I’ve had a smutty song in my head all day and it doesn’t help that King’s sitting right next to me as we prepare for dinner to be served. I begin to dig my nails into the wood of my chair earning a warning glare from my mother. Standing up, I walk over to the window and open it to get a bit of fresh air.
I plug in my airphones and blast some music in my ears. It’s not until I feel someone’s hand on my shoulder that I tune the world back in. Turning around I see Aiden smiling at me and gesturing for me to follow him out to the hallway. I walk away with him feeling the heat of my entire family and our guests’ glares on my back.
Once we exit the hall, I sense the lust and yearning coming from the blonde man in front. Here we go again…. With a deep sigh, I look into Aiden’s tumultuous blue eyes.
“What’s up? Where ya been?”
“Trying to heal after that guy broke my collar bone shoving me like that. What happened between you two after he shoved me off?”
“Sorry about that. He was going through withdrawals?”
“That’s him? The one that destroyed you before we met? Did he finally… adapt?”
“He is, but we’ve worked things out. And yeah, I’m kinda happy for him.”
A dark presence arises in Aiden’s body, making the hair on my neck stand up. I frown as he leans down to kiss me before pushing his body back. Usually, I can withstand having two males but there is something about this I can’t handle. I can’t play King the way Hailey did. What difference would there be then between the two of us? I have to put a stop to me and Aiden.
“Look, I can’t. Thanks for helping me get better but I think I’m fine now. I can handle myself. And I’ve made up with my family. I think it’s better if we stay… friends?”
For the first time, I hear him threaten me with a growl. It didn’t matter how angry I made him, he never growled at me. Startled, I step back and head in the direction of the dining hall. To my surprise, Aiden just stands there glaring at me with his hands fisted at his side.
“Friends? You wanna be friends now that he’s back in your life? What, you’re gonna run back to me when he fucks you over again?”
“No… you’re really gonna do this here? I think friends is a good enough downgrade, isn’t it? Look it was nice fucking you while it lasted but I’m good now.”
He’s in front of me, leering down at me as I stare at his through narrowed eyes. Aiden grabs my chin and forces his lips onto my mind, but I push him away. I shudder and rest my hand on the doorknob ready to leave but his cold voice stops me.
“This isn’t the end of us, Aszurya. You’ll seek me out once more when he snaps and hurts you.”
Aiden lets out a cold laugh, sending shivers down my body. The bad one stirs as my demons recoil inside of me. Opening the door, I bite down on my lip, thinking about all of the things I’ve heard about him. No one trusts him. Not even King. Alaric said he isn’t who we thought he was. Maybe it’s time that I get my head out of the clouds and finally listen to what Alaric had to say.
I sit down at my usual spot and notice that some of the placings have changed since we have a few visitors. Now I’m sitting in between King and Alaric. Jordan is sitting only a few chairs away, right next to his mother, glaring menacingly at King. I roll my eyes at my nephew as King rests his hand on my thigh.
“Hey, what did that guy say to you?”
“It sure as hell didn’t seem that way.”
I wave the man away and pretend to be into my food. I let the others talk about King and discuss pans for Jordan’s transformation, but my mind is nowhere near my immediate family. I can’t help but go back to what Aiden said to me moments ago. This isn’t the end of us… you’ll seek me out once more when he snaps and hurts you. What exactly is he planning?
I need to talk to Alaric about this. I don’t feel safe. Fuck, the only reason I’m not preparing for war is that King is right next to me. Maybe this is what it feels like to be semi-normal. To have someone there to be your foundation. I’ve never had a foundation before. That’s probably why I was so unstable.
“Alaric,” I whisper to the warlock, trying not to direct my family’s attention to me. King takes my hand in his, sending a few sparks through my body, to let me know that he’s here for me. I turn to him and smile, squeezing his hands softly before turning back to my warlock buddy.
“What’s up, darling?”
“I need to talk to you. Alone.”
