Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements 3) - Page 45

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Parts of my body were frozen from contact with him, so I really wasn’t following jack right now.

Grim lowered his head, and I stiffened as his mouth stopped a mere inch from mine. “You were part Warden and part whatever the Hell Lilith is when you were born, which makes you something entirely different. The Warden blood in you weakened whatever Lilith passed on. You were as mortal as any of them, not nearly as powerful, with your only gift a deadly kiss, but those damn witches...” He laughed, and his icy breath coasted over my lips, causing me to shudder. “Those who worship your mother. They gave you something to drink, did they not, following your stabbing and the Prince’s heroic rescue? Whisking you out of my grasp quite efficiently. Didn’t they?”

“Yes,” I gritted out. “We didn’t know what it was. Roth didn’t know—”

“But can you guess what it is now? Prove you’ve been paying attention to my little history lesson?”

Blood thundered in my head, and I knew where he was going with this, but I couldn’t believe it—the idea that I’d been given blood from one of the original fallen angels. First off, that was freaking gross. Secondly, I... “Why would they do that? How did they have it?”

“That’s for them to answer.” His lashes lowered, shielding his eyes. “But what they did—it zeroed out whatever Warden blood you had in you. Now...you are something else entirely.”

I thought about how Zayne and Danika had said that I felt like an Upper Level demon, but that was before the witches had given me that...that brew. But it all started to connect together. Roth was partly right. I was still transforming, and since I wasn’t what anyone expected me to be, what the Wardens were sensing could’ve been whatever I was maturing into. Plus a demon had run from me since I’d drunk that stuff, and I did look different.

“Oh my God,” I whispered, forgetting who was holding me. “That’s why I have feathers in my wings.”

His mouth twitched. “Among other things.”

“I’m... I’m immortal?”

He let go of me and stepped back, but I was so floored that I barely registered the warmth slowly creeping back into me. “As immortal as anything that can only be killed those two ways I mentioned before. The moment you consumed the blood of the originals, you became what the Alphas would call an abomination. But what they fail to appreciate is that you alone can ultimately stop what is coming.”

Stunned by everything he’d said, I raised a shaky hand, pushing the hair that had come loose back from my face. I’d come here to retrieve Sam’s soul and ended up discovering that everything I thought I’d known about my life, my identity, had been wrong—again. Part of me didn’t know what to think about that. The other part was bubbling with sweet awareness. Incredibly selfish, sure. But there would be no walkers in my future while Roth remained ageless.

“You are like Lilith—utterly unique. Something that should not exist but does. So, too, is the Lilin. It should not exist, but you...you can stop it.”

My gaze tracked to him as I lowered my hand. “I will stop it.”

“Really?” He inclined his head. “Because all you’ve done since the Lilin revealed itself is mourn your friend, pout, indulge in relationship drama I would normally only expect from a pitiful human teenager and surrender your chastity.”

I jerked back, a rigidness taking over my muscles. “What?”

“I think I spoke clearly.” He stalked toward me, and this time, I didn’t back up, though my throat still ached from the last time I held my ground. “You need to stop the Lilin, but the only thing you’ve really accomplished is the loss of your virginity. Still, I suppose congratulations are in order. It is a milestone, after all. Please pass my good tidings to the Prince.”

Embarrassed and furious, I felt my mouth drop open. “That’s not true!”

“It’s not?” Grim tipped his head back and laughed darkly. “Tell me, what else have you managed?”

I opened my mouth, ready to fire off everything that I’d—that we’d been working on—but the only things he’d really failed to mention were our botched attempts at locating the Lilin, the end of Elijah, and my new tattoo, who was now off doing God knows what with Bambi—who, by the way, shouldn’t even be here.

Verbally backed into a corner, I said the first thing that shot to the tip of my tongue. “I didn’t ask for any of this!”

The moment those words left my mouth, I knew they were a mistake. Besides the fact it didn’t do much for the conversation, it was possibly the most incredibly childish thing I’d ever said.

And that was saying something.

Grim smirked. “No one ever asks for what life deals them. You are hardly special.”

My gaze lowered to his boots, and then I squeezed my eyes shut. God, he was right. No matter what I had going on in my life, I hadn’t done enough to stop the evil I’d inadvertently helped create when Paimon had performed the ritual in his attempt to free Lilith—and more innocent people would die as a result. I wasn’t sure what more I could’ve done, but obviously there was something.

Taking a deep breath, I lifted my eyes to his. “You’re right. I haven’t been doing enough, but I will do anything to stop the Lilin.”

His eyes glinted strangely, as if they held their own light source. “Anything?”

“Anything,” I repeated, though the words did not change why I was here. “But I’m not going to forget about Sam. His soul is here and it doesn’t belong here.”

He moved again, lightning quick, but I jumped back as I threw up my arm, blocking his attempt at another throat grab. Pain pulsed down my arm, and there’d probably be a bruise there later, but better there than around my neck.

Grim drew back, and I thought I saw approval flaring in his eyes. “Perhaps you still do not understand what is at risk here.”

Then, without any warning, he gripped my wrist, and we were no longer on the bridge; we were in some kind of building and a wall of flames loomed in front of us. Heat rolled off the burning wall as crackling flames touched the floor and ceiling, but somehow, like the fire in the elevator, they didn’t spread.

Thrown off by the sudden change, I stumbled back and into Grim. Jerking away, I didn’t make it very far before a strong arm clamped down, around my waist, drawing me back. Air punched out of my lungs.

“I think there’s someone you need to meet,” he said, voice low in my ear.

The flames pulsed, and then dropped from the ceiling, disappearing into the floor and revealing what existed beyond. It was a room—a bedroom of sorts, with a great, ornate bed and rich furs covering the bare stone floor. There was a small table and two chairs, even a TV, and a hysterical laugh bubbled up inside me as I remembered what Roth had said about the reception down here. From the ceiling there was a thick steel bolt connected to a chain that ran down the wall, and I tracked the length of the chain to the neck of the woman who stood to the right, her slim hip propped against the wall.

My breath caught.

She wore all white, a gossamer gown that showed everything from the collar to the hem, and all the shadowy places in between. This woman, with her hair so blond it was almost white and eyes that were a pale shade of gray, was startlingly beautiful, unusually so with eyes tipped at the corners and a lush, red mouth.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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