S E V E N T E E N
Zephyr looked at Kore in surprise “What are you doing here?”
“The bastard summoned us all” Cerberus dry voice called from behind Kore “For some unknown, but no doubt, boring reason”
Kore stiffened, an unknown emotion passing quickly across her face before I could decipher it.
“He called you too?” she asked in a wary tone.
Cerberus gave her a mocking grin “Why wouldn’t he? I am his first born after all”
“Yes” she bit her lip “But after your last assignment, I figured...”
“That I would screw up again?” Cerberus spat, his eyes darkening with rage.
“Yes” Zephyr said, pushing both me and Kore forward “That’s exactly what we figured.”
Cerberus lips raised in a snarl “Watch your tongue or I’ll...”
“You’ll what?” a booming voice sounded from behind me, startling the bejesus out of me “Please enlighten us on your methods of torture and how you plan to use them.”
Snapping his mouth shut, Cerberus glared at both Zephyr and Hades.
I followed behind Zephyr quietly, wondering how big this announcement was that led Hades to summon the four of us together.
Cerberus sat on one of the chairs in front of the desk, leisurely throwing his feet up on the shiny surface. Kore sat on the edge of the desk, her thigh touching Hades arm as he leaned forward.
Zephyr dragged the empty desk chair next to Cerberus to where we were standing against the wall and motioned for me to sit down.
I raised an eyebrow and Cerberus snorted from behind us.
“I know you’re all wondering why I summoned you here” Hades began but was then interrupted by Cerberus loud scoff.
“Really? I just thought that you wanted to be a father for once and have a mundane conversation with his family.”
Hades eyes flashed crimson and Zephyr tensed.
“Either hold your tongue or I’ll hold it for you” Hades growled.
Cerberus muttered something under his breath but otherwise, remained quiet.
“Anyways” he lock eyes with me “I think it’s time you knew why we brought you here.”
I sat up straighter in my seat, holding my breath as he continued to talk.
Zephyr, who was standing behind me, started twirling strands of my hair in his hands.
“I need you to fetch something for me” I waited for more but nothing else came.
Hades just stared at me like was supposed to thank him for needing my assistance.
I shot to my feet, my face heating up to the point where I knew steam was coming out of my ears. “You kidnapped me and brought me to this Hellhole, LITERALLY, so that I could be your glorified dog?!”
“Hades,” Kore said softly “The girl needs more information.”
“DAMN RIGHT I DO!”
Zephyr chuckled lowly but put his hands on my shoulders, urging me to sit down as if he worried about me attacking the douche in front of me.
Which, in a way, he wasn’t wrong.
I was one step away from bashing him over the head with his paperweight.
“All you need to know is that I need something that only you can find” Hades sighed “Besides, it’s not like I’m sending you to retrieve it on your own. Zephyr will go with you.”
“Oh geez” I replied sarcastically “That makes me feel loads better”
“Exactly” Hades replied smugly “I knew you would see things my way”
“Jesus, help me” I rubbed my temples “What qualifies me over Zephyr to retrieve this item? He obviously knows this land more than I do and can be back in no time. What can I offer you that he can’t?”
I hitched my thumb over my shoulder and poked the big guy in his stomach.
Nearly swooning when I felt the rock hard muscle underneath.
‘NOW WAS NOT THE TIME!’ I told my brain ‘STUPID BRAIN’
“It’s true that Zephyr has the qualifications and could probably not get himself killed” Hades confirms, interlacing his hands together “But this is something only you can do”
“Why?” I asked in frustration, tired of getting the run around when it came to answers “Why am I the only one that can do it?”
“Because the item is heavily guarded” Kore said softly, ignoring the annoyed look Hades sent her way “Guarded by a Pack of Wolves”
“Okay...” I said slowly “You’re the Rulers of the Underworld. Why can’t you just, I don’t know, ask the Pack to move aside and take what you need.”
Hades chuckled humorlessly “Yes, dear. Care to explain why we can’t take the item we need?”
She shot him a deadly glare before looking at me, her face softening.
