Invision (Chronicles of Nick #7)(9)

Written By: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Groaning in agony, Nick pulled them off. “I see now where Artemis gets her aim. You two train together much?”

Acheron muttered something in Atlantean as he walked away. That wasn’t unusual.

What made Nick pause was the fact that this time, he understood the words as well as if they’d been spoken in English or Cajun.

Kid, don’t even say Artie right now. Last thing I want to do is deal with her tonight. Don’t stir that redheaded dragon. She might hear you and come calling.

At least one of his Malachai powers was working the way it was supposed to. But that actually scared him. He wasn’t used to it. They normally backfired. Misfired. Went sideways or flat-out did nothing.

And as he looked back at the statue, for the first time he saw Kyrian’s sisters not in their pale marble forms, but as they’d looked in his lifetime. Phaedra, who was younger by only a single year. She’d sang with the voice of an angel. Althea, the baby of the family, who had been Kyrian’s favorite sister. The one he’d doted on incessantly and coddled to the point that his parents had complained that he’d spoiled her rotten. While his whole family had been devastated by his death, she had taken it the hardest of his sisters. So much so, that she’d shaved her blond hair that had been a match for Kyrian’s and had refused to speak.

And Diana. The sister he’d been the most like and as a result, they’d fought constantly. About everything under the heavens. Both stubborn and unyielding. Ironically, she’d ended up married to one of his best friends, who was very similar in temperament and form to Kyrian—as if she’d missed her brother so much that she’d gone looking for someone who reminded her of him.

Not only could Nick see them, he felt Kyrian’s love for them. Their love for Kyrian. It was so incredibly strong that it traversed the aether and spanned the centuries to form a protective cloak for his boss even two thousand years later.

No wonder Kyrian had taken so much care to protect and carry this one memento of them with him throughout time.

Kyrian was right, he’d been blessed by the gods. His family had done their best to protect their son and keep him safe. Even when he insisted that he fight as a soldier, his father had surrounded him with a personal guard of the best soldiers he could find, and sent him to train under Julian of Macedon—the most skilled and respected commander of the Greek city-states of that time. Alkis of Thrace had spared no expense to protect his only son. He would have done anything for Kyrian.

And when Kyrian had married a prostitute against his wishes, Alkis had tried his best to make his unreasonable son see the truth of her.

Kyrian had refused. In love with the fa?ade she presented to him, and deluded by her lies, he’d listened to no one about his Theone. Nothing could make him let her go, not even when his father had disinherited him as a last resort.

Theone had been his life and he’d abandoned his troops when he’d heard she was in danger. Riding day and night, he’d gone to her side to rescue her, only to have her drug him and turn him over to his enemies for torture and execution.

His family had done everything they could to try and save him. Alkis had offered to surrender all of Thrace to Roman control. Kyrian’s sister Althea had offered herself up as a slave to his mortal enemy, Valerius Magnus the Elder.

That was true love. Unconditional love. After all the bitter words Kyrian had spoken to his father, King Alkis had still done his best to save him and spare him from Theone’s treachery.

Unfortunately, the Romans had no intention of letting him go. He’d been too good a commander for that. They knew if he were to ever go free again, he’d defeat them and destroy their empire. As the ancient historians had written, when Kyrian of Thrace led his army to war, Rome fell like leaves during a bitter frost.

And on the day his father had received word of Kyrian’s execution, the proud King Alkis of Thrace had killed himself over it.

Nick blinked back tears as he choked on grief. He could feel the anguish and guilt that Kyrian lived with every day for what he’d done. By seeking his own happiness and believing the lies of one treacherous woman, he’d ruined his entire family and destroyed his nation.

One moment of blind selfishness …

No wonder he didn’t talk about it. No wonder Kyrian didn’t trust anyone. How could he?

But that was the trick in life. Deciphering who had your best interests at heart. Who was in it for you and who was in it for themselves. More often than not, you didn’t find out until you were like Kyrian and left hanging to die.

Nick reached up and touched Althea’s hand. For the merest instant, he could have sworn that she gripped his fingers.

Yeah, that was freaky.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered to them. “I won’t let anything happen to your brother. I’ve got his back for you.”

But who has yours?

Nick jumped at the disembodied voice that whispered in his ear.

What the heck?

Using his powers, he scanned the room with his demonic eyes.

There was nothing here. No sound in the aether. No scent …

Yet that had definitely been a feminine voice speaking English.

“Crap.” The one thing Nick had learned these last couple of years …

A disembodied voice whispering in his ear was a harbinger of bad things a’coming. And it definitely didn’t help that both War and Death had declared open warfare on him already. The Grim Reaper had told him to buckle up.