Alaric nods his head and we wait until all conversation has ceased. We excuse ourselves with the excuse of having important work to do. Even with that excuse, James and Stephanie insist on joining us in my room. Alaric nods to King but he just shakes his head and gives us a small smile. I cock my head to the side very confused as to his plans. What could he possibly do on his own?
The little ones grab my hands and lead me out of the dining hall. James lets out the cutest scream when I pick him up stirring that weird happiness I’ve always felt around children. An emotion I let no one in on. I’m allowed to have my own secrets, just like everybody else is.
The four of us walk over to my bed chambers and crowd onto my large bed. I let the children roam around with Alaric as I have a seat on top of my desk, with my feet on the chair. Staring up at the ceiling, I feel something curl up inside of my body, unwanted and pain-ridden.
“So what is it that you need to talk to me about?”
“Um, something went down between Aiden and me.”
“What happened? Was this when he called you out of the dining hall?”
I nod my head and raise my hands so that the children are deaf to what Alaric and I say. Swallowing hard, I tell Alaric what was said down to the smallest detail. His expression remains stoic as he moves towards the edge of the bed. I’m not sure how he feels about this deep down inside. He doesn’t like Aiden and knows a lot more than I probably do.
“Alaric,” I say after a deep breath, “I need to know what you learned about Aiden when you got the sample. Don’t hold anything back, I can handle it all.”
“Okay, I believe you. I told you this before but I guess you forgot. He’s not who he told he was. In fact, his name is Adrian Nagatory. Everyone thought he died but a body was never retrieved nor was the soul ever recovered by your ancestors. Though he’s wearing an impenetrable mask, his Nagatory hair is still vibrant as ever.”
“So, Aiden is actually a half- Siethen, half- Warlock who is over 400 years old?”
“Yes, but that’s not just it. Aszurya, he’s part of the reason I had to bring back Theodore. And he may have a hand in a lot of other things.”
Alaric explains his dream omen, his meeting with Nadia, the Dream Queen, and his encounter with the warlock council. I just sit there listening and making my own assumptions. It makes sense. The fogginess that came after we kissed. This whole time he had me under his finger. He used me just the way that Eddie did, maybe even worse, and I fell for it.
Losing King made me vulnerable and Adrian manipulated me. But what did he mean that I would come back to him when King snapped. King would never hurt me. But how can I say that when he’s done it before. Everyone always hurts me and I’m stupid enough to let it happen. I thought I was strong but I’m not. I wasted 2 years of my life ‘training’ and being manipulated because I was stubborn.
But I can say I’ve changed. I think I might finally have my family at my side along with Alaric for this. As much as I may care for Theo, I still can’t trust anything. It’s too soon, especially after hearing this.
“I’m going to put a stop to Adrian’s plans. He’s not going to get away with this.”
“And I’ll stand alongside you. But before that, we need to find out what his plans and motives are. And Theodore needs to undergo some serious training so he can be of use.”
I frown but nod. King has nothing to do with this. Alaric shouldn’t even be involved but I’ll take his assistance. I think about King’s possible reaction to this whole thing. After just having his first transformation, he needs to take it slow and rest. I won’t add anything to his load.
“Actually, do me a favour. Keep this from King. You’re right, he needs to train so let him train and get used to his new body. It’s overdue. Plus, he just lost his girlfriend.”
Alaric nods his head. Looking away, I begin to toy with my boot laces. Suddenly a thought comes flying to the front of my mind and I instantly know that it’s true. Somehow, King is intertwined in Adrian’s master plan. I need to keep him protected.
“We need to keep an eye on King at all times.”
“Adrian’s targeting him. When I was trying to train him before, I kicked him in his side. He was in pain but didn’t want to show it. I figured out he sustained an injury to his side, but it was only when I used a gyen to assess the damage that I saw just how bad it was. To the left of his spin, his nerves are next to dead. He’s lucky to still be able to move properly.”
“Okay, but how do you know that it was Adrian?”
