Dark Angel Series
By Kathryn E Wanta
(Rated T for Teen, some language, violence and suggestive undertones.)
If you haven’t read the first and second part Click Here!
Part 3 of 3
The delay also served a greater purpose; it left her captives alone with their thoughts. They would torment themselves further without any assistance from her. It prolonged the pain and suffering of the victims, and was a common practice among the people of the Dark Side.
Deacon stood guard while they waited for Dire to return and finish the task at hand. He kept looking down. He was her submissive not her equal. In due time, the poor guy would be eaten alive by her wicked ways.
“I don’t know what she promised you, but the King will not risk having a Shade take his place on the throne of Beira. He’ll kill you before he would see you marry his daughter. It’s one thing to be her boy toy and slave,” Kee warned.
“You don’t know her.”
“Neither do you.” Kee was sure of that. “Is that even your real body, or did you steal that too; the way that you stole my friend’s affection, ever so briefly?”
“Does it matter?” he asked, looking at Jinx as he spoke. “It’s mine now and I intend to keep what I take.” There had been a hint of honesty to the words he had told Jinx before.
“Dire is shallow. She will want beautiful children. Nothing less will do. Your true self may shine through in the end. Is it as appealing as this?” Jinx questioned, gesturing to his overall appearance.
“Stop playing mind games with me. I have made my bed and I will lay in it. I accept the possibility of failure; I assure you that I can do no worse. I wouldn’t expect you, of all people, to understand the struggles of the common man,” he fired back at Kee. Jinx seemed to understand him in that regard. It paid to align yourself with people of power and purpose, but it didn’t mean they understood you. The princess was not one of them; she was above them. “I don’t take relationship advice from the dead anyway.” With that he started to walk away.
“You should. It takes a skill that you lack to win the hearts of the righteous,” Kee taunted. Now it was her turn however to beg for forgiveness. It was her fault that Jinx was in this mess now. If not for their friendship, Dire would have never set her sights on her. She wouldn’t have even mattered to the spoiled princess. It was as if she had painted the target on her friend’s back herself. Kee hated that feeling of guilt and failure.
She had to get them out of this alive, if at all possible. The magic dust didn’t seem to affect her the way it had Jinx, so there was a chance that she could get away, but not without her friend. Kee knew her age and lack of experience were weaknesses. She just didn’t know what to do, so she threw her head back and let a few tears roll down her face. The ability to feel emotional pain was an angel’s greatest strength. They hated the feeling, and it fueled their rage.
That is when something unexpected caught her attention; a glimmer of hope that instantly warmed her heart. It just happened to be when Dire and Deacon returned. She couldn’t hide her grin, despite the appearance of the water still on her cheeks and in her eyes. The smile bothered Dire. Her sister wasn’t supposed to be enjoying this in any way.
“What are you so happy about?” She seemed annoyed by the thought that Kee might actually be enjoying herself.
“I missed you,” Kee joked. Dire didn’t appreciate her humor when she was trying to strike fear into her baby sister. Threatening her with death didn’t seem to faze her; truthfully Kee just wasn’t going to give her that satisfaction. “So are you going to do it yourself or big ugly over there?” she nodded toward one of the bigger Orcs still standing by the fire, who seemed to like the idea.
Dire just laughed and pulled a blade out of the bag at her side. There would be no risk taking. She would just kill her where she stood. To let her out only gave her and Jinx the opportunity to make this harder than it needed to be.
“So do you think the gatekeeper will miss you in his bed, or simply find another to fill the void?” Dire taunted.
“I don’t know. You should ask him yourself,” Kee explained with a sly smile. Dire just started at her for a moment before it dawned on her what she was implying. The last things she wanted was to confront her sister’s assumed lover, so she moved to strike Kee, only to have the blade suddenly stopped by an unwavering weapon.
Face to face with Meta’s relentless and angry blue eyes, Dire froze and stuttered. This had not been planned for; even the Orcs scrambled to take up their weapons but hesitated to use them on the Archangel. They had not encountered such a mythical beast in battle before and it left them wondering. His power was that of legends. No one had thought he would dare to step foot on the sinful soil of the Buer castle.
