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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
I swallow hard as Magnus shoots me a worried glance.
“But you didn’t tell them, right?” I demand, fear rising to my throat. “I mean, you wouldn’t just give it up like that, under threat. That’s the whole reason you have this gig to begin with. Your life’s mission and all that.”
But even as I’m saying the words, I’m remembering the last time we came here. How easily they abandoned their commission for the money we offered in exchange for their secret. And that was without their lives being on the line.
Seriously, the powers-that-be would have been so much better off just leaving the damn thing in a safety deposit box in Topeka.
Sure enough, Llewellyn hangs his head. “We tried,” he says mournfully. “We told them we’d rather die than give up the sacred location of the Grail. And so they started killing us. One by one, execution style, until Collin decided enough was enough. He wasn’t prepared to give up his life just for some stupid antique.”
“So you gave them the location of the cup,” I conclude dully, my heart aching inside of me. Poor Jayden. How am I going to break the news to him that his one shred of hope in regaining his humanity is now likely gone for good?
Llewellyn nods slowly. “I walked one of them to the location myself. A girl—maybe a teenager—it was hard to tell with her red hood shielding her face. In any case, I thought she’d just take a drop or two—all anyone would really need for personal use. But she wanted the whole cup and all it contained. And she had some kind of high-tech laser knife, which she used to chip away the Grail from the stone—stealing it from the sanctuary that’s kept it safe for two thousand years.” He squeezes his hands into fists. “She sealed the top to prevent any blood from escaping, then ordered me back to the house.” His voice cracks. “When we got there, all the other druids—including Collin—were dead.”
“But they let you live?” I ask. “I mean, no offense, but why?”
He shrugs. “The girl wasn’t happy when she saw all the bodies. She told me to hide under the sofa and play dead. I heard her later in the kitchen admonishing the rest of them for the murders, saying they were unnecessary, seeing as they’d gotten what they’d came for. But the group’s leader—who I swear was a vampire—insisted that the Alphas wanted no witnesses.”
I shoot Magnus a look, then turn back to Llewellyn. “Wait, what? The Alphas? The Grail robbers said they were Alphas?” It all suddenly starts to make sense. The red robes—that’s what the Alphas all wore at Riverdale. After escaping the Blood Coven, Corbin must have rejoined his friends.
“But how would they know to look for the Grail here?” Magnus asks. “Llewellyn’s order has been guarding it for two thousand years. There’s no way some newbie vampire and his boarding school pals would know of its location.”
“Well, you knew,” Llewellyn reminds him bitterly. “Maybe it’s not such a well-kept secret after all.”
“Um, it’s not like I Google mapped it. I only knew because I once served as a Knight Templar,” Magnus replies in a steely tone. “My order was sent to the Crusades to find the cup to begin with. After my maker, Lucifent, turned me into a vampire, I started doing my own research on the side. I traced the cup to your Order in the early 1300s and have been keeping an eye on you ever since.” He frowns. “And I certainly never shared the information with anyone.”
“Except for her,” Llewellyn reminds him, tossing his head in my direction.
Magnus turns to me. “You never told anyone the Grail’s location, did you?” he asks. “Think hard.”
I bat my eyelashes at him. “Oh, was that supposed to be a secret? Guess I shouldn’t have dropped the dime to the Vatican then.” Magnus and Llewellyn shoot me looks and I roll my eyes. “I’m kidding. God. Of course I didn’t tell anyone.”
Okay, fine. I may have mentioned it to Jayden, but he’s been under guard the entire time so there’s no way he could have spilled. And my sister might know the general vicinity of the Grail, but not the exact address.
“In any case, at this point it doesn’t really matter how they learned its location,” Magnus interjects. “Only that they have. We have to find them—and the Grail—no matter what it takes. No good could come from the Alphas possessing such a relic.”
“Yeah, well you lot have fun with that,” Llewellyn mutters, grabbing a pair of Air Force 1s from under the couch and slipping them on his feet. “I’m bloody done with this gig. I’d rather be stuck pouring pints at a lousy pub for the rest of my days than keep risking my life for a glorified Big Gulp.” He yanks off his robes, revealing a vintage Van Halen T-shirt and jeans. “At least now I’ll have a decent chance at scoring some health benefits. Damn druids and their ‘herbs cure everything so you don’t need a doctor’ bullshit. I mean, really.”
And on that uplifting note, he gives us a little bow, then heads briskly down the hall and out the open doorway, leaving Magnus and me alone in the parlor. My boyfriend watches him go, shaking his head. “Kids today,” he snarls. “No respect for holy commissions.” Then he turns back to me. “Sorry, babe,” he says, giving me a sympathetic look. “I think we’re out of luck.”
I hang my head. “This sucks. I mean, the Grail’s been sitting here for, like, two thousand years and it just happens to get stolen the day before we need it?”