Her Fated Haunting

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Chapter 16

Something kept drawing him to the servants’ floor.

The demon snarled softly. His focus should be on gaining more power so he could free himself, yet this mysterious instinct could not be denied. In vain he had tried to ignore it only to retrace his steps back to the same old corridor. He had to follow it to its end or else he would go mad.

At least, his powers were growing. Soon, he would be free of the earthly shackles that bound him to her; soon his Mistress would perish like so many of her kind deserved. However, the familiar desire to destroy was momentarily overshadowed.

Even the fulfilling taste of violence had lost its appeal nowadays.

It made him curious, an emotion he had not felt in centuries, especially here. What could this mortal realm possibly offer him that he had not already destroyed, tasted or fucked?

He finally arrived at the door separating him from his obsession. Hardly could he wait to dissolve the mystery and be done with it. The predator in him did not like the strange fervour which dominated him just at the mere thought of what laid beyond this door. It made him weak.

The creature let himself effortlessly turn into dark smoke, inconspicuously enter through the crack between the floor and the door and emerge into the servant’s room.

As his corporeal form solidified, his senses were, as ever, assaulted by the misery of the mortal realm. The servants’ quarters even more so. The ceiling showed signs of mould on its surface, the air thick with it. The small beds were cramped against each other, the sheets on them rough and cheap. Not surprisingly, his Mistress would not spare an extra coin for the comfort of her underlings.

Yet, among the poverty, a light shined through. And like a lost ship in angry waters, he followed the promise of safe shores as his nostrils were teased by the sweetest scent.

The tantalising trail led him to an even smaller chamber with a makeshift cot in the corner. He felt the presence of another being in it.

The demon was wary now, stopping his mad pursuit for a brief moment.

Was it indeed a human fledgling his instincts had been driving him to chase? What was he, a Prince of Darkness, supposed to do with it? Only much more primitive demons would eat it. He felt fooled by lady luck.

Nevertheless, the darkness in him still demanded to cross the distance and claim whatever it was it for its own. Demons were indeed greedy creatures, but the intensity of his last though unnerved him, perhaps even scared him. Even now, the hesitance was costing him. It almost hurt to be away.

An annoyed growl left his mouth. He was beginning to sound pathetic. He was pathetic, Azrael corrected himself. Another snarl was forming on the demon’s lips, only to die out as soon as a low sound came from the cot’s direction.

He would take one look. One fleeting look. Then return to the old hag’s side to complete his plans.

Giving under the instincts’ mounting pressure, he approached the cradle in one stride. His insides twisted as he stared unabashedly at the tiny human resting below him.

She...She was so beautiful.

Blonde wisps of hair covered the baby’s head, the locks rebelliously sticking upwards like ruffled feathers. The child giggled in its sleep, tiny hands moving on the sheets in endearing gestures which reminded Azrael of little chicks learning to fly for the first time. He caught himself smiling.

“Little bird,” he whispered in a gentle tone none of his Mistresses had ever heard from him before.

In that moment, innocent blue eyes opened. The demon’s breath got caught in his throat; he could almost glimpse his redemption somewhere in her endless blue orbs. The baby peered back at him as if she understood too.

Trembling clawed fingers, he realised belatedly they were his, inched towards her cherub face, longing to feel the soft skin under his and confirm that she was indeed real, and not just a mirage to his damned eyes. Her gods knew the demon did not deserve her. Inquisitive eyes tracked his movements, only to frown slightly when they stopped.

In abrupt tugs, he raised his hands to his mouth and viciously snapped off the sharp claws at his fingertips, ignoring the burn it caused. Had he been focused enough, he would have been able to call his magic and will his claws to disappear.

She was too fragile. He would not risk harming her. Ever.

Ever so slowly, ever so carefully, the demon raised the bundle of sheets the baby was covered in and brought her close to his heart, in the cradle of his arms. The baby giggled, excited to be up in the air. She was his heart. Inhaling deeply, he let the calming aroma of her wash over him. The freshness of her baby scent and the honey sweetness of his mate.

At first he had failed to recognise the faint stirrings within. The restlessness in him had made it harder and harder to maintain the façade in front of his Mistress, the old hag’s touch becoming impossible to bear. The only brief relief he had found was when he was away from her, killing her enemies according to his commands, but even that had lost its charm. His consolation always came to walking close enough to the servants’s floor, so he could assuage the strange need in him. All this had begun weeks ago. Azrael guessed his little bird’s age could not be more than that.

She was the reason behind it all. “You are already causing mischief in my life,” he commented amusedly and gently bumped noses with her. A small tongue snuck out of her mouth as she wiggled in his arms. Concerned she would escape and fall, he tightened his hold. The child grinned a toothless smile. His mate seemed to enjoy worrying him.

Watching her grow up would be full of moments of concern for him. Ahh, he hoped to be ready for them.

Suddenly, a tiny hand reached out from her cover – the material of which was too raspy for the fragile flesh of his mate he noted displeased– and tried to wrap her digits around his thumb. Fascinated, the little bird watched as black shadows erupted from his hand and licked at her skin. His very magic was reacting to her.

She gurgled something at him. Her blue eyes demanded an answer. The demon only shook his head.

The innocence shining in her gaze would be his undoing. She made him so very aware of the many sins he had committed, and the many more he would to keep her by his side. Even now, his hands still bore the faint trace of the blood he had spilled mere hours ago.

“Azrael, what are you doing? You have not arrived when summoned.”

Unconsciously, his body angled the baby away from the newcomer’s gaze, putting his broad back in front of his Mistress who was impatiently waiting at the entrance. Against all instincts, the demon laid the child back in her cradle, inconspicuously tucking her in. Every molecule of his essence screamed to take the little bird back in his arms and never let her go.

His claws forcibly grew back, viewing the Mistress as an immediate threat to his mate. “Whetting my appetite,” he smirked, willing his tone to be as disinterested as he could.

“For human flesh?” Constance’s voice was slightly disgusted, mistaking his meaning as he had intended. He nodded. Oh, how he longed to unleash his darkest powers on this mortal, she more then deserved it for insinuating he would ever harm his mate. But, he had to be bide his time. Their bond would soon allow him to do as he pleased.

“Well, do as you wish,” she replied. “But if you choose to devour the child, by all means take her grandfather as well. The servant had become a burden ever since his daughter died weeks ago. The old man is a depressing sight in my manor,” the Mistress said cruelly.

Azrael stored the information away. Everything regarding the tiny bundle who was quietly sitting in her cot behind him was precious.

“Come now, I need your full report. I want to know all the details of my sister’s death. That conceited bitch had it coming for wanting to take my demon away from me. You are mine,” a hand flitted over his chest possessively. Were it not for the old hag already turning to leave, she would have seen his body recoil violently at her touch and his eyes turn a burning shade of crimson.

“Yes, Mistress,” he replied obediently. Only a little more now till this circus show ended and he killed the woman striding confidently in front of him. Far more pressing concerns had appeared in his life.

Forcing one foot in front of the other, the demon cast one yearning glance behind him, allowing his shadows to caress his mate one last time before he left.

‘This is just the beginning, little bird.’

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