Xanthiilus slowly opened his eyes to sunlight filtering through dusty blinds. Squinting, he tried to look around, but even the light coming through the blinds was too bright. He shifted, and noticed he was on a couch, with his cloak thrown over him. Out of habit, his hand reached for his sword, but it wasn’t in the sheath. Xan sprung up, his head swimming, and he slumped back onto the couch, holding his head in his hands. He felt something softly sit down next to him, and an arm brushed across his back as it wrapped around him.
“I missed you,” Saleena’s soft voice whispered into his ear.
Xan squeezed her hand and smiled softly, the smell of trees and flowers filling his nose. “Is this a dream? Or am I dead.”
“Neither.” Saleena kissed his cheek softly. “Although you were almost dead. Those hunters found us and helped us get you out of there.”
“I tried to get to you…”
Saleena gently rested her head on Xan’s shoulder. “You almost killed yourself using that much energy. You could have completely burnt yourself out.”
“I don’t remember what happened. I burst into the church, and then I was in that room, surrounded by blood.”
“Xan. You killed the Council. There’s no one left in there.”
Tears started falling from Xan’s eyes. “I had to find you. I had to get you back.”
Saleena cradled Xan in her arms, gently rocking him. “Shh. It’s okay now. You did.”
“What about Sympheros? And Maryanne?”
“They’re in another room. They’re safe.”
Xanthiilus rested his head on Saleena’s. He closed his eyes and sighed. “I didn’t kill all of the Council.”
“What do you mean? I saw the…the massacre,” Saleena whispered.
“The vampires are dead.” Xan stood up and walked over to the window, pulling a cigarette from his cloak. “The demon leading them is not.”
Saleena walked over as Xan lit his cigarette. “A demon?”
“Tobias talked to me after you were kidnapped.” Smoke drifted from Xan’s mouth as he talked, telling Saleena what he had found out.
The sun had gone down, but Xan was still standing in the window, a fresh cigarette hanging from his lips. Saleena was stretched out on the couch.
“Take Sympheros and Maryanne and go home. I have to take care of this demon king.”
“Xan.” Sal sat up. “You know what Tobias told you is true. There is no way to kill him except to take his place.”
“I still have to try.” Xan turned and walked over to the couch, kneeling down in front of Saleena. “I love you.”Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Eighteen”