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The Five Lords

“What do you think you’re doing?” Daphne asked Maret. She didn’t believe for a second that Rothvaln was behind this ambush. If he wanted to get something out of her or kill James, he would have done it with a snap of his fingers.

“Shut up, you bitch. You’re not here to demand anything.” Maret replied sharply, believing that insulting her would intimidate her. How wrong she was.

“Maret, calm down. Remember why we are here.” Sunnia, with her red hair and black eyes, one of the Lords, asked her to calm down. Daphne had never trained with Sunnia, nor had she ever interacted with her. But she knew very well about her reputation. Sunnia was the silent one. She didn’t talk; she killed. She did not believe in redemption, nor in forgiveness. If you committed a crime, your punishment was the edge of her sword.

“I have fulfilled part of our agreement,” An insecure voice spoke out suddenly. Daphne turned to find the scum who had dared to play a part in this. The Lords were silent. It seemed as if they were debating internally on their next step.

“You can go,” said Teias, Rothvaln’s general. A stout demon, with shoulder-length dark hair, black eyes like those of Sunnia, a traitor in Daphne’s eyes.

“No,” Daphne spoke out loud. She now had one more reason to kill that bastard.

“Are you questioning my authority?” Teias rebuked her.

Lars began to leave when Maret suddenly caught up with him, burying her nails in his chest, destroying the most critical organ in his body, the heart. The scum fell to the ground lifeless.

Maret’s face reflected revulsion at the blood on her hands, and she urgently began to wipe it off with her black cloak.

“Can we start now?” Stelios, presumably the youngest Lord but as deadly as the rest, asked with a hint of impatience.

Daphne looked at James, who was still tied to the chair, unable to move or speak. Their eyes met. She projected the calm she didn’t possess because a fierce storm was rising inside her, but she wasn’t foolish enough to fight these demons. Not on her own.

“What do you want?” Daphne asked in a straightforward tone.

“We want you to free someone for us,” Teias answered.

“Why don’t you do it? Clearly, you are superior to me”.

“At least you know your place well,” Maret spoke to her with a mischievous smile.

“Maret, stop it!” Teias said, “The thing is, we can’t. You see, he’s a prisoner in a place we can’t enter, and Rothvaln would know right away who was the intruder”.

“Is he a prisoner of Rothvaln?” Daphne asked with a furrowed brow. None of the Lords answered, but it was not necessary. The silence was an affirmation. “What makes you think I can free anyone?”

“You are the whore of Rothvaln. He trusts you.” Maret spoke.

“I am nobody’s whore. I work for him.” Daphne responded, exposing how the insult had affected her.

“Keep telling yourself that, if that comforts you. But we all know who you really are. A demon’s slut.” Maret had a deep hatred for Daphne.

“Could someone please shut up Maret? We are running out of time,” Stelios spoke again.

“Daphne, release the prisoner from Rothvaln, and we will give you back your brother,” Teias said. Of the five, he looked the most reasonable, at least.

“How do I know you’ll let us live? I have a pact with Rothvaln,” Daphne asked Teias.

“We will make a pact with you. The five of us will promise to let you live once you do what we ask.”

“What makes you think that I won’t go to Rothvaln and tell him how his five Lords are conspiring behind his back. He will surely kill them all without a second thought. He is more powerful than five lords combined.”

A burst of mocking laughter drew Daphne’s attention, and she turned her gaze to the fifth Lord, Myron. The most ruthless of them all. Teias’ favorite and a so sexually handsome demon that no demoness could resist him.

James began to utter muffled cries. The veins in his body were bulging in his skin as if he were enduring lethal pain.

“James!” Daphne approached him. Passing a hand over his forehead. The torment of her brother ceased. Leaving him breathing heavily.

“Now listen up, you little shit. You will not say anything to Rothvaln. Otherwise, we will kill your dear baby brother. What you have just seen is an illustration of what he will suffer.” Myron approached her threateningly. “If you want to tell your master about us, do so. But keep in mind that by the time you begin to speak every word, your brother will cease to exist, and it will be a slow and painful death”. Daphne glared at him; her hands locked in fists. Myron looked at her with another smile. “I don’t think you want to risk anything, knowing that your brother is one step away from falling into the Abyss.”

Daphne thought about her choices. If she decided to tell Rothvaln everything, what guarantee would she have that he would rescue James in time? Looking at these demons, she was sure that her brother would die instantly. If she chose to help them, her brother would die, and so would she, as soon as Rothvaln discovered that it was she who freed his prisoner.

But... but... if I make a pact with these demons in exchange for leaving us alive... and there is a chance that Rothvaln won’t know that it was me. All that is left for me to do is find a way to free that demon without being discovered.

Daphne made a decision. “Okay. Let’s make a pact now. I release the prisoner, and you leave James and me free and alive.”

“It’s a deal.” Teias finally spoke. From his index finger, a long nail grew, as if it were a needle. He made a large cut on his hand’s palm, continuing with Maret, Stelios, Sunnia, Myron, and Daphne.

Daphne held her palm together with each of the Lords. Each one repeating, “We have made a pact. Release the prisoner in exchange for keeping Daphne Brooks and James Brooks alive”.

“Now, tell me where the prisoner is and how to release him.”

“That’s your job,” Myron said.

Daphne frowned. “Let me get this straight. You want me to release someone, and you don’t know where he is or how to release him? How am I supposed to do what you ask me to do if you don’t know his whereabouts?”

“Rothvaln has kept it a secret for many centuries. We only have one name. Maybe you can start looking for it.”

“Tell me,” Daphne asked Teias.

“Agate Brevil”

“Agate?” Daphne was, for a moment, confused by what she had just heard.

“We know that she is related to Rothvaln. She is a powerful witch. We believe she has information that can help.” Teias explained.

“How do I find her?” Daphne asked, trying not to give away the fact that she knew Agate.

“The last we heard; she was living in the Mortal Realm near a land called Iceland.”

So, all this time you’ve been living there, Agate. Daphne thought.

“You have one week to release the prisoner,” Teias spoke solemnly.

“One week? That’s a short time.”

“One week is all you have. If by the seventh night we don’t see you’ve made it, you know what will happen to your brother.” Teias possessed a threatening calm. A coldness that intimidated even the bravest of soldiers.

“Once I have the prisoner. Where shall I deliver him?”

“You don’t have to worry about that. Once you have him, he will lead you to us.”

Daphne approached her brother. “Please let me talk to him,” she asked the Lords.

James took an instant breath. “Daphne, don’t do it. You’ve suffered enough all this time. It doesn’t matter what they do to me. Please don’t do it. Rothvaln will kill you.”

“James, trust me. I’ll find that prisoner, and we’ll be fine. I won’t let anyone hurt you. Trust me.” Daphne put a kiss on his cheek.

“I love you, sis.”

“And I love you more, James. Wait for me, will you?”

James nodded his head in agreement. His sister has been his salvation all these years and continues to be so. Risking everything for him. And what had he done for her? Nothing, just living well, while she was doing orders and suffering tribulations of all kinds.

“All right, an emotional moment, but it’s time for us to go,” Myron spoke irritably.

In a second, James disappeared in front of her.

“One-week, Daphne,” Teias repeated.

“Good luck,” Sunnia said to her.

The Lords disappeared, leaving her alone in that place. Daphne looked at Lars’ lifeless body. She approached him, placing the iron medal on his face. The most important thing was that she had to accomplish her usual tasks without raising any suspicions. No matter what, she had to keep Rothvaln’s trust. She had no choice but to look for Agate first.

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