VA x Mortal Instruments

Nausea threatened to overwhelm me and I managed to shove Lissa and Christian behind me be before the strigoi attacked.

"Get back!"

I felt Lissa's fear for my safety and anger at the strigoi for ruining our picnic on the beach on our last day in Brooklyn. However her anger soon turned to excitement and anticipation.

Rose, let me stake him!

"No Lissa!" I screamed at her. "Too dangerous!"

Christian noticed what had transpired through the bond and pushed Lissa further behind him.

"Not yet Lissa! Please!" I heard him plead. Through the bond I felt Lissa accept that she could be of no use in this particular situation yet, she backed down and stayed out of the way. I was preoccupied with the strigoi trying to eat us.

Punch, kick, dodge. Repeat. This strigoi was particularly fast and seemed to know my moves before I acted on them. I worked out my frustration on not being allowed to kill it even when I had perfect openings and simply defended us and tried to get it trapped. Guardians should be allowed tasers I thought angrily. I cursed Tatiana and her stupid new decree.

On our "travels", to try and "save" Dimitri, we had to release Victor Dashkov from his prison in Alaska. While we found the solution to turn strigoi back to their former selves, Victor had escaped and was nowhere to be found. We had returned back to the Queen and informed her of our discovery. The result was this new decree: no dhampir or moroi was allowed to "stake" or "kill" any strigoi they met unless by one of the Royal Moroi Guard. Crazy, I know and yes, I did say Moroi.

Through the recent discovery of the fifth element of magic (very few) moroi possessed; spirit, they had the ability to heal. What we had learned from Victor was that by charming a silver stake with a healing spell, the strigoi could be healed back to their former state. Hence the new decree – why should we kill people that could be turned back and live normally?

The downside to the whole deal was that there was so few spirit users that the 'Royal Moroi guard' wasn't actually formed yet. Meanwhile the strigoi were running rampart, euphoric to the fact that no one was allowed to take them out anymore (well, not until suitable spirit users were found and trained in the shortest amount of time possible to be fit enough and be able to take on strigoi, something dhampirs spent their entire childhood training for). Can you understand where my frustration was coming from?

On the other hand, the courts were becoming more and more used to the practice of offensive magic for use on strigoi, as the dhampirs needed the extra help. Whilst no moroi had yet
graduated who wanted to take part in defence (and thus were forbidden to use their gift offensively), it had never stopped Christian.
"Christian!" I yelled over my shoulder. "I could use a little help here!"
"Oh, right."
Immediately, a tall column of fire surrounded the strigoi, becoming smaller and smaller, to fit the shape of its body.
It started screaming and tried to find a way out of the trap. I pulled out my silver mobile and threw it at Lissa.
"Call Sydney!"
She complied and I turned back to the strigoi. The amount of fire Christian was using was starting to sap his strength.
"Ease, off slowly," I told him. "We can hold it down til the alchemists' get here.
"He nodded and as soon as the last flame disappeared we knocked the strigoi to the ground. I pinned its torso, arms and head, while Christian formed a small arc of fire over its legs to the ground on either side. It was trapped.

While we couldn't 'kill' the strigoi, we were permitted to trap them and send them to prison where they awaited (for how long we didn't know) a healing stake. This task was the alchemists' new job.

Ten minutes later two menacing black SUV's pulled up on the curb along with a non-descript black truck. While we helped the alchemist's load the strigoi away I felt Lissa's disappointment through the bond. She wanted to help so badly. Every time we'd ran into a strigoi since we learnt how to change them back, Lissa had wanted to jump in and save them. However, despite all we'd been through, I couldn't let her get that close to a strigoi. Besides, no one expected a royal to put themselves in front of a strigoi, lest of all the last Dragomir Princess. In fact, that was the entire point of exterminating the strigoi; they wanted royal blood and our job was to protect it.

