Archangel's Prophecy (Page 50)
The gargoyle that was the Primary didn’t so much as blink as snow began to fall on him. Within seconds, he was coated in a fine layer of white, a stone creature who had always been on the balcony in that position. When he spoke, his voice was inside Elena’s head, his lips unmoving. We remember the snow. She loved the snow. She loved our first aeclari.
And Elena knew. Cassandra ascended during the Cascade of Terror, didn’t she? A time of such violent energies that it had changed the fabric of the world—and given an archangel the terrible gift of endless foresight.
The Primary didn’t answer, only said, She saw what was to be. She dug out her own eyes to stop. But she could not stop seeing. She saw you, Elena.
Elena stared at the Primary. “What?”
We did not understand then. We did not know. The Primary’s voice held an echo now, the others of the Legion coming through. Mortal born. Mortal fall. Mortal heart. Ambrosia’s sweet kiss. Wings of dawn. Wings of night. This will be.
Elena’s heart still felt like ice ten minutes later, though she’d come inside again to give herself time to calm down before she went looking for Jade on the ground while Vivek continued to try to find an electronic trail. He’d even contacted both Claire Vargas and Andreas’s Nara, but so far, had nothing. In this case, talking to certain connected people might get her the answer faster.
Mortal born. Mortal fall. Mortal heart. Ambrosia’s sweet kiss. Wings of dawn. Wings of night. This will be.
“F**k, f**k, f**k!” She screamed it out and felt immediately better. “Right, Ellie, pack it away until your archangel gets home. Your focus is fixing this mess of Harrison’s.”
She couldn’t think about how if Cassandra had foretold her ascension to angelhood so long ago that she’d been forgotten by immortals, then it was unlikely the Sleeping archangel was wrong about her upcoming death. So she’d push that cheery thought aside till she had Raphael beside her. She knew her limits, and she knew this was archangel-level insanity.
She’d just taken a step to the balcony door when her pants sagged.
Giving in to another scream because, g*****n it, she could not get a break, she wrenched her belt tighter around her waist and carried on—after grabbing three chocolate bars and ripping into one as she decided to talk to Ash and Janvier before she headed out. The two might have contacts inaccessible to her.
Also, she needed to brief them on what she’d discovered this morning. She was pretty sure she’d heard them in the hallway earlier, but if they’d left the Tower, she’d call. No point letting her research go to waste if her brain turned to paste when her wings sent her on a swan dive into a skyscraper.
She ran into Dmitri during her search. Dressed in a slick black-on-black suit, his hair brushed perfectly, he just raised an eyebrow when he saw her.
Elena pointed the half-eaten chocolate bar at him. “Mess with me and I will shoot you through the heart, I swear to God. I am so far past hangry, I’m homicidal.”
A twitch of his lips. “Have you tried drinking blood?”
Elena nearly pulled out her crossbow and carried through on her threat—the a*****e was powerful, would survive it—then she realized he was serious. “Blood?”
“Archangelic blood in particular. Violent amount of energy in it.”
Finishing off the chocolate bar, Elena considered it. “I’m not a vampire. Would it even work?” Forget about the actual drinking blood part of it; if it would stop the hunger gnawing at her from the inside out, she’d pinch her nose closed and throw it back like medicine.
Dmitri shrugged. “What have you got to lose?”
“I’ll talk to Raphael.” Walking past, she said, “Sometimes, I can almost believe you might once have been human.”
“Clearly, I need to up my game.” A hint of fur and champagne wrapped around her, sensual and caressing and mocking.
“Argh!” Swiveling, she had the crossbow in her hand and was shooting the bolt before she could think about it.
Dmitri moved . . . and the crossbow bolt thudded home in the wall behind him. “Destroying Tower property again.” A headshake followed those censorious words. “‘Don’t get involved with the white-haired accident-on-legs,’ I said to Raphael, but did he listen?”
“Give me back my bolt you scent-infested-excuse-for-a-vampire.”
Grabbing it out of the air when he obliged, she strode off without another word . . . and heard Dmitri laughing behind her, the sound deep and unrestrained. Her own lips were twitching hard, but she managed to keep it together until she was in the elevator and he couldn’t see her. Her laughter was near-hysterical and it was a release.
God, she wanted her archangel home.
She was sane again by the time she tracked Ashwini and Janvier to the sparring ring in a lower level of the Tower. As members of her Guard—which she would never need if Cassandra’s prophecy held true—the couple had to spend a certain amount of time honing their skills with the blade and any other weapons in which they were or could become proficient.
Since the two were in the middle of something, Elena sat down on the bleachers and reviewed all she knew. With Santiago digging up more on Lee and Kumar, Jade remained her best lead. She had to eliminate him from the suspect list, if nothing else. That was, unless he had a connection to Lee, Kumar, Blakely, and Acosta—or had decided to use their deaths to cloak his attempt against Harrison.
She was getting ready to interrupt Ash and Janvier when Dmitri—now dressed in an olive-green T-shirt and camouflage pants suitable for sparring—appeared from a ringside entrance and assumed the role of adversary. Janvier was older than Ashwini, but she was better at taking on Dmitri.
Because Ash saw the future, too.
A cold wind infiltrated Elena’s blood, a wind that tasted of incomprehensible age.
She did interrupt then—she had no time to waste. When she updated them on Nishant Kumar and Terence Lee, Janvier’s bayou-green eyes widened. “There is our connection, cher,” he said to Ashwini.
It turned out the couple had heard the same rumors—of a drug that caused psychotic hallucinations and blackouts in vampires and could be used for sexual assault. Street name: Vamhypnol. “We had no reason to connect it to Blakely or Acosta—or Harrison,” Ashwini said, hands braced on her hips. “But we’ve been gathering intel on it as fast as we can around investigating the murders, because this stuff is bad news.”
Dmitri spoke. “Why is this the first I’m hearing about it?”
“Not enough for a report,” Janvier replied. “We’re waiting to hear back from a woman who might give us more.”
As the couple laid out all they knew, Elena heard two familiar names.
“Wait,” she broke in. “Unless Red Cutie and Monique Darling are common working names among pros, those are the two who spoke to Santiago about how Kumar and his buddy, Lee, raped them under the drug’s influence.”
“S**t, Ellie.” Ashwini played restlessly with a blade star. “Both women are dead.”
Elena’s gut clenched. “Murder?”
“Non.” Janvier’s languid tone had turned grim. “What was the word our doctor friend used, cher?”
“Brain aneurysm,” Ashwini supplied. “Each had a massive one.”
“As effective as decapitation in causing vampiric death.” Dmitri folded his arms. “Cause severe damage to the brain and there’s not enough left for the body to know how to regenerate it.”