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  • Home > Samantha Young > Warriors of Ankh > Blood Past (Page 15)     
  • Blood Past(Warriors of Ankh #2)(15) by Samantha Young
  • “Wait, my mom met Joan of freakin' Arc?”

    He nodded. “Yes. I believe Merrit admired her obvious intelligence and bravery but was somewhat unsettled by her fervour. She was even more intimidating than Merrit and that is saying something. Your mother could cow a person with one simple look.”

    “I can't believe my mother met Joan of Arc. I did not wake up this morning expecting that little revelation.”

    Cyrus smiled softly. “There are many stories. And I will tell you them. In time.” Still reeling, Eden took a moment to come back to Cyrus and when she did she frowned. “You didn't finish. You were saying women were different back then…?”

    “Ah yes. I had not been around another female warrior in a long time. The Circle met rarely back then because travelling was not as easy. Valeria had left to live with Darius over a century before Merrit's arrival. I was used to strong-willed women but even Valeria was reluctant to question me.

    Merrit questioned everything. She said I had lost myself and she was determined to find me.” His eyes grew soft. “And she did. We trained together, we hunted; she pulled me back into society for a while so I could remember what it was to be human. Her quick and honest tongue did land us in a few scuffles but I found myself inexplicably addicted to her company. It was a day or so after the Battle of Poitier, we had been hunting together for ten years, and we were hunting a soul eater who was preying on the dying soldiers. The soul eater found Merrit and I barely got to her in time to save her. I knew then.”

    “Knew what?” Eden asked in a hushed voice.

    “That I loved her. That I could not live without her.”

    “What did she say?”

    Cyrus burst out into laughter as he remembered. “She said… ‘Well it took you long enough, Cyrus of Persepolis.'”

    Eden smiled. “She was already in love with you.”

    “I was a fool to have not seen it.”

    A sweet silence fell over them, and together they sat staring as the flow of traffic grew busier, and more people descended out onto the streets, hurrying to their work. Eden's eyes caught on a couple as they came out of their apartment and kissed before turning to walk off in opposite directions. Her eyes followed the woman, who turned a couple of times to look back at the guy. “I'm sorry,” she whispered without looking at Cyrus. “I'm sorry you lost her.” He was quiet a moment before he replied softly, “I am sorry you never got to know her.” Chapter Eleven

    Standing Ground… Underground

    “By now I would imagine you realise that the only way to kill a soul eater is by decapitation,” Cyrus said as they walked back toward the Douglas home.

    Subconsciously, Eden guessed she had  known that because of what she'd witnessed in her parents

    – well - her father's home when the soul eaters had been decapitated. An image of Stellan's death flashed across her eyes before she could stop it and she winced, shuddering at the sick, morose feeling that stole over her. “Yeah, I got that part.”

    “Good. Well, it is not as easy as it may sound-”

    Eden grunted. “Uh what sounds easy about decapitation?”

    “Oh. Right. I keep forgetting you are more seventeen year old American teen than ancient warrior.”

    “Yeah well just give me a few days.” She grinned cockily trying to shake off the pall cast by Stellan's memory.

    Cyrus didn't smile back. “This is serious, Eden. Your training here will be pivotal. I cannot send you out to hunt if I am not absolutely confident in your abilities.” She felt her defences rise. After all, hadn't she already fought off Neith by herself? She had done pretty OK in the past, and now that she didn't have the hunger messing with her she was able to concentrate fully on all the skills she would need to acquire to hunt down monsters.

    “Fighting Neith is not the same as fighting soul eaters. Soul eaters are stronger than Neith; that is why Neith train twice as hard as we do.”

    Perturbed by his intuition Eden glowered at him. “What, have you been taking lessons from Noah on mind reading or something?”

    “No.” Cyrus smiled now. “But I am coming to understand you, and what I do not know, Noah has told me. He knows you very well, Eden.”

    The thought of her ex-best friend sent her heart into palpitations. To forgive or not to forgive, that is the question. “You know it's really clear whose side you're on.”

    “I am not a teenager, Eden, I do not take  sides. I would just like to remind you that Noah was under orders and he disliked lying to you. He does care about you.”

    “You think I should forgive him?”

    “Enough to let him prepare you. He is excellent at what he does, Eden. He will make you an excellent hunting partner if you can allow yourself to trust him.”

    “I trust you.”

    “Then trust me when I say you can trust Noah.”

