“Are you sure you want to leave, Eden?” Rachael asked her daughter as they stood inside the alcove of the Academy. Asher had just finished loading the last of their luggage into one of the Academy’s town cars and was hurrying back toward Eden and their daughter. Rain was steadily falling now and had been for days. This was London after all.
“Yes. I think it’s best we give Ebony as normal a life as possible.”
“All right, the car is loaded. Are my girls ready?” Asher stepped up so he was level with his wife’s and daughter’s faces. He kissed both their cheeks.
“As ready as we’ll ever be, right Ebby?” Eden hoisted her toddler higher on her hip, brushing her dark brown hair out of her face. “Say bye bye to Grandma.”
Rachael was saddened when Eden came to her and told her of her and Asher’s wishes to go back to The Realm of Death. But Eden was no longer a child and she could no longer protect her. She was woman and a mother now and could make her own decisions. This didn’t make it any easier for Rachael and Lakyn.
“I wish your father didn’t have to go back to the Capital,” she said.
“I know, but your grandpa is a busy man, isn’t that right, Ebby?” said Eden, stroking her daughter’s chubby cheeks. Rachael held her granddaughter in her arms for probably the last time. Well, she hoped it wouldn’t be the last time.
“I’ll try and visit when I can,” Rachael sniffled.
“Mum, you know it’s not safe. Asher and I have to protect Ebony at all costs. Her trait is already appearing. It won’t be long until she’s documented. And then every Nephilim tabloid and tv news station will want a piece of her. Asher and I don’t want that for her. You know this is the only option. You of all people should know the risks. I’m just doing what you did all those years ago.”
“I know, but look what running away did. Please, Eden. She can be protected here at the Academy.”
Eden shook her head. “You know she can’t. It’s already too late.”
Asher placed a protective hand on Eden’s lower back. Eden then took her daughter from Rachael and made her way toward the car with Asher.
“Eden, please. You don’t have to go.”
“You know we do. I’m sorry, Mum. Goodbye.”
Without another glance, Asher, Eden and Ebony slipped inside the car and disappeared into the busy London traffic.
They had no idea what lay ahead for them, but they had to protect Ebony at all costs. Even it was the last thing they ever did.
Fourteen years later…
Ebony skipped down the stony path toward her favourite maze. This maze had been created from pure love and energy in this angelic realm. Anything could be created or destroyed here with a mere thought.
But Ebony was not a destructive soul. Or, so she liked to think.
Her parent’s decision to come and live here fourteen years ago was one made with a lot of sacrifices. But it was all for her protection, so she been told.
The Realm of Death was the place where her parents had first sought solace. It was where her mother had learned how to grow into her powers and use them.
It was also where her cousin Max resided.
Max was the new Angel of Death, or Angel of Night, as he preferred to be called.
Ebony was glad she wasn’t alone in this world.
She continued on toward the maze, and as she entered, the vines began to twist inward, blocking Ebony from turning back.
She was not afraid. As she had a special trait, a special angelic power, that came in handy when she was inside the maze.
The maze she felt was the source of her power. Her powers were strongest inside it.
She heard the sound of gravel crunching underfoot somewhere ahead. She smiled and hurried toward it. She hoped he would be waiting for her.
She reached the centre of the maze, and as she rounded the last hedge, the vines twisted and curved upward to create a canopy over their heads.
That’s when she saw him.
He was indeed waiting for her.
“Luca,” she said, smiling. “You came.”
Luca folded his wings behind him and walked toward her. Ebony slipped her hands inside his and smiled up at her friend and guardian angel.
“I told you I would. I don’t break promises.”
“I’m glad you did. I know how dangerous it is for you to be here in this realm.”
“I know. There a certain rules your parents had to break and others I had to break to be here. but you know I will do anything for you, Ebony.”
She smiled and took his hand and led him toward the two- seater stone bench in the middle of the circle of vines. They sat beside each other, turning their bodies slightly so they faced each other. It was their secret place. They tried to meet here every single day, but some days, Luca’s duties to their goddess kept them apart.
Lucky for Ebony, their goddess was also kind of her aunt. So, she liked to think she was in Scarlett’s good books.
That didn’t make what her and Luca had any less forbidden.
Luca was a guardian angel, only new to the ranks, but the number one rule of being a guardian angel was to never fall in love with their subject. If they did, then their powers would be stripped, and they would slowly become human.
Ebony didn’t care, though. She would love Luca regardless. But that would mean she wouldn’t be able to see him. Only souls and those with angel blood could enter this realm.
Their universe was complicated.
So, Ebony and Luca liked to live in the present moment.
Luca reached out and tucked a strand of ash brown hair behind Ebony’s ear. She leaned into his touch.
“Unfortunately, I can’t stay long today. I have training to do. The Goddess will be looking for me if I’m away from the Realm of Fire for too long.”
“Oh. Then we’d better enjoy the time we have.” She leaned toward him and brushed her lips over his.
Luca sprang back, bright white wings unfurling.
“Luca! What’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry. I forgot. I got carried away.”
“We have to be careful.” He brushed her cheek with his knuckles, then with one more touch to her lips with his thumb, he flapped his wings and was gone just like that.
Ebony knew the risks they were both taking, but it still hurt when he left all of a sudden like that. She then noticed the lone rose laying the bench beside her. She smiled and picked it up, brushed her fingers over the silvery purple blossom, but as soon as her skin touched the petals, they wilted and died. The destroyed rose petals fell to the ground by her feet in a flurry of ash.
She hoped that wasn’t a sign of things to come.
“Ebony! It’s school time!” Her father’s voice broke her out of her stupor.
“Coming!” she sprang off the seat and opened up the path before her by talking to the vines and trees around her through her thoughts as she ran back toward the house.
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