Chapter Thirty-Three

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                                          Cassandra

There is no greater enemy than time.

Time cannot be defeated or slowed. It cannot be persuaded.

It passes without regard, mowing down the good and the evil, stealing our days like coins running through a slot machine. One after the other. Day. Night. Day.

There's no stopping it.

"Cassandra, are you listening?"

The imminent God of War speaks to me. Over the passing days, and then weeks, the tone of his voice when speaking to me has altered, softened considerably. We never spoke again of what he saw in that vision, if that is what he even experienced. Part of me doesn't want to know what terrified him so intensely. Since then, he hasn't left my side for a single second, so I'd presume whatever he saw happen doesn't bode well for me. Still, with a job to do, we spend our days huddled together, trying to do the impossible.

Outsmart the devil himself... but that's becoming hard to do.

Time has run out.

We've scoured the continent trying to break a code, and even now, a week until judgment day, there are some fragments I don't think we'll ever find. The symbols so far connect death to life, and for all I know, this path we're on could be leading us towards Elijah's reveal, instead of what we actually need. The bed is strewn with books, pages my tired eyes can barely decipher.

A hand presses on the papers, long pale fingers shielding them from my sight.

I look up.

Elijah is gazing at me expectantly. "Did you hear what I said?"

"No."

"Paris is returning today. He says they were unsuccessful with the man but he provided them another name."

"And where does this one live?"

"Milan. So, not too far."

"That's good."

He grabs my hand, lifting my fingers to his lips. "There is still time."

"You have to admit, it's getting pretty down to the wire." God, my chest is tight. "Neither of them has come to us."

Samael. Jehovah. Two gods who were at war with each other not even two months ago.

Where are they now? Have they reconciled? Planned behind our backs?

Are we doomed?

"That's probably best, Cassandra. Samael would only torment us, and Jehovah... it is unpredictable to imagine he'd openly guide us to victory."

I nod. He's right. Of course, he's right. My faith in this, in what I saw in that mountain, means I cannot abandon that hope now. Everything is riding on it. With a deep inhale, I give him a smile, hoping it looks reassuring. It seems like he's about to say something when a blood-curling scream echoes through the walls, startling us both, lingering on for a few seconds before disappearing completely.

Leaping up, Elijah instantly disappears to aid the call. When I reach the area, I immediately hear Erika, sounding frustrated. A crowd has formed around the door, blocking my way in. I see the side of Elijah who is surveying the length of the room, looking particularly uninvested, despite Erika's reproachful tone.

"What is going on?" I ask Adriana, who resides in the room across the hall, the daughter of a prominent vampire. She shrugs, as in the dark as me. The man in front of us, wearing only a robe, spins back to us.

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