Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DIVINE JUSTICE




DIVINE JUSTICE
By Arielle Breen

CHAPTER 1

Having picked up other people's litter for quite some time Lina decided to take a small break. She had volunteered for the highway cleanup crew as a public service, and to keep the roadsides from becoming inundated with debris.

Now she was regretting that decision. Every breath was like inhaling from a furnace, every step a task.

There was no shade to be found, so having her damp towel draped over her face would have to suffice for the time being. She took a too-deep gulp from her over sized water bottle and choked spewing the semi warm water all over her front. It would help to cool her down so she decided not to worry over it.

Setting down her bottle she picked up her mp3 player. She doubted it would play, since the battery was so low but surprisingly it worked, the battery symbol kept flashing letting her know the battery was dangerously close to quitting on her.

Lina needed her tunes and "Highway to Hell" was giving her the energy she needed to carry on with her weary work, but after another hour of tireless cleanup she decided to call it quits.

Lina drove home watching the hazy road with dry and unfocused eyes. Driving without air conditioning was not a favorite part of her day, especially in the 95 degree summer weather. Turning off the high way onto the small dirt road she began for no reason she could tell, to feel overcome with a feeling of apprehension. Pushing the sense of foreboding to the back of her mind she turned her attention to the task of getting her mail.

She checked her mail, briefly glancing at the crap magazine some random company had decided to send her, looking at Robert Pattinson she exclaimed with disgust, "He looks like a drug addict! I don't get it, he's not hot, he's a drug addict! AND he needs police protection?? What the hell." and shoved the magazine down on the floor of her car.


A week ago her boyfriend of 3 years had broke up with her leaving her in a distraught frame of mind, emotionally unstable and very frustrated. She hadn't had a clue, she had no idea he was unhappy. But there life is, you think for once that everything is alright, then you have the rug pulled out from under you and you're left sitting on the floor crying. Well she was done with that. She had decided to make the best of the situation and focus on her future. She had a list, and she was sticking to it, a sort of bucket list, except she had absolutely no plans of dying. In fact she only had plans for living, and fully so.

Walking up to her apartment she got that tingly sense again. Something was not right. This time she couldn't ignore it. Pulling her pocket knife from her purse that was a gift from her now ex boyfriend.
She put that thought aside, focus she thought. Whipping out the blade like a pro, she edged closer to the apartment door, quietly listening, searching for any sign of hidden danger within her dwelling. She heard nothing but her hair on her neck refused to go down. Her adrenaline rushing made her twitchy, shaky and left a semi bitter taste in her mouth. After what seemed like a lifetime, as silently as she could unlocked the door and slowly turned the handle to her apartment, her home. What Lina found waiting for her surprised her and made her jump back out the door, onto her concrete patio.

CHAPTER 2

" Don't expect to understand" An eerie and faint voice said. Dante screwed his eyes and assumed he had been at work slaving over his computer screen for far too long, or he was crazy. He just very well may be crazy. All his friends and relatives had nearly told him as much. "Lay off the work." "Relax a bit." They would say.

They didn't have Rawanda as a book agent. She would skewer him if he didn't at least, at the very minimum, deliver to her dark skinned hands a manuscript nothing short of miraculous. Maybe it was because she had a name like Rawanda, I mean who names someone after a country? Not that Dante could talk since he was named after the man who detailed a story about a journey through Hell. She wasn't bad, just particular. Which was her job. She did it well, and took pride in it.

Dante however was a bit of a procrastinator. He somehow thought, as he always did, that if Dante Alighieri-who he was named after, was in his same situation, he would have done a better job, a much better job. He somehow managed to wander off topic, make strings of grammatical errors and then after all was said and done, have to rewrite it all from scratch. It was no wonder he had lost his sanity. He was lucky to still be mostly normal and functioning. Mostly.

After deciding to wrap up his work he finished the sentence he had been typing and saved his work on his laptop. Then, shutting down the machine for the night packed up all his papers and utensils. Grabbed his lucky rabbits foot key chain that housed his house, car, and bike lock keys. He hadn't ridden his bike in quite some time and was longing to do so. His work required him to bring much more than a backpack or a plain basket could carry, so he didn't.
Walking to his car he wrapped his green and gray scarf around his neck. Some men were conscious about wearing such things as scarves, but he wasn't one of them. He wasn't about to let something little like other opinions of his clothes stand between him and being warm. In fact Dante really didn't care much about what others had thought about him in general, as a rule. Some would call him a rebel, or a bad ass, but Dante would just say he was, well....Dante.

Dante also had a secret, well not so much a secret but a secret identity. He was by day, and sometimes night too, well in general he was, a writer. He was a writer first and foremost. This is how he identifies himself. Writing wasn't so much a job, as an intimate part of himself, which he can express through his career choice.
This wasn't the secret part. His secret identity was, brace yourself, he was a Demon. Yes, a Demon. Not the Satan incarnate, or red skinned variety ( although they do exist, the red skinned variety not the Satan kind). His defining feature that normally would expose him to the rest of the populace, was his Horns. Horns make the Demon. Or at least that's how Demons see it. For Halloween all he has to do is release his inner hold on his disguising magic, and wallah! An instant Halloween costume, free.

This, however great it was for Halloween, was not fun for normal everyday activities. Human dwellings for example, are not made for tall Demons. Unless you get a house that has an eight foot doorway. You can find them, and have them custom built but they are not the norm. Dante was always having to make sure and not ram his horns on objects around humans lest they somehow became suspicious.

So Dante is a writer and a Demon. The Demon in him had temper issues at times that cliche was true enough. Some days were better than others.
He heard his cell phone ring in his pocket muffled by his jeans. "Yeah?" he answered. A familiar voice said " Hey, it's me, I seriously need a favor, No. Before you ask, it is not for money. I need you to meet me somewhere 'kay?".
Dante struggled with an answer. "Dude, I was so going to read and relax tonight, since I actually got my work done for once." A lie, but whatever, Dante hated having to change his plans to do nothing, just because his brother wanted to do an all night-er.
"Seriously you have to meet me." his brother stated.
"Fine, where?" So his brother gave him the directions and he said goodbye, by closing his phone. It was a rude gesture, he knew it and Chaucer knew it. Yes his brother's name was Chaucer. Their parents had been authors and loved the classics. However Chaucer did not in any way live up to his names reputation.
"Great, another night AWAY from my relaxing time." he mumbled to himself.



CHAPTER 3
Lina had jumped back so hard she tripped on her own feet and fell. The last thing she saw before she hit the hard ground was a pair of bright green eyes glaring at her from inside her apartment. She could have sworn it had horns. Like the kind they sell at Renaissance faires that make you look like a satyr or a demon. Only these looked real, but she had only a glancing peek at them before she had tripped. If she knew then what was in store for her, she may not have gone home.


CHAPTER 4

Dante swore aloud as the woman had seen him in his true form. She saw him as a Demon. Horns and all. He could try and hide it now but why bother when he'd have to tell her later anyway. No point in postponing the inevitable. Most of the time, when he was not with his own kind, he masked the presence of his horns with his magic.

He reached down to offer her a hand up since she had fallen in her fright. The look on her pale face was that of disbelief mingled with, was that curiosity?
Dante said very politely as if he were discussing the best way to roast vegetables for an important dinner “Sorry for scaring you I see Mr. Blatemore has not informed you properly of my arrival.” That deceitful bastard.

The woman, what was her name again, Blatemore had told him. Lana? Lara? Lina! That was it. Lina's expression started to change more to curiosity than disbelief or fear. She spoke up in a rather commanding voice for someone who has just seen a Demon for presumably the first time, “ Mr.......? What are you doing in my house? And what.....are you precisely?”

“Well, as Mr. Blatemore was supposed to have been the one to tell you, and explain to you, I am Dante. I happen to also be a Demon, as you can tell I'm sure. I have been sent to help you out should you need a bodyguard along the way.”

Poor woman she looked completely vexed. “Along the way......? Along the way, to what?”

She kept her distance but began to regain her composure, pulling her shirt back into place, and placing her fingers at her temples as if this had indeed been a very long day.



Lina nervously rolled up her sleeves and smoothed her shirt down again out of habit.
"OK, so please explain to me what you are doing here, what you are talking about and please make it quick." she told the strange man, er Demon.

He explained "As I said, I am here to be a guardian if you need one. However the rest is sort of tricky. You have been followed by let's call him a 'bad guy', who wants to take your life force."

