A feeling of pure contentment fills me as I lay here. Noah is by my side, his arm wrapped around me. I can feel his breath on the back of the neck. It feels as if he’s breathing the life and happiness back into me.
“Noah?” I say quietly. “I’m sorry it took me so long to be with you, properly.”
He moves closer to me, his bare skin touches my own. “We’re together now,” he tells me sleepily. “That’s all I could ever ask for.”
Already I find myself thinking of my future with Noah. I never want to be without him and now I never have to… One day, when all of this fighting is over, we might even be able to get married. We can start a family.
I’m getting ahead of myself. What matters right now is that I’m helplessly in love with him. The gorgeous, amazing man who lays beside me has stolen my heart.
“Waking up beside you like this is so nice,” Noah says the next morning. We’ve both been awake for a while now but we can’t seem to get out of bed.
I turn around and kiss him on his forehead. “I couldn’t agree more,” I smile. It’s the last thing I want to do, but I unravel myself from his arms and force myself to get up. “Thankfully we get to wake up together tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that.”
Noah grins as he gets out of bed. “That brings me great pleasure,” he tells me, finding his clothes. “Amongst other things…”
I laugh as Tessa walks into the room. “I’m glad you two had a good night,” she says bitterly. She’s holding my dagger and the Arch-Daemon’s spell book. “I was up most of it trying to figure out how to make Seth connect to the dagger.”
“Firstly,” Noah begins. “You’re not making any sense. Secondly, we were also up most of the night.”
I laugh and blush while Tessa just glares. “We can’t really use the dagger to track him because it belongs to Damien,” she explains with a strange calm. “But we can use it to force him to come to it since he was the last person to kill with it.”
“How does that even work?” I question.
She shrugs. How reassuring. “It’s just a spell I found in the book. We’ll be going to a place where he murdered somebody and we’ll force him to come back there!”
“How simple,” Noah mutters. “What’s to say he won’t just show up and then run away?”
Tessa scowls at Noah. “People like Seth don’t turn down fights,” she points out. “Also, we killed his pet dragon. He’s probably very pissed off.”
I don’t bother pointing out that the dragon probably didn’t even belong to Seth. It was most likely Violet’s. “Do you think the dragon disappeared back to its own realm like Daemons do?” I wonder. “If not I feel bad for whoever has to clean it up.”
“Don’t make it our problem, Damien,” Tessa sighs. “We have enough of our own.”
“Well, you’re not wrong,” I admit. “Did you find anything out about how to find Aaron?”
She sighs loudly. “I used a spell to determine whether he’s alive or not. He is. Now comes the more challenging part of where the hell he is!” She sounds horribly frustrated. I wish there was something I could do to help but I can’t think how to. “I know what spell I need to use but it’s going to take a long time to translate. Bartholomew isn’t exactly willing to help me.”
“Why not?” Noah asks. “What do you think he’s doing in the basement?”
I shudder at the mention of it. “I don’t even want to know. But Tessa, you don’t need him. You’re strong enough to find Aaron without him.”
“Whatever,” Tessa says. “Let’s just get to Dalmerton. I want to kill this bastard so I can get on with finding Aaron.”
Tessa makes us go to Georgina’s house before we go to a murder location. When we entered Dalmerton people got angry at us as two more people have been murdered since yesterday. Why they’re blaming us is beyond me.
“I miss Georgina,” Tessa admits when we enter the house. “I didn’t spend enough time with her.”
“How did you two meet anyway?” Noah asks.
Tessa smiles fondly, sitting on the stairs. Noah and I stand nearby. “I found myself in Dalmerton, with Jack, after a while of searching for Aaron. We ran into Georgina, at the market and got talking. She told us about how she had also travelled around a lot before setting here. She also went into quite some detail about her string of lovers,” Tessa laughs.
Noah looks guiltily at me. I had forgotten what happened between him and Georgina… She’s like Daniel now though, gone but not forgotten. I have no right to be jealous over anything.
“Jack and I told her about how we were looking for Aaron,” Tessa continues. “She let us stay with her for a while before telling us that Bartholomew might be able to help us. We became fast friends…”
I can’t help but to feel bad about it all once again. If Tessa hadn’t met me, Georgina would still be alive. Jack too… “I’m sure she’d be happy for you,” I say weakly. “Knowing that you’re close to Aaron now.”
Tessa shrugs before standing and walking upstairs. Noah and I remain downstairs, unsure whether or not she wants us to follow. “You’re not angry about what happened between Georgina and I, are you?” Noah asks quietly.
I shake my head. Maybe a little too much. “No, why would I be? We weren’t even nearly together when it happened.”
“I don’t know,” he sighs. “When I think about all the time you and Daniel spent together I get a little jealous. It’s sad, I know.”
Unsure what to say, I just remain silent. I never actually considered that Noah could be jealous of mine and Daniel’s relationship. Other than mine and Noah’s, it is the only other relationship I’ve been in, the only person I’ve been with. I have no idea how many people Noah’s been with. I don’t want to think about it though, we’re together now and that’s all that matters.
When Tessa comes back down she no longer has the book with her. I assume she hid it somewhere. “Are you two ready to go kill a serial killer?” She asks, smiling and holding my dagger. It’s quite sinister.
“Yeah,” I frown. “Just don’t kill us in the process…”
Apparently the most recent murder took place in the same spot that Jojen died. Isn’t that just another kick in the teeth? The body has been cleared away but nobody bothered to wash the blood from the walls.
“It looks like it was a gruesome death,” Tessa comments, smiling. “Seth really wants his victims to suffer…”
“Let’s hope he doesn’t make us his victims then,” Noah sighs.
Thankfully, the snow has relented. The sun isn’t quite shining through the thick clouds but at least we’re not getting covered in the snow. We just have to walk through it, grimacing at the cold. “What’s the plan when fighting him?” I ask. “We don’t even know how he fights.” In Deucalion’s realm, he just kind of talked to us.
“Decapitation,” Noah says.
Tessa glares. “Stop beheading everything! I think we should just all stab him. Poke a lot of holes in him…”
I sigh, thankful that we’re the only ones on the street. Our conversations are so fucking ridiculous. “Just summon him or whatever you’re doing,” I say. “He’s just one man against the three of us. How hard can it be?”
“You’re right; we’re amazing,” Tessa grins. That wasn’t the point I was trying to make but okay. “Anyway. Seth, with this murder weapon I summon thee!” She shouts.
I look around the street. Nothing happened… “Tessa that was shit,” I snap. “You were up all night doing that?”
She raises the dagger to me, causing me to step back into Noah. “I would love to see you do better!” She shouts. “It’s a fucking ancient book written in numerous languages!”
“Tessa,” Noah shouts back. “Calm down!”
From the corner of my eye I see Seth appear in the middle of the street. “Yes, please,” he says in his tedious, monotone voice. “Do calm down.”
Tessa turns to him, drawing her rapier and handing the dagger to me. “Your killing spree ends here, Seth,” she says. “Tell us who sent you and we might let you die with minimal pain.”
“I told you before,” he says, stepping towards us. “The Gods sent me.” In his hand appears a sword, glowing with a pale white light.
Noah draws his sword and steps forward, ready to meet Seth in battle. They both charge simultaneously. Their swords meet with loud clangs numerous times before Seth knocks Noah to the floor. Before Seth can stab Noah I charge, conjuring a sword of ice as I do so. Seth effortlessly meets my attack, parrying and somehow knocking me down beside Noah.
“Holy fuck,” I groan as Tessa attempts to do what Noah and I failed to. She dances around his attacks while we get to our feet, giving us time to flank him. Noah and I both run up behind, ready to stab him in the back and poke many holes in him as Tessa suggested. Before we’re even close however, he swings his sword in an arch. A blinding white light knocks me and Noah back to the ground.
