Apprentice Saga

This book contains episodes #5-9 from Demon Bonded, titled ‘Beneath The Darkness,’ ‘The Twisted Apprentice,’ ‘The Chains That Bind,’ ‘The Demon Trainer,’ and 'The Fall,' and includes the bonus episode, ‘The Forging Of An Apprentice.’ Previously published from 2016, these episodes have been reedited and republished.

Apprentice Saga is the second saga in the mm erotic world of Demon Bonded. This serial is a fun, suspenseful play on monster collecting and male harems. Expect demon bonding, master/slave relationships of mild and abusive nature, multiple partners, magical powers, learning how to be a sorcerer, and conflict with crueler demon masters.

Insanity comes in all forms...

Ky’s recovery from the overseer Demencious is short lived. His parents have lost all trust in him, and Ky again has to wonder if he’s losing his mind. That is until he starts his first art class at his new college and meets an actual sorcerer apprentice.

Liem Kane could have been a typical teenager, but there is something terribly wrong beneath his well-groomed exterior. His demon, Fido, is twisted and abused, the wolf Relic tormented daily by his young master.

In his quest to save Fido from certain death, Ky must face Liem’s master. A demon trainer of cruelty that far surpasses his young pupil, Tobias has no qualms in murdering those who disobey. Ky faces off against this monster among men. It's kill or be killed, and Ky isn't sure he can live with either option.
68,000+ wrds, First Published January 21, 2017.
Heat level: XX

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT APPRENTICE SAGA

on March 21, 2017
on February 7, 2017
READ AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE

Persistent whispers slowly pulled Ky from sleep. Everything was fuzzy. For a long moment, he was certain his mother was talking to him. Except the voices were male, strange, and spoke in a language he didn't recognize. Somehow, though, he understood. His mind bent around each foreign word and supplied the translation as if he knew it his whole life.

“You need to feed.”

“I'm fine. Just stop rolling me,” Lovely softly groaned. His arm fell over Ky's chest when he was deposited heavily on the bed.

“Feed, you stubborn thing. I don't have enough to restore you.” The bed shifted, and Feral bent over Ky to peer into his sleepy face. “Alright there, whelp?”

Ky focused blearily on the coyote demon's scarred face and intense, golden eyes. Ky’s gaze drifted and he reached his hand toward his bleeding shoulder. Feral’s bronzed flesh was covered in wounds, some so raw and painfully deep, Ky could barely stand to look at them. “Feral, you're hurt.”

Feral huffed when Ky's silver eyes filled with tears after taking in his bloodied form. “Don't start bawling, stupid. Help the feline. He can't heal without energy, and I don't have enough.”

“I'm fine,” Lovely mumbled again. Ky's gaze drifted to his side where the pale cat demon was stretched out beside him, blood dry and caked on his beautiful face.

“Frrrling whelp,” Feral mutter in exasperation when Ky's tears spilled free. Ky whimpered low in his throat and turned and fretted softly over Lovely's exhausted body.

He was too tired to grumble much. Feral sank onto the mattress and closed his eyes. They had spent the last day and a half in the wardrobe to avoid Ky's parents who were constantly running in and out of the room. Livia had sat with her son the entire night before, refusing to leave his side. It was only now the two parents finally left the house together and drove off in one of their vehicles. It was enough for Feral to feel safe to come out and lock the bedroom door.

“Shhh. I swear I'm okay,” Lovely whispered hoarsely. His mismatched eyes of blue and violet peered out from between long strands of white hair. “Go back to sleep. Redeless is overreacting.”

“Chrrrl,” Feral snapped grumpily and burrowed deeper into the bedspread. “You nearly drained me unconscious. Let the kid feed you before you bleed out.”

Ky gently pushed Lovely's long, white hair from his face and revealed slashes and bruises all over his luminescent flesh. It was strange to see Lovely in the thick black collar with its one crystal stud when everything else was bright and white about the catboy. “What do you need, Lovely? If I can help, I'll do anything. Just tell me.”

“Sweet boy.” Lovely exhaled heavily. He snagged Ky by the chin and tugged him down until their noses brushed. “I just... just need a taste.” He licked his tongue out and traced over Ky's lips until he opened with a sigh.

