Cyrus was quiet a moment and Noah squirmed under his regard, wondering if he’d revealed too much to Cyrus. He was Eden’s adopted father after all. Finally, he shook his head. “You are looking at it wrong. You are overthinking it. I see you together and it reminds me of me and Merrit.” He smiled sadly. “You really do. Like you, I was more of a black and white kind of man, whereas Merrit saw every shade of grey… sometimes she even created a shade or two here and there. But she changed me. For the better. And I her. It is the same for you and Eden. You are dawn and she is midnight. And despite the mist of the half-light, together you see more clearly in the dusk.”
After a moment’s deep silence, of letting those extremely comforting words settle in, Noah shook his head wearily. “I’ve been feeling like crap for days and a five minute conversation with you and I’m OK.”
Cyrus shrugged, a small, smug smile playing on his lips. “That is because I am awesome.”
Noah grunted. “Eden has way too much influence over you.”
“Says the boy moping over her.”
“Nice, thank you.”
“You are very welcome.”
They grinned in companionable silence, a silence that was broken by a loud banging on Cyrus’ office door. Cyrus frowned. “Come in.”
When Jack stepped in he looked controlled but worried. A flicker of guilt passed over his face when he noted Noah’s presence. Noah felt every muscle in his body tense. “We have a problem.”
Cyrus stood up from the desk, the lines of his face suddenly severe. “What has happened?”
Was it just Noah’s imagination or was Jack sweating? And did he just gulp? “Eden… left the mansion.”
“What?!” Noah and Cyrus sprang forward, Noah’s heart doing a triple axel in his chest.
“Princeps, I take full responsibility.” Jack held up his hands, his eyes dark with an unnamed emotion. “She begged me to let her go after Noah.”
Noah frowned. “What? When?”
“When you left. She was right at the back of you in the SUV. She said she wouldn’t get out the car unless she found you. She begged me,” Jack tried to explain. “She was really upset… she told me if she didn’t go after you, you’d think she didn’t care. I… I don’t know what to say. When I saw the mustang was back but not the SUV… I tried calling her but her phone is switched off. Princeps, I take full responsibility for my actions-”
“Why would she think that?” Noah blazed, turning to Cyrus wide-eyed. “We had an argument. We said things we didn’t mean. But I wouldn’t…”
But Cyrus wasn’t listening. His dark eyes were blazing black fury at Jack. Noah’s instincts kicked in and he jumped between the two men, blocking Jack from Cyrus’ wrath. “Cyrus, calm down,” Noah said quietly. “This is Eden we’re talking about, OK. If anything has happened she can take care of herself. You know how capable she is. I’m not worried.” OK, that was a lie, he was horribly, painfully worried, but he was also right. Eden was one of the best fighters he knew.
“She’s weaponless,” Jack whispered.
Noah squeezed his eyes shut, trying to stay calm. “OK. Jack… I’m sure Cyrus will deal with you later. For now can you ask Darius, Valeria and my parents to come to Cyrus’ office?”
Noah almost raised an eyebrow at that. Jack had never called him ‘sir’ before. He must really feel bad.
“Where would she go?” Cyrus asked in a low growl as soon as Jack had left. “Where would she think you would go?”
Think, Noah, think. Eden was out there, alone and weaponless in a city possibly crawling with The Tribunal, rebel Neith and Cosmina Arcos’ people.
“Noah,” Cyrus snapped. “Where would she think you would go?”
“There are a couple of places.” He blinked rapidly, trying to control his nerves. “There are the gardens… a pizza place I like…”
“Think,” Cyrus breathed. “You just had an argument… where would you go for some peace and quiet. To gather your thoughts? Where would Eden think you would go to do that?”
Noah’s head jerked up. He snapped his fingers. “The bookshop. In Cambridge. I’ve talked about taking her there a couple of times.”
The energy that signaled his arrival hit the room before he did. “Then we’ll try there.”
Noah spun around to face Darius of Mesopotamia. He was an intimidating figure of a man. It wasn’t that he was tall - in fact he was an inch or two shorter than Noah. He was broad and muscled, his features sharp, austere even. His eyes were so black, so deep and hypnotic it was like getting stuck in tar when one looked into them. Most intimidating of all though was the unbelievable energy Darius omitted when he was nearby. His rooms were on the fourth floor, private, away from everyone else, so Noah hadn’t felt it when he’d first returned home.
Now he did.
The energy washed over him, prodding him, pressing him back. The hair on his arms stood on end. “Darius.” He nodded in greeting. “It’s good to see you.”
“You too, Noah.” Darius gave him a small smile. “I wish it were under better circumstances. Eden has gone missing?”
Noah gulped, fear starting to eat away at his insides despite his assurances to himself that Eden could take of herself. “Yes.”
“Well… if you have an idea of what street she might be on, I can take it from there.”
OK, so Darius could be terrifying. But it was in moments like these when Darius’ particular gifts – and Noah had no clue the extent of those gifts – really came in handy. If they could find the last location Eden was at, Darius might able to follow the energy she left behind.
“We better move quickly.” Alain stepped into the room, his worried eyes falling on Noah. “Who knows who may have gotten to her.”
And that was exactly why he couldn’t stay pissed off at his old man.
My Enemy is your Enemy
They stood facing one another in the empty apartment with its sparse furniture. Dust gathered along the top of the baseboards, across the fireplace mantel, itching the nose in the air. When Cosmina has said the apartment was empty, she literally meant empty.
As soon as Eden had scrambled to her feet and into the sitting room, trying to put some distance between her and the mega powerful Neith intent on killing her, she’d groped for her katana only to pull her hand back cursing. She’d left the estate without her katana. Without even a dagger. As if she knew how vulnerable Eden was, Cosmina smiled smugly at her as she strolled into the room, her flat boots barely making a sound on the floorboards. She was dressed in a slim-fit grey suit, her hair pulled back into a ponytail. She too had no sword. As if she’d seen the surprise on Eden’s face, Cosmina shrugged. “I followed you from outside the estate. When you got out of the car without a weapon, I thought it only fair to leave mine behind too.”
“That’s not strictly true,” Eden replied, checking the room surreptitiously for something that could be used as a makeshift weapon. “Your greatest weapon is a part of you.”
“The telekinesis.” Cosmina nodded thoughtfully.
“Not a fair fight then.”
“Well, I am merely Neith. You are some strange hybrid between a soul eater and an Ankh. I do not have your physical strength, no Neith does. Which you have proven time and again against the men and women I have sent out to kill you. So… I will be using my telekinesis if that is alright with you?”
Before Eden could even reply she felt the air swim around her, her feet lifting from the ground. The force of being thrown backwards would have been sickening if Eden had had a chance to process it. She didn’t. Her body was slammed up against the brick wall of the sitting room, the air rushing out of her lungs, her head throbbing with the crushing impact. As soon as her breath returned she shrieked in outrage, trying to move against Cosmina’s telekinesis that held her spread-eagled against the wall.
“What are you going to do?” Eden snapped. “Keep me pinned here until I starve to death?
“No.” Cosmina shook her head. “Earlier… you felt my telekinesis squeeze around you, yes?”
Yes, she had. It had been a terrible sensation. Wait…
Trying not to show her fear, Eden stared blankly at the Neith.
“Yes.” Cosmina nodded. “I am going to suffocate you, Ms. Winslow. I have heard it is not the most pleasant way to die. But then a half-breed’s comfort does not really matter to me.”
Eden frowned. “Half-breed? I’m not an effing half-breed you insane bitch. I am Ankh. Full-blooded, would kick your ass up and down this apartment if you weren’t an effing cheat, Ankh!”
Her head cocked and she glowered back at Eden. “Stop lying.”
“If you know anything about me, you know I don’t lie. Someone has been feeding you the wrong info.”