Author’s note: A while ago I warned there’d be a chapter or so with very few pictures and we’re finally here. I’ll add in as many pics as I can but due to the content it’s just too difficult to get pictures… I apologize completely. The last bit does have pictures though. Also, violence.
A battle. A proper battle. How insane was that? It had to be a dream. This only happened in the movies, in the books. But what else could I call it? I only got glimpses from Lumie as she worked hard to keep the barriers up but I knew several people were coming to… to fight. Against Addison. Against–whatever this might be. Because of me.
Colette Addison spoke to us, telling me she knew I had backup coming and that she thought it would be a fun idea to let this play out. She dropped the electric fence and informed me I’d be free to go meet my ‘troops’. Then laughed, reminding me that she had more on her side than I had on mine.
Don’t crumble, don’t break down, I told myself as I paced in the woods, on the edge of a large clearing. We had left the cave and waited where Lumie told me everyone would be converging. This is ridiculous, this is not happening… How could things have gotten so out of control?
“This isn’t a good idea,” I mumbled, checking my watch between rubbing my wedding ring. “Max… it’s a terrible idea. How can you think this is the right thing to do?!”
“Because look at what she has on her side,” Max said. “They’ve been making werewolves through injections, and managed to hide miles of inactive electric-magic fence from two vampires who can tell if someone is like, the great-grandkid of someone who did magic!” He hesitated then, “Plus masked the fact she’s a witch from me and my amazing senses.”
“I agree with Max this is the best decision,” Akua said calmly. “We have been painted into a corner, so to speak. Ah, Jyotsna.”
A diminutive Hindu vampire was the first person to show. She barely came up to my elbows but I did not doubt her power. Soon two other vampires showed up, one male and one that didn’t look like any gender. They told Akua that the three of them were the only vampires showing up for the fight. Half an hour later three faeries appeared and then Grams came through the woods with Malik, two witches, a wizard, and… Lumie.
“Zaid!” Lumie dropped her metal bat and ran over, hugging me tightly. “Oh, Watcher, Zaid, I was too afraid of pulling the barriers down!”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing here?!” I demanded angrily. “You have to leave!” Lumie gave me a look and while her barriers were still up I could sense absolute anxiety from her. “What? What is i–” I stopped as someone else appeared. “No. No way. You both go home right this minute.”
“Don’t talk to your father that way,” Dad ordered. “Gretchen says there are ghosts and I am not letting you go into this… ‘battle’ without the best ghost hunter on your side.”
I folded my arms and glared at him until he gave me the glare right back. A scarier version of it. “Daaad!” I tried to sound like a mature thirty-one year old and not a whiny eleven year old. It didn’t work.
Dad pulled some goggles on and placed what looked like earphones into his ears. “I’m the father so I give you orders, not the other way around. In fact, I think you and Lumie should go and hide somewhere and not risk your lives–“
“Risk my life?” I laughed rather hysterically. “I’m the one who everyone is here for, to risk their lives! This woman wants me, she said so. I’m not going to just… No. NO! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE TOO?!” I screamed as about ten people showed up.
Vilkas gave me a rather amused look. “Nice to see you too. Grams called me, for good reason. What the hell do you think you’re doing? Going up against how many supernaturals with–DAD?! LUMIE?!” Dad gave a growl while Lumie picked up her bat and casually swung it over her shoulder, thrusting her hip out to one side with the stubborn look on her face. “Wh-what are they doing here?!”
I threw my hands up in confusion and frustration as an answer. “Okay this is too much, you guys have to go. I am not having you all risk your lives for me,” I said. “Go–“
“Excuse me?” A pinch-faced werewolf woman stepped forward and Vilkas put his head in his hands while the other weres with him stepped back. This woman looked rather old and honestly looked more suited to a old Hollywood glam setting than in the middle of the woods waiting for a battle. “What did you just say, young mortal?”
“I don’t want people risking their lives for me,” I said simply, ignoring Vilkas shaking his head behind the woman mouthing the word ‘no’.
“How dare you presume I would risk my life for a creature such as yourself?” the woman sneered, her voice like ice. “I could not care less if you dropped dead this moment. What is going on here is bigger than you. There is a slug out there attempting to crown herself queen of the universe and destroy every single thing she disagrees with, most likely three-fourths the human race and supernaturals.” She stepped closer to me and I swallowed, wanting to listen to my dad now and run and hide. “You dare stand there and claim this is about you? I have never met such an arrogant being and I have met quite a few. Apologize at once, child, and understand the world does not revolve around you.”
“I–I’m sorry,” I stammered. “You’re r-right. I’m sorry.”
Her white eyes roved up and down my body and then she stuck her nose in the air, turning away from me. “Hmph.”
