Davina, p.11
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       Davina, p.11
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         Part #3 of Immortal Prophecy series by Tijan

  protect them. Or I had to try, at least.

  The decision was made then.

  I nodded at them. “You should come with me, at least as far as its safe. If you find your group, I’ll keep going it alone.”

  Cal cocked his head to the side. “What are you doing out here?”

  Saving my potential ex-best friend.

  Saving the world.

  Saving myself.

  None of those answers sufficed. I only said, “Just looking for a friend.”

  The small surprise both had when they first saw me was wearing off. I didn’t know if it was my doom and gloom attitude that I couldn’t seem to shake, or if the Mary Jane was wearing off. Either way, both seemed more wary of me than they had been in the beginning.

  Or maybe they were just realizing the absolutely fucked-up situation they were in.

  I was going with the latter, and with that cheerful thought, I started up the trail, and after a few moments of hesitation, they did as well.

  My two new besties and I hiked most of the night. The full moon gave us enough light until we got to a large canopy of trees. No light got through so we were forced to camp out. Cal and Spencer had large hiking bags, and they came in handy. They had an extra blanket, and when they pulled out a tarp, and after securing it between two trees, I snuggled into their makeshift hammock. It was blissful.

  Sleeping in the cave had been—well, I’d been out of it. I don’t know if was restful, but this was. I almost professed my love for these two lost hikers, but sleep overtook me, and it wasn’t till morning when I woke again.

  Once my eyelids opened, I felt The Immortal again.

  It was amazing. It was fabulous. It was about-freaking-time!

  I jerked to a sitting position. The blanket fell to my lap and I could feel everything. We were half a mile away from a river. I could sense the fish in there, all the berries on the way that we could eat. Beyond the river, was Mori territory. I thought it didn’t start till after the mountain, but we were just on the precipice of it. The steep incline for the mountain started right behind the river, and as I realized that, alarm bells started ringing in my head. My brief moment of euphoria was snatched away.

  I couldn’t go over that river with these guys. We must’ve gone farther than I expected last night, and we discussed our plans before sleeping last night. We were supposed to trek around the last mountain, then they were going to head north where they thought their group was, and I was going to keep going east to where the Mori were.

  “Morning!” Spencer held a hand up, bent over by the fire. He was stirring a pot over it. His hair was wet and he had a changed his clothing. Seeing my lingering gaze on his hair, he grinned and pointed to the top of his head. “I took a quick dip. There’s a river half a mile thatta way.” Twisting around, he pointed in the direction I hoped he wouldn’t have. I’d been hoping he said there was a different river. I could’ve led them that way instead, but nope. He’d been closer to the Mori than I ever wanted him to be.

  I took a beat and pushed the small panic aside, then I smelled coffee.

  Wait—coffee? I sniffed the air, and scrambled out of the tarp. “Oh my God.” I started for him.

  Spencer’s grin spread. There was an extra pan sitting at the bottom of his feet and he moved back. “Yep. Instant coffee.” He lifted a spoon of it and poured it into a thermos he’d taken out of his bag. I couldn’t even let him fill it. I grabbed it after the first scoop and guzzled it. “Oh hey.” He laughed, taken aback by my quickness. He blinked a couple times. “You must’ve been out here longer than you thought, huh?”

  I closed my eyes, savoring the taste of the coffee grounds. I stuck my nose into the cup and inhaled the aroma of it. My euphoria was back, and I held the thermos back to him, a dreamy smile on my face. “I declare it here and now. I love you.”

  “You love me?” he teased back, taking the cup from me.

  “And I’ll worship you forever if you have more in there I can drink.”

  “Ha!” He was already reaching for the pan. “I’ll take you up on that. I got my heart crushed before going on this trip. Knowing one girl worships me does wonders for my ego.” He poured three more scoops into the thermos before the spoon scraped the bottom of the pan. “Oh.” He peered inside, and grimaced. “It’s half full. Sorry about that.”

  He held it out to me, and I took it, sinking down to the ground beside him. Good God. Being The Immortal should’ve allowed me to make coffee out of nothing. I needed to work on that magic. Screw protecting vampires or Kates. I needed to look out for my caffeine needs first.

  “Hey,” he called out, turned behind us. “Did you bring more water? Davy loves coffee, apparently.”

  I glanced over my shoulder at the same time I heard shoes breaking a twig. Cal was coming back from the river. His hair was wet as well, and he had changed his clothes, too. Both guys were up and ready to go.

  Fuck.

  “Oh yeah?” Cal ran a hand through his hair, shaking some of the water out. A towel was thrown over his shoulder and he flipped up the end to dry his face. He lifted up his other hand, holding a bucket. “Good thing I brought extra. I figured we’d need it for the pans, too.”

  “Sweet ass.” Spencer shifted around, still bent down, and took the water from him once he got to the fire. He pointed to the other pan he’d been stirring. “I splurged this morning. I made the grits.”

  “You did?” Cal grabbed his bag and sank down on the other side of the fire. He glanced at me. “Spencer is pulling out all the stops if he made the grits. We were saving it for a celebration day.”

  Spencer snorted. “Yeah, when we weren’t lost anymore.” He pointed to me with a wooden spoon. “And thanks to her, we won’t be. Since she came from the west, and knows what’s east of us, we’re pretty sure where our group is. We won’t be lost for long.”

  Aaaaand that was my cue. They couldn’t go past the river. “Hey, um.” I lowered the coffee cup. “You know. We could wander north from here. We don’t need to go over the river just yet.”

  “The fuck?”

  Cal shared in Spencer’s sentiment, frowning instantly. “Uh . . . why?”

  “I mean, we might’ve overshot our destination a bit. I mean,” Fucking A. I was horrible at lying. I felt my cheeks growing red. “Well, I mean . . . I recognize that river.”

  The two guys shared a look. Both furrowed their eyebrows forward.

  Spencer echoed my words, “You ‘recognize’ the river—”

  “—that you haven’t seen yet?” Cal finished for him.

  I couldn’t squirm under their gazes. “Yeah.” I shrugged, glancing down at the cup on the ground. “How many rivers are there? And I recognize this area, too.” I gestured to the trees around us. “We’re closer than we realized. I think you guys need to head straight north.” I paused a beat, swallowing over a knot in my throat. “And, you know, maybe steer clear of the river . . . if at all possible?”

  Shit. Shit. Shit.

  I used to be so good at being evasive. Who would’ve known I’d be wishing for the days when I had kept so much secret?

  “Uh . . .” The guys glanced at each other again before Cal cleared his throat. “We’ve not run across another river as large as that one, and I know we crossed a river the same size before, so I think we should stick to the original plan. Cross the river, go around the mountain, and split up on the other side.”

  “No,” I cried out before clamping a hand over my mouth. Seriously. I would’ve sucked at espionage. “I mean.” I scratched behind my ear. “I really don’t think it’s safe, you guys.”

  “But you’re going over it, aren’t you?” Spencer narrowed his eyes.

  “Um.” I averted mine.

  Cal stood slowly, grabbing his bag. “I think we should stick to the original plan, like I just said.”

  “No.” Spencer shook his head.

  “Spencer,” Cal started.

  Spencer held a hand out to him, stopping him. His ga
ze was still firmly pinned on me. “What were you going to do?” Spencer asked me. “Were you going to double-back and cross then? Were you going to lead us somewhere else?”

  Cal’s frown deepened. His hand wrapped tighter around his bag. “You mean, like into a trap?”

  Oh fuck.

  At the T word, I knew I was done for. Suspicion jumped to both of them. Spencer stood and as he did, Cal moved back a step. Spencer went right with him. They were both regarding me like I’d stolen their pot.

  “Come on, guys.” I jumped to my feet, too.

  “Yeah,” Spencer shot back. “Come on, yourself.”

  “Tell the truth.”

  I was caught. I’d backed myself into a corner, and both weren’t backing down.

  “Use me.”

  Of course, The Immortal would pop up here. Nope. Not going to do it. I shoved that thought away.

  “You’re wasting time. Let me take over. I can get in their heads and make them do what you want.”

  “Nope.” I shook my head.

  Spencer and Cal saw the motion, and both of their eyebrows lifted.

  Cal asked, “No what? What was that for?”

  “Uh.”

  “Use me, Davy. This is ridiculous. You’re being foolish. They’re both humans.”

  “I’m human!” I shot back at her.

  “No.” She said it so calmly, so—I gulped—final. “You’re not and you know it. You’re clinging to a past that’s not with you anymore. You need to let go of your humanity.”

  I scoffed in outrage. Let go of my humanity? She was being ridiculous.

  Cal and Spencer heard the sound I made and the suspicion was turning toward doubt, like I’d grown two heads and they didn’t know what to make of me. Spencer checked his pocket and pulled out a baggie. He was checking if the pot was still there. Reassured it was, he put it back, and his eyebrows bunched together even more.

  “Davy. You’re indulging these two humans. You don’t have time to be kind. Let me take over. They’ll go to safety, and we can be back in the Mori camp.”

  “Why do you even want to go back there?”

  She was silent.

