Davina, p.15
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       Davina, p.15

         Part #3 of Immortal Prophecy series by Tijan
 
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  As the striped wolf ended the call, he lowered his head and regarded both of them.

  It was a standoff between them now. The wolf couldn’t kill both of them, but when he didn’t leave, Roane knew the wolf was willing to die. He wasn’t running.

  Respect for this one wolf grew in him, but as he shared a look with Saren, he knew what had to be done.

  She nodded, swinging her sword up, and both of them launched ahead.

  The wolf met them, but it was a similar exchange as the first wolf. Saren jumped higher than Roane, landing behind the wolf. He twisted his neck to try to nip at her legs, but that was his mistake. As he did, Roane pushed ahead with an extra boost of speed and used that momentum to ram his dagger into its heart.

  But, unlike the other two, this wolf didn’t fall to the ground.

  He didn’t lunge for Roane either. He stood there, panting for breath, as both Saren and Roane waited.

  The wolf did nothing.

  Roane looked, but no blood fell from the wound.

  “He’s been protected,” Saren gasped, her eyes widening.

  “What does that mean?”

  “That means we run.” She rushed forward. The wolf tried to bite her, but she evaded him and as soon as her hand touched Roane’s arm—he felt them coming.

  He was pulled backwards into what felt like an invisible vacuum and Saren gritted her teeth, still pushing forward into whatever she had woven for them. Roane watched from where they had left. The wolf started after them, and behind him, more wolves appeared suddenly.

  Saren waved behind her. As she did, the hole vanished.

  They stumbled to the ground. There were no wolves around.

  “What just happened?”

  Saren stopped and took a breath. She reached for him again.

  Roane caught her hand and held it in place, an inch above his arm. He asked again, “What just happened?”

  “It was Jacith.” Saren pulled her hand free and reattached it to his arm. “I only pulled you a mile away. He was aiding them. They’ll be on us again if I don’t get us farther away.”

  Alarm spiked in him as she grabbed his arm, and the same invisible vacuum effect happened. They landed again. Saren took a breath, then grabbed his arm again. They kept doing this until they landed outside their own encampment. She was doing it to save her power, only using it in short bursts. Once they were done, she closed her eyes and bent forward, resting her hands on her legs. She was the one panting for breath now, much how the wolves had before.

  Roane knew they were safe so he started, “Was Jacith there with them?”

  She nodded and opened her eyes. They were strained as she answered, “Yes. I watched their army before and his body wasn’t with them, but he was there. Or he was in close proximity.”

  “I don’t understand what you mean.”

  “He’s powerful enough to project his magic, but he can only go so far. And it’s only so powerful. The closer his body is to where he is projecting, the more power he has, and back there, his magic was very, very powerful. It was too much. The magic alone would’ve killed me. I knew he had spelled the wolves so they were unnaturally strong and faster, but that was him. That wasn’t the power he had already given them.”

  Roane was reeling. Jacith was here . . . He had come for Davy.

  Saren felt his urgency and panic rise and she held a hand up, stopping him. “Davy will have enough power to beat him. That is why I’m here after all.”

  “But if he can get to her—”

  “He can’t. The protection spell the Mori put up isn’t for us or the other army. It’s against Jacith. They feel his magic, too. They don’t want him within their lands either.”

  “Can they defeat him?”

  Saren lifted up a shoulder. “I don’t know. The Mori have ancient magic, but I’m unsure about how powerful they are or if they even want to war against him. They’re already with Lucan.”

  Roane stifled a groan. He clipped out. “My brother is with them, not the other way around.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “The Mori are relatively peaceful. They don’t leave their lands, but they did with him. I can’t help to wonder if they’ve been told the full truth of why they held Davy in captivity.”

  She narrowed her eyes at him. “You think they don’t know?”

  “I don’t know. Talia said not everything is as it seems. I’m wondering if that’s what she meant.”

  “Maybe.”

  “Roane!”

  Wren was coming down the path toward them.

  Roane said under his breath, before the other vampire could reach them, “Don’t tell the others about Jacith. They don’t think he’s here.”

  Saren glanced at him, a question lurking deep in her depths, but she didn’t respond.

  SAREN

  As the female vampire got to their side, Saren stepped back and tucked her head down. The Christane wolves should be aware of what they are going against, but this vampire that Davy loved had proven his intelligence. She must have a reason for her silence. However, she was uneasy. She needed to move ahead and find her Immortal sister. The sooner she could merge her power to Davy, the better for her sister, but as the days had been progressing Saren found herself more and more reluctant to leave these group of warriors.

  They were simpletons. They were weak, but spending time in their presence was like a sickness. An infatuation grew for them. She found herself wanting to protect them, to aid in their survival. It was because of Davy. Her sister would want her to make sure this vampire lived. Saren tried to reassure herself it was because of the true Immortal—that was why she hadn’t left them to enter the Mori land.

  Roane and his comrades weren’t aware, but the protection spell wasn’t cast to keep Saren out. She had already crossed the water and explored a day’s trek inwards before she realized the others were kept outside.

  As Roane moved forward to intercept the female vampire, Saren felt it was time to pull herself away from this group and so, as she thought it, she vanished from their sight.

  Sireenia felt her presence and greeted her. “I have missed you, sister.”

  They were on their plane, though Saren kept a window open. She could watch Davy’s vampire and materialize if her presence was needed. She said to her other sister now, “Jacith is near them.”

  “Yes. He didn’t travel with his army. He went somewhere first.”

  Saren heard the fear in her voice. “We aren’t aware where he went?”

  “He cloaked himself, even to us.”

  “How is that possible?”

  Sireenia didn’t respond, not at first. It was a beat later when she said, “We don’t know.”

  DAVY

  Davy realized she had cloaked their entire group the first time they ran into a Mori. It was unexpected, and none of them realized the other vampire was there until they stepped around a tree. The Mori was right there, in the middle of a path. Davy froze while the others drew their weapons. The humans were behind them so they didn’t know what was going on, but as soon as Davy thought about casting a spell, it didn’t matter.

  The Mori never reacted.

  Wearing a dark brown robe, the hood was pulled over its head. Davy couldn’t sense if it was female or male. Its back was to them, but they bent down and picked up a flower. It turned halfway to them, and they watched as she sniffed the yellow flower.

  There was still no reaction.

  “We’re cloaked.” Tracey put her sword away and turned to Davy. “Have we been cloaked the whole time?”

  “Um . . .”

  Gavin twisted to her, too. He raised an eyebrow. “You don’t know?”

  “I remember wanting to protect all of us and I thought as we left the river that I wanted us to be invisible, but I didn’t know I actually cast a spell.”

  Tracey moved closer. “There’s five of us. My sister had a hard time cloaking one individual and she could only keep it up for a few moments.” Fear, wonder, a
nd another emotion, one that Davy didn’t like seeing and one she didn’t want to identify, flashed in the vampiress’s eyes. “We’ve been traveling for days.”

  “Are you going to wear yourself out?”

  Davy stepped back. The question was almost hurled at her from Gavin. She shook her head and held up her hands. “I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I . . .” She couldn’t keep them in the dark anymore. They had to know what danger they were walking into with her. “I’m not in control of my powers.”

  “I thought they were coming back just fine.”

  That was what she had told Gavin earlier when she relayed The Immortal’s wish to take over. Once that slipped out, Davy instantly regretted revealing that truth. They looked at her like she was an atomic bomb waiting go to go off, one she couldn’t diffuse herself. She lied after that. She made it sound like she was in control, that she could hold off The Immortal, that there was nothing to be worried about.

  “Did you lie to us?”

  Davy nodded, waiting for Gavin’s response.

  What she got was instant anger. It slammed to his surface and she felt it, stepping back from reflex. But, balling her hands into fists, she stopped herself from taking another step. He had reason to be upset. They all did. She hung her head. “I’m sorry. I—”

  “So what.”

  The three looked over. Gregory had joined the conversation. His plump lips pressed together, and he was putting his own sword away, too. He added, swinging his head to look at both vampires, “There’s nothing you can do about it. The only choice you have is not to travel with her.”

  “You’ve known?” Gavin’s tone was accusing.

  Gregory didn’t answer, not at first. A beat of silence passed before he nodded. “I did.”

  “When?”

  “Since a day after she woke up in the cave.”

  Tracey went rigid. She resembled a warrior statue, made in stone while Gavin’s nostrils flared. He hissed, “Are you kidding me?”

  Gregory was unmoving. “She didn’t even have powers at that time.”

  Davy gulped as the others looked at her. She turned away. She didn’t want to see the shock and outrage. She didn’t want to see the disappointment.

  Gregory said further, “She’s got her powers back, but we can’t act surprised. We all heard her screaming. Who knows what Lucan’s witches did to her.”

  Davy still couldn’t bring herself to turn to them. She cared, more than she should’ve—perhaps, but they would be the first affirmation that she was different. She couldn’t see that look in their eyes . . . like she was less than human . . . like she wasn’t human at all.

  “Uh . . .” Cough. “Dudes . . .”

  Hearing Spencer’s voice, a rush of relief went through her. These were the humans she had pulled to her, because she wished for them, because she needed a reminder of how to be a human. Spencer just fulfilled that desire for her and her lips twitched, forming a grin.

  He went on to say, “So we don’t hear you guys, but there’s a monk smelling a flower dead ahead of us. Should we, be like, doing something about the dude?”

  “I think that’s a girl.” Cal shuffled forward and craned his head, looking around them. “Yep. She’s a girl.”

  “Yeah?” Spencer’s excitement was obvious. “Is she hot?”

  “I can’t tell. She’s got a robe on, but . . .” Cal started to edge out from behind them. “Um . . .”

  “Stop.” Tracey pushed him back. “You’re back there for safety.”

  He pointed around her. “Either the chick nun is deaf and blind or there’s something funky going on for her not to see us. I think we’re safe.”

  “Cal.” Spencer pulled him back. His voice dipped low. “We gotta do what they say. They’re not human.”

  Cal said back, his voice dipping just as low, “I don’t think that chick is either.”

  “Great.”

  “Why do I have a feeling we’re not going to get out of this alive?”

  The more the two humans conversed, the more guilt Davy was feeling.

  “Get off your high horse.”

  The Immortal was laughing at her. “They’re lucky to be brought on this path with you.”

  “Stop,” Davy said to her.

  “No. I mean it. Their lives were useless. Humans are weak and pathetic. They’ll probably be turned into vampires. If you don’t send them back to safety, the others will change them. They’ll do it to save their lives and when that happens, the two humans will get the best thing possible. They’ll have power and immortality.”

  “Losing one’s humanity is not a gift. It’s a curse.”

  “Having humanity is a curse. Look at you. Once you give in, you won’t feel any pain. There’ll be no more guilt, no more shame, self-loathing. None of that. You’ll be free. We’ll be free and we can do anything we want.”

  “Stop . . .” But as she tried to muster the strength to shut The Immortal up, Davy found there was none. Her strength was depleting, at least against her own inner demon.

  “That’s what you think of me?”

  Davy shot back, “Aren’t you? You’re not human.”

  “I’m not weak. There’s a difference.”

  “Humans are weak.”

  The Immortal snorted. “Right.”

  “They aren’t.”

  “Yeah. Sure.”

  Davy growled, her hands back into fists, and she lashed back, “Being human is strong. It’s courage. It’s strength. It’s moral.”

  The Immortal interrupted, saying, “It’s pain. It’s misery. It’s heartache. It’s loneliness. It’s suffering. It’s being selfish. It’s opening up your heart and only getting hurt in response. It’s helping others and having them turn their back on you. It’s loving and being cheated on. It’s giving, then getting betrayed. It’s . . . foolish. You’re not human anymore, Davy.”

  “Shut up . . .”

  “Admit it. The sooner you do, the freer you’ll become. The stronger you’ll become.”

  “Shut up.”

  “You’ve already started to turn your humanity off. I don’t understand why you won’t admit it. You don’t feel pain. You don’t feel misery. You don’t feel fatigue. In fact, you’re impatient. The others are slowing you down. You can go faster, farther, beyond any of them. They’re an anchor to your abilities, but you won’t leave them—

  “SHUT UP!”

  A surge of power and magic burst inside of her, and as it happened, Davy knew instantly it was a mistake. She wanted to silence The Immortal—she silenced her magic instead . . .

  She looked up, and the Mori was staring right at her.

  “Oops.”

  “What?” Tracey whipped around, her hand grabbing onto her sword.

  Davy couldn’t look away from the Mori. She didn’t move. In a normal situation, she should’ve fled or at least attacked with a spell. She did neither. Something was holding her in place, and she continued to hold the Mori’s gaze.

  She was drawing the vampire into her mind.

 
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