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A lonely cabin was built in front of her. The young green grass spread around it. Rocks covered with moss and flowers stood near a stream that came from trees some distance away. The chirping of birds came to her like the calm after the storm. The early morning sun was a warm blanket over her broken skin.

A few drops of tears fell from her eyes. Daphne turned, finding the one to blame for everything.

“You will stay here for now,” Lorcan’s voice, arrogant as always, had a hollow, grave sound. Revealing his enraged nature hidden behind a false stillness.

“Why did you do it?” She asked, feeling a deep rage.

A confusion enveloped him. Why did this woman act this way? Shouldn’t she be grateful?

“Tell me! Why did you do it? Who asked you to get me out of there?” she shouted out loud, “Why? Tell me! I didn’t ask you to save me.” her fists began to hit his chest with force, with hate. Lorcan took her wrists, stopping her and holding her tightly.

“Enough! Stop it!” He ordered her, feeling outraged by her uncontrolled reaction. “What is wrong with you?” he demanded again.

An amber gaze full of resentment was fixed on him. “I didn’t need you to get me out of there.”

“If I hadn’t, you could have died!” An idea that, for a moment, made him fearful.

“Sure, because that would be the only altruistic cause of yours! You don’t have to play the role of a noble protector.”

“What nonsense are you talking about?”

“You only got me out of there because you’re afraid I’ll tell everything. And you know what? I was going to!” The bitterness she felt was so strong that her confession came out of her unbridled mouth.

Lorcan looked at her carefully. His temperamental eyebrows, his tight lips, suggested a stern countenance.

“Tell me what happened while you were there?” Daphne noticed that the tone of his baritone voice was not so disdainful. With the expression still cold, she lowered her head, closing her eyes. “Please tell me,” he pleaded.

She tried to get out of his grip, and he let her go. Lorcan’s face darkened as he paused on her bloody, badly wounded back while she turned to face the cabin. Her shoulders were shaking as the sobbing began to be heard.

“He has Eve. My friend.” Lorcan understood now. “She was there, and I needed to get her out. But I couldn’t.” Her crying had increased, her face had become red.

He felt a primitive need to approach her, to comfort her. He raised his hand unconsciously, trying to reach her, but suddenly he realized what he was about to do and dropped his arm.

Daphne turned to him. “We must save her, take me back” her red eyes, her pitiful cry, and an intermittent hiccup were piercing him. “Please, Lorcan, please, I must save her.”

“It is not wise.”

“Please, I know you hate me, I know you hate mortals. But Eve, she’s part of your kind too.” She begged again.

“Daphne, we can’t go back.”

“Why not?!” she exclaimed. “Are you so afraid of Rothvaln? You can’t even face him on your own?!”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he replied with a solemn tone.

“I am not going to stand here with my arms crossed. I’ll go and get her myself.”

Lorcan stopped her once she took a step. “I told you it’s not wise.”

“I don’t give a shit what you think.”

“That’s enough! I’m tired of your erratic behavior.” He grabbed her by the arm, heading for the cabin. “You’ll stay here for a while.”

“I don’t want to. Let me go!”

“Listen to me,” said the exasperated demon. “If you stay here and obey me, I’ll go get your friend, okay?”

His words had an immediate effect on her, appeasing her. “You swear?” she saw his jaw tighten and firm.

“I swear,” he said in resignation. To keep her safe, he had to worry about someone else. Someone who meant nothing to him but to her. “Now, let me tend your wounds.”

She obediently followed him to the only bed in the place. Lying face down, she inhaled the clean, fresh scent of the light blue cotton sheets. With subtle movements, Lorcan pulled the remains of her shredded clothing away from the whipping.

Seeing her back again, he felt an immense rage, a fury not only directed at Rothvaln but towards himself as well. He was supposed to protect her for who she is—a knot formed in his throat. A burning urge to kill possessed his emotions. Swearing internally to seek revenge for her. Rothvaln would pay for what he had done to him, but now he had another reason to finish him off.

Her mark was intact. All her lines were red except for some parts that traced the wings.

A black ink had replaced the redness. He was not sure why, but it was not important at this time. Not when just looking at the state she was in was enough to make him want to forget the rest.

Daphne hissed in pain. “What are you doing?” she continued hissing, tightening the sheets, wanting to escape from the misery.

“Stay still; your wounds are closing.”

In an attempt to find out what he was doing, she saw drops of blood fall from the palm of his hand.

“What are you doing?” she questioned again.

“It’s the only way to heal you. You were whipped with the Hand of the Abyss. It is curious how you were able to endure so much. Not many demons can withstand such torture. Even though your wounds will heal, the scars will always remain.”

“The Hand of the Abyss?” her voice was weak, the tearing pain of a moment ago was finally subsiding.

“It is a weapon used to punish demons. I am surprised that Rothvaln has used it on you.”

“Now you can tell that I am not his whore, as everyone has called me.”

He remained silent, trying to choose his next words well. “Even if you are not, everyone thinks he held you in high esteem.”

“Tell me, do you think loving someone means getting her whipped or sending a bunch of demons to beat her up? Or to throw her away in that desert after confessing love for her? I don’t care if he came back to save me from that venom. He is but a beast. He does not love me”.

“You must rest for now.” Lorcan got up from the bed, and some dirty, though soft and thin fingers grabbed his hand. The mere gesture took him by surprise.

“Thank you. I know we are not on the best of terms, but I want to thank you for keeping James safe, even if it is in your own interest”.

“Rest,” he said, releasing her hand as if it were boiling oil.

She had no idea where she was at that time. In the depths of her troubled mind, she felt that she was safe. As long as he was by her side, she could close her eyes. Why this strange feeling? She was not interested in seeking an explanation for her incomprehensible impression. And it wasn’t that she trusted Lorcan because she didn’t. But what she was beginning to feel towards him, she had never experienced towards Rothvaln.

Downcast, still in pain, her eyelids began to weigh. Her eyes responded to the tiredness, closing and leaving her in a deep sleep.

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