Read The Failsafe Prophecies Online

Authors: Samantha Lucas

Tags: #romance, #urban fantasy, #witches, #shifters, #disney, #immortals, #serial fantasy, #serial adventure series, #samantha lucas, #demon and angels

The Failsafe Prophecies (6 page)

BOOK: The Failsafe Prophecies
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“I knew I’d find you here.”

He recognized the voice of his brother
before he turned from the small window to see him. The hero of the
hour stormed through the small wooden door a lot like any hero
would, exuberant and confident.

“Well, there’s only three places on
Earth I habitually habitate. How many did you try before you came
here, because I think that’s the real tell of how well you know
me.” It took more energy than he cared to admit to rise to the
level of sarcasm.

Rigo laughed and drew him into a bear
hug.

“Oh, brother, always putting up those
walls.” Rigo took a step back and smiled sadly. “But you’ll never
push me away. You may as well give up trying.”

Wraithe chuckled and turned back to
his castle window where he could stare out over his kingdom. “Never
say never, brother dear.”

“I heard that.” Rigo moved in close
and stood beside him.

Wraithe smiled slightly as the two
stood side by side, one dark, one light, no longer just in hair and
coloring, but more and more, it described their disposition as
well.

In a moment of silent harmony they
stared out over the world he created.

“So… how’s business?” Rigo asked, as
if running a business was really what he was doing.

“Booming.” He answered drolly. “Maybe
you’d like to go try out the new shooting gallery.”

“Oh no. Last time I did that I made a
little boy cry because I beat his score, and you booted me from the
whole park.” Rigo chuckled.

“You beat everyone’s score.” Wraithe
looked at him dead on, attempting to look severe, even with the
grin threatening to break through.

“There isn’t any point in pretending I
suck!”

They laughed together, before silence
fell again.

“Business is good, as always.” Wraithe
answered more seriously this time.

“Just not as good as the kingdom up
the street, aye?” He gave his brother a knowing grin.

“It’s not a competition.” He defended
himself.

Rigo stepped away from the window and
further into the small chamber where Wraithe stored some of his
more personal artifacts. There was a fireplace to the left of the
door into the next chamber, and on the mantle was the arrow he used
to kill a woebegone that was trying to kill the then King of
Babylonia. Beside that sat a rare purple crystal given him by the
empress from the seventh realm when he when he rescued and returned
her stolen child. An antique clock hung on the wall, softly ticking
as its dragon-shaped pendulum swung back and forth. A desk sat in
an alcove along the back wall, atop it the only public display of
affection he ever allowed himself, a scant few
photographs.

“No, of course not. Because you refuse
to compete with his legacy.” Rigo now stood beside the mantle and
stared back across the room at his brother.

Wraithe set his jaw firm, determined
to defend himself. Everywhere he looked in this space was something
that spoke of who he once was. It was like a mausoleum in some
respects, and it had become his refuge.

“That’s not even fair. I am nay-chi. I
am not here to be a business mogul. I am here to protect the falls
and the people of this planet. This…” He looked around at the
fixtures of the castle and thought of the seven fantasy lands just
outside, each representing one of the kingdoms of the Marrow, each
hosting what this realm thought of as a fairy tale princess. Only
he and his people knew the real kingdoms existed, and right now,
they were each in great danger.

“…
This park is meant to
protect Elethiya. Hiding the falls in plain sight was our best
option after that nosey reporter had gotten too close to
discovering the truth. Do you know the catastrophe that would
befall this realm if they ever found out the truth about Elethiya?
This park is not here to win awards, or compete with Disney World.
As far as I’m concerned, the less visitors we have, the better.
Walt built his Disneyland from love and devotion. I know, because I
stood side by side with him when he did. I saw the love in his eyes
every time he spoke of it. I heard the joy in his voice, witnessed
the glee in his soul. I built
this
from obligation and a sense of duty. It’s nothing
more than an outgrowth of the oath I took to protect these falls at
all cost. The parks, the hotels, restaurants, marina … it’s nothing
but a necessary divergence. And I’ve had this argument enough. I
don’t need to have it with you, Rigo.” He folded his arms across
his chest.

“No, you don’t. Which is why I’m not
arguing. Yes, Wraithe, we’re protectors. We know the monsters under
the bed are real and we are devoted to making sure the humans never
realize it. But this life is a long one, to be sure, and we are
allowed our pleasures along the way. There is no shame in running
this kingdom into an empire that competes with his legacy. In
truth, I think he’d admire you all the more for it.”

“You didn’t know him.” Wraithe
grumbled.

Rigo sighed and moved
closer.

“Brother, he was a
great
man, and I know
you feel you let him down. But
gods
, it was decades ago and you
cannot spend the next millennia like this. If you don’t wish to
take this company global, fine, what about finding love? How’s Ivin
these days?

Wraithe choked.

Rigo laughed.

“Ivin and I have
an…
arrangement.

He was sure he felt his cheeks burn.

“Aye, she fucks you and you dismiss
her. Hell of an arrangement.” His tone was laced with
disapproval.

“It’s not like that.” Again, Wraithe
defended himself.

“She’s in love with you.” Rigo
pressed.

Wraithe’s jaw dropped open.

“That’s not… That’s not possible.” He
considered his brother’s words, but dismissed them.

Rigo groaned, came close and put his
arm around Wraithe’s shoulders.

“You are so blind anymore. It doesn’t
serve you.”

Wraithe pulled away, feeling exposed
and vulnerable.

“Regardless of Ivin’s
feelings for me, I’ve been
very
honest with her. I won’t
ever
love. Gods, brother, look at
how losing the closest friend I ever had has destroyed me. Why
would I fall in love? She would grow old, get sick and die, while I
faithlessly watched, knowing all the while I could heal her. Fuck
you for even suggesting it!”

He threw his arm out across the
mantel, sliding all the treasures from atop it to the floor where
they crashed in an explosion of sound.

“Wraithe…” Rigo visibly took a breath.
“Many of our kind make love with the humans work. Some even have
families.”

“Oh yes, and it works so well for
them. Yes, let’s all start families so we can watch generation
after generation of those we love, those we created, wither and
die. I’ll take my kingdom of plaster and glass, thank you very
much.”

A long silence stretched between them.
Wraithe grew angrier and angrier, though he wasn’t sure why. Was it
his brother’s suggestion, or was it having his own deepest longing
exposed?

“You’re hardly one to
speak on this subject, Rigo. You’re drawn to the human women, and
they to you. You fuck women all over the realm, but have you
ever
loved
one?”
He spoke from his anger and didn’t regret the pain he saw flare in
his brother’s eyes.

“I’d give my life to find great love.”
He spoke solemnly.

“Aye, but more likely it’d
be
her
life you’d
be giving, wouldn’t it?”

The silence returned, only this time,
with it there were walls of stone.

“Never say never, aye?” Wraithe spat
back his brother’s words from earlier, feeling as if he’d
accomplished his objective. He simply wanted left alone. It wasn’t
that he didn’t love his brother, but his friendship with Walt had
shown him just how deeply he was capable of hurting someone. He
never wanted to take that chance again.

Rigo stepped in so close that Wraithe
felt his breath on his face.

“I will
never
abandon you,
Wraithe. I don’t care what you think you’ve done, or how you think
you’ve betrayed Walt. I am your
brother
and I will stand by you
every day I draw breath. Period.”

“Wraithe!” Ivin burst into the room,
followed closely by Bala.

The entrance of the two women shook
the men from their standoff and each turned to face
them.

“Oh good, Rigo, you’re here too!” Ivin
threw her arms around him in an easy manner, and he exchanged the
hug warmly.

Wraithe nodded a greeting at Bala as
she stood twisting her fingers nervously.

He refused to entertain the thought
that Ivin could have fallen in love with him. They had a deep
friendship, and she did allow him to ease his need when it grew too
great. But that was all it was, all it could ever be.

“What’s so urgent, ladies?” Rigo spoke
as if nothing were wrong in the world.

“Your soul skulls, Rigo.” Bala stepped
forward.

“His
what
?” Wraithe’s alarm ratcheted
through the roof.

“It’s nothing.” Rigo waved his arm
dismissively, then turned back to Bala. “What did you
find?”

She looked nervously between the
brothers, then focused on Ivin.

“Ivin can tell you. She really figured
it all out.”

“Not hardly. Without your intuition,
Bala, I never…”

Wraithe cleared his throat loudly,
drawing a stop to all conversation.

“Whoever was to credit,
perhaps you all could simply fill me in on what Rigo’s
soul skulls
hold.” He
glared at his brother as he spoke kindly to the women.

“Right.” Ivin pushed back lose strands
of deep purple hair. “Well, two of them are empty. We burned
them.”

She looked nervously to Wraithe, then
back at Rigo.

“However, two seem to have
souls inside. I
think
they may be two of the missing royals.”

“Oh my god! I mean I had
thought
maybe
,
but…” Rigo clapped his hands, paced a few steps away then back.
“Can you bring them out?”

“Well, even if I could, I don’t have a
body to put them in. But, that’s not really why we’re here.” She
turned to Bala and motioned for her to come closer.
“Bala…”

Bala was constantly the epitome of a
Queen. Her long brown hair was braided and wrapped with small
flowers and gems that sparkled. Her gown was long and lush, today
in the shade of yellow. The sign of her people, a small elaborate
scroll with a gem, was imprinted into her forehead at the place
they believed to be the third eye. Her dark skin set off her
lavender eyes so that when she looked at you, you fell instantly
into her trance.

As she stepped forward,
Wraithe watched her struggle and wondered how it was possible that
she would be this rattled. As long as he’d known her, she’d been a
woman of bravery, duty, dignity… the woman standing here
was…
off
somehow.

“While Ivin and I were casting the
spell on the skulls, I had a vision.” She bit her lower
lip.

“Of what?” Rigo asked
eagerly.

She shook her head and paced to the
fire, stopping when she noticed the pile of debris at its foot. She
looked back at the brothers with alarm.

“What happened here?”

Rigo stepped over the debris, wrapped
his one arm around her shoulder and directed her back towards the
center of the room.

“Doesn’t matter.”

“Well, I…” She looked over her
shoulder at the mess.

“Bala.” Wraithe reached out and
touched her hand. It was cold to the touch. He ignored it to focus
on her face. “Just tell us about your vision.”

She nodded and released a
breath.

“I don’t know what to make of it,
really. I don’t know where these come from…”

“Bala, we all know of your visions.
They’ve proven true time and again. Just tell us.” Wraithe spoke
calmly, with authority.

She pressed her lips tightly together
and nodded at him.

“There was a storm, like…
black clouds, swirling over land. It was dark energy, of that I’m
sure. I
felt
it.
Everything was lit in orange, like fires were burning somewhere.
Then I saw a castle spring up from the ground, then a second… the
first castle I recognized. It was this one… only…” She growled in
frustration.

“Bala, you’re doing great. Just keep
going.” Rigo encouraged her.

“Well, I just… I couldn’t
tell whether it was actually
this
one…” She raised her arms, gesturing to the four
walls of the castle they stood in. “Or the original, the
inspiration for this one. I know you drew this one from the vision,
but we all know now, it’s Luxe’s castle from Bella Sol. The vision
I had simply isn’t clear enough for me to distinguish them to know
which it was. The second castle I didn’t recognize at all, but when
I described it to Ivin, she did.”

BOOK: The Failsafe Prophecies
3.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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