The Grey God (Chapter Four, page 1 of 6)


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The Oracle Sofia descended the stairs to the main floor of her mate's Texas ranch, one hand on the railing and the other on her stomach. Her head spun from the visions she'd been having since Ireland, and she'd fought with herself for days before coming to the conclusion she'd have to break one of her Oracle vows. If she didn't help put her mate on a certain path, she couldn't tell if any of them would survive.

"Oracle."

The low growl of the Original Vamp they'd inherited interrupted her thoughts. She turned to face him, arms crossed. Xander had promised Jule to behave, an oath Jule said he couldn't break, since it was Original-to-Original. She still didn't like having him in the house.

Her tall, blond bodyguard, Pierre, stepped closer to her, hand moving to his weapons.

"Got time for a lost soul?" Xander asked.

"Don't mock me, Xander," she replied.

"You have no sense of humor."

"You're not the first to say so," she said. "What do you want?"

"You showed me something a week ago, a vision on a path I cannot see myself."

"And?" she prodded when he fell quiet. The exchange a week ago was the first time she met the nightmarish Original Vamp, when he'd offered to help Jule in exchange for asking her a question.

"I want to know how that comes to be."

"I don't know that answer," she replied. "Even if I did, I'm bound by some limitations in what I can share."

"Are you as powerful as I think, or are you good at making it look that way?" he asked, studying her intently.

"I should ask you that question," she retorted.

"If this place is standing, it's because I allow it to be."

"I'll keep your secrets, Xander. Don't mess with me or anyone I love."

"There will come a time, Oracle …"

"I've Seen it," she said and stepped closer to him. Sofi looked up, meeting his red gaze. "I've Seen all your possible fates, Xander. If you knew the one I plan on pushing you down-and I will manipulate the fate of a selfish creature like you-you'd be running out of here screaming."

He growled. "We'll see, Oracle."

Sofi turned and walked away, irritated with him.

"That, my vamp friend, is what we call a smackdown," Pierre added before following her.

Sofi doubted Pierre would be living if Xander hadn't made a promise. It was egregious that stores of immense power were wasted on such a creature at a time when Damian needed all the help he could get. Xander would never help another without some sort of leverage. Fortunately, she had leverage, and she Saw she might need it before the week was over.

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