Falling For Dakota

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Chapter 18

Eric

There was nothing right about the scene, I thought to myself as I stood in front of the gates where Lucca’s domain lies. Creepy does not cover it and eerie is most likely an understatement when you look at the gray-washed stone walls of his fortress. I may have sounded confident earlier while I was with Ishmael, but I made sure to leave room for doubts. The harsh reality is, in the vampire world, anything can turn upside down within seconds. Often times, a formally concluded and ratified agreement between coven leaders can be easily disregarded. In simpler terms, a truce can become a thing of the past once personal agendas go against what was agreed upon. It could be because by nature, we think highly of ourselves and therefore there is a need for us to control every little thing, living or not.

The truth of the matter is, I have no indication where Lucca’s loyalty lies. The only bet I can bank on is the fact that he despises Octavia to the core that he would rather die or sleep for eternity than to give her what she wants. However, even though this is true, I still have to play it by ear and never solely rely on this information. It is imperative that I make a compelling argument that would make them support my cause. I do not wish for everything to end in war, but, it seems that the opposite party thinks otherwise. Octavia could not get over the entire incident and it was not because she was very fond of me. It was because She has set her eyes on what she could own upon becoming my bride. Simply put, she wants my territory. Hence, recruiting vampires to make me yield.

This is not the first time she has thrown a fit when things did not end up the way she wanted to. She has done this once before. And believe it or not, she’s been through this with Lucca. She has forced marriage on him as soon as he claimed his title. The only difference is, Lucca did not have traitors who fed Octavia information. Unfortunately for me, I am surrounded by them. She thinks that building an army and using my disloyal council members to her advantage would send me kneeling and begging for my life. I could, but that would mean I will never be able to see Dakota or be with her ever again, not to mention the hideous thought of my people becoming slaves to a tyrant. I could also run away and never return. It would be a lot easier, but I can’t seem to fathom abandoning my coven just like that. You see, every path eventually leads to a disaster which is why I had to accept this dangerous invitation.

"Alastair, what are you doing there standing in the dark?" Lucca asked as he suddenly materialized on the opposite side of the gate and I just stood there unfazed looking directly into his eyes. "It must be a special occasion to have you come to meet me personally rather than sending someone else. How have you been, Lucca?" I greeted with a grin as I let myself in. I took assertive steps stopping four feet away from him, gauging his stance. "I was out for a walk, so I thought I might as well collect you in myself. As for your question, I am as well as anyone can be. Why don't we continue our pleasantries inside?" He encouraged stretching his arm out toward the entrance as an invitation and I obliged falling into step beside him.

We walked quietly through the corridors not stopping to acknowledge anyone as they offer simple bows and nods. The first thing you will notice about Lucca's coven is that they dress in such a way that fuses the 16th century and modern-day fashion. I do not know if this is a requirement or if they only follow a certain trend among themselves, but I have not seen anyone who dresses differently and it strikes me as odd. "Perhaps a more private area will suffice?" Lucca asked interrupting my thoughts. "Perfect," I politely answered as I follow him up the massive spiral staircase at the end of the great hall. He led me beyond the corridor and through double doors that open to his study.

"Please, have a seat," he offered, pointing with his palm raised upward towards one of the black throne chairs. I strode in and situated myself on the said chair as he sat on the other one facing mine. He gave me a calm and steady stare which I equally returned and we must look like statues sitting the way we are now with stoic expressions. "To what do I owe the pleasure of being invited into your lovely covenstead?" I asked breaking the silence that stretched between us. "Oh, no more small talks?" he grinned baring his fangs. "You abhor them, Lucca. Small talks do nothing for us," I responded beaming as pleasantly as I can.

He waved his hand in dismissal and sighed. "Octavia rudely invited herself not long ago. She accused you of disloyalty and according to her, you are planning a conspiratorial plot against everyone," he paused watching my reaction carefully. When I did not react, he continued. "And before she stomped her way out, she has demanded my allegiance." I did not respond right away as I ponder on whether I should truthfully tell him that I already know these things. In the end, I held my tongue. "Oh? Do you know the truth behind her accusations?" He shrugged as if he was unaffected by what was going on which is very typical. His coven tends to shy away from politics between other covens. He could care less if vampires slaughter their own kind as long as it is outside of his territory.

"I am guessing it has something to do with your sudden refusal to wed," he finally answered. "There was never a plan to wed in the first place." His eyes met mine instantly as soon as the words were out of my mouth. "How so?" I chuckled at his question and shook my head. "Let's just say I have been repeatedly stabbed in the back by a few of my council members out of greed." I stood and walked toward the large window scanning the well-lit garden below.

"Tell me everything," he demanded and so I did with every intention of gaining his sympathy.

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