”Fuck!” I yelled and dropped to the pavement three stories below me. Several yards away, Donnica did a nice back flip and right into a rogue’s midsection, sending him flying into an oncoming demon, who sidestep and lashed out with a claw, taking the rogue’s head in one smooth move.
“Really?” Donnica asked and glared at the demon. “He was my kill, damn it.” I shook my head at them both as she jumped back, dodging the claw aiming for her. She glanced at me and launched herself into the air. “Got a demon blade I could borrow?”
“Sorry, you’re on your own.”
“Damn hunters,” she muttered and flew higher into the sky.
“Where are you off to?” I asked and unsheathed my halogen blade.
“I’m going to help out west side of town.”
I nodded. “Have fun.” She snorted and flew off, leaving me to deal with the demon alone. Grimacing, I lunged for the demon just as he whipped out a gun. It went off as my blade drove deep into his chest and straight for his heart. The bullet slammed into my right leg, and I screamed along with the demon as he burned from the inside out. I yanked the blade out as my world spun around me. Blinding pain swamped me, and I threw myself away from the demon as he began to combust. Another shot went off, and I jerked, gasping and barely dodging the second bullet as my throat burned and seem to close on me. “Clever,” I wheezed as I broke out in a cold sweat. “Bullets infused with demon blood,” I gasped. “Clever,” I said and coughed, glancing back in time to see nothing but ash being blown away by the cold harsh wind. I looked down at my leg and let out another scream, as another wave of fire scorched its way throughout my body. My world spun faster around me, and my head hit the pavement hard, sending me into sweet oblivion.
“Sarisa,” a female voice said softly, and I groaned, shuddering and pulling away; wanting to slip back into my peaceful void of nothing. “Sarisa,” she repeated, and it was like fighting a compulsion I knew I couldn’t win. “Don’t make me start singing,” the voice continued. “Because you know I have a terrible voice.” Someone else said something, but for the life of me, I couldn’t make out the words. “Sergei says you better open your eyes before he does something stupid.” I mentally snorted, and then groaned out loud as pain shot up my leg.
“Fuck,” I gasped and bared my fangs in pain as someone pulled me into a sitting position. I opened my eyes and glared at Jailyn who was standing at the foot of the bed with her arms crossed. “You don’t have a terrible voice,” I said and gently poked at my leg wound.
“And how would you know this?”
“1370,” I said dryly and channeled heat to my hand.
“What?” she asked, her eyes narrowing dangerously. “And what are you doing?” she asked suspiciously.
“It’s called beneturgy.”
“Oh!” she exclaimed, and then scowled at me. “Why don’t I know this about you?”
I shrugged as my hand glowed white. “You just never saw me using it.”
“And where were you for the past six hundred years?” she asked and glared at Sergei.
“Hey, don’t look at me,” he said and carefully lowered himself onto the bed. His fingers wrapped around my wrist, stopping me from poking at the wound. My entire body throbbed painfully in time with the beat of my heart, and it was all I could do not to cry like a baby.
“How are you up and functioning?” I asked him and tried to pull out of his grip.
“I’m blocking him from your pain,” the necromancer said and sat on the edge of the bed. She stared pointedly at my glowing left hand and smirked. “You can heal yourself as well I take it?”
I shuddered, but nodded. “It’s going to hurt even more,” I said and cringed at what I was about to do.
“Are you sure?” she asked uncertainly. “I can call Davina or another witch here.”
“I’m sure,” I said as another sharp pain lanced through me. “I have to get the bullet out,” I gasped and rested my other hand on Sergei’s, tugging until he reluctantly released me. “Just make sure I don’t pass out.”
“What happens if you do?”
“Nothing, but I prefer not to slip into oblivion while channeling.” My right hand glowed the same white light as my left, and I let out a whimper as I grabbed hold of my leg, snatching one of Sergei’s many blades in the process. He let out a growl but didn’t stop me as I stuck the tip into the wound and sliced, creating a bigger hole.
“Sarisa,” Sergei hissed as Jailyn winced. I dropped the blade and stuck my fingers into the bleeding wound, screaming and cursing as I did so. I hunched into myself as Sergei wrapped his arms around me and stroked my sweaty hair out of my face. Cailin appeared in my peripheral vision, and I could’ve sworn she did a doubletake at my hands. After all, it was her that taught me how to heal with my bite. Apparently, my healing magic extended to my fangs when I was turned more than twelve hundred years ago.
“Well,” Cailin said with a heavy sigh. She rounded the bed and sat down on my other side, her hand going to my shoulder and squeezing lightly.
“Sorry,” Sergei muttered.
“Don’t be,” she said as I sucked in a sharp breath and dug deeper into my leg. My fingers found metal, and I almost passed out as pain shot through my skull. Dark blood saturated the mattress under me, and I almost cried as the ice cold magic of necromancy surrounded me. Casiar and Tristan appeared beside Jailyn, and they both winced as my loud cursing and shrieking blasted their eardrums. Jailyn’s hand shot out and clamped tightly around my wrist. She pulled my hand from the wound, and I couldn’t even put up a fight as pain racked me. Sergei shifted on the bed until I was cradled against him. Cailin applied pressure to my shoulder as I tried to move. I let out another scream as Tristan’s ice cold hand came down on my leg. I kicked him with my good one, and he grunted as I made contact with his ribs. I continued to curse at them as he and Jailyn ripped my pants off of me, tossing the blood-drenched fabric into the bathroom. I made a grab for the blade, and Sergei stiffened behind me. Tristan snatched the bloody blade away, and I finally let go, allowing the tears to flow, burning a hot path down my cheeks.
“Take in deep breaths,” Jailyn said gently as Tristan stuck his fingers into the wound. I screamed. I writhed. I cursed them all as waves after waves of unbearable pain hit me. The rush of blood was so loud in my ears that I couldn’t hear whatever Sergei was saying to me, or anyone for that matter. The hunger pain in my stomach was also killing me, and it was increasing by the second. My fangs ached, and they pulsed in anticipation of a feeding. Tristan jerked his hand from my leg, and I let out a bloodcurdling scream as black spots danced before my eyes. The room I was in blurred around me, and my stomach screamed a protest at the sudden move. Jailyn and Tristan jumped out of the way as I spewed blood everywhere. My stomach clenched painfully, and I couldn’t get air to my lungs to gasp. Sergei and Cailin held me and rubbed my back as I struggled to gather myself. After a long minute, I sucked in a sharp breath. Tristan reached out and held me up as Sergei removed my shirt that was just as bloody as my pants. Still crying, spluttering, and screaming, they lowered me into the bathtub. I sat there and shook violently as I reached for my still opened wound. Dropping the bloody bullet into a cup that was sitting on the sink counter, Tristan came over and crouched beside the tub. He cupped my chin as Sergei’s hand on my arm kept me from falling sideway or backward.
“Bite me, sweetheart,” Tristan said into my mind and out loud as the water came on. Baring his fangs, he ripped into his wrist and pressed it to my mouth before I could do nothing more than go very still. Letting out a feral snarl, I grabbed his wrist, tearing into it, gulping the hot, sweet, sweet blood down my throat like it was a freaking lifeline. He winced, nodding as Sergei said something to him. Tristan’s white eyes ringed with red met mine, and everything went blurry as his compulsion slammed into me. “As you feed,” he growled, both out loud and in my head. “You will heal yourself.” As the compulsion lifted, I continued to gulp down his blood as my hands went back to my leg. It took a moment before I could center myself and let magic rush down my right arm, to my hand, and out into the wound. It fucking burned as heat speared every inch of my body. I had no idea what was worse, the demon blood, or the healing. Sergei’s hand tightened around my arm as his other hand stroked my wounded leg. I screamed as more tears flowed, but I couldn’t stop feeding. It wasn’t the compulsion keeping my fangs buried in Tristan’s wrist; it was the beast, and she was telling me to fuck off. Tristan chuckled as his thumb rubbed the side of my jaw soothingly. The smell of burnt flesh reached my nose, and I coughed, causing more blood to spill from my mouth. Dark, dark water swirled down the drain as I continued to bleed.
“Here we go,” Jailyn said a moment later as my blood began to lighten slightly. Tristan jerked his wrist away, and I half snarled, half screamed at the loss of fresh blood. He was replaced by Cailin, and I bit into her wrist hard. I grimaced at the flakes of burnt flesh and blood in the water and wondered how much longer it was going to take. Slow by slow agonizing second that past, my blood continued to lighten, until it was the color of bright crimson. My wound began to finally close, and Sergei grunted as he leaned forward, lifting my leg out of the water. I reluctantly withdrew my fangs from Cailin’s wrist, still in pain and oh so very hungry. I removed my no longer glowing hands from my leg and groaned, letting Sergei picked me up and out of the tub. “Here,” Jailyn said and rested a hand on my arm. “Let’s move her to another tub and clean her up.” He nodded and everything went dark.
We appeared in another bathtub, and I pulled away from Sergei. I went over to the wall and rested my forehead against the cold marble, breathing deeply in and out. The shower came on, and I yelped as the cold water hit me. Sergei chuckled, and I glared at the wall, because I so did not feel like turning around. “Sorry, I should have warned you.”
“Okay,” said Jailyn. “Remove your bra and underwear. I won’t peek.”
“Too lazy,” I mumbled. Sergei’s cool hands came down on my shoulders, and he pulled me from the wall. Turning me to face him, I put my hands on his arms as he unhooked my bra and let it fall into Jailyn’s outstretched hand. With a heavy sigh, I straightened and removed my last piece of clothing and would’ve fallen if Sergei hadn’t caught me.
“I can wash myself,” I muttered. They both looked at me and scowled. “I’m not going to fall over and crack my head open.”
“Risa,” he said with a sigh.
“Rissy,” Jailyn warned as he took the wet soapy washcloth from her. He pulled me from under the water and began to wipe the stinging blood from my body. “You can hardly stand on your own, and I am not leaving until all remnants of demon are off you.”
“And you’ll have to forcibly throw me out,” Sergei growled and moved me back into the water. I sighed and ran my fingers through my black and blue hair, tilting my head back and letting the cold water filled my mouth before swallowing.
“Do I have blood in my hair?” I asked.
“No,” he said and handed me the bottle of shampoo. I took it and snapped open the lid, sniffing it.
Jailyn laughed softly. “Trust me," she said dryly. "It’s not the fruity kind. No one here apart from Kira, Corinne, Skyler, and Natalia likes sweet scented things.” I nodded and squeezed a good size glop onto my palm. As Sergei held me, I washed my shoulder-length hair and let out a groan of relief. I could still feel the lingering aftereffect of being shot with a bullet coated in demon blood, but it was now manageable, and I somehow didn’t want to end my suffering as much as I wanted to before.
“I know that I didn’t make it back to the HQ on my own,” I said and rinsed out my hair. “Who got the lovely task of finding me?”
“Well,” Jailyn said in amusement. “When your mate came to his senses, his murderous screams could be heard halfway around the world.”
“Really?” I asked and chuckled, rubbing the water from my eyes.
“Actually, he blew out Tristan’s eardrums in his call for help. I was with him and saw blood pour from his eyes, nose and ears.”
“Sorry,” I muttered and shut off the water.
She shook her head, handing me a towel. “Nothing to be sorry about, Rissy.” She pointed a finger at Sergei and gave him an icy look. “And you, my friend, need to clean yourself up now that she is done.” He scowled and reluctantly released me. I wrapped the towel around myself and stepped out. Jailyn rested a hand on my shoulder and squeezed lightly to get me walking. We entered another bedroom, and I headed for the bed, flopping down onto it with a sigh and a loud groan. Jailyn dropped down beside me and watched me curiously as I stared up at the ceiling. There was no longer any pain in my leg, but the area where I’ve been shot still felt numb, and I wondered if sensation would return, if any at all.
“Do you find me interesting?” I asked.
She smirked. “I’m just waiting for you to scream your lungs out at any minute now.”
I laughed humorlessly. “Sorry to disappoint, but I think I’m done crying and screaming.”
“No, I’m not done cursing yet.” I smirked. “Don’t think I’ll ever get tired of swearing.”
“Good to know,” she said dryly and tapped my arm. “Come on, get dress. You need to hunt.” I let out a groan, mentally flipping her off. With another sigh, I forced myself to get up, grumbling all the while.