Holly woke to find Eros pressed tight against her in his usual spot. He was still sleeping, his ears twitching, as he was on guard even in his sleep. She sighed and ran a hand through his soft fur as she pet him. He had kept his identity secret, but she couldn't hate him. Not after how much he had been with her.
"You're awake?" the woman, Lachesis, was sitting at a table nearby, her leg swinging. "I was on guard while he got some sleep."
"I thought you didn't like him." Holly pointed out.
"He's a sin," Lachesis answered with her foot still bouncing. "But, he's been caring for you, and he turned sweet for Acacia. If I can give Tydeus a chance, I can do the same for him." She smiled over at her. "Are you hungry? I can fix you something to eat before we have to get going."
"I won't eat bugs, or rats, or snakes," Holly stressed once more.
Lachesis giggled. "I didn't expect you to." She grabbed a plate and hummed as white energy flowed from the sky with hints of red inside. "Here you go."
"What is that?" Holly demanded.
"Food, I've made you ambrosia. I'm not really a Goddess so it won't taste as good, but you should be able to eat it and get a recharge. Better than what Eros has been digging up for you."
Holly wanted to poke the jelly-like substance but instead, she took a spoon and put the tiniest sliver on it before slipping it into her mouth.
Why did the thing taste like steak and potatoes?
Lachesis was watching her with a little smile on her dark red lips. "Well?"
"How did you make this? It's incredible." Holly took another bite and her eyes widened. "Wait, it changed?"
Lachesis smiled. "Every food you've ever eaten and enjoyed, it'll taste just like that. Every bite a new discovery. "
Holly stared at the plate. "You said it wouldn't taste as good, how could anything be better than this?"
"It can only be as good as your memories when it comes from me. If a real Goddess or God made it for you, it would be the best possible flavor from each."
Holly didn't speak again until she had finished the plate. As she progressed through her meal the flavors changed from savory to sweet. By the time it was over she was stuffed. "I'm so full, but not like I can't walk full."
"You will have lots of extra energy too. We've no drawbacks. We have about three hours of daylight left. The reapers will resume chase in half that time. But before we leave, I think we should talk. Besides Eros, you don't have any other pets like him right?"
"Just Fluffy, I mean Eros," Holly corrected as she looked back at the cabbit who was curled into a sleeping ball. "He's been with me through all this, I remember that. I think he was with me in my normal life, but it's all fuzzy."
"There should have been another. A black cabbit. His name is Angel and he's been your magic mentor since your first fight."
"Magic?" Holly pointed an index finger at herself. "I can't do magic. You have to have the wrong person."
"No, you can. We just have to find out which form it takes with this soul. You've had access to various ones before. Let's start by you taking my hand."
Holly looked at Lachesis's hand with her perfectly manicured hot pink nails, so bright against her dark skin. "This feels silly." With a sigh, she did as bade and put her hands in the soft ones of the other woman.
"Do you feel anything?"
"Embarrassed," Holly responded. "This doesn't make sense. What kind of magic consists of me holding hands with someone?"
"Power transfer. One of your forms was able to use others like portable batteries, you could drain them, or you could flood them with already gathered power."
"This is such a waste of time. We need to get out of here. You said we only have an hour and a half." Holly's eyes strayed to the door frame. She didn't want to be stuck in the building if the Chasers appeared. They didn't appear the kind that would just let her go.
"Knowing what you can do is never a waste of time. It's just a matter of concentration." Lachesis pulled out the candle that Holly has used for her previous dinner. "Here, light this."
"With a match?" Holly pat her pockets as she searched for the match she had used. She had a habit of always saving every little thing she could in case it would be useful later.
"With magic. Maybe fire is your first this time." Lachesis's answer was patient and she smiled at Holly in encouragement.
Holly stared hard at the tip of the candle. "How do I do this? Just will it to burst into flame?"
"Try closing your eyes," Lachesis suggested.
Holly's nose wrinkled. "If I did that how would I see if it works?"
"It's not important that you see it, but you have to feel it. Just close your eyes and listen to me, okay? I promise nothing is going to happen to you."
Holly resisted the urge to snort. "That's a hard promise to keep right now. I know Eros will protect me though, even while asleep he's always watching out for me." She closed her eyes. "Okay, now what?"
"What do you feel this time?"
"Still embarrassed," Holly answered as she clenched her eyes shut. There was nothing special just blackness.
"Try focusing on your breathing, and only on that. Maybe you'll be able to sense the elemental magic from the edges of your vision."
Holly kept her eyes closed and focused only on her breath as she inhaled through the nose and exhaled through the mouth. "Still nothing." She opened her eyes and shrugged. "I really think you have the wrong person. You should run to try to find the right one, Lachesis."
"It just means that your magic isn't elemental, or power transference, Holly. Don't worry, we will find it, even if it takes us another hour."
Holly jumped up from her seat. "Another hour? Are you saying we've been doing this for an entire hour?"
"Oh, no," Lachesis replied. "Just an hour and a half so far."
Holly's heart skipped a beat as fear sunk its claws into her. "Why?" she whispered. "Why did you carry this on for so long? It felt like minutes."
"Calm down," Lachesis held a hand out. "I know that time didn't appear to flow correctly, but I already told you that you don't have anything to worry about."
Eros's ears twitched and the cabbit jumped up. "They're here, why did you let me sleep so long?" he demanded. A curse slipped from his lips and he hopped up on the table so he was eye level with Holly. "I don't want you to hate me."
Holly stared at him. "Hate you?"
"Yeah, besides being able to talk, there's something else I've been hiding from you too, Holly. My true form. But with them on top of us like this, I see no other option than to use it to fight for you. Just, forgive me, okay?" he tilted his head letting his ears flop to the side.
Holly couldn't help but glare at him. He knew that particular look was her weakness. It was too hard to be upset with him when he was that cute. "I reserve the right to forgive you or not," I grumbled.
My heart was pounding against my rib cage by this point. The Chasers were here. Their footsteps were in the hallway. I was cornered, no way out. No magic, no weapon. Nothing but a cabbit, a Fate that could make amazing food, and useless me.
Eros was consumed by a black pillar of energy. My jaw dropped as I stared as lightning crackled inside the building. When it cleared a form appeared from the midst. He had coal-black wings and hair to match, but those deep blue eyes I'd recognize anywhere. He nodded his head at me as he tilted it to the side. "Holly, this is my true form."
"You're an angel?" I whispered. No way. How could this be possible? "You've let us run all this time, and you could have just done that?"
He cracked his knuckles and golden spheres crackled to life in his hands. "This was more of an emergency type of setting. And considering the reapers are outside that door, this is an emergency. Stay here with Lachesis. I won't let them have you. Try to escape if you can." He paused. "And I'm not a real angel, I'm just a fallen one."
"Escape where?" Holly demanded. The fear that had clawed at her before now had a firm grip on her heart as she stared at the tall stranger. How could this be Eros?
I wasn't able to question it any further because the door slammed open and three dark hooded figures stormed in. I was only saved as Eros pulled those new wings of his around me.
"Surrender now, and you others won't have to suffer. We've come for Holly Knight. It's her time."
Eros hugged Holly close before pressing a simple kiss to her forehead and then pushing her behind him as he unfurled his wings. "Yeah, that's not happening. You guys are not taking her. And if you insist on trying? You're going to end up dying yourselves."
The female of the group laughed, and then they attacked.
Lachesis stepped in front of both Holly and Eros and erected a simple barrier of wind that the scythes grazed off. "Why are you after Holly?" she demanded."I haven't done anything to you," Holly added. "There's no reason for you to hunt me like this! Leave me alone and let me go back to my normal everyday life."The three hooded figures took a few steps back. The one in the middle swept back their hood and the woman revealed stared at them with her green gem-like eyes."Do not misunderstand
"So that's why you'll wait for the other Prince," Eros pointed out. "I'll have you know, ours is infinitely better than yours. You have a cruel master, but ours is capable of kindness."Quix burst into laughter. "Kindness? None of them are capable of that. They're all selfish and only do or help with things that will benefit them. You're clueless if you truly believe that yours is any different. But I'll let you prove it because there's nothing more that I love when someone is proven wrong. The shock on their faces, it's like a drug."Ruby rolled her eyes at him. "Lust, while I'm not as fanatic about it as Quix, he
Holly tensed as the fog completely covered the two of them and all contact from the others was halted."Relax," Ruby ordered her fingers moving in small circular patterns on Holly's shoulders. "Just relax.""But, the others," Holly whispered."Not important right now, I need to focus on you and see if you have magic inside, and for that, you're going to have to relax and trust me."
Holly wasn't surprised when Ruby took away the barrier or when Eros grabbed her and hugged her hard. "Don't you ever do that again," he hissed.Holly pushed at him. "I was with Ruby, it's okay, Eros. She's my friend now.""Friend?" Eros stared at the reaper. "Why in the world would you befriend her? You do remember they are our enemies right?""You're the one that suggested they stay with me, right?" Holly challenged with a smile. "That will work out much better if we're friends."
"How are we going to figure out what magic she has anyway?" Quix questioned as he walked around Holly. "It could take forever if we try it one thing at a time. Besides, I'm sure that not one person knows all the branches of magic here. Even if all of us worked together, we might not cover them all."Eros sighed. "I don't understand how Angel figured it out so easily. He should have shown up by now, or at least Tydeus." He stopped then turned on his heel. "Wait, Holly, didn't you mention something about Tydeus? While we were arguing.""Yes, he visited me in my dreams," Holly responded. "He insisted on calling me Juni
Holly didn't waste any time, she shoved Quix back and knocked him onto his back as she held a hand against her lips."Please, don't do that again. I'm not a toy for you to mess with. You can't just do what you want to try to make me blush."Quix raised himself on one elbow and grinned at her."But that's the fun of it. Ruby doesn't do anything but roll her eyes. You do all kinds of wonderful things for me. Your breath gets shallow and fast, your heart beats faster, your cheeks change color.
Holly must have fallen asleep, though she didn't even remember her eyes closing. There had been a loud bang, like glass shattering. Had that been part of her dream?On the end of the couch, Quix was snoring, hugging his braid as if it was a stuffed toy. Was this truly one of the people she had been running away from in terror for so long?She leaned forward as she watched him sleep. Was he faking it?"Are you done pouting yet?" hissed a voice behind her.
Eros's warmth was nice, but there was a point it became suffocating. Holly moved her friend to the middle of the couch where he whimpered for a moment before cuddling against Quix.She held back a chuckle. Even though she was still upset with him, she couldn't deny he was cute.What had woken her up? The sky was dark outside which normally meant she'd be in full running mode at this point.It was strange to not be running at all. Her Chasers were not what she had expected. Ruby was a f