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Jared handed the paper to me, and I recoiled at the misshapen beast. It had the body of a large cat, perhaps a panther or leopard, and large paws, I guessed to be the paws of a bear. Seven heads ascended from its body, with horns, and crowns sitting atop those horns. It was grotesque.

“This is our family’s coat of arms? Sick,” I said, handing the drawing back to Jared. “No wonder Jack changed it. He couldn’t hang something that monstrous on the wal .”

“This is very similar to the creature in Revelations,” Jared said, staring at the twisted black lines on the paper. The heads, the horns, the crowns….”

“What creature?” I said, wary.

Jared made a face, and then pored over the other files in the drawer. He stopped for a moment, and then leaned in closer to the document he had paused on. His shoulders slumped. “Agh…no,” he whispered, his head fal ing forward.

“What is it?” I said, afraid of what he might say.

He nervously rubbed the back of his neck, pul ing the paper from the drawer. He looked once more, and then shut his eyes tight.

I fidgeted. “It’s bad, isn’t it?”

His eyes slowly opened, and the twin storms of his irises sent panic throughout my body. He glanced at the coat of arms on the wal . “I promise you, Nina. You don’t want to know.”

“I think I have to know at this point,” I said, pul ing the paper from his hand.

Jared shook his head. “I can stil figure out how to save you without you knowing everything. We’ve talked about that before. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to know this.”

I lowered my eyes to the paper. It was a list of names, similar to a family tree, but it only fol owed one line. My name was at the bottom. Higher on the list, names like Dagobert the third, and Clovis the first. The name at the top, Merovius, had two fathers: King Clodian; the other name caused my legs to disappear, and I dropped the paper to the floor.

Jared supported my weight. “Sweetheart?” he said, pul ing my chin up so that he could see into my eyes. He lifted me into his arms and carried me to Jack’s desk chair, kneeling before me.

“What…what does that mean? What the hel is a Beast of the Sea?” I wailed.

Jared shook his head. “It’s just a story, Nina, nothing more.”

“Tel me,” I whispered.

Jared’s jaws fluttered. “I don’t want to.”

“What am I?”

A smal smile touched Jared’s mouth. “You’re human. You just have some pretty potent blood running through your veins.”

“I need to know,” I said, touching his cheek with my fingertips.

Jared seemed just as horrified as I was. In the beginning, he had tortured himself over bringing me into his world, stealing away my mundane life forever. Now it was I that regretted involving him in my life—we were both spiraling into a nightmare that didn't seem to end.

Jared sighed. “Merovingians. You’re a Merovingian, Nina. A very long time ago, your family ruled with divine power, under the belief that they are direct descendants of Jesus Christ.”

“Jesus didn’t have children,” I scoffed.

“They myth is that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, and their children are the ancestors of the Merovingian blood line. It’s known in less human circles that the story was perpetuated to keep the Merovingians in power. There are people even today that believe it.”

“So you’re saying it’s not true? That's a relief. I'm at least somewhat less of a freak.”

Jared looked away, cautiously choosing his next words. “Have you heard of the Nephilim, Nina?”

I shook my head, dreading where his story would go.

“Okay,” he said, “Have you heard of the story of David and Goliath?”

“Yeah,” I sniffed, “The skinny kid that threw a rock at a giant’s head and kil ed him.”

“Goliath was not one of a kind. He had family, people…Antediluvian Giants. Some call ed them Anakim, other refer to them as Nephilim. They had many tribes, and their remains have been found, measuring anywhere from nine and a half feet to fourteen feet. Some have two ful rows of teeth.

They were different; not completely human. The Holy Bible acknowledges their origin in Genesis: ‘That the sons of God saw the daughters of men were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also after, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children unto them.’”

“Sons of God? Like the ones Cynthia was talking about?” I asked.

“Yes. Angels.”

“Do you know the whole Bible by heart?” I asked, attempting to detour the frightening thought swirling in my mind.

“Most of it,” he said, a corner of his mouth slightly turning up. It vanished as quickly as it appeared. “God wiped out the Nephilim with the great flood because their blood was contaminated. He needed a direct line from Adam to Abraham, because that is the blood line that was prophesied to bring the Messiah. Noah was his way to decontaminate the blood line, and assure the prophecy would come about.”

“My brain hurts,” I complained, rubbing my head.

Jared kissed my hair, wrapping his arms around me. “Do you understand what I’m tel ing you?” he whispered softly. “Jack didn’t want children because he knew he carried Nephilim blood, and the Merovingians are part of the prophecy in the Naissance de Demoniac. He knew when I fel in love with you, that you and I would meet al of the requirements.”

“What requirements?” My voice was muffled from pushing my face into his chest.

“A prophecy requires certain elements to come together in order to come to fruition, Nina. A descendant of the Nephilim procreating with a Hybrid…it’s the perfect storm. Remember when Eli told us that only seven other human/hybrid cases had happened since the dawn of time? How many of those humans do you think were Merovingian? Jack knew you were the woman in the book because he knew what he was...and what I was. Once he knew I was in love with you, he made the decision to steal Shax’s book to try to find a way to protect you.”

“From what?” I cringed. I kept asking questions I didn’t want the answers to.

He lifted my chin to face him. “That’s why we need the book. I need to find out what interest they might have in a child we might have. I don’t know if they want it to happen, or they wil fight to prevent it. It depends on what that scenario means for Hel .”