you. Did you know he told Maya to stay away from you? Maya never looked so upset, it seemed like she wanted to slap him. She told us you were a good person and we weren’t giving you a fair chance.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “She’s a stubborn one.”
“She sure is,” Michael responded looking like a proud dad.
Logan called the group over and looked like he was ready to head out. I grabbed my things and Micheal helped me down the rock. His leg seemed to be doing better but mine was getting much worse. It was getting red and swollen and every step was getting more painful. Even though it hurt I never complained. Instead, I would try to distract myself from the pain by biting down on my bottom lip so hard I could taste blood.
When we reached the others Maya and Zackary were soaked but giggling. Their teeth were already starting to chatter and Logan shook his head at them.
“You two shouldn’t have done that,” Logan scolded the children. “Now you’re going to be freezing.”
“It was Zackary’s idea!” Maya exclaimed pointing her index finger at her twin brother.
“It was worth it!” Zackary shouted back at her.
Logan let out a sigh. “We’ll see if you still think that in a few hours.” He turned to face Michael and me. “I want to cover at least twenty more miles before we set up camp. Our goal is to find an abandoned town or city to scavenge in. Can you keep up on that leg, little bandit?”
“One, I’m not a bandit,” I snapped to Logan. “And two, my leg is just fine.”
“Whatever you say, little bandit,” Logan said with a sarcastic smirk. “Everyone move out.”
Logan took off ahead with Michael not far behind him. I was bringing up the rear with the two children in tow. Each child grabbed one of my hands and we set off at a moderate pace.
We walked for the remainder of the day. Eventually, we came across a dirt road just as the sun was going down. We pitched our tents on the side of the dirt road and settled down for dinner. Our dinner consisted of a few pieces of dried meat and some water. Maya was curled up on my side when we ate. We ate in silence mostly because everyone was exhausted. We covered about twenty-two miles in the time we stopped for lunch.
“I guess I’ll take the first watch,” Logan announced to the group. “I will wake up you in a few hours to swap.” He said looking at Michael.
“I could take watch tonight if one of you don’t want to,” I said, looking from Logan to Michael.
“Ella,” Micheal said to me. “You need to rest. Your leg looks like it’s getting worse by the hour.”
“You have an injured leg too you know,” I said in an aggravated voice.
“But his is much better than yours.” Logan cut in.
“My leg is just fine,” I said defiantly crossing my arms.
“Why do you have to be so stubborn?” Logan asked in his sarcastic tone. “You’re the only person I know of that would turn down a chance to rest.”
“Hmph, I don’t like sitting still when I could be doing something useful,” I said with a fake pouting lip.
“Knock yourself out, little bandit,” Logan said with a sarcastic smirk. “You can have the first watch and I’ll take the second. Come wake me up when you’re tired.”
Maya climbed into the girl’s tent and the three boys climbed into the dark red tent. I sat back against a tree near the warm orange glow of the fire. I had the journal in my lap and I was studying the cover.
It was really old, much older than most vampire kingdoms. The cover was made out of worn brown leather. It had a small leather belt wrapping around the book, keeping it closed. The cover had words neatly carved into the leather.
“Et magicae terra ascendens ad vitam,
Aqualis roboris in magica,
Fire- in magica furorem exarsit,
Air- magicae disciplinae.”
I carefully traced each letter with my finger, not daring to say the words out loud. Once I worked up the courage I opened up the book to the first page. It had more of the unknown language written on it in ink. It also had some drawings of flowers that I’ve never seen before.
The second page once again had the unknown language written neatly in ink. However, instead of flowers, it had some odd symbols written in ink in the margins. They were made up of shapes like triangles, half-circles, lines, and diamonds.
I skipped to the last page and discovered the page that always left me confused. The book had about sixty pages filled out and about another twenty blank ones. All of the other filled out pages were made with great care and had neat illustrations. The last filled out page looked like it was done in a rush. The handwriting went from neat and beautiful, to sloppy and rushed. The page read, ’Creatura ex inferno, conjuro te de terra ignota sunt, egredimini ad me.’ There were two odd simple scribbles on the bottom of the page.
The first one was a half circle with a black line coming out of the middle. The second mark was a five-point star inside a full circle. I noticed the corners of the page were slightly black and chard. I wondered what had happened and why the page looked like it had been burned. The rest of the book was untouched by the mysterious flame.
I let out a sigh and closed the journal. This book was probably a mystery I would never figure out. I set the book down by my bag and drew my daggers out of their holsters. I set them across my lap and settled into my place and waited out my patrol.