“You’re going to walk away from her?” asked Joy, sparing Dana the briefest glance. “You’re not going to make sure she’s dead before you go?”
“Oh she’ll soon be dead, don’t doubt that. Besides, if I kill her quickly, she can’t suffer.” And I’d promised Dana that she would. It was her fault that she hadn’t listened.
“You’re doing that for Jared, aren’t you? It’s your revenge for hurting him, isn’t it?”
I nodded. “I’m not going to give him up, Joy.” She needed to understand that, needed to finally accept it, because I’d really had enough of her bollocks.
Joy sighed. She looked…sad. “And he won’t give you up. For him, it’s only ever been you. I hate you for it.” But there was no heat or threat in her words.
“I know.” In her position, I wouldn’t have been having warm, fuzzy feelings about her.
“No matter what I did, I couldn’t make him leave you.” She swallowed hard. She still seemed sad, but now she also seemed resigned. “Take care of him for me.” Then, in a blink, she was gone. I supposed that was Joy’s version of a truce. Although, considering the emotional rollercoaster she was constantly riding, there was every chance that she’d change her mind about it tomorrow. But for now, I’d put it out of my mind. It was time to find Jared. Time to kill Covington. Time to end all this.
Thanks to the appearance of our allies, the number of Covington’s vampires had increasingly dwindled. Set on getting to Covington, the squad, Jude, Ava, Cristiano, and I had focused on getting through the nine circles of vampires guarding him while our allies took care of the others. Harvey and his telekinesis had been a huge help – which was exactly why a vampire with the ability to temporarily steal a gift had targeted him. Bollocks, as Sam would say.
At that point, we’d had to instead fight our way through them. The first six circles of vampires were now destroyed. If I could just manage to get through these other motherfuckers, I could get to the bastard. But said motherfuckers weren’t making it easy.
For example, there was the Keja who kept throwing balls of ice at me – and they hurt like f**k. Then there was another Keja who was creating cracks in the ground that were wide enough and deep enough for people to fall down. Unfortunately, some had. There was also the Pagori who was covered in beetles and was throwing them at everyone; beetles that happened to bite. Worse, we also had to deal with a chameleon who was creeping up on people and snapping their necks before they even realised someone was there. He really had to go.
As an idea suddenly came to mind, I spoke to Denny. I want you to find that chameleon for me. I doubt you’ll get your hands on him because the son of a bitch is fast. But spray him with that ooze of yours. Then we’ll be able to see him and get a clear shot.
Denny nodded. You got it.
I badly wanted to contact Sam, find out if she needed me. But I was conscious that doing so could distract her – that was the last thing she’d need while she was in the middle of a duel. But I repeatedly checked on her through our link, ready to teleport to her if need be.
As another ball of ice suddenly struck my shoulder, I cursed and stumbled. It was hard to get to the little shit responsible – who bore an uncanny resemblance to Professor Snape – because he was being shielded by someone with the gift to deflect. His gift was similar to Butch’s, which meant that I knew where its weaknesses lay. Of course such a gift was a substantial one, but its weakness lay in the simple fact that it didn’t encompass a person’s entire body. The shield would only stretch as far as the sides, leaving the person’s back vulnerable. Noticing that Chico was not far behind him, I ordered, Chico, shoot the Professor Snape lookalike.
As the poisonous thorns embedded in his skin, ‘Snape’ cried out and burst into ashes. His protector swerved around in surprise…giving me the perfect opportunity. I aimed a bolt of lightning at his back, satisfied by the idea that he couldn’t shield anyone else.
Harvey was suddenly at my side. “We got a problem. Stuart managed to squeeze his way through the circles by staying in particle-form. He reassembled in front of Covington, and now he’s trying to take him out alone.”
“Stuart’s got a lot of anger in him after what happened to him. Right now, he doesn’t care that Covington’s yours to kill.”
But my real problem wasn’t that. It was the knowledge that Covington was pretty powerful with his gift of enchanting objects – he could make anything deadly. The simplest object could become a weapon. “Shit.”
With renewed vigour, I attacked the vampires in front of me, determined to breach the protective circle and get to Stuart. It was clear that the rest of the squad had noticed what Stuart had done, because they became just as vigorous. Soon Salem, Ava, and Cristiano had tackled the chameleon, David and Butch had dealt with the ice-ball-thrower, Max and Chico and Jude took out beetle boy, and Harvey and Denny helped me destroy the Pagori who liked to create cracks in the ground.
Trusting the squad to tackle the others, I fought through the remaining vampires in front of me and charged directly into the circle…just in time to see Stuart stabbed in the heart with the same knife that had earlier nicked Antonio’s throat. Fuck. Torn between the urge to run to Stuart’s side and the urge to attack Covington, I hesitated. Covington took advantage of that moment of hesitation, slicing at my arm with his knife. It was so unnaturally sharp that not only did it tear through my sturdy leather jacket and t-shirt, but it took away layers of skin. And I knew then that this knife could probably cut through just about anything.
“Which will it be, Jared: your revenge, or your squad member’s life?” Covington’s eyes were glinting with malevolence and a hint of madness. “Look at him, Jared. The life is draining out of him. I’d say he has under a minute left to live.”
“Then it’s a good thing that I’m here,” said a new voice. Paige. She was with Stuart, placing her hand on his wound. At the same time, Evan appeared and slung a half-dead Langley at Covington, knocking him to the ground. Covington shoved Langley away and went to get up, but then he froze – most likely because a black panther was looming over him. Evan, Alora, and Imani watched with satisfaction as Paige walked over to the two vampires who were sprawled on the ground.
“No!” I yelled. “Covington’s mine!”