I tried to struggle. Not because I didn’t want an end to the pain, but because there was one voice I hadn’t heard. Where was Giguhl?


But my struggles were useless. My body had become my prison. A new, intense pinch of pain came from somewhere near my elbow. Blessed unconsciousness descended.

“You’re one lucky lady,” Rhea said cheerfully.

I glared at her, feeling anything but. My extremities still prickled like they’d fallen asleep. My skin was sensitive even to the slightest breeze. I was so weak I couldn’t lift my arms, and my head hurt so bad even the slightest light made my eyes feel like they would explode.

Rhea sat on the edge of the bed. Her smooth, cool hands picked up my wrist to check my pulse. She kept her eyes on her watch for a moment and then set my hand down again with a nod. “You’ll be up and around in no time.” She gave my arm a little pat.

I gritted my teeth together. My fangs were throbbing. “I need blood.”

Rhea patiently smiled, as if she was used to dealing with surly patients. “We’re having some delivered.”

“Not the bagged shit. I need fresh.”

“Not possible. Even if we’d allow it, you’re too weak to subdue anyone long enough to bite them. Besides, bagged blood is just as nutritious as the fresh stuff.”

I wanted to yell, but I didn’t have the energy for a losing battle. As much as I hated the taste of Maisie’s bagged blood, it was more important that I regain my energy fast. But since I had to wait for even that, I figured I’d get some answers.

“Where’s Giguhl?”

“He’s resting. The fight with Eurynome took a lot out of him.”

I digested this. Relief he was alive flooded me, followed by awe. Somehow, Giguhl had managed to defeat Eurynome and carried my body out of harm’s way despite his own injuries. I owed that demon my life. “Is he wounded?”

“Yes. But not gravely. He just needs rest.”

“He killed Eurynome.” Not a question. I figured that was the only way Giguhl could have gotten us out of there in one piece.

Rhea shook her head. “No. He threw him in front of a train and hauled ass before Eurynome could untangle himself from the wreckage.”

A prickle of fear skittered down my back. “He’s still on the loose?”

“I don’t think so. Whoever summoned him probably sent him back to Irkalla after he failed.”

I swallowed and asked the question I’d been avoiding. “A mage sent him?”

Rhea paused, her expression grave. “Yes. Only a powerful mage could summon a demon of that magnitude and control him outside a circle.”

I tamped down the emotions this revelation brought up—anger, frustration, fear. “Any idea who?” I tried to keep my tone casual, but it broke on the last word.

Rhea sat down again, her demeanor reassuring. “Not yet. But Maisie and Orpheus have the Guards investigating. We’ll find whoever did this, and they will be punished.”

We both knew her words were hollow. Any mage powerful enough to pull off something like this would also be smart enough to cover their tracks. But they sounded nice.

“Do you have any idea why a mage would be out to get you?” Rhea asked evenly.

I snorted. “I could ask you the same question. I have a long list of enemies, but I didn’t think I’d been here long enough to actively recruit any mages to it.”

Rhea opened her mouth to respond, but Maisie ducked her head inside the door with Damara behind her carrying a cooler.

“You’re awake. How are you feeling?” Maisie asked, rushing to my side.

“Shitty, but I’ll live.”

Maisie smiled, but worry hovered behind her eyes. “Thank the goddess for that.”

“Sabina and I were just discussing the whys of the situation,” Rhea said.

Maisie grimaced. “Sabina, don’t worry about all that right now. You need to focus on getting better.”

I knew she was just worried, but her don’t-worry-your-little-head demeanor bugged me. “Maisie, I’m fine.”

She shot me a look that implied otherwise.

I frowned at her. “Fine, I’m a little weak. Once I get some blood in me I’ll be good as new.” I shot a significant glance at the cooler in Damara’s hands. The girl stood so quietly I’d almost forgotten about her, but I hadn’t forgotten about the blood.

“Regardless, you have to believe we’re doing everything in our power to find out who’s responsible.” As she spoke, Maisie motioned Damara forward. The girl handed Maisie two pints of blood. I watched her movements eagerly even as I steeled myself to argue with Maisie.

“Thanks, Damara,” I said. The girl nodded curtly as she set down the cooler.

“Damara, will you please go check on Giguhl?” Rhea said.

The girl hesitated. “Are you sure you don’t need my help here? I could clean up this mess.” She motioned to medical supplies and potion bottles littering the room.

Rhea shook her head. “I have it under control. Make sure Giguhl has plenty of ice, please.” I’m not sure if Damara understood why Rhea wanted her to go, but I did. No doubt my discussion with Maisie was about to get pretty heated, and the fewer witnesses to that, the better.

The girl paused, looking like she wanted to argue more, but under Rhea’s decisive gaze she finally nodded.

“Tell Giguhl I’ll be in to check on him soon,” I said as she made her way to the door. She didn’t look at me as she jerked her head in the affirmative and left.

Once she was gone, I turned back to Maisie. “No offense, Maisie, but someone sent that demon to kill me. In case you’ve forgotten, killing is my game. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit on the sidelines.”

Maisie paused in the process of pouring a pint into a glass. She looked at me for a few moments. I stayed silent as she weighed her options. I’d stated my case, and arguing further would lessen its impact. Maisie might not have known me as well as she’d like, but she knew my background. The mage who sent Eurynome after me f**ked up big-time. If they’d been smart, they’d have sent someone who didn’t hesitate to kill. Someone who didn’t play games with their victims. You want to kill an assassin? You get the job done. The fact I’d escaped death meant only one thing: I wouldn’t rest until the mage who tried to kill me was killed. And if that mage was as good as Rhea claimed, they had to know that. Which meant Eurynome’s attack wouldn’t be an isolated incident.

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