The Garden of Bones

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.7) - Our Bones Beneath

Submitted: January 03, 2018

Reads: 99

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Submitted: January 03, 2018

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He was still silent, unable to tear his eyes away from her in both fear and something he couldn't quite place.  A human face and body worn by a demon meant that she was at least an Infernal, but the energy that she displayed made him fear the worst.  She was incredibly short and petite, and he narrowed his eyes at her, realizing how familiar she was. 
 
She must have sensed his disarray because she gave a pleased smile, a light laugh breaking him from his stare. 
 
“I seem to have rendered you speechless.”  She teased.  “Don't you have anything to say?”  Only on those words did he pick up on her light Lattamer accent, her crimson eyes looking through his. 
 
“I did.  I seem to have forgotten.”  He answered. 
 
Her smirk widened as she took a step closer, and his eyes fell down to the sheathed blade she still held.  It was a frayed, tattered black sheath designed in red roses, and a chain hung from the hilt of her katana. 
 
He looked at her, and at once, recognized her smirk.  “That was you in Byshade.” 
 
She chuckled.  “Indeed it was.” 
 
“The hell were you doing there?” 
 
“I was there for a drink.  And then you showed up.”  She chuckled again, and sat on the edge of the fountain.  She leaned back, with relaxed shoulders and keeping her hand loosely on the end of the handle.  “Then I decided to have some fun with you.” 
 
Another shiver up his spine.  “What does that mean?” 
 
“It means you've intrigued me,” she spread her arms out, "so congratulations.”  She clapped twice.  “It's quite a difficult feat to catch my eye, but you did just that and might I just say that you have the loveliest eyes I have ever seen.” 
 
“Who were you drinking with in the tavern?” 
 
“Just a fellow whiskey enthusiast.”  She teased.  “He had no idea I was a demon, but it wasn't like I was inclined to tell anyone, I hadn't been there more than a couple hours.” 
 
He didn't say anything, watching her carefully.  “I didn't sense your energy at all.” 
 
“Didn't you?”  She smiled brightly, like a child who was just offered some candy.  “I would expect you didn't, I spent almost twenty years on this glamour.”  She tilted her head to the side playfully, her hair dancing over her shoulders. 
 
Her eyes are different, he realized. 
 
“Am I the first demon who you've seen with a human's face?”  She asked, eyeing him curiously. 
 
“I have seen many monsters disguised as humans.”  He answered, his voice sharper than he intended. 
 
“Is that your cute way of saying you've been hurt or betrayed by humans?” 
 
“Take it however you like.” 
 
She smirks, narrowing her eyes.  “I like you already.” 
 
“You shouldn't.” 
 
“No?”  She tilted her head again. 
 
Adrian wondered how she could act so laid-back when she knew he was a hunter, but he knew she was in control of the situation—and he knew that if he attacked her, she would kill him. 
 
“Who are you?”  He finally asked her. 
 
“No one important.” 
 
“Now that I don't believe.” 
 
“I'm flattered,” she smirked while leaning forward.  “But that won't do you any good.” 
 
“I wasn't trying to flatter you.” 
 
“Too bad.”  She teased.  “I see in your eyes that you're very focused—cold and distant, but also honest.  Your eyes can't lie to me.” 
 
“Don't avoid my question.” 
 
She almost pouted.  “Very focused.  Too bad,” she sighed, ruffling her tangled hair.  “My name is Kasper.”  She smiled, placing her hand over her heart.  “It's a pleasure to meet you.” 
 
“Like the Shealand ghost?” 
 
“I was aptly named.” 
 
“Do you abduct lonely wanderers, Kasper?” 
 
“Only ones with pretty blue eyes," she smirked. 
 
He scoffed, averting his eyes.  He was already lost. 
 
“Well, I think it's only fair that you tell me your name, now.”  She teased. 
 
“You aren't here by coincidence.  If you were coming after me because you saw me in Byshade, surely you know my name.” 
 
“Unfortunately, I didn't catch it.  But I did catch you turning down the barmaid's offer.  Rather amusing.”  She smiled.  “Now... what is your name?” 
 
He hesitated, watching her carefully.  Her shoulders were relaxed, her entire demeanour was relaxed and her energy had simmered but acted around her as a red haze that he could see but only when he focused enough.  Why would she put herself in this position?  Who was she really? 
 
“My name is Adrian Martel.” 
 
“Martel...?” 
 
He nodded once, surprised by her reaction that she didn't lie—she didn't know his name. 
 
“That's a nice name.  I thought you'd have more questions for me, hunter.” 
 
He grimaced, wondering why she would bother to ask his name if she was just going to call him “hunter”.  “I haven't exactly been in the business of interrogating demons.” 
 
“Not that I wouldn't like that.”  She chuckles, giving him a puzzled look.  “I've been... waiting for this.”  When she looked at him this time, he saw her playful eyes turn into an intense honesty.  “Do you have any idea of why I am here?” 
 
“I have learned that demons are more predictable than I could ever comprehend.” 
 
“Maybe someday you can.” 
 
“Then just tell me why you're here.” 
 
"For you." 
 
"That hardly answers my questions." 
 
"Fine."  She practically hisses.  "I'm here to make... a proposition—a deal." 
 
"What makes you think I'd get off by selling my soul?" 
 
Kasper scoffs.  "I am no Faustian, hunter, I ask nothing of souls." 
 
"Then what else is there?  I have nothing to give to a demon." 
 
"Well, you see..." She begins.  "I have come to a rather confusing, and maddening part in my extensive life.  I know you may find this hard to believe, considering I am, well, a demon, but... Perhaps we can form some level of trust." 
 
"I would burn in hell before I would trust a demon!" 
 
"Hey, hey..." She points at him.  "Calm your reasonably sized dick and just hear me out!" 
 
He bites his tongue.  Something about her voice, her eyes which vexed him.  Just being in the same vicinity as her, looking into her eyes and hearing the words which rolled off her venomous tongue was dragging him into insanity. “I have been letting you talk and it's gotten us nowhere."  He spoke, his jaw tight. 
 
"Further than you think." 
 
"What the fuck do you want with me?!"  He snaps. 
 
She watches him, more seriously now, the snow falling in thick flakes around them.  “I have been back in Amaelis for nearly twenty years.  I haven't been spotted on the Academy's radar because I have been a good little Kasper.”  Her playful smirk returns and he becomes just as pissed off. 
 
“What, are you going to try and ask for protection or some shit like that?” 
 
“Not quite so bullshit.” 
 
Adrian waits, though he is clearly running out of patience. 
 
“I want to help the Academy.” 
 
What?” 
 
“I want to help.” 
 
“Are you fucking kidding me?  Are you insane?!” 
 
“No I'm not kidding, yes I'm insane.”  She smiles, almost politely. 
 
“You're a demon!” 
 
“I noticed.” 
 
He gave her a look of disbelief as she scratches her brow with an awkward smile.  “Well yeah, that probably all sounds crazy, but not as crazy as you walking up to me even though you should have run back home.  In my opinion, you're just as insane as I am.  But I assure you, I have a perfectly good explanation for all of this.” 
 
“Too bad, cause I don't want to hear it.” 
 
“Then you're a fool,” she blatanly answered. 
 
“You were right about one thing: I was insane to come here, but a hunter can't run from an obvious demonic threat.” 
 
“I'm out of your league.”  She smiled confidently. 
 
“Who was that demon you killed?  He looked human.” 
 
“Clearly wasn't.”  She hesitated, then inhaled.  “He was trying to kill me.  Or you, I don't know.  He was here is this city and I got bored waiting for you to finish up with that beast on the other side of town.  So I dealt with him for you, since he was also out of your league.” 
 
He scoffed and she gave a nervy smile. 
 
“You're still here.”  She said softly.  “So there must be some level of trust here, Martel.  You're here, we're talking, I haven't killed you yet.  Sounds pretty solid to me.” 
 
Yet,” he points out. 
 
She laughs.  “You're a meticilous mother fucker, aren't ya?” 
 
He says nothing as his chest started to tighten.  The longer this dragged out, the worse he feared the outcome.  Surely she could have killed him by now, that much was true.  She killed the other demon, but that couldn't have been the only reason.  Every second they grew closer to the conclusion and his anxiety grew with every passing second.  If she truly meant the deal, she wouldn't kill him.  She could have killed him in Byshade, surely, they were both there for the night yet she didn't take advantage of that to kill him. 
 
