Blood of the Lost(Rylee Adamson #10)(19) by Shannon Mayer
“Rylee,” Lark said softly, “that looks like a lung burrower. What in the name of the mother goddess is it doing in you?”
The slithering demon slipped out of me and off the back of my neck to the floor. I turned and looked at it. Black and gray streaked, Moloch’s “wormy form” looked like nothing more than an overgrown leech as he slid across the floor at a rapid speed.
Pamela raised her hands, the magic coiling around her fingers.
“Stop! I said don’t hurt him.”
Liam looked from me to Pam and back again. “And why aren’t we hurting the leech thing that just slid out the back of your neck?”
Okay, that sounded more like Faris, but I was splitting hairs. Alex stumbled to his knees in front of me and thrust a water bottle into my hands. I unscrewed it and chugged the entire thing, then handed the empty bottle back to him. “Thanks, buddy.”
He gave me a wink. “Anytime, bossy boss.”
Lark crouched in front of me. “What was that?”
“That was a demon. He needed to speak to me, and thought that burrowing under my skin, making me an emotional wreck and an asshole all at once, was the best way to get my attention.”
She arched an eyebrow at me. “And we didn’t kill him because?”
“He’s against Orion, and he’s going to fight with us at the final battle. Along with a few of his friends.”
Lark let out a breath. “You trust him?”
“You saw my heart stop?”
“He could have finished me right there. Orion sent him to do it.”
Lark paled, and her eyes widened. “Mother goddess.”
“Yeah, my thoughts exactly.” I pushed myself to my feet.
I tucked the white tank top into the black stretchy jeans I’d found and proceeded to strap on my weapons one at a time. Double back sheath for my two swords, my whip clipped to my left hip, crossbow slung over my shoulder and adjusted so I could pull my swords, a knife in the sheath at my lower back, a knife strapped to my calf under my right boot, and a quiver of crossbow bolts hanging from my right hip.
Rylee, I’m back. The flying monkeys are all dead, but they seemed to fall apart around the time I reached them. I assume that means Pestilence is taken care of?
Blaz’s voice soothed my nerves for a moment and I nodded even though he couldn’t see me. He’d feel my intentions. “Yes. Taken care of. One down, three nasty motherfuckers to go.”
I looked at those around me and couldn’t help the heat in my face. I’d been a complete ass to Lark and Liam, yet I saw no condemnation in either of them.
“Not your fault, Rylee,” Lark said as if reading my mind. “You can’t always know what’s going to happen to you; especially when facing demons and almost certain death.” She put one hand on my shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze.
I brushed her hand off and let out slow breath. “Fuck. I’m sorry, Lark. I . . . .”
She snorted and shook her head. “Tracker, you remind me so much of . . . I forget you aren’t her. You are stronger than she ever was.” She let out a slow sigh and ran a hand over her face. “Forgive me, for thinking you don’t know what you’re doing. I’m not used to anyone else being able to make things happen. It has always been on my shoulders. It is strange to be asked to trust someone else’s judgment. As to the rest, well, it is forgotten already.” She turned my hand over so it was palm down and then tapped two of her fingers to it.
“What’s that for?”
Her smile slowly lit her face, softening the irritation there only a moment before. “A way of showing respect for someone; you know you are strong enough.”
“Thank you.” The words flowed off my tongue and it was like she said; the fight between us was forgotten. We were a team and we were going to finish Orion together.
“Let’s get this show on the road. We’ve got a kid to grab, demons to kill, and a fucking world to save,” I said.
Liam grinned at me, but in his smile I saw Faris too, and my heart lurched more than a little. Ah, what the hell. I reached for him, grabbed his face, and pulled him too me.
“Welcome back, Adamson.”
“We get a minute alone, and I’ll show you how glad I am to be back.”
Behind us, Lark grunted. “See what I mean, Cactus? Trackers, they’re a lot like ogres.”
I grinned over my shoulder at her. “I’ll take that for a compliment.”
She laughed and smiled back at me. “Oh, it was meant to be. Mating and fighting; if there are only two things you’re good at in this life, I’d put those at the top of the list too.”
Outside, Blaz let out a roar that shook the store.
Incoming humans. Time to leave.
Time to leave, indeed.
WE BAGGED LIAM and Berget up in the black out curtains and dragged them out of the store as the first cop car showed up.
Marco hopped toward us, his wings fluttering. “Give them to me.”
Inside the bag, Faris muttered away. I rolled my eyes. “Quit your bitching or I’ll leave you behind.” There was no real heat in my words. We all knew I wasn’t leaving him. I handed the top of the bag to Marco’s outstretched claw. He leapt into the air, dragging the two vampires with him. A sharp slap came from the bag and I bet Berget let Faris have it again.
Even if she hadn’t, the thought made me smile.