Outside the station, a nondescript blue van sat idling at the curb. Teyan jumped out of the driver seat and opened the back door. My father hurriedly pushed Zane and me in while he got into the passenger seat. Teyan took the driver’s seat and pulled away from the station like a mad man just as Mikal was shoved out of the door and almost to the ground by a herd of women.
I guess Data didn’t do too well of a job at keeping those women away. Either that or he was mauled and eaten.
Feeling Zane’s hand still wrapped around mine, I glanced up to see if my father was looking. Upon finding he was not, I punched Zane in the ribs. He flinched slightly but, thankfully, let go of my hand. Teyan and my father just raised their eyebrows.
I leaned forward and looked at my father, then realized something.
“Am I going to get my suitcases or will those women consume them?” All three demons looked at me like I was insane. I shrugged. “I had my best pair of pants in there. I do have my weaknesses even though I am a guy.”
“Like a good pair of pants?” Zane asked, a gleam of amusement in his eyes. “We just escaped from a mob and you are worried about your pants?” I looked him over again, he was handsome but…
“There wouldn’t have been a mob if the seven of you weren’t standing there radiating feminine appeal. Or if Raidon had just come by himself. And what’s the deal with that anyway, Dad?” He looked back, a bright smile on his face and I knew he approved of me calling him dad. “Why did we leave those three behind? And who exactly is this louse beside me anyway?”
“Louse?” Zane interrupted. “You wound me, K. I am not a vampire. Therefore I am not a parasite.” I glared at him and turned my accusing stare on to my father. He sighed.
“As for Mikal, Brand and Data, they can fend for themselves. They are in no real danger.”
“But don’t you feel sorry for them? Leaving them to a mob of women?” My father frowned as if this hadn’t occurred to him.
“I feel slightly sorry, but it…ah, it gives them something to do.”
“Something to do? I’d like to hear how they’d respond to that.” Teyan, who was turning down another road, grinned back at me.
“I have been on the receiving end of that, Young Master Kei and I can tell you it is quite entertaining.” I think my jaw dropped. He thought it was entertaining? I definitely didn’t want to know what he did in his spare time.
“As for your other question Kei,” Zane said with an air, he pointed to my father, “you see, your father here is like royalty to Tartarus.”
My dad gave a scoff, “I am royalty.” Zane just flapped one of his hands at him.
“You see, your father is of the Prince of Darkness.”
This time I knew my jaw had dropped.
“The Prince of Darkness? As in the King of Hell?” I was screaming, quite loudly too if the flinches I received were any indication. Teyan had a look of amusement on his face, my father had a slight frown and Zane had an expression of pain.
“Why does Earth Side refer to me as the King of Hell? I hate that nickname. It should be the King of the Underworld or Overlord of the Underworld.” My dad muttered to himself. I just gazed at him, my jaw still hanging wide open, waiting for some deranged fly to zip right in. At that thought, I snapped my mouth shut.
“You,” I punctuated the word with a hand waving in his direction. Dear Dad flinched, hanging his head like a child stealing a cookie from the cookie jar. Or caught opening a present before Christmas. “You are the ruler of Tartarus? You, with your cover model looks?” His brows scrunched together as if trying to remember what a cover model was. His eyes lit up when he remembered. I just glared at him and turned to Zane.
“And you! What are you doing hanging out with the Prince of Darkness?” Teyan was silently laughing while driving, I turned to him as well. “Don’t think you are out of this either. I will find something to yell at you about, mark my words.” That sobered him up.
At that moment, Teyan parked and turned off the van.
“We’re here.” The door opened and Pian stood there with a grin.
“Another fiasco averted.” He said cheerfully, “Your plane awaits, Your Highness.” Zane jumped lithely out of the van and held a hand out to me. I slapped it away. If they thought they would get away without giving me answers then they were in for a big surprise.
Raidon quickly walked beside me, the four of us reaching a private jet in under a minute. I stomped aboard only to stop short. The three demons we had left at the station were already on board. Data waved at me with a grin plastered on his face. Mikal raised a glass of what I guessed was whiskey in a salute. Brand didn’t look at me but stared out the window. All of them but Brand were wearing different shirts. Huh, wonder what happened.
“How in the world…?” Raidon appeared behind me.
“You didn’t notice that our drive was a little…long?” I shook my head. I was now guessing we had gone the long way so the three could catch up with us. “Come,” he said, a smile on his face, “Sit. The flight will be about twenty minutes.”
I sat down, numb. I hadn’t realized how out of place I would be. With these seven demons surrounding me, I felt like an outsider. I couldn’t even control my powers and yet, obviously they all could. I was buckled in and the plane was off in a matter of seconds. Everyone wandered around aimlessly in the small space.
The inside of the jet was relatively small, there was a small bar with three bar stools. Mikal, Teyan and Pian all sat there with drinks in hand. Data leaned against the bar, joining in the drinks. There were two window seats, one on the left side of the plane and the other on the right. Brand sat on the left with Zane beside him. My dad sat in the window seat on the right with me in the aisle seat. A few minutes into the flight, Raidon turned to me.
“Kei,” his voice persuaded me to look at him, I did. “Your mother told you nothing of me, did she?” I growled, baring my teeth, remembering my mother. I could feel the other six waiting for my answer.
“No. Before today, I thought you were dead.” An epitaph that I hadn’t heard since I was a teenager filled the silence that followed my statement. Unexpectedly it hadn’t come from my father but from Zane. My father’s face now looked old and somber.
“What was that woman thinking? Janice should have told you. You have a right to know your father.” I looked down at my hand, which was beginning to tingle with the first signs that my tattoo’s were about to show.
“Oh, she told me all right. About two minutes before she told me I was going to go and stay in Tartarus for a month.” My father’s head snapped up from where he was leaning it against the window.
“A month? She told you you were only going to stay for a month?” I looked into his grey eyes and wondered why he had said ‘only’ it didn’t bode well. I smiled at him anyways.
“When I was little,” I began into the silence in the cabin, “I would go to my friends’ houses and find that they had fathers. Every time I would come home, I used to ask Mom where my dad was. She would look at me with an expression, as a child, I did not know. Now I know she was looking at me with a mix of anger and a touch of sorrow. She would look at me, a snarl almost on her face, and say, ‘Keiran D’Arrow, your father is gone. He left us for good, to take care of ourselves.’ Of course, I would then ask her where he had gone.”
“The first time I asked her, I thought she would hit me, she had such rage on her face. Instead she schooled her expression, bent down to my level and said, ‘your father is no longer of this world, my Kei, he died in a car crash before you were born.’” This time my father did curse and then he stood up and started to pace.
“I was fourteen by the time I figured out to ask if you had any family. Believably she said she didn’t know and that there was no use in wondering about it because she was all I needed. I believed every lie she fed me. She was the only parent I knew, the only source of strength I could rely on when my powers started manifesting themselves.”
“How old?” My father asked, sorrow etched into the strong lines of his face. “How old were you when you first began to manifest?”
“Around nine.” I whispered. I remembered that day. I would always remember it.
I had gone over to a friend’s house and ironically, I had lost my temper because my friends had heard a rumor about my mother being a whore and my father being one of her clients. At that time, I had no tattoos and my power flung from me. I had knocked one of my friends into a wall without even moving. Sarah had looked at me with such terror, her sister Cassidy was screaming. I didn’t know what to do so I had run.
I ran until I collapsed in the dark. My skin vibrating with need for something I couldn’t name. I had placed my hand on a brick wall, trying to get back up on my feet when my magic pulsed again. The wall I had touched disintegrated, leaving a hole. I don’t know how long I sat there, pulsing magic in sporadic intervals before I lost all sense of myself. When I gained my human mind back, I was in my room. The tattoo’s covering every square inch of my skin and pain like no other coursing through my veins.
I looked back up at my father and found horror in his eyes. Zane made a noise, a growl.
“So young,” my father whispered, collapsing into the chair beside me.
“Nine is too young to manifest for a half demon.” Pian said from across the jet, his eyes met mine and I saw that his pupils were mere slits. Like a snake’s, I thought.
“I’ve more than demon blood flowing through my veins. I have mage blood too.” My father couldn’t have looked anymore surprised. Any of the men on the jet couldn’t have looked more surprised.
“This is bad.” Brand muttered, running his hand through his hair. Data looked up from where he was staring into his whiskey.
“Worse than bad. Everyone knows mage magic and demon magic don’t mix.”
“Yet here we have a prime example that it does.” Mikal added, waving a hand at me. I stared into my hand and thought that a burn from whiskey going down my throat was exactly what I needed. Teyan’s glass appeared in my hand.
“Hey!” He exclaimed, I smiled and took a soothing swallow. The men stared at me with fascination, all but my father who now looked a lot older.
“Janice is a mage?” He asked, still not quite believing. I shook my head and took another swallow, savoring the burn.
“No, but her mother was. Grandmother Dearest had a few tricks up her sleeve before she died.” Dad ran a hand over his face then through his hair.
“Merde. I wish Janice had told me while we were dating.”
“Dating?” I squealed. “You dated my mother?” Dad glared at me.
“Of course how else would you be here?”
“Did your mom not give you the birds and the bees talk?” Zane asked in amusement, grinning cheekily. I reached over and slapped him before taking another swallow of Teyan’s whiskey, which I don’t think was whiskey. I stared into the glass and up at my father.
“If you dated then how come I didn’t know you?” I asked with a slight slur. Slur? Oh God, I was getting drunk.
“Your mother never told me about you until you were two. By then we had broken up and moved on. I have stayed in contact with her ever since, but she would never let me see you.” I grinned at my dad, taking another swallow of the whiskey-but-not-whiskey.
“Yup.” I hiccuped. “Sounds like the Bitch Mother there. Never lets you do anything without her approval first. Always nagging and searching my room. Never any privacy.” Zane leaned over and took the glass from my hand before I dropped it. “Hey, I was drinking that.” He just raised an eyebrow and set the glass on the table in front of him.
“Raidon, your son is drunk.” I looked up at the mention of my dad and leaned my head against his shoulder.
“At least I am a happy drunk!” I hiccuped. “What is that stuff anyway?”
“Fey wine.” Pian answered, raising his own glass. “Filled with fifty percent alcohol and twenty percent magic.”
“Well,” I muttered, “If I ever want to get hammered I’ll remember to drink Fey wine.”
Mikal laughed and muttered to Data, “I like this one. Quite entertaining.”
Teyan smacked Mikal across the head, “Don’t call him entertaining, he’ll get…shocked.” Data grinned and laughed.
“But entertaining is good, especially an entertaining drunk.”
I grinned stupidly at the men. I never thought Tartarus would be this fun. I closed my eyes again and fell into an conscious sleep. Distantly, I heard the jet land and the Prince’s guards making arrangements for a car.