Over the next few days, the prince and I did not speak much to each other. In fact, I barely saw him.
It was the same routine every morning. Isabella would wake me early in the morning, assist with showering and dressing me in long, plain dresses, then took me down to have breakfast. The prince would be nowhere in sight. Not seeing him around, was a good thing, right? I thought being a blood servant meant that I would have to stay by his side all the time, but it’s as though he doesn’t wish to be in my company. Maybe my words from last night had upset him, but I did not mean to be harsh. All I wanted was for him to understand that things needed to change. For the better.
The prince’s absence had its peaks. I had never been inside a more elegant and beautiful place such as this in my life. I would spend the days roaming around the palace and admire its decor and design.
When around noon, Isabella would come and look for me and escort me back to the large dining room for more food. Afterwards, I would explore more. Even spending three days inside the palace is not enough time to explore the whole place. It would take at least a week, but after knowing where everything is, I fear that I will grow tiresome of this place. That is something I do not wish to happen. Without the company of the prince, I do feel somewhat alone. And right now, it’s the loneliest I have ever been.
When I was at home, either hunting or gathering wood or water, it was heartwarming to know that my mother would be waiting for me. But here, I am alone with nobody to talk to.
“From all the rooms in the palace, this is where I find you.”
I was cradling the amulet my mother gave me in my palm when I heard his voice. I had kept my promise of not taking the necklace off. Even washing myself, the amulet remained around my neck. This small, piece of jewellery is the only thing keeping me close to my mother. I am surprised that the prince has allowed me to wear it all this time. I am almost grateful.
I release the amulet and turn my gaze away from the gargantuan window in the dining room to the prince. “If I explore more, I fear that I will get lost. Besides, I have explored most of the palace already.”
For three whole days, he had been scarce, with no sign of him at all in the palace. I had started to think that he had forgotten about me and was not coming back. One could only hope.
“Even the gardens?”
I rise an eyebrow. “The gardens?”
The prince nods. “On a day like today you should be outside.”
I remember his words from last night.
“I thought I wasn’t allowed to leave the palace?”
Alexander moves away from the door, slowly coming towards me. He stops beside me, his arm lightly brushes against mine and chuckles. “There is a garden out the back which you’re allowed to roam freely. I apologise, I should have been more clear about what there is for you to do here.”
Despite his kindness and well mannered behaviour towards me, I still despised him and his kind, but I had to admit that he was different from the others. Unlike them, Alexander was kind, patient and somewhat understanding, but he’s still a monster. I must not forget that. He’s a monster that could kill me at any moment and won’t be punished for it.
“Yes?” I ask.
“Would you like to see the gardens?”
His words made me want to cheer in delight. I had not been outside for three whole days. Looking out the window is not the same as being out in the sun. I yearn to feel the hot sun on my skin and the wind blowing through my dark hair.
I take a deep breath, release and nod. “I would like nothing more.”
The prince smiles softly down at me. “Very well. Follow me.”
I follow leisurely behind the prince from the room, walked along a few hallways and finally down a few stairs. When we reach the double glass doors leading out to the gardens, I notice one of the guards trailing slowly behind us, gun in hand. No doubt if I was to try and escape, he would be the one to shoot me. And he would do it without any hesitation whatsoever.
The prince opens the doors, and immediately my eyes widen at the view of all the beautiful flowers in full bloom. The smell of the blossoming flowers was overwhelming as I take my first step out into the garden. I look around and see numerous of flowers abound, all different kinds and different colours. There was lush, green foliage everywhere. Marble statues of men, women, even animals. To my right, a swing made of rope tied to a willow tree. To my left, a large, stone fountain with water coming from the very top and slowly running down to the circular pond at the bottom of it. I rush over to it, lean over to see the pond filled with different kinds of fish, big and small, each with different patterns and colours. As I walk out into the sun, the prince follows close at my heels while the guard remains by the double doors. As the prince follows me, I can’t help but be reminded of what was once said to me the day before the auction.
“For someone who is in danger to sunlight, you seem very unfazed of the possibility of being burned alive.” I face the prince with a questioning look.
The last thing I expected the prince to do was to burst out laughing.
Was my question really that humours?
“Who told you of such a thing?” His tone is full of amusement.
I look away in embarrassment. “The whole village as it seems.”
I nod as I continue along the path, the prince leisurely following behind. “The day before the auction, our priest seemed very adamant on revealing the vampires’ deepest and darkest secrets to us.”
He nods. “As a survival mechanism, right?”
I shrug. “Something like that.”
The prince smiles. “Do you believe in everything that is said to you?”
“Not always, but if it means staying alive, then.…” I trail off.
The prince puts his hand on my lower back. “Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but whatever that priest has told you, they were probably rumours.”
“How do you know if they were rumours if you weren’t there?”
“Nobody knows about our kind except our own.” He says simply.
Disappointment washes over me. “Oh.”
“He was giving you all false hope. I could tell you our deepest and darkest secrets right now, if you wish?”
Is that wise?
I frown. “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll use your secrets against you?”
Alexander smirks. “You could try, but you’d be wasting your time.”
I chuckle and nod at his previous question. “Probably. Alright, tell me what there is to know about you.”
“Very well. The saying that we are immortal beings is in fact true. I am over a hundred years old and still kicking. Unfortunately, we do not turn into bats or are affected by garlic. We do not die by a wooden stake to the heart, silver, holy water or crosses, but getting our heads ripped off works though and fire. Sunlight is a bit of a pain in the backside and it does makes us fairly weak but it does not burn us alive. That is a myth. Oh, and we have powers too which is pretty badass if I may say so.”
“What are they?” I ask with interest.
“We have superhuman strength, speed, stamina and agility. And we can also perform hypnosis, but it only works on humans.”
I look at him in panic.
“Don’t worry, I will not use it on you. I very rarely use my powers these days.”
I gawk at him. “That’s a lot of information and it’s probably best to keep to yourself. You know, for your own safety.”
He nods in confirmation. “Indeed.”
After taking in this new found information, the only thing I can bring myself to ask is. “Do you have fangs?”
As soon as the question leaves my mouth, out of nowhere Alexander retracts his fangs from what looked like came from the upper gums. He shows them to me, revealing two sharp, shiny white front teeth. I gasp aloud in fascination and lean forwards to take a closer look. Just as I go to touch one of the fangs, Alexander retracts them, making me jolt.
“Quite the party trick, right?”
I shake my head in disbelief at what I’ve learned and seen, then sit on the edge of the fountain. “Right.”
He motions around him. “So, how do you like the gardens?”
“It’s beautiful.” I say truthfully. “If I only I knew this was here sooner.”
I hear the prince chuckling as he comes to sit next to me. “I’m guessing you’ll be here all the time now that you know it exits.”
“Maybe. Maybe not.”
He frowns. “What is that supposed to mean?”
I was too fascinated by the garden to answer the prince. It was magical like something out of a fairy-tail. Back at home, you wouldn’t see anything as captivating as this. Ever. I had not seen the sun in a very long time. The last time I must have seen the sun was before the punishment was given out to us humans. Since then, the whole village felt it was surrounded by a grey cloud, that hung miserably over us.
It seems kind of fitting, doesn’t it?
I look up at the bright, blue sky in fascination as I dip my fingers into the cold water. “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll escape?”
In the corner of my eye, I see the prince folding his muscular arms over his broad chest. “You’ve had three days to try and escape, yet you are still here.”
I throw my shoulders back, thrust up my chin and narrow my big, blue eyes at him. “Just because I have not tried to escape does not mean that I wish to be here.”
“You wish to return home, don’t you?” He asks softly.
Sadness washes over me at the mention of home. No doubt that every single one of the humans wish to return back to their families. Myself among them.
I nod to his question. “More than anything.”
The prince remains silent.
I remove myself from the fountain and come to stand in front of the prince, my hands folded before me. “May I ask you a question?”
“Of course you may. You are my blood servant after all.”
I ignore his words and clear my throat. “Besides being your blood servant, what else is required of me?”
He tilts his head as he thinks. “Why? What would you like to do?”
“I thought you could tell me considering I’m the one serving you.”
He again thinks, but does not say anything.
“I’ve been your servant for three days, yet you have not asked me to do anything or drank from me. Why is that?”
It is not that I wish for him to feed from me, it’s just that for three whole days he has not come near me or asked for my services. I have heard that vampires cannot go a day without blood, so surely by now he’s starving but he looks as though he has been feeding. If he’s not drinking from me, could he feeding from someone else?
Why is he keeping me around if he does not plan on using me as his blood servant?
“Would you like me to drink from you? Is that what you want?”
I could not think of anything worse.
I make a sound of disgust at the back of my throat.
The prince turns towards me, his stare burning right through me. His hand wraps gently around my wrist, his touch scorching into my skin and pulls me towards him. “Is that what you want?”
My breathing hitches as my heart beats rapidly inside my chest. “What are you doing?”
He slips his arm around my waist and pulls me up against his hard chest. “Would you like me to drink from you, Jane?”
I move away from his grasp, take a step back and cross my arms over my chest. “No, I do not, but it is not up to me. I am your blood servant and as much as it disgusts me to give you my blood, it is my duty.”
He squints his eyes at me. “You really hate our kind, don’t you?”
“I don’t hate your kind. I just hate this punishment. I mean, I’m getting punished for something that happened thirty years ago. Something I wasn’t even a part of. It’s not fair!”
He agrees. “I know it’s not fair.”
“And for the rest of my life, I’ll be feeding you all day and everyday until eventually I’ll no longer be a part of this world. What kind of life is that?”
He looks at me reassuringly. “Do not look so distressed. I do not plan on drinking from you.”
He shakes his head. “No.”
“Then, why do you have a blood servant if you don’t plan on drinking from it?”
He sighs. “Because of your mother. That’s why.”
My stomach drops.
I frown. “My mother?”
“What has she got to do with any of this?”
The prince scoffs. “Everything.”