"It is a magical area. Angels who come on missions here will be more connected to themselves within the circle." He turns smiling at me over his shoulder before swooping low and landing. I land beside him but bite my lips almost nervously. "Nemesis." He speaks, putting a hand to my shoulder. I watch as he winces through the pain I radiate. The one that tries to keep his purity away. "You are safe inside of the circle. It contains as well as strengthens your emotions. It is somewhere safe."
"Safe? There is nowhere safe for me Theo." I criticise and watch as his hand slowly drops from my shoulder. I am curious as to what this magical area can bring. "What is it exactly?"
"Angels use it as a place of peace. The magic field is meant to be able to strip you of everything negative and express yourself within, unleash your powers without risk of exposure."
"Thank you." I don't turn to face him as I say the words. I don't even know if he hears them. I walk towards the circle, putting my hand up as I feel the force field shielding the circle.
Taking a deep breath and pulling up my imaginary big girl pants. I step inside. The minute I do I fall to my knees. It's completely overwhelming, sensations that have become so unheard of to me that it is almost painful. It is too much and yet so much more than I could hope for. It is everything. I feel everything, not solely rage.
"Nemesis." Theo's urgent call of my name is distant. Foggy as guilt, love, pain, memories of such torture I've committed all hit me. Wave after wave. I welcome each of them. I feel the sting in my eyes, the warm path that spreads down my cheeks. The heavy thumps of Theo trying to break through the barrier are nothing to the pounding in my ears. My heart. It beats properly, with purpose for the first time in so many years.
I lean back on my knees. Sitting my bum against my heels. I smile as I weep like a child. I've caused so much misery. My name is not the issue. No. That much is clear here. The link of a name is just a myth that gives us purpose. Even with my name, I should be linked to delivering happiness and consequence, not solely misery. Destruction was a calling and yet for the first time in so many years there is no pull. No urge to keep walking. No need to destroy everything. I feel no anger or rage. What is this? How can this be explained? I was drowning only moments ago and now I feel like Sisi. The nickname my family had always called me. The one I'd loved until I hadn't. Until I hadn't loved anything at all. When guilt had to sliver into my soul because there was no room for anything else.
"I knew you'd come." I look around the dome and don't see anyone. The tears have begun to stop falling but I'm not alone. A presence, not in physical form. "Has it become apparent yet?"
"Has what?" I stand up. Suspicious. Looking behind me at Theo, who stands looking just as confused as me. A deep ridge formed between his brows. His endless green eyes draw me in and for the first time, seeing him without a fog of rage and never-ending destruction. I feel a burn so hot I could burn this world to the ground. Nothing had seemed right until this moment. Now it makes much more sense. The smallest smile spreads across my lips at him. His lashes flutter and his bronzed high cheekbones brighten with a pink colour. That is why he had forgiven me so easily. Why me? Why him?
"I'd expected more, which is why I chose you. How does it feel to be betrayed, Nemesis? Daughter of Athena, grandchild of Asmodeus."
"Betrayed by who?" I look around again. The temptation to remain looking at Theo is far too great. But someone is here and I have the deepest suspicion that Theo knows exactly who it is talking to me. "Don't speak in riddles. You have something to say to me, then speak it."
"Direct. I heard a lot of you. We had to choose the right one. Mari-Cate was never going to work so it had to be you or Eros. After the updates over the years of your growth you were perfect. Your temper couldn't have made this any easier."
"Made what?" It isn't rage but confusion and a deep upsetting feeling that some part of me was already suspicious of the words that this stranger is speaking. The male voice speaking through some angelic means, without being here to face the consequence that I would happily give him.
"Well of course coursing you. A curse might be a different title but you are well and truly under a spell. One that was topped up over the times. You managed to break free of it a few times but eventually, even you were so guilt ridden with the harm you caused other demons that we didn't need to continue to top you up."
The audible gasp from Theo can be heard even through the force field barring him from reaching out to me. Had this been part of the plan? Had he been a part of this? I turn round and look at his sorrow drawn face. I cannot believe anything. It all draws to the conclusion that I've lived miserable for years trying to contain myself from slaughtering everyone, because the angels had a plan. A plan at least another demon had some involvement in. The idea they'd have harmed my younger brother infuriates me. A choice between me and Eros. He could have lived the same life I have. Little over a year is between us and he certainly isn't little in any way shape or form. But he is my baby brother and these angels had intended to even ruin him or myself and then use that one to ruin all others.
"Who? Who helped you?" I speak with a harsh tone. My hands lighting up in flames that spill up my forearms. Slowly, controlling my anger doesn't rule me this time. "No." I chuckle, softly. "Lilith."
It is the only thing that can make any sense. My last few days had been in her gardens. The demon once classed as queen of demons. Though never a match for my grandfather. The two things are too suspicious not to add up together. Use me to slaughter my own family. Kill every damn royal until she could put a stop to my spell. Bring me to my knees and have me begging for death because why would I want to live after slaughtering my family? That had been the plan. The spell has been lifted. I feel liberated and yet I'm still going to destroy. My purpose of being a wrath to worlds has not changed. Just the course has.
