Chapter 56: Relinquished Will
I held my baby girl closely as I sat at the edge of the bed, lightly rocking her in my arms.
“Sh...It’s okay.” I whispered as I placed the pacifier in her mouth, muffling her cries.
I watched her slowly fall asleep and a great sense of guilt washed over me. According to Genesee, Cam would only feed my little girl once a day. She would starve her and leave her to cry in the nursery room that Enos had made for her.
If I hadn’t been an idiot, my baby girl wouldn’t have suffered, Kevin would’ve had a little more time to live, and Silver would still be mine.
Not only had I failed my baby girl but everyone else as well.
I wanted Cam dead, but I was tired of seeking revenge. I wanted to protect my little girl, but all at the same time, I just didn’t have the strength to fight anymore.
I had given up. I only hate that my baby girl would pay the consequences for it.
A deep sigh left my mouth as I brought my lips to my little girl’s forehead and planted a gentle kiss. “I love you,” I whispered as I stood on my feet and walked to the baby crib residing not far from my bed.
I didn’t want to be away from my little girl, especially while I was asleep. So I decided to place the baby crib in my bedroom.
I pulled the light pink blanket out of the way, careful to lay her on the mattress before pulling the blanket over her fragile small form. My attention remained on her as I leaned on the rails, watching her lay peacefully.
It was peaceful and for a second, I felt this weight being lifted off of my shoulders. Unfortunately, just as it had gone, it returned with an unpleasant feeling of another’s presence lingering within the room.
My senses having automatically gone on alert, I prepared myself to attack whoever had taken it upon themselves to enter my room. Just as I was to turn on my heels, a woman’s voice echoed from behind me. A rather familiar one, one that slightly relaxed my nerves.
My eyes shifted to a side, a small sigh parting my lips as my gaze landed on Doraime. She looked down at my baby girl, studying her with a look of ease on her face.
I cleared my throat, pushing away from the rails as my gaze remained on Doraime, hers reverting to meet mine.
“What are you doing here?” I questioned.
“Well, hello to you too,” she mumbled sarcastically before crossing her arms just beneath her chest and taking a single step away from the baby crib.
I eyed her in uncertainty, the tense feeling on my shoulders slowly vanishing. “What are you doing here, Doraime?” I asked again, my voice holding authority.
She scoffed, “You don’t scare me Erebus. You have no power over me.” She pushed her hair away from her shoulders, she turned her back to me and began to wander my room. She carefully eyed the furniture before humming in approval.
“You are aware that there is one planning to take your throne, yes?” She asked in a matter-of-a-fact tone, her attention being captured by the dresser before slowly returning to me.
The second those words left her mouth, the thought of Enos flashed in my mind. Of course, he was the only one I would suspect. After all, I did kill his brother. If it wasn’t the throne he was fighting for, it would ultimately be for the loss of his sibling.
“I guess you do.” Doraime humorlessly chuckled.
I furrowed my eyebrows at her in confusion, questioning, “Why are you telling me this?”
For a while, she eyed me. It seemed to me that she caught herself asking herself the same thing. Though, after a while, her eyelids to fell shut, and she sighed. “I owe her,” her voice was low, but not low enough for me to miss her words.
Her gaze shifted and she seemed fixated on the dresser that had obviously really caught her attention. She continued, “For some unknown reason, she cared about you. Even after you were an...” She sighed, “I would say asshole, but that...” she shifted her gaze to meet mine, “Is an understatement.”
I couldn’t agree more.
She clicked her tongue, snapping her fingers before taking a couple of steps towards me. “Anyway…” her voice trailed off. “Part of the reason you enslaved her was my fault. I brought her here on purpose. I wanted the Seekers to kill you.” She hummed lightly and tilted her head as she shrugged, “I knew that if I killed you, Hunter would kill me. So, I planned on ridding the King by...somewhat forcing him to commit a crime.”
She scoffed, “Well, I didn’t exactly force you, but I did provide the bait. I knew that Silver would die before exposing herself. Which is why I saw it as an opportunity when she searched for someone who would bring her to this world.”
Suddenly, she turned her head to the side. It seemed as if her attention had been forced to the empty spot beside her and she eyed the area for a moment before slightly nodding. “Esta bien. Gracias,” she mumbled.
“I don’t have much time and neither do you,” her voice was wary, shifting uncomfortably where she stood. “You have to fight,” she breathed out.
“There is peace to come among our races, and if you die, that peace dies with you,” she paused for a moment, letting out a deep sigh. “I know you have given up, but I ask you to find something to fight for.” She released a shaky breath as she began taking steps to the darkest corner of the room.
I sighed, “I don’t have anything to fight for.”
“And your child?” She spoke quickly after I did, ceasing her footsteps as her back met the corner of the wall. “Is she nothing to fight for?”
I had merely taken a brief glance at the infant laying in the crib before I bowed my head, stating lowly, “I want to protect her. I just don’t have the strength to.”
She huffed in frustration, “You are the Vampire King, wielding both crowns, and you don’t have the strength to fight for your own daughter?”
The silent answer she received only seemed to upset her further. “Coward...” she growled. “Perhaps the Seekers weren’t so cruel in forcing you to live with this. It only disappoints me that it’ll end so soon.”
Her words stung, but I said nothing. I took what she had to say and I let it drown me in an even deeper pool of guilt. In the next moment, I shifted my gaze in search of her, but she had already disappeared.
Can I fight for her?
I wasn’t given the chance to think about it. I wasn’t given the chance to consider my options because just as sudden as Doraime had disappeared, Genesee appeared before me, the door swinging open.
“Erebus...” her voice trailed off in a shaky breath, her eyes holding despair.
At the sound of Celic’s rather eager voice, I was forced to wake from my resting state.
What. The. Hell.
I groaned, slightly turning my head to the side as my eyes landed on the clock on my nightstand.
I shifted my arms, pushing my elbows back to sit up as I watched Celic skip into the room. The lighting from the hallway blinded me for a couple of seconds, my voice being hoarse as I called out, “Celic...What are you doing up in the middle of the night..?”
I flinched at Celic’s loud gasp. “How could you have forgotten?!” She pouted. For a second, it seemed as if she were actually upset.
I brought my hand up to my face, rubbing my eyes as another groan escaping my mouth. “What are you talking abo—” Celic took hold of my wrist, the air leaving my lungs as she pulled me off of the bed and forced me to follow behind her.
It took me off guard, my unoccupied hand instinctively moving to touch my belly as I attempted to keep up behind her.
“Celic,” I called to her again, “where are you tak—”
“Sh!” She shushed me before taking a quick glance at me only to come to a halt and completely redirect her attention to me. She eyed me, her gaze wandering to my black yoga pants before landing on my pink tank top.
She smirked, “You look hella cute.”
I giggled and a big smile spread across her face before she, again, pulled on my wrist, forcing me to follow her down the staircase. “Celic, what’s going on..?” My voice trailed off as she pushed the dining room door open, revealing every Seeker, my mother, Celic’s mother, and Celic’s uncle, Elijah.
Uh...What did I do this time?
Confusion washed over me. My eyes scanned each of their faces till they landed on the cake stationed on the counter with the candles numbered “26”.
The second it dawned on me, they all yelled in unison. “Happy Birthday!”
I felt my blood rush up to my face, my cheeks heated up, and I instinctively brought my hands up to my face to hide in embarrassment. Still, I couldn’t stop the smile that crept onto my face as Celic wrapped her arms around me. “Congratulations, Silver. I love you,” she whispered before planting a kiss on the side of my head.
A knot formed at the edge of my throat as I pulled my hands away from my face. As hard as I tried to suppress my tears, they quickly built in my eyes. My vision immediately became hazy and just as they rolled off the brim of my eyes, my grandfather wrapped his arms around me and kissed the top of my head.
“Enough with the crying. I don’t want to see my grand-baby crying on her birthday,” he said to me.
It was a hug that offered warmth and it was nice. I missed it. He squeezed his arms around me tighter and pulled me up to his height, my feet coming at least a foot off of the ground.
“I love you, grandpa,” I spoke against his shoulder as he placed me back on my feet.
“I love you too, grand-baby,” he whispered against my ear before planting a kiss on my cheek.
The second he pulled away from me, the cheers died down and utter silence filled the room. It was obvious why they had suddenly decided to stop and stare. Everyone found out that I was pregnant the day that my father did, but no one had actually seen it. No one had actually seen me staying, with a belly that held another life.
After a while though, the atmosphere grew cold and a string of chills shot up my spine. The unpleasant presence that radiated through the room was one none could ignore and put us all on edge.
I was the last to shift my attention to the far end of the dining room, my gaze landing on a tall figure. It took but a mere couple of steps toward us before my grandfather stood before me and pulled me behind him, standing to protect me.
The sound of heels clicking made my muscles tense. Tarlac, Kenneth, and my grandmother being quick to get on a defense.
The lighting then cascaded the woman’s face, an uncertainty for relief or fear sending a hard wave of adrenaline through my body.
“Doraime?” I questioned as I hesitantly attempted to approach her. Unfortunately, I was only allowed to take a single step before my grandfather took hold of my wrist and forced me to come to an instant halt.
Low growls filled the air, my grandfather’s grip slowly tightening till I felt bruising beginning to form. For a second, Doraime seemed afraid. That was until the obvious look of helplessness washed over her.
She sighed, “I hate to be the bearer of bad news...If it is bad news to you, anyway...” her voice trailed off as her gaze lowered to my belly.
“I-Is…” her lips fell ajar and she paused for a moment, furrowing her eyebrows before reverting her gaze to meet my own. “Erebus’?”
I didn’t know what to say or what to feel. I…
...I was just as confused as she was about the entire situation. And, ultimately, I think she realized it too.
“I figured you would like to know…” she began again as I turned to look at the ground. “Erebus is going to let himself get killed.”
My heart sank. I felt sick all of sudden until the words that followed soon after made my blood boil.
“In a few minutes...You’ll be welcoming your new king, Enos, and his beloved, Cam.”