5. Royal ass-beatings

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"I can't see anyone," Nick said, peering out of the cave. About twenty minutes had gone by during which she had strained her ears and eyes to pierce the silent darkness of night. She had even turned demonic to enhance her senses. But there was nothing. No footsteps, no breathing, nothing. Her blood was boiling and she subconsciously bared her fangs on a silent hiss. She hated to feel the presence of danger without being able to do something about it.

Frowning and clenching her fists she snuck back to where David cowered. "Nothing," she whispered.

"It doesn't make any sense," David whispered back. He was feeling better, as he had gotten used to the shock of the salt pulling at him. Salt, if drawn around a shadow clockwise, kept them from changing form and immobilized them to a certain degree.

"They couldn't have felt that I'm here. I would have felt any shadow long before they became aware of me. You're a demon." He looked up at her and Nick rolled her eyes at his talent of deduction. "You're immune to salt, so if they're trying to catch you, why use it?"

"So, what are you thinking?"

David huffed out a long breath and grunted as he shifted around. "Two possibilities. One, someone saw me. Two, it isn't me they're after but another shadow. But that's absurd."

Nick's eyes widened. "No it isn't. When the vamp had me cuffed and we showed up at the entrance he told the shadows there that it wasn't his fault that one of their own escaped his notice. I first thought he was talking about you somehow. But if it wasn't you, then who has run away?"

David shook his head. "I have no idea, it must have happened before I arrived, I didn't see anything."

„You really think it's someone else?" she asked.

David grunted. "Would be the only thing that makes sense."

"Well, it doesn't really matter; I won't stay here and let you cower around like that. It doesn't suit you."

His eyes snapped to her and widened. "What are you saying? You're not going out there."

"And you are gonna stop me, how exactly?"

His gaze was on fire with anger as he glared at her. "Dammit Nick. We stay here and wait it out. Do the safe thing."

Nick chuckled. "Safe, my ass. I'll go out there and break the circle. Who knows, maybe I'll even run into the vamp. Do you think a fang-necklace is a bit much?"

David's face reddened. "Stop it. You're staying here, period."

A subtle wave of anger swept through Nick, prickly and stinging. But as she watched him she noticed that there was something in his eyes that she had never seen there before. Fear. It was mixed with anger, but it was there, clear as day. David was never afraid, of anything. It was one of the things that drew Nick to him. His fearlessness. Shock slammed into her and ate at the outrage she felt at his 'command'.

The words she wanted to shout at him vanished before they reached her tongue. She stared at him for a second, not knowing how to react to this. Was he afraid for her? No one ever was, except Jess maybe. But even her best friend seldom worried about Nick. It was a foreign feeling and Nick wasn't sure that she liked it.

She picked up her sword and turned to the cave-entrance.

"Goddammit Nick," David growled. "Fine, if you really have to go then take my daggers. They are handy and good for stealth attacks."

Nick turned to him again and shook her head. "You do know that stealth isn't exactly my style, right?"

"You could try," he grunted. "You're not gonna listen to me and stay, so what's the harm in taking my daggers for extra protection?"

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