Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(49) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Her father laughed at the threat. “He’s coming for me?”
Medea nodded. “And he wants Max.”
“Why?” her father asked with a frown.
Before she could speak, there was another knock on their door.
Medea rose. “I’ll see who it is.” She teleported to the door, intending to brush off whoever was there. Yet as soon as she opened it and saw her second-in-command and best friend, Davyn, she knew something was wrong.
He had the same greenish cast to his skin and her handsome, lovely friend looked as ill as her mother. And like her parents, his blond hair was tousled all over his head – something Davyn never allowed to happen.
He braced his hand against the frame as he struggled to breathe. “There’s some kind of illness spreading through our ranks.” As he started to elaborate, he broke off into a fit of coughing. “It’s as if we have a plague.”
An even worse feeling went through her at those words. Whenever someone mentioned the words “plague” and “Daimon,” only one name came to mind…
And that rat bastard just happened to be in residence.
Terrified she was right, but really, really hoping she wasn’t, she moved toward Davyn. “C’mon, baby, let me get you to bed.”
He pulled back from her. “Not that I wouldn’t appreciate the help, but I don’t want you to catch whatever hell this is. Besides, Stryker would gut me if I gave it to you. And you would, too.”
She snorted at his sick sense of humor. “Only you could be that funny and that ill simultaneously. Go on with you, before I beat you anyway. Just for good measure.”
Offering her a weak smile, he vanished.
Medea took a moment to check on her mom and dad again.
Her giant, muscular father had her mother cradled in his lap like a small child. Zephyra appeared so tiny and frail, two things Medea wouldn’t normally apply to a woman who was fierce and strong beyond measure.
He cupped her mother’s face with his massive paw of a hand while he rocked her gently and kept her head tucked protectively beneath his chin. His obvious love choked Medea and brought tears to her eyes. For all her father’s faults, he did adore her mother.
Sensing her presence, he caught her gaze. “Who was it?”
“Davyn. I’m going to check on something and then I’ll update you.”
“I trust you, daughter.”
As she started to leave, he stopped her.
For a full minute, she couldn’t move. While she knew he felt that way, he didn’t normally say it. Like her mother, her father was a fierce, violent creature. A ruthless Daimon of action, not affection. The fact that he felt compelled to say that worried her even more.
“Love you, too.” And as she withdrew, he heard him doing the last thing she ever expected.
He whispered a prayer to Apollymi to help cure her mother’s illness.
Yeah, that was scary.
And ironically, that was where she was headed. If anyone should have a clue about this, surely the ancient Atlantean goddess of destruction might know something.
Medea teleported from their home to the palace on the hill where Apollymi resided with her Charonte guards. Since it was late, she wasn’t sure where the goddess might be. During the day, which was as dark as night in this hell realm known as Kalosis, the goddess was normally found in her garden.
Medea wasn’t sure if Apollymi slept or what she did at night. Truthfully, she’d never given it much thought. Though now that she did, Apollymi must be lonely. She kept herself apart from the Daimons who worshiped her. Apart from the Charonte demons who guarded her, and there was no cable TV here. The curse that imprisoned her in this realm prevented her from visiting her son, Acheron, or from leaving this place.
What did the goddess do?
It definitely wasn’t crochet or play Parcheesi.
Medea hesitated in the great hall of the black marble palace. “Hello?” That seemed like the safest way to announce her presence without irritating the dangerous goddess too much.
A tall Charonte female appeared by her side. With long green hair that matched her eyes, she had yellow-orange skin and dark orange horns and wings. “Yes?”
“It’s all right, Sabine. I’m sure she’s here to ask after a cure for her mother. You’re excused for the night. Go see to your wee ones.”
Turning, the Charonte gave a slight bow to the ever graceful Atlantean goddess. “Yes, akra.”
Like a silent wraith, Apollymi glided out of the shadows. Her long white-blond hair floated around her lithe body, and was a stark contrast for her black gown. Her swirling silver eyes filled with compassion, she approached Medea. “I heard your father’s plea. What’s going on?”
Medea hesitated. This was the Atlantean Destroyer. A goddess of utter ruthlessness and destruction who had massacred her entire pantheon and family…
Not the queen of warm fuzzies.
“Why are you being so…” Medea shuddered at using the word in front of the goddess lest she offend her and end up as a stain on the wall or floor, “kind?”
Apollymi laughed evilly. “While your thoughts are correct, child, I would remind you that I killed them all over the fact that they harmed my son.” She sobered. “In spite of the fights we’ve had over the centuries, Stryker is my son as well, and though I did not birth him, he is no less dear to me. And as any mother, I will not and cannot allow one son to harm the other, and that is the only time I’ve ever stayed Stryker’s hand. I won’t allow him to attack Apostolos or Styxx. So long as he leaves his brothers and their families in peace, I will not splinter him into pieces. And I would no sooner harm him than I would any of my children.”
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