Vihrea stared at the amulet in his hand, it was finally time to face the demon, to try and take control of the monster trapped inside. Lintu was finally old enough to be left with Mary and Aurelius and Susi had encouraged him to go through with it. “Quit looking at it, you’ll only stress more.” Susi said from next to him as she placed her hand over the amulet.
The softness of her hands and the gentleness of her voice brought him back to the gently bouncing of the carriage and the muffled conversation of Ig and Elizabeth up front. He had not realized he had blocked everything out. “What if I fail Susi, what if he takes me and I can’t come back?”
That won’t happen my love.
How do you know?
Because you’re a lot stronger than he is both mentally and physically. Twice he has tried to take you and twice you have defeated him. He is nothing my love, nothing at all. You will defeat him and you will absorb his essence into you. You’re my very strong, highly intelligent Exorcist and nothing can defeat you.
Susi, what if I…demons are lustful and dangerous.
I’m not afraid to give myself over to that part of you.
“Don’t say that.” He said angrily then looked away. “I’m sorry for snapping, just please don’t say things like that. You have no idea the sick things the demon wanted, what he threatened to make me do to you. When the time comes you must either kill me or run, don’t let me hurt you and don’t let me free.”
She grabbed his chin with her other hand and made him look at her. “No, I couldn’t bear to run a sword through your heart and I will not leave you behind no matter what the cost. You are my husband, the father of our beautiful Lintu, and I refuse to leave you or let you leave me.”
Besides, we’ll be out in the middle of nowhere so if you do get loose there will be no way for you to get to a village or city before I can catch you, plus Ig and Elizabeth are with us so everything will be fine.
He sighed and put the amulet away. “I wish I could be as confident as you my love.”
She shifted on the seat and pulled him into her. “You need rest Vihrea, especially since you’re the one who has to put that necklace on, so rest.”
I’m too wired to sleep.
“Shh, just close your eyes.”
She stroked her fingers over his temple and through his hair. It was so soothing to him that before he knew it, his eyelids had fallen and he had slipped into a deep sleep. Susi smiled loving at him and kissed the top of his head as she continued to stroked her fingers over his skin. She had the utmost faith in his abilities to defeat the demon and she wished he believed in himself as much as she did. It was only when Ig turned onto the road leading to the cottage and hit a bump that Vihrea woke. He inhaled sharply and slowly sat up, blinking the sleep out of his eyes. Susi righted herself on the seat and slipped her fingers through his.
How long was I out?
A couple of hours, the cottage is close.
He frowned, his head filled with worry. “Is that so?” He looked out the window and watched as the forest passed by. Susi squeezed his hand in reassurance, but said nothing. She knew he needed time to think. When Ig pulled to a stop in front of the cottage, they got out and Susi headed inside with Elizabeth to make sure everything was clean.
“This place is pretty amazing.” Elizabeth said as they walked into the main house.
You and Ig get the apartment next door to yourselves, I figured you’d want some privacy.
Elizabeth blushed and Susi laughed softly. They began dusting the main house and when they finished there, they went next door and dusted the apartment. All of the cabinets were stocked with food and Susi found herself glad Aurelius kept the place filled with food. “How are you doing?” Ig asked as he and Vihrea lifted the luggage down from the top of the carriage.
Not good, I’m so worried, I wish Susi and Elizabeth had stayed home. I hate that they’re hear and could get hurt because of me.
You’re just going to have to have faith in my ability to protect Elizabeth and in Susi’s ability to protect herself. Besides if we had left them behind they would have followed us and given us more than an ear full.
He sighed. “I guess that’s true, they’re so stubborn.”
Susi and Elizabeth got started on dinner while Vihrea and Ig unpacked everything. Vihrea was still worried as he put the last of the clothes away then removed his cloak and hung it up. He sat down at the kitchen table and soon Ig joined him. He sat there watching Susi as she cooked, trying to find comfort in her presence. Once the food was finished Susi and Elizabeth filled bowls and brought them to the table. “So are you working on a new book?” Susi finally asked Ig.
You and Vihrea are my books right now so this little adventure will be the next in the series then Elizabeth here has asked me to work on a children’s book. So after I finish with this one, I’ll start on that.
How exciting, I’m sure Lintu will be happy to have a book written by uncle Ig.
They continued eating in silence and once they were finished up Elizabeth and Ig insisted on washing dishes. Susi took Vihrea’s hand and pulled him over to the couch where she sat in his lap and he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist. She sighed, wishing he would say something instead of looking so worried. “So Elizabeth, are you and Ig thinking of starting a family?”
Both Ig and Elizabeth blushed and Elizabeth replied, “I don’t know.”
“If she wants some then sure.” Ig added.
That’s fantastic, you two will make great parents.
“What about you two?” Ig asked as he stepped out of the kitchen.
“Hmm, what about us Vihrea?” Susi asked and he looked up at her.
If we make it out of this alive then sure, more children would be great. Lintu needs a sibling.
“What if we got pregnant at the same time?” Elizabeth said as she came out of the kitchen and grabbed Ig’s arm.
“That’s all we need, two extremely hard head women going through a huge hormonal change.” Ig teased. “Right Vihrea?”
“Sounds terrifying.” Vihrea said jokingly. They kept the conversation on the light topic of babies until Elizabeth yawned.
“I guess that means we’re going to bed.” Ig said as he lifted Elizabeth off the couch. “Make sure to wake us in the morning so we can help you guys.”
“We will, goodnight.” Susi replied.
“Night.” Vihrea chimed in.
Come on love, lets get some rest, tomorrow is going to be stressful.
He sighed. “Okay.” He got to his feet, cradling her in his arms. “I love you Susi.”
I love you too.
The next morning Susi woke first. Vihrea’s arms were locked tightly around her from behind so she had to gently wiggle until he loosened up enough for her to turn over. She frowned when she saw the worried look on his face. Even in his sleep he was distressed. She pressed her lips against his and he jerked awake. “Susi?”
“Good morning.” She replied softly.
“Already.” He draped his arm across his eyes and groaned. “Why now?”
Come on, I’ll get breakfast started while you wake Ig and Elizabeth.
He sighed and pulled her down for another kiss, soaking up her warmth and the sweetness of her lips before letting her go and getting out of bed. The dressed quickly and Susi went into the kitchen while Vihrea went next door. He soon returned and a few minutes later Ig and Elizabeth walked in. “Would you like my help?” Elizabeth asked as she walked into the kitchen.
Sure, could you cut up the strawberries in the fridge?
Elizabeth got to work and Ig sat down at the kitchen table across from Vihrea. They both stayed silent and listened to Susi and Elizabeth talking to each other. Once breakfast was served they ate with very little chatter. Once they were finished Vihrea went and retrieved the amulet while everyone else cleaned up. Once the dishes were put away and the table wiped down they went out into the front yard. Vihrea and Susi found a place in the grass and Ig stood a little ways away with Elizabeth behind him.
“Ready?” Susi asked with a gentle smile.
“No, but it’s either now or never.” He lifted the amulet and slipped it over his neck. Susi gave him a quick, reassuring kiss and then waited. He closed his eyes and opened the seal on the amulet, allowing the demon’s essence to wash over his being. His eyes snapped opened and the demon looked at her with black eyes. His hand shot out with lightening speed and wrapped around her neck.
He grinned, revealing sharp canines. “So we meet again little princess.” He said with a growl. He jerked her closer and licked up the side of her face. “Still just as delicious as ever.” His hand jerked away from her and he gripped his head, snarling in anger. “Susi, run…can’t fight.” Vihrea said. The demon growled again, forcing Vihrea’s consciousness back down. “She’s mine exorcist.” Ig went for his whip and the demon snapped his attention to him and Elizabeth. He was on them before they could even blink. He grabbed Ig and threw him into a tree then backhanded Elizabeth sending her sprawling. He was back to Susi and lifted her, throwing her over his shoulder. “Catch me if you can.”
“Put me down you son of a bitch.” Susi yelled as she slammed her fists against Vihrea’s back. She hated hitting him, but the demon was pissing her off.
Shut your mouth human.
You’re nothing but a coward and a bully. Vihrea will defeat you because you are nothing.
The demon came to a halt and threw her on the ground. “You will learn your place you pathetic little bitch.” He tore at her clothes and she screamed as she fought back. He ripped her shirt and pants off then pinned her to the ground. “I wonder how agonizing it’ll be for him to watch me take you with his body.”
“Vihrea, I know you’re there. Fight back, he’s nothing.” He raised his hand to slap her when he suddenly jerked back, gripping his head as he fell onto his back.
“Just kill me Susi.” Vihrea commanded. “Kill me before I kill you.”
“No, you have fight back Vihrea, not just for me, but for Lintu. You’re so much stronger than he is.” She crawled over to him and pulled him up so he was sitting between her legs and his head rested on her chest. “You can do this my love.”
He screamed as he felt pain slice through him and he held the demon at bay. He knew she was right and that he had to calm down before he lost control completely. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, ignoring the pain. He reached for that well of coldness his father had instilled in him and felt his all of his emotions and worries slip away. He opened himself up to the demon and felt fire move through him as its essence washed over his own. Vihrea fell limp in her arms and she sat there holding him, wondering what was going on inside his head.
Ig groaned as he pushed himself off the ground and Elizabeth ran to him. “Ig are you okay?”
“I’m fine, how about you?” She nodded. “Where’d they go?”
“Into the forest, that way.” She pointed and he rubbed his head.
I’m going after him and I want you to stay here.
“No buts Elizabeth, I can’t have him killing you so please just go inside and wait for me.” She glared at him and bunched her hands into fists. For a moment he thought she was going to slap him, but instead she turned and went into the apartment. He sighed, hating angering her and hoping she would forgive him once he returned. He ran through the woods, following broken twigs and boot prints, never slowing. He skidded to a halt when he came across them and averted his gaze when he saw Susi was naked. “Are you okay Susi?”
Yes, he didn’t do anything to me?
What’s wrong with him?
I don’t know, he just slipped into a coma and won’t wake.
Ig frowned. “Susi, if the demon wins, you know what has to be done.”
“Don’t talk like that.” She snapped and his eyes jumped to her face. “He’s coming back so don’t you dare say such things, he’s your friend.”
“If you can’t be positive then just leave and let me tend to my husband.” He opened his mouth to speak, but thought better of it and close it. He turned, hating that he had made both his beloved and Susi mad at him.
Vihrea found himself standing on a rocky plateau that was illuminated by an unseen light source that faded into darkness the further out it got. This was the place he always went when he meditated. When he had first entered exorcist school, they had taught him to go to a place like this to help hone his concentration. This place was his place and his alone. Standing across from him, black eyes blazing with fury was the demon. “What have you done?” The demon growled.
“I allowed you to latch onto me and pulled you here.” He held out his hands, the two daggers he used on the material plane appearing in them. “There is no way for you to escape demon, I have locked us both in here so in the event of my death this is where you will stay, but I don’t intend to lose.”
“No one can contain me.” He attacked Vihrea who backpedaled and slashed with his blades. He allowed his training to take over, his reflexes allowing him to duck and dodge with ease. When the demon attacked and missed he would jump in and cut him. This further infuriated the demon jumped through the air like a jungle cat. Vihrea rolled to the side and back to his feed, daggers up and ready. The demon came at him again, slashing at him with sharp nails, and Vihrea started whispering. Bright tendrils of light burst through the ground and latched onto the demon who screamed in pain at the heat. He growled and snarled, spit flying from his mouth.
“I told you demon, I’m not losing, not today.” The tendrils wrapped themselves around Vihrea who stared into the demon’s eyes. “Everything you are, is mine.” He closed his eyes and the tendrils began to absorb the demon into them. Vihrea could feel the demon’s power moving into him and felt a burning sensation on his chest as a red crescent shaped mark appeared above his heart. When he opened his eyes the demon was gone and the tendril receded back into the ground. He let out a breath, feeling a sense of relief wash over him as he began to unlock the seals he had put up.
Susi was run her fingers through his hair when his eyes snapped open. They were completely black and for a moment she thought she was holding the demon then he blinked and his eyes went back to their normal blue. “Vihrea.” She hugged him tightly to her and he wrapped his arms around her waist. “I knew you would come back to me.”
“It’s all thanks to you my love.” He pushed himself onto his knees and lifted her into his arms before getting to his feet. “Are you okay?”
You are far too stubborn my love, I could have killed you.
I knew you would make it.
Never take a risk like that again, ever. I need you Susi to hold me together.
Lets get back so you can rest my love then we can see if you can use the demon’s powers tomorrow.
The walk back to the cottage was spent in relieved silence and once there Vihrea got Susi inside as quickly as possible. He took her to their room and sat her down on the bed then removed her boots. There was a knock on the front door and he sighed. “Get dressed love.”
Vihrea pulled the front door open, surprising Ig. “I’m so glad you’re here.” He actually pulled Vihrea into a hug then let him go. “You nearly killed me with worry. I actually pissed Susi off.”
Pissed her off?
“It’s of no consequence.” Susi said as she entered the room. “The way he acted was understandable.”
“Good, now I have both yours and Elizabeth’s forgiveness.” He smiled with his relief. “So does this make you a demon exorcist then?”
I don’t really know.
We were planning on seeing if he could use the demons powers.
Vihrea looked at her. “I thought you said I should rest?”
She smiled then kissed him. “You’re tough baby.”
Ig laughed. “Well I guess I’ll let you two get to it then, just remember if you need anything to call for us.”
“We will, thanks for coming over.”
Vihrea and Susi sat across from each other in the grass, Susi holding onto his hands as he closed his eyes and focused on opening up to his demonic powers. It wasn’t as easy as with the amulet, but after a few minutes of trying he felt the symbol on his chest grow warm. He gasped and reflexively tightened his grip on her hands. “How do you feel?” She asked.
He opened his eyes, revealing them to be completely black. “Everything is heightened like before, but sharper since I have better control over my senses. I also feel…” he frowned.
“Everything I have ever read about demons says they are incredibly lustful.” He let go of her hands. “Susi, the things he wanted to do to you…what if I turn out like that?”
“Vihrea, my love.” She said as she took his hands again. “There is no way you will ever become a monster.”
How do you know?
“Because you love me and Lintu and you wouldn’t let anything bad happen to us. You’re a good man and a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for.”
He took her face in his hands and pulled her in, his lips meeting hers in a gentle kiss. “You are a true gift.” He took a breath and closed off his powers so the mark on his chest grew cool and he was once again human.
Anything else change?
“Just this.” He lifted his shirt to show her the mark. “The mark of the demon.”
She reached out and traced it. “I think it’s beautiful.” He grabbed her hand and pressed it against his chest.
I’m starving my love, lets make something to eat then take a nap.
She smiled. “Okay my love.”
They went back inside and threw together a couple of sandwiches. Susi grinned as Vihrea scarfed his down and forced herself not to laugh. She understood his increase in appetite so kept her amusement to herself. After they were finished eating the went directly to bed, Vihrea wrapping his arms tightly around her waist and pulling her into a spooning position. He was asleep in an instant and Susi smiled, happy this business with the demon was over. They woke about an hour before dinner time and made some spaghetti. Susi decided she would talk to Ig and Elizabeth in the morning to see if they were ready to go home. Susi washed the dishes and the minute the last one was put away Vihrea grabbed her from behind and pulled her into him.
“Thank you for never giving up on me.” He whispered in her ear then grabbed her chin and turned her head. His lips moved against hers in a loving kiss and his free hand slipped beneath her shirt to feel her soft skin. “I love you so much Susi.” He pulled her shirt up and over her head. “My beautiful snow angel.” Her bra followed and he slid his hands up to cup her breasts. He lifted her and carried her to their room and lay her down on the bed. He pulled her pants off then his own clothes and crawled on top of her, his hips settling between her legs. He thrust into her, moaning as her warmth washed over him. He got swept up in his lust for her, taking on a rougher pace than usual. She moaned and writhed beneath him, her nails digging into his back and her back arching off the bed as he brought her over the edge again and again. He growled and bit onto her shoulder as he filled her with his seed and she held tightly to him, panting loudly.
“I love you Vihrea.” She said softly and he moved off of her. She snuggled close to him and he wrapped his arms tightly around her.
“Are you okay?” He asked worriedly.
She smiled and kissed his chest. “If I wasn’t I would tell you.”
I just never want to hurt you.
She gave a soft laugh. “Stop worrying so much, I’m completely satisfied.”
He gave a contented sigh. “Good, your happiness is all that matters.” He kissed her forehead then pulled the blankets over them. “Goodnight Susi.”
Goodnight my love.
Vihrea jerked awake the next morning to the sound of someone moving around the inside of the cottage. He slid slowly out of bed and pulled on some pants then walked out into the living room. The smell of food hit his nose, making him salivate and he walked into the kitchen to find Ig and Elizabeth making breakfast. “Good morning.” Ig said when he noticed him.
Why are you cooking breakfast?
“Because you and Susi had such a long day yesterday.” Elizabeth answered with a warm smile.
Vihrea rubbed his neck. “About yesterday, I’m sorry for hurting you guys.”
Ig waved it off. “It wasn’t you, it was that demon so there’s really no reason to apologize.”
He chuckled. “It amazes me how forgiving everyone is, I certainly don’t deserve it.”
“Stop being such a downer.” Ig said as he reached over and pulled Vihrea into a headlock. “Seriously, if we were mad then we would tell you.” He let go of him and shoved him out of the kitchen. “Go get Susi so we can eat.”
Vihrea turned away and went back into the bedroom, smiling adoringly at his sleeping wife. He climbed onto the bed and gently rolled her onto her back and brushed her hair away from her face. He leaned down and pressed his lips against hers and she gasped as she woke. “Good morning beautiful.” He said softly.
“Good morning.” She replied with a loving smile.
Ig and Elizabeth are cooking breakfast so you need to get up and come eat.
Can’t we just cuddle for a little while longer?
He smiled and kissed her forehead. “We can cuddle all you want once we’re back home.”
She groaned and sat up. “Okay, if I really have to get up then I will.”
I thought knights were used to early mornings.
“They are, I just really like cuddling with you.” She got dressed and pulled her hair back then followed Vihrea to the kitchen table where their plates were waiting for them. “Thanks for cooking guys.” She said.
“It was no problem.” Ig replied.
“So I was thinking we’d head back today.”
“Sounds good to me, it’s nice out here, but I sure miss home.” Elizabeth replied. “We could always make another trip out here that didn’t have to do with demonically possessed jewelry.”
“Speaking of.” Vihrea got up and went into the room then came back with the amulet. “I figured since it’s harmless you might want it as a trophy.” He handed it to Ig. “Maybe it could be some inspiration for the cover of your next book.”
“Thank you.” Ig looked it over then stuck it in his pocket with a big smile. They finished breakfast with smiles on their faces and filled the room with their constant chatter. It felt good to finally be back to normal and Vihrea was soaking up every second of happiness he could. Once everything was cleaned and packed up, they said goodbye to the cottage and this time Vihrea decided to drive. Susi climbed up next to him and he flicked the reigns to get the horses going.
“You seem happier.” Susi said as she rested her head on her husband’s shoulder.
“Thanks to you, I’m the happiest man in the world. I love you Susi Tumma, you are my heart and soul.” She smiled at his words, truly happy to have him in her life.