The alabaster spearhead seemed to blaze with holy light in my hand as I ducked and twisted, slammed and stabbed. I could feel myself turning into something else and it felt good. At one point I caught sight of Barrons’ startled face, and I knew that if he was looking at me like that, I was truly something to see. I felt like something to see. I felt like a well-built, well-oiled machine with one purpose in life: to kill Fae. Good or bad. Take ’em all.
And I did, one after another. Duck, slam, stab. Whirl, slam, stab. They went down fast and hard. The spear was pure poison to them, and I was getting a weird kind of high off watching them die. I have no idea how long I could have kept it up, if they’d all been Fae, but they weren’t and I screwed up.
I’d forgotten about Mallucé.
When he crept up behind me, I sensed him there just like a Fae—apparently my radar picked up on anything otherworldly within a certain perimeter—and I spun and stabbed him in the gut.
I realized my error instantly, although I had no idea how to correct it. The vampire was a more serious threat to me than any of the Unseelie, even the Shades—at least I knew how to drive those life-suckers back: light. I didn’t have any idea what this life-sucker’s weakness was, or even if he had one. Barrons had talked like killing a vampire was pretty much impossible.
For a moment, I just stood there, my weapon buried in his stomach, hoping it would do something. If it had any effect on him at all, I sure couldn’t tell. I stared stupidly into those feral yellow eyes, glowing in that white, white face. Then my wits returned and I tried to pull the spear out for another stab at him, this time in the chest—maybe Barrons was wrong, I had to try something—but the razor-sharp tip had gotten lodged in a knot of gristle or bone or something and wouldn’t yield.
He closed his hand on my arm. It felt cold and dead. “You little bitch! Where is my stone?” the vampire hissed.
I got it then—why he’d not brought it up before, when he’d first seen me. He was two-timing the Lord Master and couldn’t risk the Rhino-boys knowing.
“Oh God, he doesn’t even know you had it, does he?” I exclaimed. The moment I said it, I realized my mistake. Mallucé had more to lose if the Lord Master discovered he was betraying him, than by owning up to inadvertently killing the sidhe-seer in the heat of battle. I’d just signed my own death warrant.
I yanked frantically on the spearhead. Mallucé bared his fangs as the weapon gave and I stumbled back. Off balance, I lashed out again—but a millisecond too late. The vampire backhanded me across the face and I flew backward through the air, arms and legs folded forward like a rag doll, just as I’d seen his bodyguard do that night at the House of Goth.
I slammed into the side of a stack of pallets that gave about as much as a brick wall. My head snapped back and pain ricocheted through my skull. I heard things in me crack.
“Mac!” I heard Barrons shout.
I slumped down the plastic-shrouded wall, thinking how weird it sounded, him calling me Mac. He’d only ever called me Ms. Lane. I couldn’t breathe. My chest was locked tight, and I wondered if my ribs had broken and punctured my lungs. The spear was slipping from my fingers. That arctic wind was back, chilling me body and soul, and I understood dimly that the gate was open again.
My lids were as heavy as paperweights and I blinked slowly. My face was wet. I wasn’t sure, but I thought I was crying. I couldn’t be dying. I finally knew who’d killed my sister. I’d looked into his face. I hadn’t avenged her yet.
Barrons swam before my eyes. “I’ll get you out of here. Hold on,” he told me in a slow-motion voice and was gone.
I blinked again, heavily. I still couldn’t breathe and my vision was going in and out, especially in one eye. One moment it was all shadowy, then there was Barrons again. He and Mallucé were facing each other, pacing a tight circle. The vampire’s eyes glowed and his fangs were fully extended.
As my grasp on consciousness failed, I tried to decide what on earth Barrons had just done to Mallucé that had sent the absurdly strong vampire slamming into a stack of pallets and crashing into a forklift; how I’d gotten into his arms, and just where he thought he was taking me at such breakneck speed.
To a hospital, I hoped.
I regained consciousness several times during our flight.
Long enough, the first time, to realize I hadn’t died, which I found dimly astonishing. The last time I’d seen Mallucé slam someone into a wall, the man had been way bigger than I, and he’d died instantly, bleeding from multiple orifices.