Shadow Games

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Chapter 9

Serina didn’t pause as Alec came crashing up the path behind her. He was no longer the cool and confident man she’d seen the previous day. She’d shocked him and from what she could tell that wasn’t something that happened often.

“How can you walk away from me after that?” He breathed as he caught up to her. She looked up at him as she continued on her way and saw his eyes glowing with excitement.

“After what?” She asked coyly and he scoffed.

“After what? After that, that kiss… that…” He stopped and frowned but then came back to his senses when he noticed she was yards in front of him again.

“And you just walked away.”

“Well it wouldn’t have been much of an exit if I stayed.” She murmured as they exited the trees walking next to one another again.

“You wanted to make an exit?” He stammered.

“Yeah, never had a girl make an exit on ya before?” She asked. She couldn’t believe she was actually giggling and flirting again. This new yet old her was unsettling.

“I don’t think I have actually…” Alec furrowed his brow as he thought but shrugged his shoulders and slid effortlessly back into his cool and calm demeanor. She took little notice as she felt a shift in the air near them.

“Well I guess I’m just full of surprises then.” Serina muttered as she looked around, alert but casual.

“Surprises can be good…” Alec answered but had picked up on her alertness. “What is it?” He asked quietly.

“Someone opened a portal.” Suddenly she veered off the path to the side of the house where the shadows were at their deepest. Alec looked around then followed her cautiously.

“How do you know?” He whispered as she started searching the deepest corners where the darkest shadows lived.

“I’m half demon…” She muttered absently as she crouched down to look through some bushes that lined the edges of the house. Caution forgotten Alec stopped, his eyebrows raised.

“Oh.” He muttered before continuing. “Remind me to ask you about that later.”

Serina waved his comment off to silence him and he frowned at the command but obeyed. Under some of the thick bushes was a form that was barely breathing and from the smell of the blood it was badly wounded. Instantly Serina could feel the monster inside her spring to life and her mouth watered at the thought of draining the last of the blood from this poor creature. She silently stuffed the urges down into the dark where they belonged and edged forward.

“Smells like death.” Alec commented and again was silenced by Serina. She moved a branch, cringing at the noise it made but the form didn’t seem to notice. She ducked under the branch and moved closer to see that it was humanoid before crouching lower to assess who or what it was. There was a tug at her arm as she reached out and she turned to see Alec, eyes glowing softly in the dark. His face was stony and she knew he was acting in accordance with his duties. This was a dying being and he was Death coming to take it. She shook her head and pulled her arm from his grip. Turning back to the form she reached out again and moved the arm from it’s face. What she saw didn’t want to register and she hoped silently her mind was playing tricks on her.

“Vin?” She pleaded as she rolled him to his back and looked him over.

“Who?” Alec whispered as he crouched down next to her, his ghostly eyes scanning over the body.

Serina shook her head and waved off his question. She had to get him into the house, had to get help. She couldn’t lose him again.

“Never mind… just, just pick him up and bring him into the house.” She commanded Alec and he reeled against it before doing as she said. “Carefully, I don’t know how bad he’s been hurt.” Alec nodded as he scooped Vin up like a sleeping child and backed out the bush watching for errant sticks and branches.

***

Serina flew up the stairs and into the house leaving the door open wide for Alec.

“James!” She screamed and it echoed around the room like a thousand voices. “Patrick!” She screamed again, this time the echoes clashing into one another. Panicked words that she didn’t hear upon uttering them came back to her. She could feel tears welling in her eyes as she searched the stairs and the balcony that ran around the second floor opening up into the grand foyer where she stood. When no one came immediately she spun around to see Alec standing there, expression sobered, holding Vin’s still and battered body as gently as he could.

“He’s fading.” He murmured with a look of apology and Serina roughly ran her hands through her hair as she spun around again.

“James!” She screamed again and this time he appeared from the upstairs hallway his motions betraying his panic.

“Seri?” He uttered confused and concerned as he looked his daughter over before looking behind her.

“It’s Vin…” She said and her voice came out more like a scared little girl than she’d have liked, but at the moment it didn’t matter.

“What happened?” He asked angrily as he bound down the stairs two at a time. “Take him over here.” He commanded as he walked past the three and to a seating area where there was a lounge. Alec followed still silent and serious but his eyes glowed a little more brightly.

“I don’t know, I was out by the pond and when I came back to the house I felt a portal open and then we found him like that.” She covered her mouth as she looked at the extent of his wounds when Alec laid him down. There wasn’t an inch of him that she could see that wasn’t bruised or cut. His black blood flowed freely from each of the wounds and she wondered how much he could possibly have left to lose. In the back of her mind she was reminded of how much of that blood she’d spilt over the past three years and how little it had mattered to her. But not now, this man mattered to her far more than most people she knew.

James knelt down and checked Vin over opening his eyes then closing them again. He called to a servant that appeared seemingly out of thin air and he commanded him to call someone. Serina wasn’t paying attention to what was said, all she could do was watch the ragged breathing of her friend get shallower and more infrequent. He was going to die and Serina couldn’t do anything about it. She glanced at Alec who now stood back away from the group and waited patiently. He was waiting for what he knew was going to happen, he was waiting to do what he was created for.

“Is he dying?” She asked in a small voice as she felt her lip quiver. Alec nodded without looking directly at her. Serina became irrationally angry at the silent angel of Death.

“You can’t have him.” She growled as she stepped closer to Vin.

“I don’t want to take him.” He answered softly as he looked at her. Serina saw the truth in his eyes, even as blank as they were they could still convey his emotions.

“Then don’t.” She said, pleading with him.

“I can’t leave his soul in a corpse. That does ugly things to the person they were.” Alec was still conveying his internal struggle when the servant and another person returned. It took a long time to recognize the long fiery hair that was now swept up to keep from getting into the sticky black blood. It was Scarlet, Serina had forgotten she was there. A rush of hope took hold of her as she watched Scarlet kneel over Vin and start her work.

It seemed like a millennia had passed before she sat back a little and shook her hands. Sweat beaded on her forehead as she leaned forward again and began healing another area.

“What happened?” She murmured through clenched teeth as she concentrated.

“No one knows, he came out of the shadows like this.” James muttered in answer his shoulders tight with the tension he was feeling. Serina waited silently but she couldn’t have moved or spoken if she’d wanted to. Alec’s sudden movement drew Serina’s attention and she tensed. She looked him over noting his relaxed manner and hope blossomed. She looked down at Vin and the air rushed out of her. His breathing had evened out and it seemed as though he was starting to become conscious again. She looked back at Alec the hope shinning from her eyes and he read the question there. He nodded his affirmation that Vin had been pulled back from the precipice of death. Serina’s heart leapt into her throat as she looked down at Vin again, he was starting to groan. She was pretty sure if he didn’t wake up soon that it may just leap out her mouth and onto the floor.

“What are you doing?” Vin grumbled as he weakly tried to shove Scarlet’s hands away.

“I’m trying to save your stupid ass.” She answered as she slapped his hands out of the way.

“Don’t. Just let me die.” He pleaded as he made another weak attempt to stop her.

“Shut up.” Scarlet fired back.

“It’s my fault, all my fault. People are safer if I’m dead.” He muttered as his eyes rolled lazily around the room. He blinked slowly when he saw Serina standing by him. She crouched down and looked him in the eye. He tried to focus.

“Let me die, Seri.” He begged her as tears streamed down her face. “I should die.” He whispered.

“No, you shouldn’t.” She answered, her voice alien to her own ears.

“My son is dead because of me, Persephone is a slave to Nicholas because of me… I’m no good to anyone anymore.” He was starting to get more of his voice back as Scarlet healed his various wounds.

“We’ll get Persephone back.” James muttered without looking at them.

“Nicholas has been experimenting on Darklings and…” Vin blinked slowly as if trying to keep on his train of thought and when he opened them he was looking at Serina. His eyes shone with a weak conspiratorial smile. “He has someone else there that might interest you.” Vin tried to smile fully at her but it turned his face into something that was more sad than he intended.

“Who’s that?” Serina asked trying to keep him talking about anything but dying.

“Ruavia.” He whispered even slower, the exertion taking its toll on his energy. Serina sat back on her heels and her mouth dropped open. Of all times to start formulating a plan this wasn’t one of them. Vin laid out before her almost dead and her mind started planning a siege on the very place he’d just returned from. She knew she was crazy and sometimes suicidal but she didn’t think it was bad enough to ignore a dying friend to seek revenge. She shook her head and brushed his sweat and blood dampened hair from his face.

“Then you’ll help me track down that Elf bitch and you’ll watch my back when I make her pay.” The hard look in Serina’s eyes made Vin smile the best he could.

“There’s my sister… I thought I’d lost her that night in the dungeon.” He muttered as he closed his eyes again. Serina held her breath. She hadn’t expected him to go unconscious again but when she saw that no one else was alarmed she re-assessed Vin and saw that he’d passed out from the exertion of their conversation. He must have been worse off than she’d thought, then again the angel of death had been preparing to take him.

“Seri, this is going to take a while… why don’t you call your brothers and I will meet you in the conference room.” James said softly.

“Yes, father.” Serina answered without thinking. James eyes snapped back to her in surprise and he couldn’t have been more torn. He was elated that she’d finally called him her father but at the same time he thought that it was inappropriate to jump for joy at a time like this. Serina was too lost in thought to notice as she turned and left the room, Alec on her heels.

***

After sending for her brothers Serina sat in James’ chair unthinkingly and drummed her fingers on the table. She outright ignored Alec as he paced back and forth in thought.

“He’ll be alright.” Alec murmured as he stopped to watch her drum her fingers.

“I know, that’s only part of what’s on my mind.” She stopped her drumming and laid her hands on the arms of the chair.

“Vin said there was someone there, someone I’ve been looking for.”

“Oh?” Alec asked his eyebrow quirked in curiosity. Serina met his eyes and nodded.

“And who is this mystery person? An old lover?” He prompted sounding a little more than curious as she stared back at him tight lipped.

“Far from someone I even liked. She betrayed me and my family, and I’ve been searching for her since.”

“I see.” He commented softly as he ran his dark hand through is white hair and Serina was intrigued by the contrast.

“Yeah well, I’ll be able to find her now.” Serina muttered as the door opened and she pushed up from the chair.

James came through the door flanked by her brothers, Patrick and Blinx. All three of them wearing the same serious expression.

“Vin?” Serina’s expression was just as serious as those of her family but her eyes conveyed her anxiety.

“Sleeping comfortably for now.” James said quietly as he looked around his eyes lined from stress.

“What happened?” She breathed in relief as she leaned her hands on the table.

“The only thing we know right now is what we got from his muttering in his sleep. Mostly Persephone’s name and Vincent’s, but every now and then something about research. Then just silence.” Patrick explained as he shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Does anyone know where he was?” Blinx asked as he moved to the table and leaned against it casually.

“He rushed off from Elira’s earlier, he was heading for Nicholas’ place in the Otherworld.” James ran a hand through his hair and started to pace.

“Idiot…” He breathed as he scrubbed a hand roughly over his mouth.

“So what’s the plan?” Serina mumbled without looking up.

“Vin is honestly the only one that can find Nicholas’. He has it hidden from even one as powerful as Aldurn.” James answered as he paused in his pacing. Serina raised an eyebrow at the name ‘Aldurn’, Elira’s father and her grandfather.

The only reason she’d known the name is from Elira speaking of him over the years. Aldurn was an ancient demon, one that couldn’t leave the Otherworld. He still held some of the old views on Vampires, needless to say Serina wasn’t welcome to Sunday dinner. It wasn’t lost on her that he’d engineered his own daughter, Elira, to walk in the mortal world. Racism didn’t always make the most sense but those who clung to it were adamant in their beliefs.

“Then how did Vin find it?” Blinx asked quietly and all eyes turned to him.

“Probably because he’d been there before, at Nicholas’ request. He simply memorized the paths through the shadows.” Patrick answered and Blinx nodded.

“I guess we’ll have to wait till Vin is awake to get directions.” Blinx shrugged as he flopped down into his chair and rested his chin on his hand in thought.

“We can’t wait, Persephone is being held there.” Serina muttered as she stared at the table. She knew all eyes had turned to her and she felt the weight of their stares.

“You’re not running off.” James’ words left no room for interpretation, they were a command and they were final.

Serina bit back a defiant scoff and looked away from the table and James. Her eyes met Alec’s and she stared openly into their blank depths. She could feel her animosity drain away even as she tried to hold onto it. She could feel herself fighting to hold on to her anger but she failed miserably. Alec’s lips twitched in a ghost of a grin before he blinked and looked away. No one seemed to have noticed their moment as they had become lost in their own thoughts.

“If there are people being experimented on…” Alec started and slowly everyone’s eyes moved to him.

“Usually when experimentation goes wrong, things die.” He prompted as everyone stared at him.