"Oh is that all. He just wants my, life force? That is completely ridiculous. What kind of idiot do you take me for? Please leave my house before I have the police come to haul you're delusional ass out of here."

What she hadn't said was that she believed him. She believed every word from his mouth. He was unaware of one small thing. She was a supernatural being too. However she could hide this fact from him and the rest of the supernatural community. She had learned to easily mask her presence from other beings when she was a child. This was a few centuries ago, but she remembered her efforts none the less.

After the death of her father, her and her mother moved about living in the human realm as well as the supernatural one. Always moving, never stopping. Now they were after her as they had been after her father and killed him. Then they pursued her mother, and they now had their sights on her, the rightful heir and leader of their region.

She gazed at Dante in a knowing manner. She waited for him to dispute her, reassure her that this was no joke. He did no such thing. he hesitantly walked towards her still open door, and walked out pausing only to shut her door. Seconds after she expelled an enormous sigh. Great, she thought, now she had to pack. Sulfur her dark cat jumped from the couch onto her shoulders with one swift movement, and nuzzled her.

"Looks like were moving again baby." She said as she absently rubbed her cat between the ears.



CHAPTER 5

Dante was no fool. She knew something. He intended to find out exactly how much she knew. No one was that unshaken after seeing a demon, let alone for the first time. So he waited up on the balcony adjacent to hers and watched.

Mr. Blatemore, or Blatemore as he was known, was Lina's boss and mentor. Blatemore had contacted Dante's brother with explicit instructions to guard Lina at all costs. Of coarse leave it to his brother to shovel the responsibility onto him, as always.

So here he crouched more or less, in the shadows on the balcony hoping the neighbor of Lina wouldn't come out for a bit of fresh mid-fall air. How refreshing it was. If he wasn't so worried about why he had to "babysit" this human, he might actually be able to relax and enjoy the light autumn breeze.

As it stood , however, he was disturbed. He had sensed something from her that he hadn't sensed in hundreds of years. A spark, an essence. The equivalent could only be described as a person's essence, their smell, but this was felt not smelled. He had smelled an essence similar to hers ages ago. Very disconcerting.

He needed to focus on the task at hand, not daydream about lost love. But it was easier said than done. So Dante started to pace. After a few minutes he saw her lights flick on in another room that he would guess to be her bedroom. Riveted he watched since at this height he could somewhat see what she was doing. She had a cat on her shoulders which jumped off her onto the bed.

 After taking off her t shirt she lay down wearing a plain tank top and he noticed she had changed into pajama pants with bananas on them. He had better vision than a human but nothing miraculous. After she grabbed a book and was laying under the blankets, the cat came back again and curled up beside her. He had always liked cats and so thought higher of her for having one.

He was shaken out of his reverie by an unfamiliar voice.



CHAPTER 6

The dark unfamiliar male voice broke the silence of the night. Dante turned sharply ready, and instantly in attack mode.

"Whoah! relax, I'm Not going to attack you. Tonight anyway."

Dante got a better look at the man. If you could call him that. At his height Dante rarely looked up to many people and was forced to tilt his head to look at the "man" properly.

He had Dark hair which seemed to hold flecks of highlights, the natural kind. His equally dark eyes did not share the humor in his voice.

"Should I know you?' asked Dante.
"No. Not yet anyhow. You will come to know me at a later time, but we need not deal with that right now. All you need to know is that you are meddling and ought to mind your position, you are crossing a boundary."

"This is your only warning, after this you are fair game to me and mine. Leave the girl and no one has to deal with the dirty laundry you left laying about. Of coarse should you feel the urge to play the hero and try and get involved, I will dispatch my army to handle you, and problem solved. But as I was once a friend of your fathers I felt it my duty to at least warn you."


The dark stranger seemed somewhat familiar and then, no just as fast as he had seen it he looked ever a distant dark stranger again. He didn't have too many doubts as to who he was, but kept those theories to himself.

" I have been warned, you have delivered your message, now anything else?" Dante may be intelligent but he wasn't a pushover and when threatened, rose to the occasion.

The stranger turned to look him over, "Another warning, lose the attitude, it makes you seem weak, which we both know, isn't the case."

And with that the dark man was gone. Just gone. It took strong magic to do that, not the kind anyone he knew possessed. Dante was in over his head.

CHAPTER 7

Lina had a feeling she was being watched. Her senses told her it was just the Demon. Of coarse she should have acted more surprised to see a Demon. She was keeping up a facade after all, it wouldn't do well to have the rest of the supernatural community come barging in her door just because she was too tired after centuries of running, to really care.

After he left she changed into her sleep clothes and laid down to read. Picking up her latest find from the local Library called "Survival of the Sickest" by Sharon Moalem, she just kept reading the same paragraph over and over, thinking of the Demon. Why was he here? Did h know her past? Who she was/is? It was too much. She was going to go for a quick walk, but then caught a faint smell in the air. The smell when something is cooking in the oven. Not the smell of the food, but the smell of burning heat and it was close by.

Her hair rose up on her neck again. Would she ever catch a break? Shutting off her lights she peered out her blinds onto the lit path outside her apartment. Thankfully she had landlords who cared more for security than her sleep. She often cursed the damn lights that somehow managed to pierce even the thickest curtains in their pursuit to disturb her sleep. Now she was grateful for them.

 She may be a supernatural being but she wasn't a freaking cat. She had a hard enough time driving at night let alone trying to search the darkened corners of the lawn for, for, well she didn't know just yet.

Whatever it was it wasn't friendly. She decided to close her eyes and use her powers to feel around her. Whatever it was, it was half heartedly trying to mask it's presence. Which meant it could be underestimating her, or it just didn't care that much.

Making a bold move she decided to try something. Reaching her power to stretch and spread feelers of magic, a sort of magical sensory. She came close enough to get a feel for the presence, as soon as she touched it she knew. It was powerful. It vanished leaving her with a deeper sense of dread now that she knew who it was that had just disappeared.

She was in real trouble. He was back, and he was here for her.







CHAPTER 8

Dante shuddered, shaking off the lingering feel of the Magi's power. He needed to immediately inform Lina, and take her from this place. He didn't know the whole story of why she was in danger, or really what was happening, but something was going down and she was somehow in the middle of the whole thing.

Jumping from his perch on her neighbor's balcony, he took long strides toward her door. Before he reached it, someone grabbed one of his horns. The cloaking magic he used to keep his horns secret from the humans was not needed or meant for supernaturals.

Whipping around he grabbed his attacker in a choke hold, pinning him against the wall. He was a slender, yet tall Elf. No not Santa Clause style elf, but a real Elf. The mercenaries sent out after supernatural beings who went rogue, or supernatural beings who pissed off the wrong Dark Kings.

This Elf was probably a servant to one of the Dark Kings judging by his scraggly thinness, dark hair and darker skin tone. Then he caught sight of his eyes. Definitely servant to the Dark Kings. His eyes so typical of the Dark Eves, were such a brilliant ice blue they were almost neon. Only Dark Elves had eyes like that.

The Elf kicked at his shins, which made Dante loosen his grip enough for the Elf to escape his grasp. The next second another Elf from far behind him took Dante out with an arrow. Grabbing at the wooden arrow, he staggered back using the wall for support.

He was really in a bind now, since he had trouble focusing his power when injured. The pain shot waves of nausea, that threatened to make him vomit on the spot. He didn't think the wound mortal. Even though he was supernatural, and had a higher resilience to pain, this arrow was also tipped with a special poison in which only Elf kind held an antidote for. Dark Elves had antidotes for their poisons and Light Elves had antidotes for theirs.

His blurred vision, and loss of motor skills brought him to his knees and he thought he heard the Elves talking to one another, very faintly and he lost consciousness.

CHAPTER 9

Lina sensed more than heard Dante awaken after hours of being unconscious. He stirred and started to get up when she gently yet forcefully pushed him back to the couch. She had used some healing magic to heal his major wounds but couldn't do much because of the poison.

After she had fought the Dark Elves she began to question her intervention on his behalf. The Dark Elves were one of her few allies and given her precarious situation, any ally was surely welcomed, and sorely missed. His waking has halted her thoughts on the matter.

She had explained to him that the immediate danger had abated and assured him all was somewhat well. She also had to convince him that she saw no such attackers, that she had merely come upon him on her way out, and there had been no one around him at the time. She told him that she were just getting ready to call an ambulance or drive him to the hospital, had he not woken up.

