Book 4, Chapter 30

For a tense moment I thought Mr. Kallaher was going to refuse to help just because we had a plan he couldn’t shoot down — but that turned out to just be paranoia on my part. “Yes,” he said instead. “I can support that plan. On the condition that if it doesn’t pan out, you agree to reconvene here and don’t go haring off on some new track that I haven’t agreed to.”

“Okay.” I breathed out in relief. “I can agree to that. I think I’d want your input as to what might work if I were coming up with a new plan, anyway.”

“So,” John interjected, “What can you do for her, Mitchell? You wouldn’t have made this big a fuss about helping us if you hadn’t already thought of something that would put a serious crimp in Mr. Lewellan’s schemes.”

Mr. Kallaher chuckled. He straightened in his seat, and then sat back, affecting an arrogant lounge. “Oh, I can throw Director Lewellan for a loop or two,” he said with a grin. “Right here we’ve got two of the amulets he’s been tracking Abigail with, and her father. It won’t even be that hard to work some sympathetic magic, like to like, and trick the other amulets into following someone else for a while. It would work better with her mother, but since she is of her father’s flesh and the amulets are akin to the other amulets being used, I can spoof Lewellan’s spell twice: once by making these amulets draw the attention of the others of their sort, and once by making you,” he nodded at my dad, “appear to be your daughter as far as these spells are concerned.”

I bit my lip. I didn’t really know a lot about magic, but since Melvin hadn’t been able to tell the difference between my leyline and Megan’s when he’d tried to teleport to her while I was thirsting, I knew that kind of misdirection could be done. If Mr. Kallaher thought he could pull it off deliberately, that would be fantastic. But I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of my dad running decoy for me, and being chased by all of Lewellan’s goons. Also…

“Won’t they realize there’s two of me running around?” I asked. If Lewellan’s people could put that together, they’d just split up. I might not be in as much trouble, but neither would I have quite the same safety in numbers — especially since if we chose to do this there was no way I wasn’t going to split up our group more and send people with Dad to make sure he was kept safe.

Mr. Kallaher shook his head. “They would if there really were two of you running around, but as long as you are traveling by warded vehicle..? And I have a charm or two I can spare you that will help mask your presence to the other amulets. Between the strong pull of the decoy and the muted pull of yourself, your pursuers should be left unaware.”

I nodded slowly. “I don’t like it,” I said anyway. “I don’t want my dad to bear that kind of risk.”

“Too bad, pumpkin,” Dad replied. “What do we need to do to set this up?” he asked Mr. Kallaher.

Mr. Kallaher leaned back. He stared at the ceiling for a bit, his mouth moving ever so slightly as he thought. I could almost make out sub-vocalized words as he composed his list. Then he looked at my dad. “I’ll have to start by preparing the amulets. Fortunately, there is energy left in our circle from my coven’s last power raising ritual. Enough for our purposes, I think. I doubt the spells will last more than an hour or two, but it will be enough to give your daughter a considerable head start to seek out one of Archarel’s fae.”

Dad nodded. I tried to protest again, but he overrode me. “I’ll do it,” he said firmly.

“Then I’d best be starting,” Kallaher replied. He glanced around the circle, and then stood. “My coven’s sanctum is on the second floor. The wards there are significantly more severe than those in the public areas of my home, or I would invite you to observe. Unfortunately, since permitting strangers to cross them would undo some of their reinforcements, I will have to settle for asking you to make yourselves at ease on this floor. Johnny, if you want to head to the cold room while I work you know the way downstairs.”

John grinned wryly. “Thank you, Mitchell,” he said earnestly. “For everything.”

Mr. Kallaher shook his head. “You know my motivations, Johnny. The meal? You’re welcome. It isn’t in me to force anyone to starve. But the rest? That, I am not doing for you. I am doing it because the Director who should be protecting us is letting himself be too distracted by his own pettiness to do so, and because the danger of Archarel having a second, unguarded, gate and a changeling is too much for me to allow to go unchecked.”

“Nonetheless,” Benjamin opined, “we are appropriately grateful.”

