Home > Cursed (Demon Kissed #2)(3)

Cursed (Demon Kissed #2)(3)
Author: H.M. Ward

While dark magic was innate for the Valefar, it wasn't for me. I needed that ring. And I wasn't about to blow my secret so the Martis could take it from me. No, I'd wait until the axe dropped to use those powers - until there was no way out, and it was my only option.

Without another thought, I took off, running as fast as I could. I narrowly passed through two Martis and ran out the door. Warm air blasted my face. I didn't know where I was or where to run. There was no time to decide. Martis pursued me like I was an escaped convict. Shannon chased after me, yelling for me to stop. But I didn't. One foot slammed in front of the other. A car almost clipped me when I ran out into traffic and the light changed. The Martis were forced to wait or find another way around. A parking garage was dead ahead. I ran for it, hoping to get lost in the shadows and escape before anyone could find me.

The cars were packed into the tiny spaces like sardines. It was the parking garage with the best lighting that I'd ever seen. There were no shadows to disappear into. There was nowhere to hide. Crap!

I sprinted for the end of the row, wedging myself between parked cars before dashing up to the next level. When Martis poured out of the woodwork like roaches, I realized I was screwed.

Efanotate or let them take me.

Those were my only options. I abruptly stopped running and turned in a slow circle, surrounded. I held my palms up toward them in a universal sign for surrender, breathless.

Shannon's shoes smacked the pavement as she ran up behind the group and shouldered her way to me. "What's wrong with you? When I said don't run, exactly what did you think I meant?" I glared at her. "Oh, don't look at me like that. You woulda never come if I told you they wanted your testimony. It's for your own good. Now wipe that look off your face. We're still doing all the stuff I said. Julia just didn't want to risk you running off, so she sent some Martis."

Ironically, I ran because we were surrounded by Martis. "It feels like you lied to me."

She shrugged and turned away from me, "I didn't lie. I spoke the truth - literally. I wanted you to come along with me and Julia will give you access to the archives. I left out all the details and you know why. There was no way you would have come if I told you everything."

"Why don't you try it next time and let me decide?" I glared at her.

While Martis were bound to speak the truth, I was learning that it didn't mean that they couldn't lie. There were many ways to lie without saying something that wasn't true. I was learning that the hard way.

Part of me wanted to strangle Shannon. Part of me wondered what I would have done if I was her. Would I have lied to get her on a plane if I thought it was for her own good?


The Martis surrounding me were tense waiting to see what I would do. Al told me not to piss anyone off since the prophecy was yet to be overturned. They could still kill me and be within their legal grounds to get away with it. No doubt that was what Julia was hoping for. She hates me. The Martis closed in tightly and shoved Shannon and me into a waiting car.

"That was a shitty thing to do," I spit through my teeth. "You should have told me."

"I did," she answered. "On the plane. I didn't know Julia was sending a bunch of Martis. She only told me to make sure you stayed with me and didn't run. And what did you do?" She slouched back into the seat. "You're such an idiot sometimes."

Anger surged through me. "I'm an idiot? You don't get it, do you? I'm not one of you. These people aren't my friends. Damn Shannon, it'd be like if I invited you to come with me and then surrounded you with Valefar. Saying it's okay, don't run doesn't exactly instill confidence. You would have done the same thing I did. Or tried to kill all of them." My arms were folded tightly across my chest. I stared out the tinted window. We didn't speak again until we arrived at the Martis compound.


The Martis villa was in an ancient section of the city, mixed in with older buildings constructed of aging stucco that dripped with rich vegetation in a rainbow of colors. The front of the Martis building looked like the structures surrounding it, but it was actually very different. It wasn't the large family home that it appeared to be from the street. It was a sprawling building that went unbelievably deep and wide. The interior of the building was impossibly large. There was no way the vast space should be able to fit inside a tiny house, but it did. And from the looks of it, we were in a palace, not a little home.

We entered through the front gates. The Martis unlocked the doors and ushered us past guards. We stopped in the foyer. It was the grandest room I'd ever been inside. Everything was doused in white light, making the room seem cheerful, but its size made it intimidating. The ivory ceiling stretched high above us with a domed recess that had a large round opening, revealing the midday sun. It looked like a pane of glass should have been in the circle, but I was certain that it was empty. There was cold white stone beneath my feet, polished to a brilliant shine. Gas lamps on ornate golden perches flickered in the corners of the room. There were works of art that adorned every whitewashed wall. Everything looked perfectly white, bright, and airy. The villa was like a terrarium encased in glass, pretty and protected.

Heels clicked against the stone floor, echoing through the space announcing her presence before I saw her. Julia. She looked like the personification of perfection. Her white pencil-skirt hugged her h*ps and tapered delicately at her knee. A white linen blouse with a collar that screamed designer accentuated her ample curves. The solid white ensemble was something only models and movie stars could pull off, but on her it looked perfect. Her dark hair was pulled back into a chignon at the base of her neck.

