S01E05 – Chapters 41 – 52 & epilogue
Erin watched Zach sleep. At her suggestion one of Nikolai’s vampires had moved him onto a beige, suede futon in the solarium of the main house where gentle ocean breezes flowed through. This seemed to bode well for her partner, as he had hardly moved in the hours that he’d been dead to the world. She lifted his t-shirt and checked his wound again, pleased with the progress. Where there had been a gaping hole, was now a small gash that continued to mend and heal with each passing moment.
She shifted uncomfortably, sitting in one position for so long a detriment to her own wounds. Nikolai’s impulsive actions as he’d punished her for trying to kill his daughter, had left her more than a little bruised and having used most of the magical energy she had on Zach, her own healing had been much slower than usual. She touched her ribs gently, feeling a shock of intense pain as she did and grimacing, let her hand fall again to her lap.
Two vampires stood on either side of the doorway behind her, but Erin paid no attention to them. Her ears remained pricked for any sudden movements from his lackeys should Nikolai go back on his word and as she waited for her dark magic to replenish itself, she became more aware of the daggers at her side should she need to use them.
She and Nikolai had come to an agreement hours before, one that Praesidium had hesitantly signed off on. Lisbet would stay with Nikolai until the time of the gathering and would not harm the wardens any further. In exchange, the vampire high council of which he was one of the four members, would be given some control over the gargoyles of the Twelfth State.
Nikolai readily agreed as the council had lobbied for this honour for many years, when it was discovered that the gargoyles had not faced complete extinction, as was previously believed. The Twelfth State was an uncharted island in the Maldives that belonged to Praesidium, where the gargoyles, an exceptionally powerful species, lived as a peaceful tribe. Being around them strengthened other supernatural beings and as such they had been highly sought after in the Middle Ages. To protect their interest, Praesidium used dark magic to prevent any other supernatural being from landing on the island. Giving the vampires access to this treasure, was a big step, but one that came with much fine print and warnings from the Praesidium admin.
Erin didn’t care about the politics of it all. She knew that somehow the organisation would find a way to deter the vampire high council from making their way to the Twelfth State. Gargoyles were just too important a commodity. Like me, she thought and shifted again in her chair. It was a hard-backed wooden one with not much cushion to speak of, but she’d chosen it for the simple reason that she didn’t want to become so comfortable that she fell asleep. There were not among friends and though the organisation and the vampire high council were usually on good terms, Erin knew she needed to be on her guard.
“I really thought I’d killed him,” came a voice from behind her and Erin grimaced. Lisbet giggled as she hovered over Zach, pressing her ear to his chest as though listening to him breathe. “Good thing he had you around,” she added, sitting on the couch’s armrest as she stared at Erin.
Erin resisted the urge to kick her off it, especially when Zach stirred. He turned on his side, then as though feeling the pain of that motion in his sleep, returned to his back and fell once again into a deep slumber, light snores playing on their ears.
Lisbet was still looking at her hard, so that Erin finally asked, “Is there something you want?”
Lisbet’s eyes brightened and she quipped, “Oh I have what I want, I get to stay with father,” she laughed, obviously finding the situation funnier than anyone else did. “Mother must be having a fit,” she added still giggling and Erin decided to ignore her. Nikolai might have opened his home in efforts to be hospitable as Zach healed, but there was no reason she needed to be nice to his brat of a daughter.
When the teenager realised that Erin would not rise to her bait, she switched gears. “Father says you’re some kind of guru awesome witch genie thing?”
Erin took her eyes away from Zach’s steady breathing, “Yes, that sounds exactly like what your dad would say,” she answered sarcastically.
Lisbet laughed, “Oh come on, you know what I mean,” she pointed a finger at Erin, “You’re supposed to be special.”
Don’t feel like it, Erin thought.
“We should probably be quiet and let Zach rest,” she said looking at Lisbet with a steely gaze. If the girl noticed her desire to be alone with him, she pretended not to.
“You’re right, so you should go see father now. I’ll stay with Mr. Warden.”
Erin’s gaze narrowed. “That’s okay, I’m good here.”
Lisbet’s smile twisted, “You’re not understanding me, father asked me to summon you and so I am.” Her face softened again as she became the pretty, teenage girl that would fool anyone with her charm.
“Fine,” Erin replied standing. She looked at Zach and tried to hide her worry. She couldn’t yet cast a protection spell and was basically leaving him in the hands of the dhampir who’d put him in this position and two other vampires who had only kept their teeth to themselves, because Nikolai had ordered it. She swallowed the threat outlining what she would do if any of them harmed Zach as it rose to her tongue, asking instead, “Where is he?”
Lisbet smiled sweetly, “Follow the yellow brick road and when you get lost, ask the tin man,” she laughed and angered by her silly japes Erin exited, wishing she’d been allowed to finish the job she’d started.
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