“Why take a girl when you could have a woman in your bed?” Dire offered, hoping to tempt him to take another walk on the dark side, not knowing that he had already been there before, with another member of the Buer family. She wasn’t the beauty her mother was, and didn’t have the charm or experience either; Hada had honed her skills over hundreds of years. Dire lacked tack. Not that he was about to make that mistake again. He had been watching, as he always did. He knew what Dire thought was going on, and agreed with his daughter that it was the least of the two evils, so he too allowed Dire to think that she was correct. After all, she wasn’t completely wrong, there was something between them.
“I would not lie with such a sinister thing. I should kill you for even thinking that you had a chance with the likes of me. Keesabella is different, and you know it. Your sister is not like you. She is otherworldly,” Meta explained.
“Other-worldly? She is not angelic in nature. I have seen her cruelty. You have been here too long, I fear. You confuse her appeals with that of your own kind.” With a deep breath Dire debated her options. At this point, she was unsure what the senile angel’s abilities really were, and didn’t want to put him to the test. It might be wise to just admit defeat now and regroup later.
Jinx grinned from ear to ear. Her heart felt joy for her friend. Meta’s appearance there not only would save them, but it proved that he did, in fact, love his child at least enough to break a few rules and risk himself to save her.
By now he had his blade up and ready to strike and to defend the object of his affection, at all costs. In truth, he just wanted a reason to rid the world of the selfish creature before him. He could easily list many reasons why he should, but she was the sister of his only child. That had to mean something to someone.
The pause must have made the Orcs restless and impatient. One of them came barreling toward Meta, carelessly shoving Dire out of his way, eager to go blade to blade with the might of the legendary advisary. The angel did not disappoint. He met the fearless Orc with every powerful blow, seeming to enjoy the break from his boring lookout over the heartless and uncaring lands.
This was exciting and a bit of an adventure for him; stepping into their dark world full of treason and the misdeeds of many. He knew in his heart, as he watched them, that it was wrong, but he was just one man. He couldn’t save them all from themselves, but he could save Keesabella. Meta glanced at her as he continued to do battle with the lone brave Orc. She had somehow become important to him these last few months, and he no longer cared to see her dead. Curious about her future, he wanted her to live awhile longer.
The Orc offered little challenge to the man that had nothing but time to spend practicing and working out. He just thought it wise to put on a bit of a show for the on-lookers, should they consider joining in. He danced about the big ugly monstrous man, stabbing him and causing him as much pain and discomfort and he could, finally slitting his throat with a swift movement and the grace that only an angel could possess.
“That was fun, who’s next?” he asked, eying up Dire, and stepped toward her with his bloody sword pointed at her throat. “She is your sister. I don’t expect you to know what love is, but I do expect you to respect her,” he warned, just as Deacon darted between them.
He shoved Dire behind him and did his best to protect her from that deadly threat. The thought, alone, made Jinx laugh. He was a fool to think that this gesture would in any way influence the heartless princess in his favor. Dire would see it as his duty to her and nothing more, as if he owed her something.
The angel just smiled. He could easily lay waste to the Shade. He offered no challenge to him in this human form, and Deacon had to have known that. What he didn’t seem to realize was that Dire was not worth his sacrifice.
“You would be a fool to lay down your life for her. She cares not for anyone other than herself,” Meta cautioned, but he would gladly do away him any way. It wasn’t his place, but he didn’t agree with what had been done to Jinx. She wasn’t his child, and not his concern at the moment. “I can honestly tell you that she would not do the same for you.”
“Go back to your gate where you belong. This does not concern you in the slightest. She is not different than her sister,” Deacon pointed at Kee, who seemed very calm through the whole ordeal. “They are the same, and you are blind if you can’t see that. She isn’t worth your life either.”
Meta lowered his weapon and looked at the dark skinned girl in the cage. She still had her hand on to the bar and her head resting against the side, bright eyed and happy to see him. Her eyes seemed to twinkle in the fires warm glow. There was no truth to what Deacon said. She wasn’t like Dire, and she was worth dying for, at least to him. It was very wrong of him to feel this way about a creature that he was supposed to hate and be ready to kill without question.
