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Crescent City Refresher | Part III | The Canyon

PART III - The Canyon Chapter Breakdown

PART IV - The Ravine & epilogue Chapter Breakdown





Seriously. Don't blame me past this point.




Chapter 38 *Hunt and Bryce*

Hunt thinks it makes sense that Sabine would be behind this. Hunt calls Isaiah and asks him to look back at his notes and remind him what Sabine said the night Danika died. Isaiah reads it word by word, and when it gets to the part where Sabine calls Bryce a slut, she flinches. Hunt puts his hand on her knee to comfort her. After the phone call, Bryce and Hunt talk about Sabine as a suspect. Bryce doesn't think Sabine has the horn, because what would be the point of summoning the demon? While Bryce is talking, Hunt is having very filthy thoughts about sucking on each of her toes, and working his way up to her thighs.

All of Bryce's thoughts about Sabine have Bryce needing to let off steam and go for a run. Hunt reminds her its 1am, but she doesn't care. And she wants to go alone. He says no. He follows her around the city, keeping pace and not complaining, as she runs for an hour. She is in obvious pain from her thigh by time they get home. Hunt asks her if the pain happens often, and she lies and says no. He gives her a look, to let her know he knows she is full of it, and she relents and says sometimes. He asks her if she has ever got it checked out by a med-witch, and she lies again and says yes, and goes to bed.

Art by Talia Nobel

One of my favorite bookish artist. Check her out here

Chapter 39 *Ruhn*

Ruhn goes to a Med-Witch clinic. He was impressed with the witches intelligence at the crime scene, and asked if he could meet with her to discuss a theory he has, and she agreed. She has him wait in the garden while she finishes up with a patient. When she comes out, she has lunch and tea. Ruhn asks her if a magical artifact, if its sentient, could be healed. After a few questions, she figures out he is talking about Luna's Horn. She wouldn't think its possible, but with the advancement in technology, and combining of magic and machine, she thinks its possible. Ruhn asks if her queen would have any knowledge that could help him. She tells him Hypaxia is still in mourning, and not seeing anyone until the summit - and suggest he tries to talk to her then.

Art by Stacia Reveries

Every time I see this picture it makes me smile. Check out her work here

Chapter 40 *Hunt and Bryce*

Hunt is sitting on the rooftop, when Isaiah lands beside him, with a message from Vic to meet her at her office in the labs. Hunt notices Isaiah is tired. Isaiah says the other malakim, and staff are scared of Sandriel. He has been up all night trying to calm everyone down. Hunt swallows down his own reluctance being near her, and offers to help him, which surprises Isaiah. Instead of answering, he asks Hunt if he thinks Jesiba really turns her exes and enemies into animals. Hunt says he hopes not, thinking of Bryce, who is currently pretending to not fall asleep at her desk right now.

While Hunt and Isaiah talk, Hunt gets a text from Bryce. He see's that Bryce has gotten into his phone again and and changed her contact name to "Bryce Rocks my Socks" with a corny picture of herself. She tells him the rooftop isn't a pigeon roost. Isaiah, who see's Hunt's phone, reminds Hunt that there are worst punishments than death. Hunt knows.

Hunt talks Bryce into looking at the city while he flies them to the lab. Bryce refuses, until Hunt bribes her with a milkshake (and his deep, sexy voice that makes her toes curl). When they get to the lab, Vic shows them a tiny clip she caught of the Kristallos demon the night before, and it seemed to be hanging out around the Den. Bryce has flashbacks of the bodies of her friends, and Hunt, who see's her tense, puts his hand on her thigh and squeezes. He wraps a wing gently around her. Bryce notices Vic with a wary expression when she see's this. When Hunt removes his hand, she looks back at Vic and she is giving Hunt a look of warning.

Art by Sally

Another one of my favorite scenes <3 Check out her work here

Chapter 41 *Hunt and Bryce*

Hunt is watching Bryce try to drag Syrinx out of Griffins Antiquities. Syrinx is starting to bring up the carpet in his effort to not go out in the rain. Hunt concentrates and with effort, uses his magic to lift up Syrinx and brings him to his arms. They go outside, and he passes Syrinx to Bryce, then lifts them both up and flies them home.

After Bryce quickly changes into athletic clothes, Hunt and her head to the Rose Gate, where Vic got the footage of the Kristallos the night before. They don't find any clues, and Bryce is grumpy. Hunt takes a picture of Bryce all pissy in the rain. Hunt wonders if maybe they were wrong about the ley lines. There is something else under the ground something or someone could travel through without being seen: the sewers. Hunt and Bryce look down in a sewer grate. Despite Bryce's disgust, she thinks they should go down there. Hunt refuses because he doesn't have enough weapons with him. Bryce tells him to just do his lightning thing if he needs to, which makes him laugh. He reminds her lightning and water do not mix. He tells her all sewer ways lead to the Istros. He has a Many Waters contact they can talk to. Bryce wants to do it tonight, but Hunt says daytime is safer by the water.

Hunt tells Bryce he has fun with her, and he hasn't had fun in a long time. In his head, he doesn't think he has every had fun really. Bryce says the longer he spends time with her, he just might get rid of that stick up his ass. Hunt takes another picture of her, and tells her he would rather have a stick up his ass than look like a drowned rat.

Bryce and Hunt go back to the apartment and head to their respective showers. While Bryce can't scrub enough to feel clean, Hunt knocks on the door and asks where the extra soap is. She tells him its in the linen closet. A moment later he knocks again, and asks her what this is. Bryce, who thinks something is wrong, jumps out of the shower, wraps herself up in a towel, and comes out. Hunt is standing there in his own towel, and holding a purple glittery unicorn-Pegasus. She points out the soap was right in front of him ... how did he find that. He says he say purple glitter. She stares at him, and asks him if he thought it was a sex toy. He denies it, but his obvious embarrassment shows he did think this. He asks why she has a box of toys in the closet. She tells him that they are collectors toys. When she was a child, she was teased a lot because she was a half Fae. One year, the number one hot toy for little girls was the rare Jelly Jubilee - the purple, glittery unicorn-Pegasus. Her mother went to the next town over to get her one. When the other kids saw what she had, they started to play with her.

As she walks back towards the shower, she tells Hunt that if he ever wants to check out her vibrators, just ask. They are in her left nightstand. Hunt gets flustered and called her a pain in the ass. She says she would rather be a pain in the ass than a snooping pervert, which makes him snarl.

Art by SnCinder

Chapter 42 *Bryce and Hunt*

Hunt and Bryce are waiting by the Istros River, to meet with Hunt's contact. A male Mer swims up. Hunt introduces Tharion and Bryce. They immediately start flirting. Bryce smiles like she did that morning, when Hunt knocked on her bedroom door to check if she was ready to leave, and his eye went straight for her nightstand. They ask Tharion if he has noticed anything odd. When they tell him about the murders, he says he will keep an eye out. He asks if he should warn his Queen to pull their people. Hunt doesn't think it follows the pattern, but it wouldn't hurt.

At a distance, a boat sails by, heading to the Bone Quarter. Tharion bets 5 marks it will tip, which disgusts Bryce. Behind them, an otter passes by and jumps in the river with a message. Bryce starts squealing and looks delighted. Bryce admits the otters are one of the reasons she moved to Crescent City. They are the most magical thing to her.

As they leave the river, Bryce asks Hunt how him and Tharion met. Hunt was assigned to help with an investigation into a string of mer murders. Tharion's little sister was one of the victims. When he found the killer, he passed him over to Tharion.

Back at the office, Lehabah asks Hunt if Bryce is being nice to him. Hunt asks her what she would do if he said no. Lehabah says she would burn Bryce's lunches for a month. Bryce takes a moment to check out Hunt while he researches the Kristallos. He tells her they need more evidence against Sabine. He can't go to Micah with the little they have.

Hunt notices Danika's leather jacket on a chair beside him. He mentions he saw the picture in the guest room, with Danika wearing it. Bryce tells him Danika used to store things here instead of heading to the apartment or the Den. The day she died she stored her coat there. She didn't want Sabine to have it, so she kept it. Bryce tells Hunt that the quote "Through love, all is possible" meant a lot to Danika. It was because it was the only thing the Oracle told her. Hunt understands why Bryce kept the coat. He tells her about the sunball cap she teases him about. He bought it with his first paycheck from Micah. He wanted something normal. Bryce says that he has his hat, and she has jelly jubilee. Hunt says he is surprised Bryce doesn't have a tattoo of Jelly Jubilee. She see's him looking her over. She asks who says she doesn't have one. She could see him thinking of what he has seen of her body - which is quite a lot considering she used to walk through her apartment in her underwear - and the location of said tattoo would have to be very intimate. Hunt asks if she has the tattoo. Bryce thinks if it was any other male, she would tell him to come and find out. She would have crawled on his lap, unbuckled his belt, and sank down on him, riding him until they were both moaning and breathless. Instead, Bryce tells Hunt there are a few males he could ask. Hunt is quiet. She can feel his eyes her before he shifts in his chair. Hunt says they need to concentrate on Sabine, which ruins the moment.

