Chapter Twenty

Remembrance: written by Kora Knight & Raven Foxx 

ESCAPE

ZAYTA
Zayta walks into Jazz's room where he’s lying on the bed with his new pet cat. She pauses a moment, her inner turmoil wracking her. It had been a struggle the entire way to his quarters. Master and Anton wanted to watch... How was she supposed to free Jazz with them looking on? What was she going to have to do to this man, who had been her friend, in order to preserve her own skin? They’re expecting a show, so she can't not do it now...*

“Good evening, Angel Cake. How are you tonight?” A wicked smile curves her lips as servants pile in behind her. They roughly drag him up from the bed and hold him under his arms. “Time for me to have a little fun.”

 

JAZZ
Jazz scowls in confusion. “What the fuck is this, Zayta?” Dread explodes in his gut as her eyes flash bitter black. “Aw fuck, Z. What are you doing?”

Arms wrenched behind his back, he’s manhandled toward the door by one of the beefy guards.

Jazz pins Zayta with a hard stare, gritting between clenched teeth. “Don’t do this. What we talked about before? I take it back, okay? You don’t have to prove anything to me. I get it. This isn’t necessary.”

He grunts as the guard shoves him through the door. The clicking of Zayta’s high-heeled boots hit the corridor's stone floor, echoing behind them as they head in the direction of a certain chamber Jazz has been inside far too many times.

Digging in his heels, he barks, “Zayta! What have I done to deserve this?”

 

ZAYTA
Zayta doesn't answer as they head inside the torture tomb. The servants chain Jazz’s arms above his head. She saunters up to him, feeling her Masters and Anton's eyes on her despite the fact that Jazz hasn't noticed their presence yet.

“What have you done?” she finally answers, letting her underlying anger flow that’d been simmering for far too long.

This man had been a friend but because of him she’s only gotten herself pain and suffering.

She glares at him, stepping closer so he could feel her breath on his skin. “Because of you, my life is no longer simple. Because of you, I now have to prove myself to my master and my lover. And you don't even want to remain here to be my only friend despite all that you have put me through.”

She pulls a long, silk scarf from the bust of her corset, trailing it up and over his chest as she walks around behind him. Placing it across his eyes, she ties it tight behind his head. She leans in to whisper in his ear as her nails trail over the flesh of his neck and shoulder. “It’s time for me to prove to my master that you are nothing to me anymore.”

 

JAZZ
Jazz can’t friggin’ believe this shit, had so not seen this coming. The last time Zayta had come to him, he'd actually thought she might be able to get him out of this place. Man, had he gotten her wrong. Has she been playing him all along? Was she ever truly his friend? He knows that what she was saying is true. That because of him she'd gotten into some serious shit, but damn, this was harsh. He hadn’t meant for her to get hurt. This was bullshit.

“Fuck you, Zayta.” He yanks hard on his shackles, his face a mask of pure fury as she blindfolds him with her scarf.

“Oh, Angel Cake...” She coos, before sauntering around him again, trailing her nails along his skin as she walks. “Master said no to that. As fun as I’m sure it would be, I do as my master says.”

Jazz shudders in ominous anticipation, a low, bitter growl rumbling deep in his chest. “Don’t. Do this. Zayta.”  Again, he yanks on his restraints, dreading what is inevitably to come.

 

ZAYTA
She flashes a grin at Seth as she walks over to Anton. Leaning in, she kisses him deeply. “You don't mind me playing with some of your toys, do you, lover?” she asks, her sickly-sweet voice dripping with wicked promise.

 

ANTON
Anton kisses her hard in return, holding her hair in a tight grip to show her who owns her, body and soul. Nodding towards his toys on the wall, he finally releases his hold. “Play ‘til your heart’s content.”

He glances darkly at the angel tugging at his restraints. He can't wait to see how this plays out, knowing his father has a soft spot for the male. How was he going to react to Zayta laying into his pet? Smirking at what was to come, he crosses his arms, ready for this show to start.

 

ZAYTA
Zayta glances at Seth. He’s glaring at her with sinister eyes. “I won't let you down, Master.”

She smiles before walking over to Anton's display of toys. Trailing her fingers over the arrangement, she finds a cat-o-nine-tails that she especially likes. With a smirk, she meanders back over to Jazz, swinging the whip against her leather-clad thigh. The self-inflicted pain makes her smile, as does the slight jump from the angel with each slapping sound it makes.

She giggles and does it again. “Oh, you are going to be fun, Angel Cake.”

Stepping forward, she trails the tails of the whip along his skin, softly and gently before letting it fly, cracking it abruptly against his skin.

 

JAZZ
Jazz's hisses, trying to tune out the pain even as his ears tune into every sound around him. He hadn’t missed the fact that Zayta had just talked to persons he wasn’t even aware were in the room with them. He’s still bristling, in fact, from the sound of Anton’s voice. But the frown he’s wearing is specifically from when he’d heard Zayta addressing her Master.

Why the fuck is Seth letting this happen?

Jazz turns against his chains to face where he can now sense the males are standing.

No. Seth can’t be here. Jazz must have misheard Zayta.

Seth never would allow this shit to fly.

Zayta circles him again, that damn thwacking sound accompanying her every step. Jazz braces himself for another hit. Time to shut down his head, shit’s about to hit the fan.  A second later, another hard streak of pain shoots across his back. He arches, the blindfold making his sensory nerves that much more attuned.

He sucks in a sharp breath. “You’re so screwed, Zayta. Your boss doesn’t want this. He's gonna flay your ass for doing this to me.” When Anton barks out a laugh, Jazz sneers in the vampire's direction. “Fuck you, dick. He'll be tearing into you as soon as he's done with Zayta!”

A third brutal crack makes contact with his lower back, silencing him as he fights not to shout out in agony.

 

ANTON
Still laughing at the angel's comment, Anton snidely murmurs over to his father. “He thinks you’re going to rescue him. What, did you not tell your play toy that you told her she could do this?” Seeing the warring look in his father’s eyes, he smirks. “You’re getting soft, old man.”

When Daddy dearest growls in warning, Anton shakes his head in disgust then, knowing better than to air Father’s dirty laundry in front of Zayta, turns his attention back to the show.

 

SETH
Seth sneers at his son, another deep growl reverberating as he gives Anton the “shut up or suffer” glower.

Turning to Jazz, he mutters darkly. “You need to see how cruel the world is, Jazz. Even your little demon girlfriend wants to hurt you. The world outside these walls is just as cruel a place. It will hurt you even more than anyone here could.” He speaks coldly, and while no one else notices, he speaks Jazz's name instead of saying something other.

Sprawling down into his stone chair, he watches the whip slash across Jazz's back, his eyes locking onto the droplets of blood trickling down Jazz’s back. Dragging his tongue over his lips, he hisses. Jazz’s jerking body was tantalizing to behold.

“Reach deep inside of yourself, angel,” he commands, “and tell me there is no pleasure in what is being done to you.” His mouth curves into a dark smile, even as deep inside he feels like the king of pure shit. As if something inside him is trying to rip its way out. His chest grows tight.

Damn his heart for beating again and for hurting him so now.

 

ZAYTA
Zayta grins as she puts the whip back on its hook and picks up another, this one with barbs on it. She returns to her charge and presses herself against Jazz’s back, uncaring that his blood smears against her clothes. Laughing maniacally, she leans forward and licks up his ear, hoping that Anton and Master were buying into this.

She was giving it her all while walking a fine line. She hates what she’s doing, but the demon in her is loving it—even though she doesn't want to admit it. In fact, a part of her hates herself right now, knowing what she is doing to this man.

This angel.

But yes, at the same time, she’s definitely also turned on. The demon inside her wants more, wants what is forbidden.

Mentally kicking herself, she pulls back and lets the new whip fly. She can't think like this. She has to give Master and Anton the show they expect, and hopefully they’ll end it sooner rather than later.

“How’s that feel, Angel Cake?” she coos, stepping so close, her breath grazes his lips. “How’s it feel knowing that this is what I am?”

 

JAZZ
Jazz pants hard, his eyes squeezed tight behind the blindfold. That most recent hit was a wicked one. And Anton's laughing is almost as painful, like a sledgehammer to his pride. But the fact that Jazz was so wrong about Seth, stings far worse than anything. That son of a bitch is really there, watching him get shredded.

Allowing it.

Condoning it.

Enjoying it.

And the things Seth’s saying. Fuck. It’s like he's got nothing but a cold stone inside his chest. Where was the warmth that touched Jazz's soul just days ago? If Seth thought the world so bad, why wouldn’t he want to stand by Jazz, instead of breaking him, instead of bringing him to his knees?

Something inside Jazz cracks, like his soul separating from his heart, desperately trying to get as far away from the pain as it can. He lets out a brutal shout as Zayta lets the whip fly again, its barbs snagging across his back, down over his ass and along his hamstrings. His body locks up, arching hard as he grips the chains of his shackles.

In anger, betrayal, and sorrow, for the friend he never really had, and for the male across the room who’s enjoying his pain, Jazz cries out, his desolate words echoing through the stone chamber. “Beat me, you motherfuckers! But I'm already broken! You can’t break me anymore than you already have!”

 

ANTON
Anton can feel his father's tension even though his body looks relaxed. But Anton knows better. Zayta beating his angel is getting to him. Ironic, how Seth is doing this to show to everyone he doesn't care.

Nice move, Pops, he thinks to himself.

Letting his gaze roam over Zayta as his black eyes turned blacker, he grins, truly loving this dance of bloodshed.  

When she glances his way, he nods to the bowl of salt resting on a nearby table. “Rub it over his shredded flesh, Zayta.”

When she hesitates, he lifts a brow. If she wants to prove herself she'd better not hesitate when she’s asked to do something.

 

SETH
“Master, forgive me,” a servant whines from the doorway, “but there is an… issue.” 

Seth turns to the demon just arriving, daring to disturb them.

The scaly abomination continues warily. “Prince Tarwek is here,” he stammers. “He’s throwing a fit in the throne room. He feels the angel should be given to him.”

Seth shoves to his feet with a snarl. “He thinks what is mine is his for the taking, does he?” Stalking over to Jazz, he grips him by the hair. “Take him to his room, Zayta,” he purrs, watching his angel fight for breath. “See to his wounds. No use having a lame pet.”

Faintly, he trails a finger through Jazz's blood and lifts it to his lips to suck it clean. Then he bites said finger, drawing blood, and pushes it into Jazz's mouth. A few drops of crimson will aide in his healing—

Jazz chomps down on it angrily.

Seth hisses. “Damn you and your spunk. I'll enjoy paying you back for that.” He jerks free of the angel's mouth and turns to his son. “Come along, Anton. I'm going to let you dethrone a demon prince tonight.” Smirking tightly, he walks from the room.

 

ZAYTA
Zayta stares in shock as Anton and Seth leave her alone with Jazz.

“Holy shit, this might actually work,” she whispers to herself.

She waits a few moments to make sure that no one returns, then turns to Jazz. Guilt hits her like a ton of bricks as she takes in his pitiful condition. She inflicted those wounds on him. She has caused him the pain he’s in now. She bites her lip as she looks at him, her friend panting as he dangles from the chains he’s still shackled to.

“Oh Jazz,” she breathes, taking a step towards him. “I'm so sorry.”

And she is. Yes, she can't deny that a part of her enjoyed what she’d done to him, that she’d let the demon take pleasure while in the act. But now she wants nothing but to cry. Tears fall from her eyes as she takes off his blindfold, a sob sticking in her throat as he flinches away from her touch.

“I... I know I can't ask you to trust me now... but... please believe me when I say that I’m sorry.” She reaches up and releases his shackled wrists.

 

JAZZ
In the blink of an eye, Jazz has Zayta by the throat against a cold, stone wall. His eyes blaze with all kinds of anger. His body trembles in rage. A dark energy that’s been building explodes like a volcano, and Zayta is so in the wrong place.

With a raw snarl, he squeezes hard against her windpipe. “You can take your apology and shove it up your evil fucking ass, Zayta!” His eyes narrow to angry slits. “How stupid do you think I am? You just flogged the damn skin off my fucking back and laughed about it!” As she claws at his arm, trying to breathe, he chuckles darkly. “Shouldn’t have let me go, little demon.”

He yanks her off the wall and slams her into the stone seat Seth had been sitting in just moments before. Gripping her shoulders as he pins her to the chair, he leans in and hisses ominously in a tone he doesn’t recognize, with an anger that feels foreign to his very nature. “I'm not asking you anymore, Zayta. I'm telling you. You're gonna get me the fuck outta here and you’re going to do it now. Because if you don’t, I'm going to show you just what kind of a monster you all have made me down in this hell hole. You got me?”

 

ZAYTA
Zayta can't help it, and hisses back at him, an inbred response to pain and anger. “That’s what I’m trying to do! What, do you think I could’ve just walked out of here with you? No! Get the feathers out of your ears and listen. We don't have much time.” She pulls him down roughly, catching his lips with hers, hoping to snap him out of his anger. “You want out, then this is your chance, but I can't get caught.” Her breath comes faster, her heart pounding anxiously in her ears. “That’s why I put on this show, so Master wouldn't suspect me. Your siblings, they’re waiting for you.”

Jazz stills. “What?”

Zayta pulls a folded piece of paper from her corset and pushes it into his hand. “Follow the directions on this. They’ll lead you to a portal where they’re waiting. But I can't get blamed, Jazz. They’ll kill me.”

Pleadingly, she looks up at him with tears in her eyes.

 

JAZZ
Jazz stares at her, mind reeling. He wants to believe her so bad. But what if she's just setting him up again? Trying to get his ass in deeper shit with Pops and Junior?

Jazz frowns at her and stands up, then restlessly begins to pace, studying the small piece of paper in his hand. “How do I know you’re not bullshitting me?” He glares at her accusingly. “How do I know you’re not just sending me into another trap outta spite for me not wanting to stay here?”

He crumples the paper in his fist and narrows his eyes on her more, her little body trembling in that great big fucking chair. She looks so nervous as she shakes her head in denial to his claims, like she’s truly terrified of being caught.

Is she for real with all this?

Were his siblings really nearby waiting to help liberate him?

Jazz's heart jackhammers in his chest. If he doesn’t go for it and finds out he wasted his one ticket out of there, he'd straight-up off his own damn fucking self. Growling, he rakes a hand through his hair, then winces, the movement causes his whole back to shriek.

“Swear to God, Zayta, if this is just you fucking me over again I’m gonna—” 

He bites his tongue as visions of maiming the girl flash through his mind.

What is wrong with him??

He quickly starts over. “How do you wanna do this so you don’t get blamed? Someone’s gonna come back here any minute.”

 

ZAYTA
Zayta stares at him with tears in her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she closes her eyes then opens them again. This is likely the last time she’d ever see him. Because, of course, the fates would never allow them to be friends.

Standing on unsteady legs, she walks past him, grabbing up a chain that’s attached to the floor. Snapping it closed around her wrist, she looks up at him. “You're... You're gonna have to knock me out,” she states. “So it looks like you overpowered me.”

She hopes this works, hopes that he truly understands that she never wanted to bring him any pain. She’d loved the kindness he’d shown her, as well as a side of life she’d never known before.

Chaining herself to the floor, she moves to stand before her friend. “I'm sorry, Jazz. So sorry. For everything.”

 

JAZZ
Jazz frowns at her words, at her anguished expression. Fuck. Even his spidey senses are telling him she's being sincere. He'd smell her lies, but the only scent here is that of.... Seth.

His nostrils flare as he shoves feelings of betrayal to the back of his mind and focuses his attention on the matter at hand. “I can’t strike you, Z. You know this. But I also can’t let them do more damage to you.” When she looks up at him with lash-soaked eyes, he grimaces. This situation is beyond fucked up.

Taking her face in his hands, he presses his forehead to hers. “I believe you, Z,” he groans. “God help me, but I believe you.”

 

ZAYTA
Zayta closes her eyes as he touches her, not in anger, but willingly and tenderly. She takes the moment to relish the feeling, something she’s likely to never feel again. She can never go to him again and she will surely never feel such a thing here.

Taking a deep breath, she opens her eyes again and looks at him. “There is no other way, Angel Cake. You have to knock me out. If I’m left conscious when you leave... they’ll blame me. They’re already going to blame me. But this way, hopefully they’ll think that you overpowered me and that I didn't just let you out.”

She can't stop the tears as they continue to flow. “You need to go, Jazz. I don't know how much time we have left.” She raises a hand and gently touches his cheek. “I could have loved you. I'm sorry that nothing between us, not even friendship, was meant to be.”

She kisses him lightly again before taking a step back. “Go. Your siblings are waiting for you. They need you for a battle that is to come. Do this, and then go.”

 

JAZZ
Jazz winces in frustration and grabs her wrist. “No. It doesn’t have to be like this, Z. Come with me. We'll protect you.” Determination steeling him, he starts to grapple with her chains.

Zayta shakes her head. “Jazz... I'm a demon. I can't fit into your world. Master and Anton... They would find me.” She offers him a smile and takes his hands. “Besides... I have a place here. It may suck, but it’s my home.” She lifts her chin in a gesture of confidence. “My demon blood is super strong. I enjoy things that you frown at, that you disapprove of. I can't go with you, Angel Cake.”

Jazz can’t help but growl. For as long as he's known Zayta, she's been a stubborn one.

Raking a hand through his hair, he does a quick pace, then turns back to her. “I don’t like this. I don’t hit females. It goes against my very nature.”

When she smirks, giving him a droll ‘If I can handle being whipped I can handle one hit from your fist’ look, Jazz scowls. Clutching her shoulder in one hand, he rears back with the other… and pauses.

Then grimaces.

He lets out a hard breath as he stares at her with elbow cocked.

He groans anew.

She's been through so much and will most certainly be subjected to plenty more.

He just can’t add to it.

Dropping his arm, his shoulders slump in failure. With the hand he was to hit her with, he cups her cheek and leans in, pressing a soft kiss to the corner of her mouth. Moving his other hand to palm the side of her head, he positions his thumb on her temple.

Softly, he murmurs against her tear-soaked skin. “Thank you, Zayta, for helping to set me free.”

At that, he sends with the scarce angelic power he still possesses, a surge of energy into her temple, putting her instantly unconscious. Catching her limp form, he gently lays her down on the floor, then lights up his fingertips to a scorching blaze and rests them on her jawbone. A red mark that looks like a fresh hit forms.

And then he is stalking to the door, popping his head out to check if the coast is clear.

Good to go.

He hangs a left, heading back to his room to grab Rex. Two minutes later, he's sprinting toward the coordinates Zayta gave him—Seth raw on his heart, but his siblings soon to be in his sights.

*Guest writer for Anton: Alicia Dawn

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