“Don’t,” I said grimly as I climbed to my feet and tossed the gun aside. There was an odd feeling inside me. Part of it was guilt and wonder at having used a weapon to maim somebody. The rest was something else – something primitive clawing at my insides, howling for the blood whose scent pervaded the air of the circular room. And at the moment I was not even thirsty – how badly must the vampire girl on the other side of the doors be feeling?
The doors trembled under a mighty blow.
“We have to go!” Willow shouted, eyes wide. We couldn’t go that way, or back into the Citadel. Which left six doors.
“This one!” Meena called, running to the one at the left end and tugging it open. I recognized the silvery shimmering surface filling the doorway. I took a step when the elf screamed out.
“Adele Willows and Meena Azura!” she gasped. “I know your pasts, and I have seen what will come of you!”
Meena didn’t even turn round. But for a moment Willow stood there, mouth slightly open, unblinking. She took a step forward. Before I could shout a warning that she was trying to trick us out of our escape, she turned away.
“Please,” she said scornfully. “If anyone knows what will come of me, I think it’s myself.”
I followed her across the room but a slender silk-clad arm shot out and grabbed my ankle.
“I really wish people would stop doing that,” I said through gritted teeth as I was about to shake off her grip like I had Miss Stake’s. Speaking of whom, the doors were making horrible cracking sounds which suggested they weren’t standing up to the vampire’s attack.
I looked back for a second at her misted eyes which seemed to glint silver.
“You will suffer.”
“Get off me,” I said coldly. “Now.”
“No! Your future has presented itself to me more clearly than others. What I have prophesied has already come to pass! This even your comrades know! And I know what is coming next. A storm is coming, Ruby Nox, and it is coming for you! There will be blood and pain aplenty and your heart will be broken soon after it is given.”
“What is this bull?” Willow said with a distasteful frown. She came back and stamped down on the elf’s arm. I heard it snap and she shrieked in pain. The way it twisted her face made her look like a harpy more than an elf.
We headed for the door where Meena was waiting impatiently.
“This door leads to any of the mirrors in the world. We have to think of the one we want to go to – in the shop in Slake, okay?”
“You have to know!” Celeste shrieked, her voice wrenching. “Be ready because he will strike without warning – he will strike close to your heart. Beware of the ones you are close to. The danger is where you least expect it.”
“I’ve had enough of this.”
Willow grabbed my wrist and pulled me after her. Meena turned and disappeared through the rippling doorway. Willow stepped through, releasing my arm. I thought about the shop in Slake. Then the mirror in my mother’s shop. Was it truly one of those mirrors? There was one way to find out.
I looked round at the elf – she seemed to have passed out as her eyes were closed. Her eyelids were lavender-coloured. I looked over at the vampire warrior and to my horror he was getting to his feet and he looked angry. I thought of my mother’s art shop and stepped through the door, feeling it wash over me like water though I remained dry.