Bryce asks how can they get intel on her without being obvious. Bryce looks at Hunt, and see's he is flushed, and his eyes glittered. He looked like he was thinking of touching and tasting her. Bryce thinks they need to bring their questions straight to Sabine.

Chapter 43 *Bryce*

Bryce and Hunt arrive at the den. Bryce barely slept, going back and forth on if this was a good idea or not. Hunt offered to go alone, but Bryce felt she needed to go - for Danika. There are 4 guards at the gate - members of the Black Rose Pack. Amelie Ravenclaw, the alpha, asks Bryce what she is doing there. Hunt tells her they are here to see the Prime on behalf of Micah. Amelie says Bryce is hanging out with interesting company, and that Danika would have approved. She alludes to a rumor that Bryce and Danika had a foursome with two deamonaki, and perhaps they would have shared Hunt as well. Bryce smiles, and tells Amelie it was actually 3 deamonaki, which pisses off Amelie. She calls Bryce a stupid slut, which pisses off Hunt. Bryce tells Amelie to radio the Prime and flicks her fingers as if dismissing her. Amelia threatens Bryce, and another wolf tells Bryce she should leave and go find a male to fuck in the bathroom again. When Hunt stands in front of Bryce, Amelie tells him to go ahead. Hunt reminds Amelie that there are wolf pups playing in sight of them, and they shouldn't expose them to the kind of fight they would have. He tells her she can let them in to see the Prime, or they can come back with a warrant - which will probably piss Sabine off. Amelie calls in for someone to take them to see the Prime.

Bryce starts to panic. Memories of Danika at the Den, playing with the wolf pups are playing in her head. Amelie smiles, seeing that Bryce is in pain. When Amelie says she should be thanking Bryce for her position, as she wouldn't have got it if Danika and the Pack of Devils was still alive. Since her drunken texts to Danika distracted her, which led to the demon killing them. Bryce tells Amelie that Danika was 1000 times better than her, and not matter what position Amelie finds herself in, it will never be equal to the position Danika was. Amelie is about to shift and attack, when a male voice tells her Bryce isn't worth it. The male is Ithan - Connors younger brother.

As Ithan leads them through the Den to see the Prime, Bryce wants to puke. Ithan holds a door open for them, and when Bryce walks by, Ithan bares his teeth at her and growls. Remembering that night, she lowers her head in shame, and he smiles. He tells them that the Prime is napping, so they will see Sabine instead, which Bryce and Hunt were secretly counting on. Bryce remembers the days after the murders. The voicemails of Connor bawling, and the texts - all she left unanswered. Until the final text sent the day before the sailings, telling Bryce she wasn't welcome.

Sabine tells them they have some nerve showing up there. Hunt tells her they are investigating Danika and the packs murders, and Sabine tells them to stay out of their business. She asks Bryce where her sword is, and Bryce refuses to answer. Hunt tells her they need the Prime to confirm Danika's whereabouts the night the horn went missing. Sabine questions why that matters. Hunt wants to know why the Kristallos demon would have come after Danika. Sabine doesn't react to the demon finally having a name. Sabine tells them Danika wasn't at the temple when the horn was being stolen - which they know it a lie. When Sabine asks why they think she was at the temple, Bryce says she remembers Danika mentioning it to her. Sabine tells her it would be hard to remember when one is drunk, high and fucking strangers. Bryce tells her she is right, and that this was a mistake.

Hunt and her start to leave, but Ithan trails them. He asks what this is all about. Hunt tells him its classified, but Bryce quietly tells him that the murders are starting up again. To be careful and warn his pack. Ithan tells them that if he hears anything he will let them know. He has Bryce's number ... if she bothers to reply. Ithan tells Bryce that she never deserved Connor. She tells him she knows. Ithan tells her it was stupid to come to the Den - that Sabine wants her dead. Bryce tells him likewise. She than tells Ithan that Connor would be ashamed to see that he lets Amelie be his alpha - that he lets her run rampant. Ithan tells her to never speak Connors name. As they leave the Den, Amelia calls her trash and the wolves laugh.

I would love to credit this artist, but I can't read the name! If anyone knows, please let me know so I can give the credit deserved, because this is sweet <3

Chapter 44 *Bryce and Hunt*

While eating lunch back at the apartment, Hunt says they need to catch Sabine in the act. Bryce just wants it done and tells him to arrest her. He tells her that isn't possible without irrefutable proof. Hunt asks Bryce what Amelie's problem is with her. Bryce asks him if he saw the texts and pictures that were leaked to the media, which he had. Bryce explains that for Amelie, she had had feelings for Connor since she was a child. After she saw the messages between her and Connor, she realized that her feelings were never returned because of his feelings for Bryce. Aside from that, the wolves hate her. By agreeing to the date with Connor, and their feelings for one another made public, she was essentially mated to Connor in the wolves eyes. They see her actions that night as a betrayal. They even made up a song, made of of lyrics from her text "I just hooked up with someone in the bathroom. Don't tell Connor" and sing it when they see her.

Bryce quietly remembers a night two winters ago. Someone printed out a 1000 lyric sheets of the song, along with album art made up from photos she snapped that night at the club. She snapped. She went up to the roof to burn the package, but instead she walked to the ledge. As if she could sense something bad was about to happen, Juniper called her. Bryce mentioned being on the roof of her building. Juniper kept Bryce on the phone until she arrived. She led Bryce away from the ledge, helped her burn the package, and they went downstairs to watch tv. Juniper didn't leave her side for 3 days.

Hunt tells Bryce that she has been great to work with. Bryce tells Hunt a little bit about the training her step-dad gave her, in regards to guns and self-defense. Jesiba starts texting, in a pissy mood. Bryce tells Hunt he should probably hang out on the roof today in case Jesiba checks the cameras.

Later, on the roof, Hunt contemplates what happened at the Den. He had seen the texts and photos after they leaked to the media, but he didn't think of what that would have been like for Bryce. How the wolves hate her. More and more of her actions made sense to him now. Not drinking, or dancing - and why she wasn't at the Sailing that day.

Art by Alice Marie Power

Chapter 45 *Bryce and Hunt*

Bryce is in her apartment on the phone with Juniper. She signals to Hunt, who is outside, that she is safe, and he flies off to meet his Triarii for drinks. Juniper tells Bryce she got her a spot in a really difficult to get into dance class. Bryce tells her she isn't really interested, but Juniper talks her into a maybe, with no promises. Bryce invites Juniper over, but she can't. After hanging up, Bryce calls Fury, and it goes straight to voicemail. Unable to stand the quiet of her apartment anymore, she gets ready to go out. Knowing she promised on the gods she would stay inside, she shrugs it off, because she doesn't pray to the gods anymore.

Hunt has drank half a beer when his phone rings, and he knows its Naomi, telling him Bryce left the apartment. Naomi tells him that she is all glammed up and headed towards FiRo. Hunt pays for his drink, and reads the coordinates Naomi sends him - a night garden in FiRo. He flies there. Bryce told him he didn't need to come - she knew he had left her a babysitter. Hunt asks her is she was going anywhere particular. She says no - and says she is waiting for him to start yelling. He tells her he will start yelling when he finds out what was important enough for her to break her promise. She says nothing is important. Hunt picks up on her mood and asks her what is wrong. She says nothing. The quiet bothers her sometimes. He reminds her he invited her to the bar with him, but she brings up that she is a civilian, and his friends wouldn't have been able to relax with her around - which he can't argue with.

Bryce tells him he can go back to his friends and leave her with Naomi - but he tells her she has already left. Bryce asks Hunt if him and Naomi ever hooked up. He tells her no, but thinks to himself that Naomi hinted to wanting to in the past. When Hunt asks if Bryce was on her way to meet her friends, she tells him she has only one friend these days, and she is busy. She was just going for a walk alone. When he grabs her elbow, she asks him if this is when he is going to start yelling. He asks her if he would like her to yell at her, and the sexual tension becomes thick. She said maybe, and he laughs and tells her it can be arranged. As he is staring in her eyes, neither of them heard to kristallos demon in the garden, and it attacks Hunt.