“I realized that only a gyen could cause that much damage to him. Before seeing you to invite you to the party, I was at the archives looking to see who entered and left the realm around that time. The only person who would have known about King is Adrian. I was confused because Adrian was with me training at that time but I remember that he left often in secret while I was working.
“Only a full breed Siethen with lots of experience could complete a paralysis gyen. Adrian Nagatory could have had the experience needed and he’s a mix with warlock. Two powerful beings mixed together can also perform it. I need to look at the gyen volumes again to see just what level a paralysis is, but before that, I need to talk to some of my brothers.”
“I’ll head over to the Dream court to talk with Nadia, tell her you’re safe and aware of the boy. Then Kitoshy and I will do our own digging.”
I nod my head and remind the warlock to keep everything on the low. Alaric portals out of my room and I release the children’s deafness. We play, I create fantastic stories and beast out of my sparks while they sit, mesmerized by my words and movements. After a few hours, I lie down and tell them to go bother someone else.
Some time goes by before King knocks on the door and enters, slowly. He stops and shuts the door back, looking exhausted and overworked. I roll over to make some room for him to sit, but he just leans over to kiss my forehead. Wrinkling up my nose, I eye the man as he pulls off his T-shirt.
“What’ve you been doing?”
“Training with your brothers. They’re just like you. Let me take a shower and we can talk after. Or sleep. I don’t mind.”
I smirk. His exhaustion is beautiful. As soon as he walks into my bathroom, I get up to speed out the room. I sprint down the stairs to find my brothers and pull them into a closet-like room so we can talk without King overhearing.
“What’s the big idea?”
“I need the three of you to keep a close eye on King. I have some things to do and I don’t want anything to happen. I would ask Chris but he has Jordan to deal with.”
“Why does he need looking after?” My younger brother asks.
“Yeah, like Lucian said. He isn’t a baby.”
“Someone’s targeting him. I’m not getting into any details. Just make sure nothing happens.”
The three men nod their heads simultaneously in conformation. We all disperse and I warp myself into my bed-chambers. I feel someone’s hot body behind me just as a hand grabs my ass. I wince slightly and turn around to have King kiss my neck, right near my sensual spot.
“Mind getting me some clothes?”
I shudder as he sucks on my skin, nodding my head in fear a moan might come from my mouth. As soon as he lets me loose, I walk out of my room with a mental checklist in mind. I stop in Micha’s room for some pants since their legs are around the same length. Grabbing some jeans, I walk back into my own room remembering that I have oversized shirts in my closet.
King takes the clothes from my hands as I sit on the bed and watch him dress. He looks a lot bigger than the last time I had him clothless. Even his manhood looks well, manlier. Everything’s more defined; like he’s been chiselled to perfection.
I bite my lip as he takes me into his lap, murmuring something about needing clothes for this world. I curl into his body and breathe in his scent as it mixes with mine.
King just left to train with Micha, Will, and Lucian. Hopefully, they will honour my favour and keep a close eye on him while I’m out today. I finish getting dressed and warp myself out of the manor. As I reappear mid-air, over the manor, I extend my wings and push myself in the direction of Greymark’s Castle using full wing force. One push gets me to the castle, so I pull in my wings and land in her garden.
“Hello, Aszurya. How are you feeling, ey nuyel? Better, I hope.”
“You knew about Adrian, didn’t you.”
I watch as my grandmother continues to pull out the weeds from her small plot of land dedicated to her garden. I don’t need to do a single thing to know that she’s smiling at me. She knew and didn’t do a single thing about it.
“I knew but I also knew that your great warlock friend would come to your rescue.”
“2 years went by and you said nothing to me or my family.”
“You’re family is my family too. Don’t forget, nuyel. And you know I can’t interfere.”
I clench my fists at my side and stare up at the sky. I walk over to the nearest tree, angry as fuck, and punch a hole in the wood. Leaning my head against the trunk, I close my eyes and try to clear my mind but I can’t. Our times in the woods together, training… what was the point of it? What the fuck did he have planned?
“The trees did nothing to you, Aszurya.”
