Daphne’s face showed no signs of being affected. As she moved towards the Demon, whose arms were tied to a thorny branch that descended from the rocky roof. The shadows began to laugh wildly, swirling around him.
She stepped closer to him, leaving only a few inches between them. She looked up at where his hands were tied. There was no visible blood on his wrists. The man looked almost unblemished, were it not for his complete, ragged white shirt that fell over the button of his worn brown leather trousers.
“How can I get this off you?”
She studied the bound wrists, ignoring the prisoner’s stare. His black eyes pierced harshly across her figure. She couldn’t help but feel chills at the scrutinizing gaze.
“Can you help me cut those thorns?” Daphne asked the shadows. In one quick move, they cut off the thorns that secured him.
As she took a few steps back, the Demon was finally free. He closed his eyes for a moment, stretching his neck and moving the muscles of his broad back in an attempt to probably relax his body. A menacing and unsettling aura enveloped him. The disturbing shadows suddenly calmed, and with giggles, they began to repeat:
“He has returned”
“He has returned”
“I came only to get you out of here.” Daphne raised both hands in a gesture of surrender. Making sure this man would not attack her. “The shadows will get us out of here. Your people are waiting for you.” She turned around, intending to retrieve the ring. As she placed it back around her neck, the Demon looked at the object intently.
“Take us to the Land of the Mortals.” Shadows enveloped both bodies.
In the blink of an eye, she and the Demon appeared in front of her house.
“Thank you for your help. Now go back to your Master,” she spoke to the shadows, who disappeared from there.
The door of her house opened, revealing a worried Eve.
Eve stopped when she noticed the Demon, who had not yet uttered a word.
Eve looked down instinctively, feeling disconcerted by sight.
“Call your friends now, the Lords.” The Demon frowned. “It was they who requested me to free you. Call them now and tell them to give me back...” She could not finish speaking, not when the Lords themselves appeared in front of her with James.
All five looked in surprise at the mysterious man, who, in turn, continued to stare at her harshly. She could not help but feel judged under his gaze.
“I have kept my part of the bargain, now give me back, James” Daphne spoke to Teias, who signaled to Stelios to release her brother.
The General of the Legions approached the demon with no name, “I’m glad to see you again.”
“Who would have thought it? In the end, Rothvaln slut isn’t as pathetic as she seems” Maret again spat out her poison.
Hearing Maret’s words, the Demon who was greeting Myron at that moment turned to look at Daphne, and she only returned the same stern, cold expression.
“We must go,” Teias said, and in an instant, they all disappeared, leaving James, Eve, and her alone at last.
After Eve left, promising that she would return the next day to find out in detail what was going on, Daphne and James sat down at the table after they each took a bath. And with a few beers, she told her brother in detail how it all happened. Showing him finally the cuts on her hands, which were already disappearing.
After both of them had spent time discussing the possibility of running away, they retired to their respective rooms. Daphne lay down on her bed, placing her forearm over her eyes. Only one thought she had now, that Rothvaln would not discover that she released that man because that would be the end of her and her brother.
Tomorrow she would have to resume her routine as usual. This time she would have to go to find a vampire. Rarely has she entered that Realm and demanded satisfaction of a debt. Vampires were not so prone to make pacts with demons, except for some significant reason to them.
With her eyes closed, she tried to relax, letting herself be carried away by the drowsiness that was beginning to envelop her.
“Daphne!” James entered suddenly. “You should come out.”
“What’s going on?” She went out into the living room wearing her short-sleeved white cotton shirt. Walking barefoot, Daphne was surprised to see her room occupied by Teias and that Demon again.
Her eyes became aware of a different man than the one she had known a few hours earlier. His dark trousers, elegant black jacket, and high collar enhanced his ample shoulders, his dark brown hair combed back, revealing a firm square jaw accompanied by a Greek nose.
The grey color of his irises had replaced those demonic black eyes. She could not match the prisoner she had released a few hours earlier with the one in front of her. Although she was surprised by his physique, she did not want to admit that this male in front of her was maybe the most handsome she had ever seen because to say that would be a false statement. No, definitely not. The world was full of men like Rothvaln and like Myron. But Daphne thought at that very moment that there was something else. This Demon possessed a quality that stood out from the others, and not precisely a good one.
