A battle of souls, p.1
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         Part #59 of A Shade of Vampire series by Bella Forrest
A Battle of Souls


  A Shade of Vampire 59: A Battle of Souls

  Bella Forrest

  Contents

  Also by Bella Forrest

  Problems reading?

  New Generation List

  Family tree

  1. Harper

  2. Avril

  3. Scarlett

  4. Fiona

  5. Hansa

  6. Caia

  7. Blaze

  8. Hansa

  9. Jax

  10. Caia

  11. Fiona

  12. Harper

  13. Fiona

  14. Scarlett

  15. Hansa

  16. Harper

  17. Caia

  18. Hansa

  19. Harper

  20. Heron

  21. Vesta

  22. Hansa

  23. Harper

  24. Harper

  25. Caspian

  26. Heron

  27. Harper

  28. Harper

  29. Derek

  30. Vesta

  31. Derek

  32. Hansa

  33. Harper

  34. Harper

  35. Scarlett

  36. Harper

  37. Fiona

  38. Harper

  39. Fiona

  40. Blaze

  41. Avril

  42. Sofia

  43. Harper

  Read more by Bella Forrest

  Also by Bella Forrest

  HOTBLOODS

  (New supernatural romance series!)

  Hotbloods (Book 1)

  Coldbloods (Book 2)

  Renegades (Book 3)

  Venturers (Book 4)

  Traitors (Book 5)

  Allies (Book 6)

  THE GIRL WHO DARED TO THINK

  The Girl Who Dared to Think (Book 1)

  The Girl Who Dared to Stand (Book 2)

  The Girl Who Dared to Descend (Book 3)

  The Girl Who Dared to Rise (Book 4)

  The Girl Who Dared to Lead (Book 5)

  The Girl Who Dared to Endure (Book 6)

  The Girl Who Dared to Fight (Book 7)

  THE GENDER GAME

  (Completed series)

  The Gender Game (Book 1)

  The Gender Secret (Book 2)

  The Gender Lie (Book 3)

  The Gender War (Book 4)

  The Gender Fall (Book 5)

  The Gender Plan (Book 6)

  The Gender End (Book 7)

  A SHADE OF VAMPIRE SERIES

  Season 1: Derek & Sofia’s story

  A Shade of Vampire (Book 1)

  A Shade of Blood (Book 2)

  A Castle of Sand (Book 3)

  A Shadow of Light (Book 4)

  A Blaze of Sun (Book 5)

  A Gate of Night (Book 6)

  A Break of Day (Book 7)

  Season 2: Rose & Caleb’s story

  A Shade of Novak (Book 8)

  A Bond of Blood (Book 9)

  A Spell of Time (Book 10)

  A Chase of Prey (Book 11)

  A Shade of Doubt (Book 12)

  A Turn of Tides (Book 13)

  A Dawn of Strength (Book 14)

  A Fall of Secrets (Book 15)

  An End of Night (Book 16)

  Season 3: The Shade continues with a new hero…

  A Wind of Change (Book 17)

  A Trail of Echoes (Book 18)

  A Soldier of Shadows (Book 19)

  A Hero of Realms (Book 20)

  A Vial of Life (Book 21)

  A Fork of Paths (Book 22)

  A Flight of Souls (Book 23)

  A Bridge of Stars (Book 24)

  Season 4: A Clan of Novaks

  A Clan of Novaks (Book 25)

  A World of New (Book 26)

  A Web of Lies (Book 27)

  A Touch of Truth (Book 28)

  An Hour of Need (Book 29)

  A Game of Risk (Book 30)

  A Twist of Fates (Book 31)

  A Day of Glory (Book 32)

  Season 5: A Dawn of Guardians

  A Dawn of Guardians (Book 33)

  A Sword of Chance (Book 34)

  A Race of Trials (Book 35)

  A King of Shadow (Book 36)

  An Empire of Stones (Book 37)

  A Power of Old (Book 38)

