Bryce waited until Hunt’s muscled back and beautiful wings had disappeared through the inner sanctum’s gates before she whirled on Ruhn. “Did the Autumn King do it?”
Ruhn’s blue eyes glimmered in his shadow-nest or whatever the fuck he called it. “No. He’s a monster in so many ways, but he wouldn’t kill Danika.”
She’d come to that conclusion the other night, but she asked, “How can you be so sure? You have no idea what the Hel his long-term agenda is.”
Ruhn crossed his arms. “Why ask me to hunt for the Horn if he’s summoning the kristallos?”
“Two trackers are better than one?” Her heart thundered.
“He’s not behind this. He’s just trying to take advantage of the situation—to restore the Fae to their former glory. You know how he likes to delude himself with that kind of crap.”
Bryce trailed her fingers through the wall of shadows, the darkness running over her skin like mist. “Does he know you came to meet with me?”
She held her brother’s stare. “Why …” She struggled for words. “Why bother?”
“Because I want to help you. Because this shit puts the entire city at risk.”
“How very Chosen One of you.”
Silence stretched between them, so taut it trembled. She blurted, “Just because we’re working together doesn’t mean anything changes
between us. You’ll find the Horn, and I’ll find who’s behind this. End of story.”
“Fine,” Ruhn said, his eyes cold. “I wouldn’t expect you to consider listening to me anyway.”
“Why would I listen to you?” she seethed. “I’m just a half-breed slut, right?”
Ruhn stiffened, a flush flaring. “You know it was a dumb fight and I didn’t mean that—”
“Yes, you fucking did,” she spat, and turned on her heel. “You might dress like you’re a punk rebelling against Daddy’s rules, but deep down, you’re no better than the rest of the Fae shitheads who kiss your Chosen One ass.”
Ruhn snarled, but Bryce didn’t wait before shoving through the shadows, blinking at the flood of light that greeted her, and aiming for where Hunt had paused at the doors.
“Let’s go,” she said. She didn’t care what he’d overheard.
Hunt lingered in place, his black eyes flickering as he gazed toward the shadowed back of the room, where her so-called cousin was again veiled in darkness. But the angel thankfully said nothing as he fell into step beside her, and she said nothing more to him.
Bryce practically ran back to the gallery. In part to start researching the Horn again, but also thanks to the flurry of messages from Jesiba, demanding to know where she was, whether she still wanted her job, and whether she’d prefer to be turned into a rat or a pigeon. And then an order to get back now to greet a client.
Five minutes after Bryce got there, Jesiba’s client—a raging asshole of a leopard shifter who believed he was entitled to put his paws all over her ass—prowled in and purchased a small statue of Solas and Cthona, portrayed as a sun with male features burying his face in a pair of mountain-shaped breasts. The holy image was known simply as the Embrace. Her mother even wore its simplified symbol—a circle nestled atop two triangles—as a silver pendant. But Bryce had always found the Embrace cheesy and cliché in every incarnation. Thirty minutes and two blatant rejections to his slimy come-ons later, Bryce was mercifully alone again.
But in the hours she looked, the gallery’s databases for Luna’s Horn revealed nothing beyond what she already knew, and what her brother had claimed that morning. Even Lehabah, gossip queen extraordinaire, didn’t know anything about the Horn.
With Ruhn heading back to the Fae Archives to see if any more information appealed to his Starborn sensibilities, she supposed she’d have to wait for an update.
Hunt had gone to take watch on the roof, apparently needing to make calls to his boss—or whatever Micah pretended he was—and Isaiah regarding the Horn. He hadn’t tried to come back down to the library, as if sensing she needed space.
Look toward where it hurts the most. That’s always where the answers are.
Bryce found herself staring down at the half-finished list she’d started that morning.
She might not be able to find much on the Horn itself, but maybe she could figure out how the Hel Danika factored into all of it.
Hands shaking, she made herself finish the list of Danika’s locations
—as far as she knew.
By the time the sun was near setting, and Syrinx was ready to be walked home, Bryce would have traded what was left of her soul to a Reaper just for the quiet comfort of her bed. It had been a long fucking day, full of information she needed to process, and a list that she’d left in her desk drawer.
It must have been a long day for Athalar, too, because he trailed her and Syrinx from the skies without saying a word to her.
She was in bed by eight, and didn’t even remember falling asleep.