A Demon’s Wrath: Chapter 8

2015 A Demon Wrath Book Cover Version 1Chapter VIII

 

 

CECELIA WAS READY THE NEXT morning when Lucifer came to her room, running and jumping as though he couldn’t wait to see her and show her around the palace. As they were having their breakfast, which contained an array of delicious fare to choose from, such as toast, hot rolls, baked savory cakes, grilled asparagus and potatoes, and of course, tea to wash it all down, she wondered about the demon king and his comrades. Were they like her uncle and most of the nobilities and ministers residing in the Van Zandt Palace, still abed this late in the morning? Or were they like her father? Up even before dawn, training his small, loyal armies—an army that had died with him the night they had been raided by the demons.

It wasn’t long when Lucifer hastily came around to her and excitedly pulled her off her chair, leading her toward the door. Vera chuckled and followed closely behind them.

“You’ll love Storm,” Lucifer said cheerfully, his bright-blue eyes twinkling. “He’s my pony. Uncle Drake gave him to me last year for my birthday. He said he’ll grow very big if I take good care of him.”

Vera said, “Lucifer, my love, why don’t we show Brian the library first? Then we can show him the stables.”

Lucifer practiced his dark scowl with a pursed lip at his mother. “Do we have to?”

Vera couldn’t help but chuckle at her son’s funny face. He was trying to look like his father and uncle, of course, who, more often than not, sported a brooding scowl on their faces. Most of the women found them intimidating and wouldn’t go near them. Oddly enough, Vera found herself attracted to her husband, even with that dark frown on Adam’s face. She, however, couldn’t say the same for Drake. She loved and respected Drake as her in-law and her king, but at times, she still felt intimidated by him.

“Yes, love,” she said to her son.

“Why?”

“Because Brian is a good student. He studies plants in different kingdoms, and he would want to explore our library,” Vera replied. “And you, my love, would do well to follow him.”

Lucifer groaned, his lips downturned. “I don’t like studying. Julius makes me study so hard. I like going out hunting with Uncle Drake and Uncle Gerick.” He grabbed for Cecelia’s hand and then steered her reluctantly toward the library instead of the door that would lead them outside.

“Hey, Brian,” Lucifer said a few seconds later. “Papa is teaching me how to fence. He’s very good with his big sword. Can you fence, Brian?”

Cecelia said, “A little.”

“Only a little?” Lucifer sniffed and nodded. “Well, you humans are not very good at fencing like we demons are. Papa and Uncle Drake are the best. I’ll ask Papa to teach you. How about that?” Then he began to skip, but those animated steps stopped as quickly as they started once they came to a huge door leading into the library.

“Well, here we are,” the little demon said unenthusiastically, looking at the gigantic double doors.

“Why don’t you show Brian in, Lucifer?” Vera suggested.

With a big ill-disposed sigh, he nodded and headed into the library, pulling Cecelia by the hand along with him.

Inside, Cecelia could only stare wide-eyed at the thousands of books that surrounded her. The library was enormous and neatly furbished with thousands of volumes shelved on all sides of the two stories walls.

“Well?” Lucifer asked, looking at her with some expectation.

“Whoa,” Cecelia expressed, her breath taken away. “This place is amazing.”

Lucifer pulled a shocked face in disbelief. When he saw his mother laughing, he straightened himself and said, “Julius makes me read them, you know, the books.”

Vera, who finally managed to halt her mirth of her son’s peculiar face, said, “Lucifer doesn’t like studying, as you can tell.”

Cecelia nodded.

“Mama, can we go now?” Lucifer asked when he saw Julius coming down from the second floor with a book in his hands. He rushed to hide behind Vera as Julius came toward them.

“Ah, young Brian,” Julius said. “And is that my bright student I see hiding behind his mother’s skirts?”

Lucifer clamped his lips and poked his head to the side to peek at Julius.

Julius said, “A brave demon doesn’t hide behind his mother.”

Lucifer hesitantly stepped to the side and announced, “I’m brave.”

Cecelia said, “Of course you are, Lucifer. You didn’t even cry when that madman beat you.”

Lucifer widened his eyes as he looked at Cecelia. Clearly, he’d forgotten the fact that he was indeed very courageous when he’d been kidnapped by the pirates. He nodded furiously in agreement. “Yes, yes, see. I didn’t cry at all when that madman beat me. I am brave.”

Vera laughed. “Yes, you are, sweetheart,” she said, stroking his blond hair lovingly, feeling the urge to grab him in her arms once again just to assure herself he was back home with her, safe and sound. Last night she’d felt utter relief sweeping through her being and couldn’t help but cry her heart out as she embraced him tight against her in bed, with Adam hugging her and Lucifer in his strong arms.

“Is that the Pearl of Life?” Cecelia asked, staring at the colorful drawing in the book Julius was holding. On the cover page of the thick ancient book, in neat, big bold letters, it read: RECIPE FOR THE PEARL OF LIFE.

Julius said, “Yes, it is. This book contains the formula for the Healing of Life Potion and such likes. Its main ingredient is the elixir of the Pearl of Life.”

“I didn’t know the Pearl of Life needed a formula to work,” Cecelia stated, confused.

“Oh, yes, it does.” Julius moved closer to Cecelia and turned a page. At the top, in beautiful bold writing, it read, THE HEALING OF LIFE POTION. Cecelia read below the heading.

The Healing of Life Potion is used to heal life-threatening poison such as the Westwick Poison from the Northeast, the Naga Poison from the Southeast, and the Green Snake Poison from the East.

Below that, the book was set out like a normal recipe book with ingredients and methods.

“Mama, can we go now?” Lucifer whispered to Vera.

“I’ve never heard of the Naga Poison and the Green Snake Poison before,” Cecelia said, curious. She’d thought the only life-threatening poison she’d ever known was the Westwick Poison, created by the Westwick family from the Virdis Kingdom in the thirteen century.

“Oh, yes, the Naga Poison is very powerful indeed. When Drake, Adam, Gerick, Leon, and I were in our youth, we went exploring. One of the kingdoms we visited was the Moha-Angkor Kingdom. A very dangerous and barbaric place if you ask me.”

With Cecelia’s nod, he continued, “Gerick was, of course, very careless. He went swimming in the South Sea and a Naga bit him. Luckily, it wasn’t the Naga king himself. The poison isn’t so powerful. They were warned. I told them before we left that the Angkorian people are very superstitious. They believe and value their god-king as much as they believe and value their dead and many other unexplained things. And they should be careful not to cross paths with a Naga. We sailed back in a hurry to save Gerick. Thank God for the Pearl of Life.”

“Where does the Naga king live?” Cecelia asked.

Julius said, “Ah, I believe Lucifer can answer that question.”

All eyes turned to Lucifer expectantly.

Lucifer went bright red in the cheeks and said reluctantly, “Under the Southeast Sea. Their castle is protected by a powerful barrier.”

Julius said, “Who created the barrier?”

Lucifer sighed and then said, “The Naga king.”

“Who is the Naga king?” Julius continued quizzing his student.

Lucifer gazed up at Vera. He looked as though he really hated being there with Julius questioning him in such a way in front of his new friend Brian.

He sighed again, indignantly, and said, “The Naga king used to be Prince Jay in the Moha-Angkor Kingdom a hundred years ago. He got cursed and turned into a Naga by his mortal enemy, Prince Surya.”

“And who is—”

“Prince Surya?” Lucifer cut into Julius’s question.

Julius winked at Cecelia. He said to Lucifer, “Well done. You know my question before I even finish it.”

At this point, Lucifer was losing his patience and said quickly, “Prince Surya is Prince Jay’s mortal enemy. After using black magic to curse Prince Jay, King Naga got very angry and used black magic to curse Prince Surya into a Garuda. Prince Surya became a Garuda king living in the Cloud Palace.”

“That’s amazing,” Cecelia said.

“That’s only a little history of the southeast,” Julius said. Indeed, he sounded very proud of his student. And then he changed the subject, which made Lucifer sigh with relief.

“The Pearl of Life has special power only in the hands of the demon king and those very few who know how to draw out its magic. The Pearl of Life, however, is just like any other pearl in human hands. Unless, of course, the person knows the spell or recipe to withdraw its elixir,” Julius said as though he were explaining important history to Cecelia. He was, after all, a teacher, and if anyone showed any interest, Julius couldn’t help himself by granting such studious person his full knowledge of the subject.

“But of course,” he continued, “no one is allowed to use this powerful pearl without the permission of the king himself, for it belongs to him from birth. It is his gem. His seed, if you will.”

Vera said, ignoring once again Lucifer’s plea to leave, “One of the potions is Eternal Beauty.”

“Yes, that one. Hmm, I must warn you, Brian—though I can see from within your aura that you are not the type to want eternal beauty—that potion is very powerful.”

“Mama!” Lucifer whispered with cupped hand near his mouth so Julius wouldn’t notice. “Storm might be asleep when Brian gets there. Can we go now?”

With a raised brow, Julius looked down at his student through the rim of his spectacle. Lucifer blushed and quieted down immediately.

Vera said, “Black Potion, that one.”

Julius nodded. “Three generations ago, Queen Josephine was so vain she stole the Pearl of Life from the demon king and made the Eternal Beauty Potion. She became the most beautiful demon in our kingdom. Not only that, but she also became the most beautiful being ever to have existed in our world. But her beauty, it turned out, was only skin deep. She was so poisonous inside that she killed her own sisters, fearing they would one day exceed her in beauty. Eventually, she became so bitter within herself that she went mad and committed suicide.

“Of course, the wizard also found out later that she was poisoned inside. Her heart was dying from the toxin. That recipe, instead of extracting the goodness from the pearl, draws out the toxic chemicals that reside within the thin external layer of the pearl. Hence, they concluded the toxic chemical causes madness as well as slowly killing the heart muscles as it flows through the blood.”

“But that’s horrible,” Cecelia said.

Julius nodded. “Yes, it is horrible. Luckily, or not so luckily, the recipe for that potion was lost a hundred years ago. And our old king was only too happy to see it gone, as it caused the kingdom naught at that time but grief.”

“Mama, can we go now?” Lucifer begged once again, this time louder as he tugged at Vera’s skirt.

Vera turned her eyes to her beloved son and patted his head fondly. She said, “The potion is a horrible one. No one should ever use it again.”

“Mama,” Lucifer begged.

Julius shut the book then and looked pointedly at Lucifer as he said, “Showing Brian around, are we?”

Lucifer nodded enthusiastically, giving Julius a toothy grin.

“The stables?”

Again Lucifer nodded.

“We better go,” Vera said, “before this little demon gets annoyed with us.”

