Night have fallen a couple of hours ago, and in the realm of the demons, it was total chaos. In every direction as far as the eye could see was blood, torn body parts, bones, and more blood. As we stood outside of a large building painted a dull grey color, I continued to fight the internal demon within me. No longer able to retract my fangs or claws, I knew that I was just only seconds from losing it completely. I hissed, silently cursing Zynzaulatris. The ball of shadows might have not been aimed at me, but I did not appreciate the excruciating pain that slammed into me the moment I had regain consciousness. The sound of battles still going on around me was like listening to white noise. I couldn’t even make out what Freya was saying to me as she and Evelyn held me between them. One of the hunters moved to the door, and I braced myself for the cold burn of death. So many deaths, I thought, so many fucking deaths. Grief, rage, and hunger fought one another for supremacy, and at the moment, rage and hunger threatened to pull me over the edge of sanity. It had a strangle hold on me, and I could barely get the sulfurous air drenched in the scent of blood and death into my lungs. I dug my claws into my palms, and blood dripped to the ground as I fought to remain in the right frame of mind. Suddenly the pain I was already in tripled—black spots danced across my vision as I staggered back a step. Looking down, I could see a hilt of a blade protruding from my stomach. “Wake up, Tristan,” Amaya said sweetly into my ear. Snarling, I pulled out the blade, and then hissed as lust hit me, and it wasn’t for blood. Oh, how dare she, I silently snarled. She did not just use her demon charm on me. She did not just… Pushing my way through the sexual haze, my hand shot out, and Amaya gasped as I stabbed her in the chest. The spell broke as suddenly as it came on, and she screamed as I slashed open her carotid with a claw. The ice cold of death magic slammed into me, and I screamed in rage as I was thrown to the ground. Amaya continued to scream as she was tossed into the air to slam against the side of the building. Before I could get to my feet, I let out another scream as what felt like a fist wrapped around my heart and squeezed, followed by the most agonizing wrench in the center of my being. My eardrums burst as blood vessels popped, and white light exploded in my head as Evelyn, Cailin, Rebecka, Casiar, Allia, and Riordan’s screams filled my head. The only screams I didn’t hear were Elijah and Taylor. I couldn’t hear the latter, because… Still screaming, I mentally reached out, blasting every single vampire, demon, shifter, and witch away from me as I rode the pain and got to my feet. Fighting the darkness that tried to pull me under, I mentally locked on the blood and teleported.
Appearing in the middle of a mob, I quickly scanned the area. Flashing to one of the hunters, I grabbed her and dived into her mind. She screamed and screamed, clutching at my hands as I flipped back to the scene I wanted to see. As the demons drew closer to where we were standing, I let out a feral snarl and mentally lashed out. Some of the demons were flung back several feet while others met their deaths as their heads exploded, sending blood and brain matter flying into the air. The ground shook under my feet as flames erupted all around me. Sathia, Freya, Evelyn, and Casiar appeared beside me as I focused on the scene in the hunter’s mind. Evelyn and Casiar quickly slipped into my own mind as I watch the very last moment of Taylor’s life. Surrounded by no less than nine demons holding a 22 caliber, they fired simultaneously. She let out a bloodcurdling scream, because the bullets slamming into her weren’t lead or silver; they were coated in demon blood. As she screamed, one of the demons threw a white worm into her mouth, cackling as she choked. She would’ve lasted a while longer except… I pulled out of the hunter’s mind, Taylor’s body exploding into bits of blood, flesh and bones flashing vividly in my mind’s eye. The worm was no longer the size of an earth worm; it was now the size of a humanoid. It didn’t make any move to attack, but that wouldn’t last for long. The hunter slumped in my arms, and I shuddered. Growling, I ignored the burn of demon blood and handed her over to Jailyn who yanked a stray soul back to her before it could touch me. Freya muttered something under her breath, and not a second sooner, the flames died. Evelyn pulled me into her embrace, and everything went dark.
Evelyn released me as we appeared a hundred feet or so from the building. Someone must’ve given the go-ahead, because a few seconds later, the door burst open on its own. Except for the ongoing battle behind us, no one moved. A long minute past, and then Cazaron stirred, sheathing his sentient demon sword into the sheath at his back. The sword was all but vibrating in pleasure as he put a hand into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a tiny stick of dynamite. “You did not,” Sathia hissed.
“What?” Cazaron asked. “This?” He held up the object in his hand and shrugged.
“If you blow up this place, how do you expect to rescue your friend?”
“Don’t worry. It will only be a tiny explosion.”
“Are you so sure about that?”
“According to your… friend here, Brynna is in the basement. Or are you telling me that her memories are faulty?” he asked, glancing at a bloodied Amaya leaning against the building in question. She shrugged. “Besides, this is a very, very special little friend of mine. I even have a name for her.”
Sathia groaned and stepped back, shaking her head. “Don’t make me drive that sword of yours through your heart,” she warned and stabbed a claw in the direction of the ruined doorway. Chuckling, he turned to the door as the stick came to life—the tiny, blinking red light counting down the seconds. With one last look around him, he threw it into the building. Holding onto my last ounce of sanity like it was a lifeline, I hissed just as a boom sounded from inside. Sven and Cazaron were the first to enter when no screams could be heard. A minute later, Sven appeared in the doorway and nodded before disappearing.
“Hold on a little longer,” Freya said into my ear as her cold hand wrapped around my upper arm. “After we rescue Brynna, you can have some fun,” she finished with a hiss as she tugged me toward the building. How in the world’s fuck was I still in control of my damn beast? I thought as I blinked blood from my eyes. Snarling, I pulled away from Freya and flashed inside. Looking around, I realized that the explosion hadn’t done much damage. It took out most of the north wall and part of the ceiling. There were scorched marks here and there; dust and debris still raining down around Lorena, Sven, Cazaron, and Jesric. Smoke hung thick and heavy in the air as I made my way into the kitchen and to a closed door, Sathia, Nolita, Davina, Iris, Evelyn, Casiar, and Freya closed behind me. Freya’s arms came around me, pulling me to a stop as Sven’s own hand slammed into my chest.
“Allow me to go through first,” he hissed as I growled low in my throat. “Please?” I snarled, baring my fangs as my hand closed around his wrist. Cursing, he jerked out of my hold and muttered about something I couldn’t make out. Shaking his head, he opened the door, and at the same time, Freya and Iris yanked me out of harm’s way. After a moment of hesitation and making sure nothing was going to kill us, he stepped through the door and let out a snarl. “Don’t let him go,” he snapped as the others joined him and I found myself being slammed headfirst to the floor. The rush of blood grew louder and louder in my ears, and my vision tunneled, narrowing until they were nothing more than pinpricks of red. The cool rush of Freya’s magic washed over me, and I snarled, seething as I fought the magical binding. My snarls turned into screams of unadulterated rage as I felt the ice cold touch of death magic crashing into me. I could all but practically hear something snapping in my brain as darkness closed in on me.BRYNNA
So much pain… and no relief in sight. All I could smell was my own blood; all I could feel were nothing but a burning numbness that just wouldn’t go away. I couldn’t see or hear anything, but I could feel the vibrations, and it was adding to the pain I was already in. I wondered how many more times they were going to flay me alive before giving in to the urge to just kill me outright. Oh, I thought, almost smugly. I hope they’d slip up soon, because revenge was bitter sweet. I couldn’t even scream as pain flared white hot, and the brief relief of unconsciousness was only a blip on my radar. Though I was no longer being clawed, slashed, stabbed, shredded, burnt, or skinned, I could still feel the phantom pain of it. I was drowning in my own blood—the taste of it driving me insane. The worst part was that I couldn’t slip into blissful oblivion—the agony too great to simply be ignored. Sounds began to filter in, but I still wasn’t able to see. Hell, did I even have eyeballs? Growls and snarls battered against my poor senses, and I couldn’t help it… I let out a pained groan. “Fuck,” someone hissed from nearby. I tried to gasp in air, but instead of getting air into my lungs, all I got was more blood down the wrong tube. I coughed, my breath wheezing out of me as what felt like being lifted came over me. “Fuck,” someone repeated, and I realized that someone was Sathia. “If you can hear me, Brynna, don’t come up with any brilliant ideas.” She hissed at someone else, and I screamed inside my own head as red hot fire licked along my entire body. A second later, pain exploded in my head, and blissful oblivion finally pulled me under.SARISA
“This won’t do us any good,” I said as I held up the IV bag feeding blood into Ari’s veins. “But for now, try to keep the fact that we didn’t tell Tristan that Ari woke up for a short while to yourselves. I was just told that the portal will be opening in a minute.”
Kira gulped. “Are they all coming back?” she asked, her hands tightening on the bedrail.
“All except for Jailyn, Casiar, Jesric, and Riordan.” She nodded, looking both highly terrified and relieved. I held back a laugh, shaking my head slightly. “You just don’t want to see your sire,” I said dryly. “You do, but yet you don’t.” I reached out with one hand and ruffled her hair. “Want to see the report I wrote up about you for him?”
She gasped, grabbing my hand and pushing it away. “You did not!” she exclaimed and poked Ari’s cheek hard.
“Kira!” I spluttered.
“Ari,” she moaned. “Wake up. You have to save me.” Skyler, who was trying her best to hold back her laughter, put her face in her hands and let it out. There was a sudden charge in the air, and we all stilled, except for Skyler who dropped her hands and sat back in her chair, tears in her eyes and still laughing.
“Oh god,” Kira said breathlessly. “They’re definitely back.” She rubbed her arms and let out a shudder.
“Any of you covered with demon blood, wash it off or drain yourself,” I said, knowing full well they could hear me. I hung the IV bag on a hook as the charge grew even more charged. Stomach tightening, I stepped from the room and came to a sudden halt, as Sathia appeared from nowhere holding a broken, bloody form of Brynna in her arms.
“If you are wondering where Tristan is,” the demon drawled. “Jesric dropped him off in the middle of a pack of six rogue vampires.” I nodded and pointed into an empty room. I followed Sathia in and nodded to the table. After carefully lowering Brynna onto it, she stepped back. Sensing Sergei long before he appeared in the doorway, I turned and scowled at him. Covered in dried black and red blood, he gave no indication that he was in pain. Muttering, I stabbed a finger toward the bathroom.
“Move,” I snapped. He glanced at Sathia, giving her a questioning look.
“Was she like this when you arrived?” he asked as he stepped into the room.
The demon smirked and shrugged. “I suggest you do as you're told,” she said dryly. “I’ve heard she can get nasty if her orders are ignored.”
“Sergei!” I yelled, and he grunted as white light shot from my hands to hit him in the stomach. “Get in there and wash the blood off.” Shuddering, wincing, and grumbling, he flashed to the bathroom. “Now stay in there until I say otherwise.”
“Yes, sir,” he muttered. Sighing, I walked into the walk-in refrigerator and grabbed four bags of blood. Flashing into the bathroom, I set them but one on the sink counter and glanced at the giant plastic container sitting on top of it. Sergei dropped his clothes into it while his somewhat cleaned weapons went into the sink. His cold hand brushed my own as he took the blood I held out to him. Looking him up and down, I growled at the opened wounds I could see. Dropping the empty bag into the same container as his bloody clothes, his hand caught my wrist before I could touch him.
“I will be fine,” he said softly. I scowled as his free hand cupped my chin, tilting back my head until I was looking him in the eye. “I will be fine,” he repeated, his thumb stroking my cheek. “Help Brynna, she needs it more than any of us.”
“But—” His hand was a blur as he gripped a fistful of my hair, tilting my head back even more as his mouth landed on mine, and I gasped as his tongue swept in to clash with my own. It was brutal and hot, nowhere near gentle as I kissed him back, one of my hands going to his upper arm and squeezing. Our tongues stroked, clashed, and tangled together in a rough dance as pleasure coursed throughout my body. I groaned at the sudden heat between my legs, as my core began to throb. He broke the kiss with a snarl, both of us panting, as if we ran a billion mile marathon. The hand that was gripping my hair loosened, and he smirked.
“Need a little help?” he asked as the bathroom door shut behind me.
I gasped. “Don’t you dare,” I hissed and yelped as he spun me fully to face the sink. Gripping the counter with both hands, I growled. “This is not the time to—” Groaning, I let my head hang in defeat as his hands moved to unbutton and unzip my pants before reaching inside my underwear to stroke my opening with a finger.
“There is nothing wrong with a quickie, love,” he whispered in my ear as I shifted, spreading my legs for better balance.
“Yes, there’s… fuck,” I moaned as he pushed a finger inside me.
“And I take a dare as a challenge,” he growled as his finger moved in and out of me.
“You have no… god damn it,” I gasped as he pushed a second finger inside of me. I moaned as his fingers moved faster in and out. Tightening around him, I pushed back into his hand and sank my fangs into my lower lip as I came apart for him, my fingers digging painfully into the counter as my nails created dents and gouges in the smooth, white surface. Growling, he shoved my pants and underwear down, and I stepped out of them, gasping and cursing at him. His cold hands went to my waist, and my world blurred as he spun me around and moved to press my back against the cold wall. I wrapped my legs around him, and his mouth fell on mine, kissing me as he thrust himself inside me with a growl. Clutching at his shoulders, my nails digging into him, I met him thrust for thrust as he took me fast and hard. The hot pleasure coursing through me grew, and my vision wavered as I clenched around him. I screamed into his mouth as the orgasm slammed into me. He snarled as I squeezed him, and he jerked and pulsed as he came inside of me. I let out a moan, wrapping my arms around him as he broke the kiss. “Damn you,” I gasped as he slowly pulled out of me.
“What?” he growled innocently. “You need to loosen up a little.” I glared at him as he stepped back, one hand going to my upper arm to steady me. Regaining my balance, he released me and jumped into the shower before I could get the brilliant idea to punch him. “Go,” he said. “Go and heal Brynna. The healing light you hit me with is helping with speeding up my own.”
“Not fast enough,” I said grumpily as I picked up my underwear and jeans off the floor and stepped into them.
“Go,” he warned.
“I hate you,” I growled as I willed on the sink water to wash my hands. Shutting off the tap and after drying my hands on a midnight-blue hand-towel, I yanked open the door and stomped from the bathroom. Sathia, looking oh so amused, opened her mouth to say something, only to curse vehemently as I stabbed her in the side of her neck with a hypodermic needle. “Not a word,” I snarled and mentally shoved at Sergei as he let out a chuckle.
“OW,” Sathia complained and yanked out the needle, dropping it onto an empty tray that was sitting on the counter. . Muttering something under her breath, she walked out the door that led into the hall. Taking in several deep, deep breaths, I stepped up to the table and stared down at Brynna.
“Okay,” I said with a heavy sigh as Cailin appeared beside me. “First, let’s clean all this blood off you.” A little scared of what I would find under all the mess, I took the dripping wet cloth Cailin was holding out and gently, gently wiped away the blood. It didn’t help much, because she was still bleeding out. Setting the bloodied cloth on the tray, I looked her up and down, getting my first good glance at all the injuries. Aside from the cuts, stabs, slashes, and bruises; almost every single bone in her body were either broken or crushed. Judging by the pinkness of her skin, it looked like she had been flayed a time or two. Her face was swollen; her eye sockets crushed. Cailin let out a hiss and growled low in her throat as she got a look inside Brynna’s mouth. Her jaw was dislocated, and though her fangs were extended to their full length, her tongue was nowhere in sight. “Shit,” I hissed, peering into her empty eye sockets. “This is going to be a fucking bitch to grow back.” I whistled. “She is going to be piiiissed.” Turning her head from side to side, I got a look at her ears. “That doesn’t mean shit,” I said and glared at the untouched ears. Growling, I grabbed an otoscope and peeked inside. “Yep, as I thought,” I hissed. “Burst eardrums.”
“I will feed her, just say the word,” Cailin said through gritted teeth as she dropped into a chair. I nodded, setting the scope on the tray. Behind me, Sergei let out a whistle.
“Damn,” he growled.
“I know we’ve seen all this before,” I said dryly as the hot tingle of magic rushed to my hands. “But this is Brynna we’re talking about.”
“I have her in a deep sleep,” said Cailin. “Go ahead and heal what you can.” My hands glowing like the noon sun, I placed them on Brynna’s cheeks. The heat of my magic poured into her, and I shuddered as fluid and more blood leaked from her eye sockets and ears into her blood-soaked hair. My hands moved to her neck and slowly down the rest of her body, wincing as demon blood burned my skin. After one last sweep up and down her body, I withdrew my hands and let the glow fade as I straightened to my full height. Cursing, I limped over to the sink and washed away the blood and other stuff I didn’t even want to ponder on.
“You can feed her,” I said to Cailin and Sergei. They both nodded as I made my way to the door with a wet paper towel still in hand. “I’m going to check up on Ari. Warn me when Tristan get here, won’t you?”
“I’ll be sure to do that,” Cailin replied with a chuckle.
“I will hold you to that,” I said and stepped from the room.