An Enticing Image
“What are you doing here?” Daphne cautiously backed away from the exit, knowing very well that she was at a disadvantage. She couldn’t defeat four demons at the same time.
“We were told that we must teach the mortal scum a lesson.” One of them spoke.
“Who will be but the King?”
“Why?” Daphne asked with a heavy heart. Rothvaln had sent these animals to beat her.
“You should know that better than anyone else. It seems that the King finally realized that the Realm was full of plague.”
She turned in a hurry to leave, but the sound of a door slamming stopped her in her tracks.
“Aaah!” she screamed as she felt her hair being pulled, making her wobble. One of them dragged her into the middle of the room. And throw her against the wall with such force that she was left stunned for a bit.
Another of them approached her, taking her by the collar of her robe. Bringing his disgusting mouth close to her ear. “I don’t care if the King wants you alive. You’ll die tonight,” he exclaimed.
Just as her attacker was about to strike her face with his fist. She heard one of the demons speak.
“Who are you?”
Daphne and her attacker searched for the outsider. And she couldn’t help but feel anxious when her gaze rested on the demon that had stolen her sleep a few minutes earlier.
“And you are?” asked Lorcan with deceptive calm. His unexpected presence in the room made her unable to utter a word.
“None of your business. I suggest you leave now. We have some unfinished business to deal with this mortal.”
“I am afraid I must interrupt you, but I too have a matter to deal with the lady. Please, if you could leave now, it will save us a regrettable situation.”
“Who the fuck do you think you are?!” said the demon that had a hold on Daphne, suddenly releasing her and approaching Lorcan threateningly.
Without further ado, the demons set out to attack him at the same time. A feeling of despair gripped her heart as she saw that Lorcan was in danger, and when she set out to assault the demon closest to her, all four had been immobilized. Black sores on their skins began to surface, and her ears were pierced by the desperate and loud cries. Standing there, as those urgent cries continued, Daphne found her protector’s gaze icy and murderous. Such harsh and disturbing red eyes she had never seen before.
She had never met a blood-red eyed demon before. Lorcan, standing before her, looked defiant and fearsome. He had not moved a single part of his body. Disconcerting was the right word to describe the unusual emotions growing inside her, fear, relief, and curiosity.
“Now, listen well, return to your King, and if you dare to come back to this place, there won’t be a second time, do you understand?”
Daphne glanced at the attackers.
Their wounds had become like craters on their arms and legs. And some were beginning to appear on their faces.
“Leave,” Lorcan ordered, and releasing his power over them, the demons evaporated without a second’s hesitation.
A brief and rather uncomfortable silence faded when she finally found the courage to speak. “Thank you.”
Lorcan, back with his malevolent grey eyes, scrutinized her sharply. “What did you find out?”
She put herself back together, scolding herself for thinking of this demon in something more, more lustful, erotic. Without realizing it, her eyes turned to the lips that had commanded her to be still while he tested the core of her apex with his evil tongue—the goddamn memory of that infallible dream.
“Well?” Lorcan asked with a perfectly arched eyebrow. Without missing for one moment that this woman had been staring at him with a sudden and absurd desire?
“Bossurk said that Sorana fled to the Kingdom of the Vampires long ago in search of refuge. That’s all he knew about her”.
“Is that all?”
The only one you can trust now is Lorcan. Bossurk’s words came back to her.
It was impossible to trust this ruthless man. Once again, she hesitated, this was her chance to tell him, but she was afraid that Bossurk was wrong. Until now, she had seen nothing in Lorcan that would encourage her to trust him, quite the contrary. He has been keeping her brother with him as a means of blackmail.
She did not understand what the mark on her back meant, but she was smart enough to know that something good was not when she was warned that no one should know about it, no one...except the demon in front of her, but why should she trust him, of all those who could be, Lorcan was the one?
“What did they want from you?” he asked, recalling the demons from before.
“Kill me?” she exhaled.
“Let’s say I did something the King disliked.”
Lorcan sighed deeply and contemplatively. Both were for a while immersed in awkward, tense silence. And for a brief, rare, and timeless instant, Lorcan’s gaze met hers.
He was an expert at hiding any emotion. But as Lorcan watched her, he felt an unknown restlessness inside. A feeling, wholly new and untimely that as soon as it appeared was gone.