Cecelia nodded in agreement. They left the library, and Lucifer gleefully ran outside the palace toward the stables even before Julius could say good-bye.

The warm morning breeze was nice against Cecelia’s skin. The smell of wild lily and honeysuckle caressed her senses, which reminded her of Rosevalley.

Across the vast land to the north were orchards growing with pears, apples, stone fruits, and many types of berries. The vineyard to the east once again reminded her of her home and her mother and brother, which made Cecelia’s heart ache. To the south, spilled over across in the wide expansion was the city itself, with stone buildings, large and narrow lanes, markets, the town square, and demons going about their days and doing their business.

It was when they headed farther toward the west that Cecelia began to hear clanging noises of metal against metal and men grunting. She narrowed her eyes against the bright sunlight in search of the clatters that grew louder and louder. Then as they came around the thick stone wall and into the clearing behind the castle, Cecelia gasped in awe at the sight she beheld before her.

Demons. There were at least a few thousand of them in the vast open field, training, sharpening their battle skills. She blinked as she watched men wrestling, fencing, spear-throwing, fighting, and much more. She felt overwhelmed. This training camp was a hundred times bigger and a hundred times more energetic than the one she’d witnessed back at home in Rosevalley as a child.

“There’s Papa!” Lucifer shrieked excitedly. He jumped on his spot and waved to his father animatedly. When he saw his papa raise a sword at him in salute, he laughed elatedly. Vera giggled as she too waved back at her husband.

Cecelia couldn’t take her eyes off the scene before her. These demon warriors were terrifyingly skilled with their weapons and techniques in battle. No wonder the humans feared them.

It was then she noticed the demon king Drake amongst his soldiers. He was training a group of well-honed yet nervous-looking warriors. There were eight of them surrounding him, swords in their hands, ready to take him on. Drake, in only his breeches and a sword in his right hand, swung his sharp, lethal weapon forward and began the combat. He was quick and precise with his blows, and within a minute, the eight warriors were all defeated, lying flat on the ground, their bodies brutally beaten. Drake, who stood eyeing his crushed warriors with an unsatisfied frown, suddenly glanced up and caught Cecelia’s eyes.

Though she was trembling in the sheer awe and fear of the demon, Cecelia couldn’t look away. He fascinated her beyond belief as she stared at his half-naked body with bulging muscles that sent her body tingling. His bronze, smooth skin glistened with sweat and his chestnut-brown hair hung over his scowling face. His gaze was hot and intense, and even at this great distance, glued her to her spot. Then he gave her an astute smile that made Cecelia’s stomach flutter with an odd excitement in response. She caught her breath at the back of her throat and quickly glanced away.

“We’ll come back and watch them after I show you the stables,” Lucifer stated as he began leading her along the narrow path to the other side. Cecelia felt Drake’s fervid gaze on her person as they passed, and she held her breath until they were out of sight of the training camp.

“There’s the stables,” Lucifer shouted, dragging her across the clearing. “Storm, Storm, Storm,” he sang as he hopped along.

Cecelia glanced at Vera, who was smiling. “He loves Storm,” she explained.

Cecelia nodded. She understood perfectly how attached the little demon was to his pony. She herself had been very attached to her mare Snow.

“Here we are,” Lucifer announced. “He’s in here, he’s in here,” he shouted as he ran into the stables.

Inside, Cecelia saw the steeds were like those she’d seen the day before—beautiful, big, and strong. The place was warm and smelled of hay, earth, and animals.

“Come here, come here,” Lucifer shouted, his hand waving wildly at Cecelia. “Storm’s here. You want to pet him?”

“Of course,” Cecelia said, chuckling. She walked to the little, cute demon’s side and bent low to pat the gray pony that didn’t at all look like a pony she’d ever seen. “It’s, err, nice,” she stated and gave him a confused look that made Lucifer roll his eyes heavenward, informing her with his far more superior knowledge that she didn’t know anything.

“He’s a pony,” he stated, pointing to the animal that did indeed look like a pony, but at the same time didn’t. It had beautiful, fluffy fur, striped gold and black, almost like a cat. The animal itself, however, had pointy horns and a body like a unicorn. “See? he queried. “He’s more than nice. He’s the best.”

“Yes,” Cecelia said, nodding, “he’s the best.” She stroked the animal, loving the warmth and softness of the fur under her fingertips. The pony groaned in response and nuzzled closer to her.

Lucifer laughed. “See, he likes you touching him,” he said, nodding his blond head.

Cecelia smiled as the pony groaned some more and, shoving its head toward her, begged her to pet it again. It was then that a series of loud snorts came from the next stall. Cecelia jumped and glanced up, nearly falling on her backside in surprise. Another grunt came and went, and Cecelia was utterly scared and curious.

Slowly she stood, her eyes wide as she came to face the most beautiful beast she’d ever seen. Sinfully black, muscles firm and tone in stunning shape. Cecelia was mesmerized by the creature’s beauty.

“What a beautiful horse,” she commented, watching as the muscles of the animal’s hind legs rippled as it moved.

Lucifer straightened and stood on tiptoe so he could look at the animal. “Oh, that’s Wildfire. He’s being naughty. That’s why Uncle Drake put him in there.”

Cecelia looked at Lucifer with her brows raised. “Naughty?”

“Hum.” Lucifer nodded.

“Would you like to take Storm for a ride, Lucifer?” Vera asked behind them.

Lucifer turned to face his mother and shook his head. “No, I’m going hunting with Papa and everyone after luncheon.”

“What will you hunt this time?” Vera asked with interest.

“Papa said last night that we’re getting a wild boar,” Lucifer supplied.

Cecelia frowned and said, “But surely, hunting is very unpredictable. How do you know you’ll get a wild boar?”

Lucifer looked at her as though she didn’t know anything of importance. He said, as though lecturing somebody much younger than himself, “We are getting a wild boar. That’s what Papa said. And what he says goes.”

Wildfire hissed again, its hind legs kicking against the unstable wooden door. Cecelia worried the animal might break the door down and topple on them, especially Lucifer, who didn’t seemed to have a care that this might happen.

“He’s upset he’s stuck in there. Poor Wildfire,” Lucifer said, shaking his head.

“Does Wildfire not like to stay in his stable?” Cecelia asked, pulling Lucifer away from the door.

Lucifer looked up at her and said, “Wildfire doesn’t stay in the stable. He runs and flies around. If he’s in the stable, it means he did something very terrible that Uncle Drake doesn’t like, to teach him a lesson.”

“Fly?” Cecelia asked, looking at the young demon.

Lucifer nodded. Vera saw the look of confusion on Cecelia’s face and stepped in to explain. “Wildfire, Brian, is a special breed of steed in the demon kingdom. It can fly.”

Just then, Wildfire turned about and faced them. Cecelia widened her eyes at the twisted black horn on the steed’s forehead. Its eyes were pitch black. Then it started to snort at them again, tapping its two front hooves on the ground.

“Does it fly very fast?” Cecelia asked curiously.

“Oh, yes,” Vera said. “So much so that one couldn’t catch up on horseback.”

Cecelia stared at the steed long and hard.

Then Lucifer said, “Hey, you like Wildfire more than Storm.”

Cecelia didn’t hear what Lucifer had said. She was staring at the beast, her mind racing.

“Hey!” Lucifer said, nudging Cecelia’s hand.

Cecelia jumped. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

“You like Wildfire more than Storm,” Lucifer repeated unhappily.

“Now, Lucifer, it is enough that you love Storm. It is, after all, your pony, not Brian’s,” Vera said.

Lucifer clamped his lips together and then nodded. “No, I wouldn’t like it if Storm liked Brian more than me. Okay, let’s go watch Papa train the younger warriors. I’m going to be like him when I grow up,” he thought to add before running out of the stables.

“Come along,” Vera said to Cecelia.

Cecelia turned once more to look at Wildfire and then followed Vera out of the stables.

* * * * *

This book can be purchased from amazon, ibooks, barnes and noble, and smashwords.

2015 A Demon Wrath Book Cover Version 1Chapter VII

 

 

THE DEMONS DIDN’T LIKE HUMANS very much. They considered these beings twisted, cunning bastards with nothing more to fill their time than to get drunk, plot, plan, kill amongst their own kind, and of course, going to war with other kingdoms to conquer.

The Demon Kingdom was one of those prized nations, with its fertile soil excellent for farming, lakes with an abundant supply of fresh water, woods full of wild animals, ocean copious with sea creatures, and mines rich with precious metal ore such as silver and gold. For centuries, the humans had their eyes on the demon land, their hunger for it driving them to a feverous pitch that led to numerous wars and millions of deaths. When they failed in their attempt, they spread lies and rumors that demons were monstrous creatures born to destroy and kill.

For the last few hundred years, the war against the demons had turned into a Holy War, brought about by the human Holy Knights to eradicate these nightmarish, malevolent beings from the nine kingdoms. They failed spectacularly, and now fifty years since that war ended, many still believe the demons to be these grotesque murderers the humans portrayed them to be.

Though Drake himself didn’t dislike the humans as passionately as his demon citizens, he still regarded them with disdain and preferred to interact with them at arm’s length. He understood that all races were of the same make, that the urge to lie, steal, or kill was fueled by the need to survive by some, passion by others, and greed by a fair few. Of course, this included those who were here to steal his treasure, and there had been many since this kingdom became his after the death of his parents.

As with anything, there was the exception of the very selected few whom he’d encountered and found very amiable. One of those was Lord Peter Van Zandt, the Earl of Rosevalley, whom he had met many years ago during one of his sea adventures. The man and his beautiful wife showed him the true meaning of being alive, being a part of a loving family and friends, and how one should always be true to oneself, whether a powerful king or a poor farmer. Of course, the earl had taught him the art of viticulture and viniculture as well. These were lessons that Drake cherished and knowledge he kept with him since.

He was currently sipping the fruit of one of those lessons now. The dry and sweet taste of the wine swirled playfully in his mouth as he carefully analyzed the current urgent state in which they were. Marcus Arthurs, who had escaped the dark prison four years ago, was now gathering troops, preparing for imminent war, with the help of what kingdom Drake had yet to find out.

As a young king, Drake had to show his demon followers his strength and capability to protect them from the continuous threats of wars that raged across the nine kingdoms. It was a hard job, one that required constant late nights, an alert and sharp mind, and wise decision-making, of which Drake possessed in abundance.

Now, however, it wasn’t that threat of war that put him on edge, for they had no fear of such things. Drake and his comrades were skilled, ruthless warriors and had trained their demon armies, which counted in the hundreds of thousands, the art of battle to perfection. They were always ready for any combat, and none were afraid to die for their country. Marcus Arthur, a demon and Drake’s ex-comrade, wouldn’t be able to withstand them, regardless of the influential and powerful help he managed to acquire from outside.

It was the imminent need for a blood heir that worried Drake. He was ready for marriage, but his pearl of life was still dormant, hadn’t yet informed him it had found a suitable bride for him to mate and bear his children. Such was the fate of a true demon king, for if the bloodline wasn’t suitable, the power within would die, and along with it the kingdom.

“Your scowl is darker than usual, Drake,” Julius said from the other side of the library. He had a book in his hands, his eyes scanning through the ancient text as he stated his next query. “Are you worried about the pearl?”

Drake, perched on the step of the stairs above, gazed off into the distance through the long window that overlooked the city below. Dots of bright light illuminated the vast kingdom like fireflies, an enchanting picture. This kingdom was his, and Drake loved and cherished it—his land, his demons, and all that was within the boundaries of his responsibility.

“Aye,” he replied. “The pearl isn’t yet ready.”

Julius took off his spectacle, resting it gently on the table, and lifted his head to look at Drake. “Well, there is naught we can do but wait until the timing is right.”

“Timing,” Drake said, “is not on our side. Marcus Arthur, as we know, is now gathering his armies. He knows I’m without a blood heir. This kingdom is vulnerable. He will challenge me and kill me if he gets the chance. If I die, this kingdom will die with me, and you know it.”

Julius was silent for a moment. The situation was dire. Unlike the human kingdoms, the survival and prosperity of both the Angel and Demon Kingdoms rested on the hidden power of the true blood king. If that king were to die without an heir to continue the line, so too would his land and, in turn, his followers. The Demon Kingdom had been blessed for the past few hundred years, for they had the blood line of the McNamaras, defeating that foolish war the humans regarded as holy, preventing them from ever stepping foot on their shore again. Before the McNamaras there had been the Arthurs, whose pearl of life wasn’t strong nor vibrant, thus marking the king’s power as weak and dark in both mind and spirit. That line had craved dark power and had put their kingdom in constant war and the civilians under threat of death for many centuries. None wanted a repetition of that.

Luckily, ever since Drake had come into power, the kingdom had grown in prosperity, even more so than his parents and grandparents before him. Yet the pearl of life, a seed that came to life when Drake was born, had not yet decided who Drake’s bride would be, the female who would carry Drake’s son, the future true demon king.

“I still can’t believe that bastard managed to escape!” Adam growled in disgust from across the room. He pounded his mighty fist onto the table for effect, just to show everyone how upset he was. “If only you’d let me kill him that first time, Drake.”

Julius frowned at Adam over his book. After all this time, he thought, Adam is still consumed with anger at the thought we managed to allow Marcus Arthur escape our clutches. Of course, the fact that Marcus had also very nearly killed Adam’s lovely bride Vera whilst the woman was with child didn’t help douse the fuel of rage within Adam either. If anything, it made the demon crazed for Marcus’s blood, whether they used to be best friends or not.

“Keep your voice down, Adam. I’m reading.”

Adam narrowed his eyes at Julius. “Aren’t you worried?” When Julius just stared at him, he turned to Drake.

Drake’s scowl darkened. “You know as well as I that we cannot eliminate the Arthur blood line. Marcus is the last. If I die without an heir, he will be the next demon king.”

“What? And let him waltz in and kill you when he feels like it?” Gerick voiced for the first time. “He’s a threat, Drake. He’s as strong and skilled as the five of us in battle.”

By the five of them, he meant Drake, Adam, Julius, Leon, and himself, who had been schooled and trained together since they were children, along with Marcus.

Adam was the oldest and the one with the hottest temper and the strongest sword, yet he was also the one with the gentlest feelings. He was simply a big bear with a hard exterior and a bountiful love for his family and friends. Marcus, the one who had betrayed them and was the same age as Adam, was the smartest and most resourceful with his unmatched ability in the use of dark power and strange magic.

Julius, with his know-it-all attitude, vast knowledge, insightful wisdom, a knack for white spells and magic, and a love for books was a year younger than the two previous demons. Drake, the most serious, responsible, intelligent, innovative, powerful, and skilled of the warriors, was a year younger than Julius.

Gerick, the handsomest, most flirtatious demon with an appetite for good food, fine wine, and of course, beautiful women and young men, was a year younger than Drake. There was, of course, another side to Gerick—seriousness and shrewdness with an art in war strategies and his loyalty to his comrades that was beyond compare. Leon, who was quiet, intelligent, and skilled as a commander of the armies, was a few months younger than Gerick.

“Demon’s blood!” Gerick said. “He trained with us, and we didn’t even know he was an Arthur. We all know what will happen if Marcus becomes king. That bastard practices black magic. We know how dark his pearl is. It will be a disaster.”

“I’m not about to let him kill me, Gerick,” Drake said. “I will kill him if he tries to lay his hands on me. Though, I still have hope we can return him.”

Julius looked doubtful at that statement. “Once the pearl is marked black, it cannot return to its original color, Drake.”

Drake ignored Julius and glanced at Adam, who looked both hurt and angry at the same time. His pale-gray eyes were dark with emotion. It was hard to lose one’s best friend and watch him turn against you, even though it happened many years ago.

Drake said, “For now, I need my pearl to be ready. I need it to give me a bride.”

Leon, who was sitting in a chair by the brightly lit hearth, suggested, “Why don’t we just do another presentation?”

Julius gave him a dry laugh. “We all know what happened last time.”

Gerick nodded in agreement, his face sour as a lemon. Leon nodded soberly.

Their last presentation, which was of course Julius’s cunning plan of a shortcut, was a chaotic disaster to say the least. They’d presented about a dozen beautiful female demons from noble families to the pearl. Most, however, couldn’t even get into the enchanted water. They were too afraid of the magical acid that would eat their alabaster skin. A very few managed but couldn’t go any farther than a couple steps before they came running out again, screaming as if death were after them.

All five demons were silent as they pondered on what the best course of action might be. When Gerick said, “What if Drake is meant to have a male lover?” Adam wanted to punch him in the face, and Leon managed to hide a chuckle.

It wasn’t because Adam had anything against that sexual orientation, since it was very acceptable in the Demon Kingdom to be either way, but because that implied Drake wouldn’t be able to have children and, therefore, no future demon king. And that would leave them very vulnerable.

Drake raised a brow at Gerick as he came down the stairs. He placed the now empty silver wine goblet on the table and said, “I know what I am, Gerick.”

“Oh?” Gerick raised a brow at his cousin. “The way you looked at young Brian back there at dinner…”

Drake narrowed his eyes dangerously. Adam and Julius looked to each other, sporting a suspicious look on their faces. Leon raised a surprised brow.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Drake said darkly. He himself wasn’t against male-to-male sexual orientation, nor was he against demons and humans or angels and demons for that matter. After all, Adam and Vera worked out just fine as a demon husband and a human wife, even though the marriage was for political reasons at the beginning.

“Well, if you say so,” Gerick said. “Then you wouldn’t mind if I—”

Gerick didn’t even finish before Drake moved in and grabbed his shirt collar. He pulled his cousin so close they were eye to eye and nose to nose. Drake’s eyes were scorching like a raging fire. “If you touch him, you’ll be sorry, Gerick.”

Gerick got his answer. Though, he doubted Drake understood his own action right then. Slowly, the younger demon laughed. “And you say you don’t give a damn.”

Drake released his cousin in an instant and snapped, “I’m a king. That boy is my responsibility.”

Julius and Adam once again looked at each other, wondering if Drake were truly attracted to Brian. Leon didn’t know what to think.

“I warn you, Gerick, keep your hands away from Brian,” Drake said as he walked out the door.

“And what if I don’t?” Gerick asked merrily after him.

“Then I’ll kill you,” came the reply.

Gerick laughed loudly and teased, “I’ll challenge you, cousin.”

“We’re doomed,” Leon said under his breath. Then to Gerick, he asked, “Are you truly going to challenge Drake? Sorry, but I’m not going to be your second.”

Gerick raised a brow at his comrade. “Don’t be ridiculous. I won’t last five minutes within Drake’s hands if he uses his demonic power.”

“Precisely three minutes,” Julius gladly pointed out.

“What about Marcus? How long do you think he’d last within Drake’s hands?” Adam asked curiously.

“Ten minutes if Drake uses his demonic power,” Julius said. “Then again, if Marcus got his hands on Drake’s pearl, that’s a different story.”

“Drake is a strong warrior even without his pearl and demonic power,” Leon said.

“Aye, but Marcus is cunning and resourceful. He knows dark magic and strange spells.”

“If that war starts before Drake has himself an heir,” Leon said, “our kingdom is doomed. We’re all doomed.”

“Nothing is ever doomed,” Julius said, returning his attention to his precious book and continuing reading.

* * * * *

Chained To You: A Maxwell Novel

All right, I have no idea why I started writing this story, but heck I did start and now I somehow have to finish the damn thing. It began one day when I got bored of writing 3rd POV type books and wanted to try my hands on 1st POV, and hence, Chained To You: A Maxwell Novel was born.

I’m hoping to get this book done and completed, and of course, published on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Google, Kobo, and Smashwords by October (Fingers Cross!).

It’s HOT and STEAMY and SEXY! Yes, all those. And to be honest, I’ve used words I have never used before in this book. Goodness it makes me blush writing and reading those words. But I have to use them to show the character, particularly James Maxwell, because he’s tough and rich and a bad boy and he uses a lot of F word. But I love him because he’s just that type that you’re afraid of because he’s so far out of this world and yet dream of having as your own.

You can totally tell by the book cover at just how hot this novel is going to be. Well, I hope so anyway.

2015 Chained to You - A Maxwell Novel 04

So without further ado, I shall post an excerpt here for everyone to enjoy. And I do hope you will like, buy, and share it with your friends when it comes out in October ^_^

PLEASE NOTE: This excerpt is not yet edited. Expect some grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.

 

CHAINED TO YOU (A Maxwell Novel)

CHAPTER 4

MIA POV

“I messed up his room,” I murmured to myself. I glanced at that king sized bed with the expensive duvet cover set of grayish blue and black, and felt a delicious shiver passed down my spine. Then I turned my attention to the floor. My ripped clothes were everywhere. I sighed and proceed to find a pair of jeans and t-shirt that was still intact to wear. No such luck, of course.

I was midway of pulling my ripped t-shirt on when three knocks came at the door. I quickly pulled the rest of the thin gray material down my body and said, “Come in.”

The door cracked opened and Ms. Lane silently entered. She stood straight as she faced me, her hands clasped before her as she addressed me. “Are you ready to see Mr. Maxwell?”

