Scarlet glanced behind her, lifting her head from her book as the doors to the library opened. Seeing that it was merely the King, she sighed and relaxed once more. He entered, closing and locking the door behind him. Scarlet silently closed her book, and watched him. “An extremely drunken, admittedly also very happy, Theo has been sent home safely. Peron has seen to it.” Scarlet sighed, resting her book in her lap.
‘At least someone had fun tonight.’
The King came up to her seat, resting his hands on her shoulders. “Come now, it wasn’t that horrible.” Scarlet looked up to him, his adoring gaze reassuring her. If there was one way the King hadn’t look at the Queen tonight, it was as he was doing to her.
‘I shouldn’t have come tonight. The Queen has never liked me.’
The King squeeze her shoulders, lowering his face until his lips the curve of her neck. “Yes, but my wife doesn’t truly like anyone. Not even her so called friends- all of whom I didn’t invite tonight and she never said a word of.” He kissed her then, in a sweet spot. “Don’t take it to heart.” Looking at him, Scarlet smiled when he kissed her cheek. She wasn’t going to allow it to reach her heart. It barely penetrated through her leather corset. Because the facts at the end of the day, the King was with her and not his wife.
‘You’re not going to join her tonight?’
“Why would I be here if I was?” The King kissed her, softly. Moving back, he kept the distance between them small. Just enough to allow him space to move to fully face her. He kissed her again when he could, the second and third one each rougher and deeper than the last. The fourth one, the King frowned. “What’s bothering you?” Scarlet shook her head, running her fingers down the sides of his face. “No, tell me. Something is bothering you. Are you still thinking about dinner tonight? Was it about our discussion of the Slave Trade?” Scarlet looked away, and shook her head. Standing, she sunk next to the fire place.
‘It’s about this morning. Those poor people. I’m angry about it all.’
The King followed her, taking her hands within his. “I know, we all are. I made the official announcement this afternoon and shortly after launched a counterraid against a few of their mountain bases. Tomorrow I have phone meetings all day. I’m hoping that my agreements of allies with Kuko and Irn might gain me more public support. They are our closest neighbors.” Scarlet nodded, feeling comforted by his words. The King had come to trust and confine to her on many matters, and she found her once little bit of knowledge on politics more expanded than it had ever been. “Atios and Seustad are my next concern. The Endless Mountains block everyone else from us. They’ll have no reason to join any treaty just yet.” Scarlet squeezed his hands.
‘I have faith in you.’
“I love you.” Scarlet tensed at the words as they came from the King’s mouth. They flowed so smoothly from his lips- as water would. He said them to her so many time, those three simple words. Three simple words she had never said back.
Scarlet struggled to her robe on over her nightgown, one sleeve sliding off of her shoulder. Opening her door, Vern stood there with a package in his hands. “Good morning miss Scarlet. This came just right now, I believe it’s from the seamstress.” Releasing the hold on her robe, Scarlet clapped and grabbed the package. Thanking him, she closed her door once more. Tossing the box to her bed, she pulled her curtains open and was over taken with the morning light. Rushing back to the box, she gleefully tore away the brown paper. Dropping the lid of the box to the ground, she pulled out the top of her new two-piece sleeping set. Though pants had become a staple piece in her everyday wear, this was the first pair she had made meant to be slept in. Holding the top to her chest, she spun around once. Dropping the top back in its box, she slid out of her night grown and robe. Walking into her closet she drug through a draw and slipped into a pair of under garments. Grabbing one of her training outfits, Scarlet carried it to the bathroom.
During the passing of the summer, Scarlet’s lessons with the King slowly trickled away to a point that they were no more. There was no point. He understood her nearly as well as Renee, and the tension between Drale and Voirol needed his attention. The Silent War could only build up so much. With her days now fully free, and the memory of fainting after her trip to the Navy base still fresh in her brain, Scarlet devoted herself to training. Throwing knives, swords, spears, the bow, hand to hand combat, the dagger and even her own power. If she could learn and practice it; she did. Claudia and Pals, until her pregnancy physically stopped her, were both willing to teach her whatever she asked of them on one condition. They preferred her to focus on only one or two, to perfect the methods and learn the basics of anything else. Scarlet chose the throwing knives and her own power. The only way she ever truly live to what she was meant to be, was to expand her personal powers to their max. Renee, being she had no powers nor desire to learn more, focused her power solely to the sword. That was another thing Scarlet seemed to have lost during the hot season. While she and Renee had agreed to be friends once more, the friendship was different. It lacked the comfort of faith and total trust that it once held. Thus, the two were less likely to go to each other’s room at night, staying up late talking; and more likely to exchange polite conversation before going off in separate directions.
After a quick stop by the kitchen, where Ariana already had a piece of toast and an apple waiting for her, Scarlet went down into the belly of the house. Upon entering into the room, she was met by the small hustle of a few workers. Standing in the far corner, also Scarlet’s favorite spot, Pals held a bow and arrow; aiming at the foam target. Claudia stood a few feet beside her, knives tucked between each finger. “My mother is hoping for at least three, my father doesn’t really care, and Theo thinks it’s five!” Pals lowered her bow, shaking her head. “Well, you are rather large Pals. I can see how your sister sees five. Though I have my money on three. What does Rony think?” Claudia threw a set of knives, each one hitting a piece of the bullseye. Scarlet headed to the center mat to stretch and Pals lifted her reloaded bow once more. “To be truthful, Rony just want whatever comes out of me to be healthy. Personally I’m praying for twins. I can’t imagine taking care of one pup, let alone five.” Pals shot her arrow, and lowered to reload once more. “Well, what are the chances of you having one pup this time around?” Claudia pulled her knives from the wall, walking back to her throwing point. “Slim to none. It’s unheard of a werewolf only giving birth to a single pup. Litters are so common it’s painful. And by painful, I mean painful to the women who bear them all.” Pals released her last arrow, and lowered her bow. “I already told Rony I wasn’t going to willingly bear anything more than five pups total. We just have to be careful during my heats. I refuse to allow my body to become a factory.” Pals pulled her arrows from the wall. “I feel ya Pals. I feel you. It’s why I’m happily single. Klaus started to see someone seriously recently and she drove straight into the subject. The woman’s a total lunatic. Not to mention roughly 2,000 year younger than him.” Claudia threw another round of knives. Pals gave small smile, though her voice seemed even flatter than normal. “Rony is 80 years old than myself, you know. And I trained with the girl years ago, during a trip to Lubas. She seems fair and is strong in her combat skills. Plus I believe your brother brought her to my wedding. Isn’t she coming today?” Claudia nodded her head, “Yes, I invited her to come around ten. She should be here soon. She just got back from a trip to Lubas, had some family matters to take care of there.” Pals lifted an eyebrow. “Like what?” Claudia rolled her eyes. “Family drama, which I can understand but all I hear from my brother is how much he misses her and blah-blah.” Pals gave another small, quick smile.
It was so strange to see Pals express herself. It was nothing compared to a normal being, or Theo, but it was emotions. Before she always remained stone faced in front of Scarlet. She was sure that the werewolf smiled- she had others who cared for her and she cared for others. She had friends. But she never expressed herself in front of Scarlet. Not until her wedding. Even after then, when she returned from her two week long honeymoon, she remained cool. It was only around the time of announcing her pregnancy that her hard exterior begun to crack. A low side comment from Theo blamed the hormones coursing through Pals’ body. Newly mated and expecting pups tended to turn even the hardest piece of stone to a piles of pebbles. Or so Scarlet was told. She didn’t quite believe it. Having sat in a few minor meetings with the King and his high officials, Scarlet had seen the stone mask come back. Whatever cracks were there, nor whatever put them there, Pals had no issue hiding. Her cracks were only shown to those who she seemed truly comfortable around. Scarlet was grateful she was one of those few.
“Good morning Scarlet.” The two finally took notice of her, but it was Pals who greeted her first. The smile was gone from her face, but the mood of the room did not change. “My gibbon! Good morning, didn’t even hear you come in!” From where she was stretched out on the ground Scarlet waved. Scarlet watched Claudia stick her knives back in their holders along her belt as she moved towards her. “So, whatta we going to do today?” Moving into her next stretch, Scarlet found her balance before responding.
‘Powers today. I going to start focusing more on them.’
Claudia nodded, not questioning her. “Very well, I’ll go get the weights. I expect you to pick me plus three sets up today.” Claudia stood, signaling for her men to move three racks of different sized and shaped weights to the center of the room. Once there she helped them spread them out among the mat. “Set yourself.” Scarlet took her stance, and a few of the aids took their places. “On your mark Pals.” Pals, who had gone back to her bow, didn’t turn to watch. “Go!” The men charged first. The one on Scarlet’s left wielded a sword, the right had his wrapped fist up in the air. Focusing on the sword man, because of his larger weapon, she quickly flicked out two knives. They landed in the man’s protected vest but he fell back as if he was injured. Turning just in time to duck from a swing from the second attacker, Scarlet jabbed a knife into his shoe. Careful to miss his actual body, the man was stuck in place. Rising back up, she took a quick swing at him. Her fist hit his jaw bone, and with a very real crack; the man fell to the ground. Knowing she had at least a few moments before the next attack, Scarlet extended her powers, the invisible tentacles quickly sliding to the ground from her body. Wrapping around Claudia and the weights she barely had them off a ground before they bounced. She had been hit from behind in her side. Keeping one hand out, she shot the other to her side. Blindly reaching the man with her powers, she forced him into the air. He flipped over her, landing in a huff. He was quick to recover and was now charging full force at her; a knife in hand. A dagger shot from her boot into her hand, and was up in time to block his attack. She pushed the knife away, but he was back on her once more. This time he applied so much pressure that her wrist released the weapon as it went flying back. From the clanging it made, she knew it was far from her grasp and now a lost cause. Unarmed, out of knives and with the man coming back for the final shot, she did the only thing that came to her mind. Run. She ran towards the attacker, swinging out a leg as she did. Her hands caught his arm as her foot made contact with his knee. The man let out a small cry, falling to the ground. Seeing her chance, she twisted back his arm. Forcing him to the ground, she sat on his back. Grabbing his head, she pushed it into the mat, once and hard. The man went limp but his chest was still heaving.
Claudia clapped from where she was floating in the air. “Good, good! And look- you didn’t drop anything when you focused your hands elsewhere! That’s a first!” Scarlet smiled, climbing off of the man. He stood as soon as she was off, as did the other two men. Reaching a hand out, she lowered everything, including Claudia, back to the ground. Claudia looked ready to say something, but a voice behind them had the two girls turning. “You were just floating!” Standing in the doorway was a ghost. Or, the vampire’s pallid appearance gave her the illusion of death. Not even a little vein was visible, her slightly tipped eyes lacked any pupil. “Kay, right on time. Wonderful, please join us.” Claudia greeted the vampire- Kay. As she came closer, Scarlet could see that Kay did indeed have pupils- but they were as white as the rest of her eyes. “So if you were just floating, this must be the Blessed human. Hello, I’m Kay Hu.” Clasping her hands together, Kay gave Scarlet a small bow of her head. “Kay, this is Scarlet Solomon.” Scarlet looked to Claudia, who encouraged her to copy. She did. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Scarlet nodded, smiling. “So you truly can’t speak?” Scarlet shook her head. “That’s okay,” Scarlet noticed that despite having a rather musical voice, Kay always spoke as if she was out of breath, “who needs words when we have swords?” Looking fully at the new vampire, Scarlet took notice of the thin handle poking out over her right shoulder.
“Kay, it’s been much too long.” Kay looked past the two, to Pals. She was doing her best to not wobble as she walked towards them- bow still in hand. “Palsea, as I can see. Another congratulations are in order. The last time I saw you was at your lovely wedding, and now you appear ready for labor!” The two bowed heads to each other. “I’m still two months away, actually.” Kay gasped. “I could not even image. I’m going to guess we won’t be fighting today?” Pals shook her head, holding up her bow. “No, today I’m on the bow. I- wait,” Pals stuck her nose into the air, “do you all smell that?” Scarlet took a sniff, but only got the sour mixture of body sweat, plastic mats and metal. She wrinkled her nose, regretting the deep breath. The two vampires also seemed to miss whatever it was Pals was smelling. Pals took another deep sniff, “bacon. Ariana is making bacon wrapped chicken. I think I’m going to go take a break now. I shall return.” Tossing her bow to Claudia, Pals rushed from the room.
Slipping the bow over her back, Claudia chuckled. “Back to business, Kay, I asked you here because Scarlet has been expanding her fighting styles. I figure who better to teach her the ways of the North than you?” Kay’s black painted lips parted, revealing teeth as white as the rest of her body. “I’m getting to teach the Blessed human?” She squealed, and Scarlet cringed at the sound. “Oh this is amazing! I’m not even nineteen hundred years old and I’m teaching a Blessed human! This is so cool!” Claudia held a hand out to Kay, as if she was a wild animal she wished to tame. “Kay, calm down. Take away the powers and Scarlet is no different than any other human. Before you two start though, I want her to see what the North is all about.”
Calling over an aid, Claudia led them to a corner mat where they typically practiced their hand-on-hand. The vampire, who was easily larger than a bull and called such, pulled his shirt over his head as he headed towards his corner. Tossing it to the ground, he picked up a metal stick. With a simple swing it extended out into a staff. In her opposite corner, Kay removed her sword just long enough to remove her neck-sleeve piece, corset and over-layer. She remained left in a simple sleeveless top tucked into high waist leggings. Tossing her two side pony tails over her shoulders, she check the bun on top of her head. Her hair was as black as coal, yet there was a solid white strip that ran through the near-center of her hair. It was rather beautiful. Satisfied that it wouldn’t fall during her demonstration, she nodded once. Removing her shoes, she took a spot in the center mat. Bull followed, his staff in hand. “On my mark... Go!”
All Scarlet caught was Bull’s first attempt to side-sweep Kay. She sensed it, and was able to stop it- with her bare hands. After that point, it all so happened so quickly Scarlet could barely register it all. Kay pulled her sword out, and the sound of metal against metal mixed with the grunts and groans of the fighters. What Scarlet could notice, that unlike her rough hand on hand combat that had been taught to her; Kay and Bull were much more fluid. They aimed, and attacked in ways that Scarlet had never seen. At one point both lost their weapons- the flying things sent Scarlet and Claudia dashing for cover. The fight went on. Each move was precise, meant to hit an exact spot. Scarlet was shocked, to see such a sweet seeming and bubbly woman turn into such a monster. She held no mercy for Bull, nor did he offer her any. Though he towered over her, and was easily three times her size; she used it to her advantage. Turning, twisting and even flying through the air during- she used it all.
It was when Kay’s scream filled the air that the battle finally ended. Having grabbed Bull’s forearm, Kay twisted herself and threw the large vampire over her shoulder. He landed with a groan, and surrendered. Kay, who not only looked furious but held a flat hand straight at Bull’s neck, relaxed. Standing straight, the bubbly vampire had returned once more, no longer over shadowed by the monster. Smiling, she looked around. “Where’d my miao dao go?” Claudia held the sword out, hilt first to her. Kay thanked her, and placed it back in it’s scabbard. As Kay did that, Claudia looked to Scarlet. “So, you still think you want to learn the fighting of the North?” Scarlet looked between the two a few times, and quickly nodded her head yes.
“I would say dinner was divine tonight, would you not agree?” Scarlet nodded her head, gracefully becoming drunk from the buzz that came every time Cain’s lips met her skin. They were hidden away in her sitting room, the door locked. Together the two occupied a corner of the largest couch, a burning fire warming the room. Scarlet laid willingly in his embrace, his arms locking her to his chest. His lips brushed their favorite spot on her neck. Though her through were hazy, she could still remember the pure excitement on Kay’s face as she bowed to the King. Scarlet also learned that Kay was no average vampire, she was the only daughter of a long line of high ranking warriors. It didn’t surprise Scarlet too much, she had witness the little vampire take down Bull- one of Claudia’s best fighters. Until recently, though, Kay rarely left her home country of Lubas. Deciding to take some time to travel and see the land; was how she met Klaus. And then King of Voirol himself.
“Your thoughts on Kay?” The King’s hot breath hit Scarlet’s ear, and his lips kissed it.
‘She wild, but very skillful.’
The King nodded. “So I’ve been told. The only person who doesn’t really prefer her is Claudia. But she is the elder sibling, and I highly doubt any being will ever meet her expectations for her family.”
‘She likes me. Does she like the Queen?’
The King’s lips curled, “She doesn’t. She has enough in her to tolerate and produce kindness towards my wife.” Scarlet smiled at the thought, her whole body warming. Looking up to the King, she reached a hand out to his cheek. Pulling him in, their lips met. Unlike most of the sessions they had held together, the kisses didn’t start off soft or sweet. There was a bit of force behind it, right from the start. Turning her body, the King nipped at her bottom lip. She could feel his extended canines scraping at the flesh. She opened her lips, allowing him entrance. His hands moved from her waist to her hair. His fingers tangled through her short locks, the slight tugging made her body tingle from the pain. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she could feel the blood starting to rush through her body. His moved from her head, sliding down her sides. Feeling every curve. She dug her nails into his shoulders, bunching the fabric.
They stayed like that for an unknown time, exploring the other though never truly doing more. Scarlet lost all sense when she was with the King. When she finally pulled away, the mantle clock read eleven.
‘We should get to bed.’
The king nodded, agreeing with her. “I don’t want to leave you though.” Leaning forward, she pecked him with her lips.
The King said nothing, silent seconds ticked by. He suddenly sat up, sending Scarlet falling back. Catching her, he crushed his lips back to hers. Butterflies filled her from her toes to her head as the King stood. She wrapped her legs around him, grateful for her new sleeping pants. If not, then her night gown would have been up to her waist by this point. Breaking the kiss, Scarlet moved her lips across his face, trailing kisses. Her eyes were closed, but she heard a door open and felt the change in temperature as they entered her cool room. She wasn’t sure what to fully expect, but one moment there was nothing behind her back and the next she was on her bed.
His hands found their way under her shirt, moving to slip the garment off rather than unbutton it. The feeling of his nails gave her goosebumps. Her nipped at the area behind her ear, but not enough to draw blood. She still gasped, which was cut short by his lips. The kiss was stopped to pulled the fabric past her head. Throwing it behind him, the King looked down at Scarlet. Scarlet, her rising chest fully exposed to him, watched him. Shaking his head, the King begun to lean forward. “You’re beautiful.” He mumbled against her collar bone, slowly moving lower. She kept her hands on his shoulders, unsure of what to fully do. Closing her eyes when he met the valley between her breasts, her toes curled. His fingers curled around the band of her pants, easily undoing the two buttons holding it close. Allowing them to be pulled away, Scarlet opened her eyes, meeting his heated gaze. Feeling his hands on her outward thighs, they never broke eye contact. He moved back up, trailing his mouth from her navel. Locking lips once more, she dug her fingers into his hair. Feeling his hands move inward, she moved her legs outward to give him full access to her most private area. She gasped at his touch, the invasion of her body. The feeling strange and unknown to her. At the same time, it was welcomed and she craved more. Breaking their kiss once more, the King moved to her breast. Scarlet found her fingers clawing at the sheets, the kisses going to her navel, and then lower. Her body tensed, yet floated freely at the same time as the King sent her mind to places it had never been before. There was also a something in her lower belly, a new feeling which sparked and fizzled. Building up, there was an explosion so strong it sent her back and toes curling. Over her rising chest, she watched the King rise once more. He used a clean finger to wipe his lips, and then ran that finger over her own lips. Taking his finger into her mouth, she cleaned it. Freeing him, Scarlet brought her hands up and begun to tug at his clothes. Unlike the King, she pulled forcefully at his shirt. It popped open, and she even saw a button go flying over her head in the dim light of the room. With his chest fully exposed to her, she carefully ran his fingers over his lean chest. He was perfect. It was fitting that he was near immortal, because his body deserved to be seen by many. He placed his own hand over hers and moved them. Reaching the waist band of his pants, she undid his belt. The King, at the same time, unhooked the button. Once they were removed, Scarlet ran her fingers inward along his pelvic line. Stopping short, she looked up to him. He nodded. “It’s okay.” Nodding in response, and moved her hands once more; she closed her eyes.
Scarlet’s eyes flung open as she took a deep inhale. She sat up, black dots dancing throughout her vision. She was so confused. Looking to her left, she was met with the perfectly made, unslept half of her bed. Tossing her covers aside, she flung herself from the bed. She was fully dressed, not a button out of place. Running her hands over her head she rushed to her sitting room, but the fire place was cold. There was a single tea cup and pot on the table, along with her book, but no sign that if the King had been there last night. Was it only just a dream? She asked herself. If it was, why does it feel so real? Her body was still humming, as if the ecstasy she had experienced in her dream was real. Turning to face a mirror hanging on the wall, she examined her neck. It was bare, not a single bruise nor bite mark upon it. Rubbing her hands over her neck, she ran one until it reached the collar of her shirt. Scarlet crushed the collar in her grip, sliding down the wall. Coming to the ground, she brought her knees up. She had never had such a dream, never been so captivated that it was real. It scared her. The only thing that scared her more about her life-like dream was the urge deep within her, wishing that it had been true.