(A/N) Woo-Hoo My first update on this thing since March 1st! Wow that's a long time! Sorry to all my readers, I understand if you hate me, but life has taken a couple of spins since March 1st! Please R&R, it's not the best chapter ever, but I hope it's worth the wait!
Staring stupidly at the muddy tire tracks stretching put in front of me, I knew what had happened, but my brain wouldn't wrap around it. Glalda wasn't dead; I hadn't killed him, and know he had my friends. It was my fault. If I had made sure the bastard was dead, this wouldn't be happening. But I couldn't focus on that now; I had to find something that would let me catch them.
A car. Or even a van. It didn't matter, I just needed one. I ran around camp, pulling my orange hood up to cover as much skin as possible so it wouldn't get scorched by the watery (but effective) sunlight. I knew that that SUV hadn't been the only vehicle they had used to bring these here, but I wasn't have any luck finding another one. I looked behind the caravans, through the tents; I even looked out in the woods behind where they had chained up Mr. Crepsley, Gavner, and Evra. No luck.
I was running out of time. Depending on how fast he was driving, Glalda could be out of the state by now! I had to get moving. I walked back over to the tire tracks, desperately trying to think of a plan. The bloody footprints through the light snow gave me an idea. So crazy it just might work.
What had Mr. Crepsley said, "Hold your breath"? So, holding my breath, and marking the nearest tree as my goal, I tried to flit for the first time. BAM! That tree has an almost perfect imprint of my face, but it worked! Excitedly, I tried to do it again, picking the pole as my target this time! Except for the bad stop that sent me tumbling into the snow, I was completely successful.
But I didn't have any more time to practice; I had to get moving, the longer I waited the more distance Glalda was putting between us. Grabbing the surviving backpack, and the dagger from the vampaneze I had first killed, I turned back to the tracks. Gathering a huge breath, I pushed every ounce of speed I had in my body forward and ran after my friends.
It was exhilarating. I could feel my hair blow up behind me, and the wind rush over my skin through my hoodie. I was moving four times as fast as a car, the speed was thrilling. I watched the tracks under me, making sure I was keeping up with them as I watched my feet move so fast that they were blurs under my eyes.
The harder I ran, the fresher the tracks looked. I knew I was close, and it's a good thing, I was running out of air. Smack! With a loud thud, first my knees and then my upper body hit the trunk of the van with a crunch of metal. I looked up. Dazed and almost drunken-like I pulled my head up and looked around. I was defiantly attached to the back of our van; I could see Mr. Crepsley's bloodstains on the fabric of the trunk. But they were defiantly not in there.
Pulling my knees out of the scrunched up metal of the ruined rear fender, I hopped down onto the ground, still pumped full of adrenaline from flitting. As soon as my hand pulled even a little down from the sleeve, the oddest tingling sensation took up in my hand, like someone was scarping it with a piece of steel wool. Quickly pulling it back into the orange clothes, I realized I would have to be careful out here in the open, where the sun could burn me to a crisp in a matter of hours.
Shuddering at the thought, I looked around for my friends and their kidnapper. Well, vampire-snakeboy-napper. I didn't see them, but I was standing at the foot of a mountain. It was rugged, with a roughly carved peak and what looked like a stream jutting out form the care of the landmark. In an odd way, it was actually beautiful; it looked peaceful and serene in the midst of all that was going on. But more importantly, it felt like this was where I was supposed to be, like a home for the vampire part of me.
I shook my head, clearing away thoughts of the mountain, and steering them back to my missing friends. They were what was important, not the mountain. I walked around to the front of the van, and saw that the keys were missing from the ignition, so I couldn't use it. But there was something even more valuable, drops of blood paving a trail through the thin layer of white snow on the ground.
I sniffed. It was dark enough to be a creature of the night, but it wasn't vampaneze. It was, without a doubt, Mr. Crepsley's. But with the amount of blood he had been losing, I was surprised there wasn't a road of the stuff, not just a few drops. Glalda knew how to hide his tracks.
So know I was faced with a difficult decision. I could flit, and probably catch them instantly. But that ran the risk of burning and running right into them. Or I could follow them at a walk or slow jog. Which wouldn't get me there any faster, but it would give me some secrecy. Adjusting the straps on the backpack, I opted for walking.
It was a long walk, even worse in the frigid air. I noticed that the more I walked, the closer I got to the mountain, and the more uncomfortable I got. Glalda shouldn't be here, and to be honest, Evra shouldn't be here either, but that wasn't his choice.
"Shut up, Vampire!" That froze my blood the second I heard it. It was Glalda's voice, rougher, and somewhat ragged. "I didn't drag you all the way to this mountain to talk."
"You shouldn't have dragged us to the mountain at all!" Gavner spoke now, his voice tight with hate and what sounded like worry. "This place is sacred to vampires, you're kind don't belong here."
"Neither does the green boy, but you haven't said anything to him." Glalda snapped back in reply.
"He isn't holding my friend prisoner to make us do what he wants." Gavner said, hissing through his teeth. I got closer to them, to the point that I could see them in the distance. They were standing on one of the ledges, near what looked like a gate.
"Be quiet, were going in." I ran up the mountain, staying hidden enough so they couldn't see me, but I could see what was going on with them.
They were standing by a gate, cornered by two guards, who were big enough to be pro-wrestlers. "Halt!" The one on the left said, extending a spear. "You are not a vampire!"
The other one stepped up, both had their weapons pointed at Glalda's chest; ready to shishkabab him, if they needed to. "Please let me in, I have something very important to tell you're princes. Besides I have an injured vampire 'friend of mine' who I want to see taken care of." Glalda's voice was so sickly sweet it hurt to listen to it.
"You are not a vampire." The guard repeated, but he looked uncertain.
"No, but I 'm sure they'll want to hear what I have to tell." Glalda said, and then pulled Mr. Crepsley up tight to his chest, to look like he was helping him, but I could see the knife. He couldn't fool me.
"Very well. Gavner Purl, vampire general, do you vouch for yourself, this vampaneze, and this half-human boy?" The guard asked, turning his attention to Gavner.
Gavner glanced over at Glalda, and I knew he could see the knife to, pressing into Mr. Crepsley's back. "I do."
"Then you may enter. Have a good council." The guard backed away and both pressed their fingers to their eyelids and forehead, in a gesture that I knew was significant without knowing why.
As soon as the iron bars snapped shut behind him, I stepped up to where the vampire could see me. Before I could stop them, the words came pouring out of my mouth, "I'. Darren Shan, come to seek council."