I walked into Cupid’s tent, concealing my bandaged hand in my tunic.
He sat up as soon as I walked in, looking at me expectantly.
“It’s done.” I said flatly, “I did it.”
He stood up, stunned.
“I almost didn’t think you had it in you, Commander. Congratulations.”
His expression shifted.
“You shouldn’t be here long. We don’t want to raise any suspicions – “
“Cupid, you’ve made no secret of pretending to be my lover. I don’t think suspicions are a problem at this point.” I sighed, blinking.
It made sense. His little charade of getting Lucifer to back off gave him an excuse to spend more time with me, to put his plans into action.
Manara had been right.
“You’re right.” He admitted, “But now…we don’t have to pretend.”
He stepped closer towards me, and I could see something expectant in his icy blue eyes.
I realized quietly that he was waiting. Waiting for the effects of the arrowhead to kick in, waiting until my brain would turn to mush and he could use me like a puppet.
I had far more power and influence than him in Hell. He needed me to seize the throne, the official that had suddenly risen the ranks, almost groomed to be the perfect heir.
I probably seemed like an easy patsy – a young, inexperienced teenage girl who’d be easily swayed by sweeping delusions of grandeur and love, that was just a little too stubborn and needed some extra convincing. A toddler who’d been handed the keys to a car.
I let him hold me. I let him kiss me. I was playing the part he’d expected I’d play as soon as he laid eyes on me.
I felt anger growing inside of me. Not the searing, burning anger I was used to. A calm anger, ice-cold, bitter –
I put my arms around his neck. He didn’t have any time to react when I snapped the cord holding the arrowhead, or when I took the cool stone in my good hand and pressed it against his cheek.
He broke away, stunned, but was quickly paralyzed with pain, dropping to his knees.
I could hear the arrowhead sizzling. I could smell his skin burning.
The stone was still cool against my palm.
Eventually I tore it away, disgusted.
Cupid was holding his cheek, grimacing in pain.
"How could- what?" he managed, looking up to see me waving my bandaged hand at him.
I tied the arrowhead around my neck and sighed.
"Sorry about your face. I just don't take kindly to being used."
He had tears in his pale eyes.
"What? But Zara, I love you!"
I slapped him. Hard. Pain shot up my arm and I realized I'd used my bad hand.
"Your first mistake." I started through gritted teeth, "Was coming here. Second...thinking you could use me. Third. Thinking I. Give a crap. About your pathetic ass."
His head stayed where the trajectory of my blow had forced it, and he clenched his jaw.
"Zara, I don't know what you're talking about. This...this isn't you."
"And you know who I am?" I laughed, "Please. Get out of my sight."
"Commander. High Commander, who should probably be executing you personally."
He got to his feet, and I could see that he was going to have one hell of a scar.
When he looked at me, I was considerably surprised to see that his eyes were brimming with emotion. I had to say, the man was an incredible actor.
"You're right. I don't know you. Not like this. But I know Lucifer."
And with that, he walked out of the tent.