Authors: Komal Kant
Book One in the Runaway Mortal Series
Copyright © 2014
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes only. It cannot otherwise be circulated in any form of binding or cover than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, or any events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following words mentioned in this work of fiction: Harry Potter, Supernatural, Sherlock Holmes, Guiness World Records, Oompa Loompa, and Veronica Mars.
Cover Design by Eden Crane at
You believed in this story long before you ever read a single word.
Lyrille – LEE-Ryl
Loire – LW
Beaumont – Boe-mont
Veritas – Very-tuss
Cedee – See-dee
Troitan – Troy-tun
Ira – E
Erat – E
Ectra – E
Mishelin – Mish-Lyn
Taliesin – Tally-sun
Esteré – Ess-ter-aye
but it can only take you so far
because once you’re there,
it’s up to you to make it happen.
I supposed, considering I was a wanted fugitive in the supernatural world, it shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise when someone shot a flaming arrow at me. What I hadn’t expected was for it to happen as I strolled down the street eating a corn dog.
“Damn!” I swore, dropping my corn dog on the ground and racing towards the alleyway I’d passed seconds earlier.
I didn’t run in a straight line though—I zig-zagged all over the place trying to be evasive and hoping that I didn’t get hit. Fear trickled into me, but so did regret. Regret that I had dropped my corn dog—the only bit of food I’d had in two days.
That flaming arrow—and the person who’d shot it at me—had just jumped to the top of my “must die” list. But, first, I had to try not to die myself because whoever was shooting those damn things at me wasn’t stopping at just one. Another arrow whizzed past my head, and the smell of burning hair filled my nostrils.
Great. Just great.
Let’s get one thing straight. When I said “flaming arrow”, I didn’t mean an arrow that had been set on fire. What I was talking about was a ball of fire fashioned into the shape of an arrow—probably for some show of finesse—by an ira demon; a demon born with the ability to use fire magic.
By the time I’d sprinted into the dark alleyway, several others were fired at me but none hit their mark. Either the shooter was cock-eyed or they were only trying to scare me and not actually burn me to death.
I pressed myself against the wall and listened, letting the darkness engulf me. I was pretty certain now that I was being pursued on foot, which gave me a few moments to mentally kick myself in the ass for being so lax about my surroundings.
Rule number one when you were on the run: make sure you were always aware of your surroundings just in case a crazy ira demon was stalking you.
Rule number two: don’t casually stroll down the street, because that was just stupid right there. Even if it was nine o’clock at night and you were pretty sure no one was hot on your trail.
Rule number three: Try not to leave any casualties behind. For example, my corn dog. In the larger scheme of things, I guess it wasn’t a huge loss. At least my hair was mostly unharmed.
Right now, I bet you were probably wondering why anyone would be shooting an arrow at innocent-looking Katerina Lyrille. Well, like I’d said, I was a wanted fugitive in the supernatural world. What for? Well, that was a long story. Who was after me? That was a much easier question to answer—my school and Parlum, the group of officials that made laws for all supernaturals.
As for innocent looking, don’t let appearances fool you. I pulled out the two-foot Japanese sword, called a wakizashi, from beneath my long, tan coat as I caught my breath.
As I waited for something to happen, I admired the way the silver, gold, and onyx hilt glittered even in the darkness. The wakizashi had been a gift from my mother on my seventeenth birthday and I could kill a person if I needed to, or at the very least knock them out with the hilt and give them a bad headache.
I glanced to the other end of the alleyway and saw light filtering through from the adjacent street. The assault of flames had stopped and there was no way I was waiting around for someone to come and get me. Being a mortal—a human with advanced fighting abilities—I was only in my element when it came to hand-to-hand combat. A bunch of demons could easily overtake me with their elemental magic.
The very thought made me grip my weapon even tighter. My best chance at survival was to get out of the alleyway and disappear into the night, fading like the shadows I had been masking myself in for weeks.
Head pounding, I sprinted to the other end of the alleyway and slipped into the brighter lit street, stowing my wakizashi in the sheath hidden underneath my jacket. It wasn’t safe here for me anymore now that they knew I was here, but the small town of Wellton was where my final destination was and I couldn’t leave until I did what I’d come here to do.
My dark clothes blended in easily with the younger crowd who seemed to be heading downtown in the direction of the local nightspot,
. I joined the crowd because that’s where I’d been heading up until the ira demon had started attacking me. Rude much?
I shook off the feeling that something was still following me and tried to appear normal as I
maneuvered my way through streets which were still slick from the afternoon rain. Every turn in this quaint town made me feel like I was in a fairy tale village. I half-expected a horse and carriage to come trotting up the road.
Not too far ahead, a blonde-haired girl let out a squeal as she lost her footing on the slippery path and was quickly up-righted by her darker skinned companion who had a network of tattoos over his large arms. His eyes met mine and he grinned awkwardly before continuing on his pilgrimage, an arm wrapped around the clumsy girl.
I shouldn’t have stared for that long. I needed to keep a low profile and it wasn’t going to do me any good if I got caught before I even found what I was looking for. I wasn’t here to make eyes at a guy. I was here for something entirely different.
As predicted, most of the crowd stopped at the nightclub at the end of the street, which seemed completely out of place in this antiquated town. It was clearly one of the newer buildings in Wellton and had a bright, blue neon sign at the front that flashed
in crude lettering that lit up the street. Techno music leaked out of the windows and doors.
The burly bouncer out front raised an eyebrow as I reached the front of the line. “You got some I.D? You don’t look old enough to get in here.”
“I get that all the time.” I sighed impatiently, like someone who was asked this question a lot, and pulled out the brand new driver’s license that Federico, the shady back alley bum, had made me for a hefty fee.
Taking it from me, the bouncer scrutinized it and finding nothing wrong with it, handed it back to me grudgingly. “Fine, you can go in.”
Feeling relieved, I gave him a nod and stepped through the doorway and into
The first thing I noticed was the humidity. My skin began to prickle uncomfortably as I pushed my way through the bodies that were gyrating to the awful techno music and made my way to where the bar was located to the left.
The bartender was a male in his early-twenties with short, dark hair and tan skin. Catching sight of me, he shot me a smile which I found myself returning. So much for not making friends, here I was grinning like an absolute moron. The fact that he was good looking might have had something to do with that.
lingered over me as he stared at me, almost transfixed.
“Are you going to offer me a drink?” I asked, leaning across the counter.
He recovered quickly and flashed me a white smile. “Sorry, what can I get you tonight?”
As the strobe lights flickered overhead, his face was lit up briefly and I couldn’t help but notice what an incredible
color his eyes were—blue with the slightest hint of grey mixed into them. Slate blue, I think it was called.
Shaking my head, I mentally scolded myself for becoming distracted by a hot guy. There was no time for that.
“I’ll pass on the drink, but I could use a little info,” I said, smoothly producing a twenty dollar bill and sliding it across the counter. “But first I need to make sure that you forget you ever saw me.”
He looked over me in a way that made me blush. “That’s going to be hard to do.”
A smile played around my mouth as I tilted my head. “Well, you’re going to have to try. For
My voice was low and seductive and I was amazed by the discovery that I was actually flirting with him. It was something I didn’t do anymore. Not since I had run away. Not since I had been with Talon.
At the mere thought of my ex, I clammed up, but the bartender didn’t seem to notice. He was still chatting away innocently, oblivious to my inner turmoil.
“I guess I can make an exception for
,” he said, imitating my tone. “So what can I really help you with?”
I hesitated. I had come this far and placed all my hopes on this. If my lead didn’t pan out then I didn’t know what else I could do. There weren’t many options left for me anymore and now that they had found me, I didn’t have much time left either.
Taking a deep breath, I leaned forward so no one would hear me. Not that that was a possibility with the loud music pumping through the club. I didn’t even recognize the song that was playing at the moment. Being a nomad for four weeks could do that to a girl.
“I’m looking for someone,” I said in a low tone. “Someone who works here. Her name is Madriel.”
The bartender’s eyebrows shot up. “Madriel? I’m not sure who that is. Hold on a second.” He turned around to speak to the other bartender who was manning the other side of the bar. Finally, he turned back to me. “You’re looking for Madriel? The cleaner?” He seemed confused that I would want to talk to her.
Not sure if I was on the right track or not, I tried to appear confident. “Yeah, that’s the one. Do you know where I can find her?”
Still seeming confused, he nodded. “Yeah, she’s supposed to be in the kitchen right now. Just head through the metal door near the restrooms.” He pointed over my left shoulder.
“Thank you.” I gave him a coy smile and stepped back. “Remember, you never saw me.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep you all to myself,” he said with a conspiratorial wink.
I turned around and walked back into the thicket of the crowd, well aware that he was still watching me.
Bodies writhed alongside me as I pushed through, trying not to deter off course. A few guys shot me hopeful looks, but I bit my lip and ignored them. There was no time for pointless flirting. I had already let my guard down around the bartender and that was a mistake I couldn’t repeat. My time was running out. I needed an answer to an impossible question.
The universal symbols for a male and female came into view and I caught sight of the metal door the bartender had mentioned.
Ignoring the ‘Staff Only’ sign on the door, I pushed it open and entered, trying not to draw any attention to myself. Stealthy, just like they’d taught us in school.
The memory of school sent a pang through me. There was so much I had left behind to go on this solo mission and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get any of it back. There was no way to tell if my life would ever go back to normal. Well, as normal as being a mortal who attended high school with angels and demons could be.
The kitchen smelled like grease and cheeseburgers, and unsurprisingly my stomach growled in response. Too bad I wasn’t here for a fine dining experience because a cheeseburger would’ve really hit the spot right about now.
Instead, my attention fell on the woman standing at the sink with her back turned to me, humming as she scrubbed dishes.
“Um, hello?” I said with caution, ready to bolt at the slightest sign of a trap.
She turned around and I could see that she was quite old. Her cheeks were sunken in, but rosy, and she had periwinkle eyes that made her look like a sweet, kindly grandmother. I felt myself relax—this little old lady couldn’t hurt me.
She tilted her head and regarded me curiously. “You took long enough getting here.” Wiping her wrinkled hands on her apron, she approached me without hesitation.
Her confidence caught me off guard and I took a step back, observing her stooped figure as she halted in front of me. She was a small woman with greying hair that was starting to thin. She also didn’t seem very pleased to see me, based on all the muttering she was doing under her breath.
“You’ve been expecting me?” I asked carefully. “You’re Madriel?”
The woman clucked impatiently. “Of course I’m Madriel, you blue-footed booby,” she snapped. “Your mother told me you were coming.”
My mouth dropped open. What had she just called me? “Uh, so you know why I’m here?”
Madriel shook her head. “I don’t need the details. All I know is you need Valeska’s location.”
“Valeska?” I nearly choked on my next words. “Is that the wi- is that her name?”
“You can say witch you know? It’s not a bad word.” Madriel rolled her eyes.
“Sorry.” I felt completely out of depth with this woman. “Can you tell me where I can find Valeska?”
“Don’t you know how this works?” she said with knitted brows. “I need payment for risking my life by supplying information about a witch, blah, blah.”
Her words surprised me. My mother hadn’t mentioned anything about payment. I didn’t have much money, so I wasn’t sure what to give her. Anxiously, I stuck my hand in my pocket and my fingers brushed against two somethings that felt like thread.
Realizing that I did have a form of payment, I pulled out one of the strands. It glittered like gold in the light, and Madriel’s eyes widened at the hair. Yeah, I was carrying around hair in my pocket. But it wasn’t just any old hair—it was angel hair, a highly sought after item in the supernatural world because of the many magical properties it possessed.
“I’ll take it,” she said without pause and snatched it up with a wrinkled hand.