Whatever his death caused was worth it to ensure that Josie never had to live in fear of his return. Cronus was also on my to-kill list, but I wasn’t sharing that at this moment.
Aiden drew in a shallow breath. “I don’t agree with you nine out of ten times, but this . . . this thing with Hyperion, I understand. If I’d had a chance to kill Ares, I would’ve taken it.”
My gaze met his. “And if you’d had a chance to kill me, you would’ve taken it.”
“Yes. Yes, I would’ve.”
“Glad we’re on the same page.” I clapped a hand down on Aiden’s shoulder. “Let’s go.”
I didn’t wait for Aiden’s response, taking us to the location where the Sentinel Aiden had been in contact with had told us to meet. Within seconds, we were in the sticky, murky air of Houston.
“Gods!” a deep male voice boomed in shock from behind us.
Turning around, I smiled as I eyed the group of Sentinels. “Yes?”
The Sentinel in the middle, the one who had spoken, took a step back. His eyes were wide as the sun glistened off his deep brown skin. The other three Sentinels looked like they were close to passing out.
Aiden moved to stand beside me. “Torin?”
He nodded. “You warned me that he . . . he was a god, but I just wasn’t prepared for that.” The half glanced in my direction. “You’re really a god.”
My smile kicked up a notch.
One of the Sentinels behind him blanched.
Aiden sighed. “Yes, he’s really a god. And yes, he can do all the cool god things, but we really have limited time. So, if we can get the shock and awe out of the way, that would be great.”
I slid Aiden a long look. “Well, that takes the fun out of everything.”
He ignored me. “What do you have for us, Torin?”
Torin appeared to snap out of his shock as he ran a hand over his closely cropped dark hair. “As you know, we have had quite a lot of pures go missing recently, but we’ve had few daimon attacks.”
“We’ve actually barely seen any daimons,” another Sentinel spoke up, a younger brunette who barely looked old enough to be out of the Covenant. “So that right there was suspicious.”
“We have mandatory escorts in place when the pures leave the communities. It was on a recent shopping trip that we learned we were dealing with shades. They’d possessed several mortals that attacked one of our groups,” Torin explained, resting one hand on the handle of a dagger. “There was only one survivor. They confirmed what happened.”
“So why are we on this roof in the baking sun of Houston?” I asked.
The female Sentinel strolled forward, walking past us to the cement edge of the roof. She easily hopped up. “See the office building three blocks down? The tall one with the pyramid-shaped roof?”
“Yes.” Aiden followed, squinting.
“As we told you, we’ve been tracking what we believe to be the shades. Other than their . . . smell, it’s not easy identifying them if they want to blend in,” she said, turning to the building. “We’re pretty positive that’s where they’ve been holing up.”
“Is it an active office building?” Aiden asked, and of course, he sounded concerned. “Are there mortals working in there?”
“Yes.” Torin joined the female. “That’s why we’ve been holding off. Looks like the upper two floors are actually penthouse-type rooms. The rest is office space. They’re in this building, surrounded by what appears to be mortals who aren’t possessed and probably have no idea what is going on.”
“Plus, those mortals those shades are riding are innocent,” the girl tacked on. “If they haven’t hurt those bodies, the mortals can be saved if we can get the shades out of them.”
“And that’s stopped you because . . . ?” I asked, genuinely curious.
All the Sentinels turned and looked at me. Not Aiden. He just stared at the building, probably weeping inside because he knew what I already knew. There was no helping those mortals.
“I hate to break it to you guys,” I said. “This isn’t an episode of Supernatural. Once the shades get into the body, the mortal is as good as dead. There is no coming back from that. You’re not saving them from shit.”
The girl turned to us, her face paling. “There’s no exact proof of that, because the shades—”
“Because the shades almost always kill the mortals before they leave the body,” Aiden answered, turning to face us. “We need to get in there and see what we’re dealing with.”
Torin nodded. “That’s why we’re here. We’re your back-up. And if we can save those mortals in there, we’re going to try to. We’re not going to let them die.”
I smirked but said nothing. If they wanted to think we needed back-up and that they could play superhero to a bunch of already dead mortals, then whatever. I strode forward and leapt onto the edge. The buildings were tucked up against one another, all the way to the office we needed to get into. I could easily pop myself to the building, but then I’d have to wait for the rest of them, and I knew better than to think I’d actually wait. I looked over at Aiden, saw that he was gauging the distance between the rooftops. It would be a series of impossible jumps for a mortal to make, but not for us.
Not for trained Sentinels.
“Let’s do this.” Torin backed up a few steps and then took off running. His booted feet launched off the ledge. He vaulted over the gap, landing on the roof of the next building in a roll. He popped up and took off again, moving faster than the mortals on the ground could track. The other three Sentinels followed.
Aiden was next.
He did the same, taking several steps back before he got a running leap. He got more air then the rest, and he landed in a crouch before springing back up and going for the next building.
I didn’t need to run.
Muscles tensed. Power lit up every cell. I kicked off the ledge. Warm air whipped over my body. I landed in the center of the second roof just as Aiden cleared it, hitting the third.
We hopscotched our way three blocks up, finally reaching the building—some kind of bank—next to the office building. The female Sentinel was on the ledge, crouched between the letters of a large neon metal sign. She’d pulled a pair of binoculars out of the small backpack she wore.
A sheen of sweat covered Torin’s forehead as he stalked toward the edge. “See anything, Kia?” he asked. She held up a hand as she scanned the building. Torin faced us. “There’s a lobby on the main floor. Office spaces every floor up until the last two. She’s looking for one of the shades we’d been tracking.”
Aiden made his way up to the sign and knelt next to Kia. He said something to her as I walked over to the other edge. The building looked like all the rest, a modern-day stone fortress built with cement and glass, but there was a certain aura of darkness clinging to the gray stone. Maybe it was the godly senses kicking in, because I knew without a doubt that there were shades inside.
“Got them. They’re on the top floor,” Kia said, lowering the binoculars. “There’s at least—hell, at least twenty that I counted. They’re with the shade we were tracking. Some of them may be humans, but they’re acting kind of weird.”
I raised a brow. “Can you elaborate on the weirdness?”
“Can I see?” Aiden asked, and was rewarded with the binoculars. “Yeah, there’s a whole bunch and most of them are just kind of . . . lying around. On the floors. A few appear to be awake. They got a . . . Hell.” Aiden lowered the binoculars, exhaling roughly. “I think they’ve got regular mortals in there.”
“How can you tell the difference?” Torin asked.
Aiden looked over his shoulder. “They’ve got them tied up.”
I snickered, unable to help myself. “Well, that would definitely be an indication.”
Handing the binoculars back to Kia, Aiden rose. “I’m assuming the elevator will take you from the lobby to the top floors, but do you need a special access code to get to those rooms?”
“Yeah, so we’re going to need to get a key card,” Torin explained while Aiden nodded away. “There’s a small maintenance room off the lobby that has all the keys. We grab them and then head up the elevator. From there . . .”