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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
“And now, slayer,” he spits out, “let’s see how you like to be staked.” He reaches into my pocket with his free hand and pulls out my stake, raising it up to my heart. He pulls his hand back and I realize dimly this could very well be the end.
“I’m sorry, Sunny,” I murmur weakly. “I tried ...”
Suddenly, Apple Fritter’s eyes widen in shock, his mouth dropping open. A moment later, he releases my neck and the two of us fall to the ground. He’s heavier and hits first, cracking his skull against the stone. But I’m right behind him, and my broken wings won’t save me now. Dive-bombing head first into the—
—arms of Francis and his kung fu grip. He looks down at me and grins.
“Thanks!” I cry, relieved, as he sets me gently on the ground. Everything hurts, but I’m still alive. “I really thought I was done for there.”
“Thank your father,” Magnus says, walking over to me. The fight is over. The fairies either are dead or have run away. “He grabbed the iron bar from me and harpooned it right into that fairy’s back.”
Awesome. I turn to my dad, my eyes shining with gratitude. “Thanks, Dad!” I say. “You got there right on time.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve been keeping you waiting far too long,” he says with a small smile. Then he lets out a cry of pain and collapses onto the ground. Horrified, I rush to his side.
“Dad? What’s wrong?”
It’s then that I notice his right hand is bright blue, with blue streaks racing up his arm.
“What’s wrong with him?” I cry.
Mom joins me at his side, tears streaming down her cheeks. She turns to me. “Iron poisoning,” she pronounces. “From taking that iron bar and using it against Apple Blossom. He’s always been especially allergic to the metal—even for a fairy.”
I watch in horror as my dad starts convulsing. His face goes white and he’s soon foaming at the mouth. What should I do? Stop him from biting his tongue? Give him CPR?
“Dad!” I sob. This can’t be happening. “Dad, please! Stay with us!” I can’t lose him now. Not after hating him for all the wrong reasons for so many years. We’re supposed to have a happily ever after. Like the Disney movies! “Someone do something!” I cry to the vampires, not ready to give up. “We’ve got to help him somehow!”
His eyes focus on me. “Rayne, my darling,” he whispers. “I’m so sorry for not being there for you. I’ve been a lousy dad. But I love you and your sister so much. I always have. You’ve got to believe me. I only tried to do what I thought was best.” He reaches up and brushes a lock of hair from my eyes. “Don’t let this all be in vain,” he whispers, then closes his eyes. I watch in horror as his body convulses one final time, then goes still.
“No!” I moan. “Dad! You can’t die!” Bloody tears rain from my eyes, splashing onto my dad’s body. But it doesn’t matter. He’s gone. This time for good.
I can feel Francis coming up behind me and gently but firmly pulling me away. I try to fight him, but, of course, he’s got that kung fu grip. A moment later, Mom pulls me into a big bear hug, crushing me against her. “Raynie,” she murmurs. “I’m so sorry.”
I squirm out of her embrace, sadness mixed with anger swirling inside of me. “We have to bring him back,” I say. “Magnus, can’t you turn him into a vampire or something? Like Jareth did to Corbin?”
“No,” he says softly. “Not with the poison in his bloodstream. It’s too late. I’m sorry.”
The final ounce of strength ebbs away and I collapse to the ground, feeling like I’m going to die myself from the magnitude of pain. My father. The one I hated for so long. The one who always let me down. And now, he sacrificed his very life to save me. And I never got the chance to say I’m sorry. I whisper the words now, just in case somehow he can hear me beyond the grave.
“I’m so sorry, Dad. I love you.”
“Come on,” Magnus commands. “Don’t fall apart on me, Rayne,” he says. “We still have to save your sister.”
I can feel Mom come up behind me, placing a hand on my back. “Rayne, sweetie,” she pleads. “Your father would want us to go on. To finish our mission. You know he would.”
I nod slowly, my dad’s final words echoing in my brain, giving me the strength to rise to my feet.
Don’t let this all be in vain.
“I won’t, Dad,” I whisper, as I turn to the remaining group. “I promise I won’t.” My legs still feel wobbly, but at least my wings seem to be healing. “What are we waiting for?” I ask. “Let’s go get Sunny.”
We race up the windy castle stairs, Mom leading the way. It’s two minutes ’til midnight now and we’ve got to get to the church on time.
“Hurry!” I cry, though I know everyone’s going as fast as they can.
“It’s just beyond this door,” Mom says, stopping before an ornate, stained-glass entryway. She leans over, hands on her knees, attempting to catch her breath. Magnus pushes past her and steps through the doors without hesitation. Francis and I are right behind him.
I draw in a breath as my eyes become accustomed to the bright lights after being underground so long. To say the chapel is gorgeous would be like saying the Mona Lisa is a pretty decent painting or that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was kind of a cool show. The place is a living, breathing work of art, with huge stained-glass windows, depicting well-known fairy tales, cut into gold-plated walls. Pews of rich, dark wood and crimson velvet cushions line the main aisle. The altar on stage is bedecked with sparkling jewels and crystal chandeliers hanging from high ceilings flood the room with light.