Home > Fallen Academy: Year Three (Fallen Academy #3)(15)

Fallen Academy: Year Three (Fallen Academy #3)(15)
Author: Leia Stone

The moment he left, Raksha booked it, with me hot on her heels.

My escape plan was officially in effect.

God help me.

Chapter Thirteen

As we made our way past Lucifer’s office, I tugged on Raksha’s shirt and stopped. “Wait. He’s not there. We can grab Sera.”

She spun, fury overtaking her face. “It’s magically locked. You have to let your blade go.”

I whimpered. “Can you magically unlock it?”

She pinched the bridge of her nose and looked like she was about to smack me. “No. Then he’ll know it was me. I’m the only one powerful enough. Brielle. We. Need. To. Move. Now.”

‘Go, you idiot!’ Sera shouted.

Reaching out, I gave the handle a quick pull to find it was indeed locked.

‘I’m so sorry. Please forgive me,’ I cried.

‘You’re forgiven. Always.’ Her ease at letting me go, letting me leave her in this godforsaken place, made me love her a hundred times more. It’s what I would’ve done for Shea or anyone else I loved.

With a hard yank, Raksha pulled me away from the door. In that moment, I fully gave up on any notion that I might be taking Sera with me.

We walked in hurried silence for the half-mile trek through the maze of tunnels until the light began to shine ahead, signaling that we’d reached our destination. Raksha stopped about twenty feet from the red door and spun to face me, tears in her eyes.

“Tell my family I love them. Tell them not to worry about me, and this is all I’ve ever wanted for them. Promise me you’ll get them to Angel City.”

My heart pinched as I realized that once I smuggled them across the border, she’d no longer be able to get letters to her wife and son. She was giving them up so they could have a better life; just as Sera was doing for me.

I grasped both of her hands and met her eyes with a fierce determination. “Your family is my family. There is nothing that will stop me from getting them to safety but my own death,” I reassured her.

She nodded, biting her lip. “You’re… quite exceptional, Brielle. Thank you.”

I forced the sob in my throat to stay down. Now wasn’t the time. “No. Thank you.” I pulled her toward me and hugged her tightly.

When she pulled away, there was something in her hands—my engagement ring from Lincoln, and it had no dark magic on it. I couldn’t speak. All words were lodged in my tight emotional throat, and she seemed to understand that as she slipped the ring on my left hand, squeezing it.

Then she took a deep breath, red magic swelling and crackling in her palms.

“Make this look real. My life depends on it,” she urged. With that, she threw the red magic at the wall. It scorched the upper half, leaving black charred marks in its wake.

I’d grown to love this hardened woman. I didn’t want to hurt her, but I knew what was at stake here.

“Stab me!” she whisper-screamed.

There was no scenario in which I would stab her. I didn’t want her to die, but I would mess up her face good enough, so that the Dark Prince knew a battle took place here. I dropped my cane, deciding to leave it behind, knowing it would only slow me.

With a wince and a mumbled apology, I reeled back my hand and cracked her in the nose. She yelped as crimson blood gushed down her lips, wetting the front of her shirt. Next I popped her in the eye, which hurt the hell out of my hand, but I knew it would leave a shiner for days. She didn’t cry out, just took it.

“More!” she hissed. “He knows what you’re capable of.”

“I’m sorry. I love you,” I told her for the first and probably last time. Then I pulled my fist back and hit her in the right temple, hard. Right where Lincoln taught me.

She fell to the ground like a sack of bricks, unconscious.

Quickly flipping her onto her side, I conjured my dark magic and produced an inky black blob that I threw over the lower half of her legs, and hands, keeping her pinned in place, so it would look like our fight was real. I hoped the burn marks on the walls from her magic, and what I’d done to her were enough for the Dark Prince to trust that she’d fought me hard.

After dealing with her, I shook out my sore hand and pulled the steak knife from its hiding place. Mathias, the man who was always behind the red door, was a scary-powerful Dark Mage. I was going to have to kill him quickly; any second of hesitation and he’d pull his magic on me, overpowering me.

I stood before the red door, no clue as to how many minutes or seconds were left until he would open it—Raksha was always the keeper of time down here. Adrenaline coursed through my body in waves; making me dizzy the longer I waited.

‘I love you,’ I told Sera, knowing once I was free of this place, I’d lose all communication with her. That knowledge alone broke my heart.

‘And I love you. Now slit this guy’s throat, and get the hell out of here,’ she encouraged.

I chuckled to myself. Sera was my greatest cheerleader. Always.

