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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 7)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(7) by Samantha Young
  • The cold look on the face of the Shaitan in front of her stiled Ari from the smal amount of resistance she was making.

    Shutting them out, Ari refused to think about the dinner she was invited to this evening. Instead, she put it to one side and concentrated on what would happen once they did leave Mount Qaf. For Ari, her future was uncertain. Okay, so she knew her father wasn’t about to give up on her, and he’d threatened to up his game if she didn’t give in to him, but other than The White King she didn’t know who her other enemies were. And there was a ninety percent possibility that after today she was going to have more enemies. But what was she to do? Sit in a room somewhere and wait for them to come get her? No.

    No freaking way.

    Hunting Dalí, training with Trey and Jai, and then with Falon, had made her feel like she had a chance. Maybe she didn’t, but if she was going down, she had already decided she wasn’t going down without a fight. So what was her next move?

    Ari thought about Falon and the Roe Guild. They were so dedicated to their job and it was such a worthy, honorable job they did. Such a good, meaningful…

    purpose. And Charlie… Charlie was better with the Roes. Okay, so yeah, they were teaching him to use magic, but it was controled and… and at least with them he wasn’t drinking and doing drugs. Maybe the Roe’s influence would rub off on him and he’d give up his own hunt and join The Guild.

    Ari stiffened. Maybe that’s what they could al do? Her, Jai and Charlie. Would the Roes welcome them into their team? Why not?

    Feeling a sense of peace float down around her shoulders, Ari smiled softly. Yeah. That decision felt right. She would train to be a Guild Hunter. She would be the hunter instead of the hunted. And if they eventualy came for her… wel, she’d be ready for them.

    What about Jai?

    Her heart gave a little yelp of distress. Jai was a Ginnaye not The Guild. Would he leave his tribe behind for her? Was that asking too much, too soon?

    “You are done.” The Shaitan in front of her ripped her from her deep thoughts and Ari stumbled a little as she was forcibly turned so she could see her reflection in the ful-length cheval mirror that had been brought to her room.

    Her mouth fel open and she immediately wanted to sink into the floor.

    The dress reminded her of a vision she’d had of Lilif once.

    “I can’t wear this,” Ari breathed, feeling her cheeks redden.

    The Shaitans frowned and replied in unison, “You must. Master wishes it.”

    Master is a perv. Ari groaned inwardly, remembering that technicaly, the very young-looking Azazil was in fact her grandfather.

    Casting an unsure glance down her body, Ari wondered if the guys had been made to dress up. I bet not like this. She eyed the red dress that clung to her every curve, the cowl neckline showing far more cl**vage than Ari was comfortable with, and the slits up either side flashing her tan legs al the way up to mid-thigh. Gold cuffs shaped like snakes with ruby eyes had been cuffed around each bicep. Her hair was tousled and wild, faling down around her shoulders in tumbling curls and her make-up was smoky and seductive. She looked older.

    She looked nothing like herself.

    And she hated it.

    “Seriously, do I have-”

    She cut off as fire exploded behind her and she spun around as Asmodeus stepped out of the Peripatos.

    Ari froze as he gestured with an impatient snap of his hand for the Shaitans to leave—which they did in a hurry. Red’s warning that Ari wasn’t to be left alone with the Lieutenant grabbed Ari’s heart and squeezed, the breath whooshing out of her body.

    “Are you really alowing them to leave?” Red asked softly, not wishing to anger his father or make him think he was questioning him in anyway. He’d already pushed Azazil far enough these last few weeks. He waited patiently, watching as Azazil took a sip of wine a female shaitan handed to him from her position on her knees beside the massive chair the Sultan was lounging in. She was one of five Shaitans that Azazil had blinded and deafened before training to serve him using their other senses. That way they could be privy to al his private business without ever knowing it. They alone were alowed into his private chambers, his private chambers that changed from one day to the next. Today it had been decorated in opulent golds and rich burgundies, every piece of furniture designed with French Rococo in mind.

    When his father said nothing and merely closed his eyes, enjoying the finest wine that magic could buy, Red took another step forward. “I thought this is what you wanted, Master? Ari. Here. That is why you had me change Charlie’s destiny—to turn him sorcerer so he would find his revenge and be brought to trial and sentenced to death. To bring Ari here and then give her nothing to hold onto in the mortal realm?”

    Azazil sighed wearily and handed the glass of wine back to the Shaitan at his feet. Finaly he looked up at Red, his gaze lidded. “I would almost say you sound accusatory, son.”

    Red shifted uncomfortably. That had been exactly the opposite of what he was trying to be. “Of course not, Father.”

    Shrugging, Azazil played indolently with a ruby ring on the middle finger of his right hand, either pretending boredom or portraying real boredom. “I admit to being intrigued by Ari. She’s pure in a way I haven’t seen among many of our kind and definitely not what I’d expect from a child spawned by a Jinn King and an Ifrit.”

    “Perhaps because she was raised as human.”

    The Sultan laughed. “I know you have a soft spot for the race, but believe me, son, when I tel you that humans are just like us—good, bad and everything in

    between. They just don’t have our power. Thank the stars, for they also do not have our self-restraint.” He stopped and looked up at Red, his gaze direct and piercing.

    “No, Ari is different. She reminds me of the Ginnaye. She’s a natural protector. It is not at al what I would have expected of her… and yet… it’s exactly what I wanted of her.”

    Despite Azazil’s legendary status as the world’s greatest enigma, Red liked to think he knew some things about his own father. The look on his face in that moment was one of them. He was becoming obsessed with an idea. Red didn’t know what that idea was, or what Azazil’s real purpose behind safeguarding Ari was, but he knew that her apparent ‘purity’ had something to do with it.

    Best to disabuse him of the notion then.

    “Ari herself may be pure but twice now I’ve witnessed the Seal trying to infect her with its power… the darker half of its power.”

    The Sultan stiled and Red had to hold in a smug smile. Bingo. The thought of Ari being ‘pure’ meant something to his father. Something important. And the Seal’s infection was a problem. “Realy? Wel… isn’t that… interesting.”

    “Master?”

    Shaking himself, Azazil smiled nonchalantly and took the glass of wine back from the Shaitan. “Al the more reason to observe her this evening. Asmodeus is

    convinced there is something between Ari and her guardian. If this is true, I need to see for myself. It could be useful.”

    Trying to ignore a strange feeling he didn’t want to label ‘panic’, Red decided ignoring Asmodeus’ suspicions was the best way to deal with it. Instead he thought about Charlie and discovered that also incited his anger. He unclenched his jaw, so his father wouldn’t see. “And the purpose of Charlie?” he asked softly, furious that Charlie had been used and seemingly for nothing. The games Red played always had a purpose. That’s how he was able to deal with some of the more distasteful things he’d had to do since he’d gotten to know Ari.

    “White unexpectedly saved him.” Azazil grinned, completely entertained by how things had panned out. “It doesn’t matter. The point was for him to kil the

    Labartu—a ful-blood. There’s no saving him from that. He either dies trying or he succeeds and we kil him for his crime. Either way I stil want him out of the picture.

    We didn’t use him needlessly.” His smiled turned sharp and caustic. Knowing. Red shivered, once again wondering for the eight milionth time if his father was a mind reader. “Charlie must die of his own stupidity. Remember, Ari must not have reason to blame us.”

    “So you realy are alowing them to leave tomorrow?”

    “Of course. Why rush this? It’s the most fun we have al had in quite some time.”

    “Well, look at you.” Asmodeus purred, his beautiful dark eyes filed with cold detachment. Ari shuddered, struck mute, as he began to circle her, his gaze running the length of her.

    Just as quickly as she’d been struck with fear, the feeling of being trapped ignited the dark coiling heat in her chest. It unfurled at his lengthy perusal and al of sudden Ari’s tensed muscles relaxed. Asmodeus stiled as if he caught the change in her and Ari tilted her head back to meet his gaze. Their eyes locked and that inexplicable feeling of familiarity washed over her again.

    An ache coalesced within, squeezing her heart. She felt drawn to Asmodeus. As if…

    … as if she knew him somehow.

    “You’re different,” Ari whispered, the hush of her words drawing his sharp gaze.

    “What do you mean?”

    Disorientated and confused by her own behavior, Ari shook her head. “I… I don’t know why I said that.”

    Glowering at her, the dangerous Marid stopped inches before her, his height causing her to crane her neck back. The smel of leather and spice enveloped her and Ari hated that it wasn’t an unpleasant scent. “Is the Seal trying to take control of you, Ari Johnson?”

    His perceptive question made her choke on a gasp and she took a step back. She wished she knew if it was from his question or his proximity. “It does that when I feel I might be in danger.”

    Asmodeus smirked at that and cocked his head to the side, his silken hair faling from his shoulders like a sheet of pure black ice. “You think you have something to fear from me?”

    “I think, being what I am, I have something to fear from almost al Jinn.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire