Kevida's head jerked, her gaze leaning forward as the double doors of the throne room opened inward. She had long awaited his arrival, clearly not surprised that he had returned empty handed.
An amused expression lingered between her icy blue eyes as she watched intently Hunter and his new co-captain trod through the door. Their heads low, their countenance defeated.
Kevida adjusted on her throne, studying keenly their blued faces.
"Do you have the girl?" She asked, even though knowing the answer, she still teased.
"No but we really did try Your Majesty, she was not at the cave anymore, we have reason to believe she has fled Cavernalt, there was nothing we could do." Kevida's eyes narrowed at the co-captain, she could sense the pang of fear reeling distortedly in him.
She liked the word, one of her favourite words in the vocabulary of human language. There was something about that disheveled feeling that warmed her.
He had just committed a grave mistake by addressing her question in a manner so displeasing, one that was not going unpunished. It was clear he was doing it for the purpose of keeping Hunter alive but at the cost of his own life?
At supernatural speed, she made her way to the co-captain and in an instant snapped his neck with swiftness. His body resounded with a thud against the tiled floor.
"Anyone else got bad news for me?"
A humoring grin spread across her face, her outstanding voice resonating through the silent room. They all feared her and she derived pleasure from it. Hunter stared at her in disbelief but refused to say a word. He was no doubt a man of principle but he justly cherished his life.
"You will be stripped of your title as Captain and you will be executed accordingly."
She announced, her voice tinged with a more maniac tune to it than usual, her lips pulled upward, almost as if she was happy but he knew she never smiled, if she ever did it never reached her eyes. She turned to face her throne, backing Hunter.
"Take him away, I have given my verdict." Before the guards reached him he spoke.
"I do not have the princess but I do have something that may as well interest you." Kevida stopped on her heels - her posture straight, she tilted her head slightly.
"I am listening Hunter." She said, her voice holding an amused lull.
"Bring her in." His voice echoed - directed at the guards at the door. The doors swung open.
"Let me go... Let me... Aaaa... Let me go!"
Kevida watched as the girl between two guards kept struggling and crying out as she was forced in. A distasteful expression on her face as she tried to fight her way out of the men's grip but was unpractically losing.
Strands of her silvery-white hair stuck out roughly, some matted with the thin layer of perspiration against her forehead, doing little to decrease the indication that she had been engaged in a willful fight with her captors.
Kevida could hear her heartbeat swell as her eyes landed on the stiff body on the floor, a breath caught in her throat as she sucked in a shocked gasp.
And then more silence.
She temporarily calmed herself down, her widened eyes scanning the large room. They widened harder as she noticed the audience - equally watching her with mutual intrigue.
She blinked a few times - her fumbled mind trying to process the images before her but they cannot, they simply will not.
Looking around, she found no one she knew, unfamiliar faces filled the room. She was unsure if she was still in the Kingdom or stood in another for she was blindfolded on her way. The room was too foreign, lean polished brazier attached to each of the ten marmoreal columns lit up the room, radiating a warm orange and lightly flickering murky shadows.
Dedicately designed sculptures looked down upon her, their flowery dark shades, drawn into a labyrinth-like twist. An osblond-red rug ran down from the throne for a few meters before coming to an end right at her feet while matching banners with similar sigils hung from the walls.
Between each banner were an array of torches, a few of them lit and in turn illuminate the tapestries of the fiercest supernatural creatures she had ever seen, four in total.
High windows covered loosely by drapes colored the same viridian as the banners, stationed at both sides of the vast hall, the curtains adorned with fine gold leaves and patterns.
An impressive throne of oak sat atop two overlapping steps. The throne - covered in symbolic marks and fixed on each of the front legs was an abstract crown. The light pillows a dark silver and these too adorned with embellished margins.
"A possible trick by the Froughst to derail me from what I truly seek." She meets an uncanny pair of blue eyes, peering back at her with the same intense look as the others in the room.
She stumbled backward, distorted by the unfazed figure before her. For a moment she feels herself lose the ability to concoct a word.
"Highly unlikely, although she did have a glamor earlier, making her hair the same color as yours but it vanished in my eyes. I had it removed before we arrived." Hunter said, his voice darker than usual. He kept his gaze locked in front of him, not deviating from the empty space he found his eyes trained on, afraid of what he could see.
Was he really afraid?
He shook the thought off. He feared nothing, he was simply surviving.
"Who ar... Who are you?" The words leave her mouth scrapped and ignored.
"Perhaps they used a stronger spell."
With the same burning curiosity sparkling through her blue flecks, Kevida made her way towards the girl who takes a step back but is held in place by the guards beside her, she stiffens, peering dreadfully at her mirror-like figure as Kevida saunters over to her.
Kevida holds her palm widely out at the girl. "Vretmos." She shrieks, closing her eyes shut in anticipation.
A few seconds pass and nothing, slowly she opens her eyes, after not feeling the palm of her mysterious look-alike on her face.
"Vretmos." Kevida tries again but nothing happens. She watches the girl briefly before retracting her hand.
"You are an interesting one now aren't you." Kevida remarked.
"Sir Vrendore?" Kevida called out, her demeaning gaze settled on the girl.
"Yes Your Majesty?" Sir Vrendore made his way to her side as quickly as his scrawny legs could carry him.
He looked just as shocked at the rest, staring intently on the girl, an exact replica of Kevida. The only flaw was the silvery hair, even then the sharp blue eyes consistent.
"Tell me, as my high advisor what you think I should make of all these?" Kevida gestured towards the girl.
"Your Majesty, I am not quite sure, she could be a doppelganger, yes, they are exact copies of special supernatural beings such as yourself." Sir Vrendore suggested.
"Who... Who are you people? Why have you held me captive here? When I get to the King I will make sure he does not spare you, he will not spare you." Kevida lets out a vile cackle.
"The King?" She utters between laughs.
"Your King has peanut-sized power on the contrary to what I have, you want to compare me to Solovar?" The girl clenched her hands, balling them into a fist. Kevida had mentioned his name with so much surety, as if she were more powerful than him, maybe she was, but that was unknown to her.
"My aunt will be looking for me and when she notices my disappearance, she will send soldiers after you to come and rescue me." The girl retorted.
"Who is your aunt? The Queen of Cavernalt? Tell me girl, where exactly do you think you are to make such misguided threats. I assure you that no one will come for you." She feels her stomach roll into a tightened knot.
"I do find her quite fascinating Hunter thank you very much but of what use is a doppelganger to me?" Her gaze shifts to Hunter.
"That I do not know, what I do know is she is not as ordinary as she seems."
"Very well then, tomorrow we ride into Cavernalt, I would like to meet this so called aunt of yours. I have not got much to do for the meanwhile, my stay here has proved a little boring, would be nice to spice things up a little bit do you not think my dear little doppelganger?"
She opens her mouth to speak but the words never leave her mouth, stuck in her throat, an ear-splitting scream replacing it as Kevida flashes a toothy grin at her, fangs protruding scornfully, her eyes coated with dark red and her lower eyelids drawn with pulsing veins.
Kevida lurches forward.
Running her sharply glazed canines along the whimpering girl's shoulder blades, she teases playfully. Taking a soft inhale of cinnamon and olive, she draws her tongue softly against the hard rhythmic pumping of the vein thudding in her neck.
Kevida withdraws, facing the girl who had a fright-washed face. She was pale, her skin totally devoid of colour.
"Do not worry, I do not bite, at least not today." The monstrous features on Kevida's face dissipate gradually as she tucks a lock of loose strands of the girl's silver hair behind her ear.
She shudders as the coldness of her fingers make contact with her skin, the iciness creeping its way into her and settling within her knotted stomach.
