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A Dawn of Strength(A Shade of Vampire,Book 14)(17) by Bella Forrest

I stared at Caleb, who looked just as surprised as I felt.

I looked out at the clearing again, barely believing my eyes.

How could they all remain so loyal to this island, even in the face of such danger?

It was at that moment that I realized just how much The Shade meant, not only to vampires, but to every single one of us.

The Shade was our home.

A place we would fight for.

A place we would die for.

Chapter 11: Micah

The boat stopped moving. My back dropped down against the floor of the closet. After a minute, footsteps began to sound above deck. I hardly dared to breathe as I tried to make out the whispered conversations that had started going on upstairs. So many people were talking at once, it was hard to make out the individual dialogue. However, as the conversation died down, there was one thing I heard loud and clear.

“We all know our roles. Let’s go.”

A crash echoed down from above and the boat began to rock.

What are they doing?

I expected for a moment that the boat was going to start spinning again, but as shouts began to erupt on deck, I realized that something very different had just happened. Something, it seemed, not quite planned by the black witches.

A deafening creak rang through the frame of the vessel as it jerked downward. I pushed open the closet and climbed out. To my shock, a pool of water had already formed across the bathroom floor. Water was spilling through the cracks around the door. I hurried toward it and gripped the handle, pressing my ear against the wood. The shouts and crashes were now more muffled. That meant only one thing: the boat was sinking.

I now had no choice but to open the door and fight to escape the yacht. Either that, or wait and get dragged down to the sea bed. For the first time in a long time, the black witches weren’t the greatest of my worries.

I pulled open the door, only to be sent flying back against the far wall of the bathroom as a wall of water crashed down over me. Struggling against the force of it pulling me downward, I fought to the surface to gasp for air. This room contained no windows I could smash to break free, and it was filling up rapidly. If I didn’t make it out of the door in time, before the water reached the ceiling, I’d be trapped without oxygen.

Kicking with as much strength as my legs could muster, I struggled to reach the exit once again. Gripping hold of the doorframe, I pulled myself out and began swimming down the corridor—now also completely submerged in water.

I needed to get to a window, fast.

I had no choice but to open my eyes. The sea salt stung like needles pricking my eyeballs. Fighting to keep my lids open, I swam into the closest bedroom to me. I glimpsed a shaft of natural light spilling through the window in the far corner, though as the boat sank further beneath the waves, it was getting dimmer and dimmer by the moment.

Battling with heavy furniture blocking my way, I managed to reach the window. Balling up my fists, I smashed them against the window. The glass was tougher than I’d expected. It took several attempts before it finally cracked. My knuckles stung as the glass ripped through my skin. I closed my eyes and ducked down toward the floor of the cabin as the shards swept toward me. Pushing myself back up, I gripped hold of the window frame. I feared for a moment that it was too narrow for me. But, although it meant enduring more cuts from the jagged frame of the window as I narrowly squeezed through it, I finally managed to escape into the ocean.

Swimming to the surface, I gasped for air. I wiped my eyes and looked around.

All around me was utter chaos. Balls of red fire blurred my vision as they shot through the air from all directions. Black witches hovered over the waves while vampires splashed within them. I strained to see whom they were battling, but as I looked further toward the direction their curses were flying, I caught sight of a line of witches, stretching out as far as I could see, their bodies forming a barrier as they shot curses back toward the black witches and vampires.

Their colored clothing was distinct from the black witches, who wore only black garb. I could only assume that these were white witches. And if The Shade was beyond the barrier they’d formed, as I suspected…

A ball of fire shot toward me. I ducked beneath the water, narrowly missing it as it skimmed the waves above me.

The white witches are protecting The Shade.

I had to get away from this patch of sea as fast as I could—away from the black witches and their vampires, before somebody noticed me.

But where do I swim? Do I risk drawing closer to the white witches?

How am I ever going to reach the island now?

Chapter 12: Derek

My joy at discovering my sister was pregnant soon turned to anxiety as we made our way toward the Great Dome.

“You shouldn’t be here, Vivienne,” I said, gripping the handle of the Dome’s heavy door and pushing it wide open. “You’re too vulnerable. Now you’ve delivered your message, I want the two of you to leave again. Take two phones with you this time and return to Greece. We’ll call you once things have died down.”

“We just got here,” Vivienne said. “I really don’t want to leave you again, brother. Not now that—”

“But now you have more than your own desires to consider.” My eyes lowered to her stomach. “If something happened to you, I’d never forgive myself.”

As we all took seats around the grand table, Vivienne sighed. “Then we’ll stay just a couple of days before heading back.”

I shook my head. “I want you to leave no later than tonight.”