She was immune to the black heart stone because she was immune to the sins of others and unaffected by the light, or lack thereof. Keesabella stood alone in that respect. Even her father had sinned, and now would pay for that sin for the rest of his life. Meta knew it now; she was his curse.
“I am honor bound, unlike you, to that retched thing. I have no choice in the matter. Do you really want to test my resolve?” Meta asked of the already frightened Shade. Deacon shook his head and glanced at Dire over his shoulder.
“I think it wiser to admit defeat this day, my lady. We could live to fight another day, perhaps another way?” Deacon was suggesting to his fair lady that they run away and reconsider their approach in the future. There was more than one way to ruin someone’s life without actually taking it away. The angel couldn’t fight them on all fronts, honor bound or not. Dire nodded, and she and Deacon fled.
Letting the two of them go was Meta’s only good deed for the day. When they were both safely away, he laid waste to the few Orcs that were slow to retreat, despite the loss of their leader just before. He reasoned that they wouldn’t be missed and the world would not suffer their loss.
Lastly, he turned his blade to Jinx, approaching the vampire with caution. She was a half breed, making her, in theory, a much easier kill for him than a full blooded vampire. She was terrified and trapped.
“Not her Meta!” Kee demanded of her father.
“Why not her? What is so special about this one?” he questioned. “Her skin burns just as easily from the stone meant to keep the horrors of the darkness at bay. That means she can be swayed by the darkness. She can and will betray you someday.”
“But not today. Today she is my friend.”
Meta drew in a deep breath before lowering his sword. As both girls relaxed in his presence, he carefully turned the weapon around and held tight to its handle. Jinx studied him carefully, taking in the beauty and aura of something so few there had ever seen. He didn’t approve of her and that still made her worry. She knew that her friend could not protect her from him.
He moved toward Jinx’s cage, as if to let her out, but with a swift almost unseen movement, he reached into the iron box and struck the young girl in the head, as hard as he could, with the hard smooth handle of his sword, knocking her out instantly.
The action enraged his own daughter enough for her to break the door to her own cell and race toward them. He dropped his blade and grabbed her just as she reached for her friend’s cage. With a hand on each of her arms, Meta forced the teen to face him and shook her slightly to calm her, as she screamed at him.
“She’ll be fine,” he assured her. Even a Dhampir was durable enough to sustain such a blow. Though she might wake with a headache, she would awaken, none the less. “I worry about those in your inner circle.”
“There aren’t exactly a lot of quality people to choose from around here, if you haven’t noticed,” Kee pointed out, relaxing enough to make him release her. She casually rubbed the places he had grabbed a hold of her. He was stronger than most knew and would likely leave bruises.
“I have noticed,” he admitted, but that was where he would hold off on admitting more for now. “I worry that even in a land of no light you cast a big shadow, and I know that things, not unlike your friend and your sister, don’t tend to grow well in the shade.”
“What are you implying?”
“You will never be short of enemies, but if you want to keep these… people in your life, I suggest you give them some room to grow from time to time.” He hesitated to call them people at all. They were more like monsters to him.
“How do I do that?” Her body language told him that she was annoyed and upset with him, and rightfully so. Who was he to demand so much of her at a time like this? She barely knew him.
“Distance yourself from them, from time to time; let them figure some things out on their own. I suggest you take this opportunity to disappear for a while. Angels have this little rite of passage and tradition of sorts that I think you could benefit from.” He paused to see if she showed any interest, before continuing. “We send our youth into the woods to fend for themselves for a spell. They need to learn to thrive on their own and operate independently.”
It was a cruel way to teach a child the facts of life, but the angels didn’t get to the top of the evolutionary ladder by letting the weak survive. They were the best of themselves because only the best survived this test.
“There is a mountain area to the west of here; it’s mostly uninhabited and rarely visited by anything of a human nature. You should be able to find yourself there, and in time, these things can grow in your absence. Your family will think you’ve been kidnapped. When you return, you can decide if you still like what your friends and family have become.” He had clearly given this much thought prior to these unfortunate events. It almost sounds like he was admitting that she was his child.