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Chapter One The night sky over Tulsa was alight through a wonder crescent moon. Its brilliance do the ice that coated the city, and the Benedictine Abbey where we"d just had actually our showdown v a please immortal and a rogue High Priestess, shimmer so that everything around me appeared touched by ours Goddess. I looked at the moonlight-bathed circle the stood in front of Mary"s Grotto, the location of power wherein not long ago Spirit, Blood, Earth, Humanity, and also Night had actually been personified and also then had actually joined come triumph over hatred and darkness. The carved image of Mary, surrounding by rock roses and nestled within a ledge high in the grotto, appeared to be a beacon because that the silver light. I stared in ~ the statue. Mary"s expression to be serene; her ice-covered cheeks glistened together if she wept in quiet joy. Mine gaze lifted come the sky. Thank you. I sent out a quiet prayer approximately the beautiful crescent that symbolized mine Goddess, Nyx. We"re alive. Kalona and Neferet room gone. Thank you, ns whispered come the moon. Hear within . . . The words swept through me, subtle and sweet like leaves touched by a summer breeze, brushing my consciousness so lightly the my waking psychic barely registered them, yet Nyx"s whispered command imprinted itself right into my soul. ns was vaguely conscious that there to be a lot of human being (well, nuns, fledglings, and also a few vampyres) approximately me. I could hear the mixture of shouting, talking, crying, and also even laughing the filled the night, but it all felt distant. At that minute the just things that were genuine to me were the moon above and the scar that sliced from one shoulder all the method across my chest to the various other shoulder. The tingled in solution to my silent prayer, yet it wasn"t a tingle of pain. No really. It to be a acquainted warm, prickling sensation the assured me Nyx had, as soon as again, significant me together hers. I knew if ns peeked under the neck of my shirt i would discover a new tattoo decorating the long, angry-looking scar v an exotic filigree that sapphire--a sign that showed I was adhering to my Goddess"s path. Erik and also Heath, discover Stevie Rae, Johnny B, and Dallas--then examine the perimeter that the abbey come be certain all the raven Mockers fled with Kalona and Neferet! Darius shouted the command, snapping me out of my warm, fuzzy prayer mode, and also once I"d to be shocked out, that was like an iPod had been cranked also high together sound and also confusion flooded my senses. Yet Heath"s a human. A crow Mocker could kill him in a second. The words burst from my mouth before I could clamp it shut, proving past all doubt the being moonstruck wasn"t my just moronic skill. Predictably, pagan puffed up choose a cat-smacked toad. Zo, I"m not a damn pussy! Erik, looking really tall and also full-grown, kick-your-butt vampyre-like, snorted sarcastically and then said, No, you"re a cursed human. Wait, the does do you a pussy! So, we defeat the big baddies and inside five minutes Erik and also Heath room banging their chests at every other. How completely predictable, Aphrodite claimed with she patented sarcastic sneer as she join Darius, but her expression completely changed once she turned her attention to the kid of Erebus Warrior. Hey there, Hotness. You doing okay? You need not worry about me, Darius said. His eyes met hers, and also they almost telegraphed the chemistry between them, yet instead of going come her prefer he generally would and also doing some really gross kissing, that remained focused on Stark. Aphrodite"s gaze went from Darius to Stark. Okay, eew. Her chest is totally crispy crittered. James Stark was standing in between Darius and also Erik. Okay, well, was standing wasn"t exactly what he was doing. Stark to be swaying and also looking incredibly unsteady. Skipping Aphrodite, Erik speak up. Darius, you must probably acquire Stark inside. I"ll coordinate the reconnoitering with Stevie Rae and make sure every little thing runs smoothly out here. His words seemed okay, but his tone was every I"m-the-big-guy-in-charge, and when he followed up v a condescending I"ll even let Heath assist out, he really sounded like a pompous butt. You"ll allow me assist out? heather snapped. Your mom will permit me assist out. Hey, which among them is supposed to be her boyfriend? Stark request me. Even in the terrible shape he to be in, he recorded my glance through his. His voice to be scratchy, and he sound scarily weak, yet his eyes sparkled through humor. I am! Heath and also Erik stated together. Oh, because that crap"s sake, Zoey, they"re both idiots! Aphrodite said. Stark began to chuckle, which turned to a cough, which readjusted again come a ache gasp. His eyes rolled ago and, choose a slinky, the collapsed. Moving with the quickness that came naturally to a child of Erebus Warrior, Darius recorded Stark prior to he hit the ground. I need to acquire him inside, Darius said. Ns felt choose my head to be going come explode. Sagging in Darius"s arms, distinct looked fine on his way to being dead. I-I don"t also know where the infirmary is, ns stuttered. Not a problem. I"ll gain a penguin to present us, Aphrodite said. Hey, you, nun! she yelled at among the surrounding black-and-white?clad sisters who had scurried the end of the abbey after ~ the night had gone from battle chaos to after-effects chaos. Darius hurried after the nun, through Aphrodite adhering to him. The warrior glanced end his shoulder at me. Aren"t friend coming through us, Zoey? As shortly as ns can. Before I could deal with Erik and also Heath, native behind me a familiar twang conserved the day. Walk on through Darius and also Aphrodite, Z. I"ll take care of Dumb and Dumber and be certain there"s no booger monster left the end here. Stevie Rae, you space the ideal Friend of All ideal Friends. I turned and also hugged she quickly, loving how reassuringly solid and also normal she felt. Actually, she seemed so regular that I got a monster twinge as soon as she stepped ago and grinned in ~ me and I saw, together if for the very first time, the scarlet tattoos that spread out out native the filled-in crescent in the middle of her forehead and down either side of her face. A sliver the unease threaded with me. Misunderstanding mine hesitation, she said, Don"t worry around these 2 dorks. I"m gettin" supplied to jerking lock apart. When I just stood over there staring in ~ her, the bright laugh she"d been wearing dimmed. Hey, you recognize your grandma"s okay, right? Kramisha acquired her ago inside right after Kalona was banished and Sister mar Angela just told me she to be goin" within to examine on her. Yeah, i remember Kramisha help her into the wheelchair. I"m just . . . My voice trailed off. I was simply what? How can I put right into words that i was haunted by a emotion that everything wasn"t ideal with my best friend and the team of youngsters she"d allied herself with, and how execute I say the to my finest friend? You"re simply tired and also worried "bout a bunch the stuff, Stevie Rae claimed softly. To be that understanding I experienced flicker v her eyes? Or to be it miscellaneous else, miscellaneous darker? I get it, Z, and also I"ll take treatment of things out here. You simply be sure Stark"s okay. She hugged me again, and also then gave me a little push in the direction that the abbey. "Kay. Thanks, I claimed lamely, starting toward the abbey and also totally skip the two dorks who were standing over there staring at me. Stevie Rae dubbed after me, Hey, repeat Darius or who to keep an eye on the time. It"s only about an hour till sunrise, and also you know me and all the red fledglings gotta it is in inside out of the sunlight by then. Yeah, no problem. I"ll remember, i said.
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The problem was it was acquiring harder and also harder because that me to forget Stevie Rae wasn"t what she used to be.