“So?” Blinx drawled out as he raised an eyebrow. He looked between Alec and James before sitting back and waiting for the explanation. Alec gave him a short glance before looking back at James, who looked as though he was following Alec’s meaning.

“So there’s our loop hole in Nicholas’ spell.” James muttered with a grim smirk.

“Loop hole?” Patrick chimed in, just as lost as his brother.

“Angels of death collect souls. They aren’t bound by the laws of concealment spells. The soul is a beacon to them, and they follow it until they’re able to collect it.”

Alec answered as he watched realization dawn on the brothers faces. He gave them a grim smile and nodded.

“So I’d be able to find the angel under my command and have him or her lead us there.”

No one spoke as they saw the benefits of having an Angel of Death around the house. James smirked, again gaining a little more respect for the man he’d thought completely arrogant and honestly annoying. Serina grinned as thoughts of finally raining her revenge down on Ruavia became a real possibility. After years of searching and turning up little, she finally knew where she was and how to get to her. A strange feeling bloomed up through her chest and it made her stop and try to re-evaluate her mental state. Serina was giddy, so much so that she thought she would giggle if she didn’t get a hold of herself. Now was definitely not the time to make the others lock her in a padded cell. Serina looked around trying to keep her fanatical glee to a minimum and cleared her throat.

“Well… what are we waiting for?”

***

Persephone crossed her arms over her chest. Even with the thin sheet of material that Kylia had carefully draped over her, she might as well have been naked. She didn’t have the time to feel shame as she was led to Nicholas’ chamber. The only thing she felt was pain and sadness. She didn’t even attempt to cover herself when all she could feel was the waves of desperation rolling from Vin and even Kylia. It didn’t matter now, they’d taken Vin to the research rooms and he was surely dead now. She couldn’t feel his presence anymore, he was gone. Again hopelessness took hold of her and she bit her lip to keep a sob from escaping. Both she and Kylia were still knelt on the floor at the foot of Nicholas’ chair and had been there for what seemed like days. Her knees had gone numb hours before and all she felt was the intermittent stabs of pins and needles.

Nicholas sat and talked to Ruavia for a long time after Vin had been carted off. He’d made sure Kylia showed Persephone how to sit and stay the way she’d been trained. Persephone was sure that they were left there for the sheer pain and humiliation. Nicholas was showing Persephone how little she really mattered now. He was teaching her that her very existence depended on him being in a decent mood. She was walking a thin line now, a thin line that she herself had drawn when she’d made her deal. The only reason they had remained on the floor the way they were was because when Nicholas left to take care of his business he’d left Ruavia there. She might have not been a demented demon like he was but she had a deep dark evil in her that rivaled any ancient demon Persephone had ever met. A hatred like she’d never felt burned through her fueled by the emotions rolling off the Elf sitting at the computer desk.

Ruavia sat there, her ridiculously high heels kicked up on the corner, ankles crossed. She was reveling in the feel of being superior to the two other women in the room especially one of her kin. Even as she flipped through an ancient book a little too roughly for the brittle pages, she kept the smug smile that had donned her face since Nicholas gave her permission to ‘correct’ the girls if they moved an inch. Persephone had felt the swell of excitement at the thought and Ruavia’s eyes gleamed as she raked over them. Persephone wanted to shiver at the mere thought of how the emotions had made her head reel. But instead she sat there with her hands placed, palms down on her thighs. Her knees were burning where the carpet had rubbed her skin raw and she fought the urge to move. Persephone’s muscles shook with fatigue as she strained to keep still. She must have moved without giving her body permission to do so because Ruavia’s eyes peered over the book suddenly.

A wicked grin spread across her face and she shut the book with enough force to make Persephone jump.

“Well,well. Doesn’t seem like one of you can follow simple orders to keep still.” Ruavia purred.

“Of course it does look rather uncomfortable.” She pondered openly as she dropped her feet to the floor quietly. “I suppose that’s the point.” She stood and kicked out one stilettoed foot and stood with her hip cocked. She snapped her fingers in Persephone’s direction, completely disregarding Kylia’s presence.

“Look at me.” She commanded with satisfaction. Persephone hadn’t realized how stiff and sore her neck had gotten as she sat there but it protested as she looked up at the woman who now stood over her.

“I remember you. You were always hiding in the shadows, never calling attention to yourself.” Persephone watched Ruavia without saying a word.

