Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

The Underworld, Page 11

Jessica Sorensen

Page 11

 

  “Does it even matter if he did?” I asked. “I mean, aren’t we pretty sure that the stars power isn’t going to stop the portal from opening anyway. So what does it matter if someone knows I have it in me. ”

  “We don’t know for sure what the stars power is for,” he said, staring straight ahead at the dark blue wall, looking as though he was pondering something deeply. “So until we do, we need to be careful about anyone finding out about you. Besides the more people who know about you, the easier it’ll be for my father and the Death Walkers to find you. ”

  I raised my eyebrows at him, questioning his words. “You don’t know what the stars power is for?”

  He sat there with his arms folded, staring at me so powerfully that my skin felt like it was on fire. “No. I don’t. I already told you I didn’t. ”

  I wasn’t sure if I believed him, but decided to stick a tack in it for now and move on to my next problem. “We went to see Vladislav for a really good reason. ”

  “Oh, I’m sure you did. ” Alex let out a laugh. “What, did Laylen tell you that Vladislav would have all the answers to your problems?”

  “No, it wasn’t even Laylen’s idea,” I said defensively. “I asked him if he knew whether we could find out if my mom was still alive, and he suggested that Vladislav might know something. And you know what, he did. ”

  “And where in that brilliant plan did Vladislav biting you come into play?” Alex asked snidely. “Or was that just an added bonus. ”

  I shook my head. “Why would you even say that?”

  There was this awkward silence that built between us as I realized where Alex was going with that. Vampires’ bites stimulate people’s desires. Although, I wasn’t sure that was what it had done to me. All I had seen were a bunch of images. And, yes, okay, some of those images—some of the ones that included Alex—did kind of make my body buzz a little, but there was also the vision that came after the images, and that was anything but stimulating.

  “So anyway,” I said, attempting to change the subject away from my desires. “Vladislav told me my mother was still alive in The Underworld. ”

  Alex shook his head. “Gemma, that’s not possible. ”

  “Even you said that there might be a small chance that she could still be alive,” I pointed out.

  He looked confused. “When did I say that?”

  “Back at Adessa, after I’d been pulled into my first vision, and we didn’t know it was my mother I’d seen forced into the lake. ”

  “I don’t remember ever saying anything like that,” he muttered, his eyebrows furrowed as he stared down at the floor. “And if I did, I’m sure I just said it to try and get you to calm down. ”

  “So why would Vladislav tell us she was alive, if she wasn’t,” I said. “There’s no reason for him to lie. ”

  “Of course there is. ” He looked at me like I was a total nut job. “That’s what vampires do—they lie. ”

  “How do you know that for sure?” I asked hotly. “I mean, how do you know that all vampires lie. Laylen doesn’t lie. ” You do.

  “I just do,” he said, but his voice had lost some of its confidence.

  “Vladislav didn’t lie, Alex. ” I rested back in the chair, keeping my eyes on him. “Laylen said that vampires can pick up on when other vampires are lying, and he said Vladislav wasn’t lying. ”

  Alex ran his fingers through his messy brown hair, and then he turned and faced me, a serious expression on his face. “Look, Gemma. You’re too trusting with Laylen. You need to be careful. ”

  I gave him an are-you-serious look. “You think I should be careful when it comes to trusting Laylen. ” Was he joking?

  “Vampires are not good,” Alex said sternly. “They’re evil. ”

  “Laylen’s not,” I snapped. “And besides, Vladislav knew that my mother was a Keeper before we ever told him. That has to mean he’s heard of her. ”

  “So what if he has heard of her,” he said. “That doesn’t mean he was telling the truth about her being alive. He might have just been messing with your head. ”

  “Alex,” without even thinking, I grabbed a hold of his arm, electricity tickling my fingertips. “It could mean that there might be a chance that my mom, who I haven’t seen since I was four, and who just might have some answers to what Stephan is planning to do with the star’s energy, could still be alive. And not just alive, but she could be trapped down in The Underworld, and has been trapped down there for fourteen years now, working as the Queen’s slave. ”

  Something I said made his expression change. “Why do you think she’s the Queen’s slave?”

  “That’s the reason why Vladislav said she was still alive,” I told him, my fingers still wrapped around his arm, his bare skin pressed against my own, causing lots and lots of static to flow through me.

  “The Queens slave,” he said, shaking his head. “I can’t believe it. ”

  “Why?” I asked. “Is it…bad?”

  He shook his head. “No…well, it’s better than being the Water Faerie’s torture victim…but the Queen usually doesn’t use humans for slaves. . . ”

  “But that’s the reason she’s still alive, right?” I asked.

  Silence.

  “Even if she is alive,” he said, looking at me gravely. “She probably wouldn’t be the same Jocelyn—being there for that long, it most likely will have changed her. ”

  I swallowed hard, my voice barely audible as I said, “Okay. . . I understand. ”

  “Do you?” He raised an eyebrow at me. “Because just imagine being stuck in a place like that—a place of death, where fear and torture is common—for over fourteen years. ” He lowered his voice. “Even if Vladislav was telling the truth—even if she’s still alive, she’s probably not your mother anymore. ”

  “She’s probably not my mother anymore,” I repeated in outrage as I let go of his arm. “She’ll always be my mother no matter what. ”

  He shook his head. “”Gemma, you don’t understand. The torture that goes on…the way the Water Faeries instill the fear in people…her mind is probably gone. ”

  I touched my locket with my hand, thinking of how my mother had given it to me when I was little, even though I couldn’t remember her doing so. “It doesn’t matter what she’s like now because I don’t have anything to compare her to before. ”

  There was pity in his bright green eyes. “Gemma, still—”

  I cut him off. “Do you know a way to get her out of there or not?”

  “I don’t,” he said simply.

  I held his gaze. “Is that the truth?”

  He paused and I felt my heart skip a beat. He knows something. Oh yes he did. I could feel it. I could see it on his face and how he avoided looking at me.

  “Please just tell me the truth,” I practically begged.

  He sighed, leaning back against the arm of the chair. “Even if I did…know something…I wouldn’t actually do it. It’s way too dangerous. ”

  “So what if it’s dangerous,” I said. “Everything’s dangerous—I’m dangerous, and yet you’re still here helping me. ” I hope. “She’s my mom, Alex. And besides, she might know something. Your dad didn’t just send her there for no reason. ”

  “Even if she does know something, and she is actually mentally there enough to tell us what she knows, it doesn’t mean I think it’s a good idea to go there. We can get our answers somewhere else. ”

  I told myself to keep my cool—breathe in, breathe out—but it was hard when it came to Alex. Especially when it came to getting answers from him. It was like a freaking mind game of who could outwit who. “Where else can we get answers?”

  He didn’t answer me, and I started to wonder if he wasn’t going to answer me because he really didn’t have an answer to give me. And honestly, at that moment, I questioned whether he knew anything at all. Maybe he was just as lost as everyone else, and perhaps deep down inside, he wanted to save my mother
, if for no other reason, so then maybe he could figure all of this out. Of course, even if this were true, it didn’t mean he was going to help me out.

  I got to my feet, giving up on him. I had other people I could go to.

  He jumped to his feet as I tried to scoot by him. “Where are you going?”

  “To find Laylen—see if he and I can figure out a way to save my mom. ” I started for the doorway.

  He caught me by the arm and pulled me back down on the sofa. “Hang on just a sec, before you go freaking out. ”

  I wiggled my arm free. “I wasn’t freaking out. I just don’t want to hear what you have to say unless it’s going to help me get my mom out of that awful place. ”

  He massaged the sides of his temples with his fingers and let out a stressed breath. “If we were to do this—if we were to go to The Underworld and try to save your mother, you’d have to promise me that you’d do everything I told you to do. ” He looked up at me. “If I tell you something’s too dangerous for you, you’d have to listen. ”

  I considered this. I know I might sound like a brat here, but the idea of doing everything he told me to do was making my insides burn. I’d done that too much already. And besides, what if he was playing me? “I don’t know…. ”

  He shrugged. “Then no deal. ”

  No deal. His words echoed in my head, and I felt torn. In the end, though, I think I knew that I would make the deal. I just hoped that his side of the deal was genuine—that Alex would finally come through for me. “Okay, it’s a deal. Now how do we do it?”

  He sighed, got to his feet, and looked down at me with a very unhappy expression. “The first thing we do is bring Nicholas here. ”

  Chapter 7

  “Bring Nicholas here?” I frowned at him. “Like the faerie/Foreseer/likes-to-invade-my-personal-space Nicholas?”

  He nodded, trying hard not to smile as he slipped his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “That would be the one. ”

  I sat there for a second, processing this. “But why do we need him?”

  “Because we need a Foreseer. ”

  I pointed at myself. “You have one right here. ” Hello.

  He pressed back a grin as if I’d just told him a joke or something. “I understand that, but it’s not just the power of a Foreseer that we need. We also need a special kind of crystal ball called an Ira. ”

  “Okay, but…Does Nicholas have to be the one to give us this Ira?”

  “I think he’ll be our best bet. ” When I kept frowning he continued, “None of this is going to be easy, Gemma. Nothing ever is. You should know that by now. ”

  “I do know that,” I said, thinking about my mom, me, my soul, and my emotions. None of them were easy. “I know that way too well. ”