Two Kingdoms (Page 10)

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 f**k with Ezekiel. But now Jude went and made me feel like the a*s 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, f****d, 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 s**t 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.

But no memories resurface. No unturned stones flip over in my mind to spur some sort of intuitive direction to go next.

Only power comes from revisiting a home I can’t remember, and it’s as frustrating as it was the last time I was down here.

Still phantom, I walk across the floor, noticing the Gemini Twins lounging. Men and women are hanging all over them, their tongues disappearing into various mouths.

Cain and Lilith are talking in the corner, which is different than I expected, since Cain and Hera are supposed to be teammates. How much has changed since those journals I’ve read?

Manella was always my backer and sibling friend, something I know from Lamar and the journals. Yet I don’t see him anywhere, nor do I see Lamar.

The Devil is also missing from attendance.

That’s certainly got a lot of my attention right now.

Just as I start walking out of the room, feeling almost dizzy with all the uncertainty surrounding me, hating the fact we were summoned for the sake of Lucifer’s games, Gage steps into my path.

Without looking at me, he whispers, “Stay calm. I’ll take your mind off things if you need me to.”

Oh, the temptation to pretend something isn’t gnawing at me is almost tangible. But something’s wrong.

“I’ll take you up on that later,” I say as I pass through him, feeling those blessed tingles that alleviate some of the dread inside me.

He curses and tries to follow me, but I zap myself to a location that feels familiar, and then I turn whole so I can navigate the hallways.

Glancing around and ensuring I’m alone, I move through those hallways until I come across the paintings. My eyes scan the walls until I see my Cleopatra painting hanging there—the old me surrounded by my four men from that time.

My eyes flit to the painting next to mine, and it’s the twins. One has on a British ‘red coat’ uniform, and one has on a Scottish kilt. Both are smeared with copious amounts of blood and smiling like unrepentant sadists.

First war of Scottish Independence.

No famous names.

Just a lot of bloody warfare for the twins as they worked behind the scenes to stir the feuds.

Confused, I look around, wondering why they’re always each other’s opposition in the paintings they’re in.

My eyes instead land on an image of Lilith with dark hair, smiling wickedly as she clutches a bloody axe, despite the fact she’s wearing a prim and proper dress.

Lizzie Borden

Casualties – minor

Historical impact – just shy of legendary

I give an exaggerated roll of my eyes after reading that last line.

I’m beginning to the think they caption these images themselves, because you can hear the vanity and self-importance rolling off the vapid overtones.

Just as I find another image of me in a regal gown and read the plaque that indicates I was a very memorable queen once again—who conveniently never married—a chill slithers down my spine.

I don’t even have to look over to know the Devil has just located me in his Hall of Sick Fame that I demanded to be a part of. I’m not sure why I thought I could be let out in public.

“Your mortal lives didn’t always impact the world,” Lucifer says conversationally, as though we’re fast friends now that I’ve bested him in a sword match.

Winner or not, he still found a way to get me right back down here and possibly threaten my existence topside.

There’s the Devil’s manipulation that I had expected from the very beginning. I never stood a chance. However, now I’m starting to wonder if he’s right.

Without looking at him, I glance at the next image of me. My lips twitch when I see the Duchess I’ve read about. We certainly had no historical impact in that life because we were too busy being sexual deviants.

“It’s a hard balance to maintain, and it’s been ours to handle for a great amount of time, since the world always has just a touch more evil in it than purity,” he goes on.

I move on to the next picture, pretending to be comfortable with his presence. I pause when I see the Viking image, all of us being ridiculously crude—and lewd—for the pose.

My fingers trace the image of all four of them, wishing I knew them as well now as I did back then. Back when I had all the faith in the world I’d find them in any life.

“The world forgets religion, culture, and various other things that seem prosaic or outdated to them. Morals get twisted for the sake of personal gain. With progression and innovation comes dismissive attitudes of a greater authority,” he goes on. “You have to inspire someone to get on their knees, repent, and strive to be the best person they can be. Because evil exists in all mankind,” Lucifer drones on.

He stays at the end of the hallway, giving me enough space to accommodate me with a false sense of security. He really is good at making it sound like hell is doing the world a great sense of duty…

“So my children make appearances in the world, create a bloody scandal or a war that ignites fear. Fear assures prayer. As mortals, you have no mystical dark influence, even without balance. You use your minds instead of your powers, and you create a butterfly effect that results in repenting lips, sincere tears in prayer, and force a man—or woman—to face their mortality. You weren’t designed to be the heroes. You’re the true antiheroes. You were always meant to be the villains who create a path for those pure, righteous heroes to emerge and do feats that only prayer and faith could have brought about—creating that balance.”

My eyes land on an American Revolutionary War painting that involves the twins once again, always on opposing sides of a fight.

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