“So you told her?” Lucifer’s words were slurred, his accent hidden underneath the thick layers of his tongue.
I scowled, looking up from the book I had been regarding on the shelf for over two minutes. “And? Am I not allowed to?”
“I never said you couldn’t; I’m not your father,” Lucifer defended slowly, his words taking their time to exit his lips. “I’m only...expressing my shock.”
“Some way to express shock,” I grumbled. “Then again, I didn’t think you had any emotions whatsoever.” From the corner of my eye, I caught Lucifer sitting upright on the couch, his eyes flashing.
“Why do you say that?” He hissed, eyes narrowing predatorily.
I shrugged, pulling at the spine of another book from the damp shelf. Damien had just wiped the majority of my room, bookshelves and desk included. He’d be pissed if I got my thumbprint over his “slave work,” but I was so overcome with boredom that I could care less about he speech he’d have prepared for me. “You’re always so...monotonous. Even when we used to have parties in the palace, you hardly ever showed emotion.”
“Then you must be blind,” Lucifer sneered. “I have emotions, despite my demonic race.”
I smirked, fingering through the thin pages of the book. “Ah, I do remember one time when you did show a speck of emotion.”
“See! I tol-!”
“It was when some neighboring prince had asked Damien to dance and you snapped his neck the day after,” I finished, Lucifer’s mouth left ajar.
He snapped his jaw shut, leveling me with an angry scowl. “Yeah? Well at least I wasn’t a play boy.”
I raised my eyebrow. “I was never a play boy. Why does everyone assume that? Just because I was a prince doesn’t mean I don’t hold myself to a certain standard!”
“Technically, you’re a King,” Lucifer drawled. “And you most certainly took every chance you could to flirt with the women at the ball, didn’t you?”
“With parents forcing you to find a bride, I’m sure you would do the same,” I snapped, glaring at him abruptly. What was he trying to do? Get under my skin?
“Anyway, how did she react?”
“When you told her that you killed Mohini.”
I paused, the book halfway to it’s place on the shelf. Swallowing thickly, I placed the hardcopy on the desk, wiping my hand over my face. “She...well, I’m not sure how she reacted. Radha tends to keep her emotions inside of her. She was shocked, I could see that much, but she found an excuse to leave before I could explain why I killed Mohini.” I looked away, towards the balcony, and I could feel Lucifer’s narrowed eyes burning holes into my neck.
“You...aren’t over Mohini yet, are you?” He deadpanned, his voice once again void of any emotion he could have possessed.
I was quick to defend myself. “What? Absolutely not! I’m completely over Mohini!” I denied, although I could feel my brain screaming in retaliation. I wasn’t over Mohini, and no matter how hard Radha was making my heart pound, I could still feel Mohini’s image burning in the back of my mind, like a scar that refuses to dissolve into your skin.
“You’re lying, Rohan,” Lucifer’s voice boomed condescendingly. “You’re not only lying to yourself, but you’re also giving Radha false hope.”
“How so?” I snarled, getting aggravated at how vexatingly calm Lucifer was. “I’m not leading her on, if that’s what you are insinuating, Lucifer. She knows I want to take it slow.”
“But how long will you make her wait?” Lucifer countered. “She knows nothing about you, Rohan. She doesn’t even know your name! All you’ve given her is a thin thread, and believe me, those snap easily.”
“Not only that, but you’re still obsessed with Mohini,” Damien’s voice breezed from the doorway, causing me to spin on my heel. “Radha’s falling for you, Rohan, despite it only being a week. Trust me. I know, Saira knows, and even Chandra knows!” That brought a chuckle out of me, but Damien masked his amusement with a frown. “You can’t sleep with Radha while thinking about Mohini, Rohan. It’s not fair to her.”
“I haven’t slept with her!” I roared, my mask faltering on my face. I paused to correct it, my claws brushing against the rough scales around my eyes. I flinched, pulling my hand back. “How would she react if she found out she’d slept with a monster? A beast? A hideous demon?”
“It’s all in your head, Rohan,” Lucifer groaned. “Radha doesn’t look for how you are, she looks at your characteristics. Have you gathered nothing about her in this past week?”
“You’re one to talk,” Damien retorted. “You haven’t even met Radha, much less gotten to know her.”
“I don’t need to; I’ll meet her on my own time,” Lucifer replied lazily, his dark eyes sliding to me.
I squirmed on my feet. “Well, one day, she will want to see how I look, and I’m telling you right now, I’ve broken all the mirrors whenever I’ve looked at myself in the glass.”
Damien rolled his eyes. “Yeah, well I can feel that Radha is different from Mohini. She’s not vain, and she’s definitely not arrogant. She’s gentle, but sticks up for herself when she needs to. Apart from her eyes, everything seems ordinary about her.”
“Her eyes?” Lucifer and I questioned simultaneously. “What’s wrong with her eyes?”
Damien shrugged. “Nothing. They just have the tendency to reflect the color of the sun every now and then. It’s cool, but then again, everything about Radha is cool.”
“Agreed,” Lucifer interjected before I could speak. “She sounds like a wonderful girl, ten times better than Mohini was. Why can’t you see that?”
“Don’t make me a villain to make yourself feel better, Lucifer,” I growled, surreptitiously jerking my head towards Damein. He scowled at me, but I continued. “I am growing fond of Radha, but that doesn’t mean Mohini leaves my mind in a snap. Besides, I’m not sure she’ll speak to me anymore, especially after I told her I killed Mohini.”
“Oh, for the love of Satan,” Damien grumbled to himself. “Did you at least explain yourself? Because then she’d definitely have the right to fear you.”
I rolled my eyes. “I didn’t get any time! Okay? She left before I could...she’s probably petrified of me now.” I slouched, and Lucifer let out an exaggerated groan.
“Why are you so pessimistic?” He grumbled, mostly to himself. “If you wanted to make sure that she wasn’t upset at you, wouldn’t you go after her?”
“I was-am afraid to see what she thinks.” I straightened. “No, I know what she’ll think. She’ll think that I’m a monster, that’s what.”
“You shouldn’t be making assumptions when you hardly know her, Rohan,” Damien consoled, walking into the room, the door shutting with a click behind him. “Maybe she finds it hot?”
“Really? A murderer? Hot? Yeah, right,” Lucifer rebutted, tossing one of my pillows into the air and catching it.
“I find it hot,” Damien murmured quietly, making Lucifer pause, the pillow tumbling to the ground.
A smirk pulled at my lips. I always knew that Lucifer had a thing for Damien; he was just too stubborn and prideful to say anything.
I leaned against the wall, licking my lips, my tongue running languidly over my fang. “Who’s being a pessimist now?” I grumbled, blinking as the sun filtered into my eyes. Purple had always been Mohini’s favorite color; I guess that’s why she made the sun and moon the color she did.
“Yeah, well I was born a pessimist. You weren’t. You’re an optimist, Rohan. Or, at least, you were.”
My eyes flashed and I looked up with a growl. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Lucifer shrugged. “You’ve changed...both physically and mentally. Physically, I have no problem with, it’s only your mentality that’s egging on me.”
Damien gulped, and I took a step towards Lucifer, my next growl poorly hidden. “What do you mean? Are you saying that I’ve changed?”
“Very much so,” Lucifer replied promptly. “You used to be so optimistic! It was like breathing fresh air around you; like nothing wrong would ever happen as long as we stayed in a fifty mile radius of you.”
“Yeah, well people change, literally,” I sneered, looking away. Damien was silent behind me, but Lucifer wasn’t done yet. He stood from the couch, approaching me, and even though he was significantly shorter than I was, he was intimidating to almost everyone in the palace.
Everyone but me.
I raised my eyebrow, nonplussed. “What are you going to do? Scold me? Like my mother?”
Lucifer scoffed. “Number one: your mother never scolded you a day in your life. Number two: no, obviously, ’cause you’re higher up the food chain than I am.”
“Yet here we are,” I grumbled.
Lucifer glared at me. “Nah, I’m not stooping to your level of pettiness,. I will though-” he broke off, staring at me for a couple of moments. I was confused, up until he reached up on my head-
-and hit me.
