“When will they get here?” Amaya, the succubus standing beside me asked. At her question, there was a flash of blinding white light, and a second later, a shimmering door appeared in front of us. “Never mind,” the succubus said dryly. I could barely see Jailyn through the transparent portal, and I nodded to her, signaling that it was clear. She nodded back before disappearing out of sight. Amaya nearly fainted as Jesric stepped through followed by Freya a moment later. Taking her arm, I pulled her back as more vampires along with a few witches and shifters came through. “I think I just died and gone to heaven,” Amaya breathed in pleasure.
“Careful,” I warned. “Some of them are happily mated. I’m quite sure you don’t want to find yourself at the other end of a halogen blade. I assure you, it is very, very unpleasant.” She let out a long sigh, seeming not to hear a word I just said. Rozalia peeked into the portal, waving to us as it closed with a soft hiss.
“Hey,” Taylor snapped, glaring at the succubus. Amaya blinked and frowned at the vampire. “Are you the one who will be leading us to the captured vampire?”
“Yes,” Amaya said and cleared her throat twice before glancing around. Hell was like earth. It had forests, trees, houses, shops, rivers, lakes, oceans, and everything you would find on earth. The only difference was the color of the sky, the inhabitance, the lack of transportation, and the locations of everything. If you were to jump over to hell from the mall, you probably wouldn’t end up in the same place. In fact, if you had shitty ass luck on your side, you could very well end up landing in a volcano or in the middle of a mob fest. “She is heavily guarded, and the Ahzeekis, Za’hara’gais, Zeng’vrehions, and the Ra’schek’sis are all on the hunt tonight. The Haa’rezins are also on the loose.”
“Wonderful,” Sarisa muttered under her breath. “Just fucking… wonderful.”
“Do you know where the gate is located?” Jailyn asked. “If you say yes, you’ll be my favorite demon in the entire realm.”
Amaya frowned and shook her head. “Sorry, I have no idea where the gate is.”
“Of course you don’t,” Jailyn said with a heavy sigh.
“Shall we get going?” the succubus asked and turned, heading for the narrow footpath that led away from the huge clearing we were standing in.
“Yes,” Alek, one of the shifters drawled. “Let’s go and get our asses kicked, because I can smell them just yards beyond those trees.” Evelyn glanced up at the sky, and I tensed, knowing what was coming. The succubus paused as she caught the sudden tension in the air.
“I tell you now,” I muttered to Amaya. “If you don’t want to be deaf for a century, cover your ears.” She arched an eyebrow, and I shrugged. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Tristan pushed his way through the crowd until he was at his sister’s side. Evelyn turned to him, wincing as they exchanged words telepathically to one another. Something metal and cold was pressed into my hand, and I glanced down to find myself holding what looked like a twelve-inch silver stake. The pointy tip was sharp and deadly. Not only that, it was glistening with venom. I didn’t have to look around to see who had given it to me and why. Nodding to myself and ignoring Amaya’s questioning gaze that was boring a hole into my head, I tuck the stake out of sight. Evelyn gave Tristan a nervous look, a split second before the night sky lit up, bathing the clearing in a haze of red. At the same time, Tristan tossed a fireball into the trees. I hunched into myself, covering my ears as a loud explosion sounded off in the distance. As Freya’s magic clashed with the fire, the trees exploded as the ground shook underneath us. Burning splinters of twigs, barks and branches flew at the waiting demons like missiles. Released from their temporary deafness Tristan had put them in, the vampires blurred into action. The shifters followed a few seconds later as the witches slowly recovered themselves. Nolita was the first to be on her feet, and I smiled as rage entered her eyes. She glanced down at the others and scowled in disapproval before shrugging and running from the clearing—two swords made of fire appearing in her hands. Amaya and I watched as the rest of the witches picked themselves off the ground—more magic crackling in the air as they ran after Nolita. Shaking my head, Amaya and I were the last to leave as we followed the sound of battle. In the distance, Tristan, Evelyn, Taylor, and Casiar stumbled as one of the Ra’schek’sis took a vampire’s head. Cazaron, the only vampire with natural eye color—well… no longer the only vampire—leapt into the air, his sword flashing as he slashed his way to Tristan and Evelyn. The demons ignored me as Amaya and I duck and dodged our way through and around the fighting and onto the streets. Amaya stopped at the intersection, wincing as a Haa’rezin burst into flames. There were a lot of flying porcupines, and they went at the witches, shifters, and vampires hard.
“Well,” Amaya huffed. “At this rate, they’re never going to rescue the prickly vamp.”
