Both Aimee and Blaze heard the crack of the ribs.
Blaze reached out for the blade she had tucked snugly into her leather knee-high boot and she flung the blade with precision into the heart of the blood-bonded male lying on the floor.
The blade embedded itself deep into the youth's heart—a result of the force of Blaze's throw—so that only less than half an inch of the hilt could be seen.
On the same cadence, Blaze and Aimee drew their gleaming swords from the sheath on their backs.
Glowing with sweat, Aimee glanced over at Blaze and the air of confidence—with a touch of arrogance—that Blaze seemed to have around her.
Blaze seemed more confident than usual and the fact that she had just executed three blood-bonded humans all at once, a second ago, might have had something to do with it.
They had only been at the social for less than two minutes, not bothering themselves with keeping a low profile until the "time was right".
They hit hard and fast. They made the first move and it gave them the upper hand, catching every social-goer off guard.
The night had only begun and so had they.
Blaze had already earned her name tonight: indeed, she was on fire.
The first one to make the move was an ill-experienced young blood-bonded male. He rushed to fight Blaze with a butcher knife from the kitchen, but the witch vampire-hunter disarmed him in a matter of three simple moves.
Her foot landed with accuracy to the blood-bonded male's hand, knocking the butcher knife from him. Blaze rammed her solid forehead into his face, causing a mild concussion, and she hurled him in the air and threw him back down onto the floor.
Blaze hissed at the next blood-bonded human that rushed at her, her features seeming to contort into something demonic. This blood-bonded human was a young female, no more than fourteen-years-old, with flaming red hair and freckles. A good majority of the time, it was usually young women who were blood-bonded to vampires. Vampires had far better control over the seduction of a young female's mind than a young male's.
She stepped off to the side and kicked the blood-bonded female in the back of her head, knocking her out cold.
Blaze darted around to see how Aimee was faring and she snarled at the weak vampire that advanced upon Aimee.
Something urged Blaze to aid Aimee. She always felt that way when she sensed that Aimee's safety was threatened. It was a basic instinct for her, something she believed she was born with.
Nonetheless, over the course of time, Blaze had learned to step aside and allow Aimee to handle her own fights.
Only in the direst of situations would Blaze be needed.
Aimee knew damn well how to take care of herself.
With a grunt, Blaze backhand punched a blood-bonded human. Blood spurted from his nose when she jammed it up into his brain, with almost enough effort to kill him. But her thirst for killing leeches was not satisfied nor quenched with half-breeds like the blood-bonded humans. She wanted the real thing and as her energy level exploded at its zenith, she knew she was ready to take on a vampire.
Bring it on, she invited with a smile on her pale face.
She leaped up into the air and while making a full circle, delivered spry kicks to the blood-bonded human's face.
Spit showered out of his mouth when she finally relented, but only because she felt the aura of an imminent vampire. It was exactly what she wanted.
Blaze paused and turned to Aimee to determine whether or not she needed any help.
Aimee was taking care of herself. She shoved a girl's face into the wall and with a rip to her hair, yanked the girl down to the floor.
"You'll stay down if you know what's good for you," Aimee instructed.
The two met up together.
At this point, Aimee could also sense the presence of a vampire in their midst. She readied herself for the challenge.
Blaze and Aimee traded looks.
Blaze saw through Aimee's calm façade. Inside, Aimee was concerned with what they would face.
Blaze could not quite understand Aimee's fear. They had faced enough vampires in their lifetimes to be ready to handle anything and everything that came in their way. But Blaze supposed it was only natural for Aimee to have her doubts sometimes. After all, it was only human.
A dark figure arose out of the shadows, beginning to take form.
This was the vampire that Blaze and Aimee had been hunting for two days and they had found her so easily—too easily, Blaze considered.
"You've been looking for me," the shape in the shadows said, sounding genuinely surprised. "I must say that I am very impressed by the fact that you were able to find me on your second day since the mission was assigned. Quite the master of time, you two are."
A sharp smile made its way to the corner of Blaze's mouth. "We pride ourselves on it," the raven-haired vampire hunter returned.
"As you very well should," the vampire commended.
