Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(13) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
She couldn’t imagine going up against him in battle. It’d have to be terrifying.
But Blaise didn’t shirk as he continued to block his way. It was comical, really. “Fine, then. I’ll bleed all over you and make Quinn pissed when he has to repaint the room.”
Max let out a frustrated breath. “I swear to the gods…” He picked Blaise up and physically set him down on the other side so that he could pass. As he started out the door, Blaise let out a shrill, haunting cry.
With a fierce snarl, Max turned back on him and covered Blaise’s mouth with his hand. “Stop it!”
Blaise bit him.
Cursing his brother and insulting their mutual mother, Maxis snatched his hand away. “I can’t believe you did that!”
She had no idea what that was about until the door was thrown open to show another male dragon. Slightly taller than Maxis, he had long brown hair liberally sprinkled with auburn highlights. Hair that was disheveled by sleep. Even though he was fully grown and muscular, he frowned at them like a small, irritable child who was angry at being awakened.
Realizing there was no imminent threat, he rubbed at his eyes… a gesture that reminded her much of Hadyn in the morning.
What the hell are you two hatchlings doing? I thought you were under attack. The thickly masculine words whispered through her mind as if he projected them there. He scratched at the whiskers on his cheek.
Blaise shoved at Maxis. “He’s planning to leave us behind and go fight demons on his own for his dragonswan. Go on and tell him how stupid he is. I tried and he’s too stupid to listen.”
The dragonswain arched a brow at that. His sharp, steely gaze went to her and narrowed with a bloodlust that scared her. Shaking his head, he let out a frustrated sigh as he returned a furious glower to Maxis. So can I kill her now?
Eyes wide, Seraphina stepped back. “Excuse me?”
“No!” Maxis snapped. “And stop asking me that.”
Completely ignoring her, the newcomer looked up at the ceiling. It’s so not fair. I lost my Edilyn and yet this bitch lives and returns? Why, gods? Why?
His jaw ticcing, he looked to Blaise. Is there not some transmutation of souls we can do? Place my mate’s soul in her body?
Max growled at them. “Stop it! Both of you! You’re not going to swap out her soul.”
Curling his lip, the dragonswain who kept speaking only through their thoughts gestured toward Seraphina. I don’t understand why you continue to protect her. She’s never brought anything save utter hell and misery to your door. You told me yourself that she could barely look at you when you lived together. So why are you so eager now to die at her command? Let her rot in whatever mess she’s woven. It serves her right and is all she deserves.
Seraphina winced at a truth she hadn’t even realized Maxis had noticed. To her ever shame, Illarion was right, she’d had a hard time looking at her mate when they shared a home.
“Enough, Illarion! She’s the mother of my young and I will not have you say another word against her.”
Illarion’s jaw went slack. You spawned with her? Are you infinitely stupid? His gaze went from Maxis to lock on hers with a frigidity that sent shivers down her spine. Instead of saving their race, Max, you should have cut that ungrateful whore’s throat and devoured her unborn young when you had the chance. Save us all the misery and heartache they’ve caused us since then. Not to mention the indigestion and ulcers.
He raked another cold sneer over Seraphina. Be grateful you’re his mate. That alone stays my hand from ripping out your heart and feasting on it… Arcadian. The way he spat the word in her mind made it sound like the worst sort of insult.
“If not for them, Illarion, you’d have never met your Edilyn.”
Illarion winced and looked away. You’re not helping your cause, brother. You’re only reminding me why I hate them all and what they’ve viciously taken from me… Now, what’s this infernal madness you’re about?
Max glared at him. “You’re the only being alive who can talk to me like that and not be gutted on the floor.”
“Um, yeah,” Blaise said in an irritated tone. “Why does he get that favoritism? You’d lay me out cold for it.”
Illarion cut another malicious glare at Seraphina before he answered Blaise’s question. Before you were born, Blaise, I was the one who found Max after her tribe all but gelded and skinned him alive. They had him muzzled with a metriazo collar that restricted his ability to use his magick in any way. He couldn’t even transform to heal himself. Had I not found him when I did, he would have died. I doubt he’d have made it through another three hours in the condition he was in.
Blaise sucked his breath in sharply at what that meant as Seraphina closed her eyes in sympathetic pain and horror. What Illarion didn’t know was that she hated her own self for the part she’d played in that, far more than he ever could. It was a moment that had haunted her day and night. And in particular, every time she’d looked into the faces of her children and had to explain to them why their father wasn’t with them.
Why it was all her fault and why they were to never blame him for it. They knew she didn’t blame him. How could she?
His lip curled, Illarion circled her. Had an enemy found him, he’d have been gutted and tortured even more. I don’t say worse, because no one could have done him worse harm than you and your tribe did.
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