Blood Prophecy Page 94

There was some grumbling and someone called me a rather uncomplimentary name but the majority looked relieved to shake the violence off and have some kind of direction. We dragged the limp bodies into the cramped dungeons. Nicholas punched one of the Huntsmen who refused to move, even with a vampire sedative aimed at his head.

“We have to go,” I said to the Helios-Ra woman before the echo of the clanging gates had faded. She seemed the most capable and definitely the most stable. The old man was laughing to himself and peeing along the line of gates. I shuddered.

“Can you keep them calm until morning?” I asked her as Nicholas sorted through the crates of weapons.

“We’ll build a fire out on the edge,” she said. “And keep warm. That’ll stop most of them from freaking out further.”

“I just want to go home,” a college student muttered.

“If you go now you’ll just get lost in the forest and be even worse off,” I told him.

“She’s right,” the agent agreed. “We’ll keep guard, call for help on one of the machines and wait until first light.”

“League headquarters are under siege,” I warned her, hanging a miniature crossbow off my belt. “You might not get an answer right away.” I slung a regular bow over one shoulder and added two quivers of arrows. They were much faster to reload than a crossbow. I took three more tranquilizer guns as Nicholas dumped the stash of vampire sedatives into a pack. I added at least a dozen stakes all over myself, from pocket to pant cuff. If I tripped and fell I was in very great danger of puncturing a vital organ.

Nicholas and I were finally ready to leave the caves. Nicholas shoved the last Huntsman on the ledge right off the side. He swore all the way down, even though it was only a drop of a few feet. Huntsmen really were drama queens. Nicholas leaped down and then turned to steady me as I climbed after him, with far less grace. I clung to weeds and rock.

“Did you just cop a feel?” I asked when he let me drag down the length of his body. His smile was so quick I nearly missed it.

We ran down the trail, passing two prone hunters, a pile of ashes, and several broken saplings. We found Solange and Kieran back to back, fighting off Host vampires. Just this summer, he’d been threatening to kill her, and now he was trying to protect her and her whole family. If Solange could ignite change in vampire society, maybe Kieran could do the same for the League.

Solange disarmed one of the Host and claimed his sword. She was mostly blocking savage blows. She kept leaning in to whisper softly.

“What’s she saying?” I asked Nicholas.

“She’s telling them to get lost.”

The vampires, taking the order literally while under the influence of her pheromones, wandered away dazed. When Kieran was knocked over by a particularly vicious jab and nearly eviscerated himself falling onto a tree, Solange kicked back. She was fierce and confident; the Solange I knew so well but few ever had a chance to glimpse.

She extended her arm, cracking the vampire across the jaw, then spun on her foot and smashed the hilt of her sword into his face. Buffeted by blows, he staggered. She finished him off with a pheromone-soaked suggestion that he give up a life of crime and survive off rats.

“We’ve reclaimed the caves,” I called out. “And stuffed the evil asshats into the dungeons.”

She ordered the next vampire to give himself up and peacefully allow himself to be locked up. The last two vampires decided it was more prudent to abandon the fight and tear off into the dark forest.

Solange pushed her long black hair off her face. “Everyone okay?”

I hugged her tightly. “You saved us. All of us.” I pulled away, wrinkling my nose. “Did Kieran catch you up?”

“Fate of the world,” she said. “Betrayal, battles, blah, blah, blah.”

“Just like old times.”

Chapter 35


We ran for a long time.

Lucy and Kieran were slowing down, pressing their sides. Not so long ago I would have felt the same painful stitch under my ribs, the same burn in my lungs and legs. Now I could run all night. Well, until dawn anyway.

“I’m out,” Kieran panted at his uncle, having called him on my cell phone. “Whatever you’re going to do, do it now.” He paused, snorting incredulously. “I’ll tell her but you’re nuts if you think she’ll listen.” He hung up and glanced at us. “He’s going to call the cops on Hope’s unit,” he explained even though I’d heard every word as if it had been spoken right into my ear. Lucy probably couldn’t hear over her own heartbeat right now. It was loud enough to sound as if she’d smuggled a rapid-fire shotgun under her shirt.

“The cops,” Lucy echoed. “Can we do that?”

“The other alternative is to fight through the siege at the headquarters, and then people will die. They can’t even sneak out through the secret passageway since all the Helios-Ra agents there already know about them. “But,” he said, smiling darkly, “hanging around a house filled with highly suspect weapons is still totally illegal. And downright crazy if you start talking vampires.” He dialed the phone again as Lucy leaned weakly against the nearest tree.

“Go on ahead,” she said, taking slow, deep breaths.

“No,” Nicholas and I both said.

“We’ll catch up.”

“No,” Nicholas repeated calmly, handing her a bottle of water from the huge pack he’d taken out of the caves. It was stocked with supplies for the average hiker and vampire killer.

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