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Chapter 3

“She just fainted?” he asked his best friend unsurely.

“That’s what I just said,” Gabriel snapped.

“And you say she’s your mate, but she’s human?” he asked once more.

Gabriel massaged his temple. “Zortan, you’re tempting me to kill you.”

“Well excuse me for trying to understand the strange words you are telling me. I know you hate learning and all, but vampyres and humans cannot mate,” Zortan reminded.

“I’m more than a thousand years old. I do not need a lesson in something so uncomplicated!” Gabriel snapped once more.

Zortan wasn’t the least bit afraid of him; instead he was amused by the Prince’s mood. “So this is what they talk about when they talk about the primal side worrying for its mate.”

“I’m not worried about her,” Gabriel denied.

“And that lie would’ve probably worked on anyone else but me. You’re worried about her and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Zortan replied.

Gabriel sighed, knowing that this was a battle he’d lose. “I was starting to accept that maybe my primal side was wrong, until she asked me to bring her here. We’ve known each other for a couple of hours, and yet she trusted herself that much to request something like that of me. When she passed out, I’ve never felt the rush of panic that hit me.”

“She trusts you too,” Zortan commented.

“What?” Gabriel asked.

“You said she trusted herself enough to ask that of you, but I’d like to believe that she was only able to do so because she somewhat trusts you too,” Zortan explained.

Gabriel frowned. “She was clouded by confusion. It was probably the side of her that clearly knows that we’re mates.”

“Call it whatever you will Gabe, but I hope you’re not planning on shutting her out,” Zortan warned.

“I haven’t so far, but our situation is very complicated. Firstly, she’s human. Secondly, she’s got a boyfriend. Thirdly, the whole kingdom is under the impression that Olga and I are getting married, and lastly, I have no fucking clue what’s going,” Gabriel replied.

“Ok, firstly, you and I both know that she’s not human. There’s clearly something else going on here and we’ll figure it out. Secondly, it doesn’t matter that she’s got a boyfriend. Give them space if you must, but that relationship will not last for as long as your mate bond grows stronger. Thirdly, you’re not marrying Olga for shit, and lastly, what’s going on is that you and I are going to figure out what the story with Xaria is and then you can marry your rightful mate,” Zortan said.

“Where are we going to even start looking for answers? Based on my conversation with her, if she’s supernatural, she’s unaware of it,” Gabriel pointed out.

“Then we’ll look into her life. The point here is that we will find out what we need to, and things can only go well from there,” Zortan responded.

Gabriel was about to say something when Xaria stirred. He rushed to her side and she was mumbling things in a language none of them knew. Gabriel held her hand in his and her eyes slowly opened. She was confused for a few seconds, but when her eyes landed on Gabriel, it was as though something clicked.

“Gabriel,” she said softly. He helped her sit up.

“I’m here,” he replied, just as softly.

“Take me to your father,” she said lowly.

He scowled. “My father?”

She nodded. “I know what’s wrong with him.”

“How?” Zortan was the one to ask. Her eyes shifted to him and she raised an eyebrow.

“Who’s he?” she asked.

“Xaria, this is my best friend Zortan Rizzo. Zortan, Xaria McLeod,” Gabriel introduced.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Zortan told her.

“Same. To answer your question, I think I know because I was told in a dream,” she said, frowning to herself.

“A dream?” Gabriel asked unsurely, to which she nodded.

“I know it sounds strange, but you said that you’ve tried everything to heal him. What’s taking me to him going to hurt?” she argued.

“She’s onto something, especially since we don’t know what she is,” Zortan linked Gabriel.

“She could be an enemy,” Gabriel argued, even though he didn’t believe the words himself.

“Do you really believe that?” Zortan asked him.

He ignored the question and instead asked. “How do I even begin to explain her presence to him and Tonya?”

“You don’t,” Zortan simply replied.

“Are you guys communicating telepathically?” Xaria asked them.

Gabriel nodded. “How did you know?”

“Well, you both just went real quiet and looked at each other, so really I was just guessing,” she explained.

