He’s the leader of the Arum, answered Luc. And he’s a little eccentric.
A little eccentric? Interest bloomed. Speaking of Hunter, I want to talk to him. I want to know how he sensed either Sarah or me.
Already on it. He’s available later today.
I seriously hoped there was a later.
“It was like it was waiting for us. Between the three of us, we were able to injure it, but he was still alive when he escaped.” A muscle worked along Hunter’s jaw. “Never have I seen anything like that. I’ve never seen anything like her, either, but what we came across in Atlanta, it’s different from her. I see that now.”
My breath caught. Atlanta. We were there, Luc.
I know, came his quiet response.
I closed my eyes. Took no leap of logic that the Trojan had been there, looking for us—for me.
“The Trojan we faced down showed no restraint,” Daemon chimed in. “We barely were able to get the upper hand, let alone kill it. The Trojan reminded me of…” He trailed off, shaking his head. “It’s hard to explain. There was something entirely inhuman about it.”
“The one I saw reminded me of that one liquid robot from the Terminator movies,” Hunter said.
“The T-1000?” Beth asked, and when several pairs of eyes shifted to her, she shrank back a little. “What? I loved that movie.”
“Yeah, that one.” Hunter ran a hand through his hair. “That blank, robotic expression that lacked all emotion. There was no fear. None whatsoever.”
Dawson was nodding. “Agreed. The one we came across could’ve been the perfect T-1000.”
“I have no idea what a T-1000 is,” Zouhour murmured.
The male hybrid next to her patted her arm. “I’ll fill you in later.”
Cekiah started to speak, but I felt a dancing of fingers along the back of my neck and shoulder blades the same moment she must have. “It appears we’re about to have company.”
The door creaked open a moment later, and Zoe slipped in, along with Grayson. They stopped just inside the door, letting it swing shut slowly behind them.
Zouhour frowned. “I didn’t realize you two were invited to this meeting.”
“We weren’t.” Grayson leaned against the wall and folded his arms over his chest. “But we’re here.”
That response got more than just a couple of narrowed looks.
“What Grayson meant to say is that we know we weren’t invited,” Zoe explained. “But we also know what this meeting is going to lead to, and we wanted to be here.”
“And what do you think this meeting is going to lead to?” Cekiah asked.
“Evie being kicked out of here, or at least you all trying to do just that. We’re here to stop you from making a very bad life choice,” Zoe replied, standing there as if she were ready to go into battle. “And I get why you all don’t want her here. None of you have seen anything like her. She’s different. You think she’s a risk, but I’ve known Evie for years. So has Grayson.”
Wasn’t quite sure watching over someone for years meant Grayson actually knew me, but I’d take any backup.
“She’s a good person who’s been through a lot, and she needs the protection of this community. She deserves it,” Zoe stated, and God, I loved her. I couldn’t ask for a better friend.
“I’m sure she’s a wonderful person, but this isn’t personal,” Quinn responded, and there wasn’t an ounce of dismissal in his tone. I believed what he said. “You’re right, though. We’ve never seen anything like her before. None of us, including her, knows what’s she capable of.”
“And humans had never experienced anything like the Luxen before. They still have no idea what you’re capable of, and their fear of the unknown is why this community exists. Don’t each and every one of you expect to be given the chance to prove that you come in peace and all that crap?” Zoe challenged. “Or do humans and Luxen share that one common flaw?”
“Oh, burn,” Luc murmured as the corners of my lips tipped up.
Those rocking alien DNA paled or drew back from the in-your-face hypocrisy. Jamie, the lone human female, looked less than pleased, but there was even a glint of doubt in her brown eyes.
“Actually,” Grayson cut in with a long-suffering sigh. “Nearly everyone in here, including her, thinks she needs the protection of the community. That’s not true. Not remotely. What is true is that you need her.”
My head jerked around to him in surprise. Was Grayson actually actively defending me?
“She is more powerful than everyone in this room combined,” he continued, unfolding his arms and reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a sour apple Blow Pop. “The Daedalus have more like her, and when they decide to break up this little militia you have going on here, even someone who isn’t particularly intelligent would know what a good idea it would be to have her on their side.”