Ascension of Evil (Battle for Souls Book 3)

BOOK: Ascension of Evil (Battle for Souls Book 3)
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Ascension of Evil

by

Ciara Knight

 

 

 

Battle for Souls Series

Copyright © 2014, Ciara Knight

Knight, Ciara

Ascension of Evil

 

Digital release: September 2014

 

Editing by Cora Artz

Cover Design by Jeannie Reusch

 

 

All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work, in whole or part, by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, is illegal and forbidden.

 

This is a work of fiction. Characters, settings, names, and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination and bear no resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, places or settings, and/or occurrences. Any incidences of resemblance are purely coincidental.

Ascension of Evil

 

 

Gabby Moore fails to stop a demonic war. Now condemned ancient angels and Lucifer’s minions have been released upon the Earth. With all hope lost, Herak, an Ancient sentenced to eternal solitude for starting the first demonic war, pledges to save the world. But is he really reformed and ready to fight? Or will he betray Gabby and Alexander, forcing them to sacrifice their love and each other to save the world?

 

 

Chapter One

 

The knife rotated, hilt over blade, swooshing past the trees at Gabby Moore. She stood silent, breathing in the dry scent of pine. Calm, not one muscle twitched. A frog croaked near her foot, but she only focused on the sharp object hurdling toward her face.

“Gabby!” Alexander’s voice broke the silence a millisecond before she moved and halted the blade in mid-air, between her palms.

Sammy squealed as Boon nodded his approval.

Gabby let her breath out. “Alex, you nearly distracted me.”

Alexander raced to her side. His dark pupils widened, swallowing half of his denim colored irises. “Cutting it close, weren’t you?”

“No pun intended.” Sammy giggled.

“Not funny,” Alexander grimaced.

“At least I didn’t set a tree on fire today.” Gabby tried to laugh it off, but she still had nightmares from when she’d set her own father on fire after he’d returned from rehab last year. She’d gained more control over her mysterious powers during the last few months, though.

Her family and friends were right, not that she’d admit it to them, but it was wise that Alexander and her wait to bond. They’d grown close and she’d been pouring all her energy into gaining control of her gifts. The last thing she wanted was to open a rift to Hell when they finally were bonded tonight.

“You did great.” Boon held out his hand to retrieve the knife from her.

Gabby shielded her eyes from the hot afternoon sun. “Yeah, I’m great at catching a knife. It’s been six months after all.” She sighed. “Don’t you think it’s time I throw one? You know, I’m all for defending myself, but standing still as target practice for demons isn’t my idea of fun.”

Boon grimaced. “You need to—”

“Take this seriously,” she finished. It wasn’t the first time she’d heard him say it. “I think you do enough of that for the both of us.” Gabby held up her hands in surrender. “It’s just that, I’m supposed to be the Chosen One, to lead all angels to war and what not. I think I should probably know how to fight.”

Alexander averted his gaze. He never liked talking about her going into battle. He claimed he had accepted it and did everything he could to help, but his face always contorted in anguish when they spoke of what was to come.

Sammy stroked Boon’s arm. “She has a point.”

Boon pushed his glasses up to the bridge of his nose and analyzed Gabby with his sad, brown eyes. “I was going to wait until after your bonding ceremony to share this with you, but it’s time we take your training to the next level.”

Gabby chuckled, hoping to lighten the mood. “Don’t sound so dubious. I’m ready. It’s time to kick some demon butt back to Hell.”

Boon turned and retrieved his portable arsenal from across the clearing, a canvas bag containing at least one of every kind of weapon Gabby had ever seen.

Sammy leaned in and whispered, “Remember, Gabby. He tried to train others before the last war. They’ve all suffered greatly for centuries, because so many are still held prisoner.”

“But that’s all the more reason I need to train. I want to free more souls for our side.” As Alexander froze beside her, she wanted to yank the words back inside her mouth, but it was too late.

He grasped her hands. “Gabby, honey, you aren’t thinking about—”

“Don’t worry. I learned my lesson. I’m not going to let some demon masquerading as a high school principal convince me to open the gate to Hell and let all the demons out to play like last time. I promise.”

“I know you wouldn’t.” Alexander brushed his lips down her cheek. “Besides, you’d never run off like that again. We’re in this together. Never forget that.”

The edges of her mouth curled into a smile. “Forever, after tonight.”

Alexander squeezed her hands. Finally, they’d be bonded for eternity. Sammy tugged Gabby’s arm reassuringly then jogged to Boon’s side.

Alexander ran his hands over Gabby’s hair, the way that always made her heart skip into a trot. “Gabby, are you one hundred percent sure that—”

“Stop. Don’t say that again.” She turned and cupped his face in her hands. “Yes, I know there’s a chance that I’ll never be with my mother again in Heaven or my dad when he dies, that I could be separated from them forever.” She held his gaze with hers. “It doesn’t matter. It’s our destiny. I truly believe that our being together is one of the few things that’ll get me through this war. We’re meant to bond and fight as one to save the innocent. Don’t you dare take away the only thing in this world that’ll make fighting and winning this war bearable.”

Resting his forehead against hers, Alexander took in a long breath. “I just had to make sure. I love you, Gabriella Moore, and nothing will ever separate us again.”

“You two better hurry up or you’ll both miss your own wedding,” Sammy teased.

Anxiety jolted through her and she raised her head to meet Alexander’s eyes. “I need to go shower, get dressed, and—”

“Don’t worry.” Sammy placed her palms on both of Gabby’s shoulders. “I’ve pressed your dress and Grace probably already has a bath drawn for you.” She tugged Gabby from Alexander.

Reluctantly, Gabby slid her hands from his.

