ENTICE ME

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The Secret of Bossurk

“We are here,”

Stelios and Daphne were at the entrance of the city that everyone avoided coming to.

“This bridge doesn’t look very safe.” She put one foot on the wooden plank, feeling its firmness. The bridge was narrow and tottering and hung from an endless cliff. Daphne could tell that not all of the wooden planks made up the base were complete, which produced a sense of danger. A wise person would return without looking back, and although Daphne considered herself smart enough not to cross, at that very moment, she was not. She had no choice, after all.

“Are you afraid?” Stelios raised an eyebrow with a frisky remark.

“Anyone in their right mind would be.”

“This is nothing compared to what you’ll see on the other side.”

“How bad is it?”

“I don’t want to ruin the surprise. It’s time.”

Daphne was about to step on the first plank, holding on to the ropes on either side. “Stelios” she turned around enough to look him in the eye. “Is my brother all right?”

She did not know why, but this Lord Demon encouraged her to trust him enough to ask him anything. Perhaps it was because of his apparent youthful ways. Despite his thick leather waistcoats and black cloak, and his strong muscles, which gave him an aura as threatening as the others, Stelios possessed the charisma others lacked.

“He’s fine, and I’d say more than fine.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“At first, your brother kept asking questions about us about the Realm. It irritated Myron greatly. Somehow he managed to get along with almost all of us. And even with Myron. Who for some reason is now interested in your world, well more so in the women of your world.” Stelios frowned thoughtfully.

“Thank you,” Daphne said.

“Tick tock, tick tock, hurry up.”

She began to walk cautiously, gently stepping on each wooden plank. After severe minutes under stress, Daphne managed to cross.

“Wait, how am I supposed to get back?” She turned around, but Stelios was no longer there. “Shit”

After walking for at least an hour, she could see the first signs of The Wicked Land. Built-in the middle of a place surrounded by black rocks and the thorn trees that lived in Perdition’s Desert.

The gloomy look matched the dark, arid land she had now passed through. Only she could notice the first signs of a reddish glow in its sky, judging by what she had already known of this Kingdom. This city had been built in a dangerous place, and if Daphne was not mistaken, in the horrible desert.

As she went into the heart of the city, she observed its inhabitants walking around unhurriedly, without paying the slightest attention to the intruder. Strange.

Daphne’s tension increased even more. No one was stopping her from walking. These were supposed to be the most dangerous and savage demons of all. This place was supposed to be more dangerous than the other city.

But all she could see were demons with the same physical appearance as the others living in The Ancient Land, although the faces of these demons denoted a hint of sadness and resignation. They all wore impoverished clothes, and some of them walked with their feet exposed on the dry ground.

Daphne tried to focus again on her mission, to search for this Bossurk. She had no idea where to find him. Walking through what appeared to be houses made entirely of rocks, she eventually ventured to ask a slim, black-haired young woman who was walking towards her but watching the dirt all the time.

“Excuse me.” The young woman stopped short when she heard Daphne’s voice. “Do you know where I can find Bossurk?”

The girl’s eyes looked up and down at her, pausing in Daphne’s boots. It was evident that the girl wanted to acquire them, judging by her bare feet. Daphne felt a twinge of guilt, not knowing why. Clearing her throat, she made the young woman look into her eyes again.

“It’s that one over there. The crimson rocks with the thorns”. Her voice was soft, like the birds’ sweet music in the morning, but her face was the opposite. It was severe as if she had never tasted happiness.

“Thank you” Daphne was about to leave but couldn’t help but ask, “What’s your name?”

The young woman lowered her head and continued on her way. Daphne realized how part of her back was uncovered with horrible dark scars. The shape of the wound made it look like claws had attacked her.

Daphne removed her cloak and stepped forward, placing the heavy cloth over the young woman’s shoulders, covering her wounds. The girl opened her eyes, surprised at the gesture. Daphne only smiled, “Keep it,” and without further ado headed for the horrible place where the so-called Bossurk lived.

The place that the young woman had pointed out was, after all, just a big rock without windows or doors. There was no access at all. Lethal thorns covered part of the so-called house.

So far, Daphne had found no danger, but that didn’t mean that Bossurk would be as harmless as the others or as the girl.

“Hello?” She called out, not quite sure what she was doing. “I need to talk to Bossurk.” She said again. But there was no sign of anyone or anything coming out of the rock.

Daphne sighed. Looking past, she noticed a space not covered by thorns that were farther away from the eyes of others. Approaching the site, she placed a hand on the smooth rocky surface.

“I have come at the request of Lorcan, Bossurk-” the sentence could not be finished when the surface began to open, and she was forced inside.