“What the fuck!” I exclaimed, stumbling backwards at the blow. To be honest, I was really trying to be melodramatic, but it did make me falter slightly, despite the physique I had. “What the hell, Lucifer?”
Lucifer’s shoulders rose and fell in nonchalance. “I needed to knock some sense into you,” he mumbled, his sharp eyes piercing through me.
I rubbed my head, feeling Damien step closer to me. “Yeah, well you couldn’t have gone for the gut? That would have hurt less.”
Lucifer’s eyebrow rose pointedly. “And aim for your crotch? Really? That counts as the gut, you know that, right?”
“Fuck yeah I do,” I grunted, rubbing my skin to make sure that he didn’t leave a bump. “So, what was that hit for?”
“To hopefully knock Mohini out of your mind and implant some of Radha’s pictures...even though I haven’t seen the girl yet,” Lucifer mumbled.
“She’s beautiful, I think so,” Damien interjected softly, looking between Lucifer and I. I was positive that Lucifer’s eyes were darkening, but he shrugged it off with a cough.
“Yeah...whatever,” he grumbled under his breath.
I smiled. “She’s gorgeous, and she’s feisty. She knows how to stick up for herself, and while she has a soft side, she’s also independent, something that’s hard to find in a woman.”
Damien nodded. “It is hard, especially with men now dominating most of Mukhauta. I had hoped that American woman would change Fanchise’s mindset, but apparently he changed her.”
I furrowed my eyebrows. “American woman? Who?”
Damien swallowed. “Fanchise has an American wife; I don’t remember her name. I’ve heard in America women have their independence and freedom. Why she couldn’t teach feminism to Fanchise, I have no idea.”
“Fanchise must have twisted her mind before she could get a word out,” Lucifer said.
I looked out the window. “Don’t they have a son? Gabriel?”
“Yes. Why?” Damien asked.
I licked my lips again, the soft skin suddenly dry and chapped. “I have a meeting with him soon.”
“What? How? Why? I thought nobody knew of this place?” Damien blurted, appaled.
I sent a dirty glance at Lucifer, who for the first time in his existence, cowered underneath my flower. “Lucifer had a bit too much to drink and...well...you can guess the rest.”
Lucifer scowled. “It was supposed to be a one-night stand. One-night stands aren’t supposed to become pains in your asses.”
“Unless it’s a pregnant female, then yes, they will be,” Damien mumbled, his voice softer than it should have been. I glanced at him, and he didn’t meet my eyes, avoiding both my gaze and Lucifer’s gaze.
“I’ve had to meet wih Gabriel for an exchange every so often to keep the secrecy of the palace,” I continued. “And stop glowering at me, Lucifer. I don’t blame you; you were drunk. I can’t hold anything against you.”
“And yet, I still argue that you should,” Lucifer hissed. “It’s a mistake that’s now been plastered on my forehead for all to see.”
“And he said I should move on,” I snarled under my breath. I knew what Lucifer was arguing with me was true; I had Radha now, it was time to move on. Yet every time I tried, guilt pounded in me. I had killed her, after all. Even though she had cheated on me, she didn’t deserve to die, not by my already cursed form.
I flexed my fingers in my gloves, hot magic coursing through my veins. I despised my power; despised the hell it had put me through. I just wanted to move on, to forget Mohini and be happy with another woman. Why was that so hard?
I closed my eyes, expecting Mohini’s pale, broken, blue face to appear in my mind. Instead, a pleasant surprise, I found myself imagining Radha.
I could see her creamy brown skin; her dark brown eyes. They weren’t exactly brown, but they also weren’t exactly any other color either. It was hard to pinpoint it, but I found that very attractive of her.
She had dark red lips, something that was hard to find these days. They reminded me of my own lips, but in an even darker shade; not bloody, but also not rose. Her body was slim, but slightly full and soft. Her face reminded me of the moon, gentle and round. Radha was a beauty, rivaling any actress or model I had seen-
-rivaling Mohini herself.
The realization hit me hard, as if a tidal wave had smashed into me, yet wasn’t strong enough to knock me off balance. In the week that I had known Radha, I was already putting her on a higher pedestal than the years I had known Mohini. It was a shock, but it didn’t make me feel guilty. I’m not sure what exactly I felt, but I knew the churning, crushing feeling of guilt, and I definitely didn’t feel as though I was on a roller coaster.
The sound of Lucifer clicking his tongue brought me out of my vivid image, but before he could breathe a word from his lips, the door slammed open and we all turned our heads, surprised, but also slightly on edge.
Saira stood in the doorway, looking upset and afraid. Her reptilian, orange eyes were wide, the irisies nearly invisible. Her claws were unsheathed, her fingers flexing. In my gloves, I could feel my magic burn in my skin, as though hot coal was being pressed to my vein.
“Saira? What is it? What’s wrong?” I asked, taking a step towards her cautiously. Damien was closer to her, and I could hear Lucifer rising from the plush pillows of my bed.
Saira shook her head, her forked tongue shooting from her scaley lips. “I-It’s Radha, your highness-!”
“Radha?” Now I was alert, a snarl rumbling in my throat. “What happened to Radha? Is she okay?” I couldn’t help but feel panicky. Saira hadn’t even told me what was wrong, but my mind was already running, anxiety slithering in my stomach. Had she injured herself?
“S-She’s...she’s gone,” Saira whispered, and I could feel my heart breaking.
“What do you mean, gone?” I questioned, my voice shaky. I didn’t realize it, but my feel were already moving towards the door, towards the North Tower, towards Radha’s room.
“I-I went to check on her because I hadn’t seen her the whole day and I was getting worried,” Saira gasped, fighting to keep pace with me. I could hear Damien and Lucifer behind me, but I ignored them, picking my speeds up as we reached the home stretch of the hallway where Radha’s room was located. “When I got there, the entire room was in a disarray! There was no sign of her anywhere!”
“Damn it!” I roared. “Fucking shit!” The lewd words spilled one after another from my mouth as I reached her door, pulling the latch off.
True to Saira’s words, Radha’s room was in fact a disarray. Clothes were strewn over the carpet and the bed. Her sheets were still rumpled, something I knew Radha wasn’t able to stand. The bathroom door was wide open, the curtains playing with the wind coming from the open balcony. The window was also open, the latch ripped and laying on the ground.
I rushed to the open window, anger, fear, and hurt crashing into me all at once. Had she really left? Had I scared her? Was she afraid that I was going to murder her, just as I had done to Mohini?
No! I scolded myself angrily, grasping a shirt that lay on the windowsill. No more Mohini. Radha’s gone, your only chance at love is gone, and it’s all your fault! You’re the one that fucked up and said you killed Mohini! Not once in your life could you have told a white lie?
I looked down at the fabric I was holding, Damien and Lucifer’s inquisitive footsteps deaf to my ears. I felt numb, my body still recoiling in shock. She...she had really left. She led me on; she promised me that she wouldn’t. True, it had only been a week, and now I realized how gullible I had been to believe her. Why was finding someone so hard? Why was I always put through hell?
I clutched the cloth to my chest, hurting, but somehow, unable to let go, as if it had become attached to me. Pain shot through me, and I felt wetness roll down my cheeks. Was I...crying? Why was I crying? Was I really this attached to Radha? After a measly week? Had she already found the crac in my heart?
“Rohan! Rohan, look!” Lucifer was yelling in my ear, and sharply, I looked up at him, my fangs bared.
“Look at what, Lucifer? What do you have that could make me feel better?” I nearly choked. It was my fault; my fault that she was gone. I confessed to my crime, and she ran away. Guilt was suffocating me, clawing at my throat.
“This.” Lucifer handed me a shirt, Radha’s blouse, and before I could rip it up to shreds, something sticky and wet smoothed along my thumb.
I looked down, confused, when the strong scent of iron hit my nose. I wrinkled my nose, looking down at the blood smothered blouse. It used to be white, but now, it was pure red, and completely drenched.
Damien and Saira were quiet, with Lucifer cursing up a storm under his breath. I gripped the blouse tightly, anger burning like hot leave in me.
“She didn’t leave...”
Lucifer shook his head. “No...she didn’t leave...”
“She was kidnapped.”