Relic of Sorrows: Fallen Empire, Book 4

Relic of Sorrows: Fallen Empire, Book 4 by Lindsay Buroker Read Free Book Online

Book: Relic of Sorrows: Fallen Empire, Book 4 by Lindsay Buroker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lindsay Buroker
Tags: General Fiction
trying to self-destruct on you, is it?” Alisa asked. She was still worried about Leonidas being over there, suit or not, especially since people here were throwing up after what had to be a minuscule exposure in comparison to over there.
    “No, that’s my suit,” Leonidas said, then grunted as he put effort into opening the door.
    “ It’s not self-destructing, I hope.”
    “It’s informing me that I’m close to dangerously high levels of radiation.”
    The door slid open before Alisa could respond. Unlike all of the other rooms on the ship, this one was brightly lit with a yellowish glow that reminded her uneasily of Alejandro’s orb. Leonidas stepped into the doorway and scanned the room, a simple sleeping cabin with a bed and desk. Clothes and blankets were strewn about, along with cups, silverware, and old-looking pieces of equipment—she spotted something that looked like a spacesuit helmet from another era. Leonidas did not focus on it long enough for her to get a better look. The camera turned toward someone squatting in the corner, a bald woman. She was hugging something to her chest.
    “You can’t have it,” the woman cried. “She’s ours. She’s ours.”
    Alisa did not see the attack, only the way the camera blurred as Leonidas dodged to the side. A gun fired, a bullet clanging off a wall.
    The focus returned to the woman. She gripped a weapon that looked like an even older version of Alisa’s Etcher. Was that a revolver? With a handful of bullets instead of a clip? It looked like something out of the Old West back on Earth.
    The woman fired again. This time, Leonidas did not dodge. The bullet pinged off his chest plate. He simply stood there, taking it.
    “Zoom,” he murmured, and the camera closed onto the item that the woman held to her chest. It was responsible for the bright light, which made it hard to pick out features, but it appeared to be a plaque. “This room is the source of the radiation,” Leonidas said.
    “How can that be?” Yumi asked.
    Alisa hadn’t noticed her return, but she stood in the hatchway.
    “Last one,” the woman cried. “The last one shall not be for a heathen. The saint, she awaits me.”
    She turned the muzzle of the gun toward herself and thrust the tip right into her mouth. Leonidas surged forward, but then halted. Maybe he could have made it in time, but he decided to let the woman end her own pain. The old gun fired, the last bullet blowing out her brains.
    Alisa winced and looked away, wishing Leonidas and his camera had too.
    Abelardus dropped his face into his hand.
    “Dearest gods and suns,” Yumi whispered.
    Leonidas walked forward and looked down. The view shifted from the woman’s face to what she cradled in her arms. The gun had fallen from her lifeless grip, but the plaque remained hugged to her bosom. He bent and tugged it free. Words seemed to be etched in it, but the light hurt Alisa’s eyes and made it impossible to read.
    “Light filter, on,” Leonidas said. “Reduce intensity by fifty percent.”
    The fierceness of the glow dimmed, and Alisa could read the plaque.
    “Alcyone Station?” Abelardus read, sounding stunned. Or maybe awed.
    “That’s a place?” Alisa had never heard of it.
    “It’s supposed to be her final resting place.”
    “And the location of that staff?”
    “I… actually don’t know. That’s not mentioned in any of the histories. According to official records, all of the Staffs of Lore were destroyed, deemed too strong, too galaxy-changing. All except one.” Abelardus’s eyes were locked to the plaque as he spoke. Leonidas was turning it over now, one of his gloved fingers brushing a charred corner that appeared to have been damaged by a blazer or similar weapon. Or perhaps an explosion had ripped it from whatever wall or bulkhead to which it had been mounted. “But the Toriphant, the orb, as you call it, and other clues promise to lead to Alcyone’s staff, the last remaining Staff of

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