The promise, p.11
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       The Promise, p.11

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 11

 

  Don t take that attitude with me,

  Adessa said.

  You ve been lying to me for a very long time.

  The flame woman tipped her head back and wailed.

  Stop sulking and hand it over.

  Adessa stuck out her hand and the fire woman let out a huff, blowing a breath of smoke and fire into Adessa s palm.

  Go now.

  Adessa flexed her hand.

  And don t come back until you re sorry for what you did.

  The flame woman dissipated and Adessa turned, smiling. I was pretty sure my jaw was hanging to the floor

  Now that that s taken care of.

  She shut the lid of the apothecary table.

  I think I can make this work. But I m going to need your help with something first something that s very dangerous, but very important to me.

  Okay,” I said, not surprised, because danger seemed to be my middle name.

  Tell me what it is.

  Chapter 19

  (Alex)

  I was going to kill him, strangle him until he died. At least I wanted to. But I wouldn t or couldn t. Killing Laylen would nearly kill Gemma and she d hate me for it. Besides, that d be stooping to my father s level. No matter how hard he tried to turn me into one of his murderous soldiers, I refused to give in. I had to be stronger than he was. If anything, to save Gemma from dying.

  So I held back on the strangling, instead knocking him in the side of the head with a snow shovel I stole off someone s back porch. Once he fell unconscious, I tucked his body under a tarp, beside a pile of firewood. Then I stood there in the darkness, trying to come up with some kind of plan that would salvage this mess. I had an unconscious, killer vampire in front of me and the two people who could take me away were missing.

  There was only one thing to do. Go back to the Banshee and find out what happened. Then maybe I could figure out my next move.

  She was wailing when I arrived, a cry of death, perhaps for me. I barged in, not bothering to knock and the pleased look on her face was enough that I saw red. I shoved her back and she tripped twisting her ankle as she fell to the floor.

  Who are you?

  I demanded.

  She smirked despite the pain.

  Don t you think I should be asking you the same thing?

  You don t get to ask the questions here.

  I squatted down beside her, pointing my knife at her throat.

  Now who are you?

  Her eyes widened, the color shifting from green to blue and her hair from brown to blond.

  You re the Banshee from the alley,

  I said.

  Why are you here?

  You didn t think Draven would just hand you the information, did you? Who are you really? And why do you want the help of a Banshee?

  He didn t just give it to me.

  My jaw tightened at the idea that this was just a set up a very long, waste of time, set up.

  I have to pay him back later.

  And you will,

  she said.

  But we needed to see why you seek her. Why do you need a Banshee?

  I m not telling you anything, until you tell me why you brought me out here.

  Because this is the entrance to the Afterlife,

  she gesture at the blackened walls.

  This is where you cross over.

  I m not going anywhere.

  I had an idea.

  Where s my mom? I know you know.

  Her breath was venomous.

  We don t just give away information about our kind.

  My knife was at her.

  Where is she? Tell me where she is!

  In hiding.

  She sneered.

  In a place where no one wants to hide.

  I grabbed the Banshee by the collar of her shirt and yanked her toward me.

  Where? Tell me.

  I will.

  She grinned slyly.

  But it ll cost you.

  Chapter 20

  (Gemma)

  Tesha s a friend of mine,

  Adessa clarified, but I still wasn t thrilled about the idea.

  If we can just get back to the house, I can take the mark off her.

  But what if it doesn t work.

  My eyes were fixed on the bright neon lights of the building. Standing in front of the glass doors, was a short woman with choppy hair, pointy ears, and turquoise eyes Tesha. At first I thought she was a pixie or something, but I wasn t even sure if pixies existed.

  Adessa explained that Tesha was a vampire friend of hers and that she d somehow gotten branded with the Mark of Malefiscus. I tried to tell her a million times that it was a bad idea, because the last thing I wanted to do was take down a vampire when Aislin and Laylen were running around, doing who knows what. But when I saw the way Adessa looked at Tesha, I wondered if she might have been more than a friend.

  Alright, do you have a game plan?

  I asked, peeking over the hood of the truck we were hiding behind.

  Tesha was chatting with a man twice her size. I wasn t sure what breed he was, but from the blue glow in his eyes made me guess he wasn t human.

  I was hoping you had one,

  Adessa said with a sigh.

  I ve been trying to get to her for weeks, but it s useless.

  I frowned. I had a plan, but I wasn t very fond of it.

  Okay, I m going to foresee my way over there, grab her, and blink us back here you better be ready to work the spell.

  Adessa nodded, opening up the baggy.

  I will, but be careful.

  Give me the knife.

  I shoved my hand at her.

  Adessa shook her head, pulling the knife closer.

  You can t hurt her.

  I m not,

  I said.

  But I m not going in unarmed either.

  Reluctantly, she handed over the gold-bladed knife.

  Please, don t hurt her.

  I won t.

  Unless I have to.

  You ll have to be the one to puncture her mark.

  She tapped her left arm.

  It s on her left wrist.

  I put on my game face, even though I was scared out of my mind.

  Be right back.

  I shut my eyes and pictured the front door of the casino where Tesha stood. In a heartbeat, I had foreseen my way over, but managed to land myself between the tall man with glowing eyes and Tesha.

  Their eyes darkened and the blue-eyed man reached for me.

  Sorry, not going to happen,

  I said and forced him back. He barely stumbled, but I grabbed Tesha s arm and whisked us away to Adessa.

  As soon as we hit the asphalt, I shoved Tesha to the asphalt. Her fangs snapped out, sharp and long, and she nicked my arm. I snatched her wrist, fighting her as I made the incision on her left wrist where the triangle traced her skin. She snarled her fangs at me and then, as if she couldn t resist herself, bit into her own arm where blood was starting to pool.

  Adessa!

  I shouted and Adessa knelt beside us, her hands trembling as she opened the bag of Vitis vinifera. She crumbled it into the open wound and it mixed with the blood. Again, Tesha nicked my skin with her fangs and I slapped her. She blinked, stunned, and Adessa looked like she was going to cry.

  Say the spell,

  I ordered.

  Now!

  With a nod of her head, Adessa s lips parted.

  Liberare vos ligaveris!

  Then we watched as the mark slithered away, off Tesha s arm and onto the ground, like a snake. Even though I had seen it before, it still got to me; the way the mark kept going, toward the entrance of the casino, as if going to seek another.

  I was on my feet before the next breath left my lungs and I stomped on the snake over and over again until it was smashed into the ground.

  Well,

  I said.

 
; I think I just figure out how Aislin and Laylen were marked.

  But Adessa wasn t listening as she seized Tesha in her arms.

  I m so sorry.

  Tears poured down Tesha s cheeks.

  It s not your fault,

  Adessa said, smoothing Tesha s hair.

  It s no one s fault.

  Guilt choked at me, strangling away my oxygen. It was my fault.

  Adessa helps Tesha to her feet.

  And who s this little warrior?

  Tesha asked, wiping tears from her eyes.

  Aislin gave her the quick details of who I was and what I could do. Although, there wasn t any mention of the star. But I d be surprised if they didn t know. Word had spread that the girl with the violet eyes was the one.

  We Foresaw back to Adessa s house, Tesha awing over my gift. We crowded around the couch, waiting for Aislin to make her grand entrance. The tick of the clock was driving me mad, along with everyone s restlessness.

  Where the heck did she go?

  I muttered, tapping my foot against the floor, anxious to get this over with and make the lives of at least two people right again.

  Maybe I should

  But then she appeared like a ghost, only she wasn t a ghost. She was a very powerful witch that wanted to hurt me, her green eyes glowering with murder. And she wasn t alone.

  Remember these,

  Aislin sneered, jerking at the chains of a woman wearing a leather dress. Her black hair waved to the bottom of her back and her laced-up leather heeled boots clicked across the floor. The recognition in grey eyes told me she was the same Black Angel from the Black Dungeon.

  She snapped out her wings, like a giant crow, ready to eat me alive. Aislin started to laugh hysterically, and I was beginning to wonder if an evil Aislin meant a crazy Aislin.

  The Black Angel strolled toward me, her wings so wide they knocked things from the shelves, sending glass shattering to the floor.

  Take care of Aislin,

  I shouted to Tesha and Adessa.

  I ll handle this.

  But my head laughed at me, because I had no clue how to kill one of these things. The only thing I knew about them was a) whoever freed them from their cage become one b) they were angels from hell and c) they liked to wear a lot of leather.

  I tried not to look her directly in the eyes as I circled her. She turned, following me with her gaze, her lips snarling. I dared a glance at Aislin and was relieved to see Adessa was making the cut, while Tesha pinned Aislin down and covered her mouth. I kept moving, wanting to distract the Black Angel so that Adessa could complete that spell and get the mark of Aislin.

  But then she began to flap her wings and it was like a wind storm had blown through the room. I blinked, shielding my eyes from the flying glass and papers. The Black Angel growled and all my attention focused to her. It was like I was paralyzed, a helpless victim, as she sauntered toward me, grey eyes desperate to be free from the chains. My hands raised on their own, bounded by invisible strings the Angel controlled. I reached for the cuffs trapping her wrists and making her a prisoner, and with the strength of a Keeper, I broke her free. The metal fell to the floor and the Black Angel shrieked with freedom. A loud boom reverberated through the house and the ceiling began to collapse.

  I hit the floor, flat on my stomach, searching through the fallen debris. Finally, the air settled and I dusted myself off and got to my feet. I blinked at Aislin, Adessa, and Tesha, all their eyes filled with fear.

  But I was glad for the fear in Aislin s eyes, because it meant she was back.

  What was that?

  I asked, picking a piece of ceiling out of my hair.

  Gem-ma,

  Aislin stuttered, which was weird because Aislin never stuttered. Then she lifted her hand, pointing her finger to the side of me. Instinctively, I jumped, discovering an unknown woman close. She nipped her teeth and then grinned.

  See you in hell.

  She winked. Then with a puff of smoke, she was gone.

  As the wheels clicked in my head, I glanced down at my arms. The first thing I saw was the same set of black symbols that traced Laylen s arm the Mark of Immortality. Then I inched my hand behind me, touching the softness of the feathers.

  Oh my God.

  My hand dropped.

  I have wings.

  Chapter 21

  (Alex)

  It was going to cost me. A lot. More than my life. More than a year working for Draven. The damn Banshee wanted my soul and she d led me out here thinking she could trick me into giving it to her. Apparently when someone sacrificed their own life, their soul was worth more. So if Gemma or I had drunk the poison she sent us to collect, our soul would belong to her and give her more power.

 
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