Archangel's Prophecy (Page 55)
“You’re certain he’s going to recover?” Harrison’s skin was bloodless.
Laric touched her gently on the arm to get her attention on his hands. Jason’s blood has had enough time to bond with Harrison’s own, and it has restarted that which stopped in Harrison. He will heal.
Switching to the silent tongue herself, because she needed the practice, she said, How long before I can talk to him?
She thought Laric might’ve smiled at her awkward movements. It was one thing to be fluent at “listening” to the language, another to speak it. The gestures were subtle, small, the curve of a little finger able to alter the entire meaning of a sentence.
He is no longer in an imposed coma but in a more natural unconscious state. The healer made sure the blanket over Harrison’s body was neat and tidy. Nisia says we cannot predict when he might wake—it will depend on his own body’s healing capacity.
Nodding thanks at Laric for the information, Elena stepped out to check in with Vivek. “Any news on Jade?”
“I was just about to call you.” Vivek’s voice hummed with the thrill of the hunt, his hunter-born instincts riding him hard. “Your man Jade’s shed his old skin and set himself up under his two-hundred-and-fifty-year-old real name, Jadchenko Simnek, and yes, that was a b***h to track down.”
Elena’s own instincts hummed. “Damn, you’re good, V.”
“Never forget it,” Vivek said in smug pleasure. “Anyway, he’s got an apartment on the Upper West Side. I’m messaging you the address. Looks like he’s living large off the income generated from a gaming website. Got himself a view of Central Park.”
“A gaming website?” It didn’t seem like the kind of thing that’d interest a vampire from the tail end of the eighteenth century.
“He has a track record in the share market under both his old and new names. Nothing big, but the man’s invested in tech companies before—he’s smart enough to keep up with the world. Be careful.” A pause. “And hey, Ellie? Thanks for pulling me into the hunt.”
“You’re the best partner I could imagine.” He’d be a lethal danger once he could hunt on the ground as well as via his byzantine network of computers. “I’ll let you know what I find at Jade’s.”
The sun had gone behind the clouds when she flew off with the Primary her silent shadow, and the city looked metallic and gray. Snow was falling, but it wasn’t heavy, nothing she couldn’t handle. Once airborne and despite the healthy condition of her wings, she flew with a sedateness that wasn’t her natural state, trying to glide as much as possible.
Below her, New Yorkers moved in a chaotic dance of pedestrians and cars and trucks that somehow wasn’t a total mess. More than one pedestrian looked up and waved before carrying on their way. A taxi driver stopped at a red light hung out his window to grin and wave at her.
Her city was proud of having produced the only mortal turned angel in the world.
Elena waved back before the winds carried her away.
Hundreds of the Legion had left with Raphael, but she saw scattered groupings of them throughout the city as she flew. A couple of new gargoyles appeared on the tony building that housed Jade’s apartment just before she landed in the entrance courtyard. The Primary joined his brethren. She looked up at them without smiling, never forgetting why the escort was essential.
“Consort.” The vampiric doorman bowed and held open the door for her.
Irritated at the deference but gripping it in a steely fist because her inability to handle this consequence of being Raphael’s consort wasn’t the poor doorvamp’s fault, she entered the building. One of these days, she’d have Raphael issue a proclamation that everyone was to treat her as just Elena.
Inside, she took in the thick carpet, the glossily painted walls, and the equally glossy people behind the counter. Both humans rose to their feet at Elena’s approach. “How may we assist you?” the female of the pair asked, her voice smooth but her hands clasped so tightly in front of her that she had to be cutting off circulation to her fingers.
“I’m here to visit one of your residents,” Elena said through her discomfort. “Jadchenko Simnek. Apartment 7C.”
The male receptionist gulped. “Do you have an appointment?”
Elena smiled, suddenly feeling a lot more centered. This was reality and normality, not the silver disappearing from her eyes and not the loss of Raphael’s voice in her head. God, she missed it. “No appointment,” she said, “but I’ll wait while you call him.”
Eyes huge, the woman picked up the phone and spoke to Jade. It took only a moment for her to hang up and say, “Mr. Simnek will be most delighted to welcome you.” Her smile no longer a plastic caricature, she added, “You can take the elevator directly up to the seventh floor. I’ve cleared it.”
Elena was striding to the elevator when she heard, “Consort! Elena!”
Shifting on her heel, ready to drop a knife into her palm, she found the male receptionist jogging toward her. He held something in his hands. “They fell,” he whispered after coming to a breathless halt. “I wasn’t sure . . .”
One feather gleamed darkest midnight shading to deepest blue. The other was nearly pink, one of the odd feathers hidden in among the gradient that flowed across her wings. Throat dry, she dug up a smile. “Must be shedding season. If you have a use for them, go ahead.”
“Oh!” His fingers curled covetously over the edges. “I collect angel feathers,” he blurted out, a soft madness in his eyes that told her he walked a line very close to the angelstruck. “I’ve never found one on the ground this beautiful and undamaged.” A glance over at his partner at reception. “I’ll give Rose one, too. Her little girl will go wild.”
Elena thought of Zoe, with her collection of feathers that she treated like jewels. Even her adored daddy had to ask permission to touch them. Elena wondered if she’d soon have far too many feathers to give her goddaughter. The feathers rescued by the receptionist hadn’t been loose or damaged. Raphael had checked her wings with intense care while they lay in bed, then Nisia had done a secondary inspection.
She’d just lost two healthy feathers.
Leaving the delighted receptionist, Elena resumed her short journey to the elevators. The doors opened as she arrived, gleaming mirrored walls reflecting back her face. Stepping in, she quieted the manic voices in her head with a single command: Get this done before it all turns to s**t—make sure Beth and Maggie are safe.
When she stepped out onto the seventh floor, it was to find a tall man dressed in a designer suit of pinstriped navy waiting for her. His eyes were a brilliant green, his skin a black so deep that it held a blue-black gleam, and his hair shaved off to reveal a perfectly shaped skull.
His scent was marigolds in the sunlight splashed with butterscotch.
“Jade, I presume.”
The vampire bent into a deep bow. “I am honored to welcome the consort of my liege.” A graceful wave toward the left, his hands bare of ornaments except for a chunky signet ring on his pinky finger. “My apartment occupies this quadrant of the floor.”
Elena followed him inside through the impressively wide doorway. Conscious that she was more vulnerable in her current physical state than she’d ever been, she never took her eyes off the vampire strong enough to be a deadly threat. When she spotted one of the Legion fly past a window, she knew they must be clinging to the wall outside, ready to respond to a call from her.