Unraveling destiny the f.., p.8

Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5), page 8


Unraveling Destiny (The Fae Chronicles Book 5)

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  Adrian and Adam tensed beside me; each reached for weapons, and only hesitated because Vlad waved his hand in greeting to the monster, who watched us with wariness etched in his grotesque features.

  “It’s okay,” Vlad assured us. “He’s on our side. For now.”

  The monstrosity turned his gaze from Vlad to me. It had grayish skin that clung loosely to its bones, and clumps of greasy hair were plastered against its skull while some areas of its head had no hair at all. It smiled, revealing rows of razor sharp teeth that were brown and yellow; some still had tidbits of a recent kill stuck in them. Hollow eyes watched me with amusement as I swallowed furiously to prevent my lunch from coming back up.

  Adam and Adrian looked to me for guidance as we slowly, carefully moved closer to it. Their instincts mirrored mine, and Adam closed the distance between us until his hand was a hairbreadth from mine, ever vigilant and protective of me, as we’d been before we’d become Fae. We’d spent years hunting monsters like this one down. We’d slaughtered many of them over the years, ridding the humans of the threat these creatures posed to them.

  “Jesus,” Adam growled as his other hand touched his sword; other colorful cuss words seemed to flow freely from his lips. The entire room was tense, strained with the silent need to kill the monster lurking within our reach. Vlad rolled his neck and watched me with unease. He knew nothing was okay inside this room; the tension rolling off of us was thick enough to cut with a knife.

  Adam had been with me when I’d cut down the first one of these assholes. In Faery, these things were called Fiacla an éadóchais, but we had our own name for them in the Guild. We called them Rotting Corpses because, to a human, it would smell like rain and roses to disguise the smell of rotting flesh and, unless it fed from flesh frequently, it withered until its own death loomed. The teeth he licked as he watched us could shred flesh from bone with almost surgical precision, while numbing its victim to the pain. To a human, they would see a beautiful creature and feel nothing but the intense pleasure that was delivered from the thousands of needlelike fronds in its fingers while their flesh and muscle was peeled away. This was a tactic used by these creatures so they wouldn’t attract unwanted attention while they were feeding. Most of the ones we had come across, however, enjoyed the sound of its victims screaming and fed on the terror that rolled off of them as they realized their fate. The last time we killed one, it was in the process of killing a child that couldn’t have been more than five years old. It was one of the many reasons why we were rather eager to put this thing down and keep a few more people safe.

  “This is Foul; he’s the builder,” Vlad introduced with a firm tone in his voice. His eyes moved from mine to the creature’s.

  “Foul, indeed,” I growled as I struggled against the urge to jump across the table that stood between us and kill the monster. These things didn’t belong anywhere in our world.

  “He can build what we need in days instead of years, Synthia. He can have the Guild up and functioning this week if we asked it of him,” Vlad explained. “Foul is on a very short leash from the Horde King—one misstep and Ryder will end him.”

  “She’s beautiful, need to taste it,” it sneered as it started to move around the table, only to stop as everyone reached for a weapon. I flinched as its naked, flaccid body came into full view. Its cock hung limply between legs that had loose flesh sagging from its bones.

  “Foul, if you want to remain breathing, I suggest you don’t touch the Horde King’s fiancée. Now, put on something proper before I remove that useless cock from your body,” Vlad warned in a hiss laced with the promise of death.

  “Pity, such smooth flesh would taste of heaven,” Foul whined with an earsplitting shrill. “I change deal, her instead.” It nodded, causing flesh to jiggle before it remolded to its body and once again clung loosely from the bones. It stood well over seven feet, towering over us as it watched me with keen interest. I didn’t move or dare show an ounce of weakness, because this thing could lunge with lightning speed and I had no doubts in my mind that it would ever make it to me alive. I was standing with trained killers, though. He wouldn’t get within an inch of me before they dispatched him to hell.

  “Foul, I can find another builder who will rebuild this place, and not be as much trouble,” Vlad warned, his eyes sharp with anger as he watched Foul’s every move.

  “I live,” it hissed. “I get Layla,” he crooned and smiled, revealing more rows of serrated teeth.

  “Layla?” I questioned, turning to look at Vlad. No way in hell was I bartering with this creature with someone else’s life.

  “Layla is seventeen and dying from a rare blood disorder that can’t be cured. It’s incredibly painful for her, and this is one way for her to at least have a relatively painless death,” Vlad explained. “She wants to leave this world on her terms, and I brokered the deal for the new Guild.”

  “She wants what he can do?” I swallowed the urge to throw up. Some people couldn’t be saved from their own desires, or stupidity. It was a lesson I’d learned long ago.

  “She’s dying; she approached us, wanting to be taken by the Fae,” Vlad said as he watched me. “The Fae can’t help what is wrong with her; she could go to Faery, but she would still be in agony and eventually die. We tried to change her over, but she almost killed the vampire who chose to sire her; her blood is that deadly. Foul craves the taste of human flesh and knows the risk her blood poses to us and potentially poses to him. He also knows what the Guild will do to him if they catch him in the act of enjoying another Snack Pack of the human variety, and he is willing to take the risk. Synthia, believe it or not, this was the most palatable option we had to get this Guild up and running in the shortest amount of time possible.”

  My eyes moved to Adrian, who nodded, but it wasn’t for what Vlad assumed. He probably figured I was checking my facts with Adrian; in reality I was letting Adrian know I intended to kill this monster the moment the Guild was finished. There was no way I was taking the chance that the girl’s blood might not do the deed for me, nor would I let Foul have her. If death was what she wanted, I would see if Eliran could find a more humane way to help her meet her end. I met Adam’s eyes briefly, sensing his own thoughts mirrored mine as the scent of roses grew overpowering in the room. When my eyes moved back to the Fiacla an éadóchais, I wanted to throw up.

  “Foul, put your cock away and behave like you want to live,” Adrian hissed, the warning in his tone absolute as he pulled out a dagger and placed it on the table. “You’ll get no other warning.”

  Something that looked nasty oozed from the creature’s lips as he smiled at Adrian and then glamoured on clothing. Once it had, the room began to stink once again of mold and mildew, which was welcoming, considering the alternative.

  I placed my palms flat on the table and leveled the monster with a chilling look. My power blanketed the room, causing its thin hair to stand on end with the static electricity that pulsed from my side of the table. I was flanked by Adam and Vlad, both silent as I gave a show of power to stop the monster’s rude antics.

  “Show me the plans, or I have no use for you,” I said softly, without a single ounce of the hate I was feeling in my tone. I watched him stare at me with those dead eyes as my power filled the air until the room was electrified with it.

  “Is no fun, this one,” it sneered as it pushed papers aside and splayed its fingers apart as a neon blue 3D replica of a building took shape between his fingers. The replica grew as Foul spread his arms wide, as if it was stretching taffy. “Is strategically built as the King asked it to be so,” he hissed. “The lines here; it is enough magic to feed the spells that will guard the walls and doors.” The 3D Guild pulsed with magic that showed up as neon green beams. Each exit held a spell barrier, or so I assumed. The more I stared at it, the more I saw the old Guild’s floorplans had been used, but had been redone to be mo
re functional. “The doors will alert those inside to hostilities from the ones who enter. The wards above it will change to different colors based off of intent to those who enter. Instead of having just the guards in main entrance, we placed a wall here.” It pointed out a divider wall. “Last one had vulnerabilities there. Now it doesn’t. Building is protected from attack by magical barriers as well.” Foul pinched his fingers together and then widened them, giving an exploded view of the entire 3D building, to show the plan for each floor in far greater detail. “This part of building, people will be able to monitor what each creature is that comes in.” Foul pointed out a few rooms that were closed off. “Each wall opens into floors below for exit, should the wards fail. The King said safety was biggest concern to protect those who run it, as well as students and those who reside inside of it.”

  “And the magic, how will it be delivered to the wards directly?” I questioned and watched as he moved his fingers in an arch to reveal a line of purple color that flowed from the catacombs below us. “The wards that would be needed to filter out or stop those who shouldn’t have access to the Guild are usually placed by a strong spell-master, but they can fail unless there is a reliable source of power.”

  “Raw power lies below,” he stated, watching me carefully. “Building built on the Leylines. Leylines has enough power to run entire city, should the need arise.”

  I swallowed as I watched the Fiacla an éadóchais. It knew the building was built on the Leylines, which meant Foul could feel the power that pulsed through the walls as it flowed up through the ruins of the Guild. Not many creatures could feel the lines, which told me this one could draw power from them. Creatures who could tap the lines always knew where they were. It could be the difference between life and death. I’d been unaware that his kind could draw from them. I tucked the info into my brain for later.

  “Continue,” I said softly, even though I didn’t want to stomach another second with the monster.

  “Lines can be manipulated with magic to flow through the building to give enough power to run anything you wish it to. Should the city go dark, Guild would stand like a beacon against it. Entrance to catacombs was challenge. We decide to make it a maze of rooms, ones which move accordingly to a timer. Only those with upper clearance will be able to access the rooms or open the doors to them. It will take a little while to learn each day’s pattern, but it will keep your enemies from reaching what the Guild hides inside it. The living quarters will be biggest challenge; it will be up to you as how they are accessed. Vlad say it important to protect those who live there the most. I build it to read marks, much like tattoos. It alerts you to any who enter it without clearance to be in them. Can make them nullify enemy who enters without proper right to be there as well.”

  “Nullify?” I questioned, watching as his sunken eyes rose from the 3D map.

  “Make them unable to move or to harm anyone until someone could get inside and secure them. It takes some Fae seconds to kill their prey, which is why it would nullify anything out of place inside the living area. That way, those inside could run to protection until someone with upper clearance could remove threat.”

  “This room, what is its purpose?” I pointed at a floor that looked empty but was divided by a glass wall.

  “Training area, with cameras to monitor progress of students and tools to teach them,” he said, using his fingers to push away the other floors. He threw his arms wide, which caused everyone but me to draw weapons. “Calm, is only map,” he snickered as the map grew to reveal miniature people training inside the fully equipped gyms. Two gyms, one for children and the other for older kids who were more advanced. There was a room where kids moved their fingers as glowing lines moved around the room, revealing it was protected as they practiced magic.

  Memories moved through my mind as I watched a set of kids sparring, trying to knock each other down as they tried to impress the others, who watched them from the side of the gymnasium.

  “Vlad and King say you would have need to train, the room would be spelled in case of accidents. I made entire floor for train because the King say you’d want room. He say make it magical, impenetrable from the outside. I made it so. It will be connected to lines that flow beneath. Every side guarded, every entrance will be warded to keep out any who seek to do harm. Is this not what you wanted?”

  “It is, but why wasn’t anything built down here?” I pointed to the lower floors that had yet to be shown to us, and watched as his sullen eyes narrowed.

  “Nothing good down there. Reeks of death and many bad things,” he snickered, or he tried to. “Long after the kill, death continues to linger unlike above. Is slaughterhouse, this place of horror. Is warded to keep things like me out. Down there, is not my kills, not my problem to clean up. Wasn’t in deal,” he hissed coldly.

  “What is that supposed to mean?” I crossed my arms over my chest as I watched him.

  “Someone took those lives for reason. Best to let the dead linger down there, instead of up here. Tied to the sanctuary for which they lay, sacrificed for a purpose. No fun there,” he replied, and at my pointed glare, he began anew. “They were here first, they serve a purpose. This was no temple of magic, no sacred place of peace. It was used to hide secrets; lives were sacrificed for those secrets to remain in the shadows. Is not sacred land, but a house of horror that Witches created. What lies beneath is your problem, not mine.”

