Home > A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(2)

A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(2)
Author: Bella Forrest

It actually worked; the shifter nodded and turned into a flying horse. I didn’t hesitate, jumping onto its back and grasping its thick white mane as we took off. My sword was out as we ascended and took a tight turn, heading straight for the Destroyers.

Goren had gotten in front of that pack, baring his fangs at me, his tongue flicking as he pulled out a massive metal club.

“You’re coming back to Luceria with me, little Oracle!” he snarled.

Two of his Destroyers flew ahead, eager to capture me. My shifter jerked downward as I sliced through one with a wide swing and immediately stabbed the other in the neck. They both fell off their horses, wailing and hissing as they hit the ground below.

“Who the hell are you calling ‘little’?” I shot back, kicking my heels into the shifter’s ribs.

It neighed as it flew directly at Goren, its eyes flaring violet. The lieutenant Destroyer was visibly infuriated and thirsting to get a piece of me, but my shifter caught him by surprise as it tore into his horse’s throat.

The poisoned animal twitched and flailed as it fell, no longer able to sustain its flight. It dragged Goren with it, as the Destroyer left behind a string of curse words aimed at me. I managed to grab his shield before he dropped, mounting it on my arm.

“Sticks and stones, you ugly snake—thanks for the shield, though!” I shouted after him.

There was so much anger in me, its effect on my senses was incredible. I could see the remaining Destroyers come at me almost in slow motion. I blocked several arrows with my newly acquired shield before my shifter decided to charge them.

As if feeling my grief and my need to slice as many of these monsters as I could, my pretend horse flew right into the cluster as I swung my sword left and right and cut through two of them, then went back in for another round. They weren’t allowed to kill us Oracles, and that gave me a fantastic upper hand.

I was going straight for their heads, while all they were allowed to do was take my freedom. And after the Daughters had taken Viola from me, I wasn’t willing to let anything else slip through my fingers.

My shifter was a phenomenal companion, the result of the Daughter’s well-intended but much too powerful intervention in order to stop it and the rest of its pack from hurting one of our own. My stomach churned at the thought of the price my sweet Viola had to pay for me to be able to do all of this.

Make the most of it and get her back, I thought to myself as we left the last two Destroyers behind and shot through the night sky toward the white rock.

 

 

Field

 

 

I’d thought my wings gave me a unique advantage against the Destroyers, until I saw Aida, Phoenix, and Anjani use shifters in the form of flying horses to cause considerable damage. I darted through the sky, keeping several of the beasts busy and hot on my tail, occasionally glancing down to see the other three shifters successfully escort Aura, Almandine, and Eva into the next forest patch—but not before ripping out some Destroyer throats.

Goren was heavily injured in his fall, and we were left with ten Destroyers, four of which were focused on me. I flew in a tight circle and hit them from the side in a fast, twisting motion, swinging my hatchet in the process.

The heavy blade cut through meat and bone, rendering two of them useless and sending them plummeting toward the ground. I grabbed a shield off one of the horses left flying on its own, then headed toward the white rock.

I gradually descended with two Destroyers still after me, while more were chasing after the others. I dodged poisoned spears as I went for a low flight through the forest.

It was safer to run through the woods than fly above an open field. My feet touched the hard ground, and I moved between the trees, my wings retracted beneath my shoulder blades. I moved fast, constantly changing my direction by a few degrees, but always heading toward the white rock.

I glanced to my right and saw Aida running, followed closely by her shifter. A couple of yards farther away were Phoenix, Anjani and their unlikely companions, while Aura, Almandine, and Eva were ahead with the other three shifters.

I heard branches breaking behind us as we got closer to one another. Hooves soon thundered along the trail we left behind, the neighing of flying horses chilling me to the bone.

Whatever happened, I had to make sure the others were safe. My heart thudded as I shortened the distance between Aida and me. I needed her safe; otherwise I would cease to function altogether.

“We’re right on track,” Aida called out, still at least twenty feet away from me. “The white rock was marked on Serena’s map to Stonewall.”

I briefly remembered their account of the journey to the east, and the creatures they’d met along the way. If I wasn’t mistaken, we’d entered a forest patch that had been claimed by succubi of the Green Tribe.

 

 

Aida

 

 

I’d yet to reach the point of exhaustion in my run toward the white rock. The adrenaline rushed through me, and seeing Field alive and well to my left gave me even more energy. The mutated shifters were incredible, and I couldn’t understand why the Daughters of Eritopia had been so against them.

Granted, they were literal freaks of nature in these parts, but they kept us alive and were unbelievably useful in battle. If anything, I only wished Viola had affected more of these creatures. The thought of her instinctively made me look to my right, watching Phoenix as he jumped over tree stumps, followed closely by his shifter. Grief was imprinted in his eyes, hidden beneath a frown as he moved. His gaze softened slightly every time he looked at the creature keeping him company, as if it were a reminder of Viola.

I kept my breathing under control as I increased my speed through the woods. I could hear Destroyers still after us, and I kept my sword and shield ready for a final round with whatever was left of that pack of slithering monsters.

I glanced over my shoulder and counted eight atop their horses, wings gathered to their sides as they galloped toward us.

The white rock was only a few feet ahead, and I hoped we’d made enough noise to capture the Green Tribe’s attention. I knew they were somewhere nearby, and I prayed to all the forces of the universe to see them come out and help us get rid of our chasers. The more energy we preserved, the better our chances of making it till morning with all our body parts intact.

“Just ahead,” I shouted as we reached the clearing that held the white rock.

Phoenix and Field arrived just after us, followed by Anjani. Our shifters stopped on the edge, their pale muscles twitching—presumably aching for another fight. Aura and Almandine were already waiting by the large slab of snow marble, their long knives drawn and ready to attack. Eva gripped a sword in her hands, her yellow eyes wide and fangs bared. I’d never seen her like this before, and even I had to admit that, as beautiful as she was, she looked downright fearsome in that moment.

Anjani and Phoenix brought out their crossbows, aiming for the Destroyers’ heads as they landed with heavy thuds. The shifters charged them, some going for the horses’ throats while the others bit into the Destroyers’ arms and legs, dragging them to the ground.

I heard a whistle as I got ready to take on one of the remaining beasts. I looked back and saw a shower of arrows soar over our heads before piercing the Destroyers. They caused the monsters terrible pain, temporarily incapacitating them. It gave us the opening we needed, and Phoenix, Anjani, Field, and I launched our attacks and beheaded the last four Destroyers.

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