Torst fed hungrily as I chopped away. The dragon’s neck was thick, but we were making short work of it. The huge bear roared as it lumbered back into the fight, tearing great hunks from the dragon’s neck.

I quickly decided that three bloodthirsty fighters were enough to take the head, and made my way to the second most important goal.

Christian had already cleared a lot of my way to the heart with his precise gutting. Finding a heart still pumping blood through a body was one of Torst’s specialties. All I had to do now, really, was get messy.

I hacked at the flesh around that precious organ tirelessly from an awkward position below his underbelly. I finally just took a deep breath and waded into the disgusting, bloody depths of his insides. I submerged myself just long enough to see exactly where I needed to go. I surfaced, gasping. I pointed Torst in the right direction, and let it do the rest of the work. It was alive in my hands, chopping away at the twisting flesh and bone of the beast’s ribcage. Every part of Villi was weakened, and the muscle tissue gave way in short minutes, like so much butchered meat. I finally pulled the beating mass free from it’s intricate cage.

It was a full armful, and I fell on my ass as I finally got it separated from the body. Still, as awkward as it was to pick up, being the size of my entire torso and heavy as hell to boot, it was smaller than I would have thought a heart would be inside of that giant hideous beast.

“Caleb,” I screamed, and I knew I was a sight, covered in dark blood and entrails. He appeared quickly, swinging his new toy casually. He gave me a quizzical look. “Use the hammer on the heart. It will help further immobilize him, until Christian can cast his spells.”

I heard a bear roar, and Christian whoop happily, and I knew they had severed the head. He still wasn’t dead, but damn, it had just been too easy so far. Caleb started hacking at the heart without preamble. He pounded it again and again, and the hammer glowed that horrible, eery blue that I associated with my sadistic father.

Christian appeared from the other side of the prone dragon, dragging the severed head slowly. “Help me line this up next to the heart,” he told me. I obliged. “I’m not sure you should be real close by for the death-spell.”

I nodded curtly, heading to Lynn’s prone figure. It had been a struggle this entire time not to go to her.

Sloan almost beat me to her, in human form again, already re-dressed in black. She had to be the most efficient being on the planet. “Healing is a strength of mine,” she told me. “Let me check her out.”

Lynn was in rough shape, as I had known. She stirred a little as I sat beside her, holding one of her limp hands.

Sloan’s breath hissed out in a curse when she knelt by my sister. “Can you regrow body parts? Like, say, eyes?”

“Yes.” Like druids, we could regenerate body parts, eventually. “But if that hammer was involved, I have no idea.”

“You people and your special weapons,” Sloan said with disgust, as though I had done it.

Lynn was battered and bruised and broken. Sloan was able to help with a lot of the damage, but the eyes were a lost cause, for the moment. Possibly forever. It didn’t bear thinking about. We needed to finish up and get out of there. There was no way our epic battle had gone unnoticed.

“I got the jump on him, Jillian,” Lynn whispered to me as she came to. I laughed, painfully relieved.

“We saw that. We took him out easy, thanks to whatever you did to him.”

“I reversed a spell at him, then beat the shit outta him with that hammer. Christian better finish his ass.”

I looked to the slayer at her words. He knelt on the ground, one hand on the dragon’s heart, one on it’s head, which I could see they had beat to a bloody pulp, as well. With the hammer, I assumed. He was chanting. I would kill to know what he chanted, but I just couldn’t hear it from that distance. And getting closer might be bad for my health.

Suddenly Christian roared and whipped out Dragonsbane, pointing it high in the air. The sword had swelled to a size I had never seen it before, the fiery blue blade as long as Christian was tall.

All at once, my lungs felt emptied of air, as though it was all being pulled like a magnet into Christian. Wind swept past all of us, from gods knew where, rushing at the slayer in a furious tidal wave. I was stunned but pleased as Villi’s blood and gore was pulled off of me, swept up with all the rest.

Dragonsbane, poised gloriously above Christian, seemed to absorb it all.

All of the gruesome pieces of Villi suddenly burst into vivid blue flame. They shimmered like that for long moments before the flames were sucked into the slayer relic like the wind. The weapon was absorbing Villi’s power. The powers of an ancient being with abilities we could only imagine. Christian was naturally powerful, but now he’d be a force to be reckoned with. I was more happy than ever to have him on our side. I had a very good feeling that this wasn’t the last time we’d be doing this.

As the storm seemed to pass, a sonic boom shook the valley. The Vegas Valley. All of it. “Fuck,” I groaned. “We need to get out of here. There’s no way that didn’t bring us to their attention. We’re just damn lucky we caught Villi alone long enough to take him out.”

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

The Bitter Pill

 I picked Lynn up awkwardly, heading back to Christian and Caleb. Sloan followed silently behind me, a solid, steady presence. Damn, but she was good backup.

The men were carefully scouring the ground where Villi had lain. There was no blood left, only what looked like tiny yellow diamonds, scattered here and there. “What the hell are those?” I asked them.

“All that’s left of a dead dragon. I need to bury them quickly, for the death spell. I know just the place.” Suddenly Christian looked up at me, grinning unabashedly. “I’ve been fantasizing about this day for awhile. Like, my whole life. I feel incredible.” I just blinked. Strange reaction, though I shouldn’t have been surprised.

The men finished gathering the tiny jewels, doing an extra sweep to be sure none were left behind to resurrect the monster. Christian packed the jewels away in a small black pouch, giving us careful directions on where to meet him. It was a good two-hour drive into the middle of nowhere.

“We need to split up. We don’t even know for sure how many of them there are, and we can’t risk it. There’s no way that magical storm didn’t draw someone’s attention. So we need to run fast. We’ll meet up at the burial site. I’ll take Lynn, and we’ll go the long way. You guys take his remains. Whatever happens, don’t let them have those remains, or the hammer.”


Tags: R.K. Lilley Heretic Daughters Vampires
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