Sun Kissed (Guardian Angel #2) - Page 23
This was it, this was my cue. I needed to incinerate every vampire in this whole room… so then why couldn’t I? I blinked and my eyes were on Hunter. I couldn’t kill him. Even after everything, his face still got to me.
“I — I can’t.”
“What?” Hunter spat. “If you don’t do it, I’ll zip downstairs and kill your precious angel.”
I shook my head. I knew Hunter was no match for Eli. Hunter was a baby vampire and Eli was a full-grown guardian angel. I’d witnessed Eli take on old vampires and win. I just needed Hunter out of the room so I could kill them all and then I’d help Eli. As I expected, Hunter smashed through the window and dived out. The chilly night air blew in. There were no sounds from outside. I had no idea if Aleksandrov had arrived or not.
I let my barriers down and my body began to warm. It felt so nice, so euphoric. I felt powerful and happy. The vampires gasped and then screeched as I began to glow.
“What are you doing?” Lucian screamed.
All of the vampires in the room began to keel over in pain and their skin burned as if they’d stepped out into the sun.
One by one I shot huge beams of light at vampires, turning them into dust, and before long I was only left with four vampires. Three. Two. One. Only Lucian was left. I dimmed my glow. I wanted to stake Lucian with my bare hands. He whimpered as I got closer to him. He was weak, I didn’t need my sun power to kill him. I pulled a stake from my waist band and stepped closer to him. Lucian leapt from his feet and slammed me into the hard wall. My vision blurred for less than a second, but I soon recovered.
“You sneaky bitch,” Lucian growled, limping toward me.
He was healing quicker than I expected, Mithras’s blood mustn’t be fully gone. With every step he took he was building up speed and by the end of it, he was running full bore at me. He reached for me and I dodged, just managing to slip from his grasp. Immediately he jumped at me again, catching me off balance and knocking me to the ground, pinning my arms. I tried to push him off, but he didn't move. I watched as the last bit of burnt flesh on his forehead healed itself. Venom dripped from his fangs as he leaned his face down toward my neck.
“You’re becoming more of a nuisance than you’re worth!” he spat.
He leaned closer and I felt his fangs graze my neck. The stake was still firm in my hand and I shoved it between us. I didn’t get his heart, but I pressed it deep into his stomach. Lucian flew off me, clutching the stake. He groaned and gasped as he pulled at it. I leapt to my feet, pulling the other stake from my waistband. I ran at Lucian, my stake prepped and ready. I dove at him in line perfectly with his heart. Just before I reached him, he moved slightly and my stake went through his left ribcage instead. Lucian fell to the ground, immobilized by the pain and the wood. He grasped at the stake, trying to move it. His scream filled the night. I just watched, trying to decide which stake to pull out and stab him with.
I turned abruptly.
“Eli? You’re okay, thank god.”
“We need to g —”
Suddenly, he dropped to his knees. Another scream filled the room — my own. Blood from his stomach began to leak onto his white shirt. He lay down, his eyes fixated on me. Suddenly everything went completely silent. All movement around me slowed to an excruciatingly slow pace. I could feel my blood moving slowly through my body.
Before I even realized what was happening, I killed Liam with my sun power. Within seconds he was a pile of dust.
I kneeled next to Eli, caressing his forehead with my hand.
“You’re going to be okay,” I cried.
“You s-should go.”
I rested my head on his and stroked his hair. “Shhh, rest, please.”
Hunter entered the room and saw what had happened to Eli. Without so much as an apologetic glance he ran over to Lucian.
“Just get me out of here,” Lucian groaned. Hunter smashed the window that led to the back of the warehouse by the forest.
I didn’t care if they got away. I just needed to be with Eli, I needed to keep him alive. Hunter leapt with Lucian from the window.
Eli’s breathing became more rapid and deeper. He touched his wound and glanced at the blood. I could see the panic on his face despite how hard he tried to hide it.
