Home > Awakened (Shadow Guild : Hades & Persephone #2)

Awakened (Shadow Guild : Hades & Persephone #2)
Author: Linsey Hall


1

 

 

Seraphia

 

When one walks into hell, it’s important to be prepared.

Too bad I could hardly stand.

“How are you doing?” Mac, one of my closest friends, asked from my side. She supported me around the waist, and it was her lean strength I had to thank for getting me this far.

“Fine. Doing great.” My insides felt like they’d been put through a blender.

“You look great,” Mac said. “The deathly pallor and hollow eyes really suit you.”

I huffed a weak laugh and stared at the door of the Guild City library, fear yawning wide inside me. It created a chasm as deep and dark as Hades’ heart.

It was time to go back to hell.

“You’re sure about this?” Mac asked.

I looked at her, grateful for the faint rain on my face. It was a dreary day in Guild City, but the cool rain was soothing against the heat that flickered through me from the pomegranate potion.

Curse, more like.

“Do I look like I have any other options?” I asked.

“No.” Anger twisted her pretty features. “I just hate this for you. It’s all my fault.”

“Shut up, or I swear to God, I’ll kick you in the tits.”

She huffed a laugh. “You couldn’t manage that on your best day.”

She wasn’t wrong. I was far too short, and she was far too quick and tough. Being a librarian gave me a certain set of skills, but definitely not tit-kicking.

I turned back to the library door, staring at the dark wood and tiny panes of glass.

This is it.

I was walking back into the underworld, compelled by Hades himself. It’d been two weeks since I’d escaped, and the pomegranate potion he’d given me was forcing me to return. It was about to kill me, which was the only thing worse than seeing Hades again.

Lie.

Part of me wanted to see him. But I shoved that part back, bound it with duct tape, and shoved it in a closet. A bit serial-killery of me, but effective.

I drew in a deep breath and stared at the door of the library. It was the portal to hell, which I definitely hadn’t known when I’d taken the job. But I’d be going back prepared this time.

Last time, I’d been hampered by my need to find Mac a cure for another of Hades’ curses. This time, it was just me, trying to find a way to break the pomegranate curse. I’d tried everything I could here on earth, searching high and low. My potion master friend Eve had done everything she could as well, but without the pomegranate that had cursed me, her hands had been tied.

“I’m here!” A voice sounded from down the street, and I turned to look.

As if she’d heard me thinking about her, Eve raced toward me down the uneven, cobblestone street. Her purple hair streamed in the wind, and she raised two big leather bags, a smile stretched across her pretty Fae face. She skidded to a stop in front of me. “Got all kinds of potions for you here. Hades won’t know what hit him.”

“Thank you.” I smiled gratefully but didn’t bother to take the bags. No way I could lift something so heavy in my state. “I can never pay you back for this. Your help will save me.”

“Psh, don’t worry about that.” She frowned at me, looking me up and down. “You’re going back not a moment too soon.”

“Don’t I know it.” At the words, pain stabbed my insides. I gasped and doubled over, clutching my belly. It felt like my organs were trying to leap out of my body and run right back to hell.

“Let’s go,” Mac said. “With any luck, you’ll feel better once you’re there.”

“Except for the fact that I’ll be stuck in hell.”

Mac nodded. “Except for that.”

“Onward.” I straightened my shoulders, reminding myself that I was going armed. Come hell or high water, I’d make Hades regret dosing me with the pomegranate potion.

Mac pushed open the old wooden door and stepped forward. I resisted briefly, turning to look at Guild City. I would be coming back. I wouldn’t settle for any less.

But all the same, I wanted one last peek at my home.

The quiet streets of Guild City looked like something right out of Shakespeare. It was pure Tudor, the dark timber buildings coated in white plaster. Hundreds of mullioned windows watched me like silent eyes.

The people who filled the streets were modern, and several drove motorbikes down the narrow lanes. The wares in the shop windows were a combination of magical and mundane. Each display danced colorfully behind the glass, magic making the objects move in order to entice customers. I drew in a deep breath and turned back to the library.

Mac and Eve helped me through the door, each supporting me with a shoulder under my arm. Every step was agony as we entered the hallowed halls of my gorgeous library. The gleaming tile floors echoed underfoot, and the domed ceiling soared overhead. Magical candles flared to life, illuminating the tall wooden shelves and millions of leather-bound volumes.

I breathed deeply of the paper and oak–scented air, letting it fill my lungs with the scent of home. I’d hardly spent any time here since my escape from Hades. No one else had been allowed in, either, just in case he planned to grab someone as leverage.

Now, I was headed right for his portal.

Right for him.

“Nearly there,” Mac said.

I nodded weakly, forcing one aching foot in front of the other. I’d never been in such pain in all my life, and I had Hades to thank for it. I’d resisted returning for as long as I could, but at this point, I’d honestly rather be dead. Slowly, we crossed the floor underneath the great dome, heading deeper into the stacks.

“I'm going to stash these bags in the ether,” Eve said. “The spell is connected to you, so you’ll be able to retrieve them anywhere.”

I looked at her, gratitude welling within me. She was the premier potion maker in Guild City, and she’d kitted me out with thousands of pounds’ worth of potions. Mac had contributed weapons, and my friend Carrow’s familiar—a raccoon named Cordelia—had found me the best snacks in Carrow’s cupboard. I could probably eat of the underworld now that I’d taken the pomegranate potion, but I couldn’t be too careful.

“I just wish you’d let me go with you,” Mac said.

“Hell, no. Not until I know it’s safe.” I shook my head hard, nearly going blind as pain exploded behind my eyes. “Bollocks, that hurts.”

Mac tightened her arm around my waist to keep me up. “You’ll feel right as rain in no time.”

“And ready to murder Hades,” I muttered, rage warming me from within. I was going to kill that bastard for doing this to me. Whatever semi-soft feelings I’d developed for him were long gone after what I’d been through.

We reached the stacks at the back of the library. A dark mist began to rise up from the ground, smelling of firelight and ash.

Hades.

“He knows we’re here.” I pulled away from my friends, nearly going to my knees. “You need to go.”

“Take this.” Eve thrust a tiny vial at me, then retreated from the mist. “Invisibility potion. It won’t last long, but it will give you time to get your bearings before he sees you.”

“Thank you.” Invisibility potions were exceedingly rare. I gulped it down, feeling the chill of the magic as it raced over my skin. Mac and Eve blinked at me, their gazes suddenly searching.

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