Eden pulled away from him.
Her mind felt as if it were going to explode.
When she was younger she often found herself guilty of fantasizing of what it would be like to have a mate. What it would be like to find someone and know their soul was bound to yours since birth. But this was an entirely new level of soulmates.
“Malcolm,” she said softly.
Without thinking, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.
Her heart swelled when she noted he didn’t even hesitate to kiss her back. His hands settled on her waist, gently caressing the skin beneath the hem of her shirt.
Eden pulled away.
“I don’t even know what to say. Or what to feel-I” she looked down.
What he had just shown her hadn’t felt like she was dreaming or watching an event. It felt like her mind had just been jogged of its memory.
“Does this mean I’m your mate?” She asked.
“Mate is too insignificant of a title of what you are to me,” he replied.
Malcolm tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear.
“After I gave up the majority of my powers to save your soul, my sister was initially furious. I had broken laws of time and nature.”
Eden’s lips parted.
“My actions, however gave her an idea. Her children, the werewolves had begun to split apart from each other. Giving into their territorial and carnal instincts. This resulted in the death of many of her kin.”
So much knowledge was being poured into her mind. All Eden could do was soak it all in.
“She began to tie the souls and hearts together of werewolves. She gave them Mates. You and I, Eden. We were the first.”
Eden’s hands began to shake.
“But I’m just a human. I wasn’t a beautiful demigod or anything special. Why did you fall for me? Why did you choose me?”
A dazzling smile crossed his face.
“Every cycle you try to convince me one way or another that I was a fool for choosing you. And every cycle I tell you the same thing,” he whispered.
“And what is that?” She asked.
“You, Eden Glace. Are the light. No other being in existence has managed to fill me with the kind of immense joy that you do. I could tell you all the countless things I love about you for hours but it simply comes down to the fact that you complete me. And I never want to live without you.”
Tears began to well in her eyes. She was rendered speechless.
“I know it is a lot to take in. Please do not feel any pressure to reciprocate, this entire situation must not-”
She cut him off, placing her lips onto his.
She didn’t care.
She didn’t care if it seemed crazy. Sure she had a lot to process. But the man in front of her was her soulmate. The fact rang true in her mind and deep within her heart.
Malcolm wrapped one arm around her cradling the back of her head with the other. His fingers tangling in her long brown hair.
He tilted his head. His lips brushed against the length of her neck.
“Mou éleipses,” he whispered into her ear.
Her lips parted, and she gripped his shirt tightly within her fists.
Malcolm gently urged her backward until she felt the desk push against the small of her back.
He ran both hands down the side of her torso before gently lifting both her legs off the ground.
Eden’s eyes widened and before she knew it she was laying down on the desk. Looking up at Malcolm. His hands still hooked under her knees. He smirked at her.
Her mouth gaped as she looked at him in shock. Malcolm abruptly captured her lips with his own.
Suddenly Malcolm pulled away. His face cold and stoic.
“Smoke,” he said.
“What?” Eden asked sitting up.
Malcolm pulled away and bolted to the door he opened it.
Eden screamed. The entire greenhouse was up in flames.
“Shit,” Malcolm hissed. He slammed the door and began gathering books and papers.
“Malcolm what are you doing? We need to go now, we’re trapped!” Eden insisted grabbing his arm.
Malcolm ignored her and began shoving everything into a large duffle bag that he pulled out from beneath floor boards.
Her heart was pounding so fast it hurt. She could smell the smoke very strongly now and her throat began to throb with the amount of adrenaline pounding through her veins.
Eden had no idea what he was grabbing it was so quick it seemed almost random. But the calculation in his eyes said otherwise. He grabbed the picture of them off his desk and carefully set it into the duffle.
“Listen to me very carefully, Eden. You need to hold onto me and promise that you won’t let go? Do you understand?”
“Come here,” he said. Though his voice had softened a bit.
Eden shakily crossed over to him and wrapped her arms around him.
“Do not let go,” he ordered.
She nodded and closed her eyes.
Malcolm wrapped his arms around her and Eden suddenly felt very dizzy.
His grip was tight right and Eden felt a bite of cold air against her skin.
They were now standing outside the castle.
Eden gasped in shock as she saw the flames eating up the insides of the beautiful glass dome.
