"I suppose I don't really know what I expected when I bought you," Avion muttered and met her eyes, "but your emotions don't really matter."

Adrianna's heart ached as it squeezed tightly. Her brows drew together and she gritted her teeth but quickly tried to suppress how much that comment worried her.

"You say that you will never want me, and yet that comment affected you. Why? You confuse me, Adrianna."

"Of course it affected me! If my emotions don't matter then am I no better than a slave?" Adrianna shouted. Avion smiled and tilted his head. The look irritated her because it was as if he found her amusing, like a small animal.

"Stop looking at me like that!"

Avion's eyes widened and Adrianna was briefly satisfied before he disappeared and she was suddenly pulled into his chest, one hand over her mouth. She tried to yell at him but it was muffled and he only pressed harder against her mouth.

"Shh!" Avion hissed into her ear, eyes narrowed as he titled his head to listen. Adrianna shuddered and fell quiet, but she could not hear anything in particular.

Avion began to tug Adrianna towards the door, his arm around her stomach coaxing her backwards. She kept her wide eyes on the empty hallway, Avion's strange behaviour frightening her.

"There's about ten demons heading this way, and they're not happy," Avion whispered. They stopped near the door and he let her go to try the huge brass handles, but it was locked. Although it was to be expected, Adrianna's heart sped up.

"What are we going to do?" Adrianna frantically whispered.

Avion frowned. "There would be an easy answer to this, but you don't seem to like me hurting those who will kill us otherwise."

Adrianna groaned and covered her eyes as she leaned against the door. She turned and tried the handles herself, but it was useless. She rattled them and banged her fists on the wood, but Avion grabbed her arm and wrenched her away from it.

"Stop making so much noise!"

Adrianna nodded but pulled her arm away from him with a scowl. She knocked her knuckles against the wood and looked over at Avion.

"It sounds heavy, but can't you break it down if you're so strong?"

Avion shook his head. "No, the doors and walls in this place are all reinforced with powerful magic. Even if I knew how to remove it, it would take a long time."

Adrianna groaned and looked back at the hallway, it was still empty. "How far away are they?"

"Not far now. Mervelda has sent them, they were ordered to kill me but keep you alive. There are a couple of them who don't agree with that order however."

Adrianna closed her eyes and slumped against the door. She knew she was being stubborn, for she had done so much for her own survival already, so why not let Avion brutally destroy a few more demons? Her eyes opened as her head lulled to the side to regard his red eyed stare.

"I thought my feelings did not matter," Adrianna murmured. Avion grinned and leaned forward to capture her chin and tilt it up. For a moment both were quiet as his thumb moved slowly across her lips, his eyes trying to seize hers, although she avoided his stare. When Avion pulled away Adrianna watched him turn to face the hallway, his lips upturned. Adrianna's own tingled.

"I suppose I lied."

"So you did it to rile me up?" Adrianna said with narrowed eyes.

"No, I did it to show that you could one day care for me."

Despite the arrogance of his statement Adrianna shook her head to try to hide the smile on her face. "What should I do, then?"

"Stay here and don't move unless you really have to."

Avion began to move forward, but Adrianna shouted, "Wait! How will killing these demons get us out of here anyway? This could all be so pointless."

He did not stop walking as he responded, "Don't worry about it. I will make one of them open the door for us."

His confidence and light hearted attitude made her feel like they were going to escape, and for that she was glad. Her heart was still racing, but she watched him approach the hallway and pause at the entrance, the familiar feeling of hope burned in her veins.

"Avion!" Adrianna interrupted once more and Avion looked back with a raised eyebrow. "Can I have your jacket?"

His eyes wandered down her naked body and she quickly covered herself, making him laugh. He shrugged off his jacket and threw it towards her which she gingerly caught. It was covered in blood. She slipped it on and was instantly surrounded by his scent. It fell just past her knees and Adrianna quickly did up the buttons although it still did not cover her breasts, so she held the two sides of the jacket together.

Avion rolled his shoulders and flexed his fingers in preparation, a grin on his lips. His head tilted and he listened, the sounds making his grin widen. The next moment, a cloaked demon rounded the corner with another following directly behind him. The first noticed Avion and froze, causing the second one to take notice of him too. The demons stared Avion down, and although their faces were shrouded in darkness, it was obvious the anger they held.

The first demon darted forward, and mid jump, he disappeared. He reappeared with arms outstretched to grab Avion's neck, but he leaned back, using the demon's momentum to spin and throw him away. The cloaked demon rolled along the ground and shot up only to realise Adrianna near the door. She screamed and turned to run as the demon lunge for her, but Avion intervened and grabbed him from behind in a chokehold. He tried to choke him to death, but the demon was stronger than the others.

A fist collided with the side of Avion's temple, forcing him to the floor with a groan. The sound was terrifying, and Adrianna could still hear it as she watched the second demon grab the collar of Avion's shirt and wrench him to his feet. The first demon was still catching his breath and rubbing his neck, grumbling something to his partner.

"You can't kill me," Avion laughed and spat blood from his mouth, "don't kid yourselves."

Avion launched himself backwards and before he hit the floor he appeared behind the shocked second demon and snapped his neck. Adrianna screamed, closed her eyes and blocked her ears, but she had already seen it. The demon crumbled to the floor and his friend jumped back. His position worried Avion because although the demon's back was to Adrianna, he was much closer than Avion.

The demon roared something in his scratchy language and Avion only smiled. "How about you open up that door there and I will let you live?"

The demon turned to see Adrianna with closed eyes and blocked ears.

"Don't even think about it!" Avion barked. The momentary distraction allowed Avion to appear next to Adrianna and pull her into his chest. The demon's head whipped around to look at the hallway.

"You would never make it," Avion snarled.

The cloaked demon seemed to be truly contemplating making a break for it, and Avion was growing uneasy. He had been keeping tabs on the rest of the demons running around in the halls, and the eldest, who was not that old, had finally realised the commotion and was coming to investigate. Seven others trailed behind him. Although Avion knew he could handle them, it was Adrianna he was worried about.

"I could pay you!" Avion shouted and Adrianna peeked up at his face, his desperation worrying her. "I could give you more money than you'd ever imagined. As long as you helped us out of here and waited for me to travel back home, millions could be yours. Then you would be free."

The demon was unmoving as he stared at the hallway, his lack of a response frustrating Avion. He wondered why the lowly demon would was even thinking of turning down such an offer. The voices were growing much closer and Avion's grip on Adrianna was turning painful. She made a noise and he relaxed, throwing her an apologetic look.

Adrianna was too tense to care about their embrace. It comforted her, because although she was not entirely sure what was going on, Avion's actions were enough to frighten her. His suit jacket rustled against the skin of her back and she was reminded of her nakedness. Adrianna quickly felt ashamed that she had let that slip her mind and tugged the jacket over her breasts. She pulled out of his arms and Avion watched her stand beside him, but said nothing.

"What's it going to be?"Avion called.

Even Adrianna could see the change in his body. The demon tensed up, and although they could not see the rest of his body, his legs were getting ready to move. Avion disappeared just as the demon lunged towards the hallway. He appeared behind him and wrapped one arm around his neck and yanked him back against his chest, Avion's other arm covered the demon's mouth. Adrianna could see Avion's muscles straining against his blood splattered white dress shirt while the demon fought for his life. He kicked his legs back and bucked his hips, but Avion held on.

"Get him to open the door now!" Adrianna shouted. The demon began to struggle harder and Avion made a frustrated sound.

"Look at him, Adrianna! He is not going to help us!"

Avion wrenched the demons head to the side and it cracked into an awkward position. The struggling stopped and Avion stepped away, letting the body crumple to the floor. He turned to regard Adrianna's wide glassy eyes and appeared before her, his hands cradling her chin.

"Are you going to be okay?" Avion murmured. After a moment she nodded slowly and he turned away, listening for the noises of the other demons. His eyes widened and flew to the demon whose arm he had broken. Although his eyes were closed, he was very much so awake.

Avion appeared beside his body and yanked him off the ground by his arm.

"Get the fuck up!" Avion snarled.

The demon jerked in his grip and growled something but Avion wrapped his hand around his neck and squeezed.

"Shut up!" Avion shouted and began to pull him towards the door. Adrianna inched further away from them with a thumping heart. She spied Avion's furious expression and pulled his jacket further over her breasts, as if it would protect her from this Avion.

He rammed the demon into the door and yelled, "Open it!"

The demon grumbled something back at him and Avion exploded in a roar and threw him into the door, his head bouncing off the hard wood. Adrianna flinched and found herself looking anywhere but them.

"I kept you alive and allowed you to heal only because that lady over there wanted me too. I can just as easily kill you right this very second. So if you want to fucking live, you open this fucking door."

Adrianna's curiosity won over and she glanced back to see Avion holding the demon's shoulders as his trembling scarred hands rose to the door handles. He grasped them and a wash of yellow light shimmed over the door. It happened so fast Adrianna was unsure if she had even seen it. The demon pushed down on the handles and the doors creaked open. From her position she could not see the outside word, only the light that was emitted. She scrambled beside Avion to see well-kept grass leading up to a forest which surrounded the area in a dense wall. Adrianna swallowed the urge to groan. After the Crossroads, she was sick of everything green and flowery.

"Where are we?" Adrianna muttered but Avion ignored her. She glanced away to see him trying to subdue the demon who had become frantic. Avion was pulling him further into the room before throwing him to the floor. The demon began to get up but he placed his foot on his chest and shouted at him to stay down.

Avion appeared next to Adrianna and she jumped, her heart beating. She wanted to yell at him but his agitated expression and panicked grip which tugged her through the door made her reconsider.

The air was crisp and it chilled her bare legs. A shiver wracked her body, the surrounding trees had completely blocked out the sun. Adrianna had little time to study the area for she heard the door slam shut behind her and she was suddenly swept into Avion's grasp. In his arms, she caught sight of the looming white mansion over his shoulder and it made her heart squeeze. She could only imagine how much it had cost, and where that money had come from.

The mansion began to shake out of her view as Avion ran towards the dense forest, his strides long and hurried. Each step jarred her body and she struggled to keep the jacket over her breasts and hold on to Avion. She wanted to tell him to slow down, but there was obviously good reason for his speed. They raced into the forest, Avion nimbly dodging tree after tree, jumping over logs, pushing away branches and bushes. The constant jolting was upsetting her stomach and she closed her eyes, but it did not help.

"Where are we going?" Adrianna turned and yelled into his ear.

"Out of this forest!" Avion shouted in a voice that was not even laboured.

"Okay well you can put me down, I can walk!" Adrianna responded shakily as his steps jarred her words.

"Yes but you will be slow, and we do not have the luxury of walking right now!"

It was beginning to get darker the further into the forest they travelled and Adrianna was glad she was not walking. She doubted she could dodge the many obstacles— and the only reason Adrianna knew that was because of how often Avion jumped or ducked low.

When he finally slowed to a walk Adrianna relaxed into his grasp, not realising now tense she had been to try to stay in his arms. He stopped and ran his hand through her hair, making her sigh.

"Do you want to get down now?" Avion murmured.

Adrianna nodded and he placed her on the cold, slightly wet floor. She shifted uncomfortably and almost asked for him to pick her back up, but refrained. She did not want to seem like an invalid. Adrianna looked around, but it was very dark. The trees were large shadowy blobs and she looked pointedly at the floor to see if there was anything dangerous there, but nothing was distinguishable.

"Where are we?" Adrianna whispered, not wanting to alert whatever could be lurking.

"We're in the forest that surrounds Mervelda's auction house. I would just teleport us to my home, but I'm unable to use any of my magic here for these trees are cursed."

Adrianna thought back to the trees she had briefly seen in the dim light and believed them to look normal. She doubted Avion would lie about something like that however.

Something crawled over Adrianna's foot and she screamed, kicking her foot and jumping back. The noise echoed throughout the forest and rang in her ears. Suffocating silence followed and her throat clenched. She whipped around to look for Avion, but she could not see him.

"Avion?" Adrianna whispered, but even that sounded too loud.