“Pardon our rudeness,” Zortan said.

“It’s fine. Did you manage to convince this one to take me to his father?” she asked.

Gabriel was bemused, while Zortan was amused. “How did you know I was convincing him?”

“Because, there’s something that Gabriel doesn’t trust about me, even if I did nothing wrong. I’ve known him for less than a day, and while he probably told me a lot more than he intended, I still get the feeling that there’s something about me that just unsettles him, so at this moment, it seems like you’re the reasonable party amongst you two,” she explained.

Gabriel couldn’t say anything to that, so Zortan saved him. “You’re a human Xaria. Surely he’s told you how most of us feel about your kind.”

“While I’m flattered by your effort to comfort my ego, there’s no need to. I understand why he would be apprehensive of me. Like I said, we’ve only known each other for less than a day,” she replied.

“And yet you trust him,” Zortan challenged.

Xaria’s brows furrowed at the realization. “I guess I do. I guess I’m just naive.”

“Naivety can get you into trouble,” Gabriel commented.

“I’ve come this far haven’t I?” she defended.

“True, but you also need to be careful. You cannot go around just trusting people,” he argued.

“That isn’t at all what I do. If anything, I’m normally sceptical of people,” she replied.

“So why not be sceptical of Gabe?” Zortan once again challenged.

She looked up into the Prince’s eyes, drowning in his emerald eyes. “I trust him with my life.”

Both Gabriel and Zortan didn’t expect her answer, and she was surprised she said it to begin with. However, she couldn’t deny the truth in her words. Much like she felt in the bakery, she couldn’t explain it, but she knew that Gabriel would never harm her.

Or allow anyone else to harm her for that matter.

Gabriel could feel his bond with her growing just from her words. He was blindsided by the rate of growth, and especially by the strength of the bond. He hadn’t even kissed her, and yet he already felt like he could do anything for her.

And his mistrust of the situation was thawing bit by bit.

“Well, Miss McLeod, we’d better get you to the King,” Zortan announced when the mates weren’t breaking their staring match.

She reached out and cupped Gabriel’s cheek, shocking him. “Are you ok with that?”

He was still surprised by her bold move, so he could only manage a nod. She tried to stand before swaying. Gabriel caught her, while Zortan moved at lightning speed to get her a glass of water to drink.

“Thank you,” she said once she was done.

“You’re welcome,” he replied.

“Where are we?” she questioned, looking around the lavishly dark room.

“My chambers,” Gabriel informed.

She nodded. “Why is it so dark in here?”

“It’s dark everywhere,” Zortan pointed out.

“I noticed that, but why?” she probed.

“Trachba translates to Dark World. Our kind was banished here by the Light Vampyres many years ago. They live in Ludmia, which translates to Light World. The two worlds used to be one, until the day our kind was banished here. Dalibor, the leader of the Light World, managed to get some powerful witches to split the worlds,” Zortan offered explanation.

Gabriel watched his mate carefully. He was watching to see how she would react to the information she was receiving. She was fully interested in what Zortan was telling her as they walked towards his father’s chambers, and her response once again astonished him.

“A whole race of vampyres was banished to darkness? That barely sounds fair to me. Were you banished because of your crimes as a whole?” she quizzed.

Zortan looked to his best friend before clearing his throat. “No.”

“We’ve arrived,” Gabriel announced, cutting off whatever she wanted to say next.

She didn’t miss what he’d done and sent him a look, to which he shook his head to. She narrowed her eyes at him and he sighed before taking her hand in his. He was hoping their bond was strong enough to allow him to broadcast his message to her.

“We’ll talk later and I’ll answer all your questions.”

She jumped at the intrusion of his voice in her head. She stopped walking altogether, looking around her. Gabriel couldn’t help the little laughter that escaped him, and she glared at him once she’d put two and two together.

“I’m going to get back at you for that,” she tried her luck at the telepathy thing. He was as surprised as she was.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t even know that it would work,” he linked.

“It’s weird, just for the record,” she replied.

“You get used to it,” he said amusedly.

“If the two of you are done, can we be about our way?” Zortan interrupted them.

Gabriel cleared his throat, letting go of her hand. “Right.”

They’d reached the King’s quarters and started walking towards the King’s chambers with Gabriel walking ahead, while Xaria tried to send out her thoughts to Zortan, which he noticed. “What are you doing?”

“I’m trying to tell you something telepathically,” she whispered.

“It won’t work with me,” he said, trying to keep from laughing at her.

She frowned. “Why not?”

“It just won’t,” he said as they reached the huge door to the King’s room.

Gabriel opened the door, startling Tonya. “Gabriel? I thought you were too furious to be here.”

“I need to see my father. I’ve brought someone to see him,” he replied before letting Xaria in.

“A human? You brought a human into the castle? What is wrong with you?” Tonya asked angrily.

Xaria ignored the fighting between stepmother and stepson and instead walked over to the King. She closed her eyes and touched his forehead, and his eyes shot open. She opened her eyes and saw the black specks dancing in the green of his eyes. He wanted to speak, but the words weren’t coming out as she closed her eyes once more.

“She’s killing him!” Tonya shouted. She went to attack Xaria, but Gabriel was quicker in getting to her.

“Touch her and I’ll kill you,” he warned, his eyes dark and voice deeper. Tonya frowned at his protection over the human, while she continued whatever it is she was doing.

“Zortan,” Xaria called.

“Yeah?” he replied.

“Who’s Danica?” she asked, eyes still closed.

“That’s my sister. Why?” Gabriel checked.

“Please call her,” she requested.

Gabriel didn’t ask questions and instead linked his sister. “Niki.”

“What do you want? I’m still pissed off at you,” she responded.

“You can be pissed off at me for the rest of eternity, but I need you to come here. It’s urgent,” he told her.

“Where’s here?” she asked.

“Father’s room,” he replied.

She was there in seconds. “What’s going on? Who’s the human?”

“Your brother is trying to get your father killed,” Tonya spat.

“Danica?” Xaria called.

“Uh, yes?” Danica replied.

“Please come here,” Xaria requested.

Danica was sceptical, but approached the human woman anyway. Xaria reached out her hand, and Danica placed hers on it. When Xaria closed her hand around the Princess’, Danica gasped as her eyes closed on their own.

Gabriel, Zortan, and Tonya watched on anxiously as the women held hands, not saying anything. Both their eyes were closed, and they weren’t saying anything. Aurel’s eyes were still wide open, and he was still fighting to say something.

“What’s happening Gabe?” Zortan linked him.

“I don’t know. I’m shut out from the both of them,” Gabriel replied before both their eyes finally opened.

“I know how to heal him,” Danica whispered.

“What? That’s impossible! We’ve tried everything!” Tonya argued.

“One would think you’d be happy about the news that your husband will be ok,” Xaria commented.

Tonya glared at her. “I don’t even know who the hell you are. You just a useless human and I don’t know why Gabriel broke the rules for you.”

Xaria raised an eyebrow. “Useless? I am many things, but useless isn’t one of them.”

“You are rude and you clearly don’t know your place. That much is certain!” Tonya snapped.

“Uh, Your Highness, you might want to ease up on the insults,” Zortan advised. Tonya was about to question him when she looked over at the Prince, whose eyes were as dark as night.

“I need you all to leave the room so that I can begin the healing process,” Danica told them.

“Why do we need to leave the room, and what could you possibly do to help him?” Tonya asked.

“My faerie side knows what to do. Combined with my vampyre powers, I’ll be able to heal him. The how part is irrelevant for as long as I get the job done. Now, please leave,” Danica requested.

Xaria was the first to walk out since she understood the importance of the situation. The King didn’t have a lot of time, and had she not arrived when she did, he would’ve been dead within days – something she wasn’t going to tell Gabriel.

“What was that?” Gabriel asked her.

“Please take me home,” she instead whispered.

“Answer the question first. What did you do to my husband?” Tonya demanded.

“Gabriel, please take me home,” she repeated.

