I’m completely surrounded. I put my hands in the air and let one of them grab me, chaining my arms behind my back with silver cuffs. I need a minute to think of something. Vampires are incredibly fast and I know I can’t outrun them.
I’m roughly shoved into the trolley.
“Keep your head down!” One of them snarls.
I pull my chin to my chest until the trolley starts to move. I start counting them as discreetly as possible.
My mind is racing, wondering how I’m going to get out of this. The silver tingles against my skin. I know I that I don't have much time before it starts to burn and eat into my skin.
The trolley lurches to a sudden stop and I'm flung violently forward. I hear an angry yell and I’m suddenly thrown from the seat onto the ground next to the cart. As I pull myself up onto my knees I can see four wolves attacking. The cart is engulfed in flames and the air is thick with smoke and screams.
“Noelle,” Sloane yells from behind me causing me to jerk my head in her direction.
I watch her as she fights her way toward me, each time her eyes meet mine she looks...afraid. When she finally gets to me she grabs something out of the trolley and I feel her wrapping it tightly around my neck before bending down to unlock my hands.
“Hold that cloth to your neck, you’re covered in blood,” she’s trying to stop the bleeding, maybe this is worse than I originally thought.
“Phoenix… Where is Phoenix?” I beg her.
She pulls my arm and gets me to my feet before helping me into another trolley on the side of the road.
“He’s in the middle of a shit storm. After you left we raided the castle, there aren’t as many of us as we hoped for but the wolves are… they're giving it their all. Every one of them knows what’s at stake and they are fighting like hell.” I can feel the pride radiating from her.
As we pull up to the castle I’m shocked. Not an hour ago this scene looked very different. There is smoke billowing out of parts of the castle and people running everywhere.
We run toward the hall we were in earlier, bodies lay mangled and bleeding. The ground is stained red as we race toward the loud, chaotic sounds of battle.
The door opens to absolute madness. There are wolves fighting vampires, vampires fighting vampires, guards attacking each other. My nose and throat burn from all the smoke and the acrid smell of blood.
My eyes flit through the chaos and land on Phoenix. He is bloody and ragged but still standing. Arius and Master Vicioso are fighting with him. He can sense me and we make momentary eye contact. His angry red eyes look over my body and I see concern flash through them before he is forced to turn away.
Sloane makes eye contact with Alex and they both run to help him. Even in human form Alex is impressive. Since his wolf was freed he’s quickly packed on muscle. He pushes his way through the crowds, easily throwing people to the sides to clear the way for Sloane.
The crowd is full of wolves in both forms, laying siege to the vampire upper echelon. They are taking no prisoners. Even now the weight of this is not lost on me. I can't believe that we are here, wolves, free and in wolf form, fighting.
I shift quickly and help Dannon who is pinned down by another guard. I bite down on his neck and she kicks herself out from underneath him. Once she’s free I push him forward, dragging him across the ground. Pulling him with as much force as I can muster into a burning curtain.
I shift and stumble backwards, weak and breathless. Dannon wraps her jacket around me.
“Here, tie this around your neck,” she rips material from her shirt.
I search for Phoenix again. He is fighting Arius with Alex. There is someone burning on the ground before them, I’m afraid of who it could be. I shudder at the thought.
I search for the King but don’t see him. He must have escaped into the chaos. Coward.
I’m suddenly being jerked backwards.
I don’t know what’s happening but I’m being pulled against someone. I feel too weak to fight it, blood is still gushing from the wound on my neck. There are spots in my vision.
Madam Vicioso whispers in my ear, “I’ve been waiting for this,” she presses something to my neck.
I know it’s a syringe. The room spins and I close my eyes, I can’t struggle, I’m stuck. I open my eyes and search for Phoenix. In a matter of seconds things seem to have taken a turn for the worst.
Phoenix, Alex and Sloane are being overrun.
I am thrown painfully to the ground, my head hitting the stone floor with a crack. I hear a sickening crunch from behind me. The syringe was ripped from my neck as I fell. I look to see a large gray wolf shaking Madam Vicioso’s body against the ground. I smile at my uncle, his wolf releasing her neck from his teeth to let Miles pull her at incredible speed toward a pillar of fire, her body igniting immediately.
He bows his head to me before running toward the growing crowd of reinforcements that have come to fight for the King.
Dannon helps me to my feet. I’m trying to step forward, to watch Phoenix but she keeps blocking me. I am filled with a dread I can’t explain, why won’t she let me see him?
I use the last bit of my strength to push her, letting my body stumble forward. Alex has his hands on Sloanes shoulder and he is pulling her away. They are backing off. Phoenix is saying something to her but I can’t hear anything. Everything spins and I scream.
Another wave of vampires is filing into the room, forming a wall. They open fire across the room, a loud drilling sounds filling the air. Each time a wolf is hit they freeze and shift before hitting the ground, dead.
Phoenix makes eye contact with me from across the huge room. A small smile pulls at his lips.
“I love you,” he mouths before someone knocks him to the ground.
I can’t see him, his body is hidden but I can see that several guards are converging on him.
Alex is pulling Sloane away, toward a side door, she is looking back at Phoenix with tears in her eyes.
“Save him!” I scream, my voice a broken cry, “someone save him! Alex! Help him!"
I feel myself being lifted from the ground. I thrash but it’s no use, I'm too weak to even struggle.
“Don’t fight, Your Majesty, we have to get you out of here,” Miles says quietly.
The room starts to fade, my vision blurry. I try to keep my eyes open, to search for him, but I can’t. Darkness overtakes me as I hear my own voice screaming for Phoenix.