Born of Night (Page 27)

Born of Night (The League #1)(27)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Now it wasn’t his life they threatened, it was Kiara’s. For that alone, they would die. He’d done his best to avoid killing them out of respect for . . . hell if he really knew.

But today Arast and Aksel had crossed the line for the last time.

So be it.

Nykyrian started forward.

An assassin came at him. “Arast, I got—”

His words died as Nykyrian swung around and killed him before he could even finish the next syllable. Death spasms made the assassin’s hands tighten and his blaster fired. It arced a stream over the bay, searing the ceiling and several nearby transports. Nykyrian pulled it from the man’s hand and drained the charge before leaving it behind just in case the identifier in the grip had been programmed to work with someone else’s handprint.

Arast started sweating. “Kero? You there, man?”

“Dead,” Nykyrian said. “Let her go, Ari, and you’ll get the chance you’ve been waiting for.”

“Come on, you worthless bastard. I’m ready.” Arast slung Kiara away from him.

Nykyrian walked calmly out of the shadows with his hands held out to his sides, away from his body. “You have one shot before I kill you, Ari. You better make it count.”

Kiara bit back a scream as the next few seconds happened so fast she could barely follow their sequence. But the one thing that stood out vividly was the cold-blooded grace of Nykyrian’s movements.

Assassins came out of nowhere to attack him. He spun, his coat flaring out with an eerie beauty, and shot two with a blaster strike before he holstered it and caught the ones nearest him with his hands. In a terrifying death ballet, he used his knives to cut their throats and bring them down one by one until the only ones standing were him and the man he obviously knew.

Arast.

Her abductor aimed for his head and shot. Nykyrian dodged the blast and rolled on the ground before he came to rest in a graceful crouch. He launched two knives that spun toward Arast and landed in his shoulders.

Arast screamed out. He tried to lift his blaster toward Nykyrian and couldn’t. He grabbed a knife and went for Nykyrian, who caught his hand as soon as he reached him, and head-butted him back.

Arast shrieked in frustration. “You’re a freak. I should have killed you while you slept.”

Nykyrian’s tone was even and flat. “Yes, you should have.” He snapped Arast’s arm with a sickening sound.

With his good arm, Arast brought his blaster up to aim for Nykyrian’s heart, but before he could pull the trigger, Nykyrian caught him about the head and twisted. Kiara cringed at the sound of grinding bone a split second before blood gushed out of the assassin’s mouth and he crumpled slowly to the ground to rest at Nykyrian’s feet.

Nykyrian knelt down and felt for a pulse. Satisfied Arast was dead, he pulled his knives out of the man’s body, wiped the blood off on the sleeve of his coat and sheathed them without so much as hesitating.

Kiara’s heart pounded in fear. For the first time, she fully realized what Nykyrian really was and what he could do. She’d known what the term “assassin” meant, but his kindness toward her these past few days had dulled the brutality of that word.

He’d let Pitala and his partner go.

Twice.

But this . . .

She looked at the bodies he’d left in his wake. At least a dozen men were now soaking in pools of blood. The last minute of horror and pain was permanently etched into their features.

The stench of blood clung to Nykyrian, choking her.

This was cold and it was brutal. Most of all, it brought home exactly what sort of creature he really was. One who brutally killed without hesitation or remorse.

“We have to go.” Nykyrian held his hand out to her. “The others are coming.”

She couldn’t move as she stared at him with new sight. He was ruthless. It was one thing to know he could kill. Another to see him do it.

He’d snapped a human being’s neck with his bare hands and it hadn’t affected him at all.

How could he have wiped their blood off on his own sleeve without even cringing?

He’d killed them with the same knives he’d used to prepare her meal . . .

For a minute, she thought she’d be sick.

“Kiara. We have to leave. There are others here and it won’t take them long to find us.” He hauled her by her arm to his ship.

Somehow, she managed to climb up the ladder and seat herself in the cockpit. Her heart hammered in her chest as he joined her while she continued to stare at the bodies on the ground.

Nykyrian wasn’t even breathing hard . . .

He’d just strapped them in when his body went rigid.

She looked up to see more soldiers entering the bay. Nykyrian flipped switches in front of her with that same calmness that was now disturbing to her. The engines fired with a deafening roar as lights danced across his control panel.

In true battle formation, the assassins took up positions to fire at them. One man stood out at the head of the group, glaring at her and Nykyrian with a handsome, cold face that mirrored cruelty and hatred.

He made a military gesture at Nykyrian that was unmistakable. You and me to the death.

Nykyrian made an obscene gesture back at him before he launched the ship.

Aksel growled in frustration as his men fired uselessly on the Arcana, knowing Nykyrian had once more slipped from his grasp. The bastard and his slut flew right over their heads.

In that moment, he wanted to rip apart every soldier with him. He slammed his fist into the face of the assassin who was dumb enough to be closest to his arm’s reach. “You f**king women. Worthless! All of you!”

It was then he noticed the body of his baby brother lying dead on the ground a few feet away. Raw, unmitigated fury tore through him.

“Find them!” he snarled at his men. “I will have that hybrid’s life, or your own!”

Shoving them from his path, Aksel made his way back to his own ship.

This was far from over. He would claim Nykyrian’s life no matter what. And when he did, that freak of nature would beg like a sniveling child wanting a toy.

The princess was just bonus pay.

CHAPTER 15

Kiara trembled in shock and fear. Over and over, she saw Nykyrian breaking the assassin’s neck, heard the snapping of bones, saw the look of horror on the man’s face as he realized Nykyrian had killed him . . .

