Home > Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(4)

Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(4)
Author: H.M. Ward

A tight smile spread across his lips. He didn't like me much either. "There are two things I'd do if I were you. First, I'd realize that there is no way to escape the prophecy. You are who you are. Deal with it. And two, I'd get my soul back, so we can get the rest of that poison out of you before it kills you, and this guy Collin gets all your power. Or is that what you wanted?"

My voice was small, "No, it isn't what I wanted." I looked up at him and paused for a second before sitting down on a ledge. I didn't get anything I wanted. Nothing ever turned out even remotely the way I'd hoped. Staring at the floor I said, "I wanted to stop the prophecy. I'd hoped to stop it... You were right. I'm stupid. I screwed up."

He stepped towards me, "And right now Collin, and every demon in Hell, is trying to find you. I bet you anything they don't know what would happen if you died right now. They think all your power would die with you. Collin doesn't know that your power would all be his, does he?"

I shrugged, feeling foolish. "I don't know what Collin knows or doesn't know anymore. Kreturus went into him. He acted like Collin, sounded like him, but there's no way I can ever know for sure."

Lorren's face fell. "So let me get this straight? You were trying to prevent the prophecy from occurring by killing yourself? So, you found the only thing that could destroy you - the Guardian's fang - and you scraped it across your chest hoping the poison would kill you?" I nodded, but that didn't wipe the shocked look from his face. His voice rose an octave when he asked, "What'd you think would happen when you died? That the prophecy would just be over and we'd all be like, oops, guess we got that one wrong?"

Anger flared inside of me. "Stop talking to me like I'm stupid. I didn't know. It's not like I got a handbook or even signed up for this shit. And I didn't mean to scrape my chest." My fingers delicately touched the scar beneath my neckline. "I aimed it directly at my heart...and missed."

I didn't think his eyes could go wider, but they did. "Oh my God! So what happened?"

"Collin stopped me. He hit the fang as I swung it toward my heart, but it was too late to stop it from cutting me." Collin looked so utterly devastated when I'd left him. As I was speaking, my voice went flat and all the steam in my comments deflated. I looked up at Lorren the Goth Valefar. "So. Tell me. Just say it. I can see it on your face. You're thinking something."

"I'm thinking you're damn lucky. Collin is either overpowering Kreturus, so that he could save your life. Or Kreturus doesn't realize that Collin has part of your soul. If he knew, that fang would have hit your heart. But, the old demon has to know that Collin has a soul.  Ancient evil that's as rancid as Kreturus can't tell them apart even if they are in the same body."

"So, Collin may still be Collin?" A flicker of hope fluttered within me, but I was afraid to let it. I knew what I'd seen, and it terrified me.

Lorren shrugged. "There's only one way to find out. Either way, you gotta go find him and get your soul back."

His words surprised me, "Why?"

He smiled at me like I was impossibly naive. "I'm not gonna slap you in the head since you already had a really bad day. Let me spell it out - if you don't get your soul back, then you are going to die. The sapphire serum can't be drawn out of your wound entirely without it. I've isolated the poison so that it shouldn't continue spreading through your body at the same rate. I've crystalized it to slow it down. That will give you more time, but the sapphire serum will weaken you. If you don't get it out, you'll die. This fix is only temporary and I have no idea how long it'll last.  And then, when you die, Kreturus will get all of your power, since you," he repressed a look of disgust, "sliced off a piece of your soul and shoved it in Collin. If you want to prevent the Prophecy- stay alive - and get your soul back."

Figures. I finally think of something that will work to prevent me from becoming this crazy girl in the prophecy and it totally screws me over. "Fine, I see your point. And no, I don't want to be the one who destroys everything. So, how do I get my soul back from him?"

Lorren smiled, "You are new. A demon kiss. How else?"

I shook my head. "I can't give him a demon kiss. I've kissed him before and it didn't take his soul."

"You mean your soul," Lorren answered, "And, yes, you can. A Valefar can choose to resist temptation and kiss someone without ripping their soul out. Most just don't."

Shocked, I asked, "What are you saying? That he could have taken the rest of my soul whenever he wanted?" The thought was horrifying. I thought we were even - that there was no way for him to do anything to hurt me. It was part of what made it easier for me to trust him before Kreturus jumped into him. Swallowing hard, I realized the rest of what Lorren was saying. "...And I could take his soul?"

"Yes, except it's your soul. Why do you keep saying his?"

"Because he has a soul. He's a Valefar with a fragment of soul too small to let him be anything else. He almost died a few months ago and I gave him a piece of my soul so he'd live. He has both our souls in his body. And I have a piece of his soul in mine."

Lorren staggered backwards. "Ivy! Are you insane? You made yourself a Valefar soul mate?"

I bristled, "Not on purpose. And shut up! You weren't there. You don't know what happened! It's not like I had much of a choice. It was watch him die from a Martis wound or save him. I saved him."

Lorren turned away from me as his eyebrows rose in his hairline. He rubbed his eyes hard and shook his head. When he turned back to me there was urgency in his eyes. "Answer this - do you want the prophecy to happen?"