Her eyes, still filled with madness made him wonder.  They stared straight through his eyes as though she could see his soul and she could see it: the darkness within him, he watched the satisfaction grow on her face as she started to see it, or when she realized just how uneasy she made him feel.  She thrived on being in control of the situation, on being in control of him.  It was as though he belonged to her in these moments and he knew that she would devour him. 
 
“Martel--” 
 
“You can walk up to the Academy's gates and see where it gets you, but I want no part of it, do you understand?!  I'm not going to be the one who puts his trust in a demon, only to watch the world burn because of her, that would be on me!” 
 
“That's quite the assumption.”
 
“Go fuck yourself!” 
 
“Maybe I chose you because I thought you would listen.”  Her eyes narrowed, filling with her madness.  “Turns out it's just because you're a suicidal fool who wanted me to kill you.” 
 
Adrian reached for his gun but she dipped her hand down in the fountain water and splashed water out at him, making him stumble away.  She stands while grabbing her katana, unsheathing her blade and slashing, the blade barely missing his throat.  He catches himself, eyes wide and he backs away. 
 
Kasper smirks, turning her katana to the side, the blade a mix of obsidian and crystal with rose throns engraved down the side.  The chain at the end rattled and she dropped the sheath to the ground, stepping into a reckless stance. 
 
“You don't want to challenge me, hunter.”  Despite her smirk, her eyes were dark and intent.  She didn't seem to have any prior intention of killing him, but now she looked like she would anyway. 
 
He frowns, and summons his right hand blade, grabbing the handle as it completed it's form. 
 
Kasper jumps at him and makes another attack which he blocks, their blades sparking at the impact.  He puts his weight in it, trying to fight her raw strength, but she pushed closer with ease, looking up at him with a playful smirk.  Only inches away he could feel the cold energy emitting from her.  “I thought you would be smarter than this.”  She challenged. 
 
“So did I.”  He returned the smirk and summoned his left hand blade. 
 
She scoffs and jumps away as he slashed the blade.  She skids back several meters, and raises her hand to her left cheek as blood trickles down the cut he made on her cheek.  She wearily smirks, and wipes it away with the back of her hand.  “Two miseris weapons, that's rare.”  She licked the blood wiped off on her hand and grins. 
 
He jumps at her and she dodges both his attacks.  A fifth slash cuts a piece of her hair, so she roughly kicks him in the stomach, sending him skidding back. 
Kasper spun the katana playfully in hand before leaping at him again, making Adrian get the sense she was enjoying herself. 
 
Kasper attacks first this time, but both are fast and not holding up.  Though he eyed her carefully, and wondered just how much she was holding back to avoid killing him.  He brought one blade back for an attack but she stepped in faster, and clashed against the blade, throwing him off balance.  She smirked, her eyes filling with a madness but she only tore her blade across his cheek, a simple revenge.
 
She brought the blade back up and he thought that was it, but she hesitated, giving him time to bring his blades back up.  They clashed with a shrill.  Adrian gave enough of a shove to throw her back, but instead of attacking he backed away until he had his back to the stone of a building, gasping for the breath he lost when he thought she was going to kill him. 
 
He warily watched her as she started laughing, remaining where she was.  “See?”  She smiled bright.  “You don't want to die, after all.  Guess our dance is over.” 
 
Was that all that was?  A test to see if I would really let her kill me?” 
 
He shakily exhaled, and gripped the handle of the blade tighter.  He runs at her again but she smirks and clashes against one, dodging the other.  She brings the blade down with her own and skids along it, slashing at him but he dodged it.  Her second clash was against his right hand blade, knocking it from his hand, so he quick draws his pistol and takes a shot. 
 
Kasper barely dodges the shot and knocks the pistol from his hand.  He brings his blade down, but she blocks and trips him.  As he falls, she slams her foot on his chest to pin him down, the blade falling from his hand and she points her's at his throat to keep him still, her foot still planted on his chest. 
 
His breathing increased, the cold blade barely touching his throat and his heart was hammering.  Meanwhile, she stared into his eyes as though the universe was within them, all without a lack of breath, steadily holding her blade. 
 
“Are you going to kill me now?” 
 
“I think you'd like that too much,” she grinned, "though I have the feeling that killing you now would save me a lot of trouble.” 
 
“You've had several chances to kill me tonight, you didn't take them.” 
 
“What would killing you do to help me?  I told you, I'm here to help the Academy.  Killing their most ambitious hunter would earn me no favours.” 
 
“You clearly have no idea how many of my fellow hunters hate me.”  He hissed.  “And how do you know I'm so ambitious if you had no idea who I was?” 
 
She chuckled.  “I didn't know your name.  But I did hear from a reliable source that a hunter has been climbing the ranks pretty high, killing as many demons as he could along the way.  I saw the way you looked at my eyes in our little dance just now and I could see it.  I told you, didn't I...?  Your eyes can't lie to me.” 
 
“So all of this just to help the Academy?  We're the ones who kill demons like you, you're insane!” 
 
“I'm a demon and yet my insanity still surprises you humans.”  She stood a little straighter, but kept her foot on his chest and her blade to his throat.  “And don't you dare compare me to those snivelling snakes the Academy has hunted down.” 
 
“Looks like somebody has an superiority complex.” 
 
“I'd watch my tongue if I were you.  But I won't lie, it is kind of amusing.” She admitted with a smirk.  “Are you ready to listen to me now, Martel?” 
 
He hesitated, watching her carefully, watching as her shoulders relaxed and she lowered the blade from his throat.  “You're the only one who will listen.” 
 
“How can you be so sure?” 
 
“I just am.”  She insisted.  “Do you honestly believe any other hunter would have given me the time to talk first?  They would have tried to kill me before I said a goddamn thing, or they would have been running as fast as their human legs could carry them.”  She half-taunted.  “But not you.” 
 
He already knew that deep down, but hearing her say it was a different matter.  He stared back into her piercing eyes that vexed him for reasons he couldn't place into words.  He could see the madness in them, the same insanity and bloodlust he saw in every demon's eyes and yet there was also an underlaying honesty. 
 
"I'm a fool."
 
“Fine.. I'll listen.” 
 
She softly smiled, a genuine smile that took his breath away.  “You won't regret it, Adrian Martel.” 
 
The march of around a dozen sentinels turn the corner, and they both look.  All brandishing weapons, they point their rifles.  “There's the demon!” 
 
One takes a shot at her, but she repells the bullet with her blade and jumps away. 
 
“Wait!”  Adrian yells at them, clambering to his feet and holding his hand out so they wouldn't shoot. 
 
Kasper kicks her sheath up to her left hand and sheathes her blade, the sentinels uneasily watching.  She gives Adrian a teasing salute and winks, “It's been fun blue-eyed dream.” 
 
“Kasper!” 
 
She runs at the sentinels and they all panic, but she leaps above them, landing on her feet with ease.  They turn and chase after her, but she is too fast for them to catch with ease, her long hair dancing behind her, a smile on her face.  Adrian passes the sentinels with a faster speed despite already being out of breath. 
 
She turns down an alleyway. 
 
“Kasper!” 
 
He turns down the street after her in time to see a portal close, then a heavy gust of wind picks up, making him stop, as well as all of the sentinels who caught up.  He looks up into the dark sky and not a hundred feet away, an airship had just come through a massive portal of it's own.  Red energy shimmered off it's sails, but it wasn't as large as most airships from the war.  This one's asset was it's speed—and the team aboard it. 
 
“What the hell is that?!”  One of the sentinels yelled. 
 
“That's impossible!” 
 
Adrian stares incredulously as it moved slowly through the sky.  No airship had been running since the end of the war, except for... 
 
Kasper stepped out on the deck of the ship, and grabbed hold of a rope as she looked down at them from the edge of the ship, her long hair blowing in the gusty snowfall.  She watches Adrian with a grin, then blew him a kiss.  The ship begins to disembark, suddenly speeding off into the distance, leaving the city behind. 
 
All the sentinels remained silent, then one looked at Adrian who stared in shock. 
 
“S-sir?  Adept?  Was that... the Hell's Collector?” 
 
“She's...” 
 
They all look at him, confused. 
 
There was no telling how he felt in that moment.  Confused, mostly.  But he couldn't look away, even after the ship had vanished from sight, leaving only the black sky and the flakes that gently fell, but he no longer felt cold.  His obsession had looked him in the eye and asked his help, required his trust, they clashed blades.  Nothing was real, anymore, the world was stained red with her soul.  But it was real. 
 
He finally smiled, a tinge of insanity within himself.  “That was Deirdre.” 


© Copyright 2019 Alex Winters. All rights reserved.

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