Home > A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(4)

A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(4)
Author: Bella Forrest

“If you’re serious about sailing to Marton, some of our group already in Stonewall may be interested in joining you and helping you along the way. We know of some young Druids, the last of the Grand Temple, living somewhere by Onyx River, and we need to reach out to them. Why don’t we help each other on this one?” I asked, thinking I might be able to convince her to leave some of her fighters with us and not send the entire tribe to Marton.

We needed as many of them as we could get, because the alliance required numbers for the assault on Luceria to work.

“How about we all get to Stonewall in one piece first, then hash out the details?” Wren replied, then pointed at the Destroyers lying dead in the grass. “These aren’t the last you’ll see of Azazel’s forces. More will come, in greater numbers. And soon.”

She whistled, and the succubi spread out, moving east. I watched as they vanished between the trees, while our shifters nervously looked around, one of them licking its wounded shoulder. Four had taken some hits, bearing deep scratches and cuts on their sides and legs.

“We need to move,” I said to Field. “Some of the shifters are wounded, and I’m not sure how many more hits they can withstand if there’s another wave of Destroyers coming.”

“There’s a stream several miles from here,” Wren said. “We can stop there to replenish our water reserves, and you can wash the blood off. From there we’ll have about a day’s journey to Stonewall.”

I looked down as soon as she mentioned the blood and saw it sprayed and smeared all over my body, darkened to a metallic copper shade. The sight of it made me slightly queasy, but nothing compared to the thought of becoming Azazel’s prisoner.

Field reached out and wiped some of the Destroyer blood off my cheek with the back of his hand, the corner of his mouth pulling toward a half-smile.

“You were quite the badass back there,” he said slowly. “I thought I couldn’t be more impressed, but you had to go and prove me wrong.”

“Good to see I can still surprise you,” I replied, feeling my cheeks burn under his warm gaze until Wren’s groan broke our moment.

“Time to go,” she said, with very little patience left.

“Okay, okay, we’re coming.” I walked past her, followed by Field, Phoenix, Anjani, and our shifters, while the others went ahead.

Soon enough, we began to run so we could maintain a safe distance from any other Destroyers, which were bound to follow from the mansion. Wren and a couple of her succubi kept their distance behind us, covering our backs as we darted through the forest.

Our shifters soon fanned out, and I could hear them growling and snapping their jaws at other wildlings eager to come at us. Only a couple of hours were left until dawn, and I could feel my body gradually slowing down.

I shook the thought away, taking a few deep breaths as I increased my speed, my new shield on my arm and my sword dangling from my belt as I put another mile between us and the Destroyers that would come after the ones we’d left dead by the white rock. There was no room for tiredness or fear. For now, there was only the rampant need to survive.

This time we had gotten incredibly lucky. The mutated shifters watched over us, and we had several dozen succubi running with us. At least the odds seemed more in our favor than they had a few hours back, when we’d watched the protective shield crumble in golden sparks around us.






As soon as the moon was out and bright at midnight, I took the tweezers I’d dug out of a beauty box to try to pick the lock on the double doors. I’d been lucky to find them, as Azazel had clearly removed all possible weapons and tools from my chamber. Leave it to the males to underestimate our ability to make do with the unlikeliest of vanity objects. I hadn’t seen Damion in a while, and there was silence outside my room, so it felt like the perfect time for me to sneak into the dungeons and set Kyana free.

I struggled with the inner mechanism of the lock until my fingers got sweaty and slipped off the tweezers. They fell to the floor with a high-pitched clang. I wiped my hands against my linen dress, picked them up, and tried again.

Bijarki was out there, coming to get me, and the others were doing their part in taking the war to Azazel. I was done being a prisoner anyway. I had to do something, and seeing Kyana downstairs had given me enough motivation to stop looking at risks and focus on a solution. At this point, getting the Lamia out of her cage meant giving Patrik the peace of mind he needed to break away from Azazel’s spell.

I continued fiddling with the lock, cursing under my breath when I lost my grip on the tweezers again. I took a deep breath, got down on my knees to get a better look, and tried again. Finally, I heard a click, at which point I turned the tweezers inside the hole and pushed until the much-needed clang tickled my ears.

I did it, I thought to myself as I turned the knob and opened the door. Add that to your skillset, Vita. You’ll be a secret intelligence asset in no time.

I grabbed the bedcover on my way out, a thin black sheet of fabric with which I covered myself. It would keep me obscured in shaded areas of the castle, and keep my face hidden from any green flames along the way.

I took the service stairs that Damion had shown me, as I’d only seen normal torches lining the narrow spiral staircase. I rushed down through the levels until I reached the ground floor. I waited in a corner, hidden behind a large and grotesque obsidian statue depicting something akin to a gargoyle, while several incubi passed through the large hallway linking the kitchen to their living quarters.

A couple of Destroyers patrolled that section of the castle, but I easily eluded them, as they were enticed by the smell of raw meat coming from the mess hall adjacent to the kitchen.

“Someone brought fresh game in,” one of them said as they slithered away from my hiding place.

My heart beat frantically as I made my way into another service corridor, which lead me farther down into the basement. I recognized this part of Luceria, as I’d only just seen it a few hours earlier. I retraced the path I’d taken with Damion until I found Kyana in her cage in one of the dungeon halls.

The air was cool and damp, while darkness reigned over the black iron prison.

She was asleep, lying on one side with her knees brought up to her chest. I reached into the cage and gently nudged her leg. Her eyes opened wide and yellow as she sat up and stared at me with sheer amazement.

“You actually came back,” she gasped, eyebrows raised.

“I do my best to keep my word.” I gave her a confident smirk, even though my whole body trembled. “What now?”

“Heggel’s around here somewhere,” she said slowly, pointing somewhere to my right. “There’s another chamber next door. It’s where he usually dozes off during his shift, after he makes sure we’re all quiet and miserable.”

I looked over my shoulder, then took a deep breath.

“Okay, what am I looking for?” I asked.

“There’s a bunch of keys on a ring. He wears them on his belt. We need those. The only key that can open these cuffs is there. It’s small and made of gold, very different from the others. You can’t miss it,” she replied, her eyes darting around behind me. “Be quiet and move quickly. His sleep is heavy, but others might be around.”

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