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An End of Night(A Shade of Vampire,Book 16)(18) by Bella Forrest

Mona, Ibrahim and Corrine set about following Micah’s suggestion.

Once Corrine had finished with Caleb and me, I looked down at my hands. They had disappeared. It wasn’t long before everyone was invisible. I caught Caleb’s hand.

“Now, Micah, where would you suggest we start?” my father asked.

“Hmm. Well, let’s think,” the werewolf replied. “Unless Magnus had the help of witches to cover his scent, I’m sure that the wolves would have detected the vampire’s presence sooner or later. So if he stayed for a stretch of time, the wolves would have known about it. That brings two options. Either they caught him and threw him straight out—or perhaps murdered him—or they allowed him to stay. If we assume the second option, then Magnus would have needed permission from a chieftain.”

“So we need to seek out chieftains?” Ashley asked.

“Yes,” Micah replied.

“You can’t sense any vampires now?” Aiden asked.

“I can only sense you guys,” Micah replied. “It could be that we’re not close enough to Magnus for me to sense him yet. The Woodlands is a massive place.”

“So where do we go first?” Corrine asked.

“To the woods,” Micah said.

My eyes traveled past the rocky shore we were standing on, and toward the dark forest that lined it. Although day was close to breaking, the trees were so thick, I was sure that it would be almost as dark walking beneath them as if it were night.

We hurried away from the rocks and approached the entrance to the woods.

“It’s bizarre to be back here. It’s been so long,” Micah murmured.

We began walking along the winding forest path. The noises around us gave me chills—shrill chirping and the occasional grunting of an animal. Boughs creaked and the wind rustled the leaves of the trees.

Perhaps half an hour passed before it appeared that the trees were beginning to thin. I thought at first that it might just be my imagination, but then I could make out an opening in the distance. We reached it quickly and found ourselves stepping onto the edge of a cliff. The landscape before us took my breath away. The cliff dropped sharply downward toward a sea of trees and surrounding the area were endless mountain ranges. I realized that this place reminded me a little of The Shade, albeit on a much grander scale.

“Do you see that mountain far in the distance, directly in front of us?” Micah asked. “It’s probably the tallest in sight.”

There was a veil of mist in the distance, and since it wasn’t even fully daylight yet, I struggled to see what Micah was pointing to.

“I see it,” several vampires replied.

“That is where my pack used to live,” Micah said.

“How many packs are there in this realm?” Caleb asked.

Micah scoffed. “Too many to count. The Woodlands is a divided realm—centuries of disagreements have caused much discord and separation.”

“So how do we know which chieftain to approach?”

“We don’t. But let’s try here first. The shore we arrived on is the primary way into this realm,” Micah said. “And this chieftain’s territory spans—or at least used to span—many miles from here, so if Magnus arrived, it’s likely that he would have been detected by one of the werewolves of this chieftain’s pack before he made it into another area.”

“Okay,” my father said.

“Ibrahim, Corrine and Mona,” Micah said, “you can magick us there now.”

We all felt our way toward each other, and disappeared once the witches were sure that everyone was touching. The temperature dropped sharply as we reappeared at the base of a mountain. It was only now that we were here that I realized the sheer scale of it. It made me dizzy just craning my head upward and trying to see the top. It was certainly taller than any skyscraper I had seen. The tip disappeared into the clouds.

I looked back behind us, trying to see where we had just been standing, and even now I could barely make it out through the fog.

“Now what?” I asked.

“I suggest that you and your father head up the mountain alone and try to get a meeting with the chieftain,” Micah said.

“What?” my mother said, alarm in her voice. “But they are humans. I thought you said—”

“Of all of us, Rose and Derek will get these wolves’ backs up the least. Humans are not intimidating to werewolves as vampires and witches are. Wolves are distrustful of intruders enough as it is. I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we don’t want to cause another showdown here like we had in The Cove.”

“But why does Rose need to come?” my father said. “I’ll go alone. I can wield fire if something goes wrong. I will be able to manage even if a whole pack of wolves launches an attack on me. In any case”—he looked toward the brightening sky—“they will be in their human forms anytime now.”

“Derek,” Micah said, “you’re an intimidating guy, to put it mildly. Having a young woman like Rose next to you will help to soften things a little.”

“All right,” my father said after a pause, reluctance in his tone. “So, Corrine, you will need to remove Rose’s and my invisibility now.”

“Also, Corrine, stop suppressing their scent,” Micah said. “If the wolves can’t smell them, that will also make them distrustful.”

My father appeared before me, and then I became visible as well. I walked toward him, but bumped into someone.