I worked on my mantra, because I remembered reading something about the laws of the universe and believing in something will make it happen. God, I hoped they were right.

“Ten seconds.”

Daemon gave one more squeeze, and I realized he wasn’t going to let go. I would slow him down, but there was no time to protest it. A shudder rolled through my arms. I felt the Source rattle and wake up. My weight shifted back and forth.

Beside me, Blake bent forward. “Three, two, go!”

I kicked off, letting the Source rush through, expanding each cell with light. None of the guys were glowing, but we all were running, practically flying. My sneakers skidded over the road. Up we climbed, sticking to the side of the road, avoiding the streams of light. In the back of my head, I realized that keeping up with them had never been the issue.

It was seeing where to go.

But Daemon’s hand remained in mine and he wasn’t pulling me, more like guiding me through the night, around potholes the size of craters, and up the twisting mountain road.

Seventy-five seconds later, because I counted, a twenty-foot-tall fence came into view under spotlights. We slowed down, coming to a complete stop behind the last stand of trees.

I dragged in air, eyes wide. Red and white signs marked the fence as being electrical. Beyond them was a football-field length of open space and then a massive structure.

“Time?” Daemon asked.

“One minute after nine.” Blake ran a hand through his spiky hair. “Okay, I got one guard at the gate. Do you see any others?”

We waited for about another minute to see if any were patrolling, but as Luc had said, it was shift change. Only the gate was covered. We couldn’t wait any longer.

“Give me a second,” Andrew said, slipping away from the trees, creeping toward the guard dressed in black.

I was just about to ask what the hell he was doing when I saw him dip and place his hand on the ground. Blue sparks flew and the guard started to twist toward him, but the surge of electricity reached him.

A violent tremor ran up the man’s body, and he dropped the gun. A second later, he was lying beside it. The boys headed forward and I followed, sneaking a glance at the guard. His chest moved and fell, but he was out cold.

“He doesn’t know what hit him.” Andrew grinned as he blew a breath over his fingers. “He’ll be out for about twenty or so minutes.”

“Nice,” Dawson said. “I’d have fried his brain if I tried that.”

My eyes widened.

Daemon was on the move, approaching the gate. The white keypad looked unassuming, but it was the first test. We could only hope Luc took the cameras down and had given us the right codes.

“Icarus,” Blake said quietly.

Nodding, Daemon’s shoulders tensed as he quickly typed in the code. There was a mechanical clicking, a low hum followed, and then the gate shuddered. It swung open, beckoning us like a rolled-out red carpet.

Daemon motioned us forward. We sped across the field, taking a couple of heartbeats to reach the doors Luc and Blake had confirmed. I came up behind Daemon as they searched the wall.

“Where’s the damn keypad?” Dawson demanded, pacing between the doors.

I stepped back and forced my gaze to move left to right slowly. “There.” I pointed toward the right. The pad was small, stuck back behind the overlay.

Andrew jogged to it, glancing over his shoulder. “Ready?”

Dawson glanced down at me and then at the middle door in front of us. “Yes.”

“Labyrinth,” Daemon murmured from behind us. “And please, God, spell it correctly.”

Andrew snickered and keyed in the code. I wanted to squeeze my eyes shut just in case we ended up with a dozen guns leveled at our faces. The door before us slid open, revealing the space beyond inch by inch.

No guns. No people.

I let out the breath I was holding.

Beyond the door was a wide orange tunnel and at the end were the elevators. Not even a hundred feet and all we had to do was get to those elevators and go down six floors. Blake knew the cells.

We were seriously going to do this.

The door was wide enough for two people to move through at once, but Dawson stepped forward first. Understandable, considering what he had to gain by night’s end. I followed behind. As he moved under the doorframe, there was a sound of air releasing, a small puffing noise.

Dawson dropped like he’d been shot, but there’d been no blast. One second he was standing in the doorway and the next he was on the other side, withering on the floor, his mouth opened in a silent scream.

“No one moves,” Andrew ordered.

Time stopped. The hair on the back of my neck rose. I looked up. A row of tiny nozzles, barely even noticeable, faced down. Too late, I realized in horror. The puffing sound came again.

Red-hot pain seared through my skin, as if a thousand tiny knives were slicing me apart from the inside, attacking every cell. Every part of my body erupted as I dragged in a scorching breath. My legs crumbled and I went down, unable to even ease the fall. My cheek smacked off the concrete, that flash of pain nothing compared to the fire ravaging my body.

Brain cells were scrambled and twisted. Muscles locked up in panic and pain. My eyelids were peeled open. Lungs tried to expand, to drag in air, but there was something wrong with the air—it scalded my mouth and throat. Somewhere, in the distant part of me that could still function, I knew what this was.

Onyx—airborne, weaponized onyx.

Chapter 22

My body spasmed uncontrollably as waves of pain rocked through me. Distantly, I could hear panicked voices, and I tried to process what they were saying. Nothing made sense but the deep, slicing agony of the onyx.

