Home > Devilish Game (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #4)(16)

Devilish Game (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #4)(16)
Author: Linsey Hall

“Goddess of war?” I asked, remembering the crimson magic that had flashed in my mind. It had come with the sounds and smells of war. Had she been trying to contact me?

No, that was crazy. Totally crazy.

But Grey had said my magic was growing.

Was it somehow connecting me to an ancient war goddess? Were they even real?

Nope, still crazy. I shouldn’t be speculating about that when I needed to be finding my friends. “Our answers have to be at the temple, then.”

“Maybe our kidnapping victims, too,” Mac said.

Hope flared. “With any luck, yes. We need to go immediately and do recon. We’ll pull a rescue mission if it’s possible.” But how the hell was an ancient war goddess related to this? “Are gods and goddesses real?”

“As real as you or I,” Seraphia said. “But they’re rarely found on earth, and they are definitely not human.”

“Neither are we, technically,” I said. “There’s something a bit different about us, right?”

Mac nodded. “Yes. But we’re all basically human, even though we might turn into wolves or cast spells. We’re like a different form of human, but the gods . . .”

“They’re weird,” Seraphia said. “They’re all different, of course, but many of them don’t have emotions or morals the way we do.”

“So we just have to hope this goddess isn’t involved, then,” I said.

“It’s unlikely,” Mac said. “If there were a goddess on Earth, we’d know about it. Especially if she was a crazy war goddess who wasn’t lying low.”

“She wasn’t a crazy war goddess,” Seraphia said. “Though she had elements of that. She was also the bringer of peace.”

“So she was balance,” I said.

“That was the idea,” Seraphia said.

“Well, we’re going to go check out her ruined city,” I said. “And pray we don’t find her.”

“I’m coming,” Seraphia said.

“Are you sure?” I frowned. “It’s bound to be really dangerous.” She could hold her own in a fight pretty well, but Seraphia was a librarian first.

“Can you read Cuneiform?” Seraphia asked.

“Right. Of course not.” And there might be clues there. “Please come.”

She nodded. “No problem.”

“Where are we going?” Eve’s breathless voice sounded from behind me, and I turned.

She hurried into the room, her blue dress fluttering as she ran. Today, her hair matched her dress, a brilliant cobalt that gleamed under the lights. Her raven flew behind her, but she paid it no mind.

“We’re going to the ancient city of Ugarit, on the Mediterranean coast of Syria,” I said. Quickly, I laid out what we’d discovered and what we were going to do.

“I’m coming,” she said.

I weighed the pros and cons of more people versus less. If it was just recon, then less was better. If we had a chance at rescuing people, then more was probably better. I just had no idea what we would find when we arrived.

As if she could sense my indecision, Eve said, “You’ll need eyes in the sky. I’ll take an invisibility potion and fly above the city.”

“Do you have any more of those?” I asked. They’d be helpful with recon.

“Unfortunately, I have only one,” she said. “They’re dreadfully difficult to make.”

I nodded. It’d be best if she took it, then. “Air support would be invaluable. Thank you.”

She grinned. “No problem. It’s the four of us, then.”

“I didn’t say I was going.” Mac quirked a brow.

I laughed. “As if you could resist.”

Mac grinned. “So true. But how should we get there? If we don’t know what we’re walking into, we shouldn’t transport right there. We might land right in the middle of something and give ourselves away.”

“We could arrive a little way away,” I said.

“We don’t know what’s there or how far spread out they are,” Seraphia said. “But I have family on Cyprus. Fishermen. Haven’t seen them in years, but they’d take us across the Mediterranean.”

My geography was a bit sketchy. I knew that Cyprus was off the coast of Syria but had no idea how far. “Will that take long?”

She shrugged, then pulled up her phone and consulted something. “Looks like it’s rough sixty miles from Cyprus. That shouldn’t take more than a few hours by boat, and we don’t want to arrive in the daylight anyway.”

She had a point. It was still morning, and we’d be best off arriving in the dark. “I like this plan. We can approach from the sea, and Eve can tell us the best place to land. Then we sneak in on foot.”

“Exactly,” Seraphia said. “I’ll just call and see if they’ll do it.”

“Thank you.” I caught her eye and nodded gratefully.