Christian and I went to help Lisa pack up our picnic. Christian went to throw our wrappers in an industrial bin and I lowered my voice to speak to Lissa.
"I'm sorry Liss. You know I can't let you get close to danger."
She stifled a sob. "I know."
We helped each other fold up the blanket. "I just wish I could help in some way. You're always risking your life and I just sit back helpless."
"Liss don't ever think that! You opened the world to spirit! Without that the strig – oh, come on!" my stomach just turned green. "Liss, Christian! Get behind me." I pulled out my stake. Not that we were allowed to use them anymore, but it was a habit and made me feel safer.

The three of us waited like that for over a minute. The night was silent apart from the wind through the trees. I whipped my head from side to side. Nothing. This was unlike a strigoi. Their usual style was in for the kill, don't hesitate. That this one didn't made it more dangerous. We crouched a while longer. I could feel the pain of a cramp come through the bond but Lissa didn't complain. The silence was becoming eerie. Christian broke it with heavy sarcasm.
"You sure you just didn't eat bad chicken or anything?"
My glare stopped anymore complaints.

Then out of the gloom two men strolled along the sand. I crouched lower to keep out of view, waiting for the opportune moment to attack. But they keep walking. They hadn't noticed any of us. Yet. They got to about a six metre distance from us before I jumped out and attacked. Only at the last millisecond did they notice my presence before I had them both on the ground.

Until then I didn't notice that I seriously had messed up. Or maybe not. The man on the left was no older than me and was a dhampir. While the one on the right was the source of my nausea, he wasn't a strigoi. Or at least any that I had ever seen before. His eyes were a warm blue, his skin had a faint tan and he definitely didn't have fangs. The pair's initial reaction was surprise before the non-strigoi flipped me and I was pinned on the sand.

Ok, maybe he wasn't a strigoi but there was definitely something inhuman about those reflexes.
I kicked him over my head and swiped my stake across his chest. He completely collapsed and where my stake broke the skin, started to smoke slightly. My eyes widened in shock.
What is this thing?
I had initially knocked the dhampir aside thinking he would let me at the non-strigoi or help me take it down at the very least.

Wrong.

He used my shock as an advantage and attacked me instead. Well, if that's what you'd call it. He more or less jumped on top of me.
I flung him off and landed a few punches to his face. After just a moment of sparring I discovered he'd had no training whatsoever. What the hell? He was simply holding his own due to his vampire reflexes. I kept an eye on the non-strigoi and he was crawling to his feet.

I was a badass fighter, but I was a little unsure sparring with something completely unhuman and unvampire. It was time for a little back-up
"Christian!"
He seemed to materialise beside me. Wow, I should give him more credit. I felt Lissa's fear through the bond to have us both fighting but she hid well. They wouldn't notice her.

I found an opening and punched the dhampir in the nose with as much force as I could muster. He stumbled backwards for a few seconds. Enough for Christian to take over.
"Keep him down. Don't kill him – he's a dham-"
"-ampir. Yes Rose I know."

I took to the non-strigoi again. By now he'd gotten up and was in a good stance for a fight. However he stood there for a moment. Hesitation. Dimitri's first lesson. I wouldn't forget that.
"JACE!" he yelled. What the hell?
I ignored his cry and pounced. He was ready though. Wow! He had fast reflexes. I wouldn't let it slow me though. We sparred for a few minutes and I glanced at Christians fray. While he clearly had the upper hand, he couldn't restrain the dhampir for long enough to get him down. I mentally groaned.

My temporary glance wouldn't have made a difference to my own fight if I had glanced in the other direction.
THWACK!
Something as fast as a bullet and as heavy as an ox knocked me into the sand and winded me. Stars warped my vision for a second but it was enough to have the thing pin me to the ground. I blinked my eyes open and saw Christian struggling in the sand too.

Suddenly, as happened sometimes when Lissa's emotions were high, I slipped into her body to witness the scene from her eyes.No! they've got Rose! Rose, Christian get up! Please get up! She silently begged. They need help!"No! Lissa get back!" I screamed as she jumped from her hiding place. No, damn it! They saw her! "Lissa run!"
Too late. The dhampir had her pinned too. NOOO! Lissa and I thought at the same moment. We were all trapped.