Zamora knew it was probably a bad idea to be sneaking out. She knew barely anything about Haven. There could be monsters or even demons hiding beyond that gate. That gate being the one leading out of the village. After a while, she justified it by saying she would go out to train. Truthfully, she was just curious.
She had slowly rose from her bed, so not to awake Salem. Zamora tried to ignore the stab of guilt she got when the demon’s peaceful expression changed to a frown before he grabbed the pillow Zamora had been resting on and pulled it tightly to him in his sleep. He smiled as he snuggled it before seeming to fall into a deeper sleep. I wonder what he’s dreaming about, Zamora thought before exiting the home.
Yellow, fiery torches were being lit by a red-haired girl who appeared to be of a similar age as Zamora. The fire crackled as she turned around in surprise, revealing big orange eyes.
“Oh! Princess Zamora!” She said in surprise while clutching her flowy green dress nervously. Zamora smiled, unused to the fact she was Heaven royalty. “Just Zamora.”
The girl grinned at Zamora’s friendly tone. “I’m Hotaru. Can I ask what you’re doing so late at night?”
“Oh… I wanted to go explore,” Zamora said, unsure if the girl would tell. Hotaru shook her head. “I won’t tell anyone,” she said before adding; “Unless if you don’t tell me why you’re going.”
Zamora laughed lightly. “To be honest, I’m mostly just curious to see what’s on the other side. Is it safe?”
Hotaru waved her off as she let out a fireball from her palm to light another hung torch. “Of course, just be back before Salem wakes up. There could be some sort of creatures, but Archer told me you killed a guardian one before getting here easily.” Hotaru’s voice was filled with awe.
Zamora giggled. “With some help from Salem, yeah.” Hotaru pointed over to the gated door leading outside. “Whatever is beyond there is gonna be nothing for you to beat, trust me. Have fun, Zamora.”
Zamora smiled at Hotaru. Thanks, Hotaru,” she called over her shoulder before heading out.
The first thing Zamora noticed was the gust of chilly air. It was somehow refreshing as she took in the sight of snowy, oddly short pine trees. Each was about five feet tall.
Zamora held her white fire in her hand for light as she ventured further, traveling over snowy hills and smiling at the taller trees. Was the rest of Haven just vast taiga?
The rustling sound of a verdant bush had her whipping her head around. Zamora backed away when an angry animal emerged, something between a wolf and a tiger. The body of a wolf, but the pattern of the feline. It charged at her before Zamora could react, tackling her to the ground whilst baring its fangs. The animal had slits for pupils, the telltale sign it was a demon.
Those who did terrible things on Earth were reborn into demonic animals before being sent to hell, and this was one of them.
Zamora screamed, grabbing the ferocious creature by the head and scorched it with fire before watching it disintegrate as if it was never there. What Zamora wasn’t aware of, however, was the second tiger-wolf that growled at her from behind.
This second one was far larger and looked twice as dangerous, with its sharp claws and gut-wrenching roar. Anxiety quickly set in the pit of Zamora’s stomach as she backed away. She couldn’t create fire when she was afraid. It was like her entire power was gone, except for the tiny sparks she held in her hand that gave just enough light to reflect off the beast.
Before it charged, a grey whip of fire slashed down between Zamora and the creature. She froze completely as a blast of silver fire killed the tiger-wolf in one hit. Zamora grinned as a warm feeling coursed through. She couldn’t believe Salem had come to help her. She briefly wondered why the hellfire wasn’t black, but was met with an answer right away.
But when Zamora turned to thank Salem, she was met with piercing grey eyes. The fire in her hands seemed to rise almost automatically as she took in the rest of the stranger.
Dark hair with red streaks of auburn fell messily, his bangs covering one eye. The other seemed to be hooded as the slit-like pupil gazed at Zamora with a strong intensity. Two small, ivory horns were at the top of the demon’s head. If you looked closely, you could see the golden chains hanging in front of his flat chest. And while his white shirt was skin-tight, his jacket and pants were loose and black. The last thing she noticed was his pierced lip. The metal seemed to glint off in a sort of dangerous way.
He was beautiful. But he wasn’t Salem.
Zamora refused to have him intimidate her. Maybe he wasn’t trying too. Maybe he always had a dangerous look to his grey eyes, or maybe it was just the fact he was so tall and ultimately built with enough muscle to kill over twenty of those tiger-wolves. Zamora was intrigued by him, not because she was attracted to him, but because he seemed oddly familiar.
A silence fell over them as he seemed to drink in the sight of her. Zamora shifted as she noticed the twin whips attached to his belt.
She would never forget those three words he said in his baritone, masculine voice.
“I’ve found you.”