Chapter Twenty-One

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Leo (Courage)

Ragnar's smarter than I gave him credit for. Evidently, he has some brains to go along with all that brawn. Not a lot, but enough. By forcing us to compete as teams, he's ensuring that we actually have to work together. I can't kill my teammates or leave them to die while I cross the finish line alone. For all intents and purposes, I'm stuck with them.

The human's bad enough, but Sariah and Romeo? Lucifer himself couldn't dream of more effective torture for me.

I need to get this over with as swiftly as possible.

"Take a weapon," I order my charges.

On our way out of the arena, I pluck a katana off the wall of weapons. The human takes a roll of throwing knives, the demon gets a bow and quiver of arrows, and the angel copies my selection.

My strides lengthen, my feet moving in the direction of the portal. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so that's exactly what we'll do. Cut through the desert and the forest until we arrive at the shimmering portal.

I don't invite conversation with the others, but Sariah doesn't let that hold her back. Her smell hits me first. Vaguely rotten, like overripe fruit, the scent is thick and cloying. I almost gag on it when she gets too close.

"Leo," she addresses me with her best attempt at sultry and demure.

It's unsuccessful and annoying. Some women never learn.

I say nothing even though she wants me to. Especially because she wants me to.

Sariah reaches for me, but I seize her fingers before she can make contact with my chest.

"There are no rules against harming your fellow teammates," I inform her casually. "Think about how much you value the use of your hands before you consider touching me again."

I squeeze until the fragile bones squeak in protest, wanting to drive my message home. Her eyes fill with tears before she bites her quivering lip and nods.

I let go, not watching her scuttle away from me but hearing it all the same. Her scent is quickly replaced with the more pleasant aroma of lavender and honey.

Willow.

"Is there a reason you're occupying my space, human?" I ask, kicking a rock in frustration.

I can see her scrutinizing me in my peripheral vision. My skin feels too tight for my body anytime she looks at me. It's not right having a pathetic mortal gaze upon me as if we're equals.

"What'd that rock ever do to you?" she questions instead of answering me.

"It was in my way."

Why must I always engage with her?

She practically skips at my side, alternating between a walk and a jog as she struggles to keep up with my punishing pace.

"Have you ever considered anger management classes? I think you could really benefit from them. Work out your issues."

I briefly contemplate the deals I've made and the promises I've given, searching for some loophole that allows me to wring her neck until her eyeballs pop out of her skull. 

There isn't one.

I grunt. "I think you could benefit from having your tongue removed. That would help with my anger issues."

"You like my tongue," she argues.

My gaze is sharply turned to her. She blushes, color rising on her cheeks as her blood vessels widen.

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