Hey bats! Recently, a short story I wrote got accepted into an anthology. I wrote this one as well, and since it didn’t get placed anywhere, wanted to share it! It’s a perfect time to post, since it’s the middle of summer in my area (and would be in their area too, given they live in Northeastern United States).
You don’t need any previous knowledge of my series to understand this story, though if you are curious about my lore, check out my Compendium.
The Story: Summer Daze & Crimson Nights
“ARES. GET BACK HERE! Oh, for gods’ sake. Luna, have you trained on vampire restraint so I can get his ass over here?”
Luna looked up from her ice cream, glancing from Cecelia to the culprit. He was sneering at Cecelia from the ocean’s edge as shining indigo waves crashed into the sand. Luna looked over at her lover, raising a brow. Though she was growing in power as a mage because of her classes in magic, she figured calling upon those already established as rather powerful could help. “Can you help us get your brother, please?”
At the moment, the vampire that looked to be in his early thirties was sunbathing, laying out on a towel with sunglasses, his crimson hair spilling out all around him yet somehow avoiding the sand. He reached up, grabbing the glasses with two claws and pulling them up a moment, balancing on just his elbow to examine the scene before him.
His younger brother, who appeared to be in his mid-twenties, was twisting his mouth into odd shapes to make weird expressions he considered as ‘funny’ as possible. Some of his ebon hair, the tips of it red, fell into his crimson eyes. He kept his hairstyle a half-shaved look he never changed, though no one around here changed their appearance, really. Already, his rather pale skin was reddening just slightly, especially the many scars that littered his muscular body.
“Hmm…” Jasper mused, laying back down on the towel, much to Luna’s dismay. He was more muscular than Ares, and his fair skin was far more scarred, though this wasn’t as obvious right now given he actually used sunscreen. In a smooth, deep voice, the vampire replaced his sunglasses. “Morsel, I am confident you’ve got this. You are quite the mage now. Aren’t you?”
Staring at her lover in disbelief, Luna placed her hands on her hips. Her sea-green eyes nearly glowed with rage under a big, floppy sun hat. She had plenty of sunscreen on her tawny skin, unlike his ridiculous brother. “You can’t be serious.”
“Let me guess,” Cecelia shouted to her best friend. “He’s not listening. Alright, fine, I guess we need to waste mana for this. Bastard.”
Jasper let out a rumbling, growling laugh, giving a dismissive wave. He propped himself on his elbow again, maneuvering to read a new Norse mythology novel called Claws of Midgard he’d picked up recently.
Well, he’d be no help. Damn it.
Luna wandered over to her friend, staring at the unruly vampire by the violent waves. She glanced over to Cecelia, who was concentrating hard, no doubt building up a spell. “Hey, don’t use too much mana,” she said, reaching up to adjust her hat so she could see better. “We promised to help Kelsy talk to some fae-mutated animals for her summer classes. It’s unknown territory, at the edge of ours, so it could be dangerous.”
“Oh, don’t worry. It won’t take too long,” Cecelia growled. She reached behind her, tying back long, bleached-white hair with streaks of azure, some strands messily falling into her electric-blue eyes. Despite having the palest skin of anyone here, she showed no signs of redness. Probably because not only was she human, unlike her sun-sensitive vampire lover, but she put on plenty of sunscreen. “Why do we always have to play this game?!”
Ares cackled mockingly, pointing a claw toward her. He somehow looked foreboding even in those T-Rex-decorated swim trunks, but perhaps that was because of his shark-like teeth. After a few boyish giggles, the vampire said, “Awww, what’s the matter, dove? Can’t face little ole’ me? Hm?” Given he was nearly a foot taller than Cecelia, that just caused her fist to clench even further. “Thought you and Luna were ‘always training’? You can’t catch a widdle vampire, of all things?”
Cecelia snarled, “You ass, you’re a royal vampire. You know very well you can still overpower us, or use your stupid chains to cheat should we even get close.” The vampire opened his mouth to reply, but the powerful mage didn’t let him. Cecelia suddenly flicked her wrist, sending out a jolt of pure electricity toward him. This caught him completely off -guard, and he fell to his knees, just shy of collapsing into a gigantic wave.
