“You look nervous.”
“...That’s not helping, Lucifer.”
“It was never meant to help you, Sire,” Lucifer drawled, picking his fangs with a wooden toothpick he had been carving.
I scowled at him. “Can you try and be supportive?”
He shrugged. “I am being supportive. I’m helping you by telling you how monstrous you look, aren’t I?”
I slumped, the heavy cloak draping around my exposed arms. “Thanks a lot, Lucifer.”
“Don’t mention it.” Lucifer reclined on the couch in front of my bed, lazily readying himself for the human auction. Somehow, Damien had managed to convince me to try and look my best, which I still didn’t understand why, but complied with his request, nonetheless.
“Where’s Damien?” I asked, smoothing the sides of my thick, silky cloak. I reached for the hair-tie beside my bedside table, gathering the smooth locks of my hair in my hands.
“He’s getting ready, too. I don’t know who he’s trying to impress,” Lucifer grumbled, sitting straight on the couch. His eyebrows dipped. “I told him not to waste his time, but he’s not listening to me, so what does it matter?”
I smirked, eyeing Lucifer’s stiff position from the corner of my eye. “Are you...jealous, Lucifer?”
Lucifer immediately straightened, his dark eyes swiveling ferociously to me. “Wha-No! Get that disgusting thought out of your head, Rohan.”
“What’s so disgusting about Damien?” I asked, suppressing my laughter at Lucifer’s quick defense. “I thought you liked the submissive types?”
“...I’m not answering you, Rohan,” Lucifer growled. “You may be my King, but I sure as hell don’t answer to any King.”
I barked out a laugh, the gleam of my fangs catching my dark orbs. “I’m not a King, Lucifer; not anymore. And it’s okay; You’ll admit it someday.”
“That day will be never,” Lucifer firmly stated. “And what do you mean? You are a King, Rohan.”
“I’m not a King, and I was never a King,” I repeated, sternly. “I was just a prince...a prince with a curse.” I looked at myself in the golden edged mirror, sighting. My mask covered my face, only revealing my curled lips and my glowing irises. My fangs jutted from my mouth, resembling that of a lion’s. Most of my blue skin was covered by my cloak, but if you looked closely, some of the skin that I had desperately tried to keep hidden still sizzled in the sun, turning brighter than usual.
Blinking languidly, I reached for the gloves on my table, forcefully slipping them onto my fingers. My eyelashes brushed against my eyes, and with a shiver, I recalled the soft dips of Mohini’s thick locks on my skin, brushing ever sensitive area, my body coiling for her.
Growling, I shook my head, clenching my hands so that blood pooled on the fabric of my gloves. I couldn’t think of her; I had to get rid of her, someway, somehow. Mohini was no longer mine, and she would never be mine—she never was mine, anyway.
“Are you okay, Rohan?” Lucifer’s slow, inquisitive snarl brought me from my inner battle and drew my eyes towards him.
“Yes,” I replied, my voice uncharacteristically hard. “Why? What do you want to ask now?”
“Nothing. I was just wondering,” Lucifer said. I watched him from the near-blind spot of my eye as he picked the newspaper up from the ground, his suit wrinkling slightly. His eyes narrowed as he took in the Hindi script on the page, the paper nearly ripped in his grasp.
“I will never understand humans and their tendencies to downplay a woman’s role in the economy,” he hissed, ripping a picture from the sheets of thick paper.
“Those are humans for you, Lucifer,” I grumbled, brushing my thick bangs from my eyes. They slid along my eye, a few loose strands brushing my eyelid. “Men will do anything to be in power.”
“I understand that, but to sell their own wives? Daughters? Do they not care for their family? Or is it only the men that matter?” Lucifer was slowly getting agitated with each article he read; his aura hard and furious, with a hint of disgust.
I walked over to him, placing a clawed hand on his shoulder. “Relax, Lucifer. We’re going to crash this auction, remember? No women will be harmed.”
Lucifer deflated in my grip, his pointed jaw bobbing up and down. “Yes, we are, if you and Damien can hurry up! By the time we get there, all of the women will probably be sold as toys!”
“What? Do you know how perverted men are these days? Especially human ones!” Lucifer shivered. “Disgusting.”
“It’s no different from the olden times,” I said. “Men in the kingdom were like men today; they were just a bit more civilized than men are now.”
“Are you ready to see what Mukhauta has become?” Lucifer changed the topic abruptly, peering over his shoulder to look at me.
I fixed the hood above my head, covering my horns. “I’m...not sure if I’m being honest. I’m mostly nervous, but I can’t help but feel ashamed; guilty.”
“Why do you feel guilty?” Lucifer spat. “This whole thing is Mohini’s fault! Had we known she was an enchantress, we would have taken more precautions with her, and with you. Additionally, she was using you, Rohan. You did nothing wrong in rejecting her the way you did.”
“Yeah...” I agreed, looking away. “I still wish I had done it differently, though—!”
“Where? In public? Mohini should have been thankful that you-ah-broke up with her in private,” Lucifer growled, testing the new human saying on his tongue. “Why, if she was still alive, I would have ventured to give her a piece of my mind!”
“Yeah...if she was still alive,” I murmured. Lucifer continued to babble about the differences between humans of the present and humans of the past, but I didn’t pay attention to him. Memories flooded my mind, eroding my thoughts. What if I hadn’t killed Mohini? What if I had controlled myself? What if I hadn’t touched her? Would she still be alive? Would she still be haunting me? Would she even do anything to me?
“Hey!” Damien’s jaunty tune stopped suddenly as he skidded past my open door, his dark eyes alight with glee. “Are you guys ready? The auction starts in, like, thirty minutes.”
“That’s still a lot of time,” Lucifer said. I took note in the way his eyes ran over Damien’s neatly dressed frame, unsure whether it was lust or satisfaction that glistened in Lucifer’s orbs.
I smoothed my cloak again, losing count of how many times I had already done the same act. Now, even I could tell myself that I was nervous, for what, I wasn’t sure.
“Rohan’s acting like a child about to present a research project, in which said child did absolutely no research and is going to make himself not only fail but look the fool in front of an audience,” Lucifer said, his innocent eyes dropping to meet my gaze.
“Lucifer...” I growled, not saying anything else for fear Damien realizes that he was right.
Unfortunately, Damien always believed Lucifer, even when the latter was incorrect. His jaw opened wide with laughter, and he leaned on the post of my door to support himself.
“Are you really nervous, Rohan? To see girls?” He asked.
Heat flushed on my neck and I rubbed the back of my head, biting my lip. “N-No, I’m not nervous, just...” I deflated. “Okay, maybe I am a little nervous. But can you blame me?”
“Yeah. You’re the one who’s going to be the fool, not me,” Lucifer mumbled.
Damien, surprisingly, silenced him with a glare, one Lucifer actually listened to. He walked over to me, and despite our large height gap, managed to pat my shoulder in what was either sympathy or mock comfort.
“Don’t worry so much, Rohan. I don’t think anyone will be able to notice or recognize us if that’s what you’re worried about,” he assured.
“It’s not that,” I said. “How do I know if I’m doing the right thing? How do I know which girl is the one?”
“That’s the thing: you don’t.” Lucifer got up with a grunt. “Life is a game, Sire, and we all have to play it, whether we like it or not. It’s up to us if we want to roll the dice, or if we want to pick a card.”
Both Damien and I blinked at him, confused. “What?”
Lucifer rolled his eyes, muttering under his breath. “What I mean to say is, you can either wait for someone to chose you, or you can take matters into your own hands and chose your own card, your own life, your own...wife.” Damien giggled at the rhyme, but Lucifer ignored him. “Point is, you’ll know who the perfect woman is once you see her. I don’t know your type, but you know what’s attractive to you, and once we crash this auction, maybe you’ll get who you’re attracted to.”
“Yeah!” Damien jumped in enthusiastically, and I was sure I saw Lucifer’s eye tick. “You don’t know what types of women we may find there! Maybe one of them likes a man with a mystery to them!”
“Or one that hides his face and refuses to take the damn gloves off,” Lucifer grumbled lowly. When Damien and I both looked at him, he flushed, backtracking. “I-I mean, yeah, like what Damien said.”
Damien rolled his eyes. “Anyway, are you really ready now? Ready to hopefully find a wife?”
I took a deep breath, weighing my options. If I backed out now (Like a coward, which I was not) and continued to live my life with only Damien and Lucifer...I’d be insane in a couple more centuries. However, if I did settle down and find a woman who could look past my appearance and maybe...break my curse, then I’d not only be the happiest King alive, but I’d also be able to have my old life back and possibly start a family of my own.
I swallowed thickly, placing my hand atop of Damien’s outstretched one, loosing to Lucifer by just a millisecond. It amused me how quickly he made sure I wasn’t to touch Damien’s hand, and with a laugh, I nodded.
“Welcome, Sire, to Mukhauta,” Damien said with a flourish, gesturing to the damp, smelly land before us.
I gaped, my eyes taking in the dark. blunt scenery before us. Gone was the magnificent, luscious city that my parents had worked to hard to build, to achieve in their lives. Now, I found myself looking at a wasteland filled with garbage, flies, and smelly, poor families. I could see tired, weak, and even dying children, something the Mukhauta I knew never had.
In a daze, I let Damien lead Lucifer and me throughout the maze of poor people and houses. A few times, I could see some prospering places and a few mansions, but they were in the farther sections of the village. The majority of the village was filled with plastic bags, homeless people, and, well, shit. Everywhere.
“W-What have they done?” I murmured, looking around in astonishment through the shadow of my hood. I could feel eyes on me, their gazes burning holes in my head. I felt my scar sting on my eye, and I winced, but roughly shook the pain aside. Now was no time for nostalgia.
“The richer humans have sent the poorer ones here, as Mukhauta was always distanced from other cities in India,” Damien explained.
Lucifer licked his lips. “This is definitely fucked up,” he snarled. I followed his gaze, catching a struggling woman as she fought the grasp of her husband, who had been seemingly leading her to the auction stage. She had chains wrapped around her neck and wrists, and her struggle was slowly beginning to fade.
A growl threatened to tear from my lips, and I flexed my claws in my gloves, the murderous magic coursing through my veins like molten lava. I wanted so badly, so desperately, to rip the gloves off of my hands and sink my claws into that man’s skin, but taking a deep breath, I refrained from doing so. I could feel Damien and Lucifer’s eyes on me, careful, yet quiet.
“Right...anyway, the auction is at the town square, if I remember correctly,” Damien instructed.
Lucifer’s throat vibrated dangerously. “You should. Otherwise, you’d only be wasting my time.”
Damien flinched, as if he wasn’t expecting such a harsh response from Lucifer, but he nodded regardless, leading us to the village center.
The mud stuck to my metal boots, the calming clicking sound no longer ringing in my ears. I couldn’t bear to look at the once beautiful kingdom my parents ruled over, the place I was to inherit.
Regret filled me like water does a bowl. Maybe if I hadn’t been so careless with my life; maybe if I hadn’t been so enamored by a witch, I wouldn’t be where I was now, nor would my kingdom. They were all suffering because of me, and because of my actions.
“We’re here,” Damien announced suddenly, breaking my train of thought. I looked up, catching the heads of many eager, drunk men. Smoke filled the air, as well as my vision and throat. The nasty smell of a cigar brushed against my nose, drowning my lungs. I blinked, trying to clear my eyes—
And that’s when I saw it.
A man stood in the center of the stage. He had dark blonde hair and piercing, yet dull, blue eyes. He was slightly top-heavy, and he looked just as gleeful as the men in the crowd in front of us. He was saying something into the microphone, but I was hardly listening to him. How could a man be so idiotic? Be so blind? Men did not rule the world; we needed women to survive, to live, to carry onto our next generation. Yet here he was, chaining them up and selling them off as if they were dogs, or goats, or basically anything that you can own.
I stuffed my hands into my jean pockets, studying the women on the stage. Many of them cowered behind the taller man (presumably the auction holder). They all cast their eyes down, the lips pressed in thin lines, and their hands limp behind or in front of their backs.
I saw the man drag a woman by her chains, slamming her against the ground so that it would look like she was begging on her knees. I couldn’t help it this time. A low, vibrating growl escaped my lips, and immediately, the men in front of me flinched, quickly looking behind them. I glowered at them, poisoning their drunk eyes with wisps of red smoke that drifted from my eyes. They quickly looked away, stiff.
A commotion at the stage brought my eyes back up to the auction, and I watched as the girl was sold off, the smoking, obviously drunk man yanking her away.
All of the girls didn’t match my dream girl. I wanted someone who was, while, submissive to my hands, independent and able to hold herself on her own, without some man to help her.
Apparently, I was wrong.
Just as I was about to tell Damien to teleport us back, a dark-haired girl caught my eye, or rather, her struggling frame did.
She was skinny, but not frail. She held her head high with confidence, confidence many of the other women on the stage didn’t portray. She had silky, smooth hair and soft features, her body enticing to my eyes. A fire burned in my stomach, one that I hadn’t felt ever since...Mohini.
I could feel her eyes on me, taking me in, claiming me with them. Nostalgia filled me, but something else filled me too. Something that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
With a sharp realization, I realized that I was craving that girl, strongly, widely. As if my sense of humanity was gone (well, it had already been long gone since my curse, but at least I had some ability to think properly). Her slim, curvy body with a slight softness to it; her dark eyes, which I could somehow see clearly through the smoke; her luscious, dark hair. I licked my lips, unconsciously drawing my tongue over my fangs. What would those hands feel like on me? What would those wrists feel captured in my hands? What would her body feel like, pressed up against mine, her skin brushing on mine, bare with bare, lips on lips?
No... I thought with a growl. I was getting excited, attracted, again. Mohini’s picture appeared in my mind, her face, her body, her shielded eyes. The girl in front of me was a visionary, a beauty that a beast like me did not deserve. I didn’t want to stay there, I didn’t want to keep looking at her. Flashbacks to my lover covered my mind, and the girl on the stage kept her eyes on me, drinking me in just as I had been drinking her in.
Damien looked at me, probably noticing my shaking body beside his. Lucifer was hardly paying attention, his eyes glaring daggers at the man on stage. I saw him yank on the girl’s chains surreptitiously, and pride glowed inside me at how resilient she was; how she kept her head up, and her eyes level with him, although they kept drawing to me.
“Are you okay, Rohan?” Damien asked. “Do you see something you like?”
“...Yes,” I snarled in aggravation, raking my gloved hand through my messy ponytail. “I do...but...” I couldn’t shake the image of Mohini in my mind; every time I looked at the girl, Mohini came into view, her hips swaying as she approached me.
“Which one?” Lucifer asked, now interested. I had to look on stage just to make sure he hadn’t incinerated the auctioneer before I replied.
“The girl with her head raised,” I grumbled, hoping the girl I had seen was the only girl with her head raised.
“Damn, you sure do know how to find cute women, huh, Rohan,” Damien whistled.
Lucifer bristled. “Yes...cute.” He cleared his throat. “What do you think of her?”
“She’s gorgeous,” I blurted without thinking. “She’s...a visionary....she’s too beautiful for me...” I looked away, reaching for my cloak to cover my face.
“You are handsome, Rohan,” Lucifer grumbled. “Apart from the face.”
Damien jabbed his elbow into Lucifer’s gut, silencing the latter. “I’m on it, Rohan. That girl will be yours by tonight!” He didn’t wait for us to respond, already dashing into the roaring crowd.
Lucifer studied me, his eyebrows drawn together. “You’re thinking about Mohini again, aren’t you?”
“No,” I lied, which was only partially true. Mohini and this girl may have looked the same, but they did have their differences. While Mohini was slim, this girl had some extra softness to her, not that it made her look any less beautiful. In fact, I already found myself imagining what it would feel like to grasp her skin, what her eyes would look like, her lips parted in pleasure...
Stop it, Rohan! I scolded myself. She may look like Mohini, but Mohini is gone! Stop being a pervert and settle down with someone else, someone like this girl, this beautiful exquisite girl.
But even as I said those calming, cooling words to myself; even as I let Lucifer lead me away, as the crowd began to scream and run as Damien made his appearance, I couldn’t help but wonder if this girl was the right choice for me; if she would be my Queen, my lover, my wife—
If she would be the one to free me of my binds.
I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter! Radha and Rohan are about to meet!
Published: July 7th, 2020