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Authors: penelope fletcher

Demon Dark (6 page)

BOOK: Demon Dark
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Where will it go?

 

Nowhere.

 

I turned to him, eager for him to explain more.

Say-say?

 

We could gather pebbles and rocks to make a small pool and ensure there is a place for the water to flow to meet a larger source, a lake, perhaps, but as sad as I am to remind you, we are short on time, and we must not drain our magical abilities too much.

 

Oh,

I said, crestfallen. I waved my hand back and forth through the tiny spring, something I had made.

We have to close it back up?

 

Breandan was quiet for a while, staring at me then the water.

This pleases you?

 

I nodded, sad but true.

We didn t make things, it wasn t my job, as a Disciple. Everything I was taught began and ended with how to kill demons. That was my purpose.

 

Breandan said nothing else. He stood us up and started to gather pebbles and stones, showing me when he found an interesting shape, or a pretty colour. We came back to the water and he showed me how to push the stones into the earth and order them so they held in a rough conical shape. Soon, the water trickled down the rocks and washed them clean. Breandan placed his hand on the ground at the base of the stones and concentrated. The earth sank a little, and I popped more stones into the hole, worried it would break my little fountain. The stones settled and the water started to disappear through the cracks back into the earth.

 

I sat there alone for a while, staring at what I had made, delighted with myself. Breandan washed and prepared the root vegetables he had found and wrapped them in brown moss before tucking them as close to the fire, using a stick to shift whitened wood over the top. He did something to the fish, I wasn t that interested in cooking to be honest, and dug the ends of thick twigs into the earth. They tilted above the low flames, and the speared fish dangling on the ends cooked slowly.

 

He passed me some berries and a bruised apple. I cupped it in my hands reverently, and grinned at him. Fruit had been incredibly rare inside the Wall. The Clerics had occasionally brought back the odd sack full if they had ventured far out into demon territory, but that usually went to the Priests or families in the Upper Dwells.

 

I bit into the hard flesh and savored the tart sweetness. Juice dribbled down my chin and I greedily licked it up. I held up the apple.

Aren t these out of season?

 

I used magic. I ll teach you sometime, you just need to find the right fruit tree.

 

I found myself humming happily as I ate, in-between bites of the apple I stuffed berries into my mouth and cupped handfuls of cold water to drink.

 

It was the first time I d been happy in a while. The last time was just after the destruction of Temple when Breandan kissed me in front of everybody. Breandan passed me a leaf with purple potatoes and I grimaced. The colour was pretty but they were kind of tasteless. When he tried to suggest I eat a beetroot I gagged. Spying one other option, I demanded he hand it over, and was much happier when he passed me a normal potato with some fish. The food was steaming hot; the skin crispy and charred but whatever. It was food, I was hungry, and it made my belly feel damn fine.

 

Do you have any of those honey nectar cakes?

I asked hopefully, feeling comfortably full, and still cheerful I d gotten to eat a whole apple to myself.

 

Breandan swallowed the last of his meal and kissed me.

Sorry, when I came after you there was no thought of food, just that I had to get to you. I promise you as many as you can eat when we return to the Wyld. I ll even show you how to make them.

 

This made me beam. The idea of cooking treats was a pleasant one. Breandan smiled widely at my happiness and stole a kiss, leaving me dazed and scatterbrained. His smiled tended to do that to me, I suppose I should be grateful it took a bit to get him to crack one. I already walked around in a state of partial confusion, adding empty-headedness caused by lust wouldn t help any.

 

Breandan moved away a hairsbreadth then paused, tilted his head to skim his nose over my jaw. Hot sparks of desire skittered across the nape of my neck and swooped down my spine, a flash burn that made my nerve-endings tingle. My lashes lowered, and my back arched. The tip of my tongue flicked out to moisten my bottom lip, my mouth drying from the rapid breaths I sucked down in an attempt to curb my reaction.

 

The mood turned from playful to needy in a heartbeat. Dragged onto his lap, my hands locked around the back of his neck as I pressed my mouth to his. This was different to the frantic groping we d been caught in at Temple. That was a mindless slaking of lust, a violent crush of limbs. Not exactly how I would have pictured my first time, but that had been taken out of my hands the moment I had seen him in all his glory, coming to rescue me. This was gentler, a slow burn that was just as powerful, and allowed me the added pleasure of savoring every moment.

 

His tongue traced the seam of my lips. They parted, letting him tangle his tongue with mine. He hummed his approval and shifted me so I fitted snugly against him. I rocked on his lap, my hands as hungry as my kisses. Briefly hesitating, the slower pace making me shy, I ran my hands out over his chest. When he shuddered under my touch, I brought them back in together to rest over his heart, thrilled I could touch what I often distracted myself staring at.

 

Intense waves of feeling just about made me swoon. I firmly kept an embarrassing fainting spell at bay because I was greedy for more. His warmth engulfed me, and the earthy scent of him teased me until I leaned forward to press a chaste kiss to his mouth. Ah, a costly mistake. I groaned, and kissed him deeper, cupping his face between my hands to hold him still. Breandan chuckled as I sighed and peppered kisses to his chin and neck. His hands ran up over my back and tangled in my hair. He toyed with the mass, languidly running his fingers through it.

 

Cool air touched my skin moments before his warmth covered me; roughened hands making my insides melt. I lifted my arms up so he could tug the tunic off me.

 

I rested my hands on his shoulders and shuddered when he kissed the hollow of my throat.

 

We tightened our embrace. My rapid breathing and fluttering heartbeat were all I could hear. Throaty rumbles of pleasure vibrated Breandan s chest and merged with the quick thuds of my heart. Raking my hands though his plush hair, down the strong column of his throat to trace the hard line of his broad shoulders, I marveled at how delicate and dainty I felt in comparison. Fully grown, I often was smaller than most people I met. It didn t bother me, but when I had to lean up and go on tip-toe to kiss Breandan, it did rankle a bit. Right now, being so small didn t seem such a hardship. My hips fitted nicely over his, and the fit was perfect even closer too.

 

The word seduction came to mind, but this felt too simple for that. There was nothing disciplined or practiced in the way Breandan s mouth roved over me, or how he gripped my hips to pull me closer. There was no faked passion or calculated skill in the soft growls that followed his nibbling of my shoulder, or the erratic pressing his fingers into the small of my back.

 

Breandan stiffened. I was not deterred. He caught my hand as it moved between us to the waist of his trousers. He caught my hands and cocked his head slightly, listening. I splayed my hand on his lower stomach and loved how his muscles clenched under my palm.

 

He slumped, and with a grunt of frustration, his lips mated mine, his tongue darting out to stroke the roof of my mouth before leaving me hot and needy. Not good. With a hearty sigh, he shrugged, and leaned over to grab my discarded tunic and tug it over my head. Um, what? The moment I was covered, I heard footfalls through the undergrowth growing nearer. Oh, right. Groaning, I dropped my head into the crook of his shoulder and huffed bad naturedly. Breandan rubbed my back in soothing circles, and shifted me away from him slightly so I wasn t pressed too close.

 

From the dry, ashy smell that was mixed with a trace of minerals, I knew Daphne was close. What surprised me is that my ears and nose told me she was not alone. I scanned the darkness trying to see what my other senses already knew.

 

Daphne came into sight and paced quickly over to us, seemingly troubled. It must be a great deal of trouble because between my glare and Breandan s steady glower, she didn t seem to notice she had interrupted what would have been a rather pleasurable experience. Though her general air was disturbed, she didn t radiate tension as she would if we were under attack, and she didn t look as if someone had manhandled her recently.

 

Therefore, whatever she was coming to say wasn t that important and so could have waited.

 

There s someone here to see you.

She jerked her head behind her.

Scared me so bad I thought my heart started up again. He appeared ready to take my bloody head off. The only reason I knew he was there was because I heard his heart thud and dropped to the ground just in time. He was up in a tree! Crouched there like some demented bird.

 

Nodding emphatically at her agitated nattering, I leaned around her to see who had irritated her so.

 

A tall fairy stepped out into a shaft of moonlight. An acre of green chest bared, his copper Mohawk stood high from his head in stiff spikes. His almond eyes focused on Breandan before coming to settle on me. He smiled and I caught the spike in his tongue glinting.

 

My heart skipped before a nasty memory made it hammer hard.

You,

I yelped and patted Breandan s arm to get him to look.

CHAPTER FOUR

I didn t trust him. Gunarr was a fairy Knight and Breandan had been quick to secure the man and demand an explanation of all that had happened.

 

His story of the Northern City vampire Nest overwhelming Devlin matched what Breandan expected, and since Gunarr was bound to speak the truth, there was no concern over the validity of what he told us. He reported that Wasp had returned to the Wyld for help, and that he had stayed thinking to rescue the High Lord. When Breandan had passed on the news that Devlin was gone, Gunarr had had to take a few moments to himself. When he returned from his grim solitude, he had dropped to one knee, fist to chest, and swore himself to Breandan and I. Again, his oath was sealed with magics, but I had difficulty not flinching each time he moved too fast.

 

It seemed Breandan and Conall had taken a great deal of consideration for me. Their general movement and speech had been a lot slower than what a fairy would usually do. Breandan and Gunarr communicated as often in looks, hand gestures, and soft noises as they did with words. They moved so fast their limbs blurred.

 

As we stopped to pass another day for Daphne to sleep, Breandan made a soft hitching sound. I turned to give him a puzzled look before noting everyone had stopped jogging twenty paces ago.

 

He d apologized for forgetting I wouldn t know what it meant, and though I d shrugged it had been yet another reminder that we were two different people, but that I was the odd one, not him.

 

I thought back to when Devlin had tried the same, using hand signals to communicate with me when we had rescued Maeve from being held by the Clerics. At the time, I d seen her bruises and winced, but now I knew what the Sect did to demons it captured, the brutal torture one could suffer, I probably would puke everywhere and run screaming. I idly traced a scar running over my forearm when Breandan took me aside and started to teach me the basics. It was painful going. My attention kept wondering to Gunarr weaving in and out of the trees. Doing whatever it was that he was doing, and all that came to mind was suspicion.

 

&.And that is how you ask for your back to be guarded,

Breandan finished.

 

Hmm. I see,

I said noncommittally.

 

Gunarr took a running jump and climbed up a tree, out of my sight. What if he left a trail for our enemies to follow? Or what of he was planning some one treachery that was so wicked I couldn t think of it?

 

Uh, huh, of course that is. &

My head snapped around to find Breandan had stopped talking, and was glaring at me.

Say-say?

I asked sheepishly, knowing he had caught my attention wandering yet again.

 

Have you learnt anything I ve taught you this morning?

 

I plucked at the browning grass; let the blades flutter down as I avoided his disappointed gaze.

Well, there s this one.

 

I placed my palm up and dropped my third finger until it touched my palm. I smiled uneasily when he scowled.

 

That was the first thing I showed you. Anything else?

 

Honestly, no, but I sensed this wasn t the answer he wanted to hear.

If I said I had the gist would that please you?

 

No.

 

Ah, well then. Why do you think Gunarr decided to seek us out?

 

Rae &

 

I crossed my arms over my chest.

You have to admit it s awfully suspicious. He s attacked us once before. It seems unlikely he d switch sides and help us now.

 

He never was on anybody s side. He is a Knight. The Knights are sworn to and answer to the High Lord. Devlin was High Lord and commanded him to capture the fairy Priestess. He was a solider following orders. Now Devlin is gone, he must return home to serve the new High Lord.

 

Then why did he swear himself to us?

 

You are the Priestess.

 

I nodded. My eyes again went to the tree Gunarr had disappeared into. He was quiet. Too quiet.

 

I said,

Fair point. So why did he swear himself to you?

BOOK: Demon Dark
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