Pryde: One Before

I hope you like this preview of my new series. If you like what you read, you can buy the ebook on Amazon here.

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The scent from the drops of blood was still strong, even as the midnight storm threatened to wash it away. One of them was injured.

Good.

Lavanya’s lips curled into a smile.

Tonight, her job would be easy.

She worked her way closer to the men – her targets – as they chatted away. An elemental orb she had borrowed from her Fey informant floated just so above her head, guarding her from the rain and hiding her energy from the men. She curled manicured nails around one of her many obsidian daggers, her ears straining to hear them. The wind didn’t care for her eavesdropping and whipped up once again; her fiery hair resisted, secured by the tight braiding and clips she had expertly placed.

She crept closer, her dark blue outfit hiding well in the shadows. Their voices drifted up along the wind. Girl. Alone. Price.

Lavanya felt her witchstone flare up when her anger did. She had done this time and again, but these monsters never ceased to disgust her. She clutched the stone tight through her shirt. It calmed.

Radulf was right to trust his spy. These men had picked up another child and were definitely selling her off into the Trade. Poor girl.

But that was why she was here. Lavanya would stop them at any costs.

She crouched behind an ancient tree, its energy twisted around her hand and mixed with her own. She closed her eyes, energy swarming into her retinas and pupils.

Her eyes shot open. The world appeared static – grey scale. The men’s auras flared up a few feet away. Between the trees, she spotted two of them inflamed in greyish white – humans. The other one, a sea green – shapeshifter. She pursed her lips. Too bad aura never told her what sub-species of shifter. But, alas, things weren’t always that simple.

“Where is the boss?” grunted one of the humans. He spat on the ground and rolled his shoulders back, his finger tracing along his gun holster.

Lavanya smirked. Nervous much?

“He’s on his way. His plane landed half an hour ago and the package is with him.”

“Man! Why couldn’t we meet him at the airport? This storm’s killing me.”

“Idiot.” The third man – the shapeshifter – smacked the first in the back of the head.

“Hey!”

“That’d be way too suspicious. And who knows how many hunters would be waiting for us.”

The first man grumbled under his breath.

Good to know they had no clue about the spy in their ranks. All the better for her.

It was then that beams of light washed over the men. Lavanya followed them back to their source – a black car. Their leader was here.

This was it.

Lavanya readied herself. Once the car parked, she would cut them down and save the child.

The car slowed to a stop a few feet away from the men. The shapeshifter walked towards it, the two humans staying put. The shifter opened the back passenger door. So this man was too good to drive himself. Or he just wanted to keep an eye on his new merchandise.

Lavanya dug the balls of her heeled leather boots into the ground.

A pinkish red aura rose from the car – vampire. But a very weak one from what she could tell. Easy prey.

She waited until the man got out and the door shut behind him. The driver didn’t leave the car and Lavanya saw no sign of the child.

First things first, then.

She shot her knife straight towards the car. The front tire wheezed, startling the men.

Lavanya pushed herself into the air, hands grabbing for the knives on her back.

“Oh, shi-”

She hit the man’s neck with the hilt of her knife. Hard. The human fell back as she smacked the other one in the same spot. Two down.

A roar shook the forest. Lavanya spun. The shifter rocketed towards her, his skin tearing off into fur. She charged him as his muzzle broke through his mouth. Her energy filled her knives, the obsidian drenched in purple aura. She punched at the side of his snout and tore into his flesh. Roars erupted from the shifter as she spun around and dug her third knife into his hip. He fell to the ground, rain drowning out his screams.

Lavanya jumped to the front of the car and stopped.

The vampire held his package – the child – right before him, a knife of his own up to the girl’s throat. That scum.

He grinned, his pink aura flickering.

“So it’s you, witch. Come to ruin my fun again?”

She giggled. “Can’t I have a little of my own?”

Lavanya forced herself to focus on the vampire. She wanted to make sure the child was alright, but if she looked away now it could spell death for her and a life of slavery for the girl.

