'Where are we?' I whispered, afraid that any loud noise might alert somebody to our presence. Demrin gasped slightly beside me, as though the spell he had just cast had taken a lot out of him. I could sense it deep within me that Demrin was losing the battle he was desperately fighting, he was getting weaker and weaker. I just didn't want to acknowledge this. Instead, I acted as oblivious as the rest of them, all staring at Demrin waiting for an answer.
'A mansion, just outside Paris,' he told us in a low voice. 'An old place of mine. We should be safe here.'
Everybody looked tense, despite Demrin's words. Adder had moved closer to Calla, twining his fingers in hers; Demrin was muttering under his breath, a small protection spell I presumed, and Jester had taken a step closer to me.
'Thank you for helping me earlier,' I murmured to Jester. 'I really appreciate it.'
He smiled at me. 'Well, you're welcome. It was nothing really.'
'Will they find us here?' Calla asked once Demrin was done.
'I've cloaked our presence using a small spell, we should be okay.'
'Should be,' Adder muttered. 'That's not a definite answer.'
'I can't give you a definite answer Adder, they're extremely powerful. I don't even know what they're capable of, and they're obviously so hell bent on murdering us all in a violent bloodshed, I'm guessing that they'll let nothing get in their way.'
We all fell silent. It wasn't like Demrin to speak so bluntly.
'I'm sorry,' he apologized quietly. 'I didn't mean to say that.'
'Well it's true isn't it?' Adder snarled. 'They're gonna kill us and there's nothing we can do about it!'
'We could fight?' I suggested in a tiny voice, causing them all to look at me. 'I mean, we all have our own abilities don't we? We'll band together and show them what we've got.'
'Yeah right,' Adder scoffed. 'Like that'll be enough. No offence darling but you're not exactly powerful enough to defeat them.'
'You don't know that,' I bristled, the previous fight scene with Reuben flashing through my mind. 'I could prove it right now.' I took a step towards him, challenging.
'That's enough,' Demrin intervened in a steely tone. 'We cannot afford to be fighting amongst ourselves like this. I don't know if we're even safe here, if my spell worked at all. I cannot allow myself to be distracted by your safety whilst I am trying to stop the Evil One from killing us all. You have to hold your own. You can do this. But right now we need to keep our focus.'
As our hope began to rise, our courage began to build and I started to believe that maybe, just maybe, we could really do this. Each of our faces were set in determination, Adder still clutching Calla's hand protectively, Demrin looking indomitable, despite the slight tiredness and mild pain etched around his eyes, Jester had slipped his hand into mine, squeezed it reassuringly.
Then out of nowhere, an explosion.
I wasn't quite sure what had happened at first, until I felt the incredible heat. Then came the pain. My ears pounded with the after-effect of the deafening noise, my head throbbed agonizingly after having collided with something sharp, and my vision was unclear. Thick, dark smoke, suffocating and lethal, surrounded us all in it's poisonous grasp. My eyes were stinging and I began to cough.
'What...happened?' I croaked.
Someone stirred beside me. I glanced over to find Jester lying on his front, soot dusting his hair a shade of grey. I helped him up, supporting him by his elbow.
'What the fuck just happened?' I heard Adder's voice before I saw him. He was helping Calla to her feet, Demrin standing shakily behind them.
'They're here,' Calla breathed.
Without warning, a magnificent shade of blue lightening streamed past all of us, creating a loud crackling noise, like electricity. It took me less than a second to realize it was coming from Demrin, and was directed to the figures standing in the doorway.
Everybody sprung into action. Adder charged forward, grabbing one of the creatures by the throat, and with lightening speed he had torn the skin of the struggling figure with his razor sharp teeth. This did not kill him though as he suddenly attacked Adder, sending him flying to the floor. Calla was torn between the creature she was fighting and her lover who was snarling in fury and pain on the floor. Demrin continued with his attack, the lightening came thick and fast now, but I could see it wasn't doing anything. And Demrin was losing strength. The others were fighting their own now, Jester, Calla, Adder.
Someone ran towards me, too fast for my eyes to identify what they looked like, and there was a moment of pure fear as I thought I was going to die. But then instinct told me to flick out my wrist, like Reuben had done when attacking me, putting as much energy and power as I could behind this simple movement. The creature in front of me fell to his knees, eyes bulging, mouth gaping open. My fist curled into a claw, tightening, tightening, until he fell, completely motionless.
Someone had Jester by the throat, sharp claws had begun digging into his skin. Thin lines of blood trailed down his neck, causing Jester to cry out in surprise and pain. I brought forward the mental wave of torture, directing it completely onto Jester's assailant. He arched backwards, at an impossible angle, loosening his grip. Jester wriggled free and I finished the attacker off.
My eyes met Jester's for the briefest moment. A simple flicker, a moment's distraction. But it was enough for a heavy figure to charge into me, holding me to the floor. All the breath whooshed out of me as I found myself pinned beneath a vile beast who had his hands wrapped around my throat, squeezing tighter with each passing second. I tried to mentally attack him but I found myself rendered useless beneath the grip of this determined, bloodthirsty creature. However, something blasted into him, knocking him sideways. I saw Jester raining kicks and vicious punches into the enemy's body, his face twisted into anger and vehemence.
The beast was so much quicker though. Before I could stop him, he had thrown Jester off him with a simple swat, as though he were just a pest. He raised his large hand, claws like knives glinted in the silver light.
And plunged it straight into Jester's chest.
I stared, rooted to the spot.
Jester cried out with the most deafening scream I had ever heard. Blood pumped out of a large wound just above his torso.
Where his heart was.
Everything seemed hopeless then. We were losing. Jester was dying. I could do nothing. We were going to die. We were going to die. We were going to die.
No we're not.
With as much force and anger as I could muster, I charged at the beast, putting power and magic behind my fist, bringing it slamming forward. Straight through his face.
I didn't register the warm, sticky liquid spilling over my hand or the sickening crunch as the creature's bones snapped in half or even the pure shock and adrenaline coursing through my veins, combining together. All I saw was Jester on the floor, completely motionless. His eyes were shut, his hand still clutched to his chest.
I sagged to my knees, without really knowing what I was doing. My hand hovered above his. I shut my eyes and concentrated. If I'd given myself time to think about what I was doing, I wouldn't of been able to do it. Instead, I let it come, like instinct. Something flowed through me, surging and sweeping, emanating from my chest. My heart had begun racing against my ribcage, pounding so fast I thought it was going to explode. I frowned slightly, but focussed. Focussed on Jester. I imagined in my mind, the wound closing, healing, stitching itself back together. The blood continuing to stream through his body, bringing him life and energy.
My chest had begun to cramp, my hand started to tingle, my mind threatened to collapse, to give up, but I pushed on.
'Heal,' I whispered.
A cough, followed by a moan. I didn't dare allow myself to hope until I saw it for my own eyes.
Jester's eyelids fluttered open, blood still stained his suit, but it was no longer pooling. I ran fingers across his chest, feeling only a faint bump, a slight uneven ridge in his skin.
I had done it.
'DEMRIN!' Calla screamed.