When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(36) by Alexandra Ivy
“Styx,” Levet interrupted, halting her step toward the door.
“Oui.” A grimace wrinkled his tiny snout. “He might be an annoying creature, but he is the most powerful vampire and his position as the Anasso means he has a connection to Cyn.”
It made sense.
Her own father could share his powers with his people when they were in need, giving them strength or assisting the healers on the rare occasion when one of them was grievously wounded.
Still, he was half a world away.
“I can’t form a portal without knowing where I’m going.”
Levet squatted down beside Cyn, his hand pressing to Cyn’s chest. Fallon felt a tiny tingle of magic flow through the air as the gargoyle did his best to keep the vampire’s life-force from slipping away.
“Can you travel to your fiancé?”
Fallon stiffened in confusion. Did the creature think that she was going to run away when Cyn was hurt?
“Why would I want to do that?”
“He’s staying with Styx.” Ignoring Fallon’s gasp, Levet glanced up with a worried expression. “I suggest you hurry.”
Styx had reluctantly returned to his lair an hour before sunrise.
Darcy had urged him to remain in St. Louis where she was helping her sister with her new litter of pups, but Styx declined. He’d told her that a vampire didn’t accept the hospitality of the King of Weres. Which wasn’t exactly a lie. While he currently had a truce with Salvatore, it wasn’t that long ago they’d been mortal enemies.
But the truth was that he was feeling growingly uneasy.
It wasn’t just the fact that his mate wasn’t in his bed where she belonged.
Or that Cyn was still MIA.
Or that his lair had somehow become a hotel for the Chatri.
Or even that he had a treacherous imp locked in his dungeons.
It was quite simply that Styx had been through too many near-apocalyptic disasters not to sense trouble when it was brewing.
Entering the house from the gardens, he headed straight toward the dungeons. He was in no mood to run into the prissy Prince Magnus.
He paused to speak with the two vampire guards on duty before he traveled along the narrow pathway between the cells. Each small cubicle was built to hold a specific demon, with the fey cages at the very back of the room.
Built of iron with powerful hexes scraped into the walls, they added to the spells that already dampened the magic in his lair.
Not even the strongest fey could create a portal here.
Clearly hearing his approach, Keeley was standing near the door when Styx pushed it open.
“It’s about time,” the imp groused, his golden hair limp and his clothes rumpled. Standing in the barren cell that held nothing but a narrow cot, the creature looked nothing like the arrogant fey who used to prance through the lair of the previous Anasso. “I thought you had forgotten I was down here.”
Styx bared his fangs. Damn, he hoped the bastard gave him a reason to rip open his throat.
“Do you really want to start this conversation by pissing me off?” he asked, his voice lethally soft.
Only a bully raged and yelled. A truly dangerous predator never lost control of his emotions.
Belatedly recalling his life was hanging in the balance, Keeley performed a deep bow. “Forgive me, Your Majesty. It was my fear speaking.”
“You should be afraid.” Styx leaned his shoulder against the doorjamb, folding his arms over his massive chest. “You betrayed my master and led him to his ultimate death.”
Keeley straightened, his face pale. “It wasn’t me. Damocles was the one who brought the drug addicts to poison the Anasso.”
“With your assistance,” Styx pressed, carefully monitoring the imp’s face.
He wasn’t particularly interested in dredging up the past. He had his own share of guilt when it came to the death of his master. But he wanted to see the imp’s reaction to the reminder that Styx had every reason to want him dead.
“I had no choice.” The fey licked his lips, the smell of tainted strawberries filling the air. “I was as much a victim as the Anasso.”
Styx wrinkled his nose. Pathetic worm.
Still, he’d gotten his answer.
Keeley was terrified of him. So what the hell could drive him to try spying on this lair with the certain knowledge he would be caught?
“Why are you here?” he abruptly demanded.
The pale green eyes shifted to peer over Styx’s shoulder, as if he was looking for something. Or someone.
“I . . . heard you have a Chatri here.”
Styx grimaced. He suspected every fey in the world had heard the elusive Chatri were here. It’d taken the threat of death to run off the hordes that had gathered outside his gates trying to catch a glimpse of the royal family.
It seemed like a reasonable excuse, but Styx wasn’t buying it.
“Unfortunately I have a number of demons who are convinced they have a right to stay in my lair. What’s so special about the Chatri?”
“They are gods to us,” he said, the words sounding as if he’d memorized them. “How could I resist the opportunity to see one in the flesh, so to speak?”
Styx narrowed his gaze. “Why don’t I believe you?”
“I have no idea.” Keeley pressed two fingers to his heart, a layer of sweat beading his forehead. Not that it meant anything. Most demons tended to sweat when confronting the King of Vampires. “I swear my only interest is in the Chatri.”
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