“What are you doing here?” She resumed her usual façade of coldness.
The Demon with no name yet stared at her, his face implying hatred.
A choking sensation began to alert her brain. Her feet stopped touching the ground. Suspended in the air and choking, James began to scream, “Stop, please stop!”
Daphne tried to hold on to her neck, trying to free herself from the invisible hand that was strangling her. Her face was red, almost turning blue from lack of oxygen.
“Lorcan.” Teias was heard to speak. She fell to the floor, breathing with difficulty and coughing aggressively. James rushed to her. After a few seconds, she stood up, and as intimidated as she was by such a person, she asked the same question again and in the same tone. This was her home, after all.
“Lorcan will stay here from now on,” Teias announced.
“Pardon?” she frowned.
“No way!” James spat out, but suddenly he was thrown against the wall. Grunting in acute pain.
Without moving from the spot, Daphne asked, “Are you all right?” James nodded, struggling to his feet.
“Teias, listen…” She began to speak in a calmer tone. “…I don’t think that’s a good idea. Rothvaln could show up at any time, and if he finds out, he’ll send your friend back, probably to a worse place than where he was. And you don’t want that, do you?“.
Teias sighed. He was about to say the first word when a hand stopped him, indicating that he should remain silent.
“Listen well, you filthy mortal, I will stay here for as long as I see fit. If Rothvaln comes and finds out that I am here, you will deal with him on your own.” Lorcan spoke for the first time. His deep voice revealed the promise of unparalleled torture. “Besides, I don’t think it’s convenient for you for Rothvaln to know about me.”
James began to choke, groaning with every breath that refused to help him breathe.
“Stop! Stop it now!”
Daphne threw herself at Lorcan fiercely, but before she could even touch him, the Demon grabbed her by the neck, lifting her up. The woman herself looked at him without a hint of protest. Even though she was running out of oxygen, Lorcan noticed that his Savior was somehow challenging him.
“Lorcan,” Teias spoke. “Remember what we talked about before.”
And in a single movement, the siblings fell to the ground, panting and coughing.
Lorcan observed Daphne from his position as if he were watching at an insignificant animal. “Now you know what will happen if Rothvaln finds out where I am. First, I will kill your brother in front of you, and then I will break every bone in your body. And I’ll throw you into that desert so that the creatures there can feast on you.”
“I have a pact with Rothvaln. You cannot kill my brother. The King of Demons is a thousand times mightier than you...” Everyone could see the hatred in her every word.
“Daphne!” Teias grunted.
But Daphne didn’t stop. She continued, “How could it be that he locked you up in that damn place? And from what I saw when I pulled you out of there. You looked like you’d been a prisoner in that cave for millennia. Not having the chance to escape on your own”
Lorcan studied her carefully. Daphne looked away from him when she saw James fall to the ground. Lifeless. She ran towards his body.
“Nooooo! James, James! Please, no, no!” Daphne screamed in desperation. “James, wake up, wake up!” But James wouldn’t wake up.
He was dead. Unsolicited teardrops began to fall from her cheeks. She asked her brother, again and again, to get up, stroking his cheek. She was crying with her head resting on her brother’s chest. Her heart had just been torn to pieces.
Abruptly James returned, catching a breath of air. His eyes seemed to be out of focus. “What happened?” he asked bemusedly, looking at his sister with tearful eyes. Daphne hugged him tightly.
“Next time, choose your words wisely, Daphne. ” Teias warned her.
For the first time in a long time, she felt absolute terror with only one threat. She saw in Lorcan a sworn enemy, someone not to be trifled with, someone who is perhaps more dangerous than the King of Demons.
Maybe his good looks can fool anyone. However, the fact that he is ruthless and despicable was only the tip of the iceberg. From the first moment, this Demon had also shown his frivolity, his violence, and his insensitivity. And Daphne now knew her limits very well.
After all, Rothvaln kept James alive, but there was no guarantee that he would help her save him from Lorcan’s wrath, not when it was she who betrayed his trust, releasing possibly the most dangerous Demon of all.