Chapter 11: Attack

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At a word from Jia-Li, the Huli Jing flung me across the hallway to smack into the concrete wall. I reeled back and fell down. With my hands tied behind me, I had a heck of a time rolling over and fighting my way to my knees.

Jia-Li was speaking in low, angry Chinese to Qiao and Lu. Lu's head was bowed, and for some reason I was extremely conscious of the way the fox monster gripped her arm stump. But Qiao glared straight at Jia-Li, and I mentally applauded him. Good for you, dude. Direct your bad mood at somebody who deserves it.

A shadow appeared beside me. A curvy, female body a swath of tails in back. My skin broke out in goosebumps of mingled lust and terror.

Daji's fingers caressed my hair. "Hello Dalton."

I didn't answer.

She laughed. "You will speak to me soon enough! My, how the dragons bicker. Or can't you understand their language?"

I still didn't reply.

Daji was silent a moment, listening to the fight. "Well, well. It seems Lu and Qiao are her niece and nephew, and she bit off Lu's arm herself to shame the family."

My whole body tensed, my innards curling up in horror. Lu, the pretty gold dragon with the mane that fell into her eyes--and Jia-Li had disfigured her.

If it was possible for a vampire to kill a dragon, it would happen tonight.

Jia-Li whirled away from Lu and Qiao and waved a hand at them. The aurora on the ceiling bent down and wrapped them in green light like a long, glowing scarf. They froze, eyes flickering the same green color, and stared at nothing.

Jia-Li grabbed my arm and hauled me to my feet. "He is not yours yet, Daji."

"Yet.” Smiling, the furry faded backward into the wall.

I stared at Lu and Qiao. "What'd you do to them?"

"They are contained." Jia-Li dragged me along the hallway and up the ramp into the stadium field. Her hand gripped my arm like steel pliers, and her jaws were clenched.

"Hey," I said, "how come you can see the foxes now? Did you get that one guy's power to see ghosts?"

"The Huli Jing have been feeding on mortals," said Jia-Li. "They are more corporeal now."

Mortals. All those panicked people running through the streets. "You mean vampires, right?"

She didn't answer me. So probably civilians. Yet another reason to mangle her until there wasn't a shred left. Too bad she was so strong, though. It'd be a heck of a fight.

She led me across the dark stadium field--it felt like miles--and up into the stands. We climbed steps until I imagined I was climbing one of those Aztec pyramids, to be offered as a sacrifice at the top.

Maybe I was.

In the distance metal clanged and voices shouted. I tried to look over my shoulder without tripping over my feet. Had that been one of the stadium gates opening?

People in black rushed up the stadium ramps and darted under the bleachers in the hunched position of men with rifles. They moved really fast. Like vampires.

Oh crap. The army was already here.

The Huli Jing ghosted out from under the stadium, too, licking their teeth and taking up position in the bleachers on the far side of the stadium. They looked like five thousand sports fans had turned out to watch a game--except they all had ears and pointy noses. And they looked hungry.

The huge overhead lights flickered red. Oh boy, somebody had turned on the power. In a minute it'd be bright as daylight and the bloodbath would begin.

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