Alexia and I snuck through the echoed tunnel. We tried to tread softly to avoid making too much noise. The walls had fire torches lighting our way, our shadows flickering in the light.
In the distance the sound of screams, chains rattling and iron doors slamming could be heard. It bounced across the walls. The desperate cries for help made me sad. It was disgusting to hear such vile treatment to these people.
When we found Isaac my stomach knotted a thousand times. To say he was in a state was an understatement. They had shackled him to the wall in silver chains, the metal cutting deep into his skin, charring the flesh as though it was hot as fire.
When the coast was clear, we snuck towards the cell Isaac’s being held in.
“Isaac?” I whispered. There was a flicker of hope in his mind as he heard my voice. Turning to Alexia, I asked. “Can you unlock the door?”
While I spoke to Isaac to reassure him, Alexia pulled a pin from her hair and worked on the lock. It took her less than two minutes to get the lock off. We pulled the bolt open and let ourselves inside. There was so much blood on him and around his raw wounds, it looked so painful. My knees soaked in his blood when I knelt to free him from the chains wrapped around his mouth. He whimpered as the chain tore and pulled his flesh, spilling more blood. Though, once the silver had been completely removed his wounds slowly began to heal super fast. Within minutes it sealed and became a red scar.
“I need… to feed…” his body shaking.
I lifted my wrist to his mouth without hesitation but he pushed it away.
“You need blood, take mine.”
“Not yours… I won’t stop.”
“You will because this means something.” I said showing him the sign on my hand. “Remember the day we met and you shook my hand? It was fate bringing us together. The universe gifted us with these symbols to remind us of what matters. Besides, you saved my life and I owe this to you.”
This time not taking ‘no’ for an answer, I pushed my wrist to his lips. His teeth grew to sharp points and sunk into my skin. There was no pain after the initial pinch. It turned into quite a pleasurable experience until my eyes drooped, fighting the sudden urge to sleep.
“That’s enough for now.” I whispered. He let go and sealed the wound by licking the two holes before holding my hand and kissed it softly.
“Thank you.” He said. “But I’m going to need to feed again soon.”
The blood made his cheeks more rosy. The scars had completely faded, his dark hair seemed more vibrant and his eyes more alert.
“Penelope, this is a dangerous place to be. Why did you come here?”
“What if I hadn’t of made the choices leading me here? You’d still be suffering and locked in a cage like an animal.” I argued.
“Now you all can stay locked in a cage like animals…” came a deep and emotionless voice behind us.
I spun around to see where the voice came from but I wasn’t quick enough to defend Alexia. as her throat was torn out with the man’s sharp teeth. He pushed her to the floor. The look of pure terror frozen on her face as she held the wound. The blood gushed rapidly, soaking her clothes and spilling all over the dirty floor.
The stake slid in my hands. My instincts to kill him took over but vampires were so fast. You had to be one step ahead of them. The punches were easily blocked and the kick to his stomach did nothing to him. I rammed the stake into his arm, grabbed the silver chain from the floor and whipped it around his neck, holding it tight. I pulled the stake out of his arm and pushed it into his rib cage. Not far enough to kill him but to scratch the heart. He struggled to breathe, trying to grip the stake to save himself from death. Now, he was now defenceless to what I could do next.
“Protect the King!” Guards shouted but with a flick of my head they all froze.
So, this was the King. He didn’t seem to be all powerful when I held him inches from sudden death. I couldn’t help but feel impressed with myself for being able to overpower him.
“Arietta? I… killed… you.” He struggled to say between breaths.
“No. I’m Penelope. You’re the only one who will die today if you don’t listen to what I have to say.”
“You have… her face… and her power. Have you… come to take… her place too?” He said but growled as I nudged the stake closer to his heart.
“The way I see things, right now, is you have two choices. You will either die by my hand and I can take everything rightfully mine. Or I spare you and you change this world to a better place to live. I can be part of your inner circle. We can work together to make witches, vampires, werewolves and all creatures live in harmony. We can open up the portals. Humans are no longer your peasants. They go free unless they want to come back or live here. So, what do you say?”
“I think… its a ludicrous idea… to expect everyone… to change all because… you say so.” He answered but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.
“You are the King. You’re supposed to be their leader, a role model and someone to look up to! You bring fear into people’s hearts instead of joy. Do you really think people will choose to follow a man like that if they had the choice? You are no one without your people. So bring change to this world, let it move forward before one day Enukeador stands silent with only you on your throne - sad and alone.”