“NOW!” Cecelia yelled, rushing toward him with all the haste she could muster. Luna bolted in next to her and reached toward a belt on her side that held a bag. She withdrew a small book, drawing her nail over it as if she was reading–but she fixed her eyes on her target.
“Secure the brat,” Luna muttered. Her eyes shifted to a blood red momentarily as minor cuts opened on her forearm. Mana surged through her body, flowing as a force of energy toward the water. It appeared similar to glowing indigo viscous liquid slithering through the air into the ocean. From within the very shallow ‘depths’ burst several large crimson tentacles. They lunged toward the stunned vampire, wrapping around his arms and legs, forcing him flat on his back in the wet sand as the tide lapped at his side. The waves might be rather large, but luckily, the tentacles were long enough to spare the vampire from getting slammed with seawater.
Rumbling growls emitted from the pit of Ares’s chest as he snapped his fangs at the approaching women. Cecelia rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, stop. You need sunscreen and you always play these games. Your skin is already going red.” No doubt, he could use his ridiculous natural power to challenge the women, but held off. These games wouldn’t be fun if he always won. Plus… well, Cecelia was right.
“Aww, something tells me you actually care about me, pretty dove!” Ares cooed, fluttering his eyelashes toward Cecelia. Luna held in a chuckle, watching as her friend slammed her sandal into the sand.
The white-haired mage withdrew her weapon of choice–sunscreen–and got to work slathering his body. He made it clear how much he didn’t mind this by letting out frequent gleeful chuckles and growls.
Soon, the vampire was let free to toss and tumble in the waves, and the two women collapsed into their beach chairs. Luna couldn’t wipe the smirk from her face, nor resist tossing a jab at her friend. “You sure know how to pick the wild ones.”
Cecelia rolled her eyes, elbowing her friend. She set her chair up right next to the literature professor so they could chat together easily. “Oh, shut up. You’re with his brother, who’s a weird-ass in his own way.”
“I can hear you, you know,” the sunbathing vampire muttered, lifting his sunglasses to shoot Cecelia a glare.
“Oh good. I don’t need to say it louder.”
This sent Luna into a frenzy of giggles, so much so that she had to clutch her stomach to stop herself from laughing even further. She replied, “Hm, you’re right,” much to Jasper’s dismay.
There was not a cloud in the sky as some famous professors of Cobratongue University took their summer break in the sun. From the down-to-Earth teachers like Luna Miller to the absolutely rowdy, like Ares Arachnida, they could have some fun during peacetime at the beach. After aiding students in their magical training, which could be very intense on the body and mind, they definitely deserved some rest.
Luna peered at Ares as he tumbled in the waves; he swam around expertly and splashed a few of his fellow vampire gang members, on purpose, of course. The human mage said softly, “You know, with all the legends of vampires prior to their takeover of the world, you’d think one of the most common would be right.”
“To be fair,” Cecelia said. “Their skin is sensitive to the sun. They might not burst on fire, but I suppose their nocturnal nature means that they, well, need a ton more sunscreen. To be fair, those with us are living vampires. The recent and odd ‘undead’ variant can’t handle the sun.”
“Well, that isn’t a naturally occurring species!” came a feminine voice from behind them. Luna turned her head, a smile spreading across her face.
“Kelsy! You finally made it!” she said.
“Yes, yes! Sorry I’m late, oh bother, relevant to the subject, well… I was trying to see if I could magic or science Jason some immunity to bursting on fire in the sun, but with no luck. Poor fella. He doesn’t seem to mind all too much, but he can’t be here with the gang at the beach. I think it still gets to him, even if only a little bit,” said a woman dressed in a tight black bikini and donning a dark sunhat similar to Luna’s.
The new arrival approached her friends, rubbing sunscreen on her ivory skin, making sure not to smudge her thick eyeliner or get the stuff on the square frames of her glasses. She pulled out a chair, taking a seat and resting back, tilting her head toward her friends.
Luna said, “Shame. Well, you know how magic is. Ever expansive, and we never stop finding out more. Quite like science.” She gave a wink to the newly arrived biology professor, who giggled and nodded.
“Right! Exactly. Perhaps a blend of the two will help this new species see the sun again. The ones here have a spell on their eyes, after all, to reduce the glare they deal with in bright light,” she said. She nodded to Cecelia enthusiastically, who was just shaking her head at her lover currently tumbling around in the waves. “Oh! You got sunscreen on him today, right?” she asked.
“Yes,” Cecelia grumbled. “Wasn’t about to suffer his whining.”
“I think his antics are cute, Cece,” Kelsy said. “It’s nice to see him relax after that rather stressful year, huh? Even he looked like he was constantly dealing with a headache.”
“Tensions were high this year,” Luna said with a deep frown. “But humans are finally mastering their magic. At least… well enough to defend themselves from monsters. It was hard adapting to vampires from other kingdoms trying to make an effort, however. I was very patient, but, well…”
A rumbling growl emitted from the fellow reading his book just off to the side of the three women. Jasper Arachnida peered up through several strands of his dark red hair, moving a few pieces behind his pointed ear and shaking his head. “It took me everything not to rip their throats out and devour them,” he hissed.
“You’re a king, alright,” Luna started, causing him to raise a brow. “A drama king,” she finished, prompting an eye roll from him. She chuckled, but then grimaced, furrowing her brow and looking down at her bare legs. So many scars from aggressive vampires trying to rip her to shreds…
“Though. I can’t blame you for being overprotective,” she said in a whisper.
“Well,” Cecelia assured. “Even if the bad ones are getting more aggressive, our magic is growing more and more powerful. Especially the professors. We can handle it.”
“Oh! How was your first year teaching, Cecelia?” the biology professor asked, practically jumping in her seat with excitement at finding out the answer, causing Luna’s frown to shift to a bright smile. Cecelia just had to shake her head and chuckle.
“High pressure. But good. I enjoyed teaching combat magic. Can’t wait to see my students take on the loser in the water over there,” she said, gesturing to the vampire riding the waves. That got a laugh out of all three of them, no doubt.
After an hour of chatting, reapplying sunscreen, and ensuring the attending vampires did the same, Kelsy asked, “Are we still on for tonight? I wanted to collect some frogs, too. Er, though fae magic has enhanced their poison, I’ll have the proper potions with me. We shouldn’t have the same problem with the snakes, though. They agreed to a meeting.”
“You kidding? Of course we’ll be there, Kels. Why you’re running summer classes when you should be resting too, I don’t know, but we sure as hell are not letting you go alone out there,” Luna said, causing Cecelia to nod in agreement.
“I know, I know! Oh, it’s really not too much, it’s just three days a week anyhow, and ending in a couple weeks. Plus, I can’t miss a teaching chance like this! Animals are changing because of leaking fae magic in the area! It’s too cool. I need every chance I can get to show students!” the professor explained.
Luna and Cecelia exchanged glances, shook their heads, and had to let out amused sighs.
Stars twinkled above as Kelsy led her fellow professors into the woods. The scent of bug spray wafted off of all three of them, but only Kelsy was fitted with thick waterproof pants and a dirt-stained jacket for her typical field work. Still, her friends wore high boots, at least, because this place was rather muddy.
The biologist tensed at some movement in the shadows, her eyes widening. She focused her flashlight on something that made her squeal in delight. A jet-black frog with piercing red eyes, roughly the size of a wolf, stared her down and expanded its throat pouch.
Meanwhile, Luna grabbed her friend’s arm, and the hairs on the back of her neck stood up as Cecelia’s powers began to charge.
Kelsy clicked her tongue and said, “Oh! No worries, that’s Reggie! He is helping me with my research,” she said. This caused both Luna and Cecelia to pause and exchange confused glances. The scientist explained, “He’s one of the original folks morphed by fae magic, which granted him high intelligence. His speech is coming along well.” Her eyes fell on the frog again. “Care to say hello to my friends?”
The frog opened his mouth to reveal a set of shark-like teeth, causing Kelsy’s friends to shudder. He said, “Helooooo… ribbet.” Luna gave the tiniest of waves, but Cecelia stood still as a statue. Evidently, Reggie had somewhere to be, so he turned away from the group. “Beware. Some… ribbet. Bad fae. They proooowl.” With that, he hopped off, leaving the three women silent for a few moments.
“What, did you teach him a lesson in dark prophecies, Kelsy?” Luna joked, elbowing her friend. Kelsy giggled nervously, staring at the spot of light where the frog had hopped off. Cecelia, however, was far from merry. Her eyes glowed a deep blue as she kept her mana at the ready. She pulled her backpack so that it was in front of her, then grabbed a bottle of liquified energy. She chugged a good third of the mana and replaced it, letting out a sigh.
“We should be wary,” Cecelia said. “Giant frogs giving prophecies in the middle of the wetlands aren’t the best of signs. Especially in the dead of night.”
“It’s not too late, is it?” Kelsy asked, absolutely lacking any sense of time. Luna gave her a deadpan stare as she reached into her bag, pulling her phone out and squealing. “Oh! Midnight, right, I, erm, knew that. Oh bother, I only have a few hours left until the witching hour! I was hoping I would have more time to set up.”
“Set up what?” Luna asked softly, furrowing her brow and placing her hands on her hips. The hum of the insects and song of night birds were, admittedly, relaxing, but letting her guard down in a place like this was unwise. “Are you going to be setting up a huge banquet or something for a bunch of giant talking snakes?”
“Yeah!” Kelsy chuckled. “See, you’re getting it!”
Cecelia glanced at Luna in sheer confusion. The two women could see each other well enough in the flashlight-lantern they carried, at least. Luna just shrugged, shaking her head with a light smile. She mouthed ‘just go with it’.
An hour later, Cecelia and Luna were sitting on a rock, watching Kelsy move about the one ‘dry’ patch of grass and evidently making sure the rocks were ‘placed just right’ so the snakes who she invited to the meeting could remain comfortable. Ominous pine trees surrounded the clearing, which were shrouded in shadows, their branches swaying in the occasional wind. The scent of the woods was pleasant, at least, what with a mix of bark and summer flowers. Cecelia scratched the back of her head, her shiny light blue nails glinting in the light.
“… This is an unusual situation. I mean, I’m used to Doctor Kelsy and her…. Antics. But this? Can you explain what’s going on, Luna?” Cecelia finally asked. She’d been eyeing some unusually large fireflies that darted in too close every so often, her frown deepening. She added, “There really is a leak of fae magic around here, huh…”
“Yes,” Luna replied. “Well, we see firsthand how it’s morphing the plants and animals here. I never knew plant roots could move like snakes, but I think I tripped over one on the way here. Confirmed it was indeed part of the tree. They don’t seem… aggressive, like in the stories. Which is weird. More like the untwisted version of the fairy tales. Only applicable to some, though.”
“I suppose,” Cecelia said, her eyes growing distant as she stared into the dark marshland. “I never thought I would say this sentence, but I think we should take that… frog… seriously.” She shifted in her seat, unable to help but be antsy. “Something feels off. Perhaps someone is watching us. Not that we can’t handle it, but it’s not the same feeling as when our lovers are, well. Messing around.”
“Mmm, I’ve noticed it too,” Luna replied. She glanced from a very busy Kelsy, who was grunting while carrying a large rock and setting it up to look nice for ‘aesthetic reasons’, to the edges of the woods where the pool of ethereal moonlight didn’t touch. Every so often, in the night’s darkness, she noticed a flicker of glowing white eyes, watching… waiting. There was intelligence behind those gazes.
Fae creatures. But are they just morphed animals from Earth, or are they from the fae realm itself? The latter has to be more dangerous, Luna thought.
Cecelia shifted in her seat, her eyes darting around as if expecting an attack from every direction. She jumped as Luna placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, then settled down and chuckled upon realizing it was just her fellow professor trying to calm her down. “Oh. I’m restless again, aren’t I?” she said in a low tone.
“Yes. But I understand why, given your past. These forests are transforming quickly. I get why Kelsy is excited, but I think we have a right to be worried. Let’s just make sure none of us gets hurt when the witching hour comes about.”
Another two hours passed, and Luna stared with raised eyebrows at a very curious sight. Giant snakes with glowing emerald scales were coiled on the rocks Kelsy set up, staring the biology professor down expectantly. The scientist said, “Thank you for attending my meeting today! We have a bit to cover. Now, ever since gaining a massive amount of intelligence from fae radiation, have your lives changed for the better, or for the worse?”
Mouth moving, and voice projected from their mind, one serpent lifted their head. “Both. Life was much more simple before the enchantments. Now we contend with much thought, sometimes with too little to do, or with many more worries to be had.”
Luna listened to the conversation progress regarding their biology changes, newfound interest in science, and the like. Cecelia was less immersed, though she kept glancing over to the magical meeting and blinking in surprise. The lightning mage said, “Before vampires took the world, and magic made its return… I thought only the bloodsuckers were around. Now… well. Giant snakes mutated by fae magic. Who would have thought?”
Nodding in agreement, Luna rubbed the back of her head, staring at the enormous serpents kindly discussing matters with Dr. Kelsy. She said, “I’ve lovingly drowned myself in books my entire life. I never thought I’d be living a fairy tale live, at one point.”
One of the snakes turned their head, no doubt hearing the conversation. They weren’t paying attention very well, as Kelsy was asking individuals specific things for their answers, so slithered on over and nodded their head. They said, “Human literature. Fascinating. I’ve wanted to delve into it. Dr. Kelsy explained her friends are, as they say, ‘in the know’ of those things.”
Widening her eyes, Luna let silence stretch between them before saying, “I never thought I’d be asked by a giant snake about books. But… well… sure. I brought some fables with me to read in case we had a dull moment. Turns out there hasn’t been one. But here. How would you go about reading it given your, ah… lack of hands?” Well, there was no better way to put it.
She withdrew the book from her bag and held it out to the snake, feeling foolish. Evidently, the solution was rather simple. The book floated under the golden-glowing gaze of the emerald serpent. It then opened on the first page, in front of the serpent’s eyes, and they hissed in delight.
“Oh, thank you. Giant legged lizards. Will there be giant snakes like us in these books too?”
“Yes,” Luna said, her voice now rather excited. “There are more books in the world than you ever could imagine, really. I could… bring more sometime, if you’d like.” The snake nodded enthusiastically, their forked tongue flicking out toward her. Then, however, the glow to their eyes faded just slightly, and they hung their head.
“Please, do. Though… I worry about tonight. A feeling. Whispers. We are of the fae now. Faeries that pass over the veil between the Fae realm and Earth realm aided us. Most of them are kind, their auras nice, but… well. You know the story. Not all of them.”
Cecelia said, “A fae-morphed frog warned of something… bad fae are on the prowl, he said.” The snake twitched their tail, then tilted their head. Then, they opened and closed their mouth, as if contemplating something. Finally, they projected what sounded like a sigh.
“So they felt the unease too. Something is on the way. Could happen tonight. The witching hour occurs soon, when most of the fae will cross over to return home or visit Earth. You remain wary, alright?”
Cecelia nodded, “I will. Thanks for the advice, er…”
“Grass,” the snake said. At Cecelia’s raised eyebrow, the snake projected chuckles. “We are… getting used to naming ourselves. I like the feeling of grass on my belly, so I chose that name. Perhaps future generations will be a tad more creative. Your friend’s stories may help with that.”
Luna let out a chuckle beside Cecelia, who joined in on grinning as well. As Luna and Grass talked things through, the clock struck three in the morning, and the moonlight flickered from a milky white to a blood red.
Tensing, Luna gulped. The literature professor glanced toward Cecelia, who narrowed her eyes and looked up at the sky. Luna said, “Blood-red moon isn’t ever a good sign. At least… not in many fairy tales.”
“Well, the world is now turning into a storybook. A horror one at that. And I have a feeling all these ‘omens’ are about to come to fruition,” Cecelia muttered, her irises glowing a faint blue as she prepared her magic.
Everything happened so fast.
Laughter rang out from all around them, and a menagerie of colored orbs lit up the in the shadows of the trees around the group. The serpents let out hisses of alarm, spooked and slithering away in an instant. Magic helped them vanish into the night, much to Kelsy’s dismay. The biologist shot a bewildered glance at her friends, who were now rushing over to her in the center of the clearing.
“The witching hour,” Luna said. “Kelsy, I think it’s time to go.”
A deep, unfamiliar voice rang out, causing all three women to tense.
“Oh? But you just got here. The story has only just begun….”
From the shadows emerged a muscular male humanoid with ebon hair flowing down all the way to his lower back. He wore a thin golden crown with rubies the shape of raindrops. His slightly tan skin was entirely absent of scars, as smooth as stone. He wore a simple T-shirt and black jeans, a modern look that contrasted from expectation.
This was because, unfortunately, this gentleman was a faerie. Large wings that looked like the Red Admiral butterfly jutted out from his back. Dangerous black claws jutted from his fingertips, and he had no eyes. No faeries did; they had mere sockets with orbs glowing in the center. His happened to be a deep gold.
“What are you three tasty humans doing out here, hm? Not pets of the very many vampire kingdoms that took over your world? How unusual. Oh… have I happened upon a harmony kingdom?! What fun,” he mused.
Cecelia stepped forward, baring her teeth and holding her arm out. A bolt of electricity formed in her hand, and she said simply, “Come any closer, and you will see what humans with magic can do.”
“Oh! So, the rumors are true!” the fae gentleman said in a gushing, delighted tone. “It is so interesting seeing the species that erased magic from your history trying so hard to stay afloat when it’s been over for you. My, I love playing games and seeing how quickly I can help tragedy strike. You folks make it so easy. Am I near New York? I really should get a map. Oh, I would love to be a major factor in that city falling to the vampires…”
Luna quickly pulled one of her larger books from her bag, her sea-green eyes glowing brightly. “He’s a tragedy faerie… those who enjoy suffering for those with little hope left. Shit. We’re in trouble.”
Cecelia mumbled, “You think?” but didn’t hesitate to hurl her bolt of lightning to the dangerous faerie, who laughed in delight.
“Oh, a battle! Yes, yes! Feed the story, feed it!” he cheered. He barely dodged it by one flap of his wings, focusing on Cecelia, his enemy below. He ran his tongue over formidable shark-like teeth…. Which he had two sets of. That was a trait of some faeries Luna wasn’t aware of before, but sure as hell understood now.
The way they look at the world, just one big story to play with, is creepy. It’s eerie enough with those who want ‘happy endings’. Dealing with one that wants tragedy, though… far worse, Luna thought to herself.
Cuts split open all over the literature professor’s body as she ran her finger over the book. What appeared to be a flayed hyena let out a shrieking laugh, launching from the pages of the book and growing considerably larger the closer it got to the faerie. This caused him to laugh out again, clapping his hands and flying up just out of reach of the monster.
“Oh! A fleshcrafter! So we have a lightning mage, a fleshcrafter, and—”
Rotting branches suddenly lashed out and tore into his wings, though not enough to ground him. Dead trees were now animated, granted temporary movement as well. Skeletons of animals slain by the weather, predators, or disease rose from the ground, baying, howling, and screaming in excitement as someone ripped their willing souls from the underworld. Kelsy stood there, her chin tilted up and her eyes narrowed. She reached up and adjusted her glasses.
