Chapter Twenty-Four, Reyortsed

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She pried her eyes away from his, and moved away from his hand. She could still feel his touch on her skin, as hot as the fire and as cold as the lightning she threw.

"I...believe we had an arrangement." She said stubbornly.

"I believe we did," Reyortsed said, every syllable an unearthly note. Behind him two men appeared. They were hauntingly beautiful themselves, but nothing compared to Reyortsed. Bennie could see they were Dark Elves, and she saw even better the man they clutched between them.

Perce.

Bennie's heart began beating again. Perce, Perce, Perce.

Aside from a line of blood running down the side of his face, Perce looked unharmed, but the defiance in his face turned to horror when he saw Bennie.

Any spell of Reyortsed's that still remained on Bennie lifted then. And she realized she had made a deadly error, enchanted from the moment he had contacted her online.

"Now, Shadowchild, you see I have kept my side of the bargain, what about yours?"

Bennie really wasn't sure what to do now.

Stupid, stupid stupid!

"You can take what you want," Bennie said, trying to sound firm, "When I see Perce released."

"Very well, but can you convince him of that?" Reyortsed gestured smoothly towards Perce. "He's the one who has what I need."

Bennie felt a prickle of anger.

"Then what am I here for?" She said. She didn't dare look Reyortsed in the face lest he gain control of her again.

"Because he can't give it to me, only you can," Reyortsed said. He bent down slightly to look Bennie in the eyes himself, and she braced herself. But the spell didn't come. Only the words, the voice...

"Benjamina, your father had a special gift, a gift I learned I was supposed to receive, but never did. It was stolen from me, and before your father died, he gave it to Perseus for safekeeping. Perseus cannot use it, only possess it, but you can use it. Perseus can give it only to you, but you can give it to anyone. All I ask is that you give it to me."

Bennie felt her mind drifting away on that voice just as she realized Perce's tattoo and the mark on her shoulder both meant they had this power, but that voice, what did it matter?

"Bennie," that was Perce. It was all he said, but Bennie awoke again. One of the elves clapped a firm hand over Perce's mouth. Bennie glared at the elf.

"Why should I give it to you?" She said, staring at Reyortsed now. He couldn't control her anymore. She'd never let him.

"Because if you don't, I'll be forced to kill you, and Perseus," Even his sinister smile was seductive. "And you know how I hate to kill needlessly. It's wasteful. But I will, because you are too dangerous to live if you have it, and I won't let him give it to you unless I know I can trust you."

For Bennie, time seemed to stop for a moment.

She locked eyes with Perce.

So this is it. This is why I was being followed all the time, this is why my mark isn't normal and you share it, this is why my dad is dead. This is why you kept your secrets, tried to protect me. And this is why we are here now, and I'm a fool.

Bennie knew Perce knew what she was thinking, and she knew he knew what she planned to do.

But then his eyes looked past her at something. Bennie felt cold suddenly.

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