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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 3)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(3) by Samantha Young
  • She cut off into a silent scream as the monster launched into the air towards her, its mouth open wide. Ari threw her hands up to cover her face, closing her eyes tight and waiting for her subconscious to rip her out of the nightmare. Instead she felt the impact of it hit, her body slamming to the floor with a painful thud that knocked the breath right out of her. Her head smacked against the mirrored floor in eye-watering pain. A sharp streak of light shot across her eyes and then she felt wet heat clamp down on her forearm.

    Agony ricocheted through her whole system as the monster’s teeth tore through her flesh.

    … Stunned at his flagrant disregard for his father’s wishes, Ari stood immobile as The White King eyed Jai blankly. “This is the Ginnaye?” he asked in his flat voice.

    Jai was studying him carefuly; unaware who they were dealing with since he’d never actualy met The White King. Ari wanted to grip his hand and tug him behind her. Instead she sighed as if she were dealing with a mere nuisance rather than a powerful and dangerous immortal. Yeah, she was going to take a leaf out of dear old dad’s book and play the game his way. “Jai, this is The White King.”

    His Ginnaye instincts had him moving with reflexes so fast Ari was only just quick enough to pul him back to her, as Vadit let out a string of rumbling warning growls.

    “Vadit, hush,” The White King commanded as he held up a beseeching hand to Jai. “I just want to converse,” he promised smoothly.

    Her attempt to push Jai behind her was met with angry disbelief and she resigned to letting him stand at her side. Jai reminded her of a pot boiling over, al frothy and impatient. Ari’s muscles tensed as fear coalesced in her chest. She didn’t want Jai anywhere near White.

    However, perhaps it was the memory of her dream in which she’d seen how White had once been… ‘approachable’ … but Ari found herself unafraid of him for

    her own sake. Or maybe she was just tired of running from him. Eyeing him suspiciously, Ari crossed her hands over her chest in defiance and took a step forward.

    “About what?”

    Something flickered in his gaze at her new attitude, and she could almost see him re-calculating whatever plan he’d come here with. “I want to help you save Charlie.”

    “And we’re just to believe that?” Jai growled.

    The Jinn King’s eyes slid so slowly over to Jai the room was given time to ice over with his menace. “Perhaps you should colar your dog, daughter. His refusal to show me deference might get him put down.”

    Instead of frightening him, Ari knew it only made Jai want to attack. She shot her guardian a warning look and he glared at her. I’m not a fool. I’m a trained

    Ginnaye. Do you think I’m going to attack an immortal Jinn King?

    To be honest she wasn’t sure. Jai was more impulsive where she was concerned. Just as she often reacted without thinking where he was concerned.

    “If you could make your point without being rude, it would be appreciated,” Ari replied to White.

    To her surprise, White nodded. “If you agree to return to my home here in Mount Qaf for an indefinite amount of time, I wil speak for Charlie at his trial. Together, Red and I can save him.”

    The words unlocked the darkness. It uncoiled in her chest like a python lashing out at its nearest victim and Ari had to grab hold of it, slamming her eyes shut and gritting her teeth to stop herself from commanding White to be suppliant to her for daring to use Charlie’s predicament against her. She reined in the darkness and shoved it back down, her hands trembling so much she had to clench them into fists.

    She could say yes and Charlie could walk away unscathed. But she’d be here at the mercy of White, who wanted to bring Azazil to heel. Had it been so long since his talk with his mother that he’d forgotten what such a thing would do to the world? Or was that what he wanted now?

    Praying Charlie would never find out that she’d walked away from a chance to save him, Ari shook her head. “I’m never going to trust you, you know. Your deals, your seeming patience… it’s al hiding the truth. You’l destroy us.”

    She thought she caught a note of wonder in White’s eyes before he cocked his head to the side in that alien and disturbing way of his. “Your stubborn determination to ignore me is going to get one of your friends kiled, Ari. I am surprised at you.” His eyes narrowed and then he looked at Jai. “Or maybe I am targeting the wrong friend.” Jai glared back at him, unflinching. “Is that what you want? Me, to hurt him?”

    “As stupid as this may sound to you, al I want is to be left alone.”

    White shook his head, his eyes finding her again. “I made you, Ari. I made you for a purpose. I am not going to walk away.”

    “Why?” She took an unthinking step towards him, and at Vadit’s growl, she felt Jai’s strong hand wrap around her wrist and pul her back. “Do you realy think commanding your father to your bidding is in line with your supposed wishes to return things to the way they should have been; to maintain the balance? According to Red, commanding Azazil to your every whim could bring destruction to the realms.” Okay, maybe Red hadn’t said al that, but Lilif had.

    The White King froze at the knowledge she had acquired, and then he sighed as if deciding it didn’t matter. “I do not want to command my father for every little whim, Ari. I just want one thing from him. Something he wil never hand over unless I force it from him. One thing.”

    Ari shook her head, disbelieving. “You said yourself you want to be Sultan.”

    “Did I? I do not remember ever saying that. I said I want to return the order. Everyone else believes that my purpose is to dethrone Azazil. Let them. My father knows better. He knows exactly what I want, and he wil play my brothers off of each other to keep me from getting it. But he knows you can get me what I want. He knows, Ari, and he wil do whatever it takes to stop that from happening. So you should think very carefuly before you trust him.”

    Trying not to let him play mind games with her, Ari shrugged. “What thing? What’s the thing you want?”

    “Something that wil restore the Jinn world. Something that wil insure that chaos remains within its own space and does not intrude into others and bring the destruction you have spoken of.”

    For a moment, Ari was lost in the unusual sincerity in White’s gaze, but the sound of Jai clearing his throat made her shake her head, spiling the strange and unwelcome questions out of it. “I’m sorry. I can’t help you. I don’t trust you, and I want nothing to do with the power within me. I’d quite happily spend the rest of my life pretending it doesn’t even exist.”

    White’s features froze and a grim determination etched into the hardness. “That is foolish and naïve. Soon others wil discover what you are. You are going to spend the rest of your life running and fighting unless you let me help you. Unless you help me.”

    “Here’s the thing… Red is just as powerful as you are and he’s protecting me with no apparent strings attached. I don’t need you to protect me.”

    “My brother is my father’s puppet, Ari. He protects you as long as Azazil wishes him to protect you. You wil discover that hard truth soon enough.” He took a step towards her, and Ari wanted to step back. Her real father was so huge he could crush her windpipe with one squeeze of his hand. “I am not asking for much from you, daughter. I want one thing, and then you wil be free. I would even free your mother.”

    Cheap shot. Ari sneered, disgust awakening the darkness again. She shoved it back down and let her own anger take over. “I might have a little more faith in your promises if you did anything that wasn’t ninety-nine percent selfish. Free my mom just for the hel of it, and maybe we’l talk.”

    The White King shook his head, his expression blank once more. “I am a businessman, and that is bad business.”

    Ari shrugged again, looking braver than she felt. “Then I guess this meeting is over.”

    “I’d say it is,” Red growled as he moved through the open doorway with a predatory anger. “Azazil commanded you to keep your distance, White.”

    With barely a glance at his brother, White urged Vadit towards the door, and with a look of utter boredom he replied flatly as he brushed past Red, “As if I ever listen to father.”

    As soon as he was gone, Ari let out the breath she didn’t even know she’d been holding.

    The Red King strode towards her purposefuly, his body seeming to vibrate with uncoiled anger. “Are you okay?”

    Jai rubbed a comforting hand over her shoulder. “She handled herself beautifuly.”

    She shot him a grateful smile and nearly melted at the pride in his eyes.

    Oh wow.

    A throat clearing broke their gaze and Ari glanced up at her uncle. He smirked at her knowingly, and then, just as quickly, grew serious. He nodded at her. “You can tel me what White said after. For now… it’s time for Charlie’s trial.”

    2 - The Lawlessness of Kings & Courts

    It had taken a while for Charlie’s lungs to get used to the thick, rich smel of damp soil. It was everywhere. The ground was untouched, packed dirt. The wals, at least here, had been quarried of their emerald. If he’d had to sit al night in a room with emeralds, he might have gone insane with need. Charlie winced as he leaned his head back against the dirty rock and nicked his scalp. That was about the fiftieth time he’d done that.

    He eyed the bars that formed his cel down in the dungeons of the Sultan Azazil’s palace. They were the only source of light, the iron aglow with a fiery magic. He’d been warned by the huge Shaitan that had thrown him in here that if he touched the bars he would be incinerated. After hearing a scream wrench the night air last night, folowed by the vomit-inducing stench of burnt flesh, Charlie was glad he’d chosen to sit in the farthest corner of the smal space and take the Shaitan at his word. After the scream of the dying man wrenched the air the chatter, al around him from the other prisoners had silenced into death and somehow, impossibly, Charlie had drifted in and out of sleep.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire