Home > A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(7)

A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(7)
Author: Bella Forrest

“For the most part, yes. He’s pissed off, as you can imagine. Devastated, actually, but we haven’t really had much time to process her loss,” Aida panted.

I didn’t say anything, waiting for her to continue. Somehow, I felt the bad news didn’t end there. I braced myself for more while glancing at Draven—he was pale, staring ahead and looking right through me.

“The protective shield came down as soon as they took her.”

I felt something snap inside of me.

The protective shield came down.

“What… Aida, what do you mean?” My voice was barely a whisper as the worst-case scenarios started flooding my consciousness, making my head spin.

“The shield. It’s gone. We couldn’t stop any of it. The moment they took Viola, that was it. The protective spell just shattered, and we were left out in the open, the mansion perfectly visible to all the Destroyers surrounding us,” Aida explained. “We managed to grab some weapons and essentials as we rushed through the house before we made a run for the eastern woods. We’re coming to Stonewall now. We should be there in a day or so.”

“Are you okay? Is… Is everybody there?”

“Besides the Daughter, yes, we’re all here in one piece. Thing is, those shifters that Viola affected, they came with us. You’re not going to believe this, but they’ve actually been rewired to protect us. I don’t know what she did to them exactly, but if it weren’t for them, we’d probably be dead by now. They put up quite a fight, and can shift into flying horses and Destroyers. They’re freaking ruthless!”

I looked up at Jovi and registered the horror imprinted on his face. Hansa was blank and quiet, as were Jax and Zeriel. Draven was simply livid, a nerve ticking in his temple as he balled his hands into fists, his knuckles white with fury. I heard a low growl coming from Rebel and Thorn, who sat several feet away from us.

“We’ve been fighting Destroyers for the past twenty miles at least,” Aida added. “We’ve killed some, maimed others, enough to gain some ground. We followed the trail you and Draven took to Stonewall, and got some help from Wren and the Green Tribe as well. They’re coming with us now, since our presence there basically left them open to Destroyer attacks. What can I say? Eritopia’s been quite the rollercoaster so far, and it sure isn’t ready to stop throwing us around like ragdolls just yet!”

I couldn’t even think of a reply at this point. My worst nightmare had come true. Worst of all, they were out in the open where Azazel could sense them.

“Serena, still there?” Aida called out.

“Yeah,” I said quickly. “Just trying to wrap my head around everything. Okay, you guys need to keep moving. Now that you’re out, Azazel can feel your Oracle presence. You basically have targets on your backs.”

“Phoenix and I are aware, and we are moving. We’ll need to stop for water soon, though, as we’re getting tired. We’ve been running for hours,” she said.

I looked at Draven and nodded, mostly to myself.

“We’ll start looking for some sort of concealment spell,” I said. “There must be something we can do to keep you and Phoenix cloaked from Azazel. Bijarki is on his way to get Vita now, too, so we’ll need the same for her. He’ll get to Luceria in a couple of days or so. Everyone else is on their way to Stonewall as we speak.”

“Okay, then provided nothing else happens along the way, we’ll see you soon!” Aida replied firmly.

“Please be careful, and don’t stay in one place for too long. I’ll check in with you guys a bit later, okay?”

“Got it!” Aida said before the connection was lost.

Left with absolute silence in my head, I focused on keeping my breathing and my increasingly racing pulse under control. The mansion was left exposed, everything inside within reach for Azazel’s Destroyers. My brother and Aida were equally vulnerable, and, along with Anjani, Field, Eva, Aura, and Almandine, they were running for their lives.

The only positive aspect in all of this was that they were somewhat protected by shape-shifters—and that was something I never thought I’d hear in this lifetime, along with the Green Tribe’s decision to come along.

I looked up and saw that Draven’s expression was unchanged. Tension weighed heavily on his broad shoulders, his mouth was reduced to a small line on his ashen face, a vein was pulsating in his temple, and his whole body was shaking.

“Draven, they’re okay,” I said slowly, feeling the rage pouring out of him in hot waves.

“They took the Daughter and left our people, the Oracles, unprotected, Serena,” he replied, his voice low through gritting teeth. “This is what the Daughters of Eritopia do to those trying to save Eritopia. They leave them defenseless and surrounded by bloodthirsty abominations. After everything I’ve done, everything we’ve been through. My father gave his life for this…”

The energy coming from him was so dark and intense, I completely forgot about my own angst at this new development. Draven was taking this a lot harder than the rest of us put together. Even Jovi was at least manifesting his anger by nervously pacing the archive hall and cursing under his breath, while Hansa sat back and looked toward one of the windows, most likely worried about Anjani and their little sisters.

Draven, on the other hand, was worryingly composed, despite the boiling storm of emotions inside him. I could feel him ready to explode, and I made it my mission to keep him strong and unyielding, with us till the end. I had an inkling of what he was going through, but I’d only been here a few weeks. He’d been at this for decades.

“We’ll figure it out,” I said, though not with as much confidence as I’d hoped. “We’ve made it this far without them, haven’t we?”

“We had the Daughter!” Draven snapped, and shot up from his chair. “Don’t you see? We’ve been able to do all this because we had the Daughter and the protective shield. Now they’re both gone! Your brother and best friends are out there, hunted for their Oracle abilities—which, by the way, they didn’t ask for. And I made an oath. I promised! I promised you, Serena, that I would keep them safe! That I would keep you all safe. I failed. I failed miserably…”

His voice broke as he walked over to the window. Jax, Hansa, Jovi, and Zeriel watched him carefully, as did Rebel and Thorn.

“No, you haven’t!” I stood in response, angered by his rush to label himself a failure. “You can’t control the Daughters! Clearly, they’re just whiny and capricious creatures with way too much power and no common sense. You didn’t fail. They failed. The moment they let their little sister get snatched by Azazel, they failed! Now they’re pointing fingers at us, like we’re to blame. No, Draven. No!”

He stilled, his eyes settled on the sky.

“You’ve done some incredible things so far, Draven. Don’t let these spoiled brats make you think otherwise. You kept their sister safe. You protected Oracles. You even united the free people of Eritopia against Azazel, while they stood on the side and moaned and did nothing!” I added. “You have no inkling of how grand your accomplishments really are, or you have a very low opinion of yourself, if you allow the Daughters to bring you to the point where you call yourself a failure.”

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