An End of Night(A Shade of Vampire,Book 16)(9) by Bella Forrest
Mona swooped down and lifted up Helina from the waves. She rushed up to us and laid her down on the rock before returning for the three men. We gathered over Helina. Her face scrunched up in pain, she was gripping her abdomen. Blood soaked her hands—at first I thought it might just be the squid’s blood, but as Corrine bent down and loosened Helina’s hands around her waist, there was a nasty-looking gash near her navel.
“I would rather use magic to heal this,” Corrine said, looking at her husband. “It will be faster than waiting for Helina’s natural healing capabilities to kick in. This is a deep gash.”
Ibrahim bent down next to her and they began working on healing the vampire. Mona appeared on the rocks moments later with Erik, Matteo, and Kiev.
“Is she okay?” Matteo panted.
“She will be okay,” Corrine said. “Just… don’t come too close. We need space.”
Silence fell among us as we stared down at the waters. The waves were settling and the corpse of the giant squid had bobbed up to the surface.
“Well, I’m sure we’ve attracted the merpeople’s attention now,” Mona said, her forehead creased with worry. “Just not the type of attention we want…”
Chapter 7: Rose
“What do you mean?” my father asked Mona.
“We just killed one of their pets,” the witch replied. “We came here to get information about Magnus. The odds of getting that from them were slim to start with… Now, I’m debating whether we should just leave. I have a bad feeling about staying in this place even a minute longer.”
“We can’t just leave,” my mother replied. “That would be giving up. The Cove is the only thread we have to cling to.”
Mona looked toward Matteo. “What are your thoughts?”
Matteo didn’t look any less worried than Mona. He shrugged. “I’m not sure we have a choice but to take this risk. As Sofia said, if we leave now, then what?”
Mona gulped as all eyes turned to her again.
“Okay.” She walked back over to the edge of the islet. The corpse of the squid was still floating above the waves, lapping against the rocks. Outstretching her palms, she uttered a spell. The monster’s body vanished in an instant. “Let’s hope nobody witnessed what just happened.”
We gathered around the witches and traveled to the next islet.
“We should get down on the ground this time,” my father said. “It will make it harder for squids to take aim at us.”
Despite the crabs, I got down on all fours along with the others. Crawling to the edge and looking down at the water, I was surprised to see that it was tinged with a darker reddish color. “The squid’s ink,” Caleb said, following my gaze. “It’s spread through the waves.”
I almost leapt out of my skin as a high-pitched screech pierced the air. Mona swore beneath her breath. “Gather around,” she hissed. “We’ve got to move to a different area.”
I hurried toward Mona. Just before we vanished, I was able to catch sight of the source of the noise. Shooting out from the ocean fifty feet away, seated atop a giant horned seahorse, was a creature unlike any I had seen before. Half woman, half fish, she had skin consisting of green scales. She had a head of thick purplish hair, and her tail was long and slimy. Baring her teeth, she revealed a sharp set of black fangs.
That is no Little Mermaid.
My heart was pounding in my chest as we reappeared in a different location. I could no longer hear the screeching and there was no tint of red in the ocean nearby, so I could only assume that Mona had taken us far away.
“Okay,” Mona said, wiping sweat from her brow. “They know. It’s only a matter of time before word spreads. We must find someone to speak to before that happens. I’m going to go down and try to find someone myself,” she said, even as she looked terrified at the notion.
Kiev gripped her arm. “You said we couldn’t enter the water without their permission.”
“We don’t have a choice now.”
“Then you are not going alone,” he said. “I for one will come with you.”
“No, Kiev. One person entering is bad enough, two people will just get their guard up even more. I will go alone. Meanwhile, Corrine and Ibrahim will stay with you.”
“But Mona,” Ibrahim said, looking concerned. “What if we need to move? How will you find us?”
“We will find each other.” Mona cast her eyes around at the archipelago. “I will shoot up a flare once I am ready. If you detect any merfolk or other creature drawing close, vanish everyone a mile or so away from here. I will try to be back as fast as possible.”
“I don’t like this,” Kiev said. He was still holding on to his wife.
“Neither do I,” she replied, a pained expression on her face. “But we have no choice.”
She shook herself free from Kiev and, without delaying a moment longer, dove into the water. I supposed that she would cast a spell on herself to allow her to survive beneath water.
The silence was chilling as Mona disappeared. We all looked at each other. Kiev had an agitated expression on his face.
“Let’s keep to the center of this rock,” my mother said, “as far away from the edges as possible.”
“Just three of us should remain by the edges to check for anyone approaching,” my father said. “I will keep guard. Who else would like to volunteer?”