Blood Trinity (Page 6)

Blood Trinity (Belador #1)(6)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Nothing.

But that being said, the air reeked of a distinct sulfur stench.

Strong. Vibrant. Deadly.

The smell of well-fed demons.

And inside were two scared kids….

TWO

Now that Evalle knew where the demon was hiding, she quickly parked. This wasn’t the best place to leave a GSX-R after dark, but no one could steal the bike. Someone from Quinn’s extensive network of contacts had warded the bike to prevent the engine from firing unless Evalle was sitting on the seat. It really paid to have friends with mad psychic skills.

The bike had to be within her energy field for the wheels to even turn. Go team.

She traded her helmet for the dark sunglasses and left on foot to hunt, picking her way toward the building. Silence followed in the wake of her soft steps, as if no threat lurked nearby.

She knew better.

The air stank of evil.

Her demon was here, and the dead quiet meant the Cresyl knew Evalle was here, too. Come get some … Shadows whispered, stirring the hairs on her arms as she sensed a presence she couldn’t find.

She stomped her boots, and blades shot out around the soles.

No underestimating her opponent this time.

The nasty sulfur stench grew stronger the closer she edged. A solid sign that she was on the right trail, but she hadn’t heard a sound from the boys.

Please don’t be demon Kibbles ’n Bits …

Surely she’d gotten here in time. She couldn’t stand the thought of something happening to the twins. The boys annoyed her at times, but they were like family to her.

No wonder they annoy me …

She paused at an electric gate, which ran between the brick building and a long warehouse and closed off a wide driveway to the rear loading dock area.

She sized up the ambush potential.

Definitely a trap.

But who or what was the demon trying to catch? Kardos and Kellman were homeless teens no one cared about. No one but her and the Nightstalker Grady, who helped her keep tabs on the pair.

Using her telekinetics, she unlocked and lifted the gate so she could enter. She simultaneously sent out pulses that would interfere with any and all electronic surveillance or alarms the company had. As the gate moved, metal gears squeaked in protest, making her cringe, as it not only alerted the demons about her presence but also telegraphed her location.

Damn, why couldn’t her telekinesis come with WD-40?

She froze for a second, waiting for them to pounce. After a few mad heartbeats, she started forward again.

When she reached the back lot, one security light above her head shed enough light for a human to easily navigate the enclosed area. Thirty-foot-long metal shipping containers were stacked along the far side.

Everything was too quiet.

Tzader’s warning dug into her thoughts, reminding her not to fight demons alone. You’re not immortal or impervious … One mental call for help would bring the closest Belador running to give her support.

She considered that idea for all of a nanosecond.

Beladors would come—grudgingly—if she called. Screw that, and she wasn’t bothering Tzader. His meeting was too important.

I can’t put this off with those two boys at the mercy of a Cresyl demon.

She drew a shallow breath and walked further into the parking lot. The closer she got to the demon the more foul the air turned. Would the female Cresyl be in her demon form, or could the thing have fed on another human and now be masquerading in that poor soul’s body?

Where were the twins? Her panic for their safety was rising high.

A scraping sound above her drew her gaze over her shoulder, up to where two identical blond males clung to a galvanized pole mounted thirty feet off the ground that supported the halogen security light. One of the boys kicked his boot against the brick wall and struggled to keep a grasp, but neither uttered a sound.

Thank the goddess they were safe.

The demon had muted them—something she’d wanted to do to the back-talking Kardos on occasion—but this wasn’t funny.

Evalle needed something to break their fall. She spied a Dumpster and lifted her hand to telekinetically move it into place.

All of a sudden a blast of energy knocked her backward. She hit the brick wall four feet off the ground and slid down, scraping her arms on the rough edges but landing on her feet.

Ready to fight.

Her hand went to the dagger in her sheath and paused.

The demon that leaped into view from between steel containers on the far side of the parking lot was not a Cresyl or a female.

Scrolled ink designs ran along one side of his face, moving like a tangle of angry snakes. He was pushing eight feet tall, and she had a bad feeling this one could grow larger. She based gender this time on the very human fit of his jeans that were tight enough to leave no doubt about his endowment or sex.

Ah, crap, he was shifting from human to demon form.

What kind of demon was this thing, and what was he doing here? Who had opened the hellmouth downtown?

More to the point, how did she close it again? Preferably with the demons on the right side of it. ’Cause no offense, she was getting tired of the cleanup.

He locked his hands—that now had claw tips—together in front of his chest. A supersized black hoodie covered thick shoulders, but he was still shifting. Horns had already started growing from his thick forehead just above each eye. His nose widened and lengthened to a curved tip. Ew! Boar demons were ugly. A thin red tongue lashed out from between pointed teeth.

And what the heck had happened to his ears? They were cauliflowered like a battered boxer’s instead of pointed.

The back of his pants ripped open, and two tails grew six feet long with spikes at the end.

Now she knew what he was.

A Birrn demon, far more dangerous than a Cresyl.

Oh, yay! Just what her suckass night needed.

If the stories she’d heard were true, he should smell like tar or burned rubber, not sulfur … unless …

He’d eaten the Cresyl.

Great. Just great. Even better. He’d eaten her evidence. Did everything have to conspire against her tonight?

But a Birrn wasn’t a free agent. He answered to a master, so he wouldn’t be here unless he’d been sent. VIPER would definitely go after whoever sent a predator here. If Evalle could show up with this thing smelling of Cresyl, even Sen would hesitate to point a finger at her for the dead human.

She hoped.

The demon bellowed as both horns curled and thickened at full extension.

“Hello, Mr. Ugly. Care to explain why you ran my friends up a flagpole?” And here she’d thought only bully humans were that cruel.

“I want your power,” the demon whispered, a deep and menacing sound.

Was he hunting any and all powerful beings or … just her?

“Um yeah … no offense. Think I’ll hang on to it for a bit.” Evalle crossed her arms and glanced over her shoulder. “What about those two?” Had he sucked them dry?

“Bait.”

Okay … how did he know anyone would come to help the twins, much less someone with my level of powers? She’d chalk it up to a good guess, but his kind really weren’t that smart. “Let them go and we’ll chat.”

He shook his head in an easy motion. “Bait always dies.”

“Bad news for you then.”

The demon pulled back. Dull confusion fogged his glowing red eyes. “Why?”

“Cuz you’re not bright enough to come after me yourself, which makes you somebody else’s bait.”

Worry skipped through his gaze for a split second, just long enough for Evalle to take advantage of his lack of attention. She whipped both arms away from her body, throwing an arc of hot energy at him that knocked him backward. He slammed into the steel shipping containers, which crashed down on him, the sound shattering the predawn quiet.

Using her telekinesis, she directed a Dumpster to cross the parking lot and park below the boys. “Jump!”

A sick thought hit her at the same moment.

What if the Dumpster was empty?

Or worse, had something in it deadly for them? Surely they wouldn’t be that stupid.

Well … Kell wasn’t that stupid.

But when the boys dropped, it sounded as though they’d landed on a cushion of garbage. Thank Macha.

“Get out of here,” Evalle ordered the twins when they scrambled over the top and jumped down in front of her. “And get a bath. You smell like rat piss.”

“We wouldn’t’ve if you’d caught us instead of dropping us in a shithole.” Kardos brushed off his hands, then paused to take her in from head to midriff. “Hellooo, hoochie mama.”

His brother Kellman shoved at him. “Excuse my mentally defective brother, Evalle. Real glad to see you again. Thanks for the assist.”

“You’re welcome. Gotta fight demon now. Go.”

Kardos eyed her greedily before he did his idea of a bad boy pose. “Baby, we’re not abandoning you. Wouldn’t want to see anything happen to all that … software I’ve got a hard drive for.”

“Gah, I think I just threw up in my mouth. Yeah, I definitely taste bile.” She had to find a coven in the city that would take them before they ended up in the metro Red Guard gang.

Evalle stepped close to Kardos, who stood at eye level with her. Both the twins did, but Kardos tried to sound another four inches taller. “First, your powers only work on small animals, not demons. Second, you’ll get in my way. And third, you really need to grow some more, especially in maturity. Now stop acting like a warlock and get moving or get eaten.”

Kardos grimaced at the male witch slur she generally reserved for a Medb.

Steel banged against steel. The demon was pushing his way out of the pile.

Kellman grabbed his brother’s arm and dragged him toward the street. “We’re just going to get her hurt if we stay.”

Kardos groused two steps, then picked up his pace, calling out arrogantly, “We’ll harrumph harrumph later.”

In your dreams. She opened the gate for them, then shut it again and swung to face the demon, who was pushing up to his feet.

She winced. She should have been attacking him while he was down instead of letting the twins distract her.

He’d grown larger in size, thick body ripping out of his hoodie. Black scales covered the top of his arms, the middle of his face and his chest.

Crud. That meant he was gaining strength. She should feel flattered that he considered her that much of a threat. But really, she’d rather put him down quick.

“You know, I’ve been looking for you.” She hoped to stave off his attack until she got some answers.

He stopped growling. “Why?”

“You ate a female Cresyl, right?”

The belch he released blew across the expanse to smack her in the face with sulfuric halitosis. Added to his twisted grin, that sufficed as a yes in her book. “What about the male? He know you ate his mate?”

Another grotesque demon grin. “You kill him?”

“Yes.”

“Thought so.”

What did that mean?

He flicked a hand at her.

She jumped sideways, barely missing the blast of energy that struck the ground at her feet.

The Birrn howled with laughter.

She tsked at him. “Didn’t your mama tell you it’s rude to play with your food?” This Birrn eating the other demon was no coincidence, not in her line of work. “What are you and the Cresyls doing here?” Besides eating the tourists and making her life hell.

The demon spread his arms wide, hands open in a show of indifference. “I hunt. They died. You might not … yet.”

She’d have liked to feel encouraged by that, but demons could do things that made death look appealing. “You’ll understand if I don’t make the same offer in return.”

He lunged, his body going airborne, diving at her like a demon torpedo.

She went to the right, rolling and coming up on her feet, now facing the wall where the boys had hung. The demon hit and flipped, landing surefooted and ready for her. She spun her hands around each other as though winding invisible knitting yarn at hyper-speed, then threw a ball of energy at him.

That should plow his fat head through the brick building.

Her roll of power hit him square in the chest, but he just made an umph grunt, then laughed, a deep, sinister cackle. He was enjoying himself.

She doubted he’d play with her for long or that he’d let her get past him again.

The Birrn dropped his head down and growled, pawing the ground with the focus of a bull after a trespasser in his pasture.

She threw up a force field of energy to stop him when he barreled forward.

Didn’t work.

He struck so hard that he knocked the force field and her backward, up in the air onto the loading dock, slamming her into one of the wide loading doors. The corrugated metal folded in around her and slid across the concrete floor—with her on top—plowing through shipping boxes.

Now that just hurt. She wouldn’t be able to move tomorrow. But she better move tonight or she wouldn’t have to worry about anything ever again. And her favorite doctor would be weighing her organs on Monday.