A shadow loomed over us and I jumped to my feet, shoving the person backwards. It wasn’t until I blinked the tears away from my eyes that I realized it was Hunter. My hands lit up as I prepared to kill him.
He smiled. “You’re not going to kill me.”
“You seem overconfident.”
“I know you tricked me into leaving the room so you wouldn’t have to kill me.”
“Don’t make me regret it,” I growled through clenched teeth.
“Let me help him.”
“And why would you do that?”
“Because even though I no longer have a soul, it still kills me to see you cry.”
I let Hunter pass me and he knelt beside Eli. He bit into his own flesh and attempted to pour the running blood into Eli’s mouth. Eli pursed his lips, determined not to let a drop into his mouth.
“Drink, please. It will help you.”
If ingested, vampire blood can heal. Eli knew that but his pride wouldn’t let him take it.
I think he saw how desperate I was because he slowly parted his lips, taking Hunter’s blood. After two swallows his eyes closed.
“Relax, he’ll be fine.” Hunter walked over to the window he’d taken Lucian through.
“When he finds another Heelian and gets strong, he’s going to come for you, Ruby, and he won’t stop. I’m going to help him, not because I want to, but because I have to … He is my creator.”
“Tell Lucian we’ll be ready for him.”
“When the time comes, there won’t be a ‘we.’ He’ll kill everyone you’ve ever loved. He’ll kill everyone protecting you, starting with Eli. This has nothing to do with them, this is about you. If you want to protect the ones you love, then you need to face this on your own.”
I turned away from Hunter and returned to Eli. He slept peacefully, like he had on our drive to Mount Kuuce. Perhaps I’d made a good decision when I decided not to kill Hunter, Eli would be dead if I had. Would this situation be placing my loyalties in the wrong hands? Can I help them both? I know Hunter’s humanity is still there. I’d seen it.
Eli’s eyes fluttered open and I wrapped my arms around him. He hugged me back. I helped him to his feet.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yes. Are you?”
“We need to help the others.” Eli grabbed his stake off the floor and we ran down the stairs of the fire exit. It was a lot safer than the elevator. A few guardian bodies were strewn over the first floor of the warehouse as well as piles of dust. I forced myself not to look at them. I needed to help the others.
Eli tore from the warehouse and I followed closely behind. The cool air was gone. My eyes searched the surroundings as guardian angels took on vampires. It was like the time outside the abandoned dairy farm, but I refused to get caught up in memories.
A vampire grabbed at me. She was really pissed off. There was no doubt she held me responsible for all this mess. My sun power had run out, I couldn’t even make my skin glow let alone warm it slightly. However, all wasn’t lost. There were fires all around me, and it wasn’t until I saw a few of my teachers like Mr Farley and Lillian that I knew they were for the gods and goddesses. As the female vampire yanked me toward her, I grabbed her arm, using her own weight against her. Somehow I managed to flip her to the ground. She bounced back, finding her ground quickly. I raised my hand toward the fire and a large chunk of it flew over to me. I positioned the flames between us as we circled each other.
“I don’t have time to play with you!” I shouted as I pushed the flames onto her. I controlled the fire, preventing her from putting it out. Burning a vampire takes a little longer than staking or the sun, but it’s still effective. Two minutes of relentless burning was enough to turn her to dust.
I didn’t celebrate my latest kill, I still need to help the others. I found Eli by the edge of the forest. He was preventing a vampire from fleeing, they were circling each other, throwing kicks and punches every few seconds. The vampire looked nervous, almost afraid of Eli. I pulled more fire and sent it in Eli’s direction, burning the vampire. He nodded and I let the fire disappear. The vampire was dazed and Eli managed to stake him.
There were only a handful of vampires left. They saw they were outnumbered and they fled, disappearing into the forest.
Nobody relaxed until the sun poured into the harbor. I don’t know how it’s possible, but the warehouse and neglected harbor seemed more deserted and creepy during the day.
