Chapter 25: Fear Is Strength
“Are you fucking happy now?!” Hunter snapped.
For the past hour, he refused to get a hold of himself. He lividly paced back and forth as what seemed to be endless growls and snarls erupted from the back of his throat.
I knew I wouldn’t hear the end of it.
Knowing my reckless little brother, it came of no surprise to me when he picked up one of the chairs stationed across from my desk and threw it across the room. A loud thud followed, the chair shattering against the wall and falling to the floor in debris.
I sighed in frustration and in irritation. I was more annoyed with Hunter’s reaction to the situation than I was worried about the men who came to threaten my authority and my life. Their appearance hadn’t thrown me off. In fact, I knew it wouldn’t be long before the they decided to show up; however, what did surprise me was that they’d only come to threaten me. Normally, they don’t make an appearance unless they are to take care of business.
It’s usually the lesser ones that deliver warnings or messages.
Nonetheless, I saw no reason to panic as I saw no reason to excuse Hunter’s reaction either.
There are more important and urgent things…
Although those three...the Big Three, they had everything against me, I was more concerned with capturing of the witches that mocked my authority; they had been my priority since the issue was brought to my attention. The Seekers? All they did was erupt even greater unnecessary attention, and now that attention lies within the walls of my home.
“You never listen to a goddamn thing I have to say. I t—”
“Give it a rest, Hunter,” I scoffed. I had lifted from my chair, brushing myself off as I calmly stated, “I know what I’m doing.”
My response may not have been the best that I could have given because it only rattled Hunter up even more. I wasn’t sure what it was exactly that bothered him so much: the fact that I ultimately did not care about what our superiors claimed they would do or that I did not care about the way he felt about all of this.
“Do you? Huh? Do you really?” Hunter spat. “Because if this was part of your plan, you’re fucking stupid!” He slammed his hand against my desk and a deep growl emitted from the back of his throat.
There was a desperate look in his eyes and it was when it seemed that he had finally calmed down that I was thrown off. He was so angry because he was afraid for me; I wasn’t sure how to react to it or what to think of it.
“They’re going to kill you…” he muttered in a quivering voice of defeat.
“They can’t kill me without pissing off the entire vampire race,” I sighed. I felt an obligation to comfort him. I did my best to do so, placing my arm on him and lightly patting his shoulder. I added, “Retaliation by exposure is far more dangerous than drawing attention.”
His eyes stared into mine. The hard look had briefly softened but quickly reverted when his muscles stiffened and he furrowed his eyebrows as he whispered in disbelief, “You think they’re bluffing… They don’t care, Erebus. They will kill the entire vampire race if they have to.” He shook his head, desperately trying to make me understand what I knew he truly believed deep down.
For a moment, he became pitiful. He reminded me of the helpless little boy that begged the Seekers to let him stay with his family before they took him away—before I told him to man up and take the responsibility as it came.
“I have work to do,” I said, moving around him and toward the set of double doors. “I’m sure you can show yourself out.”
“Stop acting like it’s not a big deal!” he snarled. “What about Kay?!”
My footsteps ceased. I froze on the spot and hoped, for his sake, that he wouldn’t say another damn word.
“You may not give a damn, but she needs you!”
I had enough. He struck a nerve that he really shouldn’t have. The irritation and annoyance he had caused me with his outburst was far from enough to make me lose control, but this...no one ever dared accuse me of not caring about that little girl.
My little girl.
He wasn’t far from my grasp, my hands swiftly catching him and clenching onto the front of his shirt as I slammed his back against the hard wall. I wasn’t sure if the hard thud that followed was that of the impact of his back of his head cracking against the hardwood.
“Kay means everything to me and you damn well know it!” I growled. I felt my eyes shift, pooling with darkness as my hazel orbs shifted to an inhumane golden color.
“Then start acting like it.”
He shoved me off, pushing me away from him. He harshly shrugged his shoulders, fixing the collar of his shirt. His nostrils had flared and his breathing had grown heavy, matching my own. With this, I had slowly returned to my senses despite him pushing for me to do otherwise.
“I don’t care what you think you can handle,” he said as he walked past me, brushing his shoulder against my own.
“I told you, I don’t need your h—”
“Yes, you do!” he had cut me off, not allowing me to say another word to try to stop him.
I knew he’d only get himself in trouble. After all, that is what he was pretty good at. I couldn’t do more to try to convince him of letting things go: he wouldn’t listen anyway. All I hoped was that he wouldn’t do something that he’d regret.
I wasn’t scared for his life. Sure, he was stupid, but he wasn’t stupid enough to get himself killed.
When I returned to my throne room, Hunter and the other Seekers had gone. I walked into the room and found Genesee, Mardel and Zeus standing with Terrance and a pair of his men standing on either sides of him. On Terrance’s shoulder, he held a woman, still and unconscious.
I knew he only waited until I made my presence known before he decided to dropped her, mercilessly allowing her to collide against the floor as a worthless toy. A look of anger and need for vengeance rested on his face, but he did his best to keep his composure.
I appreciated it.
Whatever that woman had done to him, he had every means to dispose of her himself. I greatly respected him for the fact that he had contained himself and did otherwise.
“Well done, Terrance,” I praised him. I moved to him to shake his hand, and though hesitant, he took it and averted his hard glare on the woman to me with and an instant shift in his eyes. I could see through him and somehow, I knew that the hate he bared in his heart for this woman was that of one who holds against another that has claimed the life of a loved one.
In return, I gave him the reassurance that he needed: I promised that I’d take care of it by making sure she suffered a slow and painful death.
My name is Silver. My name is Hope. My name is Silver. My name is Hope.
Who am I..?
Memories spiraled in my mind and I couldn’t distinguish between which ones were real and which ones I was simply imagining. To make matters worse, I couldn’t remember who I was or who I was pretending to be. I knew I was in trouble, because if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be hallucinating nor would I be confused.
Ultimately, however, I knew one thing was real: Erebus. He was real. What I wasn’t sure of was whether he was good or bad.
I remembered all of these horrible things about him, things that I did not want to believe. Things that were a blur in my mind but deep down, I knew that he had hurt me. He had hurt me but my feelings toward him were uncertain.
I felt like...behind this veil of a monster that he was, there was something else; I just didn’t know what it was.
I had been sitting in a cell for hours and I had grown too weak to open my eyes. All of my senses had diminished and all that I had was the distant sound of water dripping onto the floor and it echoed in my head, leaving me restless. I just wanted to sleep.
But, I was sure of one thing: I was in and out of consciousness the whole time. For how long I was under I was unsure of.
“S-Silver…” I whimpered lowly, too low for my ears to capture.
“Drink,” Genesee’s voice came from a distance, but I didn’t understand what she meant.
At least, I didn’t until I felt a liquid soak my lips and a compelling taste filled my once-numb senses. I was instantly drawn in, consumed in a an uncontrollable lust and thirst for blood. I had been so corrupted that my eyes snapped open on their own and though my vision was blurry, one thing that was not: the sight of the blood bag Genesee held in her hand.
I wouldn’t let her hold it for a second longer: I snatched it from her, taking it into my own hand and squeezing it so that I wouldn’t have to so much as suck the blood through the straw-like tube. It filled my mouth and I gulped it down just as quick.
Unfortunately, the bag emptied in seconds, but I was still not done. It felt as if I had been ripped away from all of the happiness in the world and pulled back into a hell hole.
I guess...I never truly left it.
With the small amount of blood now in my system, my veins began to do their job again—I truly wish they had not. A pint wasn’t nearly enough and for this, my body torturously reminded me by creating a harsh pounding in my head and an intense drumming in my ears. Every bone and muscle in me ached.
I desperately looked around the room in hope that perhaps I’d find another source of blood, but all I found was Genesee lowered in one bended knee and Erebus standing at the far end of the room.
“Chain her up,” he said.
His eyes were looking elsewhere and though a part of me believed that he wasn’t talking about me, having me chained up, I feared for my life that I was wrong and I felt helpless. I did remember him promising me that I wouldn’t shed another drop of blood if I told him something—something that I didn’t remember—but I remembered that I complied. I did. For this, I wanted to cry and scream, angry at him, but I couldn’t do either. I was exhausted.
“Y-You promised…” I whimpered, and it was all I had in me.
“Come on,” Genesee whispered as she took my arm in her hand and helped me onto my feet.
“Genesee...” I called to her, begging her not to do as Erebus said.
I was confused out of my mind. Even more so when I saw Mardel and Zeus standing where Erebus stood when he first chained me up and whipped me, locking another woman’s wrists into the shackles that once kept mine.
It wasn’t me… He wasn’t talking about me…
I felt a great sense of relief in my heart, and the burden that once crushed my chest lifted. I felt a sort of satisfaction or happiness, but it was all gone the instant that Mardel and Zeus stepped back and all eyes were directed to me.
They and Erebus eyed me and again, I felt weak. I felt beneath everyone in the room. For this, I felt the need to at least attempt to try to prove otherwise and I pushed against Genesee’s help.
I didn’t want it. I didn’t need it.
“Let me go,” I breathed out through my teeth.
I was only able to look up at Erebus to see that he had nodded at Genesee, giving her orders to do as I said.
To do as I said.
When she released her hold on me, she stepped away and I quickly reached for the metal bars of the cell. She had helped me walk out of it, and now I was standing against it. I had kept my head bowed, my long hair falling over the sides of my face. I noticed that I still had nothing but my undergarments concealing my fragile body and my feet remained bare, thankfully.
If I had been left in the last pair of shoes I wore, I’d be stepping five-inch heels.
I exhaled a deep breath, trying to gather myself and the last bit of energy I had to walk out of here with the pride that told me that I could do this on my own. But, it wasn’t coming.
I tilted my head to a side, resting it against one of the cell bars. My eyes had remained glued to the floor, but in a moment of desperation, I looked up to search for something or someone to help me.
Instead, I found something that made my heart sink to my stomach.
“Hope,” Erebus called, but I did nothing to acknowledge him. Instead, in panic, I began my steps forward, toward the unconscious woman chained up before me.
For the first time, Erebus, King Erebus, had called me by something other than slave, but it didn’t matter to me. The sort of hope that I would have felt or have been grateful for that I was finally becoming more of a person to him than I was a toy wasn’t there.
It wasn’t there because when I took the final step to near the woman, I placed my hand on her chin and tilted her head up only to find that I…
I knew this woman.
“Doraime..?” I whispered.