“I’ll see you in a few hours.” Alexander winked, sending a wave of excitement through her body.

Sammy looped her arm in Gabby’s, leading her down the path to Grace’s home. Emerging from the trees, Sammy stopped. “It’s hard to believe we have our home back, just in time for us to have to leave it again.”

Gabby’s heart ached at the thought of ever leaving the elegant two-story Victorian behind. In the months since it was rebuilt, it had become home, full of precious memories. Nights spent with Alexander on the front porch swing, watching the sunset. The air filled with the scents of cinnamon, chocolate, and vanilla from the plethora of Grace’s fresh baked goods.

Her heart swelled at the knowledge she’d brought Alexander and Sammy’s mother back from the darkness. Yet, at the same time, a sting of guilt for allowing all the demonic souls free darkened her mood. If she’d only listened, tried harder to control her gifts, then there would be fewer demons to fight now. The war would have been stopped before innocent lives were lost.

Sammy quirked her head to the side. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” Gabby forced her happiest smile. Now wasn’t the time to think about the impending war and all the what-ifs. It was her bonding day. She might only be just shy of eighteen, but life wouldn’t allow any more time for growing up. Not with the war coming. Besides, it didn’t matter if she was seventeen or thirty. Alexander would be the only one she would ever love.

They trudged up the sand dune and kicked their flip-flops off at the bottom step. She paused for a second and scanned the edge of the woods like she always did, hoping Patronus would dart out with tail wagging.

Sammy followed her gaze. “Patronus is out there somewhere. Grace is sure he is, and if she says he’s alive I believe her.”

Gabby smiled at the thought. “I know he’s out there. I just wish he’d come home.”

“Perhaps he’s protecting you from a distance.” Sammy offered.

“I’m sure he is.” Gabby turned to the ocean. The sun was already starting its descent in the cloudless sky, a reminder of the waning time they had left together. How many of them would survive the war? Would she ever see her mother and father again? Or worse, would they all fall to Hell?

She shivered then turned back to the house.

Sammy stopped her at the top step. “It’s not just Patronus that’s on your mind. What is it?”

Gabby shook her head. She hadn’t shed a single tear in six months. As the Chosen One, it was her duty to be strong. She’d promised herself she’d let go of the scared little girl inside her, not letting her interfere with her powers ever again. “Nothing. I’m fine.”

“That’s all you ever say. You know, we’re here for you. I’m your best friend, you can tell me anything.”

No. She could never admit to Sammy, or anyone, how she wanted to run away with Alexander and never face her destiny. Or that she was so scared at night she gagged herself with her pillow in an attempt to stop herself from screaming. “I’m serious, I’m great. Just nervous. I’m finally bonding with your brother today.”

“Yeah, that would freak me out, too.” Sammy smiled. “Come on, let’s get you ready.” Sammy flung open the screen door. “We’re back, Mom!”

As Gabby stepped through the threshold, the scent of Grace’s homemade chicken potpie filled the air. Her stomach churned. Any other night she’d run to the kitchen in hopes of stealing a taste or two, but not today. Her stomach was doing triple backhand springs. “I-I’m gonna go soak in the bath for a few. I’ll eat dinner later.”

She shot up the stairs to the bathroom, trying to keep her composure. She’d waited for this night for so long, and now she just wanted to get to it before something else happened.

A bath had already been drawn, little circles of aromatic lavender oil floating on the surface. Grace swore by the fragrance to calm nerves.
I hope she’s right
, Gabby thought.

She sat on the edge of the tub and peered through the ajar window. Six months and no sign of trouble. Heaven had given them time to train and get ready for battle. But was it enough?

A hint of sulfur carried on the wind through the open window. No, it was just her imagination. Tonight of all nights, there wouldn’t be a demon attack. Heaven wouldn’t be that cruel.

She pushed from the edge of the tub onto shaking legs and approached the window slowly, the slick white tile cool under her bare feet.
God, please. Don’t let it be. Not today
.

Gabby placed her palms on the window rail and pushed up. It squealed as it rose. The familiar stench of demon assaulted her and she nearly fell back. She turned and inhaled lavender deep into her lungs before she leaned out the window for a better look.

There, in the woods several hundred yards away, orange eyes glared at her. She opened her mouth to scream for the others then slammed it shut again. No!
Assess, observe, and conclude before you act,
Boon’s words echoed in her head
.

The dark figure rustled through the foliage below as Gabby evaluated it, looking for signs of its rank and powers as Boon had instructed. The creature hunched on its hind legs and poked his head further out between the trees. Small frame, orangish-yellow eyes, no horns. It was just a low entry demon. Probably a recently turned human.

She waited for signs of other demons, but didn’t detect any other odors or sounds despite her overactive, crazy-angelic senses.

Anxious to take care of him quick, before he could draw others of his kind, Gabby thrust the bathroom door open and raced down the stairs, two at a time. “Grace. Sammy. Dad.”

No answer.

She pivoted at the bottom of the stairs and bolted into the kitchen. “Grace.” The room was empty, the chicken potpie still steaming on top of the stove.

Where is everyone?

She slid her cell from her jeans pocket and danced her fingers across the keys, sending a text to each of them. Waiting for a response, she paced the living room, keeping an eye out the windows for the approaching creature.

After several moments, there was still no response.

A burning panic surged to the surface of her skin. She took two deep cleansing breaths and steadied her nerves, just as she’d done a thousand times in practice. Sliding the phone back into her pocket, she shuffled around the long couch to the ottoman and lifted the cushion, pulling a blade from their stash.

Something was wrong, and it was up to her to figure out what.

BOOK: Ascension of Evil (Battle for Souls Book 3)
10.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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