The vampire bared his teeth. “Come closer and-”

“And what? You would kill her? I don’t think you’d harm your precious income like that.”

He grinned. “If it means you leave me be, I’d do it.”

This snide creature. She hated when someone this powerful would dare threaten the weak for his own benefits. Disgusting.

She kept up her smooth facade, though. There had to be a way to get the child to safety.

She realized the storm had died down as droplets hit her skin and trickled down her shirt. She could hear them hiss as they hit her necklace. The elemental orb must have run out of juice. It didn’t matter.

“How about this.” Lavanya put her knives back in their sheaths and placed her hands on her hips. “Let the girl go and I’ll let you go. Easy as that.”

“Or-” he tightened his grip on the girl, receiving a small yelp “-I could keep her and you can die!”

Lavanya jumped as huge claws swiped from behind.

The bear was back on his feet.

She cursed and landed on the other side of the car.

It was then that she noticed the driver’s window was open. A mist of light gold pointed a handgun with a silencer right at her. Never saw a child of the Fey do that.

Oh. So they wanted to play a bit longer with her? This would be fun.

She kept her arms in front of her chest, her palms flat as she filled every concealed knife with her energy. She would have to do this quickly.

The vampire laughed, staring her down from across the car. “What are you going to do now, Miss Witch?  It’s three against one. You have no chance against-”

He gasped, eyes bulging.

As he fell, she shot a knife into the car and hit the driver.

The shifter distracted, Lavanya ran and jumped over the car. Three knives plunged into his back, deep enough for the paralysis

He fell to the ground and she gracefully landed in front of him.

She looked over to the vampire. He was still gasping, holding his gut. It was odd. She didn’t cut him. Or at least didn’t remember getting a hit. Even through the rain, she could see blood seeping through his jacket. Such a pity since it appeared to be tailor-made.

She threw a knife in his shoulder and he stopped gasping, knocked out from her energy.

She listened for a second, then grabbed her phone from her hidden pocket. She pressed ‘2’ and waited.

“Nikolai? I’m done.” She surveyed the scene. “Send the police to my location. I got five down. All from the Trade.” She spotted the child huddling near a tree trunk. “And get Ghost or someone out here too. I have a child on my hands.”

The man uttered his reply and hung up.

Lavanya shoved her cell in her pocket and walked over to the girl. She must have only been ten, twelve at the most. Lavanya crouched down to the girl’s eye level. Her aura was grey. No. Blue. No . . . wait . . .

Lavanya’s brows knitted together. What was this girl?

Lavanya pushed the girl’s long black hair away from her frightened eyes. “It’s going to be okay-”

She saw blood on the girls’ hands.

“Are you bleeding?”

The girl shook her head.

“Then what is . . .”

She followed the girl’s dark eyes to the limp vampire.

“His blood?” She whipped her head back around. “You did that?”

The girl hesitated before nodding.

Now that was certainly strange. Lavanya couldn’t remember the last time she had met a child who could take on a vampire. Even if he was pathetic, a child could never do that. At least not an ordinary one.

“How? Are you a witch like me?”

The girl bit her lips, shaking her head.

“So what are you?”

The girl opened her mouth, then froze. Her dark eyes grew wide. Lavanya pulled out a knife and spun around. No one was there.

“Did you see-“

The girl slumped against her.

Lavanya grimaced. This child was in no shape for questioning. “It’s okay. It’s okay.” She pulled the girl into her arms and wrapped her coat around her. The girl was hot, burning, yet she shivered. A fever?

The girl gripped her shirt. “Don’t leave. P-please.”

“I won’t.” Lavanya squeezed her tight. “Do you have a name?”

“K-Ka-“

“Katy? Kasey?”

“K-Kai. . . M-my name is Kai.”

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© E.N. Chaffin 2019. All rights reserved. Any reproduction without author permission is against the copyright laws of the United States of America.


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