If wearing a ripped jeans and t-shirt without a bra—because that very last one lying on the floor was torn beyond repair and unwearable—was ready, then yes, I was as ready as I could be to face the billionaire whom my brother owed two million dollar to, the man who had seen me naked, with my backside in the air facing him.

I murmured a ‘yes’ followed by a nod of my head.

“Follow me,” she said and turned on her heel, expecting me to follow her like she expected a lower staff member to follow her order to perfection.

The moment Ms. Lane knocked and then opened a door a few moments later, my heart skipped a beat. When she stepped aside to let me in, I hesitated. I was suddenly shaking, and I knew I had to get a grip of myself. This was what I was here for. To negotiate for my brother’s release.

I took a deep breath when Ms. Lane nudged me to hurry up by saying, “He’s waiting.”

Before my nerves got any worse, I took a step in and then another.

Standing before me was the gorgeous Mr. J Maxwell. He had his arms folded across his chest and his backside resting slightly on the edge of the study desk. He looked relaxed and casual, but the very sight of him took my breath away. It annoyed me that he should have such strong, inexplicably powerful impression on me.

The moment my eyes met his, a gasp escaped my lips. I felt uncomfortable, and was very aware that my breasts and nipples were jutting out against the thin material of my ripped t-shirt. I really do hoped he didn’t notice.

“Sit,” he said, nodding at the chair before him.

I hesitantly did as he commanded. Yes, there was nothing else in his tone of voice but command. He had that magical aura within him, that self-confidence that had the power to take charge, shout out orders, and give command. Indeed, people would bid, follow, and do his every words. Even the little beast named Alfie was quiet on the other side of the room, snuggling itself cozily as it watched me with its beady eyes.

I gazed up at him, not knowing how to proceed. Yes, he had requested— No!  Demanded I be presence here before him, along with his expected two millions. Well, all I had was three hundred bucks.

He leaned forward and began. “I was expecting someone much older.”

“I’m twenty-three,” I said sternly. “I’m old enough. Where’s my brother?”

He ignored my demanded question. “You father allow you to come here knowing my reputation?”

Reputation? I knew nothing of his reputation. His rhetorical question, however, planted a seed of apprehension within my mind. Of course I had dreaded coming here and facing him about the two million dollars. But now that he mention his reputation, I wondered if I’d be able to walk out of here alive.

However, the sudden turn in subject about my dad got me angry. This showed in my voice, which was tremoring, along with my pissed off face, which was red and stern.

“My father died eleven years ago in a car accident, along with my mother. The only person Andy has is me, his older sister.”

He raised a brow at me, as if he found my tragic back story rather bland and uninteresting, like he had heard of that particular story a hundred times before. I’ll admit it was rather a common back story, but when it happen to you, when every possible shit you could imagine of got thrown at you, then it wasn’t such a common back story any more.

“Where’s my brother?” I asked again, trying very hard to calm myself, trying hard not to jump to conclusion that this hot Mr. J Maxwell had already executed Andy with a bullet to Andy’s handsome head.

He looked at me long and hard. “I applause your brother and his friends, Ms. Donovan,” he said, easing his arms from the cross position and resting them casually on the edge of the desk. “They’ve managed to cheat two million out of me.” He leaned forward, his eyes sharp on me, his face so close to me that I could feel the warmth of his breath on my skin, which both pleased and unsettled me at the same time.

“And trust me, I rarely allow anyone to cheat me.”

He flashed me a dark smile that made me want to run and hid and at the same time made me want to kiss him. It was a stupid desire, of course, and I had never felt like that toward any man before. I felt like I actually want to throw myself at him and let him do exquisite, unspeakable things to me. Things that were frowned upon. Things people didn’t talk about outside the bedroom. Things a virgin like me had never had experience of.

“So?” he asked softly, drifting his eyes slowly to my breasts and then back to my face. “What will you do? You look like a resourceful young woman.” He flashed a grin at me that would have made any woman spread her legs wide for him. It didn’t me. It made me want to punch the mirk off his face because he was implying something that hurt my pride with the looks in his eyes and the meaning behind his words.

“You’re here to negotiate for your brother’s release, then let’s do it. The closing date is Friday this week, Ms. Donovan. Two million, cash. I get my money, you get your brother back.”

I was so tense that when he suddenly touched my cheek, I jumped in my seat.

“What if I don’t… don’t get the two million?” And in my mind, I shouted, ‘How the heck do I get two million?’ There was no way that was possible. I made $14.75 an hour and I worked seven days a week to make ends meet. So how the heck would I be able to make two million in two days?

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll find a way, Ms. Donovan,” he said, drifting his eyes from my face to my breasts again, his fingers caressing my cheek.

Heat rushed to my face as the meaning of his words drummed deep into my mind.

“I don’t fuck men for money!” I said through gritted teeth. I had never used the word ‘fuck’ in the open before. I reserved that severely execrable word for dire situation, but he left me no choice. His assumption of my characters pissed me off, and I couldn’t control myself. Oh, I could have kept my mouth shut like I had always kept my mouth shut, allowing everyone to bully and harass me, giving everyone permission to walk all over me because that was what I had been told by my aunt and uncle that was what good girls do. My so-called friends in high school, who were no longer my friends, thought I could never fit in because I was too shy and quiet and didn’t know how to dress right. They felt the need to remind me of my shortcoming whenever they thought I deserved it. My aunt and uncle thought I was will-full, wild, and stupid and that I wouldn’t amount to anything. They told me they had done their best with me, teaching me and conforming me to be proper like them by slapping me and whipping me with a belt whenever they thought I needed the discipline. ‘Get your head out of the cloud and stop wasting your money and time reading those useless books,’ they had always told me. But those wonderful books had got me out of the real, harsh world. It had kept me sane and made me happy, at least for a few hours. Then there was my boss, of course, who thought I was a worthless employee and condemned me to do all the dirty jobs, never missing an opportunity to criticize the small details. My colleagues kept bickering and backstabbing me when they were the one who got the better pay and doing less. In the last few years, these harassment and bullying had gotten worse, especially at work, and I had to decide that it was enough. I had decided that I didn’t want anyone to walk over me anymore. So I had learnt how to stand up for myself, to talk back, speak out, and demand attention.

Thus, to not speak what was in my mind now would certainly tell this Mr. J Maxwell that I was timid and juvenile as he had so assumed my character to be, and hence, concluded that I was incapable of finding him the two million dollar. Heck, I knew in my gut that I couldn’t find that two million in a short two days, but I would not give him the satisfaction that his postulation of me was right.

“Is that all you rich arsehole ever think of? Throwing your damn money on whatever you deem attainable? Whatever you think has a price tag?”

I knew I was stepping on thin ground, but I couldn’t help myself. I had no idea how one dealt with a billionaire like this Mr. J Maxwell. I knew suddenly and with trepidation, however, that I was doing it wrong the moment I saw the dark look in his eyes and the stern expression on his handsome features. I tensed, waiting for his aggressive reaction to come. Shit! I knew that he’d either slap me or call his security guard and let them bash me good whilst he watch, with enjoyment of course. That was what these billionaire do, don’t they? I saw it in movies and dramas. Because they could get away with anything.

When I saw him narrowing his eyes at me and a slight sneer appeared about his lips, I knew I didn’t have to wait long to see my imagination unfold before my eyes, with me as the victim.

“Well, do you have a price tag, Ms. Donovan,” he said chillingly softly. “Everybody does.”

His words stung, but I didn’t have time to think of a reply when at lighting speed, his face was right in front me and his hand was wrapped around the back of my head. I gasped at his firm grasped of me, knowing suddenly that I was imprisoned in his arms and that I wouldn’t be able to run away. Then I felt the hotness of his lips crushed against mine. I panicked, and at the back of my mind, I knew that even if he were to do what I feared most and take me without my permission and I screamed, no one would help me. Even so, I tried my best to push him back, but the feel of his warmness and his lips against mine was wonderfully and deliciously intoxicating.

He traced his hot tongue across my lips, causing an exquisite pleasure to soar through my whole body. Then he somehow managed to expertly slip his hot, expert tongue into my mouth and invaded me. I shuddered deliciously. A groan escaped my lips as he stroked and caressed his tongue against mine, playing a small battle of tongue fight with me that I became breathless and my body squirmed in a frenzy of heated pleasure.  At the same time, however, I was actually fighting him to release me, my puny fist shoving at his massive chest, which was of course, to no avail.

Oh God! Oh God! I was being ravished by a hot billionaire, and I was turned on. My body, weak and frantic and quivering, was responding to his intense kiss, even though my head screamed for me to get a hold of myself as he continued to enrapture me.

When he finally moved back, I was heaving and breathless, my whole body shaking. My heart was pumping so fast and so loud within my chest that I was sure he, too, could hear the noise. My head felt light and just that little bit dizzy.

He still had his hand wrapped behind my head as I stared up at him, panting, my breasts rising and falling, my lips red and sore from his wonderfully brutal treatment. He didn’t at all looked as though he was affected by the kiss. His breathing was even, though his eyes was darker with a hot blue fire like I had seen when I had been naked and met his gaze in his bedroom only some minutes past.

He was stroking my lower lip now. I wanted him to stop, because it was dully aching, and yet, I wanted him to continue on caressing.

“Are you a virgin?”

The question took me by surprised, and I shoved his hand away from me.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked. “What the heck if I am? Is it a crime to be a virgin at twenty-three?” I stood, shoving the chair back in the process. If there was any certainty at all, I’d be a virgin for the rest of my life because I knew I wasn’t going to settle down with just any man. Then again, I had also been certain that I was never going to let any man kiss me either, unless he was the right one—that gentle, caring man who loved me to the deep of my bone, like the way Dad had loved Mum, like the way Dad had cherished Mum. This man—this Mr. J Maxwell—was nothing like that. He was arrogant and brutal, and what happened a moment ago had changed the fact that I had never been kissed.

My head held high, I said haughtily, “Trust me, I’ll get that two million by Friday. Somehow, someway.”

Turning on my heel, I headed to the door.

“Two million. Five years.”

My legs halted, and I turned to look at the handsome man who had just gave me the most amazing kissed. “Excuse me?”

He moved just a little, easing his hands into the pocket of his trouser. “Two million. Five years. It’s a contract.”

I stared at him, long and hard, my heart pumping loud and fast within my chest. “What contract?”

“The one I’m offering you.” He cocked his head to one side as he gazed at me. “Interested?”

I hesitated. Two million. Five years. For me? For Andy’s freedom?

I narrowed my eyes and said slowly, “What type of work are you offering me?”

A slight smile cracked on the side of his face, and I knew. “You’re a fucking bastard!”

Tears started brewing in my eyes and hurt within my heart, I reached for the door handle. Sick! Just plain sick!

