The horde of vampires, hearing Jaded’s voice halted their pursuit at the broken door. Revis and Matticus were caught between them at one end of the hall and Jaded at the other. The early morning sun set them to sparkling and, despite their brooding nature, they managed to smile at the thought of capturing the Jester.
Revis considered going invisible, but he knew the vampires were gathered too thickly to sneak past them back the way they had come, and he sensed that Jaded might be able to see through his trickery if he tried to slink past her and head deaper into the compound. Besides, he was too far from Matticus to grab him and turn him invisible as well.
Then again, he knew they wanted Matticus alive, so if he could sneak out, perhaps he’d be able to rescue the Jester later. He wasn’t sure that was a risk worth taking and time was quickly running out.
The vampires slowly picked their way through the remains of the broken door, and Revis half turned to keep and eye on them. On the other side, Jaded began to move forward as well.
“Now would be a good time for one of your brilliant ideas,” Matticus nervously stated, his eyes never wavering from the advancing Jaded.
“Maybe you should have a brilliant idea every once in a while too, your Jesterness,” Revis laughed bitterly as he pulled something out of his gauntlet.
It was a whistle.
Matticus tried not to let the surprise, and some hopelessness, show on his face. What good would a whistle do? “Yeah,” the Jester spouted sarcastically when Revis blew into the whistle. “You showed them with that one. See how they’re all running in terror from the mighty whistle?”
All his Knight did was smile as he backed the vampires up a little with his sword. Suddenly, from the back of the hallway, a scream erupted. Then another…and another. Soon, all of the vampires were screaming. Even the ones closest to them screamed, dropped their weapons, and ran away. A second after the last one left, a dragon chased after them through the hallways, its fangs gleaming dangerously in the torch light.
Jaded’s expression quickly changed from confident to fear as she lost all of her support. She turned to run. Revis took his sword and threw it like a javelin. The blade sank deep into the back of the vampire’s knee, causing her to fall forward onto her face. Drawing his daggers, Revis walked up beside Jaded. He flipped her over and put the point of both of his daggers underneath her chin.
Matticus watched the scene unfold, and wanted to yell at his knight to make sure he didn’t kill Jaded, they needed her alive, but his mind was stuck on what Revis had just said, “Leave him out of what? Our quest? The fun of killing sparkly vampires? And how long have you had that whistle? And why didn’t I know about it? And what other tricks do you have in your bag, Revis?”
Saying his knight’s name snapped him back to reality and he finally manged to get out his command, “Don’t kill her, Revis! We need to know who she is working for.”
The daggers trembled, but Revis kept from doing any serious damage, “Who DO you work for, Jaded? Don’t think about lying, I’ll know if you aren’t telling the truth.”
Matticus watched the fire in her eyes flare as she snarled in response. Her fanged mouth lashed out but Revis’ daggers kept her at bay. She looked ready to lunge anyway and force the knight to stop her but a loud crash broke her determination and all three turned to watch as Grayson ripped through the wall and threw the lifeless bodies of two vampires into the hallway.
His tail scraped the far wall as he spun and disappeared into the maze of rooms and halls. The click clicking of his talons were easily discernible among the screams echoing through the building.
Matticus looked back in time to see Revis’ hand shoot out, striking Jaded in the temple with the hilt of his dagger. A slightly dazed look crossed her features. “No more games,” the Knight shouted. “You’ve led us on a long chase, tried to kill me, and threatened to use my friend to hurt his family. You’ll tell me what I want to know, or I’ll do something I promise that you won’t like.”
“You’re going to sing?”
Matticus barely managed to keep from laughing at Jaded’s shot against Revis. Calmly, with a smile that was starting to scare the Jester a little, Revis put one of his daggers away and took the sword out of Matticus’ hand. “Don’t say I never warned you,” he said as he laid the blade across the exposed flesh on the back of her hand.
Since he had previously threatened to do this to Len, Matticus knew what Revis was about to do. He turned his head just as the sword erupted into flame. Matticus grimaced as he realized that he needed to breathe in through his mouth to avoid the smell of burnt flesh.
“That’s just one spot on the back of your hand. I’ve got the whole rest of your body to go,” Revis warned. “Now, I’ll ask you again. Who do you work for?”
“I don’t work for anyone,” Jaded replied. When she saw the look on Revis’ face she moved quickly to make sure he didn’t burn her again. “Wait! I’m telling the truth. I don’t work for anyone. There is someone who gives me all my minions, but he doesn’t give me any orders.”
Revis and Matticus exchanged frowns.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Matticus stated flatly. “What are you doing out here then? Looking for something? Who told you to start looking for it?”
Jaded grimaced before answering, “I’ll tell you everything you need to know… everything I know, but if you don’t do something to help me first I’m…”
Her words trailed off and Revis and Matticus looked from her burned hand to the sword still protruding from her leg.
“Quick, pull the blade out, and I’ll give her some healing potion,” Revis instructed with a quick gesture towards the sword before he dove into his bag looking for the bottle that could set Jaded right.
Matticus pulled the metal free from the flesh as smoothly and gently as he could, and then Revis tipped some of the liquid onto the wounds. They watched as the burn disappeared and the gashed leg mended itself.
“You really will have to tell me where you got all this great stuff.”
“I know, but now isn’t the time.”
The wounds healed, and Jaded’s eyes fluttered for a few seconds before she fell into a deep sleep.
“Should we wake her?”
Before Revis had a chance to answer, Jaded, eyes still closed in sleep, screamed. Her body began to convulse. Matticus knelt down next to her and held her shoulders down, trying his best to keep her still. “Do something,” Matticus commanded. “We still need to get answers from her.”
“I only know how to bandage battlefield wounds,” Revis protested. “Actual sicknesses are beyond me.”
Not knowing what else to do, Revis poured what little remained of his healing potion into Jaded’s mouth. Her body continued to spasm for a few more moments before finally calming. Both men breathed a sigh of relief. Then, her body began shaking again. Matticus and Revis backed away as Jaded started rising off of the ground.
They watched in amazement as the light that surrounded her began to fade. Her twinkling began to diminish, as well. Jaded’s body slowly lowered to the ground and stopped having convulsions. The Knight and the Jester looked at each other, neither believing what they just saw. Revis’ potion not only healed her, it also had an unintended side effect.
Jaded was no longer a sparkly vampire. The potion had made her human.