Vala eminence, p.9

Vala Eminence, page 9

 part  #4 of  Vala Series


Vala Eminence

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  She grimaced, but nodded again. “Reluctantly, yes, I would do so. What a stupid request.”

  “Yeah, but I just wanna know if you mean it or not when you say you're loyal to me. Who's to say I'm the highest on this food chain you speak of.”

  “Hades the First was my creator. His heirs will always reign over the demons, including Lucifer. So many humans fear him, but they don't understand that he's nothing more than a wannabe. He'll copy anyone he's jealous of. Why do you think he's sending one of his abominations to try to be you?” She scoffed. “It is disgusting. My first allegiance goes to your father. We both know he is indisposed at the moment, so second in command is you. With your father being locked in the dungeon, the underworld has fallen into chaos. It is confusing all of the lesser demons who dwell within. It confused me as well.” Her gaze lowered once more.

  “I see.” Though, Denver wasn't sure he understood.

  “Do you see my lord?”

  He shrugged. “I've got two functioning eyes, so yeah, I do.”

  She laughed. “You have your father's wit. How refreshing.”

  “Were you two close?” he asked, dying to know more about what his family had been like before Lucien destroyed it.

  Ceete smiled. “You could say that, yes. I was his number one confidant back in the day.”

  “I don't remember much about what he was like,” he said quietly. “Him, or my mother, or much of anything, so I was just curious. Did we know each other too?”

  “Yes, we did. I hardly left your side. Because while I was your father's first confidant, you were his first priority.”

  Denver didn't want to, but he couldn't help it, there were tears forming in his eyes. Even if none of them spilled, just the fact that they were there in the first place annoyed him.

  “Okay, so we go way back,” he mumbled. “I still don't know if I believe you.”

  “Of course not,” she said.

  He sighed. “I'm not going to kill you.”

  “Thank you for sparing me so graciously.”

  “But I don't know what I'm going to do with you either. You can't stay here. Eventually someone will find out. People are way too nosy, and you'd get bored anyway. My room sucks.” He rested his head on a fist. “I can't send you back to Lucien because he'll lock you up again for failing, probably torture you.”

  “I would bear the wounds with honor and pride.”

  Rolling his eyes, Denver stood. “Yeah, that seems like a thing a demon would like. Give me some time and I'll think of something.”

  “If it helps, I can shape-shift, my lord. I can look more human, and at any age you think would be useful.”

  “That so?” Denver smirked. “Then I might have an idea after all. But first I want to hear you swear your allegiance to me.”

  A smile spread across her lips from ear to ear, her sharp fangs glistening under the light as she barred her teeth. “Until the day your father dies, I promised there would be no one above him who I would listen to. I pledge the same to you, and I will pledge the same to all of your heirs until one of them deems me no longer worthy to live.”

  He nodded. “Excellent.”

  Chapter Eight

  “Okay, you're registered for classes under the name of Celia. I was able to work my magic and get you into all of the same classes as me all day long, so you can stalk me appropriately. And no, you can't stay in my dorm room. You've got to go live with the girls otherwise people are going to think you're weird. But, I was able to get you a private room because I know you'd probably commit homicide otherwise,” Denver said as he led Ceete through the courtyard. He glared at her when he noticed how much time she was taking to walk. “It's kind of freezing outside, so can you please hurry up? I'd like to not get frostbite.”

  She rolled her eyes and stalked forward, moving ahead of him. “I do not need childish lessons from your inferior school system.”

  “I don't think you do either,” he agreed. “But I want to keep an eye on you and the best way to do that is to have you around. Besides, you have a lot of answers to things I need to know.”

  “Of course, it's merely a cover. I should have realized.”

  “Yeah, so you might want to start talking like a normal teenager too. You already stand out enough as it is.” He glanced at her and noticed how seductive she had made her new “more human” body. She had hourglass curves, large breasts, and long red hair. Staring was something hard for him not to do. Her looks alone were going to make his life complicated, he didn't need her bizarre behavior to add to his problems.

  When they entered the school, Cheyenne was waiting for him by the doorway. She took one look at Ceete and then glared at him.

  “Who's that?” she demanded.

  He closed his eyes and suppressed a grumble. “This is Celia. She's new. That's about all I got from her.”

  “You're not one to get friendly with the new girls,” Cheyenne said coolly. She crossed her arms in front of her chest.

  “Sure I do, I got friendly with you.” He winked.

  Apparently that wasn't a good answer because she spun on her heel and walked away. She was clearly jealous. If people actually turned green from the emotion, she'd be pulsating with the color like a neon sign. Kind of serves her right after she tried to make me jealous over her and Zes. Denver shook his head. She'll get over it.

  Ceete watched Cheyenne leave, her head tilting to the side slightly. “That is Persephone's heir.”

  “Yup!” He waved for her to follow him to his first class.

  “Persephone the First has been resurrected?”

  Denver shrugged. “Some kind of spiritual rebirthing thing. I'm still trying to understand it.”

  Ceete's dark eyes narrowed slightly. “If Persephone the First is reborn, then my first master, my creator, Hades must be as well.”

  “Yeah, you're looking at the guy who's supposed to be that reincarnation. I just need to figure out how it all works, like I said. Most of this stuff is new to me, okay?” He lowered his voice. “I'm pretty sure I caused it with a spell I did back in the fall. We can't really talk about this all day and especially not in school. There aren't a lot of safe places because Lucien has his spies just about everywhere.”

  There was no reply from Ceete, only wide-eyed staring. Denver wasn't positive, but he could have sworn he saw tears in her eyes as well. Why would a demon cry?

  Scowling, he walked into his classroom. “Stop looking like a squirrel who just got its nuts stolen, it's embarrassing. Women, ugh.” Even the evil ones are emotional, it seems.

  Ceete stormed over to him and dug her nails deep into the skin of his shoulder.

  “Ow! Ow! Ow! Stop!” He yelped.

  Her nails left his skin, but she did not release her grip on him. She leaned in close to his ear and said in a hushed voice. “Don't ever compare me to a pathetic, normal, human woman ever again. My creator is a being I love more than life itself, and will be the only one I ever shed tears for.”

  “I didn't think your kind could love.” He growled and pulled himself away from her.

  “Your ignorance is no longer amusing to me.” She found a desk to sit in and didn't look at him again for the remainder of the hour. Denver didn't mind, because he didn't want to have to entertain her all day anyway.

  Ceete was quiet for the rest of the day. She kept to herself and didn't mingle with the other students. A few of the teenage boys tried to flirt with her, but she showed little interest in them. She stayed glued to Denver's side. Come lunchtime, he was happy to have some new people to hang out with, even if it was only Cheyenne.

  His girlfriend waited for him outside of the cafeteria, off to the side of the line. She still glared at him like she was pretty ticked off. Girls and emotions were not Denver's specialty. When a girl got mad at him that was a good sign he needed to bail. But could he leave Cheyenne? That would probably kill whatever was left of his heart.

  “You know, if you keep making that face it'll freeze that way,
he said and stood next to her. He leaned against the wall, trying to keep casual, but inside he was petrified she might have finally had enough of him.

  Cheyenne rolled her eyes but cracked a smile. “That's an old wives’ tale.”

  “There's got to be some truth to it or they never would have started it in the first place.” He scooted next to her and nudged her in the side. “Why the sour face anyway?”

  “I don't like the new girl.”

  “I don't like her either,” he stated.

  Her blue eyes averted their gaze to the floor. “Then why is she in all of your classes and talking to you all of the time?”

  “Business and nothing more,” he mumbled. Telling a lie would have been easier than even an inkling of the truth, yet he couldn't bring himself to take the easy way out.

  “What kind of business?” Cheyenne asked, her voice shaking.