I cracked the door open and was about to run off, when suddenly, I felt myself being pulled by the arm and spun round. Dizzy and breathless at the sudden change in orientation, I gazed at the broad chest before me as the door clicked shut and my back was thrust against it.

My gaze drifted up to the stern face above me, and before I could gasp out at the raw fire I saw within those Prussian blue eyes, firm lips crushed against mine as I felt warm fingers dug deep into my hair.

I whimpered as he kissed me long and hard, thrusting his tongue against mine, stroking and caressing and licking and playing that made me breathless and squirm with a sense of hunger for more and to be satiated. I was gone. My head was swimming in this deep pool of sensation and my being was floating in midair, surrounded with a flood of warm aura.

His hand moved down to my breast and cupped it, feeling the soft flesh against the thin material of my t-shirt. I gasped and groaned in response, and my breasts became hard and engorged, sensitive at his slightest touch.

When he thrust his muscular thigh between the softness of my legs, my core burnt and twisted, crying for the need to be filled with his hard rod. It was the moment that brought me back to reality.

This shouldn’t go any further. Thus, I blinked and shook my head as I tried to shove him off me. He retaliated by increasing the firmness of his grip on me. When I tried even harder, he had one hand at the smallness of my back and hoisted me up until I was riding his thigh. I freaked out because the action and position increased the twisting and burning needs of my core, the craving for his rod and for him to simply ravish me, take me, and do so in every which way that pleased him. Oh God! I could feel the hardness of his shaft against me, and my body responses by turning weak, trembling with a heat to be filled that it shocked me to my center.

My mind, however, refused to summit to his sexual seduction. It was then that he let go of my lips. Instead, his hot mouth moved to lick the sensitive spot near my ear. My whole body was shuddering as he whispered, “You definitely worth two million. I’d fuck you every night.”

I caught my breath at his words, and felt weak and aroused. I was reduced to a wanton wench.

Slowly, he eased his thigh between my legs and lowered me to the ground. With his face touching mine and lips caressing my cheek, he said slowly and softly, “Make up your mind. Two million. Five years. Your brother will go free. You have until Friday morning.”

He moved his body back though his hand still trapped me between him and the door. Panting, I watched him as he was staring at me, his eyes intense.

“What are you still doing here?” he suddenly snapped.

I heard the frustration and anger in his voice, but how could I move if he was still trapping me there? He was a brick wall, and I was a puny thing. Furthermore, my legs couldn’t move. They were paralyzed into numbness.

My body stiff, he pulled me by the arm, closer to him. I could feel the whole length of him, of his muscularly tone body and of his hard rod pushing against his pants, against my belly. I squirmed with a flare of sexual heat at the feel of his bulge, evident of his hunger and desire for me.

“Or have you decided already?”

I blinked and hesitantly shook my head.

He cupped my face firmly so that I had no choice but to look up at him.

“You know how fucking tempting you are, sweet heart?” he said. “If you don’t want me to throw you on the floor and fuck you hard out now—leave!

I got the message loud and clear. I pulled myself free from his enchanting incarceration and turned my back to him. My hands at the door, I tried to turn it open. When it didn’t budge, I whispered, “The door.”

I felt him taking a deep sigh, as if it was very painful for him to suddenly let me go. Then slowly and reluctantly, he eased his hand from the door.

I pulled it opened and slipped out, racing down the hall, heart pumping loud and fast and tears blinding my eyes.

My heart was still racing from the short, hot, intense, stupefying experience when I sprint down the grand stairs. I was at the base and was about to leave when Ms. Lane appeared before me. Her expression was once again clam and stern.

“Your backpack,” she said tonelessly, handing me my belongings.

I got a hold of myself and murmured, “Thanks.”

With my stuff back, I ran out the door and down the long driveway. I didn’t stop running until I reached the gate, until I was sure I was far away enough from Mr. J Maxwell, the man who had hotly kissed me and wanted to ravish me. The man who made me squirm under his touches and made me wanted my core to be filled with his hard shaft. The man who reduced me to nothing but a wanton wench. It was only then did I collapse on the grass and allow the tears to flow down my cheeks and the hunger and craving to be ravished and filled by the man with beautiful Prussian blue eyes, the man named Mr. J Maxwell,  to consumed me.

* * * * *

Did you like the sound of this book? To Pre-Order, either go to my website to get this book directly from me BUY CHAINED TO YOU FROM ALEXIA or get it from Apple iBook or Smashwords. To read a bit more, I suggest you go to my account on wattpad READ CHAINED TO YOU BY ALEXIA ON WATTPAD.

Happy reading ^_^

Alexia

Book Release: A Demon’s Wrath

Finally, the writing, editing, and polishing is completed. A Demon’s Wrath is now uploaded and published on all the major online bookstores to be release on the 10th of May.

Here’s where you can buy the book:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Apple iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google | Smashwords

2015 A Demon Wrath Book Cover Version 1

A Demon’s Wrath: Chapter 6

2015 A Demon Wrath Book Cover Version 1Chapter VI

CECELIA WOKE UP TO THE sound of laughter. She turned her head toward the window as a gentle breeze caressed her face. She sat up and looked about her surroundings. The sun was starting to set. How long had she been sleeping? She was about to get up when she saw a woman standing at the opened doorway. Her blond hair floated all the way down to her waist. Her blue eyes and fair skin made Cecelia catch her breath. Never before had she seen such beauty.

Both Lady Rosanna and Lady Juliet could never compare to this one, she thought.

“I apologize if I bother you,” the woman said.

“Nay, you did not bother me at all,” Cecelia said, blushing, for she knew she was staring. She couldn’t help herself, of course. “’Tis me who should apologize. I’m ogling at you,” she admitted.

“I am used to it,” Vera said and laughed. She came to Cecelia and touched her arm. “I thank you for saving my son.”

Cecelia widened her eyes. “You’re Lucifer’s mother?”

The woman smiled. “Aye, I was told by the king that I should not be here disturbing your rest, but I cannot wait. You see, Lucifer is very dear to me.” Her eyes softened.

“I understand,” Cecelia said, thinking about her mother and Brian. Her heart suddenly constricted. It had been three full weeks now.

“Oh Lord,” Vera said, “do forgive me, but I am a bad hostess indeed.”

For a moment, Cecelia forgot she was supposed to be her brother. She quickly nodded at the woman who was now curtsying to her as to a king.

“Welcome, Brian, to the Demon Kingdom.”

Cecelia’s heart kicked in her chest. She blinked and stared wide-eyed at the woman. “Demon what?”

Vera looked up to her then and repeated, “Demon Kingdom.”

“You are?” Cecelia stared at the woman.

“Lady Vera McNamara, wife of Lord Adam McNamara who is a cousin of the king,” she provided.

“But… but,” Cecelia stammered, shaking her head in disbelief.

Vera raised her brows. “But what?”

“But you are not… demon-like, hideous,” Cecelia finished, blushing, for she knew she sounded stupid even in her own confused mind.

Vera laughed. She couldn’t help herself, for she too had once thought of demons as hideous, monstrous creatures who merely lived to kill. That, however, changed when she had met Adam.

“My dear boy, what did you expect? Demons looking like monster?”

“Well, yes, I saw demons. They have beastlike bodies and faces like wolves.”

“Do stop there, Brian. But if those are the demons you have just described, they are child’s play,” Vera said, though she didn’t at all sound very concerned or put off because Cecelia had just looked down on her husband’s kind.

“I didn’t expect demons to look like humans,” Cecelia said.

“Oh, do not be surprised, my dear boy. Demons are much the same as human.” She smiled. “Now enough talk. ’Tis getting late. Dinner is on soon. Would you like me to help you clean up?”

Cecelia clamped her lips and her cheeks turned crimson. “Nay, but thank you,” she said quickly.

“Very well, then. Those are your clothing for now. I do hope they will fit your small frame. Do you always keep your hair so long?”

Cecelia touched her messy hair that was still tied at the nape of her neck with a black ribbon. “Aye, ’tis our fashion at the moment where I come from,” she lied.

“Our men like to keep their hair short. It is a fashion led by Gerick. You could say he is the handsomest demon in our kingdom. The females fall for him no matter their age. Drake, our king, he is different. He likes his hair long. It reminds him of freedom, like when he was a prince. He likes sailing his own ship and does as he pleases. He has been to many kingdoms. But no matter, here I am muttering about things you must find very boring. I will leave you to your bathing now,” she said, thanked Cecelia once again for saving her son, and then left.

Not long afterward, two maids brought in a hot tub, which they placed near the brightly lit hearth. Cecelia was able to bathe in peace once they had left. She stayed in the tub for half an hour, enjoying the lovely scent of herbs and rose petals and the warm water. She closed her eyes and relaxed her tense, tired body. When the water had gotten cold, she climbed out and got dressed in the breeches, shirt, and coat provided by Vera. Once her dark hair was slightly dried by the fire, she tied it at the nape of her neck with her black ribbon.

She was walking out into the corridor when Lucifer rushed from the corner and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Brian!” he squealed.

“Lucifer!”

“Come, come,” the boy said, pulling her by the hand. “Dinner is starting. This way. I get the honor of showing you to the dining chamber.”

“Oh!” she said, allowing the young demon to drag her across the great hallway.

Without Lucifer’s aid, she was sure she would get lost indeed, for the castle was a maze of a place. There were so many doors that she couldn’t keep count. The castle was beautifully furnished and artfully designed. Numerous gigantic paintings of demons in generations past were hung on the walls. Many were males and a few were females. Their hair colors were all different, but their features, to Cecelia’s interest, were all very similar.

Lucifer turned to the right, and before she knew it, she was walking along a very high-ceilinged corridor with huge red drapes hanging against enormous glass windows. She looked about her in fascination, for there were more interesting paintings. One caught her eyes. She couldn’t help but stare at it as she walked.

The eyes in the painting gazed down at her as if perceiving deep into her soul. The dark-gray color seemed, to her very imaginative mind, to be burning with smoke. The shoulder-length, dark-chestnut hair, strong, prominent jaws, and high cheekbones quickened her beating heart. Surely, she had never seen a more darkly handsome man in her life. But then, she reasoned with herself, this was no man; this was a demon. But demons were supposed to be ugly, not so pleasing to look at that it set her heart to jumping hazardously. And it wasn’t even the real demon she was looking at. It was merely a painting.

“We’re almost there,” Lucifer said.

“’Tis rather a long way,” she said, tearing her gaze from the painting and concentrating on trying not to get lost the next time she was to come to the dining room. But then, she thought, there would be no next time, for she planned to get the pearl as soon as possible and leave. She knew her mother was getting weaker by the day, and it was wise not to waste more time.

