Iced - Page 12/120

Supercharged on adrenaline and anger, I slice and dice my way through the subclub that bugs me the most: the one where the waitresses dress like school kids, in short, pleated plaid skirts and white socks, and crisp white blouses with starched collar points.

Kids. They’re the worst victims of the fall. There are so many of them hiding in the streets, with no clue how to survive.

At Chester’s, grown women are dressing like kids to trade favors for pieces of Unseelie flesh, the latest drug on the market. It has epic healing powers, and temporarily gives humans extra strength and stamina. I hear it makes sex really intense, too. The things people are willing to do for a quick high—eat pieces of our enemies’ flesh! Makes me want to knock heads together.

So I do.

I get a few good elbow jabs in on the waitresses, too. Half of them are those stupid See-You-in-Faery chicks who chirp the stupid phrase at each other every time they part, like going to Faery is something to aspire to instead of something to avoid like ten variations of the black plague.

They should be out in the streets, helping us fight and rebuild our world. Instead they’re in here, consorting with the enemy, selling themselves for a shot at immortality. I don’t buy that bunk. I think the Unseelie made that part up—that if you eat enough Unseelie flesh, eventually you become immortal, too, and you can hang with them in Faery all social-like.

I slay every last one of the Fae in the kiddie subclub, ignoring the waitresses screaming at me to stop. Some people just don’t know what’s good for them.

There’s black blood on my hands, goop in my hair, and my eyes are so swollen from my earlier collisions that I can barely see, but I don’t need to see much. I’ve got a homing device where Fae are concerned. I sense Unseelie. I slay.

I feel a big bad one behind me, worse than any of the ones I’ve killed so far, oozing all kinds of power. Sword back, poised for the killing blow, I whirl and bring my blade slashing down—

And miss!

The Unseelie ducks, rolls, and springs lightly to his feet half a dozen tables away. He flips his long black hair over a muscled, tattooed shoulder and hisses at me.

I lunge after him without even thinking and am about to slam into him when I realize what he is.

I change direction mid-lunge and scramble back, feet pedaling air. Feck, feck, feck, one of the Unseelie princes found me!

This is a battle I’m not up to today! I wasn’t expecting this because I never heard of any of the princes strolling into Chester’s!

I crash into a table, fall over backward, roll onto all fours and launch myself away. I’m about to find out if I can freeze-frame faster than it can sift. I rip open a power bar, shove half of it in my mouth and start shifting gears when the Unseelie prince says, “Lass, what the bloody hell are you doing? Have you taken a look around?”

I’m seeing through slits from all the swelling in my face, and my vision is a little dim, but I scan the place quick-like. All activity in the club has stopped. Fae and humans are lined up at balconies, staring at me from every level.

I tune in to what they’re saying.

“Crazy. The kid’s nuts.”

“Somebody needs to put that bitch down.”

“I’m not going near her. Did you see her move? Do you see what she’s holding?”

“The Sword of Light,” a Fae says icily. “Our sword.”

“Take it from her!”

“How dare she?”

“Kill her now.”

“I bet I can sift faster than she can slay,” one growls.

I toss my hair from my eyes, on all fours, every muscle tense, waiting. We’ll sure as feck find out.

“Who permitted that … that revolting … human … thing in here? Where is our host? This is neutral ground!”

“He swore an oath to us. He has failed us!”

I can’t help but smirk. Assuming Ryodan survives the collapse, he’s going to be seriously pissed. I just accomplished exactly what he’d tried to “hire” me to prevent. Ruined his rep. The whole club now knows Ryodan can’t guarantee safety at Chester’s. It’ll be all over Dublin within an hour. I might as well print up a special edition of The Dani Daily, broadcasting it. Good. If fewer folks come to Chester’s, fewer folks will die.

I glance back at the dude I initially thought was an Unseelie prince. The moment he’d spoken, I’d relaxed. Now that I’m slo-mo again, I see the differences.

I almost killed a human. Well, a human that’s in the process of becoming something else. If he hadn’t spoken up, I still might not be sure who he was, but I’ve never heard a Fae call anybody “lass.” I don’t think they’d stoop to it, not even to fake someone out.

It’s the Scot who crashed my water tower party the same night Ryodan did.

They’d faced off with each other, all bristling hostility, giving me time to escape. It had seemed he was there either to help me or to feck with Ryodan. Whichever—that makes him good for me.

This dude has problems as big as mine, maybe bigger. I consider him. He doesn’t like Ryodan. And he’s got some serious mojo. I can feel it shivering in the air around him. He could be a valuable ace in my hidey-hole. If he can be trusted.

“You’re a MacKeltar, right?”

“Christian,” he says.

“Aren’t your uncles some kind of warlocks or something? They helped hunt the Sinsar Dubh.”

“Druids, lass. Not warlocks.”

“Can you fight?”

He gives me a mocking look. “I don’t need to. I can walk you out of here without lifting a finger.”

Big talk. I decide to let him try.

He flanks me and we head for the door. Between what he looks like and my sword, every last occupant of Chester’s draws back as we pass. I can’t help but swagger a little.

Hisses, jeers, threats follows us.

But no one makes a move.

I could get used to this. Who needs TP? I got what looks like an Unseelie prince at my side and nobody, but nobody—not even the Unseelie—mess with their princes. Oh, yeah, this guy’s going to be a major plus in my column. I take a sidewise glance at him.

If I can get past that he looks like the most terrifying of all the Unseelie.

Beyond him I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. Between the bruises, swollen eyes, cuts, and blood of all colors, I’m not looking so hot myself.