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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Borrowed Ember (Page 24)     
  • Borrowed Ember(Fire Spirits #3)(24) by Samantha Young
  • The door slammed shut as White stood to his feet, brushing at glittering pieces of glass. He cocked his head at Jai, who shoved Ari behind him. “No one else is going anywhere. First, you,” he pointed at Jai, “Are going to die. And then Ari is going to be painfuly tortured until she tels me where Sala is and how on Mount Qaf she managed to free the bitch?”

    What? Ari gasped, and tried to push Jai out of the way but he wouldn’t budge. “What are you talking about?” she asked, stil shoving at Jai until he grasped her wrist, sending a burn of his magic through her. It froze her and she gaped at him in horror.

    To stop you from doing anything stupid, he telepathed apologeticaly.

    “So you are going to deny it?” White asked quietly, his soft words just a puttering hiss of a volcano about to erupt. “You deny stealing into my palace and freeing Sala from the bottle? You deny placing her essence inside as a stopper to mask the taste of the Ifrit you replaced her with so that I would be fooled into thinking it was Sala stil inside?”

    Yelow, reds and wondrous golds flickered into the air near Jack who was stil standing quietly watching. Out of the flames stepped The Red King and if Ari could have sagged in relief, she would have.

    “Of course Ari would deny it, brother,” he answered as if he’d been standing there al along. He took a step towards The White King, his own expression just as blank. “She had nothing to do with it. Glass and I replaced Sala years ago.”

    This time, White could not mask his fury. “You did what?”

    Red smirked at him. It was cold. It made Ari shiver and she realized Jai’s magic had worn off. She pinched him in retaliation and took a step forward. Jai grabbed her hand, not using his magic against her, but himself. His fingers intertwined with hers and he practicaly suffocated her in to his side as they watched and listened.

    “Did you realy think I would let you keep Sala locked in a bottle?”

    White shook his head slowly, as if in disbelief. “You believe that an Ifrit with the gifts of a Lilif can love, Red? That she loved you? You fool. You fool who would take what was mine.”

    “She wasn’t yours,” Red argued smoothly.

    “She was in my harem. She was my servant.”

    “Yes, wel, let’s just say she wasn’t satisfied.”

    Narrowing his eyes, White cocked his head. “How did you do it?”

    “It took both myself and Glass to penetrate your palace without your knowledge. We found a an Ifrit with a similar energy to Sala’s. We freed Sala with our

    combined power and she let us take a tiny piece of her essence. We plugged the bottle with the essence so that when you freed the girl – the nobody – Sala’s essence would return to her.”

    Ari gaped in disbelief. Her mother was free. She was out there somewhere. And Red had freed her. And hadn’t told her. What the hel was going on?

    “I wil find her,” White assured them. “I wil kil her.” And then he flicked a glance at Ari and Jai. “I wil not retaliate against your attack, Ginnaye, since I was wrong in attacking Ari. But I wil not let another slight like that go again. Do you understand?”

    “You’l never find, Sala,” Red whispered as if White hadn’t said anything. “You’l never find her. I won’t let that happen.”

    Something flickered in White’s eyes and then he smiled, a congenial flash of teeth that sent shivers of unease rippling down Ari’s spine. “Ari, did you know that Red is the one who sent the Marid to Charlie? He’s the reason Charlie is a sorcerer.”

    With that, White stepped back into the Peripatos, leaving stunned silence in his wake.

    Ari felt Jai’s eyes on her face, felt her throat close up at White’s announcement. She gaped at Red, at her uncle whom she had come to trust and she shook her head, pleading silently. “Tel me he’s lying.” He could not have betrayed her like that. He could not have plotted to destroy her best friend’s life.

    Her uncle’s features smoothed into a blank expression but she thought she detected a flicker of emotion in them before he got a handle on it. What was it this time?

    Shock that he had been discovered for his treachery?

    “Tel me he’s lying!” Ari cried, her uncle’s silence triggering the dark fist in her chest. It flexed its fingers and began to uncoil. Her blood was boiling and… whispers, wicked whispers snaked through her veins and crawled up towards her ears. Whispers of destruction. Of command.

    “He’s not,” Red finaly answered and then he looked at Jack. To Ari’s utter bewilderment, Jack frowned.

    “You are sure?” Jack asked.

    “She knows too much already.”

    “Father wil be displeased.”

    “Then he wil be displeased.”

    “What…?” Jai whispered, as confused as Ari. But with Ari’s confusion was the growing darkness within her, darkness only abated by the strength of Ari’s own

    curiosity.

    The air around Jack shimmered. His rugged face bloated and then sunk inwards, before bulging outwards again, and then snapping back in with horrible popping noises that made Ari steady herself against Jai. Jack’s dark hair began to grow at an alarming rate, the color shifting, until a mane of glorious bright blue hair hung down to his waist. His shoulders widened, his body stretched a few inches taler, and his check shirt and jeans disappeared to be replaced by a leather vest and trousers.

    Thick wrists were encased in leather cuffs, biker boots replaced hiking boots. And Jack’s face… it was gone. Replaced by masculine beauty so breathtaking Ari could only gape in awe.

    “Ari…” Red appeared lost for words. “This is my brother and your uncle… The Glass King.”

    “What the hel?” Charlie’s voice ripped through the room and they al turned to see Charlie, Falon and Trey standing in the doorway, gaping in confusion. Michael stood in front of them as if he’d come to help fight The White King. He probably had, no matter how useless the effort would have been. The Guild were amazingly respectful of their leader because he was a true half-blood Jinn, and very strong for a Guild Hunter; stil not strong enough to defeat a Jinn King.

    “Charlie?” Ari whispered hoarsely, her body trembling now as the Seal’s whispers grew louder in her ears. “Is it true? Did Red send the Marid to grant your wish?”

    Eyes wide, Charlie glanced over at Red first before answering her and that just pissed the Seal off even more. “Yeah,” he told her softly.

    Darkness clogged Ari’s insides and she felt like cowering into herself and slamming her hands over her ears to stop the whispering. But the Seal’s hands and arms and legs were pushing into hers and forcing her to stand strong.

    “Ari,” Red continued. “I replaced Jack with Glass to monitor Charlie, to educate him so that he would have a fighting chance, but also to help him find the Labartu.”

    “I’m thankful to him, Ari,” Charlie admitted.

    Command The Red King to his knees for what he’s done. Command Charlie to stop chasing vengeance. Command them all! They’re all yours to

    command! It’ll keep them safe. It’ll keep them all safe.

    “Stop,” Ari whispered.

    “What happened to Jack, Your Highness?” Michael Roe asked, his strong voice cutting through a fragile atmosphere created by whispered admissions and reluctant betrayals.

    “He is dead,” Red answered unapologeticaly.

    Bastards! The whispers turned to roars in Ari’s head. How dare they take whatever they want? Including innocent lives!

    “This is a war,” Glass’ deep, smooth voice filed the room for the first time. “Jack was a casualty of war.”

    Trey took a step in front of Michael, seeming uncaring that he was facing up to a Jinn King. “Jack was a casualty of you.”

    “You learn I’m a Jinn King and yet you stil speak to me without respect?” Glass narrowed his eyes on Trey.

    “Do something to earn it.”

    Ari was barely aware of Glass’ mysterious smile. Her brain was too ful, too ful of everything. Her own thoughts pushed and pushed their way through the fuzz, trying to at least take control of that, even if the Seal had gained control over her body. “And my mother?” she asked, dazed, not realy able to make eye contact with anyone. “Sala? Where is she?”

    A hum of energy caught her attention as it danced closer to her left side. Ari turned her head to stare at the space, confusion making her feel sick and

    discombobulated, like she’d just gotten off a rolercoaster too fast. “Ms. Maggie?” she whispered.

    And there… where she felt the Ifrit’s energy, the air shimmered until a figure began to etch itself into being right in front of their very eyes. Mouth open in shock, Ari looked upon a beautiful woman with long, rich, dark hair like her own and eyes… like her own… but they were older… they were eyes of a thousand nights, eyes that had made love to every spectrum of color this realm and the others had to offer.

    “Sala,” Red growled as he strode across the room towards them. “You shouldn’t be here. White could come back.”

    Ignoring Red, Sala stepped towards Ari, her eyes brimming with tears as she reached up to touch her daughter’s face. “I wil explain everything as soon as I can, but Red is right. I have to leave. In order to protect you I have to leave. But know… that I wil always be watching over you.” Her slender but surprisingly strong arms tugged Ari into a hug and she melted against her in shock, a little of the darkness easing back down. Sala smeled of wildflowers and honey. “I love you my darling girl. I have always loved you.” She let go of Ari just as quickly as she’d grabbed her and with a sad smile, she disappeared into the Peripatos.

    “Ari.” Red was suddenly in front of her, and everyone was murmuring in surprise and shock, asking questions and causing the darkness that Sala had culed, to grow and stretch out within her. She’d just met her mother. Her real mother. And she said she loved her. “Ari,” Red repeated. “Sala has nothing to do with my father or the War. Al she cares about is protecting you. We managed to release her just before your sixteenth birthday. She left to be with you and has watched over you since.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire