“Your angel friend and that stupid charmed talisman can’t protect you from the king of Hell forever,” the demon hissed at her.
This took me back. The necklace was charmed? Like by angels? Was that why it was blue? And it was protecting her? How? I squinted, trying to get a better look at it.
“Adrian will stop you, and make your death slow and torturous,” the demon continued, his face contorted in pain.
Kali sneered at the demon, her power building. The fire that lapped around her arms, almost reaching her shoulders now, slithering down, collecting around her hands. The swirling spheres of fire grew larger as the blaze intensified, and a moment later she lifted her arms, holding them in front of herself. Then, with a flick of her wrist, she sent the balls of flame bursting forth. The two fireballs flew straight in the demon’s chest, and the thing was engulfed in flames. When the fire died down, a pile of ashes was all that was left of it.
I turned my attention back to Kali, amazed as always by her power … but also curious, now. For a moment, the red in her aura overshadowed her body, but the blue light from the talisman shone strongly through it, and a moment later, the red died back down. Then the blue receded as well, settling back into the middle of the talisman. It seemed to have a mind of its own, and looked like it was acting as a shield. Trying to protect Kali from the red taint.
A living thing, my mind repeated over and over again. Hang on. Kali had been an angel, and when she fell, she’d lost her soul. All of the demons did. That was why they were tainted red—it marked them as dark, soulless monsters.
So was the blue inside the necklace … was it her soul?
It made sense. Michael had made a deal with them to get back into Heaven, and he’d also given her the talisman. It had weird writing on it, unlike anything I had seen on Earth. And though it was a leap, it wasn’t a big leap. That thing could have been created by the angels. It could be holding her soul.
“Now that’s power,” Kali said with a little laugh. She pulled one of my blades from her belt and held it out to me. I accepted it, drew my other blade from my belt, and took a deep breath.
“Don’t looked so pissed,” she muttered, taking in my face and the blades in my hands. “I was here the whole time, ready to step in when you needed me. Honestly, I was positive I was going to have to take them all out. I never dreamed this would work, but damn. You took two demons on by yourself. That’s not bad.”
It was disturbing, but I had taken on three demons. Well, two. I took no joy in what I did, killing other creatures, but I couldn’t deny the relief it brought me that I was finally able to defend myself. I glanced down at the two weapons, really looking at them for the first time, and saw that they were two half-moon shaped blades that encircled my wrists. They had the same brilliant blue light that Michael’s sword had.
And with that, any thoughts of Kali and her talisman drifted away. I had called my weapon. I had done it! I’d finished my training! I looked down at my watch, though, and realized we had less than eleven hours left. Time to leave.
“I have to go,” I muttered.
Kali, in true Kali fashion, just put her hands on her hips and looked pissed as all Hell. Obviously she was expecting more excitement on my part, as she’d be saying that she’d just taught me how to use my final power, and I almost laughed at the look on her face.
I didn’t have time to sit here and celebrate. Or make her feel better about having taught me.
I had only ten and a half hours left to find Michael. I would have to call him using my angelic power to send my thoughts out to him—sort of like magical text message. And hope he came quickly. I needed to show him I could summon my weapon, and that I’d completed my training. That I’d come through on my end of the bargain.
And then he would save my brother, as promised, from being taken to Hell. I didn’t know exactly how that was going to be done, but I assumed that I’d also have to find Ash. So the faster I got to Michael, the better.
There was plenty of time. Really. But I couldn’t shake the feeling of the minutes ticking away, and the sense of impending doom. I was so close, but I wasn’t done. I could only rest when once Ash was truly safe.
With that in mind, I focused on the forest—on the specific spot I had decided on, where I would call Michael to me. It was the forest where my brother had met the demon, Vincent. Where I had watched in horror as he traded his soul to save my life. I wanted to finish this where it had started. The place where he’d lost his soul would be the exact place he would gain it back.
I felt a wave of warmth, my power coursing through me, readying me for the jump. Time to go save Ash. I’d done it—I had what I needed, and I had plenty of time. This was going to happen. And with that exhilarating thought, and hope in my heart, I disappeared.
Linda Foster was born and raised in Colorado, where she still lives with her (very patient) husband and three (very spoiled) ferrets. Linda became an avid reading enthusiast the moment she picked up her first book, and has grown steadily worse with time. By the time she was 15 years old, her library had become too big for her shelves, and she was forced to donate all of her books to the local school, just to make room for new ones. She started writing short novellas for her friends in middle school, and expanded into full-length novels several years later.