One of the last two natural-born Demon Hunters left in the world, Chase is part of a team that includes her father Caleb and her boyfriend Alex.

They are intent on capturing an enemy who escaped the trap they'd set for several members of his kind.

They want one of them alive to see if they have any information about who killed two of their allies and the whereabouts of Jak the other Demon Hunter.

However tensions between Chase, Caleb and Alex might just threaten the mission and endanger themselves and everyone on the planet.

As the threat they face could prove bigger than anything they've ever confronted before.


11. Divided

A short time earlier as they were all walking to the cult hideout following the trail Caleb had gathered from the psychic link he'd had with Danion.


Malikhi wanted to talk to Chase or Alex or even Caleb but he saw that they weren't speaking to each other and when he tried to get close to one of them to talk he could tell they weren't in a chatting mood with anyone else either.


Although Chase, Alex and Caleb weren't talking to each other the other members of the team were and Malikhi wasn't the only one confused and frustrated by the events of this mission or the others in the last few weeks and they were looking for him to find out what was going on.


Their confusion was heightened when the building came into view they saw the devastation, glass everywhere flames bursting from every window.


One outer wall collapsed the whole structure weakened and the worst of the damage on the inside, not a single door left on its hinges or window left intact while every single wall scorched by the blast and splattered with blood the brickwork buckled so much the building will almost certainly have to be torn down and that's even without the further damage it would soon sustain.


Malikhi had no idea what to think himself let alone what to tell them, he had no idea how this enemy stronghold had been destroyed, all their team members were accounted for so they couldn't have blown it up and it was clear as soon as they got their first real look at the place that some kind of explosion had happened in there.


Mal had tried to reach out to Alex psychically, but with no luck he was shutting him out that way as well. He was confused and more than a little angry he had lots of questions that no one seemed willing to answer.


Top of the list was wanting to know who this boy was that Alex, Chase and Caleb had all gone after him and why it needed three of them to go after him in the first place.


The boy who was allowed to get away because Caleb of all people had ruined the ambush. Mal was beginning to think their fearless leader had lost the plot in all the time he had been on his team he'd never seen Caleb behave in such an impetuous manner, making a move before they were ready.


He had obviously underestimated how much Baine and Isobel meant to him, it wasn't like they were the first people he'd lost, far from it.


Yet the Caleb who lectured them on preparation and maintaining your sense of calm before and during a battle had thrown all that out and opened fire on this group of Demon worshippers, that in turn had led to Alex letting one of them get away from him and then the three of them heading off in pursuit leaving the rest of the team to finish clearing up the mess.


All this when the plan had had simply been to isolate one of them and grab him or her to take them somewhere and interrogate them. The way they had done with members of other cults.


Yet somehow just the sight of them had been enough to cause Caleb to abandon a lifetime of training and charge in. He didn't know which Demon this cult worshipped or why Caleb was so sure these were the ones who had sent an assassin to kill his friends.


He wondered if there was something Caleb wasn't telling them, they had gone through dozens of groups looking for the right one and there were still plenty more of these worthless Drek out there betraying humanity that they had yet to get to.


He had to put those concerns aside for a few moments at least as they got to the entrance. Caleb cast a spell to put out the fires before they entered, they were all shocked to witness the extent of the destruction, the entire structure looked unsafe and by the number of bodies and body parts they had to step over once they were inside.


As they were surveying the damage Caleb called them together to talk to them.


"Look I can see from your faces some of you are confused but we'll get the answers we’re looking for here about who killed our allies and which Demon this cult worships."


"Then we'll finally know who we're up against and be able to stop whatever they're planning. Okay so now we're going to individually start searching the wreckage for a survivor or a recently dead cult member that I can get a psychic link to and learn what they're planning or failing that, we want any piece of paper anything that might tell us what we need to know."


They split up each taking a room as they began a floor by floor sweep.


Malikhi was still confused as to how this damage had been done and he had to wonder why it had been done, this was a poor way to do things and certainly not the usual way Caleb ran a mission.


It was poorly thought through, did he really just blow up an enemy encampment and hope someone would've survived to tell them what happened to Isobel & Baine or if that didn't work that they'd just find the incriminating proof just lying around written down.


It was sloppy and left him even angrier than before, Malikhi knew the rest of the team would find it unacceptable to leave here without learning more about what was going on.


Later as he made it up to the third floor where he found the woman he tried talking to her but as badly injured as she was he couldn't get her to talk so he notified the others.


Chase up there first and she tried and failed to crack her but had more luck forming to her they finally learned something useful.