“I was used, Grandmother! And I have a feeling something else is happening under my own nose. Something dark is brewing in the depths of the realm. What type of protector am I?”
“One that is smart enough to protect her partner and make sure that he doesn’t get hurt.”
“So it was Adrian that hurt him.”
I turn to face my grandmother as she gets up and walks towards me. I drop to my knees and close my eyes as my grandmother places her cold bronze hands on my forehead. Suddenly, I’m taken to my grandmother’s dream state. The one she gets her visions from.
From there, I’m astral projected into the human realm, specifically the training grounds of the organization King worked at. Biting my lips I watch as someone sneaks around in the bushes. Within seconds of my projecting, King and his blonde friend appear in the open field. They train together as a man watches in the bushes.
A small crater opens up in the woods, letting out a rogue demon from hell’s heart. The demon sniffs around sensing King’s movements. The demon launches itself at the blonde boy but King shoves him to the ground taking the brunt of the hit. At the moment of impact, a black orb of fire flies through the air and hits King. He screams as the orb misses his spinal cord and embeds itself in his side.
I pull myself out of the vision and back into reality, flinching away from my grandmother. She frowns as I extend my wings to keep me steady, thinking that I am leaving already. I know my grandmother, I have to at least have tea with her or meditate with her before I leave. But I don’t think I can do that today. Not after what I learned just now.
“He let out a demon to attack King!”
“But it was that demon that saved his life.”
“It moved him to the side just the slightest bit so the orb didn’t hit his spine.”
“It was acting on behalf of your own demons. Your devil’s mark saved his life.”
I nod my head and kiss my grandmother’s frail hands. Stepping back, I jump into the sky and wave to my grandmother. She waves back as I fully extend my wings to push myself back to the manor. I have to check King over again.
I must have missed it the first time I looked at him.
I warp into the foyer of the manor and sprint upstairs to find someone, anyone from my family. To my luck, all of my brothers are in a room together As I stand in the middle of the doorway, scanning the entire room for signs of him, my hearts begin to speed up. He’s not here. He was supposed to be with them.
“Hmm? He went over to your room, saying he was exhausted. Nothing happened while you were gone.”
I roll my eyes at my younger brother before heading over to my own chambers. My first instinct is to knock but I think better of it. I’ve seen all of him. Plus, it’s my room; I don’t need to knock.
I open the door to find King lying in my bed. My lips bend into a frown as I see how messed up the sheets are. I know I left my bed made up this morning. My blood freezes, fear pouring into my hearts, as a groan reaches my ears. I hear massive pain in that one groan.
In a split second, I’m at King’s side holding onto his clammy hot skin. I roll the big man over so I can see his tortured face. His mismatched eyes fly open, his pupils stretching into splits. I wince, knowing the pain connected to that. King lets out a holler and pulls away from me.
“Oh, King. You’re in so much pain…”
I pull King closer to my body and hold him in a tight embrace. Just my contact alone seems to soothe him as he wraps his arms around my waist, resting his head on my stomach. I lie with my big boy as he enters his adult stages through a wall of pain. Caressing his head, I stay with him until the tremors have died down. As soon as he seems calm and I get up and kiss his temple, telling him to get some sleep before getting up.
Alaric joins me as I leave King in my chambers, ready to fill me in on the things that I missed. We walk over to the smaller training room, at the far end of the manor. I pull off a few layers of clothing so I am just wearing my fishnet shirt. I create a clone to spar against and put a blindfold around my eyes. I feel Alaric’s energy move as he sits on the ground a little bit away from me.
As soon as his energy continues to hover in one position, I drag my foot back and stretch out my arms, one in front, one in back. I’m aware of everything moving around me. Every movement creates a splash of colour in the darkness. My clone begins to move away from me in a stealth mode before disappearing completely from my range.
I wait for the slightest colour fragment to appear. Above me, I feel a slash of dark purple. Quickly, I step to the side just in time to avoid a full-body mass hitting me. With a solid hand, I block all attacks all while conferring with Alaric.