Shadow Assassins (The Second Realm Trilogy)

BOOK: Shadow Assassins (The Second Realm Trilogy)
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SHADOW ASSASSINS

 

A NOVEL OF THE SECOND REALM TRILOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY

 

MELISSA VAZQUEZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Vazquez
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or
dead, is purely coincidental.

First Prin
ting, 2013
First Amazon publishing, 2013

www.thesecondrealm.net

Dedicated to my wonderful other half Matthew,

without
whom the character Atrimalous wouldn't have

come
into existence. Thank you for your invaluable time

and
support while working on a project this large.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

 

Part One

 

 

The Growing Storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

 

The First Realm, normal Earth,

The city of Moonlight Hills

 

Panic made prey stupid.

When the prey was panicked, they didn't think about what pathways would be smartest to escape by. They didn't think about what street carried a dead end, or what back alley ways were most dangerous.

That made hunting too easy in this city.

It was under the light of the moon and the streetlamps that he ran. This was no casual athletic jog, but rather a flat out race for his life. What he was running from, he wasn’t quite sure. If he didn’t know any better, he would have said the person pursuing him was harmless, a seemingly ordinary woman. From the quick glimpse he had caught of her, she didn’t seem any more threatening than any other passerby would have been.

That didn’t stop him from running.

It was some kind of instinct that told him to keep going. He fled like a hunted animal from this strange, threatening woman, instinct screaming that if she caught him, he was dead. There was no logic to back up this wild intuition, but he didn’t stop to consider it. Couldn’t stop. He wasn't dressed to run, in his khaki slacks and crisp button down shirt, but he ran nonetheless, clumsy, almost blind in his panic. His loafers pounded the pavement and the breath heaved out of his chest. He had to get away.

He had no idea how long he had been running, or where he was running to. He had collided into several people and had almost been hit by a car. He didn’t care. He ignored how he labored for each breath.
Ignored the pain surging through his body. In his sheer panic, nothing else mattered but escaping this woman. He had to get away, had to–

His panicked thoughts were cut short as he was suddenly airborne. With a dulled sense of shock, he realized the woman had caught up to him. Before he could question how such a small woman could have manhandled him, he crashed into the wall of a nearby building. Slumping against the dirty bricks, he tried to catch his breath. How had she caught up with him? Why was she chasing him?

“You’re a fast one,” the woman said. Despite the chase, her voice was even, silky with an edge of seduction. He could hear the venomous undercurrent. This was not a woman who could be trusted.

Wordlessly, he backed away from her, into an alleyway. Panic numbed his mind. He was pure instinct as he moved, giving no time to think of a strategy to escape. Stopping to think meant slowing down.
Slowing down meant getting caught. He could feel himself trembling. He had to get away. An audible whimper escaped when his back hit the brick wall behind him. This alleyway was small and the only escape was where the woman stood.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she whispered. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

Her words wove around him, seducing him, stilling his jerky, panicked movements. For the slightest moment, he believed her. Unfortunately, one moment was all it took.

“No!” he cried, as he snapped out of the strange trance. By that time, it was too late.

The woman lurched forward. Her slim hands wrapped around his throat with an unexpected, crushing power. She must have felt him grabbing at her, pulling at her feebly, as if tugging at her hair would make her release him, but she only shrugged him off like a pesky fly. Her hands tightened with how he struggled. Despite the woman’s fragile appearance, the grip of her hands on his throat was like an iron vice.

It was unbearable. The man couldn’t breathe. What was worse, he felt twin punctures at his throat, felt a sickening pull at his vein, as if the woman was sucking at his neck. There was a fire burning where the woman had bitten him and it was spreading throughout his body, adding to the rising panic. He struggled against her but the more he struggled, the more the pressure around his throat increased. It was so hard to breathe and he was so lightheaded—

The woman released him after he fell limp. She stared down at his still form with contempt, her bloodstained lips parting into a smirk. Too easy. That man had been too easy to chase down. Survival instincts were useless here. Panicked prey was always the easiest, as they became stupider with each step they took. This man had been no different than the animals other humans chased down for their food. It was symbolic in the obscene.

Licking her lips, she turned around to calmly exit the alleyway—

“Where do you think you’re going?”

The woman hissed, flashing abnormally long fangs. Another woman blocked her exit. Her instincts flared on eye contact, telling her to get away. The woman in front of her was more than familiar, but not welcome in the slightest.

“Evangeline,” the woman hissed. “What do you want?”

“That should be obvious. The Order of the Moonlight kicked you out, didn’t they? You’re supposed to leave Moonlight Hills. What are you still doing here?”

“You can’t make me leave,” the woman growled. Her body tensed, as if preparing for a fight.

“Is that a challenge?” Evangeline raised an eyebrow in amusement. Flicking her elbow-length black hair behind her, she smirked. “You should know what a mistake it is to challenge me.”

“You’re not as strong as you think you are when you’re alone.”

Evangeline’s smirk grew wider. “I’m never alone.”