She spoke to Shannon. "We are finishing some crucial testimony tonight. Tomorrow, you will give your testimony to the Tribunal." She glared at me out of the corner of her eye. "Eventually, they will want your testimony as well. The Tribunal will decide what you are and what to do with you."

"Nice to see you too, Julia." I said through my teeth. "I really appreciated the welcoming party at the airport. Did you really think that was necessary? After I saved your butt on Long Island, how could you possibly question whose side I was fighting for?" I heard the venom in my voice, and didn't try to subdue it. The woman hated me, even though I'd helped her. It made no sense.

A plastic smile spread across her lips. "That is for the Tribunal to decide. In the meantime, you are not one of us and you will have an accompaniment. This is not negotiable. If you resist or do anything out of line, the guards have been instructed to treat you as Valefar."

Shannon's green eyes widened, "What?" she screeched. "Julia, I thought she'd be a guest here. Like me. That you just needed her to speak to the other members of the Tribunal about the Valefar attack. There is no reason for all this!"

I glanced at Shannon, wondering if she really didn't know I'd walked straight into a house arrest, or if she was playing both sides. I bit my tongue hard so I wouldn't scream.


They would treat me like a Valefar, not like a half-sister, even though we shared the same blood. Even though I began my immortal life as a Martis.

Julia turned sharply towards Shannon and arched an eyebrow. It clearly said, You dare question me? Okay, maybe Shannon didn't know Julia's plans.

"Young Dyconisis, you will do as you are told. I did not lie to you. The girl will have access to the archives as I stated. But, at no time, did I ever say she was a welcomed guest. This matter is larger than you realize. And if you want your friend to live through it, you'll tell her to do as she's told as well."

My nails were biting into my palms. I didn't realize I was clutching my fists so hard. Julia stared at me like I was an abomination - like I was the most disgusting breed of Valefar she'd ever seen. But, I'm neither one hundred percent Valefar or Martis.

I'm both.

I locked my hard gaze with hers when I felt Shannon's fingers wrap around my wrist to pull me away. "Come on," she said tugging me. "I'll take you to our room."

Julia snapped her fingers, stopping Shannon in her tracks. Two Martis guards appeared behind Julia. She looked at Shannon, explaining, "Ivy cannot reside in the same section of the Villa as the Martis. She is not one of us. It isn't safe. She will be more comfortable in the wing by the library." She looked over her shoulder and addressed the guards, "Show her the room I selected for her. Tonight she will dine in her room. She can visit the library as agreed, but nothing else." She turned back to Shannon, "Come." She snapped her fingers twice and started walking.

Shannon glanced at me and then back at Julia. Her eyes were wide and her mouth was hanging open. Al never treated anyone like this, Martis or otherwise. Al was Shannon's superior for the past year on Long Island. Al trained her and took her into the Martis fold. I could see the shock in Shannon's face. She had no idea what she'd gotten us into. She mouthed "I'm sorry," and took off after Julia who was already half way down a long corridor.

I glanced at the guards. They flanked me, but said nothing. Their white uniforms had an insignia on the chest that I hadn't seen before. It looked like interlocking blue circles with a feather on top. The Martis here were older. Both guards were men who looked to be about thirty-years-old. Their tanned skin and dark hair made their Martis mark look like it was blazing blue. Inside the Villa walls, no one concealed their mark. I'd not noticed until Julia appeared with her blue mark unmasked, and then the guards.

"So, what now?" I asked, but they didn't answer. One guard moved in front of me and the other moved behind me. They began walking with me in the middle. "Seriously? You're not going to talk to me?" It was one hundred percent clear - I was a prisoner.

After they deposited me in my room, the guards moved outside the door. When I heard the scraping of metal, I knew I'd been locked inside.

"Great." I punched a pillow on the massive couch in front of me, and fell onto the cushions. The room didn't look like a prison, but it was clear I didn't have any freedom. Except the library.

Focus. I scolded myself. Remember why you came here.

It was to learn more about Kreturus and find the entrance into the Underworld. I had to save Collin, and this was the only place with the information. I needed to do it. And I'd just have to deal with whatever the Martis planned to do with me.

When I calmed down enough to think clearly, I poked around my room. It looked like a posh hotel suite with a nice bed covered in light linens and too many pillows. There was a massive overstuffed sofa, and a wardrobe cabinet that looked ancient with beautiful scrolling patterns adorning the top. I kicked off my shoes and found a marble bathtub and a sink that took a while to figure out how to use. There were no faucets, just a blue basin in a white marble room. It filled with water when I touched the blue glass. The afternoon sun spilled into the room, illuminating the space. The light fixtures looked like lanterns, flickering softly. I wondered where the switches were, but couldn't find any. While I was exploring my room, there was a light knock on the door.

Surprised Shannon stole away so soon, I crossed the stone floor, and opened the wooden door. A smile slowly side across my face. "Thank God!"

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