Waking Other Lives

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Chapter 42: Takeover

I watched as a black haired breathtaking girl ran towards Seth. I drew back; I knew who she was, it was her, the fiance. He allowed her to hug him, his eyes wary, and apologetic as they searched for mine. I nodded and smiled, assuring him that it was okay. He mouthed the words thank you, in gratitude.

“Dante,” the King said, as he hugged him fiercely, patting him on the back. “You are back,” he said. “I knew the ingredients of that vial would eventually work, I never gave up on you, boy.”

“The sedative does not work, I was mistaken,” said Seth.

“Well, it has worked this time, how else do you explain this?” the King said, showing Dante. “We just have to work harder in understanding how and when it cures; that’s it.”

The King was huge, broad-shouldered, and there was not even a hair of white on his head, which to my surprise did not hold any majestic crown. His eyes looked exactly like Dante’s, a vibrant green, yet they held the seriousness of Seth’s eyes. But, nobody could dispute the look of love for his sons.

“Where are they?” a shaky voice said, belonging to a woman in her early fifties. She had dark honey colored hair loosely put in a bun, around which sat a crown. It was ornamented with a thin string of red purplish ruby hearts outlined in green emeralds, which represented the colors of the palace. She was wearing a long slim dress of purple painted silk chiffon with overlays of shimmering green thread. She looked exquisite, as her skirts and long sleeves flowed with each move of her body, creating a dream-like effect.

“My Queen,” others said bowing and allowing her to pass.

The family union took me by surprise; they looked normal in their emotional outburst, so much like my parents, despite being the King and Queen of a whole race of Drakons.

“What the hell are these humans doing here?” asked the King when he finally noticed Elvan and my presence in the scene. “Isn’t that the witch who took Dante? Why is she here?” he bellowed pointing at Elvan. The Drakons immediately held Elvan and me in a tight grip, before Seth and Dante could even intervene.

“Stop,” Seth ordered. “Nobody touches them! They are under my protection.”

“Hell yeah, they are also under mine,” Dante said.

“They are humans, Seth,” the King said. “What is she to you?”

Seth looked at Nicole apologetically. “I didn’t want you to find out like this. I’m sorry; I thought we would have the time to talk about this,” he explained.

“Explain what?” Nicole said, touching him uncertainly.

“Sierra is my mate.”

Nicole was silent, but her face had fallen.

“Have you lost it, Seth? Has the witch done something to you, too? She’s a human, in case you’ve forgotten. We kill humans; we do not take them as mates,” the King shouted. “I want them executed, right now and this nonsense will all end, you’ll see.”

“I can’t allow that,” Seth said. “I don’t want it to come to this, but don’t force my hand father. I will not allow them to be harmed.”

“Neither will I. Let them go, right now!” Dante moved threateningly.

“Seth, Dante, please,” the Queen intervened. “I’m sure we can talk about this. Why don’t we handle this in a more civilized manner over dinner?” she said, trying to soften the atmosphere.

“There is nothing that can be handled here, don’t you see they are both under the influence of the witch? They are not themselves.”

“Father, don’t let me do this. You know I will. I will not let anyone hurt her, you know what it means to find one’s mate, how hard it is, and I found mine. Do you think I will let any harm befall her? Not to mention, none of us would have been here had it not been for Elvan. Do you understand? Not me, and certainly not Dante. You should be grateful to her. I beg you, stop this nonsense right now!”

“What nonsense! You will marry Nicole, and that’s that, just as you promised. Take the humans to the dungeon.”

“Father, I’m not bluffing,” Seth warned once more. As they started dragging us, I heard a voice so deep, so commanding, so non-human, that I would not have ascertained its source to be Seth, not in a million years.

“As the master Uruloki of Rawonia, I order you to let the humans go,” he said. Seth’s voice traveled all the way through my body, and created tingles all over, even taking me under its influence. The Drakons, including the King, were already under its spell and we were immediately let go without any further debate. When I turned around, everybody was bowing in front of Seth.

The King had a defeated expression, and the Queen looked shocked.

“Seth?” the Queen said.

“I know mother, once the Master Uruloki command is used, there is no turning back. But, he left me with no fucking choice,” he said, sadly.

“What just happened here?” I asked, not fully grasping the importance of the command, or why it worked.

“I am now the King,” Seth said, obviously not thrilled with what he’d done. “No one can deny the Master Uruloki, and thanks to you, I am still that.”

“Thanks to me?” I asked, astonished.

“Yes, Sierra. You restored my tattoos.”

“There is no way we can save the Drakon race now, Seth. We will have a full rebellion in our hands. A human Queen? My goodness son, you have ruined us all,” the King said, as he walked away.

The human queen? Did he mean me? That was certainly going too far, wasn’t it? I was not interested in being the queen, and I certainly didn’t want the position.

The Drakon Queen afflicted; she didn’t know whether to stay behind or follow her mate.

The House of Drakons had been shaken, the King had been ousted, and dreary days seemed to be ahead.

I was sitting in Seth’s large room with Elvan when the door knocked. What stood at the other side blew my mind away, it was Travis and Mina who were completely healthy looking, as well as Pietro whose kindness had touched my life, even if for a short time. I hugged my thirteen years old brother, as I’ve never hugged him before, squeezing the life out him with kisses. If I were to stay in this world, I would need him. And, I no longer sought Payal and Abby’s presence, everything I had with them had been a whole mass of fake and after listening to the details of Elvan’s memory of Abby killing Seth; I wanted to strangle her myself. I had made good friends in here, both Drakon and human, and I could do be content with what I had in this world. As long as failing the mission did not make our bodies vanish into thin, all would be fine. I would miss my parents, and my grandma, but I would make do, I didn’t have a choice.

There was one thing I had not delved into yet, but I needed to know. So, I asked about Baran.

“I would not say his name in front of Seth if I were you,” Elvan said. “Look, he did seem to have an understanding with Hayley. That’s pretty much all I can tell you. I haven’t talked to him, or seen him, not after what happened to Seth.”

It was Mina who intervened. “Wow, I’m still having a hard time switching from human-Baran team to Drakon-Seth team here, to tell you the truth. This is all very sudden for me. I’ve been having a hard time accepting that I’m even here, living among the Drakons, the very Drakons I’ve vowed to fight my whole life,” she said.

“Are you telling me?” chuckled Elvan. “That charming Prince is making me forget it, but I’m so on edge here.”

“I have known Seth’s identity for some time now, and I haven’t been enemies with the Drakons, not the way you all have, so I understand where you are coming from. But, the way I see it, there is no need we cannot forge some peace here among the species.”

“They are not that bad,” said Pietro. “In fact, some of them are quite lovely.”

“Baran has loved you all your life. Are you sure you are making the right choice here Sierra? “Mina asked. It was obvious Mina the one who was still struggling with the idea of collaborating with the Drakons; she felt it was a betrayal of humankind. Though she was not saying it, her face was quite expressive.

“My heart has already chosen Mina; it’s not something that will change. It’s always been Seth for me; I know that now. Even back at home. As to Baran, I don’t know what to think about him, to be honest. I agree with you; I think in his way, he loves me. And, I have to give him credit for the many things he’s helped me with. First and foremost, he’s helped me escape at a time when I felt forsaken by Seth,” I said.

“Baby girl, don’t you know it was Seth who arranged your escape?” Elvan said.

“What?” I stuttered.

“There were no guards that night, and how do you think we got the sedatives? ” Elvan said.

“Yes, it was Seth who asked Baran to get you out of there. I know because I was there hiding when the two were talking,” confirmed Travis.

“I see. That’s certainly news to me,” I said, feeling an inexplicable warmth spread to my body. The knowledge that Seth had always cared meant the world to me. “I wonder what they are doing, right now? I mean Seth and Dante,” I said. “I worry, you know. As much as we hate being in here, the Drakons hate us being in here. And, apparently, our presence, and the broken engagement will mean more Drakon fratricide. I’ve once seen Drakons fight with one another, but I didn’t know the extent of things. Apparently, it’s bad. And, it will get worse now.”

“Has he talked to Nicole yet?” asked Pietro. “That girl is not to be trifled with. She’s in love with Seth, and the idea of being a Queen. And, she won’t let go easily. At least, that what Kristen tells me,” said Pietro.

“He was going to talk to her tonight. I hope things won’t get nasty between them. That would be such a waste of what had once been a good relationship, a good friendship,” I commented. “Seth is very fond of Nicole. It would hurt him very much.”

As hours passed by, we all felt tired, and they all went back to Kristen’s place. I took a shower, for the first in a very long time, feeling the warm water touch my skin. It was pure bliss; it was heaven. As I was lying in bed clean, and almost happy, the door knocked again.

It was Elvan. “Did you forget something?” I asked her. Her expression was frozen, her eyes not blinking. “Child, there is little time left, did you find the heart of Rawonia?” she asked, using the voice I thought I would never hear again.

“Grandma!” I exclaimed.

“Did you?” she asked, her fingers pressing on my skin, urging my attention.

“No. Not really. But, I found Abby, and she told me all about the mission, all about killing Seth, the Drakon Prince. I’m sorry, I can’t do it, grandma. I’m so very much sorry, but I can’t kill him, I love him,” I cried. I felt so terrible, here I was trying to justify why I was leaving her to her fate to die, why I was abandoning the mission. Mine was an act of pure selfishness. There was no excuse for what I was doing, yet acting in any other way beyond me.

“Ssh child. Abby is not the heart of Rawonia; I believe I asked you to find the heart. Nothing else will do. Do it Sierra. Or, all will be forsaken,” she said, and then she fainted.

“Elvan, are you okay?” I asked, trying to bring her back.

“Whoa...That was insane,” she said. “Will you do it?”

“Do what?” I asked.

“Find the heart of Rawonia, of course,” Elvan said.

“You heard her, right? Again. That’s amazing. I wonder what’s special about you.”

“An absolute nothing,” she said, laughing. “I think you should do it.”

“Yes, I will do it. I have to, at least to make sure I have tried it all, before giving up,” I said. “Hopefully, Seth may be more receptive to the idea of taking me there this time.”

I was too restless thinking about how Seth would react, whether he’d help, that I found myself pacing in the room, and after some time had passed, it was impossible for me to stay in the room any longer. I just had to find him. Impatience dictated my moves as I found myself leaving the room despite Seth’s warnings to stay inside. Instinct led me, as I walked within the Palace walls, trying to locate Seth. I was not disturbed by the Drakons I came across on my way, in fact, each one of them chose to ignore me. When I was about to return to our room, I spotted the garden, the moonlight shining through the tossing spray of the fountain, throwing tracery of shadows on the faces of a couple sitting just across it. I saw the heaving shoulders of a sobbing woman as the man tried to console him, his arm wrapped around her back, his lips whispering words I could not hear. It did not take me long to recognize who they were. I wanted to respect their privacy, I wanted to go back, and simply disappear, allowing them this moment out of respect for their past, yet it was as if my feet were nailed to the spot. I found myself hiding behind a tree, and my ears were attuned to their speech.

“Please don’t cry, Nicole.”

“I don’t know how to accept this. I love you, and I want you to be happy. But, you were always mine, and now you no longer are. It hurts,” she said. “I don’t know whether I’m strong enough to accept this,” she said, her small delicate hands were shaking as she tried to wipe away her tears.

Damn, I hated seeing them so close to one another like that, but I was not heartless. I did sympathize with her, after all, I had done this to her, and she was hurting.

“Do you love her?” she asked, and I was all ears again.

There was silence, which freaked me out. I then heard him sigh. “Are you sure you want to hear the answer to that?”

“I don’t want to hear it,” she said, burying her head in his chest.

I just wanted to break them apart; my hands were shaking with rage and jealousy.

“Look, one day you will find your mate, too. And, then you will see I’m a poor substitute for him.”

“So I was a poor substitute for her?” she asked, crying again.

Oh hell, she was forcing my patience. Enough was enough!

“Nicole, please, just let try to accept it.”

“Oh, I can’t. I don’t know how,” she said, looking at him with her wet innocent looking eyes.

I could not take it any longer, I just walked away, marching towards Seth’s room. This was torture, and I was far better off ending it. I put on one of Seth’s large t-shirts and got in bed, trying to forget the horrid scene.

It was completely dark when I heard the door knock in the middle of the night, the space next to me in bed was untouched, so Seth was still out there somewhere. I forced my eyes open, dragging my feet to the door. Was it Elvan again? The thought woke me up real quick. I couldn’t miss a message from grandma. I opened the door to find Nicole standing at the other side.

“We need to talk,” she said, though there was no trace of the sad, hurt woman she’d displayed amply in the garden. She pushed her way in, and I followed.

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