Blood Trinity (Page 12)

Blood Trinity (Belador #1)(12)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Casper sat forward. “Wait … you’re saying that we knew where this potential Belador kryptonite has been sitting the whole time but didn’t send a retrieval team to find it and put it in our vault?”

Sen gave him a duh stare. “Yes, Casper. We purposefully left it there. It made such a great resting place for the pigeons and tourists that we couldn’t bring ourselves to move it.”

Trey spoke up. “It’s only the size of a goose egg, not a damn boulder. There was one good thing that came from the battle. Macha fixed our eyes. Our powers are no longer linked to our vision.”

“Speak for yourself,” Evalle muttered. Many of the Beladors, like Trey, had been subject to weakening of powers if their eyes were compromised. After the battle with the Kujoo two years back, Brina had lobbied Macha to fix that, which the goddess had. Be nice if Brina had lobbied Macha on Evalle’s behalf to allow her to walk in sunshine. “I still have sensitive eyes.”

“But it doesn’t affect your powers the way it did ours,” Trey pointed out.

Sen broke in. “Think you two can save the drivel for your own time?” He addressed the whole room. “The stone becomes invisible until it wants to be found, sometimes for centuries. We could have excavated the entire park and never found that rock. It chooses when and where to be seen or found.”

Trey let out an elongated breath. “I suppose it’s too much to hope that we have some idea who or what the stone has chosen for a new master.”

“In the past, it’s always chosen someone with significant powers. Someone with an unknown history. The only clue Shiva could give us is that he believes it’ll select a woman this time.”

“Well, there goes the neighborhood.” Casper winked at Evalle.

Evalle rolled her eyes. That cowboy was asking for trouble and some female would oblige him one day, but not her. He didn’t interest her at all, not like Isak, whose touch had been …

No, don’t go there.

Because she had no interest in a relationship with anything other than Häagen-Dazs. Especially not with a man whose favorite extracurricular activity was hunting nonhumans.

There was no telling what he’d do to her if he ever learned who and what she really was.

Sen crossed his arms over his chest, the action bringing her thoughts back to the matter at hand as he continued. “Shiva has agreed to let us put the Ngak Stone in our vault if the stone allows its owner to hand it to us voluntarily. Shiva warned he will not interfere with the stone’s destiny. He can’t. So we must find that woman and get that rock.”

“What if the rock is destined to remain with the woman it chooses?” Adrianna’s voice was filmy as smoke, soft and tainted with hidden undercurrents. “Why are we assuming this woman shouldn’t wield its power?”

If not for hearing an ulterior motive beneath Adrianna’s words, Evalle might have seen her point.

Amazingly, Sen showed no sign of annoyance at being questioned by the blonde. “Shiva had a vision. He saw two paths for the stone once it passed into the woman’s hands. The first showed it resting in a guarded space—the outcome we prefer. The other ended with it being used for cataclysmic destruction. If this stone lands in the wrong hands, it could change the landscape of the world as we know it. Every time it shows up, it changes human history, and never for the better.”

“Where’s Indiana Jones when we need him?” Casper wondered aloud.

Sen’s jaw twitched, but he continued the briefing. “In the past, our people were lucky and managed to prevent total destruction of our planet. This time? It’s up to us. Things are going to get ugly if we don’t get our hands on the Ngak Stone.”

“How do you plan to take the rock from its new owner if we find her?” Lucien’s question surprised the room when he spoke.

Evalle imagined that deep voice and melodic Latin accent played well with the females. Oozing testosterone and looking like sex on two legs probably didn’t hurt either.

Sen sighed. “We can’t take the Ngak Stone from her. She has to willingly hand it over.”

“Not exactly true.” Lucien paused, his voice softening with a lethal quality when he added, “There is one other way to take possession.”

Evalle arched an inquisitive look at the Castilian, grasping what he insinuated. The new master could die.

Remind me to stay on his good side.

Sen glared at him. “You will not kill her to take that rock.”

Lucien smiled, an expression his stony gaze failed to support. “I don’t intend to. However, accidents happen and other creatures besides us are hunting for it. Who knows? She could easily slip and fall on someone’s knife. A few dozen times.”

Sen sighed. “As you said, we can’t stop that, but anyone who tries to take the stone by force would have to be out of their mind. The stone might accept a new master, or it might turn on the person who attacked the chosen one. The gods help them then, because it won’t be pretty.”

Casper gestured to the agents in the room. “Are we it? Please tell me given the nature of this beast that we’re going to have more folks looking for it.”

Sen hesitated before he spoke. “This is a highly delicate situation. The fewer people who know the stone is up for grabs, the better off we’ll be. So do not share information with anyone outside this team, not even other VIPER members, and especially not that we’re searching for the Ngak Stone. I can’t risk sending in a large contingent that would alert our enemies. If word of the stone’s reappearance surfaced, any and every thing with supernatural power would show up to get their hands on it.”

Lucien scoffed. “Word will get out.”

Wasn’t he Mr. Encouraging? Evalle didn’t think Lucien would live long around Sen if he kept that up, but she welcomed anyone drawing Sen’s attention away from her.

“Then we have to find that stone and the woman quickly.” Sen’s terse words sent in Lucien’s direction made it clear he wasn’t up for any negative attitude or slackers.

Trey shook his head. “Atlanta’s spread out. Do we know where to look for this woman?”

“No, but we know where the stone should reappear since it can’t physically move itself. The stone can create environmental changes that cause it to be moved, but it still has to wait to be picked up.”

Trey let out an angry sound of frustration. “Damn, this sucks.” He leveled a serious stare at Sen. “You do realize that I now have to choose between the end of the world as we know it and my balls, right?”

