A Trail of Echoes(A Shade of Vampire,Book 18)(16) by Bella Forrest
“What is it?” Derek said, his voice a mixture of nervousness and impatience.
Vampire vision or not, I still wasn’t willing to believe my eyes until I was standing right next to that man.
“To the Port!” I said.
Grabbing Derek’s hand, I raced with him to the jetty and jumped into one of the submarines we had floating there.
“Navigate us toward that submarine,” I said.
“Sofia, what the—”
“You’ll see,” I said breathlessly. “Just get us there quickly!”
He gave up trying to get an answer out of me and just hurried us forward as fast as the vessel would go.
I could see the belly of the submarine beyond the boundary as we approached. It was a small one, and it was… oddly familiar. My heart pounded as we arrived right next to it. I left the control room and climbed out of the hatch. In the time that it’d taken us to travel here, another person had climbed out of the submarine—now there were two humans standing on top of its roof.
A man and a woman.
Almost twenty years older than when I had last seen them.
Cameron and Liana Hendry.
￼￼￼￼Chapter 11: Sofia
My voice caught in my throat, as did Derek’s when he climbed up through our submarine’s hatch and stood behind me.
“Cameron!” Derek gasped, his voice hoarse.
The redheaded man swiveled in our direction and looked around blindly.
“Derek?” he whispered, squinting. “Is that you?”
My heart leapt to hear his voice for the first time in so long. Cam’s Scottish accent was still as thick as ever.
Without warning, Derek dove into the ocean and resurfaced on the other side of the boundary. He gazed up at his two old friends whom he had shared centuries of his life with.
I leapt into the water too and swam until I bobbed in the waves next to Derek.
Cameron broke out into raucous laughter while Liana squealed at the sight of the two of us. The lines in Liana and Cameron’s aged faces showed as they beamed. The couple bent down and stretched out their hands to us—but Derek and I could manage without their help. If anything, we might cause them to slip and fall into the water.
We climbed up next to them. Liana pulled me in for a tight embrace while Cameron enveloped Derek in a strong hug.
When we drew apart, all four of us just stared at each other, speechless.
“What are you, King Derek?” Cameron asked, half grinning and half frowning. “You’re warm like a human, and yet you hardly look a day older than when we last saw you.”
“And Sofia?” Liana said. “You’re a vampire? I thought you both turned back into humans.”
Derek looked like he wanted nothing more than to just stand there and talk, as did I, but the two of us looked anxiously toward the direction of the hunters’ ships.
“It’s not safe out here,” Derek said, clutching Cameron’s shoulder. “Let’s get on the other side of the boundary first.”
“I guess it’s been so long since we were last here,” Cameron said, his voice reminiscent, “we don’t have permission to enter The Shade like we used to.”
“So many things have happened since you left, Cam,” Derek said. “So. Many. Things. The spell has had to be recast a number of times.”
We moved toward the hatch of their submarine, and the four of us slipped down into it and made our way toward the control room. I was surprised to see, sitting in two of the chairs behind the main switchboard, a young man and woman. They were in their teens, but they looked younger than Rose and Ben.
“Meet Cedric and Pippa,” Liana said proudly.
The girl and boy stood up and shook our hands. Pippa had blazing red hair, like her father, but she shared Liana’s light amber eyes. Cedric on the other hand had dark blond hair, with Cameron’s brown eyes.
I stared at the teens in confusion. When Liana and Cameron had left The Shade, they’d said that they wanted to trace their descendants. They’d lived centuries regretting having to leave their young children when they were first turned into vampires. Then when finally we’d discovered a cure, they’d wanted to leave The Shade to live a normal life and watch over some of their distant relatives. I wondered if perhaps these teens were such distant relatives.
“And who are Cedric and Pippa exactly?” I asked.
Cameron and Liana exchanged glances. “Our son and daughter.”
I was speechless. I certainly hadn’t expected them to have more children. But now that I thought about it, it made total sense. Hundreds of years had passed since they’d last lived as humans. The relatives who would still be living would be very distant indeed. They had still been young when they left, in their late twenties. I should’ve expected that they would start a new family.
“Wow,” I said. Derek shared the same shocked expression as me.
I looked back at their two children. “What a pleasure to meet you. How old are you?”
“Fifteen,” Pippa replied.
“I’m sixteen,” Cedric said.
Apparently recovering from the shock, Derek proceeded to step behind the controls. “We should get inside.”
He moved the vessel the few feet that it took to pass through the boundary, and then stopped. He turned to me. “We still have our submarine floating nearby. We have to take that back to the shore, so Sofia, you stay with Cam and Liana, and I will navigate the other submarine back. We’ll meet at the Port.”