The Vampire Peasant: A Sinister Heart Novel

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Chapter 10

10

I can’t believe you’re actually following.

Quiet, peasant.

Why not follow Veronique? She can see.

No. I thought you hated her now. What happened to that? Having second thoughts?

No. I don’t have second thoughts. It’s just that we know her, and she can see through here. This person is unknown to us. He could be leading us to our deaths.

I’m a demon. How many times do I have to tell you, stupid? I can protect myself.

Yeah, but—

No buts.

“It’s not long now. So how ’bout you tell me about yourselves?” the male voice said.

He was making sure we were still there, not far behind him. How he knew where we were in this darkness, I had no idea, not to mention that he was in front of us.

We were demons, and we didn’t leave very loud footsteps. He was obviously a werewolf or had some werewolf DNA in him.

Who knew what he was since these tunnels were made by the First Ones?

“Who are you?” Kai asked, still very skeptical. He made sure to hang onto Veronique though, and that irritated me greatly.

“Just some help,” the voice answered with a chuckle.

It was obvious that he didn’t want us to know who he was, so I didn’t question further. I just hoped that my brothers wouldn’t question him anymore either.

“How did you get down here?” I asked. I was skeptical but curious and determined to get some answers. I would find out who he was whether he wanted me to or not.

“Were you the one who had made that howl earlier?” Keoni asked after five minutes of silence.

Again, there was silence. It didn’t seem he was up to answering any questions.

“Are you leading us to a trap?” I asked.

“Of course not. I’m helping you, and as a friend, I’d advise you to get rid of that shapeshifter. It’ll bring you trouble in the future,” the voice muttered seriously.

“She’s not an it,” Kai retorted defensively, holding her closer to himself.

“Whatever you say. Do you even know what they are capable of, demon?” the voice questioned.

“Of course. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have her around,” Kai retorted once again.

“Then you must know that they work for another, right?” the voice asked almost tauntingly.

“What? Work for . . . another?” Keoni asked, curious but scared at the same time.

“Why, yes, young demon. They work for another.

Whatever feelings you think it has for you . . . well, I’m sure you can figure that part out,” the voice taunted. I could practically see its smirk.

“That’s not true. She loves me,” Kai denied.

He may have been in denial, but Keoni and I were starting to see the bigger picture.

She’s working for someone . . . else?

Yes, stupid. Didn’t you hear him the first time?

Well . . . yeah, but . . .

Well, then no buts. It’s simple. She’s been lying to us this whole time.

But . . . but . . . she . . . she kissed me. Didn’t that mean anything to her?

Obviously not.

But her tears. She was crying.

Yeah, anyone can fake-cry. She’s just a good actor, that’s all. Besides, you have that other girl. The fae. I’m not thrilled about her either, but at least she isn’t a shapeshifter.

Yeah, I guess.

You guess? Well, if you guess, then I won’t let you go after her. Ungrateful peasant.

“No, demon. It doesn’t. It doesn’t have feelings,” the voice said.

There was a silence for a while.

“Well, we’re almost there. So what is it that you’re after? If you don’t mind me asking,” the voice said, striking up another conversation.

“We’re trying to get to the other side of the Les Maudits Forest,” I answered vaguely.

“For what?” the voice asked curiously.

“Well, long story short, we were walking above ground and then ran into a dullahan. We looked directly at him. Now we’re next. To die,” Keoni blurted out without thinking, making me mentally face-palm.

What an idiot.

“You looked at a dullahan, huh? Well, that’s some bad luck. Lucky you ran into me then. I can get you off the hook from those guys. As ruthless as they are, they won’t hurt you if you’re with me. They’re smart enough not to,” the voice said, most likely smirking.

“Why not? What makes you so special? They won’t hurt us if we are with her either,” Kai retorted.

“Trust me, demon. She only scared it away because she must’ve had some gold. Those guys aren’t scared of that thing you have with you. They are afraid of me and my siblings though. That’s a fact,” the voice said as the tunnel came to a close. There was a wooden door with a dimly lit candle next to it.

That was when I was able to make out what this mysterious voice looked like.

To my dismay, he was wearing a black cloak with a hood covering his head, but from what I was able to tell, he was tall and had broad shoulders.

He was definitely a supernatural but with some werewolf in him, and the way he had talked about the shapeshifters meant he wasn’t one.

They were obviously sworn enemies—or maybe not. Maybe he just disliked them. I could tell he obviously didn’t have any relations to make him dislike them so much. He just seemed to hate them altogether.

“You never answered my question. What makes you so special, asshole?” Kai asked with much hostility.

He was very mad because the mystery man wasn’t giving him any straight answers. That, and he kept referring to Veronique as an “it” and she wasn’t sticking up for herself, which I found very suspicious.

“That’s something you’ll wish you’ve never heard,” the man in the black cloak said before he opened the door.

There were stairs on the other side, made of wood as well.

“What the hell does that mean?” Kai asked suspiciously with a hint of anger.

“Nothing of any importance, young demon.

Nothing you have to worry about,” he said with a chuckle, making Kai even angrier.

If Kai got any angrier, he might just blow, and I highly doubted he was able to handle him, even with our help.

He sounded like he knew how shapeshifters worked. Not only that, but also, he called us young demons. So that must have meant he was more than a couple of centuries old—or a millennium.

He’ll annihilate us.

Yes, peasant. I know that. I just hope Kai isn’t stupid enough to start a fight.

What if he does?

Then I’m going to side with the mystery guy.

Well, that’s cheap.

I’m a demon. I stick to whoever I have to to survive. I don’t play fair. You of all people should know that.

Yeah, I know that well. You’re a cruel and twisted person.

You mean a cruel and twisted demon.

Kai growled, snapping me from my conversation with Vanni and back to reality.

“What’s wrong, young demon?” the man asked with a chuckle. “You seem a little upset with me.” I could practically see his smirk.

“Upset doesn’t even begin to cover it, asshole,” Kai growled, holding Veronique tighter.

She winced a little but made no noise. So Kai was clueless about the pain she was in, but no way in hell was I going to mention anything.

I looked at Keoni and smirked after glancing toward her. He caught on immediately and smirked himself.

“What’s so funny?” Kai growled at us, giving us one of his glares.

“Huh?” Keoni was playing stupid. No, we still weren’t done with him. He had betrayed us and gone to defend that thing.

“You know damn well what ‘huh’ is,” Kai growled lowly. The angrier he got, the more demonic he was turning. His eyes were slowly going black.

“Now, now, why don’t you kids save your energy for later? We have other matters to attend to,” the man in the black cloak said with a light chuckle.

“Like what?” Kai growled. I thought his point was to intimidate us, but that hadn’t worked at all.

“Like dealing with that dullahan friend of yours.

I’d like to know more about the situation you’re in. If you don’t mind,” the man said. It was more of a demand though. It was almost as if he was saying, “I’m staying, and you’re going to tell me what’s going on, or else you’re on your own with that dullahan.”

“Let’s start with you first. What’s your name?” Kai growled. He was mad and wanted answers.

“Or we could start with why you were going through the forest. That is, unless you want to go back through there alone, or if you’re still up for it, I could guide you.” He was good—very good.

“You’re on your own, pal. Unless you can give us your name,” Kai retorted. I thought he was trying to taunt this guy, which was a bad idea on his part.

“No, Kai, he’s not. You are because I’m going with him. I don’t know about you, but I trust him. He seems to know a lot more about supernaturals and shapeshifters.

Plus, he sounds a lot older than us. So you either drop that thing and come or go alone,” I said, facing him seriously. He growled at me.

“Well said, young demon. Now tell me. Why are you going through the forest? What’s your goal?” he asked curiously as we got closer to the top of the stairs.

We were surrounded by dirt walls.

“Our original intention was to go to Dominique, a healer, to get me looking more like a demon instead of a pathetic vampire peasant. Now since we met the dullahan, our objectives have changed. My looks are still on the agenda, but it’s not number one right now,” I answered.

Kai didn’t like this one bit. Veronique, however, had been silent ever since this mysterious guy approached us.

He seemed much older than us, and when I say much, I mean much older.

He almost reminded me of the Ivanovs, the First Ones, the way this guy knew his way through the maze without light or a guide, the way he spoke, the unexplained howl, the way he was silent when we asked anything related to him.

That was when it had dawned on me. He was an Ivanov,

one of the brothers.

In the legend, there were five siblings—two girls and three boys. The first sibling, the eldest—her name was Amalija. She had short curly red hair down to her shoulders, brown eyes, and fair skin and was of medium height, around five inches and five feet.

The second was male. His name was Aleksander. He also had curly red hair, but his was not long but not short in length either. He had light blue eyes, and he was tall, around six feet at the least.

The middle brother, the third—his name was Damijan. He was also tall, maybe six feet and three inches. Actually, all three boys were over six feet, but both the girls were under the average height for girls, which was five feet and five inches. Now Damijan had light brown eyes as well and long hair. Long hair on a guy was different from long hair on a girl. His curly red hair went down to his chin.

The second youngest was male. His name was Alenka. He had straight red hair down to his lower back. It hadn’t always been that long though. There was a rumor that went around that it grew like crazy when they messed up with one of the potions that they were creating. Anyways, he had light brown eyes as well. He was the tallest out of all three of them. He was six feet and nine inches in height.

Now the last sibling was a female. It was ironic how the eldest and youngest siblings were the only females and the boys were the middle children. Now her name was Anastazija, and she had green eyes, forest green. She had short curly red hair in a pixie haircut. She was five feet and two inches and had fair skin. Actually, all the siblings had fair skin except Alenka, the second youngest.

I started to stutter. “Wait, you . . . you’re . . . you’re—”

He must’ve known what I was going to say.

“Yes, young demon. Now if you want company as you travel through the forest, I’d suggest you keep quiet. All questions will be answered in due time. Now, young demon, on with your story,” he piped in, cutting me off abruptly.

“Uh . . . Okay then . . .” I paused.

I had forgotten what he had asked. I was too in shock about the realization of him being one of the brothers of the legend. I had sort of believed in the legend, but then again, I didn’t at the same time. After all, a legend was just that—a legend.

“Continue with the part about the dullahan. How did you meet? What happened, and how or why did it retreat? Oh, you can also throw in the part about how and when that thing had come into the picture,” the man in the black cloak said calmly as we came to a stop in front of a wooden door.

We had finally made it to the top of the stairs. If I wasn’t a demon or a supernatural, I would’ve been out of breath.

Why? Because we had just walked up staircases twelve feet high. It had to have been at least ten staircases, with around fifteen stairs in each staircase. That was very tiring for a human. Even a peasant like Vanni couldn’t keep up.

“Oh, okay then,” I started as he led us into what seemed to be some dark part of the forest. You couldn’t even see through the trees or the canopy, which made me think it was most likely nighttime.

It’s no wonder he said he was going to guide us through.

Yeah. Otherwise, you’d get us killed. Demon or not.

You wanna be let out, asshole?

No . . .

I didn’t think so. Next time you make a sassy comment, you’re up, and I don’t care if you get us injured.

Seriously?

Yes. Of course, I’d step in right before you die so I can keep myself alive, but I’ll let you go through all the pain.

No. No. No. No. I promise I’ll keep my mouth shut this time.

Good thinking. Stupid ass.

“To start off, we lured Xander out of his room and through the castle and into their gardens,” Keoni said.

He stepped up, catching onto my surprise. I had been completely blank and distracted by Vanni, this annoying peasant inside my brain making unnecessary comments.

“Castle?” the man asked curiously.

He let us into the forest for a couple of miles before he stopped randomly and sat down on a fallen log. He made sure that he kept his hood on to cover his hair and face,

although I was clearly able to see that he had on black slacks and a gray long-sleeved dress shirt, nothing too fancy but nothing too casual as well. It

had me thinking. If he was as old as the legend had said, why was he wearing . . .

“Modern clothes?”

I was surprised because he had finished my thoughts.

Could he possibly…

“Read minds?” he finished again.

I may not have been able to see his eyes or hair, but I most definitely saw his wicked smirk. White teeth, perfect alignment—

this just got me thinking more. Which of the brothers was he?

Young demon, I’ll answer those thoughts later. Also, I’ll teach you a trick later.

Trick?

Yes, vampire. A trick.

Quiet, peasant. So this trick of yours . . . what is it?

It’s a trick to block any mind readers and/or any manipulators. It’ll block them all out. You won’t be controlled by anyone, and your mind won’t get read unless you want it to be.

Sweet. Can I do it too? Or just Xander?

Vampire.

Yes?

Whatever powers your young demon friend has will be shared with you. You can use his powers if you wish.

Awesome.

“You guys are talking about the old castle?” the mysterious man asked, crossing his arms.

I sat down next on the grass and dirt a few feet in front of him. Keoni did as I had done, sitting next to me, with his feet out in front of him. Mine were crossed, and I was leaning on them.

Kai took Veronique and stood five feet away from us and sat down with her, leaning against a tree. I could still feel him glaring holes into my head for going against him.

“Yeah, that one. Except it looks modern. Brand new. Even new furniture,” I answered, looking into where his eyes would be.

“Does it now?” he asked—more to himself though.

“Yes, it does. Why?” Keoni asked, glancing at me and then back again toward his face, completely ignoring Kai and Veronique, which was making Kai angrier.

“Well, when I went through there last, it was in ruins,” he said with a chuckle. “That was a long time ago though. Way before your time. Now why was Xander in the castle?”

“To be quite frank with you, it was this vampire, Vanni, whom I share a body with. He was lured there by that thing back there. Long story short, I was finally able to come out there. Then we went through the gardens and started into the forest when we came across the dullahan,” I said seriously.

“What was the dullahan doing, and was it with you while you were walking through the gardens?” he asked, leaning forward onto his knees in curiosity.

“No, she didn’t come until after we had seen the dullahan. She saved us from him,” Kai put in.

Although he was finally talking to us again, nobody paid him any mind.

“So the dullahan was just standing there? At the edge of the forest?” the Ivanov brother asked, shocked, putting together a rough picture of what had happened.

I looked at Keoni before looking back to the man and nodded. His mouth had made a frown, which meant nothing good.

“Then that’s when it came in, and presuming the dullahan didn’t like its presence, he left begrudgingly?” he then asked, and again, we nodded, completely ignoring Kai’s presence along with Veronique’s.

“It has a name.” Kai stepped in. He was tired of not getting recognized—not only him but Veronique as well.

“Well, no one cares. Sorry to say. Now I can tell you this for a fact—that dullahan wasn’t afraid of it. It must’ve been wearing gold because other than that, the dullahans aren’t afraid of them,” the Ivanov brother explained. That really explained a lot, the way that dullahan had glared at us or her before leaving.

“And how exactly do you know that?” Kai challenged.

Wrong move, Kai.

“Young demon, I know because I know who that dullahan might’ve been. I know the dullahans, and believe it or not, they have names as well, but you wouldn’t care to hear them, right?” the Ivanov brother said with a wicked grin as he slowly stood up, walking over to him.

Even though the Ivanov brother was squatting in front of him, smiling wickedly, Kai didn’t look the least bit scared. In fact, he leaned up and started glaring hard at him, letting his eyes go black and fangs lengthen to a noticeable length.

“Oh, I’d care to hear them, all right. That’s if you even know them,” Kai attempted to taunt and continued to challenge him.

Surprisingly, the Ivanov brother was smiling.

Maybe he likes a little challenge every now and then?

Shut it, stupid peasant.

Just stating the obvious.

Well, the obvious would be maybe if it were a friendly challenge. Does this look like a friendly challenge?

Well . . . uh . . . no . . .

Exactly. This challenge isn’t even a challenge, stupid. He looks like he’s going to devour them both. Idiot. Pay attention.

That’s scary.

He is a First One. Get it through your head. He’s capable of anything.

“All right. How would you like to hear them?” the Ivanov brother asked with a wicked grin, chuckling.

I didn’t like how that laugh came out.

Neither did I, peasant. Neither did I, and I’m a demon.

“Excuse me?” Kai asked, confused. He was still holding onto Veronique.

His confusion made the Ivanov brother laugh a little harder.

“Young demon, there’s no need to be confused. I simply meant would you like for me to tell you, or would you like to hear it from them?” he asked as his grin got even wider.

When he grinned, I saw his canines. They were fangs. The shape of his fangs were in between that of a vampire’s fangs and that of a werewolf’s fangs.

He must’ve been a hybrid, having the power to howl like he had, the power to see through darkness even though a demon couldn’t. Those only meant one thing. He most definitely had werewolf blood in him.

Also, the shape of his fangs was more similar to a vampire’s. Werewolves’ fangs only came out in human form when they were around their mates. Otherwise, they only showed them when they were in wolf form.

This thought alone told me one other thing. He had vampire blood in him as well, not to mention he was an Ivanov, which meant he had warlock powers as well.

He’s a tribrid!

Oh, shit.

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