Home > The 13th Prophecy (Demon Kissed #5)(12)

The 13th Prophecy (Demon Kissed #5)(12)
Author: H.M. Ward

His eyes were troubled as he answered, “Yes. And no. No, she wouldn’t have the same connection to you that I do, or Eric does for that matter. But, drinking from the chalice would have intensified the bargain—made it more powerful. It would have given her means to call you to her at any time. The one who holds the chalice holds the power. She would have used it to weaken you, no doubt. She keeps draining you when you need to rest. It’s like she set you up to fail.” He was quiet, thinking about it. And he had no idea how close he actually came to what she was trying to do—kill me and take my place.

“I spilled it, Collin. I dumped our blood onto the floor.” I wanted to tell him about her desire to alter it, but found the words would not form. The bargain prevented me from saying it.

His eyes went wide, as he looked at me in shock. His lips pulled into a soft smile. “You spilled it? No wonder she did this to you. She can’t call you back without it. As it was, she had to wait until you were weak to pull you through, but now—now she can’t. You shifted the balance of power.”

I nodded. “Yeah, that woulda pissed her off. Pinning her to the floor probably didn’t help.” Collin laughed. I glanced up at him.

“And you freed her?” he was more serious as I nodded. One question formed on his perfect lips. “Why? You knew she would go after you. You had to … and you freed her anyway. Ivy, why would you do such a thing?”

I looked away. I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t say that I thought it was worth the risk. Or that she looked exactly like me. I couldn’t tell him that she would be coming after him, as soon as she disposed of me. As soon as I killed the Demon King. I couldn’t tell him that I risked it to save his life. So I said nothing.

Coldness raced through my heart. I wanted to press my eyes closed. This couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t be in her debt, and there was no way to get an angel into Hell to appease my end of the bargain. Lorren had his wings ripped off. I doubted he’d qualify, and there was no way I was asking him to do that. He’d be slaughtered. But, I had to figure out how to fulfill my end of the bargain. I had to give her an angel. Leaning forward, I pressed my face in my hands. It was hopeless.


The door above slammed opened and closed. Eric bounded down the stairs. His cheeks were red, and white flecks clung to his hair. It was still snowing. Collin sat on the couch with his feet on the table, ignoring Eric. I stood and walked over to him, not expecting the look he gave me. Eric tossed a bag on the table. The brown paper bag was covered in snow. “Clothes. I thought you’d want to change.”

I nodded, reaching for the bag. Eric’s brow flinched as his gaze narrowed. His eyes darted from me to Collin, and back.

He blinked once, and said, “Why?”

Startled, I asked, “Why what?”

“Why him? Why now?” He stared at me with his jaw clenched tight. Collin ignored him, but my cheeks blazed red. He knew. He knew we were together. How? As if he could read my face, he added, “Fucking him is one thing, but you took his blood? Didn’t you? I can smell it. You’re different. You put yourself... That was just stupid, Ivy!” His fist flew into a canvas. The wood frame splintered as the fabric tore away. He reached for me. I let him wrap his fingers around the base of my neck, tangling his hands in my hair. His voice dropped to a whisper as he pulled me closer, “Do you want to be a slave for eternity? Do you want Kreturus to win?” His lips were in front of mine, forming each word with the precision that only comes with acute anger.

His words infuriated me. I’d been through hell that day, and I wasn’t going to discuss the only thing that brought me joy. My jaw locked. I hissed, “My relationship with Collin isn’t your concern.”

His grip on my neck tightened. Eric spoke so softly that I could barely hear him. “It is if you f**k up my life too. Your blood bond with me is weak. It’ll fade. You know what’s happened. You saw it,” he snapped, shaking me. “So don’t act like that was a reasonable thing to do.” He pointed to Collin.

Collin moved from his slouched position on the couch and was standing behind Eric. The tension in his shoulders said he was ready to pound Eric into the floor. I put my hand on Eric’s face, knowing my words would enrage him, “Love isn’t a reasonable thing to do.” Eric tried to pull away, but I didn’t let him. His golden eyes bore into mine. I wouldn’t let go or look away. “I know you know. I know you know why I let you do what you do. It’s not guilt. It’s not pity.” I shoved him away from me. Eric’s hands fell to his sides, watching.

Eric stared at me for some time, without speaking. His eyes never drifted off my face. When he spoke again, the tension in his body eased. “Just because your feelings toward me are not one thing, it doesn’t mean they’re another.” He turned, looking to Collin.

Collin’s jaw clenched tight. I’d blindsided him without meaning to, and there was no way to tell him what I was thinking or why I said what I said. I’d have to tell him later and hope he trusted me. For some reason, I cared about Eric. It wasn’t the same as my love for Collin. It was more of an affection based on a need I had—a need he fulfilled. I didn’t know why. And when it came from him, it was different. Nothing like Locoicia’s pain. My eyes darted to Eric’s face. Was it so bad to convince him that I cared about him?