My words seemed to struck a nerve as he stared at me with a sorrowful look. How many years has it been since someone stood up to him? Perhaps he had grown so used to getting his own way it changed him into a bitter vampire. He shaped the world into a controlled and very hostile place. All creatures too scared to grow into better people. This could change with his willingness and a little guidance from myself. Though I wasn’t stupid, Enukeador wouldn’t change overnight. It would take time before the people in this world would fully trust him. Perhaps only the next generation would accept it and grow up in the new world.
“What do you say?”
“Alright… I accept… your proposal.” he whimpered. “Now… please... get this stake out!”
“Just to make sure you understand… If you try to double cross me or fail to make the changes I require you to do - I will void this proposal, hunt you down, kill you and take control. This world belongs to me by birth right and you are lucky I’m allowing you to live.”
“Alright, then. Glad we could come to this arrangement.” I grinned and pulled the stake from his chest. He winced and held his chest till the hole completely healed.
While the King was busy feeling sorry for himself, I helped Alexia to her feet. Isaac had given her blood. Her neck had healed nicely.
Thank you, I thought.
It’s no problem, darling. His words spoke inside my mind.
Even though I knew we had the ability to speak telepathically through the dream - it gave me fluttery butterflies to actually experience it.
You’ve just changed the fate of Enukeador. This will go down in history as the mark of a new age.
The King called a Peace Treaty hearing to the castle. Within the next two hours the entire Kingdom of all different species made an appearance. They even waited patiently in the royal hall, the biggest hall I’d ever seen. My nerves were on edge as I tried to prepare a speech for this congregation to help bring the Peace Treaty into action. Isaac, by my side, helped and guided me. He made me feel at ease and calmed my intense anxiety of speaking in front of the crowd. There was part of me that knew that this was right. This will spark the dawn of a new age. I just hoped they would accept and follow my guidance because if they do this whole world could transform into a beautiful haven for all.
While I sat in a small room by the royal hall, I heard a small knock on the door. My family and friends entered. They embraced me with open arms and I was thankful to see them.
“Nan!” I said and she pulled me into a huge hug.
“Penelope, you’ve scared me half to death. I’m glad you’re alright.”
“Penelope, you are doing us proud. This is a massive achievement. We never thought this would happen or so soon! How did you get the King to change?” Mum said, squishing me in a tight hug after nan.
“He didn’t really have much choice when I had a stake in his chest. I was going to kill him and take everything but I changed my mind. If I killed him, I wouldn’t be any better. The people would fear my abilities. I don’t want to start this new journey on a bad note. I want them to look up to me and remember they have a choice and the right to live without persecution.”
“You’re incredible, Penelope. You’ve done this single-handedly. You were born to rule this world and you will when the time comes.” said mum, cheerfully and glancing over at Isaac. Then back at me. “You both will bring this world from it’s darkest era and bring joy, and love, back to people’s hearts.”
My family and friends soon took their seats after hugging both Isaac and I, wishing us the best of luck. Isaac took hold of my hand, guiding me to the stage with the King. He stayed to support me and keep my anxiety to the minimum. Then the crowd fell silent as the King spoke his words of Peace.
“Welcome one and all to this hearing of a Peace Treaty between all creatures. For a very long time this world has been standing still, never moving forward and becoming a place of fear and persecution. Today that stops and with my son and his beautiful lady by my side. We unite and become a place for all supernatural creatures to live in peace. Now, I hand the ropes over to Penelope to guide you on the changes we are making for the future.”
The crowd’s eyes moved and lingered on me. My feet took me to the centre stage. My fears and anxiety suddenly vanishing. Isaac standing proudly by my side. The crowd whispered and seemed bemused. I can only assume they must remember my relative, Arietta. It was a shock to discover I'm the image of her.
The reality hit that we had control of what would happen to this Kingdom. It felt astonishing. We could shape the new world to such a better place.
“Thank you for joining this hearing today. My name is Penelope Hennessey and I am a direct descendant of Arietta Addington. You may remember the previous Queen to Enukeador when the world was a better place to live. Where this world was a safe haven for all supernatural kind.
“Today will mark the day of a new beginning. Mine and Isaac’s goal is to bring our world from the darkness you have been living in. To live in peace once more for the rest of eternity. We have brought together these changes that are effective immediately. We hope you abide by the new laws of the Kingdom of Enukeador.
“The first new law: NO SLAVES. This means you cannot kidnap humans, children or any supernatural creatures for purposes of slavery or feeding on. This goes against ‘peace’ and anyone caught or found guilty of transporting, harbouring or bringing slaves back to Enukeador will find themselves trialled by the Royal Court and sentenced to appropriate punishments.
“Second new law: PORTALS ARE OPEN. This means you are free to live in Enukeador if you so wish. This is your home but that doesn’t mean you have to stay here. You can travel to different dimensions and experience new things. However, if you wish to leave you must stick to these rules. 1) Enukeador must be kept secret. Only supernatural creatures are allowed to know and come here. 2) Humans must not find out you are supernatural. It will caused them to recruit more hunters and hunt you down. 3) Do not kill humans. Again, this will bring attention to what you are and hunters will kill you if they catch you. And 4) The only exception we will make for bringing humans here or letting them discover your secrets is if they are your soulmate.
“The third new law: ENUKEADOR IS PEACEFUL. This Peace Treaty means you can live your life here, in Enukeador, with all different kinds of species without the fear of being killed by one another. We all want the same thing and that’s to live in harmony. If problems arise then they can be taken to our Royal Court to dispute and handled seriously.
“The fourth new law is for vampires: NO UNWILLING FOOD SOURCES. Vampires need blood to survive and that’s a fact. We will find a way to import blood bags from donors. Overtime if you want living donors, we can find a way to do that. Obviously, without hypnotising or taking blood against someone’s will. The living donor will need time to rest and recover. It will be the responsibility of the vampire to keep them alive and healthy. They have the ability to leave at any given point in their stay here. If we get wind of any cases of the host dying or being killed it will be brought to the castle and trialled.
“The fifth law is for witches: MAGIC IS NO LONGER BANNED. The use of magic is no longer against the law as long as it is used appropriately, being used to teach and learn new skills throughout life. As long as the magic isn’t being used to wound, maim, kill or transform another into animals or objects or use it for personal gain - you can use your magic. If this new law is used in bad faith, it can be taken to the Royal Court.
“And lastly, the sixth new law: LAND WILL BE DIVIDED TO SUIT DIFFERENT SUPERNATURAL CREATURES. Each species will have certain parts of the land. So, werewolves and shifters can transform under the moon where no one can get hurt. Vampires can have their own land, witches too and so forth. However, just because you have your own specific land doesn’t mean you can’t visit, travel through or be friends with others. The village nearest the castle will be transformed into a place for all. Where you can come and trade, spend the day shopping or meeting with friends, or whatever you’d like to do.
“I understand that this is a lot to take in but if we want to live in world where we are free and happy - you need to make these changes. Over the course of time, there will be more things that will be brought to my attention and added or amended. If anyone needs my help I will always listen and do my best to help in anyway I can. I’ll gladly take any questions you may have now.”
The crowd sat in silence for a few seconds before the uproar of an applause. It astonished me at how it made me feel, appreciated and accepted. There were whistles of delight from all over and after they calmed down - hands flew up in the air to ask their questions.
“Yes, what would you like to say?” I said to a middle aged woman, wearing a purple and black dress with long platinum hair.
“Do you have Arietta’s powers?”
“Yes. I have the ability to heal, freeze and move objects.” I answered.
“How did you get the King to agree to a Peace Treaty?” Came a voice further down the hall.
“I believe the King understands this needs to happen. I just so happen to give him an offer he couldn’t refuse. The King is fully aware this Peace Treaty is the starting point of a better world.”
“Are you going to become Queen like Arietta?” came another question.
“I will not become Queen until Isaac and I are ready for that commitment. We will serve our Kingdom with the same high standards as any other Royal.”
As I answered as many questions as I could, there was a sudden pain in my ankle, with everything going on I had forgotten about the potion to mask the injury. Isaac seemed to react immediately, grabbing my waist and hold me upright.
“Unfortunately, we must end the questions at this moment. Penelope must gain back her strength for signing later. In celebration of the new Peace Treaty you all are welcome to join us all for a feast that has been prepared in the courtyard, with fireworks later on tonight. Thank you all for coming here at such short notice. Please enjoy the celebrations!” said Isaac to cover me. He helped me walk out the side door and sit down on a chair.
“Are you alright? You were doing so well! The crowd love you and I’m so shocked at how amazing your speech was.” He said.
“Thank you... It’s my ankle. I tripped while I was running from bounty hunters and twisted it. Alexia gave me a potion to stop the pain. She said it wouldn’t last long…” I explained.
Isaac inspected my ankle just as the door opened. My circle, their families, Alexia, and my family poured in.
“Congratulations Penelope! You have done justice to our world. We are all so proud of you!” Dad said. “Are you alright?”
“It’s my ankle, I twisted it and it really hurts.”
If you don’t mind, Penelope. I can heal you with my blood but I would rather we didn’t have an audience.
Even though he didn’t speak out loud, I could hear him in my mind. I nodded.
“I will be alright. You should enjoy the celebrations. I'll be with you all shortly.”
“Are you sure?” Dad asked.
“Yes, you have a good time.” I answered. “Alexia, can you stay a moment though?”
Everybody left except for Alexia. Isaac helped me to my feet and I pulled her into a massive embrace.
“I couldn’t have done any of this without you.” I said, not letting go. “I want to thank you for sticking by me and trusting me. You are a true friend.”
“Thank you, Penelope. You saved my life and I will always be grateful. I truly have a friend for life.” she said, “Now, I’m going to find Asher. You two love birds have fun.”
“See you later, Alexia.” I waved as she left the room.
“We should get you to a more comfortable place. There is a spare room in the castle. We can go there to sort out your ankle.” he said. “Let me carry you there.”
When I nodded in agreement, he lifted me into his arms. Isaac travelled so fast around the castle I had to close my eyes, the wind rushed passed me until we came to a halt. Isaac kicked the door open. We entered the room.
The first thing I noticed in this large room was the four poster bed with white, soft linen and white netting tied up at the corners. The dressing table near the tall open window had a long mirror with golden detailed frame. It had loads of things a girl would need on the table, a hairbrush, perfume, pins and hair bands. The wardrobe was white, matching all the other furniture, like the bedside table with a lamp. The white rug that covered the floor from the entrance to the dressing table looked soft and fluffy. Isaac laid me on the bed, it was firm and comfortable.
“You can have this room. I hope its adequate for you. Penelope, I want to thank you for coming to my aid and saving me. For saving the kingdom. You’ve just changed the world in a single day, that in itself is an amazing achievement.” he said. He sat next to me, so close that I could smell his aftershave. It smelled familiar, safe and good. All my worries disappeared for a short time while I experienced calm serenity.
“Trust me when I say it wasn’t my plan. All I wanted was to make sure you were okay. We didn’t end on good terms. I didn’t want that to be our last memory.” I said.
“I am so deeply sorry for hurting you the way I did.”
“I forgive you.” I said, softly.
He smiled. “Thank you for your forgiveness… Now lets get that ankle on the mend. The only thing you need to know is that blood sharing is very intimate. The experience will be more intense because of our soulmate connection. It will permanently strengthen our bond. It will be different from last time because this will be the second time and you’re not nearly dead.”
I grinned mischievously, “Gosh and we haven’t even kissed properly yet.”
He laughed. Then, in a smooth seductive tone, said, “I could change that...”
Isaac leaned closer to me. I gazed into his eyes before closing mine and embracing our first kiss. It started off gentle and tender, his soft lips fit perfectly against mine. I wasn’t sure if it was the bond or the sudden desire but I wanted him.
Isaac didn’t expect my sudden aggressiveness and before we could even think what was happening he felt my tongue in his mouth. My hands running through his hair and his hands tightened around me. One of his hands tangled in my hair, the other clamped tightly round my lower back. A guttural growl escaped my lips which prompted a surprised yet quiet moan from his. I gently grazed Isaac’s neck just below his jaw as he leaned his face into mine, pressing his jaw against my mouth. I couldn’t help but quiver with excitement and anticipation. I had never felt this way about anyone, he made me feel so alive. I wanted nothing but him.
Now I had Isaac pinned on the bed. There really wouldn’t have been a way to overpower him, but he allowed himself to be moved. Isaac pulled me upright, straddling his lap and kissing me again. My attention wavered to the stabbing pain in my ankle. I frowned and eased the pressure, leaning on my other side.
Isaac used his nail to slice his neck, the hot redness oozed down, my mouth watering. I licked the beautiful liquid that tasted sweet and addictive, the more I sucked, the more that came, willing me to drink more. I let my desire win over and drank more of the delicious blood - he tightened his grip on me and rolled his eyes back. I could finally understand why this blood bonding was so intimate. It meant everything - and more.
Isaac could feel his blood pouring into me and with it - his life essence. The blood made my head dizzy but giving into the pleasure was gratifying. The air smelled like him and his blood, there was nothing else but him. I was hard against him, he could feel my hips pushing against his front and his body tightened in response.
When I finally pulled back, arching my head, my eyes were wide and alight, his blood dripping down my chin. I was breathing deep and heavy. My chest was rising with every effort. Isaac was still holding me and leaned into my boobs as his mind started to comprehend what happened. I felt powerful and could feel it coursing through my body.
This is our power. The thought only barely registered as my entire body was taken over by it.
“I can feel it… My soul aches for yours, I feel…” I whispered.
I know, he said, in my mind. I feel it too.
I know Isaac had warned me this would strengthen our bond but I wasn’t expecting this. My whole body wanted him, it wanted to drink more blood, it craved his soft touch against my skin and his lips on mine. He was the centre of gravity and I was being pulled in. He nestled back into my neck. My heart fluttering when he scraped his fangs against my neck. He hesitated but I knew what I wanted.
“I want you to bite me,” I whispered.
Isaac couldn’t fight when I breathed those words. He grabbed onto me like I’d disappear if he didn’t, he rolled and I was suddenly underneath him. He kissed my neck, my cheek, my mouth and back to my neck, and bit. I arched my back and leaned my head into the pillows, exposing as much of my neck as possible. Isaac’s teeth slid in deep and when they connected with my blood both of us let out a moan of pleasure. Our bodies were hopelessly entwined and with every lingering moment that Isaac drew out my blood, I felt my body in a satisfying tension. I felt his heart beating against mine but somehow it suddenly wasn’t enough any more. Isaac’s blood was coursing through mine now, and mine was coursing through him. Every drop he drank I could feel myself inside of him. My body was still heightened in anticipation as I was fumbling over his shirt. I pulled at a button…
Isaac pulled back from my neck, severing the connection and stared at me with his mouth slightly open and my blood dripping from his teeth. He bit his finger to draw blood and gently caressed the bite marks on my neck with his blood and they healed quickly.
“I’m sorry.” he said.
I lay there stunned. It took a little bit of time for me to collect my thoughts and realise this isn’t the time or place to do this. The only reason we shared blood was to heal me, not jump each others bones.
So, why did I have a lump in my throat? The sudden rejection that perhaps he didn’t want me hurt like hell. He moved to my side. I didn’t realise I was crying until he wiped the tears running down my cheek.
“Don’t think for one second this is because I don’t want you - because I do. Blood bonding is so intense, I don’t want you to do something you regret because you were high on blood.” He stroked my face and kissed me.
I understood, it was the whole experience that caught me off guard. No amount of warning had prepared me for the intense feelings I had for Isaac.
“Don’t feel sad... Come here.”
I nestled into his arms and closed my eyes. He caressed my arm and kissed my forehead. “Your ankle should feel better now.”
What if Isaac had been human?
The thought ran though my mind. If he was just a normal human - would I have fought with my feelings like I have done? He is my soulmate, someone who is essentially perfect for me. Yet, it was so easy to push him away. Justin would have killed me for being a witch. Something I have no control over! Something that is part of me! The friendship between Justin and I clearly wasn't strong enough because if it was - he would have accepted me.
For a long time, I thought my destiny was with the Hunters but that wasn’t true. They gave me the skills to fight and make a stand. You don’t just give up because you’re scared. You don’t just let things happen. You have the guts to do what’s right even when everyone else just runs away.
Everything I’ve been through has been leading me here, to this point in my life. To use my powers and abilities to save this world…
“You have an incredible mind…” he whispered and stopped my train of thought.
“You’re reading my mind?”
“I can’t help but hear your thoughts. You’re practically shouting them to the world.” he laughed. My cheeks flushing red from the embarrassment. “It’s alright, I love how your mind works.”
A little while later...
We headed to the celebrations where I signed the Peace Treaty next to the signature of the King and Isaac. The crowd eagerly watching and then applauding. The night continued on and everyone wanted to shake my hand and talk to me about the changes to the Kingdom.
“Penelope, I forgot to give you something.” Mum said. She handed me an envelope with just my name written in familiar writing…
“There’s no address so it was hand delivered by someone.”
“I know who it’s from.” I said.