“Where is she!?” I bust into her room to see her closet empty and Vance standing in the middle of the room. “I will explain everything once you calm down.” He takes a seat at the edge of her bed with his hands folded in his lap. “There’s nothing to explain, just tell me where my mate is.” He stays silent, just watching me as my breathing calms down and the anger on my face slowly melts away into fear. “Where is she?” I question again.
“Sit and don’t get mad.” I do as he says, sitting down in the arm chair by the window. “She left and before you get mad,” he says quickly when I try to stand. “Hear me out.” I take a second to think before reluctantly sitting and letting him speak. “She left with Zeke, and I don’t know where they went so don’t ask.” He points his finger at me in a warning before continuing. “She left because she can’t trust you; not when it comes to the safety of her family.”
“She can’t trust me? I’m her mate and she belongs here with me.” I growl at him but he gives me a deadly glare and tells me to shut it. “She can’t trust you because you refuse to believe there is a traitor in your pack.”
“Because there isn’t! My pack is loyal, it’s her family that betrayed her.” I shout as I stand and start to pace the room. “No it wasn’t, Austin. If you would just calm down I could explain to you why there is no way in hell her family would’ve rated her out.” He yells at me, his face turning red from anger and his fists clenched at his sides.
“Fine.” I grumble and cross my arms. “Okay,” he runs his hand through his hair and releases a long, tired sigh. “Look, you’ve lived in a pack your whole life so you don’t get it when Celeste says her family didn’t do it. But she is right, her family didn’t because rogues are way more loyal to a person than a pack member when it comes down to it. A pack member will most likely live a privileged life with hundreds of people there when they need them until they die, while a rogue will be on their own, fending for themselves and witnessing unbelievable horrors." He takes a second to collect his thoughts before continuing.
"Once a rogue actually does put their faith and trust in a person, that is an almost unbreakable bond. They won’t ever betray that person. A pack member on the other hand, especially a member from a pack where their Alpha became cruel and cold for not having his mate,” He gestures to me which has me looking down in shame. “They’ll lose their loyalty at the drop of a hat if given the right deal. I know you love your pack and you consider them family, but for a while we lost you. They became scared of you, there was even talk of overthrowing you because they thought your mate wouldn’t come and you’d lose your sanity. They lost their faith in you so I don’t doubt that one of the pack members received a deal from the enemy and they took it.” I think over his words carefully, trying to see things from Celeste's point of view, but I can't.
“No, I don’t believe it Vance. Yes, the last couple of years I’ve been a bad leader, but I’ve apologized multiple times. I’ve been working on my behavior. The ones who didn’t trust me anymore left. They joined neighboring packs. Her family has probably been tortured and blackmailed into giving up her location.” He gives me a look of disappointment as he walks around me to the bedroom door. “You can keep believing that Austin, but you’re going to lose your mate if you do. Then you’re gonna lose your sanity and then your pack.” He leaves, shutting the door behind him.
“She won’t leave me!” I call after him. “I’ll find her and she won’t ever leave me again!” I shout again before falling onto her bed, her scent surrounding me as I fall into her sheets.
“Where are we?” I ask Zeke as I look around the amazing kitchen and living room of the home. “One of my homes. We’ll be living here until we find your family.”
“One of them? How many do you have?” I question. There’s no way he has as much money as he’s leading on. “Seven. One in each state that I conduct business in, plus two outside the U.S.”
“Why do I have a feeling your ‘business’ involves the torture and killing of creatures?” Cat surfaces and takes control as the question leaves my mouth, an undertone of excitement mixed into her voice. “Ah, you must be Cat.” She walks up to him slowly, nodding once to confirm his suspicions.
“And you’re our dear grandpa.” She circles him, trying to get a better feel on if he really is a threat or not. “Funny, you look much more threatening from far away.” She snickers as she notices the irritation coming across his face. She always did love it when she got under a persons skin.
“So? Do you or do you not torture and kill for business?” She stops circling, coming to stand a few feet in front of him. “I do, and hopefully you’ll join me on one of my...trips.” She perks up at the sound of that, a big smile replacing the cold posture she was displaying before. “I’d be delighted. I haven’t really killed in quite awhile, Celeste doesn’t let me play often.”
She walks away and into the living room, stretching out on the over stuffed couch while Zeke takes a seat in the arm chair across from us. “And why is that Cat?”
“She doesn’t like the thought of killing, she’s too sweet to do anymore damage than needed. I, on the other hand, am the sadistic side of her. I relish it when I kill, it’s addicting.” She chuckles darkly as she remembers some of her favorite kills.
