Home > A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(9)

A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(9)
Author: Bella Forrest

After my second exhalation, the double doors opened with a loud clang. My heart stopped and my blood froze as Azazel walked into my chamber, followed closely by Damion. Hate, fear, and anger made my stomach curl into a tiny ball, and I struggled to keep myself under control.

Punishment was highly likely, given what I’d done. On the other hand, I really wanted to reach out and dig Damion’s eyes out. My throat still burned, and my skin was tender where his fingers had dug in the night before.

I held my breath, watching Azazel stop by the foot of my bed, his serpent tail twitching.

“My dearest Vita,” he said in a somber tone, “are you not looked after here? Are you not treated like a princess? I’ve given you the comfort and assurances you requested. So why, I ask, did you have to go and make such a mess downstairs?”

“Giving me comfort by keeping me locked in my room? Treating me like a princess by keeping me imprisoned in this hellhole? Really?” I shot back, unyielding.

I’d thought I’d be paralyzed in his presence, but all I felt was a colossal amount of rage, which was becoming harder to control. I once again thought to myself that it might have something to do with my fire fae abilities being locked in my body. After all, fire can only stay put for so long, and mine yearned to be let out, to consume everything in its path—starting with the two Destroyers standing in front of me.

“Let’s get something straight here, little miss,” Azazel hissed, clearly out of patience. “I’ve agreed to hold off on the torture and glass sphere experience—you’re welcome, by the way!—in exchange for your cooperation. I’ve received no visions from you, only news that you helped one of the prisoners escape. I should put an end to this right now and resign you to the same fate as Abrille, yet here I am, offering you one last chance to redeem yourself.”

“Listen, buddy, my visions don’t come whenever I snap my fingers. It doesn’t work like that, and I’ve told you that already. When they come, I’ll let you know,” I replied harshly. “However, if you could get your Destroyers to not strangle me whenever they lose their temper, it would be greatly appreciated.”

I nodded toward Damion, who somehow shrank in size behind Azazel. Judging by the guilty look on his face, he hadn’t told Azazel about his violent reaction in the dungeons. Azazel looked over his shoulder, then glanced at me with a raised eyebrow.

“I take it Damion here was unnecessarily brutal?”

“He tried to strangle me! My throat hurts. My head hurts. How do you expect me to receive any visions if I’m being abused like this?” I crossed my arms over my chest and pursed my lips, my indignation somewhat theatrical but essential in helping me prove my point.

“Worry not, little Oracle,” he grinned. “Damion will receive his just punishment for his mistake. And we’ll get some visions out of you, too.”

Damion emerged from behind Azazel with a copper bowl. I craned my neck to get a better look and noticed a multitude of weird and colorful herbs. Their fragrance nearly burned my nostrils—a heavy and pungent smell I’d never experienced before.

“What are those?” I muttered.

“Let’s just say they’re a much-needed visual aid,” Azazel replied, and snapped his fingers over the bowl, setting its contents on fire.

Damion blew over the bowl until the flames died out and a thick purple smoke emerged. He brought the bowl closer to me and waved his hand, sending the smoke my way. Before I realized what was happening, I had breathed it in, and immediately felt the ground beneath my feet disappear, followed swiftly by the bed.

I fell backward as darkness enveloped me.

I was consciously losing control of my senses. As I blacked out, all I could think was:

I’m in so much trouble…

 

 

Vita

 

 

I knew, as soon as the darkness began to dissipate, that I was going into a vision. Whatever those herbs were, they had quite an effect on me. I maintained a conscious state as the image formed in front of me, but it was different from all my previous visions.

Everything was clear and crisp, loud and incredibly close, as if it were a high-definition picture that I was experiencing in real time. The others had always felt like vivid dreams, but never so intense.

I stood on Mount Agrith. I recognized the double peak, the pink waters, and the white stone that Phoenix had described when he first saw it. I saw the Daughters of Eritopia on the edge of the water, their bare feet shuffling across the iridescent limestone.

They wore their regal silk garments and golden masks, jewels covering their slim wrists and fingers. The wind blew softly, brushing through their reddish pink manes as they got closer to the primordial lake. One of them carried the littlest Daughter, wrapped in a red organza fabric. She seemed pale and lifeless, resting her head against her sister’s chest, her fuchsia hair long and loose. It held a different hue than the others, and I figured it had something to do with her premature hatching.

The last Daughter was with them—she took off her gold mask and tossed it aside. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she looked at the little one.

The Daughter holding the little one cocked her head to one side as she put her into the pink water, watching as she sank and vanished below.

“Our little sister will be safer here. Perhaps Eritopia will bring her back someday. Until then, the waters will nurture and heal her. She’s been through enough,” the first Daughter said.

“She will go back to where she came from. Where we all came from,” another Daughter mused.

“I have to say, I have never seen this much damage done to a Daughter before,” a third one sighed, her voice heavy with pain.

“Azazel was vicious. He drained her. Nearly killed her,” the last Daughter muttered, wiping more tears.

“He got what he deserved,” the first Daughter said. “Justice has prevailed.”

“No thanks to us!” the last Daughter snapped. “We need to help the others! Draven may have found a way to destroy Azazel, but you all saw the price he paid for it. The darkness he took into him. It’s eating away at him. It’s turning him into the very monster he defeated.”

“We do not interfere, sister. We cannot,” another replied.

“Draven sacrificed himself for Eritopia. We should at least put him out of his misery before he kills those he loves. Phoenix is in danger as well. We are still bonded. What if Draven kills him? What if he kills Serena and all those who have put their lives at risk to do our job for us?” the last Daughter cried. “Eritopia was our responsibility. Your responsibility. And you put one of us above it! You punished me for interfering in its natural order and took me away from the only people who actually cared for me!”

One of the Daughters reached out to touch her, but the last Daughter slapped her hand away and took a few steps back. She looked uncomfortable in her silk covers, tightly wrapped around her body with a golden belt mounted on her narrow waist.

“No! You know what you did. Or, better yet, didn’t do. You didn’t act! You let Azazel tell you what to do and what not to do. You obeyed a monster, an abomination, as he destroyed this beautiful world that you were sworn to protect. And even now, as Draven loses control and is close to finishing the job for Azazel, you still won’t act! As our sister lies at the bottom of this lake, you still won’t interfere! What will it take for you to do your duty and protect Eritopia?”

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