Prince of Demons 3: The Order of the Black Swan (3 page)

BOOK: Prince of Demons 3: The Order of the Black Swan
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“What? Who?”

Lana started to pull up her pants, but abandoned that project because of heart failure when Deliverance appeared next to Litha. He kissed Litha on the cheek looking at her like nothing more marvelous was conceivable in that dimension or any other. “You called?”

“Dad, this is Lana.”

Deliverance looked at Lana and, of course, ran his eyes over her slowly before he smiled the most predatory smile Lana could imagine.

“Lana. I’m not full demon, but he is.” She noticed what Deliverance was doing. “Stop it. You’re not here for that.”

The incubus looked at his daughter. “I’m always here for that.”

“Well, control the impulse for a minute. Please.” She turned back to Lana. “He’s a sex demon, which means he has a hard time staying focused on other things, but he can manage to function like a normal demon for short periods of time.”

“Hey. I’m normal!” The demon sounded offended.

“Let’s have that debate another time,” said Litha. She slapped at Deliverance who had turned his attention toward the nurse, who was evidently ready to receive.

“Ow,” he said.

“Will you just stop? You know I didn’t hurt you.”

“I thought you wanted me to be ‘
normal
’.” He whined the word, normal.

“We need to take Lana through the passes to a Callii stronghold.”

Deliverance’s attention snapped into place and focused with laser intensity. He looked at Lana again. “She’s human.”

Litha smiled slowly. “I know. That’s why we need you. Listen to what I just learned.”

 

In ten minutes Litha had convinced her father to donate both his blood and his time to the cause. He protested mightily and called injecting his blood into a human “sacrilege”.

“What if she picks up other abilities besides being able to travel the passes?” he argued.

Litha smirked. “You mean what if she becomes a great lay?”

“Well, yes. That is what I was thinking.”

“I’m sure her boyfriend won’t mind.”

Deliverance looked at Lana. “You have a boyfriend?”

“Well, yes, I guess. I hadn’t really named…”

“It doesn’t matter,” Litha interjected. “The fact is that we need to give her a ride.”

“I don’t know, Sweetness. The Callii aren’t always hospitable.”

“There’s worse and you know it,” replied Litha.

When Deliverance saw that his daughter had made up her mind, he said, “This is on you. If anything happens, I’m not taking the blame. Again.”

“All on me, Pop.”

Litha withdrew the purple fur-lined handcuffs.

“What are those for?” For the first time Lana was questioning the wisdom of the “experiment”. She took a step back.

“Insurance,” Litha said. “Passengers can get lost in the passes if we don’t have a firm grip on them.”

Litha was careful to not look at Deliverance, who crossed his arms over his chest and looked away. “If that’s all you need from me.”

“All for now.” When Litha smiled at Deliverance his features softened and he returned her smile. “Dinner Thursday.”

“You know I…”

“Just be there.”

“Okay.”

And he was gone.

 

 

Litha handed the syringe with her blood to the nurse. “Dispose of this, will you?”

The nurse took the syringe, nodded, and left the room with the sound of stocking-covered legs rubbing together.

“Okay. You ready? This time we’ve got the real deal.” Lana looked at the syringe, looked at the handcuffs, swallowed hard, and nodded. “I’m going to inject you then put the handcuff on.” Litha paused. “Do you suffer from motion sickness?”

Lana thought back on her experiences with being taken from one dimension to another. “Not usually, but the…” she waved her hand.

“Traveling the passes.”

“Yes. That. Does seem to make me nauseous.”

“Wait here.” Litha wasn’t gone for more than a couple of minutes before she returned with a motion sickness drug and a bottle of water. “Take two of these.” She handed Lana two round white pills about the size of common aspirin and screwed the top off the bottle of water for her.

She continued while Lana took the pills. “I’d like to give your system a few minutes to respond to the injection anyway.” She looked at her watch. “Maybe fifteen minutes. We could hang out here or I could take you anywhere in this world if you’d like a quick trip. Some place you’d like to go?”

Lana’s eyes met Litha’s. “There’s a restaurant in Dallas…”

 

 

 

Litha sat down at the bar with Lana and said, “No alcohol. We have no idea what that might do.”

They ordered drinks.

Lana had been secretly hoping for a glimpse of her father, but knew it was unlikely. Ten minutes later Litha said, “Time to go.” She snapped the handcuff on Lana’s wrist and they were gone.

When they emerged from the passes, Lana was saying, “Hey! You just did an eat-and-cheat on my dad. Or a version of my dad. Same thing.”

She looked around and saw that they were outside a dungeon cell with Brave not only inside, but manacled to the wall. “What the…? Brave!” She rushed forward and began pulling on the cell door as if she actually believed she had the brute strength necessary to wrench it from the hinges.

Brave raised his head. Looking through blurred vision, he wasn’t sure if he was hallucinating or if he actually saw Lana standing outside the cell with a curly-headed brunette.

“Lana? You came back?”

Litha looked at Brave and said, “Yes, she did,” in a matter-of-fact tone. To Lana she said, “The good news is it worked. You’re here in one piece and that’s a breakthrough with far reaching ramifications that I haven’t begun to consider. The bad news is that I’m guessing you weren’t expecting to find your prince in chains.”