Sen’s eyes widened in surprise. “Pardon?”

“My wife’s in her last weeks of pregnancy, and if I’m not there when she goes into labor, she will annihilate my testicles. Both of them. Without anesthesia. I’d rather the earth end in a bloody ball of flames than I lose the boys. I think every male in this room agrees …” He glanced over to where Lucien leaned against the wall. “Well, maybe not Lucien. The jury’s still out on his sexual preference, but I don’t want to be a soprano.”

Lucien’s eyes held a wicked threat when he chuckled. “You keep that up, cabrón, and you won’t have to wait on your wife to remove them. I assure you, it can be arranged here and now.”

The tic started again in Sen’s jaw. “Go to your respective corners, both of you.” He looked at Trey. “As for your personal matter, I suggest then that you locate the stone quickly before your jewels are handed to you. And trust me, once her labor pains kick in, even if you’re there, you’ll be lucky to walk away with them intact anyway.”

Sen turned his attention to the rest of them. “Now if we can focus on something other than Trey’s testicles, we still have Armageddon to deal with. Tzader’s spearheading this mission, and Trey will handle communications with headquarters. Quinn will work with Casper. Storm will become part of the southeastern team. Evalle will show Storm around.”

Evalle stiffened. When had she become a tour guide? She started to complain that she couldn’t be saddled with a new guy when she had to be inside during the daylight, but Sen would love nothing more than to have her admit she was lacking.

Again.

But with that came a sense of dread. The last thing she wanted was to deal with Storm tonight. Not that he hadn’t seemed like a decent guy at first glance. Still, she didn’t want to be alone with him for several reasons.

One, she didn’t trust any man when they were alone.

Second, she didn’t know what kind of powers Storm had or how he felt about being stuck with a woman. Then there was the small matter of her being an Alterant. Her experience with Beladors was that they tended to freak whenever they found out about her heritage. He’d put her at the bottom of the food chain, right under Birrn demons and pond scum.

With any luck, Tzader would take Storm off her hands to train.

Lucien jerked his chin toward Adrianna. “What about her?”

Sen glanced at Adrianna, then back at Lucien before he answered. “She’ll be working on her own, but you’re to assist her.”

Lucien’s eyes darkened with an emotion Evalle would call loathing that matched his tone. “Ah, I would say gracias, but that would sound as though you did me a favor. Perhaps now you’d care to tell everyone what she is?”

Evalle had found the source of the hatred she’d felt when Adrianna had walked into the mission room.

And Adrianna didn’t appear any happier with Lucien than he was with her.

When all eyes focused on Sen, he explained, “She’s a Sterling witch, working with us on this one mission. We needed a consultant who was there the last time a witch opened a portal for the Kujoo.”

Evalle shook her head. “Are you out of your mind? You want us to trust a witch from the Sterling family? A black-majik-practicing dynasty?”

Sen’s eyes narrowed to slits. “A Tribunal has approved her. This is not your decision.”

Evalle had to force herself not to argue her point. Tribunals weren’t infallible by any stretch of the imagination. But Sen wasn’t about to listen to her, even though all of them knew better than to trust a Sterling.

What was the Tribunal thinking?

Sen’s threatening gaze shifted to Lucien, whose only reaction was a muscle twitching in his jaw. “Another thing. I had a report that a Birrn demon was executed in a warehouse off Metropolitan Parkway in Atlanta this morning. I want to know who or what took him down and what the demon was doing there. I know it couldn’t have been one of our agents, since no one called for cleanup.” His face tightened. “At least it better not be one of our people. The gods help them if it is and I expect answers by sunset, or it won’t go well for any of you.”

With a snap of Sen’s fingers, a low wooden table appeared in the middle of the room, along with a stack of file folders. “This is what we have from Fulton County law enforcement on the slaying.”

Holding her breath in fear, Evalle lifted a file and tried to look normal. She went immediately to the pictures of the scene, hoping there was nothing from the county investigation that would betray her.

Grace be to Macha, nothing in these pages looked damning.

For the moment, she was safe.

But the question was, did Sen have a sniffer in this region who could use the chips to catch a trail and follow it the way a bloodhound tracked scent? That was one of the few powers she envied.

And while she was at it, she needed to locate the twins and tell them not to mention the incident with the Birrn to anyone, especially a Nightstalker.

Her thoughts turned to Isak, and her stomach sank. How was she going to find a man who no doubt was unfindable and convince him not to tell anyone about seeing her with the demon?

I should have been late for this meeting.

Apparently she’d flunked basic survival, too.

Sen wouldn’t need any help getting rid of her if she kept putting her own head in the noose. Her heartbeat jumped into high gear.

Her time for locating the Birrn’s master was running out. Sen would suspend her, strip all of her powers, then lock her away in hell.

She’d absolutely lose her mind if that happened. There was no way she could take that again. Not to mention the small matter that she was their target. Without her powers, there was no telling what the demon master would do to her.

But she couldn’t do a thing until dark without risking her life. Her breath came in shorter and shorter gasps as she fought down her panic through clenched teeth.

Trained agents would be looking into the Birrn slaying.

I’m so dead. I’m so dead. I’m so dead. She couldn’t breathe or focus. Her panic continued to swell. She had to keep it hidden from the rest of the agents. Get a grip!

Suddenly, a gentle wave of energy floated over her, soothing her distress and wrapping her in a cocoon of comfort. Her breathing steadied.

Someone in this room had done that.

Evalle slowly looked around, but no one seemed to be paying her attention. Who had reached out to her?