“Reconsider?” he said. He was right behind her. His cold fingertips pressed at the bare flesh where the crook of her dress gave way to her shoulders and wings. “All I need is one drop of blood. Far be it from me to ask you for anything more.”
This was it. It was now, or never. It was her one chance to turn this situation into something other than her own death. Resurrecting a star was difficult, but it wasn’t impossible. She didn’t need to resurrect a star, but the metaphorical aspect of it seemed a fitting equivalent for the request she was about to plead to the magus.
“A deal,” she said. “I’ll make a deal with you. You can have one drop of my blood on the condition that you release me from my chain of bondage to this valley.”
His hand slid over to her neck. She gritted her teeth; how long had it been since another human had touched her? How long had her own skin been fasting from the warmth and tickle of another’s skin, sensations of which were generated on purpose and by design of another being?
A calloused single finger slid up her neck to the base of her spine and pressed inward. “I don’t know if I can even do that,” he muttered as though to himself and not at all as if she were there. He seemed to be in his own little planet, far from his physical body and far from a conversation between himself and her. He chuckled. “But I suppose its worth a try.”
Both his hands went around her neck. She thought he might try to choke her, but he didn’t tighten his grip near enough. “You will be free to roam the lands and destroy whomever and whatever you wish.” He still wasn’t talking to her; how on earth could a person of his nature be so high, so out-of-body when next to a fated enemy?
Then, as though through a dream, he spoke. “Holy magic, you are summoned to sever the chain binding the druidess to the Judean Valley.”
A bolt of lightning thundered down from heaven—not from the sky but from the portion of space outside of the solar system’s keiper belt, and it fell at a speed faster than light and exploded her ear drums. It consumed her body for a brief moment, as though a waterfall appeared on top of her and gushed down thousands of gallons of water each minute. Somehow, she survived the encounter.
The next thing she knew, the young man had a hand on each of her shoulders; his smile had not faded in the least, and he watched her eye to eye, face to face. “Boy,” he said with the brightest smile that a ten-year-old at his birthday-cake pizza-party. “I’m really not sure if I was supposed to do that or not. Ha ha ha! Ha ha. That will be a lot of paperwork to fill out later. I might even lose my job. Ha ha! Don’t you think that’s funny?”
She shook her head. He was close enough to smell; foreign incense or fragrance, pleasant to smell but almost too potent, broke through her demon-blood’s enhanced senses. It wasn’t the kind she had smelled before that might cause damage to the demon part of her—for there were many incenses which caused boils to spawn on the lungs of demons and half-demons.
He did not wear a sword nor a magus gauntlet; his hands were bare. He had not come there with any potion belts or cantrip bags. He had not come there to fight; he had come there in peace.
Or, he was so insane with power that he didn’t bother to wear such trifles.
“Did It work?” she asked.
He nodded. “Most definitely. You are free to leave, after you offer to me the single drop of blood which, if you will recollect, you promised me.”
It was her turn to nod. She raised a hand and offered a finger. He held out one of her black feathers—a foot long and of soft down. He pushed it to her finger and pulled it away. A dab of blood clung to the feather’s tip in defiance of gravity and inertia.
“This will do,” he said. She was about to engage her wings and soar into the heavenly places of the sky where her body had never before been able to visit but where her heart and soul so constantly inhabited, but she stopped because he drew the feather up to his open mouth and tapped the droplet of blood into his mouth.