Without the powers of her lifemate, she will die.
By the one called Sebastian the Ancient Destroyer,
Thirteen years ago...
Excitement buzzed inside her as Matakyli looked down at the abandoned castle before her. She had searched for this place for months. To have finally found it by accident was making the demon’s red flesh break out in goosebumps.
“Oh man, if this doesn’t get him to try to kill you, then I don’t know what will,” her best friend said. Leshi was as excited as she was and the two shared a gleeful grin.
“I sure hope so,” Matakyli replied, the tips of her fangs flashing in wicked anticipation. “I’m tired of waiting for the old man to make his move.”
Beside them, Nivan rolled his eyes. He was the only logical one in their group and as much as Matakyli loved him, she hated his constant attempts at reason.
“You are aware that most people wouldn’t be upset by getting to live for another few years,” he said dryly.
Matakyli rolled her eyes in an exaggerated display of annoyance. Her grin turned savage as she shot him a look of pure distaste. “Urgh, Nivan. Why are you always so pessimistic?”
“I’m realistic.” He waved at the building before them. “That vampire’s about eighty-five times your age and has spent most of that time perfecting the art of killing.”
“What. Ever. I could totally take the guy if I wanted.”
“Except you can’t.”
Ignoring his reference to the foretelling of her death that she had received six months ago, Matakyli turned her attention back to the palace. Overgrown and crumbling to pieces, the centuries of abandonment had not been kind to the building. Its walls, once radiant with the echoing laughter of an ancient clan, were now dulled from lost time and empty promise. The front door was barely on its hinges and multiple rooms had been caved in by the ceiling. It was the ideal place for a man still in hiding, its shaky foundations an extra deterrent to anyone foolish enough to trespass.
A woman’s scream, frail in its unrelenting agony, weaved its way out of the windows. Though none of them would ever admit it, each shivered in fear. Being demons, they weren’t unused to the shrilling cries of torture. They had grown up falling asleep to them as most races did to lullabies, after all.
But to hear such unbearable hopelessness coming from the place that currently housed the most dangerous creature alive? On second thought, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea…
“We should call this in.”
And just like that, Matakyli’s momentary thought of sanity disappeared under her instinctive, demonic need to show strength.
“What? No way, Nivan. This is my chance and I’m taking it. Why else would fate put us here at this exact moment?”
“There are such things as coincidences.”
“Nonsense. There is only fate,” Matakyli snapped, once again ignoring a time six months ago when she too had scoffed at the idea of a set future.
“Just think of all the stories people will tell of us after we do this,” Leshi chimed in in an attempt to bait his sense of pride.
“I imagine they’ll be something like: what utter morons those three were, barely past their ascensions before they decided to take on a five thousand year old vampire. Was it really any wonder that they all died?”
“Hey, we’re way past our ascensions!” the two demonesses defended at the same time and Nivan sighed with the knowledge that he had said the wrong thing entirely. Matakyli was always going to be a lost cause, but sometimes if he could persuade Leshi that their leader’s newest idea was more ridiculous than normal, he could get them to act with reason. Clearly, that was not going to be the case today.
“Every time I think you’ve hit the ceiling of insanity, Kyli,” he said using her nickname, “you go and pummel your way right through it.”
“And yet, you’re always with me when I do.”
He opened his mouth to argue, but really, what could he say against the truth? When she had unknowingly saved him from the first death at a mere sixteen years of age, he had grown to idolize her. For a street rat, second chances were as rare as finding out that you were a descendant, a forbidden child of the gods. His entire world had changed that day and all because of a reckless demon princess suffering from a serious case of ennui.
He owed her his current lifestyle as a demon highborn and though it was unheard of for their kind to actually honor such debts, Nivan would see his repaid. Even if it meant following her into the first death.
“Yes! Let’s do this!” Leshi gushed at his resigned huff of agreement and in pure Leshi fashion, she threw a fist pump in the air. Already regretting his choice, a weary groan escaped from the bottom of Nivan’s soul. How was it that he was the youngest by over a decade and yet, neither of these two had a lick of sense in them?