“His sword is doing all the work,” Noah says bitterly.
Blinking white spots away from my sight, I stand, refusing to stay down. Tessa is miraculously being offensive against Seth, forcing him to be defensive. She lunges forward under a swing of his sword and stabs him in the foot. He screams, swinging wildly again.
I take the opportunity to rush forward, drawing my dagger and stabbing it into his wrist just like I did with Valek. Seth screams again, grabbing the dagger and pulling it out. For once it’s his own blood that stains his white clothes.
Noah moves past me, swinging his sword towards Seth’s hand. Seth screams in an animalistic way as his hand and sword fall to the floor. Tessa holds her sword to his throat as he drops to his knees. “Any last words?”
Seth spits blood onto Tessa. “You will die as I do Tessa Byrd, and you will never get to heaven.”
Tessa just rolls her eyes, shoving her sword through his neck. “Then I’ll see you in hell.” Seth drops to the floor, choking briefly on his blood before going still.
Noah smiles, picking up Seth’s hand. The sword vanishes. “Nice to meet you,” Noah grins, holding the hand out to Tessa.
“Nice to meet you too,” she says, shaking it.
“You guys are just awful,” I sigh, trying to keep a straight face. It’s impossible and I can’t help but to laugh.
Noah puts the hand on Seth’s chest. Tessa makes her rapier vanish. “I’m going to handle a few things in town,” Tessa tells us. “You two should get back to the church. I’ll meet you there soon.”
I nod, putting my dagger away and dropping my ice sword in the snow. “See you soon,” I smile, hugging her. She hugs me back before walking in the opposite direction to me and Noah.
“Now what do we do?” Noah asks as we walk through Dalmerton.
“We don’t really have anything to do,” I say. It’s an unfamiliar feeling. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have something I needed to urgently do. “We can just relax until Tessa knows where Aaron is… How do we even relax?”
Noah grins, taking my hand in his. “I’ll happily show you.”
I wait in mine and Noah’s room while he goes to tell Bartholomew about Seth. Noah’s curious as to whether Seth was sent by Gods but I honestly don’t care. We didn’t actually raise Daniel from the grave so it’s not like we even played with life and death. We only tried to.
“Bartholomew got really angry,” Noah sighs as he walks into the room. He sits on the bed next to me. “He’s such a bitter old man at times.”
“What did he think about Seth?” I ask, putting an arm around Noah.
He shrugs. “He just snapped and said we’re not important enough to draw the God’s attention.”
I frown, feeling offended. “I think I know what will make you feel better,” I say, kissing his cheek.
“Oh really?” He says, breaking a smile. I push him so he’s laying down. He pulls me down with him as our lips meet. It feels so good to be this close to him. One of his hands is in my hair, the other on the small of my back, holding me close to him.
I pull away from the kiss and start unbuttoning his shirt as I kiss his neck. He moans in pleasure when I lightly bite him and I feel his hand running under my shirt, up my back. He practically rips my shirt off as I begin making my way down his muscled chest, kissing every inch of him.
When I reach his waist he sits up a little, allowing me to completely remove his shirt. He lays back down, running his hand through my hair as I begin unbuckling his belt.
The door bursts open, scaring me half to death. Tessa struts in and I jump off Noah, covering us both with the blanket. “Can you two stop having sex for five fucking minutes?” She cackles.
I feel myself blush deeply but Noah apparently doesn’t care. He wraps an arm around me and pulls me into him. “No I don’t think we can. Would you care to watch us? Or perhaps join in?”
“Honey, no,” she smirks. “I don’t think Damien would appreciate my feminine charm in the bedroom…”
“Tessa,” I say, gritting my teeth. “What do you want?”
She thinks for a minute, as if she forgot why she so rudely burst in. “Oh yeah. It’s time to go shopping!”
“Absolutely not,” Noah snaps.
Tessa just smiles. “Don’t even try to argue with me Noah Falstraad!”