  I almost laughed out loud. Of course, she was silent now. The witches had separated us enough where I couldn’t read her thoughts, but she knew my every wish, thought, and feeling. It wasn’t fair.

  But then I felt a growl coming from inside of me. It was from the farthest part of me, deeper than my consciousness had ever been in touch with. It was her. I angered her.

  “Witch,” I thought.

  Her anger doubled. It grew in volume and strength.

  That was why she wanted to go back. “You want vengeance?” I asked her.

  “No.” She spoke back to me. “You want vengeance. I am you. You are me. We are as one. Don’t fool yourself into pretending you’re the ‘good’ one. You want to taste their blood every bit as I do. That’s why we’re going back, Davy. We’re not going for your traitorous friend. It’s time you were honest with yourself, just like how these two hikers came to be in the first place.”

  “What?” I snarled at her, whipping my head to the side as if I could see her.

  I sensed Cal and Spencer’s growing caution, but for once I was in sync with The Immortal. They were human. Lying to them could be easily done. I had a more important fight to deal with now.

  “Tell me!” I yelled at her.

  There was nothing. Just silence. She was there. I felt her, but she was pouting. No—that wasn’t right. She was waiting . . .

  “What are you waiting for? Tell me the truth.”

  Fury and impatience ebbed into resignation. The first two emotions slid away like a wall inside of me, opening up to the back room where she was. I felt her honesty then, and she said, “It was you, Davy.”

  “Me what?”

  “You brought them here.”

  I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. That was preposterous . . . But I couldn’t argue with her, because as soon as she said those words, I felt it inside of myself. She was right. I backtracked in my memory, looping back over the last two days. I was walking through the woods. I was tired, hungry, alone—there. I felt the instant I did it. I had stepped the wrong way on a rock and my foot went one way while my ankle went the other. I cried out, grabbed onto my ankle, and I wished for someone else in that split second to come. I wanted to be normal, not in that place where I was traipsing back to vampire territories.

  I wanted someone that reminded me of my humanity, where I was normal again.

  The Immortal reached out for me. As I mended my own ankle, she found a group of hikers. She picked up two and brought them so they were right in my path. They didn’t even know it themselves, but I made them get lost. Their group wasn’t even in this same area. They’d been in another country.

  I had done that.

  The Immortal did it on a whim.

  I gaped at them now, feeling the guilt coursing through me. I choked out, “I am so sorry.”

  “You’re sorry?” Spencer echoed me again. “For what?”

  “I did this.”

  They shared another look, and both edged back one more step. Spencer asked, “Did what?”

  “I brought you here.” And I had to take them back, but I didn’t know how.

  “What do you mean, you brought us here?” Cal spoke this time.

  I couldn’t explain. I shook my head. “Come on.” I grabbed my bag, turning toward the river. “When we get there, I’ll fix it. I’ll have to, somehow.”

  “Not to be mean, but you’re sounding like a nutcase.”

  Cal nodded in agreement. “I second that. You’re not making any sense.”

  “Let’s go.” I pointed ahead. “When we get to the river, I’ll explain everything.” Regret flared up. “I owe you that much, at least.”

  “You owe us?”

  I wasn’t listening anymore. I started for the river, and the other two scrambled to get all their stuff together. I should’ve helped, but I used the extra time to try to send them back. Once they were ready and walking behind me, I knew it was going to be harder than I imagined. The entire trek to the river was in silence. I kept trying to send them back, but once I heard the sounds of the water rushing ahead of us, I had to admit the truth. I had little to no control over my powers again. Getting both of them back to their group, an entire country over, was beyond my capabilities. The only way I could do it was if it was on a whim, just how I brought them here in the first place. I needed to wish both of them back there, and the closer we drew to the water, I kept trying. Nothing happened. They were still with me.

  I was frustrated, and I had no idea what to do now. They couldn’t go into Mori territory with me. I never looked at the river. I knew we were there. I’d have to cross it and they couldn’t, and I was gearing myself up for a fight when I turned around and looked up at them.

  They weren’t looking at me.

  Both of them were frozen in place, their eyes wide and fixed on a spot behind me.

  “Whoa,” Spencer said under his breath.

  Cal closed his mouth, but a vein bulged out in his neck. Fear that I hadn’t experienced since before Lucan took me blasted from him. I gasped, falling back from the intensity of it, and I felt Spencer’s fear mixing with Cal’s before I whirled around.

  And, right there, standing on the other side of the river, was the reason.

  Three Mori vampires stared back at me.

  Three things happened at the same time.

  The Mori lunged for us, leaping the river in one bound. Cal and Spencer wet their pants. And I flung my arms out at the same time a
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