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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 23)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(23) by Samantha Young
  • I want to kiss you.

    She grinned, feeling a little better. Soon.

    14 - Sometimes Switching on the Light Only Brings the Nightmare to Life

    It had come to this. Forced into another’s bidding in order to get what he wanted. Rabir, his most loyal servant, gazed at him blankly. There was no judgment, no acceptance. Just as it should be. But White was judging himself. It had been weeks. Weeks of drawing up new plans to coerce Ari onto Mount Qaf, to stand by his side and help him take what he needed. But every plan ended up with someone innocent getting hurt or him coming off as untrustworthy. Damn his daughter and her morals.

    Honor, White understood. But morals?

    So he was doing the one thing Ari had asked of him as a sign of faith.

    With a sigh of regret that Sala’s punishment should be over so soon, White let his magic around the purple vase in his bedroom die a silent death. When she didn’t immediately appear, he fisted a hand over the opening of the bottle and puled. The smoke poured from the bottle and into a silhouette beside it. Slowly it evaporated, leaving a weakened Ifrit swaying before him.

    Ice flooded White’s veins as her pale blue eyes begged him for mercy.

    Blue eyes.

    Not the eyes of a changing color.

    Not the face of a great beauty either.

    Not Sala!

    The ice crystalized into rage, and with that fury he sent an impulsive blast of energy into this stranger, this Ifrit who had replaced his prisoner. Her eyes roled back in her head, blood trickling from her nose and ears. Her slim body hardly made an impact as it hit the floor.

    The taste of Sala’s essence was fading now that the bottle had been opened. Fading… as it returned to her, wherever she was.

    How had she done it? How had Sala escaped him?

    “Master?” Even Rabir was wide-eyed.

    Retribution hardened White’s features as he turned to his servant with one name. “Ari.”

    “I’ve heard word from my contact in the Braemar Guild,” Jack said as soon as Charlie stroled into the large extension on the back of his house that he’d turned into a school of sorts for Charlie.

    Only seconds ago, Charlie had been feeling tired and foggy. Now his heart was racing, his adrenaline pumping. Jack had been searching for The Guild that might have been tagging the Labartu that had kiled Mikey. It took him a few weeks to find any trace of Guild activity in and around Sandford Ridge at the time of Mikey’s death. He’d finaly found out that the Braemar Guild had been in Ohio, and after speaking with their leader, had discovered that they were in fact chasing the Labartu who had kiled Mikey. Her name was Akasha, and she was a particularly old, evil bitch from hel. To Charlie’s disappointment, the Braemar Guild had lost track of Akasha seven months ago, and were in the middle of trying to retrace her whereabouts. For a bonus the Braemar Guild would let Jack know where Akasha was when they found her.

    Was this it then? Charlie’s gut churned at the idea of it al being over. It was strange. What would he do once he had his vengeance? What purpose would he have then? That was if he managed to kil Akasha and escape trial.

    Jack shook his head. “The last lead was false. I promised them extra if they’d put more men on it.”

    “Jack, you didn’t have to do that.”

    Jack shook him off. “It’s nothing.”

    As Charlie opened his mouth to protest, Trey sauntered in with a wide smile on his face. “Morning, al.”

    Charlie nodded helo, frowning as Jack glared at Trey. Ever since his arrival a week ago, Trey had dogged his and Jack’s steps. He’d spent nearly every minute in this room with them as Jack educated Charlie on the use of magic through talismans, precious stones and metals. Used to more physical activity than what he was getting, Trey cracked inappropriate jokes al the time until Jack finaly gave in and let Trey take over, teaching Charlie physical defense. Although Charlie liked Trey, he got the distinct feeling he rubbed Jack the wrong way.

    “Great. It’s returned,” Jack murmured, turning his back on them to open a cabinet. He began puling out the crystals he’d promised to show Charlie yesterday.

    “Look, you need to stop with al the love,” Trey replied dryly. “I told you, I’m not going anywhere so get used to. Withhold the excitement.”

    Jack raised an unimpressed eyebrow at him. “You don’t trust me with Charlie.”

    “Oh, I think not,” Trey answered, his steel grey eyes alight with suspicion. “I think you’re both hiding something.”

    Trying not to shift uncomfortably, Charlie walked over to join Jack for his lesson on crystals. “What could we be hiding? You’ve been with us every day.”

    “Yeah, which is why I know you go al quiet when I step in to the room.” Trey smiled at Jack, but it was a little menacing. “I’m warning you, if you’re helping him do something he shouldn’t, I wil hurt you.”

    Sighing, Jack shot him a weary look. “I think you already gave me that memo. To the lesson… please.”

    Trey held up his hands, as if to say he was backing off, and stood to the side quietly as Jack began explaining the healing properties behind the white crystal.

    Trey smashed a porcelain bowl he’d been fiddling with an hour later and received another scathing look from Jack. That is until Trey apologized with so much charm he even drew a reluctant smile from Jack. That had surprised them both. None more so than Trey who’d been delighted. Charlie got the feeling Trey was convinced he could make anyone like him.

    He probably could.

    The sound of the front door opening and shutting halted Jack in his tracks and they waited patiently as footsteps echoed through the house, getting louder as they neared the messy extension. Finaly Jai, Ari and Falon appeared in the doorway. For a moment, Charlie’s wistful gaze lingered on Ari. He hadn’t seen much of her these last few weeks. Her strange eyes were glittering with life and her whole being seemed to pulsate with vibrant energy. She looked locked inside her own thoughts.

    Frowning, Charlie caught sight of Jai’s brooding face and wondered what was going on. Jai brooded when he was happy and when he was irritated so Charlie knew he wouldn’t get any answers from that direction. Instead, he glanced over at Falon, catching her eye. She looked juiced up too. He gave her an affectionate smirk, his eyes asking what the hel was going on.

    “We thought we’d stop by and say goodbye,” Ari said slowly, looking from Charlie to Trey. “Falon and I have an assignment in Connecticut. Jai’s coming with us.”

    “You need any help?” Charlie and Trey offered in unison, taking a step towards the threesome in the doorway.

    Jack grunted, raising a sardonic eyebrow. “I feel so loved.”

    Charlie’s chuckle was caught short when he saw the quizzical look Falon shot Jack. She tilted her head, her gaze searching and Jack frowned at her until she snapped her gaze away.

    “You okay?” Charlie asked her, glancing back at Jack.

    She nodded carefuly, and then seeming to shrug whatever weirdness had come over her off, Falon stood on her tiptoes, giving him a brief kiss on the lips. He returned it, although his whole body felt tense as the awkwardness of the situation burned through him. He shot Ari a look but she was busy giving Trey a hug goodbye and explaining that their assignment was at a high school in Connecticut and they shouldn’t be gone long. Falon had told him that Ari knew about the casual relationship they had going on. She even said Ari was cool about it al; to be honest, that kind of pissed Charlie off, considering he stil bristled any time Jai stood too close to Ari.

    Like now for instance.

    “We’re going with a team,” Ari assured them, her fingers brushing against Jai’s as she moved.

    As Charlie glared at her guardian, Trey was clapping Jai on the back. “Cal me if you need me.”

    “Wil do,” Jai replied gruffly.

    “You know I think he’s straight.” Jack cut a mocking look at Trey, eyeing how close he was standing to Jai. “Wrong tree you’re barking up.”

    Surprise – more like shock – shot through Charlie at Jack’s uncharacteristic commentary. As he looked around he saw they were al a little surprised. His tone. The way he said it… it sounded like… no. Charlie shook his head. Never mind.

    Trey was the only one who just laughed. “Don’t worry, Jack. I know what trees to bark at.”

    Something was going on with Jack and Trey, and Ari wanted to know what. There was a definite vibe there, she mused. Her earlier scare over the Seal had dissipated as her worry turned to Charlie. Had Trey discovered something? Was Jack helping Charlie do something he shouldn’t?

    Just as she opened her mouth to bluntly ask what was going on, fire erupted into the room in an explosion of aggressive color and noise. The White King strode out of the flames, his dark gaze narrowed on Ari.

    “What have you done?” he growled, striding slowly towards her with violent intent. “How did you release her?” A bolt of his magic missed Ari by a hairsbreadth.

    Before Ari could form a thought or make a move Jai’s hand came at her, pushing her out of the way with enough force to send her flying to the ground. She landed on her ass with a painful wince, splinters from Jack’s rough hardwood floor biting into her hands as she gazed up at Jai who had thrown back his arm as if he were pitching a basebal. A huge bal of ember glowed above his palm and he pitched it with a fierce growl at White. Taken by surprise, Jai’s magic hit White and he stumbled back, wincing as the ember shimmered into him, seeming to freeze him in place for a second. It was enough time for Jai to rush him, both hands pushed out towards him, his energy pulsating out in an invisible battering ram that lifted White off his feet and sent him careening into one of Jack’s glass cabinets.

    “Get out!” Jai turned to them al, ushering Falon and Charlie from the room, Trey striding behind them, his eyes pinned to White until they were out.

    Ari stumbled to her feet as White picked shards of glass out of his chest and hands, blood staining his silk white robes.

    “Ari, get out of here.” Jai grabbed a hold of her arms in a painful grip, shaking her towards the exit. He shot a look at Jack who was standing with his legs braced, staring balefuly at White. “You too, Jack!”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire