Target(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 3)(39) by Connie Suttle
"The boy we want is not among them," Ruby pointed out quietly. They were near enough to see and hear everything going on in the enemy camp.
"What?" Diamond whirled to stare at his brother. Ruby held the sharp hearing that a few of their race still had.
"I overheard them talking—they failed to take him on the first try, and the second try met with failure as well. Likely because only two Destroyers—the youngest—were sent after him. I imagine that he was well guarded by werewolves by that time. We can take them if we surprise them, but if they expect us, it is much more difficult," Ruby replied. "I think they will make a third attempt, once the werewolves turn to run."
"Where are they going? Did you hear that?" Diamond asked.
"Yes, brother. They figure he will be guarded inside his community home. That is where they plan to go. They have two fire blasters with them. Rend will take those two with him, leaving his brother to guard the young ones."
"That complicates things. Very much," Diamond grumbled. "We have no interest in the others. They are useless to us and the Queen will not allow them inside the camp. Besides, Rend is pushing it, relocating a third time today. He has to be using up his energy reserves."
"Perhaps one of the others can transport. Energy blasters are quite uncommon."
"True, but they may be nearing depletion as well. We are fresher. We will go in behind them, allow them to do most of our work for us and then take the boy—and them—while they are weak. This is becoming so much simpler than we thought," Diamond smiled.
"The Queen will be happy," Sapphire agreed.
"We'll take them with us," Winkler spared a few moments to explain to Adele Evans and Lavonna Anderson. "They can feed off the enemy," Winkler waved away Adele's concern.
"Then protect them while they do that, it takes a minute or two," Lavonna snapped.
"Mrs. Anderson, I know you are concerned about your daughter. Ashe will bring her and the others back here while the rest of us take on Tanner's wolves and those Elemaiya filth," Winkler growled. The full moon was beginning to affect everyone, Ashe knew. He heard it in Lavonna and Winkler's voices. Lavonna would have to turn, just as his mother and the other shifters would. Cori stood beside her mother, her face pale, her eyes focused on Ashe. Ashe reached out and gripped her hand.
"Ashe, let's go," Winkler commanded. Ashe dropped Cori's hand and became mist.
Somehow, Ashe knew the moment his father and the other vampires wakened inside his mist. Anthony Hancock, however, was the one with mindspeech. He cursed initially, before demanding answers. Zeke Tanner's werewolves and a few Elemaiya kidnapped Sali, Dori and the others from Shirley Walker's groves, Ashe explained as best he could. He didn't hold all the information, but he held enough. Winkler, Dad, Mr. Anderson, Marcus, Ace and Trajan are here with you. The others are coming by boat. I think Mr. Winkler plans to trap Tanner's wolves between both forces when they turn to run, Ashe added. He hovered briefly over the enemy camp—he could see Sali and the others, still sitting on the sand below. And then he gasped.
What is it, kid? Tony Hancock asked.
There's another camp with four more Elemaiya, and I think they're shielded from the others, Ashe moaned. They hadn't been there before. Where had they come from?
The other side, no doubt, Tony Hancock replied dryly. Kid, you're hotter than we thought. Why don't you drop us off farther north, beyond that big dune down there? Ashe turned slightly to glimpse the dune Tony Hancock meant. The tall mound was covered in grass and creepers. It might be home to a few snakes as well. Ashe pointed that out to Tony Hancock.
Snakes don't like vamps. We're not vulnerable to the poison, he added. They usually hightail it away from us.
Like most normal creatures should, Ashe couldn't help adding.
True, Tony agreed. Drop us off on the other side. We'll wait for the big furry turning, he joked.
I hope Winkler bites your butt for that, Ashe muttered and misted toward the dune.
"I will bite your butt for that," Winkler hissed at Tony the moment Ashe released him from the mist.
"Don't mess with a hungry vampire," Tony hissed back, showing his fangs.
"Ashe, we have to wait until those wolves turn," Aedan said quietly.
"Dad, you can take—you know, if you have to," Ashe offered blood to his father. His father had never asked that of Ashe before.
"No, Son. There'll be plenty available later. We can wait for a little while." Nathan, listening to the conversation, agreed.
"It's close," Winkler fidgeted. Ace, who was already werewolf, paced around the small group restlessly. Trajan and Marcus came out of their clothing and turned. "Gotta go," Winkler muttered and made the turn. He was a powerful black wolf, with only his golden eyes glinting in the moonlight.
"Kid, turn us to mist, those wolves are coming this way," Tony snapped. Ashe had heard it too—the first howl from Ezekiel Tanner's Pack, before they began running in his direction. Ashe had all of the wolves and vampires turned to mist quickly, and rising up, watched as Tanner's Pack raced around the dune. As soon as they'd passed through, Ashe dropped his cargo on the sand, watched briefly as the vampires and werewolves raced after the others and then turned to mist again, his goal of gathering up the younger werewolves and shapeshifters of the Star Cove community foremost in his mind.
They'd all turned—except Jackson—and were sitting quietly between the dunes, just as they'd done earlier. Ashe figured that compulsion had been placed. While he'd been distracted by Winkler, his father and the others however, most of the Elemaiya guards had disappeared, as had the four others hidden nearby. Suddenly frightened, Ashe zipped through the camp, gathered the kidnapped teens and hopped to Star Cove while the lone Elemaiya guard shouted behind him.
"I hear 'em," Trace said. They'd cut the engines to the boats, allowing their momentum to slide them onto the sandy, shallow water beach along the western edge of St. Joseph Island. "Everybody, get out and turn. We fight tonight," Trace whispered, knowing that the sensitive ears of the werewolves around him would pick up his voice. Micah turned right next to him. Shirley Walker and her wolves followed Micah's example. Trace, having the most control of all of them, waited until the very last. He nodded to the vampire who stood nearby. Kyle was the only vampire living in the Corpus Christi area. Ten wolves had also come from the San Antonio Pack, and Trace turned to them.
"I know this is an unusual order, but these are unusual circumstances," he said to them. "Work with Kyle. I expect all of you to meet me here when it's over. Got it?" One of the wolves dipped his head. "Good enough," Trace acknowledged. "Let's go."
Two houses were already on fire. The shapeshifters were fighting an invisible enemy, it seemed. All of them had turned and Lavonna, in her lioness form, stalked the street. Cori's panther crept stealthily beside her mother. Adele's falcon flew overhead, shrieking whenever something moved beneath her. Wynn and her mother—unicorn and palomino mare—were guarded closely by Jonas' eagle, who flapped overhead. He was prepared to dive and strike if anything threatened his wife and daughter.
Larry Campbell's parents, Bill and Jennifer, in cheetah and leopard form, stalked the northern side of the road, sniffing for anything unusual. Six werewolves from the San Antonio Pack, Amos Thompson in his white buffalo form and several other shifters patrolled the neighborhood as houses continued to burn. When another fire blast was launched, Lavonna and Cori raced to the spot where it originated while Adele screamed angrily overhead.
"My shield is holding, but that may not last," Yindis panted. He was nearly stretched to his limit. The power he'd expended already would have him recuperating for weeks. Terrin had set three houses on fire after they'd determined the target wasn't inside. Rend cursed his source—they'd failed to reveal which house was the target's. Then he cursed himself for not asking the question. Truly, he'd never planned to come here in order to take the quarry to the Dark race. If they revealed themselves, the shapeshifters would attack. Rend wouldn't mind killing them, but he didn't want to expend the energy. He still had to locate the quarry and carry him to the King, after all.
Diamond watched his Dark cousins as they searched. Few knew that one of his talents was seeing through shields. He could see through this one easily. His brothers depended upon him to tell them what the others were doing. "Foolish, to set the homes afire," Diamond muttered to Emerald, who walked beside him. They'd already dodged the mare and unicorn and easily fooled the eagle who flew over their heads—Sapphire's shields were among the best. "It tells them they are here."
"Stupid," Ruby agreed. "Better to stay shielded and search that way. If the boy is here, he will only hide better. It's a very good thing I can see the mist of others."
"You have not had much practice at it, since our last mister died years ago," Sapphire grunted.
"I have not lost that talent," Ruby snapped. "We never lose what we are born with."
"Very true. Stop bickering and pay attention," Diamond commanded. "Follow them to that house. They seem to be paying an inordinate amount of attention to it," he added.
"Tell us where the boy is!" Rend shouted at the only human left inside the Star Cove community. Randy Smith had backed against a wall in Marcus' den, unsure who or what was demanding he tell them something. He had no idea that these were Elemaiya—nobody had explained anything to him. All he knew was what Adele and Lavonna had told him and his mother—that the Star Cove teens had been kidnapped from Shirley Walker's groves. His mother had been quite upset about the whole thing, but she hadn't explained it, either. Randy cursed silently over the fact that he was human and would forever be kept away from werewolf, shifter and vampire business. He did have one last trick up his sleeve, though, if the one threatening him came just a little closer.
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