As she headed back along the same route, the sight of James in the middle of the night was as clear as daylight. When the two of them got close enough, James hugged his sister.
“I’m sorry, Daphne.”
“I know you’re here for me. I can’t stand to see others hurt you. We should leave this place, Daphne, let’s get out of here, let’s find a secluded place. We can ask for refuge in the Kingdom of the Lycans”.
Daphne stepped out of his embrace. “James. We can’t. Not now at least. They would find us right away. Rothvaln must be looking for me. And besides, Eve is in danger”.
“Rothvaln has Eve. He’s using her to control me. I must get her out of that place. Lorcan promised me he’d help me. Although I’m frankly not so sure about that.”
“Lorcan will help you?” James was surprised.
“That’s what he said. But so far, nothing has happened.”
“Tell me how I can help Daphne. You name it, Eve is my friend too. And you’re my only family.”
“James, all I need from you is to stay safe, stay here for as long as it takes. When it’s all over, I’ll come back for you.”
James didn’t want to stand idly by, but he understood. In the end, he would be a burden to her amid all the conflict. “What do you intend to do?”
“I plan to stay another day or two. Lorcan will be watching me, so I have to find the right moment to get out of here.”
“Whatever you need, please tell me. I will help you.”
She gave him a kiss on the cheek.
Both did not return to where the lords were. After another hug and kiss, James left her in one of the corridors connected to her room.
Alone again, she approached the windows. Although she was still vexed by Lorcan’s words, her being still trembled at the memory of his lips on hers. Her eyes reached out to the silent night sky. Painted blue and full of stars.
Those red eyes came back to her—the fear of seeing them no longer existed. On the contrary, now she longed to see them again. Their ferocity made her feel alive and expectant. The force he emanated called out to her will, stripping her of it and leaving her at his mercy.
Daphne shook her head. He was just a jerk who was hiding the truth behind her mark. For if no one wanted to give them answers, she was determined to find them. And the first thought that came to her mind was Bossurk. No matter what, she would go looking for him. And she would find a way to rescue Eve. With or without the help of the red-eyed demon.
The next morning, Daphne woke up to the smell of freshly baked bread. A golden tray of food rested on the only table in her room. Her body felt exhausted, nightmares flooded her sleep all night. And the worst of all was the one involving the sinful tongue of a demon, licking her. A nightmare she hated so much, and not because she was scary-like, but because of how pleasant it had been. It made her hate herself.
After eating, she dressed up again, choosing another dress, dark blue with short sleeves and a square neckline. Her hair in a low gathered, left a few loose locks around her face.
Just as she grabbed the doorknob, she violently pulled it back. From her fingers, dark stains sprang up, which moved all over the skin, as if they were her own veins where the red blood now was of a black that didn’t look at all black, but rather purple or blue.
Daphne turned her hand over in a panic and began to rub her hand together. But it was in vain.
Her eyes fell on the door. The gold tint of the doorknob was even brighter than before. Her eyes scanned the rest of the room. The vibrant shades were even more radiant, the image sharper, and those objects in the distance could be visually admired in every detail. Daphne rushed to the mirror.
Seeing her reflection, she gasped.
Her irises were jet-black. She blinked several times. How was this possible?What is happening to me?
The pounding of the door drew her attention to the doorway. “Who is it?” she asked aloud.
“It’s me, Daphne,” was the voice of her brother on the other side.
When she looked back at herself in the mirror, everything was back to normal; her amber eyes and hands no longer had that horrendous serpentine look.
“Good morning, brother.” She greeted him with a smile when she opened the door.
“What’s wrong with your face?” James said.
“What’s wrong with me?” The fear of his question alarmed her.
“Didn’t you sleep well last night? You’ve got puffy eyes.”
“Ah yes,” she answered, somewhat relieved.
“Come on, I want to show you around.”
“James, it will have to be later. I need to talk to Lorcan about Eve now”.
“Forgive me, I’ve been so distracted by the vibes of this world, I was just waiting to show you. I realize I’m selfish.”
“Don’t say that, James. You are the kindest and most gentleman I have ever known.”
“Come on, I’ll take you to see Lorcan. I’m afraid if I let you go alone, you’ll get lost. He’s always in the private library.”
As they walked through the corridors and down the stairs, they met another aisle, the two talked about the surroundings. Daphne sensed her brother’s love for this Kingdom, his eyes shining with every story. And although she wanted to share that joy, her concerns were above all else.
