Dark Wolf Page 49

The Lycans had abandoned attempts at the other dragons and the rest were away safely. The pack concentrated their efforts on mutilating and killing the dragon in their possession. As Zev drew a silver sword in an effort to protect Byron, four large Lycans leapt on the dragon’s back and pulled Zev to the ground.

Cursing, Fen redoubled his speed.

Wound them, Razvan insisted on the common Carpathian telepathic communication path. Clearly he was warning the De La Cruz brothers. It isn’t necessary to kill them.

Drive them back away from Byron and Zev, Zacarias instructed. Rafael, an arrow close to the heart can kill.

Not these bastards, Rafael returned. I didn’t use silver. Although I will the next one.

Fen banked his dragon, coming in hard, fire pouring from his mouth, engulfing the Lycans closest to the dragon on the ground, driving them away from their fallen comrades. Dimitri stood up on the dragon’s back, balancing as Fen swept in low. Just before Fen was forced to pull up to avoid trees, Dimitri leapt from his back, right into the middle of the Lycans who had pulled Zev to the ground.

Dimitri ignored his protesting body, cutting through the crowd with astonishing speed, his silver sword stained and dripping with Lycan blood. He fought his way to Zev, yanking him up with one hand, going back-to-back with him. Zev was covered in blood and wounds, but he didn’t hesitate to stand and fight with Dimitri.

Fen materialized beside them, so they formed a triangle of deadly fighters, moving toward the fallen dragon, cutting down everyone in their path.

Zacarias easily saw their plan. Help clear the way, Razvan and Ivory. Make it too dangerous to stay between them and the dragon, Rafael; and Nicolas, take out the Lycans holding Byron to that form. Manolito and I will begin to clear another path to get out of here.

“Are you all right?” Dimitri asked Zev when he sensed the other man falter for a moment.

“I’m alive, and that’s all that counts.” Zev’s breath came in ragged gasps. He’d been injured, but Dimitri couldn’t take the time to see how bad the wound or wounds were.

We need to see if we can find the divide between the factions, Fen suggested. I can detect a faint difference in smell at times.

Lycans conceal all odors when hunting, Zev reminded. His sword flashed as he whirled around two aggressive wolves wielding swords. He disarmed one and cut the arm off the other, returning to his position back-to-back with Dimitri.

Nevertheless, I can tell the difference, Fen said. I can feel the energy leaking out of their shields as well.

He drove three particularly large and hairy Lycans back from the fallen dragon. One actually had a chunk of dragon belly between his teeth.

Wait for it, Zev, Dimitri said, allowing his senses, growing so acute and sharp, to flare out, trying to find the differences Fen had detected. He’s going to start in any moment with how much more evolved he is than us.

Two Lycans fell at his feet, both sprouting arrows. He nearly slipped in the blood surrounding Byron’s dragon. The warriors in the sky were making the job easier, wounding every Lycan that dared to tear at the dragon.

With the addition of three deadly silver swords, the Lycans fell back, trying to drag their wounded with them.

I’ve got a shield up for you in case they try using guns again, Zacarias said. This time the bullet will bounce off and return to the sender. He sounded as low-key as ever. Nothing seemed to ruffle Zacarias.

We’ve got a few just below us, pulling out their rifles. Rafael’s voice held a hint of satisfaction.

Dimitri, Zev and Fen reached the dragon, moving around it in a circle, making certain no Lycan remained.

You’ve got to shift, Byron, Dimitri insisted. You can’t pass out on us. We can’t lug this form into the sky. It’s dead weight. Shift and we’ll get you out of here.

They didn’t have much time. The Lycans would rally and make another attack. A volley of shots rang out, bullets peppering the shield, head shots every one.

Military training for sure, Fen observed.

Screams and howls rose as the bullets found the shooters. Zacarias hadn’t taken great care to ensure those firing didn’t suffer permanent damage. He didn’t much care, not with Byron nearly torn to pieces and three of his other men in harm’s way.

Byron stirred inside the great dragon’s body, groaning a little as his torn body refused to answer his demands. Give me a minute.

Zacarias was determined to buy him whatever time he needed. Rafael, you and Nicolas take out the shooters, every last one of them. No kills if possible, he tacked on. The Lycan can regenerate limbs, so don’t worry about being nice. And if you happen to get an inkling of the ones who shot Skyler, Paul and Josef, well, whatever happens to them, we won’t shed any tears.

Unleashing his two brothers on the shooters would most likely not have met with Mikhail’s approval, but Zacarias knew them, knew their skill. They would make it so dangerous for any Lycan who dared raise a gun toward the Carpathians that few would try.

