Would You Like Brains With That?

Currently re-writing.

Portal Keepers Book 1.
A job at a café for the Undead, a ghost best friend, and an annoying handsome vampire protector. Danira has it all.

Danira isn't your average girl. For generations her family has looked after the portal that links the Realm of the Undead to the Realm of the Living, by running a cafe for the Undead that are travelling through the portal. Then news reaches Danira and her parents that the Vampire Lords want to take over control of the portal and wreak havock amoung the Realm of the Living.
An adventure of hot vampires, zombies, ghosts, mummies, and life-threatening danger is thrust upon Danira, and she must try her best to protect the Realm of the Living, by preventing the Vampire Lords from obtaining the Infinity Blade, which has the power to change the portal. As well as saving her world can Danira resist the dashing vampires that cross her path? Some are more dangerous than others.

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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25. The Final Clue and Jet Stefanel

 

I awoke slowly and kept my eyes shut while cherishing the feeling of being well-rested as well as, surprisingly, content. I stretched out under the covers and slid my hand under the pillow to check that my stake was there. My hand closed on empty space.

Startled I frowned. Where was my stake? Surely I was in my bed at home? That dream, no that nightmare, about being in the Realm of the Undead, it hadn’t actually happened had it? I mean if it had and I was still there, then whose bed was I in?

“How is she?”

I went as still as a statue. I knew that voice. It was Ridge.

“She looks a lot better.” a musical voice that I had never heard before answered.

It looked like I was in the Realm of the Undead then. All feelings of contentment vanished in a millisecond.

“You told me that you’d been looking after her, but it doesn’t look like you’ve been doing a good job. When was the last time she ate anything, Ridge? She’s just skin and bones.”

Embarrassingly, my stomach growled as if in response and I tried not to blush.

I heard no movement, but when the musical voice spoke again it was from further away. “I will see if I can get some food for her. Try not to break anything while I’m gone.”

I heard Ridge mutter his thanks and then his hand was on my cheek. “Jet might not know when you are pretending to be asleep, but I do.” he said, not unkindly.

I opened my eyes and smiled at him sheepishly.

“How are you?” Ridge asked kissing my forehead.

I didn’t hear his question, I was too busy wondering when Ridge had stopped being so annoying and had started looking at me like that. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t noticed until then. How long had it been since he had stopped teasing me? It was like I wasn’t his plaything anymore, so what was I now?

He tilted his head and smiled. “What?” he asked, white teeth gleaming.

I shook my head to clear my thoughts and blushed. “Nothing, so where are we? How did we get here?” I blurted.

I watched Ridge’s face as he replied, aware that my eyes were drawn to his lips. “King Alandros used his remaining power to either kill or knock unconscious the vampires and zombies. It seemed to knock you out too, or maybe that was just because you were exhausted.” Ridge shifted where he was sat beside me on the bed and his dark eyes drew mine to meet his like they were magnets. “So I carried you out of there, running like the wind.” his lips curved into a smile at this. “Once on the surface I told the horse to go back to Bloodlust and I ran to where we are now, the town of Murder.”

“How long did that take?” I asked as I sat up. I looked only at my hands so that I couldn’t stare at Ridge.

“Six hours. It was a lot quicker by running.”

“How long was I asleep for then?”

“Around eight hours.” Ridge answered, his tone changing. “I waited a while before giving you some of my blood.”

I examined my healed arm and shoulder, noting that I was clothed in only an under-dress. “Thank you.”

He took my hands in his own and a shiver of pleasure ran up my arms at his cool touch. It was strange to think that at one time his touch had been repulsive to me. I looked up to find Ridge’s face mere inches away. My breath caught in my throat and I had to force myself to focus.

“What... what’s the next clue?” I managed to splutter.

Ridge silently reached into his pocket and pulled out the triangle. Placing it in my hands he said. “I haven’t looked at it yet.”

His hands stayed on mine as I held the metal triangle.

“The final clue,” I breathed as my eyes ran over the words that would lead us to the location of the Infinity Blade.

Hidden among my kind, you must seek me out. In the Castle I wait, for the one who will make me complete.

“The Castle. That’s where the Infinity Blade is.” I felt Ridge tense. “What is it?” I asked anxiously as my hair fell across my face. I resisted the urge to reach out and smooth the frown lines that had appeared on Ridge’s forehead.

“It will be hard to get inside the Castle, and they will be sure to be following us. They seem to know our every move.”

I gave Ridge’s hands a squeeze, hoping that while we were in the Castle we could rescue my mum. “We’ve gotten this far haven’t we?” I said giving a small smile and brushing the hair from my face.

He opened his mouth to speak but then closed it. Ridge’s dark eyes reminded me of a starless night and it wasn’t until I blinked that I realised how close we were now. Ridge held my gaze and neither of us moved. Then after what seemed like an eternity, he leaned forwards to kiss me. But our lips didn’t touch because at the sound of the front door opening, Ridge jumped to the other side of the room. My heart was going crazy in my chest and Ridge avoided my gaze as he left the room to greet whoever it was that had arrived.

“Jet, it’s you.”

So it was the man with the musical voice from before. A vampire, I discovered when Jet strode into the room seconds later. Jet was an interesting looking vampire. He had a charming grin and a silver streak in his auburn hair which fell past his broad shoulders. His clothes were slightly nautical and I felt that he wouldn’t have looked out of place aboard a ship at sea with a great big hat and a parrot on his shoulder.