They were turning another corner when she heard the humming of laughter and buzzing of conversation.

“We’re here,” Lucifer announced, leading her toward the huge open double door.

She hesitated. She wasn’t used to barging into a room full of people she didn’t know.

“Come on.” Lucifer pulled her hand.

She stood rooted to her spot. “I…” She wanted to turn back.

“There you are,” Vera called, appearing at the door. She glided toward them. “Come along, Brian. Do not be bashful.” She laughed, and Cecelia blushed.

Vera took her hand and led her into the dining room. Cecelia stared fixedly at the polished floor the whole time she was being dragged in. They stopped behind a huge mahogany dining table.

“Brian, ’tis a pleasure to have you here. We wanted to thank you for helping our son,” Vera started. “Brian, may I introduce you to our king?”

Cecelia didn’t turn her face to look at the demon king. She fixed her gaze on the beautifully designed cutlery and plates on the table. She was about to curtsy when she hesitated, remembering she was not Lady Cecelia Van Zandt right then, but young Lord Brian Van Zandt. She bowed her head instead.

“Lift your face, boy. I am not pleased to look at your head when I am addressing to you.”

Cecelia’s heart kicked in her chest. The deep timber turned her stomach hollow. She took a deep breath, and summoning all her courage, she lifted her head. Her dark-brown eyes met a pair of stormy-gray ones. Her heart drummed in her chest. The sound was so loud in her own ears she was surprised no one was complaining about it.

“That’s better,” Drake said, a hint of a smile on his lips.

Cecelia couldn’t stop staring at him. He was the demon she had seen in the painting. He was the demon king.

“How do you find yourself in such a situation, boy?” he asked.

Cecelia blinked. She didn’t know how to reply, and the room turned silent. Everyone was watching her and waiting for her answer. Her throat became dry and her cheeks reddened with embarrassment.

Vera saw this and said, “This is not the time to ask young Brian questions, Drake. Now, Brian.” She touched Cecelia’s arm and turned her toward her husband. “This is my husband, Lord Adam McNamara. That’s Lord Julius Falkland, the wise wizard.”

Cecelia turned to the long, blond-haired male with pale blue eyes nodding his head at her.

“Lord Gerick McNamara, the king’s cousin and my husband’s younger brother.” Vera introduced her to a very handsome young demon with pale gray eyes and ash-blond hair.

“And that is Commander Leon. He’s a distant relation to the king.”

Cecelia nodded toward the dark haired demon with hazel green eyes. He nodded back.

“Well, that’s everybody.” Vera sighed. “Let’s dine, shall we?”

They all took their places along the table. Drake took the head, while Adam took the other end. Everyone else took the side chairs. Cecelia found herself facing Commander Leon. On her left was Lucifer and to her right, Vera.

“’Tis great this night I get to dine with everyone,” Lucifer whispered to her.

She raised her brows. “You do not dine with them daily?”

“No.” The boy shook his head. “I am too young to dine with everyone yet, but tonight, it’s different. It’s a feast.” He giggled.

The first course arrived. Footmen with fine velvet uniforms of black and purple carried trays into the room. One placed a small round and deep plate of fairy-embossed design in front of her. She looked into the bowl. It was soup of a thick, creamy color.

“It’s seafood soup,” Lucifer whispered.

“Oh!” She nodded.

“How did you meet Lucifer?” Leon asked.

Cecelia turned to look at the demon. “In the ship,” she replied.

“How in the ship?”

“Err…”

“He saved me from those men’s beating,” Lucifer put in.

Everyone turned to look at Cecelia, including the stormy-gray eyes of the king. She blushed and lowered her eyes for receiving so much attention.

“Did those humans beat you, Lucifer?” Gerick asked, narrowing his eyes dangerously.

“Aye.” The boy nodded.

“What did he look like?” Gerick prompted. He needed to know which of those bastards they had killed that morning was responsible for Lucifer’s beating so he could throw his body into the wild and allow the beasts to eat his flesh. The rest he would be kind enough to bury in the forest near the cave, and maybe he’d consider carving their names on headstones, too, to warn off other stupid human intruders.

Lucifer cocked his little head to one side and said, “He has dark hair and he’s not that big, not like you, Uncle Gerick. You could beat him easily.”

Gerick smiled pleasantly at the compliment.

“Lucifer is a brave boy,” Cecelia said, looking at the cute boy smiling up at her.

“Of course he is. He’s my son,” Adam said, matter-of-fact.

“I don’t think I could have handled the situation as well as he did if I were five years old,” Cecelia said.

Drake looked at Cecelia. She caught his gaze for a split second and quickly lowered her eyes. She tried to concentrate on her food, but she couldn’t seem to do so because she could still feel his intense gaze on her person.

“I’m not five years old,” Lucifer announced.

Cecelia frowned and said, “Oh, I apologize. Six, then?”

Lucifer looked at her rather disappointedly.

“Lucifer, do not be rude,” Vera put in. “He didn’t mean to offend you in any way, Brian.”

“Aye, I’m six and a half,” Lucifer said proudly. “And I’m learning how to wield a sword.”

“Really?” Cecelia widened her eyes in surprise. “At six years old?” She turned to Vera. “But Lucifer is so young.”

“Brian, he’s a demon,” Gerick chimed in, as if that would explain everything.

Cecelia turned to Gerick even though she didn’t want to because she had to look at the king too, who was staring at her most intensely.

“And you, Brian?” Drake’s deep voice caused Cecelia to jump in her seat. “How many summers have you seen?”

“Nineteen summers, sire,” she replied without looking at him.

Drake narrowed his eyes and lifted a smile at her. “Nineteen? Where is your muscle, boy?”

Cecelia swallowed and blushed. She had forgotten she was supposed to be her brother. The fact that she was a woman meant her womanly body had no muscle like that of the males of her age.

“I, err…”

“Drake, ’tis no way to converse during the meal,” Vera put in, patting Cecelia’s shoulder. “I’m sure Brian has his reason for not telling the truth of his age.”

“Why do you lie about your age?” Julius put in, frowning at her. “’Tis unwise at best, for wizards can find out with a mere look into your eyes.”

Cecelia frowned and lowered eyes to avoid Julius’s gaze.

“Come, let me look into your eyes so I can guess how old you truly are,” Julius said.

Cecelia started to feel very uncomfortable.

“Julius, you are making Brian blush,” Vera snapped.

“Blush? He can’t blush. He’s a man,” Gerick said, looking at Julius, expecting him to provide them with answer with his limitless knowledge.

Julius thought for a moment and then turned to look at Brian. “Perhaps humans are different?”

“Aye, humans are different,” Cecelia said, nodding her head. “Lucifer.” She turned to the young demon. “Can you take me around for a tour?”

“Oh, yes,” Lucifer said excitedly. “I will show you our stables, our garden, and our castle.”

Vera said, “It will have to be tomorrow. You two are tired. You need your rest, Brian.”

Cecelia nodded.

Thankfully, dinner went smoothly after that for Cecelia. Once it was over, she begged tiredness and left immediately. In the guest bedchamber, she lay in the large, soft bed, thinking about her mother and brother, wondering how they were getting on without her. She’d have to somehow find a way to get the Pearl of Life and then travel back home. She calculated that it had taken her three weeks to get to the Demon Kingdom, so it would presumably take her another three to four weeks to travel back, if she were lucky. That meant there was no time for her to waste.

The stables. Lucifer had said he would take her to see the stables tomorrow. That meant there would be horses. If most of their horses were like those she had seen when the king and his comrades had come to save her and Lucifer that morning, then she’d have a good chance of borrowing one of them to fetch the Pearl of Life. Perhaps Lucifer would also show her their port as well, for Vera had said the king loved to sail.

Nodding, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of the misty gray eyes boring into her person.

* * * * *

A Demon Wrath: Chapter 5

2015 A Demon Wrath Book 1Chapter V

AS STRANGE AS IT MAY be, Cecelia sensed as though someone was watching over her and Lucifer as they slept. In her fitful slumber, she dreamt of a pair of gray eyes boring into her, as if finding her interesting and seeking into her inner thoughts. She laid there on the cold, wooden floor with Lucifer snuggling up against her. A gust of cold breeze swirled into the room out of the blue. She sensed Lucifer’s shiver and wrapped her arms around him, pulling his small body even closer to her. The ship swayed, rocking them back and forward and side to side, reminding Cecelia once again of where she was and how she came to be there.

As she laid there with Lucifer in her arms, she remembered the gray eyes in her dream; the color bottomless and mysterious, giving her a sense of intrigue. It was a pair of the eyes that could only belonged to the demon king. A shivered coursed down her spine, and she tightened her arms around Lucifer as if for comfort.

A whimper escaped Lucifer’s lips, which drew Cecelia’s attention. His body shook violently as he cried out in his sleep, tears flowing down his cheeks. She held him tight in her arms as she soothed him with soft, sweet words.  Poor boy, she thought, to be dragged into such a condition. Surely, his family must be frantic searching for him.

Eventually, his whimpering stopped and his body relaxed. Cecelia eased her holding of him and kissed his forehead.

“You are a brave little boy,” she said softly.

It was about an hour or so later that loud noises could be heard from upstairs and then the swaying of the ship came to a stop, telling Cecelia that they had reached land. She sat up in alertness, her eyes searching about her.

“Lucifer, I think we have stopped,” she said softly.

Lucifer frowned at her for a moment, as if confused. “What?”

“Come, we must try and escape before they come down for us.” She got up and walked toward the locked door. She wiggled it a few times. When it didn’t budge, she tried to pull the chains.

“It won’t work. It’s too strong,” Lucifer said, rubbing his sleepy eyes. “If only Papa were here, or Uncle Drake, or even Julius or Uncle Gerick,” he groaned.

Cecelia’s hands were getting sore. She slumped down and rested her head against the wall. She was tired and hungry. She would never escape this, she thought and felt very depressed.

“You two!”

Cecelia bolted upright. A man headed toward them and then unlocked the chain.

“Out!” he shouted, “and no funny business.”

Cecelia and Lucifer staggered out of the prison as he opened the door. They were rudely escorted with sword pointed at their backs up to the top deck.

Cecelia felt for the first time in days a gentle breeze caressing her face as they came up. She breathed in the fresh, open air and stared wide-eyed at the sight before her. The beach was long and wide, with white sand that stretched to the endless horizon. Behind the beach was a jungle of lush tall trees and exotic flowers of unimaginable sizes, shapes, and colors.

She searched around her and realized that not one man was in sight except for the one escorting them.

“Where are your men?” she asked curiously.

“No questions! Start moving!” he snapped, shoving his sword against her back. “There!” he nodded toward the beach.

Cecelia went to the floorboard and walked down the ship, Lucifer following behind her.