  A Rip of Realms (Book 39)

  A Throne of Fire (Book 40)

  A Tide of War (Book 41)

  Season 6: A Gift of Three

  A Gift of Three (Book 42)

  A House of Mysteries (Book 43)

  A Tangle of Hearts (Book 44)

  A Meet of Tribes (Book 45)

  A Ride of Peril (Book 46)

  A Passage of Threats (Book 47)

  A Tip of Balance (Book 48)

  A Shield of Glass (Book 49)

  A Clash of Storms (Book 50)

  Season 7: A Call of Vampires

  A Call of Vampires (Book 51)

  A Valley of Darkness (Book 52)

  A Hunt of Fiends (Book 53)

  A Den of Tricks (Book 54)

  A City of Lies (Book 55)

  A League of Exiles (Book 56)

  A Charge of Allies (Book 57)

  A Snare of Vengeance (Book 58)

  A Battle of Souls (Book 59)

  A SHADE OF DRAGON TRILOGY

  A Shade of Dragon 1

  A Shade of Dragon 2

  A Shade of Dragon 3

  A SHADE OF KIEV TRILOGY

  A Shade of Kiev 1

  A Shade of Kiev 2

  A Shade of Kiev 3

  THE SECRET OF SPELLSHADOW MANOR

  (Completed series)

  The Secret of Spellshadow Manor (Book 1)

  The Breaker (Book 2)

  The Chain (Book 3)

  The Keep (Book 4)

  The Test (Book 5)

  The Spell (Book 6)

  BEAUTIFUL MONSTER DUOLOGY

  Beautiful Monster 1

  Beautiful Monster 2

  DETECTIVE ERIN BOND (Adult thriller/mystery)

  Lights, Camera, GONE

  Write, Edit, KILL

  For an updated list of Bella’s books, please visit her website: www.bellaforrest.net

  Join Bella’s VIP email list and she’ll send you an email reminder as soon as her next book is out. Tap here to sign up: www.forrestbooks.com

  Copyright © 2018 by Bella Forrest

  Cover design inspired by Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations LLC

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

  Problems reading?

  If you experience any problems reading this ebook—such as pages skipping, etc.—it’s a Kindle glitch. Just delete the ebook from your device and re-download it, and the problem should solve itself. If not, contact Amazon’s customer support; they’re usually very helpful and efficient.

  New Generation List

  Avril (vampire): adopted daughter of Lucas and biological daughter of Marion.

  Blaze (fire dragon): son of fire dragons Heath and Athena.

  Caia (part fae/human): daughter of Grace and Lawrence.

  Fiona (vampire): daughter of Benedict (son of Rose and Caleb) and Yelena.

  Harper (sentry/vampire): daughter of Hazel and Tejus.

  Scarlett (vampire): daughter of Jeramiah (son of Lucas Novak) and Pippa (daughter of Cameron Hendry).

  Family tree

  If you’d like to check out the Novaks’ family tree, visit: www.forrestbooks.com/tree

  Harper

  It would’ve been redundant and annoyingly repetitive to say that I was in trouble. I was, but it was deliberate and of my own m
aking. I’d gotten myself captured on purpose, just so I could get inside the Palisade compound, closer to the swamp witch.

  When we’d planned for this mission, we’d known that we had to stay one step ahead of the Exiled Maras. We had to think outside the box and take unprecedented risks in order to succeed. Most importantly, we knew that Lumi would be warded and guarded up to her neck by both Maras and daemons, as she was a shared asset of inestimable value to this nefarious alliance.

  My heart hurt whenever I remembered the look on Caspian’s face—specifically when the glass sheets came out of the walls and isolated me from the rest of the group. We’d known I’d be the one to take the fall, but we hadn’t been sure how that would come to pass. Recalling the pain in Caspian’s eyes made me feel uneasy.

  He was terrified, and I couldn’t blame him. He loved me, and I loved him. But the mission came first. There would never be a “we” if we didn’t bring the shield down. After we’d stumbled upon Vincent’s magical contraption, used to hijack the Telluris spell, we understood how they’d been keeping GASP and Eritopia at bay. Until that moment, we’d assumed our people had probably been trying to get in but couldn’t, because of the shield. Now that the hijacking spell was done for, GASP was bound to come looking for us, since they could no longer reach us—not even the fake “us.”

  This, in itself, was simply one more reason to get Lumi out of there.

  My team was already preparing for stage two of our master plan. There was going to be a siege against Azure Heights, with the help of our newfound allies. The seed of discord had been planted among the Mara Lords, as well. Their alliance with Shaytan was already hanging by a thread—a fact evidenced by his refusal to let Darius return to Azure Heights after the jig was up with us. The Maras needed that extra push to take action against the daemons, and Nevis had been kind and devious enough to provide it. He’d also served Caia and Blaze up on a platter, but they had their contact lenses on, rendering them immune to mind-bending.

  All I had to do was brace myself for the return of my team, since I was shackled to a wall with charmed cuffs. Perhaps the greatest surprise was that I’d been put in the same room as Lumi. Knowing the Mara Lords, there was some psycho logic behind this. My immediate guess was that they wanted to torment me by keeping me so close to her, yet unable to set her free. I’d learned enough about them to not be surprised by this reaction. The Exiled Maras took pleasure in hurting others, not just physically, but also psychologically.

  The room was dark, but I could still see. The walls were covered in swamp witch symbols and were reinforced with meranium, making it impossible for me to see what was going on outside. But my olfactory sense had already picked up the traces of four guards. I was even able to distinguish the difference between two Correction Officers and two daemons, posted just beyond the door.

  No magic could be performed inside the room, but they couldn’t stop my sentry nature from manifesting itself, as much as it could, given the circumstances.

  Hours had passed already. Morning had yet to come, but I figured the Maras had their hands full with the trail of bodies we’d left behind. Vincent and Amalia were dead—that alone was enough for the Lords to pay me a visit, soon.

  Lumi sat in her chair, bound and gagged, unable to speak. Despite her Azure Heights garb and up-do, it was easy to tell that she didn’t belong here. I had a hard time looking away, her bright orange hair and strange, white eyes with a pale blue border keeping me in a permanent state of fascination. Her tattoos were traditional swamp witch markings, with each swirl and pattern representing a level of witchcraft mastery she’d attained prior to crash-landing on Neraka. They reminded me of the Oracles’ tattoos, only they weren’t runes and didn’t cover her entire body.

  She was calm but in a lot of pain, both physical and emotional. Her red aura burned bright, with occasional wisps of black. Those made me feel uneasy, because they echoed hopelessness. She was close to caving in, after thousands of years tied up in this place.

  “Lumi, my people are getting ready to lay siege upon the city,” I said to her, keeping my voice low. My arms were partially numb from being chained in an upright position against the wall. The cuffs were tight, further impeding blood flow. I was anything but comfortable, but it was nothing compared to what she’d been enduring for close to ten millennia.

  Lumi scoffed, then shook her head slowly.

  “I’m serious,” I muttered. “Me being here was part of the plan. We’ve got warriors coming from my world and yours.”

  I’d spent the last couple of hours bringing her up to speed with what had been going on in Eritopia, with a heavy emphasis on Azazel’s reign of terror and the alliance that followed. There was peace now, and GASP was working closely with Draven and the Daughters to rebuild the entire galaxy, one day at a time. There was hope—and Lumi needed plenty of that.

  “As soon as my friends get back in here, we’ll set you free. I promise,” I added. “It’s why we’ve aligned ourselves with the Dhaxanians, the Adlets, the Manticores, and the rogue Imen. We lack strength in numbers, but it doesn’t matter at this point. We just need a distraction so I can get you out of here. We’ve thought this through. The Exiled Maras didn’t expect us to bring a dragon. They didn’t even know we had them. Their whole plan went up in flames when they sent us over here.”

  Footsteps echoed outside. I had a pretty good idea as to who was coming to visit.

  I braced myself for the worst.

  The door opened with a clang. Chills ran down my spine. Rowan and Emilian walked into the room. They were both fuming, their eyes puffy and red. The corner of my mouth twitched, but they didn’t notice. They were both too busy projecting all their rage and hate onto me. I couldn’t read their emotions, but their expressions told me everything I needed to know.

  “I take it you found the presents we left you?” I asked, keeping a straight face.

  Rowan was the first to respond, rushing across the room and backhanding me so hard, it threw my head to the side. My jaw burned from the strike. I licked my lips and found blood at the corner. Despite her ladylike appearance, Rowan was impressively strong, with the added grief of a mother on top.

  “I don’t get why you’re so mad, Rowan. We did you a favor,” I said. “Sienna’s the only one of your offspring who’s actually worth something.”

  She hit me again, this time even harder. It took me a couple of seconds to see clearly again.

  “You killed my son! Emilian’s daughter!” Rowan hissed. “You’ll pay for what you’ve done!”

  “They both took pleasure in tormenting and killing innocent creatures,” I shot back. “You’re all next, by the way.”

  “You don’t get to waltz in here and tell us how to treat our food!” Rowan barked, unable to contain her fury. Her fists balled at her sides, her whole body shaking.

  I gave her a brief scowl. “Kind reminder here that you’re the ones who brought us here in the first place! Just because you can’t admit that what you people are doing is wrong doesn’t mean we can’t call you out on it. It’s wrong! It’s horrible! It’s unacceptable!”

  Emilian stepped forward, a muscle in his jaw ticking.

  “My daughter didn’t deserve to die like that, you monster!” he spat.

  “Oh, really? She loved feeding off and killing Imen children. Children!” I replied. “You people think you can just slaughter Imen left and right like there are no repercussions whatsoever. Well, I have news for you! You’re all going down for this one.”

  Emilian raised his arm to hit me but stopped himself and took several steps back. After a couple of deep breaths, he narrowed his eyes at me.

  “It doesn’t matter what you think about our feeding practices. Only the fittest survive, and we are living proof of that,” he said. “You will spend some time down here, within reach of your ultimate goal, getting comfortable with the idea that you will never touch her. You will never get her out of here. You will rot in a cage, your soul chewed on, bit b
y bit, for thousands of years, until you beg for death, Miss Hellswan.”

  I scoffed. “You think a pair of charmed cuffs will keep me down? You’ve got another thing coming, buddy. I killed Shaytan’s first son! By comparison, you guys are target practice!”

  Emilian put on a confident sneer. “Who did it, huh? Who killed Amalia? Vincent?”

  “I did,” I replied, looking to test Emilian and Rowan’s limits. Had they not needed me alive, they would’ve killed me by now. I needed them so enraged and on edge that they would, eventually, slip up with something. One mistake on their part, and the tables could be turned even harder against them. The one thing I’d learned from Bijarki during training sessions on Mount Zur was that an emotionally fragile enemy was easier to bring down.

  Chip away at their psyches, he’d said. Make them angry enough to no longer think with their heads. A rattled enemy is yours for the taking. Emotions can topple a kingdom if they’re manipulated correctly.

  They were both boiling at this point. It took titanic amounts of self-control for Emilian not to come at me. Rowan, on the other hand, was weaker. She pushed him aside, then started punching me, over and over.

  “You bitch!” she screamed. “You heartless, devious bitch!”

  My face hurt. Sharp knives cut through my muscles and scraped at my bones—that was the precise sensation of each of Rowan’s hits. I saw white, and my ears started ringing. Soon enough, I became numb. Being repeatedly punched did that to a person.

  “Hey, stop that!” The voice of one of the daemon guards boomed through the room. “She’s not yours to kill!”

 
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