Chapter 20 - Longing For The Lost
Almost as soon as they stepped through the door, Zenith could feel the heat of his demonic side begin to fade. Leaving his body feeling a little shaky and weak, though he couldn't understand why. But he didn't show it, though it made him think about how Zan felt being separated from his soul. Even though Zenith didn't have one, he felt slightly empty when his other self disappeared.
They were back in the little shop. Nothing was different from when he had left, except the violin was back in the glass case like it was on display. Bliss immediately grabbed any clothes that she saw and pulled them on, slightly conscious of her naked form, though Zenith had the modesty not to look. However, the thought made him think of Xeno and how the sight of her naked back when she showed off her scars almost sent his calm demeanor over the edge and grab her and hold her to him and never let go and that was just the watered down version of things that were running through his head. But he knew even with all her airs of fearlessness and strength that she was truly delicate to break if he did anything without her consent.
"Oh my god, you're alive!" a voice exclaimed. Coming from around the bookcase, Shawn walked toward them apprehensively. The moment he caught sight of Honey in Zenith's arms though, made him race forward with disregard to his fear.
"Honey!" he whispered, examining her like he was a forlorn husband. Zenith's hunch was right, Shawn's scent was in Cinna just like Honey's.
"Get her some clothes, man," Zenith barked an order with annoyance. Feeling more irritable than normal and telling himself to calm down. Shawn stood straight and nodded, running around the store like a madman searching for any clothing that would fit her.
When he came running back, Zenith set Honey down gently onto the counter. Her eyes were open slightly but glazed over like she was somewhere else. At least she was conscious enough to sit up on her own, even if she was slumped. The wolf in Zenith wanted to whine for she looked like a puppy that had been kicked one too many times. While at the same moment howl in anger and rip apart everything he could get his jaws on, especially Julius.
Shawn carefully began to pull clothes over Honey's head, his hands unsteady but working as quickly as he could without injuring her. When she was fully clothed, he hugged her to him like she was going to die. "I thought I'd never see you again," Shawn whispered, voice shaky. "It's been months." He glanced at Zenith. "I thought you were dead after the first week."
Zenith looked at him puzzled. "What are you talking about? I just barely walked through the door an hour ago at least."
"That's how it works," Bliss said. "This world. How time works." She came around a corner dressed in a baggy shirt and pants. Her hair still a mess but styled that way instead of forced. Her once soft face was stiff, her eyes were hard as she glared at Zenith. "What kind of deal did you make with him? No one gets away from Julius so easily."
"But you did," he retorted, recalling his deal with Julius.
Bliss's eyes narrowed further. "I escaped. And it was far from easy. If it hadn't been for Xeno I would have wasted away, probably would have been dead if it wasn't for her. Hell Raven was caught and already pregnant and dead by the time we were caught. But we all escaped before without having to make deals with the devil. What did you bargain with him?"
A bell chimed in Zenith's head. "What's Xeno's secret?" he asked, feeling a slight flash of hope that if Bliss knew then maybe Xeno wouldn't be able to be hunted down. What could she possibly have done that would be so bad?
Bliss looked at him irritated and scoffed, throwing up her hands and shaking her head. "I don't know. She has lots of secrets, many of which are probably best not told. What does that have to do with anything?" She walked over to Honey, setting her hand against her forehead tenderly.
Zenith's hope deflated instantly. "Just part of the deal," he mumbled.
Bliss stood erect then and stared at him. "Part of the deal?" she asked skeptically. "Listen to me, Zenith, if whatever deal you made with Julius has to do with Xeno's secrets and can keep her safe without you having to know, then don't ask her. Just forget about it, okay?" She shook her head. "I can't believe you'd leave her in the first place just to rescue us." Zenith glanced at her and she rolled her eyes tiredly. "I've seen how you look at her. Demons look at us with an evil glint I've seen all my life. Except Zan and Luido look at her like they've known her their whole lives, but you can't keep your eyes off of her like she's going to disappear. Who exactly is she to you?"
Zenith hesitated. "She is…"
Xeno - First Person
It seemed like forever to me, though I kept telling myself not to care. Zan, Luido, Cinna, and I had traveled through five changes in time. What I counted in days to be seven months since they'd left Zenith at the shop could have been years, but I didn't have a clock to keep. When he hadn't come back after the first few days I just knew that he was dead. My heart ached at the thought and at times I felt like crying, but I didn't. I forced myself to remember I had told him that he wouldn't make it. Told him it was useless to play hero in this world. What did he really think he'd accomplish? But if he was dead, why did I keep track of the days hoping he'd come back?
For a while we all just kept walking. Between the four of us, Luido and Cinna were the only ones that made much noise. Laughs and squeals combined with running around in circles like chickens with their heads cut off. But I supposed it was better than be stuck in silence. I thought I'd prefer it, but during the rare moments the two loudmouths were quiet I found the silence deafening and scarier more than comforting. Zan was still as quiet as usual unless goaded into talking and being forced into playing around with the others. When he was I could tell somewhere inside him there used to be a little boy that was just as rambunctious as Cinna was. What happened to him? I wondered.
After the first three time changes we ended up in a forested area. Zan said he couldn't sense any demons or surprisingly any old demon presences, as if demons didn't exist there at all. Deciding it was the safest place to stay, whenever a time change came we held as still as we could so we weren't swept away to another place. A river ran along a few miles away into a lake, so at least our thirst was quenched and with the stolen goods from the bikers it was like we were on a camping trip.
I sat with my knees against my chest staring blankly into the sparkling blue fire Zan had made. Luido and Cinna were already fast asleep and Zan was making a final patrol of the area.
"You should get some rest." I looked up to see him returning from the dark forest edge like a ghost. His skin was paler in the firelight, but it made his eyes glow. That was usually the extend of our conversations. His doting concerns for us all, instructions, opinions and orders, but never an actual conversation.
"If Zenith was alive," I whispered quietly, making Zan stop halfway to check on the two snoring bodies that I envied for not having nightmares behind closed lids. "How would he find us?"
Zan leaned down, pulling a blanked over them before coming to sit next to me. I noticed he tried to stay as close as possible unless he needed to do something elsewhere. "Zenith has his ways, don't worry."
I huffed, never a straight answer. I guessed he wasn't too sure either. Finally, things that nagged at me from the beginning burst from my lips before I could think to stop them. "Before when we met you, Luido said I looked like your sister. Zenith said I did too." I leaned back slightly and pulled out the hourglass Zan had given me, dangling it between my fingers. "Is that why you gave me this?"
Zan glanced at it then stared back at the fire. "I know you don't remember anything, but I don't think that you looking and acting like her is just a coincidence. But I guess that's just hopeful thinking. When I gave you the hourglass I wanted to make sure you'd be safe. My sister was a half demon like me, but you aren't so you get hurt more easily. It's a good think I did too, you broke your back when we got split up at the cave. Luckily it transferred to me 'cause you would have died." He paused for a second. "I was also hoping it might help you remember something about us. About me." He sounded a little lost, but tried to hide it behind a faint smile. "It's alright if you don't. Anonymous lived her life the way she wanted, I wouldn't want to push it on you."
I felt myself about to tear up, but held them back. "I'm sorry I can't remember anything. Believe me, ever since I saw you I've been trying but its all just blank." I pulled the chain of the hourglass from around my neck, holding it out to him as he watched me carefully. "Thank you for this, but you should take it back."
Zan looked surprised. "Keep it, it'll keep you safe."
I shook my head. "I think if I were your sister, I wouldn't want my pain to become yours. Besides you look tired without it to keep your strength up, if anything were to happen to you because you're too weak I don't think I could live with myself."
He stared at me for a while before his large cold hand closed around mine. "If I sense anything remotely dangerous to you, you have to take it back. Understand?" he asked, eyes serious as they somehow stared into mine.
I swallowed and nodded weakly. Zan nodded back before slipping the chain from my hand so the hourglass fell into his palm. Then, with a little wince, he pressed it against his chest where his heart was. The bright light that had shined before began again as he pushed against his chest. After a few seconds it ceased and Zan opened his eyes. They glowed like the stars and with more energy than he'd had before. Suddenly his skin looked like it actually had some color.
He gasped and shuddered before chuckling to himself. "One thing I know now, your soul is definitely the same as my sisters."