That night she was unable to sleep again. Not when there was a demon lurking in the corners of her house. Waiting for her first mistake to break her neck. Why did Lorcan want to stay in her home? Obviously, he was able to manage on his own, judging by the immense authority he wielded. Because if there is one thing she noticed, Teias, the General of the Demon Legions, and the other lords had a deep respect for him. Who was Lorcan, really? And why did Rothvaln lock him up in that place?
Daphne got up from her bed with the first rays of the sun, after washing and putting on a black jean with a simple white T-shirt she left her room. With suspicion, she observed the demon who was wearing the same outfit, and with his imperturbable face, he was looking out through one of the windows.
“What are you doing?” Daphne asked. But her question was not answered.
“Good morning, sis” James greeted her from the kitchen.
“Good morning. How are you feeling?” she took one of the toasts James had made with butter and the hot teacup.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” James confessed, waving to the demon who hadn’t moved yet. She wanted to tell him the same thing, but she had learned from Maret that she should never let her emotions and worries show to your enemy.
“You should go away for a while,” Daphne told him.
“He’s not going anywhere.” Lorcan’s voice sounded authoritative. The man had not moved from his place. Inexplicably he was still looking at the outdoors as if there was something exquisitely capable of being enjoyed by him.
She stood behind him at some distance. “We agreed that you would stay here. Your problem is with me, not with my brother”.
Lorcan spoke once more without even turning around. “Don’t test me, Ms. Brooks. Your brother stays. Is that clear? I thought with last night’s demonstration, you’d have things figured out. If you think you can get away with it, you’re wrong, I’m not Rothvaln”.
“That’s more than clear to me,” Daphne replied.
“Well,…” Before he could finish his sentence, Lorcan suddenly vanished.
Daphne was disturbed to hear another voice behind her.
“Daphne,” Rothvaln called her.
She turned to face him. “My Lord”
The tone of his voice and his face looked apparently relaxed. “I just wanted to check you were okay.” Rothvaln seemed worried. His strong jaw was contracted. She sensed at that instant that he already knew his prisoner had escaped.
“Yes, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Has anyone come to see you lately?” The King peered at her anxiously.
“No, no one. Who could come?” Daphne ventured to ask him. Rothvaln’s dark eyes fixed on her, looking for something that might give away a lie. But all he could see was the amber color of her eyes. For a moment, he forgot his real purpose, wishing at that very moment to lose himself in the golden, coppery ocean of her gaze.
Daphne noticed how Rothvaln’s eyes turned pitch-black. Was he moved by desire now? She didn’t know for sure.
James cleared his throat. Rothvaln closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, and then exhaled, opening them again and showing his usual brown irises.
“Remember tonight, Irene Maximovna. Be careful, Daphne,” Rothvaln said, then faded away.
“What was that?” James asked with a frown.
“I have no idea.”
“What did he want?” Lorcan’s voice emerged on the spot when his presence was noticed by both brothers.
“Nothing in particular.” She dismissed him with indifference.
Lorcan approached her slowly, like a black panther ready to catch its prey. Daphne looked up. He outgrew her in height and muscles.
“I’m going to ask you again. What. Did. He. Want?”
Daphne clenched her jaw in defeat. “He asked me if I was all right. And if someone had come to see me.”
“Is that all?”
Lorcan observed Daphne with his usual cold-looking face for a few seconds. “After all, Teias was right. You are what Rothvaln treasures most”. A half-smile on his face made him look more fearsome. “Who would have thought it? Rothvaln and a mortal?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Besides, why don’t you tell me what you intend to do by staying at my house?”
“I have to make sure I take care of what Rothvaln loves and her useless little brother.”
“If you think we are important to the King, you are wrong. I only work for him, keeping my part of the bargain.” She spoke calmly but solemnly.
Lorcan turned around and disappeared.
“Who is that bloody demon?” she looked irritated.
“Someone with whom we must not let down our guard for a second,” James spoke.
“Definitely,” she replied with her arms at her waist.
That night, Daphne emerged into the Kingdom of the night beings. Walking through one of the alleys, the smell of metal sailed through the air like a murderous breeze announcing a death. The mist covered every corner, every street. The constant cold embraced her body, alerting her to the danger she would encounter in the town.
Conscious of the beings that lived here, she was even hastier, letting herself be carried away by the medallion that shone in search of her victim. Vampires were walking through the alleyways, many giving her a hungry look, showing their sharp, slender fangs and reddish pupils. Others simply had their faces sunk into the necks of their presumably mortal victims.
Daphne had heard before that many mortals were brought into this Realm, many in love with these beings, believing that they would live an eternal life and the promise of countless nights of pleasure. But in the end, they only found slavery and death waiting for them with open arms.
She walked through the streets made of cobblestones. Buildings made of bricks were erected at the sides. It looked like a city in the seventeenth century, judging by the architecture. There were not many lamps to illuminate the surroundings, and bloodstains could be seen on the floor.
She took one last dead end; there was no one around.
“Did you think I wouldn’t know it was you?” A soft but murderous voice spoke to her. She turned around.
“Irene Maximovna.” Her pale skin, blue eyes, and golden hair conquered the vampire’s slender figure.
Irene lunged at her so quickly that Daphne could barely outrun her. Vampires could be the hardest to kill, considering the speed and strength with which they moved. With her other sword in her hand, Daphne started to throw stabs, and the vampire received them with laughter, trying, in turn, to sink her teeth into Daphne’s skin.
In one of her twists, Daphne sensed where Irene Mazimovna would attack again. She twisted with her sword, bending her torso to the left with such speed, sliding the sharp blade down her neck. Irene’s head ended up rolling on the ground and facing up the black sky.
Daphne ran a hand across her face, trying to erase the blood splatter.
Once again, with the medallion in her hand, she stuck it to the vampire’s face, burning her face with the symbol.
She left the Realm, emerging on the doorstep of her home. Opening the front door, she found Myron and Lorcan, who stopped talking when they spotted her.
Myron mocked her. She was well aware of how she looked at that moment.
“Where is James?” She asked Myron.
“I don’t know, and I don’t care,” he replied with his usual bad mood.
“James!” She screamed.
“I’m here.” Her brother came out of the kitchen. “Are you all right?”
“Yes, we’ll talk later.” Daphne disappeared from the living room into the bathroom.
About two hours later, James knocked on her door, opening it after his sister allowed him into her bedroom.
“Has Myron left yet?” Daphne asked as she wiped her sword with a cloth.
“Yes, and Lorcan too.”
“I wish they wouldn’t come back.”
“I must tell you something.” He sat on the bed in front of the chair his sister was using.
“I heard Myron and Lorcan talking about a woman.” Daphne stopped at that moment. “Apparently Lorcan is looking for a demoness. Someone who seems to be very important to him”.
“How do you know?”
“Well, because I heard Myron say that they would find that demoness no matter what. But that’s not all. Lorcan talked about Rothvaln, saying that he must know where that woman is. And he told Myron how important it was to get that information from the King”.
So Lorcan is looking for someone who seems to be extremely valuable to him and to Rothvaln. Now I understand everything... the fucking bastard uses us as leverage, to find that demoness. Using us against Rothvaln. But will that really work?
Daphne had her doubts now. If everyone really believed that she could be used to influence the King’s decisions, then her situation was worse than she thought. Could it be that everyone has been right so far?