Retribution (Page 33)

Retribution (Dark-Hunter #20)(33)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Incredible.

Another Daimon wielding an ax attacked. Completely calm … freakishly calm, Jess leaned his head back from the swing, letting the ax fly clear of his throat. Still, it’d been so close that she didn’t know how he could trust himself not to have misjudged the swing.

Thank God he didn’t. Otherwise, she’d be picking his head up right now.

As their ammunition ran low and the Daimons kept coming, Jess put himself between Sasha, who was in wolf form, and her. She loved the fierce protector in him.

Still he fought like a ninja. She was extremely impressed. And if the truth were told, she was amazed she’d been able to hold her own against him when they’d fought. Until now, she hadn’t realized just how accomplished he was.

That boy had mad skills.

In no time, their rounds were spent, and they were retreating to the back part of the cavern while beating Daimons down as hard as they could.

Jess was really starting to miss his ability to reload his weapons. And create them. Damn his drained powers. It would make things easier, especially since Coyote had nothing here that could be used as a weapon.

Bastard.

"Can you hear the human souls releasing when you kill them?" Abigail asked.

"No."

But by the look on her face, he could tell that she did. "Are you all right about it?"

She nodded. "No," she said, contradicting the nod. "I keep thinking about the fact that my mother’s soul was taken and consumed by a Daimon. No one freed hers."

"I’m sorry."

"Not your fault."

Maybe, but he felt bad for her anyway.

Sasha’s powers were as limited by the damper as his were. They were fighting with their hands behind their backs, and the Daimons were all at their full psychic capacity.

Abigail began to panic as more Daimons showed up. They were breeding like cockroaches. "We’re going to die, aren’t we?"

"Hope not. I still have another episode of No Ordinary Family downloaded on my computer that I haven’t had a chance to watch yet. Be a damn shame to miss it. Might have to hurt them if that happens."

She shook her head at him. "You’re so not right." But that was what she loved about him.

They were backing up through the cavern and quickly running out of places to go.

When they got to the last of it, they formed a small circle.

Sasha sighed. "So this is it, huh? Not how I thought I’d go out." He glanced around at the extremely green cavern walls. "Well, at least we’ll be all minty fresh when we go."

"Psst!"

Sasha turned around in a circle, looking for the source of the sound.

Jess arched a brow at Abigail.

"I didn’t do it."

They looked at Sasha. "What? Some freak noise gets made, and you blame the dog? That ain’t right. Next thing you know, I’ll get blamed for gas attacks, too. I didn’t do it."

"Psst! Abby!"

Abigail froze as she recognized Hannah’s voice. She turned around to find her sister in a small hole in the wall. Dressed all in black, she looked like Spy Doll Barbie. If the point was to make her fierce, it was failing miserably. Hannah was too tiny, too blond, and too sweet looking to make anyone afraid of her.

"What are you doing here, H?"

"Saving your asses. Come on."

Abigail followed her without reservation.

"Keep your voices real low," Hannah warned in a whisper. "Some of the Daimons have really good ears, and the walls are thin."

"Do you know where Ren is?" Jess asked.

She nodded. "They’re planning to sacrifice him at midnight. Right now, Coyote is torturing him."

Abigail frowned. Hannah acted like she was at home here and knew the schedule for everything. Best of all, she knew about this hidden passage. "I don’t understand. How did you guys get hooked up with Coyote?"

"Jonah."

That unexpected response startled her so badly that she actually stumbled. "What?"

"You remember how Jonah did all that research into trying to find a cure for us?"

Abigail nodded. Everyone who’d ever met Jonah knew this story. He’d found some obscure text that said one of the local Nevada tribes had hidden a serum in the mountains that could cure any illness and transform someone’s DNA into perfect structure.

Jonah had taken that to mean that it would repair whatever physiological damage Apollo had done to them when he cursed them.

Both she and Hannah had thought it was a load, but Jonah had insisted, and for years, he’d take night trips out to the desert to look for it.

"Jonah didn’t find the serum. He found Coyote, who told him that the legend was real and that if he’d help Coyote find the two jars that contained it, Coyote would share. They were still looking for it when…" She passed a harsh stare to Abigail. "Jonah died. Anyway, they’ve been working together for decades now. So when Coyote called Kurt and asked him to round up Daimons to kill a Dark-Hunter, we came."

Abigail’s heart stopped beating. "We?"

"I took gallu blood with Kurt. I don’t want to kill humans, Abby, but I don’t want to die either. I figure no one will miss a demon."

Grateful for her compassion and humanity, Abigail hugged her. "I love you, little sister."

"I love you, too. It’s why I couldn’t let them kill you. Even if you are with the enemy." Hannah pulled a small box out of her jacket and pressed a button on it.

Jess breathed a sigh of relief. She’d turned off the damper.

Hannah hung her head down. "I feel like I’ve just betrayed one family member for another."

Abigail shook her head. "You haven’t betrayed Kurt. He doesn’t want me dead, does he?"

"I don’t know. He’s so angry and hard to read. Especially when it comes to Jonah. You know how close the two of them were. But I don’t want to live like that. It takes too much energy to hate. I’d rather get on with my life than worry about someone else’s."

Jess cleared his throat. "Sorry to interrupt, but we need to find Ren."

"He’s probably in the lower chamber."

Abigail arched her brow at that. Hannah had responded without any thought whatsoever. "How much time have you spent here?"

"Too much. Coyote…" Hannah paused as if seeking the right adjective for him.

"What?" Abigail prompted.

She squirmed like she used to do as a kid whenever she’d done something she thought their parents might punish her for. "Promise you won’t hate me if I tell you something."

Abigail went cold with dread. What was wrong now? "Tell me what?"

"Promise me first."

