The Prince's Hybrid Slave

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Chapter 10

Silas

On the way to the hospital, I had a nagging suspicion there was something I was missing in all of this. Some vital piece of evidence that was staring me in the face. But something Micheal said was still clawing at me, since I was unable to fully ascertain what he meant.

Where’s Zander? I thought. He’s going to pay when I get my hands on him.

Pulling up to the hospital, the sight made me cringe.

The building was old, but maintained enough for any sick humans to have good care. The unappealing brick glared at me as I walked through the white creaky wooden doors. My skin crawled more the further inside I went.

Everyone kept their eyes down as I walked through the hall. Immediately moving aside when I approached. All the employees were human, but some of the doctors were vampires. Others were human. Many of them maintained their profession despite the race issues. The council agreed humanity would need healthcare, lest illness tear through the population.

Finding out where Marnie was, I rode the elevator to the fifth floor, which had been vacated for her. Undoubtedly, my sister informed them who Marnie was in relation to myself, which automatically gave her clout as a patient.

Stepping out into the hallway, I walked to the nurse’s station, which was near deserted. There was only one nurse sitting at the desk, deep bags under her eyes with a white uniform,

Speaking to the nurse, she pointed me in the right direction. Following her instructions, halfway down the hall, I picked up on Marnie’s scent.

Pushing open the heavy wooden door, drab, monotone colors assaulted my eyes. Veronica was sitting at her bedside, back to me, shoulders hunched. Silently gazing at her, I could tell that my sister was having an equally difficult time dealing with the current situation.

My chest hurt seeing Marnie so vulnerable. So many wires were attached to her; monitors beeped relentlessly. Her skin was paler than usual, and her breaths were shallow.

Finally noticing me, Veronica jumped, mildly startled. “Didn’t hear you come in, Silas.”

Though she was speaking, everything around me seemed like white noise. Words failed me the longer I stared at Marnie’s nearly lifeless form in the hospital bed.

“Silas?”

Gently caressing her cheek with the back of my hand, for the first time in my life, I felt helpless. “I’m going to find who did this, and slaughter them.”

“Now’s not the time,” Veronica said. “Stay with her for a bit. I’ll step out.”

Taking the seat, she was in, I gently rubbed my thumb over her knuckles. Her cold skin was too much for me to handle. I longed for the warmth she radiated, and the smile that made my heart soar. My emotions started to take me and a lone tear fell from my eye. “Please wake up, baby. Please.”

Veronica walked back in, with a question I didn’t have an answer to. “Silas, has anyone found Zander yet?” Hastily wiping my face, I shook my head. “Maybe we should post security guards?”

“Do it.”

She disappeared back into the hallway, re-emerging a few minutes later. “What should we do now?” she asked, coming up next to me.

Rising to my feet, I took a shaky breath. Internally weighing my options, there wasn’t a whole lot to do. “Find Zander. Check with Micheal to see if he’s made any progress. And, I want someone following Braxton; if anyone has motive, it’s him.”

“I can do that. Better me than anyone else,” she said.

Making a silent vow to Marnie, I gently laid my lips on her forehead.

Leaving Marnie behind, Veronica and I made our way back to the mansion.

***

Marnie

The woman who claimed to be my mother and I were still walking hand in hand, through the green fields. I couldn’t help but be awed at her appearance, how flawless she was. Her hair blew in the gentle breeze, a mildly sweet scent tickled my nose. Wherever we were, it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

“Can you answer some of my questions now?”

“Of course, I can.”

“Firstly, what’s your name?”

“My name is Lucretia. Your father’s name was Ryker.”

One question out of a million answered, finally. Next, I needed to figure out if I should truly trust her, considering I didn’t remember one thing about this person. She may as well have been a stranger. “If I’m to understand this correctly, you are a vampire?” She nodded. “Then I don’t understand how I’m a human? And what’s this business about me being something the world hasn’t seen in a millenia? Last time I checked, I was a slave. Slaves are a dime a dozen.”

A small laugh left her. “Your father was a wolf, technically of a lower class than I was. The instant I set eyes on him, there were no words to describe the deep ache I felt. Almost as though my prayers were answered.” Seeing the far-away look in her eyes, I could feel the depth of affection she felt. Similar to the feeling I got thinking about Silas. “When we decided to run away, I knew what the consequences would be. Ryker wasn’t afraid though. He always said that if we were together, there wasn’t anything that we couldn’t overcome.”

“He sounds like a good man,” I said, trying to picture him. Mind coming up blank, I sighed deeply. “I’m sorry I can’t remember him.”

“Don’t fret sweetheart. You were so small when we had to let you go,” Lucretia reassured.

Digging deep into her memories, Marnie had flashes of the fateful day her adopted parents were murdered. Recalling it made a shiver travel down her spine. “Was it my fault they were killed?”

Pausing, Lucretia turned to her daughter, offering her a smile. “No, baby. It was the fault of someone who was so dead-set on destroying humanity. Rather, destroying those he deemed were unworthy to live. The near extinction of humanity had nothing to do with being noble or not.”

“So, no one was safe?” She nodded. “What kind of person is so heartless?”

“Someone who had their entire world upturned and blamed everyone else.”

Angry at the sentiment, Marnie began to understand that this was all one person’s doing. A singular person took it upon themselves to declare war on people who had nothing to do with the base issue. Only a person who had near unlimited power could even fathom such a radical idea.

“Let me ask you something Marnie.” Lucretia noticed Marnie’s silence, and the various facial expressions adorning her. “Do you love Silas?”

Taken aback by the question, Marnie didn’t even pause to consider. “Yes, I do. We got off to a rocky start, but he’s everything to me now.”

Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, the woman smiled at her daughter. “You have that same look speaking of him as I did when I spoke of your Dad.” Brows furrowed, Marnie didn’t understand. “There’s a twinkle in your eye.”

Mildly embarrassed, Marnie looked away, focusing her attention on the path ahead. Taking a few steps ahead, her mind had visions of a life that could have been, if things remained peaceful. Would they live in a large mansion or a small cottage in the woods? What would the days be like? Would she have siblings? What sorts of things would she learn from her parents?

Running her flat hand over the wheat, the softness felt foreign to her. Her life seemed to consist of jagged edges and rough surfaces. Something so soft was unheard of.

“If Silas had to do something to save your life, something that would alter your life dramatically, would you still love him then?”

***

Zander

Everyone is out there looking for me, under the impression I harmed Marnie. I would never do such a thing. She’s the strongest woman I’ve ever known; to do something so heinous to her is a travesty. For her to confront me about releasing Alina made me see her in a whole new light.

Considering my family name, I always prided myself on my ferocity, knowing nobody would cross me. Marnie was the one, and only exception.

The risks of searching out answers on my own weighed on my mind, and I admit I fled to save my own skin. I might be a prince, but Silas won’t hesitate to kill me.

If I’m not careful, my brother is going to find me and twist my head off. I’m quite sure he is under the assumption I’m the one who tried to kill her.

Pissed off, I wanted to strangle my brother for immediately assuming the worst of me. Clearly, he doesn’t understand the kind of relationship she and I shared, if it could be called that.

It was her spirit. The sparkle in her eyes just looking at him.

I wanted that. The glow of a beautiful woman’s eyes when she loved unconditionally.

Marnie was no fool. She knew exactly how I felt about Alina. I’m sure she concluded that I gave Alina up because Silas forced me, but that’s the furthest from the truth. It was her. The way Marnie spoke about Alina, and the emotion in her eyes made me truly ask myself who my slave really was.

Shaking those thoughts away, I arrived at the hospital. Knowing my brother, he had guards at her door. More than likely he was looking for me elsewhere.

Raising my nose up, I could smell her faintly, even outside.

Fifth floor, fourth window in.

Quietly climbing the walls, I entered her room through the open window. The room door was closed, with two heartbeats on the other side.

The monitors were beeping, wires coming out of everywhere. She was cold to the touch and her chest was moving slowly.

Leaning in close, I kissed her forehead.

I’m sorry, Marnie.

About to straighten up, a certain odor caught my attention. Carefully gazing at the skin around her neck, there was purple bruising as though she had been choked. Sniffing closer, the odor suddenly became all too familiar. The disgusting scent belonged to someone I’d wished never existed.

“Julia,” I snarled.

***

Marnie

Baffled by Lucretia’s question, I was unsure what she was getting at. “What are you even saying?”

“Everything will change, and you will need to be prepared for it.” The stern expression on her face still gave no answers. “The other matter that needs to be addressed is who would stand from hurting Silas through you?”

“He is a prince. I imagine that he has enemies, but I don’t know anything about that.”

Chuckling darkly, Lucretia flipped her hair over her shoulder. “Oh, my love, no matter how good you are, enemies are always watching. They could really be right under your nose, while that person is none the wiser.”

“Basically, you’re saying enemies could be disguised as friends?” A simple nod of her head, the pieces began to make sense. “But there were others who stood to gain more from weakening Silas. What could they possibly gain?”

Still moving forward, there was silence between the women momentarily. Marnie was becoming increasingly agitated trying to figure out who would try to hurt the man she loved. Additionally, she truly had no idea where she was, being fed information from a woman who claimed to be her mother. The closer they walked toward the rickety house, the more questions than answers whirled around her mind.

“I happen to think that Zander is the offender. They never got along, he and I fought, and if Silas is out of the way then Zander is the one who gets the crown. Their relationship, as far as I’m aware, is very tumultuous.”

Lucretia silently listened to her daughter spout off reasons why one suspect could be the perpetrator, as opposed to the other. She was impressed with her daughter’s passion in defending the man she loved, and what kind of relationship she had with his brother. Really, having her child so near her, and seeing her grown up, made her heart swell with affection.

The more she spoke, the more she was reminded of her husband. Both strong individuals. Always willing to go the extra mile for people they care about. Fully committing to the person they love, sacrificing whatever they need to for their happiness.

Recalling the memories made a tear come to her eye.

“Mom?” Marnie noticed the far-away look on her mother’s eye, with tears slowly streaming down her pale cheeks. “What’s wrong?”

Wrapping an arm around her daughter’s shoulders, she squeezed her closer. “Nothing, honey. You just remind me so much of your father, and that makes me very happy.”

Smiling thinly at her, Marnie wasn’t sure how to feel. No amount of reminiscing could bring back the memories she simply couldn’t remember. Guilt made her feel so badly, that it felt like her soul was being crushed. Clenching her jaw, Marnie tried as hard as she could to remember the past. Having been so young, it was unsurprising that she couldn’t recollect anything.

Seeing Marnie fall silent, Lucretia didn’t want to Marnie to feel any guilt over not remembering the past. “Listen, don’t trouble yourself. Your life was infinitely worse after I gave you up. If anyone should feel guilty, it should be me. I’m your mother and I didn’t protect you in your time of need.”

“How could you have known what would have happened to me? Becoming and living like a slave wasn’t your fault.”

Coming up to the old cottage, Lucretia opened the door, revealing the inside. It was a modest home, a small kitchen area with a slightly larger living area and a fire place. The coziness of the home felt vaguely familiar. Warmth from the roaring fire radiated throughout the entire room.

“Marnie, could you find it in your heart to forgive me for what I’m about to say?”

“What could you possibly say that would make me hate you?”

Turning to me, she placed both hands on my shoulders. “In order for you to achieve your true potential, you have to die.”

My eyes widened in horror.

***

Silas

I paced my office so much that I was starting to see track marks in the rug. I hadn’t heard one word from Micheal nor could anyone find Zander. My patience was wearing particularly thin.

Veronica couldn’t handle my pacing and lashed out. “Goddamn it, Silas! Sit!”

“I can’t!”

“Pacing around isn’t helping at all. You know that.” Plopping down into my desk chair, I roughly ran my fingers through my hair. “It wasn’t Braxton. His movement didn’t indicate anything unusual. Once we pinpoint Zander, I’ll head back out and bring him home. We’ll find out who did this.”

“I already know,” an all too familiar voice said.

Whipping our heads to the doorway, Zander stood, hands in his pockets looking cocky.

Growling, I lunged at him, throwing him into the wall in the hallway. Baring my fangs, he didn’t seem the least bit concerned.

“You want answers, let me go,” he said, coolly.

Slamming him into the wall again, I was seething with rage. “Why would I want to let you go?”

“Because I know who stabbed Marnie,” he replied smugly.

Veronica put a hand on my arm. “He’s no good to us dead.”

Dropping him, I stormed back to my office with the two behind me. “Talk!”

Sitting at my desk, I glared at my brother wanting to strangle him.

“Before we begin, you should know that I went to go see her in the hospital.”

“You what?” I replied, fuming.

“Silas,” Veronica whispered. Turning to Zander, Veronica flared angrily, “Why would you start with that, you tactless fool?”

Ignoring our sister, he continued to speak to me. “You missed something, brother,” he said, slyly.

“What? What did I miss?”

He chuckled slightly, but then got very serious. “I found bruising around her neck, meaning she was choked before she was stabbed. But I also smelled a glaringly familiar odor; one that has haunted this house for far too long. A distinct, yet vile smell, which invaded my nose the closer I came to her neck.” A growl left my chest. “Down, brother. Nothing happened.”

“Get to the point!” Veronica snapped.

“The point is, Sister, the smell came from Julia. You remember her, right? One of our brother’s many paramours.”

Confusion hit me. “How’s that possible? Neither Micheal nor I smelled anything in her room.”

“Now, isn’t that strange, Silas. I wonder what we would smell now if we went in there.” He was so goddamn sure of himself. His attitude made me want to rip his head off.

In my haste, I raced to Marnie’s room. Opening the door, a sweet odor instantly filled my nostrils. “Julia,” I snarled.

Rushing back to my office, I found Veronica picking herself up off the floor. “What the fuck happened?” I asked.

“Zander’s gone,” she huffed.

Taking off down the hall, I hoped to catch up with him, but he was long gone. “Fuck!” I roared. Hearing Veronica come up behind me, I brushed past her. “Get Micheal on the phone.”

Hours later, still no word from either Micheal nor Zander. I haven’t moved from my office. Never before have I felt so powerless and equally clueless on how to proceed with a situation. Veronica was out there looking, but something told me that she would come up dry.

A small knock on the door grabbed my attention.

“Come.”

A young girl I recognized as Zander’s former slave entered my office, along with one of the older ladies.

“Prince Silas,” she whispered, “I have some information for you about Marnie.”

“Speak,” I barked. She kept her eyes down, too afraid to look at me.

“Ju-Julia escaped downstairs after she….after she hurt Marnie.” I could see her lip quivering and tears escaping her eyes.

Noticing her hair draped over the side of her neck, there was a faint smell of blood. Standing up, she recoiled away from me. “Move the hair off your neck.” I ordered. Her eyes widened with fear. “Now,” I demanded.

Flinching, she did as she was told. The flesh beneath was revealed two fresh red and purple holes. The violence before me was brutal. “How did that happen?”

She was quiet, eyes still down afraid to speak. Approaching slowly, I didn’t want to frighten her. Lifting her chin, I made her look at me. She squeezed her eyes shut and recalled the moment. “Nothing is going to happen to you, I promise.”

Opening her eyes, the fear dissipated. “It was Julia,” she whispered. “She’ll kill me.”

“No, she won’t,” I assured her. “Go back downstairs. I’ll post guards down there.” She nodded and left.

Sighing, I ran my fingers through my hair. I couldn’t allow this to happen in my house.

The elder woman, Raquel stayed behind for a moment. Handing me an envelope, there was sadness in her eyes. “Prince Silas, Alina found this downstairs.”

Pulling it from the envelope, I recognized the handwriting.

“You want her to live, she must die. -Z.”

Oh, fuck.

He can’t be serious. No fucking way I’d do that to Marnie.

My nostrils flared, and my chest rumbled. “Look at this,” I said, throwing the letter down in front of my sister.

Veronica’s eyes widened in horror. “You can’t even think this, Silas.”

“If I may,” Raquel inquired, pointing at the note. I waved my hand at her, and she picked it up. Her eyes roamed over the words for a moment. “May I say something?” I nodded. “If you choose to do this to her, she may never forgive you. True, she is your soul mate, but vampires slaughtered her family. I have no doubt you’ll do what’s best for her—”

“Of course, I do,” I snapped.

She maintained her composure, even in the face of my mounting anger. It was clear that she had dealt with our kind for a long time and she knew exactly how to handle this situation. “And with that being said, if she has no chance of waking up without being….being turned, then you must.” Looking dead in her eye, I saw the weight of those words crushing her. “Please take care of her.”

“I will.”

She bowed and left the room.

Veronica turned to me. “You cannot seriously be considering this?”

“What choice do I have? If I want her to live, she has to die,” I choked out.

***

Marnie

“What?” I cried. “Silas would never!”

“He’s already made this decision, sweetheart,” she replied, wiping a tear from my cheek. “Always remember that he did not make this decision lightly.”

“But vampires killed you and Dad. He wouldn’t do this! I don’t want it!” My tears flowed freely.

“Baby girl, your dad and I gave you up to protect you. We died with no regrets whatsoever. Everything that happened had nothing to do with Silas.”

“Then what is it?” I sobbed.

“A single vampire was responsible for destroying our home, and nearly annihilating humanity. Someone very close to your soul mate,” she answered. “And also, someone who was close to both me, and you by blood. For that, I can’t apologize enough.”

“It couldn’t be!” I yelped at the realization.

“Close your eyes, my love,” Lucretia cooed. “Always remember that I…we love you.” She kissed my forehead gently.

Gently shutting my eyes, everything went white.

***

Silas

I was still in disbelief that it came to this. Sitting by her bedside, I swallowed hard, thinking hard about my decision.

Would she forgive me? What if she couldn’t adjust to the change? Would she still love me?

Shaking it off, I leaned down and kissed her cheek. “Forgive me, Marnie.”

Taking in her scent, I felt my fangs protrude from my gums. Biting down gently, I took her blood into my mouth. Having forgotten how sweet she tasted, I felt exhilarated. Taking my own wrist between my teeth, I opened her mouth allowing the blood to flow down her throat.

Now, all I could do was wait.

Please let this work.

***

Zander

By all accounts, what I told my brother to do should work, but I was still worried. All I could pray for was he would have a smidge of mercy on me, if it didn’t. He’d rip my throat out, otherwise.

May as well fix my mistake before Silas takes my head, I thought.

Taking the side door down the stairs of the mansion, I saw Alina outside getting firewood.

The breeze was gently blowing her hair, making her look even more stunning, majestic even. I chuckled slightly as she struggled to carry the wood back but admired her tenacity for trying to take so much.

Back facing me, I maintained a distance. Cautiously approaching, I accidentally snapped a branch beneath my foot. Taking refuge behind a tree, Alina dropped all the wood in fear.

“Hello?” she called out.

Confident that I fooled her, she picked up all the wood again, starting back to the mansion. Taking the opportunity, I quietly moved to a spot where I could see her face. Back door in view, she placed the wood by it. Zeroing in on her face, I could see her eyes were swollen from crying. Undoubtedly from thinking about Marnie. The ever-present idea she could lose her best friend crushed her.

Wanting her to have some solace, I decided it was time to talk to her. I wanted her to be able to get out all the emotions she had to hold inside.

“Hello, gorgeous,” I said. Scared, she dropped the pieces of wood in her hand and raced for the door. Grabbing her as gently as I could, I pressed her against a tree. “Don’t run from me, Alina.”

“Ple-please don’t hurt me,” she begged.

Looking down, she was completely terrified. “I’m not here to hurt you,” I whispered, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

Her whole body was trembling even from the slightest touch. The fear I caused was all my fault; I made her this way. She was gripping the hair on the right side of her neck. “Show me, sweetheart.”

Her head snapped up with terror in her hazel eyes. “No,” she whispered back.

“Please.”

Alina looked confused, but she still moved her hair. Anger coursed through me seeing the brutal fang marks. Stepping back, I clenched my fists. “Who did it?” I asked through gritted teeth.

J-Julia,” she stammered.

Rage flowed through me, and I destroyed several full-grown trees. Growling, I looked over and saw Alina curled up in a ball, covering her ears.

Racing over, I picked her up, setting her in my lap. “Shh, I’m sorry, sweetheart.” Then she did something unexpected. Alina buried her head in my chest, gripping onto my shirt for dear life. “I’m so sorry.”

Still holding on, I felt her gaze on me. “What did you say?”

I had to let go of the unbearable weight of my actions against her. “I said I’m sorry. The things I did to you….they were wrong.”

“Why are you saying this?”

“Because I see how my brother loves Marnie and the lengths he’s willing to go through to save her. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. For a woman to look at me the way she looks at him.” Pouring my heart out made me feel strange.

“Zander,” she whispered, dragging her finger along my jawline, “I forgive you.”

Just hearing my name from Alina’s lips was enough to make me want to take her right then and there. Kissing her forehead, I felt her sigh.

“I have to go,” I said.

“Why?”

“The last thing I need is for Silas to come back here and catch me. It’s bad enough he wants to kill me.”

“You can hide with me,” she offered.

Standing us up, I chuckled slightly. “Oh, sweetheart, that wouldn’t be a good idea.” A deep crimson blush came over her cheeks. “As much as my brother and I don’t get along, I have to help him and Marnie.”

Nodding sadly, she reluctantly began to walk away from me. “Are you coming back?”

“I don’t know sweetness.” I could smell her tears.

Doubling back, surprise struck me feeling her soft lips on mine. “Even if you say you won’t come back, I’ll wait for you.” Without another word, she walked away.

Staring at the door, I began to understand how Silas felt about Marnie.

~Flashback~

Damn, I found it intriguing how Marnie stood up to me. Almost gave me wood. However, I wondered why she was so interested in my slave. Sure, they were friends, but this is reality. And that reality was slaves were subject to their masters. Additionally, she needed to look out for her own self-interest if she wanted to survive.

Since I was headed that way, I thought I’d check on my slave. Perhaps she recovered enough for me to have a drink.

When I opened the door, she was lying on her bed asleep. Her face looked contorted and her limbs were twitching slightly. She was clearly having a nightmare. Not that I could blame her. The life of a slave was not a happy one.

Tears streamed down her cheeks as she slept. Her hands grasped the comforter so tightly that her knuckles were white. Mumbles left her lips, but I couldn’t make out what she was saying.

Getting closer, I wanted to hear what she was saying. Then my heart broke.

“No, please….don’t hurt me,” she begged.

Sighing, I moved a strand of hair away from Alina’s face. Now that I truly looked at her, I saw that she was very beautiful. I could understand why Marnie was so intent on having her removed from me. They were true friends.

As if she knew I was there, she suddenly jolted awake and flew off the bed to the floor. Was I a true beast?

“Please don’t hurt me,” she cried.

Her face looked so pale, and her eyes bloodshot. The damage on her neck extensive. What have I done?

Cautiously, I went around the bed, and she continued to back herself into a corner. Tears were streaming down her face. “It’s okay, Alina. I’m not here for that. I just want to talk.”

She looked confused. “T-talk?”

“Yes, honey. I just want to talk to you.” She was pleasantly surprised at what I said, but she was still too afraid to come out from the corner. “I swear I won’t hurt you.”

“W-what?” It’s unbelievable how shocked she was by how soft I was behaving. “You promise?”

Still hugging her knees, she seemed to relax slightly but not as much as I would have liked. “Did I do something wrong?”

I wasn’t sure if I should tell her that Marnie told me off or not. Maybe she would find it amusing, I knew I did. But I also knew that Marnie wanted the best for her friend. Though human slaves were a part of our culture, what was to say that I shouldn’t participate anymore? “Oh no, honey. You didn’t do anything wrong. Like I said, I just want to talk to you.” Shifting closer to her, I could see her body recoil in fear. Carefully, I positioned my back against the wall so that I wouldn’t make her uncomfortable.”

“What did you want to talk about?” Alina asked.

Sighing, I knew what I had to do. “Would you like me to set you free? Then you can go back to your old life?”

A glimmer of life entered her eyes. Her whole body uncoiled in happiness. “What? Really?”

“Really,” I replied. Never had I seen that amount of emotion from her. Her body seemed to explode from it.

A yelp left her body as she leapt into me in an embrace. Alina squeezed my body with every ounce of energy she had. “Oh,” she whispered, clearly embarrassed. Scrambling away from me, she curled up again. “Sorry.”

She was so cute chuckling to herself. Seeing me come toward her made her recoil again, but I wasn’t swayed in my actions. Moving toward her, I carefully dragged my finger along her jawline. I could feel her body relax under my touch. Eyes shining, I tucked a stray hair behind her ear. That was so an expression I had never seen before. I was so consumed with draining the life from her that I had never taken the time to get to know the woman. “You are so beautiful,” I said.

She looked away from me, but a blush crawled across her cheeks. It was the first time she had color in her face since she came to me. When she didn’t respond, I assumed she wasn’t sure what to say. Being a slave, your whole life meant no one complimented you. “Thank you.”

“As soon as you’re ready, you can pack your things and go back downstairs. I promise I will never harm you again. You have my word.” Letting her go was one of the hardest decisions I’d ever made. But, seeing her so happy to leave made me feel good; even if that meant she was leaving me. “There is one thing I want to do though.” Horror came over her face as my fangs descended. “Don’t worry, sweetheart.” I poked my finger with my fang, and rubbed it over her wounds, closing them.

“Thank you,” she said, sincerity in her eyes.

Getting off the floor, I straightened myself out. “I’ll let you get your things together.”

As I took my leave, her little voice called after me. “Zander,” she called out, “thank you for this. You’re a good person.”

Scoffing at her words, I didn’t believe her. Not that she wasn’t sincere, but she had no idea who she was speaking to. “No, I’m not,” I responded. “You don’t know what I’ve done.”

“It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. What matters is that you’re changing. You aren’t the same from when I met you.” She walked toward me, slowly and carefully.

A rumble came from my chest, but I reigned myself in. “I only have you to thank for that. From now on, I promise no harm will ever come to you.” I kissed her forehead gently, but I didn’t want to stop there. She relaxed when my lips touched her. “Don’t tell anyone I released you. It would make me look bad,” I joked. Nodding, she gave me a small smile.

She wasn’t mine, but I was always going to protect her.

~End Flashback~

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