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Demon Hunter Academy: Chapter 2

Pick up where you left off when you read Chapter 1 of this standalone reverse harem novel below!


Nimue

Kyrie:
New rift discovered. If you make it home in time, you might be able to follow us. Just don’t get caught. I’ll deny everything.

It’s said the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I should have been attending my last class of the day, but instead I decided to skip it to go watch my brother kick some demonic ass. 

Why should Kyrie get all the fun when I was only a few months away from graduating and becoming a full-time demon hunter, too? If they wouldn’t show me their catch, then at least I could see it for myself. 

After Kyrie messaged me the new portal’s location, I headed down to the golf course in my trusty Kia Soul. 

Yes, the newest doorway to hell opened onto a golf course. No one was really surprised. 

I’d given my birth-coven a decent headstart. Circling around the now-abandoned golf course, I found their vehicle, now empty. I parked around the corner from them and strapped on my arsenal: knives, throwing stars, metal knuckledusters (though I hoped to never use them), and my blades — one on each hip along with one at my back. I planned to use my magic if I needed to fight, but demon hunters left nothing to chance. 

Both magic and metal could kill demons, but the closer they were to the infernal realm, the more impervious they were to regular weaponry. With metal and magic at the ready, I felt fully prepared, even though I planned to leave the fighting to my birth-coven. Since demons were repelled by metal, I’d switched out of my academy uniform and into my black demon hunter garb with metal woven into every surface. 

Even before I rounded the clubhouse, I caught sight of the unnatural, shadowy tear in the otherwise perfectly blue sky. I poked my head out to make sure my birth-coven wasn’t around. Sure enough, the four of them were ahead, closing in on the portal with weapons at the ready.

The threshold to the infernal realm cut across the sky with spider lightning contained in an inky black cloud. I couldn’t see far into the infernal realm due to all the smoke and shadows inside. Every now and then, some of those smoky shadows would flicker, back-lit by unseen fire near the hazy red ground. The tear in the fabric of space and time would allow the denizens of the infernal realm access to our world — unless demon hunters stopped them. 

No demons stood guard by the tear that bled shadows into our world, which probably meant they’d already escaped elsewhere. Other demon hunters would kill them, and before long, humans would wall off this area. Demon hunters would stand guard on the walls, and eventually only the lesser, dumber demons would bother trying to come through. Unless we let our guard down or did something reckless. 

That’s how my mother and one of her lovers had died when I was a child. No one had seen a demon come through that portal for a decade or more. For some reason, my mother and one of her coven-mates decided to try to explore it. 

Everyone in the coven always had a voice, and the others had tried to convince them not to go — but it was ultimately their choice. When neither of them returned, the rest of the coven mourned their loss. 

In the fifteen years since then, both of them had been declared dead. Everyone assumed my mother and her coven-mate would never return to the land of the living. Some part of me still held out hope, even so many years later. 

Now, our three coven-parents, Bastien, Rob, and Olwyn, led the way to a brand new tear into the infernal realm. Kyrie trailed slightly behind them. All four of them wore their metal-studded demon hunter armor with rounded helmets.

Kyrie was the only one who knew I was here. He glanced back, his lilac eyes flashing in the flickering firelight from inside the portal. 

“Stay back, Nim.” His voice echoed inside of my mind. Blessed with telepathy as his innate magic, Kyrie could cast his thoughts to others, but — like all telepaths — he couldn’t read minds. 

I gave a nod, and he turned back to follow the rest of our coven toward the portal. 

Without turning back, he continued, “Oh, and watch out behind you. Olwyn called in our battle healer. Standard procedure with a new portal, I guess. He’ll probably be here soon.”

I’d never met our assigned battle healer, but Olwyn and Rob had each been to his clinic more than once with demon-related injuries. And Kyrie had needed healed recently due to spraining his ankle while training.

Glancing around, I crept forward and carefully drew the sword on my back with my left hand. With my right, I conjured my wand. Up ahead, Bastien used his own wand to draw sigils into a circle not far from the portal. Rob and Olwyn did the same, spreading out over the golf green. 

Each of them possessed different arcane magic that might help in case of the appearance of demons, but also required time to set up in advance. If demons appeared, they could easily cast their innate magic, but their arcane magic could also come in handy as long as they had time to set up their magic circles in advance. 

Like mine, Bastien’s circles would allow him to invoke wards to protect himself and the others, while Olwyn’s arcane magic lent the coven stronger senses and faster reflexes. Rob’s would let him cast fire, which worked against some demons better than others.

Kyrie didn’t bother drawing his sigils, because his arcane magic was prophecy — rarely useful mid-battle, considering the difficulty interpreting the visions revealed. Telepathy and prophetic abilities weren’t powerful against demons, but they weren’t entirely useless. And he’d trained as a demon hunter and could conjure weapons like the rest. 

Behind a copse of trees and bushes — meant to confound golfers, I assumed — I drew my own sigils. Each one burned brightly before fading to black in a circle around me. I drew sigils for protective wards, adding sound barriers to prevent my coven from hearing me.

While my three coven-parents were still creating multiple circles, I also set up my own fall-back circle not far from a sand trap. Invoking multiple circles was standard operating procedure for warders confronting an unknown enemy. Once drawn, magic circles couldn’t be moved, and I needed to be prepared. 

I’d been trained by the best at the Demon Hunter Academy, and only one semester separated me from the rest of my birth-coven. If anything went wrong, I was prepared to make them proud. 

I glanced around again, hoping our battle healer didn’t catch me breaking the rules by being here. If Kyrie got to kill another demon, I wanted to see it this time. 

Something let out a long moan within the shadowy portal, and I froze. My birth-coven moved to separate magic circles, spreading out around the portal. They stood out in the open on the golf green, while I moved to my original magic circle behind the bushes and trees. Peering through their limbs, I let my wand disappear. 

Now armed with a physical blade in one hand and my quicksilver magic sword in the other, I waited down the slope from the portal, ready for anything. 

“There’s something big in—” Kyrie’s words inside my mind cut off as three firebirds burst out of the shadowy tear, flying across the threshold as though they belonged in our world. As they emerged, the smoke from the infernal realm clung to them momentarily until their long, fiery tail-feathers broke free. 

With his innate magic, my father tossed chunks of earth torn from the golf course’s once-immaculate green into the air. When projectiles struck down a firebird, my coven rushed forward to slash through them with their magic blades. The small birds fell into nothing but hot cinders as my coven easily dispatched them. 

A remaining firebird circled overhead, trailing flames, but Kyrie took aim with a shotgun. When the metal tore into the demon, the holes filled with smoky shadow, healing over within seconds.

Changing tactics, Kyrie manifested a bow and arrow, shooting the bird down with an arrow made of nothing but magic. Its wings fluttered, and it fell within range of Rob’s slashing blades. 

Another shape charged through the churning smoke and shadow of the threshold. As it emerged, it seemed to gain weight and mass, shedding the shadows and becoming more corporeal the longer it stood in our world. The hellcat now appeared as a spotted leopard with black spots dark as pitch atop a molten body that glowed hot orange. This one’s eyes leaked shadows, and when it opened its mouth to snap at Olwyn, its maw revealed its molten innards. 

She danced behind one of Bastien’s wards, and the hellcat’s claws scratched at the barrier, causing it to light up with streaks of blues and greens. From behind their wards, my birth-coven struck at the hellcat, but it dodged out of reach with a hiss. 

This was the only type of demon I’d ever seen in person — the academy had sent us to see one that demon hunters had bound in iron chains and dragged into an open field. We’d watched as they showed us its weaknesses. It couldn’t be killed with fire, but other elemental witches could suffocate it with air, water, or encased in earth. 

Silently, the four of them charged it on all sides — following a telepathic nudge from Kyrie — and with four magic and metal blades plunging into its sides, the hellcat let out a mewling whine before collapsing into cinders among them. 

“Get back!” Rob yelled, and they all fell back behind the wards, facing the shadowy portal. This time I saw what Kyrie must’ve seen before — something massive moved in the shadows inside. With the smoke and the flames of the infernal realm cloaking it, I couldn’t quite make out its shape.

An eerie, singsongy multitude of voices rang out as one. “If one of you would kindly step inside, the rest can live…” The words trailed off at the end as more firebirds poured out. 

I gaped at the massive entity inside the portal. I’d never heard of a demon that could speak, let alone communicate so well. 

Nor had I ever heard of so many demons in one place. Normally a small coven like mine could easily handle securing a portal until it was walled off and protected. 

Before they’d even finished off the firebirds, a winged hellhound flew out, its body quickly shifting from nothing but smoke into a winged monster. With a mangy coat, it soared overhead on powerful, eagle-like wings, spitting flames upon its arrival into our world.

Its slather left behind cinders, and Olwyn ducked under the cover of a ward as Kyrie took aim and fired. The demon swooped at the last second and snapped one of the firebirds in half with its fiery fangs, swallowing it down while the other half fell to the ground as nothing but ashes.

I couldn’t believe how many demons I’d just seen them kill… Demons tended to cross thresholds one at a time, not in multitudes like this. Firebirds sometimes arrived in flocks, but to see both a hellcat and a winged hellhound emerge within minutes from the same portal? Unheard of. 

My father took aim at the hellhound with his innate magic, and a massive peak of earth jutted up from the ground to punch the demon, snapping its wing. It let out a yelp and circled to the ground, its other wing out. Olwyn fired a dart from her crossbow at it and Rob finished it off with his blade. 

I let out a cry as another winged hellhound emerged from the portal behind them, changing from nothing but smoke into substance. When a third one appeared, I charged forward, tossing one of my throwing stars at it. The metal star sank into its hide, and it let out a whine before diving toward me. 

“Nimue!” Rob yelled. “Get out of here. Go back—”

With his helmet on, Rob’s peripheral vision was cut short, and a winged hellhound appeared in his blind spot. It sank its fiery fangs into his shoulder, and he twisted, ramming his sword into its side. They both fell to the ground together as the hellhound snapped at him again, and he twisted the sword in its demonic guts. 

“No!” Kyrie yelled. 

The hellhound that had been diving toward me turned its attention thanks to Kyrie’s shout, and Bastien yanked him back.

As soon as I was safely behind my wards again, I peered through the bushes and let out a sob. Rob couldn’t really be dead, could he? From here I could see his bushy beard, his arm flung to the side. He wasn’t moving. If he was dead, it was my fault for distracting him. 

The winged hellhound with my throwing stars in its side dove toward Kyrie, but Bastien sent a boulder into the demon’s wing. As soon as it crashed to the ground, Kyrie drove his blade through its heart. 

Then he turned and fired the shotgun at close range at the hellhound atop Rob. Once more, the shots tore holes into the demon’s side that soon filled with smoke and healed within moments. Undeterred, he rushed forward and finished it off, letting out a cry as it crumbled into hot coals on his father’s body.

Olwyn put a hand on Bastien and Kyrie, and all three disappeared under Wyn’s illusion. Were they planning to retreat? With this many demons and whatever that massive thing waiting inside was, I wouldn’t blame them.

Overhead, a firebird let out an unearthly caw, and I slapped my waist for another throwing star. Before I could toss it overhead, the firebird spewed fire down on me. I teleported aside and then tossed my star. As the small demon fell, I rushed to finish it off with my two blades.

Bastien’s voice rang out from somewhere far away, but the sound of an unearthly shriek obscured his words, and I looked up to see a firestag had emerged from the infernal threshold. I’d teleported out from the cover of my own wards, but I gaped at it, stupefied. Majestic, fiery antlers swept up from its skull. I’d only seen them in movies at the academy. 

Then it charged, its rear hooves pounding the green as the creepy, human-like hands on its forelegs slapped the earth. I teleported into my magic circle. But before I could reinforce my ward, its fiery antlers pierced and shattered it.

I raised my sword to stab its chest, but it reared back, its hands grasping as it leaped to the side. I brought up my left arm to distract it while twisting underneath to spear it through the chest with my right. 

But before I could land the strike, it brought its head down, its fiery antlers shearing my left arm from my body. Flaming chunks of flesh fell to the ground and I let out a horrified scream. Its attack threw off my balance, and I fell on my back before it. This was the end for me. 

It reared again, and at any moment, I expected those hideous hands to fall on me, to hold me in place as its antlers finished me off. Instead, the earth jutted up beside me, piercing the stag through its abdomen. As its weight fell forward, it rammed the earth through its own body even further. Kyrie appeared out of nowhere from Olwyn’s illusion. He speared the stag in the chest with both blades, letting out a cry. 

I rolled away, and as I rose on my knees, I caught sight of Olwyn lying lifeless nearby, a pile of coals beside her. 

“Mom!” Kyrie’s mental cry was far worse than his wordless sob as he fell to her side. 

My world narrowed as I looked at him beside her body, and I realized I might be going into shock. I glanced down to my arm and saw a trickle of blood. The demon’s antlers hadn’t fully cauterized the stump where my elbow and arm had once been.

“We need reinforcements,” Bastien’s voice was deadly calm as he faced the infernal portal. The massive shape no longer lingered in its shadows and flames. “Run and get backup.”

Kyrie grabbed my good arm and helped me to my feet as we both stared past Bastien at the new demon that had emerged. The enormous black bull pawed at the golf green, leaving a searing red line in its wake. Its body was black as pitch, its size nearly twice that of a real bull, with fiery horns and fiery wings that couldn’t lift its bodyweight. 

A hellbull. Another demon I’d only ever seen in instructional movies at the academy. We’d learned that new portals often brought larger numbers of demons, but not this many, and not of this variety.

A firebird flew overhead, and I yelled, “Get to my backup ward!” at Kyrie. 

The small demon blasted its fire down, and I tried to teleport, only to find myself still standing directly beneath it. With magically enhanced speed, Kyrie yanked me to the side just in time as fire rained down. 

The hellbull took that opportunity to charge, and Bastien put himself between us and the bull, raising a wall of earth between it and him. 

“Go!” Bastien said just as the bull crashed through the earthen wall and lowered its head. 

Bastien tried to dodge to the side, but the bull impaled him, its fiery horns jutting through his back. I screamed as he slumped to the ground before it. The massive bull trampled him beneath its hooves as it charged toward us next. 

Kyrie grabbed my only arm and pulled me toward one of their fallback circles. But the bull’s fiery wing lashed out, knocking Kyrie into me. We both tumbled to the ground, and I fell on my stump, letting out a scream as the partially cauterized wound tore open. 

“Get to my ward!” I yelled, and Kyrie regained his feet long enough to push me toward my magic circle. 

“I’m going to kill this thing,” his voice growled in my mind.

I grabbed his arm and pulled him after me. The moment we stood in the center of the circle, I gasped a sigh of relief. But it was short lived as I glanced out to the green-turned-battlefield to see my father’s trampled body. 

I tried to pour my magic into reinforcing the ward in front of us, but nothing happened. The bull pawed at the ground and then charged. Its horns smashed into my wards, which held momentarily. But with the hellbull’s massive force behind it, the ward shattered into a thousand blue and gold pieces. The sigils of my magic circle flared briefly to life before fading. 

Kyrie slashed across the hellbull’s wall of a chest with two conjured blades, driving it back. 

“Go, Nim!” he yelled in my mind. “Or you’ll die here, too.” 

“I won’t leave you here,” I cried. 

With a missing arm, I couldn’t cast or invoke another circle. I had no magic now. Pain left me half-blind and nauseous, but I didn’t want to leave him here to face this monster alone.

The hellbull spread its fiery wings in an intimidating display and let out a bellow. The two slashes where Kyrie had struck it burned, two parallel molten wounds. 

“Go now!” he called again as he lunged forward to stab the bull.

It bowed its head and Kyrie’s sword glanced off its fiery horn. It lunged forward, impaling Kyrie on its horns just as it had Bastien. 

“Run, Nim…” Kyrie’s final words faded.

I let out a scream of fear and rage and horror… and I ran. I was the last survivor of the Flidais coven. Someone had to warn other witches. It was the only thing I could hope to contribute without my magic. 

My pulse beat in my ears as blood now poured from my stump and I nearly passed out. At first I ran back toward the clubhouse, then changed course abruptly, heading for a maintenance building instead. Behind me, I heard the hellbull’s wings beat the air, but I already knew the massive beast couldn’t fly. 

I ran around the maintenance building, hoping to lose the less-than-agile demon. I climbed up on top of a dumpster as fast as I could with one hand and threw myself at the top of a wall. As I tumbled over the wall into an employee parking lot, I caught sight of a man rushing toward me.

“Run!” I called to the crazy witch.

His skin glowed with the shimmering light of a ward, making him look like my guardian angel. He must be our battle healer. But he was far too late.

Then I hit the ground, the stump of my missing arm taking the brunt of the impact, driving a scream from me. Darkness came soon after.


Coming soon to Amazon & KU

A witch without an arm has no magic.

Demons devoured Nimue’s coven and took her magic. Now she lives for vengeance.

Three men will help her give the demons a proper reckoning:

  • a cute healer who helps her survive her wounds
  • a playful professor who crafts her a new prosthetic arm
  • and a sexy but unavailable classmate who tutors her in the magic lessons she missed

As they aid her in their own ways, she begins falling for them all. But when the infernal realm claws its way deeper into their world, no one is safe.

Nimue vows to destroy the demons who killed her family… But can she avenge her old coven while protecting the new one?

Demon Hunter Academy is a steamy standalone paranormal academy romance set in the Infernal Rending universe. More books to come in this world, but this is the first!