When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(11) by Alexandra Ivy
Lick, lick, lick of the lips.
“Perhaps something could be arranged.”
Anthony hid his smug smile. The prince was as easy to play as a fiddle.
“I really do think it would be for the best, my friend,” he agreed with a sweetly encouraging smile. “It would be a pity to see the protected lands become a shopping center.”
Yiant gave a stiff nod, turning to head for the door. “I will be in contact.”
“Soon,” Anthony warned, briefly wondering precisely what had prompted the unexpected display of defiance before he was abruptly interrupted by the scent of cherries.
Turning his head, Anthony watched as the mongrel stepped through the hidden panel at the back of the room.
Keeley was a half human/half imp male who’d sought Anthony’s protection after the death of the previous Anasso. The too-handsome creature with pale green eyes and a mane of sleek golden hair had once been a playmate of the dissolute King of Vampires, and worse, he’d been related to Damocles, the imp who had contributed to the downfall of the once-powerful leader.
The imp had feared that Styx might retaliate against those he held responsible for the destruction of his mentor and fled to Ireland.
Not an unreasonable fear.
So he’d allied himself with the druids, and over the past year, he’d earned a place in Anthony’s inner circle.
It wasn’t that he was more clever or talented or powerful than Anthony’s other servants. Hell, his only real skill was creating portals.
But he was willing to follow any order, no matter how outrageous, and more importantly, he possessed an intimate knowledge of the caves where the previous Anasso had lived.
Caves that were now occupied by the leaders of the demon world, the Commission.
“You truly are evil, Benson,” the imp murmured, crossing the Aubusson carpet.
Anthony adjusted his cuffs.
The imp had no idea just how evil he could be.
“I don’t recall inviting you to my office, imp.”
Wearing nothing more than a pair of faded jeans that emphasized his smooth, muscular chest, Keeley halted next to the wing chair.
“We have a problem.”
Anthony frowned. “The prisoners?” he demanded, referring to the elder druids who refused to accept his vision for the future as well as the two interfering fairies.
His first thought had been to destroy them. A dead enemy was the best enemy. But he hated to toss away such a valuable resource.
It would be a sin to waste such potent blood.
So instead of burning them at the stake, he’d locked them in a Labyrinth spell that kept them safely imprisoned.
Keeley shook his head. “The spell still holds them.”
“Then what has happened?”
“A friend from America sent me this.”
The imp held out his phone to reveal a photo of a slender man with a long mane of hair that glistened like rubies even in the grainy image.
Anthony hissed in shock. It wasn’t often anyone mentioned the pure-blooded ancients who were the ultimate rulers of the fey. They were written about in the secret druid legends, of course, along with dire warnings never to attract their attention.
It was said that an angry Chatri could kill with just the power of his light . . . whatever the hell that meant.
Anthony didn’t know, and didn’t want to find out.
“Impossible,” he growled.
“Unexpected, but clearly not impossible,” the imp drawled.
Anthony frowned. He didn’t like sarcasm. It was the sign of a lazy mind.
On the other hand, he did like using his druid skills to punish those people who were stupid enough to annoy him. He liked it a lot.
Smiling, he ran his thumb over the heavy silver ring that circled his index finger.
A symbol of his authority that made the imp pale.
Satisfied, Anthony returned his attention to the image of the fairy.
“Who is he?”
Keeley had to clear his throat before he could speak. “He claims to be Prince Magnus.”
Then he wouldn’t be alone.
Royals always traveled with guards.
“They retreated from the world centuries ago,” he muttered. “Why would they return now?”
The imp returned the phone to his back pocket. “There’re a dozen rumors, but no actual facts.”
“Where is he?”
Keeley grimaced. “At the home of the Anasso.”
The Anasso? Anthony lifted his brows. Things were getting stranger and stranger.
He didn’t like strange any more than he liked sarcasm.
“He’s with the vampires?”
“So it would seem.”
Anthony paced toward the priceless Botticelli painting that hung on the back wall, silently contemplating his next move.
He wasn’t a narcissist. He didn’t believe that everything that happened in the world had something to do with him.
Then again, he wasn’t stupid.
The return of the Chatri after so many years had the potential to ruin everything he’d worked so hard to achieve. He had to know if they intended to cause trouble.
He considered various ruses that might lure the Chatri to Ireland, only to dismiss them. He couldn’t wait and hope the powerful fey might choose to arrive on his doorstep.
He needed to know now what they were planning.
The sooner the better.
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