Shades of Blood(Warriors of Ankh 3) - Page 32

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“Yes. She seemed in a hurry though.”

When Noah had turned to look at Val, he saw her thoughts were just as dark as his. Why would Eden run from them?

She wasn’t.

She was running towards something.

“Romany,” they’d said in unison.

But after checking the hotel Romany was registered at there was no sign of her. They’d headed back to the Estate. Eden and Romany weren’t there either. They’d scoured Boston looking for them, checking in with contacts. But nothing. Where would Eden take a girl to kill her?

Noah felt sick just thinking about it.

Eden hadn’t had death in her eyes when she told him she loved him. But now that he thought about it… it had been goodbye. Hadn’t it?

Thirty six hours had passed and nothing. Jack knew nothing. Noah knew nothing. No one knew anything. Cyrus and the others had returned home. They’d gone out searching too and returned empty handed. Cyrus had disappeared into his suite, unable to speak to anyone. Val had begged Darius to stay his hand until they knew more. That was sixteen hours ago. Noah was surprised the ancient Ankh was still holding back.

It was all Darius’ fault.

This sick test.

But… if Eden was really the girl he thought she was… shouldn’t she have passed?

“It doesn’t make sense.” He turned to his father, tears of confusion shining in his eyes for the first time since he was a little boy. “The Eden I know… she wouldn’t do this. She was strong enough to fight her soul eater, Dad. She’s strong… she wouldn’t do this. I have to believe she wouldn’t do this.”

Alain nodded and put a hand around his son’s nape, pulling him towards him affectionately. “Then keep believing.”

Noah shook his head. “That’s not the worst part.” He pulled away from his father, tormented by the truth of his next words. “Right now I’m more worried about her than Romany. I’m more worried about what Darius is going to do to her. I’m more worried… about what I’ll try to do to Darius if he hurts her.”

At Alain’s indrawn breath, Noah tensed, waiting for his father’s disgust, his anger. Instead Alain took another swig of scotch. He sighed and leaned back, his eyes coming to rest on Noah’s face. “I cannot say I wouldn’t feel the same way if it was your mother in Eden’s position.”

Wide-eyed, Noah turned to his father. The reassurance in his gaze was a small comfort. “She called you an asshole you know.”

Alain grimaced. “I know, I was there. But you love her… so there has to be something special about her… other than a colorful vocabulary.”

“So… you think… you think this might be a mistake? That… she’s not going to hurt Romany?”

“What do you think?”

Noah’s face tightened, his eyes narrowing with concentration. “I think there’s something I’m missing. I think…”

“You’ll believe in her until you have proof of otherwise?”

Noah nodded. “Exactly.”

Chapter Twenty One

Closure

The blood on her hands represented the end.

Eden hadn’t known if it would work. If a magical sense of peace would float down and around her, through her? As it turns out, it didn’t. But the knot was gone. A sense of satisfaction. A sense that Stellan would see symmetry in this and he’d have liked the path she’d taken to closure… for both of them.

Blooded blonde hair attached to a head lay at her feet, the body it had belonged to a few meters from it. The hotel room was a chaotic mess. Romany had put up quite a fight. So had Eden. Without her own personal clean-up crew she didn’t know how she was going to explain away the blood spatter on the walls, the darkening blood seeping into the carpet, the broken lamps, the part of a wooden bedstead that had been snapped in two to form a crude weapon. They must have made a helluva noise as well. Maybe someone had already called down to reception to complain.

She slid her un-blooded katana back into her scabbard, a little disappointed she hadn’t had a chance to use it. Still… her bare hands had done enough damage to help end this.

“Thank you.”

Eden glanced up, her expression severe. She gave the Neith a clipped nod.

Romany stepped forward, tears of relief shining in her eyes. “I mean it, Eden. You have no idea what kind of peace this has brought me.”

Looking down at the dead soul eater, the forty-something vicious nomad of a soul eater who had killed Romany’s mother and sister years before, Eden nodded. “I think I have some idea.”

In the end, the choice had been simple. Val’s words, Jack’s words, Noah’s… they all began to make sense, until Stellan’s memory whispered in her ear, the whisper a reiteration of what they had all been trying so hard to get through to her.

Destroying Romany for what she’d done in error would only destroy Eden.

Noah was right. If she killed a Neith, one who had proven herself over and over again since that awful night her brother was stolen from her, Eden would never have come back from that.

Murder.

It would have haunted a soul she had fought very hard to retrieve. But to walk away… it just wasn’t enough.

She needed vengeance.

She needed closure.

Even if it wasn’t her own.

She needed a sense of peace and helping Romany hunt and destroy the soul eater who had murdered her family might bring them that peace. For Romany it was justice. It would be an end to the hate and bitterness driving her, just as it drove Eden. After all, hadn’t Stellan died because of Romany’s hate? Would he have died by her hand if her parents and little sister had never been killed by a soul eater? Perhaps Romany would have been like any other warrior, carrying out her duty with calm and rationale, heeding orders when they were given.

No matter how much Eden would like to pretend otherwise, she and Romany had that hatred and bitterness in common.

Eden didn’t want to destroy someone the way Romany had.

And other than the destruction of her own soul… ultimately the person she worried she might destroy was the person she loved most.

Noah.

So this… this was a way for Eden to kill two birds with one stone. Indeed, there was a strange sense of satisfaction in watching Romany take her vengeance. And for Eden it would have to be enough. When she’d first grabbed Romany in the hotel room, she’d wavered a moment, that pure anger inside thirsty for her blood. But in a wave of utter relief, Eden realized her new life, her love and affection for the warriors in it, was stronger and deeper than that anger. Instead she’d pulled Romany to her feet and explained her intentions.

After outlaying the plan to Romany, together they’d filled a gym bag full of weapons, and having sent Romany on ahead so she wouldn’t witness it, Eden had covertly compelled security at South Station to ignore the bag in her hand after a random security check with metal detectors. From there she’d sat across from Romany on a train for over five hours. A cold, brittle silence had fallen between them, only broken when Romany remembered something important about where the soul eater she was hunting was. According to Romany the soul eater had been out of the US for years. She’d returned eighteen months ago and Romany had been chasing her across states ever since. But her duty to the Neith and Ankh had lost her important time, and sometimes lost her the damn soul eater. Romany’s contacts had told her four days ago that the soul eater was staying at a low-rent hotel, called Philly Heights, in downtown Philadelphia.

They’d gotten off at 30th Street Station and jumped in a cab. The soul eater hadn’t been at Philly Heights and it took them twenty four strained and tense hours to track her down to a slightly more expensive hotel in the east of the city center. After discovering Philly Heights was empty of their target, Romany had called the local Neith Coun

cil asking them if there had been any attacks or murders in the area by soul eaters. They told her they were hunting what they assumed was either a pretty strong soul eater or two soul eaters working together. Romany had hung up and she and Eden had threatened the name the soul eater had been registered with out of the hotel receptionist.

Brooke Waters.

Such a placid, ordinary name for a psycho killer.

From there it had been a case of calling around every hotel in Philadelphia hoping the soul eater had used the same name. She had. With great anticipation and sweat-inducing adrenaline gripping them, they’d tracked her down.

To this hotel.

“The mess?” Eden asked abruptly, looking up from the body.

They’d pretty much batted the soul eater between them in the fight, each getting in blows, as if they were playing an aggressive game of tennis or ping pong. But in the end, Eden had stepped back and let Romany make the final cut.

“I know the Councilman here.” Romany shrugged. “I’ll make a call.” She may have sounded cool and collected but Eden noted the way her hands shook as she pulled out her cell to do just that. She was crashing. It had been a long hunt for Romany… and now it was over.

It was over.

Eden squeezed her eyes shut drinking in the moment as Romany murmured on the phone to someone – presumably the Councilman. No, there was no peaceful, warm glow.


Tags: Samantha Young Warriors of Ankh Fantasy
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