The third player in the triangle. The threat.
She patted the small lump in her pocket, checking to ensure the very special pressure injector, the one loaded with double the dose she'd used on the guards, hadn't fallen out. One shot was all it would take to kill him. And then things would return to the way they had been. She wouldn't be alone anymore, wouldn't be trapped in the endless darkness, her voice Silenced, her other half sliced away with clean precision.
Being alone frightened her. It made her angry, too. Until she had to scream. And when she screamed, the crimson lash of blood stained the world.
Had Amara been rational enough to think, she would've questioned the eerie nature of her thoughts - she'd never felt emotion. Fear was as alien to her as anger. Yet both rode her now. However, Amara was no longer capable of seeing the disconnect. She'd stopped being rational a long time ago... since the day the DarkMind first whispered in her ear.
I feel tears in my heart. Such a strange thing. I know it's being fueled by Dorian's withheld rage. I might be Psy, but I can see that that rage is eating at him from the inside out. I'm afraid he'll let it destroy this beauty between us, this precious thing I never even dared to dream.
- From the encrypted personal files of Ashaya Aleine
Despite the Psy soldiers' night-vision equipment, Lucas had the clear advantage. This was his territory and he knew every inch of it. "Why shouldn't we kill you?" he asked the black-garbed male who came forward to meet him.
"We have no quarrel with you." The man's eyes were flat, his voice toneless. "We ask permission to enter your territory to hunt a Psy fugitive."
"Permission denied." Lucas folded his arms. "I don't make a habit of allowing enemies into my territory."
"This fugitive may be dangerous to you and your people."
Lucas smiled and it was nothing friendly. "Then the fugitive will die."
"We would prefer to capture this one alive."
"Didn't your mother ever tell you - you don't always get what you want?" He sensed Mercy moving around to flank the soldiers on one side, while Clay took the other. Desiree had proved available at the last minute and was holding a watch position high in the trees to Lucas's back. She was a good shot - not sniper good like Dorian, but good enough to blow out Psy brains all over the forest floor.
"Cooperation will be noted by the Council," the Psy male said.
Lucas felt a chill spread out from his heart. He let it feed into his eyes, into his voice. "Tell your Council that we never forget our dead. And we never forgive. Enrique might be gone, but the rest of them are still fair game."
A silence and he knew the Psy man was telepathing. "Is that a threat?"
Lucas knew without a doubt that someone else was now looking out from behind those dark eyes. "No, simple fact. If your men aren't out of here within the next ten minutes, blood will spill."
"Your people will die, too."
Lucas lifted an eyebrow. "It's going to be night-dark for another hour at least, the forest is thick with trees, and we're leopards in familiar territory. You want to take us on, go ahead."
"This fugitive is extremely dangerous. If we leave, the responsibility for any deaths or injuries resulting from her being at large is yours."
"Noted." He paused. "But if you want her alive, give us an indication of how long since you lost her. Betters our chance of running her down - we've got no problem handing your mess back to you."
A pause that spoke of decisions being made. "We believe she's been in the forest for an hour maximum. She's armed." With that, the Psy soldiers left in military lines. Lucas scented Clay and Mercy escorting them out. "Dezi," he said, after the echoes of their departure had faded from the earth beneath his feet.
Soft whispers of sound only an alpha would hear and then the vibration of Desiree's feet hitting the earth. She walked around to stand beside him, long and lean, with bronze skin brushed with gold and waist-length hair braided into what looked like a thousand sleek plaits. Her rifle, she'd slung across her back. "I saw nothing suspicious." She wrinkled her nose, green eyes so dark, they looked black in this light. "They smell like shit but that's no news flash."
Lucas nodded. These Psy had given off the cold metallic smell that made changeling stomachs turn. Vaughn's theory was that it denoted Psy who were so deeply enmeshed in Silence, they'd never find a way out. "They weren't lying about the fugitive. Think you might be able to pick up a trail?"
"Possible, but this group of lunkheads messed up the scent markers. If I go deeper, past their blanket of crap... maybe."
Lucas pulled out his own cell. "I'm going to call Jamie and get more people out here," he said, referring to Dezi's training partner. "You start on the trail." His grim mood turned to amusement as she shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot. "I'll call your mom, too, let her know you extended your shift."
"Damn it." She kicked at the blanket of pine needles on the forest floor. "I forgot my cell and she gets worried if I don't check in after a night shift. I keep telling her it's bad for my tough-ass image, but..."
"Meenakshi hasn't quite gotten used to her delicate angel turning into a soldier." In human form, Dezi's mother was a petite powerhouse with Dezi's skin and those startling green eyes she'd brought with her from a region in Kashmir. A star in the world of classical Indian dance, she loved both her mate and her daughter to pieces, but was still stunned her baby had grown up into such a lethal young woman. Not that Dezi couldn't dance. "You were cute in a tutu."