The others arrived right on time. Nathaniel directed them to the den while Mia remained in the kitchen preparing coffee. Nathaniel’s machine was practically foolproof so she had no fear about burning the brew. She found a tray and placed the sugar bowl, the creamer and the hot pot of coffee. She had already prepared a tray with mugs, spoons and napkins.
She was just pulling the platters of small sandwiches and pastries from the fridge that Betsy had prepared for them before she left when the back door opened. Mia turned to find Nick shaking the snow off his boots and jacket in the mud room.
When he finally looked at her, she could see the rage still brewing but it was tempered now. He hung his jacket on a peg at the backdoor and left his wet boots in the mud room.
“Will you be okay?” Mia asked as she set the platters down on the counter besides the two trays.
Without a word, he walked over to her, he gathered her in to his arms, wrapping his arms tightly around her waist. Before she could utter a word, his lips were against her own, his tongue tangling against her. He had always been intense in his love making, but lately his touches had become tender and gentle. She had nearly forgotten how consuming he could be. Only when he had literally taken her breath away did he pull back, but just enough so that they were eye to eye. His cold nose brushing against her own.
“I will not lose you,” He said through gritted teeth, “You belong to me and I won’t let anything take you from me, not you, not your father, not even death. You are mines and I will never let you go.”
Mia lifted her arms to circle his neck, pressing her entire body against his own, “I love you too.”
“I’m not joking around Mia, I will not lose you,” His arms tightened to the point that breathing became a little hard, “Losing you is not an option.”
“I never planned on it to be,” Mia got out as best she could.
“Good,” He said, pressing one last fierce kiss against her lips and releasing her.
Without another word, he grabbed the two coffee trays and walked out of the room. Mia picked up the food platters and followed. As they neared the den, Mia could hear the sounds of laughter and merriment. She was surprised to find not only Ada, Sarah, Ronan and Alastair in the room, but Adeline and Daphne as well.
“What are you doing here?” Mia asked as she set the tray down on the coffee table in the middle of the room.
“We came looking for you at your apartment this morning when he informed us you stayed out here last night,” Daphne said simple as she motioned to Ronan as she made her way to the tray of food and coffee, “He offered to bring us since he had room in his car.”
“Ada called to tell us what happened,” Adeline said with a frown as she move towards her sister. Mia was unprepared when she threw her arms around Mia’s shoulders and squeezed, “You should have told us. We’re in this together, you’re not alone.”
“I wasn’t trying to do this alone,” Mia said, a little choked up by her sisters’ concern.
“You always do everything on your own,” Daphne corrected as she grabbed an egg salad sandwich off the tray. “You never wanted our help, ever.”
“That’s not true,” Mia said with a frown and she tried to think of example of when she had asked for her, but amazingly, she easily think of one.
“See,” Daphne said around her sandwich. “You would never let us take care of you. Even when you were sick, you would rather crawl out of bed on your hands and knees then ask one of us to get you a glass of water.”
“I see nothing had changed,” Ronan said with a smirk from his seat near the fireplace. Mia shot him a dirty look.
“I didn’t say anything because it was too much for me to discuss. There were things I wasn’t prepared to talk about with anyone, not even Nick,” Mia admitted. Nick came up behind her to wrap an arm around her waist, pulling her against his chest and resting his chin against the top of her head.
“We should probably give her some slack about this though,” Sarah said as she easily stood up and navigated her way towards the coffee pot, “Losing the man you love and your unborn child in one day would be hard for anyone to talk about.”
The room suddenly fell silent as all eyes turned to Mia and Nick. Nick’s arm tightened around Mia’s waist as Adeline looked at her sister, her eyes brimming and her lips trembling as she reached out for Mia.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Adeline demanded to know as her hands clutched tightly at Mia’s arm. “Why didn’t you tell us you were pregnant? We would have come. We would have protected you. We would have been there that day.”
“Oh,” Sarah said, her face suddenly turning pale as she realized just what she had done. “Oh god Mia, I’m sorry, I didn’t know they didn’t know.”
“It’s okay Sarah,” Mia said softly, “They would have found out soon enough.”
“Did Thea know?” Adeline asked, Mia nodded.
“I didn’t tell her but she knew.”
“God Mia, you can’t keep doing this,” Adeline said shaking her head, “You can’t keep things like this from us. We’re family, we are supposed to be there for each other, but you always keep us at arm’s length. You don’t let us be there for you.”
“I didn’t want you getting hurt. I didn’t want anything to happen to you,” Mia said softly.
“You little fool,” Daphne said in disgust, “Don’t you get it yet, we don’t care. After everything we have been through together, after everything we have suffered together, risking our lives for one another is nothing. After all, we died together once before, how much worse can it be to do it again.”
