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Blood of the Lost(Rylee Adamson #10)(10) by Shannon Mayer

“Hurry, Blaz, we have to get to that fucker before he gets to them.” Already the wind had gained momentum. I could see the particles of disease on the air spinning outward. Infecting my family with whatever deadly disease he had up his fucking sleeve.

Blaz stretched his neck, flattening his body as his wings picked up speed. Another light lit the clouds, like a storm brewed deep within. For a split second, I thought I saw a figure in the middle of the maelstrom. The demon floated what looked like a hundred feet above the tarmac of the parking lot, hiding within the smoke and mirrors he’d created with the storm. All around him, darted tiny lights, like oversized fireflies.

The edge of the clouds reached out to us and I took a deep breath. The scent of road tar filled my nostrils, a scent I hadn’t smelled since my first run-in with a demon almost a year ago. It clung to my tongue and coated my throat as I breathed, gagging me.

Mist and shadows wrapped around us and the demon spun slowly, his face a mixture of pleasure and surprise. He was lean and wiry with long hair that curled around his face. Young, was my first thought; he couldn’t be much older than me. Or at least, the body he’d stolen wasn’t older than me.

All around us lightning danced, and through what I could feel of Blaz, it was his doing; a strength of his we hadn’t used often. Able to control the weather, he broke up the storm and sent the clouds at the front of it skittering away.

I unbuckled the harness and stood as I pulled a sword from my back. I pointed it at Pestilence. “You want me? Then you’d better get your ass over here and see if—”

Claws dug into my shoulder, slicing through the leather jacket, and I was yanked upward, clear of Blaz. I swung my sword over my head without looking, cutting the creature’s legs off. They fell away from me, the claws releasing in death as a scream rent the air, like the cry of a rabbit being tortured by an overzealous cat.

I fell, blood pouring around me from the creature’s now amputated legs. Before I could wonder how high I’d been taken, I hit Blaz’s back and rolled, stopping when I came against his spine. “What are they?”

Blaz did not answer me.

Pestilence did.

“My pets? You don’t know what they are?” The demon floated slowly toward us, his feet stepping as if he were on the ground, not a hundred feet up. He was dressed in a suit and tie like a high-end businessman, right down to his polished shoes. I found myself staring as he tugged the cufflinks on his shirt.

“I’m going to kill them.”

“Ah, but I’m so proud of them. My first of what will be many creations now that I am free of the Veil. Flying monkeys are something humans invented. I wondered if I could actually create them and . . . I could. Lovely, don’t you think?”

I glanced where he pointed. Above us were indeed flying monkeys. Though they were like no monkeys I’d ever seen—even discounting the wings. Their bodies were out of proportion, limbs askew, eyes dead. And they were silent; their wings barely moving enough to keep them afloat.

“They are infected with the pox, all of them. Just in case your friends were wondering.” He flicked his hand at the monkeys and they plummeted from the sky, heading toward my friends.

My family.

Blaz didn’t wait for me to tell him to go after them. He tucked his wings tight and dropped, lightning dancing around us as he tried to take them out. I swung my crossbow around and shot three monkeys, dropping them out of the sky. Three of more than a hundred of the infected little bastards.

Behind us, laughter echoed through the sky. “So predictable.”

My heart clenched, but I didn’t care that I was predictable. Not in that moment. The monkeys screeched, coming to life as they seemed to understand the dragon behind them was doing serious damage. I swung my crossbow to my back and pulled both swords.

“Grin at them, Blaz.”

What the hell—

“Bare your teeth. It’s a challenge.”

I stood on his back and grinned at the stupid fuckers for all I was worth. “Come on, you little assholes!”

The first monkey who saw me let out an unearthly howl as he arched his back, wings flapping furiously.

Like a rocket, he dropped toward me, his wings not even fluttering for a second as he came with all four clawed feet outstretched.

I swung my sword hard, slicing through his stomach and cutting him completely in half. He fell to either side of me; his death seemed to be a signal to his buddies.

En masse, they attacked.

“Blaz, get Eve and Pamela closer. We need firepower. But not too close! I don’t want them infected.”

You got it.

The monkeys swarmed, ignoring the dragon, coming straight for me. Fine and dandy as far as I was concerned. The first wave leapt in threes, one from each side and straight on. I kicked out at the one on my left as I slashed my sword to the one on my right.

The one in the middle slammed into me, driving me to Blaz’s back. We rolled and another monkey jumped onto my back, grabbed my hair and yanked me toward him.

In the distance, Pestilence laughed, a deep belly laugh that drove my anger to a peak I didn’t know existed. I swung my elbow back, catching the monkey behind me in the face and launching him off. I might have lost hair as I sent him flying, but I didn’t slow for a second. Couldn’t, not if we were making it through this shit.

I drove my sword through the first monkey, then the second, then the third. Over and over I slashed through Pestilence’s creations, taking them apart piece by piece until I was slick with blood and my arms shook with fatigue.