“But only those who’ve harmed others, correct?” She snaps out of her trance when he speaks. “Why of course! A life, while fun to watch drain from a persons eyes, is precious. Only those who have caused suffering unto others deserve to suffer.” He seems satisfied by her answer as a slight smirk appears in the corner of his mouth.
“Spoken like a true Soul Killer.” That catches our attention. “What’s a soul killer? I though we were demon warriors.” I take back control from Cat while she grumbles away in the back of my mind. She’s had enough fun for today.
“Oh yes, our family is conducted of demon warriors, but there’s still the chance of one of us being born a soul killer. There are multiple types of demons my dear.” I sit up, becoming very interested in this topic. “What all is there?”
“Well, there’s us, the demon warriors. We’re trained to protect hell. Now, our family is of higher ranking, specifically bred to protect the devil and his castle. Then there’s lower level demons, they have enough ranking and power to be able to leave hell, but they're not smart enough to keep away from trouble. They latch onto families, they’re the monsters lurking under your bed or in your dreams. Next are the crossroads demon, they make deals and collect souls for hell. Then you have the demons forever trapped in hell, being tortured for eternity. Lastly you have the smartest, most powerful and rare demon of all, a soul killer. Very few exist.” He stops there, leaving me on the edge of my seat, desperate for an answer to who I am.
“What are they?” I ask when he makes no move to continue speaking. “They are the demons who never lost their humanity, they never lost the thing that every demon craves. They can feel, they sympathize, love, and care the most. They don’t have to fight their way to the top to leave hell or earn respect because they’re born with it. There are only three in existence.”
“What do they do?” I really wish he’d just get to the point. “They can see into a persons soul and see who they truly are. They live to get revenge for the innocent lives who have been taken by the evil living on this earth. Cats drive to rid the world of the evil people who have wronged you and so many others, comes from the demon half of you. The thing that separates them from a regular demon warrior though is when a soul killer gets your soul, they’re sent to a whole different place than hell, somewhere far worse.”
“How are they created?”
“They, my dear, are made from the first three innocents that were killed. They spent centuries stuck in-between heaven and hell from...complications. Their souls were being consumed by the darkness and their anger just kept multiplying until Lucifer was forced to let them free to seek their revenge. One of their souls chose you as it’s next vessel, therefore you are one of the only soul killers in existence. This could be why people are targeting you, Celeste.”
He stands quickly from his chair, running a hand through his hair as he thinks. “Why would they want me for that? How would they even know what I am?”
“They must have caught a demon, maybe made a deal. I don’t know, Celeste, but they got the info somehow.”
“Why do they want me Zeke?” Power radiates from my voice as I stand from my seat. The power seems to leak into him, forcing him to his knees and bow before me. “A soul killer can retrieve a soul from hell and that place beyond hell, no one else can. They might want you to give back a soul you took. Or they wish to take control of you, to use you as a weapon against their enemies. Those are the only reasons I know of.” He forces out the words almost painfully and I relinquish power back to his limbs.
“What just happened?” My voice is shaky as I bend down to help him off the floor. “Your demon wanted answers and respect. I wasn’t giving you either so it showed me my place. You are of a higher rank than me, after all.”
After I help him stand I let go but his legs give out and I’m forced to grab him before he hits the ground. He leans on me as I lead him back to the chair. “What did it do to you?”
“It drained my demons power.” He mumbles tiredly. “Why?”
“Yours was weak from years of you suppressing it. Once another demon, me, got within close proximity it started slowly taking my energy. It must have started when I first arrived. It finished what it started just now when it showed its rank. I need sleep to replenish my energy.”
“Won’t it just take your energy again?” He shakes his head no while also gesturing for me to help him up. “It’s at full strength, it doesn’t need to steal my power anymore. Take me upstairs to my room.” He leans on my shoulder once again and knocks the air out of me.
“Let me go get Jack and Cal, I can’t carry you upstairs.” He stops me before I can even take a step. “They left after we arrived to check our perimeter, they won’t be back for at least a another hour. Just use your demon magic to transport us upstairs.”
“I’m new to this! I don’t know how to use any of my demon powers!” I growl out as I basically start dragging him towards the stairs. “Just feel your power coursing through your blood and veins, latch onto it.” He commands. I get a little irritated by his tone, but comply. I close my eyes, feeling for my power before finally finding it and latching on.
When I open my eyes, he smiles. “Good, your eyes have turned black with their red rim. Your demon side is here. Now, mentally tell that side where you want to go. Think of the first bedroom on the right.”
Again, I do as he says and poof, we’re there.