Celeste looks over Seraphine’s body and places her hands over her hip, healing the bullet wound we had found by lifting her shirt.
We had all congregated in the girl’s dining room as that is where we found Celeste. Seraphine is placed on the ground while Celeste tries to bring her back to consciousness.
Traegr had ordered everyone to come together for a meeting and I had no doubt we were all going to be questioned. I stood over Celeste’s shoulder while Sabir doesn’t take his eyes off me.
He was dying for some answers but I was just as confused as the rest of them.
Everyone was silent, the only girls that knew Seraphine were simply Celeste and I. The rest didn’t have their memory back yet and Kaelyn and the Seraphine Rebellion Squadron were still missing.
“Who recognises this girls face, huh?” Traegr asks boldly, his voice echoing in the large dining hall.
The girls simply look down or to the side, anywhere but his eyes. He was angry and was going to pick on anyone he could.
“Silence?” he continues, “Well isn’t that a dramatic change to the last week. You love to chat, I know you all never shut up when you get together but now you want to keep your mouths closed? Very interesting girls, I don’t suppose I should find that suspicious –”
His words grate on my nerves.
“On the contrary, Traegr, you don’t seem to be able to shut up!” I snarl at him, while keeping a steady hand on Celeste’s shoulder. I know she hesitates and she is finding it hard to heal Seraphine, “She can’t concentrate,” I hiss, lowering my voice when I see Traegr about to crack it so I whisper the last part through gritted teeth, “They don’t know a thing. Their memory isn’t... forget it, you won’t understand.”
“Oh I know all about your little chant you have to say before the memory that was taken from them, comes flooding back ,” Traegr growls back at me, uncaring if the girls listen in because they’ll have no idea what he is talking about anyway, “I found out what I needed last night from Celeste, she was eager to tell Sabir and I all we needed to know. We certainly didn’t need you around to get that information.”
“Go to hell –” my snapped response is cut off by the gasp coming from the girl on the floor at our feet.
All the slave girls suddenly start perking up, watching close.
Seraphine opens her eyes and quickly rolls onto her side, literally throwing up blood onto the floor.
“Breathe slow, Sera,” Celeste holds back Seraphine’s hair as she spits the last remaining blood onto the floor and it isn’t long before Seraphine is pulling away from Celeste. She shuffles backwards, scrambling to her feet with a terrified look in her eye as she turns around and takes in her surroundings.
“Where am I?” Seraphine blurts out, sounding completely terrified by the attention. Literally all the men and girls were just staring at her waking up on the dining room floor and the Dark Gems were keeping close. They were ready to pounce if need be.
“What a lovely surprise, Seraphine,” Traegr speaks up, coughing into his hand he tries to sound civil and I just roll my eyes. Her eyes snap to his and she just looks more confused.
“How do you know my name? Who are you?” her eyes suddenly focus on Hraken as he steps forward and reaches out a hand for her arm.
She jumps backwards, incredibly swiftly for someone who was just near death.
Celeste had helped her heal, but that didn’t mean she should be so quick on her feet so suddenly.
Hraken pauses and eyes her suspiciously as she looks at his hand with focused and hardened eyes.
“We just want to know,” I speak up and she looks at me, just as everyone else does, “We just want to know if... if you are the same Seraphine. Otherwise if you have no idea what I’m talking about... you are simply reborn as her, without her memories. Star Cursed. But – you’re wearing human clothes –” her eyes light up as I mention the word ‘human’ and she quickly speaks up.
“I was enslaved,” she says, “I am human.”
"Sure she is,” Hraken rolls the dry sarcasm off his tongue while keeping his full attention focused on her.
I see the panic in Seraphine’s eye and I decide to play along with what she was saying.
I thought it was impossible, but as I considered it, it was seeming more and more probable that she was lying.
I had to help make her story more believable.
“You don’t actually think that’s Seraphine, do you?” I interrupt, trying to convince them while also grabbing Hraken’s humoured attention. If she wasn’t the best with words – I was. I knew how to talk my way out of anything, especially with Dark Gems, “You killed her. You all did. She can’t possibly be Seraphine. She is simply reborn, somehow that happened on earth, perhaps because we were there, her spirit followed. Look at her, she is wearing human clothes, she is terrified and untrained and has no knowledge of her past life. We were not truly Star Cursed but she is!"
“Wait!” a slave girl in the crowd steps forward, raising her hand, she speaks out, “Excuse me, but what are you talking about? How could her spirit follow us there? If we aren’t Star Cursed, how do we look like the women they’ve been searching for... how come we’re all experiencing weird changes...?” as she speaks I recognise her as the girl who overheard Celeste and I the other day. When we mentioned Seraphine.
I knew that when she overheard our conversation she had become aware that truthful answers were yet to be revealed to the majority of the girls.
“We are just–” I try to respond but a hand slaps over my mouth. I look over my shoulder. Sabir had snuck up behind me.
"Enough,” Traegr steps forward, slicing his hand through the air to show he means business, “We’ve found out what we need to know about this new Seraphine, you lot can go back to work. You’re all oblivious and I like oblivious. So hurry up and do your chores before I start publically humiliating the lot of you! I can easily make you all work naked... so do as you’re told.”
I dig my nails into Sabir’s wrist to try and get him to release me. However, he doesn’t flinch as he holds me back into him.
Seraphine continues to stand there, looking shell shocked by everything. The girls hesitate but eventually scamper out of the room quickly before Traegr follows through with his threat.
“Sapphire, dear,” Traegr turns to me now while Celeste stands awkwardly to the side, not wanting any attention as the drama unfolded, “Perhaps you can fetch our new slave some clothes that will fit her from the washing room? Unhand her, Sabir.”
“I’ll be close by, sweetheart,” Sabir threatens me before he releases me. I pull away from him and turn around to glare at him and then Traegr.
“Don’t call me dear,” I snarl at Traegr, before turning to Sabir once more, “And you... don’t touch me!”
Celeste looks up at me now, looking a little guilty. She knew why I was so touchy and so did everyone else.
“Someone’s jealous,” Traegr mutters under his breath while smirking. He looks up to the other Dark Gems who are now amused by the turn of tone.
“Don’t you have a swim you need to do this morning?” Celeste suddenly pipes up, glancing at her King with a cocked eyebrow, but her attempt to try and sound sassy is failed by her gentle, shaky tone. Traegr simply smiles but with warmth and humour as he leans down to her and grabs her head, kissing her.
Her knees wobble and I know he is draining her from that kiss.
“I sure do,” he growls, as he pulls back and then completely ignores Seraphine while directing the Dark Gems, “Let’s go have some fun, boys. Nothing to worry about here. Slaves can do their slave business while we do what we do best. Rule.”
As they all laugh and head towards the exit, Hraken is the only one to remain.
Even Sabir leaves but I know he won’t be keeping his distance today. I had to look out for him in case he made any surprise appearances.
“Don’t you have better things to do than to just stare at her and intimidate her?” I snarl at Hraken, who can’t keep his eyes off Seraphine and is the only Dark Gem remaining.
“She is scared enough already,” Celeste adds in, turning in front of Hraken so she blocks Seraphine from his view as she puts a gentle hand to his cheek, “Go, we’ll look after her.”
“If the three of you get up to no good, I’ll be the first to know. Perhaps you’ll all end up in my room tonight, and I won’t be gentle,” Hraken has lost his patience and calm as he raises his hand and holds Celeste’s throat, slowly pushing her away from him.
“We won’t get into any trouble,” I say, quietly, hoping he’ll calm down.
Hraken unhands Celeste and turns to me, his eyes hard and cold. I’d never seen him this out of control, his irises had darkened from their usual gold to a dark brown, almost black in nature.
“Sabir won’t be the only one keeping a close eye on things, princess,” he warns me, but I can’t help but narrow my eyes at him.
“You told me Dark Gems like you need constant self-discipline. Where is yours now? Because you seem like you’ve lost it,” my words seem to snap him out of it as he closes his eyes and takes in a deep breath.
"Princess,” he says in his next breath, opening his eyes he approaches me and simply pushes a stray piece of hair off my shoulder, “You’re smarter than you look,” his eyes turn back to golden and now I relax.
Black eyes meant consuming need to drain, to take magic. To control.
I was just glad I had reminded him to maintain that discipline.
I don’t say anything as he slowly brings his hand back from my hair, but he deliberately slips a feather light touch across my jaw to my chin before he retreats completely.
As he does it my eyes flitter shut and I nearly fall backwards, until he steps back, his eyes flashing.
I let out a shaky breath as he turns and stalks off slowly towards the exit.
In one feather light touch from just his finger tip, he had drained all my magic and a warmth had spread to my gut.
I think I forgot to mention. When they drained us, it sometimes had the unfortunate effect of making our hormones increase. In other words, it made my knees weak for all the wrong reasons.
I gasp after him, squeezing my thighs together as I feel warmth between my legs.
I couldn’t believe, that in one touch, all my magic was... gone.
It probably wouldn’t return for a couple of hours, if not the rest of the day.
I didn’t realise he was that powerful.
I glance at Celeste and Seraphine, blushing at what just happened and having them witness it.
“Be careful of him, you know I warned you,” Celeste can’t help but give me attitude as soon as Hraken is out the door.
Seraphine, after her enormous silence, suddenly bursts out laughing.
Celeste and I turn to face her, our own eyes widening as she tries so hard to contain her laughter.
“I’m sorry,” she finally manages to speak, “I can’t believe they are so stupid even after 1000 years. Princess...” when she finally directs the word at me she smirks and adds, “well done. You convinced them I wasn’t her.”
“You can’t be serious,” I can’t contain the grin on my face.
“It’s impossible, you... you’re dead!” Celeste adds.
“They never killed me. They only thought they did, I’ll explain later. Let’s go,” she hops down the stairs, confidence in her stride.
“Um, where are we going?” Celeste asks, nervously.
“You really want to question my plan, when I’ve managed to stay alive longer than Drusilla Madeira Citrine?” Seraphine is light hearted but serious at the same time as we follow eagerly along behind her.
“That’s true, she lived a thousand years and now it’s been even longer,” I whisper, realising she would be known as even greater than the ancient heroines we looked up to, “But give us a hint –”
She pauses and spins on her heel, her balance and quick movement was as graceful and as fast as I remember.
“Sapphire, tell me who you hate the most right now?” Seraphine asks me with dead seriousness.
“Good, Sabir it is then,” Seraphine is about to turn around but Celeste grabs her arm first, stopping her.
“Are you planning to go kill him?” she asks.
“No, girls, we’re going to kidnap him. How else will we obtain negotiating powers unless we have a hostage? Come on, we don’t have much time.”
Celeste and I follow but we were brimming with questions.
So many questions.
But Seraphine wouldn’t answer them until we did as she said first.
We were kidnapping Sabir.
And frankly? If Sabir ended up totally at my mercy? I really, really liked this plan.