Nail in Her Coffin (Devil's Witch Book 1)

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Chapter 37-Nocturnal Nuance

COLIN

There’s an unnatural disturbance in the air.

A breeze that cuts through the dying grass like a razor blade. I stand, shifting on the heels of my feet, uncomfortable at his new distress. Marked by a subtle, and ever-present threat, that lurks at our feet. Controlled and carried out by his feelings, that at present, are dangerously connected to his magic. Magic that slithers across the ground, too close to our toes.

For any closer and they would be chopped off like mincemeat. Like the grass it’s already slicing through, marking demonic symbols in the ground.

Valerie’s eyes are firmly closed, hidden underneath tangles of her long pale silky hair. Even from this distance, I imagine she’s probably sweating a lot. Her hair must be growing damper by the minute, sticking to the sweat on her scalp. Her breathing is slow and labored.

Surrounded by our savior’s magic, she has nowhere to go even if she were conscious. He successfully managed to conjure and trap our goddess in his own crafted ward. The embers of his fire around her have died down now, a coldness sweeps up off the forest ground and blows against myself and the others.

We stand in our robes, circled around them waiting and watching.

Too many minutes have passed. It’s taking too long, she should have woken up by now. Only she hasn’t.

Our savior’s magic shifts not only uneasily around us, but her as the tall grass sways rather violently around her figure on the ground. The dirt and pieces of sliced grass slowly begin to swirl around in the air around her, as our savior’s patience begins to wear thin.

Noctus bends down beside our witch and pulls her hair out of her face, for he hasn’t touched her since she passed out.

Still, our goddess does not make a move.

Noctus looks back at us over his shoulder then, pulling his gun out of its holster on his belt with an impassive expression. He prods her shoulder with the barrel of the gun, as if expecting it will wake her up. Seeing her not wake up, he draws the gun to his side. His face paler than usual as he looks back at us again and stands up.

His cool expression sweeps over each and every one of us. His hand holding his gun is trembling now, but he holsters the gun and rests his hand on his waist to hide his temperament. With a silent sigh, he raises his chin up and lowers his police hat.

What he probably doesn’t want to admit is that his magic has hurt her. He shouldn’t have tried to combine his magic with Valerie’s so suddenly after her death. It doesn’t even look like she’s breathing anymore.

Thinking he’s given up, I begin to break my position in the circle and step nearer to Valerie to check on her. Heinrich picks up on my movement and swings his arm out in front of me blocking me from moving out of my spot.

“It is not over,” the giant vampire warns me roughly.

I glare at the annoying vampire cop, but his gaze is glued on our savior and not me. Someone next to me pulls out a bag of what looks to be dried up smashed leaves. They pour a tiny bit of the substance onto their palm, then motion for me to do the same. Disgruntled, I go along with it and pass the heavy bag to Heinrich.

“When will she wake up?” I whisper.

No one answers me. By the time the bag is passed around the full circle, Noctus has returned his attention back to Valerie and I swallow wondering what will happen next. We never discussed this part, we planned on her waking back up the moment his magic entwined with hers.

“She’s dead you fool,” Heinrich whispers harshly as if I was the one who killed her.

Dead? She can’t be dead if her magic is still active, which it is. Noctus told us he could see it floating around her body, he would have no reason to lie to us. Heinrich doesn’t know anything about magic.

“What is this?” I spit back looking at the pile of crushed leaves in his hand.

“Shut up human,” the vampire whispers in his thick accent and I say nothing more.

It doesn’t take a genius to see what Noctus is up to, letting his magic creep closer and closer to her. If we stand out here much longer, we risk getting caught and being put on trial. Conjoinment spells are illegal nowadays. If he successfully conjoined their magic, she would have woken up by now. Letting his magic touch her could hurt her even more, much more painfully and unlike Heinrich, I don’t believe she’s dead.

If she were dead, our savior’s magic would be strong enough to jolt her body like an electric shock. Maybe even shock her heart enough to start beating again.

Wait, is this what he’s been planning all along? The grass around our goddess dances faster and faster as Noctus’s magic condenses around her. I bite the inside of my cheek, watching in what feels like slow motion. Despite my disappointment, I copy the other vampires and discard the mystery substance in my hands onto the ground.

The grass around our witch has stopped moving, most of it is gone by now-already ripped up from its roots and shredded up into nothing. Somehow, our witch has yet to be touched directly by our savior’s magic. He must have given up, I don’t see the grass moving around anymore anywhere.

Noctus’s back is turned to us, I can only hope he knows what he’s doing. One wrong move on his end and Valerie will be forever gone.

“Fear not, for the devil is on our side. Watch and see. It is coming,” the big vampire beside me breathes out, sounding all high and mighty.

I glance up, following the new location of Heinrich’s attention. In the overcast night sky, the crescent moon peaks out from behind a giant dark cloud. Red and bright pink heat lightning lightens up the sky in blazing trails. It’s nothing really special though, but when thunder arrives I shudder feeling the coming of a bitter rain.

Just great, not only has this ceremony failed and my best friend’s life been thrown on the line, we are all about to walk out of here having gotten poured on.

Abruptly, we are all brought back to attention seeing an irregular blast of heat lightning actually cascade down within our circle. The hair on not only the back of my neck, but on top of my head stands on end feeling the electricity dance around through the sweltering humid air out here.

The ashy substance we discarded at our feet soars above our heads as if in reaction to the lighting hitting the ground dangerously close to Valerie.

I can’t help, but keep staring up at it as it forms a circle above our own circle, strung up in the air. The deafening sound of lighting continues crackling around the new ring right above our heads and most of us are cowering at the noise, holding our ears and kneeling down caught somewhere between shock and panic.

The only ones who remain standing up are Noctus and Heinrich-who yanks me and the other vampire cowering below him to our feet.

“Is it here yet?” I mock the giant vampire, yelling above the sound of electric current roaring.

Ignoring me, he stares ahead and I drop my gaze from the ring of lighting.

“Praise him, it is true,” a vampire murmurs from somewhere in our circle.

All of our attention focused on something we shouldn’t be able to see.

It’s as red as blood and floats all around Valerie. Her hair is floating too, the red gusts of magic look ready to drop down and snuff out the last of the weak flame of life within her-if it’s even there. What a sight to see, I’ve never seen magic before!

Noctus’s hands move from their position in his pockets, but everyone else is watching the movement of the ring of lightning above our heads as it descends. It travels down to our circle with great speed in a spiral of blinding light.

It blends within our savior’s magic and consumes it, the magic disappearing from our sight as the lightning cuts right through it and plunges right into our witch, Valerie. Yet, like a statue, our savior remains perfectly still as the lightning strikes the earth less than a foot in front of him where our witch lays.

Her body looks to go through some sort of seizure, her arms flailing around her sides wildly and her head shaking like a very agreeable bobblehead toy. My heart clenches in my chest, hoping this is all for the best.

Her legs are the only part of her body that remain planted on the ground.

“The lightning will kill her,” I deadpan.

Heinrich makes a scoffing sound.

“That is not lightning,” the vampire grunts.

Our savior reaches a hand into the blazing trail of light and its light disappears along with it. The vampires around me start to panic seeing our leader’s sudden disappearance along with the lightning phenomenon.

“Silence! Have you no faith? He will come back!” Heinrich shouts at them, making them all go still and mute.

They seem to rethink their choice to break the circle and return to their positions, eagerly looking around for any sign of our exalted one.

Then, just like Heinrich tells us, he does come back.

However, our witch has yet to give us any inclination of the conjoinment being a success. If the little stunt our savior just pulled was necessary to her new magical emergence, we haven’t seen any proof yet.

Noctus looks grim, bending down near her face.

He pokes her shoulder.

“Just leave me alone,” our goddess whispers sharply with demand.

Noctus’s face lights up like a jack-o-lantern seeing her very well alive. However, our savior foolishly doesn’t listen to her and as a result, gets thrown backwards by her new frighteningly powerful magic that is now equal in strength to his own.

If not, more powerful.

He lands on the ground with a loud grunt, but sits up so quick it’s as if he were the one electrocuted. His eyes are lit with something that doesn’t sit well with me. He appears to be amazed by our witch overpowering him. Doesn’t this concern him?

Valerie’s eyes finally open and she sits up with wobbly arms, finally returning to us.

We aren’t supposed to be here now that she’s woken though. With urgency, Noctus nods at us to take our leave because the ceremony has finally been completed. In a matter of seconds, the vampires around me disappear and soon so do I, as Heinrich grips my arm to drag me back to the station with him.

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