There is one more intruder in the Crypt.
A furry black cat slinking between my legs, winding and hissing at all the grown men around me.
Ash backs off from a swiping violent paw.
Solomon even moves around in front of me before he’s viciously attacked by Gorgeous.
Horace is silenced on the chair, glaring at that cat.
Fane is distracted from his boiling blood cauldron, also looking over.
Darc finally glances, turning and showing me his true form. Regrettably, he is the most handsome dark angel I’ve ever seen in my life. My heart lurches in my chest, but as I’m instantly and uncontrollably falling in love with that bad man – he’s just glaring silently at the cat.
“We shouldn’t have made him that strong,” Darc sounds like he regrets their decimation of the orc, Gorg, turning him into a – well…
“He’s my Guard in Sleuth, is that not the aim? Protection?” I ask it, confident enough. Darc’s eyes finally start to roll toward me and I get a rush of embarrassment so hard that before they even collide I’m looking at my feet and Gorg himself. Why does he affect me so badly?
The cat is now lounging between my ankles, looking up at me, lovingly – and purring, loudly.
“Without him you’d be dead meat in that place,” Darc explains himself, while Horace starts to make satisfied growling noises, as if appreciating the thought of dead meat.
I look up slightly to see that Ash and Solomon have gone to join Fane by the blood.
I stare in disgust.
I decide I must not move from where I stand by the vault locking me into this strange place from the Upper, stuck in the Under. I don’t know how I know it, I just do. It reminds me of above.
“Ash may have said I’m the one who put you all in here but I have no memory of anything–” I state in distress. I still had no idea what was really the point of all these happenings.
“You know how to get that back,” Darc interrupts me with a broody reminder.
Oh, I remember alright.
For your blood, you receive our friendship.
For your body, you’ll receive your memories.
I know what he wants from me.
“Then I guess I’ll never remember,” I’m defiant, because I was never going to give in to such a ridiculous demand. I was the owner of my body, not him.
There is a stone cold silence and I look up at each vampire – not just fully grown but fully evil. I feel great distrust toward all of them. I’m in a room of vicious killers.
Darc is sharing a pissed off glance with Horace. Fane, Ash and Solomon are clearly pretending not to look at me all together.
I get a small idea.
“If you will not tell me who I am,” I ask Horace, the one who scares me the most, and then to Darc, feeling my soul get light from my body just meeting his eyes, an odd feeling, before my breath leaves me, slamming out of me, “…tell me who you are instead –” I almost choke on the words, having to suck in a deep sharp breath.
Am I being choked?
But the fear was so strong it felt physical just asking a simple question.
If Darc was bad he might smile at such a scaredy-cat reaction, but because he’s plain evil, he doesn’t even care. He expects that reaction.
So does Horace, who just stares blankly back at me.
“Have I not told you; I am the death of you,” Darc explains twice. I try holding his piercing red eyes next, braving them to see if he’ll tell me anything more, “I kill angels –”
Oh, get to the point!
“Then why aren’t I dead yet?” I hiss it out between my gritted teeth, frustrated.
Horace stands as if to object to that statement – as do the others who turn to eat at me with their barely hidden evil intentions.
The air shifts, exploding with movement.
Darc has teleported, he fills up my vision and I stumble so hard back I almost fall over, but I just hit the door of the vault instead, while he keeps approaching, not touching me but watching me cower, my spine curls and I feel my blood wishing to fly out of my skin, to escape his presence – to get away from his teeth.
He exuberates dominance over female beings.
“Don’t ask stupid questions,” Darc’s mean tone turns sickly sweet, his essence drips over me – clouding around my senses. I start to feel cold and hot, my heart stops beating for the amount of time he scares me into this corner. And then he slowly drops his forehead to mine. I look up, somehow sensing that his eyes are closed – while his nostrils flare and I can take in his face this close to mine. Just as I get comfortable staring at his face, he opens his blood red eyes, relaxed as he catches me off guard, holding me in place, “Wynter. Would you please. Would you like. To come to bed with me, my little angel?” he asks like a monster would, or a snake, but it’s also as alluring as thunder, I want to hear it.
I also want to run in the opposite direction.
“No, thank you,” I whisper it as politely as possible.
Darc deliberately licks his lips as they curl to show a fang, drawing closer to my lips. I freeze, while that fang touches me. It tickles my cheek and the corner of my jaw – hovering over my neck, then dragging, in and down – cutting a shallow line and letting the blood run.
I’m frozen solid.
I can’t even make a noise.
As Darc pulls back to look, the tip of his fang glows with silver ink.
No… that’s the real colour of my blood?
I reach up a hand to the cut that doesn’t hurt along my neck – that heals even as I touch it.
