Home > The Wicked (Vampire Huntress Legend #8)(2)

The Wicked (Vampire Huntress Legend #8)(2)
Author: L.A. Banks

The high, vaulted ceiling began to give way, but Cain stood in the midst of the destruction, so enraged he would not even shield him�self from falling marble, boulders, and debris as he decimated his cliffside lair.

"You manipulated her to murder my father, Dante! You took my father's throne in Hell, stole his empire, and then threw it back in his face! You robbed me of my oldest friend after seducing her. You be�set the Neteru Council of Kings against me to seal me in Nod with their shields of Heru! You come to my lair and desecrate my home. You steal my music, my nightingale, after you kept her from compos�ing for one year-my Damali, the detriment of my soul! You break my mother's heart by causing me to cross into your world to seek the voice that I'd longed for."

Cain's eyes narrowed to enraged slits. "Because of you, my world is gone and my kingdom is under civil unrest! Then you betray my beloved's heart, take her body, and marry her away from me? Are you insane? Do you believe there will be no redress? I will have justice, Rivera!"

Pure fury roiled through Cain like a dark tornado, spiking adrena�line to rage in blackout proportions. In a sharp pivot with both hands on his broad sword, Cain sliced at a standing column, and then froze as the blade of Ausar shattered in his grip.

"Noooo... Imposter..." he whispered in utter disbelief, look�ing at the blade handle in his hand and then down at the broken steel at his feet. "Formillennia you have deceived me? My mother's people... those of the Light?" Cain threw his head back and roared. "What game is this, Adam? Did you also deceive Ausar? What con�spiracy is afoot amid the archons-I demand an answer! It is my due!"

Immediately Cain's eyes sought the horizon through the yawning hole in the destroyed lair roof, and his gaze tore around the multiple golden shields of Heru that still covered and sealed the thinning bar�rier between the Land of Nod and Earth.

"I believed..." Cain's voice quieted as he raked his fingers through his locks, incredulous. He stared at the blade on the floor that should have cut through stone, tears rising and then burning away with renewed anger.

The Neteru Council of Kings had betrayed him? Had given him a replica of the actual blade and had given the real mark of royalty to Carlos Rivera over him? Rivera-a man not made a Neteru by birthright through Eve, but rather through a late elevation? A man bitten and made a vampire, not sired from the original royal lineage of Dante and Lucifer? A common drug peddler made king over him? A man, who had also slain his sibling, lied, stolen, and God knew what else, was allowed to bed the millennium female Neteru, marry her in the Light, and sire? This transgressor, this interloper of dubious her�itage, had been incarcerated for only a few short years, yet with full conjugal access to Damali, while he'd been locked away in the Land of Nod, devoid of carnal sensationfor eons -when his only offense had been to execute his wearisome brother?This was the justice de�livered from On High?

"Never!" He spat on the floor in disgust. "Then my father's people shall have me where my rule will be revered."

Cain was pure motion, his footfalls gaining in velocity until he reached the edge of the ravine. Headlong, he tumbled, burning through the energy atmosphere like a flaming arrow to land in the central kingdom square. His furious landing was greeted by the stunned amazement of his subjects, but constituents from the side of Light and the Dark drew away from their monarch. Blue-black flames flickered at the edges of Cain's nostrils as he whirred around to gain his bearings. Battle-length fangs had filled his mouth, and the lack of a blade hadn't left him unarmed. More dangerous now than ever be�fore, he strode to the shadow wall zone. Patrons of the illicit sensations there scattered at his presence the moment he entered the dank alley.

Trembling with rage, Cain said nothing as he approached the rubbery surface of the wall of seekers. His footfalls thudded with lethal echoes as he stretched out his hands and dug into the flexible divide, plunging his fists into it up to the elbows. His massive hands grasped several faces, twisting and contorting them, causing the entire wall to wail.

"Warlocks, bring me Lilith," he said in a low, thundering tone. "Bring her to this wall that she might seduce modern men of science to run another barrier-shattering experiment. Tell her to open a hole and prepare my father's throne for me in Hell!"

Harpies genuflected. Level-Six vampire messengers cowered against stalagmites and stalactites and then fell to the floor, prostrate before Cain's passage. The Sea of Perpetual Agony ceased its cries and went silent. The molten, bubbling lava in the pit calmed as a slow glacier sealed over it and Cain stormed across the bridge toward the Vampire Council Chambers. Ice slicked the cavern floor behind him; the halt�ing breaths of the bats and messengers came out in strangled puffs of frigid air.

The huge black marble doors leading to the throne room creaked open on frozen hinges. Ice weighed the golden, fanged knockers as the doors struggled to respond to Cain's royal entry, but seemed inca�pable of doing so fast enough to avoid being kicked off their hinges, each door exploding at the assault. With every footfall that Cain landed on the black marble floor, the blood veins in it oozed to a halt beneath his furious steps, icy fingers choking off the flow of life within it and spreading out in a frosted glaze behind him.

Lilith stood up from the pentagram-shaped ruling table that had been running with fresh blood. In her peripheral vision she watched it ice over into a shining, ruby, still resin. Her fingers and palm stuck to the golden goblet she clutched in her hand as she watched Cain stand in the center of the floor breathing fire and ice, his golden armor turn�ing black at the edges until the hue of pure darkness overtook it all.

"Your throne awaits, Your Eminence," she said as chilly air made her words come out in visible white puffs. Going to one knee with her head lowered and respectfully motioning Cain toward his father's old throne, her tone was reverent. "Hell has frozen over, sire... it is your time to rule. Destiny."

Cain did not speak as he approached the old Chairman's throne, but he stopped to look at the last vampire's name that had been etched into the high, black marble back of it. "Imposter!" he bellowed, punching the top section of the throne away to rid it of Carlos Rivera's name before abruptly turning to claim his legacy. Then he saw Damali's name etched into the throne of every councilman she'd slain. A shudder of desire ran through him.

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