They all stood and listened as Caleb got a psychic connection and had her tell them the name of the Demon these people worshipped and then shocked them all as she seemed to imply they had turned someone close to Baine and Isobel and that they had killed them.


Malikhi got frustrated again as the woman went quiet before telling them who it was and he couldn't work out if it was because she was got to weak to carry on, or if Caleb had deliberately severed the psychic link to stop her saying something he didn't want them to hear, he was beginning to feel a lack of trust and it was making him paranoid.


Reminding him of how he and Alex felt back when they grew up in the cult of the Vampyre Amarohs. The opposite of everything he'd felt and been since Caleb rescued them.


As part of the cult that worshipped him they both felt forever afraid that they would be sacrificed so a weakened Amarohs could drink their blood as his loyal followers tried to reawaken him from his injury induced slumber, or worse be turned into one of his feeble minded human vampyre crossbreed he used as his army.


With Caleb they were safe from physical and mental harm they were trained and re-educated them about the evils of Demon worship, told the truth about the Demons enslavement of humanity and the war Humans had waged against them to free themselves and to eliminate all the Demons from their world thousands of years ago.


Malikhi (his friends usually just called him Mal) felt as if all that was coming undone even his relationship with Alex because his brother remained loyal to Caleb refusing to question him or Chase who was on as much of a quest for vengeance as her father.


She was angrier than he'd ever known her to be and whether it was the brave, fearless, clever and determined young woman he had worked so well with or the funny and sexy young woman he'd had a relationship with both versions of her were nowhere to be seen.


Instead she'd been running around without any plan lashing out at anyone that might be an enemy, all without letting herself grieve for two people she loved.


Yet still Alex didn't do his job properly being able to stand up to them and get them to focus the mission or being the bridge between her and Caleb and the team, he knew his older brother was too weak to do that.


Alex was simply too in awe of Caleb for saving them and to love struck with Chase to really stop them when they were just out on a killing spree. He was ignoring Malikhi's pleas to get tough with them to keep the rest of the team in the loop about the mission's objectives


Alex was angry with him over the relationship he had been in with Chase when he'd known all along he'd been in love with her for years. He was also annoyed that his younger brother had the confidence to go for it with her. Only for him to be the one to break up with her, that had always annoyed Alex.


Malikhi knew Alex hadn't appreciated him doing that, but Alex problems with Mal were for them to sort out some other time, for now it was about the mission.


They'd finally gotten some answers from the woman but as the team went back to searching through the debris, he wanted more, but not wanting to start a fight Mal waited till Caleb had gone to talk to Alex and he wasn't going to take any more stalling.


As he walked up to where Alex was searching he was shocked to get a psychic message from Caleb telling him to post a guard outside in case any other cult members showed up unexpectedly.


He was happy to ignore that request as he already posted one of the other team members, Terris before they had entered.


Mal was pleased with himself for having been one step ahead of Caleb. Then he became alarmed about that fact that something was putting Caleb on edge so he sent one more team member outside so they could have the front and back covered.


He chastised himself for not doing that in the first place they should've put a lookout on the highest floor inside, and had at least three members outside securing the perimeter, but he'd been so focused on uncovering the truth about their screw ups he'd made some of his own and now his mistakes could cost lives if they do come under attack.


He'd rectified it now and hoped they should be ok, now to get back to confronting my brother. He thought.


"Brother, we need to talk," he said to Alex, as he approached him. Then added, "I need to know what's been going on this mission and in the last few weeks."


"They've been rushed, ill thought out and confusing, the rest of the team need to know why."


"None of us are used to seeing Caleb or Chase acting recklessly, and this mission may have been the last straw."


"Tell us what happened back at the original ambush, for one thing we didn't know who this cult worshipped so how did we even find them."


"Then we're laying in wait and Caleb of all people loses it and charges out and blows the ambush."


"He dragged us into a fight with more cult members than than we'd anticipated because none of us had done any reconnaissance on the house they lived in before we attacked so we had no clue every resident in every house in the building was one of them."


"You know we're damn lucky none of our people were killed or seriously hurt, we were so unprepared, outnumbered and we lacked any sort of coherent plan."


"If it wasn't for me ordering the team to fall back to regroup and go back at them with a plan, which either Caleb, you or Chase should have had from the start, but none of you did and because of it we could well have been looking at a serious casualty rate."


"That would've been the last straw and you'd have faced a mutiny from the soldiers you're supposed to command. Men and women who don't exactly have a lot of trust in you right now."


"They don't trust me." Alex said more of a resigned statement than an angry or even surprised response.


"Unfortunately they're used to feeling a lack of leadership from you." Mal replied.


"So what is it? I've done to make them feel that way?"


