Gate Keeper Ch 9

Chapter 9

I walked among the books, lightly touching the Mortalitas. Did I do the right thing? I was waiting for my friends to finish their second tests.

He met my question with another, What does your heart tell you?

I smiled, “Mum isn’t here right now. She knows what to do in this kinda of situation.” I quickly remembered mum telling me where I could contact her at any time. “Well, let’s see what she would think about all of this.” I walked into a tiny booth that held contact crystals to talk to people outside out the Academy. “I want to contact my mum, Silvia Valiente.” I spoke into the crystal.

The crystal hummed, “Hello, Myst.”

“Mum, I need to know something and since you know more about things than I do, I need your advice.” I spoke quickly.

“Whatcha ne-” I heard her shriek, “Get away from me!” She screamed again, but it was cut off as the crystal flashed red.

“Mum? Mum!” I shouted at the crystal, before I felt someone jerk me out of the booth. I fell to the ground from the unfriendly pull and ended looking up at Athde and Keres. “Please! There’s something wrong with my mum! She’s hurt!”

Athde shook his head, “Not hurt, child… Worse than that.”

Keres helped me up, though not too gentle. Apparently, he was still pissed at me. I ignored him, having bigger problems on my hands. “What happened to her?!”

Athde grabbed my hand and the floor vanished beneath all of us, landing us in his office. “Valiente, please sit.”

“No, we don’t have time! Someone attacked my mum, I have to go help her!”

Keres pushed me down in the chair and held me down. “Listen, Myst.” He spoke harshly.

I looked from Athde to Keres. “No… She can’t be! I was just talking to her! She couldn’t have been!”

“Valiente, do you know what your mother was?” He folded his hands in front of him, staying calm.

“She was human.” My voice was quiet, even to me. “She told me she was.”

Athde shook his head, “You mother was Angelic. She went through the Gate after fleeing the arranged marriage her parents had made with Michael. She was a sweet child to be tethered to the archangel. She ran on her wedding night to the human realm and met with Lucifer. He protected her from the searching angels and soon, they fell in love. From the union of Angelic and Demonic, you were born. When she gave birth to you, her chose to give up her Angelic power to keep you. She became human in every sense of the word, her power gone.”

Athde took a breath, letting me take this in before he continued, “Since your true power is sealed, you do not have to worry about anything. You father being who he is, could never be killed…” He sighed, “Myst, the price for Angelic and Demonic couplings is death to both parties and to the child.”

My eyes widened and I screamed out, “No! You must be lying! You have to be!” I felt the light grow slightly colder, “I’ll rip out your lying tongue! She can’t be dead! She can’t be!” I tried to stand up, but Keres held me into the chair, “She’s hurt and you’re wasting my time with stories and lies! She was human and she fell in love with the Devil.” I growled loudly to Keres, my light becoming ice, “I’ll slice you open with a blunt spoon and make you eat your spleen! Let me up! I have to save her!”

Athde spoke softly, “I am sorry, Valiente…” He nodded to Keres and after a slight hit of pain, darkness engulfed me.

| _-_ |

“She can’t be gone.” I sat in the corner of a dark room of my mind. “She’s always been so strong… She taught me how to use the double blades. How could she have died?” I pulled my legs up to my chest and held them close to my body. “She can’t be dead. Athde must have been mistaken. Why wouldn’t he let me go to her!?”

“Because there was a chance that whoever killed her was trying to flush you and Lucifer out.” Mortalitas’s voice hit me.

I looked up and saw a tall, very muscular male with black wings standing over me. He wore all black, accenting his honey colored skin. He knelt down to my level and brushed hair from my face. He had black hair that reached his waist, but it was tied back to keep it from getting away from him. His pupils were rimmed with red that became gold towards the white of his eyes. He was beautiful and dangerous, handsome and deadly.

“Mortalitas?” I asked, my voice quavering. I hoped he knew it was not because I was scared of him “Is this your true form?”

He nodded, “Yes, Myst.” He put his hand out, asking for my hand. I took it without a second thought, and was not worried when he pulled me close to him. He smelled lightly of exotic spices with a tinge of dark musk and lilies. He held onto me tight, his deep voice warm and gentle, “It is good to cry, Myst. You lost your mother and a friend.”

I shook my head, “I can’t cry… It’s a sign of weakness that can be exploited to harm me…” I sniffled then hiccuped.

