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Imperial Demons (FF)

Blood Canticles

Evernight Publishing

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 86,085
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Magic can make you mad. Love can make you dangerous.

Tristesse is gone, taken between worlds to be the bride of a sadistic demon prince. And Lola will do anything to get her back. Crossing into Gehenna is only the start. Hunted by monsters and accompanied by allies she can’t trust, Lola must endure the horrors of the demon world, and embrace the darkness of demon magic. If it doesn’t consume her, it might just save both her and Tristesse.

But in Gehenna nothing is guaranteed. Nothing except pain.

Be Warned: f/f interaction

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She'd been scared before. God, some times it felt like she'd lived in fear from the moment Dawn appeared on her doorstep and accused her of murder. But she'd never felt so perfectly and pathetically helpless, so betrayed, as she did now, tumbling through a black ocean of snapping magical energy, so vast and bleak and alien, she wasn't even sure it was magic. She closed her eyes and hoped like hell she'd pass out before she froze to death or suffocated.

It seemed like the best she could hope for.

But it was worse with her eyes closed. Her skin became attuned to the currents of power pushing her down, and they hurt. She felt abraded, as if each stroke of magic was a stroke of sandpaper, eroding her away to leave something raw and vulnerable behind. She felt shapes moving in the blackness, silent and giant, circling around her like sharks. Waiting to devour. To swallow her whole, blood, magic, and flesh.

Deep, distant whispers pierced the void, a wave of sound that made Lola cringe and twist as she fell, trying to shield herself from the sudden noise. Great hands toyed with the magical currents buffeting at her, changing the tides so she was tossed around violently. Sickened, she curled herself into a ball, trying to find the air to scream. The whispers rolled over her, the words incomprehensible but somehow painful, shredding at her mind until screaming was beyond her and all she could do was whimper.

She'd rather die than endure this forever, endless falling, endless, inexplicable agony.

And then she stopped falling.

It was so abrupt, it knocked all the oxygen she had left from her lungs. It was like hitting rock, a hard, jarring landing, even though her hands grabbed at thin air. She didn't dare open her eyes. The thought of seeing herself suspended in nothing, surrounded by an infinite horizon of cold, crackling power, was almost more horrifying than falling.

The whispers subsided, falling into silence one by one, until only once voice was left.

What have you brought us, old goat?

Lola bit her lip, shivering, and waited—hoped—to hear Thorn's voice. But there was nothing, just a long, heavy stretch of silence before the unseen speaker whispered again.

A promise fulfilled, then, is that it? She is mortal. Breakable. Weak.

Now Lola opened her eyes, spurred by a bolt of fresh fear. This, then, was a patron. One of many, made of raw chaos magic. And it was going to reject her. What then? Would she be thrown back to Thorn in Gehenna, or left to plummet through the void? Her entire body seized up in horror, heart stuttering, muscles cramping. Her fingers tingled and every breath was a battle. She really, really didn't want to look ... but she had to see what was deciding her fate.

The sense of vertigo was immediate and shocking, leaving her ears ringing and her palms clammy. Now she was motionless, the epic expanse of darkness was somehow far more claustrophobic. But it wasn't completely dark anymore.

Star-filled eyes watched her, unblinking and coldly curiously. They surrounded her, a countless sea of floating eyes dancing with supernovas and swirling galaxies. It was both wondrous and chilling, and she badly wanted to close her eyes again, but that would look weak, wouldn't it?

So she forced herself to stare back, dredging up every scrap of courage and devotion she had. This was for Tristesse. She could make herself endure for Tristesse.