Atlas rose, spreading his arms wide. “Who’s next?”
“Gods.” Solos whipped out his Glock and fired several rounds. Like before, the Titan dodged them and headed straight for the Sentinel. Solos tossed the Glock aside, bracing himself for hand-to-hand.
Aiden came out of nowhere, rushing the Titan from behind. He launched into the air and landed on Atlas, hooking his knees at Atlas’s hips. Aiden grabbed the Titan’s head and twisted sharply. The crack of bone breaking echoed through the room a second before Atlas reached around, grabbing hold of Aiden’s shirt. Atlas threw him over his shoulder, sending him flying through the air. Aiden crashed into the floor, rolling several feet before he came to a stop on his back.
“I could’ve told you that doesn’t work,” I said, clenching the poisoned blade, trying to figure out how to get close enough to Atlas to use it.
“Thanks,” Aiden groaned, rolling onto his side, “for the heads-up.”
Luke was the next to go down. He was tossed like a damn football after rushing Atlas. Deacon tapped into the fire element, drawing Atlas’s attention as Josie sent another bolt of akasha at him from the other side.
I ground down on my jaw, ignoring what felt like a slumbering giant waking up in my chest as I also tapped into akasha. Before I could let it go, Atlas smiled again as he lifted his arms. A high keening cry echoed from outside, and then black smoke poured into the house, breaking off into several streams. Shades.
Shades were everywhere.
“Holy crap,” Josie shrieked as one went straight for her. She dipped and spun around. Stumbling back into the wall, her wide eyes met mine. It was written on her face, how bad this was.
“Gods.” Alex hit the ground, narrowly avoiding one of them. “They smell like the River Styx.” Rolling onto her side, she used her legs to power back onto her feet. “So freaking gross.”
“Keep out of their grasp,” Aiden ordered, picking himself back up. “There’s nothing we can do about them.”
Josie darted to the left, scowling as one grabbed at her long hair. “We need a furie. Like, stat.”
Yeah, and like always, those bitches were nowhere to be found when you actually needed them.
It was chaotic, engaging with Atlas while avoiding the shades. One stream of black smoke grabbed hold of Deacon and lifted him all the way up to the ceiling, and that caught Luke and Aiden’s attention. They rushed across the atrium, and the tugging in my chest returned as Aiden sent a bolt of akasha at the shade. It dropped Deacon.
Right on top of them.
Atlas stalked across the atrium, heading for the stairwell. I shot in from the right. Beyond him, I saw Josie also heading for him. I wanted to warn her back, but we had the poisoned blades. He was halfway to the staircase when Solos came running up from behind Josie.
The Titan whipped around so fast that by the time any of us realized what he was doing, it was too late. He caught Solos by the arm with one hand and then hit him in the chest with the other—no, not hit. His hand went through Solos’s chest.
Josie screamed as blood sprayed out from Solos’s back.
I skidded to a halt, stunned as Atlas jerked his hand back. Red was everywhere, and in Atlas’s hand was something that belonged inside of Solos’s chest.
Blood drained so quickly from Solos’s face as his legs crumpled under him. He folded like a piece of paper. Hit the floor and didn’t move. Down. Done. That was it.
“I am so done with this,” Atlas said, his hand closing around the organ, destroying it.
All of my restraint broke.
Rage tore through me, ripped me right open. I shouted, the sound echoing through the room, and out of the fury and the grief I reached out, throwing my arms out to the sides. I dropped the poisoned blade as the monster in my chest fully woke up. It recognized all the power in the room—in Alex and Aiden, in Hercules and even in Gable, but especially in Josie. It whispered to me to take. It dug in deep and demanded revenge and promised retribution.
I let the monster take over.
My lips moved and I spoke the words I’d heard before, words that would unlock the ultimate power—words that Alex spoke once before. I didn’t understand how this worked. I also didn’t care. “Θ?ρρος.”
A shock rippled across my body, followed by a wealth of warmth. Determination poured into my chest.
“Δ?ναµη,” I said.
Another jolt of power hit me, charging me up. The warmth turned to heat, invading my muscles, breaking them down and rebuilding them rapidly.
Someone shouted, a high-pitched scream. There was a yell, a rougher and heavier gasp.
I kept going as I stepped forward, through the shades circling Atlas. “Απ?λυτη εξουσ?α.”
Amber light radiated through the room. Screams pitched higher as every cell in my body hummed with power. Glyphs appeared on my skin, swirling fast. The shades flew backward, revealing a transfixed Atlas.
I finished it. “Α?ττητο.”
Air punched out of my lungs as static charged the air around me. Cords of light appeared all over the room. One. Two. Then three and four. Five. Six. Seven. The bright luminous cords came from everywhere, slamming into my chest, knocking me back into the wall and then up in the air. Inside of me, power shifted and pulsed. A fire lit me up, hot and cold all at once. Power filled every cell.
My feet were on the floor again, and my head was thrown back. Out of the corners of my eyes I saw bodies withering, but I focused on the source of my rage. Every sense became hyper aware. Vision sharp. The smell of burnt pizza mixed with the metallic tang of blood and the scent of sweat. I heard multiple inhales of breath.