Home > Dark Harmony (The Bargainer #3)(3)

Dark Harmony (The Bargainer #3)(3)
Author: Laura Thalassa

There’s only one reason he’d think to ask me that.

We’re going to have to kick some ass.

I nod.

“Good.” He stands, his brows furrowed as he takes me in. “If I can’t hide you, I will simply have to unleash you.”

Unleash me—said like I’m an unstoppable force. Me thinks he might believe in me a tad too much.

More screams filter in from the depths of the island, near where the sleeping women have been left to rest. In my mind’s eye I can still see those soldiers in their glass coffins, each one buried with a weapon.

I’ve been waiting awhile for this day to come.

I suck in a breath, realizing now what Des already has.

All those women were laying at the core of the island, waiting like bombs to detonate.

And tonight, the Thief of Souls just lit the fuse.

Des’s magic brushes against my skin, and the skimpy nightgown I wear melts off my body, the fabric pooling around my hips and leaving me bare-breasted.

Before I can so much as cover myself, the drawer of the nearby armoire opens, and out floats an entire outfit. It drifts through the air, then settles on me, the fabric parting like butter as it touches my skin, molding to my body before stitching itself back together. More of Des’s magic.

Then come the battle leathers. Then my boots. Each one slipped on with a little help from Des’s magic. He watches me the entire time, his eyes fierce with resolve.

I will destroy the world before I lose you again, they seem to say.

I’m sliding out of bed when the final piece of my outfit floats over to me. The belt that holds my holstered daggers wraps itself around my waist, the labradorite hilts of my blades gleaming.

Dressed and armed within seconds.

The Bargainer isn’t fucking around.

It’s only once I’m ready to kick ass and take names that his own gear rushes through the air at breakneck speed, fastening onto his body faster than I can follow. His leathers, a sword, a pair of throwing knives, a dagger strapped to his ankle and another that circles his bicep.

Dressed as he is, I’m pretty sure he could make women spontaneously orgasm with just a look.

God, now is not the time for my filthy thoughts.

The screams are getting louder.

“In case you missed it,” Des says, “those soldiers who slept beneath my castle are now awake, and they mean to overthrow my rule.”

I don’t ask him how he knows this. My heart pounds a little faster as Des essentially confirms what I feared: the female soldiers Karnon imprisoned and abused are now our enemies.

“These women aren’t civilians,” the Night King continues. “They’ve defended this kingdom for decades—centuries even. They will not hesitate to hurt you, and they will not show you or anyone else mercy. When you come across one, go for a kill shot, and do not waste your remorse on them; I assure you they won’t waste theirs on you.”

My wings are itching to reveal themselves as adrenaline spikes my blood.

The Bargainer turns from me, his eyes closing. He bows his head, as if in prayer, but I can feel the thrum of his restless energy as it builds within him. It sings across our bond and vibrates along my skin.

The shadows billow about the room. I barely have time to register what’s about to happen when Des’s magic explodes out of him.

Darkness sweeps across the room, blanketing the world around us in an instant, shaking the very foundations of the castle. It overwhelms my senses until I’m no one and nothing more than a pin prick of thought in the vast expanse of darkness. And then I’m not even that.

I’ve been here once before. The last time Des’s magic blasted out of him, Karnon—the Fauna King—and hundreds of other fae died.

I steel myself for that same outcome.

But when the darkness slams back into Des, the screams haven’t quieted.

The Bargainer staggers back, his face incredulous.

“I can’t … kill them.”

The sleeping soldiers, he means.

I don’t know what’s more shocking—that Des was ready to single-handedly end the attack, despite the soldiers being Night Kingdom fae, or that it didn’t work. I’ve seen the power he wields. If he wanted to, he could destroy entire cities with his will alone.

What could possibly be strong enough to withstand that sort of magical attack?

My eyes move to the weaponry strapped to his body. Better yet—how are we supposed to defeat what Des’s power alone couldn’t?

The screams are filling the night, stealing my breath from me.

“They’re moving fast,” he says, “and they’re headed our way.”

And we’re to meet them in combat.

I take a deep breath. The last time I fought an enemy was only days ago, and that hadn’t ended too well.

Here’s to hoping I do a little better tonight.

I shake out my hands as I begin to move, heading for the door. Des’s form flickers, disappearing for a moment only to materialize directly in front of me.

His intense eyes lock on mine. “You know I trust you, respect you, and above all else, love you. But gods give me grace, Callie, I will have a reckoning with you if you go rogue on me.”

Ye of little faith. I only did that once, and that was the time the “foe” Des and I faced was Temperance “Temper” Darling, my best friend and sorceress.

“I’m not going to go rogue on you, Des.”

“Just so we’re clear.” Reluctantly, he steps out of the way, and then the two of us are exiting his rooms.

The floor shivers as we stride down it. There’s a rumbling in the distance, like a storm coming to call, and the air carries the faintest hint of something cloying and foul.

“What is that smell?” I ask Des as I follow him through the castle. Our immediate surroundings are far too quiet.

“Dark magic,” he says over his shoulder.

I raise my eyebrows. “I can smell magic?”

That’s … not normal.

“Fae magic,” Des specifies. “And, yeah, apparently you can.”

Alriiiight. I guess I can roll with that.

Footfalls pound up the hall. Des’s wings flare protectively, but the individuals that turn the corner are some of Des’s royal aides.

“Where’s Malaki?” Des demands, clearly interested in talking strategy with his general.

The aides look at each other, perplexed. “Haven’t seen him,” one of them says.

“Check the sorceress’s rooms,” I say. Temper undoubtedly has Des’s general chained to her bed.

I’m not the only one with a taste for fairies.

The Bargainer runs a hand through his white hair. “How many soldiers are stationed here on Somnia?” he asks one of the aides.

“Eight hundred and fifty. There are a few hundred more on the other islands. The rest are stationed at the Borderlands or on peacetime leave.”

Des rubs his mouth. I know what he’s thinking: we’re outnumbered. There are easily over a thousand sleeping women beneath this castle. If they’re out for blood … they’re going to overtake us.

“Call in as many reinforcements as you can,” Des orders. “Send all Night soldiers to the palace. The previously sleeping women are going to try to take the castle. We can’t let that happen.”

I glance out the nearby row of arched windows. Bursts of light are flashing across Somnia like the bulbs of a camera. With them come screams. So many screams.

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