Prologue: Ten Years Ago
She gained consciousness, as the ground beneath her heaved with motion. Her eye lids flickered, her surroundings a mystery as her eyes came to see only darkness. Heart racing in absolute terror, she desperately clawed at the binging on her wrists. Gasping for breath, as the sense of claustrophobia ambush her. Sweat poured down her eight-year-old face as she tried to unbound her hands and her feet.
Quickly realizing the danger, she stopped her motion. The bindings too tough, even for her. She tried to calm her breathing, but as her eyes flickered back and forth to get a sense of her surroundings, the darkness she got was a reminder. A brake screeched outside of the place she was in and she realized she was in a vehicle.
Gasping softly in horror, she tried to break her bindings again. The harder she pulled, the tighter they became. Groaning softly, she came to a complete statue using her other senses. She closed her eyes against the dark, the blindfold on her wrapped around her head. She concentrated hard, using her heightened hearing to capture what was going on at the front.
“…on the highway now…. Yes, my King…” the conversation was going in and out as the vehicle swerved through traffic. She felt her stomach flip, but maintained to keep her bile down. Focusing on the conversation, she mellowed out. “She is unconscious as of right now, her body is in the trunk.” There were a few moments of silence. “Yes, we doubled back to make sure we weren’t seen or followed. We are three hours away; I will call you to let you know when we get there.” There was a solid click of a button, and a soft thump of an object hitting something. A guy heaved out a sigh, gaining the attention of the other one.
“What is it, Scott?” The other growled, a hint of irritation in his voice.
“No need for that attitude, Mark,” Scott grumbled, “I just wanted to ask if you know what will happen after he sees her. She is only eight.”
“I don’t know. I won’t ask, we will find out,” There was a pause before Mark spoke again, “Her brother would’ve been better.”
“Jorge told him that, too,” Scott agreed softly, “but look what happened once he suggested that.”
“If she doesn’t say anything worth while, he will declare…” the voices stopped. Her breathing had gotten radical, coming out as pants. Inwardly cursing, she kept still, wondering slightly what they are going to do now that they knew she was awake. A soft hiss erupted in the back; the trunk suddenly filled with an invisible spray. Coughing, she struggled to cover her mouth. Losing the fight, she felt her eyes burn and her mouth dry. Inch by inch, her eyes closed and she lost consciousness.
The eight-year-old stirred awake to heavier darkness. The chills that spiraled through her were coming from the ground below her. Shuddering violently, she realized she was only wearing a thin nightgown, that stuck to her like glue. Shoving herself up in a sitting position, she observed her surroundings, taking in as much details as she could. She couldn’t detect much, the darkness blinding her. Standing on her shaking legs, she pitched forward uncertainly. Her hands connected with a stone like wall, the rough edges digging into her palms. She withdrew her hands and balanced on her quivering legs, her whole body feeling stiff and tight. Rolling her shoulders to help loosen her muscles, she continued to make her way through her surroundings. As her hands danced against the walls, she could picture it in her mind. Concrete walls were built all around her, no door seemed to be found, and the ground was a solid, smooth flooring. Convulsing in shivers, the cold sent daggers through her. Wrapping her arms around herself, the eight-year-old slid down the wall, exhaustion wearing down on her. Eyelids growing heavy, she slipped back into the warmth of her unconsciousness.
∞ † ∞ † ∞
Shaking her head, she laid down on the hard stone. Her arms were littered with goosebumps from the cold, a gust of wind brushed over her. A skittering noise made her sit upright, knowing she heard something. Footsteps pounded, coming closer. Blinded by the night, Alice panicked, not even her heightened senses could tell her what was coming.
A light flared, making her eyes burst with pain, the light too soon and not enough warning. Blinking frantically, she squinted to see. The little light illuminated steel bars, caging her in. She blinked again, her eyes finally adjusting to the light. She knew those weren't there before. The light source came from a torch, mounted on a wall. She narrowed her eyes at it. She knew it was lit for a while; the acid smell that came from it too light for it to be lit right away.
A boy stood by the torch and for a moment she wondered if the boy had brought the torch, lighting it and mounted it. He stood by it, close enough for it to be true. But the eight-year-old girl could figure out it wasn't. The boy's pale eyes too frightened and filled with anguish that he wasn't seeing clearly enough. He stared at her, his eyes connecting with hers.
He jabbed a finger at her, his eyes narrowing in thought. “I know you.” His voice came out tiny, like a whine. His eyes widen, shock building through his emotions. “You're Alice Cram, Princess of the Werewolves.”
Alice bared her teeth at the boy, finally figuring out what kidnapped her. “You're a vampire, part of the Vampi.”
