Page 91 of Court of Nightmares

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I finally got my revenge, something we are not supposed to do, but my mate gave me the chance to get vengeance for what they did to me. My brothers and my queen judged and killed the wicked before freeing the others. Now, no one else will ever have to live like me, but I can sense her thoughts now. She is worried we shouldn’t have done what we did, that she pushed me too far, and that she should have known they would use me against her.

Cupping her hands, I lean in and kiss her softly, wanting to reassure her. I hate how upset she is. Doesn’t she understand the gift she gave me tonight? “I’m okay,” I promise. “Truly, look through all of me.” I open my mind, needing her to feel my honesty. She slips inside and searches, and when she sags with relief, I know she sees the truth.

For the first time in a long time, I truly am okay. I’m finally free of the nightmares and restraints that place put on me. It’s almost as if knowing they are no longer walking among us has lifted those last few chains that were holding me back.

I feel Nathair alongside her, worrying for me like he does everyone. Reve is surprisingly absent, and I see him stalking away.

Althea watches him go with a frown before smiling at me. “How do you feel now that they are gone?”

“Is it wrong to say that I feel good?” I respond.

Judges are supposed to let go of our pasts so we can protect our people and judge the evil without prejudice, but how can I when I still bear the scars of their torture and could see them doing it to people right before my eyes?

“No,” Lycus responds, surprising us all. We know his history, but Althea doesn’t, so she looks confused. “Vengeance feels good, especially when you know it will stop future evil. Do not second-guess yourself.”

“Yes, yes, all this mortality is sickening,” comes a mocking voice, and we all turn to see the god of death shielded by shadows. We should kneel and pay homage, but we did not call him, so we hesitate.

Althea doesn’t, stepping forward. “We didn’t call you.”

“No, but I wanted to congratulate you on your successful hunt. I had so much fun with the souls you gave me.” His voice is filled with laughter, and the power in it almost makes my ears bleed.

Althea feels it, but the god blood inside her must help her endure it. “Is that all you wanted?” she asks carefully, knowing better than to annoy a god. She might amuse him, but he could kill her with a single thought.

“It almost sounds like you are not pleased to see me,” he responds suspiciously, and the lash of power he releases drops us to our knees—all but Althea who steadfastly remains on her feet.

“It was a simple question, and I meant no offence,” she replies with a mocking curtsy.

I prepare to leap at her and shield her from the blow he will no doubt land, but instead, he laughs. “I think I like you, little vampyr. I find you amusing, an odd trait. Maybe I’ll let you live. It seems you might be beneficial to me with all the souls you will send my way.”

“Most gracious,” she responds carefully.

“But I would be careful, Althea,” he warns. “Not all are happy with you after tonight. I might even be concerned if I were you.” He vanishes as quickly as he appeared.

“We need to find a way to block him from popping in like that,” she mutters.

“A god will always find a way,” I tell her, as unhappy as she is that he keeps appearing in our home.

“When a god offers a warning, you listen,” Nathair murmurs with worry in his tone. “Something is coming. We need to prepare.”

“But what?” she asks as we climb to our feet. “We were careful. No one knows who we are.”

“Some do, and they hate us for simply existing, but they leave us alone. If someone were to seek answers for what happened tonight and learned the truth, well, the god of death is right. It might be more than we can handle,” Nathair muses and looks around. “Rest, because I have a feeling we will need it.” He turns and strolls from the room, his mind already a million miles away.

Althea shares a worried look with us, but I smile reassuringly. “Do not worry. Tonight was a good thing, my Thea,” I assure her, and the smile she bestows upon me is worth all the torture and pain. “I have a feeling, however, that someone needs you more than I do tonight.”

Worry clouds her eyes as they flick to the corridor Reve disappeared down. “Reve.”

I nod, bending over and kissing her hand. “Go to him. He protected me tonight, and now he needs his queen to make it better.”

With one more searching look, she ensures I’m okay before she nods and hesitantly follows the path he took.

All of us watch her go, entranced by our queen.



Isearch for Reve but cannot find him. Finally, I realise I’m using my eyes and not my link to him—the one that feels an awful lot like a mate bond. Focusing internally, I feel him blocking himself from me, from us all, as if he doesn’t want us to worry.