Home > A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(8)

A Shield of Glass (A Shade of Vampire #49)(8)
Author: Bella Forrest

“Also.” Hansa stood up. “While the Oracles and the Daughter were an enticing advantage to fighting by your side, rest assured, Druid, they’re not why I offered my sisters’ and my support. It’s your spirit I’m interested in. You’ve got what it takes to bring that slithering monster down, Draven. You carry your father’s noble character, and you’ve added your own greatness on top of that.”

“Besides, the Daughters are highly overrated.” Jax smirked from his chair, settled in a relaxed pose, with one leg over the other. “I stopped relying on those emotional thunderstorms a long time ago, my friend. I’m interested in what you bring to the table. They’re obviously only out for themselves and not worthy of Eritopia. We, on the other hand, are the ones on the ground and suffering. We’re the ones who will fight and the only ones who will take it back.”

“Who needs the Daughters anyway?” Jovi muttered, walking to my side. “Who needs them when we’ve got this fine group of warriors here, led by one of the best Druids I’ve ever met?”

Silence fell between us for about half a minute before Draven broke it.

“I’m the only Druid you’ve ever met,” he replied dryly.

I stifled a chuckle, relieved to feel his rage slowly subside as his gray eyes gradually brightened. Jovi scratched the back of his head, putting on an exhausted grimace.

“Gah, minor details. Listen, Draven, if it weren’t for you, we’d all most likely be dead by now,” he said. “Aida, Vita, and Phoenix would be withering away in glass bubbles while the whole of Eritopia burned. You’ve brought incubi and succubi together, dude. Do you not realize what an accomplishment that is? Giant Dearghs, Lamias, Tritones, Maras, Bajangs, and all the other creatures out there… They’ve all been waiting for someone like you to bring them into an alliance, to lead them!”

“No one in this room and no one headed toward Stonewall right now joined you because of the Daughter. And that shield is not the end of the world, either.” Zeriel shrugged. “Perhaps it’s a good thing it’s gone. Why don’t we show the Daughters exactly how useless they are, instead of expecting them to help?”

“We stopped praying to the Daughters the moment Almus first came to us.” Thorn raised an eyebrow. “I’d rather put my faith in a Druid than in one of those pink-haired disasters, thank you very much.”

Draven nodded slowly, looking at each of us with slight amusement. His gaze settled on me, softening. I tried to project everything I felt toward him—the determination, the affection, the trust, and the hope that as long as we stayed together, we could overcome anything.

“Thank you,” he replied. “Thank you all for your trust in me. I cannot begin to explain how energizing your words are. How empowering…”

“Hey, what are allies good for, if not to hold each other up when darkness falls?” Hansa winked and resumed her seat, sifting through more scrolls. “Now, back to work. The children are on their way, and Azazel will not defeat himself.”

“Best to find a way to shield your Oracles once they get here,” Rebel interjected. “If Azazel can indeed feel them, let’s not put Stonewall at risk.”

“Isn’t there anything in these Druid manuals of yours for this kind of thing?” Thorn asked. “I mean, you fellows have been ruling the planets for thousands of years now. Surely you must have some dirty tricks up your sleeves.”

Draven took a deep breath and ran his fingers through his sand-colored hair. He came back to the table and sat next to me, his knee gently brushing against mine.

“No, you’re right,” he replied, flipping through the pages of an old, leather-bound spell tome. “We had spells for pretty much everything in the old days. I’m finding it hard to believe not a single Druid has thought of concealing Oracles before. There must be something in here, somewhere…”

I quietly watched him as he resumed a frantic search for such a spell, skimming page after page with relentless dedication. His desire to protect my brother and best friends was truly overwhelming at times. The thought of it made my heart swell as I resumed my own search for something, anything, regarding the young Druids.

Our situation was nowhere near improving. It was getting worse in many ways. But like Jovi and the others said, we had each other to rely on, and we were going to do everything we could to pull through. We’d give it everything we had.

The Daughters had caused nothing but trouble. Viola and Phoenix were stuck in the middle, bound by love and primordial necessity. They didn’t deserve this.

In fact, I concluded, the Daughters didn’t deserve Viola. She was too good, too sweet, and far too innocent to be their sister. I hoped we’d find a way to get her back. Not just for her sake, but for Phoenix’s too. I couldn’t even fathom the pain he was dealing with in her absence.

 

 

Vita

 

 

I peeled my eyes open as the sun hit my face. For a moment, I thought I was in my bed, back at the mansion, my body sunk into the soft mattress. But my throat felt sore, as if a thousand needles had been jammed down there, and my temples throbbed.

One by one, my circumstances crashed back into me, reminding me that I was stuck in a chamber in Azazel’s castle. That I was a prisoner with obsidian cuffs hanging heavily from my wrists. I blinked several times, trying to make sense of my surroundings despite the pulsating headache. It was all there, in smooth and shiny black with gold details and iron bars on the window – the lavish décor of my prison. The cuffs were there, the charcoal crystal cool against my skin.

I sat up, trying to figure out why I felt so horrible. Then the image of Kyana morphing into a snake and slithering out of her cage in the downstairs dungeons came back to me. Damion had found me there just as I was about to conceal the little golden key that could set my fae abilities free.

He had choked me.

He had hit me, and everything had gone dark.

“That asshole,” I muttered between gritted teeth as I shot out of bed, eager to bang on the door until I saw Damion again so I could give him a piece of my mind.

Just as I reached for the door, my right leg was jerked back by something hard and cold. I lost my balance and fell flat on my face. Groaning from the pain, I rolled onto my back and sat up to find a heavy black iron shackle linked to the bedframe via an equally large and heavy chain.

“What the…” I managed to gasp before I realized what was going on. They’d shackled me to the damn bed.

I was angry. I was fuming.

The only thing that could comfort me was the knowledge that Bijarki would come for me soon, and we’d both be far away from this wretched place before Azazel could even send his Destroyers to get us.

I grunted and choked back a couple of bitter tears. It was still horribly inconvenient, and my throbbing head wasn’t helping either. I got up and moved toward the nightstand, where a pitcher of fresh water had been left for me. I gulped half of it down, letting it overflow and pour over my linen dress, cooling me off a little.

I thought about reaching out to Aida and telling her what had happened, so I sat on the bed, looking to relax myself into a state in which I could connect with her via our private Oracle channel.

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