Vilkas edged closer and whispered, “That’s her way of accepting your apology.”
Just then Akua snapped her head up, eyes glowing even more in the early light of dawn. “They’re moving. They’re on their way. I’d say we have about… six minutes.”
I swallowed and looked at the people who were around me and a few others who had joined us. They’re not here for you, but to save… well… everything, I thought and that just made me feel worse. Because how could we win? “Um–I’m not good at speeches or anything–” I began but the pinch-faced woman interrupted me with, “Then do not give one. We all know why we are here and what is at stake.”
I gave Vilkas a rather desperate look and he put a hand on the woman’s arm. “Lune is right, we know what’s at stake. Right now we should focus on what we will do. For instance… we need to figure out… well, we have an assortment of supernaturals to fight. Mostly werewolves. How much silver do we have?”
Grams cleared her throat. “I have brought a lot of silver.” She opened a bag and began handing out small silver daggers and even a pair of what looked to be silver knitting needles. Oh Watcher we were so dead.
“Hey, so we can tell who’s on our side how about this?” one faerie asked.
Lumie looked around and then ran over to a werewolf who looked in his early twenties. “Hey, give me your undershirt! Quick!” The boy yanked off his button-up then took off the plain white t-shirt, handing it to Lumie. She took the dagger from my hand and poked into the fabric, ripping it up into thin strips. “We all wear one around our arms. Our right arm, over our clothes.”
I smiled with pride at my sister’s quick thinking and helped hand out the bits of white fabric. I tied mine around my wrist, making sure it wasn’t too loose, and then cut off the edges so nothing would flop in the way of my hands. Everyone else tied the fabric around wrists and arms and either took out their weapons to got some from Grams. The magic-users pulled their wands out, Dad clutched a strange looking gun, and some of the werewolves held sharp, thick pieces of wood I realized were for the vampires.
“I didn’t know you could shoot a bow,” I teased my big brother as he took a bow offered to him by one of his werewolves.
Vilkas winked. “An Alpha has to be able to hunt… even if they don’t.”
“Yeah, and Claire made him learn,” piped up the young male were whose shirt we all now had tied on. Vilkas flushed a bit and I managed a laugh (albeit frightened one), elbowing Vilkas.
“Two minutes,” Akua said.
I swallowed and closed my eyes, praying for safety. Praying for victory. If we had ways to kill their immortals there was every chance they had stuff to kill the ones on this side, so it wasn’t just me, Lumie, Dad, and Simba whose lives were in danger. Wait. And the magic-users… and the faeries… and… err, well, anyone could die and I just hoped nobody–on this side–did die.
Soon the sounds of many people approaching could be heard even to my puny ears. I gripped my daggers tightly and wiped away everything from my mind. I couldn’t think about Noah and my babies right now. I had to focus on the enemy. This woman wanting me for… something.
“Zaid Danevbie?” And there she was, Colette Addison. She wore an odd-looking dress but still had the perfect hair and makeup. “Ah hello dear.” She spotted me and smiled, stopping in her tracks. Behind her were about a dozen werewolves, five vampires, ten or eleven normal looking people that I guessed were magic-users, someone who wore cloaks and a hood that covered their face, seven faeries, so many ghosts I couldn’t count them, and about a dozen… zombies? They looked a bit like zombies and shuffled along in strange, unnatural ways. The hooded person raised their hand and the zombies stopped.
“You know, we don’t need to do this dance,” I called over to her.
Addison laughed. “But dear, I do so love a good ball! Oh! Royce!” She spotted Royce who trembled slightly. “Shame you’re going to be over there. If you stick with me, you’ll live forever and never die.”
“Immortality is highly overrated,” Royce called back.
“Immortality is everything,” said a new voice and Addison’s eyes went wide as someone came up next to me. “So.” Jay Redding cocked a gun–a proper looking gun, not like what my dad had–and surveyed the creatures on the other side of the clearing. “We meet again, I see.”
“Dr. Redding,” Addison said stiffly. “Or should I say, Dr. Rood? Last I saw you were trying to make your own little army of psychics and those with telekinetic powers. That was, hmmm… a century ago?”
“You two, uh, know each other?” I asked. “Wait, how the hell did you know about this? How did you even get here? WHY are you here?!”
She focused her green eyes on me. “She worked for me a very long time ago, for about two years. I found out about–this ‘battle’–through my brother who found out through your redheaded father, who phoned my brother crying about half his family going off to fight. I arrived here by car. And I am here to kill this woman. Revenge. For being held captive and forced to build inane and pointless things.” She aimed her gun at Addison who just smiled blandly. Redding… err… ‘Aunt’ Jay… then lowered her voice to something I could barely hear. “I suggest your archers shoot this instant and take down the vampires if they can, assuming those arrows are made of wood as they seem to be.”
