Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(70) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
He summoned the demon Chthonian. The one being who was given protection and charge over their kind.
Granted, no one had seen the bastard in centuries and all kinds of speculations abounded. Some said he’d finally died of the wounds he’d sustained during the great Chthonian war. Others that the Greek god Mache had cursed him in retaliation for being bound and imprisoned.
Another said that the goddess Apollymi had drowned him when she sank Atlantis. There was even a rumor that Artemis had captured him and was keeping him as her pet on Olympus.
Max didn’t know if any of that was true.
All he knew was that he needed a miracle and that the only creature who might help them was the Chthonian who’d once led Max’s mother’s people to freedom.
Throwing his head back, he let out a summoning cry for the beast.
The princess shrank away from him as the waves rolled in and out on the beach.
“What is he doing?” she asked, throwing her hands over her ears to mute the sounds of his call.
Max ignored her as he continued to summon Savitar.
And as time moved slowly and no one responded to his summons, he realized that the Chthonian must be dead.
Or that he didn’t care.
Heartsick, he turned away from the beach, toward his brother. His jaw went slack as he saw the tall, muscular man approaching them.
His lavender eyes glowed as he paused by Illarion’s side and swept his gaze over the blood-soaked gown on the cringing princess. “Seems I missed an impressive party. Care to enlighten me, dragon?”
Max quickly told him what had been done to them, and what had happened to Eumon and Illarion. “I need your help, Chthonian.”
Savitar had scoffed. “I’m done helping others. Last time I did that… it turned out badly for everyone. Especially me, and I rather like me, most days.”
“They’ll kill us.”
“Everyone dies sometime.”
“That’s it, then? You’re literally washing your hands of us?”
Savitar shrugged. “You have a new life. You should enjoy it.”
“Until the Fates have us killed, you mean.”
Savitar had gone stock-still. “Come again?”
“The Greek Fates? Because of Apollo and Zeus, they’ve ordered all of us to be put down.”
“You should have led with that, little brother.”
Savitar smiled. “Meaning there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to make those three bitches scream in agony. Take me to your camp.”
By the time they returned, most of the Apollite-animal hybrids were dead. While Max had been gone, the guards had found their camp and slaughtered them down to a meager handful before they’d driven them off.
Disgusted by the cruel horror, Max had walked around the other newly made shapeshifters, assuring them as best he could.
“What are we to do?”
He met Savitar’s gaze.
Finally he saw the spark there that lived in his heart.
Savitar stepped forward. “As a new species, I offer you my protection. I will make it known that the Chthonians are aware of you and that no one, especially the gods, are to prey on you without repercussions.”
While Savitar dealt with the new species, Max had finally removed Illarion’s collar.
“I know. I’m sorry.”
Why did you wait?
“In case we were taken, you could have passed as the prince and escaped. So long as you remained in a human body.”
Illarion shook his head as he scanned the others. We are an abomination. Are you sure we should have survived? Perhaps it would have been kinder to consign us to death.
“Perhaps. But then life isn’t kind. All we have to get through it is each other. I couldn’t stand by and watch them die.”
Illarion let out a tired sigh. Your Arel blood seriously screws you at times. What is this innate need you have to protect?
“I don’t know, but you should be glad I have it. A sane dragon would have left you behind.”
As they rounded them up, Lycaon and his army rode in to finish their slaughter.
Until the king saw Savitar. “What is the meaning of this?”
Savitar faced the king without fear. “I’m here to take them to their own lands to live.”
“You can’t do that.”
Savitar arched a brow. “You want to cross me?”
“The gods have decreed —”
“And I, as a Chthonian sworn to protect mortal life from the gods, overturn that decree.”
Lycaon shook his head. “You can’t do that! They’ll kill my children in retaliation.”
While they argued, Helena grabbed Max’s arm. “You can’t let me return to the palace. Not after what’s happened.”
Confused, he scowled at her. “You want to travel with us, the animals?”
“Please. I’m afraid of what Linus will do to me and my children. While he might keep me alive and claim me as his, he will never suffer my children to live. Not so long as they are heirs to their father’s throne. You saw him. His ambitions are ruthless and he will stop at nothing. Worse, we know he killed Eumon. So long as any of us are alive, he’ll view us as a threat and want us removed. Understood?”
Illarion had shaken his head. Max… I know that look on your face. You’re the one who’s always telling me to stay out of things.
Max had nudged the princess closer to Illarion. “Keep an eye on her, for a minute.”
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