“That way!” he said.

The sands were deep and porous against her boots. She found it more tiring than walking on hard earth. Once they had reached the jungles, she found herself stumbling over vines and dead wood many times. Lucifer, on the other hand, seemed to know his way around. When she fell, he helped her up. He didn’t at all seem to be very tired as she was, which she thought a bit odd for a five-year-old boy.

It wasn’t long when they came to a small camp. The men were there with their tents and weapons. They were sitting around a fire with some unfortunate odd-looking bird—it had the head of a bird and the body of a cat—that had been stripped to the skin and now was roasting upon the pit of a fire.

“Go, sit there!” The man behind them shoved her.

Without a word, Cecelia went to sit by a tree. Lucifer made himself comfortable beside her.

“I’m hungry. Won’t they give us some food?” Lucifer groaned, looking at her with his sky-blue eyes large.

“I don’t think so,” she said, her mouth watering at the sight of the odd bird. The skin was turning, glistening and golden brown, and its fat was dropping from its skin, landing on the spiting fire.

She turned away, ignoring her hunger and diverting her thoughts to finding a route of escape. A man came to her then and tied her hands and feet. He did the same to Lucifer.

“To make sure you two stay put,” he said, grinning at them, showing his stained, yellow teeth. His breath was stinking and hot against her face.

She gagged in disgust.

They had their meal and gave none to her and Lucifer. She closed her eyes, pretending sleep so she wouldn’t have to watch them eat the bird while her tummy grumbled. She was drifting into a slumber when she was kicked awake.

“Get up. We’re moving,” a man snapped at her, and then he proceed to cut her and Lucifer loose.

Freed, Cecelia stumbled up, aiding Lucifer at the same time. They walked through the jungle for a long while before they came to the mouth of a cave.

“In there. Get the boy,” Jackson shouted.

Cecelia was alert because Jackson sounded rather excited. She watched as one of the men came to them. He stared at her and pulled Lucifer from her side.

“Come,” he said, shoving Lucifer so hard the boy fell to the ground.

“Don’t you touch him!” she snapped and shoved the man back. She bent down to help Lucifer. “Can’t you see he’s only a child!”

“Don’t care!” the man said, dragging Lucifer.

Cecelia would have none of it and pulled Lucifer to her side.

“Come!” the man said through gritted teeth.

Cecelia glared at him. She wouldn’t let Lucifer go. The boy turned and wrapped his arms around her waist for support.

“Where’s the boy,” Jackson shouted, looking at them.

“Come!” The man dragged them both toward his captain.

“You, lead us in.” Jackson pointed a finger at Lucifer.

“I won’t,” the boy cried. “’Tis against the rule. I will be punished.”

“Lead us in,” Jackson snapped, drawing out his sword. “Or bear the consequence.”

Lucifer widened his eyes as the sharp blade was pointed near his throat.

“Don’t do anything stupid!” Cecelia shouted, her body shaking with rage. “He is only a boy.”

“Now lead us in.” Another man shoved her from behind.

Slowly and hesitantly, his body shaking uncontrollably, Lucifer walked into the cave with his hands clutching onto Cecelia’s. The men followed them.

Inside was total darkness. The men lit their torches. Instantly, the flames lightened up the hollow passageway.

“Walk faster!” Jackson snapped, shoving both her and Lucifer forward.

“He’s only a child,” she snapped again.

Jackson only laughed. “Lead us, demon, to the Pearl of Life.” His callous voice echoed in the silent cave.

Cecelia’s heart kicked in her chest. So this was the Cave of Doom where the Pearl of Life was rumored to exist. She was right; the men did come to steal the pearl.

“How long to go?” a man asked.

There was silence except for the thudding of their footsteps.

“I said how long to go?” the man hissed again.

“I don’t know,” Lucifer cried, his grip tightening on Cecelia’s. She pulled him closer to her as they walked.

“There, I see it,” Jackson shouted excitedly, laughing. “There!”

“Let’s get it,” another man said, rushing toward the clearing.

He was about to reach the end of the passageway when he stepped on something that moved beneath his foot. He frowned, and before he knew it, the ground opened and swallowed him. He screamed to his mates for help. One rushed forward with his hands reached out, but he was too late. The man fell into a pool of molten lava below.

Lucifer shoved his face against Cecelia’s side. She could only stare at what had just happened.

“We must be careful. There are traps everywhere here,” Jackson shouted, nodding to his men. “You two!” he snapped, looking at both Cecelia and Lucifer. “Come here and lead the way. Everyone, stay behind them.”

What a clever ploy, Cecelia thought. Those coward men, they’d rather let a child and young boy die first.

“I’m scared,” Lucifer whispered to her.

She looked at him and patted his shoulder in encouragement. They both started moving again. They took each step carefully so they wouldn’t step into another trap.

Once they’d reached the opening of the cave, they were thrust aside as the men made their way toward the huge waterfall. High above them was the cleft of an opening. Clear blue sky from above shone upon them.

The shower of water streamed around a small island. There Cecelia saw the largest clam she’d ever beheld in her life. And inside its opened mouth was the Pearl of Life. It was a small thing and its pinkest color shone against the hot ray of sunlight.

“’Tis our luck all right, captain,” one man said, smiling.

“Aye, Joe, let’s get across,” Jackson said, pointing to his men.

“Is the water deep?” another asked.

One hopped into the stream. It barely reached his chest. “Nay, not at—” He didn’t finish the sentence, for he started screaming in pain. “Aaghh…” The agony in his voice echoed like death, and birds high above them hiding amongst the trees dispersed in every direction in fright.

“What happened?” Jackson shouted.

“Get me out! Get me out!” Joe screamed, his hands scrambling for his mates.

“Pull him out!” Jackson shouted.

Two men hurriedly pulled Joe out. As he landed, the lower parts of his body steamed with smoke. His breeches stuck to his legs; his boots were burned and melted to his feet.

“What kind of water is this?” Jackson shouted, twisting his face in rage toward Cecelia and Lucifer, demanding them to answer.

Cecelia turned her face away. Her heart sank at the thought of ever getting the pearl herself. If those men couldn’t get through, what chance had she?

“I said what kind of water is this?” the captain snapped. When none answered, he stalked toward them. “Tell me!” he growled, pulling Lucifer up and shoving the boy about.

“Stop it!” Cecelia snapped angrily. “You cannot treat the boy this way.” She pulled Lucifer into her arms. “Leave him be.”

“Get out of the way!” He slapped Cecelia with the back of his hand, sending her falling to the ground.

When she looked up at him again, she touched her sore face, glaring at him.

“You, tell me now,” Jackson growled.

“I don’t know,” Lucifer cried.

“You nuisance bastard! No point in keeping you,” he growled, drawing out his dagger.

Cecelia panicked when she saw the knife moving toward Lucifer’s stomach. She got up and raced to the boy, thrusting him aside. The blade slid through her arm as she and Lucifer fell to the ground.

“Damn nuisance, the both of you,” Jackson snapped, throwing away his dagger and drawing out his sword. Cecelia stared wide-eyed as he raised the blade high, intending to kill them.

“No!” she whispered, closing her eyes.

She felt the blade moving slowly down toward her heart, its sharp coldness inches from her breasts. That split second felt like an eternity.

The next moment, she opened her eyes and saw an arrow hit the captain’s hand, sending the sword flying, landing in the stream. The sword shriveled, and within seconds, it was destroyed into nothingness.

She looked up toward the entrance and saw giants. She was sure they were giants, for they were as big as pine trees.

“You scoundrel, you dare to hurt my son?” the man with dark-blond hair growled, his deep-set eyes glaring at the captain. The intensity in that gaze could send a man running in tears.

It almost did, but Captain Jackson stood his ground. “Give me a sword!” he shouted at his men.

“But captain—” one said, his voice quivering as his eyes flickered from one giant to the other.

“I said my sword!” the captain growled, reaching his hand in the air. One threw him a sword. He caught it and nodded toward the giant addressing him. “You, let’s fight man to man.”

“I am no man, you bastard,” Adam growled, taking a step forward.

“Look at all those scary little humans,” Gerick said from behind. “I’ll take those ten there.” He nodded to the bunch on his left.

“I’ll take the captain,” Adam said, taking a step toward the leader.

“You will not,” Drake said, handing his bow to Leon. “You will take your son home. He needs you.”

Adam frowned darkly. He wanted to kill the bastard human who had hurt his son. If that boy hadn’t shoved aside Lucifer to take the blade himself, Lucifer would be dead by now. He was still damn angry, but Drake was right. Lucifer needed him right now.

He grunted loudly to show his displeasure for not having the chance to kill the captain.

“I’ll take the captain,” Drake said, sliding out his thick, sharp sword. “We will fight man to man,” he said to the captain.

Jackson swallowed. “I’ll kill you all, demons,” he screamed and rushed toward Drake.

Drake stepped aside and rewarded Jackson’s neck with the back of his hard fist.

Captain Jackson fell forward. He scrambled up and rushed for an attack. They were fighting with their fists and feet—blow to blow. Both Gerick and Leon charged the other men and began their combat.

Adam went to his son. “Lucifer?” he said, kneeling beside the boy.

“Papa?” Lucifer said through the sounds of swords slashing and men grunting. He rushed up to the hug Adam. His tears flowed down his little cheeks. “Papa, I’ve missed you. I’m so scared,” he admitted.

“I’m here now, son,” Adam said, picking up Lucifer. He turned to look at Cecelia. “Come on, boy. Let’s get out of here.”

Cecelia stared at him, at a loss. She had never seen any man as tall and big and muscular as this one. His face, she saw, was quite handsome.

“Come!” he said again, dragging her up none too gently and leading her toward the passageway.

“What about the others?” she asked.

“Do not worry yourself about them,” he said, pulling her after him.

“But Captain Jackson has many men. There are only four of you, and now you left your comrades. They will not escape.”

Adam didn’t reply and kept dragging her toward the clearing. She had to keep up the pace by running so she wouldn’t fall. It was only a short time later that they were out again.

Out in the clearing, Cecelia saw four animals. She supposed they were horses of some breed, for they had horns like those of a unicorn. Their bodies were bigger and more muscular, however, which she supposed indicated strength. Their colors were of particular interest to her. One was beige, two were grey, and one was a sinful velvety black.

Adam led her to the beige one. When she was standing beside the horse, her head barely reached the saddle.

“CloudStorm!” Lucifer shrieked with delight, patting the animal’s long nose.

Adam placed his son on the ground and turned to Cecelia. She took one look at him and knew what he was going to do.

“Nay, I can’t—” She could go no farther, for she was being lifted up and swung over the saddle like a doll. “Thank you,” she said. Her backside was quite sore because he’d dumped her on the saddle none too gently.

