ENTICE ME

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Queen of the Lycans

Adventuring towards the entrance of Evanora’s palace, Daphne found dominant darkness in almost everything. The witches and warlocks of the court wore somber hues garments and a sense of style from centuries past. Some observed her in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. This was the first time she had ever entered this part of the Kingdom without her typical attire. Daphne kept her distance, but she was always alert. There were no guards around. The dwellers entered and left the place as if they were part of the residence.

She was surprised that there was no one to stop her once she entered the throne room. For a moment, she was a little disappointed, thinking that she would find splendor in the place. However, marble columns stood at the sides, where giant braziers supported the flames that played with the surroundings’ dimness. Cobwebs hung on the walls. The place looked neglected and gloomy. But what caught her most was the Queen’s throne; she could obviously see bones forming the chair and protruding in spirals. A frightening chair.

There was no one in the place.

“Is anyone here?” Daphne called out. Looking around. It was strange that there was no one in the room. When she noticed people coming and going a few minutes earlier. Once again, she kept calling.

“Sorry for the wait, Miss Brooks.” A male voice made her turn quickly. The man had a purple gaze and well-combed, loose white hair that looked at her with empathy.

“Who are you? I need to speak to the Queen”.

“Alistair Nox and the Queen is not available at the moment” Alistair knew perfectly well who she was; no wonder nobody had prevented her from entering. Instead, everyone was running away from her.

“I have something for her.”

“You can give it to me, and I’ll deliver it to her.”

“No,” Daphne said, revealing a hint of irritation. Alistair frowned.

“What are you bringing?”

“A book. I was told that once the Queen saw what it was about, she would help me.”

“What book is it?”

Daphne hesitated for a moment to say the name of the person who gave her the book. But she had no choice, not when it came to James.

“Agate Brevil gave it to me,” she finally said.

“Agate?” Queen Evanora showed up. Daphne searched for her voice, finding her sitting on her throne. She was a woman indeed beautiful if it weren’t for the black mask that covered part of her face, exposing her bright green eyes, nose, and lips entirely clad in red.

“Queen Evanora,” Daphne bowed subtly. “I have come because I need your help, or rather the help of the Master of Shadows.”

“What makes you think I will help you? All this time, we have let you freely enter this Realm, murdering every one of my subjects. If it weren’t for you working for the Demon King and the agreement we have, believe me, dear, you would not have succeeded in entering at the first attempt”.

Daphne took the book out of her jacket, and Evanora stared with her eyes wide open. She never expected that Nebula Barclay’s book would come back to her. The book was more like Nebula’s diary, the most powerful witch and supposedly the first of her kind. Its simple size, the red cover, and the yellow pages gave it the appearance of being a harmless, old object.

“Agate gave you this?” Evanora approached her. They were both at the same height.

“Yes. She said that once you saw it, you would help me.”

“She had the book all this time.” Evanora smiled.

“How do you know, Agate?” Alistair, who had remained silent until now, asked.

“I knew her many years ago.” Daphne didn’t want to reveal anything else.

“Where is she?” asked Evanora.

“Forgive me, Your Majesty, but I cannot reveal that detail.”

“Can I?” Evanora extended a hand, gesturing to have the book delivered to her hands.

“Will you help me?”

Evanora nodded. “I will. Alistair will go with you to see Lyra”.

“Lyra?”

“Lyra, the Master of Shadows”

“Wasn’t her name Nala? The daughter of Darious and Elenor?” Daphne asked, confused by the names.

“Nala and Lyra are the same people. Alistair will go with you. It’ll be easier for you to get to her, considering her mate”.

“All right, then... thank you.” Daphne gave her the book. Evanora smiled again, looking at the cover, caressing it with her fingers.

“Don’t thank me yet.”

Alistair opened a portal, extending a hand to Daphne to cross it. Taking his hand, she turned around one last time. “Can I ask you something?” Daphne spoke. Evanora nodded. “Was it that easy? Just by showing you the book and mentioning Agate, you agreed to help me?”

“If Agate gave you what she most wanted in this world, it must be for some important reason. Nothing Agate does is out of pure goodwill; everything has a purpose Regana.”

Regana, I’ve heard that word before. Agate...

“Good luck, Daphne Brooks. You’ll need it.”

Alistair separated from Daphne once they arrived at the Realm of the Lycans. The smell of fresh grass, the rosy flowers, the weak sunlight brought Daphne an unexpected calm.

“If you were someone we could trust, we would have shown up inside the castle. But I’m afraid Alaric wouldn’t like that. That man has the temperament of a beast.” Alistair was talking to her with absolute confidence, smiling at his own thoughts.

They both headed for the entrance as they crossed the main bridge. Daphne couldn’t stop admiring the place. By day it looked even more magnificent. And thinking about Queen Luna and the King, they were both fortunate to have each other. She didn’t even expect to find a person destined just for her.

“Why do you need the Master of Shadows?” Alistair asked.

If it weren’t for him and Evanora helping her, she wouldn’t be answering the question.

“I have to free a demon in exchange for my brother’s life. Agate told me that I need the help of the shadows to get in and out of wherever they’re hiding him”.

“I see. Although I honestly don’t know if Lyra will help you”, Alistair stared at her.

“Lyra? You mean Nala, don’t you?”

“Yes, forgive me, I’m still not used to calling her by her second name.”

“Why does she have two names?”

“It’s a long story.” Alistair sighed and gave her a smile. Despite his white hair and purple eyes, Alistair was a handsome man. Daphne could tell that he had a charming demeanor; he projected absolute confidence. It was something that made her feel attracted to him in some way.

“We’re here,” said Alistair as he knocked on the door.

“Mr. Nox. The King and Queen are waiting for you in the studio.” Hawes, the butler, responded with his usual grave air.

They both went inside and began to climb the stairs. “How did they know we were here?”

“Have you forgotten who the King is?”

Alistair entered the studio after a few knocks, and she followed him, politely greeting the Royals.

“This lady here needs your help, Master of Shadows. Evanora has asked me to bring her in. She thinks you can help her.”

Nala rolled her eyes at Alistair. “I told you there’s no need to call me that.”

Daphne noticed that Nala looked relaxed, but her mate was standing there, looking at her with a thirst to gash her apart. Nala saw Alaric’s attitude.

“You can relax now. Nothing will happen.” The Luna spoke to her mate, who let out a sigh, relaxing a little. “Well, Daphne, how can I help you?”

“Queen Luna, I need the power of your shadows to free a prisoner.”

“What prisoner?” asked Alaric with his arms crossed.

“I don’t know who he is yet. I just know he’s a demon.”

“Why?” Nala asked. Daphne decided to tell them everything if she wanted to get their help.

“The Demon Lords kidnapped my brother, and in return, I must free a demon. I only have information about the place where he might be hiding. But to get in and out unnoticed, I must use the shadows. Your shadows.”

“Does Rothvaln know about this?” Nala asked.

“No, he doesn’t know, and he can’t.”

“I don’t know if I can really help you, Daphne.” Nala was hesitant about what decision to make. Obviously, the girl was doing all this to save her brother. The problem was that they were doing it behind the back of the King of the Underworld. And Nala had sworn her loyalty to him. To what extent was the significance of that promise?

For a brief moment, Alistair looked at Nala with a thoughtful expression; Daphne captured the moment when Queen Luna frowned at the warlock.

“Please, Master of Shadows, I am begging you to help me. If I don’t release that prisoner in a week, my brother will die.” Daphne pleaded with her hopes in her hands, praying that these would not be taken away from her.

“Excuse us for a moment,” Nala and Alaric disappeared.

Once in her room, Nala turned to her mate.

“I think I must help her...”

“But you don’t know to what extent your pact with Rothvaln is valid.”

“Have you been reading my mind again?” Nala frowned, feeling a little angry now. Since she knew she was expecting a cub, as Alaric calls it, her mental and emotional connection to her mate has become even stronger, to the point that they can both read each other’s thoughts. Which she did not like at all.

“Don’t get angry, my Queen. I couldn’t help it at the time.” Alaric approached her, caressing her pronounced belly and placing a kiss on her lips. “Do you remember what exactly Rothvaln said to you at that time?”

“He wants my loyalty when the time comes... You see, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Daphne came to me the other night to give me Rothvaln’s message, and now she’s being threatened with her brother in exchange for releasing a demon. Besides, if Evanora sent her to find me, there must be a reason for it. The Queen of the Witches wouldn’t just help anyone.”

“You’re right. I think it’s too much of a coincidence. Nala, you know I don’t want you meddling in other people’s business. There’s no reason to help that girl... but knowing you, I know you will. As for Rothvaln, he asked you to help him when the time came. I guess helping her wouldn’t be part of that pact. After all, Rothvaln has not yet demanded that you comply with the deal.” Alaric ended up hugging her.

“You are right. Ok. Let’s go back then”, said Nala with her face hidden in the chest of her mate.

Daphne saw the Lycan and her Luna suddenly appear. Shadows began to move throughout the studio. Macabre laughter echoed through the room.

“I’m going to help you, Daphne. My shadows will go with you wherever you must go, and they will take you out of place along with the prisoner.” Nala pointed it upwards, where those beings moved incessantly. “They will accompany you from now on and return to me once you and the prisoner are safe.”

“I knew she would help you,” said Alistair, and Daphne looked at him with a mocking look. Just a few minutes ago, he had told her that Nala might not be able to help her.

“This will be fun.”

“I want to kill, I want to kill.”

Daphne frowned, thinking she heard the echo of some voices in the studio.

“Look at this girl, she looks like ice on the outside, but she’s scared to death.”

The shadows spoke and laughed out loud. Moving around Daphne.

In an attempt to regain her composure, she, not believing that she had really heard those voices, rose from her seat to end the meeting. Until now, it had been relatively easy to get help from Queen Evanora and the Master of Shadows; although she felt a sense of triumph, she couldn’t help but experience a strange feeling about it. Agate knew something, and Evanora no doubt did too, so both witches helped her without any objection and, of course, the Master of Shadows also.

“Thank you, I promise you that this meeting will remain between us.” She expressed her gratitude with sincerity.

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