Josie’s horrified face was the last thing I saw and the first thing I recalled the moment my eyes peeled wide open and my chest rose sharply.
I dragged in mouthfuls of air.
What had I done?
The buzz of pure aether still sang in my veins, lighting up every nerve ending and filling every cell with light and power. My skin buzzed and my senses were hyper aware.
What in the fuck had I done?
Something had happened to me.
It wasn’t just the stolen aether charging me up. Every single cell in my body had been reshaped. Raw energy zinged through my veins. A slow smile pulled at my lips as I stretched my neck from left to right. I knew what I was feeling.
I was the beginning and the end.
The God Killer.
My smile spread, but it froze as that knowledge sunk in. How? How was this possible? Immediately, I reached out to see if the bond between Alex and me was strong again, but it was still the same, there, but muted, in the background. That couldn’t bode well.
The bright haze of power threatened to drag me in, but the high was tainted—oh gods, it was a bitter joy coursing through my veins. The events before Josie had used that damn poison and knocked me into next week replayed over and over in my head. I didn’t need to close my eyes to see Josie’s back bow the very second I connected with her and fed. I didn’t need to use my fucking imagination to recall how her legs crumpled under her. Or how everyone else’s legs gave way as well.
There was no debating this anymore. No pretending that I could stay with Josie and not be with her, because fuck, that obviously hadn’t lasted longer than a hot second.
I was not safe.
I was never going to be safe.
Especially when it came to Josie.
Worse yet—gods—the worst thing was the look on Josie’s face. She was horrified, but she hadn’t been scared. She hadn’t looked betrayed, not even when I’d fed on her, not even when I had hurt her.
Frankly, I didn’t give a shit about the rest of them, but her?
I sat up, barely aware of the thin mattress that was under me, and swung my legs over the side. Standing, my heart pounded in my chest as I took a step forward. Lifting my gaze, I found a steel-reinforced door. Where in the hell was I? Didn’t matter. That door wasn’t going to hold me. They had to know that, so either they were incredibly stupid or they had summoned Heph to fashion the same kind of cage that had kept Alex in one place.
But a cage wasn’t going to keep me. Not now.
Even if it could, I couldn’t let that happen. Because even if I was locked up with no immediate way out, Josie was here.
She would free me.
I knew she would.
And I would destroy her.
Gutted, I knew what I had to do. There was no more fucking around, no more bullshitting myself or Josie, especially not her. I should’ve done this the day I’d fed off her.
I knew I was on the wrong path, had been on the wrong path since the moment I saw Josie in the stairwell at Radford, but I hadn’t done anything about it. Now I would. I would do something about it, even if it pissed off Apollo and the other gods. I’d do it to keep her safe.
Safe from me.
I walked to the door and grasped the knob. Summoning the element of fire, I melted the internal gears. Metal gave way, rendered useless. The steel would’ve been good if someone was trying to knock the door in, say a mortal, but it didn’t stop me. They would’ve known that, so I knew on the other side there’d have to be a guard.
A distant part of me hoped it was Aiden standing guard, because I would have loved to knock his ass out for shits and giggles, but as I threw the door open, it wasn’t him.
Across from the room, Luke pushed off the wall, reaching for the thin icicle-shaped blade. “Shit.”
I sprang forward, faster than even he, an extremely well-trained Sentinel, could move. The power coursing through me had me feeling off the hook. Spinning, I swiped his legs out from under him. Luke stumbled, letting out another curse as I shot behind him. Whipping around, I folded my arm around his neck from behind. I put pressure, the right amount, on his throat. His hands flew up, fingers digging into my bicep.
“I’m sorry, man.” My voice was low, rough. “This isn’t personal.”
Luke slammed his fist into my arm, but I reached down with my free hand and grabbed the thin blade I knew was dipped in the blood of a Pegasus. Moving lightning quick, I dragged the sharp edge across his forearm.
The result was immediate.
Luke collapsed against me, bones and muscles struck useless by the poison. He would recover. In a few hours.
I pulled him into the cell and gently laid him on the cot, stretching him out. His eyes, full of fury, met mine. His silent, paralyzed glare promised retribution before his eyes drifted shut, giving way to the toxin. I had a feeling he wouldn’t be getting the chance.
Still holding the blade, I closed the door behind me and realized that I was in another room, one that was hidden. Hell, they’d dropped me in a panic room in the basement. I almost laughed as I climbed the steps. The house was quiet. I imagined everyone thought I’d be out longer than I was. Not smart. It would be so easy to sneak up on them, especially Deacon. He wouldn’t know what had hit him. Alex and Aiden, being demigods, would be harder, but no match now. I could easily—
I shut my eyes, jaw working. My head was a mess, as if there were a hundred voices speaking at once. I needed to get out of there. I headed for the front of the house, but stopped in the middle of the hall. Inhaling deeply, I lifted my gaze to the ceiling. I could sense restlessness in one of the bedrooms upstairs, but my attention was drawn to the room in the front—the library. She was in there, and the sick thing was, I only knew her exact location because of her aether.