Dark Wolf Page 50

We’re heading your way now.

As Fen and Zev began to move steadily toward Byron and Dimitri, there was a shift in their minds, a clear telepathic message of triumph.

We’ve found them, Nicolas said. Seven shooters. All of them are feeling rather smug that they shot Skyler, Paul and Josef. They’re even whispering about how the girl is the one to kill, that if they managed to kill her, the Carpathians would definitely go to war.

They think Skyler is Sange rau because she was able to construct the shelter, Rafael added. A hit has been put out on her and their top assassins have been sent to track and kill her, Dimitri, Fen and Zev.

Dimitri’s gut tightened. Razvan, pick up Byron and get him somewhere you can close his wounds and give him blood.

What the hell are you planning to do? Fen demanded. Dimitri, have you lost your mind? You can’t see yourself, but your skin is gray and drawn. You have to get out of here now before you collapse. You aren’t fully healed and we haven’t managed to replace the blood you lost.

Dimitri was not a man who argued. Razvan swooped low, coming out of the sky fast, a streak of vapor, to materialize at the last moment and gather Byron up in his arms, taking him high before the Lycans even knew he was there.

Dimitri instantly shifted into tiny molecules impossible for a Lycan to latch on to. He shot through the trees, back into deeper forest, seeking the men Nicolas had found. They had started the fight between the species, just as they’d been ordered to do, but they weren’t taking chances on getting hacked apart by the skilled warriors.

They’d done their job, stirring up the camp, poisoning minds against Zev, or at least raising doubts about him. They proclaimed the council was behind them and that Zev had done something to cut off all cell phone contact, leaving them isolated. They sent their pawns into the battlefield, right beside those who were still on the fence, or even loyal to the council.

Sitting up in the trees and watching the battle from a safe distance with night vision goggles, they acted as commentators at a sports event, even laughing when some of the council’s loyal followers suffered amputations. The limbs would grow back, but still, the severe injuries would definitely make up the minds of those who hadn’t fully believed them.

“This couldn’t get any better,” one of the Lycans stated. He had blond hair and considered himself quite handsome. He had believed in the sacred code, all of it, including the place of women in their society. Too long things had been influenced by human interaction. The old ways, the traditions and codes had long been forgotten. “We definitely managed to stir things up, even without Gunnolf.”

Another nodded, peering through the branches to watch the chaos below. “They’ll join us now. Half of them have been shot with arrows or hacked in two, just like Gunnolf predicted.”

“Don’t pat yourselves on the back yet,” said a third. “Zev is charismatic. Everyone listens to him, including the council. He’s got to die before he starts talking again.”

“I haven’t heard if we succeeded at the meeting, the talks for an alliance,” another commented. “Keeping everyone from using their phones means we don’t have the ability either. We can only hope they did their part and wiped out the council. The moment that news hits, everyone will take up arms against the Carpathians.”

“Do you believe Zev is truly Sange rau? Or that the Carpathian prisoner was? If he was so powerful, why couldn’t he free himself?”

“What difference does it make?” the blond snarled. “The woman is the one who freed him and set up that fortress we couldn’t penetrate. If anyone’s Sange rau, it’s her. She used some kind of blood spell, I could smell her everywhere.”

“Her name,” Dimitri said, coming up behind him, “is Skyler.” He plunged the silver stake straight through the blond Lycan’s back so hard the tip came out through the wolf’s chest. In one motion, Dimitri’s sharp sword sliced through branch and neck so that the head tumbled to the ground below.

He whirled like a dancer, never actually placing his feet on the branches, but rather performed the brutal ballet there in the air, keeping the close quarters so that the Lycans were hampered by the branches and leaves. Even as they tried to scramble out of the trees, he cut down a second one, using his sword to sever the head from the neck.

“You could have waited,” Rafael complained, driving a silver stake through the heart of the headless Lycan wedged in the tree. He whirled around in midair, using a silver knife to scoop out the heart of a third, dropping it in the crotch of the tree right in front of a shocked Lycan. He stabbed the knife through the center of the heart to nail it to the trunk and glided back to allow Dimitri’s sword to send the head tumbling to the ground beside the other two.

One Lycan managed to extract himself from the branches. He leapt toward the ground, realizing, too late, that a third Carpathian stood waiting. The man was so still he could have been a part of the very landscape. When he moved, he flowed like water, striking so fast the Lycan was dead before he actually hit the ground, a silver stake in his heart and his head completely severed.

The three remaining conspirators pretended to surrender, fingers on the triggers of their weapons. “We haven’t done anything to you,” one pleaded, moving his head to the left to peer around the branch, trying to get a look at Dimitri. “We give up. You can have our weapons.” Three swords and two knives were thrown to the ground below.

As the first of the trio bargained, the other two slipped their guns ever so quietly forward in an effort to find a target. One thought he saw a Carpathian for just a moment, and he nudged his companion and pointed to the brush below.

Behind them, Dimitri leaned down to whisper into their ears. “I can smell lies. And the three of you stink.”

One whirled, firing as he did so, the gun exploding next to Dimitri’s chest, but Dimitri’s dagger had already gone deep, the blade finding a home in the liar’s heart. The hand holding the gun stiffened and then went limp, the body sliding toward the ground, only to be caught in the lower branches where it lay sprawled out in a macabre manner.

Nicolas took the head, allowing it to drop to the ground with the others. With great contempt, he shoved the body out of the tree with the toe of his boot, so that it, too, landed in the mess that had been live Lycans only minutes earlier.

The two remaining wolves opened fire, shooting off round after round in all directions, desperate to kill their attackers. Unfortunately for them, the Carpathians had disappeared, and in the chaos of terror, the two Lycans left alive couldn’t read the energy coming at them from all directions.

One clawed his way down the tree, shredding the bark, nearly sobbing. He landed in the middle of a puddle of blood and when he looked down, the eyes of his friends were staring accusingly at him.

“Don’t leave me, Don,” the other shouted. “We have to stick together. Wait for me.”

The Lycan named Don didn’t even look up at his companion, he ran for his life, the gun still clutched in his hand with his finger on the trigger, but he didn’t even remember it was there. He had taken no more than five steps when he hit something sharp. Painful. He stopped abruptly, stood there swaying. The gun dropped from nerveless fingers.

Don looked down at his chest. A silver spiraling stake protruded. Shocked, he stared down, cupping his hands underneath it as if he could catch the blood pouring from around the wound. Twice he shook his head and then managed to look up. A tall man stood in front of him, one with terrible burns around his head and neck.

“You really shouldn’t have shot her,” Dimitri said dispassionately. “You were dead the minute the bullets left your gun. If I hadn’t found you now, I would have hunted you down with the very last breath in my body.” He lifted the silver sword and swung it, the movement graceful and deadly. Don’s head rolled toward the others.

The Lycan left in the tree threw his gun down and tried to stand on trembling legs, raising both hands in the air. “You can’t kill me. I’m a prisoner of war. You can’t kill me.”

“There is no war between our species,” Nicolas said, his disembodied voice coming eerily out of the night.

“Unfortunately for you,” Rafael added, projecting his voice from both above and below, “my brother doesn’t believe in taking prisoners.”

The Lycan leapt from the tree, clearing the branches, his arms flung out from his body as if he had wings. In midair, a silver sword appeared. There was no way to change his trajectory. He hit the tip of the sword with his chest, his momentum impaling him on the blade, right through his heart.

“Your brother doesn’t believe in a lot of unnecessary talking either,” Zacarias said, materializing behind the sword. He gave his brothers a dark scowl. “You do like your games.” He withdrew the blade, severed the head with one stroke and wiped the blade on the body almost before it hit the ground.

Nicolas and Rafael exchanged a small secret smirk.

You’ve managed to draw a lot of attention, Fen said to his brother. Get out of there.

Zacarias looked up at the sky and immediately the clouds obeyed, churning black and blowing straight up. Lightning forked throughout a towering cloud. He directed the sizzling bolt into the middle of the pile of dead Lycans.

The flames leapt high, burning the bodies. Rafael left behind a message for the other Lycans. Traitors of the council, murderers of children. Brought to justice.

I’m not leaving you behind and Zev is losing the battle here with his numerous wounds. Get moving.

I’m on my way, Dimitri said placidly.

Fen might be his older brother, but Dimitri was an ancient warrior and had hunted vampires for centuries, mostly on his own. No matter how much he loved his brother, he went his own way and made up his own mind. These Lycans had been killers and they had dared to accost his lifemate. He wasn’t about to let them live. Sooner or later he would have caught up with them. He was grateful they had been ferreted out by Zacarias and his brothers. Who knew what more harm they would have done if they hadn’t been destroyed?

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