  He couldn't help but chuckle. “Nothing you need to worry about right now, Princess. I promise I'll tell you all about it at the right time, but you see, if I tell you too much too soon it'll spoil the surprise. You like those right? Don't girls go gaga over that stuff?”

  “You're working on a surprise for me?” Her eyes seemed to light up.

  Note to self, being sappy really does make her go gaga. Somehow he managed to give her a smile. “Yup, it's a big surprise. I think in the end you're going to like it, a lot. Just trust me Princess. I'll tell you if there's a problem. Believe me when I say she's not anywhere near my type. I only care about you.”

  “Sorry, I don't know what my problem is.”

  “You're a girl? Pretty sure it's normal for you to be insecure and clingy when you feel your territory is being threatened. I get it. I don't blame you either since I'm quite the catch, just try not to give me the death glares anymore because of it. Okay?” He gave her a pointed look.

  Cheyenne nodded and looped her arm with his. “I had a bizarre dream the other night, but I can't remember what it is.”

  “Then how do you know it was bizarre?”

  “Intuition. When I don't sleep well, it leaves me shaken.” She gazed up at him and he took in all the love she held in that one gaze. Had anyone ever looked at him with such longing or happiness?

  She hugged his arm tight to her. “Anyway, my point is, I think I'm starting to feel better and I'd really like to spend some time with you soon. You've been busy doing a whole lot without me.”

  “I'm sorry my universe doesn't revolve around you,” he teased.

  “Please, I like that it doesn't. I've never wanted to be one of those couples. People in general give me anxiety. Having anyone around twenty-four-seven would push me over the edge, even you.” She glanced over at him, smiling. “But that doesn't mean I don't want to see you either.”

  “You can see me whenever you want, and if you're feeling anxious, I'll just hold you and you can pretend I'm not there. Problem solved.”

  “Can I count on that happening tonight?”

  “I've got a couple of things to do, but I think we can make it work.”

  She kissed his nose. “I love you.”

  The three words he'd been afraid to hear were now said. His heart beat so wildly his chest hurt, and breathing became harder. Determined to keep cool in front of her, he kissed her forehead and walked away. He had every intention of telling her he'd be right back, but for some reason couldn't get it out. So he sent it via text message instead.

  Denver stepped out into the cold and welcomed the fresh air into his lungs. Squatting down, he placed his head between his knees. What's wrong with me? I love her back, so why do I feel like I'm dying inside?

  “Lucien's curse,” Ceete's voice said from behind him.

  Startled, he fell backward onto the cold, icy concrete of the sidewalk. He hadn't been expecting anyone, least of all Ceete, to follow him. The pain and cold were welcomed, and he made no rush to get up.

  “What are you talking about?” he asked, trying to stay in control of his emotions and his body. The second he relinquished what power he had over his life was the moment he went back to being one of Lucien's slaves.

  Ceete shook her head, frowning. “The curse. He wanted to take away your sense of caring and all of your feelings of love. I suppose he thought that if you were like him, perhaps you would self-destruct and bring about your own demise. If that failed, he got to abuse your powers as if they were his own. He locked me into the dungeon when I tried to fight against him.”

  “Oh, that curse. I don't know why you're bringing it up now,” he mumbled.

  “Because the girl told you she loved you. I could hear it from down the hall. Now you're in pain because your heart is overwhelmed.” She rubbed his back. “Slow, easy breaths my lord. It will get easier with time. The heart is a muscle, after all, even in the spiritual sense. Soon it will be stronger.”

  He closed his eyes, doing as he was instructed. Slowly, he breathed in through his nose and out through his mouth. After a moment passed, his chest loosened and he slowly stood.

  “She's going to think I'm flaking on her,” he said.

  “Your relationship with her is going to have much more difficult bumps than that, so I wouldn't worry too much. I'm sure you can make amends with her.”

  Shivering from the cold, Denver nodded. “True, I mean, she's married to a demon, is possessed by her ancestor, and being brainwashed. My freaking out is probably minor compared to all of those things. I still don't want to push her closer to her loser hubby and further away from me just because I'm an idiot.”

  “So she's already wed him.” Ceete sighed. “That makes things complicated. I'd heard rumors in my cell, but I was isolated for the most part. News of the happenings outside of the dungeon was few and far apart.”

  “They've married, yeah, but haven't hooked up yet. It's making him crazy, but I think the original Persephone knows something is up. Cheyenne can't stand him. When I visited her in the underworld, she was conveniently drugged or something.”

  “So Persephone the First has been released?”

  Denver forced a smile on his face. I think I've told you this already, lady. “I'll explain this to you again. There was some kind of spell I did on Cheyenne back in the fall. Lucien told me to cleanse her down in the pool under the gazebo, the one with the crazy garden. Because I wanted to be done with him as soon as possible, I did as I was told and earned some major brownie points. Ever since then, Cheyenne has been a little weird. She blacks out, sometimes even looks a little different, and when I saw her in the underworld she had two spirits. One of them is Persephone the First. So yes, she's been released.”

  “But not Hades?”

  He shrugged. “If he has been, I haven't felt anything different. No crazy blackouts on my end of things. Sometimes I think I hear thoughts not my own, but I've always been a little bit of a nutcase.”

  Ceete scratched her chin. “We will need to release him if you have any hope of winning against Lucien. I can perform the spell for you, but I will need time to prepare. I am not Persephone, nor pure of heart. One of those two things is preferred to produce enough love to break the bonds over a spirit. One true love, or unconditional love, are key components to reincarnation.”

  “This is all so sappy and sentimental for dark and demonic things,” he muttered.

  She laughed. “Hades was never a demon, you know, just a man of great power who ruled over the darkness. Reincarnation isn't something the demons invented. It was created by the Divine to secure their power over all things magical.”

  “Gotcha. You sure know a lot.”

  “Because I have been alive since the beginning of time, just about.”

  “So perform the same spell on me that I did to Chey, and I gain ultimate power. I'll add it onto my list of things to do.” He grabbed the door to go back inside. “I'm cold and hungry, and I need to find Chey. I'll call your room later and we can work out some details, but stay away from me until then. If she sees me with you again, she'll just get more angry. She
seems to think you've got a thing for me.”

  Ceete laughed. “I may be a demon and you may be my master, but even I have boundaries. Mating with someone in my own bloodline would not be beneficial for me.”

  “Huh?” Denver frowned, looking back at her. “Your bloodline?”

  “A conversation for another time, my lord. Go and make peace with your lady. The sooner you win her heart over completely, the sooner all of this will end and you can return to your glory. When that happens, I can come home again and be free to wander about once more.”

  Denver peered at her before going back inside of the school. I'm getting tired of having a billion questions. By the time he made his way into the cafeteria for lunch, he saw Cheyenne sitting with the twins at the cool kid table. As tempting as it was to go sit down and rain on everyone's parade, he decided against it. Cheyenne would probably use the opportunity to make him jealous again with her bizarre pining over Zes. Denver actually wanted to eat his lunch and not puke it up later.

  Instead, he took his food and found a quiet spot in a nearby hallway. The students weren't supposed to eat there, but when did he care about the rules?

  Before taking a bite, he sent Cheyenne another text. “I feel the same way, fyi. Just give me time to get some courage to say it.”

  It didn't take long for her to reply. “As long as you mean it, I can wait forever to hear it.

  “It won't take until forever. Just until Tuesday.”

  “I knew there was a reason I always liked Tuesday. I'll see you tonight. <3.”

  He smiled like a total sap when he read it. Since he was alone, he didn't make a big deal about it. Besides, if his heart were ever going to get strong enough where he could handle emotions like love, happiness, and whatever else the world threw his way, he'd have to get used to feeling things. Love didn't feel all too bad, anyway.

  Chapter Nine

  “You are not focused, again,” Mr. Thantos said from across his office. His voice was distant to Denver, but it snapped him out of his trance all the same.

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