"You are smart. I see it ticking over in your mind. You're going to kill her, aren't you? Do you think you can control your powers and not destroy hell along with it? What about the army of supporters Lilith has? Ready to overthrow any royals that may not bend to her will." His voice is like a drip. It bores me now and his final sentence actually forces a laugh from me. It shocks me. It fascinates me to hear the sarcastic chuckle rumble from my chest once more. Memories flash through my mind of times that happened so easily. Eros doing something stupid. Mari being far to kind. Mum and dad kissing or being gross until Eros would smash food at the wall and gain their attention.
"That is where you are wrong." I look at Theo again. He looks slightly guilty. "Michael."
"Yes." So, it is Theo's grandfather. Had Theo come here with the plan to do this? Has this all been a part of Michaels plan? How could Theo go through with it? Yes, I killed his father but he'd either been the most award-winning actor or he had truly understood that I had no control. That they cannot attack and not expect to die.
"My family will never bend the knee. We already know that there are rebels. Those that do not like hybrids and them ruling is unheard of. What you don't realise is. We have a fucking army of them. We are not limited to only seeing anger but also the rest. Which makes us much stronger than angels or demons alone. Either me coming here was a part of your plan and Theo here was just as much a part of that." Theo straightens up and his eyes burn into mine. I know he wants me to see that he wasn't but I cannot be blinded by the bond that is between us. If he'd seen that bond and still done all this then there is no forgiving. "Or me being free of this spell before now was not a part of your plan. You speaking with me now was not your plan. You wanted me to make my way through slaughtering and being beyond recovery by the time I stumbled upon my home. So, Michael the real question is, are you prepared for me to arrive?"
Silence. Complete radio silence and I know he is gone. His presence isn't around anymore. Between the wash of emotions. The fascination and enthusiasm that I can actually see clearly and more than anything else the relief that I am not completely evil. I am not someone that has to slaughter every innocent. Including children. I hadn't wanted that life but it had been bestowed on me. The angels, Lilith and those from home that believed they could do this are mistaken. War is coming and be it on earth, hell or heaven. I will be leading it.
"Nemesis." Theo slowly, hesitating with each small step. He is now within the force field his grandfather had him back from entering. "I did not know. I was not a part of some plan to curse your life."
"How long have you known?" I don't turn around to look at him. I don't think I could. Feeling for the first time in such a long time is a lot to process and I'm afraid seeing him this close, truly seeing him for the first time. Nothing between us I might just forget everything else.
"From the moment I glimpsed you slaughtering angels, including my father."
"That is why you were so forgiving? Not because you want to be but because a bond that is sacred between every species has determined that we are to be."
"No. Yes. I'm not sure." His breath feathers across the stray hairs on my shoulders. I have to inhale deeply. Feel my breathing become erratic as I find my body humming to life in a whole new way.
Of course, I'm a virgin. A demon wouldn't usually be. Though I know Mari was but she was always much more angelic. I on the other hand had been placed under that spell before I'd ever got to really experiment with much more than snogging. I know everything there is about sex and all that comes with it but I've never been turned on. Not in my memory.
When you have been living in a haze of rage for as long as you can remember now. Living in the dark forest with two hounds that are also female. I'm sure Mis and Uni get it on in their own way but they are decent about it. Probably in the evenings they go off to hunt.
"I appreciate the honesty but I want you to leave."
"Why? The bond of mates is precious. You'll only ever have one."
"And I can live without it being an angel. My twin already stole one of your archangels and now I'm to steal a grandson of one. What will you do when war comes Theo? Fight alongside me and my family?"
"There does not need to be…."
"Of course, there does. Your kind have done enough to mine. We have been patient which is laughable because we are demons. Lilith will die and every rebel with her but I will not leave the traitors in heaven still standing. They want this war Theo; how can you not see that?"
"I can see everyone wants one. You and my grandfather. I do not though."
"One angel can change nothing."
"I changed you." His tone was quieter now. Not as raised as before but just as determined. His warm breath had felt closer and I felt my stomach pit out. My pelvis clenches as though it's trying to do an exercise to look good for him.
I cannot deny that Theo had led me here. Broken the spell that had been placed over me but that does not change anything. It doesn't change that I am a demon princess and him a grandchild to an archangel. We are wasting our time pretending we could walk alongside one another. The shiver that runs down my back, the parted lips that let the quick rush of breath fall through them, the way my nipples tighten and beg to be noticed. None of that matters when there is no other way. I am not Mari. I do not want a life here on earth. I miss home. I've been away from it for so long. So many years whilst I've been lost, scared and alone. I don't want to live on earth for love when I have it in abundance back home. I shouldn't have to sacrifice anymore. I cannot. I will not.
"You did." I turn around and our eyes meet. He's searching mine and I know he feels what I am going to say next. "This is goodbye though Theo. I've had so many years taken from me, it isn't that I judge you by their actions but I'm not willing to give any more up for an angel. Thank you for helping me. Forgiving me. Even saving me. Goodbye Theo."
This is a sign, right? Him being Michael’s grandkid. It has to be a sign that this couldn't ever work. He could never come with me and I certainly won't give up anymore. I need my home. I need to have my mother wrap her arms around me and my father around both of us so easily. I want to bury myself in dad's chest and weep. To tell him how sorry I am for everything I did. I want a chance to explain everything. No matter as my heart feels torn in two because of the angel I walk by.
I don't get out of the force field though. Theo's soft, tight grasp of his fingers grabs my wrist. This time my soul not so dark, but never completely light, does not wish him to back away, it yearns for him. He pulls until I turn around and then he dips crashing his lips against mine.