An End of Night(A Shade of Vampire,Book 16)(10) by Bella Forrest
He was deliberately avoiding looking toward my direction, but I called his attention, and Caleb followed me.
My father rolled his eyes. “You and Caleb can watch one corner, together.”
“You think I would be able to sit while my wife is down there?” Kiev scowled. “I’ll watch the third corner.”
My mother joined my father on the side opposite us.
Caleb and I got down flat against the rocks and crawled to the edge, navigating past the crabs as best as we could. We lay on our stomachs and watched the gentle waves. A light breeze blew over us, causing goosebumps to run along my skin. The quiet was eerie. I could hear an occasional strange noise in the distance, but otherwise my ears were filled with nothing but the muttering of someone in our group and the lapping of the waves. I would have admired the beauty of this place were it not filled with such horrors.
Caleb reached for my hand and enveloped it.
“If something happens, promise me you won’t do anything stupid,” he said.
“Define stupid,” I replied.
“You should be an expert at that definition by now.”
I poked him in the shoulder.
“I define it as putting your life at risk,” he said.
“I’ll try not to. I mean, I would like to be alive for our wedding.”
Caleb rolled his eyes.
I guessed that I wouldn’t be of much use in this environment anyway. Unless a creature actually shot out of the water and I managed to aim my fire before it fell back in, the water would extinguish my flames. The most I could do, it seemed, was help keep watch.
“Rose! Caleb!” Micah shouted from behind us. “Watch out!”
I whirled around to see a fat black-striped snake slithering toward us along the rocks. Caleb gripped my waist and jerked me backward away from it.
My breathing steadied as the snake made no motion to attack. It continued along its path, apparently uninterested in us. We waited until it had passed by and slithered downward, back toward the sea.
“And we are the ones who are supposed to be keeping watch…” I muttered.
We got down on all fours again and crawled back to our spot, resting on our stomachs.
“I was distracting us,” Caleb said.
We spent what felt like the next hour in silence. There was still no sign of Mona.
“Something has happened,” Kiev said. “I’m going down to look for her.”
“You might end up causing more trouble than good,” Matteo said. “If she’s in the middle of some kind of negotiation, your presence might mess it up… Mona is powerful enough to look after herself.”
Kiev scowled. “I’ll wait half an hour more. Then, Corrine and Ibrahim, I will need you to cast the same spell on me that Mona put on herself.”
Kiev’s nerves were getting to me. I was beginning to imagine the worst. Even though I knew Mona was a powerful witch, we had no idea what was within the depths of this ocean.
Half an hour passed quickly and then Kiev approached the witch and warlock. “I just want to find Mona. If I see she is in the middle of a conversation, obviously I won’t step in. I just want to locate her and know that she is safe.”
Corrine and Ibrahim looked reluctant, but they gave in to Kiev’s request. Once Ibrahim had finished casting a spell on him, Kiev removed his shirt, revealing his prosthetic arm, and dove headfirst into the murky waters. I shivered watching him disappear.
“I hope that wasn’t a mistake,” Matteo muttered.
Somehow, I couldn’t help but feel that it was. Although I understood how Kiev felt. I would have reacted the same.
A screech echoed around the rocks. It sounded much closer than any I had heard in the past hour and a half. Too close. I looked back toward my parents. They too looked alarmed.
Now we had both Kiev and Mona beneath the water. If we left, it would be relatively easy for Mona to locate us, but what if Kiev didn’t manage to find Mona and surfaced looking for us? How would he find us again?
“Over there,” Aiden whispered, horror in his eyes.
I followed the direction he was pointing toward and gasped. Through a thick film of sea spray, I could make out dozens of merfolk—male and female—seated atop the same giant seahorses as the one I had seen earlier and carrying long, razor-sharp spears. They shot out of the water, reaching high into the sky—high enough to see above the islets. If I had thought the previous screech was loud, now the noise had intensified tenfold. They all screeched at once, racing toward us at an alarming speed.
My father had seconds to decide what we were to do. Stay here and try to head them off, or flee and risk Kiev being lost.
“Ibrahim. Corrine. Put up a shield. Now!”
Caleb caught my hand and pulled me farther toward the center as the warlock and witch secured the islet.
Sweat was dripping from Corrine’s forehead. “Neither Ibrahim nor I have encountered creatures like this before,” she said. “We have to hope our shield will keep them out.”
We all backed close to each other in the center of the rocks, watching as the creatures came within thirty feet, twenty feet, ten feet…
We braced ourselves as they shot straight toward our islet. Ten soared through the air on their fierce-looking seahorses, but to my relief, they hit against the barrier and slid back into the ocean. My father walked closer to the barrier as more began hitting up against it. The merpeople let out angry hisses, revealing long snakelike tongues. Matteo approached behind my father.