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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 29)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(29) by Samantha Young
  • The Sultan smiled benignly down at him from his place on his throne. Today his long white hair hung loose over his shoulders and Red could see a strand was dark with scarlet. It was blood. Azazil sometimes streaked his hair with the blood of his victims as a way to intimidate his Shaitans and everyone else. “Relax. Having no children of your own, Red, you do not understand the bond a father has with his child. Although he would hate to think so, I know my son well. I told you White would not do anything rash after what he did to Ari’s human parent. He learns from his mistakes. He was impatient and angry and killing the human got him nowhere. Now he is just playing mind games with her. It’s time we did the same. You have two tasks ahead of you.”

    “Master?”

    “First you must convince Ari to trust us. Lie. Tell her that of course we put protection around her; that a spy within your household told White where Ari was and White told her there was no protection to make her distrust us.”

    Seeing the logic in that and believing he could pull it off, Red nodded. “And what else, Father?”

    “Well.” Azazil shrugged and shot a look at Asmodeus who still looked like he’d swallowed a whole chicken. “The White King did us a favor getting rid of Derek. He’s started Ari on a wonderful journey to isolation. He wants her to have no one to turn to but him. We want her to have no one to turn to but us, so let us concentrate on Charlie. He’s still too close to the girl for my liking. Send in someone surreptitiously to teach the boy to use his powers. The more he uses the more addicted he’ll become and the more determined he’ll be to exact his revenge. There’s a possibility this will drive him and Ari apart completely. We’ll just have to see.”

    Red nodded, agreeing with that. Ari would be furious with Charlie, knowing that his revenge would cost him a trial in Jinn Court and most probably a sentence to death. But Charlie wasn’t ready to give up and Red trusted the magic would fuel his need.

    “Now,” Azazil’s eyes glinted sharply under the bright light of the room, “Is there anyone else we can use to make Ari feel all alone?”

    An image of Jai and Ari filled Red’s mind. Although Jai’s feelings for Ari were not quite as clear, it was clear to Red that Ari loved her guardian. Jai could be a useful tool in manipulating Ari. Shuttering his gaze, Red shook his head. “No, Master. No one else.”

    A grunt from Asmodeus distracted Azazil and both son and father turned to look at the lieutenant. With a nasty sneer on his face he stepped back, disappearing into the Peripatos.

    Azazil looked back at Red with a casual shrug. “He’s in a bad mood. I’ve been cleaning up after that bad mood for ten years.”

    For not the first time, perhaps even the millionth, The Red King found that he was curious over Asmodeus. He was the most temperamental, mercurial Jinn, Red had ever met and that was saying a lot considering who Red’s father was. His father. Red eyed Azazil, fear and love, a strange but powerful mix within him. Red had lived a thousand lifetimes and he’d been taught one important fact. Azazil was the balance of all things. His roots were tangled deep within the worlds and his actions were impressed profoundly upon them. When someone as powerful as Asmodeus (and not many beings were) created unforeseen havoc, Azazil was the only one who could balance it out if he so chose. For the most part, Azazil did try to balance out Asmodeus’ violent outbursts and the consequences of them. Then again sometimes Azazil joined him. Musing over Asmodeus’ latest bad mood, The Red King wondered just what terrible things the lieutenant had been up to and what Azazil had had to do to fix it. Indeed, the only other Jinn capable of creating such a shift in balance was Red and his brothers, and even White would not make the catastrophic shifts in the balance that Asmodeus did. Red wasn’t sure if that was out of a sense of wishing to assist the natural order of things, or if White just didn’t do anything too big that would draw Azazil’s attention and clue their father in on what his wayward son was up to.

    The Red King snorted inwardly. He suspected his father always knew. Everything.

    19 - Dreams are Truer than You

    Sandwiched between Charlie and Jai, Ari kept her eyes closed, concentrating on the music from her earphones as it wrapped around her and offered her a sense of separateness. Her body’s own awareness of both guys fought her indifference, but she tried to stay relaxed, pretending to both of them that she had given up on caring about them. All her focus was now on finding Dalí. That’s all that mattered. She was determined that that was all that mattered. She just had to endure the hour it took to fly from L.A. to Arizona where the Roe Guild, the hybrid Jinn hunters tracking Dalí, was waiting for them.

    Ari ignored the nervous churning in her stomach. Everything felt off. Not that she wasn’t glad to leave the Bitars behind. They didn’t have the greatest energy, and they really were just a painful reminder that Jai would rather placate people who abused him than take a chance on someone who genuinely cared about him. Her conscience stuck her tongue out at the guardian sitting on her left. Jai did have one redeeming quality, however, and that would be his best friend. Ari had been surprisingly sad to say goodbye to Trey. She hoped they saw each other soon. He was one of the few people Ari had ever felt instantly connected to and he was so easy to talk to even if his last words had been for her to not give up on Jai. Well, too late. He’d made his choice, and now Ari was making hers.

    The choice to hunt those that hunted her would have been easier to make if Ari believed she could count on her uncle. The Red King had appeared before they’d left and Ari wasn’t quite sure what to make of him…

    … “You’re not talking to me?” her uncle made a face that was comical on his giant-sized intimidating self.

    Ari narrowed her eyes on him. “You said you’d put a protection enchantment around me. You lied.”

    Red held up his hands in defense. “I did,” he insisted, his blue eyes guileless. “I’m sorry my brother was able to find you, Ari. In a way, it was my fault. I had a spy in my household, a Shaitan I trusted. He overheard a conversation between Azazil and I and he told White where to find you. It rendered the enchantment useless.”

    Standing there, scrutinizing his innocence, Ari realized she didn’t know if she trusted him. Perhaps he was just an excellent liar. Was he good enough to fake that warmth in his eyes when he looked at her? Like he was fond of her? In the end, Ari knew that trust him or not she didn’t trust anyone else so… he’d have to do for now.

    “OK.”

    He grinned. “We’re cool?”

    Sighing heavily Ari nodded.

    Getting serious, The Red King got right down to business. “I’ve spoken with Jai already. The Roe Guild are well-known, have a good reputation. A team from The Guild is hunting Dalí, they have been for months. Apparently he’s an excellent bank robber and has a small but growing criminal organization, that’s why he had humans so readily available to do his dirty work. Anyway, Jai says Luca has called ahead and the team has given us their address in Phoenix where they last tracked Dalí. Like Luca, Nicki, and Tarik, The Guild has been sworn to secrecy over your real identity. They know the penalty if they break that vow.”

    Ari gulped, hating to be the cause of such a threat. “So I meet up with these guys and they lead me to Dalí?”

    “They’re very good at finding half-breeds, Ari, and once you give them new information I think they’ll find him for you.”

    “New information?”

    “The Roe Guild is unaware that Dalí has changed his M.O. Before, he knocked over banks. Now, he’s just gunning for you. This harmal concoction Jai spoke about… I think this is the key. It’s the only way Jinn could get near you without you commanding him to your will. Dalí had to have experimented with the harmal on actual Jinn. When you get to Arizona tell the Roe’s about the harmal, tell them to check in and see if there have been a bout of missing Jinn recently. If you find a pattern it could lead you to Dalí”

    Ari nodded, feeling sick at the thought. “That makes sense. I’ll tell them. Thanks.”

    Red cocked his head at the way she hesitated over the ‘thanks’. He smiled sadly. “You can trust me you know.”

    Ari smiled back at him. “I’m getting there.” Kinda…

    … with everything that had happened in the last few days Ari’s mind drifted into sleep behind her closed eyes. The plane disappeared, the feel of Charlie’s thigh pressing against hers in the tight confines of the plane disappeared, and the exotic smell of Jai sitting so close on her other side melted away. Ari found herself standing in what looked like a large cavern. The smell of wet metal and salted sand was overwhelming and completely disorientating. Ari whirled around, her eyes adjusting to the dark of the cavern, her heart pounding as she tried to find a shaft of light that would lead to the exit. Water lapped somewhere in the distance, an ominous swish that was soon drowned out by the tempo of Ari’s heart. Where was she?

    Where am I?

    The crash of water and a roar of fury had Ari spinning around again, and her eyes widened at the sight of two enflamed beings flying towards her. They crashed with a grunt, and the flames flickered back out and up into the cavern, casting light all around them. Eyes catching the trail of long dark hair in the sand, Ari ran towards the familiar Jinn, who lay sprawled on the ground beneath a massive male Jinn. The full mouth and tip-tilted eyes told Ari it was the woman again. Lilif? But the Jinn holding her down…? Try as Ari might, she couldn’t see his face. She saw his strong arms, his long powerful hands encircling the female’s neck, his huge thighs straddling her small hips, pinning her to the ground. But anytime Ari tried to make out his features they just blurred together until her eyes nipped with the strain.

    Gasping, Ari stumbled back as the male Jinn emitted this awesome pulse of power, like a pocket of air blasting her backwards. Glancing down at the way he flexed his hands, Ari felt fear choke her, inexplicable fear for the woman as blood streamed from her eyes.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire