Deja Vu

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Chapter 12

I felt the pull of my body and I slowly slid towards a bright glowing light. Then I saw my body and passed through it. I shuddered and gasped. I collapsed onto the ground and Jaise and Ashlee were right there on either side of me. “Matt? Is it you?” He asked. I couldn’t speak. I felt weak and drained. I don’t even know how close I was to being killed, but I really didn’t want to get that close again. I really hoped that it wouldn’t happen again. Ashlee hugged me tightly and started crying into my shoulder. I didn’t even have the strength to shed a tear at this point.

All I could feel was my heart pumping violently and my entire body shaking. “Matt!” Jaise said gripping my shoulder tightly. I saw Nergal staring and smiling sadly at me. I could also tell he was fading away. “I’m terribly sorry about this. It won’t happen again. I will give Gideon a spell that will prevent anyone from ever being able to control you without your permission again.” He said and then vanished. Ashlee started to hug me tighter. I just rubbed her shoulder gently and I felt more at peace with her holding me and her presence soothed me.

“So, now what?” Liam asked. “Now, I think we give him something to eat and some rest?” Julie suggested with a little sarcasm in her tone. I chuckled at that and just gripped tighter on the girl holding onto me. I have never been happier to feel human contact before. “Matt, there’s a lot we need to talk about. But, it can wait until tomorrow. Now, it’s time for you to get some rest.” Ryal told me. I just glanced up at him. “Where would I be doing that? It’s not like I have been welcome here and it’s not like there’s a place for royal vampires.” The green streaked vampire stood up.

“Actually, there’s a small tower for royal vampires. I think you will find it quite nice.” She said. “Meagen. We can’t stick him in a supply tower.” Jared mumbled. She only laughed. “It’s not a supply tower. I did some exploring a week ago. A section of this school was closed off and some dumb students actually thought they could stop me from exploring it. But, I persuaded them into letting me in. And then I had the tower cleaned, restored and stocked up on clothes and new furniture.” She stated.

“Oh, so that’s what you were doing!” Sally said. Alayne snickered. She glared at her. “You knew?” Alayne only nodded and Meagan just shook her head. She then turned her focus to me. “So, Matt? How about you getting some sleep?” I nodded. “I would love that. And something to eat.” Everyone smiled lightly at me and Ashlee and Jaise lifted me to my feet. “You’ll have it. Just follow these two to the cafeteria. There will be a small feast waiting for you. Then I’ll be there to take you to your new room.”

I have to say, my old room sounds amazing at this point! “You’ll have a choice, though. The tower may look smaller than the others in this castle. But, I assure you. It’s good sized and plenty of rooms to choose from.” Meagan said winking at me. I smiled and nodded. Then the two of them all but dragged me out of the throne room and led me to the cafeteria. I still felt shaky and like I wasn’t completely me yet. Ashlee wrapped one arm around me tightly and acted like she wasn’t going to let me go. I only smiled to myself.

I didn’t want her to let me go. We walked into the cafeteria and one of the cooks was still behind the counter and glared at us. “Oh, no. It’s not my fault you missed dinner. You have to wait until breakfast.” He snarled. “But, we were sent by the council.” Jaise said. “Oh, a likely story. I am not buying that.” He snapped. “But, it’s true,” I said in a shaky voice. I can’t even remember the last time I ate something. “Oh, please. Leave now, before I throw you out.” He hissed. I slumped in defeat.

I didn’t have the strength to fight anymore. I think the last time I ate, I was on some kind of magical submarine or something. But, I can’t remember. I slowly started to turn around and I limped towards the door. “Matt?” Ashlee asked calling my name. “Where’s the room I am supposed to choose? I would just like to lie down now.” I said quietly. “Oh, and you’re willing to miss the feast I prepared for you?” I looked behind me and a middle aged woman came out from behind the shadows. She wore clothes that kind of reminded me of Jedi robes.

But, they were bright green with two red sashes and when she turned around to glare at the male cook. I saw the back of her cloak and there was a Christmas tree with presents and a knitted small blanket in the shape of a snowflake covered the trunk of the tree and different colored wrapped presents sat around and on the ground. She wore little red and green bells in her hair. “Why do you deny him food? I told you there’s to be a special person coming for food and he’d be brought her by two people. A boy and a girl. So, you deny him food out of what? Thinking it’s some kind of trick on you?”

The male had a lightning streak in his hair and he only glared at the woman. She didn’t seem fazed by how he was acting. “Well, bring out the food. This is the boy!” She snapped. “I don’t take orders from you. You’re not the queen of the kitchen!” She only gave a mocking laugh. “your vampires think you’re so much stronger than witches or humans. But, you don’t know everything and you’re not as invincible as you think you are.” She said.

“I think you’re full of a shit lady,” He said with a sneer. She only smiled at him and with a point of her index finger and tinsel came shooting out in a variety of colors. Silver, gold, violet, green, red, blues and they wrapped themselves around him and started to squeeze tightly. Small puffs of smoke came off of him and he started to scream until some blue and red tinsel started to wrap around his throat. It cut off his screams and he gurgled and gasped for breath. I could see him trying to use his magic, but he couldn’t.

I could also tell that he was screaming, but no sound came out and blood dripped onto the ground. “So, do you think it’s time that you quit insulting the power of witches?” She asked. He could only slightly nod his head. “I’m sorry?” She asked. “Ma’am, I think you’re hurting him,” I mumbled. She just ignored me. The tinsels tightened their hold on him and I could see bruises and blood poured onto the ground and I could see him weakening and I knew he needed help.

“Stop this!” I screamed and power blasted out of me causing me to stumble but disrupted the witch from killing the cook. She only coughed and then blinked. Then she looked at me in confusion. She snapped her fingers and the tinsel vanished and the man collapsed on the ground gasping for breath. “Just clean this mess up.” She said softly and she flicked her fingers. Decorated and shaped platters floated out of the back room with tons of food on them. They were even looking for presents, trees, snowmen, wreaths, and other Christmas like decorations and even had the smell of them.

The food floated down towards the closest table and I walked over and sat down. More foods came out and set themselves down in front of me. A green and golden striped plate appeared in front of me and red coated silverware next to it. I slowly picked up the utensils and started digging into the casseroles, the spaghetti, pork chops, hamburgers, and took a big dish of mashed potatoes and corn. I grabbed some buttered rolls and some jam. Toast, next to some bacon and sausages with scrambled eggs. It was like breakfast and lunch and dinner all rolled into one.

I didn’t stop until my plate was loaded up with everything and the plate was twice the size of a regular one. “Hungry much?” Jaise asked me with a frown. I didn’t even look at him. I just dug in and didn’t say a word to either of them. The others grabbed some food as well, but not as much as I did. “Matt?” Jaise asked me. “What?” I said between bites. “Why aren’t you talking to us?” “I’m starving? And I only want to think about food.” I said simply and swallowed some potatoes and corn. He only shook his head. “No, that’s not the only reason. You’re ticked at us for not knowing that you weren’t you and not being able to see you. But, you won’t admit it, will you?” He demanded. I only glanced at him and kept eating. “Matt, if you’re mad at us. It’s okay. I won’t blame you and I’ll understand it. Just please talk to us.” Ashlee said. I only shook my head. “I don’t know how I feel at this moment. Let’s talk about it tomorrow. Right now, I am just feeling exhausted and my head isn’t clear yet.” I told them.

“That’s understandable. We’ll let you get some sleep when you’re done eating.” Jaise said. I nodded and said, “Thanks.” Ashlee only glanced at him and then turned back towards me. “How are you feeling now though?” She asked. “I feel a lot stronger. But, some blood I think would be helpful.” I said. The witch didn’t even hesitate and then with a flick of her fingers, a large glass came out. “It’s fresh,” She said. I paled at that. “What!?” I asked. She looked shocked at my reaction. “Don’t worry. No one was harmed. Blood is given here. Humans live here and vampires provide for them and in return, they give blood.” She explained. “We didn’t tell you that?” Ashlee asked confused.

“I thought humans were punished for being here?” I demanded. Ashlee and Jaise gave me a nervous look. “Well, technically that rule may be there somewhere. But, management over this school had to provide us with blood. So, they bent the rules a little bit. They don’t have a lot of freedom and space. But, they aren’t harmed.” I just shook my head. “I don’t know if you did or not. You might have. Or maybe you told the other guy and I wasn’t around. I don’t know. But, at least, you’re not hurting anyone.” I said in a hushed tone. Jaise and Ashlee exchanged a look of confusion and concern. “How long were you not you?” He wondered. “Almost a week. At least, I think. Time seems to have blended together.” I said.

“Damn, I don’t know how we missed it.” She muttered and I could tell she was beating herself up over it. “It’s not your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault. Gideon made a mistake. He was tricked. Nergal was tricked and I got the short end of the straw. I’m a little confused on how the council with their powerful magic, and especially holy and shadow weren’t able to sense a change in me, but I guess there’s no point in trying to figure it out is there? I mean, I’m okay and that’s all that matters.” I said.

“That’s only partially true. But, Sally and Marty are still debating on how or why they couldn’t see you even as a ghost. And even with the fact that you weren’t dead, they feel guilty and ticked off that they couldn’t sense a change in you. They admit there was something off about you. But, they can’t figure out why you felt the same to them. It was like a part of your soul was in there and Nergal was able to channel the power of it and make it look like you were whole still. But, I don’t know how he would be able to do that and neither do they. That’s why they won’t rest until they figure it out.”

“What good does it do now?” I demanded. “Well, so it never happens again. They’ve been several reported possessions over the years and no one believed them. You’re the first one to have it done and lived enough to actually prove that it’s possible and now we can find a way to prevent it from happening again. But, we need your help.” I only shook my head. “Tomorrow or in a few days. I need rest first. It still feels like my soul is being stretched apart.” I told them. They only looked at me in concern. “Well, I think that’s to be expected. Have you eaten enough?” The witch asked. I nodded.

Then the earth council member stepped up behind me and she said, “Okay, well. I will show you now where the tower is and then you can search around for the room you like.” She said. She started to walk away and the three of us followed her and she didn’t go any particular way. She went back into the throne room and we walked passed everyone and they stared at us in confusion. She led us to the right down a set of stairs behind the throne, and we followed the extremely long dark and musty hallway. “No one has been down here for a long time have they?” I asked. Meagan shook her head. “Unfortunately no. I tried to get people to wash the hall, but they wouldn’t do it. They spent as little time in here as possible.”

I didn’t know what to say. “How come?” Ashlee asked. “I don’t know. When the movers brought in and out the furniture, they swore they saw ghosts and evil creatures.” She said and rolled her eyes. “You don’t believe in ghosts and evil?” Jaise asked. “Oh, I believe in it. But, I don’t know or understand how the royal tower could be filled with them and no one knows about it. I mean, wouldn’t they have tried to attack us or something?” She asked us. None of us had an answer for her. I don’t think we knew what to say.

We finally made it to the doorway and then she opened it up revealing a thick glass looking spiral staircase. “Is that thing safe?” I asked in fear. “Oh, it’s not glass. It’s thick ice. But, don’t worry. It appears to be enchanted. It doesn’t melt and it doesn’t crack. Oh, and it’s not slippery.” She explained and she started climbing up without hesitation. The rest of us weren’t as comfortable or open to the idea of walking on ice. So, we started up slowly. After a few minutes, we realized that we weren’t in danger of slipping and we started to pick up the pace.

Then we caught up to Meagan and I looked up and all I saw was more staircase leading up into the shadows. “What the-,“ I said. “Yeah, it stretched high into the tower for quite a long way. But, it’s worth making it to the top.” She said to us and we went up further and further into the tower and after a good half hour, I couldn’t even see the top. “How much further?” Ashlee gasped. Meagan looked at us and smirked. “Another few minutes,” She said. But, it was ten minutes and I still couldn’t see the top of the stairs and Ashlee was definitely feeling it.

It’s a shame you don’t just jump on my back. I thought and I wished I could suggest it to her. “What did you say to me?” She demanded. I gave her a shocked look. “You heard that?” I asked. She nodded. So, do you think it will help? I asked again. She only nodded and gave me a surprised look. She climbed onto my back and I put my hands behind me and held her up on my back. She wrapped her legs around my waist and she tightly wrapped her arms around my neck.

I carried her up the steps and Jaise and Meagan looked back and gave me a questioning look. Honestly? I didn’t even really notice her weight. She felt really light and by the time we made it to the steps, I was slightly winded. I set her down on the landing and then Jaise opened the door. The hallway that spread out in front of us looked light. The walls were painted white and the carpets were thick and soft. They had silvery strings attached to them with strange symbols on them. “What do they mean?” I asked. Meagan looked at the carpets and stared in confusion. “I don’t know what you’re looking at,” She said. Jaise and Ashlee only gave me a weird look as well. “You don’t see the symbols?” I asked.

“The carpet is plain red.” Jaise said simply. I looked back at it and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it. I swear it showed some strange symbols, but I wasn’t going to worry about it right now. There were six rooms on both sides of the hallway. Small chandeliers were between every other room and pictures hung on the tan walls. Giant chandeliers were spaced out along the ceiling. “It looks like first class on the Titanic,” I mumbled. Jaise gave me a shocked look and then burst out laughing.

“What?” I said flushing. “Nothing, babe. It’s just not commonly mentioned that a guy knows anything about that movie.” I rolled my eyes. “I don’t think that’s true,” I said defensively. “You don’t have to be so touchy,” Ashlee said with a smirk. I laughed and the sound echoed all around us. “I’m not. But, people shouldn’t be so ashamed to know things that don’t appear to be movies that others would think that they would watch.” That’s all that I said. They all laughed. “You’re right. They shouldn’t.” Jaise said simply.

“So, which room do you want? You get to choose whatever room you want in this hallway.” Meagan said. I looked around and then I noticed a set of double doors at the far end. They looked like ivory and it seemed like vines were randomly growing on it. Behind it was a snowy mountain with lava flowing underneath it and off to the side, behind a small cluster of trees, was a flowing river. That represents four of the elements.

I was starting to see everything clearly and to the right of the mountain was a white sunny sky and I guess that would make it a representation of holy and on the left was a dark and cloudy sky. Shadow. In the darkness, I saw bolts of lightning and swirling winds. The doors represented all eight of the elements and I could feel some strange power radiating from it. “I want that one,” I said pointing. Everyone stared at the door and Ashlee asked, “Why that one?” I just shrugged. “I don’t know. It seems to be calling to me.” I confessed.

I walked over to it and opened the door. I felt a rush of power, but it wasn’t cold or hostile. It was refreshing and peaceful. I didn’t feel anything but at ease. I entered the room and I was blown away. A giant emperor sized bed sat against the wall in the middle opposite the door with see-through silk curtains of light purple. The sheets were dark purple and the bright velvet comforter covered the bed and it looked comfortable. The carpeting looked like you could sleep on it comfortably. The oak dressers and wardrobes looked freshly polished and from how they weren’t completely closed, seemed to me that they were overflowing with clothes.

Ashlee walked over to the lighter dresser and opened up drawers and pulled out a ton of female clothes. Bras, underwear, jeans, shorts, skirts, shirts, tank tops. The wardrobe next to the dresser and found all kinds of dresses. Party dresses, ball gowns, strapless, open backed sparkling silk gowns. I walked over to the other one. I found full suits of different colors and types. Even suits like they wore in Harry Potter. They had cloaks on them. And then I went to the dresser to find a bunch of different muscle shirts, t-shirts, shorts, and boxers, briefs, and socks.

“Well, it looks to like this room was prepared for you two,” Meagan said. “You think it’s going to be okay them sharing a room?” Jaise asked her. She only rolled her eyes. “You can’t keep him a virgin forever. Have you gotten laid before yes? Why can’t he?” Meagan asked my cousin. He only stammered and flushed. “Um, that’s not what I meant.” I only laughed. “Yeah, cuz. Stop trying to block me from having some fun.” I said and gave Ashlee a wink. She only rolled her eyes and slapped me playfully on the arm.

They all gave a hearty laugh and I only smiled. “Well, I think we shall be leaving you alone. Come along guys.” Meagan said. Ashlee and Jaise exchanged a look. “We aren’t staying?” He asked. “Nope. Matt’s in need of some serious alone time.” She replied. “Actually, I don’t think I am. I have had almost a week of being alone. So, I would like them to stay.” I said. She only glared at me. “Are you serious?” She actually hissed at me. “Yes, I am. I would like their company. I would feel better with them here and maybe get some sleep.” I told her. She just continued to glare.

“I could force them to leave you to know?” She threatened. I didn’t even say anything. She pointed her finger at Ashlee and a dark green mist started to spray out and form. It formed around her and I grew really pissed off. A grayish barrier formed around her instead, blocking off the mist. Her spell continued to try and find a way through, but my barrier was too strong. Then she tried Jaise, but another shimmering gray wall appeared and protected him as well.

She only gave me a death glare and then charged me. But, with a light punch, she went flying across the room. She slowed herself down with magic and then landed lightly on her feet. “You…You dare attack me!” She snarled. “Yes, but you attacked them first. I won’t have you thinking that you can actually boss me around. I don’t care who you are!” I snapped. “You may be strong. But, you’re not invincible.” She said with a cold calmness.

She pointed both palms at me and a dark green beam of light shot out at me. But, they only got within an inch of me and then fizzled out. I barely even noticed her attack. She only gave me a shocked look and then turned away, the doors slamming closed behind her. “Where are we all going to sleep?” Ashlee asked. I looked around and noticed a set of small double glass doors with thick dark blue curtains covering them leading to an adjacent room. I walked over to it and opened the doors. The room was only half the size of the main one, but it was plenty big enough.

“So, I think you’ll be okay here?” I asked Jaise. He only nodded. “Well, you two deserve the bigger bed. However, I don’t want to hear a lot of moaning. You do need your sleep.” He said and then walked into the room and closed the doors behind him and I heard a click. “Well, I guess he wants his privacy as well,” Ashlee said. “Yep, only from you two. I don’t even want to think about you doing the dirty. Let alone, accidently walk in on it.” He called out and I burst out laughing.

“Who said we are going to?” I asked. “Well, sixteen years almost and almost dying like ten times and never getting any real alone time? I think it’s time. Don’t you?” He countered. “Well, sure…But, when there’s no one around.” Ashlee muttered. “Should I leave?” He asked. I glared at her. “No, that’s not what I meant.” She stammered. There wasn’t a comment after that. “Jaise?” I called. “Go to sleep,” He answered, but that was all he said and then she started to get changed and I went to the dresser and grabbed a beater and a pair of underwear and shorts. “I’m going to take a shower,” I told her.

She only nodded and grabbed a nightgown out of the wardrobe. I went in and took a quick shower. By the time I got dressed and combed my hair, I found Ashlee already in bed. But, she looked up when she saw me and she smiled. “Well, it’s about time,” She said with a smile. I grinned back and climbed into bed with her. She snuggled up to me and I felt more at peace now than I had in a while. I felt safe and I knew she did as well. The dreams that came were pleasant and nerve racking at the same time. I was in Gideon’s domain. He was pacing in the courtyard and he froze when he saw me.

“Matt, I am so sorry, and we almost lost you,” He said. “Hey, we’ve been through this,” I said to him. I went to put a hand on his shoulders, but two guards came out of nowhere and smacked my hand away. “Let him be,” Gideon ordered. “You told us to protect you. That means no one is allowed to touch you.” The guard snapped back. Gideon didn’t even blink. The man burst into flames and then went out in smoke. “I also give the orders around here,” He said to the other guards who all shook their heads. “He knew not to argue with orders.” I heard one say.

“Well, at least not all your guards are dumb,” I said. He glared at me and I put my hands up in surrender. “I don’t mean anything by that,” I told him. He only sighed. “I know. I just think everyone is on edge right now.” I looked at Gideon and asked, “Why do you say that?” He only shook head and didn’t respond for a while. But, I could sense that he was nervous and scared to admit whatever was bugging him. “What do you know?” I asked with a little more edge in my tone.

He sighed and said, “I don’t believe that my father was being completely honest with us. He did give me the spell that would stop anyone from possessing you again. And I know now that the only way for someone to do that even through the spell is with both of our permission. But, there’s more to it. I don’t believe he’s fully on our side. I think there’s a trick he’s planning to make us trust him.”

“What a shock,” I said with as much sarcasm as I could muster. He only blinked at me. “You’ve already thought about that?” He asked. “Yeah. With everything, that’s happened? I don’t know how I trust anyone!” He gave me a sad look. “I’m sorry. But, I can assure you that Ashlee? She’s trustworthy.” I looked away. I didn’t want to have this conversation. “Matt, please look at me.” I glanced at him. “You may think you’re not ready for advancing your relationship. But, just remember this.

At least, you get to experience true love with someone. You get to experience everything in life that a lot of us won’t. I have never even kissed a girl. Zolem was betrayed by the girl that he thought loved him. He gave everything to her and she shattered his heart. But, you have the chance to actually be happy. So, please don’t blow it.” I have never heard so much pain and anger before. “I won’t. But, I still have to get used to being a vampire now. I have to get used to the strength, the speed, and the magic.” I told him.

He flushed a little. “Yeah, I’m sorry about that.” He said and this time, he wouldn’t look at me. “Hey, don’t worry. I’m actually over it. I didn’t blame you guys. I especially don’t blame Ashlee or Jaise. I mean how can I? It isn’t like they have the elements of healing or death. I know that each element has good and bad in it. Or rather it depends on how you use it. But, the two are the basis of life and death. They don’t have it. So, I can’t blame them for not knowing I wasn’t me.

But, it’s the council that concerns me. How could they not see? I mean even with Nergal, being the king of the vampires. Shouldn’t they have been able to sense something?” I asked. “I don’t know. But, I know they are working on it. I just don’t know, though.” He said. I sighed. “You should probably be getting back. Ashlee is about to wake up and I think she may feel that you died in your sleep or something. You don’t want a panic to do you?” He asked with a wink. “Nope,” I replied. He laughed and then I opened my eyes and took in a deep breath.

Ashlee sat up next to me and looked at me with concern. “You okay?” She asked. “Yeah.” I said with a smile and gave her a deep, and long passionate kiss. It seemed to surprise her for a second, but she gave in and accepted it. She wrapped her arms around me and hugged me as we held each other tightly. Finally, we broke apart and she gasped for breath. “Where did that come from?” She asked happily surprised.

“I don’t know. I guess I just wanted you to realize that I don’t blame you or Jaise for not knowing that Nergal was me. Or that I was him. Or… Oh, you know what I mean!” I said with a smirk. She frowned. “You have a right to blame us. I can’t speak for him. But, I wouldn’t blame you if you held it against me.” I just shook my head. “I can’t, I won’t, and I don’t. You two don’t have the magic to sense that. And I bet he was a pretty darn good actor.” She only looked away. “Well, there was a couple moment when I thought you weren’t acting like yourself. But, I didn’t have enough to go on to approach the matter and I also feared that if I called “you” out on it, you’d get pissed off and kill me.”

I gaped at her. “I wouldn’t kill you!” I said more loudly than I wanted. “I know you wouldn’t. But, I don’t know about him.” She said. I could only nod at that. “Right. Well, it’s me now. So, that’s all that matters.” I told her. She smiled. The door to the other room unlocked and swung open. “So, you seriously don’t blame us?” Jaise asked. “Nope. Should I?” I asked with a grin. He only chuckled lightly. “I don’t know. That’s completely up to you.” He told me.

“Well, I don’t. So, let’s just drop it. And move on.” I told them. They both smiled and nodded. “It’s the council that I am not sure about.” Jaise’s eyes grew wide and scared. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “You shouldn’t talk about them. They have ears everywhere.” I blinked. “You don’t think I can take them?” I countered. “Not all of them and they’re the ones in charge now,” He said. “He’s right, Matt,” She told me.

“I don’t give a darn. They can’t boss me around. I’m done playing these games, where I am destined for something far greater than just fighting a war. But, I still have to be a guinea pig and a warrior following without a mind. I won’t do it! They can all shove it up their asses!” They both stared at me in shock. “Dang, cuz. I didn’t know that’s how you really felt.” Ashlee rested a hand on my shoulder. “Is that kind of why you acted a little cold while we were eating?” I only nodded.

“I guess I am just sick and tired of being used. Being pushed over and around. I’m so damn tired of being the escape goat and being the one where the awful stuff happens. I just want to live a life. A good and happy one. Sure, I’ll fight and do everything I can to help. But, I don’t want to be their mindless drone anymore. I don’t want to be the one who gets used and pushed around, but still everyone goes to for help. It’s getting old.” They didn’t look like they were going to argue, but they still looked afraid. I guess I couldn’t blame them.

I went to the bathroom and then changed out of my pajamas and into jeans and a yellow sleeveless shirt. The door burst open and Ryal and Meagan entered and they looked extremely agitated. “What’s going on?” I asked. “You’ve been sentenced to imprisonment to withstand trial for treason. You should have been notified the rules and know that we are in charge of this school now. Jaina and the others have been sentenced to death for what they’ve done. Now, you are going to be as judged.”

I only blinked at them. “You can’t take him! After everything, he’s been through. Give him some time to adjust. He isn’t a traitor.” Ashlee said stepping in front of me. Jaise followed her lead and I only sighed. With a small blast of air, I pushed them away from me and stepped forward. “You won’t be getting yourself in trouble right now. I will deal with this on my own.” I told them. Meagan tensed up. “What are you planning?” She asked suspiciously. I shrugged. “I’m not planning anything. I don’t know what you’re accusing me of.”

Ryal just glared at me. I walked up to them and stopped, completely at ease. “So, where are we going?” I asked. “You’re going to obey and follow without issues?” I shrug. “Just leave them out of it,” I told them. Meagan gave me a dark smirk. I really didn’t like it, but I didn’t have a choice but to just follow their lead and go where they wanted me to go. “Oh, and before we go,” Ryal said. He clasped something on my wrist. “What’s that?” I asked stunned. “It’s one of our ancient magical items. It nullifies your magic and strength. Basically leaving you human.

The only thing you keep is your immortality and you will still need the blood.” But, I got the impression that there was something that she wasn’t telling me. Well, I couldn’t worry about it now. Ryal walked first with me right behind him and Meagan almost walking on the back of my feet. We went down the steps and at a very slow pace. I just wished they would hurry up and I felt a void within me. I only figured that it was where I would normally have access to my magic.

Gideon. Why’s this happening? I don’t know if he could hear me. But, there’s nothing else I could do. I honestly don’t know. However, you don’t worry. There’s something they don’t know about that bracelet. I took a deep breath. I wondered what he meant. I went to ask him, but I couldn’t communicate with him and I felt like something was wrong. But, we had just spoken, so I didn’t think he was gone for good at this point. I think he was trying to make sure someone or something didn’t sense that he said anything to me. We finally made it to the bottom of the steps of the tower and then walked down the hallway.

But, I sensed something wrong as soon as we stepped into it. The lights started to flicker and an eerie moaning echoed all around us. A cold wind followed and mixed with the wind was just the creepiest thing I have ever heard. Ice started to form on the side and water trickled down from the ceiling. “What’s going on?” Meagan asked. “I don’t know.” Ryal said and then gave me a curious look. “Hey, don’t look at me. I can’t use magic. I’ve tried.” I stated.

They just gave me a weird look and then we went to continue down the hallway, but only made it a few feet when something happened then that scared the crap out of me. The lights went out then completely and a blue and green light began to glow randomly down the hallway. But, the thing that set my nerves on edge was an ear-splitting moan from a grotesque apparition. It showed a young man in his early twenties. His shoulder length hair looked greasy and covered in something. I really hoped it wasn’t blood.

His face is wrinkled and stretched to the point where it couldn’t even be considered a birth defect. His right eye rested slightly above his cheek bone and the left looked like someone turned it to the left and sat right on his forehead. His nose looked to be snake and pig like and the mouth. Well, have you ever seen lips that resembled a beak and teeth that looked like rusted saw blades and stained shark teeth? They sent a chill up my spine. His arms looked decayed shriveled. There is a gaping hole in his torso, but I could see all the organs pulsing and working.

Veins could be seen with blood pumping through them. “What the hell is that?!” Ryal screamed. Meagan just looked completely speechless. Then the apparition looked at us intensely and focused on me. “Why do you keep him imprisoned? You do realize that he’s the only person who can save you?” The two council members looked between them and then focused on me. “What…what do you mean?” Meagan asked. “I mean what I said. He’s the only one who can save you. He’s the only one with the spell and magic. But, you’re going to die now.” That pissed of Ryal and he snapped.

“Are you threatening us?” The spirit shook his head. “I mean you no harm. I am on your side. The only thing I want is to move on, but I am not allowed to yet.” He stated simply and then faded away. Well, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get that image out of my head. What could be worse than that? Well, I guess I was about to find out. Both of the council members grabbed me by the arm and dragged me forward, almost tossing me. I stumbled forward and fell hard on my knees.

“Oh, get up.” Meagan snapped. I went to and was face to face with the creepiest looking female. She made the man look like a sex icon. I felt the color draining from my face and then the woman hit me with an open palm. I went flying down the hallway and rolled hard. I banged my head against the bottom of the wall and looked up just in time to see Ryal being picked up in the air. He was struggling and screaming. I even saw bolts of lightning streaking out. Nothing was working. Nothing made a difference. He struggled and gasped for breath.

The woman held him high in the air and then jammed two fingers into his throat. Blood leaked out and he gurgled with blood spraying out of his mouth. She then hissed like a snake and a woman moaning in pain. “You are all going to die.” With those words being spoken, she wiggled her fingers further into his throat and yanked out something. She tossed him across the floor and held out a wiggling thing in her hand. I saw him struggle to his feet and he tried to speak, and I saw something missing in his mouth. Oh, my god! She took out his tongue!

Meagan only stared in wide-eyed horror. “She…She…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. But, I knew what she was going to say. “Well, then. Finally, the man shuts up. I can’t stand bigoted males! Thinking that, they are stronger and better than a woman. Please!” She hissed. I didn’t know what to say. I was too afraid to speak. The woman then turned to me and rushed straight to me. She stopped inches from my face and I could smell her vile breath. It smelled like mold, mildew, and vomit.

“I guess, it’s your turn to pay. It’s nothing personal to you. But, I don’t like males.” She reached out her hand towards my throat and went towards my manhood. I almost screamed, but she was gripping my throat tightly and I couldn’t do more than gasp and hiss out a little bit of air. Then I don’t exactly know what happened. All I know was I fell to the ground gasping for breath. I looked up at her in shock to see her glaring at me. She held her hand tightly and I could see smoke coming off from it.

I didn’t know what to say or if I should say anything, and then she rushed towards me again and, this time, I saw what happened. A thin glass like barrier appeared of a thick white and thin dark light. It seemed weird that I could see through it, though. As the woman tried to move and get at me from another angle, the wall bended and stretched, blocking her completely. “How is this possible?” She screamed. The walls trembled and shook. Small debris fell from the ceiling and crashed onto the floor. Then she charged me again at full speed. The barrier shattered, but not before exploding.

The shards turned into a mist and then covered the spirit from head to toe. She screamed and struggled to get free. But, nothing she did was enough. She couldn’t get free. “Oh, I can’t believe this! Are you a virgin? You were protected by the ancient lost magic, ‘innocence?!’” She screamed. I only blinked at her. Is innocence a magic? I wondered. Meagan only blinked at me. The mist finally covered her and then she vanished. I don’t know if this was the end of her or just the beginning.

