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Home > Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark #10)(2)

Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark #10)(2)
Author: Kresley Cole

"Does not matter how you appear, demon - you are still nothing."

"Do not listen to him, Malkom," Kallen said. "You are a good man. A stalwart leader."

"Who was betrayed at the earliest opportunity?" the vampire said.

A gang led by the powerful and devious Ronath had tricked Malkom. Before he could trace or attack, he'd been caught in a metal net and stabbed through repeatedly.

"You rose up high for the briefest time. But I will break you down once more."

Malkom craned his head up to face the Viceroy. "Break me down?"

"You submitted to a vampire master once. You will do so again."

"Is that why we live still? For me, save yourself time and kill me now." Nothing this vampire could do would be worse than what the slave master of Malkom's childhood had done. Malkom gazed at the demon boy, unconscious in the dirt. Nothing.

" 'Tis not so simple," the Viceroy said. "It never is with our kind." Had he signaled something to the sorcerer at the back of the chamber? "You've destroyed so many of my soldiers that I have decided to create more, starting with you two, the strongest of your kind. You shall be transformed, remade in my image."

The rumors ... 'Twas said that the overlords had developed a rite to transform Trothans into Scarb a - demonic vampires who thirsted for the blood of their own. A demon and a vampire united, an abomination stronger than both.

The Viceroy drew his sword from a scabbard at his hip. "You will drink my blood, and it will open your veins to the ritual. Your deaths will be the catalyst." He ran a finger over the edge of his sword, while in the shadows his sorcerer began to chant, fueling a sinister curse.

Power emanated from the sorcerer with every utterance, filling the room with forbidden black magics. Some unseen force seemed to wrap around Malkom's body, digging in.

Even more guards closed in, heaving tight on Malkom's and Kallen's chains. One of the largest vampires jammed his knee into Kallen's spine, forcing his head backward, while another wedged a bit between Kallen's teeth.

"No, no!" Malkom roared, twisting violently.

The Viceroy sliced his own wrist. " 'Tis a gift I'm giving you. The Thirst. I am going to make blood sing for you, make you dine on demon flesh every day for eternity." He shoved the streaming gash to Kallen's pried-open mouth. "You will become like us, and be loyal only to me. It begins now."

"Do not drink it, Kallen!" Malkom bellowed, but they forced him to swallow it.

They set upon Malkom next, stabbing him until he was too weakened to resist. The Viceroy's thick, vile blood was forced down his throat as well.

Then the vampire raised his sword. Malkom thrashed against the chains with every ounce of power left in his body, but neither he nor Kallen could get loose.

Kallen met Malkom's gaze for a harrowing moment - just before the Viceroy's sword sliced clean through Kallen's neck. His body collapsed backward, his head tumbling into the grave. Dazed, sightless eyes stared up at Malkom. The prince's brows were still drawn, his teeth gritted.

Malkom gaped in disbelief while years of their shared memories flashed in his mind.

The two demons' countless battles, more victories than defeats. The dozens of times Malkom had saved Kallen's life; the thousands of times Kallen had praised him, encouraging him to better himself.

"You are a fearless warrior who's more than his past." "Of course you've the intelligence to learn how to read! Who the devil convinced you otherwise?" "You are stronger and faster than the others, your will to live greater than any I've known. You see details others are blind to. Uni"ueness is a kind of nobility, is it not, brother?"

Throughout, Malkom had begun to shed the taint of his past. He'd dared to entertain dreams of a better life.

Now Kallen was dead. Malkom roared with impotent fury, his eyes going wet with loss. Kallen. Dead.

Or worse.

The sorcerer cast a layer of black dust over Kallen's body.

"No!" Malkom bit out. "Leave him in peace!"

More chanting, more power.

Malkom's lips parted. Kallen's body was lifeless no more. With each of the sorcerer's words, it began to twitch, to ... move in the dirt.

Not from death spasms. But writhing with life. The headless neck pumped blood anew.

The Viceroy again snapped his fingers for the demon slaves. Once the pair had kicked Kallen's body into the grave, the sorcerer scattered more of that dust over all. To make Kallen whole once more?

When smoke snaked up from the depths, the Viceroy raised his bloody sword. "Now 'tis your turn, Slaine. And I promise you, rising from the dead - if it takes - will be the easy part. If you live, I will break you."

Malkom silently prayed for a true end, beseeching the gods who had never once answered his most desperate entreaties. Please, do not let me rise -

The sword whistled through the air. He perceived the scantest bite of blade.

Then nothing.

Despite Malkom's prayers, he and Kallen had both risen two nights later, waking into a nightmare of darkness, deep in the earth. After clawing through the dirt, inching their way to the surface, they'd been thrown in a murky cell in the Viceroy's dungeon.

They hadn't suffocated as they'd risen because they now drew no breaths. Nor did their hearts beat.

The walking dead. Vampire. I am a vampire.

No! Malkom still hadn't accepted his fate, was ready to rage and fight it. Even as he recognized how much he'd been altered.

Though he wore no cuffs to prevent him from tracing, he no longer had that ability. His clammy skin felt as if a thousand spiders crawled all over him. His upper fangs had elongated and narrowed, throbbing painfully. Even in the low light, merely opening his sensitive eyes was an agony.

His very hearing was different, more acute. He could detect insects boring in the ground beneath him.

From the moment he'd awakened in the grave, the burgeoning need for blood had lashed him. Confusion and anguish roiled within him.

In Kallen, too. He stared at the filthy cell walls, hollow-eyed and unblinking.

"We will fight our way free," Malkom assured him now, "then return home."

"We are Scarba. Brother, no demons will ever take us among them."

He was likely right. The two were worse even than the vampires. They were defiled demons, cursed to feed off their own kind. They were the monsters of legend feared by all.

Kallen rasped, "There is no reason to go on."

"There is always a reason." How many times had Malkom had to convince himself of this? "If for nothing else, you can seek vengeance." He himself would not rest until retribution was meted.

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