26 of March 2021 – 2:55 AM
I shot to my feet, keeping the approaching hellhound in my sight as I weighed my options.
Option one: I fly away. Doing so in a quick enough manner would require that I break the circle I had created, the consequence of which was a massive drain on my energy, so my broom riding would be greatly impacted. That wasn’t ideal.
Option two: I drop the glamour and reveal myself to the hellhound. By their build, they appeared to be an adult, so they would recognize a witch in an instant–but that also meant that they’d escort me home and notify Nanny of what happened. Not to mention the heat our coven would be under if it came out that I created an anti-magick tracking charm–
Their snarls grew louder as they ran along the south bank of the pond, teeth bared. I pushed down my fear and decided on a third, newer option: reinforce my circle.
“Lilura errespetatua, mesedez indartu nire zirkulua eta ukatu kalte egin nahi didatenak!”
A shimmering veil shot out from my feet, stretched out over a radius of three meters all around me, and erupted upwards in a magick barrier. It doubled my height before curving, forming a dome over my head.
I staggered a little as the distance between the hellhound and me waned; my energy was ticking away, like the steady dripping of an IV bag, only instead of giving it was taking from me. The beast’s growling, bellowing barks were thunderous, shaking me to my core. The sight and sound of a hellhound was meant to paralyze their prey with fear–
My breathing quickened as I started to panic. They see me as prey!
The hellhound’s increased proximity proved that I had underestimated their size. The Hunter was colossal, at least double my height and three times my stature. Their paws were big and burly, boasting sizable claws that tore through the grass and dirt as they sprinted for me. Sharp, sinister teeth were bared as they vocalized baneful intent. Their eyes bore into mine, as pearlescent as the full moon that shone above.
I gasped. The full moon, hellhound–Hilargi!
There could not have been more than ten meters between us, so I hastily dropped down to my knees and felt around the breasts of my denim jacket. It’s got to be here somewhere–
Their bark sounded more like a roar, causing my hands to shake. My fingers dug between the plastic mirror shards, desperate for something sharp.
I found a shard with a particularly pointed edge; I pressed the ring finger of my left hand against the edge and swiped, slicing it open. A single drop of blood pooled from the cut, as dark as merlot in the shadows of the looming witching hour.
I channeled all my fear and determination into fortitude and yelled into the night, “Hilargi errespetatua, mesedez babes nazazu–!”
My energy rocked as my barrier was penetrated–but the hellhound was still half a meter beyond its border. I was about to question my own sensory processing when a giant, hulking figure rushed past me. Their deep umber fur brushed against my right side, knocking me down to my knees. Between their ambush and my decreasing energy, I couldn’t keep up my glamour; it trickled away, revealing myself to these Hunters as defenseless prey.
My mind was racing as I tried to come up with something–anything–to get myself out of this situation when the second Hunter collided with the first, their jaw agape and geared for the hellhound’s throat.
The hellhound seemed just as jolted by the new arrival as I did. They sidestepped the smaller canine’s attack and pounced on them from the side, pinning them into the dirt with so much force that the ground shook. Both Hunters growled and threatened one another with their beastly grins; the smaller one tried like mad to drive the hellhound off of them, but they were obviously younger and weaker. Their size and snout depicted a werewolf, and I wondered if they were around my age when they broke eye contact with the hellhound to glimpse my way. Their eyes were a beautiful amber brown, and I was struck with deja vu. Who do I know with eyes like that?
Then the werewolf hollered, “Go, Cari! Fly away!”
My eyes were as wide as can be. That voice! “J-Jett?!”
“Go–!” Jett’s urgent cry was cut off as the hellhound lunged for his throat. He kicked the hound off of him and lithely rolled back onto all fours with lightning speed, planting himself between my attacker and me. “Go on, get out of here! I’ll hold her off.”
“You can’t win against a hellhound!” I argued, forcing myself onto my feet. My eyes darted between Jett and the other Hunter; she was already back on her feet and studying the two of us with her full moon gaze.
“Hellhound..?” Jett pondered aloud before booming, “Hey, devil dog! Walk away, or we’ll have to take you out!”
… What the hell kind of bluff is that?!
My eyes remained fixed on the hellhound, my anticipation mounting with each second. She stood completely still, shadows radiating off of her and bleeding into her surroundings. Her lips were no longer curled up to reveal her cuspidate fangs; she seemed to be ruminating over how best to proceed.
Jett did not waver, stubbornly holding his ground against the anonymous stranger. As if to punctuate his point, he altered his stance to convey his sincerity; he hunched forward and bared his teeth, poised defensively. I followed his example, glaring at the hellhound with my left palm held out in her direction, warning her of my readiness to fight.
My feint resolve floundered at the sound of a nefarious rumbling–the hellhound’s shoulders shook as she sneered at us, and I shuddered as I realized what the sound actually was.
It was a laugh. She was laughing–whether at me, Jett, or both of us, I did not know–and the sound sent shivers down my spine.
“Hilargi smiles on you tonight, mikri magissa,” she growled tauntingly. The shadows that shrouded her body began to dissolve, merging with the surrounding darkness. She was just a disembodied head when she added, “Your luck will run out soon enough. Enjoy your guardian–he can’t protect you forever.”
The hellhound disappeared, my knees buckled, and the last thing I heard was Jett calling my name as everything faded to black.