Nicolas in particular was adept at reading thoughts of various species. If he managed to find the original shooters, those men were definitely part of the group determined to assassinate the council members and start a war. He hadn’t included those who shot Dimitri, mostly because he was a Carpathian warrior and considered fair game, but no one was going to shoot Paul and get away with it.

Zacarias was well aware he’d chosen the two most skilled and dangerous of his brothers to drive those with guns back. They knew to stay high, away from the Lycans. All of them shared the information Fen and Dimitri had provided the Carpathians with about the wolf packs and how they fought. He gave one more order to his brothers.

The moment you know for certain who the shooters are, I want to know.

It will be done, Rafael agreed. He was lifemate to Colby, Paul’s sister, and she’d looked at him with tear-filled eyes, pleading with him to find Paul and bring him home. No one made his lifemate cry, or attempted to kill his young brother-in-law, without retaliation.

They had come to find and kill the shooters. They would do their best to follow Mikhail’s orders and not start a war. They would avoid killing innocents if they could, wounding those they were unsure of whose side they were on, but once the guns had come out, those shooters had marked themselves.

As Byron managed to shift back into human form, another wave of Lycans erupted out of the ground where they’d dug, hidden, to get to their prey. Two caught at Byron’s bloody body, dragging him back away from the three defenders while the other eight rushed the mixed bloods.

Dimitri leapt over the wall of Lycans, landing squarely over the top of Byron’s body, straddling him, his sword cutting through one of the wolves trying to pull Byron away. At the same time, Dimitri leaned down, thrusting a silver dagger into Byron’s fist, and yanked him up ruthlessly.

“Stay on your feet. No matter what, stay upright,” he cautioned Byron, engaging in swordplay with the second, now frantic Lycan.

Byron was bleeding from a dozen or more wounds, some bone deep. He kept one hand over his belly, where the wolves had sought to eviscerate him as they were known to do.

Dimitri sliced through the Lycan’s sword arm. The wolf screamed as his forearm, wrist and hand dropped to the ground. Dimitri dismissed him, swinging around to face the onslaught as five of his companions turned back to aid him. They swarmed Dimitri in an attempt to overpower and kill him.

Stay behind me, Byron, and keep an eye on the one-armed wolf. Keep in tight and move when I do.

Byron didn’t answer. He’d lost far too much blood and was growing weak fast, but he refused to allow himself to slide into unconsciousness. He gripped the dagger and tried to tune himself to Dimitri’s rhythm of fighting.

He was fast. Far faster than Byron had ever conceived of, even when he’d been warned about the mixed blood and their abilities. There was no possible way to keep up. More than anything he wanted to watch the deadly ballet between fighters. He couldn’t feel any energy rising from any of the fighters, least of all Dimitri. He found himself anticipating the moves of the enemy, being guided by them rather than his defender as he tried to stay back-to-back with Dimitri. Dimitri’s fast moves were entirely unpredictable.

Without warning, two more Lycans erupted almost at his feet. Byron thrust the dagger into the chest of the nearest one, sidestepping the knife coming at him from the Lycan’s left hand. The second wolf had a sword and he swung it low, still half in the ground. Dimitri somehow sensed the two as they burst out of the ground, but still Byron heard Dimitri grunt and knew he’d taken a hit.

Dimitri swore softly under his breath as the tip of a sword caught him across the back of his calf. Fire burned through his skin and body as the silver penetrated. You think I’d be used to it by now, he said to his brother.

Get the hell out of there. Zacarias has created an opening for us. Razvan and Ivory will do a flyby and pick you and Byron up.

Screw that, Fen. Dimitri was not about to leave the other two on the ground, not with so many Lycans determined to kill them all.

Binding your lifemate hasn’t improved your temper much, Fen noted. I wasn’t planning on hanging around. I’m not wounded in twenty-seven places, burned all to hell and back and playing the hero for my woman. I can grab Zev and go the moment you and Byron are safe.

Dimitri parried two swords at once, riding them in a circle to the ground and then cutting deep into both Lycans’ chests.

Not to mention those De La Cruz brothers are wreaking as much havoc as they dare. I don’t think technically they’ve actually killed anyone, but they’re ruthless as hell and definitely riding a thin edge. They plan to shield us as we take off. I can shift in the air. Zev’s pretty adept at flight now.

That made more sense. Just this one time, Dimitri considered that it might be fun to be one of the De La Cruz brothers. They were a law unto themselves—or rather, their eldest brother. Every Carpathian alive knew one didn’t cross Zacarias and come out of it unscathed.

I’m a little busy right now, Dimitri pointed out. You two get out of here and we’ll be behind you as soon as we can fight our way free.

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