I answered, “Then why else would I let you beat me? Why else would I allow you that release? I’ve seen it the second after your mouth or your hand takes its toll. It’s cruel. And it makes you cruel. And I know what it is. I know it’s the curse.” I was near ranting. I sounded insane. My reason didn’t make sense without all the pieces. Collin didn’t have all the pieces.

But Eric did. His brow pinched together as he spit out the words, “Fine. Deny it. Fuck whoever you want, Ivy, but you might was well remove your ward and kill me if you drink more blood.”

“Eric,” I paused. He made everything so vile. So hopeless. My mind drifted to the Demon Princess—to knocking the chalice on the floor. I refused. Even if her words were true, I couldn’t take more blood. It would sever the bond with Eric.

And the lie. It was still there. He thought I held his ward. But I didn’t, Lorren made it, and I didn’t know when it would end. Or why it was there in the first place. Reaching forward, I took his hand. Pressing my thumb into his palm, he watched me. “I just want to make it better. I...” but I never finished speaking.

Panic straightened Eric’s back, as he lunged for me. His hand flew over my lips, making me stop talking. My eyes were wide, as I looked at him. He removed his hand from my mouth. “Hate me, Ivy. It’s the only thing that will save you.”


Eric was pulling off snow-soaked boots in his corner of the basement while Collin and I sat on the couch. Collin leaned in close, “Why didn’t you tell me you have feelings for him?” He didn’t seem hurt, or defensive. It was just a question.

I wrapped my arms around myself not wanting to talk about it. “Because that’s not really what it is. I would have said misplaced affection, if anything.” I looked at Collin. He looked at his hands, not knowing what to say. “It was after he was Valefar. I...” I broke off trying to find the right words. This was something I didn’t like. Something I was barely aware of myself.

But Eric knew.

“She doesn’t care for me, Smith. She just likes to play with fire,” Eric said as he sat down, barefooted on the floor in front of us. His gaze was vacant again. The mask he wore, solidly in place. “The pain made her feel alive, again. She has a dark side that seems to evaporate when you’re around. But when she looks at me, I see it. It’s self-serving. And I terrify her.” His gaze was intense, watching me as he spoke. “She wants me because she’s like me. I want to cause her pain, and she wants to feel it. Isn’t that right?” He smiled, stretching his legs out in front of him.

While he spoke my jaw dropped lower and lower. I wanted to refute what he said, but as I opened my mouth to cut him off no words came out. I just wanted to feel something. And Eric made me feel something that I knew was my own. I wanted to fight off the numbness that was seeping deep into my soul. There was a need within me to try to control it. Until now, there had been no controlling it at all.

But I’d noticed something. Around Eric—especially when he was being cruel and doing things that would make a sane person run—I wasn’t so numb. Maybe it was a false sense of security. Maybe I couldn’t feel anything and it was all in my mind. At those moments, I didn’t care because it felt real.

Allowing Eric to torment me became a desire. Dark thoughts flickered through my mind like tiny flames wanting to combust. What Eric did wasn’t an act of violence in my eyes. It was a gift that brought me back to myself. As to the reasons why he acted that way, I wasn’t entirely sure yet. I didn’t need to know. And getting a straight answer out of the fallen angel was difficult.

But this… I never expected him to latch onto what I was doing, and voice it in front of Collin. I didn’t know how to explain what this was or why I needed Eric. I never told Collin because it sounded more twisted than it was. I didn’t know what to say.

Eric arched a brow at me, “What’s the matter, Ivy? Are you too prim and proper to admit that’s why you’re drawn to me? That you have some carnal desire that you can’t control.”

Every muscle in my body tensed as I glared at Eric. He was so smug, saying things that appeared to be true on the surface, but we both knew they weren’t. There was a reason why we were connected. A reason why I needed the pain he inflicted, and he needed me just as much. I worked the muscle in my jaw, trying to unlock my mouth. Without warning, I shot out of my seat and rushed at his face, pushing him back with my hands splayed on his chest. Eric’s eyes went wide as he took in my fury. “Never make him think that I’d choose you over him.” I shoved him hard, and backed away. Eric’s eyes narrowed, but he remained silent.

Collin leaned forward, and abruptly ended the conversation. Tension lined his body. “Where’s the stone, Eric?” he demanded.

Eric didn’t remove his gaze from my face. “It’s where I left it. In the hilt of a dagger. Wanna guess which dagger?” His lips snaked into a smile.

My face fell. He couldn’t be serious. “You didn’t…”

Eric beamed, “I did. The stone is in Shannon McClure’s weapon.”

All this time I didn’t want to ask what happened to her. I had assumed Eric tormented her until she died. I didn’t want to know what Eric was capable of, and I didn’t want to see Shannon again. When he said her name it felt like stitches were ripped from my throat. I couldn’t breathe.

Collin leaned forward, watching me. When I said nothing, he asked, “Why does a Martis have the stone?”

Eric shrugged. I watched him, unable to fathom who he was or what he did. “She has no idea she has it. I was the one in charge of her and the Celestial Silver. I placed the stone in the hilt. To her it looks like a polished stone, a decoration—obsidian maybe. But it’s not. It’s the inverted match of yours,” he said pointing to my necklace. “We need to take her weapon.”

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