Home > Bad Lands (Savage Lands #4)(7)

Bad Lands (Savage Lands #4)(7)
Author: Stacey Marie Brown

“For what?”

“For my liege…” She pushed the barrel into Warwick’s head.

“Lord Killian is dead!”

 

 

Chapter 3

 

 

Her words sunk in slowly, but my mind rejected the claim, certain she was wrong.

Killian? A flash of his face, his seductive voice and beautiful eyes. The time we spent together in his labs, the man I kissed on the balcony.

“No,” I whispered. Grief tore through my limbs, pounding in my chest. “I don’t believe you. You’re lying.” My head shook vehemently. The Lord of the Fae couldn’t be dead. He was too powerful, too strong. He was larger than life. One of the most formidable fae in the east. Pure fairy. Yet, I understood that immortal life didn’t mean they couldn’t be killed. And since the wall came down between worlds, they were a lot more susceptible to death.

Was it strange I never imagined Killian needing rest, his bedroom more for show? Even running up here, I didn’t allow myself to think Killian would be in his quarters. He was always working in his office or far below in the labs.

“See for yourself.” Nyx let out an eerie laugh, waving the gun toward the destruction. I turned my head automatically and peered behind me at the wreckage, at the aftermath the bombs left behind. Several floors collapsed onto each other, rubble and debris in a smoldering heap. No way anyone could survive.

“He was in his quarters when the bomb hit.” Nyx’s tone sounded more and more unhinged. “I was just heading there for my guard shift.” I noticed more of the burn marks and wounds covering her face, the soot caking her uniform.

“This ends tonight.” She held the gun to Warwick’s head, and his eyes went wild, while his muscles were locked. “A king for a legend.”

Her finger pushed harder on the trigger.

“No!” I screamed, leaping forward.

Bang!

The echo of the bullet and my scream bounced off the smoky air. My entire world stopped. My gaze went to Warwick. Our eyes connected. A lifetime passed in a millisecond, the horror leaving me frozen like him. Locked in time and space, knowing I could not save him, my soul shattered into pieces.

I drank him in as I waited for death to take him back for good.

Nyx’s body dropped.

A yelp stuck in my throat, shock and confusion jerking my head to her crumpled form on the ground, then to the figure behind her.

Ash stood there, his gun still pointed at her, reminding me of the time in the alley when Warwick rescued Birdie and me from a similar fate.

This time, Warwick was saved.

“Hell! You two really do need around-the-clock babysitters.” Ash shook his head, lowering his gun.

A choked laugh heaved up my throat, relief watering my eyes, loosening my chest with a sob.

“You okay?” I moved to Warwick, my scrutiny rolling over every inch, reassuring myself he was alive and all right. My fingers grazed his arm, and his shoulder jerked, but he wouldn’t look at me.

“What the hell is wrong with him?” Ash came around, noticing Warwick hadn’t moved or talked.

“She stunned him.” I peered down at Nyx, her face planted in the burned rug, blood pooling around her. The device lay feet away from her body.

Warwick muttered something, stretching and curling his hands.

“Come on! What the hell is taking so long?” Kek’s voice yelled from the end of the hall, Luk next to her on lookout. “We got more guards coming.”

“Can you move?” Ash asked Warwick, his hands touching certain nerves in Warwick’s arm, getting a reflex.

“Ye-ah.” His head dipped, the word thickly rumbling from him.

“Let’s get back to my place. I’ve got stuff that should help ease the numbness and stress on your muscles,” Ash replied.

Shouts from below rang from the stairway.

“We have to go now,” Kek yelled again.

Warwick stumbled as he started to head down the hall, Ash helping him get his footing. I took a step to run after them, but paused at Nyx’s body. The shadow of the flames from the wreckage flicked her hair-like feathers, giving the illusion her body was heaving with air, like a dying animal. A stab of guilt tapped at my conscience, knowing I did take everything from her in some way: her love, her king, her revenge… and her life.

Then it was gone. I swiped up the stun gun, stuffing it into my jacket pocket, and ran, leaving the fresh graves of family, friends, and enemies in my wake.

 

 

My body shivered, but I didn’t feel the cold. Or anything.

The boat ride back toward Savage Lands was silent. An endless hole of darkness.

Anguish and wrath were shrouded and cloaked in our silence.

The intensity of Samhain was slowly dissolving as dawn approached. This day felt like a never-ending horror. The Grim Reaper’s version of the Games, where he devoured a gluttonous feast of souls.

Happy birthday to me.

Warwick paced the front, the moonlight shadowing his outline. His movements became sturdier, though his muscles stayed locked and tight.

Not in shock, but in fury.

Everyone in the boat could feel it pulsate off him, his silence growing more deadly as time let him absorb the truth.

The loss.

My mouth couldn’t seem to open, to say anything which might help ease his pain. I couldn’t ease mine. I felt like nothing more than a burned-out shell. Empty and vacant.

Lukas steered us to the dock, Warwick leaping off the second he could.

“Warwick!” Ash yelled after him, worry in his tone.

Nothing would stop him. His shoulders curled slightly, set on his mission.

“Fuck,” Ash hissed.

“What?” Anxiety bubbled in my stomach.

“I haven’t seen that look in twenty years.” Ash’s green eyes filled with a panicked horror. “It’s like he’s back…” He continued to watch his friend move up the dock, licking his lip.

“Remember when I told you after he returned from death, his personality intensified? He craved death, lived for revenge, felt nothing unless he killed those who wronged him?” He briefly glanced at me, then back at the road. “It seemed to change when he met you. Whatever connection you guys shared calmed him. He felt again…”

My neck snapped to Ash, the base of my head prickling with alarm, not able to speak or move. Our link had been severed.

“Looks like the legend, the Wolf, is back and seeking revenge.”

“Revenge? Who could he?” I tapered off. There was only one he could blame right now. One who ordered the attack on the palace and killed Warwick’s family.

Andris.

I took off running, fear pumping my legs, dread slamming my heart against my ribs. I had already lost Andris once tonight, had ripped the shreds of space to bring him back. I would not lose him again. If Warwick hurt him, there would be no coming back from it—for either of us. There would be no us.

My boots slapped against the ramp, moving to the street toward the old marketplace, which was still standing. The block behind it was not. I knew it had been blown up. I’d seen it through Scorpion, but observing it in person was like a punch to the stomach. Figures milled around in the debris, digging up dead bodies and attending to the hurt.

What was left of the rebel army? The base suffered the same level of devastation the palace had. Only parts of its shell remained, while most of the block was no more than rubble.

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