A simultaneous attack through both sides of the house would have been ideal, but it wasn't like Sonya could run out the front door. Nausea had started to creep over me as soon as we were near the patio, and the sensation hit full force as we entered a living room. I ignored my stomach in the way I'd perfected and braced myself for what was to come. We'd broken in pretty quickly but not quickly enough to truly get the jump on Strigoi reflexes.

Sonya Karp was right there, ready for us, doing all she could to avoid the sunlight spilling into the living room. When I'd first seen Dimitri as a Strigoi, I'd been so shocked that I'd frozen up. It had allowed him to capture me, so I'd mentally braced myself this time, knowing I'd feel the same shock when I saw my former teacher as a Strigoi. And it was shocking. Just like with him, so many of Sonya's features were the same as before: the auburn hair and high cheek bones ... but her beauty was twisted by all the other terrible conditions: chalky skin, red eyes, and the expression of cruelty that all Strigoi seemed to wear.

If she recognized us, she gave no sign and lunged toward Dimitri with a snarl. It was a common Strigoi tactic to take out the bigger threat first, and it annoyed me that they always believed that was Dimitri. He'd shoved his stake in his belt in order to carry the shovel inside with him. The shovel wouldn't kill a Strigoi, but with enough strength and momentum, it would definitely keep Sonya at arm's length. He struck her with it in the shoulder after her first attempt, and while she didn't fall over, she definitely waited before trying another attack. They circled each other, like wolves readying for a battle, as she sized up her odds. One charge, and her greater strength would push him down, shovel or not.

All of this took place in a matter of seconds, and Sonya's calculations had left me out of the equation. I made my own charge, slamming into her other side, but she saw me coming out of the corner of her eye and responded instantly, throwing me down while never taking her eyes off Dimitri. I wished I had the shovel and could hit her in the back from a safe distance. All I carried was my stake, and I had to be careful with it since it could kill her. I did a quick scan of her eerily normal living room and couldn't see any other potential weapons.

She feinted, and Dimitri went for it. He just barely corrected himself as she leapt forward to take advantage of the situation. She thrust him against the wall, pinning him there and knocking the shovel from his grasp. He struggled against her, trying to break free as her hands found his throat. If I tried to pull her off, my strength combined with Dimitri's would probably free him. I wanted this over as quickly as possible, however, and decided to make a power play.

I ran toward her, stake in hand, and plunged it through her right shoulder blade, hoping I was nowhere near her heart. The charmed silver, so agonizing to Strigoi skin, made her scream. Frantic, she shoved me away with force that was astonishing even for a Strigoi. I fell backward, stumbling, and whacked my head against a coffee table. My vision dimmed slightly, but instinct and adrenaline drove me back to my feet.

My attack gave Dimitri the split second he needed. He knocked Sonya to the ground and grabbed my stake, pushing it against her throat. She screamed and flailed, and I moved forward to help him, knowing how hard it was to pin a Strigoi.

"Get Sydney ...' he grunted. "The chain ...'

I moved as quickly as I could, stars and shadows dancing in front of me. I unlocked the front door and kicked it open as a signal, then ran back to Dimitri. Sonya was making good progress in fighting him off. I dropped to my knees, working with Dimitri to keep her restrained. He had that battle lust in his eyes again, a look that said he wanted to destroy her right here and now. But there was something else, too. Something that made me think he had more control, that my words in the alley had actually had an impact. Still, I uttered a warning.

"We need her ... remember we need her.'

He gave me a slight nod, just as Sydney showed up lugging the chain. She stared at the scene wide-eyed, pausing only a moment before hurrying over to us. We'll make a warrior of her yet, I thought.

Dimitri and I moved to our next task. We'd already spotted the best place to bind Sonya: a heavy, reclining armchair in the corner. Lifting her--which was dangerous since she was still thrashing wildly--we thrust her into the chair. Then, keeping the stake at her neck, Dimitri attempted to hold her down while I grabbed hold of the chain.

There was no time to think of a precise system. I just started wrapping it, first around her legs and then as best as I could around her torso, trying to lock her arms against her. Dimitri had bought a lot of chain, thankfully, and I hurriedly wrapped it around the chair in a crazy manner, doing everything I could to keep her down.

When I finally ran out of chain, Sonya was pretty well locked into place. Was it something she could break out of? Absolutely. But with a silver stake against her? Not so easy. With both in place ... well, we had her trapped for now. It was the best we could do.

Dimitri and I exchanged brief, weary looks. I felt dizzy but fought through it, knowing our task was far from over.

"Time for questioning,' I said grimly.

Chapter Seventeen


Oh, sure, we made plenty of threats and used the stakes as torture devices, but not much came of it. Dimitri was still scary when dealing with Sonya, but after his breakdown with Donovan, he was careful not to fall into that berserk rage again. This was healthier for him in the long run but not so good for scaring up answers out of Sonya. It didn't help matters that we didn't exactly have a concrete question to ask her. We mostly had a series to throw at her. Did she know about another Dragomir? Was she related to the mother? Where were the mother and child? Things also went bad when Sonya realized we needed her too much to kill her, no matter how much silver stake torture we did.

We'd been at it for over an hour and were getting exhausted. At least, I was. I leaned against a wall near Sonya, and though I had my stake out and ready, I was relying on the wall a bit more than I liked to admit to keep me upright. None of us had spoken in a while. Even Sonya had given up on her snarling threats. She simply waited and stayed watchful, undoubtedly planning for escape, probably figuring we'd tire before she did. That silence was scarier than all the threats in the world. I was used to Strigoi using words to intimidate me. I'd never expected the power simply being quiet and staring menacingly could have.

"What happened to your head, Rose?' asked Dimitri, suddenly catching a glimpse of it.

I'd been tuning out a little and realized he was talking to me. "Huh?' I brushed aside hair that had been obscuring part of my forehead. My fingers came away sticky with blood, triggering vague memories of crashing into the table. I shrugged, ignoring the dizziness I'd been feeling. "I'm fine.'

Tags: Richelle Mead Vampire Academy Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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