I didn’t believe him. Not for one second.
Perses knelt in front of me. His cool fingers pressed under my chin, forcing my head back. “Well, you’re awake. Can you stand?”
A huge part of me wanted to ignore his question, but I drew back a scant couple of inches. Drawing in a shallow, stunted breath, I planted my hands into the packed dirt and pushed myself up.
“Interesting,” Perses said, rising. “I was beginning to wonder if you were dead.”
“Not yet,” I rasped out, getting my legs under me. I stood and I swayed. Wait—did I sway, or did the actual room sway?
I thought I took a step forward, but that’s not what happened. My right knee gave out and then my left leg followed. I hit the ground, but didn’t really feel the impact.
“Hell,” Perses muttered as his gaze roamed over where I’d fallen. His face blurred in and out as I stared up at him. “You’re worse off than expected.”
Part of me wanted to laugh. What had he expected? Honestly? But the laugh never came. Air wheezed in and out of my lungs as black dots filled my vision. I couldn’t get enough oxygen in my lungs. My muscles clenched painfully, and my heartbeat stuttered. Something . . . something was very wrong with my body. Like it was shutting down and there was nothing to stop it.
The last thing I heard before the darkness wrapped around me was Perses sighing and saying, “He’s going to be so pissed off.”
“So it’s true?” Aiden stalked around the front of the Benz, coming to stand so he blocked Alex. “You’re a god.”
Any other time I would’ve laughed at his oh-so obvious act of protection, but there wasn’t an ounce of humor residing in me. Only my rage and terror for Josie existed. “How could you let this happen?”
Aiden stiffened as if his spine had been hollowed out and replaced with steel. “How could we let this happen? Where in the hell were you?”
“I tried to stop him.” Alex stepped out from behind Aiden, and I finally got a good look at her. A fading bruise covered the side of her face. Those bruises continued down to her right arm. “So did Aiden. He came out of nowhere, and we weren’t prepared. We all were exhausted and—” She cut herself off. When she spoke again, her voice was hoarse. “We fought him, Seth. We did everything we could to keep him from taking Josie, but we couldn’t stop him.”
“He would’ve killed Alex.” Aiden’s voice was hard. “He was going to kill all of us.”
Exhaling roughly, I knew my anger with them was unreasonable and misplaced, because I was pissed at myself and I knew who was truly to blame. My gaze flicked back to Alex. “You okay?”
She nodded as she walked forward, stopping a few feet from me. Her gaze roamed over me. “You don’t look any different.” Her brows pinched. “I mean, if you’re a god now, wouldn’t you look more . . . I don’t know, godly?”
“I think I’ve always looked godly.”
Behind her Aiden rolled his eyes. “Can we talk?”
Stepping aside, I waved my hand and the heavy gates swung open silently. “I’ll meet you inside.”
Aiden opened his mouth to respond, but I willed myself to the receiving room, a large chamber to the right of what I now guessed was the throne room.
Basil appeared like a wraith. “We have guests?”
“Yes. Alex and Aiden.” I walked over to the small fridge under the well-used liquor cabinet and grabbed a chilled bottle of water. “I’m guessing you know who they are?”
He nodded, “Of course, Kýrios.”
“Could you stop with the ‘Kýrios’ stuff for a bit?”