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The underworld, p.3
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       The Underworld, p.3

         Part #2 of Fallen Star series by Jessica Sorensen
Page 3


  I crossed my arms and flopped back in the chair, debating what I should do. Keep being “stubborn” as he’d so nicely put it. Or hear him out. “Fine, then tell me what happened. ”

  Shock flickered across his face, just like it almost always did when I decided to cooperate. “Okay…Well, where do you want me to start?”

  I shrugged. Did it really matter? It wasn’t like he was going to tell me the truth or anything. “Wherever you want. ”

  “Okay…” He seemed to be struggling on where to begin. “Do you remember that necklace I gave you?”

  I nodded as I touched my neck, and I quickly realized that the locket was no longer there. “Wait. Where is it?”

  “Relax. I have it. ”

  That didn’t make me relax at all. “Why do you have it?”

  “I’m getting to that. ” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “When I gave you the necklace, I wasn’t just giving it to you because it belonged to you. I gave it to you because it has sugilite in it. ”

  I gave him a questioning look. “What’s sugilite?”

  “It’s the purple stone in the center of the locket. It protects whoever is wearing it from certain kinds of magic. ” He paused. “Like the mind erasing kind of magic. ”

  “But I thought you said my mother gave me the necklace when I was little?”

  “She did, specifically because the stone is sugilite. ” He leaned forward and rested his arms on his knees. “She gave it to you because you have the stars energy in you. It was her way of trying to protect you from anyone who tried to use magic on you to get to the star’s power. ”

  “So why didn’t it work when I was little?” My voice bit sharp and was full of bitterness. “When Sophia detached my soul from my emotions, why didn’t it protect me? Is that not a form of magic?”

  Alex shook his head. “No, it’s a form of magic. But Stephan…well, he knew what it was and took it off of you before Sophia detached your soul. ”

  “Stephan knows what the necklace is?” This seemed to make the possibility of it actually protecting me and the star not possible.

  He nodded. “That’s why I tucked it into your shirt. So he wouldn’t see it and make you take it off. ”

  I remembered how, right before Alex had climbed out of the Jeep back at the cabin—back when Stephan had shown up with the Death Walkers—he had reached over and tucked the necklace into my shirt. Whatever you do, keep that hidden. Don’t let anyone know you have it, he’d said.

  “But why would you do that?” I questioned. “Why give it to me at all if you knew it would stop someone from being able to detach my soul? I thought you said that my soul had to be detached to keep the stars power thriving enough so that it could save the world. ”

  He gave a look that made my skin go electric. “Because I wanted to stop anyone from being able to detach your soul. ”

  I stifled a laugh. “I highly doubt that, especially since you’ve told me a ton of times that my soul has to be detached. ”

  “Yeah…but I…” He drifted off.

  “But you what?” I pressed.

  “But,” he took a breath, “when I first gave you the necklace, I was still deciding whether or not I was going to let my father see you wearing it. If he’d seen it, then he’d have made you take it off before he tried to use the memoria extraho on you. ”

  As unsurprising as this was—I mean, how many times had Alex lied and betrayed me—it still made my heart hurt a little. “If that’s the case, then why did you give the necklace to me at all?”

  He shrugged, his eyes wide with confusion. “I have no idea. ”

  I shook my head, the electricity nipping at me like invisible gnats that I so wished I could swat away. “Well, that’s nice. ”

  “Look, Gemma,” he said, his voice very let’s-get-down-to-business. “I know I’ve done some pretty crappy things to you, but can’t we just move past it. The point is, I did hide the necklace from my father. I protected you from getting your mind taken away. ”

  “Why, though?” I asked suspiciously. “I mean you were so dead set that Stephan was good and that I was completely wrong about him sending my mom into The Underworld. You were so determined that I needed my emotions to be taken away so the star’s power could save the world. So why the sudden change of heart?”

  He was quiet for a moment, which sent up a red flag in my mind that he was about to tell me a lie.

  “Stephan showing up with the Death Walkers,” he finally said. “There has to be something else going on—something bad if he is working with them. ”

  I eyed him over warily. “If that’s what you really believe, then why were you acting like you were on Stephan’s side—you just stood there while he hurt me and tried to take everything about me away. You didn’t do anything. ”

  “I couldn’t do anything. I had to pretend that I was on his side. Besides, I knew as soon as he tried to use the memoria extraho on you, he’d black out. ”

  “He blacked out?” I said. “Why?”

  “Because that’s what the sugilite does,” he explained. “Those who try to use harmful magic on someone who has sugilite on them, automatically get magical harm done on them instead. It’s how sugilite works. ”

  “What kind of harmful magic gets done on them?” I asked curiously, wondering if there was a possibility that Stephan could perhaps be dead and that my problems would be over.

