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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“She’s right,” Magnus says suddenly, and I let out a breath of relief. He’s always been the rational one. “You should go home. We should meet with your leader in the morning. Talk this through. I’m sure we can come up with a diplomatic—”
But his words are cut off as Lucifent lunges at the slayer, so quick I can’t follow the movement. He grabs her and slams her against a nearby angel statue. There’s a sickening crack as he breaks her neck and she crumples to the ground.
Magnus and Jareth stare at Lucifent in horror. “What have you done, Master?” Magnus whispers.
“Exactly what needed to be done,” Lucifent purrs. “Slayer Inc. has been the bane of vampire existence for far too long. It’s time to take a stand against our oppressors. And thanks to you two, we now have the perfect opportunity to do so.” And with that, he gestures to the slayer’s prostrate corpse. “Now come on,” he says with a sickening grin. “Dessert is served.”
“Oh God,” Rayne whispers as Lucifent enthusiastically starts in on his all-you-can-eat Bertha buffet. “What have we done?”
“I think I’m going to be sick,” I whisper back, my stomach roiling from the grossness of it all. At least Magnus and Jareth hold back and don’t participate in the slayer soufflé. But still. I try to remind myself that Bertha deserves this and more. She killed me, for goodness’ sake! But as I watch, disgusted beyond belief, I can’t help but hear Teifert’s words, echoing through my brain. What have we just set into motion here?
The Master now lives. The Slayer is now dead. We’ve succeeded in changing history. But to what end? Will there be war between Slayer Inc. and the vampires? And what does Lucifent have up his size six sleeve?
After what seems an eternity, the Blood Coven Master rises from his meal, his mouth and shirt soaked in blood. He frowns, looking out into the darkness.
“Someone’s here,” he informs Jareth and Magnus. “Bring them to me.”
“Uh-oh. I think we’ve been spotted,” I whisper to my sister.
She nods, then rises from our hiding spot. “Hey, guys! It’s just us! Nothing to worry about!” I follow her as she steps into the moonlight, a nervous grin on her face. “Just wanted to make sure you were able to take down the big bad. But looks good! Nice work.” She walks confidently up to the vampires and pats Lucifent on the head. He scowls.
“Mortals,” he cries. “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve been asking myself the same question all night,” Jareth sniffs.
“They’re with us,” Magnus interjects. He walks over to me and takes me by the arm, then leads me over to the Blood Coven Master. “This is my intended blood mate, m’lord. She was the one who informed me of this plot by Slayer Inc. to end your life. I didn’t believe her at first, so I accompanied her to Slayer Inc. Manor to find proof. When we encountered the slayer, I was wounded. If it weren’t for this girl, I would have died there in prison.”
“And this one helped me break into the dungeon,” Jareth adds reluctantly, gesturing to my sister. “Without her, rescue would have been impossible.”
“These two girls saved your life tonight,” Magnus concludes. “Without them, we never would have been able to take out Bertha.”
“I see.” Lucifent strokes his chin. “Well, it appears thanks are in order,” he says simply. “It is not often that I come across mortals willing to open a vein for my kind.”
“No problem,” Rayne says gallantly. “Anyone would have done the same.”
Lucifent turns to Jareth and Magnus. “And as for you two, you have once again proven yourselves loyal, valuable servants of the Blood Coven. A reward of the highest order shall be bestowed upon you for your bravery and selflessness tonight.”
Magnus bows respectfully to his master. “There is no reward greater than the satisfaction of saving your life, m’lord. As you once saved mine.”
“You are aware, Magnus, that you would have been made Master in my place, had I perished tonight,” Lucifent reminds him. “There could have been much reward in that.”
“It is an honor I do not wish for myself,” Magnus replies automatically. “I would prefer to spend my days in quiet service, as I have done for the last thousand years.”
“You are too valuable for that,” Lucifent insists. “I am promoting you to second in command of the Blood Coven. And as for you, General Jareth,” the Master continues, “given the current state of things, I believe it would be wise to expedite Project Z. Can you have things ready to go by the end of the week?”
Project Z? I glance over at my sister, who wears my puzzled face. What’s Project Z? Could that be what Teifert was hinting about?
Jareth nods. “The queen is completely smitten and has vowed to do whatever I ask of her,” he says with a smile. “We are ready for the demonstration anytime you give the word.”
“Excellent,” Lucifent says, clapping his hands in glee. “What perfect timing, too. The vampire masters are all convening in Vegas for a worldwide symposium and Pyrus shall be in attendance. I shall send word to him tonight, requesting an audience. Once he sees the Blood Coven’s display of power, he will be sure to lift our coven to the highest order and we will finally get the respect we deserve. As well as our revenge on Slayer Inc.”
O-kay then. This does not sound good. Not good at all. I notice, out of the corner of my eye, that Magnus also doesn’t look too comfortable with the idea. And after a moment, he steps forward. “Master,” he says. “What is this Project Z you speak of?”