The Struggle (Titan 3) - Page 19

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Relief coursed through me. Deacon and Luke, Gable, and Alex and Aiden were all safe for now. That meant something—everything.

“You know what I’d like to know?”

“How you’re going to die?” Painful tension built along the nape of my neck.

“Charming.” He smoothed a thumb over my lower lip, and I resisted the urge to bite his finger. “Where did your little God Killer go off to? He wasn’t with them.”

I held his gaze as I exhaled roughly. “I don’t know.”

“And I don’t believe that.” He let go of my hair and I dropped about a foot. Pressure eased off my neck. “Not for one second.”

I said nothing.

Hyperion’s thumb made another hard sweep along my lip and then he leaned in. The muscles along my back stiffened painfully. “You know there are many ways I can make you tell me.”

My heart thumped against my ribs.

“Ways I haven’t even begun to show you.” His cool breath drifted over my mouth, and I had a horrible idea of what kind of ways he was talking about. His hand slid to my chin and his fingers dug in, bruising the skin. “Where is the—?”

“Hyperion.”

A muscle flexed along his jaw, and then he rose, dropping his hand. “What, Tethys?”

I slumped forward, catching myself with my hands. Unsure if I should be grateful for her interruption or not, I stayed quiet.

“What are you doing out here with her?” she asked, and I peeked up through the clumps of hair.

Tethys was gorgeous. Close to six and a half feet tall, she had long sable hair and features that somehow managed to look delicate and fierce all at once. She wore leather pants like Hyperion did, but she didn’t run around topless. A tight, black tank top covered her chest and stomach.

“Did you seriously interrupt me to ask that question?” Hyperion replied.

She strode forward. “So what if I did?”

“I wouldn’t like it, Tet.”

“Does it look like I care about what you like?”

A coarse laugh sneaked out before I could stop it.

Tethys’s eyes narrowed, and Hyperion whipped around and moved so fast, I didn’t have a chance to dodge his blow. His fist caught my jaw, and I went down, hitting the ground on my side. Stunned, I lay there for a moment as my head rung.

“You and I both know you do,” Hyperion said as he turned back to Tet.

Anger flashed across her face as she raised her hand. Hyperion was faster, though. He snatched up her arm, yanking her against his chest as he grasped her hair in his other hand. He pulled her head back sharply. The gasp of pain was cut off by his mouth. He kissed her in a way that didn’t really seem like a kiss. More like an act of punishment and brutality, but Tet seemed to enjoy it, because his mouth couldn’t silence her moan or stop her from slipping a muscular arm around his neck.

Oh man.

Weren’t they, like, related? Gross. But they were distracted, busy shoving their tongues down each other’s throats, so I pushed myself up and glanced over my shoulder. The fire that had engulfed the tree was out. My heart raced as I took a step back and drew in a deep breath.

“Don’t even try it,” Tet ordered.

My head whipped around. They were done making out, and both were focused on me. The chance to escape was gone. Defeat swamped me, giving way to desolation. Hyperion alone was bad enough, but with Tet involved, it would surely get worse. I folded an arm over my waist and waited.

“Why are you here?” Hyperion asked again.

Tet raised a dark eyebrow. “You’re really not going to like why.”

Hyperion sighed as he twisted toward the female Titan. “Get on with it.”

She smiled tightly. “Cronus is aware of her. He wants to see her. Now.”

Chapter 12

Hyperion’s grip on my arm was eventually going to snap the bone. Not that he particularly cared if he did.

He’d done that god transport thing that I guessed was only reserved for the super-cool gods. One second all three of us were standing in the forest, sweat coursing down the side of my face, stinging in all the raw abrasions, and then the next second, we were standing in cooler air, in front of a massive mansion built into the side of a mountain.

I was dizzy and off-kilter as Hyperion started dragging me toward a sprawling front porch. I almost didn’t notice them at first. They were just immovable objects on the ground until I got closer.

They were bodies.

Horrified, I stumbled and would’ve fallen if he hadn’t had such a grip on me. There were dozens of them, and flies buzzed around their bodies. Bile rose into my throat, but there was nothing in my stomach to throw up. I clamped my jaw shut and focused straight ahead, on the front door of the home. There was a human male leaning against the house, but as we climbed the steps, the scent of decay and dankness grew stronger.

The male grinned as shadows poured into his eyes, eclipsing his brown irises.

He was a shade.

Pushing away from the wall, he opened the front door for us. Tet stalked ahead, and I had no choice but to follow.

Cronus.

I was being taken to Cronus.

Numb with dread and fear, I was barely aware of the walk upstairs or down the narrow hall. Tiny, wheezing breaths left me as double doors opened to a large bedroom. I didn’t want to go in there. Instinct screamed out, but I had no choice.

Two Titans were standing, one on either side of the bed. They were both males. One was bald and dark-skinned. The other was fairer and had shocking, bright blue hair, and I immediately thought of what Mitchell had told me. It was him—the one who’d done all those horrible things to that girl. Nausea hit me hard, and I had to look away. My gaze landed on the center of the bed, and then I wasn’t thinking of the other two Titans.

My mouth dropped open.

He was all white hair and wrinkled skin. A gnarly beard covered half of his face. His shoulders were slim and his chest was sunken in, as was his stomach. Propped up by a mountain of pillows, this man looked like he couldn’t lift his spaghetti arms, but he was Cronus.

This was the Cronus.

“Closer,” the old man gasped out. “Bring her closer.”

Before Hyperion could step forward, the dark-skinned Titan moved. “I will do it,” he said, taking my other arm in a much looser, kinder grip.

Hyperion didn’t let go. “She belongs to me, Perses.”

My eyes widened. Perses? Wasn’t he the one that Alex and Aiden and Seth had broken free from Tartarus to fight Ares? He’d escaped afterward and had been responsible for freeing the rest of the Titans.

Perses chuckled darkly. “You’ve played long enough. For a week, to be exact.”

A week? It had only been that long? Felt longer. Pain bit into my arm, and I gritted my teeth. For a second I thought Hyperion was going to rip my arm right out of its socket, but then he let go and stepped back, joining Tet.

I glanced up quickly at Perses, but he wasn’t looking down at me as he walked me around the bed to where he’d stood. As I drew closer, Cronus slowly lifted his chin. His black eyes were dull.

“Am I not what you expected?” He coughed out a dry, brittle-sounding laugh. “You see only an old, frail man before you?”

I didn’t know what to say.

Cronus’s fingers twitched against the duvet. “I’m not like them.” His pale lips peeled back, revealing surprisingly white teeth. “It takes more than a few pure-bloods and a bound demigod to feed me. I’m older and more powerful. I need more.” Pausing, he exhaled heavily. “A few days with a demigod should . . . it should do it.”

Oh no, no, no.

My skin began to crawl. I thought about all those bodies outside and realized they weren’t mortals. They’d been pures. He’d drained them dry and they’d been tossed aside as if they were nothing more than trash. I thought about Mitchell. Was he now tossed aside like Lauren, the girl, and those pures?

Would I eventually become one of them?

“We need to be careful,” the other Titan spoke, the one with the blue, spiked hair. “She cannot stay here for long periods. It will not be safe for you. Not until you are fully restored.”

“That is why I have not brought her here until now, Oceanus,” Hyperion said.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Titan Fantasy
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