Born of Betrayal(149)

By: Sherrilyn Kenyon

With a grateful smile, Ushara indicated the chair by her side. “There’s really nothing to hear right now. They’re flying dark through League space.”

He sat down by her side. “Then it’s going to be a long night.” Reaching over, Talyn took her hand. “But we will see it through together.”

No sooner had he spoken those words than the tadara, Sumi, Felicia, and Aros came through the door to stand vigil with them.

Within the hour, the room was filled to capacity.

Even Trajen came to sit in a corner, wordlessly observing them all while they waited for news.

“Jullien was taken by the tadara’s forces.”

Fain felt as sick as Nykyrian looked while the major made her report to them in the Alliance camp headquarters on the outpost base where they’d been hoping to meet up with Jullien and their remaining troops.

Aghast, Nykyrian stared at the woman. “And no one thought to help him?”

The major shrugged. “It was Tiziran Jullien.”

So basically their allied forces had refused to fight with him and had allowed Eriadne’s men take him without any backup whatsoever.

Fain cursed at what had been done to Jullien. After risking his life to save theirs, all of theirs, the prince had sent his own Tavali troops back with their family to protect and escort them through Gorturnum controlled space, thinking that his mother’s royal guard would help him while he covered their escape. Instead, his mother’s most trusted forces had literally thrown their hands up and left him to rot.

No, worse.

They’d hand-cuffed a wounded and bleeding Jullien, and handed him over to his enemies, gift-wrapped, so that they could walk away unscathed and “prove” their loyalty to Eriadne long enough to buy their own freedom.

Dancer shook his head. “I never thought I’d feel sorry for your brother, but damn, that was cold.”

Darling sighed. “What do we do?”

Nykyrian pressed his gloved hand to the bridge of his nose and winced. “I don’t know. We have no intel to work from. No idea where he is. If he’s even alive at this point.”

“Nyran hates him,” Galene said. “Passionately. Since childhood. There’s no telling what he’ll do to him. And The League has a Thrill-Kill warrant issued for Jullien.”

Which meant Jullien could be brutally tortured and killed with immunity from prosecution.

Nykyrian let out a long, slow breath. “This is not the news I wanted to take back to his wife. Not after everything they’ve done for us.”

Syn scoffed. “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Shahara popped him on the arm.

“It’s the truth,” he said defensively.

Dancer clapped Nykyrian on the back. “There’s nothing we can do here. We can’t mount a rescue when we don’t know where to strike. If he’s still alive, we’ll find him.”

Nykyrian turned toward Darling. “Please tell me he’s still a rank bastard dog who deserves to be gutted.”

“He’s a bastard. But he took two shots for your wife and daughter, and another round in the back to save your father. That’s something your father didn’t want to say in front of Jullien’s wife. When we left him, he was bleeding pretty badly.” Darling shook his head. “He is not the same dickhead you went to school with. As much as I’d like to hate him, I have to say he earned my respect with what he did for us and the way he handled himself.”

Shahara nodded in agreement. “There were glimpses of the old Jullien, but nothing like he used to be.” She scowled. “Did you know that for a full two years after you were reported dead neither of your parents really spoke to him?”

“What?” Nykyrian asked in shock.

“Yeah,” Darling concurred. “I heard your mom apologize to him for it while we were in hiding. Apparently, they got so caught up in their own grief they forgot they still had another son. Whenever he tried to see your mom, her secretary told him she was indisposed, and when he called the Triosan palace, they refused to put him through, as they didn’t want to risk upsetting his father during his bereavement period. And your aunt apologized for throwing it in his face that his parents had no time for him.”

“Who tended him, then?”

“Staff… your grandmother.”

Nykyrian looked at Galene.

“I was banned from the palace then, too. But they’re right. When I returned to duty, Jullien wasn’t allowed to see her. Those were my orders. It always upset her too much. Whenever he came around her, she would only ask him about you. Most of the time, she’d attack him for keeping you from her. Blame him for your death.”