Two Kingdoms (Page 8)

His hands pause on my shoulders as his brow wrinkles. “Do you think she’d be powerful enough?”

I shrug. “With the help of the Gemini Twins, I think it’d be very possible. Also, there’s Cain and Hera. They regularly team up against the old me in these books. Cain recycled three of my harems before the four of you, after I did something of equal measure to piss him off. It’s rumored that we’re rather deadly when dealing with our sibling rivalries.”

I state all this without any emotion, because as I said, I’ve detached myself from the situation. The girl in these journals, for all intents and purposes, died with her memories.

I’m just trying to figure out who I am now, and what pieces of the past we should concern ourselves with for the future.

“In one of the books, it states your siblings were allies. I’m not sure when, but at some point, they protected us. Mostly because pieces of you lived inside us. It’s all we could translate from that section,” he tells me, messing with that theory.

However, it’d be foolish to dismiss it because of one redeeming instance.

After all, we’re discussing the Devil’s children. In this particular case, the devil truly is in the details.

“What do we know about Manella?” I ask him, returning my attention to the book in my hand. “And the place that is not hell?”

“Purgatory,” he supplies like that’s the place I’m referring to.

“The purer place,” I counter.

“Ah. Not much really. Harold is tight-lipped about anything on that front. He said it didn’t really concern us, given the obvious; we were designed for hell.”

“Have you spoken to him since learning new information?” I ask.

“I’m afraid to share that information, since apparently it’s not good news to most of hell. He’ll find us if he hears the whispers.”

“What about your souls when they were truly mortal? Before the first visit to hell that ended with an imbalance and the ensuing madness?” I go on, absentmindedly.

His hands pause on my shoulders again. “We haven’t found anything on that yet. I’m not entirely sure I want to know. The more we learn about ourselves before you, the less I want to learn.”

My smile tugs at one corner of my mouth.

“That was then. The four of you before me in this life seem to have done just fine,” I tell him as my gaze flicks back over the pages.

His hands on my shoulders remain still for a second, and he squeezes them once more before walking off.

I resume reading and stroking Gage’s hair, but pause when Gage sleepily says, “We weren’t doing well at all. We just found ways to supplement something we didn’t know was missing.”

Clearing my throat, I restrain my smile. I doubt he’d say that if he wasn’t halfway asleep.

“Our bond wasn’t complete with just four,” he adds before drifting back off, as though he specifically woke up to say that.

Gage is definitely my favorite.

Ezekiel walks over, taking the book from my hand, and I peer up at him. “Someone’s coming,” he tells me quietly.

I go phantom immediately, putting our plan into action. Well, the part of the plan I’ve been informed of, that is. I haven’t eavesdropped anymore on the secret planning.

Gage’s eyes pop open, and he looks up, confused as his head drops to the couch after falling through my phantom lap.

His eyes widen when he senses whatever Ezekiel just did, something I apparently am unable to sense just yet. It makes me wonder if Lucifer isn’t right about me needing to spend some time at home until I’m back at full strength.

Though I did sense Lamar coming that one time…

I just don’t know how to convince the guys to spend a lot of time in hell, since they’re still hiding their suspicions about Lucifer.

All four of them move to be in front of me, and I poke my head around Kai’s arm just the doorbell rings.

With a flick of my wrist—something I’ve been working on in between reading various family history pieces in my journals—the door opens.

More and more of the journals have appeared all throughout the day. Lamar has even sent some post-it notes on them, estimating the ages of the journals based on the power he feels from them.

The distraction of my wandering mind has caused me to miss the fact three beautiful men have entered. I bet they have to wear doggy bags over their heads when they’re downstairs.

“We’re ready when you are,” Gage says to them.

“We were instructed not to take you to the gala until you were all five in attendance and wearing your masquerade masks,” the escort closest to us says.

Damn Devil is f*****g with me again. He really does like his games.

I guess I should have been more specific when I said I wouldn’t show my face.

Materializing four masks is a simple task since my last upgrade, and when I become whole, I have their masks in my hands. My mask is already on—an ornate silver one decorated in diamond trimming. It covers three-fourths of my face, leaving only a small corner of my mouth revealed.

My gown is silver as well, shimmering as it gracefully clings to me in all the right ways, giving the illusion my body is far more impressive than it actually is. I’m going into hell already hot.

I laugh a little at my own inside joke, even though I doubt the guys will be overly impressed. Their expectations are unreasonably high, I’ve noticed.

The dress hides my shoes, allowing me to wear less-than glamorous footwear that is far more comfortable beneath the pooling fabric.

I’ve been wearing something completely different all afternoon, thinking of all the things I’d do differently now that I’ve had time to actually design a gown in my head.

When I step around the boys, holding out their masks, I hear a couple of groans.

The three escorts startle, their eyes dipping. Kai starts to do something stupid when one of the strangers licks his lips.

Pretending not to love the fact he’s getting a bit protective—or maybe jealous?—I give Kai a dry look as I grab his wrist. “I’ve seen what his kind looks like in hell. You can’t even possibly think I’d be into that. I’m a horrible, shallow person, remember?”

Kai’s lips twitch, his anger dissipating, since I’m good at least that much, even if they rarely ever laugh at my jokes.

The escort doesn’t even seem bothered by what I’ve said. Or deterred. He still seems to think he has a chance. Four guys is more than plenty, especially since I’ve barely even had a taste of them yet.

It’s like this entire mess paused while I died for a month, and resumed the second I returned. Again.

They all put on their masks, and I take in the perfect colors I’ve chosen. Black gets passed off to Gage. Red goes to Kai. White is the one on Jude, simply because I’m ironic. Ezekiel’s is pink with hearts and flowers because I’m an a*****e right now, and he is supposed to side with me about stuff…but he hasn’t been doing that.

“Seriously?” Ezekiel asks me, but I ignore him as his mask turns gold, something he’s apparently doing.

I guess it’d be hard to take him seriously in pink, and I need him serious tonight. My petty passive aggressiveness will just have to wait until a more appropriate time.

I pointedly ignore the escort who is still leering at me as I run my finger up Gage’s arm, letting him grope my a*s as a show of caveman possessiveness or whatever. Totally not letting him know how much I enjoy the possessiveness.

“Escort us, already,” Jude drawls.

They do.

Well, sort of.

One second I’m with all four of them in our living room, and the next I’m alone with that one escort. At a quick glance, it looks like we’re in a servant’s quarters—readily available knowledge that makes no sense to me.

I don’t know if we’re in hell or not, since he looks the same and not like the usual mutated guards or escorts.

“Fresh reaper, are you?” he asks.

Ohhh, so he singled me out intentionally. Sigh.

“Surface guardian,” I correct.

“Very disrespectful of the Elders, it seems. When graced with one’s presence for an escort, a girl should definitely show more respect.”

Damn my four psychos. They knew he wasn’t an actual escort. They know these things, and they know I don’t. Yet they let me talk s**t.

No wonder Kai was so damn amused.

He saw this coming.

Is this how the Horsemen treat the woman they share? Is this really the sort of romance I’m destined for?

Considering I feel power practically humming through me, I come to the conclusion we’re certainly in hell.

In the next breath, the man has me slammed into the wall, his arm coming up to my throat. I feel power gently running off him and into me, but it’s not very harmful. In fact, it almost seems to be fueling my own power. Given his expression, I don’t think that’s its intended effect.

“First I’ll show you what the new ones do when graced with an Elder’s presence as an escort, and then I’ll show you what happens when you disappoint,” he says in a quiet, lethal tone.

“You didn’t exactly inform me you were an Elder,” I point out.

“You feel it, girl. Don’t act like you don’t.”

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