“The Devil” looked at me with a blank expression, red fire rimmed his brilliant amethyst eyes, as he waited for me to die.
I had always done whatever he’d asked of me without question, without qualms. Why? Because I was the daughter of the darkest fae. Evil ran through my blood. At least that’s what I’d always told myself to make all I’d done have meaning and purpose. But the truth was far less sinister. I’d been loyal to that man for one reason.
And it hadn’t been money.
Or even vengeance that had kept me loyal and had hardened my heart time and time again as I’d committed worse and worse atrocities in his name.
It was love of the devil himself that had kept me chained to him like a dog to its master. Everything I’d done had been to gain his approval. To make him love me; need me with the same kind of devotion I’d needed him.
It was that fallible human emotion that had led to my ruin. I think deep down I always knew my father did not care for me in the way a good father should. He’d used me and I’d turned a blind eye to it because I’d been so desperate to believe the lie. To believe that just one person in all the universe might actually care for me.
My enemies would laugh to see me now. Me, the boogeyman, crying about wanting to be loved. How pathetic I’d become. Maybe it was better that I died. I wasn’t faultless. The dark realm was in the state it was in because of my sins.
Coughing, I stared at the pool of blood circling my nearly severed head. If I’d been human, I’d already be dead from such a grave wound, but it was hard to kill something like me. Still, I could feel there wasn’t much light left to me, I had minutes.
I smiled bitterly through the silver tears coursing down my cheeks. I could feel the darkness creeping in, pulling at me. I’d committed the worst crimes imaginable, all to put him in the place of power he was in today. I’d overthrown countless noble houses, pulling the strings from behind the scenes, using my innocent looks and my arcane powers to help him overthrow them all one by one.
None had suspected me. I’d done my job well. Too well, maybe. By keeping such a low profile I’d created the unintended consequence of severing myself from all of society. I’d made myself into a ghost long before he’d plunged the proverbial blade into my back.
I snorted, and then I laughed. The sound came out as a reed-thin wheeze. The pain was excruciating, stealing what little breath remained in my lungs. Frothy, bloody bubbles seeped from the corners of my mouth. I would die alone in this alleyway. No one would mourn me. No one would even miss me.
This ignominious end was only what a half-blood like me warranted.
This hollow knowledge that I deserved every bit of this.
My father’s greed would destroy everything and everyone. It wasn’t just the noble houses that’d lost the battle, but all of Demonia itself.
And now, at the end of this path, I could finally see when I’d committed the one act that had led me here.
It was when I’d killed him.
My heart trembled thinking about the vilest act I’d ever committed. Looking back on it now, I had no idea when I’d become so warped, so twisted that I’d been able to rationalize that act of infanticide.
Another wheezing rattle rolled through my lungs.
I remembered stealing into the room, the chill of the night as I’d tiptoed across the plush carpet, the gentle cooing sounds coming out of the tiny golden crib. And the dozens of dead light fae priestesses I’d slaughtered who were lying broken and bloody in the hallway leading up to his private room.
But when the baby had looked at me, I’d felt something stir in me that I’d not felt in a long, long time. Fear. Not for him though, but rather for myself. The knowledge that if I crossed that line I could never, ever come back from it. I’d stared at the infant for what had felt like an eternity, grappling with myself in a way I’d not done for many, many years. Looking into Erene’s bright blue eyes had caused a closed-off part of me to suddenly flood open.
I’d almost walked away then because some part of me had recognized that committing that act would eventually lead to my complete ruination.
How could I kill the child who I’d once called: brother? We’d grown up together in the great fairy garden. We’d fought, played, and laughed together. I’d loved him back then. I’d known Erene for the first thirteen years of my life. We hadn’t just been as close as siblings, we actually had been that in truth. Twins, he and I. But I’d been born with the power to travel through time and near immortality, and little Erene had not. He’d been born with other gifts. Gifts that could destroy father. Or so father’s prophet had proclaimed.
It hadn’t been difficult for me to believe the prophecy. After years of father’s brainwashing, I was no longer a child who loved her brother, I was the daughter of a prince who was determined to make her father the emperor of Demonia. And to do so I had to eradicate the one being that could eventually destroy him.
So, I’d raised the hand that had gripped the dagger tight and readied myself to plunge it through Erene’s little chest, and just before he’d closed his eyes, I’d heard his tiny soul whisper to mine, “Someday he will come for you too, Blue.”
I gasped, pulled back into the present and away from the sins of my past, as a lancing jolt of lightning speared my body. Darkness circled my vision. I did not have much longer. I wondered where something as wicked as me would wind up. I deserved to burn for all eternity for my crimes.
All those lies I’d told myself they were all crumbled to dust. Father would never be a great emperor. He wouldn’t even be a decent one. He would destroy all of Demonia and perhaps even find a way to prey on the middle and upper lands. His ascension meant the loss of anything good and hopeful.
No one could stop Father now. I’d given him too much power. I’d created the biggest monster the upper, middle, and lower realms had ever known.
The devil stood, looming over me. With his long, rich mahogany hair, amethyst irises, black sclera, and curving black deer horns protruding from his head he looked every inch the fabled devil of the ancient religions. Why had I ever wished I’d looked more like him? I did not see him as beautiful anymore, only dark and vile and wicked.
“You served me well, daughter.”
My heart clenched to hear him recognize me finally. It’d been the only thing I’d ever wanted from him. But now it felt like rot in my belly. I felt no joy or gladness from the acknowledgment. I’d worked so hard to earn his favor. But the truth was I’d worked for a lie. A mirage of a statue that once touched had sifted like sand through my fingers.
“But you realize I can’t let you live, right, my Blue? You’re too powerful. You are now my greatest threat and like a cancer you must be cut out.”
With those words, he tossed a thorny black rose at me and turned on his booted heels. His Wolf Pack—father’s personal knights—flanked him on either side, closing ranks. Guarding their Emperor from any and all threats.
He walked away without even one final look back. He’d promised me that I was the only one he’d never betray. That once he finally took his throne, I would ascend to my rightful place beside him, that he’d prove half-bloods weren’t tainted. I would step out of the shadows, and bring all other half-bloods out with me. That we’d create a new world, a better world. A utopia where both purebloods and half-bloods could live in peace and unity.
To recall those memories rolling through my head now, I felt like an idiot. Hot, mercurial tears slid out the corners of my eyes.
I was expendable.
And I always had been.
But father never should have betrayed me.
I laughed as his carriage rolled away leaving me to die alone in the middle of that filthy alleyway, gasping through the fires ripping me apart. I was going to the great darkness anyway. But I still had the light in me. I’d smothered it, I’d very nearly extinguished the flame, but still, it burned.
My only hope was that by turning back time I could give the old me a chance to reconsider her actions. I’d been so torn that bloody night. Maybe this time the old me might actually stop, maybe some part of my future consciousness could impress itself in the old me. Maybe by some miracle, I would not commit that unforgivable sin.
All I knew was there were no other options left. It was this or nothing.
“One last time,” I whispered into the chilly night. “You can have my soul pied piper but let me fix this. Please, let me fix this.”
And dipping my finger into my own blood I wrote my spell. The only way to travel in time was to sacrifice a soul. This time I would sacrifice my own.
I laughed and laughed as I shakily inscribed the deadliest of spells and with my final breath, I paid the piper his due. My last thought was a plea to the universe that my memories, my knowledge, would somehow travel to the past me and that she wouldn’t make the same choice this time. Then a flash of terrible light consumed me.
I screamed and I screamed and I screamed.