Yeah? he said in a low and gruff voice. Is that why you’re here—so I can put you to sleep?
After that, all of us passed the next hour waiting in mostly silence for Cyrus to return. Some of the vampires—Rose and Ashley at the lead—considered the jinni’s offer of refreshments. But the jugs were filled with human blood. I could hardly remember the last time I’d relished the sweet delicacy, but as much as the blood called to me, there was no way I could give into the urge. I simply couldn’t. I was pleased to see that my daughter, Ashley and everyone else also refrained once they realized that it was human blood. Just two decades ago, the older vampires in this room wouldn’t have thought twice about chugging down the human blood. Now, after practicing abstinence from it for so long and training their murderous nature, they were averse to it even when it was presented to them—quite literally—on a silver platter.When Cyrus returned, he manifested himself in the same spot he had left, just in front of his throne.
We are ready, he said, a hint of excitement in his voice. Let us return to the sand above, where my army is waiting.He led us out of the door, retracing the same path he’d taken in bringing us down here. Climbing up the jeweled staircase, we emerged back in the desert of black sand. Surrounding us was a huge swarm of jinn. It took my breath away to see how many there were. They each shared similar features: smooth ebony skin and heavily set jaws—heavier than the Nasiris’. The women had tightly curled hair, and most of the men were bald—some sporting immaculately sculpted goatees.So tell me, Jeriad. Cyrus faced the shifter. How exactly do you propose to lead us to the Nasiris?
We dragons must fly by our own strength, of course, Jeriad replied. Of course, I forgot. For as you know, we do not accept transport from magical beings. You may fly with us on our backs, for there is plenty of space. Or, if you wish to fly using your own powers, you can soar alongside us.We shall soar alongside you, Cyrus replied after a moment of thought.
Our destination in the human realm is a country called Egypt, Jeriad said. The Nasiris reside in a desert, whose name is… I forget these human names. Jeriad looked toward Derek.
The Sahara Desert, Derek prompted.I shook my head. no, he just slept over and we slept next to each other.
That sounds pretty sincere.Right, but what if he’s like . . . a con man or something. you watch too much television.
I know I do, but what if he’s a con man? He’s just like this really sexy, really charming, perfect man who figures out your wildest fantasies of being swept off your feet by a man who loves pizza and bribes gelato workers and is an only child and then boom. My money is gone.You don’t even have very much money.