Anger exploded from somewhere deep within me. "No! What are you, deaf? What do you think I keep telling you!" What the hell was wrong with him? I said it a thousand times, but he didn't seem to believe me.

"I'm sorry; it's just that you aren't what I thought you'd be." His gaze lingered on my face. He looked at me like he was trying to solve a puzzle, but was missing most of the pieces. I hated puzzles.

"Join the club. I'm not even what I expected at this point. I try so hard to do what's right and it gets all messed up anyway. Like this." I hesitated. I was telling this guy, a perfect stranger, how I felt. I didn't like bearing my soul to people I trusted, never mind Lorren. I snapped my mouth shut and when I spoke again, I changed directions. The past was the past. I couldn't change it. But what I would do next was still up in the air. My voice was less certain. I didn't like the idea of finding Collin and trying to give him a demon kiss. And after what Lorren told me, it sounded like Collin could turn around and suck out my soul while I tried to get his. "So what do I do? Give him a demon kiss and take back my soul?" A thought occurred to me, "How do I make sure I don't take his soul, too?"

"That's just it - you can't. There are no discriminating demon kisses. A demon kiss drains the soul, and you need all of yours back to keep Kreturus from stealing your powers. If you don't take your entire soul back from Collin, you'll die. Then Kreturus reigns and everything is a hell of a lot worse than if you became ruler of the Underworld." He shook his head and moved towards me with a plea on his face. "No, Ivy, listen to me. You have to find Collin and drain him."

"But... I gave him my soul so he'd live. If I take it away then Collin will die, won't he?" My mouth hung open. I couldn't believe I was having this conversation.

Lorren nodded. His voice was cold as he spoke with a smirk on his face, "Yes, he'll die. But he's a Valefar. Who cares?"

I bristled and shot back, "I do."

"Why?" he asked, perplexed. He unfolded his arms and waited for me to answer. I didn't know if I wanted to answer him. I didn't want to explain myself to Lorren, but he seemed to know a lot more than I did. I needed help.

"Because I love him." My voice was a whisper.


After Lorren worked on me, I felt different than before. The immense pain stopped as the poison was isolated and frozen in my chest. Lorren said the sapphire serum would remain in the wound unless I did something to aggravate it. I wasn't sure what type of action would cause it to leak out and into my bloodstream, but I knew that I didn't want to find out.

The pain inflicted by immortals and their objects far surpassed anything I experienced as a human. The agony compares to nothing. Their fondness of unfathomable pain made me wonder how anyone survived a life like this. As it was, I was still aching and felt weak from the ordeal. Valefar and Martis healed quickly and I began to wonder why it was taking so long to feel better. Ignoring the exhaustion, I continued to listen while Lorren berated me.

He made it rather transparent that he thought I was an idiot. He took it upon himself to explain over and over again why it would be bad to side with Kreturus or give him all my powers. Instead of trying to convince him that I knew that, I finally just let him sling his condescension at me and nodded. I didn't feel like defending myself anymore. I saw his points. He knew more than me. I made irreparable mistakes - that were huge. Yeah, check. I got it. But he continued talking to me while walking us deeper and deeper into the winding maze. I had no idea where we were. The golden vegetation was thick here. The sapphire floor gleamed beneath my feet. This appeared to be the densest part of the tomb.

My mind was reeling as I tried to figure out what to do. I followed Lorren, mainly because he seemed like he knew where he was going - and because I was safer in the maze than in the Underworld or up above where Shannon and the Martis waited to rip me to shreds.

Lorren walked in long strides in front of me. He was speaking sharply over his shoulder, and I'd finally had enough. "Maybe you know some things," I said, "but you don't know everything. You don't know what Collin did for me. Now show me the way out. I'm done following you around." I stood in front of him feeling defiant, weak and tiny. There was something grand about the boy-in-black that made me feel small. It didn't help that the remaining poison left a constant ache in my bones that wouldn't go away. I was so upset and he was agitating the hell out of me.

The corner of his mouth pulled up into a lopsided grin. I couldn't tell if he was smiling at me or laughing at me. Either way, it was patronizing. "No, you need to see this before you leave. You need to see the rest of the prophecy. And you need someone to clue you in before you screw us all over." He looked me over, assessing me. "You know, there are two types of people - ones who live their lives, and ones whose lives live them. You need to be the former, not the latter. And right now, you are letting your life live you. It's crushing you and completely out of control. You can't just let life happen, not if you want some say in what happens to you."

I sneered at him, folding my arms to my chest, "You think I don't try? Lorren, you don't know the first thing about me. Or what I've done to try and not be the girl in the prophecy." I've tried so hard to overcome it. I thought if I was a good person, then those things, the things they'd said about me couldn't come true. The Martis, and the months of whispers that I overheard, plagued me. I knew exactly what they thought I would become - but I refused. With every ounce of my being, I refused to become the low-life demon freak that they thought I already was.

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