When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(58) by Alexandra Ivy
“It would depend on the strength of the magic-user.”
The vampire glared at him, the air becoming downright frigid. “How close?” he repeated.
“A few hundred feet,” Magnus muttered.
Styx’s features tightened, his eyes narrowed. “Interesting.”
Magnus didn’t find it interesting. He found it . . . disgraceful.
No fey should die by such a cowardly attack.
“I suppose that I’m expected to track down the witch?” he commanded, not about to admit that he was remotely interested in the mystery.
A Chatri prince should be above such mundane curiosity.
“Once the sun sets,” the vampire at last said.
Magnus frowned. Styx wasn’t stupid. He had to know the quicker that Magnus was on the hunt, the better the chance of finding the culprit.
“The scent will be faded.”
Styx studied him for a long moment. “I don’t trust you,” he at last said.
Tonya muttered something about men and the size of their privates beneath her breath, but Magnus kept his gaze locked on the vampire.
“If I intended to flee I would have done so when we were in the portal,” he said, his tone edged with an arrogance that was certain to annoy the leech. “Chatri are capable of creating more than one opening. You would never have realized I hadn’t returned to Chicago until too late.”
“I have a dead imp.” Styx refused to back down. No surprise. Vampires were overly aggressive creatures who should be kept caged for the safety of all demons.
“Yes, we’ve already established that,” Magnus drawled.
Styx stepped toward him. “And the most likely suspect for the murder is standing in front of me.”
“Are you suggesting I might have killed the imp?”
“I don’t suggest. I’m flat-out saying that you’re a suspect.”
Magnus lifted his hand, a glow beginning to dance over his skin. Styx might be the King of Vampires, but a Prince of the Chatri had a potent magic. If the leech wanted a fight, then he could have one.
The scent of plums filled the air as Tonya was abruptly standing between the two of them.
“Why would he want to kill an imp?” she demanded.
Styx’s gaze remained locked on Magnus. “There could be any number of reasons.”
“Ridiculous.” Magnus sneered, trying to pretend that he didn’t care that the beautiful imp had clearly risked her own neck to halt the looming violence. What did it matter if she cared whether or not he was hurt by the Anasso? It didn’t. Of course it didn’t. “I wasn’t even here, if you’ll recall.”
Styx shoved aside his obvious logic. “You could have killed him, then followed me to Cyn’s lair. It would have given you the perfect alibi.”
“If I’d decided to kill the imp I wouldn’t sneak around.” He released a trickle of his power, melting the frost that had formed on the walls. “I am a Chatri. It’s my right to offer death to any fey.”
“I’ll watch him,” Tonya abruptly said, turning to glare at him over her shoulder.
As if the sudden tension was his responsibility.
Styx’s icy expression abruptly softened as he glanced toward the female who barely came to the middle of his chest.
“Viper will kick my ass if anything happens to you,” he ruefully admitted.
Magnus deliberately moved until he was standing at Tonya’s side. He didn’t like the casual intimacy between this woman and the King of Vampires.
It made him itchy.
“I would never harm a female,” he snapped.
Tonya gave a toss of her head. “I can take care of myself, thank you very much.”
Styx’s lips twitched as his gaze briefly flicked toward Magnus before returning to Tonya. Then, with a smooth motion, he had reached behind his back to pull out a handgun.
“Here.” He offered the gun to Tonya. “Can you use it?”
Taking the gun, Tonya tested its weight before lifting it to aim it at a spot on the far wall.
“I can shoot the balls off a gnat,” she assured the vampire.
“Good.” Styx gave her a nod of approval before turning to point a finger at Magnus. “You.”
“If you find an intruder you will follow their scent, but you won’t confront them or allow them to know we have managed to discover their trail,” Styx commanded. “You will mark their location and return here.”
Magnus glowered in outrage. “You do realize that I’m not your servant?”
“Don’t get caught.”
Seemingly confident his orders would be carried out, Styx strolled out of the cell, the sound of his pet Ravens instantly falling into step behind him as they left the dungeon.
“Bastard,” he rasped, barely resisting the urge to send a bolt of power toward the retreating vampires.
Not to kill.
But he could singe their asses.
Perhaps sensing his childish urge, Tonya moved to stand directly in front of him, blocking his path to the door.
“Are we going?”
Magnus sucked in a deep breath, drenching himself in the scent of wild plums. “I don’t know why I should do the bidding of a leech who has the manners of a demented troll.”
“Neither do I.” She studied him, her expression unreadable. “But you’re going to search for the killer, aren’t you?”
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