Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(50) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
She cupped Medea’s chin in her hand. “And that includes you. Now what do you need from me, child?”
Medea hesitated again. Honestly, she wasn’t used to affection from anyone other than her mother, and for a time, until the humans had murdered him, her husband.
Her relationship with her father was a very new one. She’d never had a grandparent of any sort, and this side of Apollymi rather frightened her.
It definitely made her uncomfortable. But for now, she’d go with it.
“There seems to be a plague moving through the Spathi here. Davyn is ill, as is my mother.”
Apollymi’s swirling silver eyes flashed red as she dropped her hand. An unseen wind swept through the room, whipping her hair around her body.
With a hissing curse, she turned and stalked away.
Medea knew better than to question or disobey that tone of voice. She quickened her steps to catch up to the goddess, who led her down to a lower level of the palace that had once belonged to Misos, the Atlantean god of death and violence. From the looks of this level, she would say that this was where that ancient god had once held his “special” damned guests for punishment in their afterlives.
According to Medea’s brother, Urian, those souls had been among the first consumed by the original Daimons Apollymi had brought here and saved from Apollo’s curse. The souls of those corrupted damned had fed them for a long time.
But unfortunately, all good things came to an end. And after a time, the Daimons had been forced to leave and prey on humans out in the world to feed and elongate their lives.
Thanks to Apollo and his horrific curse.
As they reached the end of the hallway, Apollymi used her powers to throw open a thick iron door. Chained in a naked heap on the floor was Apollo, the Greek god who had damned them all and brutally gutted Apollymi’s son Acheron when he’d been human. That betrayal was what the goddess hated him for most. But it paled in comparison to the thousands of years Apollo had spent torturing Acheron’s twin brother, Styxx.
As Apollo’s granddaughter, Medea should probably feel bad for the old god. But since his curse had cost her her life and he’d done nothing when the human vermin had slaughtered her husband and young son for no other reason than the fact that Apollo had cursed them to grow fangs and live only by night, she just couldn’t find it in her heart to spare him. Rather, she hated him even more than her father did.
Furious, she charged at him.
Apollo pulled back laughing. “I wouldn’t, were I you.”
She hesitated. “Meaning?”
“I know why you’re here and yes, I’m the cause of it all.”
Apollymi flung out her hand and pinned him to the wall behind him. “What have you done?”
He laughed even harder. “All of you forgot that I’m the god of plagues. I saved up enough of my strength for one last payback.”
Medea went cold. “What do we do, akra?”
The expression on Apollymi’s face confirmed her worst fear. There was nothing they could do. One god couldn’t undo another god’s spell or curse.
Cruelty flashed in Apollymi’s eyes. “One bastard turn deserves another.”
Apollo actually paled at her words. He’d been here long enough to learn to fear that look, as they all did. “What do you mean?”
Apollymi slid an insidious smile to Medea. “We can’t kill Apollo. We can’t undo this latest trick… But no one said we couldn’t feed him to the gallu and let them turn him into one of their blood bitches as they did Zakar. What do you think?”
Medea laughed evilly. “Oh my Lady Apollymi, how I adore the way your mind works. Shall I summon Kessar for a negotiation?”
“Yes, little one. I think you shall.”
Apollo screamed. “You can’t do that! Have you any idea what they’ll do to the world?”
She raked him with a cold, empty stare. “You forget, dearest Apollo, I am Apollymi the Great Destroyer. You think I care for these mortal fools?” She smiled at Medea. “Summon them.”
Naked beneath his pile of furs, Max lay on the floor of his loft, holding Sera in his arms. He’d sent Illarion to Blaise to see after the children and return them so that they could visit with her before she returned to stone. But he wanted a few last private moments to say his good-byes.
It seemed that every heartbeat made her body turn colder and stiffer. She was slowly dying in his arms. He was trying everything he could think of to keep her warm and vibrant. How could his powers be so worthless?
She offered him a kind, sad smile as she fingered his lips. “Don’t fret so, my dragon lord. It’s not so bad. Really. It’s not like being dead… Just a long sleep. I don’t even know that I’m there.”
As if that helped? If anything, it made it worse to know that she existed in a dark, vacant state.
Her eyes glistening, she reached up to brush her hand through his bangs. “I just wish I could have seen your hair the way I remembered it. You look so tame like this. So human.” She wrinkled her nose playfully.
He laughed as he gently caressed her breasts. “I would have thought you’d prefer my hair short and trim, like the men of your village.”
“No. It’s your feral dragon ways that have always beguiled me most. It was what first drew me to you, above all others.”
“Then close your eyes.”
She did, and he used his powers to return his hair to the primitive, barbarian style it’d been when they’d first mated.
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