Darc steps back again while I pull out my sticky hand to see it covered in that silver ink, like a glittering moon above the Temple of Distortion.
Angel blood. An Angel’s soul.
“You sacrificed all angels in that place in the woods?” I whisper, watching my hand start to shake.
“There’s a gate and there’s this mountain – and there is a river, but the river only flows one way – and you took the river to the Academy, which is your first mistake,” Darc explains, giving me a hint of something else.
“Why would I want to come across?” I ask, while staring at my hand.
“I have no idea,” Darc answers honestly, and that honest answer makes my body almost pull toward him.
I lower my hand and end up leaning off the door, while the other vampires in the room start to crowd in. The brotherhood turn into a wall of inevitability around me. Gorg growls, while they all block me into this door, so I can’t walk past further into their place.
“You came to gloat,” Solomon guesses, his chin is now wiped of blood.
“To see us, to ask, something,” Fane guesses, his eyes trying to steer from my neck.
“She came to die, but she got lost on a downward path when Gorg ripped the wings from her back,” Ash smiles at the cat, who is perhaps protecting me for an entirely different reason.
Possession – not protection?
“Why do you think I came?” I ask Darc.
“To lose your virginity,” Darc unexpectantly tells me something, “As I first offered you, when we first met, I was your teacher, and I promised no consequences… no blood work… I just wanted to take you,” Darc smiles as his eyes glitter with a memory, “But you said ‘oh no, I have a boyfriend’ …Armando… a dog,” Darc finds this incredibly funny, trying not to laugh.
He was my teacher?!
“How is that funny?” I ask, utterly offended. What was wrong with having a boyfriend?
“Because Armando protects your virginity for your power, for his family, for his pack of dogs, wolves, whom shred vampires, to protect the mortals, eventually hoping you’ll give yourself to him when the war is over – but oh no, I killed all the angels and you’re the last one, or the first one, of the next line, for the next war – endlessly infinite. Endless reward. Your God is on our side. He makes you, to feed us,” Darc goes off on a tangent, leaning in to put his elbow near my shoulder, trying to take all the attention, “…I already proclaimed you’re mine to k…” he can’t make himself say kill. He gets lost in euphoria. Freak.
I try not to scowl.
“What are you meant to be?” I ask.
“Crucible Vampires,” Fane answers.
“Black. Blooded. Fallen. And Hungry –” Horace chuckles, Solomon smirks.
“Angry?” I ask Darc. I’m not joking.
“My brothers wish to rip you to pieces but I want to take your heart,” Darc is smiling, as his mouth gets closer to my ear, “…you can’t be here too long, shall I? Possess you…?” he pulls back, though he gets another idea, “Actually,” he whispers, and I think of a cake called death by chocolate.
Darc sounds demonic with intent.
He suddenly opens the vault behind me, and instead of walking backward into water, I’m pushed. His hand. On my face.
And I’m off.
Right down the edge of a fucking cliff from the mountain.
I turn around in my free fall and I see clouds disperse out to show trees and the temple below me in the misty valley, ready to receive my dead body when I hit it at terminal velocity.
But as I’m falling, majorly pissed off, Darc’s student body appears from the woods and jumps and rolls back onto the stone, taking my place on the alter while smiling up at me.
I start to slow in my descent – and my body levitates above his as I get closer, just floating, via magic. I’m reaching out my hands to his hands. For some reason, I place my palms over his palms, in a natural way, as I float there with black magic.
The smaller Darc – the younger, little shit version of Darc. Height in check, but lanky and skinny and starved; compared to his original form.
“What’s the purpose of you?” I ask while floating, referring to his second body.
“To have a chance to live outside that hellhole, even if I’m less powerful like this,” Darc drops me and my body lands on his.
I try to lean up and look over him, as he looks up at me, adoringly. Supposedly. It’s a lie, that adoration. It’s more like eventuality.
“You’re less scary like this,” I insult him, over his face, “I like you better like this.”
“Don’t get used to it, damsel,” when Darc is pleasant, it’s disturbing. He’s still evil, even as he speaks with banter.
“Where are you brothers?” I ask, changing subject.
“You’ll learn eventually… they’re always close by,” Darc whispers and his eyes dart to the forest, so I look around to see them leaning on the cherry trees, looking in.
I look past each vampire back up to the Schism in the sky.
“You’ll kill me to leave this place,” I sigh, it feels more certain now. I look down at Darc and he loses his happy-go-lucky demeanour while it’s the middle of the night.
“Anyway, Wynter, it’ll be your first day of studying Demon Eye tomorrow –” as Darc is explaining away, there is a hiss above my head.
Gorgeous, levitating above me.
He’s been thrown out as well.
I move off the alter, watching Gorgeous whacking his paws as he lands on Darc’s unhappy face.
I’m consumed with laughter, while Darc shoves him off and gets to his own feet, his face scratched up and burning, including a hurt swollen eye as he swears under his breath.
“I see your weak side now. You’re not so tough are you, if I could put you all in that inescapable cell?” I realise, feeling bold and cocky, “…and I do feel myself getting stronger and stronger all the time…” even now, all my aching has subsided from my death. I see all the brothers come in from the moonlit forest, to stand with Darc. I tease them, “Perhaps I did come to gloat at you,” I then make the first move, I stalk past, glaring at all of them staring at me – staring so hard at me.
Well. It takes me a second to realise.
My dress has come off in the freefall, I pause in my walk, utterly naked. Although, I’m not as embarrassed as I might have been yesterday.
When I slyly look over my shoulder, they’re all staring – but not from lust.
At my back, every eye beholds something shocking.
I look downward and I see – oh!
A tiny pair of baby wings – growing out from a scar. They’re so tiny.
Oh. My. God.
I am an angel! I was healing!
My dress also comes floating down from the sky, landing at my feet between me and the brotherhood.
I turn and lean down to pick it up.
“I’ll give you your memories, just ask me to take you back to the Crypt.” Darc whispers now, almost desperately. Was he in a panic?
I slip my dress over my head, unfazed and languid in my movements.
Once clothed, I face each star struck and silenced vampire.
My answer is simple for Darc, “I’ll never give in,” and I smile.
“Never. Silly girl. Only the eternal can make such a claim as to wait for never. You’re fighting Immortal Sin… you can’t wait,” Darc is trying hard to convince me.
“I’m not dead yet,” I shrug.
“…yet… you mistake my intent, I don’t want you to die,” Darc’s eyes are kind, until he murmurs, with a tilt in his head, as a bit of truth slips out, “…I want you to suffer.”
And all I had to do – was bend over backwards and give my body to him.
Just to rub it in…
“Never,” I whisper again.
“How about forever? A loyal pet is a demon’s greatest achievement,” Fane explains, politely, while breaking the tension, “Darc wants to play with you and your soul.”
“And what do you want?” I refer to all of them, the rest of them, looking them over.
“We want to kill you,” Fane raises a brow, “…but you’ve clearly taken our brother’s heart… so you must be Destined to fall.”
“Destined?” I remember how he described himself, Vampire of Destiny.
“Fatal love,” Fane explains, “Love knows no bounds… sometimes there’s mistakes but… what can we do… here you stand –”
“Enough – if you tell her anymore… I’ll kill you myself,” Darc threatens Fane, suddenly gripping the nape of his neck. Fane turns into him, their foreheads collide and the glaring of demon souls begin.
Idiots. I scowl.
Horace and Solomon follow suit.
Ash, however, intercepts me, hands shoved in his pockets.
He comes right up to me, Darc’s twin, to cup my cheeks with his palms as he leans down to tell me something of utmost importance.
I feel the severity of what’s coming before he even breathes a word.
I listen intently.
“Yes?” I gulp.
“When we return, you need to bathe – you’re starting to stink, and we have sensitive senses,” Ash is so calm, and yet, so good at insulting me at the same time. His nose twitches.
I step out of his hands.
I just nod, but I don’t say a word back to him.
We all start to walk off, while Fane and Darc have been pulled from one another before they actually fight.
I walk in the middle of the path, just behind Ash, who is ahead and leading us back in the dark.
“Why do you all want to kill me anyway?” I mutter under my breath, I don’t really ask them, as I’m glaring at the ground, reflecting on the circumstances.
It’s been a tough confusing journey so far. But at least I’m surviving it.
“…oh please…there is no greater pleasure,” Ash has heard me, and answers me from ahead, his voice dropping to a demonic form of pure pleasure – infinite sin, pure evil, “Than watching an angel’s light extinguish from a horrific end.”
“We fuck her for centuries, how about that alternative?” Darc snarls outright. He’s still pissed.
“Thank you, Darc,” I make fun of him, even as he defends me.
He’s behind me, I feel his glare as he’s clearly starting to dislike how much he likes me.
Darc threatens me all in the same minute of defending my life, “When you free me of the Crypt, you can thank me then, on your bloody knees… begging for my mercy, which I promise you – I will never grant.”
That was unfounded!
“Oh, what did I do to you to deserve that threat?!” I lose my temper, turning around to scream my annoyance at him. It echoes through the valley.
Darc goes disturbingly calm, as he slips the truth, leaning close and saying it like it’s my fault, speaking over my head even as I turn from him, refusing to face him any longer.
“…you caught my eye…”
What a joke.
I guess that was my biggest problem.
He was hunting me down for existing.
But perhaps – and it’s just a guess – but up above?
Perhaps I was the one doing the hunting first.