The Struggle (Titan 3) - Page 44

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Concern pinched Alex’s features. “She hasn’t gotten sick again, has she?”

“Not since this afternoon.” I glanced into the living room as one of the white-robed servants bowed and then passed by in the hallway. Josie had eaten a late breakfast this morning and was sick again. She hadn’t vomited, but she’d been rocking cold-green for a while. “It has to be those bands on her wrists. I . . .” I trailed off, because what could I say? There was something wrong with Josie and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

Alex placed a hand on my arm. “We’ll figure something out.”

“So I’m guessing we haven’t heard from Marcus?” Last night, I’d had Alex call her uncle to see if he’d heard of these types of bands before. He hadn’t, but he had access to the massive library with a ton of ancient texts. There had to be something about the bands in there.

She shook her head.

Aiden rounded the corner, slipping his cell into his pocket. “You know I’ve been checking in with communities in the southern states. I just heard back from one outside of Atlanta. Other than sporadic daimon attacks, they haven’t noticed any suspicious missing persons.” He leaned against the wall, crossing his legs at the ankles. “I also heard back from the communities in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Thought to check this out since Josie said it was really hot.”

Alex tilted her head to the side with a slight frown. “There are trees in Arizona?”

Both Aiden and I turned and looked at her. He raised a brow. “Yes, babe. There are trees in Arizona.”

She rolled her eyes. “I know there are trees, but she said it was heavily wooded.”

Aiden’s lips twitched. “There are a couple of national forests there.”

“Huh,” Alex murmured. “Learn something new every day.”

I shook my head. “Anyway, any leads there?”

“No, but I did speak to one of the guards in Baton Rouge. They haven’t had a lot of missing pures, but interestingly, they’ve had what I suspect were shade attacks.”

That was something. “Where there are shades, there are Titans nearby.”

“The thing is, though, that Josie said she felt like she was kept in a basement of some sort,” Aiden said. “I don’t think a lot of homes or businesses there would have basements.”

“Maybe it wasn’t a basement,” Alex jumped in. “Maybe it just felt like one to her.”

She had a point. “It needs to be checked out, but I’m not leaving Josie. She’s not going to like hearing that, but that’s not going to change.”

Alex’s eyes narrowed. “You might want to try to discuss it with her in a less dickhead way, and she’d probably be more understanding.”

I shrugged.

“You could pop me there, couldn’t you?” Aiden asked. “Would only take a few seconds. Then I can see if I can catch me a shade and . . . convince it to talk.”

That was doable.

Alex shifted from one foot to the next. “Wait. I don’t like this.”

Aiden opened his mouth.

“You have no idea if the Titans are there are not, and I’m not doubting your badassery or anything, but the place could be teeming with shades. You can’t go alone.” She faced me. “Can’t you poof me there, too?”

“I can, but that would mean Josie would be here unprotected.” I folded my arms. “I don’t care if it’s even for a couple of seconds. That’s all it would take if they figure out where we are.”

Alex looked like she wanted to push the issue, but wisely snapped her mouth shut.

Pushing off the wall, Aiden glanced into the room Josie was sleeping in. “I have to call them and let them know I’m coming in. Give them a chance to put a team together for me. Probably makes sense to wait a few hours.”

“Works for me.” Turning to Alex, I could tell just by the tight lines of her face she was barely keeping her mouth shut. “Can you do me a favor? Stay with her in case she wakes up?”

Her brows eyes formed into thin slits. “I remember what happened the last time you—”

“Alex,” I warned.

She sighed. “Yeah, I can keep an eye on her. Where are you going?”

I arched a brow. “I have something I need to do.”

“Like what?”

Aiden circled an arm around Alex’s shoulders. He drew her in so she ended up face-planting his chest. Over her head, he shot me a look that said I owed him.

Nodding curtly, I pivoted around and walked past the staircase, spying Basil waiting by the entryway to the kitchen. “Have you seen Karina?”

“She is in the temple, Kýrios.”

Gods.

“Do you wish me to retrieve her?” he offered.

Considering Alex was right down the hall and had eyeballed Karina like she wanted to body-slam her into the ocean, that wouldn’t be wise. “I’ll go to her.”

Basil nodded.

Since walking was overrated, I pictured the courtyard outside and a second later there I was, standing just outside the courtyard. Flames rippled from the titanium urns. A priest and priestess stood on either side of the closed doors.

Exhaling heavily, I stared at the sandstone temple, at the invincibility rune above the doors. The last thing I wanted to do was go in there, but I hadn’t approached them about the bracelets yet. I needed to feed soon, but it didn’t feel right bringing Karina into the same house as Josie. Then again, keeping Karina out here kind of felt like I was doing something shady.

Really was a lose-lose situation.

Each step I took toward the temple felt like I was walking through muddy water. I reached the wide steps and felt a charge of energy roll down my spine. I swallowed back a curse when the two by the door bowed. Willing the doors open, I caught sight of the inside of the temple for the first time.

Cool air that smelled of frankincense washed over me. The inside was wide and open. No statues or odd religious artifacts decorated the walls. There were closed doors in the back, leading to the rooms where I assumed the priestesses and priestess resided.

Only one person was in the temple.

Karina stood before a white altar set upon a raised dais, and boy was I wrong. That was definitely a weird thing in the temple. A single candle cast its glow from the center of the altar. Beside it was the source of the smell. Incense burned. Beside the candle appeared to be a silver dagger much like the ones that the Covenant used. I didn’t want to know why they had one of those or what they used it for.

She bowed deeply at the waist. “Kýrios, I’ve been waiting.”

And yeah, that was fucking creepy.

“What do you think of the temple?” she asked, clasping her hands in front of her. As usual, her dark hair was piled atop her head in a startling, intricate fashion.

I looked around. “It’s . . . pretty unimpressive.”

She tilted her head. “Have you’ve been inside many temples, Kýrios?”

“Nope. This would be the first.”

Karina gave a faint smile. “Then I can assure you that this is rather impressive by comparison.”

I was going to have to take her word for it.

“Do you wish to feed now?” she asked.

Something clenched in my chest, and I found myself shaking my head even though I had planned on doing that. “Not . . . not right at this moment.”

A look of understanding crossed her face and she nodded. “As you wish.”

Well, this was a freaking awkward as hell conversation. “I’ve come to see if you know anything about these . . . bands that are circling Josie’s wrists. The Titans placed them on her to block her demigod abilities and they will not come off. I think they are preventing her from recovering completely and are making her sick.”

“Kyría is ill?”

“I . . . I think so.” I stepped forward, stopping a few feet from the high priestess. I could feel the aether in her—I could practically see it glowing brightly within her veins. “She’s a demigod. She shouldn’t be ill.”

“No, she should not. I do not know these bands, but I am sure one of the Olympians would.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Titan Fantasy
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