I was on my knees. Pain coursed through me. I didn’t know Blade had even bitten me. Then I saw the trademark black trench coat and felt the hand on the back of my neck. Aya and the others had arrived. Aya hugged me and moved just as Blade was about to bring his dragon katana down on Aya’s neck. In a blur I was sat behind a line of four vampires. The four of them stood poised, snarling and hissing. Aya knelt by my side. Ciara bobbed impatiently next to Blade. It was all too much for her. She snarled and dashed forward. Before she had barely taken a step, an explosive bang pierced the night air. She stopped. In the middle of her forehead was a hole. A line of blood trickled down between her eyes. She swayed slightly and fell to the ground. Lilith stood sideways, her right arm stretched out in front of her. In her hand she held a gun but it seemed more like an extension of her arm. I don’t claim to be a gun expert because I’m not and I couldn’t even hazard a guess at the calibre or anything like that. But, just like Blade’s katana, it was etched or in this case engraved. At first it looked like random tribal swirls but slowly my brain started to register it as flames. But it wasn’t just flames. There was something made of flames. At first I thought it was another dragon as I could clearly see a pair of wings but it was the wrong shape to be a dragon. It started to look like a bird.
“Like a phoenix, the great Lilith Gray rises from the ashes” Blade said with a hint of sarcasm.
So that’s what it was. A phoenix. A bird made of flames. At the sight of Lilith and her gun, Kyo started to panic. And he had perfectly good reason to.
“Destroy a particular part of a vampire’s brain and they die. Completely” Lilith said, sounding like a mercenary angel.
“What makes you think you got it?” Blade asked, attempting to hide his panic and concern.
“I never miss my mark”.
Blade looked from Ciara to Kyo. They were badly outnumbered but wouldn’t give up. Kyo slowly looked up from the ground. His purple eyes were glowing. He was crying pure light.
“The boy loved that girl. Shouldn’t have made him upset,” Blade said, taking a step back, “He’s the closest we’ve found to a vampire with powers”.
Kyo took a step towards my line of protectors. All the pebbles and rubbish in the square started to float as he walked past them. As he walked towards us the glow in his eyes intensified. The four vampires in front of me grabbed their necks. Aya was different. He clutched at his chest like he was having a heart attack. Kyo walked straight past Fang and the others. What was I supposed to do? The five people who could possibly protect me were all paralysed in pain. He held a hand out to me. His blood was luminous. I could make out all the veins and arteries under his skin.
“In situations when he experiences extreme emotion, Kyo can send out the emotion he’s feeling. In this case it’s pain and it’s affecting our bites” Blade said, clutching the side of his own neck.
Kyo held his hand out closer to me. I had no choice but to take it. As soon as my skin touched his, the glowing stopped. He looked at me, thoroughly disorientated. I took my chance and pulled away from him. He looked scared, Like he wasn’t sure how he got to me.
“Ciara” he said quietly and walked over to her lifeless body.
Slowly the six remaining vampires let go of their bites though Aya was still visibly in pain. Why was his bite on his chest? I’d have to ask him about it. Kyo’s ability had taken a lot out of all of them. Lilith looked exhausted. Tawny didn’t fare much better. Morrigan looked drunk and Blade had to support himself with his katana. Lilith and Tawny’s knees buckled at the same time and they fell together. Blade tried to laugh but clutched his neck again.
“Morrigan, watch Hallie” Fang said, determination in his voice.
“The two of us?” Blade asked but it wasn’t a question.
“Has it ever been any different?”
Blade smiled. He had his swords and Fang had his fists. I had faith in Fang but he had no way of defending himself. The two of them walked to the centre of the square. Then they were a blur of motion. I saw blood spurts, Blade’s swords and Fang’s pocket watch chain but that was all. Aya stirred beside me. His eyes darted to the battle and he tried to sit up from the lying position he’d slipped into.
“I should be helping. I’ve fought Blade, I know his tricks” he said.
I held him back. Have a little faith, that’s what I wanted to say but I couldn’t find my voice. Had I really believed Blade over Fang? It seemed impossible now but Blade had sounded so sincere, like he really was trying to help me. Aya tried to move again. He shouted out in pain. He gestured at his buttons. I undid them. He pulled his shirt away from his torso. Dancing up and down his torso were multiple bite marks. But he wasn’t looking at them. He was looking at the very top left one, just beneath his collar bone. It was raw, the skin around it was tight and it oozed a clear pinkish liquid.
“What happened?” I asked as he lay his head back and tried to calm his breathing.
“When I was human my only girlfriend turned out to be a vampire. She could do this weird thing where she held back her venom when she fed. Anyway, one day she got bored of me and pumped about twenty feeds worth of venom into me”.
He tried to sit up again but his bite wouldn’t let him. I turned back to Blade and Fang. Two swords and a selection of knives were scattered around the blur. As I sat with Aya I wondered if either of them had managed to hit the other. Then faintly I heard a tapping. The tap-tap-tap of footsteps. Who in Apollo’s Arrow would be out at midnight? The footsteps got closer and Aya grabbed my arm.
“Boys, please. You know I don’t like to see you fight” a voice I didn’t recognise said.
Blade and Fang seemed to as their fight ceased immediately, with Blade pointing a knife at Fang who had him by the throat.
“Well done. Now, I think it’s time we had a little family chat”.