Popping up, I saw Aiden engage the other shade that must’ve gotten tired of standing around.
I turned around, focusing on the hyped-up shade. “How about you stand still for about five seconds?”
“You’re a god,” it said, its voice deep and guttural. “Why don’t you just take me out?”
“Good point.” Snapping forward, I ducked under the shade’s arm and wrapped my arm around its neck. “I guess I’m enjoying it.” I squeezed as a horn blasted off in the distance.
The shade laughed. “You know what I enjoyed?”
“No,” I grunted as it struggled in my hold. “And I don’t really care.”
“Oh, but I think you will.” It laughed again. “I watched Hyperion drag your bitch across a field of bodies. How’s that for enjoyment?”
What he said caught me off-guard.
The shade swooped down, tossing my ass right over his shoulder. “Dumbass,” it hissed.
I hit the edge of a low brick wall hip first. Pain exploded through me, momentarily stunning me. In an instant, the shade was standing above me. Its hoofed foot landed a direct hit to my midsection, and before I could catch myself, I toppled over the edge.
The fall was only about four feet, but the landing still hurt like hell. For a moment I didn’t move. Apparently I had been relying way too much on my godly abilities, because I was letting this shade get the upper hand.
Springing to my feet, I ignored the pain and pushed up. Flying through the air, I landed on the retaining wall.
“Where do you think you’re going?” The shade was heading for Aiden. “I thought we were going to play.”
I briefly caught sight of Aiden moving behind the other shade, shoving his blade into its back. Dark, oily blood gushed from the shade’s chest as a hole formed where the heart was.
The shade’s roar of agony told me that blow had hurt.
Aiden yanked the dagger out and the Sentinel threw its head back. Its mouth dropped open as black smoke poured out of it. The Sentinel’s body collapsed to the ground in a heap of useless muscles and bones, leaving only the scent of damp earth behind.
Where in the hell was a furie when you needed one? They liked to eat those things.
Aiden lifted his head, seeing me. “Are you still messing with that one?”
“Yeah.” I shrugged, jumping off the brick wall. “We’re working a few things out.”
The shade looked between us. “I was just telling him how Hyperion used to beat the shit out of his bitch of a girlfriend.”
Clutching the dagger, I stalked toward it. “You really do not know when to keep your mouth shut.”
“You know what’s going to happen?” The shade turned its back on Aiden. “You’re going to lose this war and Cronus is going to make sure you’re alive long enough to watch as he rips the intestines from her body.”
The shade then disappeared.
“Behind you!” Aiden shouted as it reappeared.
I whirled around and swung, so damn done with this bastard and its taunts. Rage, potent and lethal, rolled through me in poisonous waves. “Fuck you.”
I stopped thinking.
Launching forward, I gripped the shade’s shoulder. I bent at the waist, pulling the shade close as I kicked out, my boot catching the creature just below the chin. Its neck snapped back with a sickening crunch. I spun around, feeling my face twist in a mask of rage as I slammed the blade through the neck first, just to hear its guttural scream, and then through the chest.
It, too, opened its mouth, but this one was not escaping to climb down the throat of some other innocent. Fuck no. Tapping into akasha, I hit the black cloud with the deadliest energy out there, utterly obliterating it.
“Fucker,” I muttered, stepping back.
“Do you think there’s—” Aiden’s words were cut off by a grunt.
Spinning around, I caught sight of Aiden flying backward as if the Hulk had just punched him. He flew into the windshield of a SUV and then through it.
I spun back, scanning the street. I didn’t see anything and I didn’t wait. Darting over to the SUV, I yanked the passenger door open, finding Aiden sprawled across the front seats.
He wasn’t moving.
Grabbing Aiden under his arms, I hauled his heavy-ass body out of the SUV and into the street. I was about to get the hell out of there when a surge of power rippled along my skin. Glyphs appeared on my skin, and my head jerked around.
Air warped in front of me, and someone suddenly appeared in a crackle of spitting energy. A tall, lean son of a bitch, rocking a blue Mohawk and leather pants. Nothing else.
I dropped Aiden.
He’d be okay.
The Titan stood staring at me, saying nothing as I straightened. Our gazes connected over the distance. I knew who this was based on the way he looked. Oceanus. He hadn’t fed on Josie, but he’d done worse to the other demigod they had.
Much, much worse.
I tamped down my anger. “Nice hair.”
Oceanus smirked. “I didn’t think you’d come, but Cronus was right when he said you would.”
“Now why would you think I wouldn’t?”
The Titan’s pitch-black eyes glimmered. “Do you know how long it took the Olympians to get the balls to face us?”
“Don’t know. Don’t care.”
His head tilted to the side. “You’re going to care.”
“Is that so?”
He nodded. “You’re not going to win this war.”
“You sound confident in this,” I said, catching movement out of the corner of my eye. A black mist crept between the buildings, coming from both sides of the street. It curled over the sidewalk, thin and wispy as tendrils flowed off the curb.
Lots of shades.
“The Olympians are weakened,” Oceanus said. “Without Ares, they have no hope.”
“We don’t need them.”
Oceanus chuckled darkly. “The young demigods will stand no chance against us.”
The shades were up to something.
They licked at the bodies, slipping over them. It was like a fog of shadows rolling over the still bodies, and that fog seeped into their bodies through the open mouths still frozen in horror.
“Like I said, you will not win this war. Not again.”
“Are you trying to convince me or yourself of this?” I saw the finger on the nearest body twitch. A leg spasmed on another body.
“I’m not trying to convince you of anything.” The freaky bastard didn’t blink, not once. “I am here to make a deal.”
One by one, the fallen bodies of the pures rose, shuffling to their feet, a bloody and ghastly mess. They faced me in unison, an army of resurrected pures standing between the Titan and me.
I’d seen some shit in my day, but this—yeah, this was creepy as hell.
I went on high alert. “A deal?”
Oceanus dipped his chin in what I could only assume was a nod. “Bring us Zeus’s head and you will have nothing to fear from us.”
“You’re serious?” A harsh laugh burst out of me.
Dark brows furrowed. “Do I sound like I’m joking? You bring us Zeus’s head, and we will leave you in peace.”
Behind me, I could hear Aiden waking up. My brain whirled to click everything he was saying into place. “And why would killing Zeus be enough?”
A smile crept across the Titan’s face. “Do you know nothing?”
“Well, that was a rude statement.”
“If Zeus dies, Cronus ascends to Olympus. We rule once more, as we should.”
“And then you release the rest of the Titans and kill the rest of the gods?”
“We will give them a choice,” he replied. “And they will choose their own fate.”
“Why doesn’t Cronus go after Zeus himself? Or is he scared?”
The ground trembled slightly under my feet, and I had a feeling Cronus was nearby. He’d heard that and hadn’t liked it.
“Because we want you to choose your own fate, Seth. Side with us. You cannot defeat Cronus,” Oceanus replied coolly.