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The underworld, p.22
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       The Underworld, p.22

         Part #2 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 22

 

  My mom bowed as the Queen walked by her, and then backed away as if she was terrified out of her mind.

  The Queen sat down on the throne and her voice echoed out, “Where are they?”

  “I think Sarabella is bringing them in,” my mom answered with a quivering voice.

  The Queen watched the cave entryway with her eyeless eyes. “Does anyone know why they’re here?”

  My mother shook her head. “They haven’t said anything yet. ”

  Nicholas tapped me on the shoulder, and demanded for me to take us away, but I disregarded him, my eyes fixed on my mother and the Queen of The Underworld—the Queen known for torturing people to insanity.

  Another scream rang, this time sounding much closer. But I didn’t move, watching as a tall and thin figure, with the same snow-white hair and pale skin as the Queen, strode into the cave, accompanied by no other than yours truly and…Alex?

  What? Why was Alex here with me? And better yet, how had we even gotten here if Nicholas supposedly wasn’t able to help me?

  Alex remained close to me as we followed the woman across the room and to the throne. I could see in my expression that I must have been really struggling to keep my fear under control.

  “Thank you Sarabella,” The Queen said to the woman after we all reached the throne.

  Sarabella smiled, revealing that her mouth was nothing more than a toothless hole. “You’re welcome,” she breathed, and swept the tail of her white dress across the floor as she turned around and headed out of the cave.

  The Queen tapped her fingers together the way evil villains do in movies, her bare eyes locked on Alex and me; her mouth set firmly in a straight line. “So you two are the humans who dared enter my world without my permission. ” Alex started to speak, but the Queen held up her hand. “Silence. I do not want to hear your excuses. All that is important is there are going to be consequences for you coming here. ” She glanced us over, like she was contemplating our death in her head.

  “You look familiar,” the Queen remarked to Alex. “Have you been here before?”

  Alex shook his head. “I haven’t. ”

  “Are you sure?” The Queen’s empty gaze bore into Alex. “There’s something about you that’s so…familiar. ”

  Alex shook his head again. “I swear I’ve never been here before. ”

  The Queen continued to stare at Alex. “Tell me then, what it is that made you enter into my world?”

  My mother, who’d been hiding behind the throne, stepped out and I saw the violet eyes of visions’ self light up as I realized who she was.

  “For her,” Alex told the Queen and gave a nod at my mother.

  My mother looked like a robot, staring at us like she had no idea who we were.

  “She’s doesn’t know who I am,” I whispered underneath my breath.

  “Who doesn’t?” Nicholas asked from behind me.

  I had been so caught up in watching the vision that I completely forgotten he was there, and the sound of his voice made me almost jump out of my skin.

  “No one,” I replied quickly, my eyes glued to my mother.

  “That’s impossible,” The Queen roared. “No one ever leaves The Underworld, at least not alive. Something you probably should have considered before you entered here. ”

  “We entered here in a way that you have no control over if we get to leave,” Alex said in a somewhat arrogant tone.

  “You better watch your tone boy,” the Queen warned, leaning forward in her throne. “I’ve cut off tongues to those who dared show such disrespect to me. ”

  That remark frightened the visions’ Gemma—I could tell—but Alex acted unbothered, which wasn’t surprising. Still, he didn’t say anything, and the Queen gave a satisfied grin.

  But then her grin faded. “So which one of you is the Foreseer?”

  “What do you mean?” Alex asked.

  Her face hardened. “Don’t play stupid with me boy. The only way you could enter my world and still get out is by entering through the Ira, something that can only be done by a Foreseer. So, is it you? Or is it her?” The Queen looked at the visions’ Gemma, and I mean really looked at her; the Queen’s empty-eyed gaze burning into her, as if she were trying to read her mind. “Tell me girl, what is your name?”

  “I…um…” the vision Gemma glanced around nervously. “My name’s…”

  I shook my head at my stuttering, visions’ self.

  “And don’t you dare lie to me. ” The Queen’s voice held a secret warning.

  “Gemma,” the visions’ Gemma stammered out.

  “Gemma,” the Queen said. “Would you please explain to me what your interest in this woman is?” She gestured her hand at my mother.

  “She’s…” The visions’ Gemma glanced at Alex for help.

  “We just know her,” Alex finished for me, shooting me a play-it-cool glance.

  Wow. Did we not plan this at all? Because neither one of us was doing a very good job.

  “If that’s true—if you just know this woman, then why on earth should I let you take her. ” She glanced at my mother. “Why would I let you take my best slave?”

  Alex reached in his pocket and took out something that, when it caught in the rays of light, sparkled blue.

  I stepped forward, trying to see what Alex had in his hand, wondering if it was the key to my mom’s freedom, but before I could see what it was, Nicholas’s fingers were suddenly pressing into the top of my arm, and then he shoved me against the wall.

  I started to freak out, not because of Nicholas, but because I was worried I was going to miss what Alex was offering to the Queen.

  “Let me go. ” I shoved my hands against Nicholas’s chest. He stepped back, losing his balance for a split second, but then he came at me again.

  He grabbed a hold of my shoulders and held me against the wall.

  “Ow,” I cried. “Let me go. ” I tried to push at him again, but he was too strong.

  “Take us back, now. ” He spoke each syllable slowly, and a dark look shadowed over his face. His hands were pushing so hard against my shoulders that I was almost sure my bones were going to crack. He no longer looked like a tricky faerie, but a pissed off guy about to beat the crap out of me. Whether or not he would have actually hurt me, I wasn’t sure. But the lethal look in his eyes was enough for me to blink us away.

 

 

  Chapter 16

  As soon as my mind processed that I was standing back in Adessa’s living room with my feet planted firmly on the black and white tile floor, and that Nicholas no longer had a hold of me, I took off in a mad sprint for the doorway. But Nicholas grabbed on to the back of my shirt and yanked me backward, crashing me into him.

  “Don’t even think about running off. ” Nicholas breathed hotly. “You’re not going anywhere until we get something straight. ”

  I started to scream for help, but he slapped his hand down on my mouth. I raised my arm up as far as it would go and elbowed him in the ribs, but I think I did more damage to my elbow than I did to him.

  “Nice try,” Nicholas said. “But it’s going to take a lot more effort than that. ”

  A lot more effort as in a kick in the shin. It worked once for me, so why not give it a try. I brought my leg up, and kicked him in the shin with my foot, but I swear he’d gotten stronger since the last time I’d done it to him, because it barely fazed him.

  “I don’t know about you, but I could do this all day,” he said in a tone that made my skin crawl. “In fact, I think I might take you back with me—keep a hold of you for awhile. ”

  Take me back? Take me back where? I flipped out as the possibilities of where he was thinking of taking me poured through my head. I did the only thing I could think of to get away. I bit down on Nicholas’s hand, sinking my teeth into his clammy skin. He let out a scream that vibrated at my eardrums, and then I felt his grip loosen, allowing me to squ
irm free.

  “Laylen!” I shouted, sprinting for the doorway again.

  Nicholas’s footsteps thumped against the tile floor as he chased after me. I felt his fingers graze my back right as I took a step up the stairs. Then he was pulling me back to him.

  “Help!” I screamed, flinging my weight forward.

  And then a miracle happened. Laylen was suddenly there, prying Nicholas off of me, and I skittered away from them as Laylen gave Nicholas a hard shove onto the living room floor.

  “If you ever touch her again,” Laylen said, standing over Nicholas. “You won’t be able to walk out of here. ”

  At that moment, I could have hugged Laylen, but I’m not sure it would have been very rewarding for him, since I’ve never really hugged any one and it would probably just end up as a very awkward moment.

  “Are you okay?” Laylen’s bright blue eyes examined me over.

  I nodded, rubbing my soon-to-be-bruised shoulder. “Yeah, I think so. ”

  “Did he hurt you?” he asked.

  I shook my head and dropped my hand from my shoulder. “No, I’m okay. ”

  “Are you sure?”

  “Yeah. ”

  All of a sudden, Nicholas was on his feet. He swiped the Ira off of the apothecary table and ran across the room, to the far corner, putting as much distance as he could between himself and Laylen.

  Laylen moved for him, but Nicholas winked at me, and then he was gone. And so was the one thing that could get me into The Underworld.

  Chapter 17

  “So he’s been lying this whole time,” Laylen said, stunned. “I can’t believe it. ”

  “I can,” I told him. “The first time I ever met Nicholas, he pretended he was just a normal guy in the grocery store, not some faerie/Foreseer there to make me go to the City of Crystal with him. ”

  After Nicholas had disappeared with the Ira, Laylen and I had sat down on the velvet purple sofa. The house was silent. After Laylen had finally told Aislin that Alex had gone away to the City of Crystal to fulfill a promise to Dyvinius, she got super stressed out. So Adessa had taken her out for the day, to get her mind off of things.

  I explained to Laylen in detail what had happened between Nicholas and me, and what I saw in my Underworld vision. But what we were going to do about it, I didn’t have a clue. And neither did Laylen.

  “I still can’t believe it,” Laylen mumbled, shaking his head. “Why would he go through all that trouble to hang around here if he was never planning on taking you there—if he couldn’t take you there?”

  I shook my head, feeling more frustrated than I ever had—the prickle had confirmed this just a few minutes ago. “Who knows…But what I want to know is why I saw myself down in The Underworld…and with Alex. If I actually saw us there, doesn’t that mean there’s a good chance it will actually happen? We just have to find a way to do it. ”

  Laylen contemplated this while fiddling with his lip ring that looped his bottom lip. “You said Alex was there…” He scratched his head. “Okay, well I think that might be where we need to start. ”