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"It's strong here, isn't it?" Trsiel said. "The strongest point, though, is in there." He pointed to the wall.
"There's a room on the other side. Legend has it that Lord Glamis walled up a group of Scottish
clansmen inside, sealed it, and left them to starve to death."
"Is it true?"
He nodded. "That one, I'm afraid, is more than a tall tale."
"So what we're feeling is another kind of residual. A negative energy instead of a physical form."
Trsiel went silent, cocking his head to look at the wall, eyes narrowing as if he could invoke an Aspicio
power of his own and look within.
"That can happen," he said slowly. "And it would make sense in a place with such a violent history. Only
one problem with the theory. Residual emotion only affects the living. The infamous 'cold spot.' Ghosts
don't feel it. Neither do angels."
"If the Nix was here, I bet her visit had something to do with whatever is making us jumpy whatever is
on the other side of that wall."
"There's nothing there. I've been "
"Doesn't hurt to check again, does it?"
"It isn't it's not pleasant in there, Eve. There are "
"Skeletons, right? People die, they leave bones. Nothing I haven't seen before."
He opened his mouth to argue. I stepped through the wall.
Chapter 31
HALFWAY THROUGH THE WALL, I STOPPED, EYE TO EYE socket with a skull. With an oath, I
wheeled to see a skeleton leaning against the wall, face-first, hands raised, dark brown streaks above
every finger bone& as if he'd died trying to claw his way out.
I turned and saw another skeleton. And another. A half-dozen of them were propped against the wall. At
the foot of that wall lay piles of bones. Splotches of dried blood streaked the brick and plaster.
Walled in.
My gaze tripped over a pile of bones in the corner, neatly disarticulated and deliberately piled, each
marred with scratches. Gnaw marks.
A movement to my left Trsiel, reaching to steady me. I shook my head and strode farther into the
room. The moment I did, all thoughts of those skeletons vanished as my brain and body kicked into
hyperalert mode, every muscle tensing, ears straining, gaze darting about. I definitely sensed something
here. Felt it a heavy, palpable warmth, like a dry-heat sauna.
"Was I not clear enough the first time?"
The words whipped past me on a blast of hot air. The demon-repelling spell flew to my lips, but I bit it
back.
This wasn't the Nix the voice was male, deep, and resonant. Unsettlingly hypnotic, like the angel's&
and yet not like it.
"Impertinent imp," the voice said. "Did you think "
The voice stopped, and a warm current caressed my face. I stood my ground, and started the spell. A
low chuckle breezed by my right ear.
"That will hurt you more than it will hurt me. I see you are not the same as the first. Two demon bloods in
one day. What have I done to deserve this?"
"Two?" I paused. "Someone was here earlier, someone with demon blood. A Nix."
The voice drifted to the back of the room, as if settling onto the moth-eaten sofa there.
"Hmmm, a half-demon ghost. I can't recall the last time one of your kind has come this way. Who's your
sire?"
"Answer my questions and I'll answer yours."
A faint snarl. "As impudent as the other. Do they not teach you respect these days, whelp?"
"Tell me who it is I'm supposed to be showing respect to and I'll consider it."
"If you don't know already, then I'm not about to tell "
A noise from Trsiel, whom I'd almost forgotten was there, still by the wall. When I turned, he beckoned,
backing it up with a telepathic "Let's go."
A sharp laugh sounded across the room.
"A third?" the voice said. "Truly I am blessed. And an angel, no less. Forgive me if I don't prostrate
myself."
Trsiel marched into the middle of the room, chin up, trepidation falling away. "Identify yourself, demon."
"Demon?" I hissed under my breath. "I thought you said there was no demonic activity here."
Trsiel pulled his chin up higher. "I said, identify yourself "
"Oh, I heard you, and I decline the invitation& Trsiel."
Trsiel's jaw tightened.
"Okay, forget the introduction," I said. "You said someone else with demon blood was here today. What
did she want from you?"
The demon's chuckle wafted around me. "You honestly expect me to answer that, whelp?"
"Not for free, no."
"Ah, you wish to bargain for your answer?"
"No, Eve," Trsiel said. "Not with him. We'll find another way."
"I don't believe she was asking your opinion, half-blood."
Trsiel stiffened. A long raucous laugh swirled around us.
"Don't like that, do you?"
"I am a full-blood," Trsiel said.
"So you've been told, and so you wish to believe, but you know better, don't you? You are no more akin
to the full-bloods than this pretty half-demon whelp is to me."
"Come on, Eve," Trsiel said, wheeling. "He'll tell you nothing but lies."
"I'm not the one who's lied to you, Trsiel. Oh, but your Creator hasn't lied, has He? He never said you
were a full-blooded angel. He just doesn't care to correct that misconception. No sense sowing more
dissension in the ranks. Quite enough of that already "
"Eve," Trsiel said, voice sharpening.
"Why don't you ask Him, Trsiel?" the demon continued. "Ask Him what you are. Or does this great
warrior of truth prefer the comfort of lies?"
I turned to Trsiel. "Don't listen to him. He wants you to leave wants us both to leave."
"Oh, but I don't want you both to leave. Just him. Get out, mongrel. Thy presence doth offend me."
Trsiel strode back to the center of the room and planted himself there.
"See?" the demon said, chortling. "Your defiance gives you away, half-blood. No true angel would have
so much pride."
When Trsiel said nothing, a current of hot air snaked from the couch and encircled me, wending its way
up my legs, over my torso, and to my ear.
"You wish to bargain with me, whelp?" the demon whispered.
"Perhaps," I said. "Do you wish to bargain, demon?"
"Your Nix annoyed me. You seem, if not properly respectful, at least courteous."
"Or perhaps you just wish to cause trouble," Trsiel said. "By giving her false information."
"And what, sweet mongrel, would be the fun in that? There is no 'trouble' to be found in watching a
half-breed demon and a half-breed angel pursue an arrogant Nix. The trouble comes when they catch
her."
"You can't trust him, Eve," Trsiel said. "You know you can't."
When I hesitated, the demon only chuckled, hot breath tickling my ear.
"When you're ready to bargain, you'll know where to find me."
A blast of tropical heat, and he was gone.
We finished searching the castle, but we'd already found what had enticed the Nix here. As for the
demon's offer, the cardinal rule of bargaining is to never let your opponent know how badly you want
what he has. And the encounter with the demon had left Trsiel unsettled. Better to let him cool off before
I raised the subject again.
Outside the walls, Trsiel turned to me. "The Fates will want us to sit with Lizzie and Sullivan again. If you
have a better idea& " He gave a distracted half-shrug. "I'm sure you do, so go ahead and do that. I'll
cover the babysitting. If you need me& "
I grinned. "I'll whistle."
He nodded, unsmiling.
I looked over at him. "I have no idea what that demon was needling you about, but it obviously got to [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]