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  • Home > Samantha Young > Warriors of Ankh > Blood Past (Page 16)     
  • Blood Past(Warriors of Ankh #2)(16) by Samantha Young
  • Cyrus' voice grew low and menacing as he retorted, “They will believe whatever you tell them to believe.”

    Finally the Councilman looked unnerved, paling at Cyrus' ‘scary voice'. “Of course.” Eden hurried after Cyrus as he followed McLeish into the dark shed. He flicked a switch and she glanced around. It was full of tools and other random crap. What was this? He smirked evilly at her (such a child!) and flicked another switch. She gasped as the floor opened beneath them, a concrete staircase leading down into a brightly lit hall.

    “This is the access to the training centre under the theatre,” Cyrus explained, nudging her forward.

    “Thank you, Councilman. I can take it from here.”

    “Your boy and Valeria are already inside.”

    “Is Tobe?” Eden asked just as McLeish was about to leave. She really hoped the girl was there because even though she had decided to trust Noah, it would be nice to have someone there that she kind of counted as a friend.

    McLeish frowned at her question and she just knew he wasn't happy about the idea of her befriending one of ‘his people'. “Aye.”

    “Great.” The smile she threw him was deliberately taunting and she enjoyed the way he ground his teeth before storming back out of the shed. She turned to Cyrus and said dryly, “I don't think he likes me very much.”

    Cyrus shrugged and began descending the staircase. “It does not matter. You asserted yourself with him. It was good.”

    Grinning at the praise, Eden forgot to be nervous as she followed him underground. The dank corridor veered to the right and Eden's smile promptly slid off her face. The halls were so oppressive.

    She drew in a deep breath, trying not to feel claustrophobic. As they walked through the downwards sloping halls, noise began filtering towards her, grunts and cheers and the buzz of murmuring.

    Cyrus took a left and stopped in front of double doors. “You ready?”

    “Are they all going to stare?”

    “Yes. But only because you are with me and you are Ankh.”

    “A few of them know though. Those people we met a few days ago. They know. They're going to look at me like I'm a freak.”

    “Then those are the ones you are going to pick to spar with. A few beatings should knock the judgement out of them.”

    Eden laughed. “Yeah, you think so?”

    “I know so.” He heaved a sigh and gripped the handle on the doors. “Today you will spend your time in here, training with Noah and possibly October if she wishes it, in hand to hand combat. When you are ready I will take you into training room two further up the hall. There you will learn weapons training.”

    “Wait.” Eden stopped him before he could open the door. “Weapons training?” He reached out for her, brushing a stray strand of hair off her face. “Do not look so nervous, Eden.

    Surely you noticed we only fight with swords?”

    Now that he mentioned it…

    “The art of decapitation,” he explained wryly. “We are warriors, we do not believe in guns. We fight only with swords.”

    “But the soul eaters use guns. My mo- I mean Celine had one, Ryan shot you.” Cyrus nodded. “Yes, but we are immortal, Eden. It takes much to kill us and like the soul eaters, decapitation or a sword through the heart usually works best. Guns do not kill soul eaters, they barely even slow them down, and stray bullets can kill innocent bystanders. So we fight with our bodies and with swords.”

    “OK.”

    “Are you ready?”

    “Yeah, let's get this done.”

    As soon as Cyrus swung the door open and stepped inside a hush fell over the room. Eden realised McLeish's idea of busy and her idea were totally different. There were about forty people in the room. She'd been expecting hundreds. Her eyes swept the area, widening. The ceiling was way higher than she'd assumed it would be so the training room wasn't nearly as oppressive as the halls.

    In the far corner of the massive gym hall was a weight area where a few Neith were working out.

    Beside it were exercise machines and monkey bars. The rest of the room was taken up by four large mats where four partners sparred. Neith were scattered around the edges of the mats, watching and waiting for their turn. The sparring partners had stopped too at Cyrus and Eden's entrance and Eden's gaze locked on Noah who stood on the far left mat, a Neith warrior on his back, his arm twisted in Noah's fist. Noah's foot was planted firmly on his chest. Eden grimaced. That looked uncomfortable.

    Noah was sooo going to kick her ass.

    Just as she thought it, Noah caught her look and smirked cockily. Eden sighed inwardly and crossed her arms over her chest. The problem with Noah was that he was too damn sure of himself.

    He needed someone like her. Someone who would a throw a curve ball every now and then, otherwise he would just recycle the only two expressions he had in his repertoire: careful stoic blankness and arrogant smirk. Relaxing her own features Eden gave him a friendly-ish nod and watched with delight as his eyes first widened and then narrowed suspiciously.