He kissed the top of my head softly, “We are alone here. Nothing will exploit you here.”

I felt the last of my barrier break apart, and I could not stop the tears from rushing out. I buried my face into his shoulder, weeping for the loss of the one parent that had been there for me every time I needed her.

Mortalitas gently stroked my hair, as he allowed me to cry on his shoulder. When I left like there were no tears left, he murmured gently, “Myst, you are the daughter of the light and the dark, the only true gray that has ever been born. There will be dark times, just as there will be light times. You are not weak for showing grief over your mother’s death, just as you are not strong from always hiding your emotions.”

I looked up at him, “She was the only one I could truly count on. Always there, always helping and pushing me in the right direction. Then I came to the Academy and met others who I could count upon, but she was always there.”

He brushed his lips against my forehead, his eyes distant, “I met her once, when Lucifer was able to temporarily release me from my prison. She brightened up the room when she smiled, but she had a temper like you do when she was riled up. She was beautiful and Lucifer was so happy when she asked to be his wife.”

He smiled at the memory. “She walked through the Gates to Hell one day and asked him in front of his court. The court was astounded that an Angel would give herself to the King of demons. They were married by that night, a grand occasion; the realm had not a care in the world. However, among the partiers was a spy for the Angels, someone who had been looking for your mother. We killed him, but not before he told Michael about the union.”

I spoke, my voice soft to my ears, “Michael killed her, didn’t he?”

He lifted my chin up to make me meet his eyes, “Yes, he did. That is why Athde could not let you go to see her. She was dead before Athde pulled you from the booth. From what he told me, Lucifer came through the Gate and told Athde that something felt wrong. Together, they found out what was going to happen and Athde raced to where your mother was hiding. She was dead before anything could be done.”

“How did he make it there and back within less then a minute?” I remembered that Athde had pulled me out of the booth.

“When Athde became the Gatekeeper, Lucifer granted him the power of teleportation as a safety measure. Athde brought her body to Lucifer, who took her home, to Hell.”

“Then I can see her!” I perked up a tiny bit.

He shook his head, setting us down on the ground, “No, darling. After her soul and Lucifer talked, she went to Oblivion. There is no Gate to Oblivion, because the dead need to rest and the living needs to move on. If there was a way, I would imagine that it would destroy the living souls of those who go through it.”

I sat in his lap, feeling small and vulnerable. I lost my guiding star and I had no idea where to go from here. “Mortalitas?”

“Yes?”

“Why were you so jealous of Keres?”

He looked down at me, his lips slightly above mine, “I have been waiting for you since your mother and father conceived you on their wedding night. I know you like him, but I wanted to least try to have you for myself. I saw the truth in your eyes when you looked at him. I see now that I will never have that kind of a chance. May I ask you for something?”

“Anything.”

He leaned forward and kissed me, taking away the rest of the grief for my mum within the kiss. He tasted sweet and spicy and left my mind numb to the outside world. He pulled away, “I can make your hurt go away, so you can be useful in the outside world. But for me to do that, I want something from you… I want to have you here, to feel you, caress you and bring you pleasure. Just once and only here… Will you give me that?”

I leaned up and kissed him shyly, giving him my answer. He understood and he pulled me closer, before gently laying me down on the ground. Before I could think twice, he did much more than just kiss me.

| _-_ |

I woke up, thankfully, in my room, though, once again, fully naked. I heard nothing but the normal sounds from outside my window. I sat up and was content to see that I was alone. I crawled out of bed, wobbling my way to the bathroom. I felt lightheaded and my mind was blurry. I remembered that my mum was killed by the archangel Michael, but I was at peace. Mortalitas kept his end of the deal.

There was a knock at the door, light and tentative. “Come in!” I shouted from the bathroom. I heard the door open and close, as I heard a couple of pairs of feet walk into the room. “I’ll be right out!”

“Take your time, Valiente. We can wait.” Dei answered me, letting me know he was most likely there with Cittrite.

I splashed water on my face, looking at my reflection. My eyes were red and puffy from crying. I reached between my bare legs and felt my inner thighs were slick. I felt foolish for giving into Mortalitas, but since he made me numb to the pain of grief, I could not hold it against him. He used me in my hour of sadness, but I used him as well to separate my feelings from my physical self. I grabbed a bath towel and wiped my hand on it, before wiping away the rest of the slick wet.

