The promise, p.15
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       The Promise, p.15

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 15

 

  The Mark of Immortality was going to be a little bit trickier. The first big problem was the shield spell on Stephan, but she assured us, she d almost perfected the spell for its removal. For the mark, she d just tweak the spell she d been using to remove the Mark of Malefiscus. Big problem, though. That meant getting close to Stephan. When I pointed this out, she said one step at a time, which meant she didn t have an answer.

  Black Magic s dangerous,

  Alex warned.

  You ve told me that a thousand times.

  Life s dangerous.

  She gestured at me, at Laylen, then at Alex.

  I mean, look at us. We re neck deep in danger all the time. It s who we are and I think it s time we start embracing it.

  Personally I liked her speech, but Alex rolled his eyes.

  So what? We just enter the Black Magic store and order these witches, who are evil, to give us the stuff so you can take away the power of another witch. Because I m thinking witches might not be so excited about that.

  He pointed at her hand.

  Or that.

  I ll wear gloves,

  she said, covering the X.

  And I ll take Gemma with me.

  I pointed at myself, not wanting to go anywhere looking like this.

  Why me?

  An Angel from hell.

  She grinned.

  They ll eat you up.

  Was that a good thing?

  So what? You two want to wander off to a witch store alone?

  He let out a sharp laugh.

  Because last time you two decided to do that, things didn t work out too well for you.

  We made it out,

  she argued, straightening up her shoulders.

  And yeah, that s what we re doing. And you two can go find mom.

  So we can just fix everything at once,

  I said.

  Sounds good to me.

  Obviously, Alex wasn t on board with this.

  You know, the last time I checked, you two weren t in charge.

  And neither were you,

  I said. He gave me a look that was mixed with frustration and a little bit of desire.

  I think we should vote.

  He folded his arms.

  No way. I already know where everyone s vote lies.

  He glanced at Laylen, sitting by the dirt wall.

  Sorry, but I m with them on this one,

  Laylen said, flicking a lighter on and off.

  Alex shook his head, but then let out a huff.

  Fine.

  He punched the wall to make a point that he was angry.

  But hurry. You re going to start fading away and turn into a snarling Hell Angel.

  Meet you back here, then?

  I asked, getting to my feet, the flame of the candle flickering with the sway of my wings.

  Hold on,

  Laylen said.

  You guys are forgetting something.

  We stared at him uncomprehendingly.

  Aleesa.

  He nodded his head at her.

  She was still lying on the floor, drooling away, and I hoped I hadn t done any permanent damage to her when I d knocked her out.

  Aislin sighed.

  I think it might be time to take her to the faerie realm.

  But I thought she was a forbidden breed,

  I said.

  Wouldn t they like hurt her or something?

  They won t hurt her,

  Aislin said.

  But they won t be too welcoming either. It s probably the safest place for her though, at least for the time being.

  Is it safe?

  I asked.

  Because the faeries here are marked.

  I ve heard that some of the faeries have gone into hiding there.

  Alex stuffed his hands in his pockets and kicked at the dirt.

  So I m sure it s safe.

  There s only one way to find out.

  Before anyone could take their next breath, Aislin vanished with Aleesa.

  She s letting this power thing get to her head,

  Alex muttered.

  I m sure she ll be fine.

  I sat down on the ground by Laylen, crossing my legs.

  Alex let out a snort as he dropped down on the floor.

  The last time she ran off by herself, she was chased down by a mob of witches.

  She ll be fine,

  Laylen assured him. Or maybe he was assuring himself. He flicked his lighter open, burning a string hanging from his black jeans.

  So what happened back in Iceland?

  I asked Alex, inching away from him and the fiery static.

  Did you figure out if the Banshee was your mother?

  Laylen pulled a face.

  What the heck were you two doing in Iceland, with a Banshee?

  I slumped against the wall, poking each of them with the tip of a wing.

  Trying to save the world.

  The Banshee was a dead end,

  Alex said, digging into the dirt with his knife.

  We re going to have to find another way to find my mom.

  We all sighed simultaneously and the candle flickered.

  What a bummer.

  Laylen frowned, scratching as his Mark of Immortality. Then suddenly his eyes lit up.

  If Aislin can remove Stephan s mark &

  You want her to remove yours?

  I touched the symbols on his forearm.

  You want to be mortal?

  I want to be normal.

  He winced.

  And that might be as close as I can get.

  When Aislin returned, we all jumped at her sudden appearance. Her hair was like a wild jungle animal, her breath heavy, her eyes wide.

  Faeries are mean,

  she breathed, fixing her hair.

  Like really, really mean.

  You didn t know that?

  Alex and I said at the same time.

  What happened?

  Alex asked.

  Did they take Aleesa in?

  Aislin stared at the vacant spot beside her.

  Does it look like she s here?

  Alex glared.

  Obviously, but there wasn t any problems?

  Oh, there are problems.

  She picked a leaf out of her hair and flicked it to the floor.

  I now owe Luna a magic spell that will free her to this world.

  Who s Luna?

  I held up my hands.

  Wait. Let me guess. She s queen of the faerie realm.

  Empress,

  Aislin said like it meant something different. She erased a smudge of dirt off her cheek.

  And she s not very nice either.

  So what?

  Alex s face heated with anger.

  You re just supposed to free her. That sounds like a stupid idea.

  She shrugged.

  It was the only way they d let Aleesa stay there unharmed.

  You should have brought her back here then,

  Alex said.

  It was too late,

  she replied.

  Once I was there, there was no turning back. Look, let s worry about that later. She s safe and I ll figure out a way around it after we fix the bigger problems.

  Her eyes landed on my wings.

  Is it just me,

  Laylen said, patting my shoulder.

  Or does disaster seem to be drawn to us.

  It s not just you.

  I sighed.

  But Aislin s right. We have other things to fix first.

  Alex rubbed his temples tensely.

  Alright, let s go then. I want to get this taken care of.

  So where are we meeting?

  I moved to the other side of the small hideout.

  Back here?

  He shook his head.

  No, at your house. There s something I need from there anyway.

&nb
sp; Then he stuck out his hand.

  Can I borrow your ring?

  I glanced at the purple-gemmed ring.

  Why do you need it?

  I promise I ll give it back,

  he said, insistent.

  Reluctantly, I took the ring off and laid it in the palm of his hand. He closed his fingers around it and then we said our good-byes and headed our separate ways, hoping when we saw each other again we d have fewer problems instead of more.

  After Aislin dropped Laylen and Alex off at my house, we transported over to a Black Magic store called The Evil Side, which I thought was a lovely name. It looked just like one would imagine an evil magic. The windows were tinted with grime and the door had a sinister looking serpent on it. The roof shingles were rotting, the wood paneling peeling away.

  Ready for this?

  Aislin asked, starting across the parking lot.

  I pulled her back, my gaze glued to the store.

  I think we should have a game plan, just in case.

  We already have one you. Black Magic witches worship you. You re like their God & or Goddess.

  Still, I d feel better & I mean, I can already sense the praesidium inside.

  Okay.

  She swept her hair out of her face.

  We ll make sure to stay by each other at all times and if all else fails I ll transport us out of there.

  She grinned.

  Because I can now do that, no assistance need.

  I nodded warily and doing what I was supposed to, I stayed close to her as we headed across the parking lot and into the store. A bell dinged as we entered, the door swinging shut behind us. The air stunk of burnt herbs, smoke, and something else I couldn t place and wasn t sure I wanted to place. The items littering the room made me want to stay in the dark with the inner workings of the Black Magic World. There were rows and rows of jars, filled with yellow liquid and parts that looked like they belonged buried. The statues on the shelves were twisted and torturous and the walls were black, the floor a blood red.

  Can I help you?

  A tall witch, with golden eyes and hair as pale as snow, appeared in front of us. She looked us over, taking in my wings, then bowed her head.

  We re so honored to have a Black Angel in our store. How can I assist you?

  Aislin shoved a list at her.

  We need everything on this.

  The witch ignored her, fascinated with me.

  Is that why you ve come to collect the items from this list?

  Yeah,

  I said self-consciously.

  Can you help us?

  She nodded, excited I spoke to her. She snatched the list and scurried off to gather the items. Another witch entered from the back doorway, her hair as orange as fire. They exchanged whispers and then the orange-haired one greeted me.

  It s a pleasure to have you in my store.

  She curtsied.

  I m Catalina and if you need anything at all, just let me know.

  Okay.

  I said and then she frowned, her eyes snapping cold.

  She hasn t even transitioned yet.

  Then she stormed for the other witch.

  That s not a Black Angel, but a mere human with wings.

  If only she knew how wrong she was. Still, the pale-haired witch scampered around, collecting the items on the list. Aislin and I roamed the store, not daring to touch anything, but needing to do something else besides stand there. I stumbled across a candle, perched on a shelf, blanketed in a layer of dust. There was a rainbow of colors wrapping around the wax and up the wick. It appeared to be glowing.

  What is it?

  Aislin reached for it, but I smacked her hand.

  Don t touch it if you don t know what it is,

  I said, but couldn t seem to take my eyes off the magnificent looking candle either. It was hypnotizing.

  It s the Power of Entrapment candle.

  The paled-haired witch appeared over my shoulder. She picked up the colorful candle.

  It traps the power of a witch inside their own body, at least while the wick burns.

  What about other kinds of power?

  My hands trembled as I touched the candle.

  Does it trap them too? Or is it just for witches.

  She shrugged.

  I guess it might, but what other power are you talking about?

  I shrugged and then Aislin and I traded looks, thinking the same thing.

  How much is it?

  Aislin asked, reaching to unzip her purse.

  Oh, it s only for trade,

  she replied.

  Catalina only makes trades for things as powerful as this, and it has to be a good trade.

  And I m positive you two have nothing I want,

  Catalina barked from behind the glass counter.

  The paled-haired witch sighed.

  Sorry, she lacks people skills.

  Frustration burst through me like an erupting volcano.

  Are you sure there isn t anything at all we could trade for it?

  She eyed us over and I realized neither of us had anything, really. Aislin had her gloves and earrings and I had my necklace.

 
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