The interplanetary gates require guardians and the reformed demon Malthael is one of them.
His adoptive daughter, Elisabeth, is special, but her dangerous ability hasn’t awoken yet. Malthael knows it will one day and from then on her life will forever be altered. Malthael isolates her from outside world as much to protect everyone else as to safeguard her. It is all he can do to delay the inevitable.
Now that Elisabeth is ten, how long can Malthael keep her confined?
She took his hand and they walked together. His black skin with its flecks of gold was a stark contrast to her pale skin and blond hair—one highlighted by the pale purple dress she wore with a matching ribbon in her hair. As he listened to the clip-clop of his hooves on the marble floor, he resisted the urge to touch his broken horns. When they entered the dining hall, Elisabeth ran to her seat, practically jumping into it. Shaking his head, he went straight to his seat as well.
Milo entered a moment later with Tiss, the snake demon, slithering in behind him, bringing in the last of the food for breakfast. He watched Elisabeth stretch her body up to see what they were carrying. Apparently pleased to see fruit and croissants, she settled back down. Smirking, Malthael picked up the paper and began to read, although his mind was still on the letter and its edict.
“You forgot the jelly,” Milo said to Tiss before exiting the dining room.
Almost the instant he was through the door Elisabeth announced, “I’m done!” She jumped up.
“No slipping out of studies today, young lady,” Tiss said with a maternal tone. “Milo has been quite vexed.”
“You’ve been neglecting your studies?” Malthael asked, looking up and noticing that Tiss’s humanoid upper half was particularly well dressed that morning.
Elisabeth’s blue eyes darted between Tiss and Malthael. “I’ve only been taking longer breaks outside. Milo just likes timeliness.”
“It is summertime.” Malthael shrugged, remembering children of the plant dwellers. Elisabeth hadn’t been able to play with them because of what might happen but that didn’t mean she had to remain confined even in the warmer months. “Go off and play, and I’ll deal with Milo.”
“Malthael,” Tiss censured as Elisabeth bolted from the room, “Her studies are important.”
“It is my understanding that the planet dwellers break from school during the summer,” Malthael said, taking a sip of tea and turning the page on his paper. “She will need to blend in with them eventually.”
He considered the issue closed, but apparently Tiss did not. “She needs to be ready for more than that, and you know it.”
Milo walked in, jelly in hand, and returned to his seat. “Where is Elisabeth?” he asked.
“Taking the afternoon to be a planet dweller,” Malthael replied without looking up.
Tiss harrumphed before leaving the room with her plate in her hand. Malthael raised an eyebrow as her long serpentine tail followed her from the room. His tail swished back and forth once in confusion before he set his tea down without taking a sip.
“What was that about?” he asked Milo.
Milo spread jelly on his croissant. “I won’t even pretend to have any knowledge of how a female’s mind works.” He glanced at Elisabeth’s seat. “No matter her size.”
K.T. Munson is a freelance author. First published at 5 years old in the young writers conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com that is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.