“Back off!” I roared at Kyoshiro, concerned not about the Hunters we were about to face, but about the girl shaking in front of me. I nodded to Asha who used her mind to calm Aria a little. She returned to Jay’s side and joined the rest of the vampires who were gathering at the window and door, ready to charge when they caught sight of the Hunters.
“What’s wrong with her!?” I repeated to Chesh, liking him even less for keeping his mouth shut. “Aria – what’s wrong?”
“I – the –” She stammered, and I stared down Chesh until he reluctantly gave me an answer.
“She’s afraid of dogs...”
I let out a short laugh but seeing her petrified face made me stop short. “Aria listen to me – the dogs, sure they’re trained to hunt vampires and all that, but can they climb trees? No – only you can do that! You have so many tricks up your sleeve that you can use!”
“Yeah you can climb trees as well as I can!” Cheshire piped up.
“And I know you’re brave.” I held her by her shoulders.
“I just don’t think I can do it – I’ll end up runnin’ away...” She was clutching Cheshire’s hand/paw tightly and I exchanged a quick look with him before going on.
“Aria we won’t leave your side, ok? We need all the vampires we can get out there – get up in a tree if you want, chuck branches at them – I don’t care! I just can't do it without you. But I promise if you give us the signal that you need help, we’ll both be there in an instant. Chesh?”
He rolled his eyes but agreed to shake my hand. He rested his head on her shoulder and purred. Suddenly there was a deathly silence in the mansion, and I could feel everyone’s hearts racing a little faster.
Raven turned from the window to face the room. “They’re here.” The silence lasted only a second, and then he threw open the door to the mansion and stalked outside with Kyoshiro to his left, and the rest of the vampires in tow - Harmony’s singing the soundtrack to this deciding moment. Before we had time to think the three of us left the mansion and entered onto the battleground, running at lightning speed to meet the Hunters.