Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(78) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
“I will never fail you again.”
This time, she did blast him through the wall before she turned and vanished.
Seraphina held the line at the kitchen door. Their instructions were to keep Nala and her warriors in the club and to not allow the fighting to spill into the street where the humans might see them, or into Peltier House where the children, human or animal, could be harmed.
Nala kicked her back, into the wall. “You dare to call yourself an Arcadian and side with the Katagaria? I knew the day you brought that animal home with you that you’d turn on us one day, Katagari whore!”
“Better a Katagari whore than a demon’s bitch. You must have swallowed his nectar whole for him to let you live.”
Shrieking in outrage, Nala swung at her head.
Seraphina used her sword to deflect the stroke and kneed her hard.
Nala stumbled backward with a groan of pain. Sera gave her no mercy. She advanced on her, raining blows as fast and controlled as she could. This wasn’t just about her. It was about protecting her family and what she loved most.
“Apollo will return us to stone if we don’t follow his orders. Is that what you want?”
Sera struck out at her. “I won’t live my life afraid. That is not part of our Amazonian code and it’s definitely not drakonian.” Furious, she swept Nala’s feet out from beneath her and disarmed her. “And it damn sure isn’t becoming of a basilinna! Hem me never,” she said, repeating their code of honor. She angled her sword at Nala’s throat. “Now cede your crown or lose your head.”
Suddenly, the fighting slowed and stopped as those around them became aware of the fact that Nala was no longer in the battle. That she was on her backside, crawling away from Seraphina’s blade.
Nala stopped moving as soon as she realized everyone was staring at her. Only then did she push herself to her feet and stand with her former haughty glower.
Sera cut off her retreat. “Cede the tribe, or I’ll call for a vote.” Which, after this pathetically weak display, Nala would lose.
And that would be even more humiliating.
“Fine. I’ll cede my position as basilinna, but not to a Katagari whore.”
Growling, Sera started for her, but Samia caught her and stopped her from taking the bitch’s head in cold blood.
“She’s not worth your honor, Seraphina. Besides, we all know the truth. She gave up her honor attempting to take Max’s and he, a simple Katagari, upheld his vow to you.”
Sam raked a scathing glare over Nala’s body. “The only shame in this room belongs to her. Let her live knowing that. Let it haunt her every night when she attempts to sleep and it echoes in her head with the voice of the Furies until it drives her mad with the truth.” She glanced around to the rest of Sera’s tribe. “As the basilinna for the Thurian Riders, I call a vote from the Scythians. Who do you want to lead your nation? A coward, or do you choose someone worthy?”
Tisiphone stepped forward and sheathed her sword. “Honestly? We just want to go home to what we knew. Scythians are done with the politics of the gods. They have brought us nothing save misery. Our only wish now is to return to our time period at the next moon. None of us are happy here. And while we would be honored to have Seraphina as our leader, we respect the fact that she will want to stay here with her mate and children. She has more than earned her peace. None of us will ever judge her for that.”
Sera lowered her sword from Nala. “Is that truly how all of you feel?”
One by one, they nodded.
“Then it is with great sadness that I lose my sisters. But I won’t stop you. I know what it’s like to live without what you need to be happy. And I wish that on no one.”
Seraphina narrowed her eyes on Nala. “Not even you.” But in spite of those words, bitter hatred rose up inside her and she had one thing she needed to know. “I put my faith in you. I trusted you over even my own mate. Why did you lie to me about him?”
“Because I hate you!” Tears glistened in Nera’s eyes as she pulled off her leather gauntlet and showed her palm to Seraphina. A palm that bore a Katagari mating mark. “Like you, I was given to a Katagari bastard. But I held my dragonslayer’s oath sacred and refused to seal the mating.” She glared at the rest of their tribe. “They lied to us. The mark never fades. It stays as a forever reminder that I am sterile, and that the bastard who did this to me still lives. My only comfort is that he’s impotent.” She raked a vicious sneer over Seraphina’s body. “It’s not fair that you should have your Katagari mate and I, the basilinna of my sister tribe, should be without his comfort. Should be without children.”
While Sera felt bad for her queen, it didn’t justify her cruelty to them. “You had no right to blame either me or Maxis for your cowardice. It wasn’t your oath that kept you from mating. It was your own fear.”
Nala screamed and ran toward her, but Dev caught her and forced her back. “You need a time-out, woman.” He glanced to Sam. “I’m putting this one on ice. I’ll leave you ladies to attend the others.”
Sam swept them with a gaze. “It’s up to you, my sisters. Behave and we’ll allow you freedom here until the next moon. Start shit and you can sit in a cage with Nala to wait it out.”
The Amazons sheathed their swords and stood down.
Fang sighed in relief. “Good. Now all of you can help us clean up the mess you made.”
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