“ I insist that you go to a hospital, Emergency room, something!” Lina said, hoping he would leave her to handle the situation on her own without him being caught right in the middle of it.

This was her battle and she didn't need Mr. macho over there to keep bogging her down by getting attacked, maimed and poisoned. She could tell if she couldn't get rid of him she would be inclined to see him bashed about many more times, and in much more inventive ways.

 Perhaps she ought to dispose of him herself, save herself the headache. But she didn't dare. For reasons she dare not admit, she had noticed that astonishingly, she cared whether he lived or died. This coming from the woman who had her chef killed because he cooked her dinner wrong, a few hundred years ago. She was not to be taken lightly.

“Lina. I know you're scared, and confused, but I will explain it all, about the magic, and the powers and all, but we must get moving. Someone is after you. I don't know who for certain, but it doesn't look to be a small attack. They mean to use all of their power to catch you, and they have a lot to spare. Just come with me and we'll escape from them long enough to figure it all out.”

Oh how adorably fairy tail he was. He had no idea what was going on. Yet he was offering his help. That was more than she could say about anyone who had come before him. Anyone else in his situation would have left and not so much as glanced back.





The Elves that had attacked her were there in service to another. He was back, and closer on her trail then he had been in over a decade. The last time Barr had been this close, she had nearly died.

Sulfur jumped onto her shoulders from the couch and smelled her hair before deciding to eat it. She never did understand why her cat decided to do this.

Waving Sulfur off her Lina drew her attention back to the man before her. If he wasn't going to leave perhaps she could give him a little back history. If he was to be equally in danger he ought to know what for. This was her thinking anyway.

Sulfur started to wind herself around Dante's legs. Weird, she normally never showed affection to anyone but herself.

"Dante, theres a chance that Barr is the one who is after me." Lina said.

Dante looked shocked, but didn't know how much she knew about Barr so he asked "How do you know who Barr is?"

"Suffice it to say he has been after me for....a while. Now you need to understand something. You are on a need to know basis, but you needed to know this." Lina said, strongly putting emphasis on the latter.

Dante had the feeling that she knew much more than she was letting on but they didn't have time to waste. It Barr was indeed, and he had no doubt he was the one after them, then they needed to have disappeared as of yesterday if they had any real hopes of survival.

Barr was the leader of the dark Elves, and others of the dark realm. As his powers grew, his realm started to lapse into the realm of the living, where humans and those who no longer wished to follow Barr had fled to.

Now the Demons, witches and the like were forced to hide their true selves in the midst of humans in order to thrive.

Barr was not one to cross and apparently he had his sights on Lina. That was Barr earlier who had appeared to Dante no doubt. Was he also responsible for the voice he had been hearing lately too?







CHAPTER 10

Lina could see the inquisitive look on Dante's face, but he held his tongue. She tried to think of a way to explain the circumstances to him without exposing herself.

" I have known who and what Barr is for a while. No doubt you noticed I wasn't too surprised by seeing a Demon." she paused, then he nodded so she went on.

" I'm not human, and I am well acquainted with the supernatural realm. Barr has had his servants after me for a long time, so I must be careful with whom I trust. For all I know you could be sent here by him to trick and capture me."
Dante spoke up suddenly "I would NEVER! what makes you think.."
 
Lina cut in with "I didn't say you would or wouldn't, merely that it is a possibility. A possibility that someone in my situation can't afford to assume. I've made that mistake before".  The last part was more to herself than to him.

Dante started to pace about the room, which irritated her. She couldn't stand it when people paced. It reminded her of small neurotic dogs that would shake and chase their tails when they were nervous, which was only always.

"OK, I have a cousin who has a cabin in the woods. It's far enough away from humans that if Barr's servants do come after you again, humans won't get involved at least." Dante proposed.

"So your idea is to take me away from anywhere where someone might hear, so you can kill me without a fuss? No thank you, I have learned that the closer to the humans I live, the safer I tend to be." Lina said this, but didn't believe it wholeheartedly. She knew Barr would stop it nothing, even getting humans involved, Hell he would probably hire humans to attack her.

She sided with him at last, and they made plans to go to his cousins cabin about two hours east of town. In the booneys, without her wireless internet and cafes she so loved. That was another reason she had moved to this place specifically. It had everything. International food, international people, cafes, eateries, Libraries open past 8pm. It had it all. Now she was going to leave it behind, perhaps forever, to save her ass.

Gathering up what clothes and staple foods they could grab, she called for Sulfur needlessly since he was right in front of her trying to get into her bag. Well that's one way to do it.

She turned off her breakers to everything except the fridge, just in case she did make it back, she didn't need to pay for electricity when she wasn't even there. After checking the house over for anything that might come in handy for fighting a five thousand something wizard with a chip on his shoulder, she came up blank and locked the door.

On the way out to her car she past her neighbor with the dog she always disliked. Sulfur jumped out of her bag and chased the dog which went yelping into the distance. Sulfur, like her, had aggression issues.

Mrs. What'shername and her never got along because anytime Sulfur saw that yappy dog of hers, she went into attack mode. Well, maybe if Mrs. What'shername kept her rat of a dog on a leash, she could just scoop it up, coddle it and be done with it. Instead she blamed Lina. Everytime.

As this was likely to be the last time she saw Mrs. What'shername, she took pleasure in saying what she had always wanted to, "Put your dog on a leash, and maybe you wont have to go looking in the woods for him like you do, every time. Good day." And off Lina strode with more pep in her step.

Maybe things were looking up after all. She called for Sulfur who was already by the car waiting for her, and they set off to the middle of nowhere with Dante driving since he knew the way.





In the silence of her car, Lina cleared her throat.
Dante looked at her expectantly and when she didn't offer conversation he turned his gaze back to the road. Sulfur hopped onto her lap, looking surprised at all the fast flying scenery going by.

Her eyes darted back and forth with the passing trees. Other than this she didn't yowl or lose her composure unlike most cats. After about 20 minutes she lept in the back window and lay curled up to sleep.

Lina wished she could be as calm as Sulfur, and glared at her, though she didn't notice because she had her eyes closed, presumably asleep.

Dante broke the awkward quiet and asked her about the radio. finding some zombie nation remix he changed it since he didn't want to even start thinking about the army of dead that Barr had at his disposal, after he switched a few times he landed on a station that was playing one of his favorites. L.e.s. Artistes's Santogold played for a time and they both looked at each other quickly, and glanced away simultaneously.

She felt her cheeks warm. Her. The bloodthirsty Lina, blushing? Unthinkable. To cover for her girlish actions she confronted him, which took her mind off of her previous actions.

"Why are you sticking around?" She demanded.
He looked taken aback. He shouldn't, it was a straightforward question she thought.
"I told you I am here to help. I'm going to stick it out and protect you. This isn't your fight, and you shouldn't have been dragged into this. End of story. It's sort of my job."

She snorted, which made him look even more confused.
He didn't need to protect her, she could more than fend for herself. She had been doing so for all her unnaturally long life.

"Your turn." Lina said.

"My turn? what do you mean?" said Dante

" I asked you a question, you ask me. Its what civil beings do when they are on a road trip. Haven't you been on a road trip?"

"Demons don't exactly like road trips. Especially not this Demon. I get carsick if I'm not the one driving. "

At this she looked curious but probed no further awaiting his response.

" I guess...I guess I want to know what you are."

" I am many things. A woman, a valued member of society, a cat owner...."
At this he grew impatient.

"You know what I mean. I'm not simple. You aren't quite human. What ARE you?"

She thought it wouldn't hurt to tell him one aspect of herself.

" I can wield magic." She left it at that and asked him her next question.
"How old are you?"

He looked indignant.

"Old. You're going to be vague, I can do that too.. You learn to open up more and I'll be here, it's a long ride."

Dante swerved nearly putting them in the ditch, but there hadn't been anything in the road.
He grabbed his chest in pain and after a few moments looked up at her blood tearing from his eyes. He wiped it away leaving smears on his cheeks.

"Are you fit to drive?" Lina was having second thoughts about this.

"Yes, I'm fine. The pain just comes out of nowhere and then it's gone. I can drive. Besides I would be in more pain if I rode shotgun than in the driver's seat."

"Whatever, just don't kill us" She added, but knew he couldn't merely kill her or him for that matter in a car accident, they were immortals after all. It took a very serious injury, such as decapitation to finish them off.

"The Elves poison is spreading faster, isn't it?" she asked slightly worried.
He merely nodded and returned the car to their lane and resumed driving.
The drove over an old wooden bridge and the trees were even thicker on the other side.

Deeper into the woods they went. The terrain grew more mountain like with no guard rails they could crash below if they went off the narrow road. Good thing they wouldn't die, but they could be in agony. Yes they could feel pain, maybe more so than humans. Since most of their senses were heightened it would stand to reason that they could feel pain more than the humans could.

Sulfur woke up stretched and climbed onto Lina's lap to look out the window.
"I have to ask. What is the deal with you and your cat? I've never seen a cat be so......different. What cat doesn't mind car rides, and follows you like a puppy, and seems to be somehow.....supernatural. It's not really a cat is it?"

"IT, is a she. And she is special."
After he waited in vain for an elaboration she proved to once again that she wasn't going to elaborate.

"Again with the vague! If we are to work together and I am to help you, you need to trust me just a little."

Instead of answering she thought about what he said and gazed out the window to the dark woodsy world outside.

Getting lost in thought she was soon asleep with Sulfur on her lap and her head on the window.

Dante looked over to ask her again but noticed she was asleep, and also noticed for the first time how cute she was when she wasn't being demanding, in control and volatile.

He also noticed the slight pinkish aura radiating from her, and knew what it meant. He knew who she was and he was in way over his head.

***NOTE TO SELF 6148 words***

Only one being had been rumored to have a pink aura. Dante decided to just focus on the road. As they were both immortals they needn't be concerned with dying if he wrecked the car, but it would still hurt, so he tried to keep his attention aimed on driving the vehicle and not crashing them into the woods. His nerves made his hand shake since he knew he had to be extra careful around her now.

Sneeking a quick glance at her curled up in the passenger seat with her cat, if that is indeed what it was, resting on her chest. They looked oddly twin like, her and her cat.

What was he going to do. He had to think of some kind of plan that didn't involve him getting skewered by the biggest baddie in their realm. If Barr found out that Dante was helping her escape... Dante tried to push the image of being dismembered out of his minds eye, with little luck.

After turning the radio to a classic rock station his morbid thoughts returned. What if Barr got her? That would be even worse, if there was such a thing, than his own dismemberment and eternal torture. It would mean the torture of all their kind, probably even those on Barr's side. Barr was evil, through and through. He wasn't like the bad guys humans watch on tv, he didn't have a human side or a concious he was evil, end of story. And they were screwed.


Chapter 11

Barr turned to the dark haired Demon who was his gofer. He looked deep into her hazel eyes, lost in thought as he often found himself he noticed how uncomfortable he had made her by staring into her depths. He didn't mean to upset anyone when he did this, he just lost himself. When one lived as long as he, any immortal would grow weary. Alas he was the oldest though. He often wished his lengthened existence would end but like most creatures the will to survive outshone his momentary boredom.

Many a mercenary had been dispatched on him, all had lost their lives in the attempt. he heard footsteps coming up the castle tower and knew immediately who was approaching. He barely had enough time to hide his expression and mask his uneasiness at her approach.

Like his gofer, she had Black hair, but unlike her, her eye were the deepest of green. Flecks of golden brown were present. This is what had attracted him to her from the first. Her eyes were so deep, so fathomless, he could lose himself completely. Also unlike anyone else, he did not intimidate her. She was his mercenary, and as such was unafraid of anyone.

He had first heard of her centuries ago, had hired her for a mission she wasn't meant to come back from. He had never met her, but had paid for her services. After she had returned from her mission unscathed, he had to meet her out of curiosity. Since then she had been his loyal bodyguard and mercenary.

Rinalia came into the dimly lit castle tower room, her boots making a softened clicking as she walked. She glanced about out of habit surveying her surroundings then bent to one knee out of required respect for her ruler.

Barr was stunned at seeing her for the first time in weeks. She had been out scouting for the past month and had finally returned. Her black hair held a reddish undertone and he noticed a large irritated looking cut from just under her ear down her front that dove deeply and was hidden beneath her tunic.

"Please, you know how I feel about you kneeling, how many decades must I ask you. Just...what happened?" Barr asked his voice softening when he took another look at the slice wound on her front.

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