Choosing Theo: Chapter 37

When Jade was free from the chair, Xoris grabbed her arm, leading her through the back door. They entered a large open room with long tables. There were trays scattered here and there, and she realized this must be some kind of cafeteria.

How sick can you be? she thought as she surveyed the mundane-looking cafeteria. Abduct, rape and impregnate women from all over the universe and then come eat lunch. Just sick.

Nedas was seated at a table a few feet away, and he shot up when he saw them. “What are you doing with her?”

“That’s none of your business,” Xoris said to Nedas in a condescending tone.

Nedas bristled and approached them slowly. “You said I could have her after you were done. You’ve never taken one out this way before.” He scowled at her, and Jade moved behind Xoris, pretending she trusted him to protect her.

Xoris released her arm, allowing it. His chest puffed up with pride.

Idiot, she thought. The two males continued to argue, and Jade took the opportunity to look around for anything she could use as a weapon. She found none.

“You will obey my orders, Nedas!” Xoris barked. In a calmer voice, he added, “If you do, then I’ll make sure the next human brought here is all yours.”

Nedas crossed his arms but said nothing more. Taking his silence as agreement, he grabbed Jade’s arm once again and worked his way through the cafeteria.

A knife! On a table just in front of her, there lay a tray with an empty plate, fork, and knife.

How to get to it?

Jade heard a snarl from behind her. She turned to see Nedas running full speed at them. He barreled into Xoris just as he spun to face Nedas. Xoris hadn’t let go of Jade when he was knocked down. She felt a sickening pop in her shoulder, and her vision blurred before he finally released her. Pain shot up her arm when she tried to move it, and she realized it was dislocated.

Jade scrambled back in horror, watching the two males fight. Nedas was on top of Xoris. Bashing his head into the white tile floor.

Jade came to her senses when she saw blood. She leapt forward, grabbing the knife, and then bolted back in the direction of the spiral escalator.

She reached the door that led to the exam room and glanced back. Fear stabbed at her when she saw Nedas running toward her, dark intent in his eyes.

She willed her feet to keep moving through the exam room and down the hallway. Pain lanced through her shoulder with every jarring step.

She sensed Nedas at her back even before he lunged for her. She screamed in pain when his heavy body landed on top of hers. He rolled her over, and she took the opportunity to sink her knife deep into his gut and twist.

Bellowing angrily, he clutched her injured shoulder. Jade shrieked in agony, releasing the knife.

Nedas tore the blade from his stomach and threw it over his shoulder. “Stupid human! You’ll never leave here!”

She tried to use her good arm to gouge his eyes. He slammed his fist into the side of her face. She felt the bones in her cheek give way. Her head lolled, and her consciousness wavered. She fought to stay awake, to keep fighting, but she couldn’t get her body to respond to her.

Her cheeks were hot with her tears. Jade absently noted that her temple felt warm and sticky.

An ear-splitting roar sounded all around her, and in the next moment the weight of Nedas was gone. She could hear vicious snarling and bloodcurdling shrieks of pain. One particularly awful shriek abruptly ended and was replaced with a muffled gurgling sound.

Jade needed to keep moving. She lifted her good arm and was able to drag herself a few more feet toward the stairway.

Through her bloody vision she saw a massive demon standing before her. She whimpered and collapsed at the sight.

Warm hands clutched at her face, and she yelped in pain. “Jade?”

Theo? Was that his voice? She tried to force her eyes to focus on the person crouching over her. Finally, his face came into view.

She started to sob, pain erupting through her torso with the action. “You found me.” Her words came out garbled and broken.

His beautiful face was splattered with blood, and his eyes were black. When he gently smoothed her hair, his hand was shaking. “I will always find you, Jade.”

Theo looked up to where the demon stood. “I need you to get her to safety. I have to make sure I find Xoris. He can’t get away with this.”

A booming voice replied, “I’ll protect her with my life.”

He peered down at her again. “Rhaego is going to take you somewhere safe now. I trust him.”

The ground shook as the massive demon approached her. His hands were infinitely gentle as he lifted her, but the movement made her cry out in pain all the same. “I’m sorry, little human,” he rasped.

“Theo,” she called out weakly.

In an instant, he was by her side. “I’m here, beautiful.”

“There are more prisoners here. Humans.”

The demon’s eyes widened, and he shared a tense look with Theo.

“Promise me you won’t leave without finding all of them.”

Theo’s face was hard. Unreadable. Jade’s vision faded to black, but just before she lost consciousness, she heard him whisper, “I promise.”


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