Home > The 13th Prophecy (Demon Kissed #5)

The 13th Prophecy (Demon Kissed #5)
Author: H.M. Ward


The shadows surrounding the Pool of Lost Souls were different. They weren’t just inky splotches of darkness—they appeared to be alive. The crevices on the stone walls of the massive cavern formed eyes that were hollow and dark. They seemed to shift as I moved, watching me. Waiting. This place filled me with dread, more so than the golden grave of the Lorren. Both locations were massive tombs, but this one—I don’t know—there was something more ominous about it. Something that made me want to run and never come back.

I glared at Eric, who was walking a few paces in front of me. His shoulders were squared as he walked along the edge of the Pool. Determination made his gait rigid, but I knew he was the reason why I felt the dread coursing through my body.

“Cut it out,” I snapped. Since I pulled Collin through the mirror and said the Demon Princess’ spell, my ability to numb my senses turned spastic. The sensations crept up on me like a breeze at my back. There was nothing I could do to eradicate the problem. There was no logical reason why I could feel again. The only correlation was Eric. It only seemed to happen around the fallen angel. As he walked on in front of me, with tension lining his tightly corded muscles, I couldn’t comprehend why he’d choose to use bloodlust now to cause the remnants of my emotions to go haywire. The timing seemed off. It wasn’t like he was reveling in my fear. He appeared to ignore it. It was strange. At times, a sudden flash of fear would crash thought my body like an icy hand squeezing my heart.

Eric turned his stoic gaze in my direction. Speaking over his shoulder he replied, “Some things are beyond my control.” He didn’t smirk. There was no pleasure in his expression. Whatever was happening, he didn’t seem to be controlling it. Maybe the encounter at the mirror messed with him, too? I didn’t know.

The skin on the back of my neck prickled. Annoyed at him, I smoothed away the gooseflesh with my hand saying, “Whatever, Eric.”

In front of us, the blue waters went on forever, filling massive sections of the cavern that were completely lost in shadow. A choking sensation crept up my throat as I gazed at a shallow cove. The sand was crushed to powder and rock walls surrounded three sides. If the sun was suspended above, it would’ve looked like a beach.

Clearing my throat, I forced the accumulating tension back down. Somewhere in the back of my mind I wondered if I’d ever feel pleasure or pain on my own, without it being induced by blood. My chance of survival, however, was so remote that it wasn’t worth thinking about.

Eric moved in front of me. His shoulders were broad, his muscles ripped tight. His head didn’t swing side to side like he thought we were being watched, but I knew he sensed it too. We had to stay, because there was no other option. It wasn’t like we could avoid this. Coming here was a necessity, a necessity that I created.

Eric cleared his throat. His light hair hung over golden eyes that narrowed to thin slits. He had been in a weird mood. This place bothered him, too. As we neared the crystal clear water, he stopped. Pain flashed behind his eyes, so quickly that I wasn’t sure if I’d seen it.

He glanced over his shoulder and back at me. His voice was deep and soft, as if he knew we were being watched. “We shouldn’t be here,” he said. His gaze studied my face for a second, then returned to the surface of the water. He stared blankly, but I knew better than to think he wasn’t paying attention. Eric didn’t space out and get lost in his thoughts. He was the master of deception. If he was stone still, there was a reason for it.

But, since he wasn’t sharing what that reason was, I pushed past him. I stopped when my shoe was less than an inch from the water within the Pool. Last time, the depths tried to kill us. Last time Eric and I stood here, we were mad at each other for different reasons. He was someone else then. So was I.

I cleared my throat, pushing the memories aside. I agreed with him. We shouldn’t be here. It was the height of stupidity, but it was completely necessary and he knew it. “You know we have to do this. There isn’t any other way to find that damn rock.”

We needed Satan’s Stone, but Eric couldn’t remember much about it. Actually, he couldn’t remember anything about the stone. That information was stored in his soul with no way to call the information to his mind. He was able to glean some memories from me, but that was only residue—traces of the energy from his soul, that was in my body. A demon kiss only supplies the Valefar with energy. The rest of the soul is thrown away and ends up in The Pool of Lost Souls. If we wanted the memories of angelic Eric using the stone, they would be found here.

We’d spoken with Lorren about how to get the information from his soul. Souls were difficult to understand. They contained energy that kept the body alive. It was this energy that fed the Valefar. After that, little was known about what they were or how they changed. It was clear that drained souls were prisoners in the Pool. Kreturus trapped them there, but none of us knew exactly why or how. That presented problems with extracting information from a soul. The best we came up with was, ‘ask it.’ If that didn’t work, we’d wing it.

The thought of involving Eric more made me queasy. Every time I did something else, he seemed to get worse. I thought it was me. I thought I was the one who freed the dormant evil that rested within Eric, and awakened it. Eric was on his own crash course and I was on mine. I glanced at the Pool. Eric’s soul was trapped in the crystal depths and would remain there for eternity.

I glanced around looking for the source of the eyes I felt on me. But there was nothing. No one sat across the water. There was nothing masked in the shadows. There was only the sound of the constant drip, drip, drip of water, and the hollow noise that fills massive empty spaces with silent echoes.

The last time one of us touched the water, it awakened the Guardian. Those who touched the water were pulled into its dark depths and drowned. But now that the Guardian was dead, was it still a risk? I didn’t know and neither did Eric. It was possible that the Pool would still destroy anyone who touched it. There was only one way to find out. Brushing my hair back, I twisted it over my shoulder to get it out of the way, and crouched down next to the water. When I reached out to touch the surface of the Pool, Eric’s fingers wrapped around my wrist. He’d knelt next to me.

The pressure on my wrist increased before he flung my hand back at me, slamming it into my chest, “No,” he glared, practically growling. “It’s my soul. I’m the one who’ll try and call it. There’s no point in both of us dying today.” I didn’t protest. We both knew the Pool could kill us. There was no time for disagreements. No time to consider if Kreturus threw something else within the waters, or what to do if Eric was killed.

Without another word, Eric slid his hand beneath the surface of the water. Stepping back, I watched an odd expression slide over his face as his lashes lowered. Eric watched the calm water lapping against his skin, forming ripples around his submerged hand. The tension that lined his shoulders eased, and he almost seemed peaceful.

But I knew now that Eric would never have peace. It was his price for using the stone. It made me angry and bitter. Time wouldn’t heal his wounds. Rather, it seemed to make more, allowing them to fester inside of him. Without Al to guide him, Eric seemed lost. He’d spoken to Lorren a little bit, but both of them were so broken from using the stone, that they weren’t much help to each other.

I fixed my gaze on the water, expecting it to wrap around Eric’s arms and pull him under, but the Pool remained fluid. The water continued to lap the shore, moving normally against Eric’s wrist. And that’s when we saw it. A pale figure emerged from the depths of the Pool, and floated toward us—a figure that I recognized. I knew that the soul moving toward us was the Eric I killed. It was the Eric who saved me so many times. This was what was left of him—a silent soul, bound to the Pool.

My body tensed as Eric’s frozen soul rose out of the water, higher and higher. He strode toward us with that familiar gate of his, each foot pressing down on the cool liquid beneath as if it were solid rock. Wide-eyed he stared at us, saying nothing. As the soul moved toward us, Eric remained at my feet with his eyes pressed closed. I watched him for a moment, considering whether or not I should say anything. Would the soul slip back into the water if I alerted Eric? I didn’t know. So I waited until his soul was a stone’s throw away.

Leaning forward, I tapped Eric’s shoulder, and said, “Look.” I’d bent down slightly, and leaned over his shoulder. Lifting my arm, I pointed toward the spot where his soul stood—pale and shimmering, a translucent blue sheen surrounding his ghostly form.

Eric had been crouching, lost in thought. When he opened his eyes, he was startled to see a mirror image of himself standing so close. If he reached out, he could touch the most precious thing he ever owned. My eyes darted between the two. I didn’t know how Eric would react—either one of them. But neither one of them moved. They both stared at each other.

My heart jumped into my throat as I heard a sound. A small noise carried across the water. Eric and I both stared and then looked at each other. Something was across the lake, sitting in the darkness, watching. We didn’t have time for this. We didn’t have time to deal with a stalker. We had to get the information and get out. As it was, I had no idea where Kreturus went after I nearly killed him. I seriously doubted that he’d spare my life if he found me down here. I tried to kill him. I enraged an ancient demon and was messing with his lost souls.

I swallowed hard and lifted my hand from his shoulder. “Eric. Ask him. Ask him where the stone is.”

Eric’s soul turned his head slowly toward me. His eyes were wide, but instead of orbs of gold—they were Caribbean blue. My breath caught in my throat. The soul contained all of Eric’s softness. The kindness, the things that tempered his rage and thirst for vengeance were all contained in the being in front of us. That meant the boy sitting next to me was pure evil—and I made him that way. I made him …

Eric reached his long fingers out toward his soul. Eric’s soul mirrored the gesture, lifting his pale hand. Their fingers lined up perfectly, like a mirror was wedged between them.

“Where did I hide the other half of Satan’s Stone?” he asked. “I don’t remember, but I know you do. Can you tell me?” Eric’s voice didn’t shake, but it didn’t sound normal either. He didn’t control himself in that second, and his emotions hit me like a brick.

My eyes darted between them as my heart pounded in my chest, sensing the anxiety and hopelessness that was within Eric. I edged closer to the two, my face turning to Eric’s soul to see what he would say.

A familiar voice rang out behind me, making my heart leap into my throat. “The dead can’t speak.”


Collin stood in the shadows. His hair was matted to his scalp. Grime and blood were smeared across his face. But his eyes—they were bright blue, richer than I’d ever seen them. He stepped toward us.

Eric’s arm flew up in front of me in a protective stance as he pulled me away from Collin. He whispered in my ear, “Effonate.” It wasn’t a request. I tried to pull away, but Eric wouldn’t release me. I could overpower him, but his blood was messing with my brain. I couldn’t think.

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