Authors: Monica Davis
“Daniel Taylor” is a contemporary young-adult fantasy trilogy. The story — packed with exciting adventure, emotional drama, and a momentous decision — takes place in Little Peak, a typical small town in California.
Daniel is torn between two worlds. In one, he can be happy with Vanessa. In the other, the world of demons, he could wield great power. Will Daniel’s dark side win him over, enticing him to embrace his powers over the living and the dead?
Monica Davis is one of the pen names of the German writer Monika Dennerlein. Born in 1976 in Berchtesgaden, she moved to Munich after high school, where she worked for a few years as a dental technician. But she never lost her passion for writing. Since she completely devoted her time to writing, she has published 40 books and numerous e-books that regularly appear among the ranks of online bestsellers.
BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
Digital original edition
Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG
Copyright © 2015 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany
Written by Monica Davis
Translated by Claire Bacher
Edited by Sonja Diehn
Cover design: Manuela Städele
E-book production: Urban
Goosebumps spread across his entire body as Daniel accompanied Marla down the corridor, descending deeper and deeper into the underworld, the land of demons — where he supposedly belonged, where he was predestined to be Overlord. Is that why the setting seemed so strangely familiar to him? The rock walls of the corridor, the darkness lit only by the flickering flames of torches … he felt like he knew this place, even though according to Marla, he had never set foot here. Despite this sense of familiarity, he felt afraid.
What if they don’t let me go — how can I escape from here?
Why had he so carelessly agreed to everything? So he could get one over on that blond Casanova, Mike? Prove to the others that he had really spoken with the spirit of Joe Adams? So Vanessa would believe him … or just because he was curious?
No. Deep inside him, he knew there was a dark side that thirsted after knowledge about the underworld and its inhabitants. The watcher within him was wrestling with this demon. Right now, the watcher had the upper hand. At least, he hoped that was the case; Daniel still didn’t know exactly who the watchers were or what abilities they possessed. So he asked Marla.
“Watchers are our sworn enemies,” she said. “It’s no surprise that no one really wants you to be here.”
So, watchers were something like angels, Daniel concluded.
Marla had heard his thoughts. “Exactly. They’re the good guys, we’re the bad guys. In your world.”
What was his world?
They came to a halt in front of large double doors. At first glance, it almost looked like the doors were made of some kind of organic material. Upon closer examination, Daniel realized that thousands of undulating black snakes were swarming across them. He took a quick step back, his heart pounding. Fascinated, he watched as the reptiles suddenly morphed into a lifelike representation of his face.
“You’ll have to go on alone from here,” Marla said.
“Alone?” Daniel felt his courage slipping away. “I thought you’d be coming with me.”
“I’m not allowed to enter these halls,” she replied, not meeting his eyes.
Before Daniel could ask why, the double doors swung open, offering him a view of a large torch-lit hall, seemingly constructed entirely out of black marble. Daniel hesitated, but Marla pushed him, forcing him toward the entrance. His legs felt clumsy and sluggish, and the rumbling in his stomach grew louder. As he walked further into the hall, even the pumping of his heart seemed to weaken. Now he was completely alone in this alien world. Daniel had the feeling that he might never see the light of day again. He shivered.
After the doors had silently glided shut behind him, he began to hear voices in his head promising him power and prestige — other demons were trying to win his favor by offering him their services. But there was one voice that clearly longed for his eternal damnation.
“There you are at last!” Metistakles’ voice echoed off the vaulted stone ceiling.
Marla flinched. She had been so lost in thought that she hadn’t seen the high lord lying there on the bed in her chamber. Like the other members of the High Council, his head was shaved bald, and he wore a long, grey robe that might have made him look something like a walking corpse — had his face not been so diabolically handsome.
Marla shuddered, wondering why he wasn’t testing her brother with the others. She had hoped to have a little time for herself to think over a few things that had happened to her recently.
Metistakles waved her over, and Marla glided over to him as though pulled by an invisible string. She had learned that trying to resist him would have definite consequences.
“How is Silvan doing?” he asked. The look in his ice-blue eyes made Marla shiver, even though it was pleasantly warm in her room.
“Good,” she answered mechanically; she knew what was coming. She could see it in his eyes — they always grew darker when he was angry, and sometimes they even seemed to spin like pinwheels.
“Good? That’s a blatant lie!” he growled, dealing her a mental blow.
A violent stabbing sensation flashed through her mind, bringing her to her knees. She stifled a cry and tried to ignore the stinging pain that slowly dissolved into a muted throbbing. Marla had never learned how to completely close off her mind to the high lords; in fact, they had ensured that not all of her demonic abilities could fully develop. It was a punishment for the treachery of her mother, Kitana. As a result, she was powerless against Metistakles.
“Silvan is with the High Council now. Why aren’t you there, lord?” she cautiously ventured to ask. Perhaps he would be leaving soon.
But Marla’s hopes were soon dashed.
“I’m the one asking questions here!” Metistakles stood up and pulled her toward him, as he had been doing for months now, ever since he obtained permission from her father Obron to continue her education.
Marla had thought she would be allowed to learn from Metistakles; she hadn’t really mastered any of her demonic abilities aside from basic things like creating portals. Instead, she had discovered that it was her duty to keep quiet and submit to him whenever the whim took him. He had shown her what her place was — doing menial tasks and running errands. He purposefully kept her from learning anything other than humility.
Marla was still kneeling before him, and Metistakles grabbed her hair roughly and pulled her closer to him. Mentally, Marla immediately retreated deep within herself. Weeks ago, she had created a place that would allow her to survive Metistakles’ abuse. There was nowhere she could flee outside of her own mind. Metistakles would find her wherever she hid, and his revenge would be cruel. Marla was his thrall, a slave to his will. She could only resign herself to her fate in the hope that one day, as promised, she would be freed from her service, once she had completed her task. If her brother decided to remain in the underworld, the first part of her deal would be fulfilled. Then, with Silvan’s help, she only had to seek out and kill James Carpenter, the man who had been the cause of all of her mother’s suffering — as well as her own. Because Silvan was half-watcher, he would be able to see James despite the magical Horus amulet that he always wore, which made him invisible to demon eyes. This made Silvan doubly valuable to the demons.
It had been Kitana herself who had given James the eye of Horus! Marla would do anything to make up for the mistakes of her mother so that she could finally become a proper demon, one that could feed on souls and thereby live for centuries.
Yes, when it was done, she would finally be free …
Marla was safely ensconced in her mental fantasy world now, her private inner chamber. It looked like a tower room in a fairy-tale castle, and her mother (whom Marla loved above all others, despite her betrayal) was waiting there to take her child into her arms …