The promise, p.26
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       The Promise, p.26

         Part #4 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 26

 

  Voices fluttered from the back room and I walked up the hall, my heart knocking, not because I d see Stephan or the Death Walkers. But because this was it. This was the end.

  The door was shut and I shoved it open. A cold air chilled my skin and bones. The fireplace was lifeless. The rug that spread the floor was cracked with ice as a group of Death Walkers paused, listening to Stephan rant.

  This is the day,

  he said, his black cloak trialing the floor as he paced it with his hands behind his back.

  This is the day when we all reunite.

  The Death Walkers eyes glowed, their corpse-like hands clapped as they shrieked.

  The problem is, you have failed me,

  he said.

  You haven t given me the star. And now all I have left is a useless portal. I can t free Malefiscus. Do you know what that means?

  But we have Death Walkers.

  The voice moved over my shoulder and I shuddered.

  Demetrius strolled up to Stephan. He wore the same black cloak. Standing side by side, Demetrius was taller, his black hair longer, but the both carried evil in their eyes.

  We don t need Malefiscus anymore,

  Demetrius said.

  You can create marks. You and I can rule the world.

  Stephan s eyes were cold as he traced his finger along his scar.

  Do you not remember what this represents? Are you forgetting where we came from?

  Demetrius flinched.

  I m not forgetting, but we don t have the star and we can t free him without it. But we have the portal and there are enough Death Walkers to freeze over the world.

  He lowered his voice.

  We can still do this. We can still control everything.

  Stephan slammed his fist against the mantel.

  He s in our blood he s the one who started this all. Don t forget where we came from.

  And we re the ones who are going to end it.

  Demetrius swished back his cloak.

  Years and years you ve sacrificed your life protecting a world that does nothing but cause more problems. But if we do this, we can control the faeries, the witches, the vampires everyone. Forever.

  Stephan clenched his jaw.

  We were supposed to free him. It was what we were born to do.

  He touched the scar again.

  It s why we have these.

  I backed against the wall as more Death Walkers packed themselves into the room, choking the air away.

  No, it s not time yet,

  Stephan growled at the Death Walkers.

  Stop asking me that same stupid question.

  Wow. He was really cracking under the pressure. I liked it.

  He picked up the Sword of Immortality and ran his finger along the jagged blade. I thought he was going to stab one of them again as he strode for the nearest Death Walker.

  Breathe on this,

  he instructed, holding the sword in front of a Death Walker s mouth.

  The Death Walker huffed and a mist puffed from its lips, blowing the Chill of Death on the blade. Then Stephan cracked it against the chair, shattering it into a thousand unusable pieces.

  No more threats,

  he muttered and returned to the fireplace.

  Well, let s go then.

  It was like an orb when it first appeared, a bright blue ball that built in the center of the room. I glanced around, wondering who was doing it. The ball moved for Stephan and he buckled back, bumping his arm against the bricks of the fireplace.

  What is that!

  He barked, leaning his head back as the orb bounced for him.

  Which one of you is doing this?

  I am.

  Aislin materialized in the center of the ice army and she wasn t alone. Laylen towered beside her, holding her hand for support.

  Stephan grinned wickedly.

  Has my daughter finally come to reunite with me & are you afraid of what s coming?

  Nope,

  she said, lifting her hands and the orb raised with it.

  But you should be.

  Then she thrust her hands forward and the orb exploded with shimmer, growing bigger and bigger, sealing around Stephan, Laylen, and herself. The Death Walkers charged, but their bodies bounced against the orb, some slamming to the floor and other s shrieking.

  Demetrius stood by the door, uncaring, a true evil side-kick.

  You can t kill me.

  Stephan s voice simmered through the translucent wall and he showed Aislin his Mark of Immortality.

  No one can.

  That s where you re wrong.

  She leaned forward and cupped her hand around her mouth like she was telling him a secret.

  Because you re going to die today.

  He laughed, the sound bubbling through the orb.

  No one can kill me, especially you.

  I know.

  She told him confidently.

  But I didn t say I was going to kill you, did I?

  Her hands sparkled. A swirl of light, bright colors vaulted upward.

  Scutum aufero recipiam.

  I inched toward the orb and quickly tried to memorize every word she spoke.

  Nothing happened and Stephan tipped back his head, laughing wickedly.

  I m unimpressed Aislin. And a little disappointed. I would have hoped my own daughter would be able to do better than this. Guess I set my expectations too high.

  Or your arrogance too high,

  Laylen said and then rammed headfirst into Stephan s gut. Their bodies cracked as they hit the floor and Laylen took a swing at Stephan s face. But Stephan blocked it and reached for his boot, yanking out a knife.

  I gasped, running for them, but then slid to a stop, forgetting I couldn t touch them.

  Aislin rushed for them and stabbed a knife into Stephan s wrist, right in the center of his Mark of Immortality.

  Accipe bonum industria a!

  Aislin faltered as she took out a small vile from her pocket and dumped the liquid on Stephan s arm, mixing it in his open wound.

  Stephan elbowed Laylen and freed his hand, giving Aislin a hard slap across her cheek. She soared backward, her body knocking against the wall of the orb. Laylen sank his teeth into Stephan s arm and he retaliated with a kick to the stomach. The sphere started to spark, fading in and out.

  Laylen,

  Aislin screamed, crawling for him.

  It s time to go! Now!

  She extended her hand and Laylen ran. But Stephan snatched hold of his leg and he tripped to the floor. He slammed Stephan s head with the heel of his boot, clawing for Aislin.

  If they didn t get Stephan off, he d transport with them. I flipped out, wondering if I was going to witness the end of one of their lives.

  The orb abruptly burst with a loud thunder like a massive ocean wave rolling for land. The floor dusted with light and sparkles. One last kick from Laylen and his shoe collided with Stephan s face.

  Instinctively, he jerked back, clutching his bleeding nose and lips. Laylen zipped over to Aislin and right as the Death Walkers reached the line of danger, they disappeared, going back to their lives.

  Dammit!

  Stephan cried, slamming his fist against the floor.

  It s gone!

  What is?

  Demetrius asked, still leaning motionless against the doorway.

  Stephan s eyes burned in his direction, blood streaming down his face.

  My shield!

  He glanced at his arm.

  And my Mark of Immortality.

  You can put it back on,

  he said.

  So relax. It s almost time.

  A ringing filled the room. Stephan retrieved his phone from his cloak. He stared at the screen before wiping the blood from his face. Then he answered it.

  What.

  He snarled into the receiver. A voice chattered from the other end and Stephan
s face took on anger mixed with excitement. Unexpectedly he shattered the phone against the icy ground and stampeded for the door.

  What is it?

  Demetrius scooted out of the way.

  Our stars waiting for us,

  he said and then grinned as he rushed for the outside.

  Demetrius followed, a fog of ice blustering against my skin as the Death Walkers flocked after them, their yellow eyes glinting.

  All of them were ready to kill Alex and me.

  When the room emptied, I dropped down to the floor, my heart aching because I knew what was happening outside. I stayed there for a while. I couldn t get my legs to cooperate, so I let them lay lifelessly in front of me as I watched the ice melt and puddle in the quiet room. The air began to warm and my body thawed. I didn t want to go. But I knew I had to.

  Eventually, I willed myself up and took one last glance back. I could have went to the window and seen the damage outside, but I didn t want to.

  When I woke up in the living room, I was lying on the couch, my feet still on Laylen as he stared at me worriedly.

  What s wrong?

  I sat up, looking around for danger lurking in the corners.

  You were & what happened?

  he asked.

  I saw what Aislin did,

  I said, realizing I d been crying and I dried my tears.

  Did we win?

  He looked at me with hope in his eyes

  Does she remove the shield and the mark?

  I nodded.

  And so do you.

  He pressed his lips together, wanting to say more. His blue eyes looked brighter somehow, maybe because they weren t burden with the mark.

  Are they back yet?

  I slid my legs off his lap, but he held them down.

  What s wrong?

  It s nothing.

  He played with his lip ring.

  Would you & could you explain to me why you have to die? Because I don t get it. If we removed his mark, then we can take him down.

  But we can t take down everything else,

  I told him.

  Alana told me something while I was in the Afterlife. She said that everything was supposed to happen this way. And that the star had to die because if it lives, the portal will open. Malefiscus is part of the star and it connects the portal to us. He can t walk free without the blood of the rest of you guys, but the portal opening up will do enough damage to the world. And we I can t let it open.

  I wished things were different,

  he mumbled, eyebrows furrowing.

  I wish I could have done things different.

  I didn t say anything, not completely agreeing with him. Yes, I wished most of my life had been different. But there were a few things I wouldn t change.

  A bang shook the floor and I jumped to my feet, searching for a knife.

  Sophia s still down there,

  Laylen unnecessarily explained and pulled me back down.

  I know,

  I said, glancing over my shoulder at the kitchen.

  Could you do me a favor?

  Anything you want, Gemma.

  Could you free Sophia?

  I asked.

  After all this is over. Don t just leave her down there.

  He titled his head to the side, his blue-tipped bangs falling across his forehead.

  You don t hate her for what she did to you?

  I considered my answer carefully.

  I don t hate her, but I don t really like her either. It s kind of strange, I guess because I know all those years her mind wasn t her own. But all the pain she caused is still fresh in my mind. She s my grandmother though, and I don t want her locked underneath the house forever.

  He fidgeted with his lip ring, perplexed in his own thoughts.

  Gemma, how do you know for sure that you won t be around for this? How do you know you re going to die and Alex s isn t?

  I leaned in, lowering my voice.

  Can you keep a secret?

  Chapter 44

  (Alex)

  Aislin dropped us in front of the house, letting out a shiver, as the cold air encircled her.

  Are you sure you want to do this?

  she asked again, wrapping her arms around herself.

  Because maybe there s another way. We still have a little time left.

  I shook my head, opening the gate.

  There s no other way, Aislin. Time s up. This is it.

  Well, I m waiting here.

  She refused to step onto the sidewalk.

  That s fine.

  I walked for the front steps.

  I d rather do this on my own, anyway.

 
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