“There are really four other crystals like this somewhere?” Gabrielle asked, moving closer along with everyone else.
“According to the Atlantean who took Jordana captive, there are,” Lucan said. “Two were stolen from their realm ages ago. Only one remains with their queen now. Another is with the colony of Atlanteans who defected from the realm. And this one.”
Jenna glanced at Brock. “I have to do this. If the crystal can tell us anything more about the Atlanteans or the Ancients, I have to know. We all have to know.”
He nodded as he caressed her cheek with the back of his big hand. “I don’t fucking like it, but I’ll be right here beside you.”
She turned her mouth toward his palm and pressed a brief kiss there. “I’m ready to do it,” she said, glancing to Lucan. “I want to do this.”
When he gave her a nod, Jenna reached into the box to pick up the crystal. “It’s warm.” She lifted it into her hands, holding it as if it were fragile glass. “It’s getting even warmer. I can feel some kind of vibration in its core. It feels powerful . . . alive, somehow.”
She closed her eyes, concentration pouring over her pretty face. Only seconds passed before the glyphs on her hands and arms began to pulse and fill with color.
“I don’t like what I’m seeing, Jen.” Brock’s warning was grave, full of dread for his beloved. “You’d better put it down now, baby.”
She gave a faint shake of her head, but didn’t speak. Lucan wasn’t even sure she could speak in that moment.
Her hands closed tighter around the crystal as she sank deeper into whatever had a hold of her now. Light began to emanate through the gaps between her fingers.
“Jesus Christ,” Brock growled. “I’ve never seen this happen to her before.”
Lucan agreed. Everyone gathered there fell into an uneasy silence, but Jenna seemed oblivious to everything but the crystal. Lucan muttered a low curse. “Okay, we’re done here.”
Brock was already reaching for his mate. “Baby, let it go.”
The instant he touched her, energy arced out of her body and sent the massive warrior flying across the room.
Brock came up to his feet with a look of horror on his face. “Jenna!”
He raced back to her, but was stopped a foot away as if a wall of steel stood in his path. Lucan tried to grab for her then, and he too was blocked by an impenetrable field of energy.
Jenna’s dermaglyphs started to glow. Her eyes remained closed, but behind her lids they moved rapidly, caught in a dreamlike state.
The light inside her swelled. Her hands glowed as if on fire.
With no further warning, the energy erupted outward. Streaks of light shot out in all directions, as bright as the sun.
Every Breed male in the room shielded their eyes from the blast of pure white energy. Lucan and Gideon grabbed their mates close, while Brock roared Jenna’s name.
And then, just like that, the light was gone.
Lucan lifted his head to find Jenna calmly placing the crystal back inside its box. Brock flew to her, pulling her into a frantic, protective embrace. “What the fuck?” he rasped thickly. “What just happened?”
She was breathless, her glyphs still churning and alive on her skin.
Brock ran his hands over her. “You’re not in pain.”
It wasn’t a question. The Breed male had the unique ability to absorb human suffering into himself with a touch. His talent would tell him if Jenna felt any kind of distress.
He glanced at Lucan and the others, then shook his head. “She’s unharmed.”
“I saw it again,” she murmured. She drew out of Brock’s arms her big hazel eyes wide. “I saw the night of the attack on the Atlantean realm again.”
Jenna had seen many glimpses of history through her biotech link to the Ancient’s memories. Twenty years ago, she’d first seen the destruction of Atlantis, which had been the first the Order had learned of the violent war between their otherworlder fathers and the second alien race that had inhabited Earth in secret for an even longer period of time.
“They used Selene’s crystals against her,” Jenna said now. “The night of the attack on her realm, the Ancients used the power of two Atlantean crystals like this one to destroy them. They weakened the realm’s defenses, then they unleashed the explosion that washed away everything in its path.”
“The Ancients had crystals like this too?” Gideon’s mate, Savannah, asked.
Gabrielle turned to Lucan. “Jordana told us that two of the five had been stolen a long time ago. Did the Ancients take them, Jenna?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “My memories haven’t told me that yet, but it seems likely now.”
Gideon’s blond brows lifted over the rims of his pale shades. “If the Ancients were able to defeat Selene and her legion using two crystals like the one we have now . . .”
Brock picked up the thought, his arms still wrapped around his mate. “And we know there’s another one with the colony—”
“Hell, yeah,” Darion interjected, his mouth spreading in a broad grin. “And we happen to know someone with ties to that colony now.”
Lucan nodded. The pursuit and elimination of Opus Nostrum was paramount, but if what Jenna just reported was accurate, they had gotten a crucial—possibly game-changing—bit of information on an even more insidious adversary.
But first, they needed to determine if they would be alone in their fight against Selene when that day came.
“I have to talk to Jordana,” Lucan said. “I want a face-to-face introduction with Cassian Gray’s Atlantean friend, and I want it yesterday.”
Carys scribbled her name on the museum worker’s tablet, noting her approval of the exhibit’s rotation and the time the pieces were removed under her supervision. It was hours past closing at the Museum of Fine Arts, but she had hardly noticed the time. This exhibit had been the last of her day’s duties—a job that normally would have fallen to Jordana, had she not been on temporary leave following her ordeal the week before and her more recent mating.
Carys had trained under her friend for months since Jordana had gotten her the job at the MFA, and although she had never expected to be called upon to fill in, Carys had made it her mission to study every facet of Jordana’s position. She never wanted to be a disappointment to her friend, and felt the need to prove her worth.
It didn’t hurt to have been born with not only her father’s Breed ability, but her mother’s unerring photographic memory as well. If she had to, Carys could complete any task or recall any bit of information she’d ever seen or heard.
As the last of the paintings were crated and wheeled away to other secure locations in the building, she took a moment to stroll the now vacant floor.
Something had been prickling her senses since her return to her family’s Darkhaven last night. All the talk about Reginald Crowe, and the Order’s inability to penetrate the man’s secrets and shadowy connections hadn’t left her.
It nagged at her now too, as she walked toward the gallery containing many impressive masterworks on loan to the museum from Crowe for the past several years. More than a dozen priceless paintings in this exhibit belonged to him, Carys recalled as she glanced at the collection. Some dated back many hundreds of years. Others were more contemporary, yet still important, valuable works of art.