In the distance, she saw an entrance that James had mentioned a few seconds earlier, the library.
Her heart skipped a beat, the tingling in her stomach indicated the state of nervousness in her, as she was just a few steps away from seeing him again. Her vision suddenly changed. Everything was crystal clear. The gold on the walls was brighter, she knew. Her eyes had changed shape also.
Daphne blinked several times, taking deep breaths, trying to control her breathing. James kept talking about how Queen Avina had a particular interest in Lorcan. Still, she didn’t pay enough attention to him. It was only when he finally reached the door, and after another blink that her vision returned to its former self.
Her brother knocked on the door, and Stelios opened it.
“I need to talk to Lorcan,” Daphne asked.
“Let her in Stelios,” the undisputed voice of Lorcan commanded.
Stelios opened the door, letting them in.
“What do you want?” His indifferent look did not intimidate Daphne. Matching his mood, she approached the desk.
“You told me you would help me rescue Eve. When will you do it?”
“I told you to be patient.”
“If I keep waiting for you, it may be too late. Rothvaln may be torturing her, and we don’t know how long Eve can hold out.”
“Lorcan, Eve is someone we love very much. She is our family. She is Daphne’s best friend and is like another sister to me.” James intervened.
Lorcan grew annoyed. The room was full of unwanted people. Only Daphne was the one who could be there. Alone with him. Her sleepless face did not go unnoticed. He wanted to get close to her and taste those rosy lips. Her long thin neck was visible because of her upturned hair. And although he found her just as beautiful, the memory of her loose hair waving in the air was an image he wanted to see every night, a dark desire he kept to himself.
“Stelios take him away,” he said.
Once again alone, Daphne turned her gaze to him. Her cold appearance was a disguise for the thousands of wings flapping in her stomach.
“Well?” she asked, raising her eyebrows subtly.
“I told you to trust me. I’ll get your friend out of there”.
“Trust you?” she asked, and then she let out a smirk. “I would have to be totally insane to do that. No one can trust someone they hate”.
“Hate? That’s not what I noticed last night,” he said.
“Last night was clearly a mistake. It will never happen again.” She said with a confidence that wavered at every step Lorcan took towards her. His broad shoulders, his height was so imposing that she felt overwhelmed and excited at the same time.
“Are you sure?”
“Absolutely.” Her breathing became unsteady, her chest went up and down, looking for the oxygen that his proximity was stealing.
“I’m not so sure about that.”
A mischievous smile spread on his face when one of the corners of his mouth was slightly raised. He was so close, he could smell that fresh, floral scent on her. Engulfing him once more.
“What do you think you are doing?” she asked, raising her face. His provocation would not make her back down.
His gaze turned black, and she didn’t know how, but she was convinced that those hunting eyes were only watching her mouth. In an involuntary gesture, she licked her lips. And with the power of a thousand hells, her mouth was assaulted by his. Daphne was trying to get out of his grip. With her fists on his chest, she was pushing him with all her strength, but his hand grabbed her head, keeping it fixed in place.
And as if he had regained his sanity, he left her mouth free, although he still held her in his arms.
“Let go of me now,” she ordered him, furious.
“Is that what you really want?”
The tips of their noses touched. “Yes,” she answered.
Daphne frowned. “Let go of me now, you brute.”
“Only if you tell me the truth,” he said defiantly, in a husky voice. “Do you want me to kiss you?”
“No,” she replied again, and a half-smile returned to his face, a smile of triumph, of pleasant evil.
Of course, she didn’t know. Lorcan could know who was lying and who wasn’t. And to his contentment, his mortal was lying. He could feel her desire, and she was unknowingly confessing her need through her lies. She wanted him.
“I am not lying. Let go of me now.” And reluctantly, he did. “Don’t ever touch me again. You have no right, do you understand?”
I have every right to touch what belongs to me, and you are mine alone. He thought.
“If you don’t do something soon to save Eve. I will do it myself.” She said as she stood at the door.
“Don’t you dare disobey me, Daphne. It’s not in your best interest,” he said with a threatening tone.
“Watch me,” she said in defiance and walked out of there.
With the palm of her hand on her heart, trying to calm it down, she began to rush away from that room.
Why was he playing with her like that? What did he want from her? For God’s sake. The sensation of him in her, his lips, his hands, the warmth of his body, the closeness of him. She was tempted to go on with that kiss. Stupid, stupid, stupid. She cursed herself.