The Darkest Seduction (Page 106)

The Darkest Seduction (Lords of the Underworld #9)(106)
Author: Gena Showalter

“I have lived for millennia,” Cronus said. “Think you I have not learned a few tricks along the way?”

We will punish him. A whisper. WE WILL PUNISH HIM. A scream.

I will, she replied. A vow. Oh, I will. For Skye. For Paris. For herself.

“You ruined my plan, and now I will ruin yours,” he seethed. “I will bargain with Galen. For his eternal allegiance, I will hand you over, his to punish as he sees fit. If you run from him, I will bring you back to him. And if you think to flee to your demon lover, I will make Paris suffer before I kill him. And have no doubt, I will kill him. He thinks to take revenge on me for everything I’ve done to you.”

The king had made that kind of threat one too many times.

Hatred joined the sickness, as did a dollop of darkness. Violence waltzed between those shadows, the urge to maim and destroy so strong she felt as if she were drowning in them. She didn’t fight them; she embraced them.

He would be punished. Here. Today.

Hold, Wrath said. Not yet…not quite yet…

She didn’t know what Wrath planned; she only knew she trusted him to lead her in vengeance.

Cronus added blithely, “Did you know four artifacts are needed to find Pandora’s box? Galen has one, and the Lords have three. That will change. I will take the All-Seeing Eye, the Cage of Compulsion and the Paring Rod, and I will bestow them on Galen. All four artifacts will be his. He will be so grateful for my gifts, he will vow never to harm me. He will find the box, and your precious Lords will die.”

Hold…

“You trust Galen that much, do you? You actually think he’ll keep his word? That he won’t try and take your demon, too?” She flashed a patronizing smile. “I bet he’s as trustworthy as you are. So, after you do all of that for him and he goes in for the kill shot, what will you do, hmm? Are you going to fight him? Or finally accept your death sentence as your due?”

Cronus stalked to her, but stopped midway, his ears twitching. A smug, eerie laugh bubbled from him. “Speak of the devil. Or in this case, the man who masquerades as angel. Galen approaches, woman. And never has a warrior been angrier. He wants what you stole from him, and he will extract his pound of flesh from your body.”

Hold…

“Bring it,” she said. Because, yeah, she was going to punish Galen, too. Punish him for every crime he’d ever committed against Paris. For everything he’d done to Legion. Everything he’d ever thought to do. At long last.

The king’s nostrils flared. He clearly wasn’t fond of her lack of fear.

Well, too bad.

Hold…

“No worries, baby. We’ve already brought it,” Paris said from behind Cronus.

The darkness fell away, as if a curtain had been jerked to the floor. Bright light exploded, the sun shining so vividly. Her eyes stung, but she kept them open. Paris was pale and bloody but steady on his feet. He stood with the rest of the Lords behind Cronus, who spun to face them. They were armed for war. Unlike in the painting, they weren’t here to protect him.

Even better, an army of warriors whose white wings proclaimed them angels stood behind them, and they were armed for war. Zacharel claimed the helm. Every time she’d encountered him, his lack of emotion had amazed and even disturbed her. Now, she was grateful for it. He was determination itself, as cold and cruel as the snow falling from him, clearly willing to do anything to meet his goals.

“You broke the rules, Cronus,” the warrior angel said flatly, “and now you will pay.”

What rules?

“Mind if we join the party?” another voice—a female voice—said from behind Sienna. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for far too long.”

Sienna whipped around to see a beautiful brunette who could only be Rhea. The regal Titan queen stood beside Galen, who was glaring at Sienna as if he would come for her first. An army of Hunters flanked them, and she recognized a few faces.

I’ve picked my side. Beware, she projected through her narrowed eyes.

“What is this?” Cronus demanded.

“The first battle of the new war,” Zacharel replied gravely.

“Well, then. It begins. I’ll need my own army, won’t I?” He waved his hand and a great throng of his people appeared, Titan gods and goddesses enveloping him, hiding him in a sea of stunning, flawless faces and immaculate, jewel-studded gowns and togas. They were obviously confused by the sudden change of scenery and none were armed.

When they spotted the unrest surrounding them, they wised up fast. Weapons of every kind appeared out of thin air.

“To the death!” Cronus shouted.

As if his voice was the starting bell, the armies rushed each other.

Now! Wrath shouted at her.

Sienna opened her mind to her demon, allowing him to take over, and threw herself into the thick of the action.

CHAPTER FIFTY

PRIORITY ONE: SIENNA.

For once, Sex didn’t hide deep in a corner of Paris’s mind. The demon, on a high from their woman’s body, pumped strength straight into his veins as he rushed toward her, the wound from his stabbing having already healed. The darkness inside him frothed and writhed, guiding him but not consuming him. The three of them were one.

When he saw a man, a Hunter, coming up behind Sienna with a Glock raised and aimed, he roared, quickened his pace. Met the guy with an arcing blade to the throat before a single shot was fired, even as he spun his woman behind him.

Zacharel had warned him that up here, in this realm between realms just above the heart of the heavens, everyone could see her. And if they could see her, they could touch her. If they could touch her they could hurt her. And like him, she could be killed, her body too injured for Wrath to repair it, especially considering the damage done to her during their separation—which she still hadn’t told him about.

Paris’s first casualty of the battle crumpled. One down. Only about a thousand more to go. “Can you fly to safety?” he asked, nailing another Hunter. There went number two.

She offered no reply. Fearing the worst, he swung his sword to take down any threat in front of her. Only, she had worked her way back in front of him. He spotted the back of her head, her wings tucked safely out of the way, and realized she was engaged in her own battle. Either she had allowed Wrath to overtake her or she had learned some new skills in the hour they’d been parted. He was betting on the former. Good.

Clasping only the crystal dagger, she danced through the crowd with lethal menace, her focus on Cronus and the men and women surrounding him. Hunters fell all around her. She spun, she ducked, she darted left and right. Her wings flared suddenly, and she lifted high, higher, cutting someone down below her.