As usual, Tessa got her own way. We’re now stuck in a very fancy clothes shop, surrounded by elegant suits and dresses. “Why the hell are we here?” Noah complains as Tessa holds a blue dress against herself.
“We’ve been invited to a party, in our honour,” she grins, putting the dress back. “So make sure you pick something nice. We’re getting them for free!”
All I want to do is go back to the damn church and be with Noah. “Why is there a party in our honour?” I demand. “And why are we getting very fancy clothes for free?”
“We stopped a murderer and saved the town from a dragon,” she tells me. She’s moved onto holding up both a black and red dress at the same time. “We deserve a party! It starts in like, an hour.”
I feel myself groan as I begin looking through the suits. Noah does the same while Tessa rushes gleefully to a dressing room. “We should have let her steal one of Violet’s dresses,” Noah laughs. “That would save us the pains of shopping.” I smirk, picking out a pretty standard tuxedo. “You’re going to look so handsome,” Noah smiles.
“Oh stop it,” I blush. “I’m going to go make sure it fits.”
By the time I get back to Noah, he has a suit over his arm. “Not going to try it on?” I wonder.
He shakes his head. “I know it’ll fit. Tessa said she’ll meet us there. Want to go get changed and bathed at the house?”
I nod and follow Noah from the shop. The sun is setting now. With the moon comes a strange, unwarranted feeling of dread…
Not only does it feel weird to be wearing such a fine tuxedo, but it also feels weird to be going to a party at the town hall, escorted by somebody I love more than Daniel.
People from all over town are making their way to the town hall. Everybody’s dressed up in their finest gowns. Not only does this feel like a celebration of the fall of Seth, but it feels like a very festive funeral for those he murdered.
“This feels strange,” I whisper, holding tightly onto Noah’s hand as we enter the large room where the party is. There’s very nice music playing and many people dancing.
“I agree,” Noah says. “But it’s nice. I haven’t been to many parties. I’ve never been to one with a date.”
I smile as we make our way to the makeshift bar. The bartender hands us champagne, which is apparently the only option. “Shame there’s no whiskey,” I laugh. “That drink led to some very nice sex.”
Noah laughs with champagne in his mouth and he chokes a little. “Damien, don’t make me laugh with a mouthful!”
“Sorry,” I smile, admiring him. He looks amazing in his tuxedo. It really shows off how amazing his body is… I can’t wait to rip it off him later.
All eyes in the room turn to the door as soon as Tessa walks in. She’s wearing a gorgeous, tight red dress that goes down to her ankles. It’s ruffled and strapless. She walks over to us and I notice the rose tucked behind her ear.
“You look amazing!” I tell her. She’s wearing high heels but she’s still short.
She smirks. “I know. You two do as well.” She takes a glass of champagne and drinks it very quickly. “Since Aaron isn’t here, I’m off to find a sucker to dance with.” She hugs each of us. “I love you two mongs.”
“I love you too,” Noah and I say together. She struts away, off to look for a guy to tease. It occurs to me how weird it is that I actually meant it. I love her, and Noah, but in different ways. What a marvellous emotion love is… It can make us feel cold and warm all at once.
“Damien Harpen,” Noah says, offering me his hand. “May I have this dance?”
I take his hand, kissing his quickly before allowing him to drag me into the crowd. I wrap my hands around his neck and his are on my waist. We’re surrounded by other people but we’re the only two who matter. This is the only man I want to be with, the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. “I love you so damn much,” I smile, leaning in for a kiss as we slowly dance in each other’s arms.
“I love you too. I always will.”
The music suddenly stops and the people around us fall silent. My whole world feels as if it’s crashing down painfully quickly as the crowd parts, allowing somebody to walk towards us. I feel my heart sink and break when I see him. He’s covered in dirt, even his hair, so dirty it’s as almost black as Noah’s.
Why is he back? How is he back?
“Daniel,” I whisper.
END OF BOOK ONE