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Veiled Threat(Rylee Adamson #7)(17) by Shannon Mayer

Oh, I had to believe that we could do it, that we would be able to walk in, slaughter a few demons and pull both witches out intact.

Yet a small part of me knew it was going to be much harder than that. I only hoped that small part of me was wrong.

Listen to that small part of you, Rylee. It is what has kept you alive all these years.

Blaz words resonated truth within me.

That’s what I was so very afraid of.

Chapter 7

The farm was still, the fields black and reflecting light only here and there on the patches of snow. If the clouds surrounding us were any indication, we were in for another big dump of snow that would cover the fields in a matter of hours.

However, the weather was the least of my concerns.

Ancient words still rang inside my head, two hours of memorization with Erik and I wasn’t positive I would be able to deal with the demons after all. To me the words didn’t feel like magic, or strength, or even anything important. They sounded like nonsense, gibberish words that would do dipshit. Would I use them? Yup, even if I thought I sounded like a fool. I had no choice. I was going in after Milly and Pamela. Just meant it was going to be a bitch of a rescue. Liam grasped the words quicker than I did, and Alex, though he didn’t recall any of the words, listened to everything Erik taught us via Ophelia. She projected his words to us along the flight home.

Standing in front of the dark farmhouse, I knew at least the rudiments of how to tangle with the lesser demons.

A loud screech turned us around to see Eve and Frank bursting out of the barn. Frank was downright tiny next to the Harpy, but it looked like he’d finally gotten used to her.

Eve skidded to a stop, her wings flapping, right in front of me. “What happened? Did you find Pamela and Milly?”

“Not yet,” I shook my head, “we’re going in after them now.” No need to point out that I’d blown it the first time.

Frank cleared his throat and pushed his glasses up on his pimpled nose. “Umm. That might not be possible.”

Liam put a hand on the kid’s shoulder. “Why not, Frank?”

Frank gave a tiny shrug. “I can feel the … veil … when it opens. And when it closes. I think they closed this one.”

“Why the fuck would they do that?” But I knew the answer to my own question. I really had blown it, we’d had our chance to go in after Milly and Pamela and because I didn’t listen to Erik those demons had closed the breach.

Of course, no one answered my question. They all knew as well as I did the why of it.

“Doesn’t matter, you still need to go in and check it out.” Erik didn’t pull his weapons out, instead looked at me expectantly. And maybe with more than an ounce of disappointment in his eyes. I blushed under his recriminating gaze. I didn’t need the less than subtle reminder that I’d screwed this up. “Mark your blades,” he instructed. Liam swung his sword in the figure eight and the blade burned, Alex followed suit with his claws, and I reluctantly did the same with my weapon.

Something didn’t sit well with me, but fuck if I could figure it out.

“If anything shows up,” Erik said, “that doesn’t fit the descriptions I’ve given you, run back out and I will deal with it.”

“You’re a human with a few words and a few hand gestures. You really believe you can do this better than me?” I wasn’t being cocky. I’d seen more than one human go down in flames because they tangled with the supernatural with the belief they ‘had it in them’ to do so.

“It’s unlikely, but if anything does show up, Rylee, this is what I do. It’s always been humans trained for hunting demons.” He pointed at the door and I started forward. Stopping when a question caught me off guard. One I didn’t want to wait on.

“Why the humans?”

“Because the demons expect to be able to control a human with hardly a flick of their claws, a tip of their eyes in our direction. Which for the most part is true. But,” he stepped up and held the door open for me, “when a human finally sees the truth, and knows what they are facing, they become an unknown quantity in some ways.”

“A wild card.” I stepped softly into the house, avoiding the broken glass as best I could.

“Yes. Exactly. Even now, they don’t think a Slayer has much ability against them, not understanding the fates gave us the words to stop the demonic in their tracks. At least, if you are one of the few families blessed to have the blood that will kindle the words.”

I left him there, Liam and Alex following me through the shit and piss marking the demon hounds passing, down the hallway and to the closed bathroom door. But I already knew it would be too late, the breach would be closed.

I pushed the door open and the inside of the bathroom held exactly what I was expecting.

Nothing.

“Motherfuckers,” I snarled. The floor was splattered with blood where I’d cut off the creature’s tongues, and the back wall was no longer the swirling violet of the veil. The yellow tile was scorched, chipped and hanging from the wall in pieces.

But no breach in the veil.

A low groan drew me to the tub and I raised my blade, whispering, “Adonani” before actually stepping closer. The word would still my soul, keep it attached to me and keep the demon from sucking me down again. Supposedly.

Another groan and I leapt forward, my blade sailing downward toward the face of … Eagle. Shit on a stick. Twisting hard, I drove my blade into the side of the tub, just missing Eagle’s face. The porcelain shattered around my blade and Eagle, and what looked like all of his blood spilled out onto the floor. He was a guardian, but more than that, he had been Eve’s mentor, helping her control herself and her harpy tendencies. And I suspected she was more than half in love with him which was only going to make this that much harder on her.

Ignoring the blood, I dropped to my knees, put one hand on his chest and the other behind his head. “Eagle, what the hell are you doing here, what happened?” As a guardian, there was no way injuries like this should have hurt him so badly. Never mind the fact he was supposed to be in New Mexico with his shaman. Not here bleeding out in the remnants of my tub.

His silver eyes rolled up to mine. “Tracker. Demons and evil spirits everywhere. Must stop them.” A shudder rippled the length of his body, a single breath gurgled from his mouth with a bubble of blood and then nothing. I swallowed hard, my mind and heart racing.