Just then, I heard a slight popping noise and a shuffling behind the door.

Oh God.

My heart jumped into my throat, and I tightened my grip around the knife as I half crouched.

When the door opened, I didn’t think, just reacted.

Exploding from my lowered stance, I surged forward, kicking the door open wider with my foot and lunging for the Dark Mage.

He gave a cry of surprise and tried to step back, but he held something in his hands, and wasn’t prepared for my calculated attack. With one slash, I gored his neck open, bringing him to his knees in a mess of blood.

Remorse rolled through me as he bled out quickly right then and there, but then I reminded myself of what this man did. He brought things like Archangel Michael’s blood to the Devil.

Screw him.

Wasting no time, I leapt over his body and into the shimmering portal that led to a sparse bedroom. My body sailed through the space, landing hard on the ground, which made my bruised legs ache. Walking without my cane was going to hurt, but I didn’t care in the slightest. I was free.

Glancing around, I saw only a twin mattress on the floor with a ratty blanket thrown haphazardly atop it.

‘I made it out!’ I sent to Sera in case she could hear me.

‘Good, now run!’ she shouted as the portal started to shrink closed behind me.

I took gingerly steps toward the door and opened it slightly, tiptoeing out into a hallway. When I heard loud voices, I froze.

‘I’m not alone,’ I told Sera.

No response.

‘Sera?’

The portal had closed, and it seemed my connection to one of my best friends had as well.

Shoving away the mental breakdown I really wanted to have at that thought, I crept down the hall, heading away from the voices to find that it only led to a bathroom with bars on the window.

Shit.

Okay, I’ve faced worse. I can do this.

Creeping back down the hall toward the voices, I proceeded with caution, trying to get a layout of the apartment. I passed a kitchen that was empty of people, and then slowly peered out into the living room. Just beyond it was the front door and my freedom, but there were two men sitting on a couch playing cards. One was an Abrus demon and the other a Dark Mage.

Lincoln wasn’t there to guide me, and neither was Sera, but I had a bloody kitchen knife and one hell of a determination to live. I was going to make a run for the door. There was no other way. There was no balcony or back door off the apartment, and all the windows were barred.

“What’s taking Mat so long?” the Abrus demon asked. I knew I needed to just go for it or I’d lose my nerve.

I burst from my hiding spot, and streaked across the space, reaching the door in record time. If it’d been unlocked, I would’ve made it.

But unlocked it was not.

As I fiddled with the deadbolt, two hands clamped on my shoulders, and I decided I was going to have to kill them too. I spun quickly, lashing out with my knife, and catching the Abrus demon in the arm. The Dark Mage seemed to have a better idea of what was going on, as he’d quickly built up a red spell in his hands and flung it at me, before I could even think to jump out of the way.

The moment it crashed into my skin, I knew I was screwed. A slow, paralyzing tingle worked its way down my body. I’d felt the same sensation once before, though to a lesser degree, when Tiffany tried to drown me at the beach games.

“No!” I cried out, dropping the knife as the spell made my hands go limp.

Both of the men stood nearby, taking stock of me.

“Is that Lucifer’s girl? The one with black wings?” the Abrus demon mused.

Technically my wings were half white now, but I wasn’t going to argue.

My legs gave out then and I started to fall forward only to be caught by the Dark Mage. His arms came around me and he immediately dragged me backward onto the couch.

The spell seemed to leave me breathing and with my ability to speak, so I tried to talk my way out of it. “No, that girl is still down there. I’m a Necro.”

The Abrus demon rolled his eyes, reaching over to peel my T-shirt down a little bit and show the devil mark tattoo on my chest.

Dammit.

“I’ll go and tell him. We’ll be promoted for this,” the Abrus demon added excitedly.

“No, wait!” I screamed. I’d come too far to be caught now.

I was racking my brain with anything to say, when the door was kicked in harshly. It splintered apart, sending shards of wood left and right, and in stepped a glowing white angel in tattered clothes. I stared in shock at the creature, and his bright white wings that seemed to be made of light, until I finally found the words to speak.

“Bernie!” I shouted.

The Abrus demon and Dark Mage burst forward collectively, going into full attack mode, but Bernie, once homeless and blind, but clearly not human, stood at the ready. He lashed left and right with a sharp sword, cutting the two men down quickly, as if they were nothing but a mere nuisance.

When he’d incapacitated them, he kneeled over me as I lay frozen on the couch. One touch from his hand and the spell was broken over my body. Now able to move my limbs, I bolted upright, wide-eyed and openmouthed.

   
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