Destined to Crave(6)

By: Setta Jay

“I was conceived the very same night my parents finished their bond, and you know that.”

“But that isn’t how it normally works,” he argued.

She lifted her chin. “I will not accept you if you come to me at twenty.”

“I can’t believe you’re doing this. That’s ten years, Lucy. I won’t do it.” He practically vibrated with intensity as he vowed, “I will come for you.” The trees groaned as the gale intensified with his frustration. She felt him losing control as power charged the air around them and clouds filled the skies.

And then he was gone, teleporting away in anger.

The air suddenly stilled as her heart broke in two.

Would he come back in the few hours before her birthday? She swallowed, realizing this could likely be the last time they’d see each other for years. If he tried to see her sooner, she would deny him. She’d hate it, but it was the right thing to do.

She lifted the flowers to her cheek, closing her eyes as tears washed over the delicate petals. She’d never forget his furious, anguished look, and could only hope that with time, he’d understand and forgive her.

“Perfect timing.” Ophelia’s sudden presence jolted Lucy nearly out of her skin. Damn it. She hadn’t even felt the other female reform right next to her. That wasn’t exactly good form for the child of a Guardian. It was, however, enough to lock down any lingering thoughts of the past.

“Yes.” Perfect timing was an understatement.

A glance in Ophelia’s direction showed the Demi-Goddess daughter of Hades was definitely dressed for a night at Club Thirst. The female’s short silver dress sparkled in the moonlight, and when they turned toward the door, Lucy noticed the silver chains that made up the back. It was more fitting than the tight black pants and silk tank Lucy wore. The strappy high heels helped give the outfit a dressier vibe, but it was pretty tame for the club they were heading to. She forced herself back to reality, back into the right mindset for a celebration at the vampire-inspired resort. If not for her friends, who she considered family, she’d leave and enjoy being one with her couch.

They ascended the steps side by side. With a telekinetic push, Lucy swept the massive arched doors wide.

Suddenly, the forest went deathly quiet, and the humid air seemed to thicken before they reached the door. Ophelia stilled at her side, the Demi-Goddess having sensed something as well. Ophelia’s long black ponytail whipped around when she turned to scan the area. Both of them sent tendrils of power out into the jungle, searching for any sign of trouble.

Red eyes gleamed through the shadows, and coils of smoke caught in the wind, bringing with it the stench of sulphur. When a massive hellhound launched itself at them from the canopy, Lucy smiled and Ophelia cursed.

Lucy continued to sweep the area with her power and gaze even as she leaned over a fraction to greet the beast. “Hi, Princess.” She couldn’t put a finger on what she’d felt, but it wasn’t the hound. Whatever had been out there was gone now.

The Demi-Goddess narrowed her dark, sapphire-rimmed eyes as she murmured, “If there was something out there, the hound scared it off.”

Lucy nodded. Part of her wanted to believe it had only been an Immortal running in beast form, considering all the Immortals who lived on or frequented the island and its several resorts to indulge the mortal guests in their fantasies. This was Peirasmos Island, after all. The name itself was Greek for Temptation.

Princess butted into her side, nearly bowling her over, which drew a smile from Lucy’s lips before she obediently scratched behind tall, pointed ears. The beast resembled a Doberman in shape, though she was easily three times the size, and had slick black fur. The hound would never be mistaken for an Earth dog, even though she was currently acting like one.

Hellhounds were born to serve a purpose in their Realm, but they weren’t the only creatures there, and all the Realm’s beasts were notoriously feral and vicious. They were constantly fighting to the death over territory. Only the strongest survived. After long ago healing the beasts of the evil they’d been tainted with, she’d systematically removed any creatures that were too docile to survive their ruthless native surroundings. In the mortal Realm, they were perfect for security, either here on the island or in other situations like big events where Hades or Aphrodite spoke to national leaders. Lucy, and Lucy alone, was the one in charge of that type of security, and she was incredibly proud that her beasts were so effective in scenting out and feeding on the evil energies that came from malicious intent.

Lucy glanced around, wondering if the other beasts were close, though she didn’t feel them. “Go on, Princess,” she said with a final pat before the creature gracefully launched back into the night. With a last, edgy look into the shadows, Lucy turned and strode through the still-open arched door with Ophelia at her side, wondering what they’d felt. The second the heavy wood clamped shut behind them, she felt an odd sense of relief wash over her.