Trigger warning: talk of attempted rape
They dashed From the beach into the house and back to the mansion. Doors slammed behind them. The house shook once again and they both fell to the floor. When the shaking stopped, Lenci stood and helped Beck up.
“Did we move again?” He asked as he regained his feet.
“Yes. That was an emergency move. I wonder why.” Lenci walked to the front door. “Let’s see where we are now.” She opened the door and groaned. “Crap.”
They were in what looked similar to a desert except that what was at her feet was not sand but salt. She would have seen it stretch on for miles in every direction if it weren’t for the circle of mansions they were not a part of. The shack part of their house was missing. The sun hadn’t set here yet but it would soon.
“What? Where are we?” Beck peered around Lenci. “What the—“
“We’re on the salt flats of the Great Salt Lake. Get dressed.” Lenci went to close the door as Beck retreated to his room. A hand stopped her. She reopened the door to see a man. This new man was only about two inches taller than her. Dark spiky hair stood on his head and his narrow eyes held dark irises within them. He was extremely well muscled in his too tight t-shirt.
He looked her over and whistled. “Someone’s been having fun without me.”
I don’t have time for you, Edan.” Lenci walked away with Edan following close behind.
“Of course you do. You certainly have time to let me enjoy you in your cute little swimsuit. I never get to see this much of you,” he whined.
“That’s because I don’t want you to.” She gasped as Edan took hold of her waist and spun her around. She crashed into his solid chest. He held her tight against him.
“Come on, Lenci. Spend some time with me. Like we used to.”
“No. We’re here for a reason. Now let me go,” she demanded.
“What if this is the reason we’re here?” He leaned in.
“No, Edan.” Lenci backed away as far as she could. She wouldn’t have this. If he wouldn’t let go on his own, she would make him let go. She grabbed his wrist and twisted as she pushed him away. He cried out in pain and cradled his hand. She followed with a good hard smack to his cheek. She immediately turned heel and strode the rest of the way to her room.
“Lenci, wait!” Edan walked after her. He tried to catch up as he shouted, “Wait! I’m sorry, okay?” Lenci only slammed her bedroom door in his face. Edan laid the side of his face against the door and said, “It can be how it used to be. We’re so similar, Len. I know you, I can feel you. Let me in.” He didn’t receive any answer.
“You know that’s not what we’re here for, Edan,” The Warden’s voice said from down the hallway.
“I know.” Edan turned back down the hall. “I can’t help it though.”
“You can help it,” The Warden chided. “Don’t give me that.”
“She’ll give in one day though. I can’t give up. You’re supposed to tell me to hang in there and have hope.” He looked up to The Warden who was nearly a foot taller than him.
“No I’m not. Why would I condone you harassing another person? Let alone another Edifice. When someone says no, it means no, Edan. You need to take your answer and go.” He looked down at him with serious eyes. “Don’t let me catch you bothering Lenci again.”
“Fine.” Edan walked away as Beck came into the hallway in a t-shirt and jeans.
“Warden,” Beck greeted. “It’s nice to see you again.”
“And you, Beck.” Warden paused as Lenci joined them in a grey shirt, black jeans, and white leather jacket. “I’m sorry to have to take you from paradise so soon. I had planned on you staying there for the remainder of the week.”
“It’s alright. What’s wrong?” Lenci wondered. There hadn’t been a meeting like this in over a hundred years. The last time was when… “Who was it?” Panic flooded her chest.
“It’s Aiden. He’s been released.”
“No.” Lenci covered her mouth with both hands. “Kuval?”
“He’s alive,” The Warden told her.
Beck stood in confusion but neither The Warden nor Lenci had the time or desire to explain at that moment.
“What do we do?”
“That’s what we’re here to discuss. Take a few minutes and meet outside. Beck,” he shifted his focus back to the confused man, “I’ll see you out there.” He disappeared in his white cloud.
“First question.” Beck turned to Lenci. “Who was that guy I heard you arguing with? The Warden sure told him off.”
Lenci cringed. “Edan. He’s an old… friend. Or he used to be a friend. We had a falling out when he tried to seduce me after I’d been titled. He knew it was wrong and dangerous but wouldn’t take no for an answer. I ended up knocking him out and moving away right after that. He can’t take the fact that I don’t want his friendship or anything else any more.”
“Anything else? Were you guys—“
“We were in the same class growing up. Over those years we had formed a bond. We had feelings for each other. Nothing ever happened that shouldn’t have. A few secret kisses, nothing more. He was made an Edifice a few years after me.”
“Next question.” Beck moved on quickly. “Who’s Kuval?”
“He was the Edifice for Aiden, the lava demon. Now his demon is free.” She shivered at the thought of a demon being on the loose. “Looks like they’ve found out how to break the lock put on us when we’re titled. It’ll make it easier for them to free more demons. Only high ups know that information. They must have gotten it when they attacked last month.”
“That’s horrendously terrifying,” Beck spoke exactly what Lenci was feeling.
“It is. I’m sure he’s already taken and destroyed many lives. That’s why we’re all here. Ward will explain what’s going on and what’s being done to capture that demon and prevent the others from being freed.”