Kaia disappeared for five years. Now she’s back and her planet is on the brink of war.
The new “Numbers” program, created by the Tueors’ leader, tracks and isolates demigods. Kaia’s friend, Catrina, refuses to take part, and that makes her the most dangerous Number of all.
It’s Kaia’s duty to gather and protect the treasures of the gods. But neither the treasures nor Catrina are what they appear to be.
As the day a dire prophesy foresees draws near, will Kaia reverse the gears of fate, or will everything she’s ever loved be burned away by the flames of war?
The demigoddess looked away from him, looking down at the floor instead. “Kaia, I think it’s time to go. We’ve overstayed our welcome.”
“We just got here. Are we any bother to you?” She turned toward their host, her eyes meeting his. In an instant, she became entranced, captivated by them.
“Stay as long as you want,” he whispered in a seductive tone. “You want to meet my wife, don’t you?”
She nodded sluggishly. “Of course I want to meet your wife.” Her voice was slurred and slow as she leaned slightly forward.
“Take off that hat. It’s hot in here,” Catrina said as she stood up, keeping her eyes lowered to the floor.
The man turned his eyes upon her, standing up and towering over her. “This is my house. I can keep the hat on if I so wish. Don’t worry about the hat. Don’t even think about the—”
Catrina jumped, knocking it off and revealing a large fin-like protrusion emitting from his head. For a moment, the two stood there: the man staring at Catrina, willing her to look into his eyes and Catrina, staring at his feet. His eyes continued to change colors as he bent down and leaned in toward her, his nose nearly touching hers. She closed her eyes.
“You saw nothing,” he said slowly in a whisper. His breath smelled like rotting fish.
Catrina winced. “Encantado,” she seethed. “Your mind tricks won’t work on me. So let’s stop playing around and tell me what you’re doing here in this village.”
The encantado stood up. “My mind tricks might not work on you, but they seem to be working on your friend.” He pivoted toward Kaia. “Your friend wants to harm me. Me, who has taken you in and provided you with food and shelter. Protect me,” he pleaded.
Kaia stood up, unleashing the Tiruv. The encantado’s eyes lit with surprise and he took a step back as she unleashed a ball of energy without warning toward the demigoddess. Catrina let out a scream as she was slammed through a wall and landed onto the kitchen table.
She rolled over and coughed, shaking the dust and dry wall out of her hair. Kaia emerged into the kitchen, glowering at her friend.
“You should never harm the host,” Kaia seethed. She ran up, transforming the Tiruv into a sword and raised it, ready to strike.
The demigoddess rolled, fumbling for her pouch. She kicked Kaia’s legs out from beneath her, sending the Chosen to the ground. Running across the room, the demigoddess searched the contents of her pouch, aimlessly seeking for the right capsule. It didn’t take long for Kaia to get back up. Once she locked onto Catrina, she transformed the Tiruv back to its original form and shot off another energy blast from the Tiruv, but the demigoddess had anticipated the attack and launched herself out of the way at the last moment. She pressed the button on the capsule and threw it into the air just as it expanded. Kaia paid no heed to the compartment that had materialized; she threw herself at Catrina, but Catrina had much more experience with hand-to-hand combat and pinned the Chosen down. The demigoddess knocked the Tiruv out her friend’s hands and hurled herself at the compartment. She didn’t want to harm Kaia in any way and feared that what she had done already would leave marks or bruises on her friend.
The one thing Catrina prayed would work was getting rid of the encantado. They were fresh water creatures that could transform into a human at night (with the exception of its fin, hence the reason they wore the red hats), but never would she have guessed that there would be one so close to a merfolk community. Most of the water demons that did reside nearby a community were usually weaker beings that enjoyed the safety and protection that the merfolk gave to those who were loyal to them. She didn’t know much about encantados as they preferred to keep to themselves and rarely associated with people. Meeting one in a village was the furthest thing in her mind.
Kaia heaved herself up and retrieved the Tiruv only to slam it into her friend’s back once Catrina turned to open the container. Her breath escaped her as she collapsed, her hands on the compartment. With all the strength Catrina could muster, she swept her leg up and kicked the Tiruv out of Kaia’s hands and lifted herself up. Her eyes locked onto her daggers within the open container and she grabbed them, twirling them once before setting her sights on the encantado.
“Messing with my friend was a bad mistake.” Catrina flung herself toward the demon.
Focusing all her attention on the creature, she had forgotten about Kaia’s orders momentarily and was caught by surprise when her friend threw her body into Catrina. The demigoddess let out a piercing scream as one of her own daggers lodged itself into her palm. The demon sneered as he stepped on her other palm, but Catrina refused to let him hear her cry out in pain again. She looked up at him as high as she dared, avoiding his ever changing colored eyes and spat on his foot.
“You’ll regret that,” he muttered.
The front door burst open and a thick stake of ice was thrust into the encantado without question. “You’ll regret causing her pain,” Derek growled. “Before you die, tell me what you’re doing here.”
The water demon gave a deep chuckle. “Dead men tell no secrets,” he whispered before slumping over.
Author Website: http://sheenahfreitas.com
Twitter: @SheenahFreitas (http://twitter.com/SheenahFreitas)
Twitter: @SheenahFreitas (http://twitter.com/SheenahFreitas)
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