“And a necromancer,” the biologist said. “You interrupted my meeting with those lovely snakes. Prepare to get your ass handed to you, you… you… you big jerk!” Well, at least she tried to be a tad threatening. The animated dead around her did a bit to help with that. Unfortunately, not in the eyes of the fae gentleman.
“How intriguing! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Redoul. Pleased to meet you. I cannot wait to write the ending of your story, beautiful humans. Oh, and get a bite to eat,” he purred. Then, suddenly, thorny vines ripped from the ground, dripping with a watery pitch-black substance that held an eerily sweet scent. They whipped around, forcing the women to leap out of the way to avoid getting cut.
During this, the fae gentleman flew downward toward Cecelia, who was charging up another attack. “Now, now. I don’t want to be grounded because of your pretty lights,” he giggled. The large faerie, who nearly appeared in front of her with ethereal speed, snatched her up by the throat and flew upward as she kicked and struggled.
Redoul gasped in delight, studying the puncture wounds dotting Cecelia’s flesh. “You are a vampire’s pet? But you don’t seem miserable. How fascinating! Regardless, I want a bite.” Bladed teeth sank into Cecelia’s shoulder, causing her to give a choked scream of pain. Blood gushed from the wound, but she had enough. Suddenly, swirling black clouds above formed far too quickly to ever be natural, blotting out the red moon.
The thrum of energy bombarded the air, and forked lightning struck the faerie, forcing him to convulse and drop the woman. Unfortunately, she fell directly on top of several viney thorns, screaming once again as they ripped into her skin and sent poison flowing through her body.
Seeing her friend fall like this, Luna took in a deep breath, trying to remain calm and keep focused. The faerie slammed to the ground, snarling out in agony. That strike did a lot to knock him out of the air–and now the summoned flayed-appearing hyena under Luna’s control lunged toward him, sinking jaws into his leg. It ripped a chunk of flesh from him, causing deep crimson to bleed out from the wound.
Meanwhile, Kelsy was not about to sit around and wait to help. She commanded her reanimated animals to lunge for the vines. Jaws slammed together and bones clattered as the dead danced around the aggressive plants, dodging their attempts to shatter the skeletons to pieces. Onyx-colored liquid poured from the rips in the vines, the thorns stripped from a bite or slice from undead claws.
Still, the vines landed several hits on both Luna and Kelsy, forcing them to their knees. The faerie snarled out as a few skeletal animals tore into his wings, further preventing him from taking flight. Kelsy yelled out to her summons, “Potions… i-in… the bag…”
A surge of skeletal animals, from wolves to mice, gathered around the necromancer, running in circles protectively while the smaller ones ripped the bag from her side.
They rolled healing potions out, but the vines snatched them up before the skeletal beings could deliver them. Luckily, Luna focused enough to direct her fleshy hyena away from the fae for now, sending it to the vines. It ripped large chunks from the plants, immune to the poison currently inhibiting the human mages. The hyena’s paw sent the potions flying toward each woman as it slammed them in the right direction.
The glass bottles shattered on the human mages, causing some very painful laceration wounds. Still, the liquid poured all over them and stopped the physical and magical effects of the poison, much to the faerie’s dismay. Cecelia gave him no other chance to react. Her friends were preoccupied by finishing off the vines, and this was her chance to stop him for good.
She bared her teeth, the bite on her shoulder still gushing blood. Raising her fingers to the sky, she summoned all of her power, feeling the lightning flow harmlessly through her because of all the effort she used to practice her craft. Each finger tip touched a branch sent down from the cloud, forming energy that grew thicker and thicker, eventually turning into a ball of electricity.
Drawing her good shoulder back, she hurled the ball of lightning toward the faerie, sending him into convulsions all over again. No doubt, he couldn’t handle this, so upon recovery of this attack, he called back his vines to form a wall to protect himself. At the moment, they obscured him at the other side of the clearing from the women.
Panting, he shouted, “Well played. This story grew quite a bit more interesting. Perhaps I should pay for this fun, hm? Your ‘good friends’, the kingdoms that want you in chains, have become even better friends with the likes of me. Won’t that quite the game?”
