Chapter 26: Journeyed

I felt a presence next to me. I turned to meet Leo. "Why did you do that?" He demanded. "Do you even know the danger you just put everyone through?"

"I refuse to let another burden suffocate me the way that stupid secret did. I didn't want—"

"Quit being so selfish Blight." He snapped at me. My jaw dropped in shock. He'd never spoken to me like that. Yeah, we fought, but that was mostly playful banter. I'd never seen him so livid at me in my life.

"What are you talking about?" I yelled.

"Do you know how much danger we are in now? How many times in the past month have you saved someone using that power? Now, we don't have that advantage anymore, because you decided to be a selfish little brat and—"

"I'm not being selfish. I did this for my family and for the sake of Flame's future posterity."

"I think you mean yours. The curse will only hit the descendants of the owner." Rayne did not tell us that, but the matter still stood.

I clarified. "Flame might take my necklace when I die and I downright refuse to have children. I may adopt human children, but that is it. I swear it, and before you ask about Ice, I don't think Ice's children will be kephorae."

"What do you mean? Are you saying that Ice's children will be mortal? That doesn't…" He trailed off. I smirked at him. Leo was oblivious at times, wasn't he? The children of a kephorae and a Sorcelite would be mortal, and it seemed that someone missed the lovesick stares between Ice and a certain Austin Sorcelain. "Why are you adopting? Are your children being kephorae really that bad?"

"Yes." I answered him confidently. His eyes scrutinized me. The coal color scared me, reminding me of death and darkness. It sent a shiver down my back. I missed the gray hue they used to be so much it hurt.


"I learned something from your mother last night. The majority of the vampire population hates my family which would cause any child of mine to be in grave danger and besides that, the supernatural life is ridiculously straining. You saw the way our lives turned out. Would you prefer to let a child suffer because you decided to bring it in to a world with only sorrow, secrets, wars, burdens and death?" I spoke about as bitterly as I felt.

"I don't get it. Why can't you see it the way I do? I've seen the way you are with Ice and Flame. You were raising them for such a long time, but when it comes to actually having children of your own, you stick up your nose at it. I don't understand what you are going on about anyway. Don't feed me excuses. I don't see a horrible world in front of me, not like you are describing."

I didn't think he would, so his answer didn't surprise me. I'd never known him to be insightful or deep. In fact, I found him to be rather immature. When you have to grow up as quickly as I did, you realize a lot more about the dangers of the world in front of you than most people would ever dream of seeing. It sucked.

"Why do you care about my future? My plans have nothing to do with you, so it should be none of your business!"

I could see the hurt lacing his eyes, and under that I could see the fury he was trying to hold back, and I knew I struck a nerve. I held back my initial impulse to smirk. "Because I don't want to have other people's children!" Leo yelled at me, before clamping a hand over his mouth like a cliché in a movie. I wanted to laugh at how absurd he looked, but I knew it wouldn't help my cause. I had him where I wanted him.

I may have known about his crush on me for about a week, but I knew I would never have figured it out if I hadn't been eavesdropping. Had I not known, I probably would have been too shocked at that point to continue the argument, but I was already prepared for the bombshell he had just dropped, and I had the perfect answer.

"What do you mean? Who said I was marrying you?" After watching him stutter for a few seconds, I smiled to myself. Never one to let someone else have the last word, I leaned in to kiss him, cutting off his incoherent "uhs" and "ums." We were so close I could feel his body relax against me. His arms reached up to hold me around the waist, and I had to wonder why I had decided not to act on my feelings before.

I felt content, feeling his lips on mine. If I could, I would kiss Leo forever without stopping to eat or sleep or anything.

Unfortunately, he pulled back, causing my mouth to feel quite lonely, as it has never had company before, and the long-awaited arrival of a visitor came and went too soon for my lips to feel elated by a new acquaintance. I didn't much mind, however. Their guest would be back to see them. I just knew it.

"Wow," Leo said. I felt a bit lightheaded from his electrifying kiss. I thought that maybe the dizziness was left over from almost having all of my blood drained only a few days before, but I wasn't sure. I couldn't think straight. He laughed nervously. "Blight, I… uh… need to ask you a question."

I looked at him perplexed, wondering what he wanted. He continued. "You know what my mom said about 'somewhat' vampires?" I nodded before telling him that it didn't make sense to me. "Trust me. I didn't understand it either. I asked her what it was after you passed out. Apparently, a full-vampire can create a full-vampire, but a half-vampire doesn't have enough venom to create a full-vampire-"

"Resulting in a 'somewhat' vampire" I concluded. "But why didn't your mother say anything?"

"I guess because of Nightshade." He told me, not sounding sure himself. I wasn't sure who that was, but I decided I didn't want to sound stupid by asking. "Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted me to change you. It could give you immunity and probably your sisters too. I thought the vampire population wouldn't be as quick to attack if you had vampiric qualities. You can have those babies with me now."

"I'm not changing my mind on that subject." And I meant it.

"Very well. You are a horrible kisser. I hate you, Katoptris."

"Hate you too, Montez." After a few seconds, we both broke out in laughter. "What about the sun? Will it harm me?"

"Nope, and the best part is, because you wouldn't be a full vampire, you would still get to be a kephorae. Which reminds me… how do you feel about drinking blood?" I shrugged. I didn't really have an opinion on the matter. Perhaps living a nomadic life had changed my taste buds around, and I didn't feel it was a good way, because while I felt as if I should have been a bit uncomfortable with the idea, and perhaps I would be later, at that moment it just felt as normal as eating pasta.

I looked at Leo, still not sure whether to say yes or no to his original question. He stared back at me, his nervous but hopeful expression telling me what I needed to know. Almost instinctively, I brushed my hair to side and turned so that my neck was open to Leo.

"Is that a yes?" He asked. He sounded rather confused. I felt a bit annoyed at having to explain that it was an affirmative answer. From the corner of my eye, I caught his triumphant smile.

His grip on my midsection loosened. He tenderly kissed my neck, causing me to let out a weird sound from the back of my throat. He attempted to stifle his chuckle, but I could feel the vibrations of his laughter on my skin. I blushed. He bit down, and I felt a sharp pair of triangular fangs digging in to my skin. I grimaced. From the corner of my eye, I watched Leo pulled back and lick his reddened fangs. I tried not to shiver at the grotesque image in my head when I saw my blood on his teeth. I lifted my hand up to meet my head, feeling the same dizziness I had felt the last time that this had happened, except not as bad.

I turned to face him. "Why didn't we just do this the first time?" I complained, not liking the feeling.

"I admit, it was tempting, although I wouldn't have known what you were going to end up as if I did." Leo said. "But I didn't want to do it to you if we weren't going to be together. It just didn't feel like something you would do to your friend."

"When we got back to my house, I told my mom I wanted to change you to get rid of the issues you being a kephorae would cause, which, by the way, was why she told you not to listen to me if I asked. After that, she briefly explained some-what vampirism. My mother isn't too keen on blessing someone vampire-anything, but she gave me permission. If our relatives or other grudge-holding vampires ever met you, they would know you were a Katoptris spawn right off the bat because of your similarities to Misty. She worries that they'd attack you. She hoped they wouldn't try to kill you if you were part-vampire."

I felt ashamed. Leo's mother had tried to see past her own views on vampirism to help save me, but I almost couldn't bring myself to go after her. I hated knowing that Leo was actually right. I was a bit selfish when I wanted to be, but another part of me was arguing with my conscience, saying that it was to save Ice and Flame and saving Ice and Flame at another person's expense would balance out the badness.

I realized then that someone's hands had moved from their placement on my waist to digging in my back pocket. "Leo…" I started to scold, but as soon as I did his hands were gone. In his hands was Alyssa's knife. It reminded me of the secrets she wanted to tell me, but couldn't.

The recalling of the secrets reminded me of the fact I had an older sister named Elaina. I decided to search for her. There was this inkling that finding Elaina was the key to my destiny and I wasn't sure why, but I knew that I had to find her to unlock my fate.

I looked back at Leo. He had cut a horizontal line across his wrist. "Why did you need a knife to do that?" I asked, exasperated with him.

"I didn't feel like biting myself." He answered, as if it was obvious. I wrapped my slender fingers around his arm, some part of me wondering why I was so eager to do something that essentially would get me nowhere.

I pulled his arm to my lips, letting my mouth be flooded with the blood gushing forth from his wound. When I pulled back I didn't feel any different, but I knew that some kind of transformation had transpired from within me.

"Let's go back inside." I ordered. "Grab your siblings. We need to leave."

"But we just got back," he whined. "And why do we need to bring Loni and Anthony? They're useless."

"I want to find Elaina, but something tells me that finding her is going to be difficult, and if my instinct is right I will need I many people as I can get." I grabbed Leo's hand and we raced each other back inside, readying ourselves for what lied ahead.

End of Book One

So that concludes that. What did you think? Don't expect Book 2 until after the summer. I'm still on Chapter Two of it, and I need to push the Dying Ember out of my to-do-list before I start it up.