    Cyrus came to a stop outside McLeish's home and Eden slowed to a halt beside him. She found herself staring at the ground in concentration, chewing on her lip as she thought over what Cyrus was suggesting. Noah had hurt her. In fact she was pretty sure Noah may have broken her heart. There was no way you could just shrug off that kind of hurt like it had never happened. But she also knew in that rational part of her brain she now owned that Noah hadn't meant to hurt her. He was just doing his job and, from what she had witnessed so far, the Ankh were kind of big on duty… even to the point of being arrogant elitists. Was it possible to come to some kind of halfway point concerning the first guy who had ever crushed her?

    “OK.” Eden nodded, lifting her head to meet Cyrus' dark gaze. “I'm not quite ready to be friends with him but I will… I will trust him. I can do that.”

    The Princeps face softened. “I am glad. Inside this training centre are some Neith aware of what you are. We need to be careful. We need to be together in this.”

    “There you are.”

    Eden and Cyrus looked up toward the house to see McLeish stepping out of his front door. She followed Cyrus as he made his way towards the Councilman she didn't trust.

    “Good morning, Councilman,” Cyrus greeted him formally.

    McLeish nodded, his lips set in a grim straight line. “Mornin', Princeps. Ms MacDouglas. You've caught me just in time. I have to leave for work in ten minutes.” Eden furrowed her brow as her eyes swept his attire. He was dressed in a dark navy suit.

    Somehow she couldn't see him as the businessman type.

    “Councilman McLeish is a police officer. A Detective Inspector with the Lothian and Borders Police,” Cyrus explained as they stepped inside the house. “We have many Neith in positions of authority, Eden, in case incriminating discoveries are made and we need to cover them up.” OK, that sounded creepy and ominous. “Incriminating discoveries?” It was McLeish who answered, his eyes washing over her face with little expression, “Bodies of soul eaters. We need to be able to dispose of them. We have people on local boards of authority who deal with the cemeteries, so we can usually bury soul eaters there without recourse. Sometimes, however, we don't have time and if those bodies come back to haunt us we need people, like myself and others, who can make the questions go away.”

    Eden gulped. How had she not thought about all of this? You were pretty preoccupied with your own crap, remember. Torture chamber in the basement. The hunger to kill your best friend. PSAT's.

    You know, the usual. “Gotcha.”

    “It's a good thing your eyes have changed colour,” McLeish suddenly said, and she found herself abruptly caught in his burning gaze. “They were unnerving.” The reminder that he didn't trust her because of her heritage burned. It wasn't like it was her fault.

    She had been born that way and she had done her damnedest not to hurt anyone. She had fought against her nature and she was trying goddammit! Before Cyrus could remark (and she could feel his own bristling tension beside her) Eden stepped forward, narrowing her eyes on the Councilman. “I expect that to be the last comment you ever make about my heritage, Councilman McLeish, or I'll consider it a breach of our agreement to keep what I am quiet.” She watched as his jaw clenched, his arms crossing over his chest defiantly. He clearly didn't like being dressed down by a teenage girl. He shot her a withering look before turning to Cyrus as if expecting his reprisal on his behalf. One casual look at her guardian and all she saw was onyx pride in his eyes. She turned back to the Councilman, her eyebrow quirked up expectantly.

    Glowering, McLeish lowered his crossed arms and nodded tightly. “Understood.”

    “Now that we are all clear, I would like to take Eden into the training centre.” Cyrus took hold of her arm gently to guide her through the house.

    “I'm afraid it's busy this morning. It's a bank holiday so some of my people are off work today and the kids are off school… word spread about Noah being here yesterday and well… they're all excited at the possibility of training with him.”

    “Well, they will have to wait their turn. Noah is promised to Eden.” She shivered at Cyrus' word choice. It sounded so romantic and enticing… and she completely hated the little treacherous butterflies that emerged out of their cocoons in her stomach at the thought of her and Noah in a sentence together, as if they were a couple.

    “Of course,” McLeish growled and strode past them out of the kitchen door and into the large backyard. A high wooden fence bordered the entire yard from their neighbours, but the theatre next door was pretty hard to miss. At the end of McLeish's yard was a large wooden shed. “How are you going to explain the fact that she's not already trained?” Eden looked to Cyrus. Yeah, how were they going to explain that?

    “I told you. The story is that she has been raised by Valeria and I, and I have been overprotective since the death of my wife, but now that Eden is almost eighteen I have decided it is time she takes up her duty.”

    “And you really think they'll believe that?” McLeish's eyes may not have rolled but his tone did it for them. Eden really wanted to punch the guy.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire