Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6)(4)

Written By: Nalini Singh



“I do not think it is that simple,” Raphael said, as she was thinking they should bury the dead bird in the woods that bordered the house on either side.

Looking up, she followed Raphael’s gaze to see hundreds of tiny splashes in the Hudson, the air above dark with a swirling cloud that had become fat and black. Another bird landed on the very edge of the cliff, its wing lifting limply before it slipped off the rocks and into the water.

“This storm,” Raphael said softly on the heels of a third bird hitting the ground at Elena’s feet, its tiny body broken, feathers matted a dull red from the crushing impact, “is not so ordinary after all.”





2





Elena stood inside their home, staring out at the world through the sliding glass doors of the library. That world had gone insane. Birds continued to fall from the sky, the “cloud” created of thousands upon thousands of their tiny forms. Elena’s instincts urged her to do something, stop the terrible rain, but there was nothing she could do.

The river had quickly emptied where the birds circled, and Elena hoped most people caught under the edge of the massive cloud that now encompassed part of Manhattan would have the good sense to duck under shelter, or into the subways to escape the bombardment.

“Have you ever heard of anything like this?” she asked the archangel beside her.

“No. I—” Words slicing off in midthought, he slid open the doors. “Stay here.”

“Where are you—” Her question caught in her throat as she realized the wings above and crashing into the Hudson were suddenly far bigger than those of the dying birds.

Angels were falling from the skies.

Though the urge to follow Raphael as he dove off toward the water filled with broken wings was a drumbeat in her skull, Elena forced herself to use her brain. The birds were falling at speeds akin to a fastball, complete with sharp beaks that would shred wings if they hit at the wrong angle, and she wasn’t powerful enough to survive many of those hits in the air, nor agile enough in flight to avoid them. She’d only be a liability out there.

But she could be an asset here. “Montgomery!” she cried, running out of the library.

The butler ran out into the central core of the house just as she reached it. “Guild Hunter?” He was dressed in his usual impeccable black suit, but his eyes held the same disbelief that was ice in Elena’s blood.

“We need to set up an infirmary,” she said. “Raphael is closer to this side of the river and likely to bring the fallen here.” She looked around the central core—it was huge by any measure, but angelic wings took up space, and they had no way of knowing the number of injured about to come in. “We’ll start here, but we might also have to rig up something in the yard. It’ll have to be strong enough to block the birds.”

“I’ll get things under way.” The butler disappeared in a startling rush of speed that was a silent reminder that beneath his dignity and plummy British accent, Montgomery was deadlier than any vamp she’d ever hunted.

Her cell phone rang as she was about to make her way to the cliffs—if she could help haul the injured inside, then Raphael could focus on rescue. Glancing at the screen as she ran to the doors, she saw it was her best friend. “Sara?”

“Ellie, we have angels hitting the streets.” Stark shock, but below that was the steely strength that made Sara head of a guild formed of some of the most lethal men and women in the country. “Our people are rendering aid where they can, but I have reports of angels hanging broken off gargoyles on skyscrapers and stuck on church steeples.”

Elena blew out a shuddering breath at the horrendous images. “Call the Tower.” She rattled off a number that’d give Sara direct access to Aodhan. “If he’s out of action”—dear God—“someone else will be there to cover.”

Hanging up without further words, confident Sara would understand, Elena ran across a lawn scattered with bloodied birds, their eyes filmed over with the oblivion of death. However, the tiny corpses were far enough apart that it was clear both the house and the grounds were under the very edge of the affected zone. Fear a metallic taste on her tongue, she hoped the deaths had been caused by the impact, and not by the reason for the fall, because, unlike the birds, an angel could survive countless broken bones.

“I have him!” she called out to Raphael as he came in, an angel in his arms.

“He’s not breathing, his back is broken, and his heart has stopped.” Putting the lithely muscled angel on the clifftop, Raphael swept off, but his mind remained connected to her own. Tell Montgomery to take medical measures—the male is too young to survive otherwise.

I will. Hauling one of the angel’s thankfully unbroken arms over her shoulders—ignoring the conventional teachings about broken backs because this wasn’t a mortal—she gritted her teeth and got to her feet. The victim’s shattered body was soaked from his fall, his wings dead weight. It was as well that as a born hunter, she’d always been stronger than most humans. Her growing immortality had only cemented that strength.

Still, she was glad to see Montgomery race out to take the angel’s weight on the other side, neither one of them flinching as two birds hit their backs hard enough to bruise. “Medical measures,” she managed to get out as they traversed the distance to the house as fast as possible; she hadn’t known until now that there were any medical measures—at least of the ordinary kind—that could be applied to angels.