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Veiled Threat(Rylee Adamson #7)(14) by Shannon Mayer

Finally they descended to the ground, landing to one side of the barn, their feet sinking into the slurry of mud and snow.

Keep Rylee close, Erik, Ophelia said, her head dropping low to look Erik in the face. As if he was deaf.

“I know my job, ugly lizard.” He batted her nose and drew one of his swords. With it he traced a symbol in the air, what looked like a figure eight that burned in front of him for a split second before fading.

He motioned for me. “You do the same, kid. It will help your blade bite hard into the demons.”

“My blades are already spelled.” And I refrained from saying it looked like a pretty damn simple thing to do. “If that’s all it took to be a demon hunter, anyone should be able to do it.” Okay, so that last part slipped out.

Erik laughed. “Yeah, you would think that was all. It’s in your blood; that’s what kindles the spell. No words, just you.”

I let out a slow breath, pulled my right hand blade and whipped it through the air in an elaborate figure eight. The air burned a bright red, the same as Erik’s, before fading.

“Happy?”

He nodded. “Yup.”

Alex snickered and waved one paw mimicking the figure eight. “Yuppy doody.”

Of course, I didn’t expect anything, so when the air in front of Alex burned I was, to say the least, shocked.

Nothing compared to Erik’s reaction. His eyes went wide and he stumbled forward, dropping to one knee in front of Alex.

“What the fuck is this? Is he related to us?”

“Not that I’m aware of. Were we the only line of demon hunters?” I put a hand on Alex’s head, and he glanced up at me, a grin on his muzzle.

“No, no of course not. It’s just that everyone thought the others had been killed or died without any knowledge. Of course, that could be what happened, his family might have some long lost history they stopped believing. That wouldn’t stop the blood from running true.” Erik pointed to Alex’s other paw. “Do the same with that one.”

Alex obliged and again, the air burned.

A funny feeling rolled through my stomach. We’d all faced demons at one point or another, and we’d all survived. Fate had a funny way of showing her favor sometimes, and I wondered if Alex was the only one.

“Liam, use your sword and do the same thing.”

His eyebrows went up but he pulled his short sword and whipped it through the air, following the pattern. I wasn’t surprised when the air burned. In fact, I was betting that everyone within our group had some demon hunter blood running through them. Erik’s eyes, I didn’t think they could get any wider, but they did.

“Mother of the gods, this is a miracle I did not expect.”

I pulled my other sword out and drove it through the air so that it had its own little burning lines.

“Erik, I think this is something that needs to be discussed after we find the breach, and after we pull Milly and Pamela back from where ever they were taken.” I was already striding forward, knowing if we couldn’t see the breach from the sky, it was likely inside one of the buildings.

Most likely the house. It would make a perfect ambush.

I trotted up the steps to the farmhouse, the glass in the kitchen door was shattered, shards everywhere. “Alex, watch your step.”

“Yupsy.” He moved sideways, carefully avoiding the broken bits of glass. Erik and Liam pulled up the rear and the dragons drew close, giving us what back up they could without tearing down the house.

I pushed the door open and stepped inside. A putrid scent of shit and ammonia filled the air, gagging my throat closed. Liam and Alex both let out low growls, and I was betting it was the scent of the demons, and not the shit, that irritated them.

“These don’t smell like hoarfrost demons,” Liam said, his voice pitched low.

Once Liam and I were through the door, Erik followed, moving beside me. “I told you, there are only so many of those bastards.” He glanced around, took in the scorch marks on the walls, the stains going part way up that had the look of piss marks, only normal piss didn’t tend to burn.

I put the tip of my sword out, touching the marks on the wall closest to me. “You know what kind of demon we’re facing?”

“Looks like hounds and their masters. The hounds love to mark territory, pissing and shitting on everything. The masters are not very big, about the size of a large monkey, but they’re fast and mean and have no sense of pain. So you can cut them into pieces and they’re still alive, so they’ll still come after you.”

I let out a snort, gagged on the intake of air. “Gah. Sounds like fun.”

We made our way deeper into the house. The bedrooms were clear, as was the living room. That left the bathroom on the first floor to check.

Erik put a hand out, stopping us, his eyes flicking to Liam and then back to me. “The hallway is a perfect funnel for them, and if they’re in the shitter, they’ve got the high ground.”

Liam shook his head. “Worse than that, they already know we’re here; if they have hounds there is no way they haven’t heard us talking.”

Erik let out a loud, booming laugh, making the three of us jump. “Those bastards sleep like the dead, and coming through a breach in the veil will leave them exhausted. So we go in careful, but I’m betting whoever is on guard is asleep. They would have come out after us if they’d been awake.”

Blaz spoke softly to me. Eve and Frank are here, do you want them inside?

“No, keep them outside and out of our way.” Not that Eve would have fit well at her height, but she would have tried if I’d asked her.

From outside the house Eve let out an irritated squawk. Liam lifted an eyebrow at me and I shook my head.

Erik moved to the side of the bathroom door. Very slowly, he put his hand to the knob and turned it. The waft of air that rushed out of the room would have knocked me to my knees if I hadn’t been already exposed to the shit smell through the rest of the house.

He pushed the door open and it swung inward on silent hinges. My bathroom looked the same, so I squinted and used my second sight. Nope, still nothing but a toilet, sink, and shower.

Mind you, the shower curtain was pulled shut.

I pointed at it and Erik nodded. With the tip of his sword he pulled the shower curtain back, the plastic crinkling with the pull of the rings across the metal rod.