Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(16) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Illarion let out a silent sigh. Which means all of us and everyone we love, and a few we’re not that fond of, either.
“You fed the children to your demons while we were gone? Have you lost your mind?” Completely slack-jawed, Nala stood in the center of the dimly lit room, staring at Kessar. While the red-eyed demon towered over her, she refused to be intimidated by him. Especially right now when she was so furious.
He had fed the children to his demons. She just kept repeating that over and over in her mind, because she couldn’t believe he’d do something so dumb the five minutes she’d left him alone.
This matter was far more serious than he could guess. One didn’t just lightly go for Seraphina’s throat.
One only did so with a huge army.
And he was shy a few thousand demons.
He scoffed at her anger. “You would do well to choose another tone, lest I add you to our menu. Remember, but for my good will, you’d still be collecting bird shit out in an open field where your gods left you to rot.”
“And you’ll find yourself in the middle of a massive shit storm when Seraphina learns of this! She’ll never lead you to her mate now. You can forget ever finding him.”
“She won’t have to. Once we control her spawn, they’ll be able to sniff out their sperm donor for us. It’s a much easier and quicker solution than yours.” A slow, evil smirk twisted his lips. “Besides, she hasn’t returned. I’m thinking she’s already betrayed us.”
Nala struggled not to roll her eyes at the bastard, but given what he’d done to the last member of her tribe who’d made that mistake, she didn’t want to test the demon’s patience. While she might be basilinna and a fierce warrior in her own right, she was no match for the ancient demon and his terrifying skills. And that only pissed her off more.
She and her tribe had once made the gods themselves flee in terror. But the gallu were another entity entirely. And they’d been birthed for no other purpose than to end pantheons and shatter the gods.
Which made them extremely lethal, even to the Scythian Amazons. The only member of her tribe who could stand against them was Seraphina. No one was quite sure why. While Seraphina had always been extremely skilled, something had happened after she’d mated to her dragon that had kicked her abilities up to an entirely new level.
It was why Zeus had frozen them in stone. That had been the only way to stop them from defeating the Greek gods they’d fought against.
They both turned to see Kessar’s second-in-command, Namtar, approaching with a nervousness that didn’t bode well.
Especially not for Namtar. Grateful to get Kessar’s ire off her, Nala let out a relieved breath at the demon’s timing.
Bowing to Kessar, he gulped audibly as a bead of sweat rolled down his dark caramel skin. It was obvious he’d rather be anywhere else in the world than right here, right now.
He cleared his throat and finally spoke to Kessar. “We have a slight problem, my lord.”
The expression on Kessar’s face was one of barely restrained murder. “How so?”
Namtar shook his head slowly. “No, my lord. They appear to be immune to gallu bites.”
Nala wasn’t sure which of them was the most stunned by that disclosure. “Pardon?” she gasped before she could think better of it.
Namtar cut his handsome gaze in her direction. “They are not completely Greek. Nor can they be completely vrykolakas-kynigos. They appear to be something else. We’re not sure what.”
Now there was a word she hadn’t heard in a long time. It was the original term for her species that the Greeks had used.
Ignoring her question, Kessar stepped forward. The red in his eyes intensified as he raked a sneer over her. “What information have you withheld from us about your champion?”
She swallowed hard. “None… I swear!”
Kessar refused to believe her denial. It was too convenient. How could she not know? These were members of her tribe, born into it. Had lived with her for years after their father ran off. Their mother was her primary champion.
Surely Nala knew who and what she’d harbored amongst her people?
Pissed, and cursing under his breath about how he should have left her and her Amazon tribe to rot, Kessar headed from his small throne room to the cell where he’d tossed Seraphina’s children. Since the gallu were being hunted by the Daimons who were preying on them and using their blood and souls so that the Daimons could walk in daylight, they’d been driven underground and into virtual extinction.
For the last few years, Kessar and his handful of loyal demons had played a deadly game of hide-and-seek with their former allies. And all because of a “small” falling-out he and Stryker had had over who to kill when and how. And the fact that Stryker had taken issue over Kessar going after his wife, daughter… and, well, him.
Though why it would bother the Daimon, Kessar couldn’t fathom. That was what happened in war. Goals changed. Borders shifted. Battles were won and lost, and new ground gained, while some was lost.
It happened and should be expected. As a commander, Stryker should know that as well as anyone.
In the end, friends and allies didn’t matter. Only your cause did.
But sadly, their alliance against the Olympians had dissolved after Stryker had awakened the Greek god War, and the ancient trouble-making entity had turned them against each other. They were no longer unified or after the same things. With one particularly bad night, they’d turned on each other and had splintered.
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