I am surprised at how good my opponent is. I had not thought she would be anything else but good, but still. She has strength I can barely match. Of course, she probably drinks gallons of blood every night. But I don’t. I have been able to successfully abstain.
But everyone has a weakness. and I am beginning to see hers. she favors her left side. The same hand she has her little main gauche in. Her parrying is wonderful. Very fluid.
Parry. Thrust. Parry. Thrust. Getting impatient, she begins to drive. Or at least try.
I keep my cool. But her patience is wearing thin. She is getting angry. She is beginning to make mistakes.
I find her weakness. I strike. She tries to stab me with her main gauche. She misses. I dance away, taking her head as I do.
I watch as her body falls to the ground. After what seems like an eternity, the battle is over. In all, it has only lasted for a couple of hours. A shame. I was just getting warmed up.
McCall signals that there is some movement in the distance. Have we missed something? Was she only a part of the group coming this way? We go back into hiding.
We haven’t even had time to burn or bury the bodies. We are good as caught. Now what?
As we watch, only one individual appears. It is definitely a vampire. Possibly one of her group who had not been among those I killed in her rear guard. But I doubt it.
“Hmmmm.” He lets out a long thoughtful sound. “Fresh. That means the hunters are nearby. Surprising that they took out Rose.
she is better than any hunter I know. Except Doravenour. But he isn’t in the area. This is McCall’s territory. Hunters don’t usually hunt un each other’s territories unless invited.” He glances up. “I know you are still here. Come out.”
I go to rise. McCall restrains me. I look over at him. He shakes his head and points.
I suddenly realize what he is pointing at. Tonya’s head. He wants the newcomer to take the head back with him. I nod in reply.
We remain silent and watch as the stranger picks up Tonya’s head and begins to leave. “Jason isn’t going to be happy. You have killed his beloved wife. He will exact his revenge.” The vampire leaves.
We emerge from our hiding place. Quickly, we pile the corpses together and ignite the makeshift pyre. The stench is horrendous. But it is the only way to get rid of all the evidence.
We have made it back to our safe house uneventfully. No one, well almost no one, has followed us. I still feel as if we are being followed. I still have not spied who it is.
As we enter, I spot movement in a corner. Swinging my sword, I feel it catch something. something that seems to flinch as the blade bites into it. I turn to see what it is.
A shadow leaps at me. “We have company.” I am suddenly aware that these things are everywhere.
“Shadow kin!” Truva has joined the fray. Someone very powerful has been spying on us. Someone with strong magic. Dark, evil magic.”
I am amazed at how quickly he moves. In some ways, he is more fluid than me. McCall is also fighting like a madman. We are surrounded.
“Lilith.” the name escapes me like a curse.
Our door bursts open and several masked and armed women join us in our fight. Seven in all. the leader fights until she and I are back to back.
“Did you miss me?” Her voice is warm and inviting.
“Isabel?” I am surprised at my inquest.
“Yes, cousin. It’s me. Seems you can use a little help.” She has to be smiling under that mask.
“We appreciate it.” I smile. “This must be Lil’s doing.”
“Yes. She is testing your abilities. She must think that shadow kin are enough to kill a well trained vampire hunter. Or a militant nun. She has been sending a lot of them out.”
So my dear cousin has become a conjurer. Suits her. She was always full of herself. I chuckle to myself. The irony isn’t lost on me.
Perhaps Lil is merely trying to use my fears against me. But I no longer fear the shadows. They no longer come for me. I have defeated them more than once.
I smile grimly. Shadows are usually hard to kill. Why are shadow kin so easy to destroy? No matter. In an hour, we have destroyed them all. I look at Truva.
“A present from my cousin Lilith. Apparently whoever kidnapped her has been teaching her how to do magic. I am thinking that W.C. has her.” I frown. I have a feeling I will have to face her soon. What will she throw at me then?
“I believe you are right. Only W.C. is proficient in that kind of magic. If he is teaching her, he has something planned. Something we may not be able to stop.”
I watch as the shadow kin dissolve back into nothing. Such a waste of power. Such a silly attempt. But Lil did succeed in one thing. She has shown me who else has been watching.
“So how long have you been watching?” I turn to Isabel.
She removes her mask. “Since we both began our missions. I am commissioned to watch over you and help you any way I can. The Sisters have commanded it.” She smiles.
“And naturally you obey.” I look at her.
She nods and smiles. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. I owe you my life.”
Neither would I.” I smile and hug her. “Glad to have you along. Even if it is from a distance.”
She smiles and leads her fellow sisters back to the door. “I will always be watching, Cris. Always. I will always be ready to give you help. Anytime you need it.” She turns, then is gone back out into the night. I watch her go.