Curse of Shadows and Light (Demonblood Book 3)

By: Penelope King

I turn my head and see a petite woman sitting on a marble bench a few feet behind me. I gasp, and for a moment I can’t even catch my breath. Nothing could have prepared me for this. I knew they were twins. But this is just too surreal.

“You… it’s you. You’re her, Anastasia… Tattie’s sister.”

“And you are her,” the woman replies flatly. She stares at me without emotion as I struggle to stand. But I’m weak, and I feel like I’m moving in slow motion.

And like my heart has quite literally been ripped from my chest.

“What happened? What have you done to me?” I moan, looking around. “Where’s Kieron? Corrine?”

The woman’s intense blue eyes bore into mine. I can’t get over how much she looks like Tattie… and at the same time is nothing like her.

“Your friends are around the corner waiting in the car for you so you can leave at once.”

“What happened…what did you do to me?”

“You are an evil, filthy thing, and you are not welcome here!” she snaps.

I turn back and glare at the little woman. “Fine by me. I have better things to do than hang out with rejects from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Tattie’s twin or not, she obviously doesn’t share her sister’s appreciation for the darker side of life. Why were we sent here in the first place?

I try to walk, but my legs are rubbery and weak. I stagger to another marble bench and sit.

“What did you do to me?” I ask again. “And what did you do to Liora?” I search Anastasia’s face but I see no compassion there, no kindness. I only see an empty, cold, and hard version of her gentler twin.

Anastasia’s eyes narrow. “Why would you ask that about Liora?”

“Why? Because I think… I think she is suffering terribly right now,” I huff out between breaths. “Like she’s screaming inside. And I feel like I’m about to die or pass out, or both.”

“You have no idea what’s going on?”

“How could I? I just woke up. Last thing I remember I was driving through Arizona. What happened?”

“You are the demon girl.”

I stare at her blankly. This is news?

“But you are separate from Liora,” she continues.

Too exhausted to speak, I just nod.

“You are the creature they call Lucky.”

Is this a Stating Stupid Facts Party? I nod again. “I would say nice to meet you but clearly that’s not the case, is it.”

“If you and Liora are separate personalities, then why would you feel her suffering?”

I let out a small groan. Obviously this woman wants me gone, and I’m outta here just as soon as I can catch my breath enough to stand and walk away. Why the hell does she need to play Twenty Questions now?

I’m tempted to ignore her and focus on gathering my strength. But as I glance up and see Tattie’s face staring back at me, I relent.

“I don’t know what hurt her, but lately I’ve been able to feel her more. We have a link, but it’s tenuous. Something hurt her. Something big. And I don’t care how much you look like Tattie, if it was you who hurt her—us—then you will pay. Dearly.”

Anastasia’s tinkling laugh startles me. “Oh, silly creature. Do you really think I’d let a demon cross onto my land and not take the proper precautions? There are so many enchantments protecting me from you right now, you are as weak as a kitten. Or have you not noticed?”

A dull fire starts to build inside me, but is quickly doused. I realize I’m too tired to even get mad at this hateful witch. “You did this to us. But why? Why did you hurt Liora?”

“The magic only works on you. Humans are unaffected, of course. But perhaps she was bothered by something else. Some tragic news I shared with her right before you arrived.”

My heart thuds dully, and a heavy sense of foreboding creeps along my spine.

“What?” I whisper. But I don’t have to ask. I know. It’s the worst of the worst. In my heart and in my gut, I know.

“Tatiana is dead. She was killed last night by some Light-angels. They tortured her mercilessly for information about you. Her pain and suffering was so great, I felt it all the way over here on the other side of the country. I quickly found her on my Looking Stone and saw what was happening. But by the time I was able to send help, it was already too late. They snapped her neck and burned her body.”

The woman’s eyes blaze like blue diamonds, and she rises to her feet. “And you… it was your fault! You left her alone and unprotected. You left her to die!”

“NO! NO! Stop talking… you’re lying!” I cry out, but my voice is weak and hoarse. I try to stand, but fall over in a heap on the ground. It’s true. This is the source of Liora’s anguish. Nothing but losing our beloved Tatiana would hurt this much.

“Why did you leave her?” Anastasia screeches. “Didn’t you care about her at all? After all she’s done for you?”

I can’t even see her anymore… my eyes have flooded with tears. My hands and lips tremble uncontrollably as a rage builds inside.

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