Matakyli’s dark eyes crinkled with devilish intentions as she crouched down in the dirt and began sketching a rough blueprint of the palace with a finger. “Okay, so this is what we’re going to do…”
“THIS IS WORKING SO MUCH better than we planned!” Leshi screeched as she rounded the corner behind the other two, grinning like a fool over the unconscious captive slung over Nivan’s shoulders.
“Only because he isn’t here; otherwise we would be greeting Hel herself right now.”
“Urgh, Nivan! Always the pessimist. We just bagged the baddest dude’s mate and you’ve still found something to complain about. Our people are going to sing us praises for years!”
“About what? We didn’t do anything worthy,” he said, jostling the young vampire on his shoulders. “This girl’s barely older than a pup.”
“What do you mean nothing worthy? There isn’t anyone to say that the old man wasn’t here,” Matakyli slyly pointed out as she barreled through a door and into to the servants’ stairway.
“Except for the prisoner,” he reminded her as he hurried in behind them. They were still seven stories up and until they were far away from this place, he wasn’t counting it as a success.
“Urgh! I knew we should have just killed her.”
“How? Even drained to near death, she would have killed you. You can’t take on an angel Matakyli – even one as brutalized as that!”
“Hmpf,” she scoffed, using every ounce of her regal upbringing to say otherwise even though he was right. Angels were a vicious, merciless race that was best avoided, especially by demons. The two species had been warring with each other ever since the worlds began and though the former counted far fewer in number, they had killed just as many of their enemies as the demons had. So yes, even as broken as that woman was, none of them had had the courage to go near her.
“Ahhhh!” Nivan huffed as the young vampire on top of him woke with a fierce twisting of her body. Her little fangs flashed dangerous close to his ear and in his attempt to dodge her bite, he flung her to the ground. Matakyli was on their captive in an instant, her claws extending as she cut deep into the woman’s pale flesh.
A hiss emitted shrilly from between two pointed fangs. She tried to fight back, but she hadn’t stood a chance before and she wasn’t any better off now. Already, she had a cracked head and more than half a dozen open wounds, and that number was only growing. Due to her young age, she didn’t heal nearly as fast as they did, needing to feed in order to recover quickly, and none of them were willing to be her next meal.
“Hold her arms!”
“Just knock her out again!”
“I’m trying! There!”
“We have to go!” Leshi suddenly screamed, her eyes wide with terror as her sixth sense picked up on an evil so thick it was suffocating. She jerked Matakyli to her feet as she still hovered over their captive. “Leave her!”
Nivan reached down and flung their prize back across his shoulders, knowing that Kyli was stubborn enough to stand there arguing until their death was upon them. Throwing him a smirking grin that caused him to clench his teeth, the demoness darted out of the stairway at the next floor. Trusting her ability to sniff out an exit, the other two followed without protest despite still being four stories up.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Leshi gushed as her friend stopped at the nearest window.
With a maniacal grin carved deep into her face, Matakyli turned to face her little gang. Though they were all immortal, they were still prone to broken bones and serious injury until they healed. However, the alternative was the first death and though she bragged about being a long descendant of Hel, the Aesir Goddess of Death and Reigning Deity of Niflhel, even she wasn’t keen for a permanent move to the underworld.
“Jump!” Matakyli ordered and without a moment of hesitation, she flung herself through the glass. Even though her bones snapped across the ground and her teeth went flying, the demon princess rose on a grin. She had done it. She had stolen from the most wanted man alive and not even her three older brothers would dare to call her a baby ever again.
She cackled like a madwoman as she darted over to the dropped, broken form of their prize. Ignoring the feeble slashes of the vampire’s claws, she reached down and began to drag her off by an ankle. Nivan and Leshi hobbled along behind her and as an animalistic roar destroyed the peace of the night, the Devilish Three (as Matakyli had long ago dubbed them) fled to safety without a single backward glance.