Ice Crypt (Mermaids of Eriana Kwai Book 2)

Ice Crypt (Mermaids of Eriana Kwai Book 2) by Tiana Warner

Book: Ice Crypt (Mermaids of Eriana Kwai Book 2) by Tiana Warner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tiana Warner
on his knees.
    He was face-to-face with a young woman.
    She was naked, strawberry hair combed away from her face, dripping down her back. The waves concealed her lower body. Soft freckles swept across her cheeks and the bridge of her small nose, adding youthful innocence to the otherwise mature and elegant face. Her white skin was too smooth, parted lips too full, vibrant eyes too large, too captivating.
    The mermaid’s hand came to rest on the back of Tanuu’s neck.
    I shrieked. “Tanuu! Stop!”
    He didn’t hear me, or at least didn’t acknowledge that he had.
    I snatched up my crossbow in the same moment as the mermaid’s skin rippled into the texture and colour of rotting seaweed. Her ears sprouted longer, bulbous. Webs grew between the fingers behind Tanuu’s head.
    I raised the crossbow—but Tanuu blocked the line between the mermaid and me. I couldn’t shoot.
    The demon’s eyes burst crimson, as though filling with blood. She bared a row of long, pointed teeth.
    Tanuu seized up. His cry of terror echoed off the surrounding cliffs.
    I ran forwards.
    Blacktail was already there. She raised the fire iron over her head and brought it down hard. The demon reached up to defend herself, catching the fire iron in a webbed fist. It sizzled on contact. She howled in pain.
    I reached for Tanuu—but an irregular wave lapped beside me. I spun.
    A second demon lunged from the water, snarling. I fired. The bolt shot through her forehead.
    I grabbed Tanuu by the arm, hauling him away. Annith appeared beside me to help, having leapt down from the bank.
    Blacktail yanked the fire iron out of the demon’s grip. The hook sliced her webbed hand with a spray of blood.
    Tanuu stumbled, gaping at the demon that had been a beautiful woman a moment ago. I kept a firm grip, dragging his dead weight further from the water.
    The demon lunged for Blacktail’s legs. Before she could bring her to her knees, the iron came down hard on the top of her head. She fell sideways, and Blacktail struck again, putting the weight of her body into the swing.
    After five years of military training, her aim was true and her strength impressive. I winced as the hook met the demon’s face. Blood spilled onto the rocks. The demon spun at the impact, keeling into the water.
    She lay motionless. A wave carried her tail onto the shore, where it fluttered in the breeze.
    Annith and I let go of Tanuu part way up the beach. He fell into the pebbles.
    A moment passed where we all stared at the two mermaids, panting. In death, their skin faded to a human tone.
    “You’re not the only one with a good swing,” said Blacktail, straightening up.
    Tanuu gawked at her, the distant look in his eyes clearing. “That … that girl was a sea demon!”
    I pulled him to his feet by his armpits. “Caught on, have you?”
    As we retreated, Tanuu seemed to have lost the ability to hold his jaw closed. He kept stumbling as he looked over his shoulder to his attacker’s corpse, and then to Blacktail, and then back to the mermaid.
    Blacktail wiped the fire iron clean in the grass.
    Nobody said anything for a long time. My heart pounded. I thought I might be sick. For those few seconds, the Massacre had come surging back. My adrenaline kicked in so fiercely that my arms and legs trembled.
    Annith and Blacktail’s eyes were wide and glazed, their lips ashen. Annith’s frizzy hair was plastered to her dirt-smudged face, reminding me of the way she’d looked on the Massacre.
    I drew a long, slow breath, trying to calm my heart.
    Tanuu had nearly been killed carrying out my plan. What had I been thinking, letting him come to the beach? I should have forced him to stay back, or snuck away—anything to stop him from putting himself in so much danger.
    On top of that, I’d killed another mermaid. I’d pulled the trigger without thinking, as easily as I had on the early days of the Massacre.
    As much as I hoped to think I’d changed, I was still the killer my people had

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