Selissa had found a lot of bodies in her life; often butchered in grotesque ways, giving evidence of the monster or maniac who had taken their life. As she kneeled down next to Lieutenant Jathae, she was struck by how rarely she saw someone killed by a single clean cut across the throat. This wasn’t the work of someone who thrived on hatred and cruelty, but the dispassionate efficiency of someone simply getting rid of a problem.
Selissa would almost have prefered a monster.
“Maiya was an archangel,” Selissa reminded him.
The Nephilim shot her a look. “So is Cadeyrn.”
“I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but I get the impression that being trapped inside a human body severely hampers your ability to zap demons off the face of the earth,” she said dryly.
Seymour blinked. “‘Zap’?”
Selissa rolled her eyes. “I don’t actually know how demons are banished. I imagine a big bolt of lightning to be involved, for dramatic effect.”
‘Nothing quite that flashy. A bit of smoke and fire, but no wrath from above.’
‘No one asked you,’ Selissa shot back.
“Tell me most of the blood isn’t yours and that one of your new strays is the kid’s brother,” Bane said in the voice of a man who couldn’t handle any more insanity. Taelan patted him on the shoulder, leaving a bloody handprint on his shirt.
“Most of it isn’t my blood, and we picked up the right stray,” Taelan assured him good-humoredly. “And as an added bonus, I just killed the commander of the Ver’dohnian forces.”
He continued past Bane, leaving his lieutenant stunned for all of five seconds.
“Let me keep you company then,” he answered and smiled at her. “I’m heading there myself at the moment.”
She hesitated for a moment. All the men she met always turned out to be either raving mad, or dead. After meeting Alassane, the sanity of the people she ran into had just seemed to go steadily downhill.
She looked at the man, who had yet to introduce himself, one more time. He looked remarkably normal, and it was unlikely he could get her into any more trouble on the short way to the temple than she could manage by herself.
“Lead the way,” she told him. She needed to stop being so paranoid. It couldn’t be healthy to suspect every friendly stranger of being a crazed mass-murderer.
Selissa took a shaky breath to steady herself. “If you’re not here for me,” she said slowly. She knew that if he really wasn’t going to hurt her, she should just get the hell out of there and put as much distance between herself and him as humanly possible. But no matter how frightening she found him, there was also something about him that made her pause. “Then why are you here?”
His grin widened and Selissa felt the blood freeze in her veins. She had never met anyone who made a smile look so unnerving.
“I had some…” Ardeth paused for a moment. “Business to take care of in the area. And I decided to pay this place a visit while I was here.”
Selissa shuddered at the way he said the word ‘business’. She wondered how many innocent lives were lost every time he had business to take care of.