The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 73

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Kent had shown up at some point, and he was abnormally quiet as he stood by the window, looking out to the ground below, his blue hair pulled back in a small ponytail.

Letting out a shaky breath, I rested my cheek on Zoe’s shoulder. Things were suddenly clear in those long, silent moments. There was a lot about the world I didn’t know. A lot about me I still had to figure out, but there was one damn thing I knew.

I was going to straight-up kill April.

And I knew Zoe would be right there with me when I did.

I don’t know how much time had passed when the door opened and Luc entered. I lifted my head from Zoe’s shoulder, and she grabbed my hand as we stood together.

“Is she…?” I couldn’t bring myself to finish the question.

“Come on.” Luc held the door open for us.

Zoe squeezed my hand as we walked out into the hall and followed Luc down a flight of stairs and then to a room three doors from the entrance. Grayson stood outside, and for once, he wasn’t staring at me like he wanted to zap me through a wall.

The door opened, and I was no longer thinking of Grayson. I felt sick as we walked through a dimly lit room and into another, my gaze bouncing around until it settled on a bed.

I saw Heidi and Emery.

They lay in the center. Heidi was on her back, and Emery was on her side, curled around her. Both were incredibly still. A blanket was tucked under Heidi’s arms. Her shoulders were bare, and I could see the angry, puckered skin of her right shoulder. It was a decent-size scar, but it looked like something that had happened weeks earlier, not hours.

I pulled my hand free from Zoe’s. “Are they…?”

“They’re okay,” Luc answered.

Zoe moved first, walking around to the side of Heidi’s bed. She knelt, placing her hands on the bed. She didn’t speak, but Emery lifted her head slightly. Dark smudges marred the olive-tone skin under her eyes.

I couldn’t move, rooted to the spot I stood on.

Just then, Heidi’s lashes fluttered and her eyes opened. Her nose pinched as she looked at Zoe. “Hey,” she whispered.

“Hi.” Zoe’s voice cracked. “How are you feeling?”

“Like … someone had their hand inside me.” Heidi turned her head toward me. She wet her lips. “I had … possibly … the worst idea ever, didn’t I?”

I let out a hoarse laugh that ended in a sob. My legs started moving, and I went to the bed, sitting carefully beside her. “I’m so sorry. I’m so—”

“It wasn’t … your fault.” Heidi drew in a shallow breath as her lashes lowered.

I wasn’t sure I could agree with that.

Heidi swallowed as she glanced at Emery. “I always … thought April was … an epic freak.”

Emery brushed a limp strand of red hair back from Heidi’s face. “I’m going to kill her. It’s going to be slow and extremely painful.”

“You’re going to have to get in line for that,” Zoe said.

I couldn’t believe Heidi was lying there, alive and talking—and joking. Awe filled me as I looked at Emery. When Luc healed me, I’d been amazed but somehow detached from it at the same time. Probably as a coping mechanism, but this was extraordinary.

“Thank you,” I said.

Emery didn’t pull her gaze from Heidi. “You don’t have to thank me.”

“Where … is she?” Heidi asked. “April?”

“I don’t know.” I swallowed and then glanced back at Luc. “But we’ll find her.”

Heidi’s eyes drifted shut again. “It’s so strange.”

“What?” Zoe asked, and I felt like there were a million things that were strange right now.

“She hated Luxen. Right? She was leading protests and … she’s obviously not human.”

Zoe’s jaw hardened as she met Emery’s gaze. “It’s awfully ironic.”

“Yeah,” breathed Heidi.

She fell asleep after that. It was hard leaving them, but it was evident that Emery was also exhausted. They needed to rest. Out in the hall, I leaned against the wall, nearly dizzy with relief.

“I thought…” I shook my head. “I thought she was going to die.”

“She would’ve if you hadn’t acted quickly.” Zoe rested her shoulder against the wall next to me. “You saved her.”

“No, I didn’t. Emery did.”

Luc and Grayson joined us, closing the door to Emery’s apartment behind us. Taking a deep breath for what felt like the first time in hours, I lifted my head.

“You ready?” Grayson said to Zoe.

Nodding, she pushed off the wall. “Yes.”

“Ready for what?” I asked, straightening.

“We’re going to go check out April’s house,” Zoe explained. “See if she’s there.”

“What?” Concern exploded. “You’re going there? I saw what she was capable of, Zoe.”

“We’re not going to engage,” Grayson interjected. “Not that you’re worried about my well-being or anything.”

I shot him a look. I really wasn’t. “She put her hand through Heidi’s shoulder—”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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