“Anything for a fellow Shadow Guild member.” She grinned, then turned to make her phone calls.

I looked at my other friends. “Shall we get ready?”



I left Carrow at the library and walked. At first, I didn’t know where I was going. In itself, that was entirely odd.

I was always in control.

But now? After last night?

I had no idea what was happening.

When we’d first met, I’d appeared in her visions—right at the scene of the murder that had brought her to my doorstep. We’d spoken, but that was all.

Last night should have been impossible, but it had happened. Something about us was dragging us together, even in our dreams. Whether it was fate or her magic or something else, I had no idea.

“Oy, watch out!”

A voice sounded from my left, and I turned to see a bicycle delivery driver headed straight for me. I’d been so lost in my thoughts that I’d crossed the street into his lane.

My gaze met his, and his eyes widened in recognition. Immediately, he veered the bike to avoid me and almost slammed into some rubbish bins.

I shook my head. While it was true that I’d cultivated a fearsome reputation around town, it shouldn’t be so bad that a cyclist nearly threw himself into a wall to avoid inconveniencing me when I was in his lane.

And yet, such was life.

I looked up, taking in my surroundings. I’d come to Hellebore Alley without realizing it. Or at least, without consciously realizing it. I needed to be here anyway to hunt down Christoph Venderklein, and that had been my plan for the day, but I’d come here for another reason, I now realized.

Quickly, I strode down the dark street toward Cyrenthia’s shop. Surely, she would know what was going wrong. There had to be something I could do about it.

I reached her vine-covered door a moment later and pricked my finger on one of the thorns. As the blood hung suspended over the air, the tiny trap door opened and the goblet appeared, clutched in a hand that didn’t look quite as old as it had last time. Rather, it appeared to be middle-aged, at most. Cyrenthia was still thriving from our last offering, apparently.

Still, I pierced my thumb with a fang and let blood pour into the cup. Rules were rules, after all.

The cup retreated, and the little door slammed shut. A moment later, Cyrenthia swung open the door and grinned like a cat, leaning against it as she ran her gaze over me. She looked flawless and young once more, her lips gleaming from the blood she’d just drunk. Though she was leaning right against the blood covered thorns that covered the exterior of her door, she didn’t seem to mind.

She raised a brow. “Back so soon, Devil?”

“Yes.” My voice was sharp. “There is something wrong with the spell you performed.”

“There certainly isn’t.” She flicked a hand, a gesture indicating I should come forward. “Come, follow me.”

She turned and sauntered down the hall, her gauzy, blood-red gown flowing around her. I strode after her, feeling a frown pulling at my lips. She went to the same room as before—it was the only room in her house that I’d seen, despite her efforts to lure me upstairs—and sank gracefully onto one of the modern, black leather couches.

“So.” Her red lips pursed. “What has a bee in your bonnet?”

I raised an eyebrow at her choice of phrase.

“Chip on your fang?” she tried.

“The potion that you and Mordaca made—it’s not working.”

“Yes, it is. I can still see that your fated bond is broken. It’s visible in your aura.” She tilted her head, studying me. “Though I will say that it’s not quite as severed as I would like. I swear I can almost see it trying to return. Fate is a stubborn bitch, isn’t she?”

“Then I need help resisting.”

“I told you to stay away from her.”

“It’s not as easy as it sounds.” I dragged my hand over my face. “She pulled me to her in a dream.”

“Oh.” Her lips formed a surprised O. “Really? What kind of dream?”

“There’s no need to discuss the details.”

“Ah. That kind of dream.”

“Whatever kind of dream it was, it’s impossible to stay away from her when she uses her magic to call me to her.”

“I doubt this was entirely her fault.” She tapped a crimson nail against her lips.

It was true. I’d wanted to go to her. And from the shocked look on Carrow’s face, she hadn’t done it intentionally.

“What can you do for me?” I asked. “Because so far, it’s not enough.”

“I can make you forget her.”

Horror struck me. Forget her?

I wanted those memories. I needed them to see me through the lonely future.

“If you forget her, you cannot love her,” Cyrenthia said.

“I don’t love.” Her.

I didn’t need to say that last bit because I didn’t love period. I didn’t even know how. I never had, not even before I’d been turned.

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