And before I could react the battle started. Vilkas yelled something and multiple arrows flew through the air. The vampires on the other side were racing over but two of them were pierced in the chest, and one of them fell… disintegrating into ash. A gunshot went off. People were screaming. Magic began flying around as well as the faeries.
I ran forward, focusing all my attention on one nasty looking werewolf. He bared his teeth when I got near and I slid down as he pounced so he went over me. I spun easily and jammed the dagger into his kneecap. He screamed in pain and I used my other dagger–a silver one–to jam into his hip. He clawed at me sending blood spraying. Cussing loudly I yanked both daggers out and jammed the normal one where the silver one had been and the silver one into his neck. His body spasmed and I sliced the silver dagger along his neck. Then someone tackled me, hissing.
I found myself on my back with a vampire on me, their arms moving at high speeds as they pummeled my body. I slammed my hand against their throat then into the face. I didn’t have anything to fight vampires… I shoved the silver dagger into his ribs and he hissed again but kept punching. Addison’s voice yelled for me to be kept alive and the vampire picked me up then we both went crashing down.
I rolled along the ground and got into a crouching position, seeing the vampire on the ground with a sword through their body. Max then took one of the wooden stakes and thrust it into the vamp’s chest. The vampire howled as he became ash. “Stay by my side, Zaidy-boy,” Max said. “Just like old times.”
I didn’t need to be told twice. With Max at my back I felt more confident about fighting and we began taking down zombies that had ambled towards us. I had no idea if they were like in the movies when you got bit of scratched and became one so Max and I swerved in unison to avoid being touched as his sword danced through the air to chop heads off and I used kicks to keep the others at bay until his sword got’em.
More gunshots. Screams of pain, screams of rage. Max shouted to duck and I fell to the ground as orange light flew past, some sort of spell. It hit a tree and where it hit melted slightly. Yikes. We went back to fighting the zombies until they were gone–at least, the ones who had been attacking us. I turned around to assess the battle, trying to find those on my side, trying to remember how many there were.
Lumie was swinging her bat at a faerie, breaking its wings. Dad was zapping a ghost. Vilkas had abandoned his bow and was currently trying to jam a wooden stake into a vampire. I searched the fighting and found Akua and Emilian standing back-to-back like Max and I had. The sunlight hadn’t hit the clearing yet but soon…
Then I spotted our side’s first casualty. Simba in lion form, on the ground, bright green ice embedded in his skin. His eyes stared blankly at the foliage above. Dead.
My heart lurched and my body moved to go to him when I saw someone in trouble–someone alive, who would need help. “Royce!” I shouted and Max and I took off as Royce was in the air, held by a faerie who seemed intent on ripping his ears off; and who knew if she had any silver on her.
“Cat bomb,” Max said, jumping into my arms and shifting into a cat on the way. I threw Max in the air and he shifted back before he got there, flying right into the faerie and Royce. The three of them hit the ground and I ran to make sure Royce was okay. One ear had been removed but as I watched I saw it beginning to heal over and reform.
“I’m okay, Mr. Danevbie,” Royce whimpered. “Go.”
I returned to fighting, this time by myself for a moment or two until Max felt satisfied his boyfriend would be fine. We returned to our normal fighting style, mostly defending against zombies which seemed to keep coming. At one point I saw one of Vilkas’s clans members go down… and stay down. The second death–no, third; there was a dead faerie with a strip of white fabric tied around his arm off at the edge of the clearing.
The fourth death came soon after when a werewolf bit so deeply into Malik Blair’s throat there was no bringing him back. He collapsed to the ground and Grams screamed such a horrible, painful scream. She dashed forward and said some spell that sent the werewolf into the air, struggling with something around his neck. Grams pulled a silver knitting needle out and used a spell to shoot it right between the werewolf’s eyes. Then a glimmering bubble formed around her as she fell to her knees, clutching at her lover’s bloodied shirt.
Then I saw Addison. She was being hauled into the woods by ‘Aunt’ Jay at gunpoint. My stomach flipflopped and I went after them. I did not want Jay killing her until I found out what she wanted me for. Max was at my heels, as I knew he would be.
We went away farther and farther into the woods until I couldn’t hear the sounds of battle anymore. After another three minutes the two of them stopped and Jay shoved Addison against a tree, the gun against Addison’s forehead. “You remove that spell right this minute,” Jay said coolly.
“Why would I do such a thing?” Addison replied with a smile. “As soon as I do, you will shoot me. That is not very fair. No, no. This armor spell remains up. Ahh, Zaid.” Her eyes landed on me and she perked up. “So good to see you! I did need to speak to you alone. Enjoying the battle? Your side may have fewer people but you came better prepared than the hopeless beings who fight for me. Stakes and silver, I did not consider such things. Still… your numbers have at least been cut down by at least six by now.” Her eyes glittered at those words, her lips twisting into a smirk.