Adam picked up his son and easily climbed on the saddle in front of her. He made his son comfortable sitting on his lap and took the bridle.

“Hold tight,” he said and slashed the reins.

The stallion hissed and rushed forward. Cecelia had to quickly grab for Adam’s coat so she wouldn’t fall back from the force. She didn’t know how long they were going to ride until they got to somewhere safe. But she didn’t care, for Lucifer was safe with his father.

Somehow, she knew she must find a way to get that pearl. The thought of her mother was at the forefront of her mind as she drifted off into a slumber.

Not long afterward, Adam heard the thunder of hooves approaching them. He didn’t slow down, for he knew they would catch up to him soon enough. Then three stallions were riding alongside him. Adam slowed his stallion to a slower pace. Gerick took the lead, while Leon took the rear as guard.

“How is he?” Drake asked, looking at his nephew.

“Doing fine,” Adam said, gazing down at his son. “Brave boy,” he said, glancing at Cecelia sleeping behind him.

“Must be tired,” Drake said. “Here, let me take him.”

They moved their stallions closer and Drake lifted Cecelia and laid her on his lap. She snuggled against his large chest, sleeping in contentment. Drake wrapped one arm around her and then kicked his stallion to gallop faster.

* * * * *

A Demon Wrath: Chapter 4

2015 A Demon Wrath Book 1Chapter IV

 

 

Demon Kingdom, McNamara Castle

 

COMMANDER LEON McKNIGHT MADE HIS way along the gigantic hallway, his steps quick and his polished boots clattering loudly against the marble floor. He turned to his right, then his left, and then left again before he came to a stop in front of a massive mahogany double door. He took a deep breath, lifted his hand, and knocked in a rhythm of three.

“Enter!” a voice boomed from inside the room.

He hastily opened the door and entered the conference room. He bowed slightly once he saw the king—not sitting in his large golden chair, but standing with his hands clasped behind him, his head tilted to one side, and his eyes gazing out at the clear, sparkling blue sea in the horizon. Bright sunlight shone on his aquiline features, silhouetting his form in a mysterious shadow.

Drake Oswald McNamara, the formidable, powerful demon king turned his attention to his trusted friend and distant relative, Leon McKnight, commander of the general army. “What news have you, Leon?”

“The ghost birds, Drake,” the soldier began. “They smelled Lucifer’s scent somewhere deep in the Siren Sea of Death.”

“Is he coming home?” a soft female voice that belonged to Lady Vera McNamara whispered.

Leon turned his attention to the beauty standing beside the king. Dressed in a flowing empire gown of a sea-blue color with gold trimming, her blond tresses styled into ringlets about her head, and the beautiful sapphire earrings and necklace that complimented her blue eyes, she looked enchanting. He stared at her, lost for a moment in her beauty. Then he remembered his place and said to her, “I’m not sure, my lady.”

“What else did the ghost birds say they saw?” a male voice that belonged to Lord Adam McNamara, Vera’s beloved husband and the king’s cousin, snapped.

Leon turned as he addressed Adam and said, “They thought they had seen lights.”

“In the middle of the sea?” Adam questioned gruffly.

“I believe we have unwanted guests,” Drake said chillingly soft.

“They have kidnapped my son and dare to even step foot on our land?” Adam growled, slapping his palms on the table.

The fact was Adam was very angry with himself and the incompetency of the Meridianus warriors. If only they hadn’t ventured to Meridianus Kingdom. If only Lucifer hadn’t wanted to celebrate the Summer Rising with his maternal grandparents, the Hemsworth, whom Adam still couldn’t get along with despite Vera’s effort. If only Vera hadn’t encourage the idea. If only he had said no to his wife’s begging to visit her homeland. If only Lucifer hadn’t venture so far off with those other Meridianus boys, then he wouldn’t have been kidnapped. The thought of those lawless Meridianus thieves who dared to kidnap his son sent Adam’s temper soaring. He growled loudly and sent his mighty fist down on the table again.

“They won’t hurt him, will they?” Vera asked, eyeing her husband.

“Lucifer can look after himself,” Drake said. “He is a demon after all.”

“I could not bear it if he is hurt,” Vera sobbed, throwing herself into her husband’s arms.

The moment he saw his wife’s tears, Adam forgot about his own temper. He hugged her tight and patted her slender shoulder to comfort her. “Lucifer is a brave demon. He will be all right,” he said softly. Then with a dark scowl, he turned to the demon with long blond hair and pale blue eyes, sitting behind the large table that separated them. “Well, Julius, use your damn globe to find Lucifer.”

Julius Falkland, the king’s adviser, glanced at Adam McNamara and said, “You cannot force the vision, Adam. It will allow us to see if Lady Fate wants us to see.”

“But surely, Julius, Lucifer is in trouble. My son, your student, is in danger,” Vera said, fresh tears threatening to spill out of her eyes.

Julius said, “I will have to use a lot of power to force the vision.” He stood up then and turned toward the door. “I will fetch the globe first, and Drake?” He glanced at the king. “I will need your superior power to help, sire.”

Drake nodded, and Julius left.

“Don’t just stand there, Leon. Come and tell us what else the ghost birds saw,” Adam growled.

The soldier nodded and took a few steps toward the table. At that moment, the door crashed open. Gerick McNamara stood there, hands on hips, as he surveyed the room at large with interest.

“What’s this? A conference without me?” he said.

Adam ignored the question from his younger brother and snapped, “Well? Any trace of the Meridianus bastards?”

Gerick frowned for a moment and then said, “My warriors and I have traced from the south to the north of the Meridianus Kingdoms using our flying steeds. The hounds smelled Lucifer’s scent. We followed it, and here we are.” He turned his attention to his cousin, the king. “Drake?”

“Gerick,” Drake said, a dark scowl on his face. “They have just arrived in our land.”

“They set foot on our land?” Gerick shouted, his brows rising dangerously. “Surely, they are not that stupid,” he said more calmly, walking into the room.

“What do you expect? They are human after all,” Adam said, helping his wife into a chair. Vera gave her husband a slight smile and murmured to him a thank you.

“Ah, Leon,” Gerick said, slapping the demon’s shoulder. “So you are the one to bear the news?”

“The ghost birds spied them in the night past,” the soldier said. “They reported back this morn.”

“I can’t wait to slice those humans’ guts with my sword,” Gerick said with one hand gripping the hilt of his weapon

“Gerick!” Adam snapped. “You will not talk of such in front of my wife.”

The gorgeously handsome demon thinned his lips and shrugged his broad shoulders. “Sorry, Vera,” he said. “Where’s Julius?”

“Getting his crystal globe,” Adam supplied, taking a chair beside his wife.

“Are we sight-seeing again?” Gerick asked, glancing heavenward.

“Are you trying to say my globe doesn’t work, Gerick?” Julius said from the door.

“Not at all, Lord Wise Wizard.” Gerick shrugged his shoulders.

Julius narrowed his eyes at Gerick. He walked into the room and placed the globe in the middle of the table. “Drake, I need your help.”

“Aye,” Drake said, making his way toward them.

Everyone circled the table. Drake placed both his hands on the crystal ball. Julius did the same. They both closed their eyes and summoned their inner demon power to the surface. Instantly, the clear ball turned cloudy with smoke and waves of blue-green color.

“I see him,” Julius said, his voice thick. “It’s so cold. The water is so deep. Lucifer is alone.”

“My poor Lucifer,” Vera cried, leaning against her husband for support.

“The storm is brewing, strong and evil,” Julius continued.

“Is Lucifer all right?” Vera whispered, turning her teary eyes from the misty magic globe to look at Julius. She saw that his forehead was starting to sweat, his face scrunched in concentration.

“Hush, love, Julius is working,” Adam said.

“Wait, I’m growing warm. I’m not cold anymore,” Julius said, frowning as though he were confused.

“Lucifer is all right,” Vera asked.

“Whoa, it worked?” Gerick said, raising his brows.

“I can feel his happiness. Nay, he is sad again. No wait. ’Tis a different color, a different warmth.”

“For God’s sake, Julius, make up your mind,” Gerick snapped.

“Perhaps Julius is seeing more than just Lucifer,” Leon suggested.

“That is possible,” Adam said.

“So is Lucifer all right?” Vera asked again.

“I don’t know. I…” Julius frowned for a moment. “Wait, I can distinguish the difference now. Lucifer, I feel him. I see him. He is in a small vessel. They have passed the Siren Sea of Death and are on their way to the Deadly Hollow Cave by the beach of our land.”

“They’ve arrived,” Vera said, her voice sounding oddly hoarse in her own ears.

Julius opened his eyes and released his hand from the globe. “Now we know they are here and Lucifer is with them.” He turned to Vera. “Don’t worry. We’ll save Lucifer from those human bastards.” He nodded and turned to look at his friend. “Drake?”

“Why is Drake still holding on to the crystal ball?” Gerick asked, looking at his cousin, wide-eyed.

“Drake?” Vera touched Drake’s arm.

Drake’s eyes were closed and his face was a composed mask. In his mind’s eyes, he saw the coldness of the sea, the whirling of ice-blue water rushing about him. The stormy wind gusted around him as he stood his ground. Then he was flying. He was in the air. He could feel the fresh, cold air fluttering against his skin. He looked down, and below him he saw a vessel. He felt himself descending toward the ship, and then his body went through ceilings and floors. Down below in the vessel was a prison. There he saw two figures lying side by side. He recognized Lucifer. The other boy wrapped his arms around Lucifer as a mother would to keep her child safe and warm. He saw the youth looked up at him, his soft-brown eyes begging him, and his delicate hand reaching out to him.

Drake felt a sudden coldness settling in his heart. A feeling he had never felt before. He opened his eyes and removed his hands from the globe. He looked around and saw his comrades watching him.

“What did you see?” Julius asked. “What happened?”

“I saw Lucifer,” he said. “They are coming up to the beach as we speak.”

“Then let’s go rip their limbs apart,” Gerick said, heading toward the door.

“Stop!” Drake shouted. “Don’t be such a hothead.”

“Well, we can’t just sit here and wait for them to come through the castle door,” Gerick snapped.

“Gerick, I won’t have your temper killing my son,” Adam said firmly. “What is it, Drake?”

“We will surprise them. I think they have more than ransom on their mind,” Drake said, narrowing his eyes.

“You don’t mean…?” Gerick looked at his cousin in disbelief.

“The Pearl of Life!” Julius said, his eyes wide.

“The gall of them,” Leon said with his hands fisted.

“It has been ten years since anyone has reached this far,” Drake said. “Come, we leave now.” He turned and led the way out of the study.

* * * * *