Fallen Academy, Year Three – Leia Stone

I moaned, rolling over in bed and trying to let my eyes adjust. Every morning for the past month it was the same thing: I woke up in Hell, in my little stone room, all drugged up and discombobulated, seeing double and feeling ill. “Morning. Time for your meds,” Raksha told me. I glared at the Dark Mage. We had a love-hate relationship. She wasn’t abusive or overly rude, only did what the Dark Prince told her, and yet she was still my captor. “No more drugs, please,” I whimpered. The meds made me feel sluggish, depressed, and sick. She mixed my oatmeal, her dark hair falling around her face, making her almost look pretty. She was a woman of Indian descent, about mid-thirties and terribly powerful. The first day I was here, I’d tried to blast her with my magic and she’d thrown me across the room, reopening my neck wound. She tsked between her teeth. “You know the rules, child. You take the meds, and then you can see the Dark Prince.

” “I don’t want to see the fucking prince!” I snapped. Her eyes snapped up to me, and a red haze came over them. When she stood and stalked over to me with the oatmeal in her hand, she wore a look of determination. “I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You want to survive down here? Then you do what he says. You understand?” Something in her voice, in her face, changed to the point that she almost seemed like a decent human being. But that all ended when she shoved the first spoon of ‘oatmeal’ into my mouth, and clamped my lips shut. “Swallow,” she growled. I looked down at my left hand, the ring that sat there. She’d been the one to let me keep it.

The Dark Prince thought it might be spelled, but she’d looked it over, declared it useless and suggested it might motivate me if I could have it. They’d taken the pendant Mr. Claymore made me, but at least they’d let me hold on to the ring. I swallowed the medicated breakfast, letting it slide down my throat. Lincoln. God, that name, just the thought of him brought tears to my eyes, as a physical pain opened in my chest. Did he think I was dead? What was Shea doing? My mom? Mikey? Tears flowed down my cheeks, and Raksha smacked my hand. “None of that weakness in here. Swallow it down. Survive,” she barked.

There were glimpses, like this one, where I actually thought she was trying to help me. “Why the meds still? I haven’t tried to attack the Dark Prince in a few days,” I attempted to reason with her, as she shoved another spoonful in my mouth. Raksha gave me a glare. “A few days? Let’s try a few weeks, and then maybe I’ll be permitted to cut the meds.” A few more weeks down here? Oh God, I couldn’t imagine that. I’d lose my mind. The meds made it so I couldn’t do magic, couldn’t fly, couldn’t talk to Sera. That last one killed me the most out of all of them. Knowing she was down here with me, but our connection was suppressed. “Okay, I won’t fight him anymore.

I see now that it’s useless.” I would have to try another way to get out of here. Play it like I was on their side. She nodded, spooning the gritty and bitter oatmeal into my mouth. “Good girl. Do as you’re told.” The next hour passed in a monotony of the same thing I did every day. Raksha watched me have a bath—I was not permitted a razor, no matter how much I protested—and then she helped me get dressed before settling me into my wheelchair. Due to the medication and low appetite, I was too weakened to walk any long lengths. “Shall we go see the Dark Prince?” Raksha asked, wheeling my chair down the long stone hallway.

I just grunted. I had no idea where we were in Hell. After the healer demon had healed my neck, I’d passed out from the blood loss, and woke up here. We could be hundreds of miles from Angel City for all I knew, or even directly under it. Raksha never gave any information; she would just smack my hand and shake her head. After working our way through a maze of hallways, we made it to the double doors of Lucifer’s office. Two raps on the hard wood, and then Raksha stood stiffly by my side, like a soldier. “You may enter!” The booming voice echoed into the hall. I’d come up with a pet name for the Dark Prince. Lucy.

Lucifer, Lucy. Get it? I called him that a few days ago, and he struck me so hard my eye had swollen shut, so now I just said it in my head. If Sera could hear me, she’d say it too, and then maybe I’d be able to mentally survive this literal hellhole. Raksha stepped forward and opened the double doors, wheeling me inside the asshole’s evil lair. It was exactly what you might think, the place of nightmares. He had a few metal gurneys set up with jars, potions, and stacks of bones all around them. He told me once that he made his demons there, creating monsters with his own bare hands. His office gave me the creeps, but I was too drugged to care much. “Are you ready to play nice?” Lucifer cooed. The same question every day.

Each day I gave a different answer: spit in his face, flipped him off, threw something, and so on. None of it worked. I needed to change my tactics and become an award-winning actress within the next five minutes, or I might die down here and never see Lincoln and my loved ones again. Pulling my eyes from the floor, I met his cold, black, yet overly handsome gaze. “Yes,” I replied with mild disdain. This performance had to be believable, and being all cheerful right away wouldn’t work. He grinned and clapped his hands. “Yes! You’ve come around, I see. Good.” Raksha gave me a questioning look, complete with one raised eyebrow, but didn’t say a word.

Lucy looked at Raksha and shooed her away with his hands. “You’re dismissed, dear.” My nanny simply nodded and left the room, leaving me to slump in my chair while looking up at the Devil himself. “The medication is awful, isn’t it?” he asked with a gleam in his eye that suggested he liked making me feel awful. My brows furrowed. “Pretty much.” Best to be as honest as possible. I had tried multiple tests to decipher if the Dark Prince could read minds like the other archangels. I ultimately determined he couldn’t, but I still wanted to be safe. He nodded, walking over to a gurney and placing some bones in a specific configuration on the table.

“It’s not that I fear you, of course, but at your full strength, you could be a nuisance for me. I can’t be bothered with that type of distraction. You understand, right?” He was arranging the bones in the shape of a body, and that held all my attention. I just nodded in response, too focused on what he was doing. His gaze flicked over to mine. “Would you like to help me? That’s why I’ve brought you here, you know. To learn from me, become my protégé of sorts.” Vomit. Screw you, Lucy! “I guess,” was all I offered. His eyes gleamed and it made him even more handsome, which was just sickening.

No one that evil should be so pretty. “I knew you’d come around. Unfortunate that it had to be the hard way, but you understand you’re never getting out of here, right? Even if you overpowered me, you’d be lost in this realm.” If that wasn’t the most depressing reality check possible, I didn’t know what was. Sighing, I looked down at my frail body, the weight of depression and fatigue pulling at my limbs. “I see that now, yes.” I didn’t even have to act anymore. He nodded, and then gestured to the pile of bones. “This is my favorite task in the underworld. Creating demons.

” My eyes widened. I mean, I knew he created them, and I’d always seen him tinkering, but to hear him say it, to see him arranging the bones? It was unnerving, to say the least. But it was also, a teensy bit fascinating. “What are you… making today?” I didn’t have to fake the fear in my voice. He shrugged, “I was thinking something new. I’m quite bored with the current selection.” Wow. Just like that he could create something evil, and unleash it onto the world. It was a powerful form of magic to possess. Reaching out, he dipped his fingers into a jar labeled Malice, and dumped a heaping handful of black powder over the skull that lay on the table.

I wheeled closer, captivated and horrified at the same time. He seemed to enjoy my reaction, his eyes glittering with pleasure. “Wings or no wings? Hmmm. What do you think?” he queried. I didn’t want to help, didn’t want to create anything evil. “No wings. They’re overrated,” I offered. He just grinned at me before moving to the next jar, one labeled Compassion. Reaching inside, he lightly dabbed his pinky into the pink powder, rubbing it between his fingers before sprinkling it over the skull. “Compassion in a demon? Is that a joke?” I wheeled closer to make sure I’d read the jar correctly.

He chuckled. “In the beginning, I made demons without it, but they never listened to anything I said, couldn’t work together as a team. It was total anarchy. Now, I give them just enough for them to care what I think of them.” Dick. “Cool.” I was going to get an Oscar by the time I was done here. There were a bunch of jars sitting around, labeled everything from Acid, to Fire, to Compulsion, and so much more. My mind was reeling at the possibilities. “What’s going to make this one really over the top?” he inquired, rubbing his chin.

It almost sounded as if he was testing me. Now was my moment to show him I was on his side, even if it was fake. Leaning forward, I pointed to the jar labeled Acid, then the Compulsion one. “Combine those, and you’ll have a killer combo.” He raised an eyebrow. “I’m impressed. You’re finding your way.” I gave him a saccharine smile as he pulled the powders from the jars, and sprinkled them over the bones. God, please forgive me. “And you know what? I’ve changed my mind.

Give it wings,” I added for good measure. The Dark Prince grinned. I needed to get off these drugs, get Sera, and get the hell out of here. Only problem was I was going to have to play evil until then. I just hoped I didn’t get lost in my new role, because so far, James’s prophecy was coming true. I C H A P T E R T W O t turned out that the Dark Prince had Necromancer magic—not that I should’ve been surprised, of course, since Necro magic was demon in origin, after all. The reddish enchantments had flown from his hands, saturating the pile of powders and bones. That’s when Lucifer added his own blood sacrifice, dripping it in small rivulets over the whole creature. I just sat there, entranced and disgusted, watching as that… thing started to grow. It took several hours before the process was complete.

First, the vein structure splayed out, then the muscle. By the time Raksha brought me back after dinner, the skin was starting to form. Lucifer didn’t say much during that time, just sat at his large desk, reading old tomes, and barking orders at Abrus demons that came and went. I sat in my wheelchair in a halfdrugged daze, and just watched. I watched the creature I’d helped create come to life, I watched Lucifer—I watched it all. “That was a nice first day of training, don’t you think?” Lucifer asked, snapping me out of my trance. The creature on the table was nearly fully grown, and I’d been staring in sick fascination as its chest rose and fell. I had to play this right, make him trust me so he’d take me off the drugs. It was the only way I’d ever hope to get out of here. “It was okay.

” I shrugged. A wicked grin stretched his lips. “What’s the matter? Miss your friends?” I glared at him. “Yeah, I do.” He nodded. “Then let’s see what they’re up to, shall we?” Clapping his hands together, the lanterns on the wall blew out, leaving us in total darkness. As if being in the pitchblack room with the Devil wasn’t enough, I heard rhythmic breathing right next to me. Realizing it was the creature, I grew terrified, inching my wheelchair away from the table, only to stop when I saw a projection open up on the far stone wall. A sob left my throat when I saw Lincoln. He was wearing a black suit, eyes void of any emotion; he was just staring off into the distance.

The scene panned out and I saw my mom was there, weeping over a gravestone. My gravestone. Right next to my father’s. Oh God. Mikey, Shea, Raphael, they were all there. “I’m not dead!” I shouted through my tears. Lucifer’s voice came from beside me. “It’s been a few months. They’ve created portals, they’ve paid demons for any news, but nothing’s turned up. They need to let you go.

” No. My chest was heaving up and down, as I fought the panic that was overwhelming me, threatening to consume me. “I’ve barely been here a month,” I argued dumbly. “Time is different down here,” he answered simply. Lincoln had a dozen red roses in his hand, but they were just hanging there limply, facing the ground. I wanted so badly to tell him I was alive, to touch him—anything. Raphael approached him then, and some muttered words passed between them that I couldn’t hear. Lincoln must not have liked what the archangel said, because he threw the flowers on the ground, pushed Raphael out of the way, and in one quick second extended his wings and flew away. Seeing him push Raphael like that shook me. The love of my life had given up on me, and it made me sick to my stomach.

“Stop!” I shouted finally, and the image dissolved. The lights came back on, and Lucifer was looking at me with an expressionless face. “So there you have it. They’ve moved on, and you’re never getting out of here. We might as well just have a cordial working relationship, hmm?” In that moment, I wanted to cut his head off and shove it up his ass. Trying to remain calm, I took several deep breaths before nodding. “Whatever. I want to go back to my room. I’m tired,” I finally muttered, not entirely a lie. Two minutes later, Raksha was there to wheel me to my room.

“Rak, you may cut her medication in half tomorrow,” Lucifer ordered, as she gripped the handles on the back of my chair. I tried to school the excitement on my face as my stunned captor nanny nodded. When we reached the hall, she leaned in closely. “Good girl,” she whispered. I was convinced then that she was as much a captive as I was. Laying in my bed, I cried myself to sleep that night, thinking of nothing else but Lincoln shoving Raphael, and flying away in desperation. The next day, with only half the medication in my system, I was able to walk with a cane. Still wobbly and weak, I was by no means going to lay an ass-whooping on Lucifer, but I would at least be able to strengthen my leg muscles a tiny bit. “You’re permitted to join the others today,” Raksha told me after my creepy bath, which she watched to make sure I didn’t drown myself. I’d actually considered it on a few occasions.

I raised an eyebrow at the Dark Mage. “Others?” She nodded curtly. “Yes. The Dark Prince only lets his most treasured beings live with him in his home. You’ll meet the others today, and then start your group training.” I swallowed hard. I was going to have to play the actress of the year card with Raksha too. “Group training?” She just nodded but didn’t say anything else. Great. I loved surprises, especially ones you found out about in Hell.

Straightening my back, I leaned on my cane, and followed her out of the room. My clothes were made of some thick, durable canvas cloth but amateurly sewn together. The only thing that seemed store-bought was a pack of cotton underwear Raksha had brought me. It had been in a plastic Walmart bag, which raised about a hundred questions for me, but I kept my mouth shut. Did Raksha go up to Earth and get them at Walmart? Was there possibly a Walmart in Hell?

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