As soon as I step through my portal, I create several clones and send them out to retrieve each one of my family members. I lead my trio of men over to the largest meeting room in the manor, knowing the size of my family. I summon two service demons and send one off to escort my grandmother. The other, I enlist in him a special task. I send the slimy little creature out to retrieve my eldest uncle. The little bastard, I’ve never liked.
I gesture for my companions to have a seat at the large table. Just as Alaric nods his head, I feel one of my clones exert enough energy to haul a grown man. Sure enough, William appears very dishevelled and lived. His face reddens as his green eyes fall on me. Within a mere second, my brother is leering down at me with annoyance in his eyes.
“What the fuck, Aszurya! What in hell do you think is so important-”
“You got a problem with it? Well, sit your ass down and shut your mouth. Nothing you were doing is more important than this.”
A few of the others enter the room as I cut my brother down. He glowers at me but joins his wife at the table. One by one, my clones shift back to my body distracting me from the pair of hands gliding around my waist. I feel familiar lips graze my ear.
“That’s my baby.”
I smile and rub my temple against his chin.
“You should take a seat, too.”
I wait until just about everyone, save my uncle, is present before beginning to explain my reasons for bringing them together. Clearing my throat, I stand next to the head of the table, looking over everyone who has been gathered.
“My dearest family members, I’ve pulled you all here to discuss something important. Something has… arisen and manpower will be needed. Do not interrupt me, William, or I will cut your tongue out and feed it to the guard dogs.”
My brother shoots me a glare before settling down in his seat. Kyomi takes his hand in hers and sends me a smile. I hope she can calm his nerves until I get to the really important news.
“King needs to be trained quickly and this is where you all come in. Each of you will help him with something appropriate. I have a job for each of you, and I expect it to be done with care.
“Alaric, Kitoshy, and I will overlook his bonding sessions. I will assist Mom in training him to differentiate energies. Mom, you, Lucian and Ana have water centres so you will lead that part of the training. Naraa and Jordan, I’m putting you two in charge of the book learning and whatnot. The bornyoz and I, will physically train him and Father will instil tolerance and resistance only under my watch.”
I stare my father in the eye to make sure he knows I’m not kidding. I don’t want any mishaps with King. He’s not as tolerant as he should be to train with my father, but I’ll help him get to my level or as close to it as I can.
“Granny May, Julie, and Ana will teach King the basic gyens. The women with lightning centres will help me get him accustomed to his lightning assist. Lucian and Micha you’re on flying duty; Kyomi and Chris, gyen works; Audrey help May will the Siethen etiquette.”
“What about bonding?”
“Animal bonding and terrain bonding. He hasn’t gotten the chance to understand the terrain. And, if this situation is that urgent, he should know the terrain the way he knows himself.”
“Oh… fine. You can take care of that, Audrey.”
“I think he should worry about bonding with her demons more than anything.”
I roll my eyes and notice Mathew pouting at me. I approach him slowly and pat his head. He just stares up at me, expecting me to read what’s going on behind his tumultuous green eyes.
“Spit it out, kiddo. I don’t read minds and you know that.”
“What about the rest of us?”
“Don’t worry, you all will be split up between each of us. Plus, you and the twins along with Steph still have your training at the academy. And Lilybelle, I have an important job for you.”
“What is it, Auntie?”
“When everyone is busy, I want you to stay with Bailey and James. How does that sound?”
“Awesome! I finally get to look after the babies.”
“Yep. Alright, now everyone under 17, get out. The adults need to speak.”
The children file out, grumbling about unfairness and other things. As soon as the others leave, I release the hold of my body to connect with my summoned servant.
What is taking so long?
Mistress, he’s resisting.
Use force then. I don’t mind.
I feel my lips pull into a smile as I take over my body once more. Within seconds, my ears prick at the sound of my uncle’s raspy voice cutting through the air. Already, I’m tempted to slit his tongue to restrict movement but Grandmother May would be disappointed in me. Instead, I take a deep breath and take my seat at the head of the conference table.
Uncle Lucifer appears with a thick black rope around him, binding his arms to his lean body. My servant demon waddles over to me, skinning his brown pointy teeth at me. I smile at the little thing as he leans his head down to bow to me.
“I brought him, Mistress.”
“I see,” I whisper to the demon as I pat his black slimy head. The demon’s spineless body shivers at my touch as he looks up at me expecting praise. “Good boy. Now go home, I’ll summon you once more to take him back.”
“You will do no such thing!” Lucifer booms at me as my demon of servitude disappears back into his dead land. I release the bonds holding my father’s brother while rubbing the tension out of my temples.
“Oh, shut up!”
“You’ve mastered the art of using gyens without movement?”
It’s more of an observation than a question, but it shocks me all the same. My father noticed something not many others had. Deep in his dark green eyes, is an emotion I’ve never seen from him before. It’s a look I’ve only received from my grandmother. One which my father had previously reserved for my brothers. A look of honour.
He seems proud of my accomplishment as I nod my head in affirmation. It took everything out of me not to beam at him like a child.
“Adrian taught me.”
“I thought the boy’s name was Aiden.”
Fuck. Not the way I wanted to start this.
“That’s what we need to talk about. And there’s no easy way to begin this story besides this: I’ve been manipulated and now, not only our clans, but the entire realm may be endangered because of my weakness.”
I stop and take a deep breath before locking eyes with my father. He cocks his eyebrow at me and I know instantly that the small ounce of pride I had sparked won’t last long. Finally, I managed to tell my family everything that happened between Adrian and I. I tell them how King was targeted because of me, the webs of gyens spun over my mind, and the information leaked.
When I finish, I close my eyes to shield myself from the disappointment coming my way. My family is silent for a time, adding to the chaos of my mind. I scream internally until sniffles touch my ears. My eyes fly open as my older sister pushes back her chair and runs towards me.
Her eyes are filled with salty tears that fall onto my bronze cheeks. Ana wraps her arms around me, sobbing against my body. Confused, I wrap my arm around her curvy body, trying to comfort her to the best of my ability.
“I’m sorry… so sorry, Aszurya.”
“I… we are never here for you. You went through so much on your own. We’re never there for you. Never been there to support you. And now, you’ve been carrying so much weight on your shoulders. I’m so sorry.”
“Stop it, Ana. I would have refused your help anyway. I brought this on myself.”
“And, she isn’t always on her own.”
“Alaric is right, Ana. She’s had him and Theodore at times. And now, she has us.”
My head swivels over to my father as soon as those words leave his mouth. I stare at the man who took part in creating me with my mouth agape. I move my mouth, trying to formulate the right words, but I fail to do so as my sister releases me. I stand by my chair, frozen, staring at my father, shocked by his sudden support. We’ve never been on the same page and even after speaking with him when I came back, I didn’t think much, if anything, would change between us. I must be dreaming. But, recently, my dreams haven’t been all too good.
So what is this?
I watch my father as he stands and walks over to me. His lips curl at the sides forming a half-smile, obviously meant for my eyes only. I bite down hard on the inside of my cheek as my father raises his hand, placing it on my head as he shocks me for what seems like the hundredth time today.
“You don’t mean that…”
“I do. And I know how shocked you are because of it. You’re my daughter,” My father leans in closer with a small smirk on his face. “Perhaps my favourite one. And I’m not letting anyone harm a hair on her head.”
I shock both of us by wrapping my arms around my father and hugging him tightly. Someone gasps dramatically as my father accepts and reciprocates the foreign gesture. It’s a surprise to everyone, my father and I are the least approachable and the last ones to accept physical contact.
“Do you have a plan, Aszurya, darling?”
“Bits and pieces of one. And that’s why I brought Lucifer here.”
“Oh, please. I’m not obligated to do what you say, you little brat.”
I growl as I release my father and glare at his brother. The man’s greasy dark hair falls into his aged face, his hands reaching up to push it away. Before my father and I can say anything to Lucifer, Grandmother May steps in and puts her foot down like a true Death-Rose mother.
“Lucifer Bane Death-Rose! You watch your mouth. I did not teach you to disrespect any member of this family. If I tell you to do as your niece says, you will do it.”
“And, as Head Patron of the realm, you are obligated to listen to any protector or escorter whether present, past, or future.”
I smirk at my uncle as I step away from my father. I notice the perspiration forming on his brow and the way his Adam’s apple bobs as he gulps. Narrowing my eyes, I stop a few inches from his chair.
“Oh, don’t worry, Mother. Grandmother. He doesn’t have to listen to me anymore.”
I pause to lick my lips menacingly as I enter my uncle’s terrified mind alone. I laugh to myself, though, only Lucier and I can hear it, sending chills over his body. That’s right. Be scared, you little bastard. You’ll regret annoying me. I’ll be the end of you.
“He’ll be stepping down from that position.”
“I will do no such thing.”
Oh, so you’re pretending to have a pair of balls in front of everyone? Even though you’re scared shitless, ready to piss your pants.
“You will.” With the bat of my eyelashes, I cinch the man’s throat closed, scaring the living daylights out of him. I take control of his entire body, stilling his nerves. I make his lips, mouth, and tongue move saying the words in my mind.
“I will step down from office. And in replacement, my eldest nephew from my brother Richard Death-Rose will take my place.”
“Wait, what? I didn’t agree with that.”
Now, go be a dear, Lucifer, and put that in writing. Then make a public announcement on Wednesday morning. Don’t make me have to force you.
I allow my uncle to move so he can nod his head. As soon as I make myself clear, I summon my service demon to take him back, just like I promised.
“Take him back, Mistress?”
“Yes, darling little thing. This time he won’t be so resistant.”
I watch, content as my demon vanishes with Lucifer in tow. When I turn around, I’m greeted by all sorts of expressions. A few of my companions look at me in disbelief. Some with disappointment, and others with pure fear of my powers.
“Your manipulation skills have improved immensely.”
“Richard! Do not encourage such behaviour from our daughter.”
