Home > Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(15)

Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(15)
Author: H.M. Ward

She said, “I researched some stuff for you. There wasn’t tons of info. I think I got it, but it’s weird. ” She looked up at me, pulling her feet in tighter. Shannon liked to curl up into a ball when she was stressed. Apparently, she was beyond stressed because she couldn’t scrunch her body smaller.

“I can handle weird. Tell me.” My heart raced slightly. Hope flowed through me. I’d learn what caused it, and then I could change it, right? I tried to stop pacing.

“It comes down to blood. Demon blood is powerful, and it works differently than angel blood. Angel blood builds up and makes you more—you. Just better. Demon blood is more like acid, snaking its way into your body, slowly corrupting, slowly empowering.” She paused, looking at me. “When a Valefar binds—enslaves—a Martis, they have to remove the soul and then add their blood. They gouge the victim’s forehead, and cover the scar in demon blood. It enters the bloodstream through the mark and binds the victim to the Valefar at the same time. But you have no scar. He didn’t get that far. But… there had to be blood. Did he bleed? Any chance, during the demon kiss, you accidentally… swallowed his blood?” Shannon asked the question like it was the most bizarre, unlikely thing in the world. And it was… or would have been, if I didn’t fight back. But, I did.

My stomach sank, “I bit his lip. I couldn’t break the kiss. He was too strong… so I bit him. Hard.”

She looked disturbed, “You drank it?” Her lips pulled into an expression of disgust.

“No,” I said, “I didn’t drink it. I spat it all out. His blood ran down my face, and got all over me. But, I don’t think I swallowed any.” Clutching my arms, I pulled them tightly into my chest, and began to pace again. I clearly remembered having the blood in my mouth, but I couldn’t remember swallowing it. And part of the night was a blur. I didn’t know what happened. One moment I was conscious, and the next I was in Eric’s arms. I still didn’t know what he did to revive me. I thought I died. “What if I swallowed it?”

She leaned back against the wall, dangling her legs off the side of the bed. “I don’t know. No one ever drinks it. Those who do, usually die—or turn Valefar. No one has been stuck in the middle before.” She smoothed her long hair over her shoulder. “It’s possible that you swallowed a tiny amount, and that was what caused your mark to change color—tainting you—like the prophecy said.”

I looked at her, horrified. “So, that’s what did it? Demon blood… ” The only thing I could do to free myself, was also the thing that damned me. Shit. How did this stuff happen to me? Feeling ill, I wrapped my arms around my middle, and stared out my window into the inky sky. The chill from the glass seeped through, and I shivered. “What about my soul? He took a huge chunk, but I don’t know how much. I thought he’d taken all of it. I thought I died, Shan.”

Her expression was grieved. “You still have soul, otherwise that mark on your head would be bright red. And you’d be dead. Martis are amongst the living and must have a soul to survive. Valefar don’t. That’s why they drain us first, and add blood later. As long as you have enough of your soul, you can’t become one of them. Not completely.”

I closed my eyes, pressing my hand against my forehead. I damned myself. I did this to myself. After a panic attack that lasted a day or two, the anger slowly turned into something else—something dark. If Jake hadn’t attacked me, it wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have been tainted. I wouldn’t be the girl in the prophecy. But, I was the one who did it. I was the one who made him bleed. In the end, it was my fault. I had to keep this a secret. No one could know that I swallowed demon blood, because everyone else who did so died or turned Valefar. Everyone—except me.

The days passed and I said nothing. The darkness, the cold fingers that felt like death had robbed me again, were suffocating me. I didn’t tell anyone, although I knew Al and Eric could tell that I was suffering. We continued training, but I made little progress.

One day the training changed from the normal physical stuff, to something better. I was glad for the change and walked with Eric into the gym. We passed a gaggle of nuns, and some Martis who came to the church to train with Eric. The place was becoming overrun with Martis. It was no accident that they were all swarming around me. But no one noticed I was different. No one saw. And I hid it as best I could.

Apparently Eric was a kick ass warrior. It was clear he was one of the best in the world. Martis came from all over the place to learn from him. They whispered of his abilities, and were in awe. I’d seen some of them training with him. They fought gracefully, nothing like my pathetic sparring. No doubt, I was his worst student.

After he pushed through the doors, he stopped in front of me. He wore blue jeans and a white tee shirt, same as always. His amber eyes were playful. “I want to show you something. One second.” When we walked in there were three other Martis in the room. Eric walked over to them. They all chatted like they had known each other forever. He turned toward me, while he spoke too softly to hear. The Martis laughed, and threw their bags over their shoulders, and cleared out.

The last one to leave was a woman with jet-black hair named Elena. I’d seen her training with Eric over the past few weeks. She called over her shoulder, “Good luck newbie!”

My eyes went wide as I looked at Eric, not liking how this training session was turning out. “Why are they looking at me like that, Eric?”