Art by Salome Totladze

Chapter 46 *Bryce and Ruhn*

Bryce knows Hunt only has time for one thing: either shove her away or grab a weapon. Hunt shoves her away. He does manage to stab it with one of his knives, but it doesn't do much, and he has been injured, with a bite from the kristallos on the shoulder. His lightning seems to be weakening, before sputtering out completely. Hunt tells Bryce to call for back up, but she is in shock, watching Hunt struggle with the demon. Hunt calls out for her again. This time, she reacts, but instead of calling for back up, she grabs a gun from Hunt's holster, and takes aim. The demon senses her, and leaves Hunt to go after her. She shoots, but is not fast enough. As it goes to lunge for her, Hunt stabs it in the head, to the hilt. He stabs it with another knife, through the skull, near the spine. The kristallos is still fighting to get to Bryce, when Hunt grabs the knife, and twists, severing its neck. Bryce tells Hunt to get out of the way, and shoots it in the head "just in case.". Hunt then withdraws another blade, and brings it down, severing its head. He continues until its head is cut into quarters. As a final measure, he stabs his blade into its heart.

Sirens have been going off, and back up arrives. Hunt groans, and tumble face first to the ground. Naomi manages to catch him, and yells for a medwitch. The medwitch comes over and puts leeches on his bite, to suck out the venom. Bryce stars and says nothing. Naomi goes to her and asks if she is alright. Bryce informs her she is fine. Micah arrives, and he heads to Hunt and the demons remains. He asks what happened, and Hunt tells him it was an ambush. Bryce, scared that Micah will rescind his deal with Hunt for letting himself get ambushed, tells him it came out of the shadows. Micah asks who the demon attacked, and Bryce told him Hunt. He asks who killed it, and when Bryce starts to say Hunt, Hunt interrupts and say it was a joint effort. Micah says this needs to stay out of the media, and uses his power to burn the kristallos body. Hunt says they needed it to examine for the case, but Micah repeats no press.

The Medwitch starts bandaging Hunt. No that the venom is out of his system, his lightning is returning. Naomi asks why the think the demon attacked Hunt. Hunt assumes that they struck a nerve with Sabine. Bryce is in a state of confusion. She doesn't understand how they killed it so easily. Danika and the pack could have handled that and walked away.

Hunt goes to tell Micah their suspicions of Sabine. Micah tells them to get more evidence. Hunt signals to Bryce that they should go.

Ruhn arrives at the scene moments after Bryce and Hunt left. After making sure that his sister left unharmed, Ruhn takes his knife, and dips it in some of the leftover blood from the demon. The Medwitch tells him he shouldn't do that because, while its venom is in its saliva, who knows what lays in its blood. Ruhn questions how she recognized the demon. She tells him she had very old tutors. She also tells him that she found some research for him that he might find very interesting, and to come by the clinic in a few days. When Ruhn turns away for a second, he looks back to see the medwitch flying off on her broom.

Art by Mads Schofield

Chapter 47 *Hunt*

As Hunt is flying Bryce back to the apartment, a storm hits about two bloacks away. Bryce is shaking as he lands, so he doesn't let her go. She slides down his body, and she looks up at him. He rubs his thumb against her ribs. He watches a raindrop go down her throat, and he imagines following it with his mouth. She hugs him, and tells him she is glad he is not dead. She rubs her hands up and down his spine. He grazes his nose along her neck and nuzzles. He brushes his lips over her neck. She arches into his erection. He runs his hands down towards her ass, when the rooftop door opens and Sabine steps out with her gun pointed at Bryce. Hunt, who reacted as soon as he heard the door, has his gun pointed at Sabine. She tells him to back the fuck up.

Chapter 48 *Hunt*

Hunt has his gun aimed at Sabine's head ; Sabine is aimed at Bryce's heart. When Hunt tries to cover Bryce, Sabine warns him off. Sabine tells the, she told them to stay out of the case, but they went to the Den, and asked questions they have no right asking. Bryce tells her they was asking those questions because they know she killed Danika. Sabine is shocked. Hunt tells her they know she wiped the footage of stealing the horn. Sabine puts her gun away, and tells them that she didn't steal the horn, nor have Danika killed. She wiped the footage because she was trying to protect Danika - because Danika stole the horn.

Chapter 49 *Bryce*

Bryce refuses to believe Danika could have stolen the horn. Sabine heard the audio, and covered it up. Bryce asks why Danika would have stolen it, and Sabine says it was because Danika was a brat who wanted to see what she could get away with.

Hunt says Sabine is the one who sent the kristallos after them. Sabine said she has been waiting at the apartment all night, and Amelia is across the street, watching, so she has a witness to prove it. Hunt brings up what Sabine said the night of Danika's death, and Sabine stands by her statement that Danika was reckless. She stole the horn. Didn't keep her mouth shut, and it got her killed.

Before leaving, Sabine tells them they will regret crossing her. She didn't kill Danika, but if they ruin Danika's legacy, she will kill Bryce.

Art by A Touch of Magic Designs

Chapter 50 *Hunt and Bryce*

Bryce spends the next 5 days processing the revelation that Danika stole the horn. She barely eats, just sleeps, and goes to work. Hunt gives her the space she needs to work through her emotions. Both know their investigation is full of dead ends, and right now they have more questions than answers.

Hunt and Bryce are in the library underneath Griffin's Antiquities, when Ruhn shows up, wanting to check in. Ruhn tells them that in his research, he knows how the Kristallos was created; The Prince of the Pit combined his essences, with some of Prince Pelias's blood that was on the battlefield. He also tells them that after speaking to a medwitch about his theory on the horn being healed instead of fixed, that she seemed to think that a new drug - called synth - could heal it, as its synthetic magic. Bryce says outloud that now they have a probable way to fix the horn - now they need to know why Danika stole it. Ruhn, who had no idea Danika stole it, is shocked. Bryce fills him in on what they have learned. She asks if his sword could help him find the horn. He explains that the sword is powerless without the matching knife that was made from the same meteorite that landed on their old world. Bryce and Ruhn poke fun at the prophecy around the sword and knife - that when they are reunited, so shall the fae be - and Bryce's little smile has Hunt grinning. Ruhn notices, and snorts, knowing that Hunt has a thing for Bryce and is in deep shit.

Lehabah asks Ruhn about the Fae archives, which leads to talk about how the sprites are banned from the,. Lehabah tells Ruhn and Hunt about how she descends from Queen Ranthia Drahl. Bryce calls bullshit, and Hunt and Ruhn are amused by their bickering. Flynn calls Ruhn, and says he needs help breaking up a petty fight at the Aux. Hunt asks Ruhn, since he is a prince, why he is bothering with such small things - when he should be doing bigger, more important shit. Bryce says its because the Autumn King wants to keep him under his thumb. When Ruhn argues that the Autumn King outranks him in title and power, Bryce reminds him that no one knows how the first Starborn Prince died before his Drop, and he needs to be careful. Apparently this is an argument they have had before. Ruhn knows his father is a monster, but he doesn't think he would have killed the first Starborn Prince.

After Ruhn leaves, Bryce answers the door and squeals over the adorable otter at her door, with a message from Tharion. Tharion sent them a picture of a body, found in a sobeks lair, but the wounds are consistent with the kristallos demon, and had some venom in them. The persons time of death lines up with when Bryce and Hunt were attacked. That seals the deal for Bryce. The Kristallos couldn't have killed Danika and the pack. They were in pieces. The Kristallos goes for the heart and internal organs. And the pack had no venom in their remains. Bryce says they need to talk to someone who knows a lot about demons, and if another type could be responsible. She looks at Hunt, and tells him not to freak.

Art by SnCinder

Chapter 51 *Hunt*

Hunt tries talking her out of summoning a demon. It's dangerous, and technically, he should be arresting her for doing it. Bryce won't hear of it. She protect Syrinx by putting him in his crate, covered with blankets, and a circle of salt around him. She also draws out two large circles in obsidian salt - which Hunt assumes she ground up in her food processor. One circle for the demon, and one for them.

As the temperature in her apartment becomes frigid, and a humanoid male appears in the circle, Hunt realizes what Bryce has just summoned and it pissed. Hunt asks who this is, and Bryce tells him it's Aidas, Prince of the Chasm. When Bryce looks at Aidas and says the last time he appeared he was a cat, Hunt is shocked to learn this isn't the first time Bryce has had contact with Aidas. Aidas explains she was young then, and thought she would like this form better as an adult. He studies her, and says Bryce was sad the last time they met, too. Bryce asks him about the Kristallos, and what their plans are. The Prince tells her that he doesn't know all that goes on in Hel. Bryce says she wants information, and the Prince tells her information is not free. When she asks what the price is, Hunt goes to stop her - which draws Aidas's attention. He asks who he is, and Bryce tells him Hunt is eye candy, and not for sale, pointing out the halo marking him as a slave. Aidas studies him, and seems shocked that he harnesses lightning. Aidas asks him what he is doing with a black crown on his head. Hunt has never heard of the Halo being referred to that before.

