Invision (Chronicles of Nick #7)(2)
Written By: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Yeah, it was a stupid thought, but what the heck?
Nothing made sense anymore.
After all, the River Walk was actually a front that opened to a back-world prison ward that held off demons. So why couldn’t these statues be as alive as the ones there? For all he knew, Caleb could pass his hand over them and they could be just as mocking and demeaning. Made as much sense as the fact that Nick’s girlfriend was a ghost, his best friend an immortal demon, and his newest crew addition was a Celtic god of war who’d been cursed into the body of a púca that Nick had rescued from a hell realm where he’d been sent as a test to save his mother’s life.
And that he was the Malachai …
Yeah! His life was that screwed up.
Caleb tackled him to the hard concrete sidewalk. Ah, jeez! He seriously needed those additional bruises to explain to his mother, who already thought he was getting mugged on a regular basis.
“Get off me!” he roared in his demonic tone as he shoved at his friend.
But Caleb didn’t flinch. He kept him pinned on the ground. “What’s going on in that head of yours, Gautier?”
Nick pulled the Eye of Ananke out of his pocket. “I saw it!” he snarled. “Everything. All outcomes lead to the same final conclusion. Don’t you understand? It’s hopeless! I’m a monster and you’re all dead!”
Kody staggered back.
The color drained from Caleb’s face an instant before he let go. “You’re wrong.” But the conviction was missing from his words this time.
Nick shoved the medallion at him. “See for yourself. I’m going to kill you, too, Cay. And Aeron. All of you!”
Caleb took the ancient amulet that looked like some freaky green dragon eye set in the middle of a beveled, rust-colored disc, and held it to the center of his forehead so that he could see the future that had haunted Nick since he’d made the mistake of looking at it.
Nick scowled as he realized that by doing it, Caleb had just admitted to something he’d been concealing from all of them.
He had the blood of a fate god in his veins. Otherwise, that amulet would have destroyed him. Not even Kody dared to touch it.
But Caleb hadn’t thought twice about taking it in his hand.
Kody sat down on a bench a few feet away as unshed tears glistened in her green eyes. “I refuse to believe it. There has to be a way to stop the future. The Arelim wouldn’t have sent me back unless there was hope.”
Aeron swallowed hard. “You know the cosmic laws. A pith point is a set piece. If it’s to be…”
“It’s not.” Caleb pulled the Eye away, then rubbed at his forehead. “There are other outcomes.” He glanced at Kody. “But you’re not going to like any of them.”
Nick glared at Caleb. “That’s not what I saw when I looked into that thing.”
Caleb snorted at Nick’s churlish tone. “You’re fatalistic. You know … Caleb,” he mocked Nick’s Cajun drawl in a falsetto, “I don’t have a headache, it’s a giant brain tumor eating the flesh off my head. I know it. I didn’t stub my toe, Cay. I amputated it! Look! That’s not a hangnail. It’s a bleeding stump.”
Nick shoved at him. “Shut up.”
“It’s true and you know it.”
“So what’s the solution?” Kody asked.
“The simplest?” Caleb sighed. “What Ambrose said. We erase everything. Reset his meager little brain to zero and let his life play out to the first pith point.”
“No!” Nick growled. “My mother is not some arbitrary pith point we lose! I’ve seen a different solution. I will not sacrifice her life in this. I’d rather die. Just kill me and be done with it.”
Aeron laughed out loud as if the mere suggestion was preposterous. “You’ve got your full Malachai powers, boyo, and Adarian’s dead. There’s no dying for you now. Only slavery. With torture being optional.”
“Until you have a child…” Yeah, Caleb just had to toss that reminder into the mix.
“I have a brother. Can’t I give this to him and let him be the Malachai instead of me?”
Caleb shook his head. “That ship left the harbor when you took the Malachai sword and picked your ?arras for your army. You are the full Malachai now, Nick. There’s no undoing it. Not until you have a son who kills you for your powers, and he designates his own generals.”
Pressing the heels of his hands to his eyes, Nick cursed them all. “Why didn’t you stop me from taking that stupid sword from Livia?”
Caleb stood up. “Like you would have listened.”
Kody shook her head. “No, you wouldn’t have. You never do.”
They were right. He just didn’t want to hear it. “If we erase everything, where does that leave me?”
“With a migraine,” Aeron said under his breath.
Before Caleb could answer, the statue beside Kody opened its eyes and turned its head to stare at Nick.
“I knew it!”
They all ignored his Tourette’s as Kody jumped away from the statue to eye it warily.
“Malachai.” It smiled eerily before it stood and headed for Nick.
Both Aeron and Caleb cut its path off.