Two of the snake heads swung in his direction. Normally I didn’t listen to a single thing Aiden ever suggested, but this was not a creature I wanted to play around with.
“Sounds like a brilliant plan,” I commented.
Tapping into akasha was like stepping out into the summer rain after a drought. Every cell in my body lit up with power. Whitish light tinged in yellow curled down my arm, and I let it go.
Akasha streaked across the alley, slamming into the chest of the hydra. Hissing turned into an unsettling roar that rattled my bones. The massive creature spun around, and sure as shit, it had a tail. A long, barbed tail.
The over-seven-foot-long tail smacked into Aiden. I heard his grunt a second before he went flying back into the building he’d just come out of.
Good thing he was a demigod.
I summoned the bolt of energy again, hitting the hydra once more.
The hydra didn’t go down like it should’ve. Two god bolts and it was still alive, about to charge me.
The middle head bared its fang as wisps of smoke flew out of its nostrils. A red glow appeared in the back of the snake’s mouth.
Hydras spit fire? Who knew?
Spinning to the side, I launched myself behind the dumpster as bright red fire scorched where I’d been standing. I rolled across the broken ground and sprung up, reaching for my daggers.
Aaand came up empty-handed.
I’d left them on the dresser, because I was a god who could kill every living thing with a god bolt except for, apparently, a freaking hydra.
The dumpster suddenly lifted into the air and flipped over me. A heartbeat later, I was eye to eye with the hydra.
It opened its mouth, and its rancid breath turned my stomach.
“Gods.” I staggered back a step. “Your breath smells like a divorced man’s ass.”
Red light appeared in the back of its throat, glowing. I cocked my arm back and slammed my fist into its jaw, knocking a fang out. The dinosaur-size tooth hit the ground as the hydra yelped.
Swiping down, I grabbed the tooth, and suddenly I was flying, ass over teacup, through the air. I hit a pile of trash that had fallen out of the dumpster, sinking through leftover food and, knowing my luck, body parts. Air punched out of my lungs as I hit the trembling ground.
Well, today was not going as planned.
It had been Marcus who’d gotten a phone call from one of the pure-blood communities outside of Los Angeles. The earthquake hadn’t damaged their homes, but their Sentinels were engaged with daimons who’d come out of the broken earth. This was kind of—okay, totally—my fault, from the whole “don’t kill a Titan” thing, so I figured I’d pop myself to LA and take care of business.
Aiden insisted on joining me, and I suspected it was to stop me in case I came across another Titan and decided to get all kill-kill. Not that Aiden could stop me, but whatever. For some dumb reason, I brought him with me, because why not?
I’d figured it would be in and out, back before Josie woke up, but here I was, clutching a damn hydra fang and with Aiden thrown through a building.
Man, I hoped he wasn’t seriously injured. I’d never hear the end of that.
I rolled to the left, out of the pile of trash, as a steady stream of heat crawled along my back. Clutching the fang, I launched to my feet and spun, slamming the tooth deep into the chest of the hydra. Steaming blood spewed into the air.
Rearing back, the hydra swung around. I jumped, narrowly missed getting hit by that damn tail. One of its heads shot out at me, snapping down on the front of my shirt. I jerked back—
Aiden came out of nowhere, proving that he, in fact, wasn’t dead or seriously injured, thank the gods. Landing on the back of the hydra, he raised his arm. Light glanced off the sickle blade as it arced high over his head.
Of course, Aiden didn’t forget a useful weapon.
He swung the sharp blade down, chopping off the head that had hold of my shirt. The hydra bucked as the mouth loosened on my shirt.
Freed, I jumped back. “Nice of you to join us.”
Aiden inched backward as the hydra whipped one of its other heads back, snapping at him. “How in the hell did you not bring any daggers?”
“I’m a god. I shouldn’t need them.”
“Well, obviously being a god is about as useful as a hole in the head at the moment.”
“True dat,” I muttered, glancing down at my ruined shirt. “Can you loan me one?”
Tossing me one of the daggers, Aiden twisted at the waist, sliding off the back of the hydra like it was a slide on the playground. He landed nimbly on his feet.
It was time to get down to work.
Together, Aiden and I sliced and chopped until the hydra was reduced to several twitching chunks. Kind of reminded me of sushi when we were all done.
“Well…” Aiden wiped the back of his forearm over his brow. A fine spray of hydra blood dotted his jaw. “That was just disgusting.”
I glanced down from the bloodied dagger to the front of my torn shirt. “Yeah, it was.”
Aiden stepped around what might’ve been a part of a leg. “You think any more are going to come climbing out of there?”
“Shit. I hope not.”
“For once, we agree on something.” Aiden brushed what looked like brick dust off his black tactical pants. “Was not expecting that.”
“What? You haven’t seen a hydra before? Thought they were like deer. Can’t throw a rock without hitting one.”
Straightening, Aiden lifted his chin and pinned me with a dark stare. “Smartass.”
A can rolled out from the mess that was the alley, bumping into one of the decapitated hydra heads. Aiden and I turned.
An old, wizened man stood there, white hair sticking up in every other direction, beard as dirty as his face. He clutched a brown paper bag.
“Well, shit,” muttered Aiden.
The old man took a long look at the mess by our feet and then looked up at us. A moment passed, and before either of us could use a compulsion to make the man forget what he’d seen, he shuffled around a knocked-over trashcan and then ambled off down the alley.
Aiden looked over at me.
Lips twitching, I shrugged. “I have a feeling he’s seen stranger shit living along Skid Row.”
“Guess so.” Sighing, Aiden sheathed his daggers into their leg straps. “We need to get rid of this mess.”
I looked down and then over. “I’m thinking we can just put it back where it came from.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Picking up what I guessed was a front leg, I tossed it into the crevice while Aiden grabbed a head with both hands. Dragging and pushing the pieces of the hydra over to the crack, we quickly got rid of the evidence that a mythical creature had just been sliced and diced.
Aiden knocked a wave of dark hair out of his face as he turned back to me. “You know, when you killed Atlas, one of these things opened up, right where you killed him.”
“The same happened where I put Hyperion down.” I looked up as a police car raced past the mouth of the alley. “No hydra, though. Just daimons.”
“But you didn’t take a Titan out here or in Oklahoma, where another one of these damn craters opened up.” Aiden folded his arms. “You’re not at all concerned about that? The fact there’s doorways to Tartarus popping up randomly and leaving some really bad damage behind?”
I stilled. “Why would you think I wasn’t concerned?”
“You looked about as concerned as a sloth.”
“Just because I know how to stay calm doesn’t mean I’m not concerned.”
“You don’t even sound concerned, Seth.” Impatience pinched Aiden’s expression. “There are consequences for what you did.”
“And like you and I discussed already, if Hyperion had done what he did to Josie to Alex, you would’ve done the same damn thing I did. So, you can drop the saintly bullshit and save the lecture.” My notoriously short patience was reaching its end. “You’re starting to sound like Apollo.”
A muscle flexed along Aiden’s jaw. “Just because I would’ve done the same thing doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do. You took out Hyperion days ago. And we’re still dealing with this?” He gestured at the torn ground. “Are we going to be doing this again in another couple of days?”