My father glances at his wife before patting my back and sitting down in his chair at the other end of the table. I walk back over to my spot next to King, who takes my hand and squeezes it tightly. I muster up a smile for the handsome man but I don’t receive one back. Oh, no. I guess we’ll be having an unwanted talk when we’re alone about my actions today. Oh, well.
“Sorry, Mom. I had to take care of him before he annoyed me anymore.”
“You could have done it more elegantly.”
“You know I’m not a polite person. That’s just about impossible for an imbecile like him.”
I roll my eyes at my mother and look at my siblings. Most of them are understanding, as we’ve never liked our uncle. He’s always called us and bitches among other wretched names. We all have our reasons for disliking him, even my mother. So, I don’t understand why she is trying to defend him right now.
I lock eyes with my eldest brother and move my head to the side slightly. He nods his head and relaxes a tiny bit. I know he still wants an explanation for my previous actions but at least now he knows it’s in the realms best interest.
“Look, I know you want to know why I am having Lucifer step down from his position. We all know this realm’s government has been suffering for a while now under our clan’s hands. I think Adrian wants to take advantage of this instability and overthrow both of our clans, taking over. I’m not letting this happen.
“While I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to formulate a plan. This includes remodelling our political system. I looked at the structures during Obsidian’s best ages and made adjustments. The first thing we need to do is get rid of Lucifer. And quickly. When he makes his resignation announcement, he will announce that Chris is taking his place.”
“But I haven’t studied for ruling the realm, Aszurya. Have you really thought this through?”
“Yes. The process takes a few months so in that time Mom will teach you the things you need to know. Will, you’ve already taken over as the Police Force head and you’re working on improvements, right?”
“Good. Then when Mom is ready, or rather if she’s ready, Micha can take over her place.”
“Don’t worry, Micha. I’m not ready just yet. I think we should wait until Christopher is comfortable.”
I nod my head in agreement and smother a smile. Micha looks just as scared as Christopher did before. So much for having tough brothers. As long as Mom knows where I’m going with this. She encourages me with a smile and urges me to go on. Taking a deep breath, I release the tension in my chest and continue to explain my impartial plan.
I tell the others how I plan to secure the government. Will agrees with my suggestion to strengthen the security around the remaining portals. Everyone agrees with my plan of action and for once I feel fully supported, knowing that everyone is on my side and willing to follow my instructions. There’s no fear in anyone’s eyes.
A smile plasters itself on my uncovered face as I stand with King’s hand in mine. I convene the meeting, ordering that we will have another in the next week with the remnants of the King clan. King stands up next to me, his frame towering over mine, and slips his arm around my waist as everyone gets up and begins to file out. Once my family has left and it is only us, Alaric, and Kitoshy, we watch the two warlocks intently.
“Did you have plans on telling me about you?”
“What do you mean, Aszurya, darling.”
“You two. Together.”
A smile pulls across Kitoshy lips as he touches his boyfriend generously. I smirk and roll my eyes at Alaric’s touched face. “You two are something else.”
“As are you two.”
I shrug my shoulders at the couple and lean my head against King’s beating heart.”
“So when are we going to start my bonding sessions?”
“Maybe tomorrow. Depends on how I feel in the morning. I’m still a bit exhausted from going constantly.”
“Many people told you to stop and take a break.”
“Don’t try and father me, King.” I glare up at him but he just smiles at me, his dimple saying hello for a bit. He leans down and wipes the scowl right off my face with a single brush of his soft lips. My skin prickles at the contact but I don’t pull away. I don’t want to break a moment like this. Especially knowing what’s to come.
“Come on, I want to rest up a bit. Keep doing what you’re doing, Alaric.”
I stop Alaric before he can make a dirty remark and then lead King out of the conference room. The halls leading to my chambers are empty so there’s no one to stop King from getting touchy on our way there. He takes me up in his arms as soon as the door shuts and brings his lips down on mine.
“You really know how to take control. Too bad you won’t ever get a chance.”
“Oh, please. You think I’d submit to you?”
King grins and kisses me harder than his soft kisses before. It’s a kiss filled with longing. A longing we both feel. He sets me down on the bed and begins to pull off his shirt but I stop him from touching me as a face comes to mind. It’s been a while since I’ve put any thought into her.
“There’s still Hailey to worry about.”
That completely shuts my man down. His jaw tightens, the muscles ticking, and his gaze averts my body. King sits down next to me on the bed and lets out a deep breath.
“Why’d you have to bring her up?”
“Something has to be done about her. We can’t just leave her in the dungeons.”
“That’s a little strange coming from you. Are you seriously not going to touch me until we deal with her?”
I shrug my shoulders and look away from his prying mismatched eyes. I want to tell him ‘yes’, but I know deep down it’s not the truth. Even if we deal with her, she’ll still be lingering around in my mind every time he goes to touch me. Every time I come close to having a breakdown and he comes around, I’ll think about her and how she stopped me from living happily. But it’s not even just that. Our bond...
I don’t think I’ll be able to touch King the way he wants me too. And I know that he’s gonna want more than I’m willing to offer him. My only hope is that I get better as soon as possible. I don’t want to drive him away because I can’t satisfy his needs.