Leaning against the council table, I wait for everyone to arrive. I look to the side and space out, thinking of the essential topics. I twirl a dagger between my fingers as I sense someone daring to come closer to me as I plot. He stops a few feet away, folding his arms against his broad chest. He just stands there, watching me with his mismatched eyes, until I dare to meet his icy gaze. We say nothing; we just glare at each other, unmoving.
Slowly, I stand, fixing my dark cloak, and saunter past him, manoeuvering out of his grasp. I feel him flinch behind me, but continue to walk over to my place at the long table. My leather gloves crinkle as I tighten my grasp on the chair back, making eye contact with anyone who dares. All of the adults in my family, in-laws included are present at this meeting along with Lucifer, Alaric, Kitoshy, and the remnants of the King dynasty, among others.
I feel King come up behind me, squeezing my hip with a gloved hand. He didn’t like what I had to say to him this morning. We argued over my plans for this meeting, but in the end, he put on the black gloves. Micha wears a pair too, but no one else. Our gear sets us apart from everyone else.
“I called this meeting to discuss a few things. Interruptions from anyone will not be tolerated. Understood?”
I wait a few moments to make sure everyone nods their head. King’s grip tightens, but he stays silent.
“You’re supposed to be in charge of running this realm peacefully. For a time, you succeeded, but somewhere along the line, you fucked up. And now, there’s an entire clan ready to take over and wreak havoc in not only Obsidian but the human realm. War is approaching, and I’m breaking the rules.”
“Aszurya, you’re not supposed to butt-in--”
King grabs my arm before I can throw a dagger at his father’s head. Raymond flinches as I snarl in his direction. King murmurs my name, a warning to calm down.
“I wouldn’t have to step in if you people hadn’t fucked up so badly. Would you like to know who we’re going up again, Ray? Lucifer? Anthony? Would you? Tell me, you fucking idiots!”
“Aszurya.” Another warning.
I take a deep breath, trying to calm the rage that has buried deep inside. My fingers begin to twitch, another habit beginning to resurface lately. Micha takes my hand in his and sends a chill of ice through my body. I shudder at the feeling but slip between the cracks of my foundation until I become someone else entirely. I let out a soft laugh, looking up to the hot chandelier.
“I could stay out of it and let you all die. But I don’t think you’ll be able to stand very long against a clan who’s got twice as much power. So tell me, Ray, are you going to continue questioning my antics? Is your head really that far up your ass?”
“I’m just thinking of the consequences, something you should do too.”
I slip out of King’s grasp, sliding onto the table with ease. Crouching down, I take hold of his father’s chin, forcing him to meet my gaze.
“Do you know how it feels to be manipulated? I’ll let you in on a little secret. You and my parents are the reason it took so long to realise the threat. Did you think of the consequences that came with keeping your son from me for two years? I don’t think so.”
With that, I return to my seat, lounging across it as King stands behind the chair with a cold gaze. I smirk at Lucifer just to make him crazy before making eye contact with Diamond. She keeps her gaze levelled with mine but flinches as I narrow my eyes.
“You’ve been useless lately, Diamond King. I may have to change that.”
“I have a young child, Aszurya. Keep that in mind.”
“I don’t care whether your child is young or old, dead or alive. It seems the ones who get neglected do better.”
My lips pull into a smile as three other Siethens flinch from my words. I link my fingers in my Kings, causing him to narrow his gaze. Rolling my eyes, I turn my attention to my second-oldest brother, William.
“Will, I know you are working hard to repair the police force, but I need to add to your load. We’re going to need an army, eventually. When Jordan isn’t helping with this one,” I jerk my finger back towards the hulking wall of muscle. “He’ll be working with you and Ashlon to recruit and train soldiers. Fjevern, you and I will deal with the shadows.”
“Aszurya, will you go into details. You can’t expect us to know what is going on.”
“I forget you people are slow,” I mutter, gesturing for my parents to explain. While they describe the essential events and information, I sneak another glance at the junior King. He eyes his aunt for a few moments before noticing my gaze. He meets my gaze with a cold stare. I stand up once more, drawing all of the attention to me.
“This is all true, Boss?”
I turn to the brown Siethen with hair like the shadows. Looking him over, I nod my head once. Just looking at Fjevern, searching deep in his black eyes, leads me to a last-minute decision.
“If war comes, I give you, Fjevern Midnight, full control over the Shadows. You and our assassins will lead the troops.”
“As you wish, Boss.”
We both nod and the assassin dismisses himself. We’ll meet up later to go over plans, that is if King doesn’t rip me apart first. A woman rivalling my height and dominance stands up her, broad shoulders squared for a fight. Her bright periwinkle eyes meet mine, challenging my authority. With a snarl, I tilt my head to the side, inviting her to state her problem.
“Why are the shadows leading the troops? My men and I should be leading them.”
“Do you really your small group of Ashcleavers can lead millions of soldiers?” I warp to the platinum-haired woman. She doesn’t flinch, standing stock still as I smirk at her. Without words, I convey my trust and faith in her with one finger. The woman goes flying, crashing into the wall. The grey plastering shatters from the impact made from her body.
“Stop being so fucking reckless,” Someone growls in my ear. I turn around and grin at King, my gaze slipping from his lips to his hard eyes. His grip is tighter than before as he grabs my wrist and side, making sure I can’t slide out of his grasp.
“Oh, did I do something bad? Is that why I feel so good?”
The glare I receive is enough to make me lean up to lick his lips. His grip loosens up as I walk away, approaching the Ashcleaver leader. I gently purr as I trace the trail of blood slipping down her face. Blue eyes meet mine, filled with fear as she takes in my dark features.
“Can your men do that? Tell me, Ashlon, can they? If so, I’ll rethink my plans.” The leader mumbles something under her breath. Annoyed, I press my boot against the woman’s throat and growl. “Speak up, bitch. Can your fucking send you flying with one flick of a finger?”
“That’s what I thought.”
Releasing her, I turn around and stalk past two hulking bodies of muscle. Both glare at me, but I ignore them, sparing a glance at the rest of the members at the table. When I sit down, Michaelis and King are standing at each side of me, ready to restrain me from any more cruel deeds.
“Any more questions, or have you all finally learned your lesson? I’m rarely in a forgiving mood.”
Everyone nods their heads as I lean back in my chair. Julie whispers my name, her beautiful eyes wide. I roll my eyes and gesture for her to do as she pleases. With ease, the woman stands up and rushes to assist Ashlon. I cluck my tongue, warning my sister-in-law to hurry with her healing. I have things to do.
Something dark flashes through my mind, a picture, and I growl, slamming my fist into the metal table. My eyes make contact with my grandmother, who smiles gently at me. Everyone stiffens as I rake my fingers down the clean metal, thinking. I summon papers and disperse them throughout the room, so everyone has one.
“You all are being assigned to a few jobs. Get them done quickly and report back to me.” A smirk slips onto my features as I look to Raymond’s sister. The woman’s skin pales to match the colour of the paper she holds in her hands. “I assume you have a problem with your tasks, Diamond?”
“Yes, I’m bringing them back. From what I’ve heard, you were very skilled with your wyvern during your younger days.”
“Aszurya, you can’t possibly want me to train your new wyverns. Surely, you know why I stopped.”
“A fatal fall from your creature when he was shot down from the sky. I’m sure it was traumatising. You think that will change my mind? You’re an idiot.”
“I can’t possibly get back onto a wyvern. I’m still grieving my first--”
“I could help with that.”
A sinister laugh rips from my lips as I fly onto the table, stalking closer to my prey. Diamond trembles as I leer down at her, my sharp fangs showing. Crouching down, I stroke her long luscious hair. My muscles freeze as my name cuts through the air in the form of a snarl. Looking over my shoulder, I make eye contact with the man who stopped me from torturing the woman shaking in front of me. With a smirk, I lick my lips and answer to my summons.
“Come here. Now.”
Standing up, I warp over to my man. He growls at me, grabbing my wrist with his hand. King tilts my head up and crashes his mouth onto mine. I feel my eyes beginning to thinning into slits as they flutter close. His tongue is rough as it slides around my mouth, trying to snuff the dark flame. I chuckle, making sure to bite as I pull away.
“You all are dismissed, do not bother or disappoint me. Oh, and Diamond, make sure to thank your nephew for saving your pretty ass.”
I step to the side, raking my nails down King’s chest, before walking away. The heavy door slams behind me as I walk down the hallway, my heels clicking against the tiled floor. The staff senses me and stays far away from my path, fearing my wrath. I make it out to one of the balconies, where I find a certain white-haired warlock leaning against the silver railing.
“You look devastatingly beautiful today, Princess.”
I don’t bother responding as I slip closer.
“Did you enjoy my gift?”
“Yes. I enjoyed having to retract it from my sore insides.”
“Sore?” The warlock leans closer, slipping his fingers deep into my hair. His lips brush my, delivering a surge of desire to my core.
“Why are you here, Alaster?”
“It doesn’t matter why. He’s leaving. Now.”
Rough hands pull me out of Alaster’s grasp, crushing me against a new body. Glancing back, I notice King glaring at the man he towers over. Alaster flinches, looking to me once more before warping away. I feel a piece of paper materialise in my fingers. Before I can hide it, King’s rough fingers pry it from my hands. King glances at the message before tossing it from the balcony, watching me to see my reaction. I simply swallow, slightly harder than I want to, and blink my eyes.
“Is there a problem? Did you want that?” He snarls at me. Possession lurks deep in his eyes. I smirk and kiss the man, warping us into my bedroom in the manor. My clothes melt into shadows as I slip beneath King’s body.
“Why the pissy attitude, huh?”
I receive a growl and an order to shut my mouth. I moan as King’s lips meet my neck, circling my kiyake. Wrapping my legs around his waist, I purr to my partner, torturing him until he makes a mess of himself. When I finish with him, I let King rest, cleaning up and slipping out.
“You sure took your time.”
“Shut up, Fjevern.”
“You sure made a mess of the others.”
Assassins of all ages and breeds nod their heads to me as I walk with my second in command. I ignore them all as we cross the training grounds. Fjevern holds open the door to the meeting hall. Just as I asked, the rest of my little crew of shadows are waiting, scattered across the hall. I sprawl across the throne-like chair before addressing everyone else in the room.
“I have a few retrieval missions for you lot. I’m sure Fjevern has filled you in on the details. I ask you thirteen to do it because I know I won’t have to worry about mistakes. Don’t make me regret it.”
My second nods his head before descending onto one knee. The rest follow suit from their positions and in sync acknowledge me:
“No mistakes or casualties will be had on our mission, our dark Queen of Blood and Gore.”
Leaning back, I laugh, the air crackling with electricity. “It’s good to be back in the dark.”