Mia couldn’t help but laugh at her sister’s words.
“She’s right you know. We will always be there for you. No matter what, we will always be there. That is what family is for,” Adeline said squeezing her arm gently.
“And lucky for you, your family got a lot bigger recently,” Ronan said with a goofy grin as he saluted her from his seat across the room.
“He’s right Mia, you are family now,” Nathaniel agreed. “Even without Nick, you would still be family.”
“Oh god, if only you knew just how true your words were,” Mia said with a slightly hysterical laugh as she thought of her mother and half-brother who would be arriving shortly. Nick seemed to understand her words and gave her a reassuring squeeze.
“Now that everything is all easy breezy, will someone tell me who made these little sandwich things, they are absolutely delicious,” Daphne said as she wandered back over to the food. Adeline just shook her head and rolled her eyes at her younger sister.
“It doesn’t matter how long she’s been alive, she never seems to have aged beyond her teen years. Probably has something to do with dying at that age the first time around,” Adeline said. “You have no idea how infuriating it’s been to live with her for the past two weeks. It’s like living with a teenager.”
“Well, at least she decided to stick with a normal hair color,” Mia offered. Adeline scowled at her.
“It was purple yesterday and blue the day before,” Adeline informed her as they both turned to see their sister’s shoulder length hair was a nice shade of auburn at the moment.
“Well, then, at least she did a good job of covering up the colors,” Nick tried to offer diplomatically, which just caused Adeline to sigh.
“She uses magic to change it,” Mia informed him. “Like I told you a while back, Daphne uses her magic for frivolous things, clothes, shoes, hair color, eye color, even face lifts. That was not the same face I saw the last time I saw her.”
“Does she use…donors, for her magic?” Nick asked hesitantly. His words brought a wicked smile to her sister’s lips.
“Oh does she.”
“My sisters and I all have different unique talents. Something we developed after we awoke from our first death,” Mia tried to explain which just had Adeline giggling, “Thea had her visions, Adeline can catch quick glimpses in to people’s hearts when she touches them, Emily can sway people’s minds for a short period of time, I have a slight problem with things exploding when I get upset, as you have seen, and Daphne can draw power from sex. She’s sort of like a succubus.”
Nick suddenly went white before his face turned bright red as she gazed in surprise at Daphne who was even now flirting with Ronan. Her hand resting lightly on his broad shoulder. He seemed to be sucking up her attention to.
Adeline tried not to laugh, instead she tried to cover it with a cough as she covered her mouth with her hand to hide her smile.
“I think I should go warn him,” Nick said as he gave Mia one last squeeze before hurrying over to his friend and their sister. Mia and Adeline just watched as Nick grabbed Ronan by the shoulders and quickly pulled him from the room with some asinine excuse.
“He’s good for you,” Adeline said as she stared after the two men.
“He too good for me,” Mia said as she too stared after them.
“He doesn’t think so.”
“No, he never has,” Mia agreed as she turned back to her sister who was watching her carefully.
“I don’t think he would hate you,” Adeline said, “If you made him like us, I don’t think he would hate it at all.”
Mia could hear the longing in her sister’s voice. Mia knew that Adeline had a man in her life, but she didn’t know much about him. She knew he wasn’t a blood magic user, but that he was a magic user. Adeline didn’t talk about him much, just that she loved him enough to kill him if their father ever got free. She would rather take his life than have their father take his soul.
“I am so freaking jealous of you,” Daphne said as she threw her arms around Mia’s shoulders, leaning heavily on her sister before turning to Adeline, “Do you see the ass on that man? What I would give to get a piece of him.”
Mia didn’t even bother getting annoyed with her sister’s words. That was just the way Daphne was. Whatever she thought came right out of her mouth. She and Ada had that in common. There was no thing as censorship with them. It was probably why they got along so well.
Which is why she was in no way surprised when Ada joined them and added her own comments, “God, you don’t even know the half of it. You should see him when he just gets out of the shower. Imagine that chest glistening with water and his hair slicked back. I was drooling.”
“Do I even want to know how you saw Nick shirtless and just out of the shower?” Mia asked with a sigh, knowing she really probably shouldn’t.
“Well it’s not my fault your man walks around like that. I was waiting patiently for you to get ready and get your ass in to gear when he comes strolling out of the bedroom to get himself a cup of coffee,” Ada huffed, “Did you actually expect me to look away from that piece of work. I think not.”
“You should see him at the beach,” A new voice joined them. Mia couldn’t kept her mouth from falling open as Sarah joined their little group.
“Aren’t you blind?” Ada asked point blank.
“Duh, but it doesn’t mean I can’t see. I can see a person’s energy which is just a good as seeing them physically. Let me tell you, that man could like up the dark, he practically glows.”
“Damn, that might be worth seeing,” Ada said speculatively, “But I must admit, the flesh is pretty damn fine too.”
A throat clearing behind them interrupted Ada’s next thoughts as all eyes turned to Nathaniel who stood there shifting uncomfortably. Mia could feel her cheeks heating but Mia just look the man up and down with an appreciative smile.
“You aren’t bad yourselves for like a really old guy,” Ada said with a wink.
“Please tell me you are not hitting on my grandfather-in-law,” Mia said with a groan as she covered her face with her hands.
“Can I help it if he’s good looking?” Ada said, shrugging off Mia’s words before turning to Nathaniel, “So Nate, how you ever thought about slipping in between the sheets with a blood magic user, because you know-“
Mia quickly slammed her hands over her cousin’s mouth before she could continue.
“Don’t you dare continue that thought,” Mia growled. Nathaniel just chuckled as he watched them.
“Damn Mi, it’s not like he’s a virgin like the seer over there, he’s obviously been around the block a time or two, he is like nearly five hundred years old,” Ada complained as she pushed her cousin’s hands away, “I mean, even his grandson knows how to rock it with a blood magic user. I’ve heard the way he makes you scream in pleasure.”
“Oh my god, you did not just say that,” Mia screeched as Sarah slammed her hands over her ears.
“I so did not want to know that,” Sarah said, shaking her head, “Now I can’t get the image out of my head. Eww, Eww, Eww.”
Adeline and Daphne were laughing outright while Nathaniel at least tried to pretend he didn’t find the whole situation as hilarious as it was.
“Seriously though, what it is like to shake sheets with that one?” Ada asked with a wink, “I mean I can imagine what it must be like, but the real thing must be out of this world.”
“I assure you, it is,” A voice stopped them all in their tracks. Mia refused to turn around look at him, but that didn’t stop everyone else in the room from doing so. She stood perfectly still as she heard his footsteps draw near, then his arm slipped around her waist once more and drew her back to him. By then not only was her face bright red but her chest and neck as well.
“I’m the best, aren’t I love?” Nick said with a deep chuckle as he pressed as kiss against the side of Mia’s head.
“You are so bad,” She said shaking her head, “You’re grandfather’s in the same room.”
“He’s been around us for the last month, I’m pretty sure he knows what were up to,” Nick said, she could hear the grin in his voice. She could also hear Ronan snickering behind them.
“Thank god your mother’s not here too,” Mia groaned.
“She would be congratulating me if she were. She absolutely loves you just like the rest of the family. Besides, she knows what happens in a bedroom between a man and a woman. After all, she does have two children. ” Mia shot him a glare, and was rewarded with a wink.
“You-” Mia was saying when she was cut off by Nick’s lips dropping down on her own. It wasn’t a quick peck, it was a possession. She was never more glad at that moment that Sarah was blind. There really were things she should not be seeing and this was probably one of them. But still, Mia didn’t pull away or fight him, instead she got caught up in his kiss and kissed him back just as passionately.
“I am so jealous,” Ada groaned, “I want one of him.”
Mia could feel Nick smiling against her lips as he finally released her. She glared up at him and punched his shoulder, he just wrapped his arms around her shoulder and pulled up tight against him.
“Stop trying to shock my cousin, you’ll never be able to do something she hasn’t already seen or done herself,” Mia scolded softly. He just laughed.
“But it’s so much fun to watch your reactions. It’s good for my ego,” He replied before he brushed a quick peck on her lips and released her.
“You don’t need any help with your ego,” Mia grumbled as her cheeks started to warm again when she realized Nathaniel was watching her with a warm smile on his lips.
“You are good for him,” Nathaniel said, “And he is good for you.”
Mia just nodded because she knew he was right. They had both been through hell and they had come out stronger. He made her want to be a better person. He always had. If she ever lost him, she wasn’t sure what would happen. Not just to her, but to the world.
“Leave those dark thoughts for another day, today we are focusing on fixing your future,” Nathaniel said as he patted Mia on the shoulder before turning back to their company. Mia knew he was right. There were more pressing issue then what may happen. Right now they needed to worry about what was going to happen if they didn’t do something.
Alastair and the others arrived with their guests five minutes later. By then, they were able to calm down enough to sit down to a have a nice snack with their coffee. Nick usually liked to keep Mia close nowadays, usually keeping her at his side with a hand resting on her thigh or an arm around her shoulders. But Nick seemed especially touchy today, he sat on one of the armchairs flanking the fireplace with Mia sitting on his lap. She had been planning to take a seat on the sofa near him, but he had reached out and grabbed her waist, pulling her down on his legs.
Ada had made a comment about getting Nick cloned as she sulked in the seat Mia had been planning to take with her coffee and pastries.
Mia had finished her coffee and had been leaning forward to place her cup down on the table when Nick’s hand on her thigh stilled her. His fingers tightened on her jean clad thigh. Mia thought he was trying to get frisky again but realized the missing half of their party had decided to finally join them.
“Sorry, we’re so late. Had a little bit of an issue making it up the drive. It seems the wards went on alert and started a little bit of snow storm,” Alastair said as walked in to the room.
“That wasn’t a little snow storm,” Delilah grumbled as she stalked in to the room, her hands were a little shaking as she reached out to grab the coffee pot and pour herself a cup. “Your damn wards almost pushed us off the road and in to the trees.”
“We knew it was a possibility,” Marco said with a heavy sigh, but even he looked a little white around the eyes.
“I told you we should have taken one of them with us,” Delilah grumbled as she took a deep chug.
“Where are our guests?” Nathaniel asked with a frown as he looked towards the well lit hallway.
“They needed to clean up,” Delilah said with a snicker.
“Why? What happened?” Nick asked warily.
“A sink hole opened up in the side of the drive as Mrs. Chen was getting out of the car,” Delilah said with a wide grin on her face, “She would have broken something if her son didn’t have such speedy reflexes. As is, she was covered in a mud as we thought it might be better for all if she cleaned up first.”
“Good,” Ada said with a bright smile, before picking up another fruit tart.
“Are you sure it’s a good thing to let her wander around the house alone?” Sarah asked with a frown as her eyes kept darting towards the open doorway. Mia wondered what her friend saw that they didn’t.
“I highly doubt she will be able to get in to any trouble. The wards within the house are far more secure than the wards outside,” Nathaniel said with a shrug.
“That’s what I’m worried about,” Sarah said just as they heard the sound of something crashing and breaking.
“I’ll go check on them,” Nick said with a sigh as he stood up, easily lifting Mia in his arms before setting her back down on the chair in his place. “I’ll be back.”
“I’ll come with you, you may need backup,” Ronan said as he too stood up. He handed his half filled cup of coffee to Mia, “Watch over that for me.”
Mia frowned at the cup in her hands as the two men left the room. She heard Ada snickering besides her and a sudden suspicion entered her mind.
“What did you do?” Mia demanded as she turned to her cousin.
Ada just shrugged, “He kept drinking all of the coffee and never making another pot.”
“Ada,” Mia groaned.
“It was nothing,” Ada said waving her hands and Mia, “I just decided to spice up the coffee a little bit.”
“She slipped some ground up ghost pepper in to the pot,” Sarah informed her.
“Ada! You can’t do that.”
“It was nothing,” Ada argued, “He started breathing again after a minute or two. Besides he learned his lesson. Now there’s always fresh coffee in the pot.”
“I swear I’m surrounded by a bunch of children,” Mia said shaking her head as she made to keep Ronan’s coffee cup as far away from her cousin as possible.
“You know the whole tension thing between the two of you would just stop if you just slept with the man,” Daphne said as she reached over her cousin for another sandwich. “I mean we could all smell it on the two of you. You should just get it over with.”
Mia could only groan. Ada was bad enough, now she was stuck with the two of them, who knew what other scandalizing things would come out of their mouths.
“What?” Daphne looked up innocently.
“What does she mean you can smell it?” Sarah asked Adeline sitting next to her. Her older sister was shaking her head but explained to Sarah.
“Blood magic users had heightened senses. Our sense of smell is heightened enough that we can smell certain things,” Adeline was trying to be diplomatic in her explanation as she looked around the room at Nathaniel and Alastair. Nathaniel was smiling but Alistair looked a bit red.
“You mean you can smell lust?” Sarah asked innocently.
“Yes, yes we can,” Adeline said, her own cheeks looked a little pink.
“It’s not really lust that we smell, it’s-” Daphne was explaining when Adeline slammed her palm over her sister’s mouth.
“Not now,” Adeline said through gritted teeth. Sarah’s mouth fell open as she suddenly realized what Daphne had been about to say. Daphne gave her sister an affronted look as she pushed her palm away and then winked as Sarah and whispered loudly, “I’ll tell you later.”
Mia grimaced just and Nick and Ronan walked back in to the room with their guests. Nick was frowning as he made his way back to Mia, instead of picking her up and placing her back on his lap, he took a stance behind her chair, his arms crossed over his chest, he shoulder leaning on the mantle behind them.
Ronan took his seat once more, grabbing is coffee from Mia. He mumbled thanks but she noticed how he sniffed his cup, eyeing it suspiciously. She wasn’t the only one that noticed as Ada started snickering again.
