“What?” Sofia said.

“We need to turn this into an ambush. We’ll bring our best fighters, along with as many witches as we can spare. All we need right now is to have these people within reach. Once we meet them, we won’t leave until we’ve got Rose and Ben safely back with us.”

Anna stood up for the first time.

“What if they do something to Rose and Ben once they realize you’ve tried to deceive them?”

“They won’t have time. We’ll make this ambush fast. As soon as we lay eyes on them, we’ll rush in.”

“But we don’t even know what Stellan and his companions are,” Anna said. “We don’t know for sure that they are vampires. How can you be so sure that you’ll be able to overpower them and get your twins back?”

“Anna,” I said, my chest heaving. “It’s our only option.”

Everyone quietened down and sat back in their seats.

“So how are we going to go about this exactly?” Xavier asked.

“Listen carefully,” I said, flattening my palms on the table as I prepared to voice the plan in my mind.

Vampires and a few witches filled up each of the submarines we had on the island. Sofia and I boarded the smallest submarine alone. We made sure to travel a long distance ahead of the other submarines. We couldn’t afford Stellan detecting them.

Eli had given me a pager before we left. He also placed them in each of the submarines. When I pressed mine, the others would take it as a signal to close in.

After a few hours, we arrived at the location. Sofia and I navigated the submarine as close to the beach as possible, and stepped out into the warm night air. A tall vampire with reddish hair was already waiting on the beach. Alone. A few hundred meters away from him was a black submarine.

We approached and stopped a few feet away from him. Looking around the area casually, I couldn’t spot other vampires on the beach, and the submarine moored up in front of us appeared to be the only one.

“Where are the twins?” I asked.

“Where’s the immune?” he responded.

“We have her in the submarine,” I said, reaching into my pocket and pushing the button to signal to our submarines.

“I suggest you bring her out first. Remember, Novak, your twins are worth more to you than the immune is to us.”

I nodded and, taking Sofia’s hand, returned toward the submarine. We walked as slowly as possible without arising suspicion.

Sofia and I disappeared through the hatch. We exchanged nervous glances. If all went to plan, in less than a minute, an army of our vampires would surface and storm their submarine.

Sure enough, Stellan yelled out into the night air. He rushed back toward his submarine. Sofia and I climbed back out through the hatch and raced after him.

I caught up with Stellan on the sand before he reached the submarine. Leaping forward and gripping his midriff, I tripped him up. He didn’t try to fight me. Rather, he scrambled to his feet and ran in the opposite direction. I had almost caught up with him when he ran into the sea—toward another small submarine that had been hidden from view. He dove through the hatch and slammed it shut before I could climb in after him. Several seconds later, the submarine had submerged beneath the waves.

Confused by his behavior, I returned to the main submarine and, wading through the water, hauled myself up onto its roof and lowered myself through the hatch.

The submarine was in absolute chaos. Vampires at war with each other, lashing out with their claws, biting each other’s necks. I caught sight of Sofia fighting a particularly vicious-looking female.

I ducked down beneath the commotion as much as I could. I had to reach Rose and Ben while most of them seemed occupied.

Keeping against the walls, I ran from chamber to chamber until I reached the lower deck. I checked all the rooms down there and stopped outside the only one which was locked. The door was made with reinforced metal.

“Stand back,” I shouted through the door to whomever was inside.

I climbed to the top of the stairs and, with all the force I could muster, I smashed down against the door. The impact made a dent in it, but it still didn’t open. Again, I struck the door. Now looser. The third time I struck, it swung off the hinges. I hurried inside and looked around the room.

My son lay on the floor, his eyes closed. There was no sign of Rose.

I hauled Ben’s body over my shoulder, relieved to feel he was still breathing, and ran out of the room. I looked once more in every corner of the lower deck but Rose was nowhere to be seen. I rushed back up to the top level and barged through the crowds of fighting vampires until I reached the hatch.

As I climbed up, pain seared through my ankle. A vampire dug his claws into me. I shook the vampire off, kicking him in the face. I climbed out of the hatch and jumped into the water. Readjusting Ben’s weight over my shoulders, I ran back to our submarine and placed Ben down on top of a blanket in the back of the vessel.

Where the hell is Rose?

My stomach churned as I ran back toward the submarine. We had managed to overpower quite a few of the other vampires already, though many were still fighting against us. I breathed a sigh of relief on seeing no casualties on our side yet.

In the corner Aiden tied up a male vampire in line with a bunch of others we’d managed to tranquilize. I reached out for Aiden’s shoulder and he spun round to face me.

“I found Ben,” I said. “You need to go to the small submarine immediately. Ben is there. Bring some witches and help care for him.”

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