An unexpected flame made her close her eyes quickly, opening them slowly so that her pupils would adjust to the new light after being plunged into darkness for long seconds.

Two chairs, a square table between them was the very first thing she saw. A non-youthful face suddenly appeared beside her. Bossurk was tall and powerfully built, his red hair tied into a ponytail with a few strands of loose hair. His translucent green eyes were undoubtedly conducive to his appearance.

“Who are you?” Bossurk’s deep, sonorous voice seemed hostile, but Daphne did not feel threatened, not when the red-haired demon gently took her by the arm and motioned for her to sit in the chair.

“My name is Daphne. Lorcan asked me to come. I need to know... Well, he needs to know where Sorana is.”

As Bossurk went even deeper into the darkness in front of her, she noticed how small flames appeared out of nowhere, illuminating a completely different world.

The feeling of desolation outside this place had nothing to do with the bookcase, a nib with ink on a table, and scattered rolls of paper. A compass, an astrolabe, a sextant, a magnifying glass, and an ancient navigation map were located on another smaller table near the books. Bossurk undoubtedly seemed to be a connoisseur of the Mortal Realm.

And the whole place was lit by the flames that floated in the air, providing the embracing heat.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a visitor. Surely your eyes are lamenting such an atrocity.”

Somehow the demon managed to get a goblet out with a yellowish liquid. Daphne frowned, accepting the cup and sniffing.

“It’s not poison if you’re wondering. It would not be wise to want to kill someone Lorcan has sent”.

Daphne took a sip, and then another, and then another.

“I see you liked it.”

“What is it?”

“Mead”

“Not bad.”

“How do you know Lorcan?”

“Not by choice, of that you can be certain,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“How so?”

“Let’s say someone threatened me with something, and in return, I had to...” she realized that she was talking too much.

“Get Lorcan out of prison,” Bossurk ended by saying as he took a sip of his mead sitting in front of her.

“How do you know Lorcan?”

“The question is, how did you get him out?”

“I had help from someone else. It’s my turn now. Where’s Sorana?”

“Sorana disappeared a long time ago. Last I heard, she was going to the bloodsucker’s land.”

“The Vampires? Why?”

“She was trying to seek refuge from the King’s wrath.”

“What did she do to Rothvaln?”

Bossurk frowned, “Rothvaln?” and then smiled politely. “Oh, Rothvaln, yes...” Bossurk’s expression went dark.

“Who is Sorana? Why is Lorcan looking for her so hard?” She asked out of curiosity that she hadn’t felt before.

“Lorcan didn’t tell you?”

“Let’s say Lorcan doesn’t talk. He just dictates and threatens.”

“Then we’re talking of the same,” Bossurk laughed. “Sorana is what mortals call ‘sister’”

“His sister? Why was Lorcan in jail then?”

“It is not for me to reveal a story that does not belong to me.”

“According to Rothvaln, Lorcan is extremely dangerous.”

Bossurk got up suddenly. Enraged. “Do you know Rothvaln? Who are you really?!” His eyes turned dark.

“Relax, Bossurk” Daphne stood up, gesturing with her hands. “I do know Rothvaln, but because I made a pact with him a long time ago in exchange for saving my brother. Lorcan knows this, and he is keeping my brother as a form of extortion. And even though I work for the King, I know very well when to withhold information. I promise I came only intending to know where Sorana is because Lorcan needs to know.”

Daphne felt for some reason that she could trust this demon, who seemed to be a sensitive person with a sense of loyalty that she knew.

The demon began to relax. “Does Rothvaln know that it was you who released Lorcan?”

“Yes. Someone told him. And I got my punishment for it.”

“It must not have been easy to find Lorcan.”

“No-” Daphne stopped when her eyes suddenly landed on the depth of the rocky room. She stared and then shut her eyes, believing that it was a product of her exhaustion. When she opened them, it was still there, a crown behind a waving mirror. “What is that?”

Bossurk followed her with his sight. And then he looked at Daphne again, with an incredulous expression.

Her feet began to move on their own. It was as if they were the magnet they were going to meet in a magnetic field. Bossurk didn’t stop her.

Daphne raised her hand, transfixed by what she was seeing. A crown forged from dark metal and adorned only by several grotesque, unpolished black stones. Like the one her ring possessed. Her hand slowly began to reach it, crossing the mirage, which welcomed her with an enriching warm sensation. Her fingers brushed the surface of the crown. Drawing the lines of its shape.

An electrical stream spread from her fingers to her back. She abruptly pulled her hand away, breaking the trance between her and the object of her unexplained amazement.

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