In the Shadows

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Chapter 25

Asmodeus could feel Iselora’s heart beating rapidly. When the noise finally ceased below them, Asmodeus cautiously released iselora. Carefully avoiding any sudden movements as he backed away, avoiding her eyes. He knew she was crying by her ragged breathing. He had fought so hard to protect her from ever finding out about his past, or at least the brutality of it. Asmodeus felt the anger he had suppressed for centuries build in his heart. He wanted nothing more than to rip this memory of his to shreds. His body began trembling as the shadows began embracing his skin. He felt the anger reach his eyes. He forced them shut before Iselora could see them change color. A gentle touch barely touched his arm before jerking away with a gasp of pain. The scent of burning flesh spreading through the room. Asmodeus’ eyes flew open as he tilted towards Iselora. She was cradling her hand to her chest, red tears streaming down her pained face. Asmodeus quickly went to her side, offering his help. Iselora whipped her head towards him, hate shining in her eyes. “Iselora, let me help. You’re burned.”

Iselora turned away from Asmodeus’ reach, wanting to be as far from him as she could be. Asmodeus backed away, not wanting to scare her even more. “I am sorry, I lost control of myself. Please, let me help you with your hand.” Asmodeus pleaded with Iselora. Iselora pushed herself further away. Asmodeus, lowered his head, tears burning his eyes. “Iselora, I am not quite sure how you arrived at this place and I do not know how to get you out. I can leave if you wish, but you may see some other things that will scare you. I would like to stay and help protect you from it if I could.” He kept his eyes on the ground, not wanting to see her fear.

Before Iselora could respond, the floor fell away from them. Iselora screamed at the sudden falling sensation. They were only falling for a few short minutes before they collided with a hard floor. The memory of Asmodeus was now pacing the small attic. They must have jumped forward in time. Asmodeus stood, dusting his suit off. “So, we are only going to see the highlights then. So be it.”

The couple watched the scene replay two more times before one man managed to survive. Asmodeus chuckled darkly, “That feathered bastard. He cheated. He had the Minders helping him. I did not notice until just now.” Iselora looked towards him with a puzzled expression, still maintaining her distance. Asmodeus quickly summed up his meaning behind what he had said. “An angel, who we will not name, warned me to stop meddling in mortal affairs. I lost my temper and told him to mind his own business. Well, this memory is his victory I guess you could say. The Minders seal was on the bag he used to transport the spell.” Iselora left his voice hanging between them as she watched the scene unfold. The survivor performed some sort of ritual that summoned the angel, who in turn fought off Asmodeus. The fight was clean on the surface, but the angel had used his sneaky tactics to gain the upper hand, effectively banishing Asmodeus from the house.

The memories continued in their sequence, the couple watched as Asmodeus’ memory dived to an all new low. It was not until his rock bottom hit that something happened for the better. After Asmodeus had been on the run from the unknown angel, he was finally caught. As Iselora watched the epic tale play out, the pain in her hand edged away. The memory was set in a desert town located several hundred miles south. Another fight ensued, causing mass casualties. Asmodeus was once again beaten, but the angel did not kill him. Instead he whispered something in Asmodeus’ ear. Iselora looked towards the real Asmodeus for a clue as to what was said. Asmodeus avoided her eyes as he answered. “He cursed me. He cursed me into a life without happiness, to always be searching. To never be able to find love, to always have an empty heart. But he did not count on something, that all curses have a weakness. The curse he laid to me had a flaw that I had not found until recently. Until I met you.” On the last word, Asmodeus slowly moved his gaze to meet hers. She knew he spoke the truth, but the key was still lost to her. The remaining memories took a turn that was not expected. The memory of Asmodeus began fighting back against the curse. Determination to prove the angel wrong became his drive. He would find happiness and keep it. He would worry about love another time.

Centuries of memories passed in quick succession, eventually bringing them to a castle surrounded by a beautiful forest. Asmodeus was dressed handsomely, Iselora found herself staring at the memory. He was in a throne room illuminated by beautiful stained glass. Svila and Cerberus stood behind Asmodeus, looking just as regal as he did. Iselora giggled at the sideways glances that they sent each other, attempting to be discrete. Two figures chatted warmly with them, they were royalty by the way they moved in their ornate outfits. The woman was dressed in a long purple dress decorated with silver embroidery, she was heavily pregnant. Her hands gilded idly across her swollen belly. She looked familiar, her eyes were a similar hazel to Iselora’s. Was she Iselora’s mother? Iselora stepped closer, wanting to inspect the woman. Iselora stared at their faces, zoning out on what they were conversing on. Iselora turned her attention towards the man. She had his smile, brilliant and warm. “Are they…?” She could not finish her question. Asmodeus simply answered “Yes.” Iselora felt light headed at her discovery. “Then, she is pregnant with me?” Iselora stared at the woman’s belly as it moved. The life growing inside of it becoming restless in its confined space. She noticed that the memory of Asmodeus was staring as well. “Explain to me.” Iselora stated. When Asmodeus did not answer she turned to face him. “Explain what is happening here.”

“I found my way into your parents kingdom sometime before you were conceived. I developed a relationship with them, I was very wealthy and found that I wanted to help the small kingdom. I was drawn here for some unknown reason. It was as if it was meant to be. I enjoyed their company. The pull became stronger the further the pregnancy went.” There was a long pause as Asmodeus allowed his information to seep in. “Did they know?” Iselora whispered.

“Yes. They knew of whom and what I was. They knew of my background and such. They even offered to help me find happiness. You were born a few days after this conversation.” Asmodeus watched the couple as if he were trying to reclaim the moment. “What are you conversing about?” Iselora looked back at the couple, trying to memorize their faces. Asmodeus sighed, “I was asking permission to stay and help them raise their child. I could not explain my reasoning for wanting to do so, but even then I was not too sure as to why myself.” As Iselora looked on, the memory shifted. The room was nicely decorated with ribbons and little toys. The crib was white with gold decorations. Asmodeus’ memory stood at the crib, watching the baby sleep. His expression was odd. He seemed infatuated with the child, simply watching it. Iselora watched the scene, unsure of how to feel. “What are you doing?”

Asmodeus stood beside her, taking in the scene. “I am in awe of you. It was this moment that I have always cherished, I found my happiness in the eyes of a baby. I vowed then I would protect you and make myself worthy of your love”. Iselora looked back at the touching scene as the memory began to shift. They were back in the throne room but this time it was burning.

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