Now that she had stepped into a better line of vision, Blaze and Aimee saw her lovely features well.
With a face beautifully sculpted out of white marble by who could have been Leonardo da Vinci, Vondila stood up straight, her challenging eyes and blunt nature never losing their brilliance.
Black was Vondila's choice of color tonight. Her sleek strapless black dress that fell down to her ankles complimented her petite body. Blue topaz spheres emitted a heavenly glow and silky ink-black hair framed her cold-as-death, white-as-stone face.
She inched forward. "So tell me, why have you been yearning to drive that blade through my heart?"
"You're a leech," Blaze replied with a cock of her head sideways. "That's reason enough."
Vondila chuckled at Blaze's bold attitude. "And you believe that all vampires are bad?"
"I know that all leeches are bad," Blaze responded.
"She's had experience with them," Aimee voiced in. "A lot of experience." If anyone knew, it would be Aimee Vylette, Blaze Spiral's best friend.
"Foolish witches," Vondila hissed at them. "I have been drinking blood and killing your kind since before you took your first breath."
Blaze's face was stone. "And that's supposed to scare us?"
"Words are nothing," Vondila told them. Upon finishing that sentence, it seemed that her attitude changed. "I tire of this banter."
Blaze and Aimee positioned the points of their swords menacingly in front of Vondila.
"So do we," Aimee agreed.
"I've only warmed up," Blaze said, adrenaline pumping through her system. "Now it's time for the real thing."
Vondila smiled wickedly at the two vampire hunters. "My reasons for being here is none of your concern. I have done nothing to disturb anything."
"You've fed on four humans since the first night you got here two days ago," Aimee reminded her, mentally pulling up her list of statistics. "That's our concern."
The vampire paced in front of them. "Ah, yes, the so-called righteous witch vampire-hunters, so concerned with protecting humankind and ridding the world of evil . . ." She trailed off, froze, and stared Blaze in the eyes. "We all know that's not the truth."
Vondila propelled her thoughts into Aimee's mind.
You know she's more evil than the vampires she hunts, Aimee heard Vondila say.
Without even replying to it—refusing to listen to what Vondila had said—Aimee built up a small burst of energy that she shot at the mental connection Vondila had made in her mind. That sent Vondila out of her head.
Vondila only laughed. "You hunters always amuse me," she cackled. "Your spirit," she glanced at Aimee. "Your arrogance," she gazed at Blaze. "But none of that is important to me. I have had enough of this conversation. I take my exit." Vondila turned around.
There was no way Blaze would ever let her go that easily. She had already allowed one leech to live, just a week ago. She would be damned if she let anymore.
"You can't exit until you've passed through us," Blaze declared, hers and Aimee's swords glinting with light.
Aimee knew Blaze's next words. She said them for Blaze. "And that's easier said than done."
Vondila half-turned and raised a pointed brow at them, appearing truly intrigued by the challenge they seemed to be throwing at her face. "Oh really?"
Vondila could see that they would truly not let her pass without a struggle to the death—either hers or theirs. But she knew of this infamous duo, the legendary Blaze Spiral and Aimee Vylette, knew that if she risked fighting now, she risked losing her heart to a blade.
Better to retreat now, Vondila schemed. And do what I have to do some other time. Patience will keep you alive, she reminded herself.
Her gaze swept over the blood-bonded humans loyal to her inside the social. They would do what was necessary to keep Vondila alive until she could make a good clean escape.
Kill them both, Vondila commanded to the humans she had blood-bonded herself to, and then to some others who had mixed into the social crowd.
Blaze and Aimee sensed the shift of the intentions of the blood-bonded humans. They readied their swords, knowing they would need them.
The blood-bonded humans began to close in on them, their hungry eyes sending shivers down Aimee's spine. In a way, the Vylette hunter sympathized with them.
Even if they chose to be blood-bonded, Aimee's view was that they were still human and deserved to live. It was possible to turn a blood-bonded human back to a pureblood, meaning that they would have to wash out all the vampiric contamination, but it was not easy and it was certainly not done without effort.
But she could tell Blaze didn't want to spare them tonight.
"Aimee?" Blaze called out without even sending a sidelong glance to her friend.