Reclaimed by Jaymin Eve

I didn’t even argue about that. The Library of Knowledge and Shadow’s lair were two priceless libraries, filled with vast quantities of books about the universe. They had to be protected at all costs. Not to mention all the beings who either resided there or visited daily could be in danger because of me, and I’d never forgive myself if any of them got hurt.

“So what now?” I asked, my heart pounding in my chest at the reality of what we were facing. Hundreds of creatures. More than we’d ever seen or taken down before, and I had not a single clue how to fix this.

Shadow didn’t answer, but he did shift me behind him so he could immobilize two creatures who were ready to attack. He moved so quickly that I only just caught sight of the beasts with their Addams Family look—long, dark brown hair completely over their faces—before they went down under Shadow’s power. He trussed them up with some dark smoke energy, just as a large sprecker pounced from the side.

“Stop!” I commanded, without thought. It had been an instinctive move, and despite the somewhat defective nature of my instincts these days, this time it was right on the money.

Not only did the sprecker stop, but the other creatures did as well. The silence that followed was near deafening, after the noise from before.

Shadow straightened, his face impassive as he stared around the theater basement. He wasn’t the only one, as I took a good look at what I’d done.

I was controlling the entire room of creatures, and as I had that realization, the energy strain on my body almost knocked me to my knees. “Shadow, I can’t hold them,” I bit out through gritted teeth.

“You have to hold them, Mera,” he snapped. “If they’re restrained in this way, I might be able to move them into the prison rooms.”

He looked around, and as if they’d been waiting for his call, Reece and Lucien appeared in front of us. “Is her friend safe?” Shadow asked them.

Reece nodded, his cobalt blue eyes filled with dark emotions, near turning them black. “Yep. We got her out of here and back into their main pack house.”

Lucien chuckled, flashing some fang, his blond hair more tousled than usual. “Simone cursed us out the entire way and made us promise that Mera would be safe when this was all done. She has fire, and I have to say… why have we not spent more time with humans?”

Simone was safe. The relief I felt at hearing this almost sent me to my knees, which were already weak and shaky. Reece smiled at me, and as he dropped a heavy hand on my shoulder, I crumpled forward. Shadow caught me before I faceplanted. “Careful,” he warned, a growl in his chest. I wasn’t sure which one of us he was warning, but Reece’s hand lightened, and I was able to stand on my own again.

“I left extra safeguards around the pack house for tonight,” Reece told me as he shuffled back a step, running a hand over his shaved head. “No creature will get in there.”

Lucien flashed more fang as he looked around, semi-amused by the chaos. “Your overcautious approach was a waste of god-juice. Shadow’s little Sunshine has managed to lock the realm creatures down with her particular brand of magic.”

Shadow didn’t correct him on me being “his sunshine.” Instead, he focused on the way I was clearly slumping forward, all but resting against him.

“She’s weakening,” he said. “We need to get the creatures into a prison room, and hope it’s strong enough to contain this many of them.”

“Why did you save Simone?” I asked randomly, my head fuzzy. It had been the first question he asked his friends, and that was odd… right?

Shadow let out a low, suffering sigh. “Because she’s important to you.”

Such a simple answer, but he meant it. The truth was in his voice and eyes. “You didn’t kill Dannie, did you?” In my rage, I hadn’t given him a chance to admit or deny his guilt. I’d heard his name uttered by Dogshit Dean, and I’d stupidly jumped to conclusions. But logically, if he cared about Simone because of me, it stood to reason he wouldn’t have taken part in Dannie’s death, either.

Please say no. Please say no.

“No. I did not kill Dannie.”

Thank fuck. It legitimately felt like a ten-ton weight had been lifted from my soul in that moment.

“I had nothing to do with her disappearance, Mera, and I will explain everything as soon as we deal with the creatures.”

Right, that little issue.

“I have an idea,” I said wearily, “and like most of my ideas, it’ll probably be a lesson in disaster, but fuck, what other options do we have with this many of them here?”

Three sets of ancient, powerful, perfectly unique eyes locked on me. Red and gold, deep blue, and a forest green so striking it was almost mesmerizing. Fancy fuckers.

“What’s your idea?” Shadow asked, reminding me that we were running out of time here.

“For some reason, I’m able to command these creatures,” I said. “If I open a path again, I can send them back through to the realm.”

I stumbled forward, a cough bursting from me as I struggled to catch my breath.

“You’re tapped out with energy,” Reece said softly, and he nudged Lucien out of the way so he could scoop me up into his arms. I wanted to protest, but he caught me just as my legs were about to give way. “Let Shadow do his thing. He can work with the hold you already have.”