Magic Mourns

Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews

Book: Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ilona Andrews
whisper of dry leaves underfoot. “Beatrice?”
    â€œYes,” she said softly.
    I tiptoed out of the room.
    I found Raphael outside, on the porch. Too bulky to fit into a chair in his warrior form, he sat on the floor. Hard knotted muscle corded his back. His long arms lay folded on his knees and the claws of his right hand protruded, crisp in moonlight.
    He truly looked monstrous. Just like the secret me.
    I sat next to him.
    â€œIf I die, will you grieve for me?” he asked.
    â€œYes. But before I do that, I’ll fight to save you.”
    I put my hand onto his furry forearm. “Because I feel good when you’re near me. It’s not just sex, and it isn’t loneliness, it’s more than that. It’s kind of frightening. I think that’s why I fought it for so long.”
    The lawn before us seemed to go on forever, each grass blade slick with reflected moonlight. Soon Cerberus would come running, his paws mashing big ugly holes in the perfect grass.
    â€œDo you think we’ll ever have what they had?” he asked.
    â€œI don’t know. I think what they had grew over many years. We still have a lot of things to work out. But I’d like to try, Raphael. When I said you’re mine, I meant it. I don’t do things halfway. For better or worse.”
    We heard light footsteps. The door opened. “He wants you,” Aunt B said.
    Alex Doulos had a soft, kind voice. “My time’s short,” he said. “Do you know the myth of Hades and Persephone?”
    â€œYes,” Raphael answered.
    â€œGood. That will make things simple then. I’m a priest of Hades. My family has served him for generations. One of our duties is to tend to secret shrines of Hades. They’re scattered all over the world and kept hidden. During the flares, one of the shrines randomly grows an apple tree, which bears fruit.”
    â€œHera’s Apples,” I said.
    Alex motioned with his arm. “The Vikings call them Idun’s Apples, the Russians call them Apples of Youth, and we call them Persephone’s Apples. The name doesn’t matter. The apples are supposed to grant youth and long life span to gods. When eaten by normal humans, who don’t have Persephone’s gift or immunity to it, the apples produce horrible consequences. That’s why we guard the tree until the apples ripen and sacrifice the fruit to Hades. No part of the apples must remain in our world. It is my duty to make sure the apples are destroyed. It’s the purpose of my service. But I’ve failed.
    â€œMy body was kidnapped by a woman who calls herself Spider Lynn. She’s dying and she wants the apples for herself. She mustn’t eat them. It’s very, very important. She must not eat them.”
    â€œWhere is Lynn now?” I asked.
    â€œI imagine she’s at the shrine. It’s in the woods behind my summer house. Raphael, you remember, we had a cookout at that house last year.”
    I glanced at Raphael. “It’s across the wood, bordering our territory. Not too far,” he said. “How did she know the location of the shrine?”
    Alex’s shade shuddered. “I told her. She realized that she couldn’t compel me to reveal it and she kidnapped my nephew. His parents are away and I was watching the boy. I couldn’t let the vampires hurt the child.”
    I pulled the green toy car from my pocket. “The boy . . .”
    â€œYes,” Alex confirmed. “It’s his. Raphael, I know that you’re not my son and you owe me nothing. But I beg you, please, don’t let her get the apples. Save the boy. And whatever you do, don’t eat them.”
    â€œI’ll do it,” Raphael said simply.
    â€œThe shrine’s guarded by a serpent, but it won’t last against Spider Lynn’s vampires for long. Take the bracelet off my arm. It’s keyed to the ward that’s guarding

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