The woman’s ink-black eyes widened for one moment before she was suddenly thrown to the ground. She hadn't seen the approaching animal, but she had felt it as soon as it had tackled her. A large Bengal tiger stood in the space she had occupied only moments ago, crouched in a dangerous position. It took advantage of her momentary confusion to approach slowly, leaning in close and growling at the woman, a universal threat not to move.

Two more figures appeared from around the corner, one male and one female. They joined the three in the alleyway calmly, as if this were an everyday occurrence.

“Caught her, huh?” the new male asked. Humor lit up his gaze as he took in the tiger pinning the woman back. He knelt beside the captured, blood-stained woman. “You should probably listen to my friend the tiger, here. He doesn't like vampires like yourself.”

Beside them, the girl who had entered the alleyway with him knelt in a pool of blood next to the fallen man. Blood at his neck smudged as she pressed her hands to the puncture wounds on his neck. Her eyes closed and a soft green glow radiated from her body. The body of the fallen man gave a slight jerk but no further movement followed.

“There’s nothing I can do,” she announced to her companions. “He’s dead!”

“Call the Doc for pick up then, Kaydee. We need to hurry.”

The woman named Kaydee nodded and wiped her hands on the man's clothing. She pulled a phone from her pocket and began dialing.

As the call was being made, the vampire woman began struggling against the tiger pinning her down. The tiger let out a cry of outrage, lethal muscles moving to pin her back. The vampire was brave, ignoring the roaring that sent most people running.

“Let me go! I will not leave this city!”

“Contain her please?” the human man asked Kaydee.

“Doc will be here in a few minutes, Marco,” Kaydee said in reply. Then she approached the struggling tiger and vampire. “How about we end this? I believe we're already running late.”

With that, she closed her pale green eyes. What she needed to find was buried deep under the cement. It would take a lot of concentration and power to pull it up.

Seeing Kaydee's eyes close, the vampire woman let out a curse. Baring her own fangs at the tiger, she threw a punch at it. The vampire was strong but the tiger barely looked as if it had been pet. Its jaws opened, revealing great teeth. The woman threw another punch at it, hitting it in the eye this time. It was in that one moment of the big cat’s distraction that the woman managed to shove it away enough so she could slip out from under it.

Kaydee's body was glowing green again. The ground below rumbled and the cement cracked. Vines grew at an alarming rate, shooting up from the earth below the cement. They sped towards the woman who was disentangling herself from the tiger. The rapidly growing vines wrapped around the woman’s wrists, imprisoning her. As greenery whipped upwards, the woman was dragged with them.

With no one to restrain, the tiger leaped back, heading towards Marco. The tiger's form began warping and transforming to fit the proportions of a human. Fur melted to smooth skin, bones popped, fused and readjusted themselves to proper human proportions. When the process had finished, there was an exhausted looking man in place of the tiger. He wore black clothing that matched the clothing the others wore, but his were drenched in sweat, as if he had been running for miles.

“Shape shifter,” the vampire said as she saw him. “Shape shifter, earth mage and a half breed...this is what the Shadow Assassins send me?”

Evangeline growled when she heard the phrase
half breed.
She stood up and glared at the woman. “What we are is no concern of yours, leech.”

The woman gave a nice growl of her own. “Most half breeds demand the same respect as full demons, little girl and yet you call me a leech? What a hypocrite.”

“Enough,” the man named Marco broke in. “You, vampire, you're done.”

The woman struggled against her earthly restraints as if she could break free of them. “And what are you going to do, send me back to the Second Realm? I bet you infants don't even know how to get there.”

“God, can we knock her out already, please?” Evangeline said, speaking over her. “She's annoying as hell.”

“Gladly.”
Marco stepped forward. “Normally, I wouldn't want to do this to a woman so beautiful, but considering what you just put us through, lady, I think you have this coming.”

“What—”

Marco came up closer to the woman. His hands came up and cupped the woman's face, forcing her gaze to meet his. Once eye contact could be made, he reached into her thoughts with his mind. He could feel the trail he was making with his mind, could feel the thoughts and memories he was pushing through. Those weren't of interest. Instead, he decided it was time to press this woman's “off” button, of sorts. That was his joking name for it. He was simply cutting off the consciousness of a living creature. Non-lethal and handy.

The vampire collapsed, unconscious, within the next few seconds. The vines tightened as they bore the full weight of her body. As a result, she hung limply in midair. With the battle over, silence overtook the alleyway, eerie in the wake of the activity before.

“What's with the
infant
talk and all that?” Evangeline asked, as she and her team grouped up together.

Kaydee glanced at the unconscious vampire. “She must be very old to think we're just infants in comparison. Most vampires have long lifespans, after all.”

The man who had shifted out of tiger form glanced at Evangeline. “We'll stay here for Doc to come pick this vampire up. Go meet with our client.”

She stared at him.
“Why me?”

He leveled a stare at her, knowing full well that she wasn't the most hospitable of the team. “Kaydee needs to rest and Marco and I usually end up doing the heavy lifting with passed out vampires. Go.”

Exasperation flashed in her dark eyes. “Fine, but you owe me one.”

BOOK: Shadow Assassins (The Second Realm Trilogy)
11.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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