Home > Bad Lands (Savage Lands #4)(6)

Bad Lands (Savage Lands #4)(6)
Author: Stacey Marie Brown

Reaching the upper landing, I turned right, down the hazy passageway, the dense air clawing at my lungs, the smell singeing my nose, the heat burning my skin.

It was a second before I noticed the floor disappeared. A cry sprang from my lips, my feet backpedaling as my boots started to slip off the precipice, my stomach dropping with terror.

Warwick’s arm looped around my waist, yanking me back from the rim, pressing me into his body. Our chests heaved together with fear. We both stared in silence at the remains. From the boat, you couldn’t see how extreme the damage was. The entire wing was gone. Gutted, burned, and decimated, barely a skeleton remained of this side of the building. Ashes rained down like tears.

The once-prized beauty was now nothing but cinders and rubble. No human or fae would have survived.

Was Killian underneath there? Eliza and Simon?

“Warwick.” The whisper barely made it from my throat, grief coiling around it like a snake.

“No,” Warwick growled in my ear. Fury stiffened his form, his arms dropping as he stepped back. I twisted to face him. “You don’t know they were there.” He shook his head, retreating farther, rage filling his eyes, daring me to defy him. “They’re safe… in some cell below.”

“No. They aren’t in the cells below.” A woman’s deep voice spoke with vicious giddiness behind him as his body started to convulse, his eyes going wide. “There were in the room he had designed for you.”

“Warwick!” I lurched for him as a woman stepped from his shadow, holding a device against his spine, electrocuting him into paralysis. His body continued to shudder, his jaw locking as a jarring noise gurgled from his throat.

My feet came to a halting stop, the oxygen knocked from my lungs. Terror crashed down in my gut seeing her face.


I reached for my gun.

“Don’t.” She sneered, pointing a gun at me with her other hand. She was tall and broader than a lot of the guys here. Quick, trained, and out for revenge.

A deadly combo.

Using him as a shield, she stood slightly behind him, smeared with soot and blood. Her eyes were bright and almost crazed. She kept the device on his neck and moved the barrel of the gun to his temple.

“You make one move, and you’ll be picking your lover’s brains out of your hair for months.” She rammed her gun harder into Warwick’s head. A muffled grunt came from him, but his body didn’t move.

The device she was using was a type of stun gun from the West. A newer gadget that was only issued to the Unified Nation’s private bounty hunters. Istvan had been searching the black market for them for years to no avail. Very rare and grotesquely expensive.

And Nyx had one.

“Warwick?” Our link was empty. My call fell into a black hole. Biting on my lip, I swallowed back the trepidation soaking in my skin, not wanting to think about what it meant.

“You touch him—”

“And you’ll what?” Smugness shone through her features. “What will you do? You may have fooled my lord, but I instantly saw what you were—a lying, deceitful, treacherous bitch. And now you will pay for what you did.” She zapped him again, his nose flaring, his teeth gritting through an agonized growl.

“Stop!” My body jolted, a small cry sliding through my teeth. My eyes met his for a moment, but I got nothing but a stony expression back.

“Mmmm… the sweet taste of revenge.” She glowered at me. “How does it feel to know your own army did this… killed his family?”

Warwick jerked with a grunt at her statement, his eyes turning darker, nerves down his neck dancing.

“You’re lying.” Was it true Sarkis’s army did this?

“I’m not.” Nyx let out a dry, demented laugh, leaning in closer to Warwick. “Your sister and nephew are dead, Farkas. Crushed and buried under the rubble there. And Kovac’s to blame… not that I didn’t enjoy every second knowing how much pain this would cause you as well.” Cruelty widened her mouth. “How does it feel? To lose everything you love because of her?”

A low vibration came from Warwick. The Wolf. The beast. His shoulders twitched, his chest pumping in and out, his eyes on me. Furious and brutal.

“What do I have to do with this?”

“Everything!” Nyx screeched, sounding more like a hawk. “It all leads back to you. From the moment you stepped over the fae line, you’ve brought nothing but death and destruction. You are a cancer to us. You’ve destroyed everything,” she squawked, her voice rising with emotion. She was a moment away from snapping. I could feel her frantic anger building. One twitch of her finger, and Warwick’s brains would be spilling on the floor.

Something deep in my gut was scared this time that he might actually die.

“All of them fell on their knees for you,” she spat at me. “What was it about you? You made them all blind and stupid. And all you did was lead them to their deaths.”

“What are you talking about?”

Another manic grin seized her lips.

“The one guarding their room.” She pushed the barrel deeper into Warwick’s temple, making fury scorch from his eyes, a sound huffing through his nose. “Another who was enamored by you. A spy among us. I knew something was going on when I caught him in your room. Traitorous horse-shifter. He was under your spell too. Well, he got what he deserved. He’s nothing but ground horse meat now, buried right under your feet.”

Vomit sizzled up my throat.

Oh gods… Zander.

“No,” I whispered, my head shaking, pleading for her to say it was just a cruel joke. I could picture his soft brown eyes, the kindness he showed me in Halálház—an anchor in hell. The way he kissed me, the risk he took to get me out of the palace, knowing he could be caught at any time.

Agony ruptured in my chest, a crack across my heart.

“But you had to take everything from me, didn’t you?” Her cruel smile faded, her eyes filling up with tears as something altered inside her mind. The gleeful malice shifted into a sorrowful abandonment, her pupils fully dilating, her fury pinning on me.

Her prey.

The energy changed in an instant, and I knew I only had seconds.

“You killed him.” The gun in her unsteady hand tapped against Warwick’s head, her finger curling tighter. She was losing control. Any moment she could pull the trigger, and he would be dead.

The knowledge I wouldn’t be able to bring him back, that my quota was up, swirled deep in my subconscious.

I held up my hands. I needed to stop her. “Nyx…” I took a step, my gaze snapping to Warwick, trying to communicate what I was about to do. He watched me, the monster inside him contained against its will.

“Stop!” She zapped him again, his legs dipping, agony vibrating in his throat. She adjusted her hold on the gun. I stopped. “You have to watch him die. Feel the utter agony of losing everything,” she shrieked, her hair starting to appear more like feathers, her fingers growing into talons. “You killed him!” I knew she wasn’t talking about Warwick. “You took him from me… from us!”

My heart thumped in my ears, dread filling my stomach. “What are you talking about?”

“You are to blame!” Fury burned in her eyes at me. “And you will pay.”

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