Mr. Kallaher just shook his head again.  He collected the two amulets — one from me and one from Justin — and began shuffling out of the room. John stood and followed. I didn’t even wait for them to finish leaving before I turned on my dad. I got out of my chair and knelt next to his, grabbing his hands and making him look at me.

“You don’t have to do this!” I protested vehemently. The thought of what would have happened if Dad had been the one to face down Adrian and his posse made my stomach drop and my veins run cold. I mean, sure: he was my dad and I’d always thought he was some kind of a superhero, but I wasn’t stupid. He was a normal human underneath all that childhood idolization. Dad wouldn’t have stood a chance.

“I do,” he said in firm denial. “Abby, you’re my little girl. I don’t care if you can lift trucks and outrun time. I’m your father, and it’s my job to protect you from anything and everything I can.”

I felt my face start to crumple. “But that’s just stupid!” I protested. “I can take whatever Lewellan has coming after us and keep on going. I have so far! But you… you’ll… they’ll…”

“I know, pumpkin,” Dad said. He looked at me and he looked sad — sad, but determined. “If they catch up with me, that’ll be the end of this ploy for certain. But I’ll head out of town, hit the interstate and keep going. I’ll draw them away, and if I think I can’t escape I’ll ditch the amulets and disappear on them.” He smiled. “I’ll probably be safer than you, what with your plans to hunt down a faerie and confront Archarel to rescue your friends. I wish I could protect you from that part, but there really wouldn’t be anything I could do there. At least this way you have a chance, sweetie. Or don’t you think that Lewellan and his goons bumbling toward you would alert any fae you were sneaking up on that it was time for them to run?”

I started to cry. I wasn’t even sure why. Part of me knew Dad could handle himself. Part of me knew he couldn’t, not up against this. What would be coming after him? There was still one more scion out there. One of Lewellan’s ghouls, too. And Lewellan himself. Plus the vampires’ donors. More solocks, maybe? It was too much, too dangerous, and he didn’t have to risk it. Megan and Emma were my friends. Dad barely knew them, even if I had known Megan for years. Which meant he was really doing this for me.

It was so unfair. I would be such a selfish, greedy bitch if I made Dad shoulder my risks — and what had I ever done to deserve that kind of parental dedication?

Oh god. If anything happened to him, what would I tell Mom?

Dad freed his hands and wrapped me up in a hug. “I’ll be fine,” he said soothingly.

I shook my head. I knew better than anyone what he was going to be going up against, because I’d been doing it for the past few days — and it had already killed me once. More than once, if going dormant counted. The supernatural didn’t pull punches. They would rip your soul out in a heartbeat. “You’re taking John with you,” I said. I knew it meant admitting defeat. “And Justin and Derrick and Adam and, and…” I didn’t know the names of Benjamin’s other donors. “Ben, you have to go, too, with all your people.”

Benjamin started to protest, and Dad did, too. So did Derrick, actually. I refused to listen to the jumbled babble of their reasons. “I’m hunting a faerie,” I said, sitting up and twisting so I could glare at everyone. “And everyone here except Dad and Benjamin has a damaged aura. That makes a faerie extra dangerous to all of you. Dad has to go to play the decoy. Okay. I can’t make him stay here and be safe. But I can make the rest of you go with him where you’ll be safer.” No one was going to be safe tonight.

God, if Archarel came through a portal with Megan at his side then that would be true of the entire city. No one was going to be safe until this was done.

“I don’t want to hear protests,” I said sharply. I stood and tried my best to ignore my tear-streaked face. “I’ve done this before. I can manage it on my own. But if everything goes all messed up, then whatever they throw at Dad is going to be something they think can handle me. If nothing else, having a vampire, a ghoul, a couple of solocks and some donors at least puts him on even footing against anything except Lewellan himself. So no arguments. Got it?”

“Abigail…” Dad started to protest.

Of all people, Ben was the one who stopped him. “She has the right of it. I’m sorry, sir, but I’m with your daughter on this. If you’re going to play decoy then you need to have enough people to get away if Lewellan’s people catch up or you’ll turn into a pawn he can leverage against her. I don’t think you want that.”

Dad looked at Benjamin as though the vampire had betrayed him, though when the two of them had formed an alliance I had no idea. Finally Dad’s shoulders slumped. “Alright,” he said.

“No,” Fumiko interrupted. Then she looked around. “I mean: fine, the rest of you can go and distract Lewellan and his people, but I’m going with Abby.”

“Fumiko!” I protested.

She tilted her head toward me. “I thought you didn’t want to hear any protests?” Fumiko teased. “That should apply to the ones coming out of your mouth, too. You aren’t going to dissuade me. Megan is my friend, too. You barely took anything out of me: I know, I’ve felt what it’s like to be drained before — when Megan was experimenting. Faeries feed on fear. Look at me. Look at my aura. Do I look afraid to you?”

I swallowed. Fumiko smiled, though through her leyline I realized that the kind expression should have been a victorious smirk. She wasn’t afraid at all.

“They aren’t extra dangerous to me,” Fumiko contended, “because I won’t give them a handle to latch on to. Meanwhile, you need someone’s help, Abby. Or do you really think you can do whatever it is you do to track down a faerie while driving around downtown?”

I opened my mouth. Closed it. Opened it and closed it again.

That’s so unfair! I silently protested. Just because I’m afraid of driving. And need to be in a warded vehicle as much as possible to help Dad’s decoy work…

“Okay,” I said. “Fumiko can come with me. No one else.”

No one protested further. No one looked happy, except Fumiko, either.

But because I was looking at her leyline still, I knew Fumiko wasn’t exactly happy, despite her easy smile. No, she was something entirely different. She was confident. We were going to catch a faerie together, and we were going to make it tell us how we could rescue Megan.

Even if Fumiko had to tear its wings off and break every bone in its be-glamoured body to do it.

Midnight Moonlight, Book 4

16 responses to Book 4, Chapter 30

  1. Yay, for more. And finally we are getting to the meat of this story.

    Thanks for the chapter.

    • Eren Reverie

      Ha-ha. Was the pacing too far off on this one? I suppose I did front-load this book with more action than the others, and I hope that didn’t detract to much from the rate of plot development. Then again, I do feel that this is a character driven story as much as a plot driven one — I suspect people read as much for seeing Abby develop as to see what happens next, and I think the early conflicts and action helped her development along — as well as providing us with some fun new characters. So hopefully I’m managing a good balance of everything. 😉 Plus, action adventure OP awesomeness is fun!

    • Eren Reverie

      Oh, and you’re welcome. 😉

  2. naturalnuke

    Love Fumiko. XD

  3. danielmc73

    Well I’m glad the. People she cares about are going to be better protected. I don’t worry so much about Abigail as one of her enemy’s managing to get more of her precious peoplebut she . Should be able to protect one while the others run from the city 🙂

    • Eren Reverie

      Yeah. Abby’s turning out to be a tough cookie — but even though she’s only gotten out of the most recent jams she’s been in with help from others it’s still a lot easier to worry about her more vulnerable friends and family, isnt it? Especially since, as you’ve noted, her enemies already have already managed to split Emma, Hans and Megan away from her.

  4. Syndic

    Well, this was one thoroughly enjoyable archive binge – now I’ll have to wait for each update as they come though, noooo 🙁

    Anyway, thanks for this story. Yours is the 31st webserial/webnovel/whatnot I found (and binged), but actually the first to force me to literally laugh out loud, so special thanks for that!

    Also, combining great worldbuilding and characters, action scenes that draw the reader in without being excessively wordy in trying to describe too much (which I find a common flaw in action-based works, but you managed to avoid at least IMO) and the kind of super-steamy scenes you pepper the romance with is seriously impressive to me. I’ve read many stories that do one side of that well, but the way it fits together so flawlessly in midnight moonlight surprised me. So far the only stories I read that did explicit scenes AND the main story well had to do it by keeping the explicit stuff to separate side stories – otherwise the explicit scenes either took over too much and turned the main plot into what seemed like an afterthought to justify them, or they felt tacked-on and ill-fitting to the story. So seeing here that it actually can be done right was a real treat 🙂

    • Eren Reverie

      Wow, thanks! I’m glad to hear from you, and flattered, too. 😉 I am terribly curious about where you laughed now, though. 😀 I always like to hear about people’s favorite parts, or the ones that affected them particularly strongly, just so I can keep track of what I’m doing right. 😉 Assuming, of course, that the affect was as intended…

      Anyway, thanks again for the comment. I hope to hear from you again. 🙂

      • Syndic

        The parts that made me really laugh were the ones where Abigail’s imagination ran wild… and then spilled out into actual conversation. The leaps of logic she’s capable of caught me by surprise several times, and a vivid mental image of the actual situation including imagining myself in the shoes of the person she was talking to at that moment just got to me 🙂

        Oh, another part I liked was the fact that you managed to actually made me think this would be a mundane story about a girl that IMAGINES there being vampires and werewolves and stuff – there’s no hint in the actual story that they’re real until that “wolf out” scene. I think my first read of the story would’ve actually been ever so slightly less fun if I had bothered to check the “about” page before digging in 😉

        When (not if^^) I re-read the archives eventually I’ll make sure to drop comments at the points I liked most – during my first archive binge I was too busy clicking “next” to get more of it for that 😉

  5. fangfan

    I think the pacing of the current book is just right and I do agree the character development is at least as important as the action. You are really doing an amazing job here, it is hard to believe that you are still just a part time writer. Your writing skills are certainly up to pro level and your take on the vampire genre is really creative. In my opinion, you have the potential to be the next Charlaine Harris, if you got this series taken on by a big publisher.

    One of the very few flaws of the series, IMHO, is the slow pacing of the first book. Syndic brought it up as something good, I respectfully disagree and I am – in contrast to him – very glad I read the summary first. If I had not, I would have ditched the story at about half way through the date with Hans thinking “Apparently this is not a Vampire/Werewolf novel but a romantic dramedy about a girl with anxiety disorder who can’t get her love life straight and makes weird things up. Very well written and quite amusing, but sadly not the theme I want to read about.” As I said, I’m glad I read the summary and knew the real vampires would eventually show up, so I was patient enough to read on until I got to the awesome parts.
    Maybe it would have suited the first book well if you did a little more foreshadowing that there was some real supernatural danger and not only Abby making up weird things. E.g. another employee that had disappeared because Salvatore secretly drained her or even an early Salvatore bonus chapter giving some vague hints about his agenda and showing that he indeed was not human.

    By the way, sorry about my typos and the occasional strange way of expression. English is not my first language and my f…ing spellcheck is set to German.

    • Eren Reverie

      I’ve considered putting in a ‘prelude’ chapter featuring someone explicitly super natural. Sort of an ‘ice monster prelude,’ if you’ve heard the term before — something to let the reader know that the vampire/fantasy part is going to show up, without bringing it into contact with the main character yet. Do you think that might help?

      • fangfan

        That would definitely help. In fact it would probably be better than my spontaneous idea of a Salvatore chapter, you probably shouldn’t give that surprise away right at the beginning. If you do put in a prelude chapter, it should be featuring one of the more evil supernaturals, so the reader knows there is some real danger afoot and you are not intending to go in the direction of the twilight series (where the werewolfs are mostly nice fluffy puppies and the vampires – at least those in the neighbourhood – civilized citizens and considerate lovers only waiting for some lonely mortal girl to pamer and protect and in some cases inexplicably fall in love with). During the first makeout chapters with Hans I briefly thought the story might go down that road – and was very reiieved when it didn’t.

  6. Syndic

    Oh hey, here I am again, at the last chapter that had been posted when I first started reading^^

    So… did I mention that Fumiko is SCARY? And also awesome.

    And huh, with fangfan here, there’s (at least?) two german (or at least german speaking) comment-happy readers here now 😉

  7. star34

    Well yeah I can see that everyone else could get hurt in a bad way, just about everyone but her dad and Fumiko have a damage aura. And Fumiko wants to get the hurt one something, and be helpful to both her friends.

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