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

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




My feet barely touched the ground as I jumped over twisted tree roots and ditches. Field ran by my side, while Phoenix, Anjani, Aura, Almandine, and Eva were close behind us. We only stopped for two minutes every other mile, to catch our breath and make sure we were following the same path that Serena and Draven had used to reach Stonewall.

The six mutated shifters left from our scuffle with Azazel’s fiends kept up as well, maintaining a distance of several feet and growling at any other shifters that caught our scent and made a move toward us. They kept their original form, with pale, hairless and nearly translucent skin as they ran on all fours, their violet eyes darting around and their sharp fangs ready to tear through the hostiles’ flesh.

“I never thought I’d say this,” I gasped, “but I am so thankful for these shifters right now.”

“How many arrows do we have?” Field asked, looking over his shoulder.

“Not many,” Anjani replied, clutching the crossbow in one hand while the near-empty quiver hung loosely from her leather belt.

We ran for at least an hour before another wave of Destroyers caught up with us. I heard their hissing from a mile away, cutting through the night sky as they descended upon us atop their winged horses.

I glanced at Phoenix, and he nodded my way as he loaded an arrow on his crossbow, ready to shoot. His expression seemed carved into stone, his brows drawn together in a permanent frown and a muscle twitching in his jaw. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how he must have felt after losing the Daughter. The bond they shared was so deep and intense, and it hurt me to see him like this.

The mutated shifters got closer as we increased our speed, while the Destroyers neared from behind.

“Okay, let’s show these snakes what we’re made of,” I shouted, and drew my sword, relentless in my sprint.

I heard grunting as swords and long knives were drawn from their scabbards behind me, while the flying horses’ neighs sent shivers down my spine. I looked ahead and realized the forest was about to open into a meadow.

“This open space won’t do us any good,” Field said as we passed the last row of trees and our feet touched the tall grass. His eyes darted ahead as he pointed at a large white rock poking out of another stretch of forest several hundred feet away, its trees tall and dark and offering plenty of shelter from the beasts. “Let’s split up across the meadow and meet at the white rock!”

We all nodded as we continued our run across the wide field. I saw Phoenix and Anjani keep a straight line, while the young succubi and Eva scattered to the right. Field and I moved to the left as the Destroyers began their descent.

“Where are you running, little mice?” Goren’s voice pierced the air.

My blood froze as I looked up and saw the massive Destroyer grinning at me, his spear raised and ready to strike.

“I’ll draw them out,” Field shouted, increasing his speed. “Keep running, Aida. I’ll meet you at the rock!”

“Field, no!” I screamed after him as his wings burst out and he took flight, the hatchet he’d snatched from the mansion weighing heavy in his right hand.

I was horrified at the thought of losing him but couldn’t do anything to stop him from putting his life at such risk. Arrows flicked past, missing my legs by inches. There was no time to worry about anyone other than myself at this point. I only caught a glimpse of Field flying and a throng of Destroyers breaking from their group to follow him across the indigo sky.

They were shooting smaller projectiles at me, probably because they wanted to catch me alive, which also meant there was no poison on the arrow tips, either. I ran even faster, my inner-wolf unwilling to disappoint me. I had a minor advantage as an Oracle because they had to capture rather than kill me, so I decided to take advantage of it. One of the mutated shifters kept up with me, moving ahead by ten feet. More arrows came down as we both dodged them left and right. They tried to get the shifter with a poisoned spear but the creature moved fast and caught it, then threw it back to me. I caught it by its slim, wooden stem as I looked into the creature’s glowing violet eyes. It shook its body and shifted into a flying horse, slowing down until I reached it.

It hit me then what it wanted me to do. As the shadows grew darker above me, I knew I had no choice. I set my reluctance aside and jumped onto the shifter’s back. The creature took off, its wings flapping frenetically as it brought me higher. I sheathed my sword and turned the spear’s poisonous tip toward the Destroyers, while the shifter made a turn. The movement gave me the angle I needed to throw the spear, managing to pierce through a beast’s shoulder and take him down. He wailed as he fell off his winged horse and I managed to grab his shield before it got out of my reach.

Goren smirked as he launched an arrow at me. My shifter-horse helped me dodge the hit, and my hand instinctively reached up and caught the long and slim projectile mid-flight, wiping Goren’s grin off his disgusting face. I threw the arrow with a growl and watched it puncture another Destroyer’s eye. I only had a split second to enjoy Goren’s rage reddening his face before I drew my sword and the shifter darted away toward the white rock, my hand gripping its long white mane.

They came after me, but my faux flying horse was a little bit faster. I spotted Field as he took a couple of Destroyers down with ample and heavy hits, his hatchet slicing through their flesh. The beasts fell off their horses, blood spraying from their deep wounds.

He looked at me, his eyebrows lifted in genuine surprise.

“What, you thought you were the only one who could fly around here?” I quipped with a wink and a grin.

“White rock!” he shot back, trying not to smile as he dodged a couple of poisoned spears.

My shifter neighed and began a series of evasive maneuvers as several Destroyers came at me. Goren barked some orders at them from behind, and I glanced over my shoulder to see him going after Phoenix.

“Not on my watch!” I muttered, and drew my sword, pulling on the shifter’s mane as it turned mid-flight.

We charged the Destroyers, shooting through them, my long blade out. I went for their heads at full speed, and sliced one off while the others scrambled to turn their flying horses and come after me again. My shifter was remarkably agile, and we flew in a tight loop and charged the beasts again.

My sword shot out and cut halfway through a torso. Blood sprayed as the beast fell off its horse and the others tried to reach out and capture me, failing miserably as my shifter suddenly dropped several feet and flew away. They were clearly under orders not to kill me, since I was an Oracle and thus extremely valuable to Azazel.

That gave me an unprecedented advantage in close combat, too, it seemed. I could be lethal in my strikes. They couldn’t.






One of the shifters came with me in its original form as I took my straight line across the meadow. I was a fast runner, but the Destroyers approaching from behind were pretty adept at keeping up. I noticed Aida’s shifter companion morph into a flying horse, and watched as she cut through the sky and sliced through a cluster of Destroyers.

I looked at my purple-eyed companion with some frustration. It ran next to me, pale and skinny, occasionally glancing at the beasts chasing us.

“A little help?” I called to it sarcastically.

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