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An End of Night(A Shade of Vampire,Book 16)(15) by Bella Forrest

“Duck!” my father and I yelled at once.

The mermen already knew what was coming. They didn’t wait around and moved their slimy bodies straight for the pool. Our flames only licked their tails.

My father then walked over to the entrance of the cave and remained standing over it, positioning his palms above the water threateningly in case any of them got the idea to come back in. The moment they raised their heads out of the water, they would be burnt to a crisp.

Now that the mermen were out of the way, Corrine raced back over to my mother. She managed to detach the chain from her, allowing me to finally pick my mother up with the help of Caleb and carry her toward my father. Ibrahim brought Mona, while Erik carried Kiev’s unconscious form over to us. Once everyone had gathered round, and we had done a headcount just to be sure we hadn’t left anyone behind this time, my father turned to Corrine and Ibrahim.

“Take everyone to safety now.”

“What?” I said, gaping at him. “You’re coming too.”

He shook his head and glared at Corrine.

The witch gripped my arm and my father, along with the cave, disappeared from sight.

* * *

As we were reunited with the rest of our group on the rocks, Caleb and I laid my mother down gently. I leapt up and clutched Ibrahim’s arm. “Why did we leave my father?”

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’m going back to get him.”

“But why did we leave him?”

Corrine placed a gentle hand over my shoulder. “He’s going to try to get the information we need about Magnus. Without that, our entire trip will have been a waste.”

“How will he get that information?”

“Just… Have some faith in your father, Rose,” Ibrahim said, and a moment later, he had vanished again.

Blood still pounding in my ears, I made my way back over to my mother and placed a hand over her head. Then I bent over and kissed her cold cheeks.

Corrine approached beside me and began examining her. She reached for my mother’s ripped shirt and pulled it down so that the skin of her shoulders was revealed. The witch ran a finger over a bright red spot. At least, I had thought it was a spot. She bent down closer and, after a moment of fiddling, pulled out a small bullet-shaped object from my mother’s flesh.

“A poison dart,” Corrine said, sniffing it.

“Poison?” I said, horrified.

“Yes, but it’s not lethal.” She gestured toward the other side of the rock. “Why don’t you sit over there while I treat your mother? I have my own nerves to contend with without yours too.”

I didn’t want to leave, but I figured that Corrine would work better without me there, so I did.

I approached Caleb, who was sitting on the ground, nursing his injured leg. He had ripped the bottom half of his trousers off to reveal a deep cut just beneath his shin. It was so deep, I thought I could almost see bone.

“Why isn’t it healing?” I said worriedly, bending down.

“It will,” he said through gritted teeth. “I think those spears are tinged with something that makes the healing process slower.”

My eyes fell to his chest. That seemed to be healing a bit better than his leg. I gripped his head, winding my fingers into his hair and pressing my lips against his, kissing him passionately. I pulled away, staring into his eyes.

“Sometimes stupid pays off.”

He let out a weak chuckle. “Sometimes.”

“Let’s just hope it pays off for my father…”

I walked to the edge of the rocks we were standing on and looked down at the water.

Come on, Ibrahim, what’s taking you so long?

I heaved a huge sigh of relief when the two men finally appeared on the island. My father had more cuts than when I had last seen him, but he seemed to be all right. I hurried up to him and flung myself into his arms.

“What happened?” I asked.

He looked around at everyone grimly. “I waited in a corner to trick the mermen into believing that we had all gone. As soon as they pulled themselves up out of the water, I managed to grab hold of one and coerce him into speaking to me. The long and the short of it is, Magnus is no longer here in The Cove.”

Everyone’s faces dropped.

Oh, man.

“Then where is he?” Aiden asked.

“The merman didn’t seem sure of the vampire’s whereabouts,” my father replied. “Apparently he hasn’t been seen in these parts for at least a century. The merman advised to try searching for him in The Woodlands. I wasn’t able to stay long enough for him to explain what The Woodlands is. Does anybody know?”

“The werewolf realm,” Micah said instantly.

We all eyed one another.

“Well,” Ashley muttered, scowling as she stood next to Landis and nursed a wounded elbow, “looks like this has officially become a goose chase.”

Chapter 10: Rhys

We took Lilith’s unconscious form up to a bedroom. Isolde and Julisse bathed her, then laid her down on a bed. We all looked on as she breathed gently, her eyelids still shut. It was bizarre seeing Lilith in this youthful form. I was so used to seeing her as a corpse. Of course, she wouldn’t remain like this forever. But it would be long enough to complete the final part of the ritual.

“Aunt,” I said, “would you step out of the room with me for a moment?”

Isolde looked confused at my request, but she turned to Julisse and said, “Stay here with Lilith.”