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The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 45

Frustration spiked. “Even her father is not answering our calls.”

Picking up the skirt of her dress, Karina stepped down from the dais. “You should try summoning him again.”

I held back a curse. “That would be useless.” And catastrophic, because when Apollo inevitably ignored my summons once again, I was going to want to blow something big up.

“Did you know that temples are like conduits to Olympus?” she asked. “The gods can hear your prayers much more clearly here.” She stopped beside me. “Especially if you shed a little blood over fire.”

My eyes narrowed. “What?”

“You should try it.” She breezed on by. “I will await outside.”

Turning, I watched her glide across the temple floor and out the door. My gaze moved upward, to the open panel that let the sunlight in. What she had just said sounded absolutely insane, but what could I lose in trying?

If the Olympians created the bands, then Apollo had to know how to get them off. Going to him for help made me want to punch myself in the nuts, but I was willing to do anything for Josie.

Striding across the floor, I stepped up on the dais and approached the altar. I seriously doubted this was going to work, but I picked up the dagger anyway. Spill blood over flame? Shaking my head, I drew the dagger down the center of my palm. A thin line of blood welled up. Fisting my hand over the flame, I squeezed until a few drops of blood seeped out of my hand.

My brows lifted. “What the hell?”

The blood was red, but there was a blue sheen to it. And it shimmered.

My fucking blood shimmered now.

Inhaling raggedly, I watched a few drops of blood hit the flame. Fire sizzled and crackled. Drawing my hand back, the smoke turned black and then gray. Cursing under my breath, I lifted my gaze to the ceiling. “Apollo? If you can hear me, you need to get your ass down here now. Your daughter needs you.”

I waited.

Nothing.

Closing my eyes, I shook my head. What was I thinking? He wouldn’t even come for his own—

A burst of pure power filled the temple, coasting over my skin like I had touched a live wire. My eyes flew open as the back of my neck tingled.

“You called?”

Chapter 24

The sound of Apollo’s voice filled me with warring emotions. I was relieved that he finally, finally had answered because maybe he could help Josie. I was also infuriated by his mere presence.

I turned slowly, facing him, and there he was.

Apollo stood in the center of the temple, his all-white eyes glowing like two fucking light bulbs. There was a time, a very brief moment in time, when I’d actually reluctantly respected Apollo. That time occurred once when he was masquerading as Leon, a pure-blooded Sentinel. There might had been a time after I knew what he was, like when he made sure Alex had been taken care of when Ares had broken every bone in her body.

Right now, I wanted nothing more than to knock his head off his shoulders.

“It’s about time,” I said, jaw clenched. “Got to admit. Kind of surprised you had the balls to show up.”

Apollo lifted his chin. “You cannot harm me inside a temple.”

“So, what? You basically get to yell ‘safe’ in a temple?”

“If we were playing a game of tag,” he replied. “Then yes.”

My hands curled into fists.

“The blood you shed on the flame nullifies our abilities while in the temple. I cannot harm you and you can only stand there and pout. And by the way, do not doubt whether or not I have the balls to do anything.”

There were so many things I could say in response to that, but there were more important things to discuss. “Where in the fuck have you been? Your daughter was captured by Hyperion. Your daughter, Apollo. Do you even know what he—” I cut myself off as I took another step forward. “I summoned you. Alex summoned you. Where were you?”

Apollo held still. “Where were you, Seth? The last I checked you weren’t there, either.”

“Oh, trust me. I know exactly where I’ve been and why I’ve been there. And I also know exactly the huge-ass fucking mistake I made when I left Josie. I did it because I thought she would be safer away from me. That’s no excuse. I’ll never regret anything more in my life. But you . . . How could you not know what was happening to her? How could you not feel it?”

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