Soleil was the first one to recover from her shock, and she demanded, “What? Who?” But she had already started running as she spoke, and the guard did his best to catch up with her.
As they ran down the stairs, the guard huffed out, “It’s Lord Ilie, milady.”
A crowd of students had gathered in front of the gates, preventing Soleil from seeing right away what was happening. Most of the boys were either yelling or booing while the female students appeared distressed and almost embarrassed.
Forcing her way through the crowd, Soleil finally emerged in front and she gasped when she saw ANEX’s highest-ranking security officers jeering at the marquis as they used the shields of the school to repeatedly push Ilie back.
She wanted to shout at them to stop, but she knew they were within their rights at what they were doing. Since her ordeal, access to ANEX had been indefinitely withdrawn for the marquis. Any attempt of the marquis to enter would be automatically considered an attack against the school.
Surely he knew that, too?
She moved forward, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to see past the school’s shield of invisibility, but the moment she did, the marquis stiffened, his head jerking up.
Oh. How it hurt, oh dear Lord, how it hurt to hear her name on his lips.
Her scent reached out to him, and even though he couldn’t see her, he knew she was there. “Soleil, answer me.”
She asked brokenly, “What do you think you’re doing, milord?”
He shook his head as he slowly forced himself to get up. It was clear that his body was still struggling to accept her soul, and that his power wasn’t at full force. “Should I not be the one to ask you that?” He stared at her as he spoke, and it did feel like he could see her even though common sense told her all he would be able to see was rows upon rows of weeds.
“Should I not be the one asking about your sanity?” Ilie’s voice was hoarse with pain. “Should I not be the one asking about what you plan to do?”
Soleil froze, realizing that somehow he knew about her plan to have her memories erased. The only way he could have known was—-
Curse you, Fleur.
Forcing herself to speak between bloodless lips, she said, “You should go. You are breaking the rules, drawing attention to the school—-”
“Do you think I fucking care? Do you think there’s anything I care about except you?” The marquis lifted his head. “You hear that, you fucking demon-hating school—-”
The guards blasted him away, causing Ilie to fly back—-
The Demon Duke of Brimstone caught his friend in time, his enormous black wings creating strong gusts of wind with every movement. Behind him, an impressive-looking winged horse landed, and astride him was the stoic-looking Marquis of Sangre. On the other side of the duke, the Marquis of Aquarius stepped down of a platform made entirely of water.
The students behind Soleil fell silent in a mixture of fear and awe. At that moment, faculty members had also started to come out, but they, too, were unable to speak when they realized that it was Brimstone’s lord and his Galere that were causing the uproar.
“Enough of this,” Silviu murmured grimly as he helped his friend straighten.
But Ilie only shrugged him off. “I must make her hear me out.” He didn’t care if he was disobeying the man he had sworn to protect and follow throughout eternity. Silviu had his loyalty but it did not make him more important than his woman.
Looking back at where he knew his heartkeeper was, he called out roughly, “Come out, Soleil—-”
Soleil shook her head, crying.
He whitened. “I can smell your tears, ma lisse.”
She cried harder.
“I am sorry I lied,” he said hoarsely. “I am sorry beyond words and if I knew how much it would cause you pain, I would not have lied.” He swallowed. “And yes, I did care for her still even though I had already known you by then but I think it was more because I was used to the feelings and I did not think it possible it could fade so quickly—-” His voice broke. “But when I saw you dying, I knew then, ma lisse. I knew that I loved—-”
“I don’t believe you.” Soleil bit her lip hard, using the pain to give her strength, to remind herself that she could survive even when she was hurting.
“Then tell me—-”
Ilie charged towards the shield, and the guards repelled him off. He fell to his back, but he forced himself to get up again.
“Tell me, ma lisse. Tell me,” he begged rawly, “what I should do to make you believe me—-”
Another attack against the shield, another blast, and he fell to his knees.
She covered her mouth to keep herself from crying out.