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Cup of Life

Cup of Life

The Everlast 3

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He will live forever, but his existence will mean nothing without her.

Synopsis

He will live forever, but his existence will mean nothing without her.

Not even a god can break a soul oath. Refusing to accept Nadine’s imminent death, Micah goes on a perilous journey to discover a way to change her terrible fate. A legend about a cup holds the key, but the price to get it may be more than he is willing to pay.

A short novella from Micah’s point of view about his attempt to use love’s light to break through death’s unforgiving darkness.

Book 1: Destiny Gift
Book 2: Soul Oath
Book 3: Cup of Life
Book 4: Everlasting Circle

Chapter One

Chapter One

Thirty or forty years ago, I wouldn’t have stared at the girl in front of me for more than five seconds before charming her into going to bed with me.

But this girl ... this girl was different.

“I think that’s everything,” Nadine said, stepping out of the cottage as Rok flew from the roof.

It was early January. The lights around the cottage reflected off the three feet of snow and illuminated Nadine’s long brown hair, tinting some strands bronze. Her hair, her dark green eyes, and her red lips contrasted with her fair skin; the only thought on my mind was that I had never seen a more beautiful girl in my entire life. And I had been alive for quite some time.

Nadine approached me, and as it was every time she looked at me, I fought the urge to reach to her, to pull her against me, to kiss her, to—

“It is everything, isn’t it?” She glanced at the bag slung across my shoulder and the box in my arms. She held her sister’s stuffed bunny in one hand and a duffel bag in another.

We had been moving to our new location all day, making several trips to and from, and now we were the last ones here.

“I think so,” I replied, quickly glancing to Rok hovering above our heads. “Ready?”

She walked down the porch steps, into the snow, and turned to the cottage. Her eyes scanned it, as if she wanted to take every little detail with her.

She slung the duffel bag over her shoulder and flipped the collar of her jacket up. “It’s odd. I feel like I should feel bad for leaving this place after fleeing so many others, after losing so many people.” She sighed. “But I don’t, and I totally should, especially after seeing the new place Ceris got us.”

I nodded, knowing too well that the new place brought her depressing memories.

No matter. It was a new place, a new path on our journey, a new beginning. We were on the right track.

I offered my arm to her. “Let’s go, darling.”

With a half-smile that made my heart skip a beat, Nadine sauntered to me and hooked her arm with mine.

I scooted closer to her, closer than necessary because I could and because I wanted to, and then I transported us out of there.


* * *

New freaking York fucking City. That was where Ceris found a couple of intact buildings and apartments, one of the few Omi and the demons hadn’t completely destroyed when they invaded the city over a month ago. She had found many bodies in them though. Levi, Izaera, and I helped her clean the large third floor, four bedroom apartment she had chosen before she brought the others to the city.

“They will never look for us here,” Ceris said, using her powers to scrub the walls clean of blood.

She was probably right, but I knew Nadine wouldn’t be okay with it.

When we brought the others, Nadine didn’t disguise her disgust, but made no other objections. She understood why Ceris had chosen this place, and she agreed with the goddess’s reasons. Still, it wasn’t easy for her.

“Are you all right?” I asked as we walked among the debris, rumble, and flipped cars that lined the area around the apartment.

Ceris, Levi, Izaera, and I had united our powers to build a strong ward around the place with a radius of three blocks. Then we cleaned paths that led to the building while moving bodies, cars, and broken glass out of the way.

“I’m fine,” she answered, pointing the flashlight to our improvised trail. She wrinkled her nose at the smell of the decay and avoided looking around too much.

We arrived at the building, crossed through the front doors, walked up three flights of stairs—the elevator was destroyed—and opened the door to the apartment.

It wasn’t bad. A large living room with a fireplace, two sofas and four armchairs, a coffee table, lamps, and other decorative stuff, though most we had to throw away. Vases, pictures, paintings, rugs, pillows—all broken or tainted by blood—were now in the trash. Then there was a dining room for ten and a fully equipped kitchen. There was an office and half-bath in the front. Next to them was a corridor that led to four bedrooms, one being a suite, and two separate bathrooms.

We had to replace most beds, comforters, and pillows, since those had also been destroyed during the invasion. We had to find generators and fuel for the electricity, and we had gone to a grocery store in Australia—so not to leave a trace around here—for food and drinks.

We took all the furniture from the front office and transformed it into a gym. It was half the size of the gym we had in northern Greenland, but it was a place to burn some energy and stay sharp.

Ceris and Levi had chosen the suite. Apparently, they were mending things between them. Zelen and I were sharing one of the bedrooms, while Izaera shared another one with Keisha. Nadine had picked the spare room all for herself. Lucky girl.

I dropped the box in the living room as Nadine walked to the door of her bedroom and stared at the inside.

“What is it, darling?” I followed her gaze. The furniture we had found was simple. A brown wooden queen bed and matching nightstand, thin mattress, and a dark blue comforter. Nothing else. No curtains, no rugs, no decorations, no drawer, no dresser—the same as the other bedrooms.

“It’s so lifeless,” she muttered. “If the bed was made of metal, I would think we were in a prison.”

A prison. That was what this was for her. This situation, this place, this war, the Soul Oath. Her prison.

I leaned closer to her and kissed the top of her head, not sure what to say. She turned to me, with suspicion in her pretty eyes, as if she doubted my intentions. I guess she had no reason not to suspect my intentions. She once said she was tired of my mixed signals. I was too, but I couldn’t help myself. I tried with all my might to stay away from her, to not touch her, not hug her, not kiss her. So far, I was failing.

“Come on, darling. You love it when I kiss you.” Teasing came naturally to me, and she actually reacted the way she always should react with me: her brows knotted and she dismissed me. I should have stopped there. I should have walked away and left her be. Instead I nudged her arm with my elbow. “What?”

“Nothing,” she said, her tone indicating it wasn’t really nothing. She sighed and stepped into her bedroom. “I guess I better ...” She gestured around the room, and I had no idea what she meant.

Nevertheless, I went along with it. “Sure. Yeah.”

She closed the door in my face.

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