"Take her to the finest room in the eastwing. I want my supposed doppelganger to be taken care of during her stay here, give her adequate food, water, a bath and quite possibly a change of clothes, I leave her to you Hunter seeing as you were the one who brought her to me and the verdict I revoke." Kevida commanded.
"If I find out that this pretty face of yours is nothing but a facade to distract me from my ongoing mission, I am going to make sure you wish you had never connived with the Froughst against me." Her threatening voice threw the girl off for a moment as she stared, highly frightened by the unidentifiable creature in front of her.
Kevida's stern expression melts into an almost warm beam. "I am yet to know what you go by, so tell me girl, what is your name?"
"Mm..Maya. My name is Maya." She answers.
"Your quick healing has started to manifest, there is not much to be done anymore, you should be completely recovered in a few days." Ania revised, drawing the last piece of bandage over Christian's body.
She lightly tied the loose ends before peering back into his eyes. He looked into hers with fairly fervor but the sound of the creaking door open sent any sign of their lingering gazes away.
Her bright orange locks bounced in hard curls as she strode into the room, leering in Christian's direction for a brief moment before facing Ania. Her face - a warm glow as she faced her cousin.
"Can we talk for a moment?" Ania looked up at Nisha, she could see the irritation gleaming in Nisha's eyes.
"Of course, I am all ears." Nisha's eyes flared at Ania's words.
"Alone." She cooly retorted, focusing solely on keeping her irking tendencies at bay.
"It is fine, I assure you, he is not an enemy." Ania flashed Nisha a reassuring smile but not even that could quench her conceited rage.
Nisha opened her mouth to speak but shut them back, the replay of the profanities drooping in her words were ones she knew were improper to blow out on Ania.
"Maybe later." She finished. There was no way she was letting an outsider know of her plans, she had tried to keep them from Ania but it was impossible, she only hoped her cousin had not told the hunter about their plans.
"Alright, that is fine, I do not think the both of you have been formally introduced." Ania said, looking between Nisha and Christian. Ania smiled softly as Nisha trudged a few step towards the bed herself and Christian sat upon, her legs stopping at the edge.
"That is somewhat true, I am Nisha, that is what most people address me as, but you could call me Penta-nisha." Christian blinked a few as the words registered in his head.
She was bluntly showing her immerse distrust in him but he chose to think nothing of it, it was no where near her fault she thought so badly of him, he had started to feel the same way towards himself.
"I know who you are Christian, Ania made sure of that that." Ania's cheeks swelled to a bright pink as she blushed. Nisha rolled her eyes in disamusement.
"Now that we are all well acquainted, I would like to ask this small favour of you, that you help me keep an eye on Christian while I go fetch some herbs." Ania looked into Nisha's eyes with plead.
"I..." Nisha started but Ania cut her off.
"I will be quick I promise." She added solemnly. Nisha forced an approving nod, she was not given a chance to utter another word before Ania disappeared behind the now closed doors.
Nisha let out a slacking exhale - her gaze locked onto Christian. If she was to spend time with him in a room alone, she might as well make the most of it. A devious smirk made way onto her natural coated lips. Leaning on the wall, beside the bed, she focused on Christian.
"You and Ania have quite the relationship, I wonder what you might have done to her that has made her care so much about you."
"Nothing involving spells, if that is what you think of me."
"Oh no, you get me wrong hunter, I mean nothing of that sort, it is highly impossible to be bewitched, having the blood of a Froughst flowing through your veins, I doubt my cousin will be susceptible to such ruse." Nisha remarked. She narrowed her gaze sharply at him on seeing his reaction, or lack thereof.
"You do not seem surprised by what I just said... You knew did you not, about Ania's connection to me and the Froughst..." Nisha half laughed, half accused, a grin of disbelief drawing over her face.
"It was not... I was..."
"You knew from the beginning, after all, you are Kevida's lover, the chances of you being unaware is zero to none."
The creaking of the oak door jolted both their heads to a shocked Ania, her eyes brimmed with tears and an unbelievable expression worn on her weary face. Her voice came out low, soft and slow.