He smiled, walking over to me in long strides. “Are you nervous? I thought Ivy Taylor could handle anything?”

“Yeah,” I said, “that was before things got all freaky. What are we doing? Why all the secrecy?”

“It’s not so much a secret, as a safety precaution. And Al wanted you in here alone when we trained. So I threw everyone else out. Awesome, right?”

“Yup. Awesome.” My mouth flattened into a thin line. I didn’t like being treated different. People would notice me. They already had. Eric spent more time training me than anyone else. I just laughed, shrugging it off that I was impossible to train. He sat down on one of the mats and folded his legs. I mirrored him.

“Ivy, I am going to show you one of the coolest things that Martis can do. Al wants to make sure you learn how to do it. And it takes time to learn.” He smiled at me, and leaned back on his arms. “Martis have the ability to turn light into physical matter.”

My eyebrow arched. That was unexpected. “What are you talking about?”

“It’s part of the power of the angel blood. Martis can call meld light into a physical form. We can use it for lots of things. It’s typically used by Polomotis when they battle and Dyconisi when they heal. I haven’t seen enough Seyers to know exactly how they use it, but Al said you would use it and that I should teach you.”

I nodded, not sure what I thought. He sat up, holding his palm in front of him. His fingers twitched as he smiled, his gaze on my face, while my eyes were watching his palm. A point the size of a pinhole faded into existence, glowing a dim blue. As his fingers twitched, the orb grew larger and larger. Soon it was a floating sphere with a bright blue center, encircled by another sphere of translucent white light.

It was beautiful. I reached out for it, extending my fingers to touch it, wondering what it would feel like. I looked to Eric for permission, and he nodded saying, “You can touch it.” I reached out, extending my fingers toward the orb. Its soft light radiated calming warmth. Its surface was smooth with an underlying softness, like a pearl. Mesmerized, I ran my finger over the slick surface, finally pressing my palm into it. The light enveloped my hand. The inside of the sphere wasn’t liquid, but it wasn’t solid either. It felt like warm pudding, congealed into a smooth liquid. I wiggled my fingers through the goo and pulled my hand out, expecting it to be wet, but it wasn’t.

“Eric, what is that? What do you use it for?” I asked, looking at him. He watched me intently as I examined the orb, smiling.

“It’s light. Well, a piece of light. The healers use it to heal wounds. It can heal just about anything in the right healer’s hands. Good healers can use vast quantities of light and do amazing things. Warriors use it in battle. We can use it for anything from illumination to using it as a weapon. But, the only way to make sure a Valefar actually dies is with celestial silver. The light can stop them, and save us, but the Valefar won’t be completely destroyed and can resurface later, if we only use light.”

“Can I hold it?” I asked.

He shook his head. I watched as the orb’s light dimmed, as it disappeared from his palm. “You are going to learn to call it. That way Al can teach you how to use it.”

A smile tugged the corner of my mouth. Anticipation flooded me with giddy excitement. I wanted to be able to call the sphere of light, because it was cool. So, maybe my reasons were shallow at that point, but the sphere had a mesmerizing factor like watching the bubbles inside of a lava lamp. He told me the basics, and held his palm under mine, after scooting closer. “Since it’s light, it’s warm. You can reach out for it, and it’ll come to you because you are Martis.” Eric’s hand cradled mine. He called the light and the orb formed on top of my palm. I could feel the warmth form on my flesh before the blue pinhole appeared. But, the light didn’t grow. It disappeared. I breathed in deeply, and looked at him. I wasn’t wholly Martis. I wondered if the light would listen to me, or if the darkness that was within me would chase it away.

Eric could tell I was tense, but he had no clue why. “You can do this Ivy. This is basic stuff. Whatever Al has you do with it is way harder. You totally don’t need to worry.” He smiled at me, and then repositioned his hand under mine. “You try now.”

Although he explained it to me several times, actually doing it was difficult. I concentrated on the warm air swirling around my fingers, tracing the heat source to the light that illuminated my hand. I called to it, willing it to pool in my palm the way Eric did. I watched, as I felt my hand remain at a constant temperature. There was no pin prick of heat, no blue pinpoint of light. After a few moments Eric’s voice broke the silence. He dropped his hand and slid in front of me.

“Huh. You did exactly what I told you? Felt the warmth in the air, and then backtracked to the light? Calling it to you?”

I nodded. “Maybe I need more practice?” What else could I say? That my demon blood kept the light from coming to me?

Eric’s brows scrunched together. “No. This doesn’t usually take practice. It’s more of an understanding and execution. Let’s go over everything again. Maybe we skipped something.” Eric started from the beginning, and repeated everything he already told me. When he was done, he told me to spread my fingers wide and fixate on the sensation of the air flowing over my skin. Then we resumed our positions with his hand cradling mine. “Now, focus on the air. Feel it touching your palm; it’s pressing lightly against your flesh.”

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