He was standing there in front of her, and in the next one, he vanished.
Daphne breathed again. Realizing how rigid her body had become in his presence, what was happening to her?
It was ridiculous. Everything was incredibly absurd, starting with that dream.
She hated him. She was sure of that. Probably everything she was feeling would soon disappear.
Almost two weeks had passed, and no one had shown up again, neither Rothvaln, nor Lorcan, nor anyone else. It was as if Daphne was finally abandoned and forgotten by everyone. Her brother James had not returned, but she felt that there was no reason to worry. After all, Stelios told her that James was fine. Maybe it was better that way for a while.
Without using her sword, or her dagger, or her fists, she could only take the break she had never had. Rothvaln had not provided any other name for her, another victim. The situation was apparently calm, but Daphne did not believe that it was really so. The more time passed, the more upset she became. She often stared at the trees standing far away from her house, thinking about the Realm situation.
What was really going on between Rothvaln and Lorcan?
Why did the King lock him up?
Why did the Five Lords betray the King? and what is Lorcan planning?
There were days when Daphne simply took the opportunity to go out and get some fresh air. Her friend Eve had undertaken other of her journeys.
And it was a particularly cold tonight, and after returning from one of her walks, she lit the fireplace. The crackling of the fire and the heat of the flames welcomed her into a peaceful night. Lying on her sofa with one of James’ books.
Minutes had passed, and she was trying to finish reading the second page that, for some reason, she was not concentrating on and kept reading the same paragraph repeatedly.
Feeling that someone was near her, she lifted her head and found Lorcan by the fireplace.
His imposing figure was enhanced by the natural light of the fire. His broad shoulders and his unique, masculine complexion. His devilish face, which just by looking at him, could make the courage of the bravest disappear. It was an indescribable image, intimidating but undoubtedly disturbingly attractive.
“What do you want now,” she asked, somewhat grumpy, trying to hide the power his figure had on her. Yes, that stupid desire she had felt days ago had disappeared for her well-being. But it was reappearing now.
“Get dressed. We must go to a party”.
“Thanks for the invitation, but I don’t like parties.”
“It’s not an invitation; it’s an order.”
She sighed and sat down on the sofa. “Where?” She didn’t really like going to any social events, but the idea of doing more than just staying at home waiting for something to happen was worse than going with Lorcan.
“The King of the Vampires will give a dance tonight.”
“Why should I go with you? You have Sunnia and Maret.”
“They don’t look so appetizing.”
Daphne frowned. “And I am appetizing?”
He looked at her with misgivings, understanding very well the tone of her question. “For vampires, yes. After all, you are mortal.”
“I’m not so sure about that.” She murmured, recalling her encounter with that vampire who had spat out her blood, exclaiming how badly it tasted.
“What do you mean?”
She sighed and ignored him. “I’ll be ready in a few minutes.”
She shut herself up in her bedroom, and from among the dresses that Rothvaln had given her over the years, she chose one that was suitable for her situation, as the fabric-covered almost her entire back, leaving the mark covered.
Daphne slipped into her black velvet dress with a tight strapless corset after having her hair done in her usual low, romantic style.
A heart-shaped décolleté, an invisible back zip, and a close-fitting skirt with a long purple satin over-skirt was the must-have weapon tonight to distract the enemy and tempt them at the same time. After fastening the straps of her black heels, she emerged with a carefree air, ignoring that a grey but completely penetrating and silently attentive look ran through every detail of her figure.
“We can go,” she said.
Lorcan offered his hand, and without question, she took it. But she felt a merely familiar sensation when her skin made contact with his warm, rough, manly hand. A touch that made her try to remember something, but she didn’t know exactly what.
Soon both emerged at the entrance to the Vampire King’s Castle. And before they both started to go in, Lorcan let go of her hand.
“My Lord,” revered the vampire guarding the entrance.
“My Lord? So you are one of the Lords after all?” Daphne spoke to him quietly.
Lorcan did not deny or claim such a thing but just kept walking with her by her side.
The beautiful and eerie sound of violins accompanied by other instruments composed what Daphne was sure was a waltz. When they arrived at the hall where hundreds of couples were dancing, she was strangely attracted by the place’s atmosphere. It was both dreadful and intimate, and the soft candlelight gave a sense of welcome to the most spectacular scenery.