Daimon (Guardians of Hades #6) - Felicity Heaton

Chapter 1

This wasn’t going well.

Daimon slipped a throwing knife from the holster that sat against his ribs over his navy roll-neck long-sleeve, and funnelled his power into it before sending it flying at the daemon running right at him across the dewy moonlit grass of Hyde Park. The small blade hit its target, nailing the human-looking male in the chest. Ice immediately spread outwards from the point of impact and the male grunted and went down clutching his chest as glittering frost flowers rapidly covered it. His skin darkened, turning mottled in the low light, appearing almost black.

Beside Daimon, his older brother Ares unleashed a wave of fire at another two daemons, driving them back, and tossed a fireball at a third.

They had expected this.

What they hadn’t expected was that it would take so long to close one of the main gates.

Behind him, Valen grunted and muttered a black curse in the mortal tongue. The scent of his brother’s blood hung heavily in the damp autumnal night air. Worry ran through Daimon, and not only him. Ares flicked a concerned glance over his broad shoulder, the fires of the Underworld raging in his eyes, making them glow in the darkness.

Eva bit out something in Italian. She had stopped speaking English around five minutes ago, when Valen had announced the gate was resisting his attempt to seal it and had decided to spill more of his blood in the hope it would speed the process along since twenty daemons had descended on them.

“I’m going to need more,” Valen gritted, his voice tight and speaking of the frustration Daimon could feel in him.

As well as the pain.

“Too risky,” Ares answered as a whip made of fire appeared in his right hand and he narrowed his gaze on the trees that enclosed one side of the area around the gate. Daemons spilled from them, cutting across the paths and the grass, heading right for him. He grunted as he lashed out at the daemons with the flaming whip, driving them back and stopping them from reaching Valen. “You sure you’re using the right wards? Or doing them right? I mean, we all know how shitty your wards are.”

Valen chuckled, the sound out of place given the graveness of the situation. “Don’t know what you’re talking about. My wards are beautiful.”

They weren’t. Valen had never bothered to apply himself when it came to studying wards. Their father, Hades, the god-king of the Underworld, had gone as far as calling them bad. It took a lot for their father to admit to a fault in any of his sons, let alone point it out to the entire family.

“You’re definitely using the right ones?” Daimon didn’t take his eyes off the daemons as they made another attempt to get past him and Ares, breaking into four teams of four and coming at them in one wave.

The longer this war to protect the gates between the mortal realm and the Underworld went on, the more organised the daemons were becoming. He swore the enemy were training them, teaching them how to fight as a unit—turning them into soldiers.

He had to admit he’d preferred it when the daemons had been lone wolves, only a few of them reckless enough to succumb to the lure of breaching a gate and entering the Underworld—a realm they were forbidden to enter.

Just like Daimon and his brothers.

Only unlike the daemons, he could go home once this war was done.

He drew down a breath and threw his right hand forwards as he summoned his power. The dew on the grass became a thousand tiny ice needles that flew through the air and hammered into one of the daemons, taking him down. The female daemon who had been running beside that wretched male shrieked as she was caught by a few of the small spears of ice, her ear-splitting cry piercing enough that Daimon flinched and his next wave missed their target.

“Exactly as Cal told me.” Valen huffed and water sloshed as he moved, a reminder to Daimon to keep his distance from his brother since standing in the Round Pond was the only way for Valen to get close enough to the gate to spill his blood on it. The last thing Daimon wanted was to accidentally freeze the small lake. Valen grumbled, “And Keras hammered home around thirty times.”

His violet-haired brother wasn’t embellishing that.

Keras, their oldest brother and self-appointed leader, had sat Valen down on one of the cream couches in the Tokyo