“You’re awake.” he beamed.

I had the sudden urge to hand myself over to him so that he could drain me of every single drop of blood that flowed through my veins. Ridge must have sensed this because he was at my side in a flash, placing a restraining hand on my bare shoulder.

Jet sighed and flitted over to a window in the corner. “I apologise, Danira. When a vampire is as old as I am, humans literally seem to lose the will to live in their presence. It is unfortunately one of my powers, which I have yet to master. However, please be assured that I do not wish to drink any of your blood.” he explained before adding. “Although I am sure that your blood would be delicious.”

Jet’s eyes locked on my neck. Ridge let out a low growl in warning, making me jump. Looking up I saw that his fangs were bared.

Jet however, didn’t seem at all frightened. “I am sorry.” he gave me a small smile and strode over to the door. “I must be hungrier than I realised. Speaking of which, I have managed to procure some food for you. It’s in the other room.”

Jet left but it was a while before Ridge removed his cool hand from my shoulder. I was surprisingly disappointed when he did.

“You should get dressed. We will need to leave as soon as possible. Jet found you some clothes.”

I followed Ridge’s gaze to a dressing table and stool, on which were various items of clothing. I turned back to speak but Ridge had left, closing the door behind him. I gazed at the door, hundreds of thoughts rushing through my head. I hadn’t realised that Ridge was so protective of me. The way he had growled at Jet left me with no doubt that Ridge would have torn out Jet’s throat if he had put even a slender finger on me, even though Jet must have been a friend. It seemed that Ridge still thought of himself as my protector, though after all the times he had saved me he had definitely earned that title. What about our near kiss? Had he really been leaning in to kiss me? Or had I got the wrong idea? Something stirred in my chest at the thought of Ridge’s lips on mine. That was new. Time was I would have staked him if he had tried anything like that, yet now I was hoping that Ridge would try and kiss me again. With a sigh I ran a hand through my long hair and reluctantly left the warmth and comfort of the bed.

There was a gilded mirror beside the dressing table. Peering at my reflection I noted that I looked rather sickly. Flinching away in repulsion I turned my attention to the dressing table. As well as the clothes, there was a bowl of water which I gladly washed in, grateful to have a chance to wash away all the grime that had accumulated on my skin. My under-dress dropped to the floor and my eyes grew wide at how thin I had become. I couldn’t wait to get back home and stuff my face with chocolate. That was if I got home. My stomach growled at the thought of food and I hurriedly pulled on some clean underwear. I then put on a soft, clean cotton under-dress before dressing in a burgundy coloured silk dress which fell to my ankles. There were plain black tights and boots so I put those on as well. The only jewellery I wore were the key necklace that I never removed, the ankh pendant that the mummy had given me what seemed like a lifetime ago, not that it really seemed to be bringing me any luck, and the blood-red ruby ring from Lady Prenalla.

Brushing my tangled hair with my thin fingers I left the room. Ridge and Jet were sat at a long wooden table which was weighed down by various knick-knacks, such as a pair of wooden clogs which I spotted on a table corner. There were books everywhere, including all over the walls, and several paper planes dangled from the ceiling.

Mid-sip through his drink which was, of course blood, Jet beamed at me. I was pleased to see that Ridge was staring at me.

“Please sit.” Jet said, standing up and making room for me. “We haven’t been properly introduced. I am Jet Stefanel, an old friend of Ridge’s.”

I shook his outstretched hand and I smiled as I sat down beside him. “Thank you for your hospitality.”

“You are most welcome, Danira. Any friend of Ridge’s is a friend of mine.” Jet placed a plate in front of me and my mouth watered at the sight of the food. “We can form a plan while you eat.”

The plate had an assortment of fruit and vegetables, but there was also a chocolate bar which my stomach grumbled at the sight of. I grabbed an apple and bit into it greedily.

“I don’t really see the appeal myself.” Jet commented sadly.

Ridge smiled and his leg brushed mine under the table. I felt my cheeks redden.

“What’s the plan then?” I asked, dropping the apple core onto the plate. I nibbled at a carrot figuring that I probably needed lots of vitamins.

“To get to the Castle, we first need to cross the River of Death.” Ridge told me, his leg grazing against mine again.

His dark eyes were playful and I looked away disheartened. I had been wrong. I was still Ridge’s plaything, except now he was messing with my heart. Anger bloomed within me. How dare he. The next time he tried to kiss me I would stake him. That would teach him.

“Which is where I can help,” Jet smiled, unaware of what had just happened. “I have a boat that we can use to cross the river.”

“You’re coming with us?” I asked surprised.

He nodded. “It seems to me that you need all the help you can get.”

“The more the merrier.” I laughed, grateful that I wouldn’t be alone with Ridge.

Ridge smiled at his friend gratefully before saying. “Once across the river it will take us about an hour to get to the Castle and that will be where the trouble starts.” I raised an eyebrow quizzically and he continued. “It will be crawling with those loyal to the Vampire Lords, seeing as that is where they are based. From what the clue says we will either have to go to the armoury or the museum.”

I started peeling an orange. “Great, so how are we going to get in unseen? Please say we don’t have to crawl through some ancient sewers.”

Jet and Ridge exchanged glances. I dropped my orange and groaned.

 

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