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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 6)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(6) by Samantha Young
  • “Can it be? Is it Sala, the Ifrit’s daughter?”

    “Full-blood? She must be Sala’s long lost child.”

    Her mother’s name ricocheted around the arena, and Ari’s fearful gaze found Red’s. His expression was grim. Now everyone knew who she was.

    This was only the beginning.

    “What say you, Wise Adeel?” White continued on and Ari chanced a glance at Azazil. He was watching The White King in amusement. A burning in Ari’s cheeks

    drew her gaze to Asmodeus and to her fright she found his gaze was stil upon her, not the proceedings. Shifting anxiously under his attention, Ari quickly looked away and to Adeel.

    “You are saying that Dalí was kiled because he was trying to murder your ful-blooded daughter, Your Majesty?”

    “The Red King and I had to forcefuly obtain Dalí’s whereabouts from The Gleaming King after learning he had taken her.”

    Astonishment rippled through the Jinn audience and Adeel frowned. “The Gleaming King was wilingly alowing the torture of a ful-blood by a half-blood?”

    “Yes,” Red and White replied in unison.

    At the immediate growl from Gleaming’s direction, Ari felt her stomach flip with relief and her shoulders sagged. Adeel stood to his feet and addressed the Sultan.

    “From the testimonies of two Jinn Kings, I have no choice but to alow Charlie Creagh to return in freedom to the mortal realm, Your Majesty. One: he kiled a half-blood. There is no law against half-bloods kiling one another. The fact that the half-blood was Royal may certainly have swayed the ruling otherwise, but since that Royal half-blood would have been executed for his crimes against a ful-blood, I am un-swayed. No law was broken on Charlie Creagh’s part. I see no reason to continue the trial, Your Majesty.”

    Azazil nodded and with a yel of outrage, Gleaming fled into the Peripatos.

    Stunned that it was over so abruptly and that The White King had done what he’d said he’d only do if Ari bent to his wil, Ari could only look on as the crowds of Jinn folowed, some more reluctantly than others as they watched Ari, waiting for her to make a move. Yes, there would be gossip now.

    Trying to shrug it off, to focus on what mattered, she lifted her eyes to find Charlie. He was standing next to the Red King, grinning over at her in exhaustion and relief.

    3 - Your Kind Wickedness…

    Hiss and crackles filed the amphitheater and bright bursts of fire exploded here, there and everywhere, like fireworks on New Year’s Eve as the Jinn emptied from the amphitheater with utter dissatisfaction at the trial being canceled. Ari could stil feel the tingle of the Jinn stares on the back of her neck as they left, their curious speculation causing her heart to race with more worry. The last thing she needed right now was to be hunted by someone else. Trying to shrug off her uneasiness Ari threw Charlie a relieved smile and brushed a hand across Jai’s, teling him silently to folow her as she strode across the strange glass floor that reminded her of the great hal in Azazil’s palace. As soon as she reached Charlie he puled her into a tight hug, tucking his head in the crook of her neck and inhaling her. He shuddered with relief and Ari awkwardly fought the urge to comfort him as wel as the urge to untangle herself from his embrace so Jai wouldn’t get the wrong idea.

    “You’re okay?” she asked instead, patting him firmly on the back before puling out of his embrace. She studied Charlie’s face as she took a step back beside Jai.

    Charlie looked exhausted.

    “I am now.” He grinned shakily and then nodded at Jai.

    Jai nodded back warily. “Good result.”

    “Yeah.”

    A tense silence sprung between the two of them and Ari shot a look at The Red King who was smirking back at her in amusement. Ignoring his teasing, Ari

    telepathed to him. I would seriously hug you right now but I have a feeling Azazil wouldn’t like that.

    Her uncle grinned. Good call.

    Another prickle of awareness tingled on the back of Ari’s neck and she turned around to folow the feeling, only to meet The White King’s gaze. She was shocked to see he was looking at her as if he found her a perplexing puzzle. One he was determined to solve.

    He nodded at her and then stepped back into the Peripatos.

    Frowning, Ari turned back to her uncle, aware of al three men’s gazes upon her, waiting to see how she’d react to her father’s appearance. “Why did he do that?”

    she asked Red quietly. “Why did The White King help after I refused to be blackmailed?”

    Red shrugged. “It was a matter of honor. No matter your answer, he was always going to help free Charlie because it would piss off Gleaming. Gleaming betrayed White when he alowed Dalí to go after you. White couldn’t let that pass without seeking justice.”

    “You mean revenge.”

    “Despite what you may think, sometimes the two are one in the same.”

    Charlie smiled at Red. “I tried to tel her that once.”

    “Then you’re both wrong,” Ari snapped and sidled even closer to Jai. Charlie narrowed his eyes on them and Ari sighed, crossing her arms over her chest

    defensively. “Never mind. What you’re saying is that we shouldn’t be grateful to The White King?”

    Her uncle snorted at the thought of it. “Not to his face.”

    “Wel, I don’t care why, I’m just glad I’m free,” Charlie replied, rubbing wrists that looked a little tender. Ari frowned. Those shackles must have been heavy. She shuddered at the thought of Charlie in those shackles again. God, there had to be a way to convince him against taking his revenge against the Labartu. Surely, this trip to Mount Qaf must have scared him a little. Enough to make him think twice?

    Worried for him, Ari shivered. “Can we go? Can we go back to our world?”

    “Technicaly this is your world,” a deep, rumbling, ancient voice answered and they turned to see Azazil standing inches before them, his huge figure casting Ari in shadow. She tried not to feel intimidated, but the Sultan stood so close she could smel the strong scent of citrus and pomegranate that seemed to linger continualy in his hair. She could feel that powerful wave of energy hit her again, the one that seemed determined to sway her off of her feet. Pride forced her not to gulp as her gaze drifted from the massive shoulders of the white-haired sultan to his dark-haired Lieutenant, Asmodeus. As soon as her eyes locked with the Marid a strange need tightened in her chest, a familiarity, a longing. She tried to suppress it, blowing it off as some kind of consequence of the dreams she’d been having about him. The fact that he wouldn’t take those sinfuly dark eyes off of her wasn’t helping.

    “Master.” Red bowed his head, and when Jai folowed suit, so did Ari and Charlie. “Did you enjoy the trial?”

    “Quite entertaining. But what is this talk of you leaving so soon.” Azazil grinned, a scary flash of teeth that made Charlie flinch beside her. “Let the boy have a night of fun in Mount Qaf. He’l have some fine food and sleep in a fine bed. You’l dine with us tonight, get some rest, and then return to the mortal realm in the morning.”

    Even as Ari’s shoulders hunched towards her ears at the unwelcome invitation, she heard Red’s voice pounding into her head. Don’t even think about saying no.

    Defeated but pretending otherwise she grumbled back, I’m not stupid.

    Trying to keep her expression as blank as possible, Ari looked up at the Sultan Azazil and immediately fought the urge to gag at the way he looked at her—as if he could see and understand her very insides. “Thank you for the invitation, Your Majesty. We’d be glad to accept your hospitality for the evening.”

    Pleased, Azazil smiled and bowed his head before turning on his heel and heading across the amphitheater with his robes bilowing behind him.

    Asmodeus hadn’t moved. He gazed at Ari unflinchingly and she felt as if he too were trying to probe his way inside her. Jai shifted his feet, his eyes flicking back and forth between Ari and Asmodeus unsurely. Finaly, just as Jai’s eyes narrowed and his body tensed, Red stepped in front of them al and came face to face with Asmodeus.

    “Is there something you need, Lieutenant?” he asked quietly, an unbreakable steel in his words that Ari so admired.

    Asmodeus ripped his gaze from Ari long enough to shoot Red a disdainful look. “No. Not need…” and with that enigmatic comment he shot Ari another look before slowly making his way after Azazil.

    Red turned and looked back at her, his eyes narrowed in question.

    Ari held her hands up in defense. “I don’t know what the hel that was about. I swear.”

    Displeased, her uncle swung fuly around to glare at Jai. “Remember what I said. You cal on me if he comes anywhere near her.”

    “What does he want with her?” Jai’s voice had gotten scary low and suddenly Ari felt the unusual clamminess of sweat on her palms. She was afraid. God, she

    wanted to get the hel out of here.

    “I don’t know.”

    “Wait, what did I miss?” Charlie asked sharply. “What the hel does that scary-ass dude want with Ari? The way he was looking at her, I wanted to pun—

    “Don’t even think about it,” Red snapped. “None of you. None of you are a match for Asmodeus.”

    Feeling a little rattled as they al returned to their rooms—Charlie now in a room two doors down from Jai’s—Ari hated to separate from them, but Red had said they needed to get ready for dinner. It wasn’t until she stepped into her room that she realized what he meant. Awaiting her inside was three of Azazil’s female Shaitans.

    She scowled as they told her they’d been sent to ready her for the occasion.

    Her scowling did nothing to stop them.

    Working quietly and in sync, the three beautiful, dark-haired Jinn fluttered around her, puling at her clothes, twisting her hair, and shimmying her into the softest red fabric she’d ever felt against her body. They stopped to work in a semi-circle around her, their own bodies were wrapped in the softest wine leather—tight fitting trousers laced up the sides, and what Ari would consider to be a leather tank top squeezed their ample assets up and out daringly. Ari almost flinched when she made eye contact with the one brushing kohl around the edges of her eyes. The female Shaitans’ own eyes were bright purple. Were they triplets?

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