Trusting that I wasn’t going to do anything that would cause me to have to reboot or whatever, I dug deeper, and a burst of heavier, thicker power rippled through me as I stared at the ledge above. The cement cracked straight through the middle, sending a plume of fine dust into the silvery moonlight. Pushing out with my hands, I controlled the fall of the large swath of cement and glass. It swung down, catching the remaining officers as they turned to flee. They didn’t make it far.
Lowering my hands, I looked to Nate as my heart pounded. “Are there more?”
Trembling, he nodded.
“I guess this is a bad time to say I told you so?” Grayson said.
Yeah, it was.
Luc lifted his hand. Sparks flew from his fingertips. The very air lit up, like I’d seen him do once in his apartment above the club. Glittering golden dots of light rolled out from Luc in all directions, spreading down the dark halls on either sides, eating away at the void.
The halls were empty.
“Where are they?” Daemon demanded, having returned his human form. “Where is this Morton? And be detailed, kid. I know there are over three hundred stores in this building.”
Nate kept his arms close to his chest. “He wanted me to bring you to him.” He stared at me. “He said he’d be in the park.”
“The park?” I repeated.
He nodded. “The one beside the big tower.”
“We just came from that direction. No one was out there,” Daemon said.
“I don’t know. I swear. That’s where he said he’d be,” Nate repeated. “He’s there. He has to be. You’ve got to help me get Tabby back.”
“We will,” I told him.
Grayson shot me a look that said I shouldn’t have said that.
“How many more officers did you see?” Luc asked, the pupils of his eyes diamond white.
Nate shook his head. “Maybe the same number as the ones that were here,” he said.
“And what is he going to do once you lead Evie to him?” Grayson asked, returning to the dimmed, human version of himself. “He just going to hand Tabby over?”
“That’s what he promised.”
Grayson huffed out a laugh, shaking his head.
“What? What are you saying?” the kid shrieked. When Grayson looked away, Nate shuddered. “He promised. I did everything he asked. For years, we stayed away from you guys, but then he told me I needed to get supplies from you all. That’s when I went into the community. He said that I couldn’t be seen until I saw you.”
My stomach sank even though we already knew. The Daedalus was here. They’d been here, and God only knew what was going to happen from here—what could already be happening in the community. And they were here because of me.
After everything I’d done, I still put the community at risk.
“He told me what you looked like, and he told me I needed to get you to follow me, but not right away. It would be too suspicious.”
“Why did he want her to follow you?” Daemon asked.
“He had to confirm who she was.” Nate started to pace in a tight, narrow line.
“That’s why he was there that night.” My fingers stretched as the Source sent an angry push of energy through me. “He needed to see who I was with his own eyes.”
Nate shoved a hand through his hair, tugging at it. “He never told me why. He still hasn’t. This whole time, he had us believing that we were opening the tunnel as a way to get out. He lied.”
“And so you believed that he’d just give you back your sister after you helped him?” Grayson demanded.
Horror crept into the young boy’s face. “What else could I believe?”
God, I understood the position he was in. He had to believe, because if he didn’t, then there was only one harsh reality.
“It wasn’t until we cleared the tunnel a few days ago. He told me it was time to get you to follow me.” He tugged at his hair again. “I didn’t know why, and I didn’t understand why he acted the way he did when he saw you. He wanted to see you, but he made you leave.”
Because he’d gotten what he’d needed to be sure of.
“Then earlier, he took me down to the tunnel and I saw them—the men in white. The soldiers. He told me that I needed to get you to come back with me,” he said. “But I refused. I like you. You gave us food and stuff, and you were nice, and I’d already talked to Jamal and Nia. We were planning to come to you. I swear.”
“But?” Luc whispered, and I stepped closer to him, knowing that soft tone meant he was seconds from doing something bad.
“But he hit me. He kicked me. I didn’t care. Wasn’t the first time. But then he told me he had Tabby.” Tears streaked both cheeks, even the one under the swollen, bruised eye. “I didn’t have a choice.”