“Always attached at the hip to Vin and by association… Serina.” She spat Serina’s name like it was something horrid she could taste. Waves of hatred and rage smacked into Persephone as if they were a physical force and she found herself trying to keep up right and block out any feelings that weren’t hers. As she reeled from the sudden assault on her she felt slips of pain and loss slip through her blockades. Persephone looked defiantly at her for a short moment before her body betrayed it’s fatigue. Ruavia scoffed as she shook her dark hair back from her face.

“You try so hard don’t you?” She asked as she squatted down to be eye level with Persephone.

“Meek, scared little demon trying to be something she’s not.”

Persephone averted her eyes and Ruavia sneered.

“Oh, I forgot…” She stood to her full height again and began pacing. “You were commanded to remain silent by your master.” Persephone felt herself cower at the thought of calling Nicholas her master. Ruavia had begun moving around the room picking up random objects, examining them then replacing them carefully. Absently Persephone wondered why Ruavia hadn’t been taken as a slave by Nicholas instead of an employee. What had made her any different from Kylia? They were both elves that looked roughly the same age but both had a certain sadness in their eyes. A sadness that aged them when they weren’t carefully hiding it. Sometimes when Kylia didn’t know Persephone was watching she’d look ancient but then she’d smile and it would light up the room. She snuck a glance at Kylia still poised gracefully next to her. Kylia’s body seemed to show no fatigue like hers had. She seemed comfortable and had been still as a statue. No wonder people forgot she was there. Persephone had stirrings that confused her deeply as much as they made her want to smile. Ruavia spun around again as if the conversation hadn’t paused.

“I wonder if anyone will attempt a rescue…” She pondered aloud but her voice trailed off as she noted Persephone’s glance. She raised one perfectly shaped eyebrow over her dark almond shaped eye. Immediately Persephone regretted her stolen glance.

“Huh… well that’s an interesting development.” Ruavia murmured thoughtfully as she sat on the corner of the desk and looked back and forth between the two women on the floor. Persephone could feel the heat in her cheeks as she blushed and cursed herself for tipping her emotional hand. Ruavia stared at the top of Kylia’s head.

“You… Elf…” She started and Kylia’s head snapped up keeping her eyes averted but showing that she was paying attention and obeying completely.

“Pretty little thing isn’t she?” Ruavia asked quietly and Kylia’s muscles tightened imperceptibly. Persephone could feel waves of anxiety roll off her but what she hadn’t expected was some of what she’d felt reflected back. It wasn’t the time to try and puzzle out her feelings or what she was getting from Kylia. She swallowed back the lump in her throat, bewildered and unsure what to do.

“I asked a question, girl.” Ruavia snapped and Persephone blinked, finding herself unable to answer. Ruavia sighed and rolled her eyes. “You have tons to learn. When you’re addressed by your betters you are compelled to answer. I see you need proper training.”

Anger flared in Persephone and something snapped inside her.

“I’ll answer my betters if I happen upon them someday.” She muttered quietly as her gaze became defiant. Again Ruavia raised a perfectly shaped brow but instead of interest, anger colored her eyes until the deep brown looked black.

“I’ll make sure you’re whipped for that, whipped so bad you’ll beg to die.”

Again, feeling defiant, Persephone rolled her eyes. Anger flared in Ruavia as she stepped in front of her and with a fluid motion grabbed Persephone’s chin, yanking her head up.

“Or maybe I’ll just have you killed in the experiments Nicholas is so fond of?” She spat as she forcefully released the girl’s chin. Persephone glared up at her before lowering her eyes again, knowing there was nothing she could do or say to make it any better. Hopelessness seeped into her as she let her shoulders droop, staring sightlessly at the floor.

Her thoughts were interrupted as the door boomed open and she flinched. Ruavia’s expression changed as Nicholas returned, strolling stiffly into the room. Even if she hadn’t been an empath, Persephone would have felt the anger cascading from him. She wavered from the assault to her senses but he took no notice.

“Ru, dearest.” He started and she forced an adoring smile that had Persephone wondering if there were more to the dynamics of their relationship than a simple partnership. “I need you to go and occupy yourself… with whatever you do.” He finished with a dismissive wave and Ruavia look hurt. Before he could notice she straightened and her body language turned sultry as she sidled up to him, placing a hand gently yet suggestively on his shoulder. Persephone watched as their dynamic clicked into place and she was disgusted. Nicholas looked at the dainty hand on his shoulder then to the Elf and anger rekindled even brighter in his eyes.