Oh, she could wring her little sister’s neck whenever she played these stupid games. "All right. I promise."

Hannah licked her lips and glanced about nervously. "Coyote was the one who killed your parents."

That news slammed into her with the force of gale winds and left her reeling. "What?"

She nodded. "He wanted your mom, but she wouldn’t have anything to do with him. He’d gone to see her in various disguises and tried to seduce her. No matter what he did, she wouldn’t look at him. Apparently the last time, she said something she shouldn’t have and he killed them for it."

Abigail was flabbergasted. And she would have denied it, but it all made sense now. It hadn’t been Jess in her room. It’d been Coyote wearing his skin. "How do you know this?"

"Jonah. He got drunk one night back when we were dating and told me all about it. He was there with Coyote when he did it."

It was just as she’d seen in her house. That was why the voice had seemed so familiar to her.

"I should have told you when I found out, but Kurt and the others were in love with the idea of turning you into their own personal Terminator to slay the evil Dark-Hunters. It’s all they talked about. They saw you as the perfect weapon against our enemies."

The sad thing was, she had been.

And Abigail didn’t know what to say to that. Raw emotions warred inside her. Anger, hatred, betrayal. And even relief. At least she finally knew the truth about the night her parents died.

"Thank you, Hannah."

"You’re not mad?"

"Not at you." Kurt and the others, she could kill over it.

Most of all, it was Coyote blood she wanted. That need was so strong that it bubbled up inside her like a volcano.

"Hey, Jess?"

Jess turned his attention to Sasha. "Yeah?"

He pointed to Abigail.

Jess looked over at her, then actually jumped when he saw what she looked like.

Holy shit. She barely looked human right now.

In fact, all three of them took a step back as they saw her eyes. They weren’t just red. They had stripes of orange laced through them.

Her teeth grew longer, and there was an evil aura around her that said she was open for business.

Jess approached her slowly. Any sudden movement might make her gut him. "Baby?"

Abigail put her hand on his chest to stop him from coming any closer. "Not this time, Jess." Her voice sounded like it had reverb on it. "I want the blood of Coyote, and I won’t be stopped."

Normally, he’d have stopped her anyway. But you know what?

Payback’s a bitch, and this one was way overdue. If she wanted to rip Coyote’s head off and play basketball with it, he’d bring the net.

"I’ve got your back, Abs."

Sasha screwed his face up. "You’re going to make me get her back, too, aren’t you?"

He gave the wolf a droll stare. "You wanna live?"

"Some days." Sasha let out a long, tired groan. "Fine. I’ll follow even if it kills me, and it better not."

When Abigail started toward the lower chamber, Hannah fell in line to go with them.

As soon as Abigail noticed her slinking behind Sasha, she stopped her. "I want you to sit this one out."

Hannah scowled. "I don’t understand."

"If anyone sees you aiding a Dark-Hunter…"

"I’m aiding my sister."

Abigail was touched by the offer. But she knew exactly what kind of repercussions Hannah would have. From everyone. "They won’t see it that way, and you know it." They would make her life a living hell, and they might even drive her out of their community.

Hannah sighed. "Fine. Take care of you." It was a line from their favorite girl movie, Pretty Woman.

Abigail hugged her again. "Take care of you." Then she set her sister aside and accessed the part of her that was still foreign and terrifying.

The demon.

Jess exchanged a wary grimace with Sasha. The old school cowboy in him didn’t like giving such a tiny woman the lead in anything so dangerous. His job was to protect the woman he loved. Not put her in the line of fire.

But he knew if he said that out loud, she’d have his boys for jewelry and make him pay for eternity for his chauvinistic ways. So he rode herd on his tongue, but stayed extra vigilant where she was concerned.

If anyone came for her, they’d answer to him.

And he’d gut them for it.

He didn’t know how she did it, but she went straight to where Coyote held Ren like she’d lived here for years.

Jess winced as he saw the holding cell where Ren was strapped to a metal rod. Coyote had put him in with Tesla coils that were sending shock after shock to Renegade, who screamed when they hit him.

Yeah, that was the drawback to being immortal. If someone wanted to torture you, you couldn’t die to escape it.

Jess opened his mouth to ask Abigail what her plan was, but he never got the chance. His hotheaded woman stormed into Coyote’s workspace without preamble and seized the ancient being by the throat. When Coyote moved to fight, she backhanded him so hard, he dented the wall.

Remind me not to make her mad.

Jess rushed to turn the electricity off in Ren’s cell and stop the pain of his being electrocuted.

Sasha fell back away from the switchboard and room. "Don’t shock me, man." It had really nasty consequences for Were-Hunters.

"Check on Ren."

Sasha snorted. "In the electricity cube? What kind of psycho are you?"

"Sasha…"

He bared his teeth in a purely canine gesture of defiance. "Fine. I get shocked, you better start checking shoes before you put them on." He went to comply.

Jess rushed to watch Abigail mop the floor with Coyote.

"How could you kill my mother? You bastard!" She slammed his head down on the ground repeatedly.

Coyote twisted and sent her flying. "I only wanted her to love me."

"So you killed her when she didn’t? That’s not love. That’s sick."

Coyote kicked her across the chamber. "Don’t you dare lecture me. I thought her soul was yours. You. You’re the one who betrayed me."

"I have no memory of you, and I’m grateful for that."

The fury in his eyes was scorching. "You can’t kill me."

Abigail glanced over to where Sasha was helping Ren. "Torture works for me. Besides, I’ve already killed one Guardian. What’s another?"

He shoved the lab table at her.

Abigail caught it and sent flying back at his head.

Jess widened his eyes at her strength, but wisely stayed out of it.

"You’re an animal," she snarled. "You’ve done nothing but destroy everyone around you."