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The Underworld, Page 36

Jessica Sorensen

Page 36


  “Well, it looks like I have some unexpected visitors,” she said. “Coming here willingly to be tortured in my world—let the Fey take you as they will? I have to say you two are brave little souls”

  This was all wrong. This was not what I had seen. Something had shifted.

  And Alex and I were screwed.

  Chapter 33

  Back during my first visit to the City of Crystal, Dyvinius had explained to me how visions work. He said that if a vision wasn’t read correctly then the world as we knew it could shift. I never considered that we just might be playing with fire when Nicholas and I had been bouncing around in and out of visions. And the vision where I took Nicholas and myself to The Underworld had never really been finished. Nicholas had freaked out and made me take us back to Adessa’s before I was able to see the entire outcome of the vision. I have been so stupid not realizing this, and now I have dragged Alex into a mess he hadn’t known he was getting dragged into.

  Crap. I couldn’t believe this was happening. What other things had changed because I hadn’t been careful? Playing with visions was such a risky thing. And now I had no idea what was going to happen.

  “I have to say,” said the Queen. “It isn’t every day that someone voluntarily enters my world. Usually, it’s with much force and fussing. And yet you two are here, entering it on your own free will. Tell me, what has brought you here?” She wasn’t being kind; she was taunting us—I could hear it in her voice.

  “We came here to get something,” Alex told her in a firm voice.

  “Ah, I see. ” She eyed us over with her empty eyes and then turned around and motioned to us to follow her.

  While she had her back turned, I leaned over and whispered in Alex’s ear. “This isn’t right. ”

  He gave me a look like I was insane. “What isn’t right?”

  “This isn’t how I saw the vision go,” I whispered, and his eyes widened.

  We followed the Queen back down the tunnel, past the cluster of floating Water Faeries, and up a set of marble stairs, which led us to a room that had a long antique table trailing down the center, and a massive chandelier hanging from the ceiling. There were no crystals decorating the chandelier, but pieces of thorn-covered wire that were bended and turned in every direction. Covering the dirt walls were twisted pieces of vines that looked like seaweed.

  “Have a seat,” the Queen told us, gesturing to the chairs trimming the table.

  Alex and I did what she asked, and then she took a seat at the head of the table. There was a long pause while she sat, watching us.

  “So you’ve come here for something, have you?” she finally asked.

  “Someone, actually,” Alex told her. “Her name is Jocelyn Lucas. ”

  I could tell right away that the Queen knew who we were talking about—you could see it in her face.

  “Tell me boy, what is your name?” the Queen asked.

  “Alex Avery,” Alex said with some hesitance.

  “Ah, I see. You’re a Keeper. ” She moved her attention to me. “And you? What is your name?”

  “Gemma Lucas,” I told her, forcing my voice to come out steady.

  Darkness masked her face. “So you are what? The daughter of Jocelyn?”

  I nodded. God, I hoped she knew nothing of the star.

  “I see. ” The Queen tapped her sharp fingernails on the top of the table. “So what did you expect? That you would come down here and demand I give you my best slave, all because you asked?”

  “No,” Alex said, “We’ve actually brought something to trade for Jocelyn’s freedom. ”

  “I can assure you, Alex, that you have nothing I want,” the Queen replied with a disdainful manner.

  Alex slipped the sapphire teardrop diamond out of his pocket and held it up for the Queen to see. “Not even for this. ”

  She looked surprised, which I took as a good sign…at first. But then she started to laugh, the high pitched laugh that rang sorely against my eardrums and shook at the chandelier.

  I gave Alex a glance, and he shrugged.

  The Queen stopped laughing and her laughter swiftly shifted to anger. “You think that you can come down here, and try to make a bargain with me with something the Keepers took from me to begin with. ” She rose from her chair, towering over us. “How dare you insult me. You are just like your father. Taking whatever you want and doing whatever you please. ”

  I wanted to bang my head against the table. Was there anyone who didn’t have a grudge against Stephan? Probably not, but still…

  “I have been waiting for the day when I would see your father again and settle what he started a long time ago. ” The Queen sauntered toward us, her eyes locked on Alex.

  Alex, being Alex, held her petrifying gaze. “I understand that you may have had some issues with my father, but I can assure you that—”

  “Silence. ” The Queen’s loud voice caused the dirt walls to quake. “I don’t want to hear any excuses. I always swore to myself that one day I would get even with Stephan, whatever it took. And here you are…It’s the perfect opportunity. A much smaller version of him, of course, but still it’ll do. ”

  “He’s nothing like his father,” I said abruptly, and then shrank back when the Queen focused her attention on me. My body quivered but I pressed on. “And he only came down here because I asked him to—so I could get my mother. ”

  The Queen’s face was not full of anger, but of inquisitiveness. She walked back to her chair, but didn’t sit down. “You know Jocelyn has never mentioned having a daughter, so I find it rather peculiar that someone would show up with the son of one of my sworn enemies and claim to be her daughter. ”

  “Well, I am,” I assured her. “And I want to take her back with me. ”

  “Take her back?” She started laughing again. “Oh, I’m afraid there’s no way I can do that. You see, you can’t take her back with you, because you yourself are never leaving. ”

  “No, we can leave,” I told her, but my certainty that I really could was questionable. “I came here through the Ira, and you can’t keep us here—there are laws that say you can’t. ”

  Alex shot me a look that warned me I was treading on very thin water.

  “Oh I’m afraid that’s where you are wrong,” The Queen said. “The Ira was created for the leader of the Foreseers to enter The Underworld. Therefore the law of releasing only applies to him. ” She smiled a big empty smile before gesturing her hand around the room. “So Gemma and Alex, let me welcome you to your new home. ”


  Chapter 34

  “Let me welcome you to your new home. ” The Queen’s words kept running through my head like a plague. You could see it on her face that she got some sort of sick, twisted pleasure when she told us we couldn’t leave. Which wasn’t surprising. She was the Queen of a world that ran on fear.

  But don’t get me wrong, I still tried to get us out of there. I tried so hard to blink us out of that horrible place that I gave myself a splitting headache.

  After the Queen declared we were never allowed to leave, she locked Alex and I in a cement chamber that had a single bed in it. It was like being in a jail cell, except there were no bars on the door.

  The Queen was probably going to keep us here until she was ready to begin our torture sessions, where we would end up being faerie food. Or at least our fear would. Fear was not a new emotion for me—I have felt it many, many times. So I knew that in order to bring it out of a person, something bad had to happen.

  “I’m really starting to wonder just how long the list of people who my father has pissed off is,” Alex said.

  We had been sitting on the bed, staring at the cement walls for awhile, so the sound of his voice startled me a little.

  “Probably pretty long,” I said, and he shot me dirty a look. “Sorry, but it’s probably the truth. I mean, he walks with the Death Walkers, betrays the Keepers, forces faeries to h
elp him all because of a Blood Promise made ages ago. And he’s also pissed off the Queen of the dead for who knows what reason. That list, right there, is really long. ”

  Alex let out a sigh. “Yeah, you’re probably right. We probably will be running into a lot more people who hate him. ”

  I was right. What the…

  “Why are you looking at me like that?” he asked.

  I kept looking at him the same way. “Like what?”

  “Like I just shocked the heck out of you. ”

  I shrugged. “I don’t know…because you said I was right. ”

  He stared at me perplexedly, as if he was trying to figure something out.

  “So what are we going to do?” I asked. “I mean, are we going to be able to get out of here?”

  He let out a loud breath as he ran his fingers through his hair. “I don’t know Gemma. I don’t even know what exactly happened. I mean, do you have any idea why this didn’t work out like how you saw in the vision?

  I massaged the sides of my temples, trying to force my headache away. “Because I didn’t finish seeing the vision, at least that’s what I think happened. Nicholas forced me to take us away before I saw the whole thing play out. ” Someone screamed not too far away, and I shivered. “I’m sorry,” I said.

  Alex cocked an eyebrow at me. “Sorry for what?”

  “For messing this up. ”

  He shook his head, dragging the knife he brought with along him on the frame of the bed. “You didn’t mess this up. I did, by being my father’s son. ”

  “Well, I think we can also put a little bit of the blame on Nicholas. ” The mention of faerie boy’s name caused an acidic taste to burn in the back of my throat. “For not giving us all the details about how the Ira works. Although, we never should have trusted him to begin with. ”

  “Yeah, I know,” Alex leaned back against the cement wall and folded his arms across his chest.

  “What will they do to us?” I asked quietly. “The Water Faeries—what will they do to instill fear in us?”

  “I’m not sure,” he said, and I knew he was lying by how he avoided looking at me.

  “Just tell me,” I said tiredly and slumped back against the cement wall. “I think I need to know what I’m in store for. ”

  He locked eyes with me. “You really want to know?” he asked, and I nodded, even though I felt like I was being choked. “Okay, well to put it simply you’re in store for a lot of pain. ”

  I nodded, the choking feeling practically strangling me to death.

  It got quiet. Noises of dripping water filled our little concrete prison in a way that was almost maddening. Pain. I was going to be in a lot of pain. But, was he talking about the physical kind of pain or the emotional kind?

  “Look,” he said, before I could ask him to clarify which kind of pain he was referring to. “No matter what happens, I need you to hold on, okay? No matter how bad things get, don’t give up. ”