Home > The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)(7)

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)(7)
Julie Kagawa

Why was Jackal here now? The last I'd seen of him, he had been shoved out of a thirty-story window-after, I remembered quite clearly, he'd jammed a wooden stake into my stomach. I didn't have fond memories of the raider king, and I knew Jackal wasn't terribly happy with me, either.

Then the implication hit me like a brick in the chest, and I stared at him in horror. Kanin was our sire, having Turned the both of us. The raider king was my "blood brother," and blood called to blood. No wonder there had been two pulls. If Jackal was here, then he was the presence I'd been following. Not Kanin. Not Sarren. I'd chosen to track the wrong lead.

I gripped my sword so hard the hilt bit into my palm, and I would've snarled in frustration had Jackal not been twenty feet away. Who knew how far Sarren had extended his lead now? Months of searching, of trying to close the gap and find my sire, all for nothing! The psychotic vampire still had him and could be on the other side of the world for all I knew.

And here I was, trapped in this house with my brother, who probably wanted to kill me.

"I've been waiting for you, sister." Jackal smiled as he approached, fangs gleaming. His duster billowed behind him, and I caught a glint of metal beneath. "You took your sweet time, didn't you? And after the Prince of Old D.C. told all the guards and house staff to hide in the basement to let you through, just in case you were Hungry, you still had to skulk through the house like a common burglar. Didn't it seem a bit odd, not running into anyone?"

Now I did snarl at him, baring my fangs. "What are you doing here, Jackal?"

"Visiting the Prince," Jackal said mildly, and shrugged. "Waiting for you." He continued to grin at me, smug and dangerous. "Oh, what's the matter, sister? Did you not expect me? Were you hoping to run into someone else?"

"I was, actually," I shot back, and took a step forward, raising my sword. "But I'll take care of you before I go looking for him again. Let's get on with it."

"Let's not," said a low voice, and a new presence entered the room, closing the door behind her. A tall, statuesque woman gazed down at me with large black eyes. Full red lips stood out sharply against her dusky skin, and her hair floated around her face like a dark cloud. "If you and Jackal are going to fight," she said in a throaty voice, "then wait until tonight and do it outside. I'd rather not have you throwing each other around and breaking furniture."

"Azura." Jackal smiled, waving a hand at me. "This is my lovely little sister."

"I gathered that," the vampiress said, not returning the smile. To me, she said, "Please put your weapon away. If you are going to remain in my house, you will do so on civil terms. I would hate to have you thrown out to face the sun."

I felt trapped, staring them down. Two vampires, one of whom was still a Prince and probably a Master. I was all too happy to fight Jackal again, but I doubted I could take them both. The female had that same calm, cool air of another vampire I knew, another Master, and I could feel the power in that deceitfully slender form.

I sheathed my blade cautiously, still keeping a wary eye on Jackal, who looked far too pleased with this whole situation. "What's going on?"

"Azura is an old...acquaintance of mine," Jackal said, shooting the vampire woman a sultry look. Other than a raised eyebrow, she did not respond. "I thought, since I was passing through, I would her pay a visit. Of course, once I sensed you coming, I thought I'd stick around and wait for you."

"If you're looking for a fight, I'll be glad to give you one."

"Trust me, sister. Nothing would make me happier." Jackal bared his fangs in an evil grin, and I tensed, ready to draw my sword again. "I would love to tear the head from your neck and stick it on the wall outside, but I promised Azura I would behave." He jerked his head at the vampire woman, who continued to watch us both with detached amusement. "Besides," Jackal continued, "I thought you might be interested to know what I discovered about Kanin and Sarren."

That threw me. I narrowed my eyes, staring him down. "How do you know about that?"

"Oh, come on." Jackal crossed his arms. "You're not the only one looking for our dear sire. Kanin and I need to have a little talk, but that freak Sarren is making it difficult. Did you actually come here looking for them?" He shook his head, either in admiration or disgust. "What would you have done if it had been Sarren you stumbled onto, and not me? You think you're a match for him, little sister? He would have turned you inside out."

"So what are you doing?" I challenged. "Hiding out here, hoping Sarren gets bored or tired of tormenting Kanin? Don't want to take on Sarren yourself?"

"Damn straight," Jackal returned with a flash of fangs. "I'm not going after that psycho unless I have to. You think I'm bad?" He snorted and shook his head. "You haven't seen anything until you've met crazy Sarren. And you sure as hell won't be able to take him on alone. Not even Kanin wanted to cross paths with him. He'll completely destroy you."

I blinked, startled at the underlying fear in Jackal's voice. It sounded like he had run into Sarren before, as well, or maybe Kanin had simply warned him about Psycho Vamp and his eternal vendetta. Whatever the reason, hearing Jackal's warning made me even more reluctant to face Sarren and more desperate to get Kanin away from him.

"Listen to your brother," Azura broke in, startling me. "He is correct. We all have heard of Sarren and his cruelty, his ruthlessness, his brilliance even through his madness. When I heard that he was in the city, I ordered my humans to not leave the house even during the day, and ran the fence continuously until I was certain he was gone."

Damn. Even the Master vampire, the Prince of this city, was scared of Sarren. How strong was he, really? Or was he just an unpredictable nut job that no one wanted around, spouting creepy poetry and making everyone nervous?

Somehow, I doubted it. Sarren was cunning and dangerous enough to capture Kanin, the strongest vampire I knew. True, Psycho Vamp had been after him for a very, very long time, and it was partially my fault that he had found us, but still. If Kanin had succumbed to Sarren's cruel insanity, what would he do to me?

"So, why are you still here?" I demanded, glaring at Jackal. "You said you were waiting for me-here I am. What do you want?"

"I have a proposition for you."

Instantly suspicious, I stiffened, and Jackal sighed. "Oh, don't give me that look, sister. I'm a reasonable guy." He smiled dangerously. "You invaded my city, set it on fire, killed my men, and destroyed over ten years of careful planning, but that doesn't mean we can't reach an agreement."

"I have nothing to say to you," I growled. "There's nothing you can offer that will keep me here. I'm leaving. If you want a fight, try me again when the sun goes down."

"Well, that's a shame," Jackal replied, seeming unconcerned as I turned away. "Because I know what Sarren was looking for."

I paused a few feet from the hall. I could feel Jackal's smug, knowing grin at my back and, hating myself, turned slowly back around. "What are you talking about?"

"Like I said, Sarren came to Old D.C. looking for something. Showed up a few days before I did, then took off again with Kanin. I didn't follow, because I'm not stupid enough to take him on myself, and because I could feel you coming. So I thought I'd wait for you."

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