Aidas tells her the Princes have no interest in Midgard. They prefer to dwell in the dark - although the demons in levels 1-4 do "rattle the gates" so to speak. Hunt calls bullshit, as he is regularly dispatched to kill the demons that come into Midgard. Aidas asks him how he knows they came from Hel, as the Northern Rift is a doorway to other realms and worlds - like Hel. Bryce and Hunt are shocked to hear that Hel is another planet, and seem to think Aidas is crazy. Hunt reminds Aidas that at one point, they wanted to take over Midgard. Aidas laughed, and asked if that's that story the Asteri are spinning.

Aidas turns to Bryce and asks her "What blinds an oracle?" Bryce, who has turned even paler, replies "What sort of cat visits an oracle?" Aidas laughs, and says "Winning first words." He tells her he didn't know what form she would prefer - but he can look more like Hunt if she prefers. Hunt tells him not to appear at all. Aidas can tell Bryce's temperature is dropping to dangerous levels, so he tells her he will leave - but tells her to run the tests again. Find what is in between. Before he leave, Bryce thanks him for what he did for her that day. He tells her to make the Drop, and come find him.

Hunt immediately says "fuck you for that surprise", and wants to know the history between them. Bryce tells him that after the disaster at the oracle, she was crying on a bench. A white cat with opal eyes sat next to her, and she knew it wasn't a cat or a shifter. The cat asked her "What blinds an oracle?" and she replied "What sort of cat visits an oracle?" He told her not to cry, as tears give those who caused them power. He sat with her until she calmed down, and walked with her until she headed back to The Autumn King's house. Hunt mentioned that Aidas seemed to miss her, which Bryce acknowledges and shrugs off.

Bryce calls Declan and asks him what sort of tests they can run on the old evidence. He suggest a Mimir test, and its the strongest scent test, and its fae tech. Bryce wants to know why it wasn't run the first time, and Ruhn gets on the line and explains that a direct order from the Autumn King was for the fae not to get involved - including the Mimir test tech. Hunt says the King is a real prick - not seeing how angry Bryce is. Bryce says she will tell the Autumn King he is a prick to his face, and runs out of her apartment towards FiRo.

Art by Talia Nobel

Chapter 52 * Bryce and Hunt*

Bryce runs all the way through the city to the Autumn Kings mansion. She demands the guards to let her in to speak with him, and they deny her entrance. She yells, and hits the gate. Hunt flies to her and lands, and also demands they be let in. The guards deny them both entrance, and seem disgusted that a slave and a half-breed are even trying to see the king. When it looks like Hunt and the guards are about to fight, Ruhn turns around the corner and tells the guards to stand down and let them in. The guards tell him even him, the Prince, doesn't have clearance to do that. Ruhn tells Bryce that the reason the Autumn King refuses to help in the case was because she was involved, and he wanted the case to be dropped. Bryce doesn't believe that, because since when does he care about her. Ruhn reminds her he cared enough that he wanted Ruhn to be her live in guard, but she wanted to play "sexy roomie" with Hunt. Bryce tells him it wasn't because he cared, its because he wants to horn. Ruhn apologizes to Bryce for Danika, but she tells him never to say her name again. She tells Hunt she will see him at the apartment and she runs off.

Bryce ends up at Lethe, a bar she used to frequent. Her leg is killing her from the run. She texts Juniper, asking to hang out. She starts drinking whisky - her first alcohol since the killings. Hunt arrives and sits next to her, passing her a tonic for her leg. He tells her there are better ways to deal with pain, and she tells him to share the full unabridged sob story of Shahar. Hunt tells her to stop being an asshole, and that he is trying to talk to her. She doesn't want to hear it. She asks Hunt how Shahar would feel about what happened on the rooftop between them the other night. She feels terrible about saying it, because the other night felt good. He gives her the second dose of her tonic, and tells her he will see her at home before leaving.

He had just finished taking care of Syrinx's needs, and just sat down on the couch to watch Sunball when Bryce comes in, carrying two grocery bags. She starts cooking an apology meal. Hunt asks her where she went, and she tells him she went to Moonwood, where she has a storage unit for Danika's things, to grab some clothes for the Mimir test. Then went to grab some groceries to make an apology meal. When Hunt tells her she doesn't need to apologize, she insists she does. She tells him that she is a mess now - and was before the murders as well. All her friends were moving on, were successful. She was virtually powerless, and a glorified secretary. They only time they were on equal footing was when they were partying.

Bryce tells Hunt a simplified story of what bonded Danika and her. Danika was working on an animal trafficking project for school - and she finds a real trafficking ring. When she reported it, no one seemed to care. So Bryce and Danika tried to free the animals. They were caught, and the men chased them into the desert, where they crashed. Held at gunpoint, neither of them could do anything. Bryce alludes to eventually killing the men and Danika and her escaping. She doesn't tell him how she killed them.

Bryce asks Hunt if he would still rebel if he knew they would lose, and he would be enslaved. He says he would, because what they were fighting for was the right thing. Bryce asks him what he would do after he killed the archangels and Asteri. He says he doesn't know - but him and her will have a few centuries to figure it out. Bryce tells him she isn't sure she will make the Drop. That her and Danika had planned to at 28, and that Connor and Thorne were to be their anchors. She isn't sure anyone else would feel right to choose as an anchor. She tells Hunt that when they died, a light went out of her. That she keeps herself from feeling joy without them. By the end of the conversation, Bryce offers the guest room to Hunt permanently, if he wants it.

Later that night in bed, Bryce see's a white cat sitting on her dresser. She can barely keep her eyes open, and has trouble talking without falling asleep. The cat asks her "What blinds an oracle, Bryce Quinlan?" When she doesn't respond, he asks again. She mumbles "You know." He says "The Autumn King's daughter - thrown out like rubbish." Even in Bryce's exhaustion, she realizes that Aidas knows the truth about her father. She says "He'll kill me if he knows." Aidas tells her "Then make the drop." Bryce asks him what will happen then. Aidas reminds her he told her to come find him. When she asks why, he says "So we can finish this." Bryce falls asleep.

Chapter 53 *Bryce and Hunt*

Bryce sees the rain outside, and decides its an omen that today will suck. When she manages to get Syrinx outside, it starts to pour. She comes into the apartment soaked. Hunt is making breakfast, and gets Bryce a plate. Bryce says no, but Hunt tells her she needs to eat, because she hasn't been eating much. And it doesn't make him an alphahole telling her to eat - it makes him a friend letting his friend know that she gets mean as hell when she is hungry. As she is eating breakfast, Hunt promises Bryce that he will make sure the 33rd doesn't lose the new clothes Bryce is giving them for the tests.

Hunt drops the clothes off to Vic, and passes her a list of possible demons he would like to see if they are able to be traced on the clothes. He reminds Vic to not lose the clothes. When she accuses him of going soft, he laughs and says no, he just wants to keep his balls.

That night, Hunt and Bryce watch trash TV, and cuddle. The next morning, as Hunt and Bryce are on their way to her work, Micah calls Hunt to his office - alone.

Art by Gabriella Bujdoso

Chapter 54 *Bryce and Hunt*

In Micah's office, Micah asks Hunt why old evidance is being retested. Hunt tells him that they don't think it was the kristallos demon thats been killing these people afterall. Micah is pissed, and tells Hunt to get the job done. He tells Hunt that Sandriel has been making some generous offers to buy Hunt from him. So far, he has refused. He throws a folder on his desk, towards Hunt, and tells him not to make him reconsider.

Hunt is in his room reading over the file of people he needs to kill for Micah. Slow and painful. He starts looking through his weapons. Bryce texts him and asks if he wants her to order him some soup for lunch. He says no, and he won't be back for a bit. He see's that she takes a while to respond, but settles on texting back an "okay."

A few hours later, Bryce goes up to the rooftop to ask Naomi if Hunt is okay. Naomi sees something in Bryce's expression, and softly tells her that Hunt is okay. By the time Bryce gets home from work, and sees Naomi on the rooftop across her apartment, she no longer believes that Hunt is okay. She texts Hunt around 8, and tells him to call her, because she is worried. At 11, he calls Ruhn, to ask if he has seen Hunt. She realizes it was silly to call Ruhn, because he can't really help. Its then that Hunt comes home. Bryce tells Ruhn he is there and hangs up. Bryce see's that Hunt is covered in blood, and has a vacant expression. She asks if he is okay, and he just walks to his room and closes the door without responding.