“Danevbie, leave us,” Jay said.
“No. I need to talk to her.” I wanted to go back to the battle to help but this had to happen. “Why me? Why are you after me specifically?”
Addison tilted her head to one side. “You don’t know? Oh my! I thought that half-assed witch you call a grandmother would have told you.” She covered her mouth, giving a little titter. “She didn’t? Max? You know, of course. Don’t you?”
Jay shot at Addison and I yelled in shock and annoyance that my question hadn’t been answered. However the bullet bounced harmlessly off something invisible. Addison did get shoved harder into the tree but seemed unharmed. “Why, Doctor Rood–I mean, Redding. That was your last bullet.” She straightened up then smoothed her skirt down. “How about this. How about the lot of us go and I will explain everything to you, Zaid. It is easier to see what I mean rather than being told. You can come too, Redding. Rood. Whatever you go by these days. I find it much simpler to keep my name through the years. Instead of being overly paranoid such as yourself.”
Jay growled and tried to hit Addison but like the bullet her fist just knocked into something invisible. Addison shook her head and began walking. Jay, Max, and I followed because I needed answers. As we went I heard Jay muttering about how much she hated magic and I wondered momentarily why she was against Addison instead of on her side to destroy magic…
After a good five, ten minutes of walking we came across another clearing. This one dipped down just a bit and in the middle stood a strange thing. A circular object with something sticking up, not quite waist height. Addison looked at it with great pride but I had no idea what it might be. Jay, however, went forward with narrowed eyes.
“The conductor I built,” she said, circling around the thing. “It looks old.”
“It is old,” Addison answered. “Two hundred years old, to be exact.”
“Two hundred years?!” Jay stared looking mildly unsettled. “Hah! Take the power now, Addison. Go on. It’s what you intended all along, isn’t it? When your minion forced me to build this I did not expect it to be able to collect this much… magic. But two hundred years. How did you do it?”
“Time travel.” Addison began circling the conductor again. “I’ve been time traveling for a while now. I left a few years ago after you finished building this, to take it back with me two hundred years. I placed it here and then began jumping forward through the years. I skipped a decade here, a couple there…” She looked over at me with a smile. “Making sure this remained safe. That this continued to collect the magic needed.”
“How did you time travel, with science or magic?” Max asked, causing me to jump a bit at the sound of his voice.
“That’s dangerous!” Max drew his lips back in a snarl. “Punching through magic to hop around time? No wonder magic has been acting up for the past two centuries. Let me guess, the closer you got to this time the more you did it.”
“Of course,” Addison replied with a grin. “I peeked in every year or two starting about five decades ago. Oh, it did make magic unstable and upset the balance of things but I needed to make sure things were going the way I needed them to go. Besides, once I have the power I intend to have very soon I can repair all the little rips and tears.”
“So all of that was your fault,” I said. “Magic acting up and supernaturals being so affected by… you? To–to keep your eye on this? What is this?!”
“A storage unit,” Jay answered and Addison giggled. “A… conductor, so to speak. It’s been built to gather and store magic. Inside this thing is enough magic to–“
“Destroy magic itself,” I whispered and Addison nodded exuberantly. “Why? Why do you want to destroy magic?!”
“I don’t want to destroy magic, silly boy; I want to control magic!” Addison began walking again, this time back and forth instead of in circles. “As I grew up in this hateful world, I saw everything being done to supernaturals and wanted my revenge. I wanted the power to destroy mundane, non-magical mortals. Not the other way around. I realized that I’d need a lot of power. So, I designed that storage unit and kidnapped the only person with the ability to make it properly.” Jay growled and Addison smiled broader. “You were such a help, by the way.”
“I am going to kill you for hurting my brother,” Jay hissed.
“I never hurt him–nobody hurt him,” Addison said with a slight, falsely injured gasp. “I realized that the only way to get you to do what we wanted was through him. When I realized you were going around demanding magic-users to help heal him I sent my second-in-command to go lie to you… and it worked. Now, I have this. Soon I will have alllll the power I need to make the world a better place for supernaturals.” Addison paused then added, “Well, the supernaturals I want to remain.”
“Then what was with the prophecy about the destruction of magic?” I demanded. “What does that have to do with–“
“Oh!” Addison giggled. “I see where you’re confused. I just started that silly rumor in order to have more supernaturals on my side to kidnap you. I knew I needed you, and figured the best way was to make it so everyone else would help me out. Oh, didn’t you know? There was no prophecy about you, Zaid. I made it all up.”