  “You can’t get in down there, can you?” I guessed.

  “I say it warded, you not hear me,” he growled. “Evil lies below, more so than I am. Souls it takes, but true death not come. What sleeps will rise, and when rises, there will be no place safe enough for any of us to hide.”

  “What the hell does that mean?” I huffed, waiting to see how much he knew about what was hidden below, but when he didn’t answer and it appeared he was done speaking about it, I relented and changed the subject. “How long to build the new Guild?” I wanted a timeframe, because the moment he finished it, he was leaving this world.

  “Few hours, possibly a day. Magical wards take longer but those are your King’s problem. I build, he will fine-tune it.”

  “A few hours?” I blurted, and as he nodded I turned to confirm it with a look from Vlad.

  “Adrian, Adam?” I asked, waiting to see what they said.

  “It works, and it would be protected,” Adrian agreed.

  “We need Alden to look it over and agree,” Adam mused. “This kind of magic is a little beyond our scope of knowledge, don’t you think?” Adam frowned as he watched the kids wield the magic on the replica. “He should be included in this, and his knowledge is valuable and needed in this rebuild.”

  “I’ll talk him through the details later,” I sighed as I lifted my eyes to hold the monster’s gaze. “We’ll be in touch, Foul.”

  We waited for it to leave before I turned on Vlad and glared at him. “Next time, a head’s up would be nice.”

  “You would have killed him had I told you what he was. You personally hunted them down for fun before you met us.”

  “Because they kill children since they make easy victims! The first one I killed had taken children from a school and kept them inside his home, which was nothing more than an abandoned warehouse. When it was ready to feed from their flesh, he’d let them think they had a chance to live and escape him. It let them run for days inside his home, a glamoured illusion of endless hallways and rooms. Once they saw what they thought was to be their freedom, he’d kill them. By the time my coven breached the warehouse and killed it, only three children remained. I think that even with all the therapy in the world, they will never live functional lives. So yes, I hunted them down and I killed every single one of them that I could find. I’d do it again if it meant a child got to grow into an adult without worrying if their flesh was creamy enough to catch the eye of a Rotting Corpse. No one deserves
to die that way.”

  “No wonder you hated the Fae; you only saw the bad,” Vlad muttered as he turned and looked around the room. “We need to get you home.”

  “No, I need to go down into the temple and see what the fuck he was talking about,” I mumbled as I worried my bottom lip with my teeth. “Alden used to go down there once a week and we were never allowed down there. I need to see what it is that he and the other Elders were going down there for. I have to do this right, and I’m not sure he’d tell us what was down there even if we asked, so best we go have a look-see and figure it out for ourselves.”

  “Just like old times,” Adam mused with a wolfish grin. “Breaking the rules and sneaking around in the tombs.”

  “Well, this time we can’t actually get in trouble,” I pointed out as we made our way down the passages until we came across one of the ceremonial rooms. “Blood,” I whispered with a deep frown. It wasn’t here the last time we had passed through. It wasn’t fresh, but I could see the reddish-brown stains on the floor.

  “Balls,” Adrian sniggered. “Didn’t you tell us about that one before?” He patted my shoulder to get my attention. “Plus, I remember some other blood that was spilled down here, but it wasn’t so innocent,” Adrian said silkily and my cheeks bloomed with heat. “This place has got a lot of history.”

  “Focus,” I laughed nervously and pushed against his shoulder as his eyes heated. He’d taken my virginity in one of these ceremonial rooms. “I’m not that little girl anymore, vampire.”

  “You were never a little girl,” he mused and then nodded as Vlad gave him a silent warning.

  “We have history,” I told Vlad. “That history is ours. It can’t be washed away, no matter who we are with now.”

  “Be that as it may, Ryder will have my balls should the kid slip up and try to seduce you.”

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