“But…” She started but her words were cut short as, with a swift motion Nicholas backhanded her. Ruavia yelped as she brought her hand to her reddening cheek. He stared down as she look back confused and angry.

“I took you in when I could have taken you. You could have been the one on the floor, invisible till I had need of you. But I saw your potential and I enjoy your vicious mind. Not to mention your body. But make no mistake… I am not yours.” Ruavia made no move during Nicholas’ monologue and Persephone took the time to glance at Kylia. She shivered when she saw the silent agony she was going through. Persephone didn’t know what was going to happen but she knew for sure it wasn’t going to be good.

Silence overtook the room and it seemed no one moved or even breathed as Nicholas’ eyes bore into Ruavia. Finally he sighed exhaustedly and looked away to the darkened window behind her. In that moment Ruavia’s body relaxed and she looked to the floor where Persephone could see the waves of emotion coming off her. She almost felt sorry for the Elf, but then again her emotional state was being tampered with by the amount of raging emotions she’d been hit with over the past day. Again Nicholas turned his eyes to Ruavia and this time gently laid his hand on her cheek. When she jumped he smiled and she nervously returned it.

“My darling, you know what I want, just do it.” His words were soft but by the disappointment in Ruavia’s eyes Persephone knew it was a rebuke. With another forced smile Ruavia straightened herself and dropped her hand from her cheek and straightened her hair. The burning hand print left by the demon was obvious but was slowly being overtaken by the angry flush of her cheeks. As Nicholas dropped his hand Ruavia’s eyes cut to Persephone’s and her dread was refreshed. A cruel smile broke the Elf’s morose expression. Persephone felt the dark spiral of hopelessness take hold of her. Slowly Ruavia strolled around her and she couldn’t help but watch every step she took. She was aware that Nicholas was watching them closely with a disturbing anticipation. Before she could try and decipher the meaning, pain shocked her system and as she was yanked backward her thoughts reeled. She’d been dragged half way across the room in the sudden confusion and seeing her heels drag across the carpet confused her. She couldn’t think, only react, as she tried to reach up and break herself free of Ruavia’s iron grip. Nicholas was grinning widely as she realized she was screaming and crying again. Her sight was blurred with the tears that burned her eyes, but even as she fought for her freedom she saw something unimaginable. Kylia reached for her, her voice breaking through to Persephone making her reach back for her.

“No!” Kylia screamed as her own tears slipped down her cheeks. “Please no…” She was begging for Persephone, she was risking Nicholas’ wrath, her own safety quickly fading. Nicholas’ Cheshire grin disappeared instantly and his eyes turned to Kylia.

“How dare you interfere with my affairs?” His voice boomed as he snatched Kylia’s outstretched arm and wrenched it back at an unnatural angle. To Persephone’s surprise and apparently Nicholas’, Kylia fought him with everything she had. Her only discernible actions were to be free of his grasp so she could free Persephone of Ruavia’s.

“What the hell are you thinking, girl?” Nicholas asked viciously with another twist of Kylia’s arm and she caved as it popped. One last scream of pain echoed through the room and Kylia hung her head as she heaved in sobs. With a jerk Nicholas shoved her to the floor and another cry of pain slipped from her as she lay face down on the carpet. He looked confused, but the expression was far outweighed by his anger. He squatted down between his slaves and looked back and forth as if trying to puzzle out what had just happened. On one side he had the girl he’d broken decades ago fighting to save his new acquirement after only a short time. His eyebrows rose as he looked over Persephone and turned back to Kylia. He roughly shoved her over to her back and peered closely at her, pieces Persephone had only begun to realize clicking into place for him.

“I see…” He murmured softer than Persephone thought possible with the rage that flowed unchecked from him.

“Well...” Nicholas paused again as his words failed him. Ruavia had clearly missed the revelation. Persephone ignored him as he rose to his feet again. She watched Kylia as she laid there, staring back, tears quietly streaming down her cheek and soaking into the carpet. The moment stretched for eons before Persephone blinked back another wave of strange emotion.

It doesn’t matter.

A small voice echoed through her head.

Maybe another time and place... but now...

With the last thought fading she turned her eyes away as blackness washed over her. Persephone let all the emotion crash into her and let her consciousness slip away with it.

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