Galen stood there, panting, and maybe he would have attacked, but the battle had ended as suddenly as it had begun. The few remaining Hunters realized they were outnumbered and took off in a dead sprint, though where they thought they could escape to up here, he had no clue. Bloody gods and bedraggled goddesses sank to their knees. Some bowed their heads; others simply looked stunned.
The angels came up to flank Sienna, daring the keeper of Hope to make a move.
“All hail the new queen,” a goddess suddenly said.
The rest of the Titans repeated the phrase, their voices rising in fervor, as one by one, they kneeled in front of Paris. He wasn’t sure what was happening; surely they would not refer to him as the new queen. He had his moments, sure, but maybe it was a Titan thing, like how Viola called her male pet “princess.”
“They speak to the girl behind you,” Zacharel said, moving to stand beside him.
Sienna? Sienna was queen? Of the Titans? Still crouched, he swung around to check on her. The dizziness increased, and he realized his line of sight was completely blown.
The angel added roughly, “Choices decide our fate. And though I was not made aware until now, she was to be the king’s greatest asset—or his only downfall, depending on the choice she made.”
“But he would…have known. His Eyes…would have…told him.” Every word scraped his throat, burning. Every word weakened him further.
“I am sure they did,” Zacharel said. “In their own way. Perhaps he did not look closely enough, or perhaps they did not show him everything. And now Sienna has taken the godly throne. This is why we wanted her on our side, why everyone wanted her on their side. The powers Cronus stole from so many others over the centuries have now become hers.”
Do I know how to pick ’em or what? This was one more hat for her to wear, he thought with a faint laugh that caused blood to bubble up his throat, spilling out of his mouth.
A fog drifted through his mind, but it couldn’t hide the revelation that he was dying. Already he’d lost too much blood, and with every second that passed, breathing became more difficult. But Sienna would be safe, always safe, and that was all that mattered. He couldn’t ask for more than that. Except for a future with her. He would have liked that.
The rest of his strength draining, he allowed himself to fall backward, his head landing in her lap.
Darkness that had nothing to do with his anger closed in. “I…love…you,” he croaked out.
“Save…friends…don’t let…die.” The darkness consumed him, and he knew nothing more.
Her voice jerked him back. A flash of white. Darkness. A flash of white, lasting several seconds longer. Another flash, lasting…lasting…his body and demon seeming to stretch apart, disconnect…until he heard Sienna’s voice and everything snapped back together.
“—not leaving me! I won’t let you. Remember when we talked about having someone to die for? Well, you’re mine. You’re my someone. If you pass, I’ll follow. Somehow, I’ll follow.” Oh, was she pissed. That temper of hers was coming out to play. “Do you hear me?”
The ground rumbled beneath him.
He smiled, because in that moment he realized something wondrous. Everything was going to be okay. Sienna was stubborn to her core. She had defeated Cronus, outwitted Galen. This was nothing.
They would be together, one way or another. She would make sure of it.
SIENNA HATED TO LEAVE PARIS in bed, and didn’t want him to wake up without her by his side. His body was in the process of healing from the massive wounds he’d sustained during battle, and when he opened his eyes, he would want answers. Answers she would happily give, just as soon as she learned them.
So, after brushing her knuckles over his beautiful face—though he turned toward her, he gave no other reaction—she hurriedly left the chamber they shared in the Realm of Blood and Shadows. Then she stopped. Wait, wait, wait. She could flash now, couldn’t she?
In fact, that’s how she’d gotten Paris and all of his friends back here. She’d entertained a simple thought: I wish we were home, and boom, she’d blinked and every single one of them had materialized at the castle. Shock had drilled her to her knees, and her mind had gone into a tailspin. For hours after that, her mind had reeled with the possibilities—Hawaii, Russia, Ireland, Key West, plus everywhere else she’d ever wanted to visit—and she’d ended up flashing all over the world by accident.
That had been, what? Two days ago. Two days that seemed like an eternity, but she’d finally gotten control of that particular ability. She didn’t think she would ever get used to some of the others.
Power swirled inside her, so much power her skin felt too tight for her body and her pores felt stretched, as if at any moment she could shatter into a thousand pieces. Apparently, taking Cronus’s head meant she was entitled to nearly all of his powers, and definitely all that he’d owned. Like, say, his home in the heavens and even his harem—from which she’d promptly freed everyone.
One of the females inside—Arca—had asked her if Paris had sent her. In exchange for Arca’s aid, he’d vowed to free her after saving Sienna. She’d said yes, and now that debt was paid.
On top of everything else, Cronus’s allies were hers—as were his enemies. But she wasn’t worried.
She could also feel the darkness inside her now, the darkness Zacharel had told her about, the darkness Paris had given her—a darkness Wrath loved to devour. He’d never fed from her, but had begun to feed from Paris, taking that part of him and lessening its hold on him. Zacharel would have to approve.
With a sigh, she flashed into Lucien’s room, ready to begin her daily checkup on all of Paris’s friends. He and Anya were in bed, sleeping peacefully. His injuries were less severe than Paris’s, and he had finally crawled out of bed this morning, only to stalk into the entertainment room, toss Anya over his shoulder, and vanish them both.
Maddox and Ashlyn were also in bed, but they were cooing to their babies, who kicked and gurgled in their adoring parents’ arms. Maddox was bandaged pretty heavily, was pale and bruised, but he was smiling. The little boy, Urban, met Sienna’s gaze and winked.
Winked? Surely not.
Strider and Kaia were—having sex. Oh, oh, ick! My eyes. Sienna moved to the next room.