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Running with the Demon Part 2
Viola’s eyes scanned over the walls, drinking in the words as if they were water in a glass. Her heart pounded in her chest as her brain tried to make sense of the messages. Why would a demon want my soul? Viola wondered, shivering at the thought. Viola could hear footsteps echoing in the rotting house.
“Viola? Jaylee?” Billee called. Viola attempted to beckon his name, but her voice was caught in her throat. In but a few moments Billee was at her side, his mouth hanging ajar as he gazed at the wall.
“What...what is this?” Billee asked.
“I don’t know.” Viola managed to say. Eventually all the other demi-gods found Billee and Viola. They too were horrified and dumbstruck. The demi-gods covered Jaylee’s corpse and waited for the rain to cease.
“What would a demon do with our souls.” Malcolm questioned. Many demi-gods mumbled an “I don’t know”.
“But why would we die one-by-one instead of killing us all at once? Maria, daughter of Sancator said.
“They probably have a plan for us.” Viola said.
“Well, I’m not going to stick around to find out.” With this, Maria stood up and strode out of the building.
“Maria! Come back! It’s too dangerous! There might be more demons!” Billee yelled, but to no avail. Lydia, the daughter of Amaterasu ran after Maria, only to be pushed away. The group stared in silence as they watched Maria disappear into the distance.
A deep frown was etched into Maria’s face as she clambered through the thickets alongside the river. Maria did not understand why they should all stay there and wait to die. Being the daughter of Sancator, the god of war, she felt she needed to fight and not cower like the weaklings back in the village.
Maria stopped and inclined her head toward the sound of a snapping twig. Her anger bubbled as she grinded her teeth. Lydia better not be following me. Maria thought. She heard another branch snap, though it sounded closer than before.
“Hello?” Maria yelled, listening for a reply. Only but silence filled the woods and Maria suddenly felt afraid. There is nothing out here that you can’t handle. Maria reassured herself, the attempt failing. She strode faster until she was sprinting through the trees. A loud roar emitted through the woods and Maria pushed herself to run faster. Her heart race and the roaring was drawing nearer. A mixture of sweat and tears tracked down her dirt incrusted face. Maria saw the river ahead of her and an idea popped into her mind. If she passed the river, if might put a barrier between her and the thing. She would be safe, even if it was for a short while.
Maria plunged into the icy water, gasping from the sudden change of temperature. Maria forced herself to swim faster. The currents tugged at her limbs and the crashing of the river filled her ears. Hope fluttered in Maria’s heart as she neared the river bank. She pushed herself onto the shore and drew in a deep breath, only to release it in a quick, startled gasp. Pain erupted in her ankle as talons dug into her flesh. It pulled her into the river and water rushed into Maria’s screaming mouth. The young demi-god disappeared into the river’s cold, watery embrace.
“Maria!” Billee called, his voice echoing into the distance. Viola listened for a reply, only hearing silence.
“Do you think she escaped?” Billee wondered.
“I don’t know. But I don’t think the demons would let her go so easily.” Viola said.
Lydia came galloping toward them, tears flowing down her face.
“Maria’s in the river!” Lydia cried. Immediately Billee and Viola sprinted toward the river. Maria’s lifeless body bobbed on the surface, her back turned upward. Billee summoned ivy vines to retrieve Maria’s corpse.
Maria’s spine was twisted at an odd angle and both her eyes were missing, leaving two deep holes in her head. Her nails were but bloody stumps and a few of her teeth were also missing. Maria’s bruised knuckles suggested she fought, but clearly lost. Her body swelled with bruises and her clothes were torn and bloody.
“By the eight divines.” Viola breathed as she gawked at the dead Maria. Mina, the daughter of Morrigan, the goddess of the Underworld and death stepped toward the. Her eerie dark eyes scanned over the body the air around her. A frown creased on her pale face as she returned her gaze to Viola, Billee, and Lydia.
“There’s no soul. Usually when someone dies they stay around their body for a little while before they depart. But there’s no trace of a soul anywhere.” Mina explained.
“Where’s Maria’s soul then?” Lydia asked. No one answered, for they all knew the answer.
Dawson awoke and smelt breakfast being prepared. He sat up and stretched. He sighed as the heavy weight of Viola’s disappearance sunk in. Dawson wished his Uncle Coakley told him the information immediately so that he and Elizabeth could search for Viola. She could be dead by now. Dawson thought dreadfully.
A soft knocking emitted from the door. Dawson pulled on his clothes and answered the door.
A servant greeted Dawson and led him to the dining hall. An abundance of food lay on the sleek oak table, the sweet aroma’s filling Dawson’s nostrils. Grease glistened on the meats and each fruit popped with exotic colors. Everything was cooked to perfection and Dawson’s stomach begged to devour the delicious foods. Coakley sat at the head of the table, Elizabeth sitting on the other side of him. Coakley gestured for Dawson to sit down.
“Good morning Dawson.” Coakley greeted.
“Morning.” Dawson replied as a servant laid a thick slab of cooked ham on his plate. Coakley poured himself a glass of sweet wine. He took a sip of the drink, dulling his lips a light purple.
“How was your rest?” Coakley inquired. Dawson sighed deeply.
“Uncle, I do not mean to be rude, but can we cease this small talk and can you tell me what you summoned us here for.” Coakley appeared slightly shocked, but then nodded.
“Alright Dawson. You and Elizabeth deserve to know.
“For years I have been watching for demi-god activity. Lately, these past months there has been a steep drop. There is little to no activity of demi-gods and the demon population is on the rise. And not just minor demons. When demons are being created, they use the souls of mortals, usually just animals, every once in a while a person. But to create something powerful, they need a powerful soul. A demi-gods soul is very similar to a god’s soul and is greatly valued by demons. Though, it is not very often you come across demi-gods and this is one of the reasons they are hunted.
“I have no idea why more demons are being rising. Maybe they are trying to create an army, maybe they are preparing for something. I have not the slightest clue.” Coakley explained. Dawson sat silently, completely traumatize. What if Viola’s soul was already harvested? Dawson wondered with dread.
“I have resources that tell me the demi-gods are being brought to an abandon village along the River Anteil.” Coakley said.
“How did you discover this?” Elizabeth questioned. A dark glint flashed through Coakley Witchander’s eyes.
“I have my ways.”
After breakfast Coakley gave them supplies for their journey. They also received new mounts: griffins.
“Thank you Uncle, for everything you have given us.” Dawson thanked Coakley. His uncle patted him on the shoulder.
“Go boy and bring Viola home alive.”
Viola was dreaming.
In this dream she was surrounded by fire. To her surprise the flames left her unscathed. Viola heard pitiful screams and saw large figures dancing in the inferno. She recognized the screaming faces of Billee, Malcolm, Lydia, and all the other demi-gods, their human figures morphing into hellish demons. Viola tried to move, but she was planted to the ground, unable to do anything but stare and watch as the others went to their deaths.
She suddenly found herself in a quiet room, the room completely stripped of furniture. The walls were calm beige and the silence was like medicine for Viola’s aching ears. Viola closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. She breathed in deeply to relieve the horror she witnessed. Once she opened them again a table and chairs appeared in the room. A demon sat in one of the chairs and sipped an unknown liquid. His skin was a light purple and horns grew from the top of his head and ended at a sharp point. He smiled a large toothy grin that showcased each pointed white tooth perfectly.
“Hello Viola. How nice it is nice to see you.” The demon greeted. Viola frowned and reached toward her sword, only to discover it was missing. A small gasp escaped her mouth and Viola hoped the demon did not notice.
The demon gestured his clawed hand toward the other chair.
“Sit a spell.” He said. Viola’s body reluctantly sat down in the chair. The demon smiled again.
“What do you want?” Viola hissed. The demon chuckled and took another swig of his drink.
“Oh Viola, feisty, feisty Viola. You have always been a fighter, which makes you perfect for the job.” The demon said.
“What job?” Viola asked. The demon’s grin grew larger as he rose from his seat. He placed a hand on Viola’s shoulder.
“Have you ever dreamed of raising an army? An army that could make kings go to their knees, an army that even hearing its name would make you shiver and quake, an army that could conquer the world? Well, what is a good army without a great general? And Viola, I want one of you demi-gods to be my general. All you have to do is kill the others to survive, then you win.”
“No.” Viola refused.
“But Viola, think about it. If you become my general, I will make your every little desire come true. Your father Stormbourne has left you all alone in this world to fend for yourself. What kind of a father is that? If you accept my proposal, you will always be safe, have food in your belly, more money than you could possibly imagine. Your beloved Dawson and even that turncoat Elizabeth will be safe. All of this, I will give you, if you win and say yes.” The demon explained. For one small moment Viola considered obliging. For her whole life she knew nothing but hunger, pain, poverty, and fear. If she said yes, Dawson and Elizabeth would be safe and they would never have to flee a town ever again. But, Viola thought, what would be the cost for this happiness? The lives of all the demi-gods and the blood of innocent people? Viola knew her answer immediately.
“Never.” Viola said firmly. The demon hissed with anger.
“Fine. But know this daughter of Stormbourne. You and your friends will be hunted down like prey until your souls lay in my hands.”
Viola’s eyes snapped open to see Lydia towering above her, holding a silver blade to Viola’s throat. Lydia’s eyes widened in surprise and the lithe girl leapt onto Viola. She pressed down on her, drawing the blade closer to her throat. Viola grabbed the knife, attempting to push the weapon away. The sharp edge dug into her skin and the biting pain her hands were immense. Lydia’s weight pressed against Viola and the knife inched closer and closer to her throat. A crazed look gleamed in Lydia’s eyes and a lunatic’s smile spread across her lips.
