Kyra had returned a week later, feigning innocence. Everyone saw through her charade, but they could do nothing without evidence. It made Eris sick. Once the hearing had adjourned, with the weeping Kyra wiping her dry eyes with a handkerchief as she left the throne room, Eris made his way to Naavah and her council of two: Uriel and Ranita. Ranita looked at him sadly.
“Why don’t you arrest her!” screamed Eris.
“We have no proof Eris,” said Naavah, seated on her throne.
“But you know she’s guilty. There’s no way he would have done this without her say! She’s wicked—”
“We know,” began Ranita, “but there is little we can do without proof. Furthermore, she was not at the palace. It appears he worked alone.”
“We will, however, keep a close eye on Kyra,” stated Uriel. “She must, for the meantime, believe that we believe her claim of innocence.”
“She’ll strike again,” said Eris, matter-of-factly.
“And we will be ready for that,” said Naavah. “I am sorry, Eris. I truly wish we could do more, but even I am restricted by the law.”
Eris could take no more. He stalked off, fuming, clenching his bandaged hands. Earlier that day, he had been furious, had gone to the training room, and had beaten the wooden practice dummy with his bare hands, splintering it. Azelia had found him standing over the broken dummy with bloodied knuckles. She had bandaged them, removing splinters.
Selene hadn’t been there, heard the hearing, or left her room. She put it out of her mind and only thought of her runes and magic. Although Selene acted as though the disappointment of doing the rune ceremony in her room was her biggest problem, the fear in her eyes was apparent, enraging Eris. If he could kill Kyra and Larkin, he would.
Eris hated how Selene always put up barriers, locking herself in her room and diving into her magic to forget her problems. She was still in shock that she had fallen under a sleep spell. The last thing Selene remembered was walking to the Ceremony Chamber, and then nothing. She never even saw a shadow out of place when she walked. He watched her whenever she left her room, coddled between Anita and Urit, feeling resentful with Selene so quickly talking about her problems with both girls. He missed being her sole council.
Eris stood on a balcony, thinking of the last day, fighting the urge to rip off his bandages. A hand touched his arm gently and slid over his hand. Eris looked down into the honey-colored eyes of Azelia, tightly gripping her hand in his.
“Don’t worry, Eris. I know that the hearing was not what you wanted, but I want you to know I’ll be watching her, and I have ordered my staff to do the same. You don’t have to worry.”
“I can’t help it. She’s my sister. You wouldn’t stop worrying if it was your brother.”
Azelia nodded sadly. “That’s true, but we’ve made peace with his hunter.”
“Why? How can you make peace with someone who wants you dead?”
“It’s complicated, Eris. There’s so much you don’t know, and the story is far too long for me to tell.” She tilted his head down and kissed him lightly on the lips. “But don’t worry, it’s a story I will tell.” Slipping her hand from his, Azelia walked away, leaving watching her go, his heart pounding.
Selene tried to scratch her back as she went down to the dungeons against Anita’s wishes. She lifted the layers of her dress as she stepped down the narrow and damp staircase. She waved her hand over the doorknob and stepped into the cell. Larkin sneered at her.
“Come to kill me in my sleep?”
“Not today.” Selene sat across from him, smoothing back her hair. “First, how did you manage to make me sleep so soundly? If I weren’t so furious, I’d be impressed.”
Larkin laughed, his dark blond hair fell over his eyes. “Do you remember what you had for lunch that day? I spelled your food.”
“What a simplistic way to get me so defenseless.”
“I wanted to take a blow at your enlarged ego.”
And you succeeded you dim-witted psychopath, she thought bitterly, fists clenched. “Why did you try to kill me?”
“To protect you.”
“I highly doubt that.”
Larkin laughed again. “So would I. Kyra wanted me to kill you so that we could destroy Eris from within. You mean very much to him.”
“Get on with it.”
“You’re the key, don’t you understand. The Vampyre King will come for you. These barriers cannot keep him out.”
“How do you know that?”
“His mother is a Reborn, and his father was a Shadowling.”
“Oh no, all fact, all true. Do you want to become a Vampyre? If you do, you will bring damnation closer to your brother. Your death could sway him either way, but damnation would seal both your fates. No matter how you look at it, you’re doomed.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Anita says my future is blank.”
“Because she wishes to see only Light.” His sneer widened. “I serve the darkness, but even I wouldn’t wish Vampyrism on my enemies. And you, Selene, my dear, are my enemy.”
Selene eyed him with speculation, not knowing what to believe. Nonetheless, she sensed that there was, at the very least, a grain of truth behind his words.
“Are you working for Senid?”
“Maybe, maybe not,” he mimicked. With fists clenched and jaw tight, Selene stormed from the cell, slamming the heavy door. As she stalked back to the staircase, it became clear that she was not alone.
“Ettore, correct?” she asked, walking alone. The Shadowling Ettore manifested next to her, keeping her pace.
“Good memory. Are you pleased to see me?”
Selene’s lip twitched into a bemused smile. “Amused, actually. Maybe you can tell me if Kyra and Larkin are working for Senid.”
“They are, but you’re a smart girl; you already knew that, didn’t you.”
“I just wanted confirmation.” She looked at him suspiciously. “Why have you switched sides?”
“It’s quite simple, really. Senid is crazy, and my sister has become quite a nuisance. Her devotion, among other things, has blinded her.”
“Do you know the Vampyre King?”
“All Shadowlings do. Larkin wasn’t lying when he said he is half of our blood. That was very much true. His mother is a Reborn, one you are very well acquainted with.”
Selene spun around to face him, her heart beating erratically. “What?”
“Sorry, my dear, I can’t say any more.” He vanished into the wall, his sultry laughter rumbling down the deep dark hallway.
“So we have the word of a Shadowling. No one will believe a Shadowling about Kyra, especially without proof,” said Anita sitting at the edge of the bed.
“True. But Larkin did admit to me that it was all Kyra’s idea.”
“I wish she had been here. She planned this too perfectly. Leave for days so that whether or not Larkin succeeded, she had plausible deniability. Ugh, I hate it!”
“I wonder what she’s plotting now.” The door opened, making Selene jerk. She relaxed instantly as Eris entered.
“We’ve been summoned to the entrance hall.”
Selene scrunched up her face, confused. “Why?”
He shrugged, just as confused as she was. “I haven’t the slightest idea.”
“Dear heavens, how annoying. They could have at least told us.”
“I can tell you.” Mischief filled Anita’s eyes, making the hair on Selene’s neck stand on end.
Eris and Selene ran down the hallway towards the Entrance Hall at top speed. Selene was carrying her heels in her hand, too anxious to worry about her balance and being “proper”. Neither could believe what Anita told them, and both were less than happy. A little joy-filled Selene’s heart, but not much. Not while she thought of the company he was in.
Both skidded to a stop at the top of the staircase and stared down. Jeanette glared her hands on her hips. Blake looked less than happy but not nearly as furious, and Pietro carried a charmingly arrogant smile; looking up, probably catching her thoughts in the air, he met her gaze, filling her with warmth.
“Well, this is awkward,” said Eris. Selene nodded in silent agreement as she slipped her shoes back on her slightly sweaty feet into her glass slippers and descended the red carpet-lined white marble steps alongside her brother. Very awkward indeed.
Blood Hunger (Eclipsing Trilogy, #1)
Eris and Selene Sintas thought their menial Witching lives were simple. That was until the magical barrier protecting their small town vanished in the night, attracting not just the Vampyre’s that go bump in the night. Suddenly, the two siblings discover that they have been dragged into a war between the sisters of light and darkness.
Now, hunted by creatures stronger than Vampyre’s and far more evil, the Sintas Siblings must find refuge before they lose their souls to the Goddess of Darkness.
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