I shrugged. “Say what you like,” I drawled. “They won’t back down until they have her.”
“Oh, I don’t doubt that,” she said and jumped out of the way of a flying torso. “And they better appreciate that hell has no humans or cars,” she finished dryly.
“Oh, I’m sure they do,” I said just as dryly as one of the vampires went bestial on an Ahzeeki. It was a beautiful deadly dance as they circled and dodged, lunging, snarling, stabbing, slashing, biting, clawing at each other. The progress moved at a snail-paced as they fought through the horde of demons. For every fallen demon that either burst into ash or flame, a vampire, a witch, or a shifter was soon to follow. Every time a vampire took his or her last breath, it took a toll on the original members of the Tronis line, because upon every single death of their children sired directly or indirectly, it was like being cut to the core of their very being, burning and suffocating them, over and over like waves crashing relentlessly against the shore. Amaya and I continued to make our way down the street as the fighting drew near. A howl of a wolf sounded over the fighting, just before someone began shooting.
“Shit!” Lorena snarled. “Just fuck me!”
“Sorry, not my type,” I drawled as she flipped a demon to the ground.
“I’ll take you any day and—” Amaya cursed, and I smirked as Lorena punched her in the mouth.
“Be careful of what comes out of your mouth next,” she warned. “Or your face will be the least of your worries.”
“Lorena,” Tristan snarled, and then gasped as another vampire was struck a fatal wound. Lorena spun, launching herself into the air and engaged three Haa’rezins. As bullets continued to spray, the witches switched from throwing offensive spells to defensive, creating shields that deflected some of the projectiles. I kept my eyes on Tristan as I walked backward.
“So,” Amaya said conversationally to me as she continued to lead us to Brynna. “Care to tell me why you have a stake on you?”
“Watch and learn, my friend. Watch and learn.” As another vampire was struck down, Tristan’s beast drew closer and closer to breaking free. Evelyn, who crouched near him, was heaving for breath as tears ran down her cheeks. I couldn’t see Casiar or Taylor as more demons, shifters, witches, and vampires died left and right. Windows from nearby houses exploded outward and onto the streets, raining shards of glass onto the combatants. Sven, who was covering Tristan, sheathed his bloody halogen blades, only to draw an AK47 and fired into the crowd. More gunfire joined the myriad of sounds as we turned down another street. Trails of the dead or dying littered the streets as black and red blood along with colorful spells continued to rain down like a macob version of confetti and silly strings. Display show it was not. A golden tigress leapt past me followed by a black-furred wolf, and I turned just in time to see them engaging half a dozen hellhounds. Cursing up a storm and taking off heads left and right, Jesric melted into the shadows—the icy cold touch of death magic slamming into me as he broke rank and let loose on the hellhounds.
“Oh, no,” Cazaron muttered from somewhere. “You can’t have all the dogs to yourself.” He appeared in front of me, saluted me before vanishing into thin air. Snorting, I watched as he and Jesric worked quickly with the shifters to take them down. Tristan’s snarls broke through my amusement, and I spun back around to find Evelyn fighting to keep him from joining the others. In their somewhat incapacitated state, they were no help.
“How much farther?” Jesric growled beside me.
“We still have a ways to go,” Amaya said, eyeing him warily. She was right on the mark to be wary, because no sooner had the words left her mouth, Jesric snatched the front of her shirt and yanked her up against him, his fangs bared and dripping venom.
“We better be going in the right direction,” he hissed. “If this is a trap you are leading us into, I will make sure that you in particular, die a very slow and painful death.” She grunted as he grabbed a fist full of her hair and jerked her head back, until she was looking him directly in the eye. “You know what I can do,” he growled softly. “Do you not?”
“I know exactly what you can do, Jesric, son of Jailyn,” Amaya said softly.
He smiled, and it was not a friendly smile. “Good, then I believe we understand one another quite clearly.” Glaring at her, he reluctantly released her and stepped back. Cazaron put a hand on Jesric’s arm, shaking his head.
“Come on,” he muttered. With one last icy glare toward Amaya, he allowed Cazaron to drag him back into the fight. Shrugging like nothing had happen; the succubus kicked an imp toward Iris and glanced around.
“This way,” she muttered and continued walking. Tristan let out a scream so loud that it momentarily stunned everyone into silence. My ears rang as I jumped into the battle, cursing as someone jabbed me in the side.
“What are you doing?” Sven snarled as I made my way toward him. He reloaded his gun, took aim at a demon behind me and fired off a shot. Grimacing, I grabbed Tristan around the throat and yanked him from Evelyn.
