“Is he still asleep?” I heard Zane ask.
“Yeah,” my dad answered, his voice thick with emotion. “Mon bébé is asleep.”
“Do you have him?” I felt myself being lifted into strong arms; I snuggled closer to the warmth, a loud, rhythmic sound lulling me into a deeper state of sleep.
“My Keiran has grown up. I do not know when I will be able to carry him again.”
“The next time he gets drunk?” Pian said, almost too quietly for me to hear. My father chuckled, his chest vibrating in soothing synchrony. Car doors opened, I was passed to someone else, someone who smelled like paradise, a slight sting of aftershave, with soap and simple maleness. My hand was picked up and fingers laced through mine before it was dropped again almost immediately.
“I will go and warn the ambassadors of my son’s power.” Their voices were quiet, I had to strain to hear them.
“It’s strong but uncontrolled.”
“Yes. It is a good thing you found him when you did, Zane.” An intake of breath.
“What are you talking about?” Data’s voice.
“Look at his barriers, they hold his signature.”
“That means he’s—”
“Yes, he is the one.” This statement from Zane made the pit of my stomach feel warm, as if my body knew something my brain did not.
“Merde.” My father cursed. “That complicates things. I’ll take my leave.”
“Good luck, Raidon, and be careful with D’Deaux. Rumor is he’s planning something.”
“I know. I have heard the talk and my spies say as much.” Fingertips caressed my cheek. “Take care of him while I am gone.” I heard the sound of a door shutting then a car starting.
“What am I going to do with you, agápi mou.”
I feel lips caressing my fingertips before my consciousness was gone.
Strange, I never thought waking up in strange arms would almost be…comforting. Gentle arms lifted me from the warm crevice I was snuggling in only to set me down on cold leather. I shifted awake, blinking as I tried to figure out where I was.
“Kei, wake up. We have arrived.” A smooth, luxurious voice, breath that smelled of caramel, a warm hand trailing down my arm. I looked up into darkened silver eyes and reached my hand out to caress a sun-bronzed cheek.
“So pretty.” I muttered, brushing the stubble along the angular jaw beneath my hand. I smiled lazily. “Unique texture.” White teeth flashed in my direction, almost blindingly, though I still noticed the slightly elongated eyeteeth. My finger caressed the scar that ran from his left eye almost to his lips. My hand lingered, wanting to trace those full lips, to check their texture. I wanted to feel them against mine.
Jerking fully awake, I scrambled backwards across the car seat. Zane stood in the car door, a slight frown marring his lips, giving him a slight edge of sexual appeal. I was breathing fast, my chest heaving. Theos, I had wanted to kiss the Greek god who was posing as the bodyguard for the King of Tartarus.
I cleared my parched throat and licked my suddenly dry lips. Zane’s eyes followed the movement, his eyes narrowing and his jaw tightening slightly. Well, wasn’t this fascinating. I fumbled behind me for the door handle, not wanting to get out on the other side since that’s where Zane stood.
Finally getting the door open, I slid out of the car and walked to the side where Zane was still standing, an almost confused expression on his handsome face.The car I had just vacated was a sleek, silver limo, tinted windows and a driver who wasn’t Teyan. We were stopped outside of large iron gates; they must have been over eight feet in height. Zane walked over to the gate and pressed a concealed button.
Beyond the gates a beautiful mansion lay. It was over four stories tall, all types of granite and marble used for its walls. There were windows upon windows but only one door that you could see. It almost couldn’t be called a mansion it was so enormous, it was almost palace like.
It is a palace, you idiot. I thought to myself. Of course it would be a palace, a king lived in its halls.
I held in my wistful sigh. Zane was talking to one of the staff, he held himself regally, his chin high and back straight. He frowned at the intercom he was talking at.
“That is not necessary. Please don’t send him out.” Zane was saying.
Send who out, I thought. I couldn’t hear the response from the person on the other side of the com but judging by the expression on Zane’s face, it wasn’t good.
“He’s gone and done what?” I could tell Zane was on the verge of yelling, hell, I had only known him about an hour and it seemed he was always yelling at me or sneering at me in some way.
Someone could just come by and shoot us and only his driver would be the witness. Well, the security cameras on the gate would see too, but that wasn’t my point. Where were the other bodyguards anyways, shouldn’t they be nearby.
I looked around again. There was no place for them to hide, it wasn’t like they could just pop up out of the ground like zombies. That would be disgusting. I sighed and looked at my fingernails. How long was this going to take anyway.
I looked up right before I heard Zane’s yell, “Kei, look out!” A large white form was barreling towards me. I felt my eyes widen, my muscles clench, and my power flare to life. I ducked and crouched, covering my head instinctively. Nothing hit me. Why did I somehow feel disappointed by that fact?
Warm breath fanned my neck, looking at the ground before me I saw two large paws, only about a foot shorter than my own 5’4” height. Still holding my head, I looked up at the beast those gigantic paws belonged to.
The beast was absolutely massive. He, and it was definitely a he, trust me on that, was taller than the gate probably at nine feet tall and he was still on all fours. He looked to be a mixture of a wolf and a fox. His snout was sharp and pointed like a fox, but every other feature was wolf. Vibrant red tattoos swirled around bright yellow eyes, eyes that were watching every twitch I made.
The beast breathed in deeply, practically taking my hair up its nostrils. Gross, most definitely gross. The beast seemed to sigh, then he lowered himself onto his stomach, laying flat, his somber eyes watching me still.
“Good boy?” I muttered slowly reaching a hand out, hoping he wouldn’t take off my fingers. The beast grumbled under my hand, closing his eyes when I stroked the fur along his ears.
“Well I’ll be,” A voice said from behind me. I turned and found Data smiling behind me. “It seems Cerberus found a new pal.”
“Cerberus?” I squeaked in surprise looking at the white demon wolf. “Isn’t he supposed to have three heads and be black?” Under my gentle ministrations, Cerberus growled. “Okay, okay, I get it. You like being one headed. Personally I do as well. I am sure others are glad there are only one of me, too.” Cerberus made a noise that could only be described as a laugh.
I smiled and pat his snout before standing up and looking around again. Data was still standing somewhat behind me, though he was grinning at Cerberus. Brand was leaning against the gate, his arms crossed over his chest and his left ankle crossed over his right. Pian and Teyan were actually sitting on the top of the gate, their legs singing in synch. Mikal was talking to the driver of the limo, pointing in a direction. Zane had his arms crossed over his chest, he was glaring at Cerberus.
“Cabe, I told you to stay home!” Zane yelled at the demon dog. The beast in question lowered his head even more and whined softly.
“Cabe? And don’t yell at him, he didn’t do anything wrong really.” Zane looked at me, menace in his mercury eyes and stomped off, the gate opening for him. I looked at Data who was quietly chuckling.
“Why did Zane call him Cabe?” Data smiled and laid a hand on Cerberus, who stood up beside me.
“In Greek, if you say Cerberus fast, it sounds like cabe-er-os. So we all just call him Cabe.” I looked at the demon.
“Cerberus is kind of a lengthy name to say…” Cabe bent and licked my hand, I smiled and rubbed between his eyes. “Alrighty then, I’ll call you Cabe.” The guards walked off after Zane, the twins walking ahead, Mikal walking beside Data behind, Cabe and me then Brand taking up the rear.
Brand was a quiet type, it didn’t surprise me that he would be a back-of-the-group kind of guy. I noticed that my father wasn’t there. I frowned, how long had he been gone. I jogged up to Data and Mikal, Cerberus trailing beside me.
“Do you guys know where my dad went? He was there when I fell asleep, but now…” I trailed off not knowing what to say. Mikal tossed his blonde hair out of his eyes, smiling a flirting smile at me.
“Don’t worry, he does that from time to time. Disappears to go on different missions.”
“Missions?” I asked. Data rubbed his arm, I noticed it had four long scratch marks. Probably from one of the women at the airport.
“Yeah,” he began, leaning towards me in a conspiring manner. “He goes on secret kingly missions where he spies and infiltrates enemy forts. They say he wants to take over the world and destroy all man—OW!” Data grinned at Zane who had punched him in the ribs.
“What lies are you telling now, Data?” Grinning, Data rubbed his side.
“Who says I was telling lies? Why, ask Mikal and he can vouch for me.”
Mikal snorted, “The day you’re honest is the day I’m bonded.”
‘Bonded’ was the demon term for marriage because you literally became bonded from magic and spells. You shared magic, souls, hearts, everything. Bonding was a form of joining that could never be undone. There was no such thing as a divorce in Tartarus.
“Yeah, well, I have no real comeback for that.” Data muttered still rubbing his arms. Cabe nudged my back with his nose, I reached over and splayed my fingers through the fur on his left front leg with my right hand.
“Really, though, where is Raidon?” Zane shoved his hands into his pockets, the action pushed his pants slightly farther down his hips. I looked away, mad at myself for noticing in the first place and instead focused my attention on Cabe.
“Raidon will be back before dusk.”
I frowned. “You know that doesn’t answer my question right?”
He was smirking when I looked over at him. “Of course, it is my role to be as obscure as possible.”
“No,” I told him, “It’s your role to be an ass.” Most of the guys gasped, obviously waiting for Zane to say or do something. All he did was shrug.
“Yeah, so? I can do whatever I want.” He smirked at me as he said this, I narrowed my eyes and stopped. The six of them stopped as well.
“No person in a role of leadership is allowed to do whatever they want. If you did, then you would be worse than a dictator. You’d be no better than the one the humans call Hitler.”
Zane snarled, “Hitlemar was an Asphodel demon. We had no idea his powers would turn him insane. We had no idea the horrors he was giving the humans until one of our own was trapped. Did you think the humans won that war by themselves? They had our help, migás, demon help.”
Everyone, including me, flinched at the sneered term. I didn’t know very much Greek, but the term migás was a belittling word that meant half-breed. By Zane calling me a half-breed in the open, he was acknowledging that I was not part of his race nor my mother’s. He was telling me that I could be thrown out of Tartarus, that I could be thrown out of Earth Side. He was saying I belonged nowhere, that I was literally a bastard of my races.
Kings were not suppose to birth halfbreeds. This, in itself, was a taboo within Tartarus. No wonder my father had never contacted me.
All of my life, I had been called a bastard behind my back because I had never known my father. I had taken the spiteful words and hid my feelings. How Zane was able to call his own friend’s son a bastard was beyond me.
He was degrading his own friend, his own king, with that misspoken word.
My hands clenched together, my skin erupting in fire splitting pain. My ebony tattoos covered my arms, hands and any skin it could reach. The physical pain lessened, the emotional did not.
Around me, the guards took up positions around me, protecting everyone else from me.
Little ole me.
Cabe was gone and in his place was a tall man with white hair that streamed past his shoulders, only his hair was white from the roots until it blended into brown at the ends. His eyes were a molten gold. Cabe was a shifter with demon blood.
“Hypocrite.” I snarled in Zane’s direction. I felt my teeth elongating, piercing my lips and ripping my gums open. I swallowed the blood, savoring the iron rich taste that flooded my senses.
Data and Mikal stood in front of Zane, two large swords drawn and aimed towards me. Data’s sword was glowing a menacing blue, cold seemed to emanate from the magic enhanced blade. Mikal’s blade was an orange color, flames erupted from the tip. I sneered and felt for the dark magic in my core.
I released my demon as I had never done before.
Agápi mou : My love