ENTICE ME

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The Realm of Demons

The eternal grey-like light that overshadowed the Kingdom left a lugubrious impression. At least that’s how Daphne felt when she first arrived here.

At a constant pace, she was now walking towards the King’s Residence. At first, it never crossed her mind that this place would be as full of life as the mortal world. The city, called The Ancient Land, was known to be home to all the high-ranking demons, including the most powerful of all, Rothvaln.

The city was concentrated in a large circle made of high walls as if a gigantic Wall was trying to protect the varieties of houses made of black rocks. Not everyone on this site belonged to any significant lineage, but they were strong enough to be allowed to live here. Her boots were leaving footprints in the brown, sandstone ground.

The demons who lived in this part of the Realm were the only ones who could transport themselves out of it, unlike those who lived on the other side in a city called The wicked Land, where individuals who walk on its surface are considered to be of lower status. Their strength is weak but still extraordinarily violent, and they retain the ability to manipulate to get what they want. It is said that the city is characterized by having its own style. Even its sky is said to have orange and red tones as if there was always eternal dawn. Daphne had never set foot in that place, is considered even more dangerous than the place where she was walking now. Rothvaln had forbidden her to do so.

Not everyone knew about the existence of both cities. Many believed that the Kingdom of Rothvaln was that dark place, where a pair of giant double doors led to a long bridge that took you to the entrance of an enormous palace made up of all the mystical creatures’ bones and skins in the world. The sea of mists that moved like the clouds in the Spring was the so-called “Abyss.” Whoever fell there could not return, not even a demon. It was considered the Prison of Eternity.

Daphne had many questions posed many years ago to Maret, the most intolerable and cruel demoness she had ever known and who was in charge of training her. Maret never responded to her questions; instead, she made sure of giving her more punches until she gave up on her training.

Daphne concentrated on looking ahead without paying attention to those around her. Believing that this would make her go unnoticed.

“Look who’s here again?” A group of four demons suddenly appeared in front of her. Daphne was not startled. She was already used to this kind of misfortune.

“You dirty little bitch,” said one of them.

“Get out of this Realm. You don’t belong here.” The one who appeared to be the leader of the group approached her threateningly.

Daphne may have been intimidated. They were all tall and sturdy, and she? she looked like a fawn in a hyena cage.

The leader grabbed a lock of her hair, caressing it with malice. “I have never been with a human.”

The demon went from the lock of her hair to touching one of her breasts. Just as his fingers brushed against the fabric covering them, Daphne grabbed his wrist tightly, pulling it away quickly.

“Don’t touch me,” she replied with a murderous look.

Everyone began to laugh, and slowly they approached her.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Sunnia, a high-ranking demoness, suddenly appeared. “Get out of here.”

In a flash, the four of them left, and before Daphne could thank Sunnia, she was gone.

Over time she had learned that no demon presents itself in its true form unless you are part of it. And their name? They never gave their real name to anyone, not even their King. It has so much power over them that it could affect their existence.

They were secretive creatures, more potent than Witches and Warlocks, a threat even to the night’s pale beings, Vampires, superior to Lycanthrope, and almost comparable to both Fae and Dragons, which were as mythical and ancient creatures as they were. And as for the mortals? Those were beings so insignificant they did not deserve to be in their thoughts.

Returning to her path, many continued to look at her with disgust. No one could understand why Rothvaln kept her so close to him. Training her and even giving her some of his power, making her almost as strong as they were.

Finally, she reached the rocky stairs’ foot—the long, narrow double door opening slowly, allowing her to enter once more.

Anyone would think that the King’s residence would be set in darkness, decadence, and the smell of putrefaction, but only one of those three things was accurate. Indeed, the vast halls were adorned with dark hues and no odor. Black and purple were the only paints that could be seen. Orange flashes with red mixtures were the lanterns of the place. There were no torches or anything to hold those masses of flame that hung high and were not held by anything; they simply dangled in the air.

She entered the throne room. The King’s chair was made of gold structures with rigid, jet-black pillows. The entire place was empty, except for the King’s figure, standing near one of the large windows in the form of arches. While many looked at her with disdain, Rothvaln saw Daphne as if she were the most precious jewel in his Land.

“I wondered when you’d be back,” his male voice reflected a hidden emotion.

“She is dead, as you asked,” Daphne stopped at some distance. Looking only at his back.

“Well done. Anything I need to know?” Rothvaln asked again.

“There was no time to chat. The witch left me no choice. Although she did mention something, I had never heard before.”

“Tell me.”

“She mentioned something about the Antequrom."

Rothvaln turned around, his face impassive, but Daphne could tell that the very act of uttering that word had unsettled him.

“What is Antequrom?" She ventured to ask him.

“What else did she say?" Daphne looked at him for a few seconds.

“She said that everyone would die. She talked about ungrateful people. It was more like the rambling words of a madwoman.”

“Come here,” he commanded her with his hands hidden in his dark trousers. And she obediently did so. The skin on her cheek felt the cold touch of his palm. His thumb gently caressed her side. “You look tired.”

Daphne looked down. She knew that her face didn’t look tired, not least since Maret agreed that she was ready. And he knew it, but he needed an excuse to get close to her, to touch her, to feel the human warmth that her body still retained and that it refused to disappear at all costs.

Rothvaln sighed, taking a few steps backward and returning to the initial position. “I have another job for you. You must go to the Kingdom of the Lycans.”

“Lycans? I thought they never dealt with demons.” Daphne replied, a bit puzzled by her new mission.

“And so, it is. I just want you to go to a Ball. King Lycan and his Luna will give a Ball in honor of the heir to the throne. I just want you to go there and greet his Luna for me.”

“Why don’t you go in there yourself?” Daphne frowned.

“I just want to make a point. My presence could alarm all Lycans. The so-called Luna is the Master of Shadows. Once she sees you there, she will know the reason for your visit.”

“Master of Shadows? Maret once mentioned that they are dangerous beings. Only those who belong to that realm can make them disappear”.

“Do not worry. Nothing will happen to you. The one you may have to worry about is the King of the Lycans. He may feel that you are a threat to his family.”

“And I’m not? Going uninvited, giving your message to his wife?” Daphne looked at him with a perfectly arched eyebrow.

“You’re just a messenger. You will pose no threat. And besides, the Master of Shadows won’t do anything to you unless you attack first, which I know you won’t.”

“Well…when should I go?”

“The dance is in two nights. You don’t have to worry about the dress code.”

“Okay. Then I will leave for now.”

“Daphne...” Rothvaln called her before she started walking towards the exit.

“Yes?”

“The Shadows... are not as bad as they seem.” Daphne frowned again at Rothvaln’s half-smile. “You may go.”

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