Update: This will be the second to last chapter. I will be writing another story after this, so keep your eyes open!
As they drove up the gravel road in the rented car, Mi'aiq's ears pricked up when the straits of sound came from their destination. He nudged Seth's hand with his head; Seth looked down at Mi'aiq and noticed the cat looked distressed.
"What is it?" He asked, peering out the window.
The shape-shifter hissed, "Stop the car!"
Vanessa kept driving until Seth unbuckled his seat belt and leaned forward, "We really should stop the car." She rolled her eyes and braked, putting the car in neutral.
"Just because the magical cat tells you it's a good idea, doesn't mean it is a good idea."
Seth got out of the car and dropped into a sneak, he turned to Mi'aiq and asked,
Are there potential enemies?
There are lesser operatives of the Dark Night ahead, Mi'aiq answered.
Warren got out of the car as well and whispered to Seth, "What is it?"
"Dark Night agents." Seth whispered back.
Vanessa looked suspiciously at the cat, "You could have told them we would come here."
Seth shook his head, "No, not Mi'aiq. They could have tracked us with magic." He surprisingly had no doubts about the cat at all.
Warren pulled out a sword from his pack and snuck closer along the road; Vanessa grabbed him by the color of his shirt and pulled him back, hissing, "Don't make a move until we find our enemy's position."
Seth looked down at the ring Bracken gave him and sighed, not wanting to take it off, but in this scenario, his hand was forced. He twisted the ring off his finger and immediately his eyes glowed red once more. He ran forwards towards the house near the river. He moved to the trees and hid in the shadows.
Several armed guards were stationed outside the house holding what looked like modern guns. To the side a woman dressed in fashionable clothes was adjusting her hair and putting on some pink lipstick. She checked her reflection in the mirror and giggled lightly. Seth normally would have thought that she was the last one to worry about, but after years of the most unexpected people being the strongest, his gut told him that she was the worst.
He scrambled carefully back to the group and rounded them all up into a huddle, "There are four guys with guns."
Vanessa nodded, "What type?"
Seth thought back to the brief phase he went through where he was interested in guns, "A hand gun… Sorry, but that's all I know." Vanessa accepted this and began calculating, Seth continued. "And one woman. She is the leader, I think."
Warren leaned closer, "What does she look like?"
Seth's forehead scrunched together as he thought, then realized, "Like Vanessa, a little. She wore a lot of pink though…"
Vanessa's eyes turned up to the sky and she mouthed, oh my GOD.
Warren and Seth incredulously watched her silently lose it. They shot a glance at each other then Warren cautiously said, "You look beautiful, you know. You don't need to wear pink to be beautiful…"
Vanessa sent a death glare in Warren's direction then sighed, "Seth, I'll take care of this one. Wait here." He hurried off, climbing a tree and moving stealthily along the branches. Seth and Warren followed regardless of what she said; waiting in case she needed backup.
Vanessa began taking all the guards out with sleeping darts. Seth thought for sure she would get the woman in pink too, but the woman caught the dart in mid-air and crushed it in her fist.
The lady in pink turned to the tree Vanessa was hiding in, "I know you better than to fall for one of your silly tricks, sister."
Warren and Seth's jaws fell as they looked between the two, very similar looking women.
"You're not my sister." Vanessa growled as she leapt down from the tree and fired a cross-bolt.
The other woman dodged in a split second and pulled a wooden cross out of her bag and twirled it. "Come out, little human!" Warren stumbled out of the bushes, not of his own will, and began to spin around as if controlled from above by invisible wires.
Vanessa's sister's eyes widened and then she squealed, all while looking at Warren. She dodged a knife thrown by Vanessa and skipped over to Warren, who was trying to reach his sword, but seemed to be bound by an unseen force.
She grabbed Warren's face, mashing it between her hands. "You are so pretty!"
Warren managed to grunt, "Thank you"
"And polite!" She sighed joyfully, realizing his face but grabbing his hand next, "I think I'm in love!"
Vanessa shot another cross-bolt at her sister; the woman stepped aside and caught the arrow. Her eyes darkened, "It's not nice to shoot one's true love when we've only just met." She smiled cheerfully at her sister, but her eyes stayed scary. "Right?"
Vanessa growled and flicked another knife at her sister, "You just met Warren!"
"Oh, Warren! Such a wonderful name. Mine is Amanda!" She snuggled close to him as he stood, paralyzed. "But you can call me Amy."
"Amanda!" Vanessa shouted, "Why are you here?"
Amanda pouted and flounced away from Warren, "I was told that a young boy with a unicorn horn would be here, trying to get to the Singing Sisters." She flipped her hair and looked around, "But I don't see or sense any other presence. Maybe it was misinformation."
Warren's eyes flicked over to the bushes in which Seth hid quietly. Amy glanced over at the shrubs and walked over slowly. Vanessa gritted her teeth and fired another cross-bolt. She missed her sister by inches, and the arrow thudded into a tree.
Amanda reached a manicured hand out and groped around in the shadows for Seth. He ducked down and avoided her hand, "Come out human boy, you can't resist the force of my puppet strings." She raised the wooden cross, but Seth scrambled out of the leaves before she could bind him.
He became visible, and the moment she saw him she called, "Backup!" A giant worm rose from the water, it's sleek, white body a stark contrast to its gaping, bloody maw. It began to dive straight towards the Singing Sister's domain and crush half of it in a split second.
Seth pulled Vasilis out of its sheath and charged to the riverbank, driven by the sword. The worm-thing roared and wrapped around the island; then it began to crumble. Seth stopped and watched in horror as the domain of the Singing Sisters sank into the muddy Mississippi.
Vasilis woke his sense and urged him to charge. In flaming fury that seemed even more powerful than at the battle for humanity, the sword guided him to the raft that the ferryman had used before. Seth put the sword down and picked up the pole. He was no longer feeling the effects of the sword, but he felt conviction in every fiber of his being.
Once he got close to the island, he picked up his sword again and jumped onto land. He skidded over to the half, buried door and tried to force it open. It wouldn't budge until a troll threw it open, tossing Seth, and the various rubble and wet silt off the door.
"A message for you." The troll rumbled.
Seth stood back up, "Yeah?"
"'Speak to the sentry about your fate.'" The troll repeated.
"Alright, can you get the rest of the trolls out? The island is sinking-"
Then gave him a gravelly smile, "We serve the Singing Sisters all our lives, we do not leave now."
Seth reached out to grab the door from the troll, "But they might die!"
The troll laughed, the tone rumbling, "You are a good person, Seth Sorenson, live well." With that, he closed the door, locking Seth out. Seth banged on the door, but they wouldn't let him in, no matter how much he screamed.
Finally, when the island had sunk into the water up to knees, he got back on the raft and rowed away, looking back several times in case the door opened again. But it never did.
He jumped back ashore and ran in soggy shoes over to the ferryman's house. He stopped briefly to catch the sight of Vanessa fighting Warren, who was being controlled by Amanda. He jumped up onto the porch and yanked the screen door open. After bolting in the house, he secured the locks on the door and went to go find the man.
Seth saw a trail of blood on the floor and his heart sank, the sentry might be dead. But as he followed the trail into the kitchen, he heard raspy breaths. As he entered the kitchen he recognized the form of the old man lying on the ground, shotgun in hand.
"Hey!" Seth yelled and knelt down, putting his head to the man's chest, listening for a heartbeat. He heard none, saddened; he sat back on his heels and looked away from the body on the ground. Then he noticed the sunlight glinting off a knife on the wooden floor.
The knife he had made the pledge with. He felt his heart stop in panic, sincerely believing his life would end right then.
A sudden gasp made him jump back; he looked on in shock as the dead man sat up halfway. His skin was still pale, blood dripped from the corner of his mouth, and his eyes were milky and pale. Yet her sat up and swung his head to face Seth.
"We speak to you now through the corpse of our sentry. Come retrieve the athame, Seth Sorenson." The dead body rasped in all three of the Singing Sister's voices.
Seth grabbed the dagger from where it rested and turned back to the man. "Good, now. Seth Sorenson, we officially recognize that you have brought us our wraith servant, Vasilis, and the horn of the dark unicorn." The body slurred. "But, as we have not received these, as we are dead; your contract still remains invalid."
Seth's face fell, expecting a knife in the back any second now.
"But!" The body spat blood sharply and continued, "We have just enough power to seal a new contract with you."
Seth looked up at the corpse with hopeful eyes, "Yes?"
"First, keep Vasilis for Eternity, or entrust it to only good people forevermore." Seth nodded. The corpse lolled to the side a little, but then kept speaking. "Second, turn the dark horn light again." Seth frowned at their cryptic words,
The three sisters growled their final words through the almost-still mouth. "And last, instead of you who takes the knife, the one you love most will die on its blade."
Seth started forward on that condition, "Hey, no! I don't agree! I don't agree!"
The dagger's metal gleamed wet with his blood once more, binding him to a contract he did not want fulfilled.
"So begins a contract… Bound in blood." The dying hiss escaped the corpse as Seth buried his head in his hands and cried.