Gabriel was unsure, especially since he was curious about his father’s health, but there was something in the way she was pleading. “Take her home Gabe.”

“Are you coming?” Gabriel asked his best friend.

“I’ll be there by tomorrow. I need to check on something first,” Zortan replied.

Gabriel nodded before taking Xaria’s hand in his. “Let’s get you home.”

“Gabriel, you cannot leave,” Tonya told him.

He shot her an amused look. “I had no idea you enjoyed my company that much Tonya.”

She glared at him. “This has nothing to do with your company. I want answers.”

“And you’ll get them if fate sees fit. Now, please excuse us,” Gabriel replied before picking up Xaria and rushing out of the room.

Before she could blink, they were back in Gabriel’s room and he was opening the portal back to the mortal realm. When it was fully open, she could see the inside of his apartment living room and she stepped through the portal, only to sway and faint again.

“Are you kidding me?” Gabriel mumbled as he caught her.

He lay her on the couch before closing the portal. He watched her, waiting for her to get up, but she was taking longer than she had in Trachba. When the sun was making an appearance, he decided to go take a shower and get ready for the day.

When he walked back to the living room, freshly changed into a clean suit, her eyes fluttered open as she groaned. “Where am I?”

“You’re in my apartment,” he informed.

She jumped at the sound of his voice, resulting in her rolling off the couch and landing on the floor. “Oof.”

Gabriel rushed over to help her up. “Are you ok?”

“Because normal people are ok after face-planting,” she murmured.

“Someone’s sassy,” he taunted.

She frowned, looking up at him. “What am I doing here Gabriel?”

“You mean you don’t remember?” he asked, confused.

“Remember what?” she questioned.

“Trachba...” he trailed off.

“Your home? Did we go?” she asked.

He nodded, the confusion etching itself deeper on his face. “We were there last night. What do you last remember?”

“I remember us getting here and you opening the portal, but that’s it,” she replied.

Partly explains the fainting, Gabriel thought to himself.

“So you don’t remember Zortan or Danica?” he asked.

She furrowed her brows. “Are those people or places?”

He’d heard of many strange things before, but this was high up on the list. He didn’t even know what to say to her, and he could see that she was genuinely confused about how she’d landed up in this situation.

Parts of her brain felt like they were tingling, and the idea in itself was just ridiculous to her, but that’s what she was feeling. The more she tried to think, the harder it seemed to remember anything. She was brought out of thought by Gabriel tilting her chin, making her look into his eyes as he squatted before her.

“Stop thinking about it. I don’t have any answers for you, but thinking about it won’t help,” he told her.

“I want to go home,” she told him.

He nodded and helped her up. This time she didn’t sway and they walked out of the apartment before heading to the underground parking. Gabriel had grabbed the keys to his sports car on the way out.

“Didn’t you leave your car at the bakery?” she asked him as they approached a sleek black sports car.

“One of,” he corrected.

She rolled her eyes. “Of course you have more than one car.”

He smirked. “I have the money Miss McLeod. Why not spend it?”

“I guess I’ll never understand since I’ve never been rich,” she said as he opened the passenger door for her.

His thoughts travelled to the fact that she was the true future Queen of Trachba and she didn’t even know it. She didn’t know of the riches she was getting through their mating, but he stopped his thoughts right there.

He wasn’t even sure if there was a mating to begin with.

“GABRIEL!” she shouted, bringing him out of thought.

“Shouting so early in the morning? What will my neighbours think?” he teased.

“First of all, I’m shouting, not moaning, so they wouldn’t be particularly suspicious of anything. Secondly, you have the attention span of a goldfish. Close the door and take me home,” she taunted.

He chuckled before closing the door and getting into the driver’s seat. “Touché.”

“What’s got you so deep in thought anyway?” she questioned.

“Just some royal matters,” he lied.

“That’s a lie, but I’ll let it go,” she commented as they headed out.

He raised an eyebrow. “How do you know it’s a lie?”

“Your right eye twitched a little,” she pointed out.

He was dubious. “And you just assumed that meant I’m lying?”

