“You?” I stared at Zane, unable to figure out how he would be able to help me find angels in hell. Since I was pretty sure those from Elysium stayed away from Tartarus because their powers didn’t mix well. That made me think how in the world did my grandmother even meet my grandfather? Or did she sneak into Elysium and sneak attack him while he slept like the old folk tales? The sound of my grandmother’s voice pulled me away from my random thoughts.
“Zane runs a special type of business within Tartarus.”
Skeptical, I couldn’t help but voice my thoughts. “Please don’t tell me it’s a brothel.”
My grandmother slapped me up beside the head. I flinched, no wonder Zane had held his head, she packed a punch. I pouted with my lip out and rubbed the spot she had hit.
She just rolled her eyes at me and slapped me again. “Brothels were our ancestors best place of business, do not mock them.”
“Ow.” I grumbled, rubbing my head lightly. That seriously hurt. It would be best to change the topic so she didn’t have the urge to hit me again. “Fine, what is this ‘business’?”
Zane shifted on his feet. “I run a store that helps angels, demons and humans alike, adjust to whichever world they want to live in.”
“Oh, well, that sounds like a shitty place to hang out.” I shut up as my grandmother whacked me up beside the head once more. Damnit, I needed to keep my mouth shut around her. “Sounds like a place where knights would gather.”
“There are no knights here, Kei.” Zane responded seriously. His eyes glowed like lights as he made sure I understood. “Only demons.”
“No shit sherlock,” I grumbled, rolling my eyes again. “We are in hell.”
“No, Kei,” was his serious response. His face was stoic as he scanned over my face until his eyes rested on mine. “I mean more than just our blood. I mean our personalities too.” He’s saying everyone in hell is an asshole? Wasn’t that encouraging to make me stay?
“Does that include you?” His face never changed, but somehow I could see the corner of his lips twitch as if he was fighting a smile.
“Highly likely.” I really didn’t know if he was joking or if he was serious.
“Then I am sorry.” I replied sarcastically, “Everyone should know kindness and compassion toward anyone.” This made my father roll his eyes as he shifted in his seat. I grinned at him and then looked toward my grandmother. “By going to Zane’s place, how long do you think it will take me to stabilize my blood?”
“It will depend. It could be anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years.”
“Years?” I thought of Earth side and my mother, would she notice if I was gone longer than a month. Thinking back, my father had said that she had lied to me in the first place when I was only suppose to be here for a month, looking over to my father, I thought of the best way to phrase my question. “How long did you tell my mother I would be here for?”
“I told her that it depended on you and that you may decide to stay here permanently.” I stroked my chin and looked down at my feet. It depended on me, huh? Or in actuality, it depended on the bomb ticking inside me. It’s not like I had ever been anything more to my mother than a slave anyway. Would she actually miss me if I stayed with my father? Probably not, I decided. Plus, on this side, there were people who seemed to truly care about me. I glanced up and through my lashes watched Zane as he watched me. He was also here.
“When can I go see this agency?” I asked Zane, lifting up my head and tilting it to the side, my blood was boiling beneath my skin even by just looking him in the eyes. Even though I couldn’t turn away, I wanted to hide so badly.
“We can go now,” Zane replied, straightening his back. He looked at my grandmother and waited for her to give the okay. She just waved her hand at him.
“If it is to help my grandson so that he can be the future ruler without issues, go. Help him stabilize himself.” She glanced at me and a wicked smiled spread across her face. Her next words were whispered more toward me than Zane, “In more ways than one.”
I immediately knew what she meant and I could feel my entire face flush with heat. Shiiiiiiiit. She had seen right through my lust. Obviously, as a full blooded succubus, she would be able to see any and all lusty thoughts. Damnit. I thought I had hid it so well. My grandmother burst out with laughter and reached toward me with both hands. She turned my face toward her, each one of her hands on either side of my face.
“I will teach you how to control the Incubus part of you, love. But there will be some hurdles only you will be able to overcome. I cannot help you with certain matters of the heart.” I frowned at her and she patted my cheek lightly, her gaze going soft with a new found love. “You remind me so much of him.” She whispered before her hands dropped back to her sides.
“Show him well, Zane. Or else.” My grandmother’s menacing voice filled the room and it sent shivers down my spine. Zane bowed slightly.
“Of course, I promise.” He held out a hand toward me, his long fingers facing upward and a small smile on his face. “Let us go, Kei.”
Slowly, indecisively, I reached my hand out to take his. The moment my fingers fell into his heat, I couldn’t resist the shudder that travelled down my spine. Even as the world suddenly disappeared around me, I could still hear the sound of my grandmother’s cackle.
Shut up, old hag. I thought to myself as Zane’s magic transported us across space.
When I got my bearings back, the first thing I noticed was the warm hand still clasped by mine. I let my hand linger there, feeling the strength in each digit before I regretfully let my own hand drop down to my side. With the absence of heat, I began to look around. We were inside of a small room that closely resembled an office. There were two desks against the side of a wall and a couch on the other side.
The twins, Pian and Teyan were sitting on the couch. Teyan’s legs were drapped over his brother’s lap as they both sprawled comfortably. They heard a small tap, and the both of them looked up. Both sets of blue eyes focused on me, Teyan’s face alighted with a smiled where Pian simply nodded. Two swords were leaning against the wall beside them. One had the hilt of a dragon coiling in on itself where the other seemed to be trees twining together.
Teyan hopped up off of the couch, “Boss,” he rumbled in his rough voice, “Persephone has been looking for you since yesterday. She’s already been here three times today.”
Persephone? I thought to myself. Wasn’t she suppose to be an angel that got kidnapped and brought down to hell so that they could have spring? But wouldn’t that somehow make her related to me?
Having no idea what was happening, I watched as Zane’s eyes narrowed and his body released a terrifying pressure. It was akin to blood lust that filled the room. Apparently Zane did not like this Persephone.
“I will go find her.” He laid a soft hand on my shoulder and pushed me forward lightly. “Explain to Kei what we do here. I will be back as soon as I am done.”
“Sure, sure.” Teyan agreed as he stepped forward toward me. Zane instantly vanished, it was as if he had never been there.
“How come he didn’t use that when I first came here?” I asked looking at the space he had just occupied. Wouldn’t it have been faster with less trouble to just transport like that?
“He can only transport one person at a time.” Teyan answered, plopping back down in the seat next to his brother.
“And the King wanted to be there to pick you up.” Pian muttered, flipping the page of the book he was holding.
“Ah,” I thought back to a couple days ago. “Is that why all of you showed up?”
Teyan nodded vigorously, “If we hadn’t then one of the groups that opposes the King would have done something.”
“Um…” Well then, that didn’t sound good. “How many groups dislike my father?”
“There are plenty.” Teyan answered, he started ticking off a count on his fingers as if trying to come up with a number. He shook his head, throwing out the thought and instead said, “They think he is too softhearted.”
A page of Pian’s book rustled as he answered, “They say he doesn’t kill enough.”
“So a good leader should only kill?” This answer astonished me. What good was a leader that only liked to kill? People seemed to have accepted my grandmother from what records I had read. Was I wrong? Did she kill people? “What about my grandma then?”
“Madame is terrifying.” Pian said before his brother, his blue eyes glancing away from his book and at me. I could literally see the shiver run through him at the thought.
“Right?” Teyan added, “I feel like she knows everything once she looks at me.”
“I know what you mean,” I muttered under my breath. She had seen through everything and I had only known her for a little while. Even to me, she was slightly terrifying. Trying to change the topic, I glanced around the room and asked, “So what exactly happens here?”