Meagan grabbed me by the arm and cast her magic and I could feel the strength behind the magic. Thick dark prickly vines burst forth from the ground and wrapped themselves around me. I guess the bracelet takes away more than just my magic. I felt the vines digging into my arms and chest. Pain exploded through me then. With each step I took, it grew. We made it down the hall and I saw for a glimpse second, the man who warned them. I caught a look at Ryal. He lay on a floating bed of cotton with blood slowly trickling out of his mouth. He looked like he wasn’t in danger of dying, though. We entered through the doorway, into the throne room.

All of the staff sat at the head table by the thrones and the students all stood or sat below the small set of steps. “What the hell happened?” Sally asked her voice rising. “We went to obtain Matt and he co-operated all the way to the hallway. But, there he attacked us and he still has his strength!” She hissed. I felt fear and confusion. Me? Strength? I don’t know what she was talking about. He overpowered him and ripped out his tongue. His blood is still coating the wall and he even slammed us around a little bit. Parts of the ceiling fell from the impact.” She explained. A vampire was already in the doorway. “Well, what happened to the lights?” She asked.

“When I used my magic to subdue him, I was acting rashly and they were destroyed with the magical discharge.” Wow, I couldn’t believe how well she had her story already rehearsed and planned out. Damn, she was good. Sally walked up to me glaring. “After everything we’ve done for you. This is how you repay us?” She demanded. It wouldn’t matter what I said. So, I only said the truth. “Well, you all I don’t have a problem with. He’s the one who tried to kill me remember? Alayne had to save me? I think he got off lightly.” I said this with an icy calm voice. Everyone gasped and couldn’t believe what I just said. But, I really didn’t care what they thought of me at this point.

They had already condemned me without even trying to listen to my side of the story. So, what would be the point in trying to convince them and wasting my voice on a bunch of power hungry lunatics? Let them think what they will of me. I couldn’t care less. I didn’t plan on living here long anyway. One way or the other, I was going to escape and it didn’t matter to me how. I wasn’t going to allow them to use me as a weapon or prisoner. A slave. It just wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t going to play into their hands.

“Matt, I only have one question. Why would you do this? We reined him in. He wasn’t a threat to you. And yet you still felt to take it upon yourself to do that?” She pointed to her friend. “Like I said, he deserved it.” No one had anything to say after that. “Oh, just take him away!” Alayne snapped. “Wait a second.” I heard Zeke say. I froze and turned towards him. His piercing gaze unnerved me a little.

“Matt, Answer me honestly. Why? Don’t give me that bullshit about him deserving it. Why did you do this to him? I thought you were supposed to be the forgiving one.” I gave him a cold stare. “You want to know a complete truth? I’m tired of you thinking you can bully and control us. Do you think you all can just sit in here and think that you can control me? You think just because I have a royal spirit inside me, that I’ll just lie down and do whatever you ask? Think again!” The council just looked at me in shock and anger.

“What makes you think we want to control you?” Jared stepped forward asking. I only blinked. And then I burst out laughing like a maniac. “How could I possibly think that? It’s quite easy. I ‘felt’ them. I felt your feelings and emotions. I felt your true intentions. I know you plan on using me as a weapon in some army and I won’t allow it.” Zeke only gave me a confused look. “I don’t know what you mean.” Something about his tone made me question what I feel. But, looking at Ryal, Jared, and Raemi, I knew I was speaking the truth. Most of the council had a dark plan. But, there was a few who didn’t know what the true goal was.

“Matt, I don’t know what it is you think is going to happen. Or what you think we want. But, control over you and the students isn’t it and I want you to know that.” He said softly and kindly. I glanced at his counterparts and I smirked. “Oh? Well, I wish you had he strength and power to stand up to them. If you don’t want it, they surely do. So, here’s my counter question. Are you strong enough to stand against them?” I turned from him then. “Take him,” Alayne repeated quietly.

Vampires and some council members grabbed me and forced me to move. We went back to the dungeons from before. I never really noticed, but there was a small area on the first floor to the dungeon. There stood a small area where a row of lockers was and a shower in the back. “Well? Strip down. We need to make sure you’re not concealing any weapons.” I felt my face start to heat up. But, I hoped they didn’t notice.

No one’s seen me naked. Is that really what they wanted? That sounded gross and just wrong if it was the case. I took off my shirt and tossed it down. Then I kicked out of my shoes and unbuttoned my jeans and slipped out of them. I stood in a pair of very tight briefs. What more could they want from me? Meagan, Jared, and the vampires all smirked. “Okay, guys. Leave him. He’s not going to get the jump on me.” Jared said. They left looking left out.

“What are you waiting for?” He asked. I pointed with his fingers and I knew he wanted me to take off my underwear. I didn’t want to. I hesitated and refused. He shot a sharp, long and pointed ice cycle that resembled a spear at me. I ducked under it and crashed against the wall and shattered. “Now, are you going to follow orders?” He asked. I sighed and then removed my underwear. I went to cover myself up, but he was there in a flash and slapped my hands away. He then pinned me against the wall and smirked down at me.

“Well, I can see why your girlfriend is so taken with you,” He smirked. My face burned at the comment. He then got really close to me and I thought he was going to start touching me. He then spun me around and grabbed my butt. “What the hell are you…-“ I couldn’t finish the sentence. “Shhh,” He said. He rubbed me down and then grabbed me between my legs. I gasped as he touched my testicles and felt between my cheeks. Tears fell down my face, but I couldn’t do anything, but just let it happen. He then spun me back around and shoved me towards the showers.

“Get yourself cleaned up.” He snapped and then walked out. I couldn’t do anything but what he asked. I turned on the showers and started to wash up. I felt the tears fall and there was a couple moment where I couldn’t even breathe. I was too embarrassed and scared for what just happened. I can’t remember when the last time was where I felt so helpless. Nothing compared to this. I had all this strength and power and I couldn’t even use it! I finished the shower and dried off. Then I noticed a piece of clothing on the bench. I walked over to it and picked it up.

What the heck? It was a pair of briefs. I put them on and then walked out of the locker room. Whistles echoed around me. “Well, you lost the bet. He didn’t walk out naked.” I blushed. I tried to hide it, but I knew they saw it. Jared pushed me forward and walked right behind me down the steps. We went all the way to the bottom and then he opened up a cell door at the far end. He pushed me forward and pulled out the bed.

“What are you doing?” I asked. He ignores me. There was no way for me to leave. The others blocked the doorway. Then I noticed what he was going for. It was a trap door. Oh no. He opened it and pulled me towards it. “You’re going down there,” He said with a sneer. I gaped at him in fear. “Oh, don’t give me that. A psycho like you?” He pulled me towards it and forced me in. I tried to struggle and fight, but I didn’t have the strength. He got me down the door without any issue and then slammed it shut.

I heard him lock it and I heard his footsteps receding from the cell above. After that, everything went quiet. Small lights were dimly lighting up the small hallway I was in. I could see it angled ahead and I wondered where it led. I started to walk towards it and then I got this weird feeling like I wasn’t alone. But, there wasn’t anything for me where I was, so I decided to try and keep moving. I could see the end of the one hall led to a dead end. But, I decided to check it out. It wasn’t like I had anything better to do.

I made it to the end and with the dim light, I saw marks. They read names of men and women. I guess people who were forced down here before? But, I wondered what happened to them. I left the dead end and walked down the other hall. It stretched on for quite some time before I noticed the end. A small hatch looked open a crack and I pulled it open. It screeched on rusty hinges. Damn that was loud! I barely was able to get it open. Finally, gasping for breath, I got it open enough for me to crawl through and then I didn’t see the drop.

I fell a few feet and landed hard on my back. Something crunched and snapped beneath me. I slowly got my hands underneath me and stood up and paled. “What the hell?” I shouted. Bones. Skulls, rib cages. All different sizes. I guess I found out what happened to the others. They didn’t make it out of here. Or at least, a good portion of them didn’t. I looked around and I couldn’t see anything else that could lead to an escape. A giant fast spinning fan was above me.

What was I going to do now? I wondered. There wasn’t anywhere for me to go. Why the hell did they just give me underwear?! Was this some kind of sick game? I started to kick at the bones on the ground. I don’t know what I was looking for, but I didn’t have anything else to do. I searched for what felt like hours and then grew tired. I collapsed against the wall taking in deep breaths. I slowly drifted off to sleep and woke up at some point because I heard footsteps. I stood up and I looked around, but I didn’t see anyone. What the heck? I walked over to the hatch and the lights were out.

Well, they weren’t very bright to begin with. I guess they weren’t going to last too much longer. Then I felt this cold wind behind me. I tensed. It felt like something with icy fingers was touching my shoulder. I tensed and slowly turned around. Maniacal laughter echoed around me from nowhere and I felt all the color drain from my face. The bones were floating and swirling in the air.

Then they started to attach themselves. They formed skeletons and they looked to be adult males and females and even young kids up to teenagers. Great, I was going to become another one to their ranks. I so didn’t want to die like this. Wait, a damn minute. I’m not going to die like this! I won’t. I haven’t even gotten a chance to fully live yet and this wasn’t how I was going to go down! I steeled myself and I started to circle around them. Gideon! I screamed. He didn’t answer. The closest of the skeletal warriors came at me and I rolled out of the way.

I figured they would collapse into dust or something, but they didn’t and I figured magic was behind it. I bent my legs and then jumped over them and landed and rolled forward. I jumped to my feet and turned towards them. I didn’t know how many I was up against. But, it looked like a few dozen. Then I saw something gleam in the dim light. I rushed towards it and dove under three approaching skeletons. They sliced at me and an agonizing pain exploded on my back. I grabbed the thing and cut my hand open. I flipped it in the air and grabbed it by the handle.

It was a dull looking machete. Better than nothing I guess. I slashed and hacked at the nearest warrior and it countered and parried each thrust. Well, for a clustered group of bones, it really knew how to fight. I didn’t have any training. I dodged and rolled out of the way. I could feel the blood trickle down my back and from my palm which caused holding the weapon very difficult. I swung hard and the warrior’s weapon shattered. Then I hacked and pounded my weapon into it and it collapsed in a pile of bone ash. The other skeletons dropped to the ground then.

I stood there for a few minutes in confusion. What the heck? What am I supposed to beat them one at a time? Oh, how cliché is that!? I screamed as loud as I could and then dropped next to a wall breathing heavily. I slowly lost consciousness and had a dreamless sleep. I woke up some time later to the sound of the swirling wind and my eyes shot open. I couldn’t really focus on anything for a few minutes and when I stood up, my muscles wouldn’t cooperate at first. I felt so stiff.

I shook them awake and forced myself to move. I looked at my hand and the wound had almost closed. My back flared with pain. I just kept walking through it and grabbed a hold of the machete. Three warriors came at me and I ducked and I countered a blade while spinning out of the way of the third. I came up and caught two blades with one strike and the other sliced at my arm. It barely scraped me when I spun again out of the way and I brought my weapon up and around in an arc.

The closest skeletons weapon clashed with mine and I jumped at the second. I smacked the third and its head went flying off. Huh, weak that one. I thought. It didn’t stop coming after me, though. They all did. I found myself trapped in the middle of all the skeletons. Most didn’t have weapons. Several grabbed me and kicked me. Punching me and tossing me around. I could feel the bruises start to form when I finally caught one of them and ripped the arm out of its socket. It clicked and clanked at me. I whipped it across the room and then did a jumping spinning kick at it. I sent it flying across the room and it shattered on the ground.

They all dropped to the ground, but not before one gave me a deep gash on the left shoulder. I dropped next to the wall and tried to rest. But, this was going to kill me. I don’t know how much longer I could do this. I bet that I could live a while if it wasn’t for the warriors, but they are killing me slowly. What is the point of this? I don’t know what I’m doing. And I don’t know if this is some sick joke. But, this needs to end. On shaking legs, I got to my feet and kept to the wall and went to the hatch. I crawled out and then went down the hallway. I had to find something. I was too weak and I needed something to eat.

Or I wouldn’t be able to survive. I went back down the dead end hallway and found something I either missed before or that wasn’t there. I could see a light coming through a crack and I investigated it. A loose brick, which I pulled out. I reached my hand in there and I almost pulled it out because of the cold. Dear god, it was arctic cold in there. But, I steeled myself and found two vials of blood. I hesitantly took one out and replaced the brick. Then I uncapped it and took a small sip. The blood tasted really good and then I took in a sharp breath.

The cut on my hand faded away completely and I felt strength flow back through me. I went back to the room and put the vial in the waistband of my underwear. I went to sleep and Gideon still didn’t show himself this time. He might not be able to do. Or maybe he left me for dead. Either way. I wasn’t going to give up yet. I couldn’t. I woke up to the sound of the wind and the skeletons were back for round three. This time, I was ready for them and I wasn’t going to let them touch me. I felt a strength I never felt before. I rolled and ducked under their attacks. It seemed like everything was crystal clear and my focus was enhanced. I brought my weapon around and attacked. The skeleton blocked and we parried. Our two weapons met again and again. High, low. I spun around it and the skeletons blade went over his shoulder to block me. Dang, it was good.

It turned around and I attacked with a ferocity that I never knew before. I hacked and slashed at it. The warrior tried to stop me, but the power behind my attacks was too ferocious and I made some chips at it. But, I had a plan. I brought three warriors in a row and then at the same time, I smashed them. All three fell in dust and pieces of bones. The others seemed to shudder and dropped to the ground. Maybe I could do that every day? It was worth a shot. I was panting and I went over to the wall and I just looked around. Dang, it was boring here.

I really wished I had more to pass the time than waiting to be attacked again. “ASHLEE!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. My voice echoed all around and then slowly started to fade away. But, if she heard me or if anyone heard me, they gave no sign. It was probably the council members. Or at least, some of them and they were watching and laughing at me. I guess I was giving them a good show. I kind of just strolled up and down the hallways to keep my muscles from growing stiff. But, I needed to conserve strength and energy.

If each skeleton was a marking of a day, then a week and a day passed by now. The skeletons didn’t come back for three days after I beat the group at the same time. I knew the days were still being marked, though. A shard of the bone kind of floated and began to glow in the air. Each day this did that and it happened three times. Then two more days and skeletons passed. I was down to my last swallow of blood. I got hurt several times and I didn’t have the reflexes or reaction time to stop them all. Even the blood wasn’t working like it was. I needed human food and I still had more than a dozen warriors to fight.

I really didn’t think that this was possible anymore. I needed to get out of here. I had to find an exit. “Gideon!” I screamed, but my voice was hoarse and weak. “Gideon,” I said quietly. I took the last swallow of blood and I felt a little charge, but I was still too weak to do anything. I felt off and I knew I had too many opponents to defeat. The skeletons came again and then I got lucky and shattered one from behind. One more day. I told myself.

Another week and a half passed and I was beaten, bruised and cut. Blood puddled under my feet as I walked and panted, leaning against the wall. I didn’t know how much longer I could do this. Everything spun and I was seeing triple of everything. My focus came in and out. Sharp painful breaths passed through my lungs and with one final lunge, I broke a warrior in half and they all collapsed onto the ground. I fell against the wall and I knew if I pass out, I won’t be waking up. “Someone, please? Help me. Jacob? Derek? Laurentia? Someone?” I said weakly and then I felt my head spin.

I don’t know what happened. Did a day pass already? Were the skeletons coming to finish me off? I didn’t have the strength to climb to my feet and I didn’t think I could even move. I saw some strange things in my mind. I saw some bright lights and strange areas. I could see a rainbow castle and it floated above a beautiful land. Giant and full trees covered the ground and clear and blue rivers flowed. Animals’ walked everywhere. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Was this my heaven? Was I about to see God? Was I about to be proven that god existed?

I heard the sound of wind and I jumped out of bed and felt myself press against a wall and gasp for breath and out of fear. Then I slowly took in the room. A dim lit violet room. I looked over to where I was and saw a king sized bed with lavender blankets. I then looked at myself. I was wearing black silk pajamas with purple trimmings. “Where am I?” I asked aloud. I couldn’t believe that my voice sounded stronger. Then someone knocked and the door opened. Zach appeared, but instead of his rainbow hair, he had it a dark brown. The only resemblance to the colored hair was a streak.

It was a swirl of all eight colors. “Zach, if I may say so. I think the streak looks a lot cooler than the rainbow hair. But, I don’t mean any disrespect.” Zach laughed lightly. “Kid, calm down. You’ve been through a traumatic experience and I think you’re right. But, I can alter my hair whenever I want, so if I get bored with it, I can always spice it up.” He said and then his hair turned blond. I just smiled. “So, do I have you to thank for saving me?” I asked. He shook his head. “Nope, Jacob, and Laurentia. Jacob heard your call and as soon as he appeared the skeletons rose and charged him.

“They seemed a lot stronger than one would think. Laurentia destroyed them while he got you out. Your body is actually in the royal chamber where you slept before being imprisoned. I don’t know how they managed to block you from us. But, it wasn’t easy to track you down. You were really weak and you wouldn’t have survived the night when you called for help. You’re lucky you used names.” He told me. I sighed. “So, my soul is in your realm?” I asked.

He nodded with a grim smile. “Am I going to die?” I asked. I was dreading the answer. But, I needed to know. He smiled and said, “No. You’re going to be fine. They are giving you food and blood now. Julie has combined her powers with Derek and has healed you. You’ve sustained more injuries than she could heal, but Jacob isn’t allowing any of the council in with you. Only Julie, Ashlee, Liam, and Jaise are allowed by your side and even then the three gods are watching over you carefully.” He told me.

I sighed in relief. “You don’t think they would hurt me do you?” I asked in concern. He walked over to me and placed his hands on my shoulders. “Do you?” He countered. “Hell no. Sorry.” I mumbled. He chuckled. “Then no, I don’t. They’ve despite some things they’ve done in the past, have proven their loyalty to you. They would die for you and they don’t think they would harm you. But, can you blame them for being precautious?” He asked me. “No, I don’t and I like the added protection. But, I know you gods have a lot to do. I am really surprised you came.” I said and I felt my face heat up.

“Why’s that?” He asked in confusion. I didn’t look at him. “I’m just a simple vampire and you’re all Gods!” I walked over and sat down on the bed. “Matt that has nothing to do with it. We may not interfere very often in mortal affairs, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t help those who need it and who deserve it. I won’t lie to you. If it’s your time to die, we can’t and won’t try to prevent it. But, what happened there? That’s utter fucking shit.”

I felt his anger and the room seemed to darken a little. “I didn’t mean to tick you off.” I said and then crept towards the corner. He froze and then glanced at me. The room lightened up again. “Yeah, sorry. I just know what a lot of people think about us. We aren’t the dicks you all think we are. There’re a lot of rules we have to follow. We can’t prevent everything that happened and we can’t always interfere. But, we can in certain situations. You’re a special case. And again that was just plain…Well, let’s just say we are going to take care of it.” I didn’t like how he said that. “What do you mean?” I asked. He only gave me a blank look. “Someone is going to DIE!” He hissed. I only stared at him in horror. “Would you say I deserve a chance to prove myself?” I ask. He blinked at me.

“Well, sure. Do you think you could change what happened?” He asked me. “No, not what happened. But, maybe what happens next. I may be able to…change the future. What would happen if they realize that I’m leaving? That I won’t help them? That I am going to join the Ferol?” Zach obviously couldn’t believe what he heard. “You mean that?” He asked. “I think you stated that you were going to support whatever group I was with. So, I don’t know about joining them. But, I’m done with playing these games. I’m done playing their mind tricks. I’m going to leave. Without or with some of them. Unless they completely change their ways.” I said. He only stared at me.

“If they want to come with, then great. If not, then I’m going to join a group so I know I can make it and I’ll help the bad guys. They have a larger force right?” Zach nodded hesitantly. “Well, maybe I’ll help organize them,” I said. Zach looked at me in fear. “What?” I asked him. “There’s a reason why they are so unorganized. There’s one vampire who is making it happen that way.” He told me. “Who?” I wondered. “I am not allowed to say. It is for that vampire to come and state it.” I only nodded.

I wasn’t going to push the issue. “Well, that’s fine. But, whoever he or she is. I’ll join them and change the fate of the world. So, I’ll be working with the bad guys and I won’t like how they handle the feeding situation. But, I’ll deal with it.” I told him. He only shook his head. “I admire you. You’re handling this very well.” He said. I smiled. “Well, I’m trying to hold it together and I feel at peace now. I’m sure I won’t so much when I wake up.” He only grinned. “No, probably not. But, just know. You’re not alone.” I nodded and then I felt myself drift out of the room and then I sat up quickly in the bed.

Ashlee was right next to me. Jacob and Derek stood at either side of the doorway. “How are you feeling?” Jacob asked me. “I’m feeling alive. Thanks to you.” I said. He only nodded. I knew he wanted to say something more, but I spoke first. “I think there’s a favor you still owe me? Well, this is it.” I told him. He blinked in shock. “You want to use it now?” I gave him a confused look. “You don’t count this as a prepaid debit?” I asked. Derek chuckled. “Dude, no. This wasn’t your fault or your wish. This was a bunch of twats trying to play in a power struggle.”

Jacob glanced at glanced at his boyfriend with a smile. “No, Matt. I wouldn’t count something like this as a favor paid. If you would’ve gotten in the situation on your own, sure. But, you were forced into it. So, I still owe you one. This one is a pass.” I only smiled. “But, I have to say. It takes a lot of sincerity to try and let me off the hook.” He said with a laugh. I could feel the tension in the room lighten considerably. “So, now what?” I asked. “Now, we wait until you’re fully strong again and then we deal with the council. Your way unless I don’t like what I hear.” I heard Zach say. He wasn’t there physically. But, I knew he was listening.

I noticed that I was wearing the same pajamas I wore in the dream world. “Easy man. Easy.” Jaise said. I didn’t even notice him standing over there. “Jaise?” I asked. “Yeah, you didn’t think I would leave your side did you?” He asked. I just shook my head with a grin. “Well, I can see you’re in good hands. So, I think I’ll go see to the council.” Jacob said. “Wait,” I called. He turned around. “I think I should go with you. Ask them if they had anything to do with this and I may be able to sense if they did or didn’t have any say in this. Well, I know a couple of them did. But, I want to know what their true goals are. I felt something from some of them before. I sensed confusion and I felt anger. But, if I am able to focus on them more. I may be able to tell if any of them had anything to do with this.”

Jacob only smiled and pointed with his finger for me to follow him. I kept close to him and then before he left the room he said, “Derek? Why don’t you put the enchantment on the room that protects this entire room from peeping eyes, ears, and steps from those that Matt doesn’t want checking up on him?” I didn’t hear anything, but I knew Derek was going to do exactly that. We walked out of the room and then he sat on the railing and slowly he started to slide down. “Oh, come on now. Don’t be afraid.” He called from below. I sat on the railing and then I went down after him.

I didn’t even feel the fear of falling. I felt something holding onto me, preventing me from slipping or losing my grip. Like an invisible chair. It actually was pretty comfortable, to be honest. We made it to the ground in half the time. Then he stood up and we walked down the hallway. “You think I should have changed my clothes first?” I asked aloud. He sighed. “A little late to be thinking about that isn’t it?” He asked. “It’s never too late to worry about fashion.” I turned to see Laurentia standing there in a denim skirt, black boots, a tank top and a denim jacket.

She carried over her left arm a pair of designer jeans, a silk muscle shirt, and a black T-shirt with some logo on it with a black leather trench coat. “Thanks,” I said quietly. I took the clothes from her and started to get changed. She reached out to get the pajamas and then she vanished. “Well, you look awesome!” He told me. I smirked. We continued down the hallway and then I froze. “What’s the matter?” Jacob asked. “You don’t feel that?” He only shook his head then he paused. “Oh, you mean the dark spirit that is scanning us out and wanting to rip our nuts off?” He asked casually. “Well, you may not be worried about her. But, I’ve seen what she can do. It’s creepy.” Then I remembered the bracelet and saw that it was gone!

“We weren’t about to leave that thing on you,” He told me. We continued on before the woman made herself known. She went straight for me again and this time, there was no barrier that blocked her. She recovered her strength and I didn’t get my defense. She almost grabbed me by the throat, but Jacob hovered in the air a few feet and then a dark aura pulsed around me. The woman screamed like a banshee in mating season. You ever hear one? It isn’t pretty. “What are you doing?!” The woman screamed. “You’re a God of the souls! Of death! I’m a servant of yours!” Jacob didn’t even show her any emotion. “You are threatening people under my protection.

Surely if you were truly one of mine, you’d have gotten the message?” He asked in a matter of fact tone. The spirit didn’t even flinch. Instead, she came at him hard. But, she wasn’t aware of exactly who he was. He grabbed her by the throat and began to squeeze. Dark green bubbling fluid seeped out from between his hands and she wailed and cried. The slime dripped all over her and I soon saw that it was eating away at her. I couldn’t believe it. She finally lost her ability to scream and after five minutes, there was nothing left but a small puddle of green, steaming and bubbling slime.

“I did warn her,” He said without a care. “Dang,” I said. He only looked at me curiously. “What?” He asked. “I just had a thought about being a god. Maybe it’ll keep me from falling into these situations?” He only gave me a look of pain and loneliness. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “Being a god has its perks. But, there’s nothing glamorous at it. I had to watch my family die. Some grew old. Some paid the ultimate price. And some became minor immortals and have been causing me and others nothing but pain.” He said. But, I could tell he didn’t want to continue this argument. “I’m sorry. It was just something I would like to consider if it’s an option in my future.” I said.

He only nodded and kept on walking. We made it to the end of the hallway. He kicked the door open and the council and the other vampires jumped up and faced us. “Well, if it isn’t the traitor. I think it’s time to go back to the prison. Come along quietly and you won’t-“ Meagn started. But, a bolt of static energy sent her flying across the room. Jared went to aid her and charged Jacob. But, with a lazy flick of his wrist, he was slammed into the far wall and he smashed through the wall and a thick metal pole protruded from his chest. Blood puddled down around his feet in a matter of minutes. The others didn’t move, even though I could tell they were waiting for an opening.

“I wouldn’t try it if you want to live. Now, I am here as an advisor to Zach and a long friend. Harm him and you’ll suffer in my realm. I’m not as forgiven as your god. I’m the God of Lyches. We don’t play nice. And we don’t play fair.” He said his voice thick with anger. “What do you want?” Sally asked. “I want to see which one of you or how many of you decided to send him down half naked, starved and defenseless against some powerful dark magic in order to die! I want to know which one of you thinks doing something like that is okay!” He snapped.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about?” Sally asked. I gave her a piercing look. “You don’t know who sent me to the dungeons? Why was I sent there? You were here when they sentenced me!” I screamed at her. “Yes, but you were to be taken to the first floor and we were going to talk to you one on one and figure out why you did it or what the truth was. I didn’t think you actually did it.” She told me. I didn’t know if she was a good actor or not. But, I said, “I believe her. It doesn’t feel like she’s lying to me.” I told Jacob.

He only glared at her. “Very well. NEXT!” He shouted. Marty stepped up. “What about you? Do you know anything about this?” He asked him. Marty only looked at me and shook his head. “I don’t know anything,” He said. A pain flared up in my stomach and I knew he was lying. “He knows something. I can tell. He was a part of it somehow.” I told the god. “Very well.” He snapped his fingers and four hooded floating cloaked figures appeared. “Who or what are they?!” Sally asked. “My soldiers,” He said coldly. They surrounded and circled him. They moved him over to a corner and I could tell they were keeping a close eye on him. I bet they even nullified his magic.

“Next!” Jacob shouted. Zeke stepped up acting shady. “Well, he’s obviously guilty,” Jacob muttered. “I don’t know. There’s something off here.” I said. The god looked at me and shrugged. “Very well. Did you know anything about what happened to him?” Zeke looked at me in fear and guilt. “No, I swear. I didn’t.” Jacob looked at me and said, “Guilty.” I studied him for a minute. “Yes, but not about what happened to me. He’s guilty about something else.” Jacob looked confused. “I don’t follow.”

“I’m not sure either, but I can assure you. He didn’t put me in that death match.” I told him. “Very well.” He snapped his fingers and a large floating hooded man appeared. “Another guilty one, my lord?” He asked. “Not according to Matt. Take him to the corner and keep an eye on him. There’s something we need to get figured out.” The man bowed and put his hand lightly, but firmly on Zeke’s shoulders and steered him to the opposite corner where they held Marty.

Alayne stepped up next and she was completely innocent. Jared proved to be completely guilty and Ryal proved to be somewhat innocent. And he was even able to answer the question because they restored his tongue. It wasn’t easy for him to answer, though. It sounded like he was choking whenever he tried to speak. But, we finally managed to get the answers we needed out of him. Meagan was guilty and Raemi was innocent. It looked like half the council was guilty and the other half was not. I walked up to Zeke. “What are you so nervous about?” I asked him.

He had tears in his eyes. “I didn’t do anything to help you. I didn’t know what had happened to you until it was too late and I should have been paying attention!” He shouted. “Oh, so he’s only guilty of feeling guilty about not being able to do anything? Isn’t that some guilty shit?” Jacob said. Everyone only looked at him. “What?” Sally and I asked at the same time. He waved us off. “Okay, you can go Zeke. I went to Ryal next and after many careful issues, we found that he was guilty. He was guilty of getting caught and my death didn’t happen before they were found out.

So, half and a half. It was evenly split down the middle. But, three out of the four female councils were innocent. I wasn’t sure if I was expecting that or not. “Well, it looks like we have a hot mess here to sort out,” Jacob commented. “You really think we are worried about what happens to us? You’re not going to find someone who has our kind of power or skill to replace us.” Jacob burst out laughing. “Oh, you think so? You think that we gods couldn’t figure out how to replace you. Have you not looked at the four people around you?” He demanded.

I did and I didn’t know why he was mentioning them. They all removed their hoods. Three males and one female. Oh, my god! “Each of them has an affinity for the element that you represent. I planned this out. I couldn’t say which one of you was actually guilty. But, I foresaw something like this happening and now that I know for sure. We can replace you without difficulty.” He said. “I think that’s a good idea.” I turned around and saw Zach there. “Zach, you’re going to let them do this!?” Jared demanded. “Sally? Zeke? Why? We’ve been allies for two thousand years! We’ve been friends for longer!”

Zeke stepped forward. “You know the rules. You know that he’s the best bet at winning the war that’s to come. But, you betrayed that trust. So, now you must be punished.” He turned away from his friend and wouldn’t meet his eyes. I felt bad for Zeke. But, this had to be done. I told myself. The Lyches all dropped to the ground then and stood up behind one of the council members. “Okay, here’s where the magic has a twist in. Four spirits like people showed up with the same colored streaks as the council.

“So, you know what must be done,” Zach said. They all nodded looking grim. “I don’t know what’s happening,” I said. “We are going to perform a spell that transfers their ancient being into the four of Jacob’s people,” Zach explained. “Oh.” Was that even possible? I wondered. The gods stood around them and began casting their spells and the four council members began to glow in a light like their element. Then a blasting light shot out from each of them and knocked everyone but the gods and me to the ground.

But, the images of the councils ancient beings remained where they were and didn’t even move. “What the hell was that?” Zach demanded. Then the woman with the green streak stepped forward. I could see through her, but she was still pretty. Dark flowing hair and dark chocolate eyes. “You know the rules. You created them. We haven’t willingly given our consent for leaving and joining someone else. You know the code we have. We are loyal only to those we have joined with. Anything trying to force us to join someone else is punishable by death. Aren’t they your words?” She said and her voice carried menace with it.

“Well, yes. But, I thought you knew and agreed to it?” Zach asked. “Oh, we do know what’s happening. Agreeing to it is another matter. Good or bad, kind or evil. We stick by the people we chose. And honestly? I don’t disagree with what Meagan did.” I paled. What? The others stepped forward as well. A large man with a yellow streak said, “Neither do I, and I supported it completely.” The council looked snug. “Well, well,” Zach said. “So, we have to go with plan B?” Jacob asked.

Zach nodded sighing. “Plan B?” Ryal asked. The Lyches behind the council stepped forward and jammed a piece of wood into the four council member’s hearts. They all screamed and cried out. “You didn’t think we would allow you all to live did you?” Zach asked walking over to them. “You’ve crossed a line.” Jacob agreed. They all dropped to the ground and screamed in pain. “Their death will be more excruciating because of how long they’ve been alive. But, it will be slightly quicker than normal. The four images of the ancient beings faded away glaring.

“I don’t like the look they gave us,” I said. “Who?” Liam asked stepping forward for the first time since this all began. “Who are you?” Zach asked suspiciously. “Liam, where’s Julie?” I asked. “She’s over there talking to Ashlee.” Zach seemed to relax when he mentioned my girlfriend’s name. “Oh, well their ancient beings. You probably couldn’t see them. But, they gave our little group here a bad look.” I stated. “Most likely they’ll try to come back through the portal and merge with those we’ve chosen for the next council members. But, I have to be the one to allow it.” He said.

“Are you able to hold them back while letting four other beings through?” I asked. He gave me an annoyed look. “I can handle them. They’ll put up a fight. But, I think I can deal.” He stated confidently. I really hoped he was right, but I didn’t think it would be so easy for him to control them. Sally and the other holy users stepped around the lyches and began to cast the ritual. Zach walked up and stepped in the middle of the circle. He raised his hands in the air and spread his arms out wide. As the ritual began to increase, I could feel the magic in the air. He began to pulsate and change. It was like his skin was shifting and melting. Only to reform and return to the shape, it started in.

Then he screamed in pain and frustration. He dropped to his knees and sweat coated his face. “Zach?” I called out, but Jaise appeared in front of me. “No, don’t break his concentration,” He told me. “How long have you been there?” I asked. “Long enough to know that he’s got it easy. I heard about the four ancient beings from the council. They are already in the other plane. But, they want back in. He’s using all his strength to keep them from entering while trying to find the ones who should pass through the gate.” I only gave him a confused and suspicious look.

“How do you know about that?” I asked him. “I told him.” I turned to see Derek walking up next to me. Jacob glanced over and saw him and relaxed. “You gods must be pretty close,” I commented. “We have our moments. But, that’s about it. We try our best and work together. And we’ve all been through the same together. And even died together on this other planet. Don’t ask about it. There’s a book dedicated to the complete history and story about our experiences there. It’s all true.” He told me. “Where’s this book?” I asked curiously. He just rolled his eyes at me.

“You don’t need to know. If you come across it, then you’ll know. Otherwise, it’s not important and it won’t help you.” He said. “Why are you getting all defensive? I thought only that it may help me understand what you went through. I didn’t mean to make you angry.” I told him and walked away from him. He walked up to me and grabbed my arm. “It isn’t that you made me angry. But, I’m not happy with some of the things I went through on that planet. Everything we did, we did to save the earth. But, there’s a lot we aren’t proud of. And a lot we went through some serious painful experiences that we don’t want a lot of people to know about. We also lost a few good friends that we thought would be the one to make it. If anyone read it and learned what we went through, well, they may take everything the wrong way. Please. It’s nothing personal.” He told me and then left.

Wow, I’ve never seen Derek so upset before. He usually is so calm and happy and positive and easy to talk to. But, I guess there’s a lot he doesn’t want known to the other people in this world. And I can’t blame him for that. We all have secrets we want to be kept. Was it a trust, though? I mean some people no matter how much you trust someone, they won’t open up to you, even when you need them. Oh, well. If he wants to open up. He will. Otherwise, he won’t. It’s totally his call.

I watched as Zach continued to struggle and fight for dominance of the ancient beings. They were obviously even stronger than even he thought. And working together probably meant that they were a major threat. He let out a piercing scream that made us all drop to our knees and covers our ears. After a few minutes, he stopped and then dropped to the ground. The four lyches were kneeling then and all crouched over him. “Are you okay sir?” The woman asked. The dying council members were moaning weakly and I could see bones from where their skin fell off.

I thought they would be screaming in pain, but I guess Zach overpowered their voices or they didn’t want us to have the satisfactory of us knowing they were suffering, so they kept it quiet. Jacob looked at his ex lyches. “Well, guys. You’ve all become vampires now and have given up your other powers, but the strongest element you had. I’m glad you guys are willing to do this to help me out.” Jacob told them. They smiled. “Well, we feel it would be the greatest sacrifice that we could make to you. But, now we answer to him?” The one with the yellow streak asked confused. “Sorry, it’s just confusing. And it’s going to take some time to get used to it.”

Jacob only gave them a sympathetic look. “I know, but you’ll get the hang of it. Don’t worry.” He said. Then he turned towards me. “Well, Matt? I think you’re going to be okay. Zach will be fine in a few minutes, and then you’ll be able to discuss whatever it is you need to talk about to the council members. The new ones have already been brought up to speed on the situation. So, don’t worry about them not understanding what is going on.” He said. Then Derek and Jacob were gone.

Laurentia wasn’t anywhere around and I figured she left as well. Zach stood up after a few minutes and then looked around in a daze. “So, council members! Over here.” Zeke called. “Matt?” Sally said. I nodded apprehensively and walked over to them. Jaise, Julie, Liam, and Ashlee were all right next to me. “This is just between-“ Ashlee cut off Raemi with a look. “I don’t care what this is regarding. I’m not leaving him alone with you guys ever again. I don’t care if there’s an alien bug that is threatening your life and it’s either he comes alone or you die. I’m going with him!” She snapped.

No one argued with her and let them stay. “Okay, so what is it you want to do now Matt? We actually talked about it a little when they found you. We were going to give control back of the school. But, we don’t know who to put in charge. The staff is willing to stay and fully teach you what they should have been doing all along. Jaina was holding them back and making sure they didn’t teach all the students how to properly fight with weapons and use magic. Now, they will work twice as hard to test each student and see where their strengths are and master them. And find out the weaknesses and try to better them. But, what’s your goals? What would you like to do?” Sally asked me. I was dumbfounded.

“You mean you’re actually giving me a choice?” I asked. She only nodded with a grim smile. “Yeah, kid. We never wanted to rule this place. We only wanted to stop those who wanted to harm you. But, we think you can handle yourself now. And you’re not alone. Also, you can’t be controlled anymore. Which is a good thing? So, we think you will be just fine. But, you’re not alone. You can call on us whenever you want to or need to. That’s why we are here.” Zeke said.

One of the new council members spoke. “So, what’s it going to be? Are you willing to remain and help out?” They all looked at him and nodded. I gave him a quick glance. “Very well. I would like to stay, but who are you going to be putting in charge?” I asked. “Well, that’s where we would like your help. We don’t know. And we were hoping you may know of someone who is perfect for the position.” Alayne said. I sighed and took in a deep breath. “I don’t know. I barely got a chance to meet the staff of them trying to kill me and all that good fun stuff.” I said my voice thick with sarcasm.

They didn’t say anything. “Well, we figured that. We were only hoping you may have met one person.” I took in a deep breath. “Well, there was one person. But, she turned out to be another bitch.” Everyone gasped at me. “What?” I demanded. “You swore!” Liam said with pride in his voice. “It’s been known to happen.” I countered. They all laughed lightly. “Well, then? How about yourself?” Zeke asked me. I stared wide-eyed at him. “ME?!” I asked him like he had finally lost his mind. “Yeah, why not?” He countered. “I don’t know anything about leading a group of thousands of people. I can’t even lead my own self.” I told him.

The council sighed and shook their heads. “That’s not completely true is it? Your instincts are very keen. You’ve just had some bad luck. But, now you have a group of people who will be there to help you. They will be there to guide you. They will be your own personal council. You will be the Prince of this school and they will be your royal advisors. I think it’s a good thing. You should give it a try. If you don’t like it, or if you think it’s too much for you. Give us a call and we’ll find someone to replace you, but keep you as an advisor.” The guy with the shadow magic said to me.

“I don’t even know how many members of the council I need to make this work properly,” I admitted. “I think Jaise and Liam have some ideas,” Zeke told me. I gave them a questioning look. “We have read plenty of books and reports on councils. We know the functions and we will help you set this up and get them in on the game. But, there’s one person who we are missing.” Liam said. “Ah, yes. You need two more people. The council room here has an octagonal table. So, you’re going to need eight total. I think we have someone who could help you with that.” The woman with the green streak said.

I gave her a confused look. She whistled and I had to cover my ears. “God damn it. You don’t have to whistle so loud!” I heard a familiar voice. No, it couldn’t be! I looked around Ashlee and saw a tall, skinny Asian looking boy with long straight black hair. He wore skinny jeans and a tight cotton sleeveless shirt. “Draven?!” I shouted in shock. “Hey, Matt,” He said with a simple smile. I walked over to him and gave him a huge hug.

“Who’s this?” Jaise asked with a suspicious tone. I turned to him and glared. “This is Draven. He was and is my best friend growing up. But, when we were twelve, his parents moved away. His father got promoted and he left. We tried to stay in touch. But, we lost touch a couple years ago.” I told him. “He the long lost cousin?” Dave asked. I nodded. Jaise only glared. “If you don’t want me pissed off, Jaise, you might want to lose the hostility,” I warned. He only blinked at me in shock and then lost his anger. “I’m really sorry. I’m just worried that this is another trick. But, you seem quite capable at the present time to see when someone isn’t being quite honest. And you’re not helpless.” He said and then walked up to Draven. “I’m sorry for my tone.”

He only nodded and reached out his hand. Jaise shook it firmly. “Well, this is good. Now, what about the other person.” No one said anything. “I think I can help you there.” We turned to see an older teen with medium length blond hair and an athletic, muscular build. I froze at the sight of him. “Who are you?” He ignored everyone and looked right at me. “Tom,” I said. His expression was unreadable.

“Wait, your stepbrother?” Ashlee demanded stepping in front of me. He eyed her carefully. “Oh, Matt finally got lucky?” He said sarcastically. I saw Ashlee start to shake a little. “Calm down,” I said gently, resting a hand on her shoulder. I stepped in front of her. “What do you want Tom?” I asked. “It’s simple. I want to help you. Why do you think I have come here? A tea party?” Everyone just kept glancing between us. The tension in the air grew. “I don’t know. But, you’ve never been ultimately friendly towards me.” He sighed and looked away for a moment.

“So, you won’t answer and you think I’m just going to welcome you here with open arms?” I demanded. “No!” He shouted. Everyone tensed up and readied for a fight. He relaxed then and took a deep breath. “Look, I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to argue and I don’t blame you for what you’re feeling right now. But, I came to try and make everything up to you. I know I have a lot to answer for. I know I caused you a lot of pain. But, please. Let me help.” He said to me. “Why should we let him?” Liam asked. I only stared at Tom for a moment and then said,

“Okay, but before I agree to anything. You need to come with me.” He nodded without hesitation. “Hold up,” Ashlee said. “I’m coming with.” I shook my head at her. “Do you trust me?” I asked her. “Yeah, of course. Then let me do this alone.” I said and gave her a deep kiss. “Very well. But, just give me a shout out if you need anything.” She told me. “You can’t be serious.” Jaise said. “We can’t protect him forever. He’s got to stand on his own two feet.” She said. I smiled at them turned to Jaise. “Trust me,” I said. He nodded. I could see that he didn’t like the idea, but he didn’t want me to think he didn’t have faith in me. I led him through the hallway and towards the stairs to the royal tower.

I sat on the railing and felt like a fool until it changed into a chair and began its climb. Tom looked uncertain, and then he sat down and followed me up. We landed on the landing and I led him into the room. I closed the door and turned to face him. Before I could say anything, he pounced on me. I almost blasted him, until I realized he was hugging me. “What are you doing?” I asked him. “Sorry, man. I’m really sorry.” Were that tears in his voice? I wondered. I pushed him off of me and noticed he really is crying. “What?” I asked. “I’m sorry for everything. I…”

He couldn’t finish. He turned away from me. “I didn’t want to be that kind of person to you. I didn’t want to hurt you. But, everything I was going through by dad. He was punishing me horribly so you wouldn’t be as bad as he wanted. I didn’t think you could handle it. I thought it would drive you to insanity or it would cause you to end your own life.” He looked at me with pleading eyes. “What are you talking about?” I demanded. “You remember all the extra tasks that dad always mentioned to you in snide remarks about me?” I nodded. “Well, they weren’t exactly what they seemed,” He said.

I froze. “You mean they were physically demanding tasks?” I asked, not sure I wanted to know the answer. “Oh, they were physically demanding all right. But, they weren’t the kind of tasks that you expected.” He said. “Sex,” I said simply. He only blinked at me. “What? No! God, no! What the fuck are you thinking about?” He snapped at me. Relief flooded through me. “Oh, thank god. I thought you were going to tell me that John was a sicko.” I said. “Well, he was or is, Look. He wanted to put you on the sex acts. He thought it might make you tougher somehow. But, he didn’t want me to go through that. He wanted me to do have sex with the right girl. He wanted me to lose my virginity on my wedding night.” Tom laughed. “It’s too late for that isn’t it?” I asked him.

“No, not yet. But, see. My wedding is not what he imagines it to be.” I totally didn’t understand what he was talking about. “Have you ever actually seen me with a girl before?” He asked sensing my confusion. “Well, no. Not really. You’ve hung around them. But, I do recall a couple coming to the house and said you were going on a date with them.” I stated. “Yes, but I’ve never been out on a date.” He pressed. Then he turned scared or something. I gave him a blank look. “Those ‘dates’ were staged. I wasn’t really dating them.” “Then who-“ I started, but he held up a hand. “They were friends, helping me out.” He began.

I only looked at them and then I stared wide eyed. He nodded and said, “I went on a date with a couple guys I met over the internet. But, they didn’t work out. I’m only telling you this because I hope you’re not like the others.” He said. “Okay? But, what does this have to do with anything?” I asked. “I’m getting there. What do you think dad would do if he found out that I was gay?” He asked me. I felt my eyes widen in shock. “He’d probably blame me for it.” Tom nodded. “I think he was about to find out. Trisha knew and promised to keep my secret, but I think she finally told him and I was worried about what he’d do if I was around. But, he’ll probably gun for you, though.” I only shrugged. “I think I can handle whatever he sends my way,” I told my step brother.

“I don’t know. They have some powerful friends and I don’t think you all are strong enough yet. They’re powerful foes out there that shouldn’t be taken lightly.” I gave him a sideways look. “Like who?” I asked. “I don’t really know. I wasn’t allowed in the meetings with them. Dad and Trisha never told me anything. Just said that I’ll find out when the time comes. But, I can assure you that those two were afraid. Terrified actually.” Tom told me. “Well, there’s only one way to handle this.

“Since they put me in charge. I have to run this place. But, I’m going to need the six of you to help out. Each of you is going to be put in a section that you’re going to be in charge of. We are going to have to work hard and get everything in order if we want to live.” He only nodded. “You don’t have any problems with this?” I asked him. “Nope.” The only thing he said. “Well, that’s good. “But, why have you come now? Was it only because you were afraid of what John would do? Or is this some trick of his?” I asked. “I assure you. This is nothing to do with him. I’m not helping him or aiding him. I came to help you. I wanted you to know that I didn’t blame you for anything he put me through and I wish I could have stopped him from torturing you. My sister didn’t want me helping you. But, I couldn’t sit back and let it continue. In school, I was jealous of you.” I gasped in shock.

“Me?” I asked. “You were always the smart one. You were the quiet kind kid that the girls wanted to be with.” He said. “I thought you didn’t like girls?” I asked. “I don’t. But, even some guys wanted to change you.” He said and looked away. I was stunned for a few minutes. “Look, I’m okay with you being who and what you are. I don’t have a problem with that. My best friend is. Of course, he doesn’t know I know. However, it’s going to take me some time to put the past behind me. Just give me some time on that. Oh, and let me handle the others. It’s going to take them some time to trust you. And I only hope that I can do the same.” I told him. He didn’t get angry at me. He only sighed. “Very well. Do what you have to do. But, just know that I won’t sit back and let myself get attacked.” He warned me.

“Fine, but if any serious harm comes to Ashlee, my cousin, or Liam or Julie, I’m going to hold you personally responsible. You let me handle them.” I told him. He only nodded. “What about the others?” He asked. “Try not to hurt them. But, if they leave you no choice, I’m not going to cry over them. I am going to give them a warning now. But, the warning also applies to you. Let’s go.” I said to him and we left the room. We went back down the way we came up. I heard a commotion outside the door but turned around when that creepy man from before came back.

“I want to thank you. You saved us.” He said and others like him appeared. Woman and children and even elderly looking people appeared all around him. “All of you have suffered based on that one woman?” I asked in shock. “We tried to fight her. But, she somehow managed to absorb our energy and it made her stronger. Eventually, it came to the point where she was too strong and we could only run from her.” The man said. “But, now that your god got rid of her, we can move on. Please help us.” A woman said. She held onto a little girl who was crying.

I nodded. I focused on a peaceful emotion and used holy magic. I then encased each of them and a white light appeared. They all looked happy and they changed in front of us. They became whole and solid. They didn’t look like zombies anymore and then they vanished with a smile on their faces. “That was nice of you,” Tom commented straight-faced. I gave him a look. “Well, that’s what I do around here. Help people. Forgive them for what they tried or did do to me.” I said and kept on walking towards the door. “You said you didn’t know if you could forgive me.” He pointed out.

“No, I said I don’t know when I would be able to forgive what you’ve done. But, eventually, I would. Just give me some time okay?” I told him. He only nodded and then I opened up the door. Sally and Zeke were behind a white and red swirling barrier. “What the hell is going on?” I snapped. They jumped out of the way and stopped their spell. “You okay?” Zeke asked me. “Yeah, what’s going on?” I repeated. “Well, your cousin wanted to go and get you. They felt like you’ve been up there a long time.”

I rolled my eyes and turned towards him. “JAISE!” I bellowed. He stepped forward. “You realize it takes like half an hour to an hour to climb the bloody steps!?” I snapped. He froze. “Oops,” He said. I groaned. Tom was laughing and I glared at him until he stopped and looked embarrassed. Ashlee was right next to me then and hugging me tightly. “I tried to stop them.” I laughed. “No, you didn’t. You were right next to him the entire way.” I said and kissed her. “Why does she get off without a scolding?” Jaise demanded, but his tone light.

“Well, I’m dating her and they’re more punishments I can give her than you. I think society frowns upon that.” I told him with a wink. He laughed so hard he snorted and everyone else was laughing as well. “That’s wrong,” Tom said chuckling. “Yes, well it is what it is,” I said. He rolled his eyes and then I spoke out to everyone. “Okay, guys? We need to gather all the vampires so I can address them all. Where can I meet everyone?” I asked. “Well, there’s the auditorium?” Alayne suggested. “Very well.” I approved. Vampires dispersed and went to gather them. “Okay, let’s go. Tom, Ashlee? You’re coming with me.”

“What about us?” Jaise asked pointing at Liam and Julie. I only smiled. “You three will find out in a little bit. But, I know you’ll be happy.” I said. They looked anything but. “You’ll just have to trust me. I promise you, you all have an important role to play. Just be patient and have some faith in me will you?” I asked. I didn’t let them answer before walking off. “Do you know where this place is?” I asked. “You don’t know?” Tom asked. “I spent more in the dungeons here than I did in the castle itself.

“Matt!” I turned to see Draven walking up to me. “With all due respect. “We’ve not talked in years. I’m going with you.” He said and I knew by that look and tone, he wasn’t up for an argument. “Fine by me. Maybe you’ll be able to help keep some of these hooligans in line.” I said with a chuckle. Ashlee slapped my shoulder and Tom rolled his eyes.

“Whatever dude,” He said. Tom shook Draven’s hand and I saw an instant spark there. Looks like someone found someone they like. I thought. I really hoped they could work out. Draven always had trouble in that field. It was something that I was going to talk to him about later and then we entered a small hallway and through a door that led behind some curtains. “Through them is the auditorium,” She said. “Well, well. I guess this is it.” I stammered.

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