Chapter 15: The Proposition
I felt as if I was suffocating.
I hate this. I hate this atmosphere. I hate this world. I want to go home...
I missed my family. I missed Celic. I missed my freedom. Most important, I missed being able to feed without the need of pleasing anyone beforehand.
All I had to do was say my name.
Silver. My name is Silver.
It was hard to keep a steady breath while the atmosphere felt so dense that I could hardly breathe at all. I was awake—I knew I was, but my eyelids were far too heavy for me to open my eyes and my muscles were so weak that I couldn’t so much as move.
In a way, It felt as if I was undergoing sleep paralysis.
If this is what it’s like to be human...it sucks.
Though my senses were minimized, I knew I was not alone—I could sense the presence of someone else. However, I couldn’t pick up on a scent and only after intaking a couple of deep breaths was I able slowly open my eyes. My vision was blurry at first, and I was utterly confused as to where I was until I slowly gained focus and I scanned my surroundings.
I was in my room, and the memory of my last conscious state only added to the million questions going through my mind; I questioned myself.
How did I get here?
Who brought me here?
The last thing I remembered was being in Erebus’ room, then nothing. To add to my frustration, my Traveler’s ability kept flickering on and off—side effects from the lack of blood. And out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a familiar blonde sitting on the chair that was positioned alongside my nightstand, staring at me.
Her mouth moved, obviously speaking to me, but I couldn’t make out what she was saying.
When I realized it was utterly of no use—my ability wouldn’t work as long as I remained this way—I forced it completely off, her presence fading away. Next, my eyes landed on a tall, dark-haired, male standing by the doorway.
“I see you are finally awake.”
I furrowed my eyebrows, narrowing my eyes on him as I pushed my elbows back. I had shifted my weight to my forearms and attempted to sit up. Unfortunately, my body was too weak and I only found myself crashing back down until, in merely seconds, Mardel stood alongside the bed beside me. With his arms around my fragile form, he helped me up.
The apprehension and confusion I felt was hard to hide under my features, and my voice came at barely above a whisper, “Thank you.”
He gave me a small smile before placing two blood bags on my lap. “Drink up,” he stated.
Although I was utterly thrown off by his actions and demeanour, I didn’t hesitate to take one. I ripped the cap off, wrapping my lips around the small tube and squeezing the delicious red liquid into my mouth. Unfortunately, the pint of blood did not last very long, and as I moaned with the last few drops, I tossed the empty bag on the nightstand and desperately took the bag on my lap.
Blood bags have never tasted so good…
As quick as the first one had gone, so had the last one and I was utterly frustrated. My body was not satisfied—I wanted more—but I knew it was enough to allow me to regain a small portion of my strength, which I was more than grateful for.
Almost instantly, my senses returned to normal and I hesitated when I reverted my sight and attention to the man standing before me with a smirk on his face.
“W-Why are you looking at me like that..?” my voice trailed off.
“I have never met anyone with the Traveler’s gift before,” he mumbled. His gaze shifted away from my eyes to my silver-white hair and he stated, “I find you quite fascinating.”
The last time I had come across him, he backhanded me for bumping into him. Did Erebus see this? He did. Did he do anything about it? Of course not. Yes, he called on his attention, but besides sending a couple of glares his way, he merely sat at his throne and observed.
While I had returned to those thoughts, Mardel took the opportunity to sit on the edge of the bed, his feet still planted on the floor, and he asked, “Where are you from?”
“Not here,” I snapped. I wasn’t in the least bit intimidated by him. The only one who truly did intimidate me was my grandmother, the big three, and Erebus. I often made snarky remarks to hide that fact, but when it came to Mardel, Zeus, or anyone else that even tried to scare me, those snarky remarks were not said to hide anything.
Still in the ridiculously revealing attire, Mardel’s eyes shamelessly slipped down and lingering my half-naked breasts as a dark chuckle passed his lips. “Quite an attitude for a slave,” he sarcastically added.
The sound of that word would never slip passed me without making my blood boil and I narrowed my eyes at him as I growled, “I am not your slave. I may be enslaved to him, but last time I checked, I’m still a pureblood and you’re still beneath me.”
He wasn’t fazed in the slightest and it only angered me more when he laughed with amusement, “I like it, the attitude. It’s a shame he’s suppressing you.”
His hand come up to my face and though I flinched away, he successfully caressed my cheek with a coldness that made a shiver run down my spine. “I wonder…” he stated as if he truly was pondering, “How long will it be till he breaks you?”
I clenched my jaw and spat through my teeth, “He won’t.”
My temper nearly flared when he winked at me and stood on his feet as he remarked, “We’ll see.”
What the hell?
I had parted my lips to speak, readying myself to say what I had been holding back for every time I came across Mardel, Erebus was always in my way. Unfortunately, this was no exception and I had to bite my tongue when my eyes landed on Erebus.
He had been standing at the doorway, but I knew it couldn’t have been for more than a minute because in the next, he walked in as if he hadn’t noticed Mardel’s actions. At the same time, Mardel nodded at him and didn’t give me a second glance as he took his leave.
Once I had averted my utter sight and attention to the muscular and very handsome vampire nearing the bed in which I sat, I noticed he carried two boxes in his hands. He placed them on the surface of the bedspread at the foot of the bed and said, “Shower and put this on.”
My eyebrows furrowed at him, I having been thrown off by his sudden approach. He had more than likely noticed this, because he then added, “The ball is tonight.”
Too much was going on that I had to take a moment to process before I realized that he said the ball was tonight. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of being in a room full of arrogant assholes was overwhelmingly exciting, but the fact that I didn’t want to be there for various reasons was already well established.
Erebus couldn’t see it, I had done my best to hide it, but I was utterly anxious about standing by his side as a slave. I knew that the vampires or anyone that took residence in the Supernatural realm would be unlikely to attend, but the possibility that someone would was very much there.
I may not have been known in the Human realm, but I was sure as hell very well known in the Supernatural realm—I would be recognized at first glance.
I never got to even attempt to convince Erebus—if I ever could—to allow me to skip out as his next words were, “And put some makeup on, you look paler than usual.”
And who’s fault is that?
My eyes narrowed on him and I growled, “I wouldn’t have to if you’d —”
He interjected as he spat, “That tongue of yours is going to have you looking gray if you don’t learn to bite it.”
Knowing better than to say another word, I refrained from doing so. My hands had balled up into fists and I clenched them tightly, my knuckles turning white. I saw him move closer to me, and I prepared for whatever would follow.
He had such a way of getting under my skin and he knew it. When he came to stand but a few inches apart from where I sat, my head turning to him as he was beside me, he brought his hand up to my face.
I hadn’t so much as flinched, my anger not allowing me care of whether he was to attack me or not. His gentle touch was on the side of my face, his eyes capturing my own as he lowered to say, “Such a pity, you are.”
He shook his head, his hand falling away from me as he drew it into his jean pockets. “You best be ready by the time I get back or you’ll be spending the next five days in the dungeon,” he threatened.
I knew he was serious, but a part of me didn’t care. However, the part that did...was the one where I realized five more days of starvation meant five more days in which I’d be held back from escaping the way I planned to.
I had to do what he wanted. I had to gain, at least, a thread of trust if I wanted out.
“You have two hours.”
I stood before the life sized mirror, staring at myself as the royal blue dress that was in the box Erebus left at the foot of the bed hugged me perfectly. He had quite a taste, picking a color that suited my pale skin and made my eyes look like beautiful marbles. My back and neck were at full exposure, my arms concealed by shimmering lace sleeves that had silver beading sewed along with the rest of the dress.
My eyes briefly flickered to the silver heels on my feet, and when I returned my gaze to the reflection on the mirror, my eyes locked with a pair of hazel-green ones. I wasn’t startled, instantly recognizing Erebus’ presence. I had expected him and the fact that he returned exactly two hours later was rather...impressive.
His body lightly brushed against my own as he stood so close behind me, his lips lowering to grace my exposed shoulder. My hair had been held up by a beautiful silver hairclip that he apparently wasn’t fond of because in the next moment, he grabbed it and drew it away. My hair elegantly fell, bouncing at the ends as I had ironed it into curls.
“Exquisite,” he murmured softly.
“Thank you,” my voice didn’t sound like my own, it being merely above a whisper.
The moment was sincere, Erebus’ eyes locking with my own and remaining so for a while. Neither of us wanted to look away, and It felt as if time had stopped. I could tell he experienced the familiar feeling on his end because he looked at me with a great gentleness in his eyes.
His arms wrapped around my waist, my breath catching in my throat as he pulled me closer, if possible, and averted his gaze to the still vein on the side of my neck. There was no pulse, our bodies being warm with a still heart that served as nothing but a weakness.
The hair on the back of my neck stands, watching as his fangs elongate. They brush against my fragile neck, my head willingly tilting for him as I emitted a very audible gasp. My breathing grew erratic, a heat gathering between my thighs as his touch embraces me. There was a smirk that played on his lips and I knew, by the dangerous look in his eyes, he wanted nothing more than to try to take me then and there. However, there were more important things to be handled, like whatever his purpose was in having me stand by his side tonight.
With the same gentleness, his arms untangled from me and he turned me to face him as his fangs constricted. I had already tilted my head back to look at him, giving him my utter attention as he spoke, “You know the rules, behave. I will not have you embarrass me upfront a crowd. If I have to, I will punish you then and there. Do I make myself clear?”
I didn’t resist, knowing I was in no position to do so. I nodded and mumbled the pair of distasteful words, “Yes master.”
“Good,” he stated shortly. His hand lowered to the small of my back, guiding me as he suggested, “Shall we?”
My heart stopped, following his guide as he lead me down the halls and to the entrance of the ballrooms where the set of double doors remained sealed. The guards that stood on either side eyed Erebus, waiting for his signal.
I knew the room was already full and they patiently awaited their King’s arrival. However, they were in for a big surprise as Erebus made sure no one had seen me until the moment was right for him. I was to be put on display for him for reasons that were not clear, for the exception of one: I make him look a man of greater power.
Every fiber inside of me was screaming with anticipation of disaster, but I had to appear as calm and as best as I could for him. He didn’t care what I wanted, he made that more than clear, he only cared about what I could do for him.
He was a selfish man—of that, I was sure. At least, I was until I heard the last words that came out of his mouth before we stepped into that room, “Impress me and I will feed you till your strength is fully restored.”