It’d been grisly and cold.

The blood on Nykyrian’s clothes . . . Dear God, he’d callously wiped their blood on his own sleeve. A sleeve she stared at as he flew them to wherever they were headed.

He was absolutely stoic over the horror of it all. What kind of monster could do such a thing and not feel even a twinge of something? He’d treated it with no more emotion than someone putting on their shoes.

Those memories merged with the ones of her mother’s death—the way the assassins had mocked them both and ruthlessly beat her mother while terrifying her. It made her sick and confused and terrified.

She just wanted to run away. To find a place where things like this didn’t happen.

Where people like Nykyrian didn’t exist.

There’s no place safe. Not for you.

The truth scalded her.

Not since that beautiful spring morning when she’d been eight years old, eating in the garden with her mother before they’d been kidnapped, had she felt safe.

She struggled for her sanity and a way to grasp what had just happened.

Nykyrian felt her pain as he flew them to the neighboring planet where Syn lived. He knew he should say something to her, but he didn’t know what. He remembered the first time he’d killed someone. The horror of it still haunted him. That moment when his vic had realized the blow was fatal.

Over time, he’d become so acquainted with the blood and gore that it no longer fazed him at all. It was a tragic waste, but everyone died.

Better them than him.

Kiara clutched her mouth to keep from being sick as he banked and her stomach lurched. He finally docked his fighter in the attached bay of a high-rise building.

The scent of warm, sticky blood, of death, clung to him.

When he moved his hand away from the controls, his gloved handprint, in blood, was right there in front of her.

He was completely oblivious to it.

Bile choked her.

“We need to go.”

She tried to rise from the seat, but her limbs wouldn’t cooperate.

Gently, Nykyrian wrapped his arms around her and carried her through the bay, up the lift, and into an immaculate apartment on the top floor that had a breathtaking view of the bustling city below. There was something hauntingly familiar about Nykyrian’s actions, something her subconscious told her to pay attention to, but she was too upset to catch it.

Inside the apartment, everything was perfectly clean. Sterile. Most of all, it was huge. The main room alone was bigger than her entire flat. But even so, the furnishings were sparse.

“Where are we?”

His answer was dispassionate. “Syn’s.”

She shook her head. No one would ever dream this elegant place belonged to another killer—like them, on the surface, it appeared so . . .

Normal.

There was a black desk, with nothing on top of it, set against the wall, turned toward the floor-to-ceiling windows. A highly polished white piano faced out toward the balcony. In the middle of the room, perfectly positioned, were two black leather sofas and a small black table that contrasted sharply with the white walls and carpeting.

And as she hurriedly skimmed the room, she realized why the walls and carpet were white. It was so that no color would compete with the expensive art pieces he’d collected . . . or maybe stolen.

Truly it was a master’s collection. From the paintings on the walls to the statues and other objets d’art scattered about. A museum would kill to have a collection this extensive.

Along the far wall was a fully stocked bar with bottles of whisky and wine she knew went for over a thousand credits each.

The only personal photo in the room was set on the corner of the bar’s black countertop. Nestled in the arms of a well-loved stuffed lorina was a frame that showed a slideshow of a small boy.

The incongruity of that sight actually stunned her. Syn had a son? Surely he didn’t live here with him.

Did he?

More to the point, did he know what his father was?

How could these people have families?

Without faltering, Nykyrian reset the security system. The latest and most expensive system made. A DNA skimmer that wouldn’t allow anyone inside unless the scanner recognized them. Proof that the man who lived here was as fierce and dangerous as the one holding her.

Kiara wanted the strength to push Nykyrian away, to bathe the smell of blood from her body. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever feel clean again.

He took her straight to the bathroom and set her down on the floor before the toilet. Raising the lid for her convenience, he stood back as she unloaded all the contents of her stomach.

Kiara wasn’t sure how he knew what she’d been holding back, but she was grateful for his quick actions. She felt so ill, physically and mentally. Her entire body quaked as she tried to regain control of herself.

As unaffected by her sickness as he’d been by killing those men, Nykyrian wet a cold washcloth and held it against the back of her neck until she was finished.

He handed the cloth to her and flushed the toilet. “Feeling better?”

She couldn’t meet his gaze. Instead, she stared at the dark stains on his coat and shirt. “You have blood all over you.”

He looked down at it. “It happens.”

That made her sick again.

His elbows on his knees, Nykyrian crouched beside her in silence as he listened to her regurgitating. Her cheeks were flushed and the horror in her eyes kicked him straight in the gut. He knew what a monster he was.

But seeing that monster through her amber eyes was the most painful thing he’d ever endured.

You’re nothing but an animal, unfit to be around decent people. No wonder your parents threw you away.

Trying to push the hurt away, he got up and found one of Syn’s unopened toothbrushes. The little paranoid OCD bastard always kept extras so that he could change them out every few weeks. Nykyrian handed one to Kiara and stayed with her while she straightened herself up.

He would clean the blood off his own clothes, but the sight of it smeared over Syn’s white linens would only make it worse for her. There was nothing more nauseating than blood on white—which was why he wore black and all of his linens were black.

When she was finished, he reached across her to get a towel.

She flinched and stepped back.

His heart twisted at her involuntary reaction. Did she really think after all they’d been through and shared that he could hurt her?

You wanted her to hate you. Congratulations. She does.

But he’d never wanted her to look at him that way—like he was unfeeling garbage. Just because he didn’t show his feelings, it didn’t mean he didn’t have them.

You should be used to it by now. Everyone had looked at him like that at some point. Even Syn.

I am what I am.