Home > The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)(11)

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)(11)
Julie Kagawa

"That old human was the key," Jackal went on, glaring at me now. "He had all the information we needed. The results the scientists had on the plague, the tests they ran, how the rabids were created, everything. I was trying to save our race, sister. I came so close, and you ruined it all."

"You were trying to cure Rabidism so you could turn your raider pets into a vampire army and take over everything," I shot back. "Don't even try to sell me the saint act. You're nothing but a scheming, bloodthirsty killer who's out for power. And by the way, where is that raider army of yours? Did they finally turn on you once you couldn't promise them immortality anymore?"

"Oh, don't worry, they're still there." Jackal's smile was not friendly. "It's fairly easy to govern a city that has no rules- the minions do what they please, and I don't stop them. But, with that old human dead, I had to come up with a new plan. That's when I thought you and I needed to have a little talk, and I certainly couldn't do that with a raider gang following me about the country." He shrugged. "They'll be there when I get back, with the cure. You haven't stopped anything, sister. You've just delayed things a bit."

"If there is a cure. We don't know if this lab created one or not, even a partial one."

"I would have shared it with you," Jackal said, sounding angry and hurt at the same time. "You and me, sister, we could've had it all. We could've had everything."

"I didn't want everything." I glared at him. "I didn't want your city, your minions, your schemes for power, any of it. I just wanted to get my friends to safety."

"Uh-huh." Jackal raised an eyebrow. "And how did that turn out? I don't see any of your 'friends' here now. Where are they? Back in their Eden, I suppose? Why didn't you hang around, if you're such great pals?" He snickered and went on before I could answer. "Here's what I think happened. You got the little bloodbags to Eden, like you said you would, but oh, they couldn't let a vampire into the city, now could they? That would just cause a panic, having a wolf walking among the sheep. So they either turned you away or drove you off. And your little friends, the humans that you rescued from the big bad raider king, the people you stuck your neck out for, they didn't do anything. Because they knew the others were right. Because you're a monster who kills humans to live, and no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise, that's all you'll ever be."

"Tell me again why I'm helping you?"

Jackal laughed. "You know I'm right, sister. You can deny it until the sky falls down, but you're only fooling yourself."

"You don't know me." He snickered again, and I whirled on him. "And another thing. Stop calling me 'sister.' We're not related just because Kanin sired us both. I have a name- Allison. Start using it."

"Sure thing, Allison." Jackal bared his fangs in a sneer. "But we both know the truth. Vampire blood is stronger than human ties-our blood links us together in a way they can't even imagine. Why do you think you could sense where I was, where Kanin is? Because you're getting stronger, and the stronger the vamp, the easier it becomes to know where the members of your particular family are at any time. That's why most covens are all members of the Prince's family, the ones he sired himself. He can sense where they are, and sometimes even what they're thinking. Makes it hard for them to turn on him. But the tie goes both ways."

"That's why we've been able to sense Kanin."

"Yep." Jackal looked off to the west as we started walking again. "And each other, to a lesser extent. But the strongest pull is toward our sire, or at least, it was until he went into hibernation. It doesn't work as well if the vampire is close to death, but it's still there."

"Why?"

"Because, in some small, subconscious way, Kanin is calling for us."

A couple hours later, we were no closer to finding the subway entrance than when we first started.

"Hmm." Jackal stopped at the edge of a roof, the open map in both hands, turning it this way and that. "Well, damn. There's supposed to be an entrance to the subway somewhere on this street, but how the hell are you supposed to read a map if there are no damn signs?"

I let him fiddle with the map in silence and watched the pale forms of the rabids slipping through the shadows below. "Why would Sarren be looking for this laboratory?" I mused, softly so my voice didn't alert the monsters under our feet. "What do you think he wants?" Jackal gave a distracted grunt.

"Don't ask me. I'm not a psychotic maniac." He paused. "Well, not as much of a psychotic maniac. Okay, there's the Foggy Bottom metro entrance... Where the hell is the tunnel?" He glanced down at the street and sighed. "Maybe he's searching for the cure to Rabidism, too," he tossed over his shoulder. "Oh, but wait, you don't care about that, do you?"

A large group of rabids slid from between two buildings, directly below Jackal. He ignored both them and me as he studied the map. For a moment, I had the murderous thought of shoving him over the edge, letting him fall into the group of rabids, seeing if he could survive. The monster within approved of this plan, urging me to step forward, to attack when he wasn't looking. Yes, it whispered. Do it. Jackal would, and he will someday. As soon as he doesn't need you anymore, he'll hit you from behind without a second thought.

But that would make me just like him, wouldn't it?

The opportunity passed before I had a chance to decide. The rabid pack moved away, and the moment was lost. I watched them skulk across the street, hissing and snarling... and then vanish beneath a rubble pile.

I blinked. "Hey," I said, and Jackal lowered the map, watching as I walked to the edge of the roof and crouched down. "I think I found it."

We dropped carefully into the street, glancing around for rabids lurking behind cars or around buildings. Warily, we crossed the road and examined the spot where the pack had disappeared. The building next door had partially fallen, and the ground was strewn with broken glass, steel and cement. But beneath a collapsed overhang, a tiny, nearly invisible hole snaked down into the darkness.

Jackal grinned at me, hard and challenging. "Ladies first."

I bristled. The tunnel entrance sat quietly, like the open gullet of something huge and evil, waiting to swallow me whole. I crouched down and peered inside. Darkness greeted me, thick and eternal, difficult to pierce even with my vampiric night vision. Cold, dry air wafted from the crack, smelling of dust and rot and decay.

"What's the matter?" Jackal's smug voice echoed behind me. "Scared? Need your big vampire brother to go down first?"

"Shut up." Scowling, I reached back and drew my sword, sending a faint metallic rasp into the darkness. If something came leaping at me out of the black, I wanted to be prepared. Holding the hilt backward so that the flat of the blade pressed against my arm, I crouched down, rabid style, and slid into the hole.

My fingers touched rock and cold metal and, when I straightened, I found myself at the top of a long flight of stairs leading down into the unknown. The stairs, partially buried under earth and stone, were metallic, uneven and had a strange rippling effect to them, as if they hadn't been firmly grounded. If you looked at them a certain way, you could almost imagine they had once moved.

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