I grabbed another towel and wrapped it around me. I walked back out of the bathroom and I saw Cittrite and Dei sitting at a study table all of the dorms had. They both looked at me, their faces red. Dei spoke first, “Ladies are not supposed to walk around in front of men without clothes.”

Cittrite looked at Dei, “That may be true with Elfin ladies, but not with Orc ones. They walk around with only hair to cover their feminine parts.”

I grinned, as I walked over to the dresser, putting my light back on. I kept the towel on me, as I went through the drawers, grabbing what I needed. I then stood back up, dropped the towel and dressed. I did not care if they saw anything or not, at least then I could prove that my 43 inch bust, 38 inch waist, 41 inch stomach and 44 inch hips qualified as me being fat.

After dressing in what counted as finery for me, I sat next to them. They looked at my all black curve-hugging tunic and slacks. I held a red and black poofy dress in my arms. Dei knew why I was wearing it, but from the look on Cittrite’s face, he did not know. “My mum was murdered last night. This was the dress she wore on her wedding night, a night of joy and happiness.”

Cittrite looked to Dei then to me, “You do not look too sad about her death.”

I nodded, “Mortalitas took away the pain, so I could function. I’m sad, but numb to the actual pain of her death.”

“Why are you dressed like that?” Dei asked.

“I’m going to the human realm, then to Hell. She will have a memorial in the two places that meant so much to her. If you two want to go, I won’t mind, but when I visit the house, I have to ask that you don’t enter until I tell you to. I don’t know everything that happened and I don’t want Dei getting hit with the lingering emotions.” I looked to Dei, “Since you will insist going in with me, I’m having Cittrite stay outside with you, so you won’t go in.”

They knew I would not budge on the subject, so they changed it. Cittrite asked, “Does Athde know that you are going?”

“No, and I’m not planning on telling him. He has to deal with my grieving father, so I don’t feel like I need to bother him with this. It will just be a quick look around, then we will go to a cemetery and I’ll arrange for a memorial to be set up. From there, we will be going to Hell, so I can talk to my father.” I put on the pair of black boots from mum.

They nodded, stood up and spoke, “We will go with you.”

“Bring your weapons. I don’t know if the male who killed her is still lingering around.” I stood up, “We leave in an hour, meet me by the Gates. Cittrite, I know the perfect bow for you, but it’s next to the Gates.” I hugged them both; glad to have more people I could count on, than just the one who was gone.

There was another knock at the door. I dreaded this knock, knowing it was one of the two people who could ruin my plans for going to the human realm. Dei and Cittrite opened the door, leaving before Keres stepped inside. “Since you are dead set on doing this, I am going with you as an escort.” He closed the door behind him and stepped towards me.

I growled, “We don’t need someone who will do nothing but glare at me the whole time. You hate me, I get it, now understand this. We do not need you to go with. I know how to open the Gates to Hell, so there is no use for you.”

He looked at the ground, and I felt a wave of pain emitting from him. “If you try to leave without me, I will tell Athde and the Dean and all of you will have your powers bound and you will be sent home.” He looked to me directly, his teeth gritted, “Nothing you can do or say will stop me from going, so just accept the help.”

I thought of Dei and Cittrite and I knew I could not let my anger get to me, when they had so much at stake as I did. “Fine. You have one hour to meet us by the Gates.”

I tried to stomp passed him, but he grabbed my arm, “We need to talk.”

I pulled my arm from his grip, “There’s nothing to talk about. Like I said, you hate me for leaving you. Honestly, get over it. You would have never been able to have me. Anyone I love can be used against me. I lost one person I loved; I refuse to lose you as well because someone wants to hurt me. And don’t give me crap about Dei and Cittrite, I gave them the choice to leave, they chose to stay. So, take your hate for me and shove it up your-”

He grabbed my arm and threw me onto the bed. He was on top of me before I could get back up. He held onto my wrists beside my head and he leaned in close to me. “Now you listen. I do not hate you. I have never hated you. Yes, I felt betrayed when you left me sitting there alone. How could I not?! I did everything I could to make sure you were safe and healed, and you repaid me with emotions that hurt.”

I growled at him, “Then how do you feel towards me? I’ve known nothing but annoyance from you. You told me that you didn’t hate me, yet you put on one hell of a show of it. I ask you again, what are your feelings for m-”

He kissed me lightly, a shy sweet touch of lips. He let go of my wrists and he cradled my head in his hands. He kissed me again, this time longer and more confident. When he pulled away, questions went through his eyes. I saw the switch in his eyes, the wall hiding his emotions broke and I knew the truth. “Myst… I love you. Since the day I met you, you made me hunger to taste you and be with you. I wanted nothing more than to lie next to you and listen to your heartbeats and breathing. I wanted to hold you when you cried and watch the world brighten when you smiled.” He got off me, leaving me on the bed.

I heard the door open and I bolted up. “Thanos Keres Riqis, stop.” The power his name had over him stopped him from leaving. I slid from the bed and closed the door before the power wore off. “Keres, I’m sorry for everything. For making you feel like crap and making you feel less than what you truly are. I hope that you can truly forgive me, but the reason I left was because Mortalitas felt betrayed. We had a talk and he relinquished all claims he had on me. He and I are partners, nothing more.” I stepped closer to him, “Keres, I love you too.” I kissed him with everything I had. When I pulled away, I sent a thought to him, My name is Mystiri Lunitaryl Valiente.

He fell back a step, caught off guard. “Your full name has a lot of power, love.”

“Then I don’t suggest you use it too often.” I smiled and grabbed his hand, “I need to grab something from the Library, would you like to go?”

He flashed a toothy grin, “Just try stopping me.”

I grabbed a leather messenger bag from the nightstand, putting the pipes, stones, light and the random jewelry mum gave me throughout my life. I looked at the dress on the bed and gently picked it up, throwing it over my shoulder. I grabbed the Mortalitas, wrapped it in one of my ruined shirts and put it into the bag as well. We walked out of the room and walked, hand in hand, to the Library. People stared as we passed by; teachers, students, and school administrators could not help but watch the vampyre and the owner of the Mortalitas talking to each other. We reached the Library and I dragged him to the sheet music sections. “Keres, I need to find a song my mum has always loved called ‘The Turtledove’ arranged by Linda Spekvak. And I need a song of growth.”

He nodded and we went our separate ways to find the music I needed. Keres called me, Mystiri, I found “The Turtledove” song you were looking for. I will meet you at the Gates with it. He understood my need to be alone to find this certain song. I went through pages and pages of sheet music, looking for the one song of growth that would help give mum a memorial.

It took me most of the hour to find it, but I found the prefect song. It was a Requiem of Life by a long forgotten author, but it suited my purpose well. I gathered up the pages and stuffed them into the purse. I felt cold metal and glass brush against my hand. I pulled out a sapphire and silver compass and felt a small bit of sadness. It was my mother’s compass, a device to help her find her way. Maybe this is how she always new what to do. I smiled and put the compass away, before remembering that I was supposed to be at the Gates already.

I ran to the spiral stairwell and I felt like I could fly. I looked down to see the three of them waiting for me. I smiled and jumped off the side of the railing of the staircase. I heard Dei yell at me from two stories beneath me, “Damn it, Valiente!” I felt power pouring out of Cittrite, allowing me to float to the ground.

Keres pulled me out of the air, with a spin. He pulled me close, his face less than inch from mine, “Was that necessary?”

I shook my head, “Nope. But I didn’t know if Mortalitas can keep me numb when we leave here.” I felt the weight of what we were about to do on my shoulders. I pointed to the bow Mortalitas had said held the soul of an angel, “Cittrite, that’s the bow I was talking about. Go grab it and see if you two could work together.” Cittrite ran and grabbed the bow and I sensed a shock from him, as if he heard the bow speak. He ran back over to us. Keres let me down and I walked to the center Gate. “I want to go home.” The Gate flashed with its ever-lasting spiral. It cleared, revealing the front door to my mum’s old house. I took a deep breath in, “Are we ready?”

They nodded, but Cittrite asked, “We are, but are you?”

I answered him by walking through the Gate.

| _-_ |

I opened the front door of my old home and felt the world drop around me. Furniture was upturned and torn open; cupboards and cabinets were all opened and the contents pulled out. I went to the kitchen and noticed that all of the dishes were on the floor, the drawers pulled out of their holes. I went into my room and saw the same destruction. I saw the picture of the Gate smashed to pieces and I knew what Michael was looking for.

I heard footsteps in the hallway outside my room. I heard Dei announce, “Sorry, Valiente, but people were giving us weird looks.”

I called back, as I went into the hallway, “I understand. It looks pretty safe in here.” I walked to my mum’s room and took a deep breath in.

Keres set his hand on my shoulder, “Are you sure you can do this?”

I nodded, sobered by the wrecked home. “I have to. She was my mum and she was my guiding star. If I don’t do it, who will?” I opened the door and stepped inside.

The room was torn up worse than the rest of the small house. The mattress, box spring and frame was covered in dried blood and shredded to pieces. There were broken picture frames with the picture cut by the shards of glass. I noticed a frame face down on the floor, the glass everywhere. I picked up the frame and flipped it over. My heart sank when I saw the picture gone. It had been a picture mum and I had taken at my graduation.

I found another picture of us at the zoo where I found a way to sneak us into the polar bear enclosure. I heard movement on the carpet as Dei, Cittrite and Keres walked into the room. I opened the broken frame and pulled out the picture, putting it into my bag. I looked around and saw every drawer opened and their contents spewing across the floor.

I remembered about a safe mum kept in the house. She and I put memories, originals of pictures and important documents in it. I stood up and walked to the wall adjoining the master bathroom. I knocked on it three times and whistled a lullaby. The wall vanished, showing a tall safe door. I used the combination to open it, before pulling the handle to open it.

Picture albums and boxes filled the safe. I turned to Dei, “Can you grab me a box from the garage that will fit all of this in it? If it has stuff in it, empty it out. I have no use for it.”

Dei nodded and left the room to do as I asked. I opened one of the albums and found a picture of mum and my father getting married. They were so happy, as they leaned in to kiss each other for the picture. I pulled it out of the album, along with a picture I found of mum, father and myself. I put the two pictures into my bag, being very careful with them

Dei came back in with a plastic storage bin. All three watched as I filled it with albums and the boxes. I opened one of the boxes and found letters written from my father, as he ruled his kingdom. I noticed in one of the boxes was a sealed letter addressed to me. I put it into my bag, not wanting to read it yet.

I heard Keres open one of the boxes, “Love, look at this.” He held up two letters, as he put the lid back onto the box and put the box in the storage bin. I waved for him to read them aloud. He nodded and began,

“Dearest Daughter,

It is a wonderful occasion for you to be celebrating. The Archangel, Michael, has asked for your hand in marriage. I proudly gave it, knowing he would be what is best for you. The marriage is set for tonight at Twilight, as he asked for it. My darling daughter, I know he is older, but he is experienced and will protect you from the vile demons. Your mother and I are proud to have enjoyed spending the beginning years of your life with us. Michael will usher in a new age of happiness for you.

Love, Raphael.

P.S. You will need to curb your wildest tendencies, as they are not fit for the wife of the most powerful angel.”

“Yick, what’s the other one?” I asked, as he put the first letter on the floor.

“Traitor,

What have you done?! Your wedding was a disaster because you ran away! How am I supposed to rise into higher social circles, if you never married the highest?! You have ruined our social standing and even worse! You ran away with the King of Demons! You are no daughter of mine and any child you have with that monster is to be killed on sight. You have brought this upon yourself and you shall never seen the light of Heaven for as long as your soul exists!” There was no signature, but it looked like the other one.

“I guess that means seeing grandpa is out of the question, but that explains why mum so readily shed her angelic powers.” I mumbled. “Those don’t go into the boxes. I’m keeping them…” I handed the bag to Keres and he put the letters inside. He held onto my bag for me, as I put mum’s wedding dress into the bin, folding it neatly, not to ruin it

After everything was put into the storage bin, I tried to pick it up, but it was heavy. I braced myself and lifted hard, but I felt Cittrite use his power to make it lighter. “Please, don’t. This is my burden to carry and I will do it with pride.”

I felt his power retreat back into his soul, but he stepped forward and grabbed the other side. “It may be your burden, but you do not have to do it alone.” He smiled weakly and I could not yell at him for it.

Dei asked, as we walked out of the house, “Where to next?”

“The cemetery at the edge of town. She always loved the view and I know the perfect spot to make the memorial.” I grunted, the storage bin still heavy. I felt Dei and Keres work together to teleport us to the top of the cemetery hill. I mumbled something about men, before setting it down gently. I used my power to heat the plastic, melting the lid and bin together, so nothing could get inside.

I walked to Keres and pulled out a single seed from my bag. I looked to Cittrite and Dei, “I need a hole to bury the bin into.” They both nodded, as they used their power to create a rectangle hole in the ground. The dirt and sod was lifted above the ground, seven feet up. Keres and I set the bin into the ground, before Cittrite and Dei gently buried the bin of memories. I looked at the ground and it looked like nothing ever moved.

I knelt down to the ground and buried the seed I held. I stood back up and grabbed the pipes and stones from the bag. I released the stones on the ground, not using music to convince them to help me. They knew it was a somber moment and know not to mess with me.

I put the pipes to my lips, as the stoned began to play the piano melody for “The Turtledove.” As they created the sounds of ivory keys, I played the beginning flute to the beautiful song. Keres, Dei and Cittrite stood silent, as they listened to the memorial music.

When it came time for the words, a deep exotic voice welled up from behind us, as I smelled a mix of roses and honey. “Fair you well my dear, I must be gone. And leave you for a while. If I roam away, I’ll come back again. Though I roam ten thousand miles my dear. Though I roam ten thousand miles.”

Hearing the voice shocked me, but I continued to play the flute part, as the stones played the piano. “So fair thou art my bonny lass. So deep in love am I. But I never will prove false, to the bonny lass I love. Til the stars fall from the sky my dear. Til the Stars Fall from the Sky.”

I felt someone come up behind me, but I knew that I was in no danger. He continued, “The sea will never run dry, my dear. Nor the rocks ever melt with the sun. And I never will prove false, to the bonny lass I love. Til the stars fall from the sky. Til the Stars Fall from the Sky.”

I closed my eyes, allowing his voice, the music and the memories fill me. He continued to sing the words of the lovely song, “Oh yonder sits that little turtle dove. He doth sit on yonder high tree, amaking a moan for the loss of his love, as I will do for thee, my dear. As I will Do for Thee. Fair you well my dear. Fair you well my dear. Fair Well. Fair Well…”” His voice lingered as the last bits of notes drifted away from the song.

I looked up at my father and felt sympathy for the tall man. I watched tears stream down his cheeks from his gold eyes. He had an old weathered look on his face, frown lines and happy lines fighting to change his looks. He had long black hair with streaks of silver dancing through it, accenting his light skin. His black demon wings were pulled in tight around him, a protective gesture. He wore all black, a matching set of clothes to my own. He was elegant and he had the feel of royalty to him that told the world he was a king.

Unsure of what to do, I played the Requiem I found, as I watched my father turn and kneel to the ground. I continued playing the heartbreaking legato notes, a song of sorrow, before it gave rise to a song of rebirth and life. As the song progressed, I watched a small bit of green sprout from the ground where I had placed the seed. The sprout grew into a fully-grown Lily of the Valley plant.

I felt the ground shake, as I heard a gasp from Dei. I felt the leaves brush the side of my cheek as they hung from the branches. I finished the Requiem and turned to face the sakura willow tree. Father had must have planted it, while I played. I looked at my small offering and when compared to the willow, it was nothing, but I knew mum would have loved them both equally. The willow sheltered the memorial where the bin was buried and the Lily of the Valley plant.

I walked to the trunk of the willow, where I saw father carve into its trunk. I looked at the willow then at my hand before back at the Lily. I walked to Keres, “I need my gay bag right quick.” He handed it to me and I walked back to the shade of the willow. I gave the three pictures to my father, along with the sheet music for the Requiem and “The Turtledove.” I pulled out the Mortalitas, wrapping the leather around my hips, to leave the two sword dangling. I took a deep breath and slashed on of His blades across my hand, before dropping it back at my side. I pressed my bloodied palm to the trunk of the tree, and then I lightly touched the Lily plant. “I bind these plants to my bloodline. As long as my bloodline exists, these two shall survive and thrive. They shall never be cut down and they shall live until the day my bloodline is destroyed.”

Power driven wind swept through the cemetery, rustling the Lily and willow within its power. I felt the power create a spherical shield around the two plants, before settling down to their surfaces. The wind retreated, leaving no markings of the protections’ existences. I watched Keres, Cittrite and Dei walk into the shade of the willow tree.

Father looked at me and nodded, “A perfect way to protect the memorial.” He held his hand out for mine. I took one look at my bloodied palm, before looking back to his spotless hand. I ran my hand down the side of my pant leg, wiping the blood down the side of it.

Keres grabbed my wrist and held onto it tight. He pressed his lips to the cut and it sealed instantly. He licked his lips, and I knew he tasted some of my blood. I watched my father’s eyes narrow as he grabbed Keres by the arm and pulled him away from the rest of us.

“Father!” He shot me a look I have seen other dads give their kids and I did what they would have done in that situation. I did not say a word, nor move. Dei and Cittrite looked to me, questions and understanding in their eyes.

I watched as Keres and father had a very animated conversation. I concentrated on Keres and lightly touched his mind. He gladly opened it, letting me listen to the conversation. I heard through Keres, What are your intentions with my daughter?

I smiled and knew all I needed to know. I withdrew my touch, allowing them to be private, but also giving Dei, Cittrite and I time to plan. “Well, since father is here, I don’t need to go to Hell. What do you think Athde will have us do for the third test?”

“Can you not ask your lover boy?” Dei teased.

I smirked, “Keres was told that he can’t help us with it.”

Cittrite leaned against the trunk of the willow, “Well, it would seem like it would have to use all of our skills and exploit our weaknesses. Valiente, I noticed you found sheet music and can read it easily. Can you play it from memory?”

“Can you really use that bow?” I pointed to the angelic bow strapped to his back. “So, what’s the bow’s name?”

He blushed, “Her name is Invierno Blanc Nucifera, Nucifera for short; it means Winter White Lotus.”

I lightly brushed the bow, “Lovely name, milady.” I felt a tinge of heat coming from the Mortalitas. I looked down at the double blades, You’re blushing.

I felt a small shock, before He schooled his emotions, Was not.

Was too. Awww. You like her! That’s so sweet… I teased, but I stopped when I noticed that Cittrite and Dei stiffened. I turned to see Keres and father looking in the distance. I caught a hint of oranges and honeysuckle and knew who it was. I dropped my purse on the ground and ran towards the scent, unwrapping the Mortalitas as I moved.

It is him… Mortalitas whispered.

“I know.” I mumbled as I heard people behind me. I stole a quick look, but that was all that was needed for father and Keres to catch up to me. Keres tackled me to the grass covered ground and pinned my legs together. “Keres! Let go! I need to destroy him before he has a chance to amass an army!”

“He defeated you once, what makes you think that within a day, you are strong enough to do it?!” He growled.

I watched father, Cittrite, with my bag, and Dei stand in front of me, facing the Black Knight. Their mingling anger and smells put my temper on a leash. I heard a voice… not a voice… I heard his voice from where Keres pinned me, “Ah, Lucifer. I’m glad to see you alive and well. What’s the occasion for you leaving your throne in Hell?”

Father winced at the words. “You know damn well why I am here. You told Michael where she was!”

“Oh, her. I understand, just burying what you could not protect.” He laughed at my father’s attempts to keep calm. “She was not even that special, just a bride for another groom. I bet that did not stop you from taking her to your underground caverns and touching her lush skin. I bet that only heightened the pleasure that you reamed from her.”

I pushed Keres off me at the same time that father’s self control failed. I rushed forward, in front of father and grabbed him. “He wants you to do this. He is trying to break your resolve and have you come after him.” I held onto my father as tight as I could, “He isn’t alone. I can smell another down there, and if you let your anger and hate cloud your judgment, you’ll’ve fallen into his trap.”

Father looked down at me, as the Black Knight spoke again, “So, the gray has finally shown her face to the world.” I turned to see him lift up the mallet that used to house the Mortalitas. “Strange, He will not talk to me. Then again, He is probably just sore that He chose a weakling like you to find Him.”

I took a deep breath in and gauged the distance between him and I. He was about fifty yards away and I knew I did not even need to use power to make my voice carry. I smiled to the Black Knight, “Go choke on a rooster and a pair of eggs.” I turned to fully face him, and I noticed he still wore the mask from the field. “Since you seem to love licking boots, taking a step up and licking Michael’s labia should at least be easy. Why do you wear the mask, Black Knight? Can’t show your face anywhere, in case someone would recognize you leaving Michael’s bedroom late at night?”

He took a step back, my words hitting him with blunt force. “How dare you!?”

“How dare I?” I pretended to be shocked, “How dare I make assumptions, when your lover isn’t here to verify?” I grinned maliciously and knew what color my light was. “Or is he? Michael, show yourself!”

I felt a wave of heat hit me causing me to fall back into my father’s arms. I memorized that heat, that anger that killed my guiding light. I memorized the smell of him, the distinct smell of jasmine and roses. Most of all, I memorized the look he gave me as he rose into the air, the look of shock and hatred. Shock for me, hatred for my father. I took a step forward, as he spoke directly to me, “So, you knew I was here.”

“It’s not hard to sniff out murderer.”

“I would have thought it would have been harder, since the supreme murderer is standing behind you. He killed her when he stole her from me all those years ago and raped her.” He landed on the ground in front of his Black Knight, fully extending his white wings.

It was a scare tactic, but after all of the things I have been through, this did nothing to me. “Then by your law, you have to kill me for being the offspring.” I challenged him.

“Kill…” I watched him sweep me with his gaze.

I thought about the two choices, the kill and the other he did not speak of. I knew that if I tried to take him on my own, or even with father, Keres, Dei and Cittrite, none of us would survive. The wheels worked in my head as I looked at the ground. I felt the world fall away, leaving only Michael and I in the darkness. “…Kill or take as yours… Who is stronger, you or your bitch?”

I felt him growl and took satisfaction in getting a rise out of him. “He will destroy you, as it has been foretold.” He looked at the ground, “He is stronger than I am, as he was taught by one of the two who could ever best me. But since the Lord God wants nothing more to do with wars, it became up to him and I to destroy all of the abominations of the light.”

I understood him and what he was saying, knowing this would be handy later. I broke the darkened connection, before he caught any hint of my plans. I turned to face my father and lover. I bowed to them, “I have an idea, but you must leave me here.”

Keres spoke first, “Valiente, this is not a game!”

I stood up and nodded, “I know, but there is only one way to destroy him. I need you to promise me that you will not come after me.” I pleaded with my eyes, “You have to trust me on this.” I felt my light become a pure white, “Take care of Dei and Cittrite, if I’m not back by the third test, then tell Athde that I tried to prevent everything and that I’m sorry.”

Father looked down at me, before he placed his hands on my shoulders, “Daughter, will you let me in?” He leaned in close to me, his forehead lightly brushing mine.

I touched our foreheads together and told him the only thing I could. I told him a lie that was disguised in truth. I was going to kill Michael through an unleashing of power. I told him that I would need him to unseal my Potential so I could destroy the man who killed mum. I felt his understanding, as he departed from my mind.

He looked at the Mortalitas, “Take care of her and make sure she gets home.” He put his palm to my forehead and pressed gently against my soul. I felt something inside of me break, as I was filled with a dark and light power. My light became the perfect gray, not wavering depending on mood. He turned to Keres, “She knows what she is doing and there is no way to change her mind.”

Keres looked from me to my father, “You cannot seriously be thinking she can handle this on her own.”

Father grabbed him by the upper arm, “She is her mother’s daughter. I know her plan and I know she can do it, but she does not want to harm you, your friends nor me. She needs to know you are all safe as she is not sure if it will work.”

“Then we need to be her when she does to save her from him.” Keres pleaded, but father pulled him towards the willow.

Keres… I will be fine… I showed him the truth, but I knew that it was the only way.

He screamed, “No! Valiente! Myst! You cannot! He will kill you!”

I felt them all disappear, as I knew father teleported them through the Gate. I faced my adversary and took in a deep breath. “Mortalitas, thank you. Please don’t let me die…”

Your power will not destroy you, but I cannot guarantee that they will not.

“I know he won’t.” I looked up to see the Black Knight and Michael exchange looks, before they appeared in front of me. I felt them press against me, but I did what I told my father what I would do. I sent out a spiral of power, ensnaring the three of us in its whirlwind.

Michael tried to take a step back, but he was stuck within my power, “What trickery is this?!”

I did not answer him and I slammed everything I was into one sure strike. I felt myself fall into the Chasm, but at the last second, I was slammed back into my body. I felt the Black Knight slam his fist into my stomach, driving all of the breath out of my lungs. Without air, I could not concentrate on drawing on my power. Darkness swirled around me, as the world fell out from under me. I felt Michael hold onto me as I fell into the Chasm unconscious and unable to use the power.

 Chapter 10

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