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“At last,” Lucifer said, sipping from a bejeweled goblet. He was well built, with black hair and orange-gold eyes. He would have had a handsome face, one females probably would have melted over, if not for the deadness of those eyes. They gave him away, revealed his evil for all to see. “You certainly took your time.”

“Where’s Legion?” Aeron demanded.

“What? No pleasantries? No ‘how are you doing, dearest master’?”

“Certainly,” William said evenly. “I’m doing well, thank you, reviled slave.”

Lucifer popped his jaw before nodding in greeting. “William. I was surprised to hear you had returned.”

“Just tell the man what he wants to know, and we’ll leave. Your blood won’t have to be spilled. I know, I know. You’re welcome.”

Amun concentrated all of his energy on the prince, linking with his mind, staying tuned to his thoughts. At first, there was nothing. Only silence. But Amun continued to push, to dig deeper, and must have finally penetrated some sort of barrier. All at once, an intense wave of hatred hit him. Hatred and fear, as Anya had predicted.

Mine, mine, mine. You will not take what’s mine.

“I’m sorry my minions treated you so shabbily,” Lucifer said. His tone was just as easy as it had been from the first, as if he wasn’t chanting in his head. “I will, of course, punish them. Though perhaps I’ll be more merciful than you used to be.”

A vein popped from William’s temple.

He was still closed off, and Amun didn’t have the strength to mentally reach him. Besides, that might have severed the link to the prince.

Lucifer’s head canted to the side, and he grinned, his attention shifting to Aeron. “There’s something different about you, Wrath.” Thoughtful, he tapped his chin. “No, no. I can’t call you that, can I? You are Wrath no longer. You are demon-free. Would you like to change that?”

“Either tell us where the girl is or fight us. You’re boring me, and I have things to do,” William said.

Lucifer’s attention returned to him, eyes narrowing. “Oh, yes. I know exactly what those things include. Seducing the lovely Gilly. Your desire for her grows daily, doesn’t it? Brother. And really, I’m surprised you didn’t stop and visit your Horsemen. They miss you so.”

Brother? Horsemen? The four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Aeron stiffened, shooting William a shocked and angered glance.

Lucifer laughed inside his head, utterly pleased with himself.

He’s trying to divide you, Amun signed, unsure Lucifer had meant what he’d said. Not about Gilly, and not about the Horsemen, Amun knew both were true, but about the familial connection. Unfortunately, neither warrior noticed him.

“He’s lying, of course,” William said smoothly. Or tried to. His voice trembled just a bit. “I’ve never touched Gilly, and I never will. I’m not into jailbait. And the horsey comment doesn’t deserve a response.”

One dark brow arched in smug amusement. “Whatever you say. Now, let’s begin with the night’s entertainment and rid you of your boredom. Shall we?” He clapped his hands, the sound echoing through the surrounding blaze.

To the left, two demon High Lords entered the room. If their grins were any indication, they’d been waiting eagerly for their summons. Between them was Legion, shoulders hunched, pale hair in bloody tangles around her head. She’d been stripped and chained, and there were welts along her thighs where she’d been whipped.

Knowing he couldn’t afford the distraction, Amun blocked her thoughts. But not before he caught a glimpse of them. Oh, the terrible things that had been done to her…so much worse than what the minion of Pain had shown him, for that creature had only witnessed portions of her torture.

She might never recover.

She was as cut and bruised as he was, and there was a desolation in her eyes that had never been there before. But when she caught sight of Aeron, she began to struggle, to scream, worried for him, hopeful for herself. “Aeron! Aeron!”

The demons held tightly, and Aeron tried to stalk forward, but William gripped his arm and held him in place.

“That’s what he wants.”

Lucifer was watching Aeron, eating up his reaction, loving the paleness of his skin, the grinding of his teeth. “Nothing to say, warrior?”

Aeron nodded. “You will die for this.”

“That’s it?”

Another stiff nod, as if he didn’t trust himself to speak again.

Amun felt the surge of disappointment that filled the prince. He’d wanted Aeron to rant and rave. But, no matter, Lucifer thought, and Amun almost pulled from the being’s mind. He retained the connection, sick to his stomach, churning with dread. Lucifer wasn’t going to be deterred. What he had planned was sure to drive Aeron to the brink of madness. Aeron, stupid Aeron, who had ruined his plans to possess Legion and destroy the Lords.

“Then let’s get started with the festivities,” Lucifer said smoothly. “Shall we?”


SCARLET WAS experiencing the five stages of grief. All at the same time. Denial—Gideon hadn’t been writhing in pain when she left him. Anger—her bitch of a mother had ignored her summons, over and over again, so she hadn’t made it back to the heavens to begin tracking Mnemosyne. Bargaining—Let Gideon finally win his war, she’d prayed to no one in particular, and I’ll forget about my revenge against my aunt. He’d be safe and Scarlet wouldn’t be a liability. Depression—she would never see the beautiful warrior again, she just knew it. Acceptance—she’d done the right thing, leaving him. He would be better off.

Tears burned her eyes, but she hastily wiped them away. Only a day had passed, but she missed him terribly. And like an addict in need of a fix, she was still in Budapest, close to him. Close enough to climb the iron fence that surrounded his fortress and saunter up to the front door, knock, grab him when he opened said door and kiss him.Only reason she’d resisted was because she’d barely gathered the strength to walk away the first time. No way could she do so a second time.

Idiot. Frustration and desperation joined her other emotions. She would have tried to summon someone besides her mother for a ticket into Titania, but none of the gods, Greeks or Titans, liked her. Or if they did, she didn’t remember. Fucking Mnemosyne.

Return to Gideon, Nightmares pleaded. I’ll be good, I swear.

Her demon had experienced the five stages of grief as well, but kept returning to bargaining. You’ve always fancied him. Why? I don’t understand. You fancy no one.

He…belongs to me.

She wished. I’m no good for him. But she wanted to be. Gods, did she want to be.

He might not be her husband, she might not have any history with him, but she had come to…like him this past week. And he had come to like her. She knew he had. He’d tried to talk her into staying. He’d told her that he wanted more from her than a single bedding. And oh, gods, hearing those words had nearly crushed her resolve to leave.

But in the end, she’d known leaving was her best and only option. She’d also known she’d had to close the door on them completely. Otherwise he might have come after her. Until her mother and aunt were dead, they had to remain apart. As long as Rhea lived, Gideon was vulnerable. As long as Mnemosyne lived, Scarlet was vulnerable. Or rather, her mind was.

And if her mind was vulnerable, that meant Gideon was in danger. She could be convinced to hurt him, kill him, or even be persuaded that he was determined to hurt or kill her. She would attack him, and he didn’t deserve that.

He was a good man. A strong and gorgeous good man, and she’d caused enough turmoil in his life. But if, after her mother and aunt were dead, he still wanted to try to make a relationship work, she would be willing, she decided. However, she doubted he would want to try. There’d been frustration, desperation, anger and sadness in his eyes as she’d abandoned him. And pain. So much pain.

She’d cried as she’d exited the fortress. Cried harder as she’d slunk into this underground crypt. The moment she’d reached the bottom, she’d closed her eyes and entered dreamland. Still crying.

She’d been tempted to find Gideon. In fact, all of her strength had been needed to resist. Only thing that had saved her from doing so was, ironically enough, her aunt. Scarlet had forced herself to visit the woman and wait outside the doorway to her consciousness.

Though she’d waited and waited, the bitch had never fallen asleep, and by the end, Nightmares had been a writhing cauldron of hunger. Scarlet had then given the demon free rein, and a tormenting spree had quickly ensued, shaping the dark dreams of thousands. Including Rhea’s.

That, Scarlet had enjoyed, taking special care to present her mother with her greatest fear: losing to her husband.

Now, sleep was upon Scarlet again, and she was again waiting outside her aunt’s doorway. If she couldn’t reach Mnemosyne this time, she was going to draw Mnemosyne to her. And have a little fun in the process. That’s why she had removed the butterfly necklace Gideon had given her. So that she could be found. Soon…

She had to wait several hours, but this time Mnemosyne’s door creaked open…only to snap shut so quickly she couldn’t sneak inside. Well, well. Her aunt was fighting slumber. Soon, though, the goddess of Memory would lose. They always did.

All the while Nightmares’s hunger grew more intense, just like before.

Just a little longer, she told her companion.

The fiend whimpered inside her mind, and the shadows and screams that had been a part of her for thousands of years, so much so she hardly noticed them until Gideon aroused her to madness, intensified, too. Seeking release. Seeking a target.

I promise, she added. If she had to allow another tormenting spree, she would.

Finally, though, the wait paid off.

Mnemosyne drifted, her doorway opening halfway and allowing Scarlet to dart inside before it could close again. Which it was in the process of doing. She latched onto the sweet, shining dream even then trying to form and tugged, dragging her aunt deeper and deeper into that state of bliss. Luring her…