Guardian angels that weren’t cleaning up the mess were ordered to bring the cars they had abandoned down the road into the harbor. I heard Mr Aleksandrov tell another guardian we had to get out of here now if we wanted to make it back to Sage before nightfall. His robe was torn and dirty. He walked over to me. I was sitting on a not-so-comfortable rock by the edge of the forest.
“It’s good to see you again, Ruby,” he greeted.
He sat down beside me.
“Thank you for rescuing us.”
“I told you I wouldn’t let any harm come to you. I wish I could have helped you sooner but I needed to make sure the school was secure and the students were safe before I could do anything.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes.
“Lucian said he’ll come back for me.”
“I assumed as much.”
“I can’t go back to Sage … That’ll be the first place he’ll look. He’ll hurt Mila and Eli… and you. I can’t let that happen.”
Mr Aleksandrov reached into his pocket and pulled out a small necklace. It was the ruby one Camilla got me for my birthday.
“I had a hunch you wouldn’t want to come back to Sage, so I charmed your necklace. When you wear it, vampires that know who you are won’t be able to recognize you.”
“What do you mean?”
“It works as a hallucination in a way. If you’re wearing it and Lucian happens to spot you, he won’t know it’s you because the charm projects a new image, changing your appearance. To everyone else you look the same, but to vampires you’ll look completely different.”
I took the necklace from his hand and ran my thumb over its warm surface. This was all I needed to start a new life… a life without death, vampires, and magic… without Eli.
I watched Eli as he strolled toward us.
“Everyone is ready. We should probably leave now, we can’t waste any more time. Even if we leave now we still might not make by nightfall.”
“Yes, well, I’ll round everybody up. Let me know when you’re ready, Ruby.” Aleksandrov rose to his feet and walked away.
I knew I had to talk to Eli about my decision to leave but I couldn’t find the words. If I left him now, I’d lose him forever. Is being miserable worth his safety? What a silly question. I’d rather be depressed and alone than have his death on my conscience. When Lucian discovered I wasn’t at Sage, then he’d leave them alone. Hunter’s words rang in my mind, ‘this has nothing to do with them, this is about you. If you want to protect the ones you love, then you need to face this on your own.’
If I stay away from Lucian and keep him away from Eli, Mila, and Mr Aleksandrov, then that’s all I could ask for. That’s all I want.
I wasn’t oblivious to Eli’s presence but I pretended I was.
“You did well.”
He crouched down and briefly my eyes fell onto the dry blood stain on the front of his shirt. Eli was as good as dead, I knew it and he knew it, but Hunter saved him. Hunter gave me a chance to say goodbye.
“Eli, there’s something I need to say to you.”
I glanced at him, his green eyes were watching me intently. There was a sadness on his face, as if he knew what I was going to say. There was no easy way to say it. I needed to get it over with.
“I’m leaving.” I forced down the lump that formed in my throat. “I’m going to live my life away from all of this. It’s best for everyone involved.”
“It’s best for everyone involved? Do you think it’s best for me?”
I bit the inside of my lip. I was so heartbroken. His brow furrowed but he kept his eyes on me.
“It’s not safe,” he added.
“I think by now I’ve proved I’m more than capable of taking care of myself.”
“Ruby, why are you doing this?” He took my hand in his, caressing it gently with his thumb. “Once we get back to the school, you’ll be safe.”
“No, I won’t be.” A single tear rolled down my cheek. “Lucian won’t stop and I’m not going to be the one preventing everyone from living their lives in peace and happiness.”
“We’ll be fine, let’s sort out the details tomo —”
“Eli, you were as good as dead and it was my fault!” My voice got the attention of a few nearby guardians but it didn’t matter to me anymore. “I saw your life draining from you drop by drop… I can’t go through that again.”
“What about us?” he asked, his voice was low and urgent.
“The way you said that says it all. If we go back to Sage, we go back to our old semi-professional relationship of brief discussions and longing stares from across the dining hall. After all we’ve been through, I can’t go back to that.