Hunt couldn't stand the look of relief Bryce had on her face when he came home - and the look of horror at the blood. He strips off his clothes, turns the water to scalding, and goes in the shower to burn.

After 40 minutes of hearing the shower, Bryce knocks on his bedroom door. When he doesn't respond, she checks on him. He is sitting in the shower, and when she makes her presence known, he doesn't respond. She goes to him, and hisses in pain from the scalding water. She looks down at Hunt, and see's that is is scalding himself and healing, and doing it over and over. She turns the water temperature down, and gets his silent consent to bath the top half of him, and his wings. She leads him out of the shower, and dries him off. She then brings him to his room, helps him put on some boxers, and tucks him in. She slides her hand on his forehead, and tells him she was worried about him. When she goes to leave, he tugs on her, silently asking her to stay. She turns around, takes off her soaking wet clothes, puts on one of his shirts, and gets into bed with him. She is surprised when he leans over and rests his head on her lap, and drapes an arm over her. She trails her hand through his hair over and over, until he falls asleep.

A few hours later Hunt wakes up to the smell of paradise. Of "home, and eternity, and exactly where he is supposed to be." He opens his eyes and see's he is sleeping on Bryce's lap, and she herself is passed out on the headboard, her hand still in his hair. He carefully gets out of bed, lifts her up, and carries her to her own bed, and tucks her in. He goes back to bed, where he notices her scent lingers.

I would love to credit this artist, but I can't read the name! If anyone knows, please let me know so I can give the credit deserved, because this is sweet <3

Chapter 55 *Bryce*

Bryce wakes up, realizing she is in her own bed. She checks on Hunt, who she can see is still sleeping. She looks at her phone and reads the texts Ruhn sent her last night. She knows she should thank him, but she doesn't. She gets a texts from Juniper, where Juniper blasts her for not showing up at the dance class, and the coach was pissed. Bryce told her she said maybe, but Juniper says whatever. B

Bryce heads out to the kitchen where Hunt now is. Hunt knows she is wearing nothing under his shirt. He starts making breakfast. She gives him a cup of coffee. His gives her a kiss on the cheek, thanking her for last night. She sits at the island and starts fantasizing about Hunt sliding her up on the island, going down on her, and then fucking her. Hunt tenses up, and Bryce realizes Hunt can smell her arousal. He asks her what she is thinking about. She tells him that a designer store is having a sample sale that she is excited about. When he asks if that's what gets her hot and bothered - clothing sales, she says yes. He looks at her and asks her if its clothing sales she thinks about when she goes into her left nightstand. She again, says yes, and as she gets more aroused, he starts shaking from need. But then the burning smell of eggs breaks the spell. Bryce quickly runs off to get ready for work.

On her walk to work, Bryce decides she lost her mind. Hooking up with Hunt would complicate everything. And letting someone get close is a risk she can't take again. When she gets to the office, Jesiba calls Bryce and tells her to open the back door.

Later, Lehabah is horrified at Jesiba's newest pet - a nokk. It scares her. Bryce calls Jesiba and asks her to get rid of it, but Jesiba hangs up on her.

Bryce's leg is bothering her. Hunt tells her that she should get it checked out, but she says she is fine. While thinking about the case, Bryce notices Hunt gets a text, reads it, but doesn't answer. When she asks why, he tells her its just a colleague busting his balls. That he has to run out for a few hours, and Naomi will watch her.

Hunt overhears Bryce talking to her mom on the phone. Her parents want to come to the city to visit her, but he is finding excuses not to. When her mother suggests this weekend, Bryce tells her she can't because she has a guests. Her mother agrees to a video chat that night. Bryce tells Hunt that her parents want to meet her guest.

Bryce and Vic fly over and meet with Vic. The Mimir tests on Danika's clothes reveal that Danika had traces of synth on her. Bryce assumes that is because she worked for Redner Industries part time. She knows Danika would never take it. Bryce has a feeling that synth is important to the case, but Hunt disagrees. Bryce calls Ruhn, asking if he knows anything about it, and Ruhn tells her that is actually what he is researching at the moment. He discovers that one of the main ingredients in synth is obsidian salt - and its amount is equal to the demonic number of a kristallos. Bryce asks if that is enough to summon a kristallos, and Ruhn says he will look into it further. Bryce thanks Ruhn, surprising him.

Bryce wants to know who is on the streets selling synth, and gets ready to go out. Hunt stops her, saying its not important tonight. That she should talk to her parents as planned - that he wishes he had the luxury of talking to his mom. Bryce asks Hunt how she died. Hunt tells her that as a soldier in the legion, he would send her what he could - as they were very poor. A rumor got out that Hunt was sending his mother a lot of marks. She ended up being robbed and killed, over the 500 silver marks she saved over her lifetime, and the 50 gold marks he managed to send her over 5 years of service. Bryce apologizes for his loss.

Bryce and Hunt start deep cleaning the apartment, because her mother is a clean freak, and can tell when a cleaning spell has been used. Hunt notices that Bryce changed her contact info in his phone again, and while it makes him smile, he is reminded of Micah's threat. He watches Bryce as she cleans, and takes a few pictures of her.

Bryce offers to open a bottle of wine for liquid courage, when her mothers voice asks why would he need liquid courage?

Chapter 56 *Hunt*

Bryce tells her mother that most people need alcohol to deal with her, and Ember says likewise. Randall comes on the screen, carrying a cup of coffee for both him and Ember. Randall recognizes Hunt. Hunt introduces himself. No one says anything for a moment, but than Randall asks Bryce when she was going to tell them about Hunt. Bryce, who is eating chocolate crescents, tells her Hunt isn't as cool as he thinks he is, which makes Hunt snort. Randall looks at Hunt and tells him he was stationed at Meridan when he was there. Was working recon the day Hunt took on the battalion. Hunt doesn't comment much, just saying it was a rough battle, and Randall agrees. Bryce holds Hunts hand under the counter, and squeezes them in comfort.

Ember asks Bryce why Hunt is her roommate. Bryce tells them that Hunt was kicked out of the 33rd for his questionable fashion taste. She told him that his boring black clothes don't bother her, and he could stay with her. Ember asks Hunt if he can ever get a straight answer out of Bryce, because she hasn't been able to for 25 years now. Bryce tells Hunt not to answer that. Ember asks Bryce if Hunt knows about JJ. Hunt tells Ember he is good friends with Jelly Jubilee, which shows Ember that Hunt and Bryce are close. Ember asks Hunt to tell her about himself. When Randall says "It's Hunt Athalar", Ember said she knows, but all she knows are those horrible war stories, and she wants to hear about the real male.

Bryce and her parents talk for a bit. Bryce mentions that the chocolate crescents she is eating are not as good as Randall's. Randall tells her to move back home and he will make them everyday. Hunt notices Bryce rubbing her leg under the table, and asks them if they have ever tried getting Bryce to go to a medwitch about her leg. When they question her about it, she gets angry and ends the call. Two minutes later, Ember calls Bryce on the phone. She tells Bryce she will look for a medwitch near her for an appointment. Bryce says she won't go. Ember warns Bryce about being with an older, powerful vanir male. Bryce knows, and Ember apologizes. Seeing her with a powerful Vanir reminds her of her time with the Autumn King. Before hanging up, she tells Bryce she is making her an appointment, and she better go.

Chapter 57 *Bryce and Hunt*

Bryce gets ready for bed. She see's Hunt watching her, and she calls him a traitor. He offers to go to the medwitch appointment with her, and she tells him she isn't going. Hunt tells her he cares because he is her friend ... if she wants him to be. She tells him he has been her friend since he thought Jelly Jubilee was a dildo. Hunt asks her how Ember and Randall met. Bryce tells him about Ember running away from the Autumn King when she found out she was pregnant, and going to Cthona's temple for help. She was there for 3 years before The Autumn King heard of her and their childs whereabouts. The priestesses managed to get them out of the city, and had plans on taking them to the House of Earth and Blood to ask for asylum - but it was a 3 day drive, and they knew they would need a guard with them. They went to Solus's temple, and there, Randall, who was just a couple of weeks away from his vows to be a Sun Priest, was assigned to take them - as he was the only human, and they knew Ember was wary of vanir men. On the way to their destination, the Autumn Kings men find them. They were not expecting Ember and a legendary sharpshooter though. They were dealt with. The House of Blood and Earth literally deemed Ember as a vessel of Cthona, and Randall as a vessel for Solas. Randall took them home with him. He didn't swear vows to Solas, and he proposed by the end of the year. They have been in love since. Bryce asks Hunt if he would like to watch Fangs and Bangs with her. They sit on the couch to watch TV.

Later, while watching the show, Hunt was thinking about how he didn't realize how badly he needed to hear that Bryce was his friend. How natural it felt being with her. And how dangerous it was to settle into that feeling.

Chapter 58 * Bryce and Hunt*

Bryce's mom makes good on her promise and makes that appointment, which Bryce doesn't go to. Instead, Hunt and her are walking through the Meat District, and while Hunt is staying back, Bryce is asking vendors in a roundabout way who sells synth. All the vendors say the usual - they don't deal with that stuff there. They come upon a stand that sells luck charms. Hunt buys Bryce a white opal, meant to bring joy and gives it to her. When she tries to give it back, saying he could use some joy too, he steps back and says its a gift. She blushes and puts it in her pocket.

Hunt thinks to himself the opal gift was probably stupid and was impulsive. And how rusty his skills are with women. He thinks about Shahar, and if he gave her the opal, she would have appreciated it, but thrown it in a drawer and forgot about it. He listens to Bryce continue to ask vendors about where to score drugs, when they come across a teenager, who said the same thing as everyone else, and told her that she already knew she was coming - they have a big group chat and are talking about it. She tells Bryce that the Viper Queen doesn't deal with that shit, but if Bryce is looking for answers, to go to the river and ask the Mer.

Bryce storms over to the docks. Hunt tells her that the synth probably has nothing to do with the case, but it doesn't stop her. When Tharion shows up, she asks him who in the river is selling synth. He tells her not in the river - on it. When Bryce asks who is selling it, and what is synth, Tharion tells her that a day before her death, Danika was caught with synth on a boat.

Chapter 59 *Bryce*

Bryce asks if Danika was selling it. She doesn't believe it. Maybe she was confiscating them. Tharion says maybe, but synth is bad shit - and if Danika was involved in it ... Bryce asks what synth is. Tharion tells her its synthetic magic. It started out as an aid to healing, until someone realized that in super-concentrated doses, it can give humans strength stronger than most vanir. Tharion asks if this is about their case, and Hunt says its a possibility. Tharion tells them he will keep them up to date if he hears anything.

Bryce stares out at the river, holding her white opal. She is questioning why Danika would be involved in synth. Why she wouldn't mention it. Hunt suggests she didn't mention it because it wasn't important. Bryce says maybe.

Later, when Hunt hits the gym, Bryce calls Fury, and she actually picks up. Bryce says she is surprised, and Fury tells her she caught her between jobs. Bryce said she thought Fury was coming home to find whoever bombed White Raven, but Fury said she didn't have to cross the Haldron to find who was responsible. When Bryce questions if she founds them, Fury says "I said I was between jobs, didn't I"? Bryce congratulations her, and Fury laughs before asking whats up. Bryce asks Fury if Danika ever brought up synth to her. Fury is quiet before telling Bryce its really dangerous and not to get involved in it. Bryce tells her if she had been around at all in the last two years, she would know she hasn't touched drugs since the murders. Bryce asks again if Danika mentioned synth to her before she died. Fury went quiet again, and Bryce knows she did. Fury confirms it, saying she mentioned some dangerous shit was being sold. Bryce doesn't know why Fury didn't mention anything two years ago. Fury says Danika and the pack were in shreds - it didn't seem like drug busts were involved. Bryce wonders whether it was though. She wants to know why Danika didn't mention it to her. Fury tells her its because she was concerned that Bryce would use it. When Bryce argues she would never use it, Fury says at that point, they had seen her take everything. Bryce points out that they were doing it right along with her. But Fury says the difference is, is that synth is synthetic magic. To replace real magic. Where Bryce has none. Danika didn't want Bryce even aware of its existence.

Bryce is close to tears and is shaking from her anger. Fury apologizes for being harsh, and that she has to go. Bryce sits on her could, with her laptop open, and calls Ruhn. She asks Ruhn to spare her any lectures, but before she can get to the point of calling, Ruhn asks whats going on between her and Hunt. She tells him nothing. When Ruhn asks where Hunt is, Bryce says he is off making those beautiful muscles even nicer, which makes Ruhn laugh. Bryce asks Ruhn if the medwitch he talked to happened to know how synth got out on the streets. He tells her no, but that she seemed more concerned about its origins, and coming up with an antidote. She thinks she can use her healing magic as a sort of stabilizer on the the kristallos venom to create an antidote. Bryce asks Ruhn if he has a crush on the medwitch. He tells her he is just wanting to repay her kindness. Ruhn tells Bryce he finds it admirable she still loves her friends so much she would look into this case. He tells her about a time Danika almost kicked his ass before ending the call.

Chapter 60 *Bryce and Hunt*

As Bryce fills Hunt in on her latest theory, he says its a stretch. She keeps trying to log into Danika's account through Redner Industries. While Hunt thinks they should double down on the horn, Bryce thinks its all connected. Bryce tells him about the medwitch needing more kristallos venom to make an antidote. Hunt thinks its a good idea if the opportunity comes up. Bryce suggests summoning one, but he says no. There is no way he can handle her being in danger. Hunt gets a text. Bryce asks if its Micah, and he tells her its just some legion shit. He will be back in a few, and Naomi will take watch. Bryce tries to get into Danika's account a few more times before giving up. She feels like they are getting closer to the truth.

The next morning, Bryce wakes up to her cycle starting, which she saw as fitting, considering what day it was. Hunt can smell the blood on her, and when he comments, she tells him every 3 months, like clockwork. She checks her phone, and sees no one messaged her. Hunt asks her if she needed anything, handing her a plate of eggs and coffee. She said she took something for the cramps already, but thanks.

Hunt says beyond the synth stuff, he thinks the horn ties into everything. If they find the horn, they won't need to find the killer - the killer will find them. Bryce asks if Ruhn can't find it, and Danika didn't leave any hint to where she hid it, how will they find it? Hunt says they should go back to square one and look over all the evidence again. Bryce says she can't today, as she has meetings. Hunt tells her to reschedule them. She argues that Jesiba needs them done today. Hunt can see its a lie, but doesn't push.

Lehabah tells Bryce she is being mean today - and its not just because of her cycle. Bryce apologizes, while noting that her phone is dark. The nokk was pounding on the glass to get Bryce's attention. She blasts pop music and it swims away and hides. Lehabah tells Bryce that he wants to eat her. Lehabah asks why Jesiba collects them. Isn't she a person too? Bryce points out that its because the republic wants to see rebels punished so thoroughly that it will scare away others from rebelling too. Lehabah asks Bryce if she ever wonders what it would be like without the Asteri. Bryce, thinking about the camera in the office, tells Lehabah to be quiet. Lehabah points out that Athie would listen to her. Bryce points out that Athie is a slave and has nothing to lose. Lehabah tells her to never say that - there is always something to lose.

Bryce was in a foul mood. He noticed she checked her phone a lot. After work, she didn't head straight home - she went to a bakery. She then walks to the river, and sits at a bench facing the Bone Quarter. Hunt landed quietly beside her and sat next to her on the bench. Bryce tells Hunt Danika would have been 25 today. Bryce notes that no one remembered. Last year she received messages - this year nothing. Hunt asks her what is in the box. Bryce tells him its chocolate crescents - Danika's favorite. She always wanted them on her birthday. She tells Hunt it sucks. Everyone moves on, and forgets. But she can't. Hunt tells her that Shahar was that for him. He would have done anything for her. It took 50 years before it settled in his brain that she was gone. Bryce asks if he still loves her that much. He says that she brought him out of his grief of his mother, and made him feel alive for the first time. He will always love her, if only for that. Bryce then says that her and Hunt are mirrors.

Bryce opens the box of crescents, and quickly closes it. When Hunt opens it, he see's written in chocolate drizzle the word trash. She tells him to throw it out - but he doesn't. He grabs the box and flies off, looking for the person who called Bryce trash at their last encounter.

Hunt finds Amelie Ravenscroft laughing with her friends at a bar. Her claws formed as she smirked at Hunt, but Hunt grabs her and pins her to the wall by her throat. He tells her to stay away from Bryce, not to even think of her. Amelie nods in understanding. Ithan comes up and asks Amelie what she did. When Hunt told him not to play dumb, Ithan notices the box of pastries on the table. He looks in it and asks what this is. Hunt tells him to ask his alpha. Ithan went still. Hunt tells Amelia to leave Bryce alone forever. When she looked ready to spit, Hunt zaps her a little bit with his power, and she nods. Ithan looks around at the pack - see's Ithan's face as he pieces together what day it is today, and who always wanted chocolate crescents. He tells them they are pathetic and leaves.

Hunt took his time flying home. He landed on the roof, where Bryce was waiting. She was on the phone with Isaiah. She asks him if he killed Amelie, and he told her no. Bryce is frightened by how much trouble he will get into.

The next morning, Bryce texts Ruhn for the medwitch's number. She tells Hunt she knows how to get Kristallos venom for the medwitch.

Art by SnCinder

Check out her beautiful art here

Chapter 61 *Bryce*

Bryce and Hunt arrive at the medwitch's clinic. She offers to Bryce to allow her partner to come in with her, and she looks at him and says yes. The medwitch goes over Bryce's form, and asks her questions about the injury. The medwitch asks Hunt if he was there when the injury occurred, and Bryce was about to answer, when Hunt answered yes. He arrived about 3 minutes after it occurred. Her thigh was ripped open, and he used one of the legions medical staplers to staple the wound shut to seal the wound. He admits its because of him that the scar looks the way it does. Bryce doesn't blame him. The witch asks why Bryce hasn't seen anyone since then, and she explains that she wanted to feel the pain as a reminder. As the witch prepares, she warns Bryce that if the venom is as deep as she suspects, that she won't be able to use the leeches. She can numb her for the incision, but the venom is like an organism. After 2 years, it will be difficult to extract. She can book her for surgical treatment, but it could take a day or two. Bryce says no, we do it today.

During the scan, the witch confirms that the damage is extensive. The witch comments on Bryce's tattoo, and how beautiful it is. She also asks Hunt if the Halo bothers him. He said only when it was put on. She says that the punishment of the halo should be halted, and he jokingly asked if she would like to take it off for him. She asks what he would do if she did - would he go after those who have held him captive. He doesn't answer, but the witch somehow knows that he would.

The witch numbs Bryce and begins. Bryce holds Hunt's hand and looks at him. The memory of him being there in the alley resurfaces. The witch is shocked at the damage in her leg, and doesn't understand how Bryce is walking. She warns Bryce she has to stay very still and breath deeply. As the witch tries to detach the venom, Bryce feels like someone is pouring acid in her leg. To distract Bryce from the pain, Hunt tells her his side from that night. How despite bleeding everywhere, she wouldn't let them near the angel until they proved they were from the legion. Hunt tells her how he would want someone like her guarding his back, A friend he would like to have. He admits he gave her a hard time when they first met, because he was afraid about what that meant. Bryce is crying. Hunt tells her he was there in the interrogation room - for all of it. Bryce screams as she feels a pain deep inside her. That he knew who she was the whole time, and never forgot her. The witch says she is beginning extraction and stabilization of the venom, and it will get more painful but will quickly abate. Hunt tells her she has this, but she thinks that she doesn't. She screams, and arches against the restraints. Hunt tells her to breath - that they can get through this. And Bryce sobs partly from pain and partly from Hunt's words - they can get through this mess of a world together. Hunt brushes his lips against Bryce's. Bryce thinks to herself that a star bloomed inside her from that kiss. A long-slumbering light began to fill her chest, her veins. Then the pain was gone. Bryce looks down at her wound and the witch is holding what looks like a wiggling worm in pincers. She explains that if she wasn't stabilizing the venom, it would be liquid. She puts it in a jar, and tells Bryce she is going to clean her up and stitch her up, then if she likes, she can stick around while she works on the antidote.

Afterwards, while watching the witch, she explains what she would like to see the antidote do. It works after 3 minutes. The problem is keeping the venom stabilized without her being there to do it, so it can be used by anyone, any where. The witch offers to send over a vial of venom after she is done working on it, as a reminder of their struggles. Bryce nods, thinking to herself she has no idea where to go from there.

Chapter 62 *Bryce and Hunt*

Bryce takes the rest of the day off, and Hunt flies her home. He takes care of her, and in the process of making her lunch when he gets a call from Micah, demanding him and Bryce come to his office immediately.

As Hunt gets ready to head to Micah's he is tempted to tell Bryce to get on the train and leave the city. He helps her get ready in loose workout pants, and she takes all of one step before he is lifting her, carrying her out of the apartment, and flying to the Comitium. They barely spoke, and at this point, what use were words now. His too brief kiss earlier said enough, and the light he swears he saw afterward in her eyes said enough too. Outside the office, Hunt looks at Bryce and says lets see if she can do that fancy trick where she looks down her nose at people a foot taller than her, which makes her chuckle.

Hunt and Bryce enter Micah's office. To the left of Micah's desk stood a furious Sabine and a tight-faced Amelie. Hunt immediately knew what this meeting was for, and Hunt says Bryce doesn't need to be here for it. Sabine says she wants Bryce here for every second.

Sabine demands that Hunt be punished for assaulting her captain. When Sabine hints that if he isn't punished, she will tell Sandriel about how Micah lets his slaves run right over him, Micah promises Hunt will be punished. Sabine demands its done now, where she can see it. Amelie does not seem happy about this, but Sabine doesn't care. She says in the past, a slave assaulting a free citizen meant a death sentence. Bryce says "Please", and Micah's face softens a bit, and tells Sabine those are old traditions. When Sabine tries to argue, Micah holds up his hands and says Hunt will die the way angels die - The Living Dead. Hunt bows his head - accepting the punishment. When Bryce looks to Isaiah to find out what this is, he tells her that it means cutting an angels wings off. Bryce pleads, and tries blocking Micah from Hunt, but Vik pulls her back and holds her back, explaining that his wings will grow back in a few weeks. As Bryce is shouting and Amelie is saying she doesn't want this, Micah cuts off Hunt's wings. As Hunt lies on the floor bleeding, Bryce kneeling by him in his blood, she tells Sabine she is a disgrace to every wolf on the planet. As Bryce and Sabine argue, Micah steps in the way and tells Bryce to take Athalar somewhere else. But Sabine doesn't stop. She tells Bryce that last winter she went to the Bone Quarter - to speak to whatever was left of her daughters spirit. Danika refused to see her, and when she asked the Under King to demand Danika come, he told her that Bryce made a deal with him and traded her place in the Bone Quarter to make sure Danika has a spot. Sabine screams at Bryce that she had no right. That Danika died a coward, and deserved to be dumped in the river. That now she must suffer an eternity with her shame. Micah tells Sabine to get out. As she leave, Amelie apologizes. Bryce spits at her.

Bryce decides she will never forgive anyone in that room for what was done. Hunt went unconscious while the medwitches stitched him up. When they got to her place, with Isaiah and Naomi carrying him, she had him placed in her bed, where she stroked his hair. While there, she thinks about when she went to the Bone Quarter. How she didn't want to take the gamble on Danika's boat tipping, so she paid the Death Mark, and went to the Bone Quarter. While the Under-King tried to talk her out of trading her place, Bryce said she wanted to three time, sealing the deal. Bryce refused to believe Sabine. Danika had nothing to be ashamed of.

Bryce takes out her phone and texts Ithan. Tells him to tell his Alpha that " Connor never bothered to notice her because he always knew what a piece of shit she was. And tell Sabine that if I see her again, I will kill her." When he tells her he had no part in what happened today, she tells him that he disgusts her. That all of them do. He doesn't respond. Bryce puts her phone on silent and leans her brow on Hunt's shoulder, thinking she will make this right someday.

Hunt wakes up at four in the morning, in pain. He see's Bryce sleeping beside him, and all the medical supplies and vials by her. He wonders how long she stayed up to tend to him. He takes his arm and brings it around her waist, tucking her into him. He thought about what Bryce revealed today to the others with her pleading, and how dangerous that was. That he should pull away from her. But he can't bring himself to remove his arm. So he savors the feel of her, her scent and breathing.

Chapter 63 *Bryce*

Bryce is at work. She wanted to take the day off to tend to Hunt, but Jesiba said no. She filled out a bunch of job applications and sent them all in. Bryce left Hunt's care to Ruhn. When she comes home at lunch to check up on them, Ruhn says he should have been the one to shut Amelie up. Bryce said he wasn't, and Ruhn tells her he would like to be (there for her). When she asks why, he tells her because she is his sister. Bryce didn't respond, and Ruhn looks hurt.

Back at work, she tries to log into Danika's account at Redner industries again. When Lehabah asks if this ties into the horn, Bryce says Danika knew something big. She tries different password options. When Bryce gets a text from Ruhn, updating her that he woke up, took his meds and demanded to know where she was. Ruhn decides Hunt isn't a bad male, and Bryce agrees.

She continues trying different passwords, until she tries Danika's favorite quote - Through love, all is possible. The login screen vanished and a list of files appear. Bryce see's a bunch of irrelevant messages, and a folder labeled "party invites". Knowing Danika was not organized enough to save party invites in a separate folder (she usually just deleted them), Bryce clicks on it, and sees a list of folders within that, one which has her name. She clicks on that one, and in it is a single photo of the back of Danika's leather jacket. Bryce grabs the coat and starts feeling over the seams, and finds a lump in the vertical line in the letter L. She cuts into the leather and pulls out a flash drive. The flash drive contained three unmarked videos. As Bryce and Lehabah watch the videos, Lehabah says "Gods spare us"

Art by thalia_art_

Chapter 64 *Hunt and Bryce*

Hunt finally gets out of bed, in pain and itching from his wings healing. Ruhn left after he was up and moving around. Bryce comes home, and when Hunt asks you what is going on, she closes the curtains, and brings over her phone to show him the videos she got from Danika's Redner email account. Hunt watches videos of Redner Industries testing synth on humans. Each test subject develops incredible strength and magic, and takes down multiple Vanirs by ripping them to pieces - before turning on themselves and ripping themselves into pieces. Bryce concludes that whoever killed Danika and the pack, was high on synth. Hunt warns Bryce that whatever they do, they have to go slow and be sure, because Micah has already shown what happens when they step out of line. When Bryce argues, Hunt tells her he might now walk away from the next punishment. She agrees, and doesn't question him. Bryce picks up on Hunts words from before, where he mentioned them an "afterword" for them, and asked what kind of afterward was he thinking. He tells her the good kind. Bryce asks him if he meant the kiss he gave her at the clinic, and he tells her he did. He asks her if she wanted him to kiss her again, and she tells him that she wants to kiss him. Bryce and Hunt start making out, Hunt getting Bryce off with his fingers. When they tell each other they are going to fuck each other so hard they will forget their names, Bryce moves Hunt in a position against the couch that puts him in pain. The mood is immediently ruined, and Bryce goes to call a medwitch.

Later, after the medwitch leaves (and doesn't clear Hunt for sex - not until his wings grow back), Hunt answers a few messages on his phone before collapsing on his bed. Bryce goes to bed as well.

At 3am, Bryce wakes up, and decides she needs to investigate her old apartment. She sends off an email with her request, and gets a reply 20 minutes later that she will need to wait for the 33rd to approve the request. Knowing she doesn't have the time for that, she leaves the apartment quietly and head to her old one. By the time she gets there, the building is on fire. People are standing out on the street, and it looks destroyed. Bryce is saddened, but this confirmed that she must be close to finding the killer if they are covering their tracks. Bryce feels her phone go off, bracing herself for Hunt's anger over her sneaking out of the house, but instead its Tharion. He tells her to come to the Black Dock, where a deal is going down right now. Bryce promises to be there in 3 minutes. She doesn't text Hunt, because she knows he would tell her to wait for

Chapter 65 *Bryce*

Bryce arrives at the river and meets Tharion. Tharion brings her on the river on a wave skimmer, where Bryce has to hold onto Tharion. They stop a safe distance away from the deal taking place on a boat. Tharion counts six people, but Bryce can't make out what or who they are. She just knows they are humanoid shapes. Tharion uses his water magic to change the current so they can slowly, and quietly, sneak up close to the boat. They witness people arguing, over what they assume is the price. Bryce recognizes the Viper Queen as the seller. She asks Tharion if they could get closer so they could hear. Bryce knows that she should be calling Hunt and Ruhn, and get the Aux here before the drugs hit the street. Instead, she uses her phone to snap a few pictures of the deal. She is about to text Hunt when she hears the Viper Queen say that she thinks this is the start of a beautiful friendship, when one of the guys turns, body tense as if displeased, and the firstlight illuminating his face. It's Hunt.

Chapter 66 *Bryce*

Bryce doesn't remember what she said to Tharion to get him closer to the boat, or getting on the boat. She doesn't notice the guns pointing at her. She just stares at Hunt. Tharion tells the Viper Queen that she is under arrest on behalf of the River Queen, but she just chuckles. Hunt whispers Bryce's name. Bryce asks him what the fuck this is? Before he can answer, a voice behind her says its exactly as it looks like. Micah is there, with Isaiah, Naomi and six other angels. Hunt looks at the governor before turning on the Viper Queen and calling her a bitch. The Viper Queen chuckles. She explains she knew it would be worth her while to see who would come sniffing around for the Synth. She tells Micah he owes her a favor. Bryce asks what this means. Hunt tells Bryce that it wasn't supposed to go down like this, but after watching those videos tonight, he tried talking the other two out of the plan. But they got skittish, and decided to go through with getting the synth. The Viper Queen tells her that Hunt, Vik, and Justinian thought that they could use the synth to overthrow their masters. When Bryce tells her she doesn't believe her, the pain in Hunt's eyes over her blind faith in him proves she is right. Micah further confirms it. That they learned of the synth days ago. Bryce starts to cry. Hunt tells her he is sorry. She asks him to confirm that he learned of the synth days ago, and kept it from her. He doesn't answer. She feels her heart break. Hunt tells her that some of the targets that Micah assigned to him told him about synth. He didn't know the full extent though until he saw those videos.

Bryce asks how to synth leaked from Redner Industries. Hunt tells her it doesn't matter, but Micah tells her Danika leaked it. When Bryce backs away, into Tharion's arms, refusing to believe it. But Hunt and Micah tell her that Danika became addicted to synth. That was why she stole the formula, and had it leaked. It was why she was spotted on the boat. Bryce still refuses to believe it. Hunt tells her to look at the evidence, and it all points to Danika. She was there the night the horn was stolen, an those CCU students were murdered. The drugs in Bryce's system the night of the murders - that was standard shit for them. Why not synth? A drug that could make her feel all powerful after her mother tore her down, especially when she was waiting to make the drop with Bryce.

Bryce keeps denying it, and Hunt asks Micah if they are going now, and holds out his wrists for the manacles. But Micah tells him to tell her the rest. Hunt tells him it isn't necessary, but Bryce asks what it is. When Hunt doesn't say anything, Micah tells her that Hunt already knows who is responsible for Danika's death. When Bryce starts to cry harder, saying no - Hunt tells her that Danika took the synth that night. She went out of her mind. That she slaughtered her pack, and then turned on herself. When Bryce mentions the horn, Hunt says she must have stolen it to piss off Sabine, and sold it on the black market. It was all about the synth. When Micah tells Bryce that he has it on good authority that Danika stole footage of the test trials of synth from Redner, Bryce mentions the kristallos. Micah explains that its a side effect from the synth.

Bryce looks at Hunt and simply says "You knew." Hunt apologies again, and Bryce screams "you knew!" Hunt takes a step towards her, when he is stopped by a gun to the head - Fury. She tells him if he moves, he will die. He holds up his hands, and doesn't take his eyes off of Bryce. Fury tells the Viper Queen to get the fuck out of her sight. . When she says its her boat, Fury tells her to go somewhere she can't see her face. Bryce doesn't have it in her to be shocked that she actually listen.

Hunt tries apologizing again. Bryce keeps repeating that he knew. Bryce thinks back on the last week. Knows how he tried to steer her away from the synth. When Hunt goes onto his knees as if to beg for forgiveness, Bryce asks him why he did this - only to rebel again? He tells her at first, yes. But as they got closer with one another, he wanted to stop, and after watching those videos, he knew the risk was too high. Bryce, in her anger, throws the white opal he bought her at him, and it hits him in the forehead, and makes him bleed. She tells him she never wants to see him again. Micah tells her that wont be a problem, as the manacles are put on Hunt, Justinian, and Vik's wrists. Fury leads Bryce away, and tells the Governor if he bothers Bryce again, she will pay him a visit. Hunt screams Bryce's name as she leaves with Fury and Tharion.

Chapter 67 *Bryce*

When Bryce arrives at the apartment, Ruhn is there. She knows Fury called him. He rides the elevator with her, and when they enter the apartment, Bryce gets halfway through before she vomits. Ruhn holds her with his arms and shadows. She begins to sob, and he carries her to the couch - avoiding the bloodstain from Hunt's injury, or any lingering scents from the make out that occurred there hours ago.

Bryce can't believe any of its true. Hunt implied he thought Danika and her were just a couple of drug addicts, willing to do anything that came their way. Couldn't believe that Danika was the one to kill the pack and herself. And now she lingers in the Bone Quarter in shame over what she did.

By the time Fury came back, Bryce was staring out into the void, but she could hear Ruhn and her whisper. Justinian ended up crucified in the lobby of the Comitium. They gave him something to slow his healing, but his death will be painful and slow. Vik was torn from her body, her wraith form but in a glass box. Her box is currently under Justinian, his blood dripped over her box. After he dies, she will be thrown in the deepest part of the sea, where she will become insane from isolation and darkness. As for Hunt, it isn't known what his punishment will be. When Ruhn asks Fury what is worse than those two fates, Fury tells him a lot of things.

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