She felt a strange pang of intense sadness. The greenhouse wasn’t hers but it was by far her favorite place in the whole castle.
Malcolm was on the phone. Talking very quickly in a language she could only assume was Greek.
“Get the fire out now or lives are going to be lost to you understand?” He growled.
Eden had never seen him upset. She knew the greenhouse meant a lot to him.
Helicopters began to show up. Water and fire repellent started showering down. But both of them knew it was too late. The flames were too large and too hot. Everything was most likely gone.
“We can’t stay here,” Malcolm said.
Eden’s brow furrowed.
“What do you mean? Shouldn’t we see if we can salvage anything?”
Malcolm shook his head. His face hard and graven.
“The possibility of anything surviving is slim.”
He took a moment. Watching the flames slowly die. The team working to put them out.
“The fire was intentional. One of Pythia’s followers has infiltrated the castle. It’s not safe for you anymore.”
Eden’s eyes grew wide.
“The fire was meant to kill me?”
Malcolm nodded ever so slightly. His eyes still on the wreckage.
“Now that they are aware I have found you they will be relentless in trying to take your life.”
Eden struggled to breathe.
“I thought you killed Pythia? Why are her followers trying to kill me still?”
“I killed Pythia’s mortal body. I was foolish and emotional and failed to crush her soul as well.”
“But it’s been centuries, why does she still want to kill me? How will that benefit her?”
A car pulled up next to them.
“Alpha Íllios, sir. We are behind schedule.”
Malcolm nodded, and he opened the door for Eden beckoning her to go inside.
Malcolm buckled her into the seat before sitting back and running a hand through his hair. He looked disheveled and almost a little broken.
“When I gave up most of my powers to bind your soul to a reincarnation cycle, Pythia had already placed a curse on you even before you died,” he explained.
Eden took Malcolm’s hand in her own.
“Malcolm you’re scaring me.”
Eden looked nervously to the driver. Should he be hearing this?
Malcolm followed her gaze.
“The glass is soundproof. Don’t worry.”
“When Pythia died I had banished her to the void. A dark place that reaches even farther than the depths of Tartarus. Once the seventh cycle is completed and you die. Your soul will be cast down into the void with Pythia.”
“What do you mean the seventh cycle?”
Malcolm looked up into her eyes. His eyes shadowed over.
“Your seventh lifetime. Which is the cycle we are currently in.”
Eden’s heart began to pound.
“We have to stop this. There has to be something we can do.”
Malcolm cupped her face in his hands and placed a kiss against her forehead.
“Every cycle, once you come of age, the tormented souls of Pythias followers begin to infiltrate this realm. Possessing bodies of the living they torment you. First with nightmares and then things begin to escalate.”
Malcolm’s eyes closed. He ran a hand through his hair.
“If a human vessel isn’t available, Their form of choice is that of a crow,” he said.
Chills raced down Eden’s spine.
“Every cycle I’m unable to save you in the end. Every cycle I have failed you and you have passed away before the age of twenty five.”
“There has to be something we can do. Malcolm what can I do?” She asked.
“There is only one option and it is simply impossible.”
Eden looked at him expectantly.
“The only way to save you. Is to make you immortal.”
Eden’s entirely body felt dizzy and a wave of nausea consumed her.
This was so much to take in, too much. It was all too much.
“The process is almost impossible to complete. Even if we managed to pull it off your life force has been through so many alterations from its natural state the ritual has killed you in the past.”
Her eyes widened.
“We tried it before?”
He nodded solemnly.
“Once. During the first cycle.”
“I am not going to make the same mistake again,” he replied.
Eden suddenly became angry.
“Pythia is coming after me anyway, we have to try,” she insisted.
Malcolm shook his head.
“I will not be held responsible for your death again. We are not doing anything until your well-being is ensured.”
Suddenly a pang of rationality swam over her. Malcolm seemed to read her mind.
“Eden. Immortality is not something to be taken lightly. It is a huge decision to make.”
Eden folded her arms across her chest. Reality settled in. Was she loosing it? Even if she did believe Malcolm and the whole situation that involved him, eternal life was a huge choice. One she knew she needed to further think about.
“What happens now?” She whispered softly.
Malcolm was quiet for a moment. He looked at her.
“We have to find the muses. Or at least the ones that are still alive.”