Home > Assassin: Fall of the Golden Valefar(10)

Assassin: Fall of the Golden Valefar(10)
Author: H.M. Ward

“About me,” she moved quickly, her fist colliding with his face, sending him flying backwards. Eric’s body hit the floor with a loud thud. She’d never hit him like that before. There was power in that punch, more than a girl her size should have. Before he regained his senses, her foot collided with the side of his head. Eric staggered. The world went black and the last thing he heard was the door lock scraping open and Natalia saying, “And I was wrong about you.”


Carina stood over him, hands on her h*ps when his eyes flicked open. The last person to hit him like that was Kreturus. When he opened his eyes and saw the owner, he rubbed his hands over his face. She was grinning ear to ear. “Your meal walked out of here about five minutes ago.”

Eric sat up, shaking off his shock. “She walked out?” She hit him so hard his ears were still ringing. The side of his face felt like it had cracked open. Touching it softly, he winced. There was no blood, but it still throbbed. Eric stood and collected his things, looking around the room, not knowing what to think.

Carina nodded. The tassels from the belt of her robe were in her fingers. She was stroking the silky strands as she spoke, “Yup, she walked out of here like she owned the place. One of the girls asked her what happened. Her make-up was a mess and her hair, well, she looked horrid. And a paid girl is supposed to stay put. Sasha didn’t answer, she just left. I sent my guards after her…” she glanced at Eric, trying to gauge his reaction. She wondered if the girl meant something to him. If she did, then Carina wanted her.

Who the hell is Sasha?he thought before realizing that she meant Nat. Damn, she’d hit him hard. Eric hissed at her, “She cost a f**king fortune, Carina. Patrons aren’t supposed to get attacked…”

“You unchained her,” she retorted dropping her tassel.

“You trained her to fight back.”

Her hands were clenched into fists at her sides, “You were supposed to subdue her.”

“You were supposed to screen your hires. What the f**k is she? I was under the impression that I was with a mortal.” Rage flashed through Eric’s eyes, the rims of his iris burning bright red. Carina saw it happen and swallowed hard. She was afraid of him. Good. He stepped nearer to her.

Carina stepped back, “She is mortal. She bleeds. She breaks. She breathes. She passed the tests we give to detect Valefar.”

“Prove it.” Eric’s body was corded tight. His mind was reeling, trying to figure out what happened. That had to be more than a lucky shot. Valefar hadn’t been able to clock him like that, which meant what? Eric’s body was about to explode. He wanted to hit something, break someone. If Carina didn’t prove what she was saying, he knew it would be her.

“I will. Follow me.” She turned promptly, signaling for the guard to return Eric’s belongings. He pocketed his things, pulled his shirt over his head, and slipped his feet back into his boots, before following Carina across the room. He wove his way between patrons and half nak*d women, until he walked into an office with Carina. The door slammed shut and he knew there were guards nearby.

Eric was ready for a fight. He snapped at her, “Well? What the hell is she?”

“Mortal. We test these things, Eric. She bleeds red. Her blood tastes normal.” Carina fished in her desk and pulled out a file folder. The name SASHA was printed on the side. “Each girl takes a stage-name and is thoroughly checked. They cannot have living relatives in the city, and I place a spell on them so that no one will recognize them should the need arise. But you saw her, didn’t you?” Eric nodded. “It doesn’t work as well on Valefar. Here take it. Look. The girl seemed normal to me, but if she overpowered you…” She thrust the folder at him.

“She didn’t overpower me… it just seemed to be a helluva lucky shot.” Flicking through her folder, he saw pictures of Natalia wearing nothing. She was all smooth skin and dark hair with endless curves. His fingers pressed to the photograph as if he could touch her. The memory of her warm flesh in his hand stirred within him. Eric snarled, throwing the folder onto the desk, his eyes darting back and forth.

Carina laughed, “Well, she knocked you out and ran. Eric, there are limits here. Each night only so many girls can die to avoid suspicion. Since the Queen reigns and disapproves of my actions, I don’t wish to anger her, but we still need to live, Eric. I’m sure you don’t expect us to starve.” He shook his head, agreeing with her to see where she was going with this. “Then we’re on the same side. You may feed here, but when we don’t share, there is a higher price. When you take a soul, it means the rest of us can’t. I couldn’t very well say that in the open.”

Eric didn’t respond. He didn’t care what Carina did here. The people who visited the place were beyond repair anyway—at least he thought they were until Natalia showed up and screwed things up.

The woman looked up at him, her gaze narrowing. “I suppose you want reparations? And your money back?”

Eric glared at her. “Keep it. I expect to be back to get what I paid for.” He leaned over the desk toward her, “And should you find her first, you will save her for me. Do you understand? No one else is to touch her. Chain her and call me. Now that you know what I am, I can effonate directly into her room. That is the only reparation I want. Are we agreed?”

Carina’s dark brow rose on her face slightly when Eric said his demands. Arms folded over her chest, she nodded. “Done. No one screws-over my patrons, Eric. If you don’t punish her, I will.”

Eric grabbed the woman by the throat, his effonation already surging through him, “She’ll go the way of Jocelyn, Carina. And so will you, if you touch her.” He released her, just as her eyes pooled crimson, and he was gone.


Eric had to know what Natalia was, but he knew he had to find her first. Carina would do whatever she wanted when she located the girl. He could see it in her eyes. Either Natalia was an oddity or something that she could use to manipulate Eric. Fuck! Why did these people see that so quickly? He tried to hide his affection for the girl, but that’s all it was—misplaced affection. She resembled someone he’d cared about. Someone he failed to protect. The never-ending nightmare played out, over and over again, in his mind. He wasn’t stupid enough to think of trying to have a relationship with anyone ever again.

The golden Valefar moved through the dark streets, stalking his prey. Natalia was on foot, wearing next to nothing. How far could she get? Eric moved swiftly through the shadows tracking her, following her light sweet scent until he saw her. The robe had been stripped off her back and she was pinned to the ground. One man sat at her head, holding down her arms and laughing. It was a Valefar from the club. Eric recognized both of them. The other Valefar was trying to pry her legs apart with his hand, and shoving his knee higher and higher. Rage spilled into Eric.

The Valefar that pinned Natalia’s head looked up and saw Eric’s eyes glowing red in the darkness. “We’ve got company.” The other man—the one of top of Natalia—stopped and turned, looking back at Eric.

“Get rid of him,” was all he said. His hands pressed down on Natalia’s forearms when the other man rose. It didn’t occur to him why it took two men to hold her.

The first Valefar approached him saying, “This is our kill. She pissed off my boss. I have strict orders.”

“To rape her and bring her in?” Eric sneered at him. His arms folded over his chest, his eyes burning like golden flames.

The guy shrugged, “One of the perks of the job. She said alive, not untouched. And we fully intend to touch her, so f**k off, before something happens that you won’t like.” The Valefar’s eyes pooled crimson as he spoke. It was something that should have terrified a mortal, but Eric was no mortal.

As he reached for the Valefar, Celestial Silver blade in hand, Eric heard a scream from the place where Natalia lay. Moving quickly he rounded on the Valefar, slashing at him. The Valefar’s eyes went wide when he saw Eric holding a blade that should have killed him. His left hand held a blackened knife, brimstone no doubt. Slowly, his other hand reached into his pocket. When he pulled his fist out, the Valefar open it and blew the black powder into Eric’s face. Brimstone. When Eric didn’t scream, the Valefar turned on his heel and ran. Out of the corner of his eye, Eric saw Natalia on her feet, bare legs flying, kicking the crap out of the other Valefar. He didn’t want to leave the girl, but…

Eric chased the other Valefar, down the street, grabbing him by the neck. Tossing his body against a stone building, he could hear bone snap. The man groaned, but staggered to his feet, asking, “What the hell are you?” Eric had been mistaken for a Martis. How amusing. It must have been the silver.

Eric didn’t answer him. Instead he threw his silver knife at the man’s heart. It spun through the air like a star and sank into the Valefar’s heart. The man fell to his knees, black blood oozing from his lips. The blood in his eyes turned inky, as he fell forward. The ground bubbled like dark tar, filling the air with the scent of sulfur as the dead Valefar was reclaimed by the ground.

Eric picked up the silver blade and turned back to see Natalia. He walked slowly toward her watching her fight. She threw her body, using her weight, her size, and her agility the way Eric taught her. Maybe she wasn’t immortal. He doubted himself. Maybe she just held her own because he trained her so well. Eric’s boots crushed the rubble beneath his feet. Natalia’s leg came up and collided with the Valefar’s head, sending him flying to the ground. When her icy blue eyes flashed toward Eric, he could see the fear in her eyes. She didn’t know why the man wouldn’t stay down. The bottoms of her bare feet were bright red, covered in blood. Crap. She was mortal. The terror in her eyes slammed into him.

Eric moved quickly toward her. “Go home. I’ll finish this. You were never here, understand?”

Natalia was breathing hard, the red corset crushing her ribs and making it impossible to breath, never mind fight. But she had. She held the man off and could do well if there was only one. But there had been two. If Eric didn’t come, oh God… trembling began to shake her body.

Eric repeated himself, his voice firm, “Go home. Now.” Natalia knew Eric could handle this. He’d saved her from demons and he was saving her again. She nodded at him and turned to walk away.

The Valefar chose that moment to launch himself at her, but she was already out of reach. Natalia winced as she walked away, refusing to look back. She closed her eyes as she heard the inevitable scream that she knew would erupt behind her. Eric would kill the man. That ruthless part of him, the part that she didn’t want to think about, would overcome him and he’d destroy the man who tried to hurt her. The voice rang out in a pain-filled scream just as she rounded the corner. Natalia stopped. She couldn’t move. Ice filled her body, traveling up her veins, and making her break into a cold sweat. Suddenly she couldn’t breathe and found herself dry-heaving onto a pile of rubble. Falling to her knees she couldn’t hold her head up. Long dark hair fell over her shoulders.

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