Just like that… nothing. The vines dispersed, and where the faerie was, there was just a puddle of blood. Cecelia collapsed to her knees, having expelled quite a bit of mana. Kelsy and Luna were not too far behind, also needing to take a seat in the grass and hold their chests. Luna managed to say, “L-let me call the boys…”
“Ares, my love. I’m fine,” Cecelia sighed as the tough-guy vampire hovered over her, constantly offering some aid should she need it. At the moment, he was keeping his distance from her on the couch, concerned that the thorns might have made her sensitive. “You can cuddle. It’s okay.”
Ares and Jasper had picked the women up. The state of them outraged the two brothers, who promised to go after that bastard of a faerie themselves, but the three mages declined. “We can handle it,” Luna had said on the ride home. Luckily, they hadn’t been too far from a side road where they’d collapsed, so could get out faster. “But we need to inform the others to be more alert on their vacation.” The conversation continued for the duration of the trip, with the vampires eventually agreeing to calm down.
At the moment, Luna was napping on the other couch in the vampires’ mansion-like ‘clubhouse’. She was curled up in Jasper’s powerful arms, more than happy for the rest after that adventure. Kelsy was going over her notes, bags under her eyes while constantly yawning.
She said, “Oh bother, I wanted to get more information… still. It’s, erm, good to know that the fae who want tragedy are now working with vampire kingdoms who want to stop our efforts to teach magic… Well. Good information, bad, uh, news.”
Ares said in an aggressive growl, pulling Cecelia closer now that he knew she was okay with such an action, “Yah, well, we’ll get them. No mercy. I’m not afraid of those bastards. I can take them on, so can the rest of us.”
Kelsy replied, “It’s a shame some might be a bit more worried about their vacation, now, regarding this. I mean, the woods where we were attacked were just on the edge of our territory. I’ll contact Hades and see if he can get a break to reinforce the barrier again. He’ll have to do so, anyway, before the fall semester starts.”
The punkish vampire mulled this over, just having to nod and sigh. “Guess teachin’ you humans magic as much as possible is our best bet, yeah. Rather than going haywire over it. I guess. Can’t wait to be more aggressive and sink my claws into those assholes, though.”
“We can make attacks on horrible kingdoms around the world when we have enough people trained up and ready to fight,” Kelsy said with a wink. “Besides! It’s not all doom and gloom. I got to talk to some snakes mutated by fae magic today.”
The vampire’s eyes lit up, and he leaned forward. “Yeah?! Tell me!” Meanwhile, Cecelia relaxed in his lap, her head lolling as she embraced a much-needed nap.
Several hours later, the women were awake and gathered at a table. Kelsy said cheerfully, “Oh! OH! ROLL TWENTY!” She pumped her fist into the air as her friends around her cheered. She was rolling hot during their tabletop roleplay game tonight.
Luna smiled, relieved that even after an incident in the woods, her friends remained cheerful. Even Cecelia was relaxed, but that was likely only because she was now home. The college year was tough, and she was hoping vacation would be a bit more, well… relaxing.
With how much her world had changed when vampires took it over, there were very few chances to take a breath. Not to mention, magic previously hidden intentionally by human leaders had been revealed to the world again. Though, here and now, with her friends cheering during these games, and the beach party earlier in the day… she supposed she should be happy for those times even if they were sandwiched between constant danger.
The literature professor leaned back in her chair, looking over to Cecelia, who wore a content smile that was nice to see on her typically stressed friend. “Professors’ work is never done. Huh? Isn’t it funny how it’s always when we’re trying to work on anything to do with classes that we get dragged through the mud? Literally, in tonight’s case,” Luna observed.
Cecelia chuckled and nodded, her eyes twinkling as she glanced at her fellow mage. “No rest for the righteous, Luna. I think we need to start a tally on how many times we get attacked during this year’s summer break. Don’t you?”
“Ugh,” Luna laughed. “I have a feeling we’d break that record every single year…”
“Maybe,” Cecelia mused. “But it won’t ever break our incidents during the school year.”
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