  “That all depends on the kind of magic the person is trying to use. In my father’s case, since he was trying to harm your mind, the sugilite harmed his mind instead, to the point that it made him pass out. ”

  “So, what happened to him? Stephan, I mean. Did you…kill him?”

  He struggled to speak. “Gemma…I-I…I couldn’t…I mean…” He took a deep breath, regaining his composure. “I couldn’t kill my father…when I’m not really sure what’s going on. ”

  I tried to understand this—understand where he was coming from. Laylen had told me when it came to Alex and his father, Alex was sort of brainwashed. So I think I was more surprised about him letting the sugilite harm him, instead of not being able to…kill him.

  “So where is he?” I asked. “Stephan? Where did he end up?”

  “The Death Walkers took him with them,” he said with this strange look in his eyes, as if he was trying to figure something out.

  They just took him and left. It sounded so…unbelievable, especially since the stupid things had been working so hard to get a hold of me.

  “They just up and left? And left you and me behind unharmed?” I asked skeptically.

  He nodded. “Yeah, I know, it’s weird. ”

  Weird was putting it mildly. “So is Stephan…going to return to normal, then?” I asked. “Or is his mind harmed for good. ”

  A glint of panic flashed in his eyes, and I had my answer before he said it. “No he’ll return to normal eventually. ”

  “And then come after me again,” I mumbled.

  Alex didn’t respond as he got to his feet and made his way over to me. He pulled something out of the pocket of his jeans before sitting down beside me. “Here. ” He held out his hand. A silver heart-shaped locket with a small violet stone in the center of it rested in the palm of his hand.

  My locket.

  I didn’t take it right away, instead I stared at it, wondering if what Alex had just told me held any truth to it or not. Could I trust him?

  “You can have it back. ” He urged his hand at me.

  I still didn’t take the necklace. “I still don’t understand why you took it off of me to begin with?”

  He gave me a skeptical look. “You don’t know why?”

  “I…How would I?”

  He still looked like he had no idea how I didn’t know the answer to my own question. But how the heck was I supposed to know? I never knew anything.

  “Because Aislin had to use magic on us to get us out of there,” he said.

Oh. ” Now I was catching on. “And if I’d been wearing the necklace, then the sugilite would have blocked her magic. ”

  He nodded. “So I took it off of you while we transported back here. ” He reached for my hand, but I pulled back, and he frowned. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just trying to give you your necklace back. ”

  I quickly snatched up the necklace, the metal warm against my palm. “Thanks. ” I wrapped it around my neck and fumbled with the clamp. If what he was saying was true, then I wanted the necklace on at all times.

  “Want my help?” A playful grin played at his lips.

  I shot him a dirty look. “No. I got it. ” The last time he had “helped me,” we ended up kissing. And that was the last thing I wanted right now…I think.

  It took me awhile, but I finally got the clamp on the necklace hooked, the chain now secured around my neck. It was then that a sudden thought occurred to me. “Alex. ”

  “Hmm…?” He had been watching me struggle to put the necklace on and seemed a little distracted.

  “What happened to the memoria extraho?”

  “Aislin and Adessa destroyed it,” he told me. “After we got back, they used some kind of spell on it that took its magic out of it. ”

  “So now it’s just a rock?”

  He nodded.

  Well, I guess that meant there was one less thing I had to worry about. Although, how many mind/memory/emotional erasing things were out there, I had no clue. But with everything I’d seen lately, I was guessing there might be more.

  Alex suddenly shifted the subject. “Why don’t we go get you something to eat? You’ve been out for almost two days. You’ve got to be starving. ”

  “I’ve been out for two days?” I asked with astonishment.

  He stood up. “Yeah, it was the longest nap ever. ”

  I got to my feet. Even though I still had a ton of other questions, I was also very hungry. Besides, I wasn’t sure I wanted him to be the one to answer all of my questions. Although, there was one thing I was dying to know—I had to know right now, even though thinking about it made me sick to my stomach.

  “Okay, but I have one more question. ” I paused, taking a nervous deep breath. “With my emotions…I mean, am I…is it okay for me to have emotions?”

  “I don’t know. I really don’t anything right now. ” He looked at me funny, and I had the urge to bolt for the door as the fear raced through me that he might suddenly whip out the memoria extraho and wipe away my mind. “For now,” he said, “we’re not going to do anything. Not until we know what’s going on. ”

  I was in no way, shape, or form relieved by what he said. “For now?” I asked.

  He didn’t say anything else. He just turned away, calling over his shoulder. “Let’s go get you something to eat. "