Midnight Lies Page 2

Rage glanced at his brothers before turning his emerald gaze on me. “I don’t.” He took a deep breath and then added, “But I don’t like it either. That woman is an evil shark.”

“Tell me about it,” I snorted. “I don’t trust her either, but since no one else is doling out alternative plans … this is it. We have to try. We’re talking about Honor.”

Turning toward the tent, I raised my hands, and Rage snatched them both from the air, holding them in his.

“Before we do this,” he said, his voice low and rushed, “please…” He swallowed. “Please, be careful. Let me give whatever sacrifice she requires. Let me show you I care. Let me try—”

My heart melted a little. A lot. With one big step, I pressed my lips to his in a brief, chaste kiss and then offered him a half-smile. “Okay.”

I could only hope she wouldn’t bargain for a kidney. Wait … didn’t a person only need one kidney? I was 62.4% sure that was true. So, even though I felt responsible for Honor’s death, I wouldn’t deny Rage the sacrifice to save his brother. As first alpha heir of Midnight Pack, it was Rage’s right and duty.

The rustle of fabric tickled my ears, followed by a low throaty chuckle.

“I thought I smelled alpha heirs,” Madame Surlama said, her eyes gleaming as her gaze darted from Justice to me. “A week early. That’s a first.”

Before I could say anything, Rage spun, tucking me behind his back as he drew his sword.

“Surlama,” he growled, “I can’t believe you’re still alive.”

Did he know her?

“Which Virtue are you?” she asked Rage, sniffing the air. “Hmmm, definitely one of the stronger ones.”

Huh. Not mutually acquainted, but she’d obviously heard of the four Midnight heirs.

“Can you get us into the Realm of Dead Souls?” he asked, anger and violence rolling off him in waves. “Or is this another one of your lies?”

Whoa. My mate was not messing around.

Her lips peeled back from her teeth in a sneer. “Careful who you call a liar, wolf.”

Stepping to the side, I glared at the beautiful dark mage. “Madame Surlama…”

Her eyes lit up, and she purred, “Virgin.”

Seriously? Kill me now.

“If you want to keep your head and neck together, I suggest you call her by her name,” Rage snarled, pointing the tip of his sword at her throat.

Surlama pushed Rage’s sword away. Then, she leaned forward and whispered, “If you don’t want your mate to be a virgin, I suggest you do something about it.”

Oh. My. Mage.

A nervous laugh escaped me.

“So can you get us into the Realm of the Dead or not?” I huffed, trying my best to steer the conversation away from Rage and me having sex.

She sighed. “For a price.”

“Name it,” Rage growled. “And be aware that you are speaking to the first prince of Alpha Island. I will not be duped into giving you monthly blood sacrifices.”

Justice and I hung our heads low. Clearly, we both were not good with negotiations.

Surlama looked intrigued at his mention of his lineage before she threw her long red hair over one shoulder. “Come inside, alpha heirs. Best not to speak of these things out here with such a large audience.”

She disappeared behind the curtain. Rage moved to step forward, but I crossed in front of him, leading the way. Sadly, I knew my way around the place. Taking a left at the fork in the tent, I maneuvered down the hallway and into the opening with the stone table Kaja had lain on. There was a bit of dried blood on it, and I wondered if it was hers. Surlama’s red hair lifted from her shoulders with a gust of fresh air as she disappeared into the garden off to the right of the room, and I followed her out there, the boys shuffling in behind me.

The dark mage stood before a trellis of vines, pink and white flowers hanging from the plants. “Drop your weapons in the basket. I don’t allow them at my altar.” She indicated a small wicker basket at the corner of the room. With reluctant trepidation, we all pulled out our swords and dropped them in the basket.

Surlama held a small dagger in her hands, directly contradicting the no weapons rule, and ran her finger along the edge.

“You can put that away. I told you, no blood,” Rage growled from behind me.

She rolled her eyes. “First of all, where’s the body?” Her gaze darted to the empty space behind Justice and Noble. “How do you expect to raise the dead without a body?”

My stomach dropped as her words sank in. “Well, I was hoping—”

“That he’d just walk out of a portal in the Realm of the Dead and be like new?” She huffed and shook her head. “Don’t be so naive.”

Rage growled low in his throat and stepped closer to me as Noble moved toward the witch, his arms extended in supplication.

“Tell us everything you know about bringing someone back from the dead. Please?” His voice cracked, and then he added, “He was our brother.”

Noble’s begging seemed to soften something in Surlama, and she sighed. “You have seventy-two hours from when they crossed over.”

Rage fiddled with the watch on his wrist, and I wondered how long had passed. Not more than an hour—at most.

“You must have a body for the soul to go into,” she continued. “Or he’ll be trapped here as a ghost, roaming this world forever.”

Yikes, I did not want that.

“His body is…” My throat constricted.

“Burned. That won’t be an option,” Justice told her. He stood with his fists at his sides, and his nostrils flared with each breath. Dude seemed more than a little unhinged.

She shook her head. “Then we’ll need another body, someone who hasn’t been dead more than three days.”

Rage scoffed. “You want us to put our brother’s soul in some rando body?”

Surlama shrugged. “I want you to go home and never bother me again, but clearly I’m not getting what I want.”

“I’ll find a body,” Justice growled. “You take Nai and Noble into the Realm of the Dead and find Honor.”

Surlama laughed. “That’s cute. You think I can transport three living beings down there? Impossible. Nai only.”

Rage moved very slowly, pushing Noble and me out of the way as he approached Surlama in an epic staredown. Tension filled the air. As patches of fur erupted on the back of his neck, he clenched his teeth, making the muscles in his neck corded and taut. “What is your obsession with my mate?”

Surlama at least had the decency to look scared—but only for a heartbeat—then the fear in her eyes vanished, replaced by a cold, hard gaze.

“Your mate is more powerful than all three of you combined. Only she can walk in that realm and return with your fallen brother.”

“Lies.” Rage growled. “I see it in your eyes. I can smell your deceit in the air. What are you hiding?”

Damn. He had no issues calling her on her shit.

Fear flashed across her face once more before she narrowed her eyes in a look of calculation. Reaching out, she stroked a finger along Rage’s chest and purred. “I’m not saying you’re not powerful.”

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