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Bold and Foolish

A bullet hole in her leg had incapacitated her for a mere second. Daphne quickly recovered. The mortal, the owner of the name Blake Morrison, had shot her with his last bullet apparently. Followed by frustration, he threw the gun in the direction of his killer. Daphne dodged the heavy object in time. How much she now regretted with this cowardly man.

For a moment, she thought to spare his life, when she saw the portraits of young, smiling faces. Happiness had been captured in those portraits. Why would a man like him, with enough money to fully live more than two lives, make a deal with the demon? And yet, she was about to spare life for the first time when the wretch had pulled out his gun. Shots were fired at the ceiling and walls as both fought for control.

But she was not so lucky as to escape unscathed this time, as the bullet, the last one, had penetrated her muscle. Daphne had punched the coward’s face so hard that his snub nose was broken and bleeding.

“Forgive me, please forgive me,” the man pleaded.

“You should have thought about it before you shot me.” Daphne’s voice was firm and gelid.

“Please don’t. I have children, please.”

The thought of ending his life had ceased as soon as she had heard those words. Her eyes returned to those portraits. What was their fault that their father was who he was? An ambitious and selfish man.

Daphne wanted to match the man in front of her with the one in the pictures. His little boys had eyes like the sea and looked at him with his father’s innocent smile. No, she couldn’t take that happiness away from the little ones.

Daphne making her decision, turned around to leave. “Thank you,” the man’s voice was heard in just a rustling sound.

“Even if I have forgiven you, someone else will come for you. And I assure you that you will not meet the same fate.”

Now she had to deal again with Rothvaln’s anger. Because even though she knew that he had saved her, that didn’t mean that she was exempt from real punishment. But for some reason, she no longer cared.

This morning she had woken up when her brother looked at her with a smile. Her hand was wrapped around him.

“You’re finally awake.” These were James’ first words after so many days of not seeing each other.

“I’m so glad to see you.” Daphne’s voice sounded weak.

James gave her a kiss on the forehead. “I’ll go and make you something to eat. You should take a bath.”

“When did you arrive?”

“Last night.”

Daphne felt a sudden anxiety. “Did you see Rothvaln?”

James’ face was thoughtful, finally frowning “No,” and he quickly got up from his chair. “I’ll go and make you breakfast.”

Daphne had found herself relieved. Rothvaln had not been able to see her brother when she came to the house last night. He had abandoned her and made her suffer for days with the venom. But at least he had decided to give her another chance. Maybe he deserved her trust, after all. Perhaps she could reveal everything to him in exchange for protecting her brother? Daphne had never seen Lorcan or his army of Lords again.

From Blake Morisson’s office, she reappeared in the Underworld.

She walked the same paths until she reached the throne room where Rothvaln was sitting in his chair, looking at her with his hawkish eyes.

“My King,” she bowed in greeting. “I know that I have betrayed your trust, and for that, I ask your forgiveness and thank you.”

The King’s thick black eyebrows peered closer together, and his tight lips reflected the discontent. “Thank you?”

“For helping me last night.”

Rothvaln examined her from top to bottom, judging her. “I can see that the venom is already out of your body.”

Daphne watched him.

Her mind was suffering from the dizziness of confusion, chaos of thoughts without apparent end. Several nights ago, the King had confessed his love for her. He had thrown her to her fate in the desert. Which she could at least understand in some way his decision but never accept. She understood the pain she had caused him somehow, but if his love was as real as his words seemed, he would not have committed the act. And after letting her suffer for days and nights, he had come back to rescue her. But the King’s face looked grimly discontented. As if he had regretted the impulse of his decision.

“You may go.”

Daphne paid her respects again and left, realizing that she had held her breath until that very moment.

Daphne’s joy was short-lived when she returned home to find Lorcan waiting for her with his deep color ebony clothes.

A string of barely noticeable, velvety side buttons adorned his jacket. His sleeves had fine silver lines embroidered on them to accompany his collar.

Daphne ignored the fact that Lorcan had traveled around her body with particular interest. And she didn’t think it was because he found her necessarily desirable. Not when the demon’s eyes as grey as the first day she discovered them, were harshly scrutinizing her, without a hint of another unnecessary emotion.

“I thought I’d got rid of you. Lucky me,” Daphne shed her cloak as she spoke to him with a hint of bitterness and sarcasm.

The demon, which was stony and impassive, did not look away from her. Ignoring the foolishness of her words. “I want you to find someone for me.”

Daphne started to untie her corset laces, not a bit shy. Not when her black blouse covered her nakedness.

“Who? Your demoness?” she noticed an almost imperceptible movement in his eyes. She had hit the nail on the head. “What did you think? That I’d play dumb? Don’t you think it’s an old trick to walk around the corners like two old gossips, you and Myron, dropping crumbs of information knowing that someone else is eavesdropping? And all with the intention that this information reaches the right person. You should re-evaluate your strategy.” In the last movement, she threw her corset on the sofa, and Lorcan’s eyes followed that bold move.

Who is this woman really? He asked himself. Two gossips talking in the corners? Obviously, the woman was not as dumb as he thought. But still, the insufferable one had no idea of the fate that awaited her. He discovered blood on the side of her trousers, but he didn’t think it bothered her at all. Watching her moving effortlessly.

“I suppose that if I refuse your request, what will come next is your threat to finish off James, who, judging by what I perceive, you took him away again. As a way of coercing me into agreeing to your order”. Daphne continued to speak, and Lorcan patiently listened to her. When did this woman become so daring as to talk to him as if he were a simpleton? And at what point did he remain silent like a fool?

“What is its name?”

“Sorana,” he finally found his voice, letting the annoyance he felt be known.

“I suppose Rothvaln has something to do with it.”

“I need to know where she is.”

“Where am I supposed to start looking ?”

“The Wicked Land. Look for the demon with the name Bossurk. He may know something.”

“How do I get there? I have no idea how to do it.”

“Stelios will take you to the entrance of the city.”

“Fine. When will he come?”

“In two hours.”

When Lorcan was about to disappear. Her voice stopped him instantly. “James... I hope he is not suffering the tortures...”

“You saw him this morning, right?” Lorcan looked at her sideways.

“Right,” she said. Daphne stared at that empty space where he had been a few seconds earlier. Without thinking too hard about the conversation she just had with him, she set out to change clothes and wait patiently for Stelios.

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