Home > Day Zero (The Arcana Chronicles #3.5)(17)

Day Zero (The Arcana Chronicles #3.5)(17)
Author: Kresley Cole

Day 0

Kicked back at my father’s desk, I daydreamed about my new flamethrower and took in the view from his office’s floor-to-ceiling glass wall. The city streets sprawled below.

He should be finished soon with the group of Japanese investors. He’d wanted me to join him in the conference room, but I had heard his sales pitch a thousand times: “In São Paulo, kidnappings among the wealthy have become a way of life. Here, we live in armored, guarded penthouses and travel by helicopter from one tower to the next. If the same happens in your city, will you be ready?”

Yes, there were kidnappings here; my own mother had been murdered during an abduction. Yes, our copters sold like crazy. But he might be overplaying the facts a touch.

Most traveled via copter to escape the miserable traffic.

His fearmongering worked for me. Nobody benefited from Dragão’s sales like I did. Money enabled me to buy things like flamethrowers.

God, I loved fire.

“Where is your mind, daughter?” Papai asked, smiling at me from his office door. Behind him, his assistant ushered the investors toward the rooftop helipad. One of our pilots would fly them out.

I rose to give Papai his seat back, then hopped up on the corner of his desk. “I was thinking about my trip. I leave tonight.”

He sank into his chair. “Or you could shadow me at work this week instead.”

We’d had this talk repeatedly. He wanted me to concentrate on our business. At twenty-three, I was a skilled pilot, a crack shot, and a trained fighter, but I wouldn’t know a spreadsheet if it came at me with a machete. “I have a solid lead on the Oliveras.” Once I located their hideout, I would torch it with my new toy.

When I was eleven, they’d killed my mother. I’d been hunting them for the last year, ever since I’d come into my Dragão stock shares. With money, I’d funded more training, weapons, and a crew.

My life had been shaped by revenge, and I possessed the ideal temperament for it. Papai had once said I’d been born bloodthirsty; he wasn’t wrong.

Now he exhaled, looking older than his years. He was athletic and fit, but stress beat him down. “How can you keep chasing this vendetta?”

My notorious temper redlined like a straining turbine engine. “How can you not?” Rumor held that Papai had gotten his start as a criminal, running his own crew before he’d married Mamãe. If I were him, I’d be drawing on my roots to avenge her. “They murdered your wife. By your reaction, I have to wonder if you loved her at all.”

Fury flashed in his eyes. “I worshipped her.”

Everyone had. After her passing, my grandmother had died of grief, my grandfather drinking himself into an early grave. The last thing he’d told me: “If you want justice for your mother, you’ll have to deliver it yourself.” I’d been fourteen.

I would make the Olivera clan pay for all three deaths.

Papai said, “If you continue to go after them, sooner or later they will strike back against my only child and heir. Then I would retaliate, and this war would last forever, until we’re all destroyed.”

“I wish they would come after me.” Even now I had a Glock in a holster on my back and a tactical blade tucked in my boot.

My handpicked crew and I had already taken out two Olivera sons. Now I hunted for the rest of that generation, but especially for Bento Olivera, their father.

He was the one who’d slit my mother’s throat—after Papai had paid the ransom.

My hand drifted to my pistol. Merely touching the weapon cooled some of my fury, focusing it. “I’m not getting into this with you again. I just stopped by to tell you I’m leaving.”

The fire alarm blared to life.

I stood, wary. We were fifty floors up. I only liked fire when it didn’t threaten me. “What’s happening?”

“I don’t know.” Papai pulled up security feeds on his computer screen. Employees were filing out downstairs. The investors had boarded on the helipad, were about to dust off.

Papai assessed the feeds. “No sign of fire. Perhaps we should get to the safe room.”

“Which one?” We had two—one at ground level for fires or natural disasters and one on this floor for an enemy incursion or attack.

“My instinct tells me to get low.” Papai had a sense for such things. He glanced toward his bookcase. Behind it was the entrance to this floor’s safe room and the private elevator. “We should chance the elevator.”

I nodded. “Let’s go—” Bam! Something had crashed into the glass wall.

A bird? It’d left a smear of blood and feathers. Then another one hit the glass. And another. Half a dozen birds had flown straight into it. “How weird.” Above the blood, I spied brightness. “Papai, look!” The most beautiful bands of light wavered in the night sky. They shimmered green and purple over the mountains.

He turned to the glass wall and sucked in a breath. “Extraordinary.” Side by side, we watched the lights.

I murmured, “I could look at them forever.”

The Dragão copter with the investors had taken off and now hovered just in front of us, blocking my view of the lights, irritating me. I supposed the pilot was just as entranced.

Another copter drifted toward it. Those pilots were going to tangle if they weren’t careful. They coasted even closer. The Dragão pilot made no move to evade. Closer. “Papai?” Closer.

He didn’t answer, completely caught up in the lights.

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