"Honestly where do I start, ok how about a leader wouldn't abandon his team in the middle of any mission let alone one that had been badly planned and then spiralled further out of control."


"Where were you in all that, huh!" Mal said his tone of voice rising despite his intention not to get angry just have a calm conversation with Alex about the mission.


"So where were you? I'll tell you where gone off in a hurry to follow Caleb as per usual and follow Chase like a love sick puppy."


"You've never been able to separate your feelings from your ability to be a leader."


"You think you could do a better job?" Alex asked him.


"Yes, I'm sorry, but yes I do and so do most of the team."


"You know I was expecting a bit more of a response from, considering the last time we had a talk about this it resulted in a fist fight between us."


"Yeah I've still got the scar from when Chase intervened punched me accidentally knocking me out." Alex said as he touched the right side of his head just above his eye where Chase had struck him harder than she'd intended as she broke up the fight between the brothers.


"So if we fought about it before why so passive now." Mal asked him


"Because I realized you're right I am compromised, I can't be the link between them and you, I failed because I am too close to Caleb and Chase and today that cost me my soul, Caleb did something and I did nothing to stop him."


"It was Chases' idea originally and he took it and made it so much worse. I knew it was wrong I knew I should stand up and stop him, or at the very least say something at least let him know that I didn't agree with what he was doing, but I said nothing."


"What happened Alex?"


"The kid the one who got away, we pursued him because we didn't want him getting back to their compound and warning the others about the attack we didn't know how far away it was and couldn't risk them getting more reinforcements."


"You're right to say we were already outnumbered and so unprepared we were in danger of being on the losing side."


"All because Caleb recognised some kind of mark on one of the cult members we had tracked into that building, I swear I've never seen anything like it Caleb just pulled out his pistol, I mean how often does he use that weapon, even less than he uses his blade, but he aimed it and just let rip firing shots indiscriminately."


“Which alerted the others in the building and you're right again brother we didn't now how many were in there or that they were all worshippers of Acafra.”


"You're telling me, the battle starts and we're forced to go on the defensive." Alex was saying before Malikhi cut him off.


"You know I know all this part right, as I was actually there and saw it with my own eyes. I assume you're going to get to a point soon." Malikhi told him.


"Yes, I'm getting to it ok, just be patient."


"I saw the boy a teenager really on the fringes of the battle, he had a blade in his hand but he wasn't using it, he had a pistol in a holster on his hip, but he didn't draw it and when I went to confront him he froze and he looked terrified when he saw me coming towards him he dropped the blade then threw the pistol at me and bolted."


"I was all for letting him go but Caleb saw it and ordered me to go after him and get him back, I didn't really see the point. He was a kid what would he know so I was prepared to let him go, but Caleb was yelling at me to do it, then before I could say yes he told Chase to do it instead, she argued with him that she was busy but he yelled at her until she killed the worshippers she was fighting and went after him."


"Her speed meant it didn't take Chase long to catch up to him, I gave in to Caleb and went as well now as back up as he left to help Chase."


"Great, so the three of you go off after one kid meanwhile the rest of us have our backs against the wall, brilliant can I ask did any of you give us any thought as you left us behind."


"I did and Chase did as we communicated before we caught up to her, I don't think Caleb gave a second thought about leaving the rest of you. Chase was surprised we'd left you to help her and then she got angry that Caleb didn't seem to be able to let her handle things by herself. I mean he was an unarmed kid what could he do against her."


"Chase caught him and trapped him on a rooftop in a force shield he was no longer a threat, Chase had questioned him she knew we weren't far from the base he was running to, here where we're standing right now.


"We were close enough for Chase being able to tell there were about fifty to sixty people in here, so she had the idea to go in alone and use magyck to create a blast wave and take out anyone in here."


"I thought that was a bit excessive but I never spoke up as I didn't want to disappoint her ."


"That's when Caleb came up with his idea to use his magyck abilities to implant the same magyck controlled spell inside the boy, then wipe his mind of the fight and his getaway and just send him in to be detonated and blow the whole lot of them sky high."


"He wanted to use the teenage boy as a bomb."


Mal stopped what he was saying and looked around and it hit him, he did it, didn't he he used that kid as a bomb and blew this place up.


Alex couldn't look his brother in the eye as he started to talk to try and justify what had happened but he couldn't say anything.


"So you just let this happen, you just let Caleb blow up a boy, use him as a delivery system you just stood by and did nothing."


Malikhi was struggling to find the words to express his growing anger, he didn't know what to expect but it wasn't this.


