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“What happened?” Myron asked, pushing Daphne away aggressively as he approached Lorcan.

“My King!” Maret followed suit.

“Are you all right?” Teias was the only one who posed the question to her, noticing her torn clothing and the blood that stained her body. But Daphne paid no attention to either of them.

Her eyes were only on Lorcan.

Her body was stiff, with the courage lost to speak and move. Seeing him lying on the ground, his eyes closed, his huge horns and that liquid still coming out of his ears, made her heartbeat with dread.

“What did you do to him?!” Myron stood up, his fists ready for revenge.

Teias stepped in, protecting her. “Calm down, Myron. Lorcan went to find her.”

“Is he dead?” The three demons heard Daphne’s weak, fearful voice. Her eyes would not leave Lorcan’s body.

“No,” Maret answered.

“Daphne, look at me. What happened there?” Teias glanced at her. His voice was kind, prompting her to speak.

“He came and started to tor-t-ure Rothvaln,” she said with a trembling voice. “I told him to stop. When I saw that he began to transform himself, I told him to stop” She then looked at Teias. “Why didn’t he stop? Why is he like this?” Her eyes were wet; the tears threatened to escape at any moment.

“Fool!” Myron looked at Lorcan.

“Myron, be careful, remember your place and who he is!” Teias scolded him.

“Just for saving her, he almost broke the pact!” Myron’s fury reached her like the air she was breathing.

“What is he talking about?” Daphne asked.

“It is not known for sure, but we believe that if Lorcan kills Rothvaln, he will lose his powers and fall into the Abyss,” Teias replied.

“But he is immortal.”

“The Abyss does not mean Death. It is considered a place you could never get out of. Perhaps he could, but no one really knows what might happen if it ever did.” Teias turned to Maret. “Take her away and have her attended to.”

“No. I want to stay with him”. Daphne replied as she felt guilty about everything.

“You’ve done more than enough,” Myron spoke to her with contempt. And before she could answer him, he disappeared with Lorcan, and after a few seconds, he returned.

Where he had taken the demon, her demon. Wait, what?

Teias let out a long sigh. Although he seemed to be calm, he was immensely frustrated by recent events. Nothing was planned. Teias was genuinely disappointed. Everyone around him had acted without weighing the consequences, without a tactic to confront the enemy. Teias was a strong demon when it came to strategy and tactics. A warrior, where emotions did not influence his decisions. He watched Myron and Maret, thinking it was time to have the long-overdue conversation with the rest of the Lords. It was time for them to know Daphne’s true identity.

“Daphne, the right thing to do at this point would be for someone to tend your wounds. There is nothing you can do for Lorcan. We’ll take care of him.”

“But,” Daphne interrupted him.

“Don’t worry. When he wakes up, we’ll inform you.”

She merely nodded. With her hands still covering herself, she headed for the door. The three Lords talked about Lorcan when she heard Maret say, “No fucking way!” Then there was absolute silence. Daphne turned to face them.

“Well, I guess what you see speaks for itself,” Teias observed the two other Lords. Daphne’s back was bare.

“She’s- She”

“You can close your mouth now, Maret,” Teias mumbled.

Myron’s strong jawline could be seen tightening. And when Daphne thought that Myron would say something mean, the demon knelt, resting both arms on one knee, “Ragothara” he said and bowed his head.

Maret frowned as she watched Myron bow to the mortal. The mortal who was the true Queen of their Realm.

“You don’t need to show me respect, Myron. None of you need to do that. I honestly don’t care. Just because I wear a mark, you have now decided that I possess some kind of value, and I am worthy of your consideration. I don’t want it. I know you still see me as unworthy. A mere mortal.” The three of them heard her low but a well-modulated voice. “I don’t need anyone’s help.” She opened the door and left a thoughtful Teias, a surprised Myron, and Maret with her mouth hanging open again.

Daphne was not interested in others showing her deference and respect just because someone else with more power was protecting her. She wanted to be respected and appreciated for who she was for her actions. And seeing Myron on his knees, there was no satisfaction, only displeasure. After so many insults she received from them, after they threatened her brother, torturing him, she was no interested in being seen as their Queen.

As she walked, her thoughts led her to Lorcan. Another one she needed to hate but could no longer. He had gone after her. He, the King of Demons, the Lord of the Abyss, had risked everything to go after her, a mortal. Why? Love was not to be the cause. Bossurk said it, her mark would change, but what exactly were those changes?

Lorcan’s feelings may have even begun to develop. At least she was now starting to believe so. Because someone who hates mortals so much, and risks everything for one, would not be out of pity or because he needed her to fulfill a goal or use her. In fact, if Lorcan felt anything for her, it was undoubtedly because of the bond they shared. Similar to that of the Lycans. Maybe that was the reason why she felt something for him too.

Daphne finally entered her room, and after preparing her bath, she immersed herself in it, ignoring the sting of those wounds that were still closing.

Her eyes were fixed on a spot on the wall in front of her. Recalling the events of just a few minutes ago, she could not help but think of Rothvaln. Realizing now this obsession, he had probably been holding for a long time.

His obsession for her had led him to do such atrocities. To seek the vilest method to keep her by his side. And to think that she once let him almost kiss her. But by that time, she didn’t even know who Rothvaln really was. She didn’t even know the existence of the other demon. The one that had fallen to the ground, letting go of her hand. Lorcan had come into her life to turn it upside down. He had come to confuse her, to make her feel those thrills she was always curious about.

After a while in the bathtub, she got out and put on one of the dresses. Carefully, she slipped on the soft, cream-colored fabric that left part of her shoulders exposed. And wrinkling her face as she dressed, she decided to look for her brother.

Two nights had passed, and she still hadn’t heard any signs that Lorcan had recovered. Daphne watched as the sun approached the horizon. Where soft light was shining on her face. The orange rays mirrored on the surface of the sea, announcing the twilight. A slight breeze swayed her hair, and she closed her eyes. Letting that sunset bathe her in coppery gleams.

She heard the door of her room open and then close, but she did not take her eyes off the outside world that was observing her. Surely James had entered again. As much as she adored her brother these days, she needed to be alone. She just wanted one thing, to see him. But none of the Lords would let her.

With her head resting on the open window frame and her arms crossed, she sighed. “James, I’m fine.”

“I’m glad to hear it.”

The rugged, baritone voice she had been waiting to hear again made her turn around immediately.

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