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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 120)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(120) by Chloe Neill
  • “Merit!” She screamed and I looked back. The dragon’s claw—four armored black toes with two-foot-long black talons—speared into the alley, inches from my face, the talons curled and grasping.

    Trying to find us, it slammed against the wall, sending the sound of brick shattering over Mallory’s scream. It found the Dumpster, pushed it backward.

    Mallory scrambled to her feet to avoid being crushed, and jumped out of the way, into the middle of the alley, where it clawed again, trying to reach us with the tips of its gleaming red-black nails. The plating was different, I realized—the armor different on its toes than on the rest of its body. Slimmer, smaller, probably because flexibility was needed. And maybe, just maybe, vulnerable to a sword . . .

    I WILL DESTROY.

    “You most certainly will not destroy,” I said, and raised my katana, sliced down. Blood welled, the scent of it as foul as the garbage in the alley.

    The dragon screamed, reared back and pulled up its injured foot, stumbled backward and fell against an SUV parked behind it, crushing the vehicle.

    I knew a chance when I saw it. I grabbed Mallory’s hand and dragged her out of the alley.

    “Bridge!” I said, scanning the neighborhoods on the other side, and spotting the stairs that led down to the El platform. There was no way it could fit down the concrete stairs into the tunnel. We’d be free of it. And with luck, we could make it back to Cadogan House.

    PAIN.

    We tore across the street, were steps onto the bridge, when the dragon found its footing again. It reached the tower at the end of the bridge, long nails gripping the stonework as its wings flapped, sending brick and gravel flying.

    Fear speared through me, regret at the possibility I’d led Mallory the wrong way, made the wrong decision. But there was a dragon behind us, and water beneath us. We had to keep running. We had to get to the stairwell.

    “Run!” I told Mallory, and we pounded pavement across the bridge.

    And then the lights began flashing ahead of us, and the entire roadway began to vibrate. I glanced back at the river, where an icebreaker—one of the ships sent out by the city to keep the river flowing—was heading out to the lake.

    It took me a moment to realize what was happening.

    This was a bascule bridge, a roadway that could actually be opened in the middle to let tall ships through, each side lifting into the air, weighted by huge blocks on the shore.

    They were raising the bridge.

    The ship couldn’t stop without ramming the bridge. Which meant, between us and the bridge, the bridge won, even though we were still on it.

    I looked ahead at the growing gap between the decks, and the rising incline of pavement above the water. I didn’t know how wide the river was here—a hundred feet? more?—but the gap in the road between the bridge’s decks would soon be nearly that wide, and the decks nearly vertical.

    The dragon’s scream cut through indecision. It pushed off the tower, its claws throwing off stones as it lifted into the air. The stones fell like meteorites onto the asphalt.

    We couldn’t help them, or we’d put the dragon’s attention right on them. Jumping into near-freezing water didn’t sound much better. That left only one option.

    “Mallory, we need to haul ass right now.”

    “Oh shit!” she said, pumping her arms as we took off, and she settled in beside me, breath huffing.

    But with each step the incline grew, the deck slowly rising, so that we had to run with bodies angled forward, nearly on our toes. And all the while, the gap widened.

    “Oh, this is gonna be close.”

    “I can do it,” I told her. “Just stick by me.” I grabbed her hand. “Whatever happens, don’t let go.”

    Vampires and gravity are friends, I told myself, heart racing, feet pounding pavement. Vampires and gravity are friends.

    Forty feet.

    The dragon’s wings beat ferociously behind us, so dust and rocks beat at our backs like tiny bullets. It was drawing closer, the heat of its magically manifested body bearing down on us like a cruel sun, the chemical smell burning in the backs of our throats.

    We were beating the rise, making progress toward the gap. I could feel Mallory slowing—she didn’t have my biological advantage—but I kept my grip firm around her wrist, tugging her along as I stared determinedly at the finish line, and the empty space that was growing in front of it.

    We were going to have to jump.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire