*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*
The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.
Chapter 42: Part 1
The three men didn’t carry a scent, but they didn’t come off as Infernal, either. So…fairies. Not the Tinkerbelle-help-you-fly kind of fairies. These were the spin-straw-into-gold-in-exchange-for-your-firstborn sort of fairies.
A beast of a man stood behind the leader. His bald head scraped the ceiling as his black leather vest struggled to contain him. A bushy red beard and thick brow ridge took up most of his face. Bright tattoos covered his neck and arms. Though, being a fairy, that could’ve been his natural skin tone.
Biker Fairy stepped around the leader without a word. His shoulders jarred the bathroom counter as he crouched next to Gwen. He turned her onto her back, gentle despite his size. Gwen let out a heartbreaking sob when she saw him. “Kailen…”
The giant made a soothing sound as he gathered her up, then stood to leave.
“Hey!” I said, scrambling to my feet. The other two fairies moved to block the door. “Where are you taking her?” Gwen was a vital part of my plan to release Karen from thrall, but I didn’t have time to explain that. Instead, I yelled, “She’s mine.”
The leader smiled without humor, his thin lips a slit in his face. “So it would seem. Worry not, half-breed. You’re coming with us.”
The being to the left of the leader could almost be mistaken for human. Well, by dumbasses without the sense of smell to know better. Aside from the fact he wore armor, there was nothing remarkable about him. It was anyone’s guess how old they were. Their skin was marble smooth, but their eyes were ancient. Power radiated from them like heat from a nuclear reactor.
“Who are you people?” I said.
The leader placed his hand over his heart then bowed his head. “I am known as Prince Xivinaxus the Serpent.” I could see why he’d be called that. His eyes were like rubies, and there was a greenish-yellow gleam to his skin. “You may call me Xi. This is my brother and bodyguard, Prince Nikolas. Nik.”
Xi’s sandy brown hair looked as though a toddler had cut it. His suit and trench coat fluttered around his frame as he stood to the side then gestured toward the door. “After you.”
I didn’t want to turn my back on the…whatever the hell these things were, but Gwen was getting further and further away. “I know her True Name,” I said as I stepped into the hall.
“So, you do,” Xi said.
“That means I, like, own her now, right?”
Xi made a noncommittal sound.
We passed the open door of the nursery. Another tall, wispy being stood over the crib. Its sharp features were so pretty, it took a moment to figure out if the thing was male or female. I assumed male, due to a lack of boobs, but you can never tell with fairies. His shoulder-length, reddish brown hair was a mass of tall cowlicks that didn’t distract from his pointed ears. He straightened when he saw me, and his large, green eyes narrowed. I noticed that he held a bloody dagger in his right hand.
I blinked, then the elf was nose-to-nose with me. Xi’s hand was on his chest, pushing him back as he clucked his tongue. “Now, now, Elrich. Patience. All in good time.”
The elf snarled, and I saw a row of jagged teeth. He turned in a huff then walked back into the nursery.
A small, squatty creature perched on the crib railing, shaking its head at the tragedy on the mattress. I guessed it was a goblin, or maybe some sort of kobold? I had no idea. Those things never revealed themselves to vampires.
A woman stood in the center of the room, her back to me as she cradled a small bundle. Her blue dress molded to her in a way that made it impossible not to notice her body…which was smoking hot. Chocolate brown hair cascaded down her back in shimmering waves. She looked at me over her shoulder, then I found myself frozen in place. Her face was far too perfect to be human, and her pale skin caught the light like a pearl.
I didn’t realize I was staring until I felt Nik’s hand between my shoulders. He gave me a hard shove toward the stairs. “Keep walking, bloodsucker.”
I stumbled but recovered. “How many fucking fairies are in this house?”
“Considering the gravity of the crime, we have all seen fit to ensure justice is done,” Xi said as we started down the stairs.
We stepped into the kitchen, then Nik said, “Continue out into the hall, then go into the first room on your left.”
The portrait room. I stopped in my tracks. “Why, what’s in there?”
Xi and Nik smirked at each other. “Judging by your tone, I think you know,” Xi said.
Every instinct in my body told me to cut my losses and run. Karen needed me, though, and to help her, I needed Gwen. I growled under my breath as I turned toward the hall. “Fine,” I said.
“There’s a good lad.” Xi’s neutral tone made it impossible to tell if he was being sarcastic.
I stepped into the portrait room just in time to see Biker Fairy duck through the mirror. He vanished with Gwen in his arms, and despair washed over me. I turned on Xi as though I had the power to make him do anything “Bring her back,” I said.
Xi nodded toward the portal. “You saw which way they went. Go after her.”
“Dude, no one’s that stupid. There’s no way in hell I’m going through a fairy door.”
“You say that as though you have a choice in the matter,” Nik said.
I debated calling Mata Diablo. I could maybe get one good stab into Xi before he knew what hit him, but I’d still have to deal with Nik and the others. And Gwen was already gone.
Fuck it. Whatever.
I stepped through the mirror. I’m sure I made vampire history, not that anyone would ever believe me. Turns out, there was nothing to it. I’ve had more trouble crossing wards after I’ve been invited. One second I was in Gwen’s crappy little house. The next, I stood on the set of Game of Thrones.
The first thing to strike me was darkness, and the smell. In that sense, I’m no different than any other vampire. The cold, salty stench of the ocean filled the air, but it wasn’t the ocean I knew. Under the saltwater, I could smell soot and burning wax. This was from the candles that dripped overhead and smoldering fire pits. Heavy chandeliers covered in rust provided a little light. They hung from rafters made of rotting tree trunks. The ceiling was so high that it disappeared into the shadows. Moss covered the stone floor, but I didn’t see any sort of masonry or brickwork.
I’d been teleported into a hollowed-out mountain. I didn’t think those things really existed, but I didn’t have a chance to wrap my head around it. My eyes adjusted to the gloom, then I realized I was surrounded.
Fairies. Demons. Goblins. Trolls. Even nixies swam in a crumbling fountain. The horde stood shoulder to shoulder, blocking every chance of escape.
I was supremely fucked.