“When I was first Crowned Queen, I wanted to make some drastic changes to the Underworld, something that hasn’t be done in Centuries” she looked away “Some I’m not so proud of, and others, I decided that were necessary in order to keep the peace and harmony in our world”
She sighed, and for the first time since I’ve met her, I saw her true age from the wisdom behind her eyes. “One of those decisions happened to be dealing a Treaty with the deceased Wolves that passed though our gates. In exchange for them protecting the Entrance to Gehenna, we allowed them to have one mutual conjoined Elysium where the Wolves can live out their afterlife together.”
“What were the terms of the Treaty?” I whispered.
“We can’t disclose all the terms” Kore said “But one key term was that no one except a Wolf could cross over into the Pack’s territory.”
“But I’m not dead” I said, slightly panicked “Tell me I don’t have to kill myself in order to help you?!”
“Well...” Hades trailed off and I nearly passed out.
Kore smacked him in the arm, shaking her head in exasperation “Don’t listen to him. He thinks he has a good sense of humor when, in reality, it’s actually pretty morbid.”
I glared at him while he snickered.
“This has been great and all” Cerberus stood and motioned around the room “But, it you’ll excuse me, I have a hot date to get ready for.”
“Sit” Hades ordered, his voice menacing and cold as ice.
Cerberus glared but ultimately sat back down.
Hades stared at me “Tomorrow you will begin your training”
I reared my head back “Training? Training for what?”
“Your survival” He said “Zephyr will begin with physical combat and how to take down threats only indigenous to the Underworld. Then, you will meet Kore in the Greenhouse for your lesson on herbal remedies and herbology. After you will meet Cerberus to learn more of his...deceptive techniques”
“You can’t teach my set of skills” Cerberus protested “You’re either born with it or not. I’m not about to waste my time teaching her when we obviously know she’s going to die the minute she steps a foot out of this castle.”
Zephyr stiffened and I swear I could feel the rage radiating off of him.
I grabbed the hand that was on my shoulder and squeezed tightly, holding onto him before he could even take a step toward his brother.
Hades and Kore’s eyes zoomed onto our clasped hands and a strange looked passed between them.
I ignored them and focused on the one factor that was giving me a raging migraine.
Without taking my eyes off him, I addressed Hades.
“I don’t think I need to be taught how to be a bitch” I sneered “That just comes naturally to me.”
“While we were in the meeting, I managed to get someone to air out one of the bedrooms for you” Kore said softly, pointing to the door on the left “It’s right across Zephyr’s room, in case you need anything”
I glanced at Zephyr and noticed that he wore a scowl on his face, glaring daggers at Kore.
“I don’t think that’s necessary” he said through clenched teeth “Since she’ll be staying with me. In my room.”
“Thank you” I addressed Kore before taking Zephyr by the hand and leading him a few feet away.
“Zephyr...” I started but he cut me off.
“I’m not letting you sleep in a new place. By yourself. In a room where anyone could break the lock.”
“You’re right across the hall” I pointed “Literally 5 feet away”
“Serenity, I’m not budging” he crossed his arms, his eyes challenging me to say otherwise.
I looked away “I need one night by myself”
“I need time to process my thoughts” I steeled my spine and met his painful gaze “Alone”
I cupped his cheek, tired of restraining myself from touching him. I don’t know what was happening to me but the more I spent time with Zephyr, the more both my Wolf and I had a hard time letting him go. Whenever he was around, butterflies would flutter in my stomach and my heart would go haywire.
I wasn’t a mushy, express my feelings type of girl but for him, I wanted to mark him as mine.
Something that shocked the Hell out of me.
“One night” I whispered, gliding my thumb across his smooth skin “One night alone and then I’m all yours”
He closed his eyes and groaned softly, so soft that I almost thought I imagined it if it wasn’t for his echo that sounded in the acoustic hallway.
“One night” he opened his eyes and I was shocked to find them blazing with heat “After that, you will stay with me. In our room. On our bed.”
I turned away quickly, hiding my smile at his possessiveness.
Who knew that my sweet Zephyr had a possessive side to him?
And who knew I would like it?