The Darwin Chronicles, Book Three: The Blackfire Meadows

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Chapter 12

Briarlight scouts ran out of buildings all around.

"Why did you blow that horn for?!" Dan shouted up at them.

"The Ciis!" She shouted back. She shot another arrow, and they watched as another bird fell, morphing back into a human. Dan's eyes darkened.

"Get ready to be attacked-!" He shouted, cutting off as a huge shape bowled him over. It was a man wearing a black cloak. The man sat on Dan's back to keep him pinned, forced his chin up, and cut his throat.

Emmett felt sickened by the sight of his friend's blood squirting out of the slit on his throat but forced the bile down and ran down the stairs, Amy following. He was immediately met by a girl pointing a sword at his throat. He reared back and brought out his own sword. This girl was too good, and he had been caught off-guard-she easily disarmed him, but fell back with an arrow through the fleshy part of her arm.

"Thanks!" Emmett shouted to Amy, picking up his sword. She didn't answer, but merely pushed past him, ready to meet enemies in battle.

"Amelia?" A cheerful, familiar voice called. Celeste. The rage in Amy's eyes were plain to see, and she dropped her bows and arrows and charged at Celeste, drawing her sword. Celeste quickly tried to draw her own sword, but all she had was a short dagger, which she dropped as Amy leaped into the air and slammed the butt of her sword into her forehead. They both fell to the ground, Amy on top of Celeste, pinning her down. Celeste grinned.

"Well, isn't it my little cousin?" Celeste laughed. "My sweet little cousin. Tell me, how are those cuts and burns healing? And you're not pregnant, are you-?"

Amy slammed his fist into her windpipe, cutting of her air abruptly. "You took everything from me!" She screamed, aiming punch after punch onto her cousin. "I hate you!" Angry tears were now streaming from her eyes, but she didn't seem to notice or care. She yanked her sleeves up to show Celeste the ugly scars there, and burn marks. Her words now came in halting, angry sobs. "You cut me, Celeste. I'll cut you. You took everything from me in the most horrible ways. Now I'll make sure you die-in a horrible way!" She took Celeste's dagger and slowly drew it along Celeste's arms, drawing out cries of pain. Most fighting had ceased and the scouts looked on, horrified. The cries grew to wails as the cuts grew deeper and longer. This continued until Celeste was begging for mercy.

"Please-please-stop. Please."

Amy halted, breathing in angry hitches. "And now- I grant you the mercy you never gave to me." She rose the dagger into the air and stabbed Celeste in the throat, giving her a faster, less painful death than if she'd bled out through the cuts. Blood splattered onto Amy's armor, but she didn't care. The Ciis retreated, and Blackfire was silent once more as they stared at Amy, who dropped the bloody dagger, picked up her weapons, and walked into her family's house, closing the door behind her.

Fear grew in Emmett's gut. If she does that to people she hates....would she do that to me?

"Dan!" Emmett's attention was diverted Dan's best friend, Phil, sprinting over to Dan's body below the tower.

Oh, god....no. The pair had been living with each other for at least three years now, and were as close to each other as best friends could get.

Emmett watched as the black-haired man took the brown-haired boy's hand as the blood and life gushed out of him. Dan made incomprehensible gurgling noises at Phil, the fear and terror in his brown irises clearly plain to see.

"It's okay, Dan. I'll see you later, bear," Phil reassured him in a shaky voice. "You'll be fine-someone will take care of you until I find you again. You'll be okay. I'm proud of you. You've accomplished so much, and that's all you need to know. I-" his voice caught for a moment. Dan looked at him faintly in concern, blood dribbling out of his mouth. He made one last gurgling noise, his terror peaking. "I'll love you forever, bear," Phil told him, tears silently dripping down his face now. Dan relaxed, content with Phil's words, then stopped moving. Emmett squeezed Phil's shoulder, feeling his heart break. Dan was also one of his closest friends. A yearning for vengeance filled his heart, comforting him in a sick and twisted way.

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