Ky was starting to understand when Lovely kissed him like this, tongue lapped inside his mouth in slow, hungry strokes, it was to get his energy and restore his own. It didn't mean it stopped feeling amazing, and Ky whimpered and melted into the kiss. Lovely pulled him down and licked away his stray tears before he plunged his tongue back into his mouth.

“Sweet, sweet boy,” Lovely murmured against his lips. He nipped Ky's red lips swollen and drew spots of blood his tongue quickly stole and healed. “Taste so sweet. So generous, my beautiful master.”

Ky blushed and fought back a moan. Lovely grew stronger with each kiss, his lips persistent and hungry as he pressed him down into the mattress. Ky felt more than a little perverted; Lovely kept saying things about how nice he was when he felt hot, hard and dizzy. “Lovely. Oh, okay,” he mumbled as Lovely pinned him to the bed and licked down his throat. His shirt was pulled off in a quick move he couldn’t follow.

“You're wonderful.” Lovely nipped into his flat stomach, and Ky gasped and flexed beneath him. “You saved us with your very first spell. You kept us alive when we were starving for so long.” He pulled back and met Ky's heavy-lidded gaze. “You're the only one who’s ever shared, sweet boy. You didn't take, didn't ask for anything back. You're so brave. So good.”

Ky couldn't stop flushing, and he bit his lower lip anxiously. “Lovely, is that all it is? Sharing energy? I like when you kiss me. A lot.”

Lovely smirked and leaned down to lap over Ky's pout. “I like tasting you, sweetling. I like touching you, making you moan, and beg, and cum.”

Ky sighed and pressed up to kiss him back. “I like that too. I like everything you do to me.” He gave another sigh when firm lips descended on his. He fell back against the mattress as Lovely languidly devoured his mouth.

“I need to heal Redeless.” Lovely broke away and knelt on the bed. “He doesn't have the same restorative abilities I do.”

Lovely's skin was already free of his previously blue bruising. The slashes and red scratches were just dried blood now, and his pale flesh whole and intact. Even his head wound was healed. All he needed was a shower to clean the grime of the battle away.

Ky watched as Lovely crawled over to the bronze coyote demon. Feral muttered something under his breath when a tongue moved over the wound on his shoulder. He looked exhausted, his eyes closed and face pinched in pain. Ky still didn't know Feral much and he really didn't know where they stood. Feral helped him save Lovely; he helped them all survive the terrible Demencious and kept them from falling into the pit. Ky liked him even if he was mean and surly most of the time.

Decided, Ky shifted down the bed and ducked his head until he was nose to nose with Feral on the mattress. “Did you…? Can I give you some energy, Feral?” Ky felt nervous when Feral opened his eyes. No matter all they went through, Feral's golden gaze was still as intense and piercing as ever.

Feral didn't answer right away, and Ky wondered if he was more hurt than first thought. “Are you okay?” He carefully touched one of his ears and watched as the furry triangle pierced with gold twitched under his fingertips.

“That tickles, whelp,” Feral finally muttered and closed his eyes.

“I want to help you,” Ky whispered. He pressed closer until his mouth was right next to Feral’s flushed lips. Feral had beautiful lips; they might even be nicer than Lovely's since he wasn't snarling.

“I don't want help from a sorcerer,” Feral grunted. He gasped and glared to the other side of him when Lovely sank his fangs into his arm in retaliation.

“Oh. I don't think I'm much of a sorcerer.” Ky's gaze moved over the cuts revealed on Feral's jaw. “I mean, I just made a picture. I'm really an artist, right? So… So it should be okay.”

“Taste him, you stubborn thing.” Lovely pushed Feral's face back toward Ky and held him down. “I took too much from you. You can barely put up a fight.”

Ky wasn’t going to kiss Feral if he insisted against it, even if it would help. Well, maybe just a little. Surely once Feral felt better, he probably wouldn't be so angry about it. Lovely seemed to think so and held Feral in place while he returned to healing his strong arm with licks of his tongue.

“It's just a taste, right? To make you feel better.” Ky tilted his head closer, Feral’s annoyed huff hot on his cheek. He licked his tongue out hesitantly. Ky felt more than a little daring to touch Feral's lips. Hopefully, he wouldn't bite. “Come on, Feral. Lovely says I taste sweet,” he teased.

