Home > Two Kingdoms (The Dark Side #3)(8)

Two Kingdoms (The Dark Side #3)(8)
Author: Kristy Cunning

When I clear my throat of some weird giggle from the insistent tickles, his eyes widen in horror. Something about the fear in his eyes draws forth a familiar feeling of dominance and power.

A feeling of invincibility with a sense of command.

A capable sense of knowing and understanding.

Let’s call this…my inner crazy girl.

“Who the fucking hell are you?” he bites out as I walk by, letting his power roll off me, channeling it back toward him in a way that feels instinctive and oh-so natural.

His eyes turn red as he starts to choke on nothing at all, and I tilt my head, wondering if this is the outcome he expected his power to have on me.

If so, that’s rather abrupt. This guy barely knew me. My one crime is not knowing he’s a big shot. Hell people get kill-happy real quick.

I suppose I should have seen this coming, in all honesty.

His skin starts to crackle, and ash fills in the creases as he begins to wilt away before my eyes. Is this my power or his? I don’t know, but I’m alarmingly fascinated by the process.

“Who?” he asks through strain, as I kneel, unmoved by the sight of his death, yet still entranced with the simple act of the uniqueness in which he’s dying.

He strangles on air, his eyes widening as the fear starts working him into a faster grave. This is his power. It’s like I can sense and taste it now.

He really should have kept his power to himself.

Feeling that familiar sense of authority rolling through me, as though my surroundings are trying to remind me of who I am, I whisper, “I’m The Apocalypse.”

The name’s not so bad when you’re terrifying an already dying man with it, instead of overthinking its meaning.

I walk away before my mind rambles into that territory, following the sounds of what has to be the party. So this is what it feels like to be Lucifer’s youngest daughter.

Creepy, dark power trip. Got it.

I go phantom and reappear with a new mask that still covers most of my face and a fresh dress the other escorts—who may have also been Elders—won’t recognize.

The red dress flows to my feet just as the silver one did, and the red mask will match Kai’s. In fact, he’s the one I spot first, standing in a corner and pouring a drink.

However, he’s wearing the black mask I intended for Famine instead of the red one I chose for him.

I notice Gage near him, wearing the white mask. They’re like little girls trading clothing.

His eyes meet mine over the rim of his glass as he sips his drink. He props up next to a mantle, watching the dance floor like he’s pretending to be interested.

His grin spreads like he knows I just killed a man.

We really are horrible people, no matter what life we’re living.

Two arms come around me from behind on my way over to him, and I spot a flash of inky black hair next to my face, telling me it has to be Jude.

“Do you feel better now that you got to kill someone?” he asks as he nuzzles the side of my face, kissing a spot just behind my ear that momentarily distracts me. “You’ve been cranky as hell today.”

I snort at the punny hell pun, but then I quickly school my features. It’s time to play a little bit hard to get. They turn me into putty too easily.

“I’m indifferent to killing. Apparently I don’t enjoy it as much as you…unless the ground is sizzling under my feet.”

He looks confused as he moves in front of me, wearing the red mask.

“In other words, don’t do me any more favors. Killing a random hell dude isn’t the hell spawn equivalent to popping a Midol,” I dutifully explain.

He always looks angry when he wants to smile about something stupid I’ve said. Taking my hand in his, he pulls me close and begins to dance with me. His other hand draws me closer at the waist until our bodies are flush against each other’s.

We move in time with the haunting music so fitting for a royal hell gathering. Idly, I wonder when the hell I learned to do this dance. I almost feel like I’m being cheated out of the fun parts of learning these things with this memory.

“This is the first time you’ve acted truly angry,” he tells me, his intrigue shining in his dark eyes. “What’s going on?”

My jokes never get much of a reaction. But my anger always seems to amuse him. I suppose it should be fair, since his anger can amuse me at times.

But this is different.

“Thousands of years of memories are just gone. Memories of who we were, how we came to be, and what we once shared. A bond that left powerful echoes throughout time…the entire world envied us, even as they feared us. All of that’s just someone else’s story now. That Paca and those horsemen really are dead.”

His hand comes up, slipping into my hair as he tilts my head back and studies my eyes, his amusement quickly fading.

“The longer I dwell on it, the angrier I become, even if I’m not demonstrating rage,” I confess. “I’m angry that I feel like two people instead of one whole one. I’m angry that I’ve been robbed of my memories. I’m angry that the four of you found each other centuries before you found me. I’m angry you don’t love me anymore. I’m angry that we aren’t all coming together and forming that bond together the way it happened last time—when I was just as important to the bond instead of simply an addition. I’m angriest at the little clock ticking in my head as if it’s telling me there’s a timer on us. I’m angry at my father, just like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. That man turned a prostitute into a classy woman in a cocktail dress.”

He bites down on his fist, likely to keep from making any comment and acknowledging the last part of that otherwise perfectly well-rounded assessment. I smile, because it’s hard for me to stay so serious when he’s taking me so seriously. It weirdly seems to give me a headache.

One can only assume The Apocalypse should be wary of headaches. You know, in case I accidentally go kaboom or something. I doubt an “Oops, my bad,” would make up for me accidentally destroying everything.

Someone really needs to explain.

“You lied to me today. Ezekiel lied to my face, and all of you lied by keeping your suspicions and theories secret and apart from me all day, even as I shared all mine with you.”

His eyes widen briefly before narrowing.

“You don’t treat me like one of you. You treat me like—”

He leans over, his quick movements causing my words to cut off as I suck in a breath of surprise. His hands grip me tightly, and he drags his lips up my throat to my ear.

After nipping my earlobe, he whispers, “You went after Lucifer and had us sent away—”

“That sending-away part was an accident,” I feel the need to defend, unsure why he’s even bringing this up when we’re discussing something completely different.

“You went after him and left us out of the decision,” he continues, the words so quiet I barely hear them.

And then I get it.

It’s not so much what he says as the way he says it.

As though he’s been trying to tell me this all along, and he feels as though I’ve finally heard him, he adds, “You can’t expect us to treat you like one of us until you treat us like you’re one of us. We’re not fighting this anymore, Paca. You just don’t realize you’re the one fighting us.”

I pull back, letting his lips brush mine as his eyes find mine again.

“You make decisions together,” I state like I’m finally catching on and feeling stupid for not realizing I actually must have hurt their feelings for a change.

Or scared the unholy hell out of them, given the fact I’d just come back from the dead. In hindsight, I suppose it was more insensitive than I gave it credit for.

“We make decisions together,” he echoes. “You made yours on your own. And it was a decision that needed a lot of planning and deliberation you didn’t take the time to account for.”

He bites my bottom lip in a way that’s both sexy and punishing at the same time before walking off. As though I’ve been handed off to the next horseman for the evening, Kai steps up, pulling me against his body. I’m not finished with Jude yet, damn it.

“That dress is so much better than the silver. But red is Jude’s favorite color. Not mine. Mine’s black,” he answers.

“Perfectly aware of your favorite colors. Pink was simply to fuck with Ezekiel. But now Jude went and made me feel like the ass who deserved the pink mask,” I grumble.

“Pink is less of a punishment for girly girls,” he decides to quip, almost like he overheard my conversation with Jude and doesn’t need to ask why.

“Considering the obvious, I think pink would look silly on me as well. But purple could work,” I say, tapping my chin as I pretend to be my normal self.

Ezekiel’s eyes meet mine from across the room, and I look next to him…where Hera is loitering.

I freeze, having temporarily forgotten I have psychotic siblings who’ve killed, fucked, and stolen my harems in the past. Technically, the guys aren’t really my harem; they…hold irretrievable pieces of myself.

They own me. Not the other way around.

Hera moves closer to him, and he keeps his eyes on me, never looking at her, almost as though he knows I will lose my shit if any interaction happens between the two of them.

I will so cut my unnaturally gorgeous sister who really does need a few blemishes on that flawless face of hers.

Talking to girls is fine. I’m not that crazy. But not Hera. I don’t have the memories of how easily she stole men from me, but I do have the feeling of pure dread and unbridled envy pumping through my veins.

It’s like I remember without the memories about what she’s capable of.

Her eyes follow his as a dark, twisted grin lights up her features, and when her eyes meet mine, an actual chill forms in the pit of my gut.

Kai’s grip tightens on me, and Hera takes a step closer to Ezekiel, as though she’s deliberately trying to provoke me.

Another step.

And another.

Now it feels as though Kai is preparing to hold me back.

“Don’t do it, comoara trădătoare,” Kai says close to my ear, his voice barely a whisper.

In the next instant, I’m suddenly phantom and zapping myself to be in front of Hera, though she has no clue I’ve done so. Her brow furrows as she looks around like she’s trying to see where I’ve disappeared to, having no idea I’m now between her and Ezekiel.

Ezekiel snorts then coughs to cover the sound, before wandering off while Hera is distracted.

“Couldn’t have been her,” Hera seems to whisper to herself, and for a second, she almost sounds saddened.

Which is hella confusing, since five seconds ago it seemed like she was trying to provoke me.

“Hell is seriously frustrating,” I mutter to myself.

Overall, the party is rather overwhelming, even without Hera’s confusing antics. It’s like my head is doing all it can to file away every piece of information and see if it rings any dormant bells.

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