Chapter Twenty-Four, Reyortsed

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Bennie lurked, invisible, in the shadows, looking for any sign of Reyortsed or his monsters hiding within them. She saw nothing hidden.

He's late, he lied, or he's hidden so well I'll only see him when I'm not hidden myself.

Bennie seriously contemplated leaving, but she couldn't. With every hard beat of her heart she heard "Perce, Perce, Perce."

Bennie stepped into the light, dead center in the courtyard.

"REYORTSED!" She shouted, sounding a lot braver than she felt. After the initial echo, all was quiet.

He lied. He's not here.

Bennie felt her breath heavy. It was the only sound—and then—

"Shadowchild..."

A whisper, a beautiful, beautiful whisper. Bennie instinctively tried to turn towards the sound, but it was everywhere.

"Shadowchild..."

Suddenly, Bennie saw movement in the darkness. A figure. Forming from thin air.

"Shadowchild..."

It was completely shaded from her view despite her power, but it was coming to the light.

"Shadowchild..."

Reyortsed stepped into the light. The echo ceased, but the sight was enough to fill the silence.

Bennie stared for what seemed like a very long time. Not only was his voice enrapturing—yes, there was no doubt he'd been speaking her name—his very presence was almost more than she could take.

He was inhuman. No man had such a flawless face, a face of strong yet soft angles, a pale olive color, a powerful nose that curved just so slightly, so gracefully, his lips, his perfect lips, were parted in a small smile, and Bennie wanted to touch her own to them. The long black hair framed that glorious face and draped over his shoulders, down his slender frame. The silvery black robes he wore showed that despite the graceful narrowness of his body, he was well muscled.

Like an angel...a dark angel...

He pushed his hair from his face, and Bennie saw his eyes as he looked deeper into hers. Black as the abyss, entirely black.

Inhuman...Bennie's reverie snapped. Inhuman! He was nothing like a human being anymore, whether he once was or not. He cared for nothing and no one. She stepped back.

But he was quicker, closing the space between them. Those perfect lips opened again.

"Good evening, Shadowchild."

His long finger traced her face. She felt herself sinking back under his control.

No...

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