    Not being mad at Noah might be more interesting than she'd thought.

    Chapter Twelve

    Taking it to the mat

    No amount of supernatural grace could ever make Noah a good surfer. He'd tried a couple of times but each time his Ankh strength had failed him and he was constantly being thrown off balance and buried by the waves. Life with Eden was kind of like that. Yesterday in training he'd almost crushed the Neith under his foot when Eden had given him the nod.

    She was talking to him now?!

    Of course he'd tried desperately to scramble for equilibrium, his cool calm that made him so…

    cool. But by then it was too late. She had seen his surprise. It didn't stop him from trying to regain some semblance of casual nonchalance by smoothing his features and instructing her in hand to hand combat. And still Eden surprised him. She listened to him without comment, only doling out smart ass comments to October who was her sparring partner. Together he and Tobe, and that annoying nephew of Councilman McLeish, Cameron, walked Eden through a number of varied manoeuvres the Ankh had taken from different martial arts. They started off with the grittier stuff, grappling and boxing, using the ancient Greek art Pankration, some Judo, and Hawaiian Lua. All of them taught how to take down an opponent and keep them down - flips, hammer fists, neck cranks, eye gouging, bone breaking, tracheal grip chokes, arm locks… anything a warrior needed to know about incapacitating a soul eater if they found themselves without a weapon that would actually kill it. And Eden was a fast learner. In fact, Tobe was covered in bruises and Eden had had to be reminded more than a few times that she was stronger than Neith and to go easier on the young warrior. These martial arts were the deadliest of their kind and Noah had to focus absolutely so that no one got hurt.

    It was only after training, as they headed back to Tobe's and Cameron ( dick) said a flirty goodbye to Eden, that Noah could dwell on the fact that Eden was actually treating him like a person again. He'd looked to Cyrus for answers but his Princeps was too busy praising his adopted daughter for her great first day.

    At dinner that night Eden hadn't actually talked to Noah, but whenever he did speak she didn't throw him her normal death stare. So yeah, he was off-balance and hated that Eden could do that to him. He couldn't afford to be off-balance doing the job that he did and that's why he had to turn down Christopher's invitation to go investigating what sounded like a soul eater den in the apartments above a club in New Town. According to Chris there hadn't been a den in about five years and the last soul eater to hit Edinburgh had been two months ago. So yeah, possible den, big news. Just the kind of thing he usually jumped on. But he couldn't because all he was thinking about was if Eden forgave him and if so what that meant for him? He was turning into a freakin' milksop.

    Guess he couldn't make fun of his dad anymore for being whipped. Noah sighed and flopped down on the pallet he had made on the floor in the room he was sharing with Cyrus. Cyrus hadn't turned down the invitation to investigate and he'd had to shut Eden down when she'd asked to go. She and Tobe had retired to Tobe's room to grumble about being left out. And Noah… Noah had watched her walk out of the room, wondering what it would be like to train with Eden, to wrestle her to the mat, her slender body with curves in all the right places flush with his… he groaned and beat at his pillow.

    I had this coming, Noah thought wryly. He'd messed around with so many girls, broke so many hearts and made so many of them cry. This was payback. Growling in frustration he slammed upright, pulling out three pieces of paper each with a Neith girl's phone number. They'd accosted him at different times during the day, seeming to enjoy his cool perusal, his monosyllabic responses.

    Eden would slap him if he ever looked at her like that.

    “Balls,” he whispered, crumpling the papers up and throwing them across the room into the waste paper basket with perfect aim. What had that nod meant?

    ***

    “I thought I was sword training today?” Eden asked as Noah led her into the training room the next morning. With the Bank Holiday over, the room was much quieter; all the young warriors back at school, including Tobe and Cameron, leaving a few older ones who didn't work or worked from home or went to college. They nodded deferentially to Noah as he walked in. Every single mat was being used and he drew to a stop to wait patiently for one to free up.

    “Well?” Eden persisted.

    After an almost sleepless night, Noah had decided to play it cool with her if he could. She enjoyed messing with him - he could tell - so he wasn't going to give her the satisfaction.

    Even though he was desperate to know why she was talking to him again.

    “Yesterday was good but you need to practice with someone stronger than Tobe or Cameron.”

    “Cameron was pretty strong.”

    He threw her a quick look. She was smiling smugly. What? Did she have feelings for that little Scottish knob? Noah grunted. “Not strong enough.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire