Chapter 19 - Need You
One month later.
Asher Antonov’s P.O.V.
Waking up with a start, I sit up immediately in the chair and look over to the bed. Sighing sadly when I find Ayla still asleep instead of awake like in my dream, I rub my face tiredly. I stand and take a seat beside her on the bed, holding her hand. Glancing at the clock, I know the doctors and nurses won’t be here for another ten minutes so I slip off my shoes and cuddle up to her.
“Come on, little butterfly.” I whisper, wrapping an arm around her waist. “Wake up now, I miss you so much.”
She doesn’t respond like always, but her steady heartbeat reassures me. Sighing, I press a kiss to her temple before resting my chin on the top of her head. It’s been one month since she slipped into a coma and without her, I’ve turned into a miserable mess. I haven’t left her side much, wanting to be there when she wakes up.
“Wake up so we can finally start our lives together without any obstacles this time. You won’t suffer again Ayla, the rest of my life will be devoted to keeping you happy and safe. We’ll travel around the world just like you wanted, I’ll make an art studio stocked with all the supplies you could ever ask for and we can go and visit your family. You’ll finally see them, all you have to do is wake up baby.”
Doctor Ilias walks in and as soon as he spots me on the bed, he sends me a stern look. Glaring furiously at him for disrupting my time with Ayla, I get off and take a seat back in the chair beside her. He runs through all his checks as usual before Sasha, another well-known healer of this realm, comes in.
“She’s healing well, my King.” Sasha smiles for the first time in a month, her power flowing into Ayla’s body. “I can feel her body accepting it.”
Sighing in relief, I nod while trying reign in my emotions. Hope blossoms within me at the thought of Ayla waking again. I miss her terribly and ever since she slipped into a coma, I don’t feel the same without her. I tried to focus on work to distract myself in the first two weeks but I failed at that as I would run back and forth between the hospital wing and my office. Eventually, I asked Dimitri to take over and consult me regularly in any high-ranking decisions.
Sasha persuades me to take a shower and get some sleep, commenting on how I look like death personified. Glaring at her, I order her to stay and protect Ayla while I’m gone, calling Vito and Corbin back to guard her door. Making my way upstairs and into my bedroom, I lay down on the bed, hating how the scent of her essence has disappeared from the room. It’s the only thing that calms me nowadays and that’s why I refuse to leave her side.
Sighing, I close my eyes and everything turns dark. But my rest only lasts for what feels like a few minutes when I’m woken up.
“Asher.” A familiar voice calls, shaking me from my sleep.
“Ayla?” I sit up quickly, only to sigh in disappointment when I see my little sister instead.
“Sorry.” She whispers regretfully, making me smile weakly and pull her into a hug. “How are you doing?”
When Helios came to the castle, he took Sage with her – although it took a lot of grovelling on his part. So, she doesn’t know what happened to Ayla and because Helios had taken her on a long trip to another realm to make up for what he did, she’s only hearing about it now.
“What happened? I saw her before I came to you, she’s in a coma?” She whispers horrified, turning to face me.
Nodding, I begin to tell her about everything that occurred after the attack at the courthouse. She listens attentively, near tears at the end when I describe what happened when Blithe stopped the teleportation process to kill her. Her baby blues brighten in fury when she hears that Silvano lied to everyone to protect himself from Blithe.
“Where is he now?” She snarls lowly, her fists clenched by her side.
“In the prisons,” I smirk ruefully, meeting her gaze. “We can have a go at him together?”
“I’d love that.” She grins dangerously, her eyes full of rage.
Groaning when she disappears from the room, I follow her but choose to walk at a leisurely pace. I wanted to give her some time with Silvano, knowing she was out for blood with the way her eyes had lit up in rage when she realized that Ayla almost lost her life because of him. When I finally reach the door that leads down to the prison cells, I can already hear his screams of pain as he begs for mercy. Silvano is dead to me, no longer will I consider him my cousin. He deserves every amount of pain, knowing that Ayla suffered ten times worse.
When I open the door that’s filled with rows of cells, I see that Sage has brought him out of his and tied him to the wall. His arms and legs are chained and he’s bleeding profusely. Hell, I almost think he’s dead if not for the slight twitch every few seconds. Sage swings a spiked bat and it connects with his kneecaps, a bloodcurdling scream escaping him. She doesn’t care that his blood is splattered all over her clothes and face, continuing to beat his body until his screams are hoarse.
“I think he’s done Sage, wouldn’t want to kill him too soon would we?” I walk up to him, gripping his chin so that he meets my eyes.
“Asher...p-please, I-I’m s-s-sorry!” He groans in pain, a rattled breath escaping him.
“Go clean up, Sage. And call the healers on your way out.” I smirk at his terrified expression.
He starts to thrash as she leaves, begging me to just kill him. But I can’t do that, not yet. As long as Ayla sleeps Silvano will remain here, chained and tortured every day. I want him to feel pain, to feel like it’s never going to end because that’s exactly how my beloved felt; a never-ending torture of her mind. I still remember her teary eyes, the fear in them as she tried telling me what was happening to her. I remember all the times when she lay next to me, crying out in fear as her nightmares plagued her. And I still remember how much pain she was in before she closed her eyes a month ago.
“You called, King?” I hear Sasha, her footsteps echoing on the stone floor.
“Heal him, please. Make him brand new and ready for tomorrow.” I snarl lowly when he starts crying, the smell of piss making me scrunch my nose in disgust.
“You got it.” She mumbles, passing me as she starts to work on him.
I turn and walk out of the prison, hearing him screaming for me to end his life. Ignoring him, the door closes with a resounding thud behind me as I make my way upstairs. Sage waits for me in the living room in fresh clothes, completely clean. Although her eyes have returned to their normal shade, I can tell that she’s still visibly angry.
“Why don’t you just kill him?”
“Until Ayla is asleep, he suffers. The day she wakes up, I will kill him myself.” I mutter, taking a seat and thanking Grace as she passes a glass of blood to us.
I don’t even enjoy the taste of animal blood anymore. After meeting Ayla and hearing her vein pulsing with the scent of her essence, it’s all I want. Sighing, I take a few sips before looking up at my sister. She has a determined look in her eyes suddenly, which makes me frown and narrow mine.
“I’m staying here until she wakes up.”
“No, absolutely not.” I refuse, glaring at her warningly when she snarls at me.
“You look like shit, Asher. It’s clear that you aren’t taking care of yourself. I’m staying and you can’t stop me!” She argues, crossing her arms with a huff.
“I’m sure Helios will drag your ass back home soon.” I mutter, swirling my glass.
“He can try.” She retorts with a stubborn tilt of her chin.
Vulcan Romanov’s P.O.V.
I close the door to my office, making my way over to my desk with an envelope clutched tightly in my hand. It bears the familiar blood red seal of the Vampire Kingdom which I tore open immediately to reveal a handwritten letter nestled inside. My hands are shaking slightly as I open it up, acknowledging that it’s written by Asher Antonov.
I read on to find that Ayla had indeed teleported to the kingdom and has been residing at the castle ever since. Immediately, it’s like all the weight on my shoulders lifts and I exhale deeply. Asher goes on to confirm that a witch called Blithe had been manipulating people using their gifts and killing them without thought, and that he could not risk Ayla teleporting. Reading on, I find out that Blithe had been continuously destroying every attempt to rebuild the communication lines and prevented anyone from entering or leaving the realm.
However, now that the communication lines are up I expect to meet Ayla immediately. But I growl in annoyance when he states that it will take approximately another month for people to start travelling in and out of the realm. Apparently, when he killed Blithe all the magic that she had cast on the kingdom ended up destroyed also and that includes the border she cast on the realm to stop anyone from entering.
He’s being vague about Ayla though, telling me that she’s not well right now but refusing to say what happened to her. Anger rises within me, hot and pulsing as I think about my daughter being hurt. All I want to do is get into the kingdom and protect her from any more harm.
He ends the letter with a promise to keep me updated on the progress. I sit back in my seat with a heavy sigh, understanding how hard his situation must be with a destroyed kingdom. When the communication lines went back up on their side, it’s like everyone pounced to find out what happened. Asher revealed everything in a statement to The Council who are also at his throat to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible. I can only imagine the amount of pressure and stress he must be under.
Deciding to reply to him, I leave the letter on my desk. First, I need to tell Aurora and the kids. They’ll be so happy to know that we’ll finally see Ayla soon. Stepping out of my office, I rush back to my house feeling lighter than I have in months. I spot Aurora immediately, my gaze following her petite form as she tidies up the living room. She turns and notices me, her eyes resting on my wide smile.
“Y-You found her?” She asks hoarsely, tears filling her eyes.
“Asher Antonov of the Vampire Kingdom sent me a letter, Ayla is living at his castle -” I’m cut off by Aurora bursting into tears, a relieved laugh escaping her as she pulls me into a tight embrace. “It might take another month for people to start travelling in and out of the realm so I need you to be patient, okay? Just hold on, we’ll see our baby girl soon.”
“I’m so relieved!” She whispers, a sob escaping her. “Did he say anything about Ayla? Is she okay?!”
I sigh, pushing her gently to take a seat on the couch. Kneeling before her, I cup her face and wipe away her tears with my thumbs. “He said she’s not well. But I’m sure she’ll be okay soon, she’s strong.”
“Okay.” She whispers, her stormy eyes full of worry and concern. “We need to offer our help to Asher, promise me you’ll do everything you can. He gave our daughter a place to stay when she had nowhere to go, we owe him Vulcan.”
“I promise you, mea lux.” (My light)