She heard the crunching of leaves behind her and shrieked as she turned with her arms stretched outwards.

"Woah!" Avion shouted as her hands collided with his chest. He gripped them and pulled her into him, whispering for her to her calm down. Adrianna whimpered but muttered that she was sorry with her head against his heart. It did not beat, but she did not expect it to.

"The forest likes to prey on little girls like you if you give it the chance," Avion muttered and swept her back into his arms. "Let's just get going."

Adrianna did not say a word but was glad, as she felt much safer in his grasp. Instead, she thought about what Avion's home was going to look like. She assumed they were in demon territory, which must have meant they were in Hell. Fire and brimstone filled her mind's eye, but somehow, she doubted that would be the case. Mervelda's mansion was surrounded by a green forest, even if it was cursed.

"Were you respected on your way here?" Avion suddenly asked and Adrianna's eyes bulged.

"Respected? What do you think, Avion? I was sold into slavery by the first demons I came across," Adrianna responded bitterly.

Avion snorted and ducked under something. "I would say that that was being respected, but I mean because you are Marked. By Sear nonetheless…"

"No, of course I wasn't respected. In fact, I don't think anyone believed that I had been Marked by Sear," Adrianna said and then on second thought added, "the angels did actually, but that was only because one of them witnessed him do it."

"What?!" Avion spluttered and stopped walking, "an angel witnessed your Marking?"

Dread settled in Adrianna's stomach as she responded. "I would assume so. They were both there when I woke up."

Avion gripped her so tightly that her bones protested. Adrianna shouted at him to stop and asked what his problem was. He only ignored her and placed a hand over her mouth.

"Shut up," Avion hissed, "tell me one thing. Did you touch this angel when you were Marked?"

Adrianna's heart stuttered as Gabriel's pained face appeared in her mind. She saw the darkness bloom on his hand and his anger that followed. Avion's rage must have been draining air around them for she was struggling to breathe. Adrianna dreaded answering his question so intensely that tears appeared in her eyes.

"Answer me!" Avion shouted. Adrianna flinched and swallowed the sob that threatened to escape.

She nodded.

Avion cursed loudly and dropped her to her feet. Adrianna landed shakily and stepped away from him. He gripped his hair, viciously tugging at it. Although Adrianna could not see exactly what he was doing, it frightened her. Avion's eyes had closed as he breathed through the fury that clouded his thoughts. His body was heaving and he could feel his fangs and talons threatening to burst free.

"I didn't know that it would happen. Sear let me do it!"

He froze and opened his eyes, looking wildly into her hazel orbs.

"Is this true?" Avion whispered. Adrianna only nodded. "That motherfucker!"

Adrianna recoiled and asked softly, "Why does it matter?"

"Why, why indeed. You honestly have no idea, do you?"

She slowly shook her head, a frown on her face.

"The Marked females are our greatest weapons against the angels," Avion said.

Adrianna blinked. Her first thought was that she would be an awful weapon, but then she really thought about it and realised that it made sense.

"That is why our Marked females are so well respected. The males are a different story— the Marked males. The females are given the touch to injures the angels, but not the males," Avion said and shrugged, "no one really knows where it came from, but it was an invention of war no doubt. The Marked females protected our cities, and only when the angels breached them did they attack. None of them ever made it out alive, so it has been a magnificent secret."

Avion gritted his teeth and spat, "Before that fucker Sear ruined everything. Do you have any idea what this might do? If the angels know this about our Marked females…"

Adrianna wanted to argue that Gabriel was not going to say anything, but she had no idea. He was only going to withhold the secret for her sake, and now that she was gone, Adrianna did not know what was to happen. She thought of the brown haired angel that she had injured and decided that there was no way she was going to tell Avion about him.

Avion's eyes widened. "I bet he did this on purpose."

"Why would he do that?" Adrianna asked quietly.

"It's Sear, Adrianna! If you knew more about him you would not be asking that," Avion shouted.

Adrianna flinched and on instinct looked around the darkness surrounding her. She felt like it was threatening her, getting ready to swallow her whole. Her heart began to beat faster and she hugged herself.

"Okay, maybe we should just get moving," Adrianna hurriedly but softly said.

Avion reached forward and grabbed her upper arms. She could not see his face, so she was blissfully unaware of the rage that encompassed it, but he was confusing her.

"What are you doing?" Adrianna asked and tried to pull out of his grip.

"You really don't care, do you? After everything I've told you about Sear, you would still want to walk right into his arms."

"No! That's not true."

"Is that so? Why is it that every terrible thing I tell you about him just goes right over your head?" Avion asked with a raised eyebrow. Adrianna struggled against his hands but he only tightened them.

"Let go of me!" Adrianna shouted and continued to lurch around.

"No. Not until you understand—"

He was interrupted by Adrianna's hand trying to strike him across the face, but he caught her wrist. She shrieked out of frustration and tried to pull her hand out of his, but his grip grew painful, so she stopped.

"You are impossible," Avion hissed. He grabbed her other hand and began to drag her forward. Sticks poked into the soft skin of her feet and she stumbled on sharp rocks.

"What are you doing?" Adrianna asked, exasperated. He wrenched her to the right so suddenly that she narrowly missed a tree.

"I've been nothing but nice to you, Adrianna," Avion spat her name so viciously that she flinched, "I saved you from the awful people that could have bought you, killed demons for you and am now bringing you to my home." His words were spoken harshly but it was all true. Adrianna simply did not want to hear it.

He tugged her forward when she began to lag behind. "Keep up, little girl."

"Little girl?" Adrianna sneered.

"You sure as fuck act like one."

They continued in silence after Adrianna had groaned, "Whatever." He had let go of her hands and kept a strong grip on her upper arm instead. Adrianna stuck close to Avion as she had come close to hitting one too many trees. She assumed he could see in the dark because he acted like they were taking a stroll in broad daylight, not pitch black darkness.

Her feet were aching and she guessed they were bleeding from the sharp influxes of pain that occurred every now and then. It grew unbearable and she stopped where there was smooth wet ground and rose to the tips of her toes.

"My feet hurt so much," Adrianna murmured, looking away from Avion even though that did little for her anyway.

She heard him groan and her feet stung from the air as his arms came under her knees and back, lifting her into his arms. Adrianna bit her lip to refrain from making a noise and he began to walk.


Adrianna's eyes opened and immediately closed from the change of light. She supposed she had fallen asleep as her body ached from being in the same position for so long. Avion was not exactly soft and cuddly. She rubbed her eyes and squinted around her, not quite believing what she was seeing.

"This is the main city, Verel," Avion muttered and Adrianna looked up at him with wide eyes. She wondered when they had arrived, as there was not one bit of green around them, other than the skin of some of the demons. She thought that the forest must have been long gone.

It was definitely a city. Avion stood in the doorway of an old shop with Adrianna in his arms as demons of all shapes and sizes passed by on the sidewalk. The noises they made were loud and incoherent, creating a singular buzz of sound. Some walked slowly, some moved so quickly Adrianna had not seen them, and others stopped to stare. Hardly any of them looked human. Sear and Avion were so different from every other demon she had encountered, so she assumed it was rare.

One demon who walked by was so huge that even in her elevated state, she could only see his hip. The noises his feet made were amazingly loud and she looked down to see that they were the length of her body, if not more. As he continued by she craned her head up to see horns atop of his head and fangs poking out of his mouth.

Most of them wore normal "human" clothing, some wore cloaks like those back at Mervelda's, and some wore strange outlandish clothing. However, sometimes a demon would walk by who was completely naked. Adrianna saw one and her eyes bulged and she quickly looked away to see if anyone else found it strange, but no one did. He was covered in tattoos and the skin she could see was red. His eyes were pitch-black with no pupil, and as he passed by her he froze and turned. He grinned up at Adrianna as he was quite short, and rows of serrated teeth revealed themselves from his huge mouth. Her heart sped up and she whimpered, looking up at Avion's chin.

"Move on, demon," Avion demanded and curled Adrianna further into his body. The small demon's eyes widened in a comical way and he scampered down the sidewalk. His reaction to her made Adrianna clench her legs tighter together and tug the suit jacket further down her body. She was glad they were standing in a doorway as it was less likely anyone would see her ass, unless they were looking for it.

When Adrianna finally had the courage to look back out at the city, she studied the looming buildings that surrounded them. Some were a modern dark grey, but many shops were a gothic black. Several street carts lined the streets with venders shouting things in many different languages. Adrianna was not sure what they were selling, but some held strange charms and others had silks.

However, the strangest thing was that there was no road. No matter which way she looked, there were no cars. No one had any form of transportation. The areas where people walked simply took up both the sidewalks and where the road would have been. The only difference was that the strip down the middle was cobblestone, whereas the sidewalks were concrete. She wondered what the difference was.

Adrianna squinted at the grey sky and realised that most of the light was coming from the streetlamps. The sun was covered by the clouds and there was no blue up there. It unnerved Adrianna.

"What are you thinking?" Avion asked.

Adrianna bit her lip and looked up at him. "It's so different, but not. Why is there no road?"

Avion nodded with a smile. "Yes, I remember thinking it was strange but familiar so long ago. Ah, yes— roads, cars. We do not need them, you see. We can move so fast and even teleport so there is no reason for them."

"I see… but why is it cobblestone?" Adrianna said and shifted in his grip as a particularly frightening female demon stopped to stare at her. Avion inclined his head with a growl and the demon bared her own teeth, which were oddly normal, before strutting away.

Avion seemed distracted when he finally responded. "It's meant to be used by those who are running."

"I can't see them," Adrianna murmured, her eyes squinting to regard the cobblestone road.

Avion laughed. "Yes, exactly. Your human eyes would not be able to see it. That's why they're meant to keep to that area, it's dangerous because they're moving so fast."

"But some do not?"

"Yep. Do you really think demons would abide to such a rule? That is why I will continue to carry you, because some idiot could very easily be running along the sidewalk and if they were not paying attention, you could very easily die."

"Great," Adrianna muttered. Avion chuckled in response.

He went to step out of the doorway, but Adrianna whispered frantically for him to wait. Avion stopped and looked down at her with a raised eyebrow.

"Can you please hold me differently? If someone was walking beside me they would be able to see my… you know… and my ass," Adrianna explained with a blush, her eyes averted.

Avion laughed again but nodded and gingerly let her down. Even though she just barely touched the floor, her feet stung horribly. Adrianna winced but stopped herself from looking at them, as she did not want to see how bad they were.

Avion noticed her pain and quickly said, "Raise your arms and put them around my neck."

He leaned forward and she did as he said. Avion pulled her close and told her to wrap her legs around his waist. When Adrianna complied he put his arms under her ass and she tensed.

"It will be easier to carry you like this," Avion explained. She was flush against his stomach without any underwear on and it made her blush. Adrianna felt him tugging at the jacket so that it would go further over her ass and she stared intensely at the weathered door in front of her to try to ignore it.

"You're lucky you're such a tiny thing, otherwise my jacket would not have covered anything," Avion said playfully. Adrianna gripped his neck tighter in response and he took it as a sign to get going.

They stepped out onto the sidewalk and Avion began to talk about his house and explained that it was not very far away, but Adrianna could not concentrate. The demons that walked behind them stared so fiercely at her, most had vicious grins, but some were surprised and others were disgusted.

One who had been trailing them for some time was very tall and very naked. She might have been able to deal with that if not for the huge erection he was sporting. It made her gasp and the scaled man smirked at her. She buried her head in Avion's neck and closed her eyes, wishing that they were anywhere else. Clinging to Avion, she felt like the child he had accused her of. But at that moment she could not have cared less, and it was so very grateful for him.

Thank you for reading!

What do we think of Verel?

Thank you thank you for your review, Andrea! I'm glad you like Avion. I wonder what you think of him now. ;P

A big, big thank youuu to FaithlessJuliet for all of your kind and supportive words. This wonderful woman has reviewed from the Labyrinth forum's Review Trades. It is an amazing place to go if you want more opinions and help for your writing.

Of course, I thank rosekill for your follow on my story. It makes me happy to know you are interested in reading more. :)