"I...I...How... I don't understand a kid, Caleb blew up a kid to blow up this place and whoever was in it. You, of all people let this happen after everything we went through growing up before Caleb rescued us when we were probably at a similar age to this kid you let him do it."


"How could he do that, I knew he was grief stricken over his friends dying, I didn't realise he'd gone completely out of his mind because of it."


"How could you Alex, how could you just stand by and let him do it, and what about Chase what did she say, it's not like she has a problem arguing with her father, at least tell me she objected that she put up some kind of a fight before he did it."


"Chase did she argued she was appalled by the idea, she argued with him tried to get him to reconsider tried to insist we do it her way. Caleb was angry so he took her out of the situation until it was over."


"Wait what does that mean, he took her out of the situation."


"He put her in an induced trance state and gave her something to focus on, he gave her an imaginary attack by a whole group of these cult members."


"He psychically sidelined his own daughter and again you did nothing I suppose."


"I didn't know what he'd done until after he'd done it and then it was too late I couldn't have done anything even if I had objected."


"Well, what did that do? Never mind I'll ask him myself, right before I kill him"


"No, no, Mal wait, Mal wait... Look it was nothing serious it was simply meant simply be a distraction, an imaginary fight to keep her busy, but it did work out quite like that and I...I didn't know she would react to what he did in that way, I don't even think Caleb expected it.


"Well, tell me what happened."


"Chase lived out some kind of worst case scenario, she imagined a fight that she lost and watched as Caleb and I were killed right before she was killed as well."


"Wow, so pretty much her worst nightmare, seeing those she loves being killed.”


"Well, how long was she under."


"Not long I'm surprised Chase didn't kill the old man."


"Well, she hit him, then swept his legs out from under him and he landed him on his back, winded him and he was left with a few cuts and bruises."


"She hit him, then swept his legs out from under him, he landed on his back. That’s all she did to him. If you ask me she let him off way too easy," Malikhi said.


“If I’d have been there I’d have ripped his head off with my bare hands.”


Alex had a little laugh at that.


"I would've paid a good amount of coin to see that," Alex said.


Malikhi laughed as well and then his tone lets his brother know he was being serious again as he said.

"This is the man you look up to though a man who could do that to his own daughter."

"Look, I can't defend his actions today or my own inaction, but you and I both know Caleb hasn't always been like it. He's angry and dealing with grief or rather not dealing with it."


"Whatever the case, he's the man you've always looked on as a father figure even though he's always been cold blooded and arrogant, on top of that now he's a cold blooded murderer."


"I know that and I know I played a part, which is why I think I'll step down as team leader after this mission and tell Caleb it's yours."

"I'm glad you're doing that, but I can't take your place I would've done gladly a few weeks ago, but not now."

"I can't work with Caleb now, I'll never be able to look in the eyes after this I've got no respect left for him I doubt I'll ever be able to work with him again after this."

"What are you going to do? Where are you going to go?"

"What it's not like he has the only Demon hunting team out there, there are opportunities all over the world and those opportunities are only going to get bigger in future."

"So what about you and me Alex, what do you say to the idea of us going solo a two man team of renegade Demon Hunters."

"What about our team? What about Acafra? If he's coming back they'll need us. Ok, we'll come back for that, but when that's over if we're still alive then we'd be gone again."

"I can't do that, ok so I can't be team leader anymore, but I can't just leave, this is the only real home "I've ever known the only place I've ever really felt safe."

"Is this about Chase, you don't want to leave because you still have feelings for her and you're hoping she might still one day feel the same way, I'm sorry brother but that's a fantasy she doesn't love you never has never will."

"Caleb said something like that in fact he made it pretty clear there would be no future for us."

"I'm fairly certain he meant he'd made sure it ended."

"Typical Caleb, throwing his weight around trying to make his vision the only one that counts."

"But in this case he has a point at best you're a pleasant distraction at worst she's using you to get back at me because I dumped her."

"This again, wow, how little do you think of Chase you think she could be that petty."


"Ahhhh damnit, he yelled, you know what, enough! Malikhi exclaimed.


"Why does it seem that every argument between us always comes back to her." 


"You are right brother, we both have feelings for Chase that much is clear, but which one if indeed it is either of us that she cares for the most is not going to be resolved today and you're also right that Chase isn't that petty that she would take you as a lover to spite me, but neither is that a problem for right now, there's no time to rehash all that."


"Can we at least agree that we need to put it aside."


Right now I have to do something about Caleb, no; we have to do something about him and then we're leaving you and me are getting away from him, from both of them at least for a little while and I don't want to hear any argument from you.


Before Alex had a chance to respond Mal stormed off shouting to him over his shoulder that right now he was going to have a word with Caleb.

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