The boy smirked, but his eyes were sad. He leans against the wall across her cage. “You aren't supposed to be here. He starts war, by taking you.”
Alice acted on that, her fear taking over rationality. “Warn them. Warn my parents. Tell them to not start war.”
The boy puts his hands up in a stop gesture. His pale grey eyes hardened. “I would be betraying my own kind.”
She ran up to the bars, feeling the hard sting of the silver biting into her skin. Years of preparing for the effects of silver, Alice barely flinched. She reached through, towards the boy. “Please, they will be walking into a trap.”
The boy looked at the ground. “I know. I heard the whole detailed plan,” he whispered. He looked up again, his eyes filled with unshed tears, “Even if I warned your parents, they'll stop at nothing to get you back.”
Alice felt the puncture of hatred, but she kept her voice calm. “I'm their daughter. I know they won't.”
The boy shook his head. “You don't understand, Alice. I'm surprised your parents never told you,” he stepped closer and took her hand still reaching through the silver bars. “You're special.” He squeezed her hand and then let go. He walked away and a veiled wall fell into place, webbed with magic. Alice felt his touch, but could no longer see him or anything. Not even the silver bars.
∞ † ∞ † ∞
The torch flared again, and this time two pairs of footsteps echoed towards her. Alice groaned, fighting off the wretched tiredness. Two voices spoke in low voices, too low for her to hear. She guessed the walls were soundproof due to the impossibility to hear anything outside the cell. Two figures emerged around the bars, a hulking figure of a man and a petite figure of a woman. Cowering in the corner, Alice felt a whimper escape her mouth and the voices stopped whispering.
The man came closer, the edges of his face lit up from behind. She couldn't see his face, not clearly. The woman turned towards the man; her arm shot to him.
“Careful, your highness.” The woman said sharply. The way her voice sounded, authoritative and bold, made Alice think she was the infamous Queen of Vampi. The man turned his head at the woman, Alice couldn't image what kind of emotion he wore.
“Learn your place, woman. She is my prisoner,” the man snarls towards the woman. “If we went with your plan, I wouldn't have a hostage.” The tone of his voice made a sharp chill drop down her spine. Alice scooted further into the rough wall behind her, the terrain biting in her skin. The man moved swiftly towards Alice, his face set in triumph. Confusion warred through her as the steel bars still remained intact between them. He slipped through; a ripple washed over the bars. Alice flinched at the sudden intrusion. She had felt the silver bars in her clenching hands, felt the solid burn.
The man came closer, her eyes finally adjusting to the light enough to make out his face. But it wasn't pretty. A pale ghost face emerged; bright red eyes gleamed at her. He grinned at her; sharp needle teeth glared at her.
“Alice Cram, Princess of the Werewolf Royalty.” the man hissed; his needle teeth pressed against his bottom lip. She looked up at him, her eyes defiant.
“King of Vampi, of the world's most disgusting creature.” she spat the words.
Anger flashed across his face, leaning towards her. “Shut your mouth,” he orders, “I can't lay a hand on you just yet, little girl,” he paused as he looked her over, “you are my bait.”
Alice lunged at him, all her anger in her eight-year-old body fueling her. He laughed, pushing her back down on her bottom. She glared up at him, her little body trembling. “What bait?” she asked, her voice shaking.
He looked at her, startled with expectancy. “What bait?” he repeated softly. He smiled again, this time no fangs to be on display. He crouched to her level, his eyes meeting hers. “Child, I’m going to start a war as soon as your parents cross my border, completely violating the law.”
“But you violated it first!” she snapped, her eyes roaming the cells.
“Ah,” the voice of the Queen startled Alice. “but we didn't. Kidnapping you was on the outside of your protective border.” She smiled at her husband, who kept his eyes on Alice. “My king here isn't at fault at anything your parents do to attack him.”
Alice felt her heart cave, the truth settling. Her eyes glazed over, frantic with worry. Her parents wouldn’t start war unless they truly thought she was in trouble. The Heir was safe, hidden away in the mountains in the north. She was going over every possibility she could prevent this war, she almost didn’t hear the king start to speak again.
“So now that you know our plans and I've left you to stir in the dreadful war plans. It's time to reset that mind.” He reached for her, but she melted away from him.
“Reset my mind?” she prodded, her eyes slipping close. A soft hiss of gas releases in the cell. She felt her body sway as a toxin enters the cell, circling her. She coughs, inhaling more into her blood streams. She falls to her side before the king, his wife smirking down at her.
He grinned at her, his face hinting insanity. “I have other plans for you than to kill you, Alice. You're never going to remember who you are.”