Home > One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3)(9)

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3)(9)
Author: Ilona Andrews

“Nice,” Sean said.

“If one is going to wear armor, one must properly maintain it,” Arland said.

The older vampire tried to rise. Arland waited until he got halfway up and kneed him in the face. Blood poured from the vampire’s face. Arland kicked him. The attacker collapsed and lay still.

“Anyone else?” Arland asked.

Seven vampires rose at once.

“Couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you?” Sean said, pulling a large knife with a dark green curved blade from the sheath on his waist.

“Might as well get it over with.” Arland ripped off his cloak and tossed it aside. His face wrinkled in an ugly snarl, showing his fangs.

Five more vampires stood up. This wouldn’t end well.

“Stay behind me,” Sean told me.

A figure in a tattered brown cloak jumped onto the table behind the vampires, jerked a blood sword and a dagger out, dashed to the nearest standing vampire, and sliced his head off.

The vampires roared.

The swordsman sprinted through the room, running on the tables, slicing and cutting like a whirlwind. Everyone moved at once. People screamed, pulling weapons, and overturning tables. Some ran to the back, others charged us. Sean sprinted forward, carving his way through the attackers.

A vampire grabbed the swordsman’s tattered cloak and jerked at it. The cloak came free, revealing Maud in syn-armor, her short blue-black hair flying. She dropped to her knees on the table and buried her dagger in his throat. Blood sprayed her face. She pulled the dagger out with a short jerk, rolled on the table, just as another vampire shattered it with a blow of his blood mace, and sliced across his face with her sword.

Next to me Arland stood frozen.

I reached over and pushed his mouth shut. “Arland!”

He stared at me, as if waking up from a dream.

I pointed at Maud. “Help my sister!”

For a stunned half-second he stared at me, and then he pulled out his blood mace, roared, and tore into the mass of bodies like a raging bull.

I slipped the handle of the energy whip into my right hand and squeezed it. A thin flexible filament slid from it, dripping to the floor. There was Maud. There was Sean and Arland. Where was little Helen?

I moved forward, picking my way through the fight to where Maud had originally jumped. A female vampire charged at me, her mouth opened, her hammer raised for the kill.

Sean hurled his attacker aside and turned toward me.

I flicked my wrist. The filament ignited with bright yellow and the energy whip sliced at the oncoming vampire. She howled, the deep gash that nearly sliced her chest in two instantly cauterized. I flicked the whip again - she wouldn’t recover from this injury anyway - and her head rolled off. That was the problem with an energy whip. A wound to the torso almost always meant a slow and painful death.

I kept moving.

A chair flew at me. I ducked and ran straight into a male vampire. He grabbed me, jerking my neck to his mouth. I grasped the end of the whip with my left hand - the glove was the only thing it wouldn’t cut - and pushed the stretched whip through the vampire’s face. It cut straight through the helmet and bone, and the top half of the vampire’s skull slid to the floor. The body crashed, with me on top of it. I rolled to the side, under a table, scrambled on my hands and knees and saw a small shape under another table in the distance.

“Helen!”

The small creature under the table turned toward me. Found you.

I crawled from under the table. In front of me vampires clashed, all local - whenever there was a big fight, people settled personal scores. I flicked my whip, lengthening it. It made a sharp electric crack. Once you heard it, you never forgot it. Suddenly the floor before me was clear. I ran through the opening, dropped to my knees, and pulled Helen from under the table. She clutched at me, a five-year-old girl with pale hair and the round green eyes of a vampire.

“Aunt Dina!”

She remembered me! “I’ve got you.”

I scrambled up, supporting her weight with my left arm. A vampire rushed us. Helen hissed, pulled out a knife, and swiped at him. He leaned out of the way, his axe swinging toward us. Sean thrust himself in front of me, catching the axe in mid blow. The vampire strained. Sean sliced at him, the green blade cutting through armor like a sharp knife through a pear.

“Follow me.”

I chased him through the slaughter. Midway to the door Maud appeared next to me, her blades bloody.

“Arland!” Sean roared, his voice covering the din of fighting.

I turned and saw the Marshal, covered in blood, bellowing like a bull, as his mace reduced armors and bones to a bloody pulp.

“Arland!” Sean yelled again.

The Marshal saw us and turned, following. We tore out of the front door and ran to the slick black shuttle. The doors swung open - Arland must’ve activated the remote - and Sean leaped into the pilot seat and started flipping switches.

Maud climbed into the passenger seat and I handed Helen to her.

A clump of vampires pushed out the door. It fell apart, revealing Arland snarling, fangs bared. He swung his mace and cracked one attacker’s skull, grabbed another by his throat with his left hand, snapped his neck, and threw him aside like a rag doll. Maud’s eyebrows crept up. She paused for a second, while sliding Helen into the seat restraints. “Who the hell is that?”

“The Lord Marshal of House Krahr.”

I landed into the seat next to her.

Arland brained the last attacker, ran to the shuttle, and jumped into the seat next to Sean. The tiny camera zipped into the cabin behind him.

   
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