Oh, my wonderful reviewers....Thank you!
BlackLioness: First of all, no need to apologize. As long as you review in the end, I'm happy! (jumps around in joy) Thanks for all the lovely comments...I want Chen as my protector too!
helena: Wow, so many Chen lovers....Yay, I have a lovable character! Thanks for the comments as well, and please keep reviewing!
an-inked: Thank you! Please keep on loving this story!
pianomasterette: No, I meant to put laughing. After all, she was a little hysterical from the news...But maybe crying would have made more sense...Hmm....
Just to warn everyone, the next few chapters might not be particularly exciting. I'm not in a very creative state right now, so prepare for possibly more grieving and self-blame from Rose and Chen, and perhaps some cliches. And sorry for the lack of updates! As always, school must come first...AHHH! SAT II's!
"Let go of me."
"Thor, could you please shut her up? She's driving me insane."
Thor threw Aidan a glare before tightening his grip on the arm of the woman walking beside him. She turned her head to look at him, and her delicate red lips formed those words again: "Let go of me." She was starting to get on Thor's nerves too. She was too proud. At this point most demons would be quivering and begging for mercy. He couldn't help but admire that though. She was rather petite, but she held her head high and continued to glare at him with those yellow eyes of hers. He casually cast a glance at her curvy figure, and inwardly smiled. She was as stupid as her father for getting herself caught that easily, but definitely not as ugly.
"Get your eyes off of me." Thor raised an eyebrow at her tone, then grinned widely and leaned down to whisper in her ear.
"I would suggest you shut up," he murmured. "But I'll be happy to take some time off and teach you your place instead." She snarled and raised a clawed hand to swipe at his face, but he ducked and dug his own claws into her arm. She clenched her teeth together as blood gushed out, but made no sounds of pain and placed her hand over the wound. Aidan looked disapprovingly at them but held the castle door open as they walked in.
"I want to take a walk," Rose murmured as she pushed away from Chen.
"I'll go with you," he said, getting off of the bed. "You shouldn't wander around by yourself."
"If you don't mind, I'd like to go alone." She avoided Chen's eyes as she stood up. "I need some time to think." Before he could say anything she walked out into the hallway. He could hear her footsteps as she hurried down the stairs, and he couldn't help but worry. There were plenty of other demons in the castle, and no one besides him and Thor knew about Rose. If they saw her, they would consider her an intruder and kill her. He shouldn't have let her leave. Smacking himself on the forehead, he quickly shed his shirt and jumped out of the bedroom window, growing his wings in the process. If she wanted to be alone, then he would let her, but he would watch her from above at the same time. He spotted a small figure running into the trees and followed it until it stopped beneath the same gnarled tree they had sat under before. As he alighted on the roof of a short stone tower he heard her sobs and involuntarily clenched his fists together. He should have known that there was a demon in her house. How could he have been so stupid?
"Stop beating yourself up," someone murmured. Chen looked around wildly and started in surprise when Luthais appeared beside him as his wings melted back into his back.
"Why are you here?" Chen growled, his wings disappearing as well.
"I'm on guard duty again. I heard something land on the roof so I decided to check it out, but all I found was an imp." He grinned, but Chen continued to stare through the trees unhappily. "You do realize that blaming yourself isn't going to get you anywhere, right?"
"It's my fault."
"No, it isn't. How would you have known that demon would show up in her household? It's not like you advertised that you were making visits there."
"But I should have told her more about myself. If she had known more about me, she could have decided to stop being friends with me and she wouldn't have been in so much danger."
"You idiot. It wasn't like you forced that demon to kill the girl's mother. And if you have to blame something, blame the war. Now stop feeling so depressed and get down there. We need you back in the castle, and it's not exactly a good idea to leave your friend in the forest." With that Luthais left through the trapdoor in the roof, leaving Chen to sort things out for himself.
Rose looked up, startled, as Chen dropped down beside her. She quickly wiped her tears away and gave him a small smile.
"I guess you didn't hear me say I wanted to be alone," she murmured half-jokingly. He smiled in return and offered her a hand as he stood up.
"We have to go back. They need me and I don't want to leave you here."
She took his hand and he pulled her up. "What's the matter?"
"Something urgent. Close your eyes; I'll get us there quickly." She did as she was told and he wrapped his arms around her, his wings regrowing in the process. Rose felt a gust of air whoosh by them, and suddenly her feet were off the ground. Startled, her eyes flickered open and widened in surprise when she realized they were in the air. Slowly she lifted her head, which had been buried in Chen's chest, and stared at his wings.
"You can't be serious," she muttered.
"It's not as fast as teleportation, but it's much more fun," he said, laughing and tightening his grip on Rose. She noticed and felt a blush creeping up her cheeks as she realized how close they actually were. "Scared?"
"Oh, no, not really," she stammered. He mistook her quivering voice as a sign of fear and held her even tighter.
"Don't worry, I won't let go. Anyway, we're almost there." Sure enough, in the distance she could see the imposing building. With a last flap of his wings Chen landed on a narrow stone protrusion. It was on the second story, which wouldn't have been too bad if the floors weren't twenty feet high. Rose peered fearfully around and noted that the wall was made entirely of glass before practically jumping out of her skin as she heard a thundering voice behind her. Fortunately Chen was still holding onto her.
"Thor, are you trying to kill me?" Chen said from over the top of Rose's head.
Chuckling, Thor swung open one of the panes of glass and held it open for them as they stepped inside the room. "Well, it's your fault for always landing on that ledge."
"What did you need me for?"
"If you would let go of your friend there I'll tell you." Chen looked down and chuckled before releasing a very flustered Rose. She watched, curious, as his wings disappeared, then turned her attention to Thor. The intimidating demon looked back at her, his red-tinted eyes penetrating her own green ones. Then he extended a hand to her.
"I am Lord Thor," he murmured.
She took his hand. "Pleasure to meet you. My name is Rose."
"The pleasure is mine." He planted a light kiss on the back of her hand and inwardly Chen groaned. Typical of Thor to play the gentleman. Rose blushed and he let go of her. "Now then, let's go deal with Shivra's daughter."
Chen stared at Thor in surprise as he began walking away. "Shivra had a daughter?"
Thor raised an eyebrow. "Of course. Now hurry up or Aidan will kill her before we get there. She's been quite an annoyance." He hurried away, Chen and Rose lingering behind him.
"Who's Shivra?" she asked.
"Another demon," Chen replied as they strolled down a maze of corridors. "We're not exactly the most peaceful species. Wars between clans are commonplace here, and Shivra was the leader of another rival clan. We've eliminated most of his followers, but I guess he had some offspring we didn't know about."
"You kill others for a living?!"
"Now you see why I never told you anything," he murmured, staring straight ahead. Before Rose could say anything they entered a large brightly lit room, a woman sitting in an armchair in the center. A slender man was pacing back and forth, stopping every few seconds to glare at the woman. Rose noted with alarm that her arm was bleeding.
"I see she finally shut up," Thor said, causing the man to stop in his tracks. "What did you do Aidan?"
"I threatened to sew her lips together," Aidan said, grinning. "I had to sew one side shut before she stopped talking." The needle and thread on a small table in the corner, plus the woman's bleeding lips, were enough proof.
"If you don't want to stay," Chen whispered in Rose's ear, "you don't have to. I'll find someone to escort you back."
Thor heard him and turned around. "I would think you would want to stay to see justice done to your mother's killer." Chen and Rose stared at him.
"My...my mother's killer?" Rose whispered, ignoring the stream of curses coming from Chen in the background. She looked over at the woman, and felt rage rising within her. She killed my mother.