“Stop,” I said quickly as Sven and Cole turned on me. “Stop.” I glared at them. “I’m not going to kill him.” I grunted, silently cursing as Tristan dug his fingers into my arm. He hissed as my blood dripped onto his hand, but he didn’t let up on his hold, he only dug deeper. “Talk to Jailyn,” I snarled and grabbed hold of Evelyn’s arm. I pulled them from the fight, almost getting shot in the head myself. I kicked both demons and vampires out of my way as Amaya took Evelyn from me. I glanced at Tristan, wincing at the pained expression on his face. “Poor you,” I drawled. His eyes flashed open, and if I were anyone else, I would’ve released him and run the opposite direction as fast as I could. My eyes narrowed. “If you don’t mind, remove your fucking claws.” I groaned, because instead of releasing my arm, his hand spasm, his entire body going rigid, and I could practically hear his teeth grinding together as another vampire went down. Evelyn let out a moan, cursing and glaring at the demons behind us. I winced as Cazaron appeared behind a demon and decapitated her before disappearing and reappearing beside another demon. The sounds of guns being fired finally stopped, and it was back to fisticuffs, daggers, swords, and magic. I smirked as Jesric pistol whipped an Ahzeeki, sending him sprawling. Before he could get up, a tendril of shadow sliced through the air and into his neck, severing his head from his shoulders. Tristan released his hold on my arm, and I released mine from around his neck. Straightening, he glanced around, and we all ducked as a misfired spell came at us. Evelyn’s hand shot out, locking around his wrist like a vise, preventing him from lunging into the battle.
“Don’t you dare,” she snarled. Tristan growled, jerking his wrist from her and grabbing a Zeng’vrehion that came just a little too close to us. Evelyn sighed and pulled away from Amaya, scowling. Tristan gave her a warning look as he stabbed a blade into the demon’s chest, grunting as one of the four arms smacked him upside the head. He yanked the blade out, kicking the demon into a Haa’rezin as she burst into flames. Amaya shook her head, blinking.
“Can we get moving?” the succubus asked, turning and walking away. Tristan watched the battle around us, torn between jumping into the fight or staying out of it. I almost laughed out loud as Sven pulled out his gun and pointed it threateningly his sire’s direction.
“Don’t provoke me into shooting you,” he warned, and Tristan almost smiled… almost. I tapped him on the shoulder, and he took in a deep breath, letting it out in a cough. Shaking his head, Tristan turned and reluctantly followed Amaya, who was already about twenty feet ahead of us. Evelyn gave Sven a glare before she and I fell in step behind the succubus.
“You do not have to watch the battle, you know,” Freya said, appearing from nowhere, covered in blood and crackling with magic. “Do you not want to join the others?” she asked as she kept pace beside me.
I shrugged. “I could join the others,” I said and glared into the back of Amaya’s head. “But I’m making sure this one doesn’t get out of line.”
“I don’t need a babysitter,” Amaya muttered under her breath.
“Are you so sure about that?” I asked, smirking.
She turned her head and glared at me. “For your information, I don’t hit on every single male I encounter.”
“Right,” I drawled. “Keep telling yourself that.”
“Ah,” Freya said in amusement. “I see.” She reached out, putting a pale hand on Tristan’s shoulder as she stepped up beside him. Behind us, death and destruction continued to rain down all around us like there was no tomorrow to speak of. A Haa’rezin dropped down in front of me, forcing me to a stop. The others also stopped, turning to watch.
“What?” I snapped at the demon, putting up a hand as Freya’s magic whipped around us.
“Why are you helping them?” the Haa’rezin hissed. “They are not one of us.”
“Why am I helping them?” I asked, tilting my head to the side. “Because I can. Now get the fuck out of my way,” I growled. “Unless of course, you enjoyed watching your inners exploding from your body.”
“Then you are one of the enemies.”
I arched an eyebrow and snorted. “Am I?”
“Yes,” he hissed, and I barely ducked out in time from his multiple tentacles.
“You fucking idiot,” I snarled and changed into my demon form. I lunged and body-slammed him to the ground. Ignoring the stingers painfully pumping venom into me, I dug my acid-coated claws into his belly and ripped downward, spilling the contents of his stomach. “You should know better than to fuck with me,” I hissed as I got off of him. A fireball appeared in my hand and I tossed it, smiling as the Haa’rezin writhed and screamed, slowly melting under the onslaught of acid and flames.