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  • Home > Anne Bishop > Black Jewels > Tangled Webs (Chapter 99)      Page
  • Tangled Webs(Black Jewels,Book 6)(99) by Anne Bishop
  • At least the special one in the cellar hadn’t been discovered yet. He wantedthat one to survive for the story’s climax.

    “There’s a tunnel here,” Jaenelle said, pointing at the ground. “It’s deep, so it must start in the cellar—maybe even in a chamber below the main cellar—and runs to there.” Her finger traced a line that led to the stables behind the house.

    Daemon pursed his lips, then let out a frustrated sigh. Give him a house party with rooms packed with people and he could pick out his prey and make the kill while gliding through the crowd—and more often than not, no one realized what he’d done. But this kind of tracking was as frustrating to him as reading was to Lucivar. And admitting he needed help was just as humiliating. “Does the Black shield go down deep enough to block the tunnel?”

    Jaenelle’s eyes had the unfocused look of someone deep in thought. “Not quite,” she finally said. “There’s enough space between the tunnel floor and the shield for someone to crawl out.”

    “Then I should extend the shield.”

    She gave him a sharp, feral smile. “I have a better idea. Yuli, take a look at this.”

    “How did you know there’s a tunnel?” Yuli asked.

    Good question,Daemon thought.

    “The Arcerian cats build dens deep beneath the snow,” Jaenelle replied. “Since some of the cats are my friends, I learned to recognize the feel of a tunnel or chamber that is deep underground. That was the only way I could find their homes.”

    "So you’ve been finding tunnels like this since you were a child?" Daemon asked.

    "Yes." “Speaking of Arcerians…”

    Jaenelle held out her hand, palm up. A moment later, a small tangled web appeared, protected by a bubble shield that rested in her hand. A moment after that…

    Yuli stared at the white cat that now stood on Jaenelle’s hand.

    “This is an Arcerian cat,” Jaenelle said.

    “It’s so tiny.”

    I wish,Daemon thought.

    Jaenelle gave him a sharp look, as if she’d heard the thought—or at least suspected what he was thinking.

    “This is the first stage of the illusion,” Jaenelle said. “This little cat will get as big as the real ones.” With a fingertip, she stroked the tiny white head.

    The purr that came out of that little shadow was that of full-sized Kaelas when he was being petted and was a happy, happy cat—the purr that was strong enough to make Jaenelle’s spell-strengthened bed vibrate.

    “You know Surreal,” Jaenelle said to the shadow cat. “You know Rainier. You know Lucivar. You will not hurt them. If someone is with them and they tell you the person is a friend, you will not harm that person.” She paused, then added too softly,

    “Kill everything else that tries to leave.”

    The tiny cat vanished. Because he was trying to sense it, Daemon felt the moment when the shadow cat reappeared deep in the ground beneath them.

    “The shadow has slipped under your shield,” Jaenelle said.

    “Now the next part of the spell will engage.”

    Yes, Daemon decided as the three of them walked back to the Coach. Jaenelle’s shadow Kaelaswas better than simply extending the shields. Anyone entering that tunnel would find an eight-hundred-pound cat waiting to kill him.

    Try to touch it and it would be as solid as smoke. But when the cat struck…

    Nothing was going to get out of that tunnel except the people the shadow had been told to recognize.

    TWENTY-ONE

    “It’s solid,” Rainier said, giving the ceiling above the stairs one last whack with the poker before joining Surreal and the children. “The spell must have been designed to let us pass through the floor.”

    “Damn dangerous thing to do,” Surreal said. Using Craft, the Blood could pass through solid objects—like walls and floors—but it wasn’t something that should be done carelessly. And passing flesh through a solid object without the person’s being aware of the pass could be fatal.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire