Lies & Omens
Author: Lyn Benedict
Shadow Inquiries #4
Released: 24 April 2012
Sylvie got halfway down the hall – now, a winding stone tube that looked like it had been bored by a giant serpent – and paused, her first exhilaration fading. Erinya was a double-edged sword. She could find Demalion, but finding Demalion also meant finding the Good Sisters. Sylvie didn’t want Erinya anywhere near them. Erinya hated witches enough that nothing else mattered to her once she was hunting. The airport was proof of that.
Tackling the world’s most malevolent and largest coven might be a lot to handle, but Sylvie thought she was capable of it. With Zoe at her side, with Demalion scouting the way. Even with Marah, should she be inclined to lend her bloody talents. Erinya … she might take out Sylvie’s allies while going after the witches, leaving Sylvie attempting to stop the witches and minimizing Erinya’s massive wave of death and destruction.
Sylvie U-turned, went back toward the sound of running water, and stepped inside the changed bathroom. Zoe, sitting in a small pond beneath another waterfall, jerked, and said, “What? You can’t tell me I’m using all the hot water, because I don’t think there is any. Or, apparently, any privacy.” SHe sank lower in the water.
“Sorry,” Sylvie said. She crouched down near the pool, said, “Look. I need your help. I need you to do something for me.”
Sylvie had to grin. “No. When you’ve cleaned up to your satifaction, found fresh clothing, maybe had a latte.”
“There was no coffeepot – “
“Just ask Alex for one,” Sylvie said. “The thing is I need Erinya distracted. You’re a witch. You’re about the biggest distraction I’ve got. Sure as hell the only one I trust.”
“No,” Zoe siad. “She squished Merrow.”
“She won’t squish you,” Sylvie said.
“You’re sure? I mean, really sure. Mom would be so pissed if you got me squished.”
“She hesitated to kill Marah on the grounds of being family, and she’s not even close. You should be fine.”
“Marah? The ISI agent that the witches were tracking?”
“Is that how they found Demalion – never mind, answer’s obvious. Yeah. Marah. The point being, she actively tried to kill Erinya, and Erinya didn’t turn her into chunks. But… don’t try to kill Erinya. Just to be safe.”
“Why am I doing this?” Zoe said. “What re you going to be doing?”
“Ostensibly, taking my own shower,” Sylvie said. “I need some private space to talk to someone she doesn’t like. I want her distracted so she doesn’t notice his arrival.”
“No names,” Sylvie said. “At least, not until Erinya’s distracted.”
“This is important?”
“Yeah, Zo. It is. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Eri’s out of control.”
“And you think provoking her will help keep her under control? Sounds sketchy. I mean, I’ll do it. But this had better work.”
“It’s a total gamble.”
Zoe grimaced. “Great. Hand me a towel.”
“They’re growing from that tree.”
“Ah, so they are,” Sylvie said. She wondered when she was going to stop feeling that dull shock of surprise. Probably around the same time her low-grade discomfort faded. Too much power in the air for the Lilith’s blood in her veins. All this loose magic. It set her teeth on edge.
Sylvie tossed her one and headed out. Val’s mansion had six bathrooms last count. Sylvie wanted to find one as far from Erinya as she could get.
The guest room where she’d stayed with Demalion was at the back of the house, and Sylvie aimed for that with good results. Found it and its attached bath both empty, and more pleasingly, not completely changed over to Erinya’s world yet. The bathroom still had a shower, still had recognizable dials amidst the twining vines. She turned on the water, stripped down, figuring she might as well get in a shower before she had to use a waterfall, and closed her eyes. She listened for magic, listened for any shivering sense that Erinya was approaching and, instead, got a sudden screech of outrage.
Zoe had distracted Erinya successfully, it seemed.