Because Brave was Lana’s first concern, it hadn’t yet dawned on her that there was cause to be afraid. She looked at Brave.

“Brave. What happened?”

Litha took hold of the cell door, murmured something and it opened.

Lana did a double take because she’d just been pulling and pushing with all her might and it hadn’t budged. Rushing forward she took Brave’s face in her hands. “We’re going to get you out of here.”

Litha apparently worked some magic on the manacles because they fell free. Brave collapsed and Lana went to the floor with him, trying to hold and comfort him.

“Now’s the time to tell us, Brave. What happened here?”

“I guess I’ve been distracted with thinking about Lana.” He sounded weak. “We were attacked by the Reinlitegen. They came right into Court. The first thing they did was to grab me. There were so many. Callii didn’t have any choice but to evacuate.”

“Evacuate?” Lana asked. “You mean run away and just leave you to the mercy of the, uh…”

“Reinlitegen. It sounds bad when you say it like that, but the Callii aren’t aggressive like the Reinlitegen. Staying would have been suicide.”

“So they took over your world and put you in here?”

He tried to smile. “Kind of ironic? That they’d imprison me in the prison I built as an amusement park for you?”

“Yeah. Ironic.”

Litha had been listening to the exchange carefully. “So why did they want you in particular, Brave? From what you’ve said it almost sounds like you were their real reason for being here.”

He shook his head. “I don’t know.”

“Well, I’m not interested in getting involved in a war between Callii and Reinlitegen. Not what I signed on for, but I can see that you’re falling victim to demon ignorance, Brave. They took you, but they don’t know what to do with you. They really have no concept about the care and feeding of humans. So I’m going to make sure your strength and health are returned to you and then after that, what happens is your fate. Not mine.”

Brave looked at Litha and tried to focus on her features. “Who are you?”

“I’m just here to help out your girlfriend.”

“My girlfriend?”

“She means me,” Lana said.

Brave’s eyes cut to Lana with such an adoring look that it provided Litha with a feel-good kind of payoff.

“Lana, we can take him back to The Order long enough to get him healthy. And
maybe
return him to the Callii he belongs to. Wherever they are. But that’s as much interference as I can offer.”

Brave focused on Litha and tried to clear his throat. “I understand. I’d be grateful.”

“We’ll
be grateful,” Lana corrected and Brave gave her that look again that said she had to be the goddess that hung the moon. “How are we going to do that? He doesn’t have any of the magic juice in his system.”

“Magic juice?” Litha chuckled. “I love that. Well, I guess I need to go back to the source and get some more.”

“Your, uh, dad? Something tells me you’ll have a fight on your hands.”

Litha just pressed her lips together. “We’ll see. Let’s go.”

“What do you mean? I’m not leaving him.”

“I get why your first impulse is to want to stay with him, but I don’t think that’s smart. If you come with me now, then at least we’ll have you out of harm’s way.”

“No. If the Rein-whatever come back and find him out of the chains, we don’t know what they’ll do. Take us somewhere in
this
world where he’ll be safe until you can come back.”

Litha chewed on her top lip. “Where would that be?”

Lana looked at Brave. “There’s an outpost where he could stay for a little while. A ramshackle sort of hunters’ cabin.”

“I still have to take you first so you can show me where it is.”

Lana had no choice but to concede to that logic. “All right. Can we hurry?”

“A rush order. My specialty.”

 

 

It seemed that demons, and half demons, had the ability to see through the murk of the passes, whereas unenhanced humans did not. For that reason, returning to the shelter was a tricky process, a little like having a blind person describe how to get to a place where they’d once been when they were still sighted. Though it took much longer than Lana would have liked, Litha was eventually able to deliver both Brave and Lana, separately, to the cabin. Fortune had been with them. Brave’s captors had not discovered that he’d been freed from his chains. So Brave was spirited away from his prison, though the irony that he’d built that very dungeon as a prop had not been lost on him. He’d thought about it countless times during the long hours and days that he’d hung from manacles that cut into his skin while, without sustenance, his body succumbed to weakness.

Once Litha persuaded Deliverance to give up more of his “magic juice”, it wasn’t that hard to draft him into service to help retrieve half of the couple in need of rescuing.

While Litha administered doses to Lana and Brave, she gave instructions to Deliverance. “You take him. He can’t even stand up and will more or less need to be carried.”

Deliverance looked at Brave then eyed Lana and smiled his wolfish smile. “I’ll take her.”

“No you will not!”

He pouted. “I’m hungry.”

“You can wait for ten minutes. Okay? That’s all this will take. Just leave him in the clinic and I’ll do the rest.”

“Scotia Fae. Hmmm. Yes. Just what I’m in the mood for.”

The process of transporting Brave and Lana to the clinic at The Order’s headquarters in Edinburgh took a fraction of the time because the demons knew where they were going.

Deliverance dumped Brave on a gurney and turned to leave, but Litha put a hand on his forearm before he vanished. “Dad. Thank you. I know I ask a lot and don’t say it often enough.”

BOOK: Prince of Demons 3: The Order of the Black Swan
10.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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