Caution: This Fantasy Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Heterosexual, Fiction, High Fantasy, Extra Sensory Perception, Paranormal, Violent,
Desc: Fantasy Story: Chapter 1 - The Child of Destiny begins the events that will lead to the end. Chapter one of First Estate, book two.
This is chapter one of book two. If you haven't read First Estate, I strongly encourage you to do that before reading this book. This one won't stand on it's own. I will post chapters periodically. Thanks again to my amazing editor, PapaKilo14 for all his help.
Something was making Benson Stephens sleep uneasily. He felt that he should wake up for some reason, but he didn't want to. It had been an exhausting week and he always slept in on Saturday. The party the night before hadn't helped his awareness any, but try as he might to recapture that very nice dream he was having, he became more and more aware. There was a buzzing near the bed somewhere and he realized that it was his phone, vibrating on the table. He reached out his hand and squinted at the screen. It said "New text from Mom."
He groaned. She never made much of an attempt to keep the time difference straight. He made the screen go away and saw that it was six in the morning. It was eleven AM for her. No doubt, it was something trivial but he opened the text. It said, "Call home."
That wasn't a big surprise. If he didn't call every few days, she would remind him. Benson loved his mother, but she kept track of him way too closely. He was awake now, so he got up and spent half an hour becoming human. He called his mother's cell but it went straight to voice mail. He called the home number and a girl answered. He couldn't tell which one.
"Hey, sis," he said. "What's up?"
There was an excited squeal on the other end of the line and he could tell right away that it was Greyson. He could hear a male voice in the background and it sounded like one of his twin brothers. Regan had a little deeper voice than Reynolds but unless you heard them both speaking at the same time, it was hard to tell which was which. Greyson, he could tell. There was no one else in the world that was so excited to talk to him. She was excited to talk to any one of her siblings or parents for that matter. He hadn't ever met anyone she didn't love and it made him feel warm to talk to her.
"Greyson, it's too early in the morning for you. I love you, but let me talk to Regan or Reynolds, whichever one that is I hear talking.
He heard her call Regan and he instantly regretted saying what he had.
"Hey, sis; you still there?"
"Yes, when are you coming home, Benson."
"I'm sorry I said that babe. I love to talk to you but I'm hung over, it's six o'clock in the morning and you've got way too much energy for me right now. I'll be home in three weeks."
"That's ok, Benson. I'm not mad."
"No, you never are; no matter how mean I am to you. You're the sweetest person I know."
He could almost hear her blushing. "Here's Regan. It's Benson, Regan."
That big booming voice hurt his head. The twins were nearly seven feet tall and they had lungs to match.
"Hey, Ben," Regan said. "What's my puny little brother doing up so early in the morning?"
"Feeling puny," Benson said. "Mom sent me a text and told me to call home. She didn't answer her phone though."
"She's on the phone with Aunt Boston. Can she call you back?"
"Yes, but what's going on?"
"I better let her tell you. I don't want to usurp her motherly prerogatives."
"Got it," Benson said. "I've got something to do at two, but anytime until then."
"Cancel it," Regan told him. "I think you're coming home."
It turned out that he wasn't going home at all. He was going to Clipperton Island and all his brothers and sisters were going there too. He had no idea where Clipperton Island was but his Mom gave him GPS coordinates and told him to manifest there. She told him it was uninhabited so he should pack gear.
Benson packed what was his camping gear and began to fade from sight. He never thought much about it. His father was half angel and his mother was a Siren. He had been able to do things humans couldn't since he was five and becoming invisible was the smallest of those.
The GPS coordinates turned out to be a little wet. Benson was disoriented for a minute when he dropped into the ocean twenty yards from shore. He quickly adjusted and he was dripping on the bench.
Regan and Reynolds were twenty feet away laughing like hyenas.
"Very funny guys," he said. "Let me guess, you fed Mom the wrong coordinates?"
"We just thought you might be in the mood for a little swim," Reynolds chortled.
"It was very ... invigorating," Benson said. "Are we the only ones that made it?"
"No, Greyson is over there," Regan indicated down the beach.
Benson looked and saw her lying face down on a towel. She had a bikini on and a bottle of water sat beside her. He left the two practical jokers to their amusement and walked down to Greyson. She turned to look as she felt his shadow cast over her. She jumped up when she saw him and threw herself on him.
"Whoa there cowgirl," he laughed. "It's great to see you. Let me look at you."
She held her hands up over her head and twirled for him. She was about five eight and she always seemed short around her siblings. Her red bikini hugged a body to die for. She was always a deep tan and her teeth flashed white in her dark complexion. She had her mother's blonde, nearly white hair and violet eyes.
"You're more beautiful every time I see you," he told her. "Let me kiss you."
She was always willing to be kissed and she pulled him down on her towel. They caught up for a while. She was aware of nearly everything that he was doing and he was the same with her. She mind talked with him nearly every day. She had the strongest mental powers of any of her siblings.
"Are the other girls coming?" he asked her.
"Yes, they had finals this morning and they'll be here as soon as they finish."
They had another set of twin sisters that were also Benson's aunts, just older than he was and just younger than his brothers. Their brother Orion was only a year younger than they were. Greyson was the oldest and he had another half sister that was the baby.
"What about Sloan? Is she coming?"
"I don't know," Greyson confessed. "She's in one of her bratty moods. 'I don't just jump when Sagan tells me to.'"
I groaned. "She better jump when Lilith tells her too. If Sloan makes her mad she's likely to get nasty."
"Yes, I don't like to make Lilith angry."
"You never make anyone angry, Greyson. You're perfect. Anyone that's angry with you needs their head examined."
She blushed. She did that a lot. Benson loved making that happen. She had never really learned to take a compliment. It always confused her a little. Benson really did think she was perfect. He could never remember her being in trouble. He couldn't ever remember being angry with her either. She was too sweet to be mad at. She refused to go along with anything she didn't like, but she never ratted any of her siblings out either. She never revealed a confidence, never scolded anyone or argued with anyone. She did her own thing and you never quite knew what she was thinking. She was completely honest and she was his best friend. She could even be fierce. When the twins went too far with the pranks, she always protected him when he was little. They were a little bit afraid of her.
Benson's family situation was very unusual, to say the least. His father, Parker, was a Nephilim, half angel, half-human. His mother, Sagan, was a Siren, a human with angel blood, immense powers and an ageless beauty. The twins, Regan and Reynolds were his full brothers. Greyson was something different. Her mother, Mariha was an angel, the original package. They didn't know her father, but they knew he was an ancient Nephilim. She viewed Parker as her father and he had been all her life. Her father had a double dose of angel blood on both sides and she was nearly full angel stock. The twin girls, Landreth and Lexington, were his aunts. Their mother, Lilith was also Benson's grandmother. She was one of the original Nephilim and a being of such complexity that Benson was in awe of her. She was the coolest person he'd ever met. Her youngest son, Orion, was not among Benson's favorite people. Orion had a nasty temper and seemed to almost enjoy being douche bag to everyone around him. He feared his older relatives, Greyson and the twin boys; and was deferential to his older sisters. Sloan and Benson were the objects of his derision.
Sloan was, again, his half-sister, their father being Parker, but her mother was Boston who was also his aunt and his mother's sister. She was his youngest sibling at 21. Her mother was a capricious little gypsy, and her daughter was doubly so. When she was in a social mood, she was the most fun to be around of all Benson's siblings. When she was feeling cantankerous, she was impossible. She didn't get along well with either set of twins and Benson and Greyson were her closest friends.
The idea that they were all going to be together on this island for an indeterminate amount of time didn't exactly thrill Benson. He loved his brothers, but they wore on a person after a while. He was thrilled to get to spend time with Greyson, Landreth, Lexington, and Sloan. Orion, he would just as soon be half a world away.
He walked on the beach with Greyson while the twins snorkeled and she held his hand.
"I've really been missing you, Benson," she told him. "I hate you being so far away."
"Come and stay with me," he said. "Your accent is getting atrocious anyway. Some time in America would be good for you."
"I'd love to, and I will. Thanks for inviting me. I have 17 trainees that we're trying to get through to right now. I have seven humans, Boston has five demons and Mom is dealing with five Watchers."
"How come you have so many? Give some of them to Lilith and Mom. It's so like you, Greyson. You take way too much responsibility. You let people impose on your good nature. Can't the twins help you?"
"They do help, but they don't take things very seriously, if you know what I mean."
"Yes, everything's a big joke to them."
"Yes, they're very funny, but sometimes I don't feel like funny."
"Me either. I like serious little blonde girls that are only occasionally funny; gorgeous ones that hold my hand most of all."
She blushed again. "Why do you always try to embarrass me, Ben?"
"I don't. I really do think you're perfect, Greyson. Why don't you just say, 'Thank you, Ben, ' and kiss me?"
She looked up at him shyly. "Thank you, Benson, you're very sweet." She pressed her lips to his briefly.
"Well, sweet wasn't exactly what I was going for," he laughed "More like, wickedly handsome or charmingly seductive."
"Yes, that too," she said. "Landreth and Lexington just arrived. Let's go say hi."
"How could you tell?" he asked her.
"I feel their presence."
"You're amazing. I don't know anyone else that's as good as you are at that. Not even Aunt Mariha."
"I've been training longer than anyone else. I'm much older than you, Benson."
"You're not older than your mother or Dad or Mom or Boston. You're just better."
"I think it has something to do with being a Reaper," she said. "I don't know anyone else that's as good as you at manipulating the Presence. Landreth is better than anyone else is at fighting, Lexington can do things with electricity that no one else can. Reynolds can do more with fire than anyone else can, and Regan could destroy whole cities with earthquakes. Orion is better with air than anyone else and Sloan is better with signs and symbols. Every one of us is the best there is at what we do. You can do everything well, Ben. You are the Child of Destiny."
"Yeah, I keep telling myself that. I can't even get my favorite sister to come and spend a week with me."
She laughed and Landreth and Lexington popped in. They threw themselves on their siblings and Lexington picked Benson up. She held him like a baby and kissed him before repeating the process with Greyson. Landreth didn't pick them up but she gave them rib-cracking hugs.
They were Amazons. Tall and muscular, all long leg and bare brown flesh. They had on spandex workout shorts and cropped tops, leaving sculpted abs bare, but Lexington's was the mirror image of Landreth's in black and white. Their long, flaming red hair made you expect them to be pale gingers, but they didn't have freckles and they had naturally dark complexions.
"Orion is here," Greyson said.
"Well, shit," Lexington said. "Here we were just starting to have fun."
"I love Orion. He's very nice to me," Greyson said.
"Of course you do. You love everyone and they can't help being nice to you," Landreth said.
"That's not true," Greyson objected. "I quite dislike Barachiel."
Barachiel was an angel that they saw frequently and her mother's brother.
"He's exactly like Orion," Benson told her.
Any further conversation was cut off by the arrival of the archangel Michael. He manifested them all around their things in the grass at the edge of the beach. He looked them over.
"Where is the Reaper Sloan?" he asked.
"Late or not coming," Reynolds said.
"This is unacceptable."
"Well, maybe you could just pull her in," Landreth suggested.
"Yes, I shall." The archangel was silent for a moment. "She seems to be warded. Does anyone know where she is?"
"Yes," Orion said. "She's on Dad's houseboat in Austin."
Michael went still and suddenly Sloan appeared.
"What the hell, Michael?" she was only half dressed. She had on a pair of shorts and a bra. "What's wrong with you? I was just getting in the shower. I told Mom I wasn't coming."
"This is unacceptable," he said.
"Well, put me back. I have a date tonight."
"I'm afraid it's been cancelled," he told her. "The young man in question is ... indisposed."
"What does that mean? Did you make him sick or something?"
"No, he discovered that you were also dating his business rival and he doesn't want to see you again. Neither of them do."
"Damn you Michael, you told them, didn't you?"
"They received anonymous emails. The identity of the sender was not disclosed. There were pictures. You should present yourself when summoned."
"Well, put me back anyway. I'm not doing this now."
"I'm afraid you are," he told her. "If you don't, I will compel you to walk into your club and announce that you are having a breakdown and you are committing yourself to an institution. This will be the end of your little hobby."
Benson intervened. He stepped up to Sloan and pulled her up against him, her feet leaving the ground. He tangled one hand in the mane of black hair behind her head and crushed her lips with his. He kissed her fiercely for a minute and felt her hands go behind his own head.
He pulled his face back an inch but continued to hold her. "Hello, Sloan. I've missed you," he told her.
"Yeah, me too," she said. "If I had known I was going to get a greeting like that, I'd have shown up in Cambridge months ago."
Greyson walked to them and embraced her sister. "Hello, baby. I've missed you too. I'm so glad you're here."
Sloan melted into Greyson's arms. "Hey, sis. I'm always glad to see you. I know what you're doing. It's working. I'm so glad to see you right now I can't stay mad. Ok, I'll stay. Michael, if you pull any shit like this again I'm going to make you think your wings are melting." She went over and threw her arms around the archangel. "I am glad to see you."
Benson got a t-shirt out of his pack and gave it to her.
"I am impervious to your mind tricks," Michael told her. "It is good to see you too, little Reaper."
"Well, now that we've got the lovey-dovey on and we're all here, why don't you tell us why we're here?" Orion said.
Sloan looked at him. "Don't get your panties in a bunch. If I had known you were going to be here I'd have dressed nice." She sauntered over to him and reached out as if to caress his cheek. At the last minute, she flicked his nose with a sharp nail.
He yelped and stumbled back. She walked over to the two sets of twins and hugged them. Orion surged toward her but she was in Reynolds arms and a lifted eyebrow from his giant brother stopped him in his tracks.
"Today, we are going to fight," Michael said. "It is going to be a real fight. You are going to get hurt, maybe even killed. I will heal you or resurrect you as required. Tomorrow, we are going to fight again. We are going to do this until you survive every encounter I give you."
Everyone except Landreth groaned. She was smiling. "What will we be fighting?" she asked.
"We will begin with a demon. Your second opponent will be the seraphim Azaih and your third opponent will be the Archangel Michael; the Prince of War. When you have dealt with these three opponents, you will face all three together. Who wants to begin?"
Oniah appeared. She was a demon convert; the first demon convert. "Hi, kids," she said. "Come and see me when you get back home."
"This isn't fair," Orion said. "Oniah isn't a demon. She's a Nephilim again. She has full powers."
"I suppose you imagine that fighting Nephilim is somehow easy?" Michael asked. "She retains demonic abilities as well as her natural abilities. She is an excellent fighter. Should you survive her, you will be well equipped to deal with other demons or Nephilim. Would you rather I summon Lilith?"
"Um, no, actually we're good," Orion decided.
"You have chosen wisely. She would destroy you all. Master Orion, I take it you are volunteering?"
"When did I say that? I volunteer Sloan."
A pearly glow surrounded Oniah and Orion. "You may begin," Michael said.
There was a flash and Orion was on fire. He screamed and the fire died, but Oniah was on him. Her mouth was filled with three-inch fangs and she had grown claws like Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street. Orion's guts spilled onto the sand and she decapitated him.
"Well, that didn't go so well," Sloan said. "Do you have to put him back?"
"Yes, he is required," Michael said.
His head reattached and his wounds closed. He stood up and shook his head. "What was I supposed to do about that? She's too fast and she can morph."
"So can you," Michael said. "You control the air. Slap her around with it. Smother her, make it solid so she can't move. Do something or she's going to kill you again." He raised his hand. "Begin!"
She leaped toward him, but her momentum slowed half way there as he thickened the air. She went out of Presence and appeared behind him. Her claws sunk into his back and he screamed. She bit him and tore one arm nearly off. Another slash and his head rolled again. Michael put him back together.
"Hey, bro, I think you lost your head again," Reynolds taunted him.
"I've got this," Orion said. "Let's go again."
"Now you're talking," Benson told him. "Take her out, Orion. Sorry Oniah."
She smiled at him and disappeared. Orion did the same. Nothing visible happened for a while. The sand began to swirl and a miniature tornado formed inside the shield. The wind was obviously blowing hard in there. Orion became visible and Oniah dropped in behind him again. The wind slapped her away and she slammed against the shield and disappeared. He began to chant and the air shimmered. Heat waves rose from the sand and twigs and leaves combusted. She became visible again. He was slammed down as she materialized on top of him but it appeared that she was being choked by an invisible rope.
She made signs in the air and the rope released her. Orion rose and did a handstand. "I have him controlled," she told Michael. "What do you want me to do?"
"Make him beat the shit out of himself," Sloan cheered.
"No, release him," Benson said.
"He appears to be releasing himself," she said doubtfully. She was obviously struggling and her nose began to bleed. She vanished and he stood up. He disappeared too and nothing else happened for 20 minutes. Michael declared it a draw. The shield dropped and they both appeared. He healed them and everyone applauded.
"Well done," Michael told him. "You survived. Do you wish to meet the second challenge now? There will be no stalemate this time. You learned that she couldn't touch you if you choose to remain out of Presence. However, neither can you touch her if she remains there. The seraphim will pry you into Presence."
"I want a break," he said. "Let one of the others go so I can think and analyze how I went wrong."
Benson and Greyson gave him a fist bump and Sloan gave him a nod.
"I'll go," Landreth said. "Can I skip the first challenge? I don't want to hurt Oniah. She's family to me."
"I serve the Reapers," Oniah said. "Michael will heal me."
"I don't want to cause you pain," Landreth said. "Michael, release her. All of the rest of us except Sloan know how to take her. She's too nice to use as a punching bag. Let Sloan and her have a go if you want."
"I admire your kindness, little Reaper. There will be no need for you to participate, Oniah. Sloan, do you wish to make a trial with Oniah?"
"No, I saw what Orion did. Besides, I love her too. I work for her, for God's sake. She'll give me nasty jobs if I beat her up."
Oniah laughed. "Thanks, but if it helps train you, I'm willing to be beat up so long as Michael heals me afterward."
"No, you may stay and watch if it pleases you," Michael told her.
It did, and she started prepping Landreth for her encounter with the seraphim.
"I know you're tough," she told Landreth. "The seraph is tougher. It will cut you to pieces with beams before you can get close. If you do manage to get through, you can't cut it. You can't crush its brain and it's faster than you."
"Well, hell," Landreth said. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Outsmart it," Oniah said.
"That's not my best trick. I'd have done better against you. I think I could kill anything except maybe Mom in hand to hand. I'm not good at tricky stuff."
"Don't sell yourself short," Benson told her. "You're sharp as a razor, you're just lazy. You can't afford that now."
"Thanks, Ben, I guess. I work twice as hard as you do though. Want to have a bench press max out?"
"I don't mean that. I love you Landry, but you know you don't like to think through things. You'd rather hit problems in the mouth."
She laughed. "I guess you've got me. I can think. I'm not just all muscle."
"No, I know. You're all ribbons and lace on the inside. You're pretty sweet on the outside too," he told her, eying her long, muscular form.
She winked at him and stepped into the circle. The seraph shimmered into visibility. Benson had been terrified of them as a child. They were huge, probably weighing tons. They had multiple heads, all with biting apparatus, were incredibly strong and looked like a mixture of buffalo and big cat. He had never seen one move. They just appeared where they wanted to go. They had eyes on their bodies, in addition to the ones on their heads, and flaming disks surrounded them.
His initial fear had been tempered to a healthy respect through the years. They were really quite kind and Azaih had allowed him to ride on his back. If he ever needed anything from them, they happily did whatever he told them he needed. They didn't mind speak but they could roar out words. They were simple minded and most of what they had to say was about how great God is.
He had never seen one fight and had no desire to be on the receiving end. It appeared in the ring of sand and the shield went up. It nodded three of its heads toward Landreth and waited.
Michael dropped his hand and it was making a swipe through the air where Landreth had been. It moved instantaneously and Landreth was making a swipe through the air where it had been. They flashed around again and it repeated its tactic. She was a little ahead and she appeared on its back. She dropped a hammer blow and one head went limp. Two more chomped on her arm and she screamed. Benson knew from experience how tough she was. She couldn't be cut with a knife, though she felt soft to the touch. That bite shredded her arm. She appeared across the ring and healed herself.
The limp head rose back up and it flashed over and hit her. There was a tremendous crack, but she didn't flinch. Evidently, she had made herself hard and incredibly heavy because she fell on its back and crushed Azaih to the ground. It struggled briefly and disappeared. She stood back up and it appeared across the ring. Green laser looking things shot out of its eyes and her skin bubbled up where they touched. Lightning struck it and it toppled over. She struck it with a fireball and it seemed to hurt. It was semi-fireproof though and just flashed across and swung at her again. She wasn't there and she covered it in sand.
It shook off the sand and they both stood there for a minute. She was panting and her burnt skin healed. "I can't beat it," she said. "I can keep it from killing me for a while, but it's going to get me eventually. I surrender. I need some help. I can do tactics but I don't have the strategy."
Michael dropped the barrier and Azaih flashed over and licked her face. She hugged a bird head and walked out of the circle.
"Well, anyone have any ideas?"
"I'll give it a shot," Benson said. "I know you could kill me in ten seconds, Landry, but I think I have a better way."
The shield went up and Michael dropped his hand. The seraph was not imaginative. It repeated the attack it had used on Landreth. It seemed surprised when its claws ripped right through Benson. Sand flew and it roared and tore at him. The sand turned to lava beneath its feet and the lava flowed upward, covering its body. It wasn't hurt, but it was slowed considerably. A sigil in the language of Shinar appeared around it in the sand and it became immobile. The lava continued to build around it and snow began falling in the sphere of the shield. The lava solidified into stone and the form of Benson the seraph had been attacking dissolved into sand as Benson appeared behind it. He summoned a black hole and looked at Michael.
"Stop," Michael said. "Do not destroy it. You are the victor."
Benson erased part of the sigil and the stone flaked and broke away as the seraph flexed. He hugged it around its shaggy shoulders and it licked his arm.
"Tell us what you did and what you have learned," Michael said.
"Well, I knew I couldn't fight with it," Benson said. "If Landry couldn't kill it, I didn't stand a chance. I needed something else. I made an image of myself and formed that sigil in the sand. When I got it trapped, I could have destroyed it at my leisure. That wouldn't have worked on Oniah. She's too smart to trap like that. I learned that I need to leave the fighting to Landry, the air tricks to Orion and the rest of you are all better than I am at something. I think that together, we're a mean bunch of badasses. If we fight and argue among ourselves, we can be taken down."
He walked to them and beckoned them together. "Listen guys. Every one of us is special. We're the Reapers. There's nothing in the universe that can touch us together. I know you think I'm the 'Child of Destiny, ' but it's really Greyson that keeps us all together. Think about it. Every one of us would die for her. She would die for any one of us. Why can't we all be like that for each other? Say something, Greyson."
She blushed prettily. "I do love all of you. I know we all get on one another's nerves sometimes, but we have a bond that no one else in the universe has. We're Reapers, and God planned that each and every one of us should be just the way we are." Her voice sunk to a whisper. "I want a group hug. Then I want to take Michael. We attack him with everything we have. No black holes though. We don't want to destroy him."
The group drew together and embraced. A red lightning bolt twenty feet across dropped on Michael, crushing him to the ground; temporarily paralyzed. The air solidified around him and nuclear heat battered him. The earth opened under his feet and closed on him, burying him to his neck in lava. A sigil appeared in the lava around him and the ground froze. It all dropped away and Landreth appeared before him, driving ten inch claws up through his throat into his brain.
He spasmed once and toppled to the earth. Azaih flashed forward and Michael rose up with a smile on his face. He went into archangel form and embraced them all in his fiery wings.
"Well done, little Reapers. You have learned every lesson I intended to teach you. In only one day, you have managed to defeat Nephilim, Seraphim and the Prince of War. I had expected this to take weeks. I am proud of you. I have been training all of you for at least 21 years. You have found your center. You now realize that the Reaper Greyson is the glue that binds you all together. You have discovered that the Child of Destiny can give you purpose. You have discovered that each unique ability that you possess is irresistible when combined with the others. There are no unessential parts here. Do you understand, Sloan?"
"Yes, I apologize. I was being a brat. I won't make any more fusses."
"Orion, you are on the verge of something you don't want to happen. You have become obnoxious to your brothers and sisters. What will be your course?"
Orion stood with his head down for a moment. When he looked up, there were tears in his eyes. "I've always felt like the odd man out," he said. "I'm not as strong or fast or smart as the rest of you."
"You're mistaken," Greyson said. "I've always loved you, Orion. You consistently sell yourself short. You think a sarcastic wit compensates for your inadequacies. The problem is, you've always been capable. You just feel like the rest of us don't value you. You're wrong. If you would just stop being so nasty, we would love you. Give us a chance."
"I always knew you felt like that, Greyson. I've always loved you, but Sloan hates me. Benson barely tolerates me and the rest of you just don't care."
Lexington stepped up. "I care," she said. "I don't think we'll make it without you. You tried to make me not care. It didn't work. I do love you, little brother. Give me a chance. Give all of us a chance."
"Sloan?" Greyson asked. "Do you have anything to say?"
"Not yet," she said. "I don't like you, Orion. You made it impossible for me to like you. I'll try though. You've picked on Ben and me our whole lives because we were younger than you were. I'll give you another chance. You made me not like you. Now it's up to you. Make me like you. Be nice to me and I will. Come to Austin and spend a week with me. I'll show you a good time and we'll see if we can fall in love. Will you do that?"
He was silent for a moment. "Yes, I want to apologize to all of you. I know I've been a tool. I'd love to spend a week with you, Sloan."
"Well, done," Michael said. "I'm proud of all of you. I see why you are the elect. I have another lesson for you before you go. It involves the use of the Siren power. The males will not be able to use this power and will practice dominating to minds of others. I have volunteers."
Mariha and Lilith appeared and were instantly deluged by the kids who hadn't seen them for a while. Michael took the girls and Lilith down the beach and the boys tried to control Mariha with their will. They stayed three days and Sloan and Orion left together.
Greyson agreed to go home with Benson for a few days and the others resumed whatever business they were engaged in.