How long had it been?
The words echoed emptily in my mind as I reached for the golden knob, some old fear pulling me back. It had been years since I stepped foot in the room; in the place that I once went seeking comfort. It had been years since the cool touch of the metal seeped into my hands, the skin dark and rough.
I closed my eyes, taking a deep, composing breath to calm the accelerating thrum of my heartbeat. My palms suddenly felt sweaty, my head suddenly felt hot. Memories flooded my mind in a heated rush, but I shoved them aside. I didn’t want to think about them—I didn’t want to think about her.
I wasn’t completely sure how long it had been since I had seen her face; since I had seen her glossy, lifeless eyes or her blue, choking lips. I wasn’t sure how long I had been in this castle, alone and unwelcome anywhere else.
My claws scraped against the peeling wood of the door and a spike shot through me, the sound clawing at my ears. I winced, tendrils of my dark hair coiling at my neck and tickling the bare skin there.
I debated in my head for a while whether I should open the door or not; whether I should revisit memories that I was firm on keeping locked in my head and away from my heart. Her eyes haunted me to this day, and despite not knowing how long she had been gone, they still glared at the back of my skull, pressing into my mind.
I shrugged the cautious feeling away, my stomach un-clenching. My fangs dragged along the dark red color of my lips, the starch white a vast contrast to my nightly colored tongue.
My black cloak brushed against my bulging arm, the skin a dark blue hue against the trickle of sunlight that managed to slip its way through the clamped window panes. The wind passed easily through the two, curvy silver horns atop my silky black hair. I didn’t really know if it was silky or not, but that was what she had always told me.
A stab sliced through my heart, and the once cold knob suddenly felt very hot against my fingers. I pulled away from the handle, a snarl slipping from my curled lips. I stepped away from the door, the coolness of the metal fading on my skin.
“Huh, who’d have thought that there’d be a metal resistant to my power,” I mumbled to myself, flexing my fingers. I reached for the belt slung across my hips, my gloves clipped to one side. I slipped the brown cover on my hands, wiggling my fingers in the scratchy fabric. They weren’t the same kind that my parents had gotten me long ago, but they would do for now.
I slipped closer to the shadows hugging the dark red walls, adjusting the hood above my dark hair. I clenched my hands as I walked, my muscles contracting and veins popping from the skin. I dragged my fang over my bottom lip, licking the sharp tip. Years ago, this action had made women wild. Now, I hardly had any woman in my arms.
I bit down hard on my tongue, forcing myself to think of anything but her, of anything but my past. I laid my hand atop the grey cobblestone of the castle, drawing my hand over the wall, the dirt collecting in the crevices of my palms. I dusted my hands, glancing down at the circular balcony I had come across.
Looking down, the large oak doors looked back at me, the golden handles glistening in the dark sunlight. The red carpets rolled along the floors, up the steps, and down the dark hallways dimly lit by the electric lights, Damien had insisted I add to the palace.
I sighed, rolling my head back. Behind me, the large tapestry of a serpent billowed in the wind from the...AC, I believe humans called it. I still remember when Damien had come from the human world once, elated, and constantly pestered me to upgrade the castle and make it more “modern,” as he put it.
Quite frankly, I could have cared less about how he changed the design of the palace. God knows how long it had been since the place had gotten a renovation, a desperately needed renovation. I wanted to keep the old, regal look my parents had installed, and luckily, Damien’s plans for the palace hadn’t interfered in the decor.
I wiped a weary hand over my face, heading for my room. Why was I wandering the halls at ten pm at night? Why wasn’t I in bed, asleep?
My tail lashed around behind me as I pondered in frustration, the lights to the hallway flickering on. I hoisted the jeans I was wearing higher up on my waist, my white shirt nearly ripping from my chest. I swallowed the irritated sigh that had crawled up my throat. What was going on with me, today? Why was I thinking about her?
I always thought about her, if I was being honest, but never have I thought about her so desperately before. Never have I wished for her to be in my arms again; never have I wished for my lips to be on hers once more.
I admit, there were days when I thought she was still with me, still riding over my heart and ripping it to shreds with her deceptive, reptilian eyes.
Just thinking about her eyes made the rough fabric over my demonic eyes shift, and I hastily corrected the strands, the lace feeling as if it were stuck to my face. I knew it wasn’t, but I didn’t dare to take it off, knowing what she had left me with; I was too hideous to look at myself in the mirror without my mask on.
The mask itself was rather beautiful; not even reminiscent of Mohini. The major color was a dark black, the same color as my eyes. Around the sides of the mask in elegant curls were golden, curvy lines that traced the sides, the same color of my irises.
“I don’t think I can go to bed right now,” I murmured to myself, refusing to look towards the tapestries that hung along the walls. I bent my head, the hood I had struggled to keep on tumbling onto my shoulders. I huffed, but trudged down the hallway of the North Wing of the castle, towards the living room.
To my surprise, both Damien and Lucifer were in the large sitting room. I thought that they would have been in their rooms, sleeping in until midnight of the next day, but here they were, sitting and playing Go Fish over the glass table by the fireplace.
“Do you have any fives?” Lucifer questioned slowly, dragging his deep words out and sliding his olive eyes to Damien. Lucifer was a Tunial demon, a demon who was able to shapeshift and slide through walls. He sounded like a used car salesman, something I think that suited his personality.
Lucifer had dark red hair which he stylishly tied in a man-bun. He had olive eyes and pink irises, although he never paid heed to the nasty comments he received for their strange mix. He was a lean, pale demon with a fragile, yet powerful frame. He liked to dress in style, often wearing suits or dress-shirts, depending on the day.
“Damn; are you cheating again, Luce?” Damien grumbled, leaning over the table to hand Lucifer the red card.
Lucifer chuckled lowly, something that insinuated that he was. “No...why would you say that?”
“Because I know you,” Damien mumbled under his breath, chewing his cheek.
Damien was a Vlaksh demon, a demon who had the ability to manifest portals and move around at incredible speed. He was a dark-skinned, muscular demon who was quite young for his age, considering that the Vlaksh clans were rare. He had short blue hair styled in a buzz cut and was often found wearing either his pajamas or used clothes from the bargain store, not that I was complaining. It saved money, anyway.
“Why are you both still awake?” I asked, making my presence known. “It’s almost eleven!”
“Why are you still awake?” Lucifer questioned, his dark eyes slanting towards me. I caught Damien quickly peeking at Lucifer’s cards, and if the Tunial demon noticed, he didn’t say anything about it.
“Answer my question first, then I’ll answer yours,” I replied curtly.
Damien blushed. “I couldn’t sleep, so I woke Lucifer up and asked if he wanted to play cards with me to help me fall asleep.”
“Huh, that explains the pajamas,” I mumbled, taking in the chibi nightclothes that Lucifer was dressed in.
“And you, Rohan? Why are you up and adam?” Lucifer asked, plucking a card from Damien’s pack.
I rolled my eyes. “I couldn’t sleep either. I was...” I didn’t want to tell them that I was thinking of Mohini again. I knew what they would say; I knew how they would react.
Lucifer’s eyes narrowed and he stood from the ground, Damien taking the opportunity to peek at his hand. He scowled.
“Damien, I can see you,” he snapped. “And Rohan, you’re thinking of Mohini again, aren’t you?”
Busted, I thought, wincing internally. I leaned against the wall, my bicep pressed against my chest.
“And so what if I am? I have the right to think of whoever I want to think about,” I retaliated against Lucifer’s hard stare.
He raised his eyebrow, unconvinced. “Right...are we sure that this is the same Mohini that you rejected years ago? The Mohini that cursed you to become a monster?” His words felt like poison to me, and I grimaced.
“Yes, that Mohini,” I growled. “I don’t know why I keep thinking about her—she just keeps coming back into my mind!”
“Well, it has been a good few thousand years, right?” Damien asked. “I’m surprised you’re not over her already.”
“I know. I should be, but there always seems to be a reminder of her, of what she was to me,” I muttered bitterly, looking away. My hair tickled the base of my throat, brushing against my arms, and Lucifer scowled.
“Well, maybe if you would get rid of that room you have of her—!”
“No,” I replied sharply, cutting him off. “I’m not getting rid of that room, Lucifer, and you know why.”
“Can’t you just get another room for your jewelry, Rohan?” Damien questioned, lounging on the couch now that he sensed that there was no impending threat to his life.
“It’s not jewelry,” I snarled. “You know very well why that needs to be preserved, and well, the room...” I mumbled the rest of my sentence, refusing to meet Lucifer’s mirthful eyes.
“Right...” he drawled, glancing at Damien. Something passed through them, something I couldn’t understand. I clenched my hands, but Lucifer beat me to the chase.
“Rohan, you need to get a wife,” he said promptly.
“...What?” I took a moment to respond, the sentence taking a while to compute in my mind. My mouth was still partially open, my eyes slightly wide. “What do you mean, get a wife?”
“You heard me,” Lucifer growled, dusting his pajamas. “It’s high time you get Mohini out of your mind and occupy yourself with another woman.”
“You’re crazy, has anyone ever told you that?” I asked, licking my lips involuntarily. I shook my head, glaring at Lucifer. “A woman? Really? For me?”
“What’s wrong with you?” Damien piped in. “You’re handsome, Rohan, and you’re a king—!”
“I was a King,” I corrected. “And even then, I was never crowned as King. I was the prince.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Lucifer gritted. “The point is, you need to settle down and begin your own family! Whatever happened with Mohini, happened, and you can’t change that. The only thing that you can do is move on, right?”
“I can’t...” I growled, pinching my eyes shut. I didn’t meet Lucifer’s inquisitive eyes or Damien’s soft ones, memories that had been held by a dam crashing into me. “You don’t understand what it’s like to...you know...”
“We don’t know,” Lucifer agreed. “But we do know that everyone deserves to find happiness, as cheesy as it sounds. Rohan, you need to find a woman, or man, if you swing that way.”
“No, um, well, I swing a woman’s way,” I clarified, “And who could learn to love me?”
“Well, you hide most of yourself, Rohan, so there really isn’t anything to see, thus, nothing to worry about,” Damien said.
“But what if she wants to see me? What will I do? I can’t...I won’t let her see my face,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest, a painful pang spreading through me. Why did everything remind me of her?
“Rohan, love doesn’t happen in one day, and if whoever the girl is cares for you, heck, maybe even loves you, then she’ll respect your time and your need to wait,” Lucifer calmly assured.
“How would a human get into the barrier anyway?” Damien asked, shuffling the cards he had gathered into his hands. The glossy sides slipped through his fingers but surprisingly stayed together in the pile he was creating.
“You can bring them in through your teleportation,” Lucifer commented dryly, licking his chapped, blue lips, lips that constantly reminded me of my mistake, of my crime.
“How would you get a woman anyway? It’s not like she’s a piece of jewelry or possession that you can buy on Amazon or something. They’re people!” I asked, hoping that I had somehow managed to stump Lucifer.
Unfortunately, based off of the sardonic smirk that had curled along Lucifer’s lips, I realized that I had yet again been unsuccessful in giving him something to chew on.
“It’s quite easy, actually,” he said. He reached under the glass table, picking up a newspaper that Damien had snatched from a human he had frightened in the forest.
“What are you doing?” I asked, suddenly feeling fatigue wash over me. I rubbed a hand over my light blue cheeks, the mask sticking to my skin.
“In the human realm, the part of Mukhauta that was...spared,” Lucifer gulped, “There is an auction held by a man by the name of Gabriel Fanchise. He is selling women off into slavery to create bigger profits on his father, Mark Fanchise’s factory company.”
“What? But, isn’t that a crime?” Damien gasped.
“Not in India,” I growled, anger clawing up my throat. I didn’t fathom slavery, or any form of human cruelty. It was why I convinced my parents to have indentured servant, so that at least they were being paid for their hard work. I flexed my claws in my gloves, suddenly wishing that I could have then sunk into Gabriel Fanchise’s neck.
“Yeah...anyway,” Lucifer coughed. “Since they’ll be selling women there, that’ll be the perfect opportunity to find yourself a new woman!”
“Do you really think so?” I asked, my indecisiveness beginning to sway at Lucifer’s words. “Do you really think I can find a woman over there, one that can love me, one that can break my curse?”
“Whoa, let’s not jump to conclusions yet, Rohan.” Damien chuckled. “But if you stop being a brooding sadist, then maybe a woman there can fall in love with you.”
“But how will I leave without anyone noticing me? Won’t they be afraid?” I questioned again.
Lucifer sighed. “Damien can teleport us, and since the dome has been getting weaker, it’ll be less of strenuous activity for him to teleport us, you especially.”
“Gee, thanks Lucifer,”
“No problem.” Lucifer folded the newspaper, tucking it back underneath the table. “There should be many young women in the auction, Rohan, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”
“I’m not worried,” I defended, though the slight tremor in my voice begged to differ. In truth, I was worried. It had been years since I had been with a woman, much less, a human. And with my looks, and my size, would she be able to take me? Would she be able to hold for me? Would I have her begging in days? Years?
Would I keep thinking of Mohini?
“Well, the auction is in two days,” Lucifer grumbled. “You have time to get everything ready for the young lady you’ll be choosing.” He grabbed the deck of cards from Damien’s slim fingers, tucking them carefully into the pristine package.
“Yeah...” I sighed, reaching through the messy locks of my hair to touch my mask. “To get ready...”
“Oh, don’t be so afraid, Rohan!” Damien chirped. “You may be a beast, but you still are appealing! Besides, you’ll know if this woman, whoever she is, will be yours if she can look past your mask and see the beautiful orbs underneath it.”
“To be fair, you can see his eyes,” Lucifer pointed out, drawing a dry chuckle from my lips and a pout from Damien.
“Bah! You get the point,” he growled, flustered.
“It’s okay, Damien. Thank you. You too, Lucifer.” I rolled my shoulders. “You both are right; It’s time I get back into the game and find someone to settle down with, someone to cherish and to finally be content with.”
“See! You’re building confidence,” Damien cheered. He smiled at me, and I couldn’t help but return his smile, obvious to the frown on Lucifer’s lips.
“Agreed. However, I would suggest sleeping in separate rooms, just until the lady is ready to...um...get intimate with you,” Lucifer suggested.
My eyes widened, and a hot heat crept up my neck. “W—What are you talking about? Intimate? With a human?”
“Uh, duh! Of course! Aren’t you going to please her?” Damien asked.
I shook my head, laughing quietly despite the burning, aching pit in my stomach. “Yes, when the time comes, and if she’s comfortable with...me. But, we should probably wait until we get the girl first and get to know her, shouldn’t we?”
“...Yes,” Damien agreed reluctantly. He slipped off the couch, padding towards Lucifer. “But please, when you do choose to...indulge yourselves in each other, keep the volume to a minimum so I can hear my shows.”
I threw my head back, my long hair tumbling along my back as I laughed. I could hear Lucifer chuckling quietly, and Damien struggling to defend himself, but deep down, Mohini’s words, her eyes, her everything flashed in me, in my mind, pressing in my heart.
Could a human really replace the part of my heart that Mohini had broken?
And, we have Rohan’s POV! I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Published: July 5th, 2020