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  • Home > Samantha Young > Warriors of Ankh > Blood Past (Page 7)     
  • Blood Past(Warriors of Ankh #2)(7) by Samantha Young
  • If only he could get his adopted daughter to do the same once she was reborn.

    Chapter Five

    New Eyes

    The pain was excruciating, as if someone had cut into her chest, ripped her rib cage open, and was having difficulty tearing her heart out. Her entire body was lit with the agony, each nerve ending burning and lighting her very flesh with the flame. Sounds - inhuman, animal sounds - echoed all around her, and she begged, begged for it to stop. And then she realised… the sounds were coming from her. Hollowed shrieking. An outlet for the unbearable hurt that had taken her body captive.

    Eventually the burning began to throb into a manageable pain and she unclenched her hands and stopped writhing, drawing in huge gulps of air as slowly but surely a soothing balm spread through her, like a breeze blowing in from nowhere on an unbearably hot day. Her breathing slowed and she calmed, barely aware of the relieved tears that leaked out from her closed eyes and slid down her cheeks. She heard whispering but couldn't make out the words.

    Panic abruptly seized her.

    Who am I?

    She frowned into the dark of her mind, searching, searching; desperately seeking.

    Who am I?

    Where am I?

    “Eden…” a soft voice whispered into the air around her.

    Eden? Eden…

    And then it all came flooding back with the impact of a massive tidal wave, rushing over her and pulling her under. She lost her breath as she remembered Ryan and Celine and Teagan. Stellan. A sharp pain sliced through her chest. Stellan. She'd lost Stellan. No. She didn't want to relive that.

    Grief gripped her nonetheless.

    Noah. Beautiful Noah who had only pretended. More pain. Why did it feel like so much more. So much deeper.

    “Eden?”

    That voice. Cyrus. Cyrus! Her anchor. She had Cyrus. Her body calmed at the thought of him, at the thought of the man who would take care of everything. Hadn't he already? What had he done?

    Blood. Mhairi. Yes, Mhairi. Mhairi's blood.

    Soul eater.

    She gasped. There was nothing. She searched deep inside herself, looking for the monster, for the hunger. It was gone.

    The hunger was gone!

    An intense, painful restlessness burst through her, like blood vessels popping one by one. The hunger was gone but in its place was something new.

    Something unexplainable but true.

    Something deep and knowing and unbreakable.

    Something that felt like… destiny.

    She had a destiny now. Her heart began to race as her mind grasped what her soul (her soul, her pure, pure soul that felt light and manageable) was telling her. She had a duty. To protect. To fight.

    To hunt. Yes. She was a hunter. Her skin tingled.

    I am Ankh.

    With that knowledge, a kind of peace settled around her.

    The war inside her was over.

    *

    Another tear escaped, and she felt the brush of a soft finger on her cheek.

    “Eden? Can you open your eyes?”

    Noah?

    “Noah?” She croaked, her throat feeling dry and unused.

    “Yes. You're safe. You're OK. Try opening your eyes.”

    Easier said than done. Her eyes felt as though they had been glued shut. Tentatively, Eden tried, forcing the lids to rise. The light slid inside, blinding her, hurting her, and she made a soft noise, slamming them shut again.

    “Eden.”

    “Cyrus?”

    “Yes. I am here. So is Valeria. Open your eyes, Eden. Open.” At the sound of his voice Eden smiled inside. She remembered how much she had wanted to trust this man before her transition to Ankh, how her paranoia held her back. That was gone now. There was only the connection to her Princeps and the utmost belief in his sincerity and the promise of safety in his very existence. Relaxing the trembling muscles in her body, Eden cracked her eyes open, letting them water as they adjusted to the light. At last she could make out the room she was in.

    Lemon yellow walls, posters and photographs. Robert Pattinson. Wait. What?

    A face swung above her drawing her focus away from the many images of the actor on the walls.

    Pale violet eyes gazed down at her from a strong face. Beautiful eyes, bewitching even. Strong jaw.

    Olive skin. A full lower lip that begged to be kissed. Eden felt a shudder in her chest as her brain caught up with her vision.

    Noah.

    His eyes were wide on her, his smile tentative. “Eden… Eden your eyes…” She lifted a hand to her face, but it felt heavy and limp. She let it flop back down again. “My eyes…?”

    He smiled wider now, the left side of his mouth kicking up higher than the right. “Your eye colour… it's changed.”

    The breath whooshed out of her body. “What… colour?”

    And then Cyrus and Valeria were there too. Val reached for her hand and squeezed. Cyrus stood back and she frowned. He seemed a little sad. “Blue-green,” her guardian replied. “Your eyes are blue-green… like your mother's.”

    ***

    The mirror hung above the bathroom sink, a magnet for her eyes. Eden squinted them and then widened them, turning her face this way and that, but never looking away from the reflection of her

    ‘new' eyes.

    Those aren't my eyes.

    Eden huffed for the seventh time and leaned in closer so that her nose touched the cool surface of the mirror. It was weird not seeing the unusual pale grey of her soul eater eyes. When they were grey her dark lashes had made them even more striking. Her lashes didn't look so dark now in contrast to the new colour. Her mother's colour.

    They are pretty, she mused, cataloguing the cerulean blue with the gold and green striations.

    They're normal. Eden decided they made her look completely different. But it wasn't just the colour.

    That hard glimmer was gone. The hungry, feral glint that had made people wary of her had disappeared. She curled her lip. Unfortunately she detected a vulnerability in them now, an uncertainty… and… grief. Her grief for Stellan was now etched into them, straining the corners, and tilting the edges of her mouth. She looked so… human. Eden sighed. Her body didn't feel human though. If it was possible, she now felt stronger than she ever had before. Cyrus and Valeria had made her lie in bed for 24 hours after the change. It was infuriating and frustrating because all Eden wanted to do was stretch her new limbs and give them a try. She was restless for the training Cyrus had promised her; for the info on the soul eaters; for the first taste of a kill.

    “They are your eyes, Eden,” an amused voice said from behind her, surprising her and causing her to smack her nose off of the mirror. She muttered a curse and leaned back from the mirror so she could see Noah at her back in the reflection. She glared at him. “Still not talking to me, huh?” Eden snorted humourlessly. “What? Did you think I'd wake up and just forget the last six months of your lying and pretending?”

    He scowled back at her and she watched warily as he took the few steps forward he needed to be pressed against her back. She stiffened, feeling the heat of him through her shirt and jeans. He stood a few inches above her, the warmth of his breath tickling her neck sending unwanted goosebumps across her skin and a shiver down her back. “I take it they told you, you died?” She wanted to scream at him to back up away from her, to give her room to breathe. But if she did that, he'd know his nearness still affected her. “Yes.” She thrust her chin out defiantly. The fact that Cyrus had kept that little fact from her hadn't bothered her nearly as much as she thought it would.

    She knew he had done what he thought was best for her, and truthfully, she might have died anyway if he hadn't procured the cure. Scratch that. She would have died. OK, so yeah it was a little creepy that she'd died and come back. But hello! She'd died and come back a super kick ass warrior. Eden wasn't going to argue with that.

    Her answer bothered Noah. She watched his jaw clench and his pale violet eyes darken as they scoured her face. “And you're not bothered that they kept that from you?”

    “They did what they had to.”

    He shook his head, his eyes narrowing dangerously. Eden had always thought of Noah as a pretty easy-going guy, but sometimes he got this look on his face that made you want to run for the hills.

    With that scary look Noah stretched his arms out to lean his hands on either side of the sink, caging her in. To her chagrin, her heart began racing and pounding, that citrusy scent of his that used to drive her hunger wild, surrounded her and…

    Oh my God.

    She tried to breathe as the new sensations crept over her. Without the hunger begging for Noah's soul, Eden's body stretched out in freedom, eagerly reacting to what it wanted. And it had always wanted Noah. The hunger had always overpowered desire before now, so the shock of its full intensity made her grit her teeth and lower her eyes. How could she want someone she wanted to kill on a daily basis?!

    “So let me get this straight,” Noah growled in her ear, making her shudder. “You will forgive Cyrus and Valeria for withholding the very important detail of your inevitable death but you won't forgive me for following orders that Cyrus gave me?” His words helped diminish the strange fluttering in her lower belly his nearness had infuriatingly produced. Eden glanced up into the mirror, catching his exotic gaze in her own very new one. For months she had believed him to be her greatest friend. For months. He destroyed her faith.

    When she spoke, her voice was surprisingly calm and toneless. This was another part of being an Ankh she enjoyed. All that seething rage was gone. Well some of it was gone. That which was left she could now manage and control in a way she hadn't been capable of before. “Cyrus didn't make me believe in a friendship that never existed. You went above and beyond your assignment, Noah, you know you did. You drew me in. And it was all pretend, all a lie. And worse… you were the only one who knew how I felt about Stellan… and you let that girl kill him.” Perhaps it was the lack of expression in her voice or perhaps just the words, but Noah seemed to feel those cold words all the way down to his feet, causing Eden to pause momentarily. His expression tightened and he stepped back from her, careful not to touch her. “It wasn't pretend. And I had everyone under orders not to kill Stellan. I am truly sorry for what happened to him, Eden.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire