Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(77) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Styxx shook his head. “I don’t think so,” he said slowly, stretching the words out. “It’s a little too…”
“Normal?” Zakar asked.
Savitar couldn’t agree more. “I could have sworn there’d be more…”
“Blood?” This time it was Sin who weighed in. As the grandson-in-law of the Destroyer, he was well versed in her more vicious mood swings and bloodbath parties.
Zakar nodded. “And violence. Definitely expected blood on the walls and violence.”
“Violence? You dare barge into my home without an invitation? Oh, violence I can definitely give you, Sumerian dog.”
They turned to find Apollymi standing in all her regal glory on the stairs of her palace, glaring at them. Her black gown spread out around her ethereal figure and contrasted sharply to her snow-white hair.
Her swirling silver eyes glittered like ice. “Why are you here? How dare you barge into my home.” To be barely more than a whisper, those words carried more threat than any shout.
Savitar cleared his throat. “We thought the demons would be attacking you.”
“So… what? You were going to ride in on your white surfboard, and save helpless little me from the big bad demon horde of my enemies? How vulgarly heroic of you, Savitar. But as you can plainly see, I’ve no need of rescue. Everything’s fine and normal here.”
“Were you not attacked?”
Apollymi laughed. “Oh yes. I was attacked, and I unleashed my tidal and formidable wrath upon the vermin who dared such.” She shivered as if in the throes of ultimate pleasure. “It was exhilarating. Positively divine and delightful. If you have any more demonic issues that plague you on the surface, please, please send them here for my enjoyment. I’ve so missed the thrill of the kill. The taste of blood and orgasmic screaming they do just before they expel that final breath where they uselessly cling to life but ultimately must surrender to death. Such sweet, precious harmony.” She expelled a breath of supreme satisfaction and smiled in complete ecstasy. “That is what I live for.”
Zakar looked at his brother and snorted. “I’m thinking she needs some private time.”
Savitar slapped him on the chest. Hard. “Be nice. Be polite. Or I’ll unleash her on you.” He left them to climb the stairs where she stood above him, the epitome of utter icy perfection. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
She passed him a droll stare. “I would show you the bodies, but my Charonte are having a feast with them. If you hurry, you might find a few remaining scraps. Maybe a fingernail or tooth they have yet to consume.” She arched a brow. “Were you truly concerned?”
“Of course. As was Acheron.”
Her features softened. She glanced past him to see Styxx at the bottom of the stairs. For him, she smiled warmly. “My beautiful boys. You may rest assured that it will take much more than Sumerian gutter rats to threaten me. However, there is a matter of concern.”
She returned her attention to Savitar. “It would seem Apollo unleashed a nasty disease among the Apollites here. We’ve already lost a number of them to it. Many more are sick. The only ones who appear immune are Medea and Stryker, no doubt because they’re his children. Even Zephyra is ill. I’ve tried everything I know to offer a cure, but I’m not a goddess of healing.”
“Is it a curse or a plague?”
“The Greek bastard called it a plague. An illness, I presume. Can you help them? Please.”
Those were words he could never ignore when she uttered them. For her, there was nothing he wouldn’t do. “Absolutely. I’ll do everything I can.”
She swept her gaze over his clothing and sighed in total irritation. Shaking her head, she grasped the edge of his wetsuit where he’d unzipped it and pulled it closed. “Will you ever learn to dress as a human?”
He snorted at her condescending tone. “Will you ever cease to nag me for my wardrobe?”
“No… and you reek of sea and sunshine. It’s a revolting combination.” She shivered and curled her lip. “Smacks of happiness and good times. Disgusting things, that.” She gave him a light, dainty push.
By that alone, he knew he didn’t irritate as much as she claimed. If he did, she’d have thrown him down the stairs or blasted him through her walls.
She jerked her chin toward the Sumerian gods. “Get on with you, now. See to curing my Daimons. They need you.”
As they started to leave, she called Styxx to her side.
Styxx was bashful as he climbed the stairs and stopped in front of her. “You’re not thinking of throwing me down them, are you?”
Smiling as if she savored that thought, or maybe his playful cheekiness, she ruffled his hair. “You dress as poorly as Savitar. I swear, you and your brother. You ever seek to vex me.” She took a moment to straighten his clothes. “I expect a visit soon from your Bethany and the babies. I rely on you to care for your brother and Tory and their sons in my absence.”
“You know I do.”
She nodded warmly. “I do. It’s why you live.” Kissing his cheek, she gave him a hug. But the way she held on to him, it was obvious that it wasn’t Styxx she imagined holding.
It was Acheron.
Apollymi cupped his head in her hand before she released him. Her gaze went to Savitar and turned to absolute granite. “Keep them all safe, Chthonian. I will not forgive you for the death of another child I love.”
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