“Foolish little whelp,” Feral grumbled. Ky used the opportunity to press his tongue inside his mouth. Feral held still, but Ky was determined and caught him by the side of his face so he could share as much of his fluids as possible.

Feral tasted like copper and something heady. His mouth was hot, and it made Ky dizzy when he ran his tongue over the demon's in gentle strokes. He knew he was supposed to be helping, but Ky couldn't stop from feeling crazy hot. His body reacted even when his mind told him he was just sharing energy. He didn't know how the demons did it all the time.

Ky pulled away with a groan, his lips sore and tongue aching. He wanted more. His body was burning and tense, and he knew if he didn't stop, he'd upset Feral even more. “Sorry. It's hard to not get…” He exhaled shakily and flashed Feral a weak smile. “You have a nice mouth.”

Feral growled under his breath. He grabbed Ky by his silky, black hair, and pulled him back forcefully. Ky had a moment to wonder if Lovely would have to heal his face again if Feral started slashing, before his lips were crushed roughly by the demon’s.

“Gentle,” Lovely warned in Feral's ear as his claws prickled on his neck.

Feral grunted and relaxed the grip on his hair after a moment. He pushed Ky back, crawled up his dazed form and straddled him. Feral’s muscular body pinned his slender form down while Ky stared up with dazed, silver eyes. “Silly little human.” Feral ducked down and drove his tongue into Ky's gasping mouth; his strong fingers held him by his chin to keep him in place. Slowly, Feral let his hand slide down and caressed his throat and shoulders. “Don't you know it's dangerous to share your life force with a Relic?”

Ky didn't have an answer for that. He was too busy whimpering around the tongue pushing into his mouth as Feral tasted him, stole his breath and made him gasp. Large palms ran up his sides and burned against his skin. “Oh. Oh, god,” he moaned. Feral moved down to his pants and shredded them with his claws. Cool air soothed over Ky's revealed skin.

“Listen to you. You’re always so loud, whelp.” Feral tugged at Ky's pajama pants. The material ripped away from his legs with a tear. “You beg so nicely when Thornes has you filled. It's a pleasing sound to wake to, you pretty slut.”

Ky blushed hotly and released another heated moan when his nipple was twisted. Feral lapped his wide tongue down his throat and nipped sharply. Maybe Feral didn't totally hate him. It was very hard to think as his muscular, bronze body pinned him, and strong hands moved down Ky’s panting form to cup his ass and squeeze roughly.

“Oh, fuck,” Ky whimpered hoarsely. His hips bucked up, and he found Feral just as hard as he was. Okay, it seemed demons had the same problem with energy sharing as he did. Maybe he wasn't that weird after all. Feral’s hot tongue went lower, moved down his flat stomach and teased toward his dick. Ky trembled and gasped with each touch.

Feral growled sharply when his head was wrenched back. Lovely stared down at him, fingers tight in his hair. “Hands off, Redeless. If you want to play with my master, then you need to bond. Which you're not going to do, so back off.”

Feral glared up at him and snarled. “Like I want the little whelp? I'd rather be dead than bonded.”

Lovely smirked wickedly and pulled harder on Feral's gold and purple locks. “By all means, you coyote hellspawn. Now get your paws off my master. He's too sweet for a coward like you.”

With a loud growl, Feral twisted in Lovely's hold and grabbed him around the waist. Fluffy white wings fluttered around his face as he wrestled the cat boy down on the bed. He pinned Lovely chest first to the mattress, lips wet as he kissed down his pale, long throat and wrapped around his back. “I know what you're doing, Thornes, and it's not going to work. I don't want a master.”

“You do.” Lovely groaned and pushed back into Feral's embrace. “You want to be tied to me again. You can't connect without a master, and you know it.”

“Kitten, I don't need anything but your tight hole and my knot to tie you.” Feral’s fingers quickly sought out Lovely's entrance and moved around his tail as it swished.

“Hell. Damn it, Redeless.” Lovely gasped and moaned loudly as two fingers plunged into his entrance, drove into his passage, and stretched deep. “You know it's not the same.”

Feral growled again and nipped his fangs into Lovely's neck as he stretched him relentlessly. “Did you miss me, kitten? Did you miss having me in your head? Did you miss knowing when I'm going to hunt you down, fuck you senseless, make you mine?” He thrust a third finger into Lovely's opening, and the catboy cried out and shuddered. “You're always going to be mine, Thornes. My noble, pure, total slut of a kitten.”

Lovely arched back and rocked on the fingers pumping into him. He tried to drive them in deeper, harder. Ky found it hard to breathe as he watched; the two were absolutely beautiful, and Feral was shamelessly tormenting Lovely right next to him. He really wanted to see Feral fuck him again. Ky blushed at the realization of just how hot it got him.

Lovely mewled with every deep pump of Feral's fingers. Ky sat up to watch the two, his bottom lip caught between his teeth. Feral was definitely Lovely's boyfriend. His low growls were full of naughty encouragements that spoke of familiarity directed solely for the catboy.

“Tell me you want me, kitten. Tell me you're still mine.” Feral sank his teeth into his shoulder and clenched his jaw until Lovely sobbed and gasped for more. “You get so tight for me. You’re so loud and bad, just for me.”

“Redeless, please,” Lovely whimpered. He spread his knees and bent forward on the bed. “Claim me.”

With a growl, Feral pulled his fingers from Lovely’s clenching passage. He licked between his sweet cheeks before he grabbed Lovely by the hips and wrenched him back. He guided his dripping cock between his smooth globes and bent down to nip his furry ear studded in silver. “Thought you were dead, kitten. Thought I lost you.”

“Redeless. Oh, gods,” Lovely cried out as Feral sheathed into him abruptly, held him tight and humped with hard jolts. “Yes. Gods, harder. Need you.”

Feral groaned and began to fuck him with slamming thrusts. He pushed Lovely's shoulder down on the bed as he took him hard and filled him again and again.

“Deeper, Red.” Lovely reached above and behind to grasp Feral's thick hair. “Come on, you frrrling coyote. Mate me. Do it.”

Ky bit the side of his thumb and gasped when Feral’s thrusts changed. Lovely's expression turned to pure ecstasy. It didn't look much different that Ky could tell, but Lovely was certainly enjoying it. His cries came out broken and aching, and a tear slipped free from his squeezed shut eyes.

“That's it, kitten. Frrrl, that's it. Take it all. Take my knot.” Feral held Lovely tight around his chest. His hips rocked much gentler while Lovely moaned in agony. “So tight... so full of me. My kitten.” He buried his face in the waterfall of cool hair at Lovely's neck and groaned softly as he filled his mate with his seed.

“Yes. So much.” Lovely pushed back as he held his weight on his arms and bucked his hips in an erratic rhythm. He groaned when he got Feral to drive into him even deeper. “Yes.” He came with a moan, his back arched, muscles tight, breath lost.

Ky’s gaze slid down to where Lovely's cum spilled over the sheets. He slipped his finger into the stream and brought it tentatively to his lips to taste. Ky’s breath came out in a burst and eyes squeezed shut when the cum sparked on his tongue and left him tingling. He took another lick and felt the strange sensation again. Ky lapped away the rest of Lovely's cum from his fingers with hungry strokes. When his eyes flickered open again, he found Feral staring at him intently.

Ky blushed under the golden gaze. He couldn't stop from glancing down to see where Feral was buried deep in the catboy’s hole. Lovely moaned softly, his lashes fluttering as he rocked with Feral's gentle thrusts. Cum dripped from where they were joined, and Ky dizzily wondered just how much seed Feral had.

Ky leaned forward and caught Lovely's dazed eye after pushing his long hair out of his face. “It's okay, you know. You two can be together all you like. I know you only bonded with me so I could have magic to cast that spell. I would never keep you from your boyfriend.”

“Frrling… Kitten, stop moving,” Feral grumbled in exasperation. Still, Lovely stretched forward and kissed Ky soundly.

“I trust you, Ky. That's why I bonded with you.” He kissed Ky's flushed cheek and teased his tongue between his lips. “There are so many things about you I adore, sweet boy. I want to be connected to you.” Lovely glanced over his shoulder at Feral, who gave a grumpy glare back. “I want to be connected to the two of you, ideally, but that's Redeless's choice to make.”

“He doesn't like me very much,” Ky mumbled. He really couldn't blame Feral. Anyone who took Lovely's attention away would probably be the worst ever.

“He's just afraid.” Lovely kissed Ky again, hard enough to push him flat on the bed. “He was hurt once. It makes it hard for him to trust.”

“I would never hurt…”

“Don't get the whelp bawling,” Feral grunted. He pulled from Lovely and came up on the other side of Ky to collapse spent on the bed. “He's all tears, this one.”

“No I'm not,” Ky said with a pout. “I would never hurt you. I couldn't. Feral, you could literally claw my face off. And, well, I don't like seeing people hurt. It's not nice.”

Feral rolled his eyes, unimpressed with Ky's upstanding morals. “Ignore him, sweetling,” Lovely said as he kissed down Ky's neck and chest. He moved his hands to caress Ky's sides as he settled between his spread thighs. “Can you feel how connected we are? The warm, strong flare of power in your stomach?”

Ky wet his lips. He couldn't feel much beyond the throb in his dick. Lovely's breath was hot and teasing as he kissed his shaft. “I… Oh, it's in my chest,” he whispered when he felt the flare of power. “You're very pink.” Ky’s brows furrowed as he tried to comprehend the feeling. “Healing and power. Oh, you're strong, Lovely. Like a bright, pure light.”

Feral’s eyes trained on Ky's face. He slipped a finger under his chin and turned his head toward him. Ky opened his eyes at the touch and wondered again if he said the wrong thing with the prickly coyote demon. Feral continued to stare at him questioningly as if he were trying to read something.

Ky gasped. A low whine escaped him when a hot tongue pressed against his hole. He flushed red, but Feral held his face still and watched his every expression while Lovely teased his tongue into his entrance with tormenting, demanding thrusts. “Oh. Oh, that's…” His entire body jerked. Lovely grabbed Ky’s raised knees and held him spread open as he continued to lick around his rim and plunge into his entrance with slick strokes.

“Louder, little whelp. Let him know how good he is.” Feral's tongue lapped out to steal a hot tear from Ky's cheek.

“Oh, fuck,” Ky moaned. Fingers pushed thick into his hole and replaced Lovely's tongue. He tried to move his head to see what Lovely was doing to him, but Feral wouldn't let him go. The demon was determined to steal every ounce of fluid as it dripped from him from his stray tears to streaks of saliva.

“Wait. Oh, god. God, Lovely, that's…” Ky wasn't sure just how many long fingers were stretching him wide. Combined with Lovely's hot mouth sucking his cock down, he could barely keep from thrashing. It was a relief when Feral grabbed his wrists with a growl and pinned him down and still. Feral’s mouth descended on his and muffled his loud cries at every plunging thrust of Lovely's fingers.

“Pleading little slut.” Feral licked up the side of Ky's face while he let out another aching cry. “You're almost as bad as my kitten, and he is a very, very bad slut.”

Ky gasped for air and squeezed his eyes shut. His body was so tight and hot. “Please, I can't. God, please.”

Lovely trilled happily when Ky came. His lips sealed tight around his jerking dick, and he swallowed with hot suction. He lapped Ky's sensitive crown a few times to get every last drop of seed before he finally let him go. “Tasty. Sweet, sweet sex.” He licked up Ky's navel, collected his sweat, and drank it down in long swipes of his tongue.

Ky slumped back on the bed with a moan. His eyes cracked open weakly to find Feral inches from his face with glinting fangs.

“Did you know cum is a delicacy, whelp? It's a pure energy shot. Not only does it keep a demon fed, but makes him horny as sin." Feral’s eyes lingered on Ky's parted lips for a long moment. "You should be careful who you let into your bed in the dark. You could have all kinds of beasts trying to get into your generous pants.”

Ky narrowed sleepily on his golden eyes and gave a huff for a change. “Don't you ever have anything nice to say?”

Feral licked his teeth wickedly. “No.”

“Ignore him,” Lovely said with a purr. The soothing sound thrummed through the room. “My sweet master has healed me, fed me, and saved all our lives. He needs his rest to regain his strength.”

“Right, only after you got every drop you could get from the whelp,” Feral pointed out flatly. Lovely glared at him while he wrapped around Ky's yawning form.

“I'd give Lovely everything.” A smile twisted Ky's lips when Lovely cuddled with him. He sank into the bed with a sigh. He hadn’t realized how fuzzy he felt until that moment. Did sharing energy take energy from him? He didn’t think it did, but now Ky wondered. He remembered how tired he always seemed to be whenever Lovely fed from him.

It wasn't important, not really. Ky watched blearily as Feral stretched and his strong, tanned arm wrapped over him and Lovely's tangled forms. Ky couldn’t remember feeling this special before, cherished and protected. Lovely might have felt compelled to bond with him, but it didn't mean he automatically liked him. Ky could feel the warm energy in his heart full of Lovely and he knew the catboy’s affection was genuine. Even Feral, for all his gruff words and taunts, seemed genuine in his regard as he grumbled and nuzzled his face into Ky's neck.

Having the two strong demons curled up with him was the most protected Ky had ever felt. It made it easy to close his eyes and slip into sleep. No nightmares of monstrous overseers dared to break through his warm, fluffy winged guardians.

***

Ky was sorting through his wardrobe when his father came home. Not all of his clothes were ruined, but a lot were sporting fresh slashes. One mangled shirt was so destroyed and covered in blood, he couldn't even use it for a rag.

Ky still felt off, his mind a bit muddled. He didn't know if it was from using magic for the first time or because he bonded to Lovely. He kept noticing the princely cat even though Lovely was fast asleep. Ky had noticed him when he was in the shower scrubbing sleepily, and also when he dared poke through the darkness in the wardrobe with a flashlight to discover it did indeed lead to the attic. Even now, when faced away and staring at his ruined pants, he noticed the cat demon. It was all very strange and distracting.

The bedroom door rattled. Ky turned with heart stuttering for a moment until he heard his father's voice.

“Ky? Why is the door locked?”

Not a monster. Not a huge, terrible, person eating monster. “Sorry, Dad, I'm changing,” Ky yelled. He quickly threw on a shirt and shoved his ruined clothes into the bottom of the wardrobe before closing it tight. He hurried across the room and paused in front of the bed. Feral and Lovely were cuddled together, their long limbs entwined. Feral looked bored as he glanced at him. Ky bit his lip and turned to the door.

It was probably time, right? His parents were going to figure it out sooner or later when the two demons started leaving the bedroom.

Marcus's eyes were sharp behind his glasses when he opened the door. It wasn't an expression Ky was used to having directed at him from his father, and it gave him pause.

“Why did you lock the door?” Marcus asked, suspicion clear in his voice.

“Uh, I don't think I did,” Ky mumbled. He wasn't sure what to say when his father narrowed his eyes. He was in trouble. His dad was angry; it was that weird, quiet, he wasn't sure what was coming, but it was going to be big angry. He was totally in trouble.

Ky stepped away from the door so Marcus could come in, his lip caught between his teeth. “Dad, I wanted you to…” he trailed off when Marcus stepped into the room and looked around warily. His eyes skipped unseeing over the bed.

Ky turned to the bed as well. Feral glared at his father while he covered Lovely's sleeping form with his body. Marcus didn't react, didn't notice, and Ky's heart sank at the realization.

“We need to talk.” Marcus pointed to the chair by the unlit fireplace. Ky shuffled over, not sure what to make of anything at the moment. Either he was absolutely insane, or his dad couldn't see the very solid beings in his room. If his dad couldn't see the Relics, it was going to be really difficult to explain what happened.

“Is Mom okay?” Ky felt very young under the piercing glare he received for the question.

“Of course your mother is okay. Why wouldn't she be okay? Ky, what the hell is going on?”

Ky winced and pulled his knees up. The cushy chair dwarfed him as his father paced. A thrum filled the air, and Ky glanced over to where Lovely was now swishing his tail as he stretched. Marcus didn't notice the purr or Lovely either. He looked at Ky expectantly with a grim frown.

“You didn't see anything,” Ky finally sighed. There was no point making it a question.

“There was nothing to see,” Marcus snapped back. “Your mother came into the house, and all the lights went out. She stumbled in the dark and thought she heard voices, maybe fighting. For all we know, it was the television. We searched the house top to bottom, and there was nothing. By the way, I don't understand why you felt the need to destroy the attic, but you will be cleaning that mess.”

“Dad, I didn't…”

“Are you having blackouts?” Marcus stopped in front of Ky's chair with a concerned expression. “Do you wake up not remembering things, maybe losing hours? Ky, this isn't normal behavior.”

Ky clicked his mouth shut. He blinked rapidly as dread began to grow in the pit of his stomach. Lovely's purr was not helping this one. His dad thought he was crazy. Marcus grew up with Anselm—he had a full grown sorcerer for a father—but he thought he was crazy.

Marcus never figured out Anselm was a sorcerer, did he? He didn’t even known the top floor of his childhood house was filled with chained up demons. Maybe... Maybe only certain people could see the creatures?

“Dad, did Anselm ever tell you about the Relics?” Ky asked quietly.

Marcus stepped back as if struck. He turned abruptly and paced away, only to turn again. “I want you to stay away from my father's old things. He was crazy, Ky. He kept dangerous things. Possibly poison, maybe hallucinogenics. They're not toys.”

“Dad! You'd rather believe I'm out of my mind than listen to the truth. You know what a Relic is. It's a demon!”

“There are no such things as demons,” Marcus gritted out between clenched teeth. “It's just nonsense from the messed up mind of a very inattentive father. I should never have let you near any of his books. The dark, horrible stuff in those things… You're too impressionable.”

Ky felt helpless and angry, and he found himself growing louder the more his father refused to listen to him. “You're the one not seeing things clearly. You're so afraid of what grandpa was, you're completely ignoring there was a monster in the house who was going to hurt us. It killed Anselm, and it was going to kill us too!”

“Then where is it, Ky?” Marcus shouted and threw his hands up. His eyes were wild with restrained anger. “Where is this so called demon?”

“I don't know. Oblivion, I think,” Ky muttered angrily. “I did a spell to send her away. All I know is she's never coming back.”

“The circle?” Marcus pointed to the doorway where he already returned to wash all remains of the spell away. “Those are just nonsense drawings my father was always doing in his notebooks.”

Ky stumbled to his feet, crossed to the door and pointed to the slashes gouged into the floor from Demencious when she was sucked into the spell. “How would I have done that, huh? My hands can't make marks like that. I don't have any tool that can do that. Why would I lie about this, Dad? Why would I choose for you to think I'm a fucking crazy person unless I'm telling you the damn truth!”

Maybe Feral was right; maybe he was all tears. Ky rubbed the back of his wrists against his damp eyes in frustration. “You've always told me to tell the truth. It doesn't matter what kind of trouble I get into just as long as I tell you the truth. Dad, there was a monster in the house and it was going to eat me. It was that Marlene lady, but she wasn't really a person, she was a demon. An overseer. She was going to eat mom and you too when you got home. She was going to eat Lovely and Feral and… Oh, fuck, Magnificent. Dad, Anselm had, like, thirty different demons in this house. Aunty Charlotte saw Lovely and…”

“Stop,” Marcus cut in, his voice clipped, face hard, and expression closed off. “Just stop it. You will not tell your mother any of this nonsense. Do you understand me? You will not make her afraid of her own house. Do not make her worry her only son is losing his mind.” His voice broke on the last word and Ky flinched from the sorrow in his father's voice.

“Dad, I'm not…”

“No more playing around with Anselm's old things. You need to focus on your schoolwork. You've missed the first two days of class. You slept through two days, Ky. Your mother wanted to take you to the hospital. Nothing we did could wake you.” Marcus looked away as his expression crumpled. He pointed to the bureau where Ky's syllabus sat on top. “You have an evening class tonight. One of the art classes. Don't forget to go. You can take your mother's car. I… I have work I need to get to. We've gotten behind because of all of this.”

Marcus stopped in the doorway and stared down at the gouges in the floor before meeting Ky's watery gaze. “No more circles.” He left, his footsteps heavy as he walked away.

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