The Underworld, Page 19Jessica Sorensen
I blinked my eyes a few times, trying to blink us away, but it didn’t work. “Nicholas please,” I begged. “Take us back. ”
Nicholas tapped his finger on his lip, glancing in the direction of the Death Walkers. “I don’t think so. Whatever’s scaring you, I think you should face it. It’ll be good practice for when we go to The Underworld. ”
I glared at him, my heart thumping in my chest, which seemed to match the thumping of the Death Walkers march. The closer they got, the more the fog twisted around us, spinning in circles, clouding my vision in a menacing way. Closer, closer, closer they marched. I held my breath as they went by me, one by one, glaciating the air with their chill. My breath rose out in a puff, as my teeth chattered. I held as still as a statue, my muscles tensing up when one of the Death Walker’s shoulders went through mine.
“Gemma,” Nicholas said, oblivious to what was going on. “What are you doing?”
“Be quiet. ” I breathed through my teeth, and then tried not to freak out when one of the Death Walker’s glowing eyes landed right on me.
I held my breath until they all had passed and disappeared around the corner of the street. I didn’t relax, though. I wouldn’t relax until we got the heck out of here.
I let out my breath, about to ask if we could go, but I stopped when I caught sight of someone else emerging from the building. Stephan. And beside him was Demetrius. Without even thinking, I jumped toward Nicholas, bumping my shoulder into his.
He grabbed his shoulder. “What are you—”
“Shhh,” I hissed.
Standing out in the middle of the icy street, I felt vulnerable with Stephan and Demetrius walking toward me. Demetrius’s Death-Walker-like cloak swished behind him, and Stephan, dressed all in black, held something shiny and silver in his hand…The Sword of Immortality.
“I wish you wouldn’t carry that around,” Demetrius said to Stephan. “It makes me nervous. ”
“It makes me nervous when I’m not carrying it around,” Stephan replied. “It’s the one thing that could end all of this. ” He gestured around at the frozen, desolate street.
“Yes, but who is left to get a hold of it?” Demetrius asked with a laugh. “The ice killed everyone off who was still left around. ”
“There are a few Keepers around who might try. ” Stephan held up the sword, twisting it in his hand as he examined it, the jagged blade hitting the light sharply. “Do you remember when Octavian made this after the vision was first seen?”
Demetrius laughed. “He was so convinced that if he created it, I would never be able to pull of what he’d saw. Too bad for him, he didn’t see you. ”
“Well, that was the doing of my parents. ” Stephan touched the jagged scar on his left cheek. “Thinking if they cut off the mark, it would change things—change who I was. But they couldn’t change the blood that runs through my veins, could they?”
The scar on Stephan cheek was a mark that had been cut off by his parents? I cringed at the idea, and then cringed again at the idea of what kind of mark would make a parent cut their child’s face just to get rid of it.
Stephan and Demetrius were close to Nicholas and me now, their footsteps hitting the ice with a dull thud.
“The Mark of Malefiscus is a gift,” Demetrius told Stephan. “My parents seemed to understand this. ”
“Yes, but your parents weren’t Keepers,” Stephan replied bitterly. “Mine were. And to have a child who bore the Mark of Malefiscus was a disgrace in their eyes. ”
“Malefiscus’s mark is not a disgrace. ” Demetrius said to Stephan as they walked by us, and I had to turn so that I could keep my eyes on them. “It’s a gift. We have been chosen since birth—since before birth to free him and everyone else who was bound by his sentencing. ”
“And now we have,” Stephan said thoughtfully as he lightly traced his finger down his scar.
“Yes, and now we have,” Demetrius agreed.
“Gemma,” Nicholas said so abruptly that he scared the crap out of me and I screamed.
I flung my hand over my mouth, breathing heavily. And that’s when it happened. Stephan stopped, his head tilting to the side as he glance over his shoulder.
“Nicholas,” I whispered. “You need to get us out of here. Right now. ”
Nicholas gave me a look, and I could tell immediately that it was going to be a pain in the butt to get him to cooperate. “I don’t know about that,” he said “I think before I do, you should explain to me what’s got you freaked out. ”
I looked at Stephan who seemed to be looking right at me. Fear pulsated through my body. “I will, okay, just as soon as we get back. ”
Nicholas dithered, and I wanted to smack him right across his pretty-boy faerie face. “I don’t know. I kind of like being out here alone with you. ”
“Nicholas,” I shouted. “Get us out of here. Now!” Glancing over at Stephan, I saw he was walking toward us, swiftly moving across the ice.
“What are you doing?” Demetrius called out. Stephan didn’t reply, still heading at us, as if he knew we were there. But how could he? It wasn’t how visions worked.
I grabbed Nicholas by the arm, my eyes pleading. “There is someone in this vision that I’m pretty sure can either see or sense that we’re here. And if he can, then it’s very, very bad. ”
I thought he’d argue with me and say that no one in visions could see the vision seer, but instead, to my surprise, he grabbed my hand, looking rather anxious. “Okay, let’s go. ”
I casted one last glance at Stephan, who was now charging at us full speed with the Sword of Immortality clutched in his hand. He was so close that I could see the darkness in his eyes and the roughness of his scar.
“Nicholas…” I said as Stephan reached out for me. I opened my mouth to scream and then everything went black.
“Holy…crap!” I was standing back in Adessa’s living room, but the fear of what had just happened still lingered in my body, and had me gasping for air.
“Who was it?” Nicholas asked quickly and with very little patience. “Who was in the vision?”He still had hold of my hand and I tried to pull it out of his grip, but he tightened, refusing to let go. “Gemma. ” His tone was a warning as he put a hand on each of my shoulders and looked me directly in the eyes. “Tell me who it was that could sense our presence. It’s important. ”
“Why?” I asked. “Why would anyone be able to sense we were there?”
“Because…” He paused, eyeing me over. “Because it means the vision has already been seen or told to the person who is in the vision. ”
For some reason this did not surprise me. I knew Stephan had been told visions of the future and the world at its end. It was what had started the whole star thing. A simple vision of the end of the world and how one star’s energy could save it. Although, that particular story was probably not accurate, but at one point I thought it was.
“So…How does that make it so they can sense me?”
“Because they’ve been told by another Foreseer that a Foreseer will be present at that moment. It wasn’t like he could see you or anything, just that he could sense you were there. ”
“So is it bad?” I asked, my shoulders sliding out from under his hands as I took a step back. “That he knew I was there. ”
Nicholas shook his head in puzzlement. “What is it with you…There must be something extraordinary about you. ” He shook his head again, watching me with intense eyes. “First you can go into visions without a crystal ball and now you’re going into other peoples visions…It’s amazing. ”
I tried to play cool. “It’s not that amazing. ”
“Yes, it is. ”
I searched my mind for a way to move off this subject since my being “extraordinary” or whatever had to do with the star, which I was supposed to be keeping a secret from Nicholas.
“I’ve got to go ask Laylen something,” I announce
d and started for the doorway.
He caught me by the arm and the smell of lilacs and rain blasted my nostrils “You didn’t tell me who it was?”
“Who what was?” I played dumb.
“The person who could sense you in the vision?”
“I…um, don’t know who he was. He was just some guy” Man, sometimes I could be a real mastermind at lying.
Nicholas gave me a doubting look. “You don’t know who he was?”
I shook my head, and then tugged my arm away from him. “I have to talk to Laylen,” I said, then bolted out of the room.
Nicholas didn’t follow me, which I thought was kind of weird. I mean, I had left suspiciously, but for some reason he stayed in the living room. This was a good thing, though, because I needed to talk to Laylen about what had happened. And not just about Stephan sensing me. No, I was more interested in the mark Demetrius and Stephan were talking about. And the name…Malefiscus…I think that’s what they had said.
I found Laylen alone in his bedroom, lying on the bed, reading a book. He had his head down; his eyes glued to the pages.
“Hey,” I said, sounding breathless because I had run all the way up the stairs.
He looked up from his book. “Hey, what’s…. ” His bright blue eyes went huge when he caught sight of me. “What happened? You look upset. ”
I nodded. “Something bad happened when we went into a vision. And Nicholas is getting suspicious that there might be something wrong with me?”
“You think he knows about the star’s power?” Laylen said, setting his book down, and then climbing off of the bed.
I shook my head. “I don’t think he knows what exactly it is, just that there’s something…different about me. ” I almost choked on the word “different. ”
“Okay, well, as long as he doesn’t know exactly what it is, then I think we’re okay. ” Laylen paused. “Although, I’m not really sure it’s so great that he knows about your special Foreseer thing. ”
I nodded in agreement, but then shook my head, remembering I had bigger problems to discuss then Nicholas. “There’s something else I need to tell you about. It’s what I just saw in the vision. ”
Laylen walked over and stood in front of me. “Which is what?”
I shivered as I remembered the sight of what the Death Walkers cold had done to a once bright and sunshine-filled city. “The end of the world. ”
It got so quiet, I swear, I could hear our hearts beating. Or at least mine, anyway. I wasn’t sure if Laylen had a beating heart or not.
“The end of the world,” Laylen said, aghast.
“Covered in ice,” I added with another shiver.
His blue eyes went wider than they already were. “Then the portal opens up. ”
I nervously glanced out into the hall, and then shut the door. “At least from what I saw, it does”