By: Layla Heart
One prince nearly assassinated by his aunt, six lovers doing everything they can to prevent another war.
The meeting with the king of the werewolves and the queen of the succubi ends a little differently than planned when Finn’s aunt, a trained assassin, kills multiple people in the room, before stabbing her nephew…
Even though Litha and Phoenix only just moved in with the princes, they’re on the go again. Bane’s parents have offered them one of their lesser-known houses, so they can hide, and hopefully recover from their wounds before they’re attacked again.
The idea seems great, but the house has many secrets, some of them dangerous and even potentially deadly. And that doesn’t even take into account that they themselves may be the greatest threat to their health…
Lughnasadh Elite Academy
18 September 2019
Pages: 108 pages
Available in the Netherlands/Belgium:
As part of a collection
If you don’t want to buy through any of the international stores, this story is also available in the Netherlands and Belgium as part of Fated Encounter (Lughnasadh Elite Academy Collection 3). This features the next three novellas and a holiday short story of the series and is available in ebook or paperback.
No! No, no. No! I want to move, shift, rip the assassin apart, but I’m locked in my human shape, unable to shift. This couldn’t have come at a worse time, when I’m still under the influence of the anti-shifting-stuff.
We’re in the room where people have been discussing the recent attack on the town and the academy, locked inside, the doors barricaded somehow, and the assassin just stabbed Finn. He’s clutching at her hand, which is keeping the knife inside him.
Next to me, Litha lets out a high pitched scream and the next moment, flames surround the assassin, closing in slowly. The assassin pulls her hand back before the flames can burn it off, finally letting go of the knife.
“Don’t kill her. We need her.” Phoenix touches Litha for a moment and then rushes to Finn, her hands already glowing, ready to heal him as soon as she reaches him.
I glance at Litha, whose eyes are dark, her face tense with focus, but, most of all, it’s the fury in her eyes that scares me. But she keeps the column of fire around the assassin the same size, no longer out to burn her.
Then I also run for Finn, needing to see if I can do something for him. I can sense his pain, his desperation, but he’s alive and that’s all I care about for now. Everything will be fine as long as we can keep him alive.
Bane and Phoenix lift Finn up on a table, giving us a better view of what’s going on, but also keeping him off the floor, out of the way of the panicked people. Don’t want him trampled on.
“Venom.” Phoenix points at the knife, and I nod. The blackness is spreading over Finn’s skin, slowly, but it’s already visible. She puts her hands to his skin, probably trying to stop the bleeding, but also to stop the spreading of the venom, like she did for Bane and me before. Luckily, we now know what works and how to stop it from spreading too much. We’re prepared this time.
“We need the antidote.” Bane growls. “Where is it?”
“In the lab.” I glance around. The doors of the room are still locked and I can’t shift into a dragon to break through the walls or anything. That’s the two most obvious ways out unavailable. “Fuck.” How can we get to the antidote fast enough like this?
Bane climbs on the table next to Finn, standing on it so he can look out over the whole room. “Who can break through the walls? Finn got stabbed, we need the antidote for the venom, it’s at the other side of campus.”
Some people let out grumbles, of course, because Finn is fae and they were just attacked by a fae assassin. I glare at each person who dares to let out a negative sound and a stocky man with red eyes steps forward, his jaw set.
“I’ll do it.” He looks around. “What’s the thinnest wall around here?”
Bane’s dad points to the back of the room. “That’s the weakest wall. It’s thinner and not made out of once piece, we had to get cables in here and such.”
“Okay. Where would I need to go to get this antidote you need?” The guy looks at me, asking his crown prince for instructions, not at Bane or any of the others, just me. He’ll help, even to save the son of the man who still tortures our people, because I need his help.
“The labs on campus, they should have some left.” I look back. “Bane, go with him.” Bane nods, walking around the table.
“I’m coming too.” Bane’s mum steps forward. “I know exactly where it is. It will save time.”
“Right. Good.” I look back, and the stocky man is walking to the back of the room, taking his clothes off along the way. Then, as he’s near the wall, he shifts into a stunning fire dragon, dark red, his scales almost shining with his magic. He looks back one last time and then rams into the wall with his shoulder. It creaks, but doesn’t do anything else. Then he bangs into it again, and again, until, finally, the wall gives away under his force. Before the dust even settles, he dives into the hallway, towards the front door.
Bane and his mum run after him, jumping through the hole in the wall, and then they’re gone.
The assassin laughs, a shrill sound. “It’s not like you can save him. He’ll die. The traitor won’t be anymore.”
“Shut up.” I glare at her, turning to Finn, she doesn’t deserve our attention.
“Why? What are you going to do? Kill me? I don’t care. Or maybe just capture me, again. Like that worked so well last time.” Her voice is annoying, getting on my nerves.
Phoenix turns to the assassin, magic almost visibly spiralling around her, her energy and fury so strong. “You will shut up. And you will face consequences for what you’ve done.” She looks over to Litha. “Can you burn a circle in the floor around her?” Then she looks at Litha’s mum. “Do you remember how to make a binding circle with your fire?”
“Of course. My pleasure.” Litha’s mum comes over, holding out her hand, and as Litha burns a circle into the floor, her mum makes the runes to lock it into a binding circle.
Then, the column of fire around the assassin disappears and Litha rushes over, reaching out to Finn, taking his hand, her face wet with tears. “Hold on, please. I can’t lose you.” She kneels next to the table, holding him tightly.
Finn let out a pained sound, his breathing rough, but it seems that Phoenix’ healing has at least stopped the spreading and partially healed the wound. “I’m not letting you go yet. Not before I get rid of my father. I’m not dying before he’s gone.”
“Don’t say that, please. You’re not going to die.” She keeps holding him, her emotions so strong, she’s got so much pain inside her.
I look around the room. People are now able to leave through the hole in the wall, and campus guards are coming inside, for the dead bodies, and for the assassin we’ve caught.
Fucking hell… It’s like they knew. It’s like the fae king planned for us to all be here and then just kill us all in one go. And we played right into their hands…
Finn screams loudly, his body convulsing, as the antidote works its way through him. I can’t look at him, not when I know that I probably looked the same when they gave me that stuff, or when I still remember how close to death I’d been when they gave it to me. I just can’t do it. It may be silly, but I can’t.
Kit is standing in front of me, wrapped in my arms, holding me tightly as he keeps looking at Finn. “He has to make it. He has to.” He keeps whispering the same two sentences, over and over again, like a mantra. It feels like his grip on me increases with each repeat.
Then Finn finally quiets down, his body going limp on the table.
“And now we wait.” Phoenix steps away from him. “I’ve done what I could, but the venom is making it hard to heal him. We have to let the antidote do its job, and then I can try again.” She steps back, stretching, her body tense, and I instinctively reach out to her, right in time to catch her as her body gives out on her. She’s used way too much of her magic, exhausted herself, even when she didn’t realise it.
Phoenix’ parents come over, carefully helping her into a chair. She can’t even sit up straight anymore, instead slumping down, her eyes almost closed.
Bane comes over to us, his eyes serious, his jaw tense. He was speaking with his father and some people from the town protection and the campus guards. “It’s best if we go back to the house as soon as possible. Finn is going to need his sleep, and so does Phoenix. The guards say that they only had one person escape, this assassin, but it seemed that they didn’t think it too much of a priority for some reason.” He growls, shaking his head tensely. “She killed at least eight guards on her way in here, and it seems like nobody knew what to do, how to stop her.” He lets out a deep breath. “I have no idea if the school or the town even know how to protect themselves against an assassin like that. She’s… She’s different.”
The assassin’s magic has been bound and they’ve taken her away, put her into a much higher security area. Before she could do more damage.
“What are we going to do?” Litha, who’s mostly been staying close to Finn, looks up, her eyes red from crying. “We can’t just sit around, waiting to be killed or something.”
“I know.” Bane nods. “But, for now, I don’t know what else we can do but give Finn a comfortable place to rest. I don’t think we have a choice.”
“I, ehh…” I sigh as I let go of Kit. “I asked Finn to find us a place where we could hide from his dad. I don’t know if he’s found anything yet. But we could ask as soon as he’s awake again. He needs to heal, I still need to heal, and my dragon is still suppressed, and…” I shake my head, wishing I had more positive things to tell them, something to give them courage, something to make them feel better.
“Somewhere to stay, away from here sounds like a good idea.” Litha nods and she stands up. “If I’m going to save the world from the fae king. If I’m going to bring peace to this world. I’m going to need to find a place where I can practise my powers. Where I can get stronger. A place where we won’t be interrupted by people who try to keep us from blowing shit up. We need a safe place to do that.”
Bane’s mum comes over, Litha’s mum at her side, both looking grim. “I know a place like that.” Bane’s mum looks at Finn, pain flashing over her features. “I know where you can safely stay for a while. Do what you need to do to get stronger.”
“Where?” I look at her.
“Same place where we got the queen’s bane to put you out. One of our more hidden houses. It’s basically out in the middle of nowhere, in the grand scheme of things, and it’s the furthest away from the fae kingdom as you can be, while still being on werewolf ground.” She digs in her pocket and then takes out a key, holding it out to Bane, who takes it, his eyes wide, surprised.
I guess that means that she’s on our side, that she agrees that we need to take things into our own hands, or maybe she’s just trying to get us away from here. Right now, I don’t really care which of the two it is. We just need a safe place to stay, and right now, we’ll take just about anything.