Pian looked up from his book, “Say if a human walks through that door,” he pointed to the door across the room. It was decorated with blues and greens, looking like forests and oceans. “And that human want to live in Elysium,” he pointed to another door, this one was colored with whites and gold hues. “Then we find the best way possible to move them there. Whether it is as a servant, or if it means that they have to do a certain number of errands for a specific lord before they are granted immunity. We help them to get there. We are like the mediators.” The only door he had yet to point to was off in the corner, it was decorated with dark blue’s and purples, resembling the moonless night sky.
“So what happens if a demon wants to go live in Elysium?”
“Same concept,” Teyan continued for his brother. “They have to do tasks. No matter where you live, it’s like a point system here. You have to earn a certain amount of points to be able to move. The more points you have, the better the move, the less, then it’s mediocre.”
“What about me, then?” I pondered, “Do I have to have points since I come from Earth side?”
“You’re different.” Came Teyan’s response, “You’re the King’s heir, so you automatically have more points than the average person.”
“How many people come here, though? Are there really that many who want to change where they live?”
“You’d be surprised.” Pian intoned. Just as he flipped a page of his book, a soft musical lilt shook the room with its echoes. The door painted for Elysium opened wide, and from the other side stepped out a tall man with straight blonde hair, high eyebrows and a stern expression. He looked to be from the Elysium elf race. “Your first customer,” Pian said, as he snapped his book shut and stood up.
“Welcome to Charron, friend.” Teyan rumbled, a giant smile on his face. “Which ferry would you like to ride?”
The elf closed the door behind him as he stepped through, he glaced at the three of us in the room, his gaze stopping on me. He tilted his head. “Earth side,” was his response. He walked forward until he was standing in front of me and touched his chin as if he was thinking deeply. “You’re an interesting creature. What are you?”
I glaced at the twins, hoping they would give me a response but they just shrugged their shoulders. I cleared my throat. “I’m a mix.”
“I can see that.” The elf muttered to himself. He walked around me several times, stroking his chin in contemplation before saying, “Your cells seem to be in disarray. There is a bit of elf blood in you. I can offer you advice on the elf healing magic if you are willing to give me points in exchange.”
I glanced at the twins again, was this a good trade or not. The devils, they were back to their couch, sitting there nonchalantly, ignoring me!
Looking back at the elf, I wondered if I was actually allowed to make point trades. If I accepted, it meant that the bomb would gain more time, right? Clearing my throat, I gave a light bow to him, “If you’d be so kind. I’d be honored.”
For the next six months, that was how I spent my life. Within those office walls, learning and trading with the many species from every area imaginable. I learned to control my powers a lot faster than if I had been by myself. I was the only one of those who worked at Charron to stay there full time, everyone else had different missions and different tasks. Out of everyone, though, the only one I wanted to see, and work with, was Zane, but I would only see him once a month and every time he came, it was just to check in, never to stay.
Within that time period, I became fast friends with Brand, Cabe, Data, Mikal, Pian, and Teyan. At the end of the week, the seven of us would go out into the city and we would drink until dawn.
Brand was the serious one of the group, he very rarely drank and he was like a father figure. Cabe, even though he didn’t work at Charron, he would still join us and update us on the comings and goings of the castle. Data was a ladies’ man, if he saw a beautiful woman, there was a nine out of ten chance that he would hook up with her within a few hours of meeting her. Mikal and Teyan were the jokesters of the group. These two loved to be together and create havoc. Pian was usually the one who calmed them down, like a soothing elder brother.
I fit somewhere in the middle of all of them. Not really blending in but also not really standing out. That was the way that I liked it. I didn’t want the guys to find out about my feelings for Zane and how I would dream of him on a nightly basis. My grandmother was teaching me how to control my incubus lust, and it had helped, but as she had said, she could not help with the ways of the heart.
And after my lust settled, I knew, that no matter what I did, that love and the feelings that had sat in my chest for so long would never evaporate. No matter how much I wished they could just float away in the wind, they never would.
My feelings, and lust, for Zane were there to stay.