Strong hands gripped my arms and the anguish skyrocketed. My mouth opened and a hoarse gasp escaped. Then I was lifted up, my face pressed against something warm and solid. I recognized the fresh scent.

Then we were flying.

We had to be, because we were moving so fast that the wind howled and roared in my ears. My eyes were open, but everything was dark as my skin felt like it was being flayed open with tiny razors.

When we slowed down, I thought I heard Dee’s shocked cry and then someone said river. We were flying again, and I didn’t know where Dawson was or if they had gotten to him on the other side of the door.

All I knew was the pain pumping through my body, the racing of my pulse and thundering heart.

It felt like hours before we stopped again, but I knew it had to be only minutes. Damp, cold air that smelled musky blew over us.

“Hold on to me.” Daemon’s voice was harsh in my ears. “It’s going to be cold, but the onyx is all over your clothes and hair. Just hold on, okay?”

I couldn’t answer, and I thought that if it was all over me, it had to be on Daemon. It had to be on him the whole way from Mount Weather to the river, which was miles. He had to be hurting.

Daemon stepped forward, slid a few feet down, and then let out a muttered curse. Moments later, the shock of icy water hit my legs and even through the pain, I tried to scramble up Daemon’s body to escape, but he kept going out farther and the ice lapped up my waist.

“Hold on,” he said again. “Just hold on for me.”

Then we slipped under and my breath was stolen again. Shaking my head vigorously, sediment was stirred in the murky water and my hair floated around my face, blinding me. But the fire of the onyx… It was fading.

Arms tightened around me, and then we were propelled up. As my head broke the surface, I dragged in air by the lungful. Stars cartwheeled and blurred, and Daemon moved us out of the water to the bank.

Water splashed a few feet away and as my vision cleared, Blake and Andrew dragged Dawson out of the water, laying him on the bank. Blake sat down next to him, thrusting his hands through his soaked hair.

My heart dropped. Was he…?

Dawson flung an arm over his face as he bent one leg. “Crap.”

Relief made my knees weak. I felt Daemon’s hands on my cheeks and then he turned my face to his. Bright green eyes met mine.

“Are you okay?” he asked. “Say something, Kitten. Please.”

I forced my chilled lips to move. “Wow.”

His brows lowered as he shook his head, confounded, and then he threw his arms around me, squeezing me so tightly I squealed.

“God, I don’t even know…” He cupped the back of my head as he twisted away from the group, lowering his voice. “I was scared to death.”

“I’m okay.” My voice was muffled. “What about you? You had to have—”

“It’s all off me. Don’t even worry about that.” A shudder rocked him. “Damn, Kitten…”

I kept quiet as he squeezed me again, patted me down like he was checking to make sure I still had arms and fingers. When he kissed my eyelids, though, I thought I would cry, because his hands were trembling.

Four sets of headlights bore down on us and then there was a stream of voices and questions. Dee was the first on the scene. She dropped beside Dawson, grabbing his hand.

“What happened?” she demanded. “Someone tell us what happened.”

Matthew and Ash appeared, curious and concerned. It was Andrew who spoke up. “I don’t know. They had something that came out of the doors when they opened. It was some kind of spray, but it had no smell and we couldn’t see it.”

“It hurt like a bitch.” Dawson sat up, rubbing his arms. “And there’s only one thing that feels like that. Onyx.”

Of course he’d also know what it was. I shuddered. God knows how many times it had been used against him.

“But I’ve never seen it like that before,” he continued, slowly climbing to his feet with Ash’s and Dee’s help. “It was airborne. Insane. I think I swallowed some.”

“Are you okay? Katy?” Matthew asked.

We both nodded. My skin ached a little, but the worst of it had passed. “How did you know to get us to the river?”

Daemon brushed wet curls off his forehead. “I guessed it was onyx when I didn’t see any visible wounds, figured it was on your clothes and skin. I remembered passing the river. Thought it was the best place to go.”

“Good thinking,” Matthew said. “Hell…”

“We didn’t even make it past the first set of doors.” Andrew barked out a laugh. “What the hell were we thinking? They have that place wired against Luxen and, apparently, hybrids.”

Daemon disentangled his arms from me and stalked over to where the rest stood. He stopped behind Blake. “You’ve been to Mount Weather before, right?”

Slowly, Blake pushed to his feet. His cheeks were pale in the silvery moonlight. “Yeah, but nothing—”

Daemon was like a cobra striking. His fist came out, slamming into Blake’s jaw. Blake stumbled back and fell, hitting the ground on his butt. Leaning over, he spit out a mouthful of blood. “I didn’t know—I didn’t know they had something like that!”

“I’m finding that hard to believe.” Daemon stalked the boy’s movements.

Blake lifted his head. “You have to believe me! Nothing like that ever happened before. I don’t understand.”