Julius is thrown onto the tiled flooring, the sound of his body echoing through the throne room. Standing up, he glances around the room. It squares out, and at the end of the hall, is a staircase heading to his father's throne. It perches at the back, his father sitting with his hand holding his jeweled staff. Black and red flags drape either side of the throne, at the side of the engravement. His father smirks from his throne, a dark glittering throne of metal. A red cushion is underneath him. A knife hangs above him, pointing down. The tiled floor is white, polished every day by the Outlaw Villagers.
He glances over his shoulder and catches the General pushing Jacob and Davis in, but keeping them in close range. He snarls and looks back at the King, who looks bored and amused. The King stands from his position, his armor shines in the harsh light. His war cape drapes over his shoulders. He taps his staff three times along the marble staircase. Eight Yelkites materialize and take a stance around Julius, their mouths quirking up. His father strides down the stairs and meets with the General.
The General hands him a dark purple pendant that glows as it hits the torch light. Julius's interest spikes, but it dwindles when his pockets it. He turns back to him, his dark grey eyes taking in the three of them.
"Where is Callista Shawcross?" he asks, his voice soft in the chamber.
Julius raises his chin and meets his eyes. "We had her when we entered the premises. Or so we thought."
The king raises a hand to stop him, a smile threatening to break his face. "Well, well. Someone has gotten ahead of themselves. We made the agreement that you bring her to me. Not let her escape the moment she steps inside. If she ever did," the king speaks, rubbing his hands together like he is thinking of a plan. Julius raises an eyebrow and looks back his friends. He isn't too terrified of his father, but he knew how powerful he is.
"I am telling you the truth, Father." Julius bites out, enjoying the annoyance that rolls across the General's face.
"Then you wouldn't mind taking the truth serum and take a walk through the Enhancement?" he asks, a smirk sliding into place. He tenses, eyes boring into him as he weighed his options. The truth is he didn't know what happened, but he knew what his father will do. Go to the very beginning, where it all starts. And he will stumble upon his feelings for the mere human. On the other hand, this Enhancement will prove he didn't lose her on purpose. The teenage boy is the reason they lost sight of her.
His eyes snap to his friends, quickly enough where it just looks like he is looking over them. He is sending the message of his reason. "I will take the Truth Serum and walk through Enhancement."
Satisfaction fills him as surprise shoots across his father's face. It is calmly replaced by a look of disdain, shared by the General. His father gestures to the Yelkite's surrounding him. They took his arms and his friends, walking them through the doors of the throne room. They enter the hall where the servants are talking and laughing. None of them are male, as his father and the General make sure to keep males out when picking servants.
The General is the cruelest male beside his father. Choosing him to be the General, put his father higher in his throne as it is harder to find people to challenge him. His father and General goes on rampages, going through the servant. Murdering, raping, or both. It is disgusting, but the only true enemy his father had to face is the King of Werewolves, the only race that can kill vampires without repercussions. He kill that enemy off fifteen years ago, right around the time the princess went missing.
The servants got glance of them coming out of the room and fled, their terror running high. The king chuckles and strides to the door in the corner. A dark warp of air churns and a black length of chain appears. They come to a stop, his father coming forward and laying a hand on the chain. He mutters a few words and the chain slithers away, allowing the door to creak open.
Julius stares at the new opening, wondering how long that has been there. "What happens if someone tries to open it without you?"
The king sends a dark smirk over his shoulder, before looking forward again. "They die."
They continue on. Julius passes under the door; a cold sludge passes through him. Him and his friends gasp as the pain follows quickly. The doorway led to a dark stairwell, no torches to be seen. Julius takes a step and almost trips, stones skipping down. Humorless laughs came from his father and the General, which makes him clench his jaw. He steadies himself and continues after them. The Yelkites snicker as he passes them. He reaches them as they come to a stop when light explodes ahead.
The room expands into a circular basement, with a head brace in the middle. A metal cabinet with a glass shelf directly behind it, leaning against the wall. Ten syringes line the glass shelf. He could identify them as the truth serums.
The day it was made was hell. His father was locked up with his magicians for months. Magicians are just terms for vampires or other creatures that practice magic. Only the Mage, the most powerful witch and the last one, can use every spell without exhausting herself. The Mage lives here, in her palace, where his father captured her in a desperate need to never let someone take more control than he did.
The magician is cruel, generals in training. They represent the magic realm, helped summon the portal and its guards. They're only eight of them now, but rumors have spread that many want to take up the act. Jacob's brother has been practicing, but Julius warned his father to never look upon him. It may have been wrong, but his father already caused so much death in the village, he didn't want Jacob to lose another family member.
The eight magicians circle them as they enter the chamber, the dark disappearing. It allows them to see more. A tall ceiling that arches upward until it meets sky. Rows upon rows of books go all the way up. They have a library a few stops back, but this one beats it. Weapons and artifacts color the walls in between shelves. Julius shakes his head, stunned at what he sees. Jacob and Davis take either side of him, their jaws clenched with fear. They are staring at the head brace. He doesn't remember ever seeing it before but looking at it tugs at something far in his mind. He brushes it off and turns as his father steps by the glass shelf full fo the truth serum.
"All three of you will take the truth serum, and Julius will be doing the Enhancement. And that is the name because once we are done, you earn something if you do not lie. Power always comes with a price, so if you lie, it hurts. If you do not, you earn. Understand?" the King explains, though his tone sounds like he is bored of the instructions.
Julius and his friends nod, but he keeps taking looks at the head brace. They are closer to it and he takes in the details. It is alike a helmet, with two fat wires snaking out from the sides. The strap that wraps under his chin, is thin and has to needles along it. He takes his eyes away and focuses back on his father. He is prepping the syringes and gestures to them to come forward. They do and six magicians flank all three males. They hold their arms out and his father takes the syringe and sinks into Davis's upper arm.
Davis seizes, his arms flexing, the veins popping out. He tries to back away as his father dumps all the contents into his arm. His pants through his teeth. Julius watches him and sees Jacob get yanked before his father. He jams the syringe into his arm, smirking at the wince his friend gave. He seizes as well and tries to take his arm away. The two magicians hold him steady as the rest of it is inserted.
The King faces him, a syringe in his hand. The absolute joy that passes his faces disgusts Julius. His father who loves pain and enjoys inflicting it. The two magicians beside him go for his arms, but yank them away, shoving it to his father. The joy dwindles a bit, but satisfaction radiates his eyes when he stabs the needle into his arm. He hisses out a breath but remains steady enough.
The serum is a boiling liquid, searing every part of him, until it reaches his brain. The liquid manifests there, exploring every moment of his life. He tries to resist it, but pain explodes through his head and he sways on his feet. He relaxes enough to let the liquid finish its hunting and hook onto something.
The King looks smug and crosses his arms over his chest. His eyes roam all three, before resting on Julius. "Where is Callista?"
Jacob answers. "We do not know. The teenager controlled the smoke enough where we could not see past, even as vampires."
"Then how can a mere human navigate through it?" his father snarls.
"We do not know." Is all they could answer.
The King watches them for a moment, before shaking his head. "The teenage boy is Drakae, a demon. He is our kingdom's protector. I made a deal with him fifteen years ago, give him Callista Shawcross in exchange for the location of all Fae villages."
Julius stares at his father, so many words building in his mind, but he shut it down. A demon? In the supernatural realm? They are born for destruction. His father glares at him, as if he knew what he is thinking. Instead he pushes pass the magicians and them, coming to stand by the head brace.
Julius turns with him, and swallows harshly at the aspect of wearing that. "Now, my son, this will put you in a trance where it will seek any moment, I ask it. If you resist to show the piece what I want, it will inflict pain. If you allow it, it gives you something."
Julius feels like static as something buzzes through his body, but he moves forward and takes the head brace off the table it lays on. He sits in a chair beside it, tugging it on. He lays back and get comfortable. He hears a soft puff before something enters his neck and his eyes close.
His eyes open and Julius finds himself in a world of pure white. It isn't blinding, just solid white, like a canvas. He tries to walk but can't move. He stands and wait, hoping to hear the request of his memory before it shows.
"Show me Callsita Shawcross." His father requests, and Julius doesn't deny. The canvas in front of him burst in color. His memory of Callista showers before him. When they first met in the forest, to the Silver village, to the tent and then the kiss scene at Granite City.
"Show me Drakea."
The images keep coming. The world of smoke, Callista being swallowed whole, terror etched into her face. When the smoke clears, they see her gone. Keiser's body is laying on the ground. Drakea is launching himself at Julius, looking for Callista.
"Show me the Fae." The tone his father requests that in, is filled with triumph. Julius is quick to resists, but pain attacks his head and chest, pulling him apart. He screams in agony and let's go of the restraint. The pain fades as he watches the splash of color hit the wall.
Leilani and her child are in the meeting, hearing the words of "I can add to your army." Jamie as they argue over his ex-lover's child. Him and Michael talking about the war, finding Callista lurking behind them.
"Stop." The King order and the memories disappear. Julius waits for himself to wake up.
"What's going on?" the General asks, "We can't see inside anymore."
"No. he didn't resist most of it, so it is giving him something back." His father explains.
Julius allows the words to wash over him and he concentrates in front of him. It explodes with black, but it snakes around before forming a small sentence.
He stole your memory fifteen years ago. Reset?
Shock blasts through his system, but it doesn't surprise him, the things his father would do. He says yes in his head, no questions ask.
The air before him comes to life, showing a dark castle. His mother is there, standing beside his father as they look down at the baby him. "He will be a great king." His father smirks. His mother laughs, her tone edged with insanity.
It moves later along, where he is a boy and rumors come alive his father captures a Royal Werewolf. He sneaks down to the dungeons and finds a solid wall. He knew of the magic, and where the ripple of it is. He says the word and it comes rolling down, showing the image a little girl, in ripped clothes. Her bright silver-blue eyes glitter at him as she begs him to warn her parents of the incoming threat. He had a quick instinct to help her, but it would mean treason. So, he tells her no and leaves.
It skips a few weeks to where a search party is scouring the whole kingdom, searching for the lost princess. A solider told his father he had visited her weeks before. He whipped him bloody in the Outlaw village. He took him to the basement with the magicians and took his memory.
His eyes snap open, confused on where they are at. The new memories feel familiar, but he can spot those eyes anywhere, no matter how much she has aged. Callista Shawcross is the lost princess of the Royal Werewolves. And his father took his memories when she went missing again.
"What are we wanting to do, my lord?" the General mutters after Julius gets out of the brace. His golden eyes glinting like actual metal. "Should we force them to look around the city?"
The King frowns, the tone the General has sends flags of warning through Julius's head.. "Yes, I think they should. Take Eight Yelkite guards and the General. Scout the whole kingdom. Callista Shawcross does not leave this kingdom alive."
The order sears through their clan bond, a tightening strand. Julius winces as it pulls as does Jacob and Davis. He watches the General, but it passes right over him. The pull only hurts if you have a resistance. Eight Yelkites surge forward, standing in front of Julius and his friends. The General pushes off the wall and claps his hands together. Julius pushes off the chair and stands beside his friends. The way they acted, Julius is sure his father has no idea his memory returned.
"We will split up into teams of four. Three Yelkites with Jacob, three with Davis and two with me. Julius, you will follow me as well." The General orders, a smirk on his face as he orders him. He clenches his jaw, hate flowing "We will start in all sectors of the Outlaw Village. Span out."
They did, marching through the arch way of the basement, leaving a smirking King behind. The mahogany doors close, shutting all of them out of the room. The General whistles and they split up, all three groups moving in separate directions. Julius and the General go through the Fire Section, the rogue territory of the village. This part held the most ruthless and vicious Outlaw villagers. The center road led straight to the door of Yelkite. The road holds the most criminal vampires, the ones his father trains and appreciates. Julius and his friends stay away from this area due to the Fae, who surround some of the houses. The kidnapped and enslaved. Some they knew personally and have to avoid.
As the General make his way through the village, crowds surge forward. Begging and pleading to see the king. Most of the villagers love in other sectors, but cross into this one to talk to the vampire lucky enough to enter the Prisom. Another name for where the King sits. A few children play on a broken swing directly beside them as they weave between the villagers. The Yelkites snarl at the vampires, sending the scrambling back. As they came to a stop at a intersection, a ripple of fabric caught Julius's attention.
A female stands in the street, disoriented and looking around her. The flash of silver-blue eyes has his catching his breath. Callista stands far apart, her eyes resting on their crowd. Fear strikes through her eyes, making her stumble back. She barrels toward the house in front of her, a black mansion. Julius hisses out a breath as he recognizes the Witch's palace. Julius strides across the path, heading directly towards her. He hears the General order his Yelkites to follow him. They march down, as Callista pounds at the door, screaming. Not in fear, but in simple words of I accept.
"Callista, come on," he calls as they near her, "Just come to the Palace to meet the King. I will help you find a way to stay alive."
Callista seems to ignore him and he starts up the path. He shakes his head and reaches out to grab her, when he gets thrown back into a house across from the Witch's Palace. Callista whirls around, her chest heaving and her eyes wide with fear. It didn't come from her. A dark chuckle echoes the air, wrapping around them. Julius sits up, coughing as his rib slowly heals back into place. The three Yelkites and the General are further away, still unmoving.
"Prince Julius, have you ever been taught to never mess with fate?" the voice muses, as a shape takes place in front of him. She walks toward him, like she just came from the door. By the astonished look on Callista's face, he knew this is the Witch. A soft growl is heard at her feet and at eye level with a cheetah. "Say hello to Finn, my boy. He saw you coming five days ago."
"A seer?" he manages to get out as the big cat bares its teeth.
"Oh yes. And now Callista has said the simple word. We promised our help. So," she turns toward Callista, still at the palace doors. She waves her hand and the female disappears, no trace she was even standing there. The Mage whirls to face him, her eyes going wide. "No. This cannot be. I am free, but you are not. Not of the pain of your future." Her eyes go to the cheetah who is now laying in front of Julius. "Did you see?"
The cheetah morphs into a male, who looks to be filled with sorrow as he stares at Julius. "Yes, I did. But it is not all bad. She will be what he needs to get over his father. But with a cost."
The Mage looks him over. "Never fear, Prince. You will see her again." The male and the Mage take hands, shimmering out of existence.
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