With all her might, Viola shoved Lydia off. Viola snatched up Thunder Edge and rolled to the left as Lydia tried to pounce on Viola again. Lydia growled in aggravation and crawled toward Viola. The daughter of Stormbourne jumped up and dodged Lydia’s attack. Lydia stood up, her smile never leaving her face. Viola swung Thunder Edge toward Lydia, trying to scare her off. She jumped toward Viola, swinging her knife. She grazed Viola’s chin and pain ebbed at Violas chin as warm blood trickled down her neck. Viola summoned electricity and a small ball of electricity formed and crackled in her palm.
Just as Viola lifted her arm to throw the ball, Lydia suddenly gasped. She glanced down at her stomach, where the shaft of an arrow jutted. Lydia dropped to her knees as her trembling fingers attempted to pull the arrow out of her body. She collapsed to the ground before she could do this.
Viola held the crackling ball in her hand as she waited for the archer to appear. Malcolm held his bow in one had as he stepped toward Viola. His handsome features portrayed worry as he gazed at Viola’s chin and hands.
“Do you want me to help bandage that?” Malcolm asked. Viola thought for a minute, wondering if it was some sort of trick. She decided he would have killed her already if he wanted her dead.
Viola nodded, the ball of electricity disappearing.
Malcolm and Viola ventured into a different room of the home. Malcolm started a fire and pulled out bandages and salve for Viola’s wounds.
“Did you have a dream last night?” Malcolm questioned.
“I did too. I can’t believe Lydia joined the demon. She killed both Billee and Mina and probably would have killed you if you hadn’t woken up.” Malcolm said as he treated her wounds. Viola felt a pang of sadness attack her heart. Annoying as Billee was, he was the only friend she had here.
“We have to band together and destroy this demon before he kills anymore demi-gods.” Viola said. A quizzical expression drew on Malcolm’s brow.
“How do I know you won’t kill me?” Malcolm questioned, finishing up Viola’s bandages.
“You don’t. But we have to trust each other in order to destroy the demon. We can’t do what he wants.” Viola stated. Malcolm scowled.
“But the demon will never appear if he knows of our plan. He has the others’ souls. What if he tortures them? What will he do to them until he has the last soul he needs?” Malcolm paused. He drew his knife. “How do I know if you did or didn’t sign a pact with the demon?” With this, Malcolm lunged at Viola. She leapt out of her chair, avoiding the flying Malcolm.
“STOP IT! This is what the demon wants!” Viola shrieked. Malcolm took no heed and charged toward Viola.
Viola galloped down the stairs, racing outside. She did not want to fight Malcolm. She did not want to give the demon what he wanted.
The night sky was clouded and rain poured on her head. Malcolm hurled his knife at her, missing Viola’s head by nearly an inch. Malcolm ran toward her and threw a punch. His fist smashed into her side. Her reluctance to fight was immediately switched to rage. She hit his handsome face and Malcolm hissed with pain. He clutched his aching head with his right hand as he pulled out a sword. Viola drew Thunder Edge and raised her sword heavenward. A bolt of lightning streaked from the sky, striking the aloft sword. Viola could feel the comforting buzz of electricity crawl on her skin. Her body glowed powerful blue, causing Malcolm to cover his eyes from the bright light. Viola conducted the electricity to collect in her left hand. A sphere began to form, growing in her palm. She raised the sizzling orb and sent it at the son of Nyra.
The ball hit him squarely in the chest. Veins of lightning ran across his body, singing his hair and clothes. Sparks danced off his fingertips and he shuddered as he dropped to the ground. He lay motionless in the mud, water and muck seeping into his clothes.
Viola sheathed her sword. A mix of emotions churned in her stomach as she realized what she had done.
“VIOLA!!” The sweet familiar voice of Dawson yelled. Viola whirled around. Her eyes welled as her stormy eyes beheld Dawson and Elizabeth. They were soaked with water and their tired faces beamed with joy. Viola wore a large smile, stepping toward her dearly missed companions.
The smiles dropped from Dawson and Elizabeth’s lips and fear replaced the joy on their faces. Viola’s face twisted with confusion.
“Viola look out!” Elizabeth screamed. Viola turned around. Having no time to react, the shaft of the arrow punctured her chest and she gasped. White hot pain spread through her body as she stared, dazed, at the arrow.
“NO!!” Dawson yelled, galloping toward Viola. Blood oozed from her wound and the feeling in her legs was abolished. Viola’s knees gave out and the young demi-god crashed to the ground. Viola tugged the arrow from her chest, crying out in pain. Dawson grabbed her, squeezing her as he muttered, “Hold on Vi, hold on. Elizabeth will heal you. Stay awake, please please stay awake.” Dawson’s shoulder’s shook with hard sobs and Viola could hardly see the dark form of Elizabeth chasing Malcolm. Dawson attempted to heal her, little blue sparks erupted from his hands as he casted the spell. The healing had little effect.
Viola could no longer feel the pain and her body felt abnormally light. Dawson’s voice was fading and her breaths were becoming slow and short. Her vision began to darken at the corners before she could no longer see.
Viola tumbled into a hole of darkness.
End of Part 2