Home > A City of Lies (A Shade of Vampire #55)(3)

A City of Lies (A Shade of Vampire #55)(3)
Author: Bella Forrest


Caia and Blaze had been taken hostage by Shaytan and his hordes. Caspian had a point, though, that Shaytan was interested in keeping them alive. Therefore, we had that sort of working for us.

“There are so many things going through my head right now.” I dropped to my knees, my limbs weak and tired. I could feel another wave of tears coming up, but I did my best to keep it down, broiling in the pit of my stomach. “We don’t even know where Jax and Hansa are…”

Caspian moved across the room, then lowered himself in front of me, so we could be on the same level. He gripped my chin between his thumb and index finger, lifting my head slowly so he could look me in the eyes.

“They are both smart, cunning, and fast enough to outrun any of those beasts outside,” he said, his voice low but somewhat reassuring. I swallowed hard, and gave him a soft nod in response.

“I wonder where they are.”

To my surprise, I quickly got the answer to my question, as the main entrance drapes moved. My hands reached for my swords, as two possibilities shot through my mind – daemons, or Jax and Hansa. Fortunately, the latter became visible as their invisibility spell wore off. I sprang to my feet and immediately pulled them into my arms, holding them both as close as I could. It felt as though I could breathe again.

“You have no idea how good it is to see you,” I breathed. Jax and Hansa both responded to my hug, and tightened their arms around me. Hansa even dropped a kiss on the top of my head, before gently pushing me away so she could measure me from head to toe.

“Likewise, little vampire.” She smiled softly. “I’m glad to see that you’re in one piece. That you’re both in one piece.”

Caspian gave them a friendly nod, then sat by the now-dying fire we had left behind earlier. We joined him, welcoming the temporary comfort and quiet offered by Mose’s hut.

“Where are Blaze and Caia? Have you seen them?” Jax asked.

Grief constricted my throat, and I choked up while trying to speak. Caspian put one hand on my knee, then filled them in for me.

“The daemons got them,” he said. “They knocked them out, and they carried them inside the palace. My guess is that Shaytan wants them alive. Chances are he could use them as bait, to get us out of hiding.”

It took Jax and Hansa some time to process the news. They were both floored, but gradually snapped back to a more composed state. Watching them was enough to help me get back into the right mindset. We had a lot to do, and I needed a clear head.

“We’re going to get them back,” Hansa muttered, staring at the ashes in the fire pit.

Jax put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him, pressing his lips against her temple. It surprised me to see them so close. This was the ultimate shift in their dynamic: they were now closer than ever before. Weirdly, it had taken thousands of daemons chasing after us for them to get over whatever had stood between them in the first place.

“Rest assured, we’re not leaving here without them,” Jax replied softly.

I could feel my right eyebrow rising slowly as I stared at them. Took you long enough…

My only hope was that we would all make it out of the daemon city alive, so that Jax and Hansa could really take their relationship to the next level. I held hope that the universe wasn’t cruel enough to end their story here, in the bowels of Neraka.

“What happened back there?” Hansa asked, looking at me. “What were those lenses?”

“It’s red garnet,” Caspian replied.

“They could see us through them,” I added. “That was entirely unexpected. It was as if Shaytan knew we would be there, somehow. I saw him looking around, then straight at us, but I didn’t think anything of it, since we were invisible. But then he started grinning… and I realized that he could see us. I swear, this is making less sense than before. The more we uncover, the less we know.”

“We have to find a way to get Caia and Blaze out of there,” Jax said. Hansa leaned into him. “We will have to find a way to infiltrate that palace.”

“The parameters of our mission have changed,” I replied. “We have daemons, some of them with red lenses through which they can see us. We have giant soldiers, or generals, or whatever they’re called. We have pit wolves and death claws, along with everyone else who basically wants a piece of us. Yeah, count me in.”

“Knowing you, Harper,” Hansa smirked, “and how much you love a good challenge, I’m glad to see you so energized and eager to kick so many asses.”

I felt the corner of my mouth twitch, mainly because she was right. I definitely looked forward to killing as many of those horned bastards as I could.

“At least we have morale going for us,” Caspian said. “I’m sure that Miss Hellswan will get plenty of opportunities to burn all that energy.”

His aura had a sheen of gold to it as he gave me a brief smile, his jade eyes fixed on mine. My cheeks burned, and my heart skipped a beat. He was right. I was going to get plenty of action in that palace, and many heads would fall in the process.

You don’t imprison my friends and expect to get away with it.

Maybe most people who looked at Shaytan saw a giant, fearsome king. All I saw was my main enemy—and there was only one thing I did with my enemies. I crushed them. No matter how big.

 

 

Avril

 

 

(Daughter of Lucas & Marion)

 

 

The world around me was kind and warm. Or, at least, that’s what my dream felt like. My heart sang, as I gradually opened my eyes and realized that the warmth was not going away. I wasn’t dreaming it. I could feel it.

A couple of seconds passed. I slowly adjusted my eyes to the semi-darkness of my room at the Broken Bow Inn. The shutters kept the sunlight out, but minuscule little rays still managed to sneak in, marking a handful of bright little dots on the wooden floor.

I was wrapped in a pair of strong arms, beneath the bedcover. My breath hitched as I remembered the night before—Heron coming to my room, awkwardly hanging around, falling asleep on the divan… I’d tried to tell him how I felt. But he was already sleeping deeply and didn’t hear it. Instead, he got into bed with me later, and I slipped into dreamland in his embrace.

He stirred, and I felt his firm body against mine, every muscle and every sharp line perfectly molded to my curves. My temperature started to rise, as if the sun itself were hugging me. I feared I would burn, but at the same time, I couldn’t let go. It felt too good to be true.

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