She shrugged. “I guess I’ll see the next time you lie.”

“Does this make us friends? Since you’re insinuating we’ll be spending more time together,” he hinted.

“I guess it does, even though my boyfriend is probably going to have the biggest problem with our relationship,” she said, thoughtful.

“Why is that? Is he really pissy because I wouldn’t give him the time of day?” he asked, puzzled.

Her cheeks reddened, and her heart rate increased. “Yes.”

“That’s not the only thing, and don’t bother lying to me since your heart rate just hit the roof,” he told her.

“That’s an unfair advantage,” she mentioned.

He smirked. “What? That I can hear your heart beating?”

“Well yeah,” she agreed.

“Life isn’t fair Miss McLeod. What’s the real reason Mr Palmer hates me?” he asked.

“It’s nothing,” she responded quickly.

“Could you be any more blatant about trying to hide this from me?” he joked.

She sighed. “It’s embarrassing ok?”

“I promise not to make a big deal of it,” he assured.

“I highly doubt that, but what the hell. He kinda hates you because the last time we were together, I may have said that I’d trade him in for you any day,” she said lowly, knowing that he heard her.

He laughed. “That’s it?”

“What do you mean that’s it? That’s enough to wound any man!” she exclaimed.

“No it isn’t. It’s enough to wound an insecure man,” he argued.

“Miguel’s not insecure,” she denied.

He chuckled. “I’m sure he isn’t. He just feels threatened by me, and what are the odds that I meet you just after you told him such wounding words?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re enjoying this.”

“Oh, you can bet that I am. Humans in general tend to offer great entertainment, but this is the good stuff,” he joked.

“That’s not a nice thing to say Gabriel,” she said, fighting off a laugh.

“I’m just saying, but I get where he’s coming from. With a gorgeous woman like you, I’d also be paranoid of every man’s intentions. Hell, I’d also feel undeserving of you,” he said the words before he could stop them.

He was taken aback that they’d left his mouth, while all she could do was sit in her seat, flustered. She couldn’t explain what was going on between them, but his words made her see him in yet another light.

Silence overtook the car for the rest of the journey to Xaria’s apartment. Neither of them knew what to say after Gabriel’s words. They reached their destination and Miguel was sitting on the stairs outside. He frowned at the sports car, having no clear vision of who was in it from where he was.

“I don’t recall telling you where I live,” Xaria commented.

Gabriel shrugged. “Call it intuition.”

“Mhmm,” she said suspiciously. He laughed before leaving the car.

Miguel watched the billionaire CEO with newfound interest, wondering what he was doing there of all places. The last thing he expected was to see his girlfriend be the person to leave the passenger side of the car.

“Just look at him. His insecurity is shining brighter than the sun’s reflection on that window,” Gabriel jested.

Xaria smacked his chest. “Stop it.”

“Ok, ok. I won’t taunt his non-existent manliness. When am I seeing you again?” he asked her.

“Well, you’re the one with a busy schedule, so you can come and see me at the bakery when you’re free,” she replied.

He nodded. “And if you’re not at the bakery?”

She smiled. “Then you’ll use your ‘intuition’ to find me.”

“Alright Miss McLeod, you have yourself a deal,” he said, laughing.

Miguel could feel his anger simmering from watching the two interact. They were too far for him to catch what they were saying. Gabriel’s mischievous side came out to play as he pulled Xaria in by her waist to land a kiss on her cheek, dangerously close to her mouth.

“Till we see each other again Miss McLeod. I have lives to ruin, money to make, and people to kill. That boy toy of yours does not look happy,” he whispered in her ear.

She was fighting off what she was truly feeling from the kiss as she smacked him again. “You did that on purpose.”

He laughed, with her still in his embrace. “I didn’t.”

Her lips twitched as she fought off a smile. “Your eye twitched.”

“Then I guess I’m a terrible liar. Till later Miss McLeod,” he said before walking over to the driver’s side of the car.

“Stay out of trouble Gabriel,” she told him when she realized what he said he’d be getting up to.

He sent her a wink. “Always.”

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