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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 71)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(71) by Anne Bishop
  • On the other hand, he might be right. She couldn’t actuallysee where she was, and the stairshad seemed to go on too long and in a peculiar direction. "The candle went out, and I don’t have any matches. I’m going to have to use Craft to light it." And close another exit when she did. She wanted his agreement, since she wouldn’t be closing another exit just for herself.

    "Put a tongue of witchfire on the candle," Rainier said. "Give it enough power when you make it to burn for several hours. You can light other candles with it when you find them, but at least you’ll know nothing can snuff it out."

    "Nothing but getting doused with more power than I give it," Surreal replied. But he had a valid point. Witchfire was created with power and didn’t need fuel or air. A draft wouldn’t put it out. Neither would water. In fact, Marian sometimes shaped witchfire into a flower and floated it inside a glass vase filled with water. It was beautiful—and a little eerie—to see fire floating in the middle of water.

    "All right," she said. "I’ll—"

    Something there. A soft scuffle and a new, faint scent competing with the hallway’s musty air.

    She sidestepped to her right, away from the sound—and away from the possibility of someone shoving her down the stairs.

    "Something’s here," she said.

    "What is it?"

    "Don’t know. Haven’t made the witchfire yet."

    She raised the poker like a shield in front of her, took another step to the side, and banged her hip on a table. She pivoted to bring herself around the table, extending her left arm to set the candle down. In that moment she felt the rush of air as something lunged at her, felt the swipe of knife or claws aiming for her exposed left side.

    And she hesitated a moment too long before she created a protective shield tight enough to be a second skin.

    A double slice through shirt and skin in that moment before the shield formed around her. A shiver along nerves that were uncertain if they should send a message of pleasure or pain. Then…pain.

    She swung the poker, a backhanded blow that connected with someone hard enough to send the person slamming into the opposite wall.

    A ball of witchlight floated above the table before she consciously decided to make one. But she saw her adversary—and silently swore when the light glinted off the hourglass that hung from a tarnished silver chain around the witch’s neck.

    A Black Widow who was very much one of the demon-dead, judging by how badly misshapen the head and face were from the blows that must have killed her. And not the same Black Widow who had attacked her downstairs.

    “You want to tangle with me, you come ahead,” Surreal said.

    “I’m in the mood to kill something.”

    The Black Widow laughed. “You think you cankill me? Look again.”

    “All right, maybe I’m too late to kill you, and maybe I won’t even be able to finish the kill. But if you don’t back off, Ican arrange for you to become a permanent resident of a part of Hell that will make this place look like a high-class indulgence.”

    “Even when you become demon-dead you won’t have that much power.”

    “Actually, sugar, since my uncle is the High Lord, I’ll be able to send you anywhere I damn well please. He’ll make sure of it.”

    The Black Widow hesitated, then smiled as much as her misshapen face allowed. “You won’t be going anywhere, not even to Hell. I can wait to finish you, bitch.” She passed through the wall and vanished.

    “Shit,” Surreal muttered. “Guess there’s no penalty for using Craft once you’re dead.” Or part of the spells woven into the house.

    She huffed out a breath and winced. First she needed to take care of the wound, figure out how bad it was—and whether she’d just been poisoned. Then she would deal with whatever came next. Right now she was certain of two things: she was in the upstairs back hallway and Rainier wasn’t.


    No answer. Nothing but a strange, gray blankness.


    An aural shield must have been triggered, one that not only blocked out ordinary sounds but also prevented communication along psychic threads.

    Had the gong sounded? She’d been too preoccupied to notice. Had Rainier heard it, or was that sound also blocked by the aural shield?

    Leaving the unlit candle on the table, she took the poker and the ball of witchlight. The first door on her right was a bathroom. A narrow space with no room to maneuver if she had to fight. But it might have clean water, and that was something she needed right now.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire