It’s as if the wind senses her before they do - the once gentle breeze is throwing sharp shards of rock at her. Lady Midnight sits in her position on the hill. She watches the city below, the towers lit up with witchlights. She watches as the lights slowly start to dim in the magnificent city below her, until the only light left are those on the borders.
Walking out of the shadows, Lady Midnight walks down the hill, slowly. She makes sure to kick every small pebble in the soft grass, and blow at the dandelions that dot the hillside. At last she gets to the tall towers, and she sees the boundary line shimmer in the moonlight - only Shadowhunters can pass.
But Lady Midnight just stands there and waits. She looks at the towers - as if in mockery - and just waits in silence. She sits right in front of the boundary line, where she can see the colors bouncing off the invisible rippling wall. It’s perfectly silent. Until -
“Who’s there?” Lady Midnight turns around to see a pair of eyes - bright blue ones, the exact shade of heather. They stared at each other in silence, until the cat at the top of the hill starts moving towards Lady Midnight.
“Who are you?” he calls again. There’s only silence… just silence…
And in reply, Lady Midnight turns and runs into the city.
My surroundings are unnerving. There’s really no other word for it. I feel like I’m standing in sticky mud - though I’m absolutely spotless. The blood from my claws is gone - which is saying something because I don’t remember cleaning myself at all last night. After the Behemoth demon -
"Brittany." I feel my fur starting to prickle - though more out of annoyance than fear. Because no one - except Jem - calls me Brittany. And even that's rare when it happens.
I turn around slowly, halfheartedly hoping that I was just kidding myself - I mean, near death situations can cause hallucinations, right? But I regret it as soon as I lay my eyes on the piece of trash in front of me. I wish my eyes would burn - I don't think I've ever seen something so ugly.
This Behemoth is relatively small - which, if you convert the sizes, is large. I've always been sort of tall - but right now, I regret ever annoying Jem with the fact that I'm taller, even though he's older by a few moons. I would give anything to just roll under the demon and be on my way - even if I go the other way, Behemoth is gonna follow me.
The demon is a deep blue - the color of midnight on the days Jem and I stay up patrolling. I guess it would've been pretty - if not for the fact that tiny welts covered it's back. Like tiny stars.
"Brittany." it says again, and I can hear the added force into my name. I force myself not to look at the demon's face, where it's empty sockets will probably give me nightmares for the next moon.
"She wants you." the demon hisses. I narrow my eyes at him, watching him intently.
"Who 'wants me', ugly? I need the invitation before I give her my answer."
"Lady Midnight-" he whispers softly. I silently thank the many songbirds in the forest, and Jem's obsession with mockingbird melodies. All those layers of sound have helped me distinguish indiviso tunes, even the softest ones.
"Lady Midnight, eh? Well tell her that I don't want her invitation. Her name is creepy - now, don't give me that face! You're making the option of burning my eyes sockets out sound tempting." His expression is that of utmost hatred. And it really does make me want to go blind.
"You will not speak, forsaken one." the Behemoth says, and I can tell that he's trying not to strangle me - I tend to have that uncanny effect on pretty much everyone.
"Oh, so now I'm some sort of criminal, am I?" I look at him quizzically. What in the name of the Angel does this "Lady Midnight" want with me?
"I have come to take you." he says simply, before starting to hover over me.
"Why you -" A picture of Jem flashes in my head, and I clamp my mouth shut. Sarcasm probably isn't the best retaliation to this Behemoth - the one working for Lady Creep. "I refuse to go with you." I say firmly.
"But -" I just cut him off; this is just getting annoying. A bit of sarcasm should instigate something - hopefully some sort of fight. I've been hoping for someone to fight since the other wretched Behemoth.
"Let's be honest here, alright? Did you really expect me to just come with you?"
"The mistress said to bring you unharmed."
"Yeah... that's not happening. Your Lady Midnight should know that traveling somewhere with a Behemoth demon isn't exactly on my bucket list." Without waiting for his response, I jump up and slash him with my seraphs. The Behemoth crumbles to dust. And what stands in his place sends waves of shock through me.
A light gray she-cat is crouched in front of me, her head down. She looks like she’s crying, and something inside me wants to help her. She looks up at me, and I see a pair of blue eyes - as blue and beautiful as the prettiest heather in the springtime.
“Liv?” I stare at the little gray she-cat, and then, right in front of me, her blue eyes full of sorrow. “Liv, listen. Fish doesn’t -” Fire starts to engulf her, and all I can do is watch her burn. The flames all around her, red, orange, and yellow. “Liv.” I breathe softly.
“Brittany.” the flames burn out, and Liv is back - surprisingly unscathed. She looks the same as always - light silver body, with her faint gray stripes on her pelt and tail… but her eyes - her eyes aren’t blue anymore. They’re a deep red color. The exact shade of blood. I take a step back, starting to feel dizzy.
“We don’t want you, Britt.” she takes a step towards me. I take another step back - only to crash into something. It’s like an invisible wall, trapping me with this lunatic -
“Liv.” I choke out, fear starting to cloud my better judgement. “Olivia.”
“Kingfisher lied, Britt.” At that, I roll my eyes. “Of course Fish lied. Why do you think he got grounded by Jem? He’s an ungrateful little jerk who doesn’t know how much Jem and I are doing for him. He should learn to -”
“Silence, Brittany.” Liv says it with such force, that I shut my mouth, cutting out the string of insults that were meant for Fish. “Listen carefully.” she hisses carefully, and she takes a few steps towards me. I try to move back before it comes back to me - I’m trapped.
“You know, Britt … we used to like you. Love you even.” Liv’s tone makes me want to shrink in fear. She’s smaller than me, but I feel like she’s overpowering me with words - I should really learn how to do that. It would be nice to taunt demons and be able to slash them at the same time.
“But things … have changed, Brittany. The only thing we need right now -” she leaps into the air, and I quickly roll underneath her graceful paws. I turn away as she lands right where I was.
“We need you to leave.” I can’t help but let out a gasp when I hear the voice - so familiar - yet so cold. I turned around to see his familiar dark gray pelt, and deep sea-green eyes. Liv isn’t there anymore. It’s Jem who’s standing in front of me now.
“Jem… what’s happening?” I whisper, staring into his deep gaze. I feel some sort of pull towards him - something I can’t describe -
“It was all a mistake.” Jem walks up to me, his gaze hardening. His eyes usually remind me of the coast from the vacations we used to take when our parents were still alive. But now, his eyes are like tsunamis trapped in his irises.
“What was?” I breathe, staring at him. This isn’t Jem - my Jem. This isn’t the James I know and love. This is some monster, taking on his form.
“Is.” he corrects me. “Is, Brittany.” I can actually feel the anger running through my veins.
“Okay, fine, fine. What’s the big mistake?” I sit down, casually - which is weird since the situations isn’t - and I wait for his answer.
“Becoming your parabatai.” he hisses calmly, and I feel like I’m getting hit repeatedly by a Greater Demon. Jem … not wanting to be my parabatai? How is that even possible? Because it was him who begged me to be his parabatai.
“Jem, precision of language.” I lash my tail at him. “That doesn’t even make sense.” Jem smirks - he has never done that before - before sauntering up to me. Hs gaze is like having shards of rock scratch me from all around.
“You think I wanted you to be my parabatai?” I can tell that bad things are gonna happen if I don’t answer, so I nod my head. Jem laughs. “It was Liv. And Laurie, and Sienna. It was them. Not me.”
“Then why didn’t they ask to become parabatai?” I point out.
“Because through me was the only way … “ he hisses. Jem’s claws are suddenly unsheathed. He’s coming for me - I know. Closing my eyes tightly, I crouch into a ball, waiting for the blow.
“Britt.” I look up, surprised. The cat in front of me isn’t Jem - in fact, he’s nowhere to be seen. There’s only the nothingness of my surroundings, and the she-cat with glossy sand-colored fur and sharp amber eyes. It’s her. It’s Jenna.
“Jenna.” I breathe, sighing unhappily. I know I’m being unfair - she is Jem’s girlfriend after all - but there’s something awful about her. It’s like she’s surrounded by something cold - how can Jem not see it? But he’s in love with her - I can see it. Jem is my parabatai, I should -
“Brittany. I have something for you.” Jenna snarls, and I look at her startled. Her once amber eyes are now blood red - just the exact same shade as Liv’s. It’s quite strange how they both have the same eyes, same expressions, same -
“Brittany!” Jenna pokes me with her tail, and I feel as if I’m being electrocuted. I feel numb all over. And weak - weak too. “I have a message for you.” she smirks when I look at her expectantly. She walks up to me, and all I can do is just stare.
“You’ll fall for the wrong cat - and you choices will affect whether you will survive or die. Just beware, Britt. You just might not have it in you.” she looks at me mockingly, and the numbness starts to fade away.
“Jenna, don’t you dare tell me lies. I have a parabatai - Jem will understand.”
Jenna just exhales softly. “We’ll see about that, shall we? Jem might take the word of his girlfriend…” she stops to make a pose. “more than his trusted parabatai.”
“Jenna, I swear on the name of the Angel -” But Jenna stalks up to me, her eyes narrow.
“Oh, there’s something else, Brittany.” she leans in to whisper in my ear. She says three words - just three words. But as soon as she says it, I feel the world start to crumble away, and I’m falling. I mutter a few horrible words as I recall what Jenna’s last words were.
This is Agramon.
“Britt? Britt!” I open my eyes wearily to see Liv in front of me, looking concerned. Liv. Liv. I look at her, fear starting to gnaw at me - but it’s really her. Not the lunatic Liv who decided that bursting into flames was good for my mental health. “Britt, are you alright?” she asks, cocking her head.
“Liv … “ I breathe softly, getting out o my nest in the Sea Institute. The plain stone walls make me feel trapped, and I need to go outside - I need to go…
“Britt, I’m scared.” Liv says softly, and I stare at her, surprised. Liv is usually the calm one - she tends to have control over our nerves when I get myself and Jem into sticky situations. But as I stare into her beautiful blue eyes, I can tell something is wrong- very wrong.
All my claustrophobic thoughts forgotten, I sit down next to her, wrapping my tail around her. “What wrong, Oliva?”
“It’s Fish.” she says sadly. I stiffen at once, and she can’t help but giggle.
“Listen, alright? There’s no need for you to worry about that little creep that you used to love, alright? He’s just a jerk that -” I’m so caught up in my anger that I don’t notice Liv.
“Um, Britt? Fish is, um, kinda my brother... “ I give her a sheepish grin, and bite my lip to keep the long string of snide remarks from flying out of my mouth. No need to make Liv more upset than she already is.
“It’s just - I’m worried about Fish. He wasn’t there - last night …” I look at her curiously. “He didn’t come back to his nest last night. He’s missing.”
I’m unable to hold back an exasperated sigh. “Liv, look. this is Kingfisher we’re talking about - he doesn’t listen. Why in the name of the Angel did you think he got grounded?”
“But he didn’t really deserve-” I cut her off with a wave of my tail.
“So you think that trying to remake the whole Sea Institute’s barrier in less than a day was a good idea? Liv, the mundanes could’ve seen the Institute because Fish broke down the mendelin charm! They would think that they’re going mad after they see us - cats just like them with freaky silver scars and whips!”
“That’s not what I meant, Britt! Please listen, for once.” Liv’s tone makes me feel a bit guilty, but I push it away. “I meant that Jem shouldn’t have been so harsh on him.”
“LIV. HE WAS EXPOSING SHADOWHUNTERS TO MUNDANES. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT JEM TO DO?” Liv looks like she’s going to cry again, and guilt claws more fiercely at me than before.
“Fish… deserved that.”
“And whose point are you trying to prove here, again?”
“Britt, it’s just that - I’m telling you this because I don’t want to tell Jem.” She hangs her head, ashamed.
“Why not?” I ask her, perplexed. “Jem will listen to you no matter what.”
Liv makes a face - something I never thought I’d imagine seeing. “It’s because he’s with Jenna.” At that, I can’t help it - I burst out into laughter. Liv shrinks down even more, and I bite my lip to hold everything in. “There’s something awful about her - I can’t explain it. It’s like she’s surrounded by a layer of ice - it’s horrible.” She makes a sour face again before regaining her composure.
“I see what you mean. It’s as if Jenna is just … not a cat in a way.” I shiver, and Liv manages a smile. “I’ll probably go and look for Fish now, I suppose.” Liv gets up and starts to walk out of the room. “Bye, Britt.” She runs out of my room and down the hall.
Liv was right - Jem was with Jenna. I’m not going to get caught up in whatever they’re doing - well, I might if a monster decided to randomly appear on the spot. Which, sadly, has about an 88% chance of happening. I’m just hoping that we have a good day, and that no monsters decide to come - because honestly, I don’t think last night’s sleep was a good one - dreams of cats bursting in flame probably isn’t something that happens pretty often.
I head straight down to the training area to get my sheath - and also, to burn off the energy that’s making me jumpy. The stone walls are covered with various weapons and tools - witchlights, sharp shards of rock, steles, whips made of poison ivy vines, and a bunch of other equipment that I don’t really care about.
I realize that someone’s already here, and she’s working up a storm. She’s using one of the whips on the unbreakable dummies that are in the training room. It takes me a few seconds to realize who she is, and when I do, a smile breaks onto my face.
“Savi! Savannah!” I call out - and she looks at me quizzically before running up to me.
“Hi Britt! What brings you here?” she asks, lifting my mood. Savannah can just do that. It’s as if she radiates happiness, and she keeps everyone’s spirits up. She partially the reason that the cats in the Institute don’t rip each other apart. Well, we really can’t, as it’s pretty much just me, Savi, Jenna, Jem, and his siblings.
“I could ask you the same thing.”
“Well,” Savi shrugs. “There’s always work to be done. And I can’t always let you and Jem steal the show.” she adds, and I look at her amused.
“But we’re stronger together - well, I’m already strong by myself, Jem just makes me stronger.” Savi rolls her eyes before beckoning me to the middle of the training floor.
“You and Jem are only as strong as the other is - you guys are parabatai. Come on, let’s train.” Savi picks up her whip again, and I follow her, picking up one of the seraph blades. Muttering the invocating name - Israfel - I run up and join Savi, slashing at the dummy until it is just a bunch of moss and twigs.
“And that’s how you destroy an unbreakable dummy.” Savi starts laughing, and I smile again. “We should do a bit of hunting, Savi.” I start walking out of the training room, when I hear a scream.
Lady Midnight runs through the city, where any cat can see her. She runs past the dens - the cats have turned off their witchlights and have gone to sleep. But Lady Midnight is wide awake as she runs through the glowing city.
She can hear the pawsteps of the strange cat far behind her - calling for her, asking who she is. But she’s already given her answer - pure silence. She runs through small alleys, trying to twist her way up to the Institute of the glowing city.
Lady Midnight finallys stops to catch her breath, where no one could see her - in the shadows. Her deep green gaze unblinking, she waits for the tom with the startling blue eyes come find her. He’ll come and find her - Lady Midnight counts on it.
A hiss escapes Lady Midnight when she sees the tom pad up towards her hiding place. His ears perk up, and he looks around, finally meeting her gaze. He looks at her curiously, but Lady Midnight knows what she’s doing.
Jumping quickly, she pins the tom down underneath her. The tom looks at her with fear - it’s evident on his face. His blue gaze is wide as she snarls.
“You risk a bloody death if you don’t listen to me.”
Soon, I’m out of the Institute, heading towards the piercing screams, sheath full of deadly weapons. Savi is by my side, her whip ready to use. The first cat I find is Jem, who runs to me as soon as he sees me.
“Britt, it’s a demon! Jenna’s fighting it right now - I came to get you.” Jem’s sea-green eyes are wide, and I feel something inside me blossom. “Come on!” Jem says, starting to run.
“Really, James? Slow down. Rune up.” He shoots me a look - evidently annoyed that I used his own quote against him - before muttering a horrible word. But he ends up coming back to me, and I trace the runes into his fur - clairvoyance, equilibrium, and strength. I turn around and close my eyes as the stinging sensation of the stele on my fur calms down my nerves.
“Savi, go on. We’ll catch up.” I say, and Savannah nods her head before running out of the camp. Jem continues to trace the runes slowly, before I start to get annoyed.
“Jem, you know that it’s your girlfriend who’s fighting the demon, right?” I say fixedly, and Jem seems to snap out of a daze.
“Oh! Yeah… let’s just go Brittany.” We start running, and I’m too worried to be mad at him - Brittany isn’t a very nice name, in my opinion. Jem rarely gets distracted - is something wrong? But my questions get cut off as I crash into Jem, who has - unknowingly to me - stopped.
“It’s right there.” Jem points to a cat fighting Savi and Jenna. While Savi looks ragged and bloody, Jenna looks unhurt, and perfectly well… for some reason, that doesn’t seem right. But all my doubts about jenna seem to flow away; a swear word escapes from my mouth as I realize what exactly we were fighting.
“James!” I say angrily. “Why didn’t you tell me that this was an eidolon demon?”
“I got distracted…?”
“How do you get distracted when there’s an eidolon demon on the loose?” I shake my head before grabbing my lovely seraph blade out of my sheath, which is strapped to my back. Looking back at Jem, who is busy getting his weapons out, I meet his gaze before signalling to the battle.
“Let’s just get this battle over with before we get into another mess.” Jem says, not meeting my gaze. We both charge at the eidolon demon, and I signal for Savi and Jenna to stop and take a break - because obviously, Jem and I have come to finish this thing off once and for all.
“Hey stupid!” I call out, distracting the demon as Jem creeps up behind it. He whirls around, and for a second, I feel my heart stop. It’s the same one - the same one from my dream.
The demon looks like a cat - its fur is a light silver, with gray stripes running across his tail. He’d look normal to any other regular cat. But what distinguishes the eidolon to us is its eyes. This eidolon has blood red eyes.
“You.” I whisper, anger boiling up in me. This is the same demon - the same demon who became the Behemoth, Liv, Jem, and even Jenna. This was the stupid demon who killed my night’s sleep.
“So we meet again, Brittany.” the demon says - I’m only able to understand it because of the permanent language rune carved next to my parabatai one. I can see Jem throw me a questioning look as he waits for my signal. I shake my head at him before focusing again on the demon.
“This is how it’ll end, Eidolon. You’ll be sorry you’ve ever bothered me.” The eidolon demon laughs and I see Jem poised to strike.
“Divide and Conquer!” I yell, and Jem immediately slashes his blade against the demon. I can see the bubbly black ichor spill out from the wound. This is no ordinary eidolon demon.
“Israfel!” I shout, touching the angelic rune carved into the blade. The seraph glows and grows into a long weapon, and I slash at the eidolon with it.
But he is good. He deflects my block, and he jumps on top of me, pinning me down with his weight. “You are the perfect one.”
“What does this perfect one do?” I ask angrily, trying to find a way to beat his iron grip. I stare at him, and - sadly, it only reminds me of the dream - Liv bursting into flames, Jem hating me, and Jenna… being well, Jenna.
“I shall take you-” That’s when a good thing and a bad thing happen: The good is that I’m able to get out from the eidolon demon’s grasp because of Jem, who found the perfect moment to slash at him. The bad thing is that I got black ichor all over myself.
There’s honestly nothing wrong with getting myself dirty - it usually ends up happening to me as I’m a Shadowhunter. getting dirty and fighting demons is pretty much my whole life at the moment. But demon ichor - especially that of a Greater Demon, like a eidolon - can be fatal to someone who touches it. And I happen to have it all over my pelt.
“I’ve saved your sorry pelt twice, Britt. You owe me some answers.” Jem looks at me sternly, his sea-green eyes sharp.
“Wait - I’ll tell you at the Sea-” I feel the rake of claws against my pelt as i choke back a scream. I whip around to see the eidolon demon - bleeding all over the forest floor - a wicked grin in his eyes.
“And you’ll be coming with me, Brittany.” I manage to find my seraph blade and I slash him with it.
“And that’s not happening.” I say with triumph. It’s evident now that the eidolon demon is finished. He falls to the ground, and the ichor spills out faster than before. “Jem!” I call. He’s on the other side of the demon, and he runs up to me.
“Nice move.” he says grinning. We both look back at the demon, who’s starting to fade.
“Lady Midnight awaits you, the parabatai.” And he fades away completely, leaving Jem and I staring at him in shock.