Mia gazed at their two guests. Iliya looked somewhat cleaner. She still had a couple of streaks of mud on her cheek, but her hair looked clean, dripping wet but clean. The clothes she wore were a large, a loose pair of sweat pants and sweat shirt that Mia had never seen before. But she figured from the bright pink color that it probably belonged to Nick’s younger sister.
Damien looked no worse for wear. There were a few streaks of dried dirt on his pants and the arm of his black suit, but besides that, he looked good, which was not lost on the women in the room. Ada let out a low whistle as she looked him up and down.
“I won’t mind me a bit of that either,” She said to Daphne besides her.
Marco started speaking before Daphne had time to reply, effectively cutting off whatever embarrassing comment was about to come out of her mouth, “Okay, now that we are all here, we can start. You claim that Mia is in danger. I want to know everything you know and how we fix it.”
It was obvious Iliya Chen was not used to being ordered around. She leveled Marco with a icy glance before she walked over to an empty armchair and had a seat. Damien took up the space behind her chair. He glanced around the room warily, all to aware that he stood in a room with three Omegas, and five A-Level magic users.
“I warn you now, that whatever comes out of your mouth better not upset Mia or her sisters in anyway, or I shall take it as a personal offense,” Nick said icily as he gazed at the woman who had given birth to the woman he loved.
“You are no threat to me,” Iliya said with a wave of her hand, dismissing Nick’s threat.
“We shall see,” Nick said with a chilling smile, “I can be quite resourceful. After all, I learned from the best and how to get what I want. I have the scars to prove it.”
The room got utterly silent. Nick didn’t talk about what happened to him all those years ago. Mia and the Dragos clan knew best what he had suffered and they knew best what he was capable of. Mia doubted her mother truly understood just how dangerous Nick could be.
“Nick,” Alistair warned. Nick said nothing but nodded, the smile left his face but he kept his fierce golden eyes trained on the Chens.
“You claim you have come here to help Mia, well prove it,” Delilah challenged.
“I am here to do more than help Mia, I am here to help you all save this world,” Iliya said, her head held high and her back straight. Anyone walking in to the room might have mistaken her for a queen, but Mia knew better. She lost the right the rule over them the moment she walked away.
“Well, get on with it then,” Ada said with an eye roll.
“I assume that your seer has explained to you all the Mia’s situation,” Iliya paused for confirmation. Alistair and Marco nodded. “Well, the situation is far worse then you were informed. The body Mia is inhabiting is dying. The body and the soul she stole was never meant to contain Mia’s true power. These visions she has been suffering from, are the first signs that the soul is shattering.”
Mia could hear the gasps around the room as eyes suddenly turned in her direction. Nick stepped forward, his hands coming down Mia’s shoulder’s supportingly. Mia kept her face blank as she stared at the woman she realized she had never really known.
Since finding out she was her mother, Mia had tried to rack her brain to remember something about her. She had only lived with her mother for twenty-four years or so before the whole attack happened. Mia and her older sisters had always been independent, it was what their parents had wanted them to be. Daphne probably remembered her best, she was always clinging to her mother’s skirts as a young child. Thea preferred her books, Adeline loved painting, Emily was obsessed with clothes, while Mia was usually with her father. He recognized she was most like him and he had wanted to impress his morals on her early on.
Mia realized she didn’t really know the woman who gave birth to her. Her father loved her unconditionally. She was his life. He loved his daughters, but it was his wife who was his everything.
Mia knew what it was like to love someone that way. She knew what it was like to breathe for someone else alone. But where her father believed that, she knew Nick felt the same way about her, there was no doubt in her mind or heart of this. She wondered if her mother had ever felt the same way for her father. If she had, wouldn’t she have immediately returned to his side. Wouldn’t she have fought heaven and earth to be there. Nothing would have stopped Mia from returning to Nick, nothing. So why had her mother never tried?
“What does that mean? What happens when her soul shatters?” Adeline demanded to know as she looked worried in Mia’s direction before turning back to Iliya.
“If your sister were a normal person, it would be the ultimate death. Without a soul to return to the darkness, you will never be reborn. Your existence will be wiped from the universe,” Iliya explained plainly, no emotion showing on her face or leaking in to her voice.
“Oh god,” Sarah cried as clutched to her father’s arm. Tears started streaming down her face as she began to sob. Alistair wrapped an arm around his daughter’s shoulder as he patted Delilah gently patted her back.
“You said if she were a normal person,” Marco said, as he crossed his arm in front of his chest and glanced at his cousin, “What exactly is she, if she is not a normal person?”
“I assume you know how she was created,” Iliya said looking around the room, everyone there nodded, “Then you also know that body and the soul she inhabits are not her own. Her sisters created a body for her soul to inhabit, in doing so, they overwrote the soul in the body, tying it to Mia’s own.”
“So you are saying the soul in Mia’s body is not her real soul?” Adeline asked with a frown. “I may not be as well versed in Soul Magic as Thea was, but from what I understood, the spell should have taken Mia’s soul from the Void and replaced the soul currently living in the body.”
“And that was what should have happened. It’s what happened for you and your sister, but that was because you two were already dead. Your souls had already returned to the void,” Iliya informed them which only caused more confusion.
“But Mia was dead. Thea told us Mia had come to her and asked for release,” Daphne said with a scowl, “Thea would never have lied to us.”
“And she didn’t. As far as your sister knew, Mia was dead,” Iliya nodded in agreement.
“Well, if she wasn’t dead, then what was she?” Ada snapped, getting irritated with conversation.
“Mia is incapable of dying. She is a true immortal, something my people call a Phoenix, ” Iliya explained. “You can try to kill her, but she will just rise again. Her body is just a vessel for her soul, if it is destroyed or killed, then another body will be created. There is no way for her to die.”
“Well damn, that’s fucked up,” Ada said as she glanced at her cousin besides her.
“So if she wasn’t dead, how was her soul put in to the body of my biological daughter?” Adeline demanded to know.
“I’m not exactly sure just how your sister went about doing it. This is magic beyond my know. But from what we could gather, your sister imprinted Mia’s memories, her consciousness into the soul of your child.” Iliya said, “She some how was able to link their souls and transferred everything that was Mia to the soul of your daughter basically erasing the existing soul.”
“But how is that even possible?” Nathaniel asked, shaking his head, “I have studied Blood magic and what little I could find of soul magic for the last four hundred years and never heard a thing about something like this.”
“That’s because it didn’t exist. It was something new, something my people would never have believed possible because of the very fact that it is so dangerous. If something happens to the overwritten soul, then it’s pretty much like an ultimate death. The only difference is that the original soul is still in existence, just completely wiped.”
“And that is what will happen to Mia when the soul shatters?” Sarah asked, wiping tears from her face with her father’s handkerchief.
“Yes,” Iliya nodded, “Mia will basically vanish. Her body and soul will still exist, but all her memories, everything she is right now, will disappear. She will basically be a blank.”
“Then Mia herself will be facing an ultimate death?” Alistair asked with a deep frown.
“Yes,” Iliya said slowly.
“So what do we need to do to prevent that?” Ronan asked, “I mean, you wouldn’t be here is there wasn’t a way to fix it,”
“There is,” Iliya admitted, “What you must do is find Mia’s real body before the stolen soul shatters, and transfer her consciousness back to it.”
“Well, that should be easy enough,” Daphne said with a pleased smile as she turned to Mia, “So where did you leave your body?”
Mia could only stare in wonder at her younger sister. Adeline sat next to her shaking her head. Even Ada looked stunned.
“I don’t know Daph, I don’t seem to remember where I placed it,” Mia said, sarcasm heavy in her voice.
“Well that’s not going to help us at all,” Daphne said shaking her head.
“By any chance, did something go wrong when they were transferring her soul into her new body?” Ronan asked as he stared at Daphne open mouthed.
“No,” Adeline said with a sigh, “That is just Daphne.”
“For real?” Ronan said, turning to Mia who just nodded. “Wow.”
“Well sorry for not getting it,” Daphne said icily, “But I mean, she was the last one to see her body, I can only assume she would have known where it was.”
“I don’t know Daph, I was kind of dead at the time, so I kind of don’t know where my body was placed,” Mia said.
“Well, you must have some idea? Maybe your body is still in the grave where Thea placed you. We could trying checking there,” Daphne offered. “I mean, it’s not like its far or anything.”
A shiver suddenly ran down Mia’s spine as things suddenly started clicking in her head. It was something she had wondered about distantly, but not something she thought about often. She had wondered how the magic imbuing the hearth and the house had remained so strong after so many years. It suddenly made sense and it made her just a little sick.
“Are you telling me, your sister buried Mia’s body somewhere on this land?” Ronan said with a shiver as he realized exactly what Daphne had been saying as well.
“Of course,” Daphne said with a roll of her eyes, “Mia would have wanted to be buried in the place she was happiest.”
“Please tell me your previous body isn’t buried around here someplace to?” Ronan asked as he turned to Nick who just glared at him. “Because seriously, try and tell me that’s not a little freaky.”
“He’s not,” Mia said softly. “I took them home, they were buried with the Stormrider Clan. That way he could rest with his family.”
Nick leaned over a brushed a kiss against the top of her head, “Thank you.”
“So, do we dig her up then?” Daphne asked looking at Iliya.
“No, because although her body may have been buried there, it would have basically turned to ash and been reborn in another location,” Iliya said shaking her head.
“I don’t understand. How does this all work? So Mia’s dies, her body turns to dust and a new body is created in a new place?” Adeline asked as she looked between Mia and Iliya.
“You have the basics of it,” Iliya nodded.
“How do you know this for sure? I mean, we never saw it happen, so how do you know this is what happens when she dies?” Adeline asked.
“Because I am like your sister, I am a Phoenix,” Iliya admitted.
“Well, damn,” Daphne said in wonder.
“So you know how this all works? You’ve died before?” Sarah asked with a frown.
Mia had to bit down on her bottom lip to keep her comment to herself. Yes, she had definitely died before. But instead she sat there quietly while Iliya nodded.
“Yes, I have. Many times, just as Mia has, although she was not aware of what was happening at the time.”
Once again all eyes were back on Mia. She scowled at Iliya, if she didn’t want to protect her sisters so much, she would have outed her. But she wanted to keep that information from them as much as possible. It would hurt them less that way. They didn’t need to know what a selfish backstabbing woman had given them life.
“What is she talking about?” Adeline asked with a frown.
“It was long ago. When we first went off to start the five clans. I tried to leave my territory, tried to get away, but the moment I set my foot on the border, I would get a piercing headache and then it felt like was body was on fire. It hurt so damn much but I needed to get out so badly that I would keep pushing myself. Then there would be one last sharp pain in my chest and then everything would go dark. When I woke up again I would always be at the foot of father’s altar, naked and covered in dried blood. I didn’t understand at first what was happening. I just thought I was blacking out. It was until recently that I understood what had really happened.”
“What you felt was a ward my people put up to contain your father if he ever awoke. It would not have lasted long, but it would have given us a better chance of defeating him,” Iliya informed her. Mia was too blown away but the news to do much but sit there and stare at the woman. She really didn’t know her at all. She had knowingly trapped her daughter in the same prison she had built for her husband. It was just too much for Mia to contemplate. She knew without a doubt, her mother had known it would trap Mia as well. She has said as much the other night. She was too much like her father. Nick noticed her stillness and reached down to grab her hand in his own, giving it a squeeze. Mia squeezed back, but she was still too numb by the new to do more.
“If it was a ward meant for our father, then why did it kill Mia?” Daphne demanded to know angrily.
“Because that ward couldn’t differentiate between your father as your sister,” Iliya said simply. “You four were all aware that off the five of you, Mia was most like her father. It was not something unknown. After all, he was in the process of training her when everything happened.”
“Yes, we did know our sister inherited the most from our father, but how would you or your people know that? Only our family knew, we never spoke of it to anyone else. By the times the five clans were created, our father was more legend that reality. None of them really believe in him, so how do you know so much about him and about our family?” Adeline demanded to know.
“My clan is very old,” Iliya started off.
“Bullshit,” Adeline interrupted her. “There were no clans until we created them. There were no blood magic users until we created them. Magic users were born from our bloodline. We are the originators. So the real question is who the hell are you?”
“Adeline, let it go,” Mia warned her sister. Adeline turned enraged eyes on her sister.
“We deserve to know the truth. How dare this woman come in her and try to tell us our own goddamn history. We created history. She knows nothing,” Adeline snapped as she came to her feet. Damien immediately shifted in to a protect stance in front of his mother.
“Adeline, calm down before you wake the wards,” Mia said as she too stood. “The house recognizes my magic and the magic of the St. Clair family. But any other use of magic used with ill intent will awaken them.”
As if to prove her point, the lights in the room began to flicker as the flames in the fire place began to grow.
Adeline bit off a curse but sat back down as she glared at Iliya and her son.
“And you,” Mia said as she turned to Iliya, “I recommend that you keep you condemnation of my family to a minimum. After all, the wards have no problem when I use my magic within them. As powerful as your son maybe, he won’t be enough to stop me if I decide to end one of your lives. Like you said, I am my father’s daughter.”
Iliya said nothing, but Mia could tell from the flashing in her jade green eyes that she very much wanted to. But even she was aware just how outnumbered she was. She may survive this night, but Damien wouldn’t. And if she cared anything for her son that she did not feel for her daughters, it would be best if she behaved herself.
“Our best course of action and this point would be to put all of our resource in to searching for Mia’s real body,” Alistair said, breaking the tense silence.
“I agree, as much of a threat as Ophelia poses, our biggest concern should be helping Mia,” Marco agreed before turning to Iliya, “Do you know of anyway that could help us find her body? Since you seem to know the most about this whole thing?”
Iliya shook her head, “I have never come upon a problem like this before. Usually a soul remains within a body so there is never a need to find the body. This is something my clan had never come across.”
“If only Thea was still alive,” Daphne said with a sigh, “She would have known where Mia’s body was. After all, wouldn’t she have had to know in order to do the soul stealing thing.”
“That’s it!” Iliya said excitedly which startled the whole room. They hadn’t seen this much animation from her until now.
“What are you talking about? Did you want us to have a seance or something? Thea is dead. There’s no way we can ask her now,” Adeline scowled at the other woman.
“No, you are right, Thea is dead, but the one who put Mia’s soul in to this body wasn’t Thea,” Iliya announced. There was complete silence at the proclamation as everyone tried to figure out what the hell she was talking about.
“I don’t know what you heard, but it was most definitely Thea who placed Mia’s soul in that body,” Adeline said with a shake of her head.
“No, it wasn’t. Thea was already dead by that time. Thea died not long after the two of you. She’s been dead for over a thousand years,” Iliya said. Adeline was ready to argue but Iliya cut her off. “Emily created the persona of Theodora Dragos and took Thea’s place. She has been running the Dragos family for the last thousand years. She had no desire for any competition and she took you three out after she believe Mia died.”
“I don’t believe you,” Adeline said shaking her. “Emily would never do that.”
“Your sister has always been unstable. You saw the signs, you just ignored them. When she lost the man she believed was destined for her, she lost it completely. She poisoned Mia’s clan against her. She was the one that sent them after Mia. She was the reason you lost your lover and your child. She was the one behind it all.”
Mia could only sit there in shock. Not because it was unbelievable, but because it was. Emily had been furious when Kai chose Mia over her. She had threaten to make her pay. She probably hadn’t intended for Kai to die, but when she found out that Mia was pregnant with his child, she probably lost it.
If it had been Mia in Thea’s place for the last thousand years, that would mean. Mia mind froze as she looked up at Nathaniel, a man that she herself had once admitted looked just like Nick. One that could easily have been mistaken for him. So Emily had cursed him thinking he was Nick. She had ensured that he couldn’t die just in case she needed to come after Mia again.
Mia felt sick. She literally felt sick to her stomach. Her sister was completely and utterly insane. Everything she had done, everything sick thing she had ever done was because she felt slighted.
“Emily wouldn’t do that,” Adeline said weakly, but there was no real conviction in her voice and they all heard it.
“Why?” Daphne asked after a second. “Why kill us only to raise us again? What’s the purpose?”
“Because even she is aware that she has no chance of defeating your father. He is too powerful. It took five of you to defeat him the first time. She knows she has no chance this time around. She needed you to stop him.”
“But if Emily was Thea, who the hell was Emily? What the hell did she do to my daughter?” Adeline demanded to know as she slammed her fist down on the table.
Iliya gave Adeline a sympathetic glance, “I believe your daughter was a trial for what she planned to do with Mia. She put a portion of her memories in to her, enough so that you two would believe it was her. But it was too much for the poor soul and it end up making her mad.”
Adeline could only look at Iliya with horror written over her face. She grew pale and her hands shook.
“She used me. She used my children,” Adeline said, her voice wavering as her hands suddenly clenched in to fists. “She told me we had to do this. She told me there was no choice. That only a child born between her son and I would be strong enough to hold the souls of our sisters. She lied to me.”
Daphne reached over and wrapped her arms around Adeline’s shoulders. Pulling her sister in to her embrace.
“I believe she also has Mia’s real body in her possession or she is at least aware of its location,” Iliya announced.
“I’m going to kill her. I’m going to kill her slowly and painfully and then rip her heart out and burn it to ashes. I’m going to make her pay for every crime she had committed against our family. She isn’t one of us. She was never one of us,” Adeline growled as she broke free from Daphne’s embrace.
“Then you’re going to need an army. Your sister has convinced the Rosengards to follow her. She was in negotiations with the Chens but I was able to put that on hold for now. Damien was able to convince his father to wait to see what happens before pledging any troops to her,” Iliya informed them.
“We won’t need any army, all we’ll need is one,” Adeline said fiercely as she gazed at Mia. “We will find your body and stuff your soul back in it, then you will make her pay for everything she has done to us. She killed your husband and murdered your child. She took my two children and turned them in to experiments. She deserves to die for everything she has done. She needs to pay.”
“As lovely as that idea sounds, there is one little problem,” Iliya interrupted her.
“What?” Adeline snapped.
“If your sister were to unleash her true powers on this world, it would awaken your father from his already light slumber. You would then have to deal with two enemies rather than one.”
Adeline snarled as she pounded her fists against the cushion beneath her. Daphne tried to reach out for her again but Adeline slapped her hands aside. Mia knew exactly what her sister was feeling. She knew the pain, the sorrow, the loss that Adeline was going through right at that moment. She had felt the exact same thing when she lost Kai and their child. Emily needed to pay for this, for all the pain and sorrow she has caused them all, she needed to pay. Mia vowed that she would not stop until she made sure of that.
Next: Chapter Seven