The CCB followers were all on their knees. Not that my power hadn’t cowed them before, but now I wasn’t holding the power over them, they bent to acknowledge my authority. I sighed. I had taken a life and now there was more people looking to me for it.
Elena Saunders was the first to stand and she came to me with a bright smile and an outstretched hand. “If there is anything I can do for you.”
I took her hand and I pulled her close. I whispered into her ear, “You will stop the attack on the Venatori, now, or you will end up like your ex-husband.”
She gasped and pulled away from me snatching her hand from my grasp. “I will not.”
I raised my voice so all could hear. “Anyone who attacks the Venatori, or another race will be dealt with swiftly. And any caught helping the Architects or part of the group will be punished with due justice. So stop the attack now. Or the consequences for you will be dire.”
Elena paled. “Fine. What are you going to do to us?”
I shrugged. “If you stop the bombs now, before they go off tomorrow I’ll do nothing other than request names and keep it on record.”
“We did nothing wrong.”
“Precisely why I will do nothing other than take names of those who like to plot against other races so the next time something like this happens I know who to ask.”
“But it was James’s orders. We didn’t act alone.”
I laughed at Elena. “Like divorcing your husband just before you blow up the Venatori just to gain power.”
If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t have thought it possible but Elena’s skin drew on an ashen shade even more than before. I was hitting all the nails on the head, but she didn’t know I had been listening to her talk with Hector.
“Feras.” she howled at me.
“That all you got?” I asked. “Stop it now.”
I looked down at Ant and Darwynn. “Get me telepaths, no one leaves here without a deep scan.”
Darwynn’s eyes went wide but Ant only nodded and headed for the door grabbing Darwynn’s shoulder.
They hadn’t gotten far when the doors to the auditorium flew open and I saw an old balding man strutting through the door with many people behind him. The crowd parted like the red sea and he walked up to the stage shouting. “I challenge you for leadership of the CCB.”
Fuck! I just got the job now I’m getting challenged for it. And by the leader of the Venatori. What the fuck?
Mark walked up the stairs and saw the two bodies. “What have you done boy?”
I smirked at him and let my Cesari power flair. “I challenged James Wright to save your sorry asses.” I growled.
“I…. You killed him?”
It was only moments before Ant and Darwynn had fled their current mission and were standing behind me. As were Adrian and Dom. I had the entire supernatural community at my back in that particular moment except for the Dragons and the Venatori. Humans didn’t count in this war, they didn’t know the Clandestine Providence we protected them.
Mark Green – the high and mighty Regnans of the Imperedo was speechless as he stared at the two dead bodies. And just like that he snapped to face me. “My challenge still stands. Let it be decided who really is the strongest of us.”
I laughed. “Really? You think you can out power me.”
Ant spoke behind me, “He is the Ascendant.”
Dom added, “The True Regnans.”
I wanted to laugh at how easily it came from their mouths. I was not any of those things. But I wouldn’t back down either.”
“Fight me boy.”
He laughed, like the others had laughed. “There are no rules – to the death, as is pack law.”
I added, “As if Venatori law.” I nodded. “Are you sure there are no rules?”
He charged me. In his old age he still moved quickly and with such agility I hadn’t expected, but I was faster and quicker with my ability than he was and he didn’t even suspect I would use it. He charged towards me and I strung up a wire of air so thin and sharp it cut through his neck like a hot knife through butter.
There was an uproar of ‘disgrace’ and ‘dishonorable’.
I flared my power again and there was silence. Every mouth was closed and every knee bent. Every. Knee.
“I asked him what the rules were. There were none. Are there any left who want to challenge me today?” My voice echoed in the audience.
I saw my father in the crowd. Dorian too. It made me wonder what they thought. I reined my power in and the crowd heaved a collective sigh of releif but the all stayed on bent knee. A voice in the back drew my attention. Il Cane stood in the doorway shadowed by the darkness that had overtaken the daylight when night fell. “The Ascendant has risen!” And then she and all the vampires behind her bent knee. There were whispers of Ascendant, Regnans, King floating through the crowd.
I felt weak. I’d killed twice with the power and I wanted my bed. I needed to be alone. Ant and Darwynn were at my side without being called and the three of us walked out of the auditorium through the parting crowd, all still on their knees.
I was out the door and around the corner when I collapsed. I had only the vaguest of recollection of Ant scooping me up and whisking me away in the shadows. The rest was darkness.